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Item Boxes (アイテムボックス Aitemu Bokkusu?), also referred to as Video Monitors, Monitors, Item Capsules and TVs, are common objects in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. First appearing in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991), Item Boxes contain various kinds of power-ups or bonuses which can be used by the player. Placed on the ground, mid-air or even hidden in different places in Zones, the player can open them with attacks to obtain power-ups.



Original design of Monitors.

Item Boxes are usually placed on the ground, but they can also be hidden in a Zone's environment (i.e. in palm trees). They can also found floating midair, particularly those designed without a base.

Item Boxes can be broken open by attacking them, usually by Spin Jumping on them, performing Spin Attack or any other attack. The Homing Attack will target Item Boxes the same way as it will target enemies. Certain playable characters can also use weapons to break Item Boxes. After breaking it open, the icon that is seen in the Item Box will pop out and the player receives the power-up or item.

In some games, if the player hits a floating Item Boxes from below, it will make it drop to the ground where it can be broken easily.

If the player holds the jump button while destroying a Monitor from above, the bounce back is the same as that of a Badnik; that is, the longer the distance the player fell onto the monitor, the higher he will bounce back up. The player can land normally on the Item Box, if the playable character does not perform a Spin Jump or any other variation.

Since Sonic Advance 2, Item Boxes can be broken by simply touching them in certain games.

Item boxes can give Rings (Super Rings), time or score bonuses, defensive items (such as Shield and Invincibility), affect the player's speed (Power Sneakers and Speed Downs), give different upgrades or weapons (Rocket Shoes and Mines), recover energy (Fly Charge and Damage Recover), grant extra lives or even cause damage to the player instead of helping them (Eggman Marks). Some items can't be used normally in the game instead of using Debug Mode such as S items.

Item Box Adventure 1

An Item Box as it appears in Sonic Adventure.

The appearance of Item Boxes has changed on several occasions. In the early games of the series, they took the form of grey, rectangular cubic television Monitors with the icon of the power-up contained inside shown on the flickering screen. Even though they were replaced in later games, Monitors have made appearances in recent games, mostly in those which are 2.5D, such as Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (both episodes) and Classic Sonic's stages in Sonic Generations. Otherwise, since Sonic Adventure, Item Boxes were redesigned to look like glass capsules. In recent games such as Sonic Lost World, Item Boxes' appearance has been simplified with glass dome and red top/bottom covers.

Usage of Item Boxes has varied considerably through the series, being present in most 2D as well as 3D titles until Sonic Unleashed and its succeeding Boost-style games, in which they were replaced with different methods of getting power-ups such as floating Super Rings and 1-Ups, which could be obtained by simply touching them. Despite this, Item Boxes continue to appear as a regular feature of the series.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

It makes sure that you don't lose them.

Super Ring and Invincibility Video Monitors as they first appear in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991).

Item Boxes first appear in the original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, where they are called Video Monitors.[1] The Video Monitors are presented as simple, grey cubic televisions with a static screen and an icon of the power-up the monitor contains. The items introduced in this game are Super Rings, Shields, Power Sneakers, One-Ups and Invincibility. Debug mode also features a non-functional Monitor with an icon of Dr. Robotnik's head, similar to the Eggman Mark from later titles.

Monitors also appear in the 8-bit version of the game with same name, where they are also called Video Monitors in American instruction manuals and have all the power-ups from its 16-bit counterpart. The game also introduces the Arrow Monitors, which replace the Star Posts as checkpoints, and Continue Monitors (represented with "CONT" written on them), which Sonic can find in the Special Stages of said game, granting players a new possibility of finishing the game once they have lost all their lives, allowing them to start in the Zone they were before.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Why need shield if I can pass this zone so easily

Item Box that contains Shield in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

In the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Video Monitors have a similar appearance and the same power-ups as the first game. As well, the player can hit a Monitor suspended in the air from below causing it to drop to the ground, but it can also crush the player.

In the multiplayer mode (where they are referred to as Item Boxes) of the game, all Monitors are Random and also features the exclusive Teleportation and Robotnik monitor power-ups (which the latter actually first appeared as an inoperable object from Debug Mode in the original Sonic the Hedgehog). In Options, the player can toggle the behavior of the Random Monitors to either grant all power-ups previously mentioned or grant Teleporation only. In multiplayer mode, each of players can win the round depending on how many Monitors are broken. Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 features identical Monitor power-ups as well.

