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For the gimmick in the Sonic Boom franchise, see Rail (Sonic Boom).

The Grind Rail[1] (グラインドレール[2] Guraindorēru?), also known as the Rail,[3] is a gimmick in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a certain type of rail that the playable characters are able to grind along, thereby allowing them to reach new areas.

Description

Grind Rails are usually either solid bars or tight cords. They typically float in the air (either on their own or via scaffolds), although some of them also lie close to the ground, like railway rails. They are also extensively long, as per their design, stretching through the landscapes in the shape of either straight lines or flexible formations that go up, down, left and right. Grind Rails are likewise more or less the length of a foot wide, and typically taller than they are wide. The exact design of the Grind Rails typically differ from stage to stage, with each design being meant to suit the local level theme. It is also common for rows of Grind Rails to run parallel to each other.

In gameplay, Grind Rails are a common gimmick in the modern Sonic games. They serve primarily as unique pathways the player can take via the grinding maneuver, which allows them to slide down the Grind Rails at high speed. While using a Grind Rail, the player can also pull off certain maneuvers, like the Grind Step and the crouch. Grind Rails usually lead across gaps and bottomless pits, typically towards places the player cannot otherwise reach, and can likewise serve as alternate paths and shortcuts. Occasionally though, the Grind Rails may have obstacles along them, like spikes, iron balls, or even enemies. Conversely, the Grind Rails can also have gimmicks along them to aid the player, like Dash Rings and Dash Rails.

To start grinding on a Grind Rail, the player has to interact with it. In most cases, all the player has to do is jump onto the Grind Rail, and the grinding will proceed automatically. In rare cases however, the player may have to perform a special action in order to latch onto the Grind Rail.

Game appearances

Sonic Adventure 2

Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle were the first games to feature the Grind Rails. In these games, they are referred to as Rails,[3] and can only be utilized by Sonic the Hedgehog and Shadow the Hedgehog (as well as Amy Rose, and Metal Sonic in the multiplayer) as only their Stages feature Grind Rails.

To start grinding on a Grind Rail in gameplay, the player just has to land on one. However, this is relatively difficult due to the fact that the Grind Rails are thin and do not "attract" the player when they approach them. Also, the player must actively use the control stick to balance on the Grind Rails, or the playable character will slow down or even fall off the Grind Rail while grinding. While using a Grind Rail, the player can also use crouch to accelerate and the Grind Step to switch to parallel Grind Rails, although the latter maneuver may be undesirable since Grind Rails do not attract the playable character.

Screenshots 2015-08-19 00002

Shadow performing the Grind Rail's trick in the air.

Some Grind Rails in the game allow the player to finish grinding with a trick; by pressing DreamcastA at the end of these Grind Rails, the character jumps higher into the air and does a midair trick. When this occurs, the player is awarded 200, 500, or 1000 points (Shadow occasionally gets a close-up on his body doing the trick). In Final Rush, they are also Grind Rails marked with green crosses, which the player can press the jump button near the end of to make an extra long jump.

Sonic Advance series

Sonic Advance

In Sonic Advance, the Grind Rails were featured for the first time in a 2D game. In this game, all Grind Rails are simple metal bars whose color depends on their Zone. They can also only be utilized by Sonic the Hedgehog and Amy Rose. Grind Rails in Sonic Advance only appear in a few acts, including Neo Green Hill Zone Act 1, and are mostly obscure gimmicks that are not required to progress with the game.

To utilize Grind Rails in gameplay, the player must jump onto the flat portion at the beginning of the chosen Grind Rail and hold Rgba. Sonic and Amy will then grind down the Grind Rails and be launched into the air at the end. Also, pressing in the opposite direction the grinding playable characters are heading in with Controlpadds will cause them to slow down. Conversely, pressing in the direction the grinding characters are heading in with Controlpadds will cause them to speed up.

The Android port of the game still contains Grind Rails, but due to the lack of an emulated Rgba button, they cannot be used.

Sonic Advance 2

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A Grind Rail in Leaf Forest in Sonic Advance 2.

In Sonic Advance 2, the Grind Rails can be utilized by all playable characters. Unlike the first game, Grind Rails are here an integral part of the Zone designs.

In gameplay, the Grind Rails are automatic. This means, that simply jumping onto a Grind Rail will result in grinding. Also, jumping while on a Grind Rail makes the player jump off said Grind Rail and fall down to the areas below it.

