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The Hang Glider[1] (ハングライダ[2] Hanguraida?) is a gimmick that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is an aerospace craft used by the playable characters for midair traversing, usually for the purpose of crossing pits or reaching elevated areas.


The general Hang Glider resembles its typical real-life counterpart; it has a thin frame covered with sailcloth to form a wing reminiscent of a triangle and a harness suspended from the airframe to carry its pilot. Details varies between games.

In gameplay, the Hang Glider allows the player to travel through midair, usually for crossing bottomless pits or reaching out-of-reach pathways. To begin riding a Hang Glider, the characters simply have to touch it. While using them, the player can control their movements to evade midair obstacles.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit)

Sonic using the Hang Glider in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

The Hang Glide first debuted on the Sega Master System/Sega Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. In this game, its sailcloth is white, orange, and blue. They also serve as the central gimmick of Sky High Zone.

In gameplay, Hang Gliders are used by Sonic to travel between peaks, and can be used in non-obligatory ways. However, to gain sufficient momentum for the flight, players must run into the Hang Gliders with as much pace as possible. While riding the Hang Glider, the player can press left on Controlpadds.png to go up and right to dive. However, while the former action gives added speed, the latter will make the Hang Glider slow down, and if the player loses too much speed, Sonic will fall off it. At occasional points in Sky High Zone Act 2, the player can catch the Act's local updrafts on the Hang Glider to increase its altitude. To get off it, the player has to press Game Gear I Button.png/Game Gear II Button.png.

Outside the game, Sonic riding a Hang Glider is featured prominently on many of the box and cartridge designs for Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Sonic Rush series

Sonic Rush

Blaze riding the Hang Glider in Sonic Rush.

In Sonic Rush, the Hang Glider is wider and its sailcloth is more arrow-shaped with an orange and yellow coloration. In this game, it is a gimmick exclusive to Altitude Limit.

In gameplay, the Hang Glider serves as the obligatory mean to crossing expanses of open sky for Sonic and Blaze. As the characters start riding the Hang Glider, the player's perspective switches to a forward-oriented 3D view. The player can then press up on Controlpadds.png to ascend, down to descend, and left and right to sheer to avoid Flappers or gather Rings. Eventually, the game returns to its usual 2D perspective and the player will automatically leave the Hang Glider behind.

Sonic Rush Adventure

Sonic on the Hang Glider in Sonic Rush Adventure.

In Sonic Rush Adventure, the Hang Glider is redesigned into a steam-powered contraption with grey wings and yellow edges. They appear as exclusive gimmicks in Machine Labyrinth, Hidden Island 9 and Hidden Island 10.

In gameplay, the Hang Glider will automatically fly to the right at the speed which Sonic or Blaze made contact with it. While riding it, the player is even able to use the Super Boost/Fire Boost. The Hang Glider slowly descends while using it, but the player can gain a sudden burst of altitude by pressing up on Controlpadds.png. To get off the Hang Glider, the player must press WiiDSA.png/DSB.png. Sometimes, blue arrows in the background will tell the player when it is appropriate to increase altitude.

Touching enemies without boosting will both damage the characters and wrestle them free from the Hang Gliders. Similarly, touching the ceiling will cause the playable character to lose the Hang Glider. Machine Labyrinth's steam jet gimmicks will also make the player lose control with the Hang Glider as the characters get blown away.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Main article: Glider

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), a GUN variant of the Hang Glide (known as just the Glider) is used only by Shadow the Hedgehog in a few Action Stages. Aside from flight, the Glider possesses also armaments.

Sonic Rivals 2

Shadow riding a Hang Glider in Sonic Rivals 2.

In Sonic Rivals 2, the Hang Gliders are more slender, but still arrow-shaped. Their sailcloth is as well red with blue and yellow patterns. They are only encountered in Blue Coast Zone Act 3.

In gameplay, the Hang Gliders are used for swift travel above a section of the track, meaning they serve no obligatory purpose. While in midair, the player can move the Hang Gliders up and down with Controlpadds.png or the control stick. Upon touching the ground or reaching past a certain point in the section, the characters will dismount the Hang Gliders.

Sonic Colors

In the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors, the Hang Gliders have sharp red wings with a yellow frame and a totem head on the front. They are only encountered at the end of Tropical Resort Act 1.

In gameplay, the Hang Glider serves the same purpose as in Sonic Rush and works much in the same way. Like in Sonic Rush, the player's perspective turns to a forward-oriented 3D view when Sonic starts riding it. The player can then move left and right with Controlpadds.png to avoid floating bombs or gather Rings. Eventually, the game returns to its 2D perspective and the player will automatically release the Hang Glider.

Sonic Mania

Sonic and Tails riding the Hang Gliders in Sonic Mania Plus.

In Sonic Mania (v1.05.0713) and its extension Sonic Mania Plus, Hang Gliders are featured at the end of Flying Battery Zone. In this game, they are used as part of the transition to Press Garden Zone, where the player's character(s) escape the Flying Battery Zone using a Hang Glider. The design of the Hang Gliders in this game is taken straight from the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

See also





  1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Game Gear) United States instruction booklet, p. 6.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Game Gear) Japanese instruction booklet, p. 8.

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