In the 8-bit version of the game with same name, Item Boxes appear more generally and are called Monitors.[2] Monitors here have the same power-ups as in the 16-bit version of the game, excluding the Shield. The Master System version contains a single Power Sneakers item in Aqua Lake Zone Act 2, which is removed and replaced with a Super Ring in the Game Gear version. Unlike the previous 8-bit game, this version does not feature Arrow or Continue Monitors; though, the game has unused data and sprites for both items. This version also has data for an unused Monitor power-up with a grey shoe icon on it.

Sonic the Hedgehog CD

In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Monitors appear normally and retain all the power-ups from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, with the addition of "S", a new Monitor which would grant the player the Invincibility and Power Sneakers items at the same time, though it's only available through Debug Mode.

In the game's Special Stages, if the player blows up one of UFOs, the player can receive Monitor power-ups like Super Rings or Power Sneakers.

This game also features a non-functional Monitor with a blue Ring icon on it, similar to the Hyper Ring power-up from later titles.

Sonic Chaos

In Sonic Chaos, Video Monitors appear generally and have all the power-ups from the previous titles, barring the Shield. The game also introduces the Rocket Shoes power-up, which can only be used by Sonic. The game does not feature Arrow Monitors. In some Special Stages, a Time Stop monitor can be found that will pause the timer for a while.

Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball

In the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, Item Boxes are featured as hidden objects in small chambers in the corners of each stage. These items are usually extra lives, continues and certain variants with the Japanese kanji for "look" (見る). These variants are hints to secret codes that can be used in the game.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

You got the all.

Monitors with almost all the power-ups in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, monitors contain all the power-ups from previous games, excluding the normal Shield. In this game however, monitors are designed as a light grey device instead of general grey cube. Monitors can pop out if the Goal plate falls down on a certain spot.

Despite having no normal shield, the game introduces three new shields Monitor power-ups, which include the Flame Shield, Water Shield and Lightning Shield. It also features the return of the "S" Monitor power-up in Debug mode, which grants a Super/Hyper transformation this time. When the player enters the first and second Bonus Stages, these items (Minus the "S" item) can be collected from multiple colored floating orbs. All three games also features the return of the Eggman Mark (previously known as simply "Robotnik") from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in Single Player mode, which inflicts harm on the player.

The Competition Mode features different kinds of power-ups, which include Super Rings and Power Sneakers. Competition Mode does not feature monitors, as the power-ups are collected from small bubbles.

Sonic Drift

Sonic Drift features two different types of Monitors on the racing tracks. Red monitors give a burst of speed (similar to the Power Sneakers item from the platform titles) and blue monitors give Invincibility, with a variation of Green Hills Zone's music from the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Sonic Triple Trouble

Yeah, time to fly!

Rocket Shoes monitor in Sonic Triple Trouble.

In Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, the Monitors' appearance and featured power-ups are the same from earlier games, including the Rocket Shoes and Arrow Monitors but excluding the Shield.

This game also introduces new Monitor power-ups, such as the Hyper Heli-Tails which let the player fly at high speeds, the Pogo Springs at Meta Junglira Zone, the Jet Boards at Robotnik Winter Zone and the Propeller Shoes at Tidal Plant Zone. The last two can only be used by Sonic. To enter Special Stages, the player has to find emerald monitors which are hidden in every first and second Acts of Zones and break them while holding fifty Rings. In Special Stages with platforming, there are also the Time Bonus which extends the time the player can spend in the Special Stages.

Sonic Drift 2

Sonic Drift 2 features differently colored Monitors lying on the tracks. Like in Sonic Drift, the red ones grant a boost in speed and the blue ones makes the racer invulnerable. There are also two new types of Monitors: the yellow ones makes the racer jump and the black ones allow the racer to set up Mines. To utilize the Monitors' effects in this game, the player has to press up on the D-pad after obtaining them. The Blue Monitor's Invincibility plays the same jingle from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Knuckles' Chaotix

In Knuckles' Chaotix, Monitors appear normally and include Rings, shields, power sneakers and invincibility. New Monitor power-ups in the game are the Combine Ring which combines all collected Rings into one when they are lost, the Swap and Change which switch the playable characters, the Grow that enlarges the user, and the Shrink that shrinks the user.

