The Flame Shield (フレイムバリア,Fureimu Baria?, lit. "Flame Barrier"), also known as Fire Shield and Red Shield (赤バリア,Aka Baria?, lit. "Red Barrier"), is one of the shield power-ups that appear in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It can be obtained by breaking item boxes with a flame or red shield symbol on them, which will then surround the playable character with a sphere-shaped bubble of flames.
With a Flame Shield, the playable character can take damage once without losing Rings or a life, perform a fast Mid-Air Dash in the air, and not take damage from fire-based attacks and hazards, or from walking in lava pools. However, it vanishes automatically once the player enters water.
The Flame Shield was first introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. While the Flame Shield has not become as recurring power-up like the Thunder Shield, it has made some noteworthy appearances throughout the series.
Like other shield type power-ups, when a playable character is equipped with a Flame Shield, it will protect the player from one hit worth of damage from enemy attacks and/or contact, spikes, and other environmental hazards in the Zones by keeping the player from losing Rings or a life. After blocking a damaging blow however, the Flame Shield will disappear, and the player is usually knocked slightly backwards. However, the Flame Shield is not able to protect the player from falling into bottomless pits, being squeezed by Crushers, or the time limit of completing the stage running out, all of which give an instant death. Also, if the playable character makes contact with water while equipped with the Flame Shield, the Flame Shield will automatically disappear.
While equipped with a Flame Shield, the playable character becomes invulnerable to any form of fire-related damage, such as fire-based attacks from enemies, flames from fire-spewing obstacles in the environment, and even prevents damage when walking over pools of lava.
When Sonic is using the Flame Shield, it exclusively allows the player to do a forward Fireball Spin Dash by pressing , or after jumping.
The Flame Shield (here called the Red Shield) made another appearance in Sonic 3D Blast along with gold and blue shields, where it can be obtained from monitors with a red shield mark on them. In this game, the Red Shield possesses few of the abilities it had in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, but still retains its basic effects, such as protecting against one hit of regular damage and making the playable character immune to fire-based, thus allowing the player to move on the surface of lava pools.
In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, the Flame Shield is both an equipable Skill for Classic Sonic that creates one Flame Shield once each Act, and an Item Box power-up. In this game, the Flame Shield retains the effects it had in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles.
The Item Boxes with the Flame Shield appear exclusively in the Challenge Acts "Flame Shield Challenge" and "With Your Powers Combined" where the player has to use it to clear the Acts. The Skill for the Flame Shield can be bought from the Skill Shop for 300 Skill Points after clearing the "Flame Shield Challenge" and costs 70 Skill Points to be equipped. To activate the Skill in gameplay, the player has to press /. After losing the shield by being attacked, the player can utilize it once again if they lose a life.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
The Flame Shield appears in the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. To obtain it, the player must access the Level Select and in the "Items" category, they must switch to either "S1+S3" or "S2+S3". Some of the original Shield Monitors will then be replaced by the Flame Shield. It also appears as one of the objects that can be placed freely in Debug Mode. Its functionality remains identical to that in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
Sonic Lost World
Flame Shield makes another appearance in both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World. In Wii U version, the Flame Shield is a power-up that can be obtained from the Miiverse, where players can share power-ups and items with one another via Miiverse. In Nintendo 3DS version, it can be found in item boxes with a red shield mark on them.
It does not allow the Fire Dash, due to the Homing Attack being mapped to the same button that the Fire Dash was initially, however it does protect against lava fountains and fireballs that are not part of an Orbinaut.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
The Flame Shield appears in the 2013 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 where its purpose is near-identical to that in the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. To enable the Flame Shield in gameplay, the player must first open the Game Config menu in the Level Select. In the Items category, the player must either highlight the second (the icon displaying the Shield with the three elemental shields) or fourth option (icon displaying Random with the three elemental shields) before starting a stage.
The Flame Shield returns in Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania/Staff, where it is referred to as the Fire Shield. In this game, it retains its function from its original appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (making the player character impervious to fire and lava and enabling Sonic to perform a Mid-Air Dash).
In Green Hill Zone, should the player run over a rotating spiked bridge with the Fire Shield equipped, the bridge will burn away and allow the player to explore the area below, which can contain a helpful secret. The Fire Shield also has effects in Oil Ocean Zone, where entering a pool of oil while wearing the Fire Shield will set the oil ablaze. As long as the player is protected by the Fire Shield, the flames will not harm him; without protection however, the flames will inflict damage like any other fire. Also, when using a Fire Shield in Press Garden Zone Act 2, simply touching the local ice blocks will easily melt them.