Flying Battery Zone (フライングバッテリー Furaingu Batterī?, lit. "Flying Battery") is the fourth Zone of the Mania Mode of Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Plus, and the fifth Zone of the Encore Mode of Sonic Mania Plus. This Zone is a re-imagination of Flying Battery Zone from Sonic & Knuckles for the Sega Mega Drive.
The Zone is a giant airship armada blimp used by Dr. Eggman. As with most other Zones in Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Plus, Flying Battery Zone is composed of two Acts, with a boss fight at the end of both.
In Act 1, Flying Battery Zone has the same appearance as the original Zone from Sonic & Knuckles, being a large, fortified blimp flying high in the sky. Platforms here are made of light gray-pinkish metal with some machines on them, and are covered in orange metal. There are also dark purple walls with lavender lines covering various sections of the blimp. Outside, a clean, light blue sky with enormous clouds in it is shown.
In Act 2, Flying Battery Zone looks mostly like it did in Act 1. However, the inside of the vessel features various sets of large Capsules, as well as the platforms are now light gray metal with darker scar-like spots on it. Early in the Act, the blimp will go underneath the clouds in Act 1, showing a dark purple/blue sky covered in storm clouds that includes strong winds and rain.
In Encore Mode, Flying Battery Zone undergoes some changes. The gray metal now has a brown color scheme, as if it shows signs of decay. Also, the orange metal is now tinted blue. The sky in both Acts is also slightly modified, with the one in Act 1 getting a darker color scheme, and the one in Act 2 having a purple color scheme.
After boarding the Flying Battery during a trip to the Studiopolis Zone on West Side Island, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles continue their chase after Dr. Eggman through the massive flying vessel, overcoming the doctor's traps along the way. As the Flying Battery enters a massive storm, Sonic and co. find Eggman and overcome his Spider Mobile. However, the doctor gets away again, leaving Sonic and co. to continue their hunt by using some Hang Gliders to glide to Press Garden Zone.
Having boarded the Flying Battery in Studiopolis Zone, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty and Ray begin searching the flying vessel for Dr. Eggman in their quest to retrieve the Phantom Ruby. Midway through the Zone, the group narrowly escapes one of Eggman's traps, just before the Flying Battery enters a large storm. Soon after, Sonic and his group defeat Eggman when he attacks them in his Spider Mobile, although the doctor escapes capture using his jetpack. Afterward, the group of heroes uses some Hang Gliders onboard the blimp to reach Press Garden Zone.
The Flying Battery Zone's most prominent feature is electromagnetic surfaces in ceilings. Like in the original Zone, these surfaces attract magnetic things in towards them, such as loose iron balls, iron balls on chains and Badniks. A new effect is that they can also attract the player when using a Lightning Shield. While attracted the player will be able to walk along the surface and be stuck on it until either the player jumps, loses their Lightning Shield or the magnetic surface powers down.
Both Acts of the Flying Battery Zone have other gimmicks ported over from their original incarnations. These include boosters that propel the player forward at high speeds, mesh tubes which spin the player around to higher areas, and spinning propellers which players can hang onto at the stem and then jump off in horizontal directions (while the propellers themselves are harmful). The Acts also feature moving platforms with harmful fans under them, landmines that explode a second after touching them, harmful flamethrowers that will sent the player skyward like a Spring when stood on for a while, blockades that are lowered with Switches, large floors sections that collapse due to landmines or bombs, fake Capsules that work like Springs or release Rings (or Badniks, in Encore Mode), specially-textured spikes that can be moved, a corridor with a giant moving block, and climbable hooks on the ceilings with one among them that will lower the player down to lower areas. Act 2 also has the original Act's Grabber-based gimmick that will carry the playable characters across large gaps, and swinging black orbs that can carry the playable characters to other paths.
New to this Zone are large trash piles of scrap metal in general. These trash piles behave like quicksand—players caught in them gradually sink to the bottom. They can be escaped by jumping out or simply coming out the other end. Act 1 also have fan platforms which lift the playable characters that are directly above them, and moving platforms with a hanger that can be grabbed.