Sonic 3D Blast

In Sonic 3D Blast, the Monitors are featured in an isometric perspective. In addition to Rings, invincibility, power sneakers, 1-Up and shield, the game includes two new shields: The Red Shield is similar to the Flame Shield from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, protecting Sonic from fire-based damage, although without the midair dash, and the Gold Shield, that enables the Blast Attack. In addition to this, the Flickies that follow Sonic also get a small version of these shields whenever Sonic is wearing one.

Sonic Blast

In Sonic Blast, there are 8 different power-ups in the game. In addition to the Rings, Shield, Power Sneakers, Invincibility and Arrow Monitors, there are now separate 1-up monitors for Sonic and Knuckles, which do nothing if the player opens them with the opposite character. There are also Eggman Marks, which won't harm the player unlike previous entries, and monitors with question marks, which give a random power-up.

Sonic Jam

In Sonic Jam, Monitors appear briefly as hidden objects in Sonic World. These Monitors included cheat codes and major information from the games featured in game's compilation.

Sonic Adventure

Adventure Light Speed Attack

Sonic using the Light Speed Attack to break Item Boxes and robots.

In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, the Monitors are redesigned as glass capsules with the power-ups' icon floating inside them which are shown on the screen below after braking them. Some of these Item Boxes are set on the ground or floating in the mid-air. If the player is using Sonic, he can target them with his Homing Attack.

Sonic Adventure features the basic power-ups such as Power Sneakers, Invincibility, Shield, the Magnetic Shield and extra life. However the Super Ring Item Boxes are given a new concept where they give different sets of Rings from five to ten. There are also Super Rings with question marks on them, which can grant one, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or even forty Rings. The game also introduces the Explosion item that destroys all enemies nearby.

Sonic Pocket Adventure

In Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, the Item Boxes reuses their original grey monitor design from the earlier titles. The game features all five basic power ups from previous games.

Sonic Adventure 2

Item Box Adventure 2

Item Box as it appears in Sonic Adventure 2.

In Sonic Adventure 2, the Item Boxes have almost the same look from Sonic Adventure. In addition to the Item Boxes floating in midair, those on the ground have aid bases to hold them. Sonic Adventure 2 also introduces the Floating Item Boxes, variants of the Item Boxes which resemble red balloons.

The Item Box power-ups featured in Sonic Adventure 2 are almost the same as those from Sonic Adventure. The game also introduced the Health power-ups for Tails and Eggman to restore their Health Gauge.

Sonic Advance series

In the Sonic Advance games, the Item Boxes include all the basic power ups from Sonic Adventure. In Sonic Advance, Item Boxes have a slightly different shape as their glass section is more cubic, but in Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3, they are more round and the player can break open them now by simply touching them.

Sonic Heroes

Sonic Heroes Item Box

An Item Box in Sonic Heroes.

In Sonic Heroes, the Item Boxes and its Balloon variants reappear, though the Item Boxes in this game are shaped like triangular prisms with three screens to show the power-up's icon. Item boxes can also be found inside of Cages that power type characters can break.

Both Item Boxes and Balloons feature the same power-ups from Sonic Adventure 2. The game also introduces Item Boxes for Power Cores to level up the characters, Team Blast Rings which recharges the Team Blast Gauge and Fly Charge which fills up the Fly Type characters' Flight Gauge.

Sonic Rush series

In Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure, Item Boxes are described as blue monitors with a coloration more akin to the Item Boxes in the Sonic Advance series. Sonic Rush also features Balloon variants as well.

Item Box Power-ups featured in both games include five-Ring Super Rings, random Ring bonus (ranging from one, five, ten, thirty and up to fifty), Shields, Magnetic Shields, Speed Up, Invincibility and extra lives. Both games also introduce the Tension Bonus which fills up the Tension Gauge one level and the Max Tension Bonus which fills the Tension Gauge to maximum.

The multiplayer mode in both games features Item Boxes with random Ring bonuses, a power-up which can slow down other players, a variant of Max Tension Bonus which fully depletes the other player's Tension Gauge in addition to its single player usage, Confusion which scrambles the other player's controls briefly and Attract which brings the other player where the opponent is.