Sonic Advance 3

In Sonic Advance 3, the Grind Rails can be used by all the main playable characters in the game. In gameplay, the Grind Rails work exactly like they did in Sonic Advance 2.

Sonic Heroes

Grind RailSH

Team Sonic on Grind Rails in Sonic Heroes.

In Sonic Heroes, the Grind Rails are referred to as rails. In this game, the Grind Rails are usable to all playable characters. To start grinding on a Grind Rail in Sonic Heroes, the player just has to land on top of it. While utilizing the Grind Rails, the player can use both the crouch to accelerate and the Grind Step to switch between parallel Grind Rails. Also, while grinding, the player has to use the control stick to help the playable characters balance on Grind Rails in order to maintain their speed.

The speed of which the playable characters will travel down a Grind Rail depends on the player's team formation: Speed Formation grinds the fastest, Power Formation grinds the second-fastest, and Fly Formation grinds the slowest. In addition, in Fly Formation, the playable characters do not make a noticeable trick when crouching (unlike the other team formations).

The Stages Rail Canyon and Bullet Station put extra emphasis on the Grind Rail gimmick, with most of the paths throughout those stages consisting of Grind Rails. These stages also introduced the Dash Rails, which are gimmicks on the Grind Rails that increase the playable characters' grinding speed. These Stages also feature transparent Grind Rails that are controlled by switches and can connect to regular Grind Rails. If the playable characters touch the transparent Grind Rails' switches, the Grind Rails will change their direction within the signs. The blue Grind Rails means the rails are in the original direction and the raspberry-colored Grind Rails indicate the direction is altered.

Sonic Rush series

Sonic Rush

Leaf Storm Wait I'm A Fire Cat So...

Blaze on a Grind Rail in Sonic Rush.

In Sonic Rush, the Grind Rails are referred to as rails again.[4] This time around, they are utilized by both Sonic and Blaze. In gameplay, the Grind Rails function like they did in Sonic Advance 2, except that the player can now perform Grind Tricks on Grind Rails. The player is also able to perform the Super Boost/Fire Boost while grinding on the Grind Rails.

Sonic Rush Adventure

In Sonic Rush Adventure, the Grind Rails are again reserved for Sonic and Blaze. In gameplay, their mechanics are the same as in Sonic Rush. In addition, Plant Kingdom Act 1 features a 3D Grind Rail section, which is a first for a handheld Sonic game. In this section, the playable characters are able to Grind Step.

Shadow the Hedgehog

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A Grind Rail in Shadow the Hedgehog.

In Shadow the Hedgehog, only Shadow can utilize Grind Rails in the main game. In the multiplayer, the Grind Rails can also be utilized by the Shadow Androids. This is also the first 3D Sonic game in which no balance mechanic is used on the Grind Rails.

To start grinding on a Grind Rail in gameplay, the player just has to land on top of a Grind Rail. While using a Grind Rail, the player can pull off the crouch to accelerate and the Grind Step to switch to parallel Grind Rails. In addition, Shadow can also use his weapons on the Grind Rails, although they can only be aimed in the forward direction.

It should be noted, that instead of Dash Rails, the Grind Rails have Dash Rings around them to give the playable character a boost of speed while grinding. The game also introduces Electrified Rails that cannot be utilized without some form of protection from damage, like an Air Saucer or the Hero/Dark Shadow state.

Sonic Riders series

Sonic Riders

Egg Factory 02

Amy using a Grind Rail in Sonic Riders..

In Sonic Riders, the rail gimmick is called the Grind Rail for the first time.[5] In this game, they are only useable to Speed Type characters or characters equipped with special Extreme Gears that grant the Speed Type attribute. The beginnings and ends of the Grind Rails in Sonic Riders are indicated by blue and red lights respectively.

In gameplay, riding Grind Rails allows one to travel faster than the standard riding speed. To start grinding on a Grind Rail, the player must approach the blue light on a Grind Rail and press A Button GameCube v2/PSXButton/XboxA. These rails must be approached from above, so it might be necessary to first jump or make use of a ramped surface.

The player can also jump from one Grind Rail to another by jumping off at one Grind Rail's red endpoint and then pressing A Button GameCube v2/PSXButton/XboxA while near a Grind Rail's blue startpoint. For every jump between Grind Rails the player makes, they earn one "link". While using Grind Rails, the player also receives extra Air. The more links the player makes, the more Air they will receive.

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

MeteorTech Sparkworks 09

Amy on a Grind Area in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity.