Act 2 features one-use doorways that can transport the player outside or inside the blimp. While outside, there are winds will push the playable characters slightly to the left. There are updraft fans that function similarly to those in Wing Fortress Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Additionally, Act 2 has sections with damage-inducing electrical conduits that are activated in various orientations between intervals (similar to that of Wacky Workbench from Sonic the Hedgehog CD).
Act 1 is designed much like Act 1 of the original Zone, but with new gameplay elements added to it.
Act 2 features a new layout that makes heavy use of the new elements added to this Zone. The player will as well travel across some level layout derived from Wing Fortress Zone. Also, at the bottom of this Act, the player will encounter the Madmoles and the network of electrical connectors mentioned above.
The boss of Flying Battery Zone Act 1 is the Big Squeeze, a large trash compactor. Before the battle begins, the playable characters run across Dr. Eggman, who is safely behind an energy gate. He stomps on a switch that plunges the characters into the Big Squeeze. The battle is against the electromagnet on the ceiling, which creates Badniks. One must use the Badniks created to gain enough altitude to hit the electromagnet. Each time a Badnik is destroyed, the walls closes slightly, decreasing the amount of available space and eventually crushing the characters if the Big Squeeze is not defeated quickly enough.
The boss of Flying Battery Zone Act 2 is the Spider Mobile, a large arachnid robot. The fight begins when the player gets to a lift, which will ascend when Eggman appears in his Spider Mobile. His method of attack is to launch energy balls at the characters. To damage the machine, the player most thrust the cockpit into the spikes on the walls. This can be accomplished by Spin Dashing into the Spider Mobile or by latching onto the spinning columns that appear along the lift and then launching themselves into the robot. Make the Spider Mobile hit the spikes eight times to complete the fight.
- The blueprints that appear on the wall prior to being dropped into the Big Squeeze boss battle are of the Spider Mobile.
- The Flying Battery Zone features several references and Easter eggs:
- The giant midair fan platforms in Flying Battery Zone Act 1 and 2 are seemingly based on those from Wing Fortress Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- The player being able to walk on electromagnetic surfaces with the Lightning Shield in Flying Battery Zone Act 1 and 2 is a reference to the same gimmick from the Death Egg Zone in Sonic & Knuckles.
- The scrapheaps in Flying Battery Zone Act 1 and 2 contain parts of destroyed enemies from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, namely the Motobug, Chopper, Burrobot, and Splats.
- The "cutscene" that plays the battle before the Big Squeeze boss battle where Dr. Eggman presses the switch to destroy the bridge is based on a similar scene from Scrap Brain Zone Act 2 in the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
- A few portions of the level layout of Flying Battery Zone Act 2 take heavy inspiration from some parts of Wing Fortress Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- The Cluckers and Madmoles' appearances in this Zone are references to their respective appearances in Wing Fortress Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Mushroom Hill Zone in Sonic & Knuckles.
- The electrical conducts of Flying Battery Zone Act 2 are similar to those previously seen in the Wacky Workbench from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- Dr. Eggman's escape via jet pack after the Spider Mobile is defeated is a reference to his retreat from the EGG-HVC-001 in Palmtree Panic Zone 3 in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- The Hang Gliders that the characters use in the transition from Flying Battery Zone to Press Garden Zone resemble the same gimmicks from Sky High Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit).
- The in-game location of Flying Battery Zone (inbetween Studiopolis Zone and Press Garden Zone) is a subtle reference to its original position in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (inbetween Carnival Night Zone and IceCap Zone, both of which have similar themes to Studiopolis Zone and Press Garden Zone, respectively).
|"Flying Battery Zone (Act 1)"||Tee Lopes||2:56|
|"Flying Battery Zone (Act 2)"||Tee Lopes||2:57|
- Sonic Mania - Flying Battery Zone Reveal. YouTube. Sega (16 March 2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. "Take to the skies above Angel Island once more aboard Eggman's famed airship armada, making its return from Sonic 3 and Knuckles!"
- Sonic Mania official website (Japanese). Stages: Flying Battery. Sega. Retrieved on 14 April 2017.