Shadow the Hedgehog

In Shadow the Hedgehog, Item Boxes look similar to how they looked Sonic Heroes and feature the same power-ups from Sonic Adventure 2. Many Item Boxes are also floating indirectly in the air and can break open using weapons. The game features also introduces the exclusive Heat Barrier that damages surrounding enemies and Damage Recover which restores the health of vehicles.

Sonic Riders series

All three Sonic Riders games feature Item Boxes on the tracks with different power-ups to take advantages of the Extreme Gear's features. Item Boxes in these games also look slightly similar to those in Sonic Adventure 2. There can appear up to more than eight Item Boxes in a row on the tracks and all of them give randomized items which are indicated by the question mark icon on them.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Tails throwing an item box

Tails throwing Item Box of dummy rings in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Item Boxes share their appearance in Sonic Adventure, but have more details. The Power-ups they contain are largely the same as in previous games.

Unique to this game, after collecting a power-up from an Item Box, it will be left empty if the player returns to it after losing a life.

This game introduces the Gauge Up power-up, which replenishes the Action Gauge. Power-ups like the Shield were also programmed into the game, but were never featured in the final product. Tails can throw Item Boxes as a part of his Dummy Ring-related attacks.

Mario & Sonic series

In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Item Boxes and Balloon Item Boxes are featured in Dream Events. The Power-ups they contain in these games include Bombs, Shields and Speed Shoes. They can also contain extra items from the Mario games such as Super Stars, Mega Mushrooms, Green and Red Shells.

Sonic Unleashed

In the Wii and PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, Item Boxes are called Item Capsules.[3] These objects are dispersed throughout the stages and puzzles in the Gaia Gates, and when breaking open, it gives Sonic an item. These items mostly include collectibles like movies, hints, music, and artwork, but also sometimes give the player an extra life. In the night stages, many Item Capsules contain Dark Gaia Force which helps the Werehog charge his Unleashed Gauge, restore his health or contribute to the total score at the end of the stage.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing series

In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, item boxes appear throughout the tracks. When collected, the player can get weapons, power-ups, or sometimes All-Star Move.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4

Item Boxes make a reappearance in all three episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4. In these games, the Monitors from the earlier installments return, albeit with a few differences. They all contain power-ups similar to the ones from the original Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, including the Super Ring, Shield, Invincibility, Power Sneakers, and 1-Ups.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, features some Monitors that hover in mid-air. The game also introduces golden monitors (called "Special Combination") in Oil Desert Zone and Sky Fortress Zone. These Monitors grant a Combo Attack performed by Sonic and Tails when they are opened.

Sonic Colors

In the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors, the Item Boxes' appearance is similar to ones seen in Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3. In this game, they can been opened by using Homing Attack which also works for Wisp Capsules.

The Item Boxes in this game contains Super Rings, Shields, Thunder Shields, 1-Ups and Invincibility in the Acts. In versus mode, there are different Item Boxes which the player can use to throw obstacles at the other player, which include Springs, iron balls and Egg Balloons.

Sonic Generations

In Sonic Generations, Item Boxes are given their Monitor design from earlier games. Several classic power-ups for the Item Boxes appear here, such as Super Rings, Invincibility, power Sneakers and 1-Ups.

In the console/PC version of the game, Item Boxes only appear in Act 1 of the Stages. The player can also buy shield power-ups from the Skill Shop as Skills, which include Shields, Flame Shields, Aqua Shields and Thunder Shields. The game also introduces the Skateboard item for moving down slopes faster. In the Nintendo 3DS version, Item Boxes appear in all acts, including Modern Sonic's Acts.

Sonic Jump (2012) and Sonic Jump Fever

In the 2012 version of Sonic Jump and Sonic Jump Fever, Item Boxes are called TVs. They are given the regular Monitor design. They contain many familiar power-ups from previous games, but also includes Magnets, bombs and different set of Shields.

Sonic Dash

Item Boxes are featured in Sonic Dash, as the player runs towards it. They contain Super Ring, Shield, or Magnet, that are similar to ones from Sonic Jump. The appearance of Item Boxes is identical to ones from Sonic & All-Stars Racing. Item Boxes can be found at normally at corners, but also behind of walls, Totem Poles or any other obstacles as well.