In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, the Grind Rails are referred to as Grind Areas.[6] In this game, only characters equipped with Skate-type Extreme Gear, or Extreme Gears that possess the Grind Gear Part, are able to utilize the Grind Rails. Like in Sonic Riders, Grind Rails in this game glow blue at the beginning and red at the end.

In gameplay, using Grind Rails allows one to travel faster than the standard riding speed. To start grinding on a suitable Grind Rail, the player has to press one of the following jump buttons below while close to the beginning of a Grind Rail:

PS2 Wii (remote) - forward Wii (remote) - sideways Wii (Nintendo GameCube Controller)
PSXButton WiiDSA Snnwii2buttondisco A Button GameCube v2

When encountering a split in the Grind Rails, the player can simply jump across them to continue grinding, earning one "link" in the process. While using Grind Rails in this game, the player also earns Gravity Points. The more links the player makes, the more Gravity Points they will receive.

Sonic Free Riders

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Sonic using a Grind Rail in Sonic Free Riders.

In Sonic Free Riders, the rail gimmick is referred to as the Grind Rail again.[7] In this game, the Grind Rails can be used by any character that has an active Grind Skill Gear Part equipped to their Extreme Gear. Like in previous Sonic Riders titles, Grind Rails in this game glow blue at the beginning and red at the end.

In gameplay, using Grind Rails allows one to travel faster than the standard riding speed. To get on a Grind Rail, the player must either cross over a Grind Rail, jump onto a Grind Rail, or reach a Grind Rail by successfully performing an Air Trick. While riding a Grind Rail, the player also gains more Air. Also worth noting is that the player can gain more grinding speed by accurately riding the Grind Rail by leaning left and right to follow the curves (as per the game's Kinetic controls).

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

CrisisCityGrinding

Sonic using a Grind Rail in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the Grind Rail are used by Sonic, Shadow, Blaze, Tails and E-123 Omega in the game's Action Stages. In the game's multiplayer, Silver is able to use Grind Rails as well for reasons unknown. This game also marks the first game since Sonic Adventure 2 where sparks fly from the Grind Rail as the character grinds on it.

In gameplay, the player can start grinding by just landing on a Grind Rail. While on a Grind Rail, a character's maximum grinding speed and acceleration will be predetermined, although it can be sped up slightly by crouching. In addition, the player can now target the Grind Rails with the Homing Attack, thus allowing the player to zoom towards a Grind Rail and instantly grind on it, although the player can only target the middle of the Grind Rails rather than the ends. Also, starting from this game, merely jumping onto a Grind Rail will accelerate the player to a high grinding speed, meaning that even if the playable character were walking up to a Grind Rail, touching it would cause them to grind quickly. In previous games, the character's current speed carried into the grind, no matter how low.

The game also includes the Wind switches which can create Grind Rails made of air.

Sonic Rivals series

Sonic Rivals

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A Grind Rail in Sonic Rivals.

In Sonic Rivals, the Grind Rail is called Grind.[8] In this game, they are used by all five playable characters in Sonic Rivals. To start grinding on a Grind Rail in gameplay, the player has to land on top of one. Also, by pressing down on Controlpadds and PSXButton at the same time, the player can jump off Grind Rails.

This time around, the Grind Rails disregard the acceleration/momentum physics used in previous games. Instead, they automatically accelerate the player to top speed when they grind on them. Certain Grind Rails also only allow the player to move in a certain direction, making Sonic's Signature Move Sonic Boom ineffective on those rails.

Sonic Rivals 2

In Sonic Rivals 2, all eight playable characters in the game are able to use the Grind Rails. In gameplay, the Grind Rails work just like in Sonic Rivals, except the player cannot jump off them like in Sonic Rivals.

Sonic Storybook series

Sonic and the Secret Rings

SatSR-Sand Oasis

Sonic using a Grind Edge in Sonic and the Secret Rings.

In Sonic and the Secret Rings, the Grind Rails are called Grind Edges.[9] In this game, they are only used by Sonic, and are usually positioned close to the ground. Some Grind Rails are also invisible and only appear when Sonic lands on them, mostly in areas where Rings or Pearls hang in midair.

To start grinding on a Grind Rail in gameplay, the player has to jump onto it. While using a Grind Rail, the player can crouch to regain speed and Grind Step to move between parallel Grind Rails. The player can also press Button1 to brake while Sonic grinds forward on a Grind Rail, although doing so excessively can make him fall off said rail.

Sonic and the Black Knight

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Sonic on a Grind Rail in Sonic and the Black Knight.