Sonic Lost World

In Sonic Lost World, the Item Boxes are given a more basic appearance, with a more round glass capsule and large red cups on the top and bottom. In the Wii U version of the game, Item Boxes found in-game usually appear as containers for Wisps, rarely containing other items like Super Rings, but are featured more generally in the Nintendo 3DS version where they grant Super Rings, elemental shields, Power sneakers and Invincibility, and can be found under rocks, in mid-air and inside other breakable objects and structures.

There are also a new addition in the Warp capsules. These will only appear if the player has died and returned to the same Star Post a few times in a row. Breaking it open allows the player to skip to the next checkpoint or the end-of-level Capsule.

In the Wii U version, many of the mentioned power-ups are rewarded by completing certain missions in Zones, finding random drops on the map of the Lost Hex, or being gifted by other players through Miiverse. Item Boxes cannot be homing attacked in the Wii U version, but can be locked on in the 3DS version.

Floating Item Boxes are also featured in the Tropical Coast Zone 2 and 4 in Wii U version, which the player can only reach with the Orange Rocket. If the player succeeds, the Balloon reveals a golden cannon inside it which they player can use to aim the Orange Rocket elsewhere.

Sonic Runners

In Sonic Runners, Item Boxes retain their appearance from Sonic Lost World and are set on the pathways or floating in the mid-air. The Item Boxes can contain different types of Wisps, regular Shield, Magnets, Invincibility, and Combo Bonus. Like in Sonic Lost World, they are also featured as Equippable Items, which can be picked up by touching them on the screen. Super Ring Item Boxes appear as separated items, but also as Equitable Items, and they can be acquired as reward after getting a high enough score.

Sonic Mania


In Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus, Item Boxes have their Monitor design from the Sega Genesis games, specifically taking influence from the Monitors found in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Knuckles Chaotix. Power-ups in this game include the Super Ring, Power Sneakers, Invincibility, Shield, Flame Shield, Aqua Shield, Lightning Shield, and 1-Up. The sole new item in the game is the Hyper Ring, a modified version of the Combine Ring from Knuckles Chaotix. The "S" Monitor power-up returns as well, granting super transformation and appearing only in Debug mode as usual. The Eggman Mark item is also present as a detrimental obstacle. In Competition Mode, Monitors contain Random Items, including Player Swap which swaps places between both players.

Sonic Forces: Speed Battle

In Sonic Forces: Speed Battle, the Item Boxes retain the same appearance they had in Sonic Lost World. In gameplay, Item Boxes will regenerate a second after they have been obtained by a player. Every playable character has their own unique set of power-up Items they can obtain at random from Item Boxes, though all characters can obtain the Shield. Unlike in previous games, obtaining a power-up from Item Boxes stores it in one of the three slots at the bottom of the screen. As such, the player is able to store up to three Items at a time. These Items can then be used by touching their respective icon.

Sonic Forces

Monitors appear in Sonic Forces, as part of Classic Sonic's stages, with their design resembling the ones found in earlier games, but with a more modern design. Power-up items in this game include the Super Ring, Shield, Power Sneakers and Invincibility.

Team Sonic Racing

In Team Sonic Racing, the modern Item Boxes appear throughout the tracks. Upon being touched, the player will receive one of the fourteen Wisp power-ups available in the game.


Floating Item Boxes

Main article: Floating Item Box
Item Box Balloon Adventure 2

Floating Item Box in Sonic Adventure 2.

Floating Item Boxes or simply Balloons are Item Box variants in the form of red balloons with white and blue circles containing a star on them. They function like regular Item Boxes, except that they are always floating in the air. While Floating Item Boxes do not display the power-up they contain, they do give an aerial boost when opening one. They first appeared in Sonic Adventure 2 and have appeared in multiple titles and spin-offs since then, such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games.

Target Switch

Main article: Target Switch

The Target Switch

The Target Switch is an Item Box variant that only appear in Sonic Heroes. These switches appear as targets floating in midair. If the player tries to fly too close to it, the Target Switch will start spinning and cannot be hit. To earn its power-up, the player has to hit the Target Switch with Thunder Shoot from a safe distance.

List of power-ups

The most common power-ups through the series found in both Monitors and Item Boxes are the Super Ring, Shield, Invincibility, Power Sneakers, and 1-Up, although their effects might vary depending on the game they appear.


Name Description Picture
Super Ring Gives ten Rings. In later series different variety of Ring power-ups were added with a number with the icon to tell how many rings will be added like one, five, ten, twenty or even a hundred. ? would mean random. Sonic 3 Ring
Invincibility Bestows an aura of sparkles (or, in later games, a shiny rainbow aura) upon the player character that grants the temporary immunity from damage and destroys opponents on contact. The invulnerability lasts twenty seconds, during which time the background music changes to an upbeat fanfare. This power-up does not protect the character from hazards that cause instant death, namely drowning, getting crushed and bottomless pits. Sonic 3 Stars
Shield Encases the player character in a defensive barrier that protects the player from a single attack or damage. Once damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knockback, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life. Does not protect the character if he/she drowns, gets crushed or falls into a bottomless pit. The colour of normal shields was originally a transparent blue but later began to vary throughout the series,. Shield
Power Sneakers Allows the player to accelerate much faster than normal and increases his top speed and jump height. While active, the background music plays at an increased tempo, except in certain games where a separate track plays like Sonic CD. The Speed Shoes wear off after roughly thirty seconds. Speed Shoes
1-Up Gives a player an extra life. The icon for this power-up is the head of the current player character, or in later games, a "1up" symbol. Extra Life
Static Does nothing. It’s an unfinished monitor found only by Debug Mode in the original Sonic the Hedgehog and early builds of Sonic Generations. Static
Goggles Unused in-game. In the original Sonic the Hedgehog it would appear to give Sonic unlimited breathing underwater; however, an interview with a former Sega employee revealed that the goggles were just a cosmetic feature for use when Sonic was underwater, and would be taken off when he resurfaced. Tv goggles
Arrow Monitor The checkpoints for 8-bit games for Game Gear and Master System, unlike 16-bit versions of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 which used Star Posts as checkpoints. Arrow Monitor
Continue Appears only in the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Chaos, this Monitor gives the player an extra continue if the player loses all of their lives, allowing the player to start the Zone over with three extra lives.

Note that an otherwise unused, but fully functional Continue monitor also appears in the 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but it's locked in a wall so it's impossible to get without cheat codes.