In Sonic and the Black Knight, Grind Rails are called rails. In this game, they are a rarely-encountered gimmick that only Sonic can utilize.

To start grinding on a Grind Rail, the player has to jump on top of it. While utilizing a Grind Rail, Sonic can use the crouch to accelerate and the Grind Step to switch between parallel Grind Rails. He can also swing his sword to attack targets that appear along the Grind Rails. Also, by grinding continuously, the player will earn "Grind Bonus" points.

In Camelot Castle, the player can use ballistae to fire a grappling rope into a wall and then use the rope as a Grind Rail. While grinding on these ropes, Sonic can jump higher than usual.

Sonic Unleashed

Grind-Rail-Sonic-Unleashed-Manual

A piece of Grind Rail from Sonic Unleashed.

In Sonic Unleashed, the rail gimmick is called the Grind Rail[1] (グラインドレール[2] Guraindorēru?) again. In both the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 and Wii/PlayStation 2 version of the game, the Grind Rails can only be utilized by Sonic in the daytime. Dash Rails also appear more frequently.

To use a Grind Rail in gameplay, the player has to make contact with the top of the Grind Rail. While grinding, the player can use the Grind Step to switch between parallel Grind Rails and the Sonic Boost to accelerate.

In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed, Sonic will perform an 180 degree spin while grinding when the player presses XboxB/PSObutton. However, this action slows Sonic down slightly instead of giving him a boost of speed. Also, in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of the game, certain Grind Rails do not permit Sonic to boost on them.

In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of the game, jumping onto a Grind Rail can contribute to an active Action Chain, but it cannot start one.

Sonic Colors

Sonic Colors Rail

Sonic on a Grind Rail in the Wii version of Sonic Colors.

In both versions of Sonic Colors, the Grind Rails are used mainly by Sonic. On the Wii version of the game, the Virtual Hedgehogs and Sonic's Super State are also capable of using them.

In gameplay on the Wii version of Sonic Colors, Grind Rails work like in Sonic Unleashed: the player can start grinding by jumping onto Grind Rails, accelerate while grinding by Boosting, and jump between parallel Grind Rails by Grind Stepping. Also, on the Wii version, the player periodically earns 3,000 "Grind Bonus" points for some time by using Grind Rails continuously.

In gameplay on the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors, Grind Rails work like in Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure, but without the Trick Action system.

Sonic Generations

SonicGenerations 2013-07-31 19-57-44-191

Sonic using a Grind Rail in the Xbox 360 version of Sonic Generations.

In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, Grind Rails appear in both Modern Sonic and Classic Sonic's Acts where they are usable to both characters and their respective Super States. In Modern Sonic's Acts, the Grind Rails work like they did in Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors: the player can start grinding by jumping onto a Grind Rail, jump between parallel Grind Rails with the Grind Step, accelerate while using most Grind Rails by Boosting (certain Grind Rails, like those in Green Hill and Rooftop Run, do not permit the player to Boost on them), and perform an 180 degree spin by pressing XboxB/PSObutton. However, the last action, unlike the crouch, will only slow Modern Sonic down slightly. The player can also target Modern Sonic's Grind Rails with the Homing Attack, thus allowing them to zoom towards a Grind Rail and instantly grind on it. In Classic Sonic's Acts, the Grind Rails are rare gimmicks and fully automatic when grinding on them.

In the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, only Modern Sonic's Acts feature Grind Rails. In this game, the Grind Rails' mechanics are similar to how they were in the Sonic Rivals games; Modern Sonic can ride a Grind Rail by jumping onto it, and he can fall through a Grind Rail if the player holds the down button on Controlpadds and presses WiiDSA/DSB. In addition to that, Modern Sonic can Boost while grinding. The end section of Mushroom Hill Act 2 in particular involves Sonic boosting along a Grind Rail with the camera in a fully behind-the-back view. Tropical Resort Act 2 also features the second Grind Step section in a portable Sonic game, where Modern Sonic must jump from rail to rail to dodge falling meteorites; here he cannot boost.

Sonic Lost World

Hopefully this doesn't become as bad as Rail Canyon

Sonic on a Grind Rail on in the Wii U version of Sonic Lost World.