Random Gives a random power-up to the character. It only appears in the 2-player mode of the games it appears in, and can additionally give two extra power-ups that do not appear in 1-Player mode. Random
Player Swap Switches players' position on the map. It only appears in multiplayer mode. It can only be seen normally by breaking a Random monitor, but using debug mode will allow you to gain access to a Teleport monitor. Breaking a Player Swap monitor with one player has no effect, but the bright screen and sound effect are still there. Teleport Monitor
Grey Shoes Unused in-game. Decreases your speed. Grey Speed Shoes
Rocket Shoes Appears in Sonic Chaos and Sonic Triple Trouble, the Rocket Shoes grant Sonic the ability to fly at high speed for about five seconds. Rocket Shoes
Pogo Spring Appears in Sonic Chaos and Sonic Triple Trouble which allows Sonic and Tails to use a Pogo Spring. With it, the Pogo Spring can bounce the player to reach greater heights. In Sonic Triple Trouble, they are featured as monitor items. Pogo Spring
Time Stop Appears only in Special Stages of Sonic Chaos, where it freezes time. The player can keep moving but everything else stops, including the HUD. Time Stop
Thunder Shield Works like a Shield and attracts nearby rings. It also negates electrical-based damage and repels certain projectiles. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, it would also give Sonic the ability perform a double-jump by pressing the jump button in mid-air (Tails and Knuckles fly or glide when pressing jump in midair, and do not gain the double jump). Once non-electrical damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knockback, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life. The shield will also disperse if the character dives in water deep enough to drown in. Does not protect the character if he is crushed or falls into a bottomless pit. Electric Shield Thumb
Flame Shield A shield that negates any fire-based damage for the character wearing it, such as fireballs and lava, and repels certain projectiles. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, it would also give the ability to perform a "Fireball Spin Dash" in the air by double-tapping the "A" button as Sonic (Tails and Knuckles already fly or glide when pressing jump in midair, and do not gain the Fireball Spin Dash). Once non-fire damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knockback, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life. The shield will also disperse if the character dives in water deep enough to drown in. Does not protect the character if they get crushed or fall into a bottomless pit. Fire Shield Thumb
Aqua Barrier/Water Shield This shield allows the player character to breath underwater indefinitely without fear of drowning. It allows Sonic to quickly plummet downward and bounce by pressing the jump button in mid-air (Tails and Knuckles already fly/swim or glide when pressing jump in midair, and do not gain this bonus ability from the shield). It has the ability to repel certain projectiles, not including spiked projectiles (for obvious reasons) and explosives. Once damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knock-back, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life. Does not protect the character if they get crushed or fall into a bottomless pit. Bubble Shield Thumb
Robotnik/Eggman Causes damage, similar from contact with a Badnik or hazards like spikes. The character either loses a barrier/shield, rings, or a life. In some earlier games, it can be found with Debug Mode, and destroying it would do nothing. Robotnik
S Depending on game, it can give Speed Shoes and Invincibility or grant Super form and fifty Rings. It only appears in the Debug Mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles and the 510 prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog CD. While being unused in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, it does become used in 2013 re-releases of the game and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Smonitor
Super Heli-Tails Appears only in Sonic Triple Trouble, allowing Tails to fly forward at high speeds for about 5 seconds, equivalent to the Rocket Shoes. Tailsmonitor
Jet Board Appears only in Sonic Triple Trouble, allowing Sonic to travel fast downhill at the Robotnik Winter Zone. It disappears after a certain time. Snowboard Game Gear
Screw Shoes Appears only in Sonic Triple Trouble, allowing Sonic to propulsion through Tidal Plant's underwater sections. Screw Shoes
Chaos Emerald Appears only in Sonic Triple Trouble which transports the player to the Special Stage. Chaos Emerald Item Box
Jump Appears only in Sonic Drift 2 which allows the user to launch himself/herself through the air, similar to when touching a Spring. Drift 2 YellowMonitor
Mine Appears only in Sonic Drift 2 which allows the user to set up hazardous mines on the racetracks as traps for the player. Drift 2 BlackMonitor
Time Bonus Appears in Sonic Triple Trouble, where it reverts the timer back to a full 1:30 once picking it during platforming based Special Stages. Time
Combine Ring Appears in Knuckles' Chaotix and Sonic Mania. In Knuckles' Chaotix, the player's rings together as they are collected until he is hit. Upon taking damage, the player will release one ring equivalent to all rings lost. If the ring is not collected in a short time, it explodes into individual rings. In Sonic Mania, the player will drop several big rings instead of one. Each big ring worth a fraction of the total amount. The big rings will not explode after a period of time. Combine Ring
Swap Appears only in Knuckles' Chaotix. Switches the current character with its partner for twenty seconds. Swap
Grow Appears only in Knuckles' Chaotix. Doubles the player in size, thus increasing his weight and jump height, for twenty seconds. Grow
Shrink Appears only in Knuckles' Chaotix. Halves the player in size, thus decreasing his weight and jump height, for twenty seconds. Shrink
Change Appears only in Knuckles' Chaotix. After picking it up, it replaces your Combi Partner with one of other four characters for short amount of time. Change-Animated
Gold Shield Appears only in Sonic 3D Blast, the Gold Shield protects from a single instance of damage and allows the player to launch forward by pressing the jump button in midair, similar to the Flame Shield from Sonic 3 & Knuckles. However, it will target nearby enemies like the later Homing Attack. Once damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knockback, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life. Gold Shield
Skateboard Appears only in Sonic Generations, as classic Sonic can used it to skate through the City Escape. The player can only jump forward while skating. It disappears when the player collides with an oncoming obstacle or wall. Skateboard Icon
Special Combination Appears only in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II on certain golden monitors. Activating it makes Sonic and Tails bounce around and destroy Badniks at the screen while the player is pressing A-button for five seconds. It rewards with certain amount of rings and points. When Rolling Combo wasn't enough..

Item Boxes

Key: SA1 = Sonic Adventure, SA2 = Sonic Adventure 2, SH = Sonic Heroes, ShTH = Shadow the Hedgehog, STH = Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), SR = Sonic Riders, SRZG = Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

Name Game appearances Description Picture
Rings SA1, SA2, SH, ShTH, STH, SR, SRZG. They give a certain amount of Rings: five, ten, twenty or ?(which randomly gives one, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or forty Rings). Rings
Extra Life / 1-Up SA1, SA2, SH, ShTH, STH.