In the Wii U/PC version of Sonic Lost World, Sonic, Super Sonic and the Virtual Hedgehogs are all capable of using the Grind Rails. Other than that, the player has no special moves or tricks associated with the Grind Rails, although they can still jump between parallel Grind Rails while grinding. Grind Rails in this version of Sonic Lost World appear very infrequently compared to earlier titles. Due to the unique gravity mechanics of the game, Grind Rails sometimes appear in new patterns such as complete circles. Tropical Coast Zone 3 and Lava Mountain Zone 2 focus entirely on Grind Rail grinding, featuring green and red rails which speed up and slow down Sonic respectively while he grinds on them.

In the Nintendo 3DS version, Grind Rails are used only by Sonic and Super Sonic. In this game, they appear more frequently and in more Zones, similar to older Sonic games. In this version of Sonic Lost World, unlike its console/PC counterpart, Sonic has access to the Grind Step, which allows him to switch between parallel Grind Rails. In addition, the player can target the Grind Rails' ends with the Homing Attack, thus allowing the player to zoom towards a Grind Rail and instantly grind on it.

In both versions of the game, the player can use a Grind Rail by simply landing on it.

Sonic Runners Adventure

SRAGreenHill6

Shadow on a Grind Rail in Sonic Runners Adventure.

In Sonic Runners Adventure, the Grind Rails are used by all the playable characters. In this game, Grind Rails appear during certain levels' section transitions in gameplay. During such transitions, the playable character automatically get on a Grind Rail and grind down it until they reach the level's next section.

Sonic Forces: Speed Battle

In Sonic Forces: Speed Battle, several Grind Rail sections are featured on all the Tracks in the game. Every character in the game are likewise capable of utilizing them.

In gameplay, by riding a Grind Rail, the playable character moves faster than when running on solid ground. To start grinding, the playable characters just have to touch a Grind Rail. The playable characters are also able to jump between parallel Grind Rail by using the Grind Step while grinding.

Sonic Forces

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Sonic on a Grind Rail in Sonic Forces.

In Sonic Forces, the Grind Rails appear once again as common gimmicks. In this game, the Grind Rails are exclusive to Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Sonic and the Avatar's stages.

In gameplay, the Grind Rails work exactly like they did in games like Sonic Unleashed. To use a Grind Rail, all the playable character has to do is touch the top of one. The player can also perform both the Grind Step to switch between parallel Grind Rails and the Boost (Sonic only) to accelerate while grinding. Much like in Sonic Colors, the player also earns 1,000 points each second the playable characters are using the Grind Rails.

Variants

Electrified Rail

Main article: Electrified Rail

The Electrified Rails are variants of the Grind Rails that have blue electricity running through them. This means that the playable characters will take damage if they attempt to use them. The only safe way to use such rails is by riding them while on an Air Saucer. Alternatively, the player can make themselves invulnerable to damage before grinding on them. These rail gimmicks only appear in Shadow the Hedgehog.

Wind switch

Main article: Wind switch

The Wind switch is a device that can generate a grind rail. By touching the green orb on one of these devices, the player can generate a Grind Rail made entirely of air. These Grind Rails work just like the standard ones. They only appear in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

Trivia

  • Strangely, at least in the Dreamcast version of the game, an invisible Grind Rail is present in Meteor Herd. Since Knuckles cannot grind, it can only be utilized by hacking Sonic or Shadow into the Stage. It does not lead anywhere specific, so it is likely a beta remnant.
  • In Sonic Generations, during the battle against Shadow, if the player uses the normal Ramps that leads to two adjacent rails just before going to the early part of the race, the player will see that the end of one of the rails is marked with green crosses, even though they do not work like in Sonic Adventure 2.
  • Grind Rails appear as gimmicks in LEGO Dimensions, being objects that only Sonic (and Legolas from Lord of the Rings) can interact with. They appear most prominently in the Sonic the Hedgehog Adventure World, but are present in other Adventure Worlds as well.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sonic Unleashed (Xbox 360) United States instruction booklet, p. 13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sonic Unleashed (Xbox 360) Japanese instruction booklet, p. 11.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Prima Development (20 June 2001). "Specific objects for Sonic and Shadow". Sonic Adventure 2: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. p. 13. ISBN 978-0761536147.
  4. Sonic Rush (Nintendo DS) United States instruction booklet, p. 12.
  5. Sonic Riders (Nintendo GameCube) United States instruction booklet, p. 19.
  6. Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (Wii) United Kingdom instruction booklet, p. 16.
  7. Sonic Free Riders (Xbox 360) instruction booklet, p. 15.
  8. Sonic Rivals (PlayStation Portable) United States instruction manual, p. 4.
  9. Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii) United States instruction booklet, p. 13.
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