Adds an extra life to the total number of lives. In the Adventure games the picture inside shows the head of the current player character, but in Heroes and onward (except Shadow the Hedgehog) it simply reads "1Up" (in Heroes, this is because the player controls a team of three characters).

Sonic 1UP (SA2)SH1up
Power Sneakers / High Speed SA1, SA2, SH, STH, SRZG. Provides the character a boost of speed for a limited time, which increases max speed and acceleration. Power sneakerHigh Speed Sonic Riders Zero Gravity
Invincible SA1, SA2, SH, ShTH, STH, SR. Makes you invulnerable and damages enemies by touching them for a limited time (except Sonic 2006, where it makes you invulnerable but doesn't damage enemies). Invincible
Shield / Barrier SA1, SA2, SH, ShTH. Protects your character from damage once, much like the earlier incarnations. Doesn’t protect from bottomless pits. Barrier
Magnetic Shield / Magnetic Barrier SA1, SA2, STH, SR, SRZG. Protects your character from damage once and draws nearby rings to the player character, similar to the original Lightning Shield. Lightning Shield Adventure 2
Heat Barrier ShTH. Protects your character from damage once and damages surrounding enemies. Heat Barrier
Health SA2. Restores all of your character's Hit Points (HP). Only used by Tails and Eggman. Health-Icon-Sonic-Adventure-2
Damage Recover ShTH. Restores some of the Hit Points of the Vehicle you’re in command of. Damage Recover
Gauge Up STH. Chaos Drives that replenish the Action Gauge. It has no effect when picked up by Sonic. Gauge Up
Fly Charge SH. Sets the Flying Gauge to full. Wing
Power Core SH. Comes in three colours: Blue (Speed), Yellow (Fly), and Red (Power). It Levels Up a character depending of his/her type.
Blue core
Yellow core
Red core
Team Blast Ring SH. Sets the Team Blast Gauge to full. Team blast ring
Bomb / Explosion SA1, SA2, SR, SRZG. In the Adventure games it destroys all onscreen enemies. In the Riders games, it launches a bomb at players ahead knocking them off balance. Bomb
Time Stop SA1. Unused in-game. It may have been a time-stopping item with a similar effect to Chaos Control. It also could have been related to E-102 Gamma's levels in some way, which were based around a countdown timer. Time Stop
Air / GP Boost SR, SRZG. Refills your Air Tank/GP Gauge by various amounts. Air - 30 (Sonic Riders) GP Boost - 30
Speed Down SR, SRZG. Slows you down to a crawl for a limited time. Speed DownSpeed Down Zero Gravity
Question Item SR, SRZG. Contains a random Power up (Rings, Magnetic Shield, Explosion, Air or Speed Down). Question Item (Sonic Riders) Question Item (Sonic Riders (Zero Gravity))
Attack SRZG. Makes you run at full speed on foot, attacking enemies that get too close and activating Springs and other special shortcuts for a limited time. Attack
Parts Lock SRZG. Deactivates all Gear Parts for a limited time. Parts Lock
Colorball SRZG. Obscures vision with a splash of colored paint for a limited time. Colorball


In the Competition mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, power-ups which were not contained in Item Boxes were introduced. Instead they could be collected simply by touching them. Such power-ups when first introduced were initially held inside small floating bubbles during Competition Mode, allowing faster usage of them during races.

Games like Sonic Unleashed, Colors and Generations would later pick up this concept for more classic and common power-ups, but without anything encapsulating them.

Key: S3&K = Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (Competition Mode), SU = Sonic Unleashed, SC = Sonic Colors, SG = Sonic Generations, SLW = Sonic Lost World

Name Game appearances Description Picture
Power Sneakers S3&K. Provides the character a boost of speed for a limited time, which increases max speed and acceleration. Power Sneakers Sonic 3
Slow-Down Shoes S3&K. Provides the character a hinderence of speed for a limited time, which decreases max speed and acceleration. Slow Sneakers Sonic 3
Ring S3&K. A single ring which protects the player from oncoming attacks. Can be stolen from rival if player is harmed. Ring Sonic 3
Spring S3&K. Sets a spring that can propell players in other direction, hindering their progress. Spring Sonic 3
Change S3&K. Switch places with your competitor. Change Sonic 3
Banana S3&K. Sets a trap that players can slip on and temporarily hinders speed. Hmmmm...Bananas
Self-Propelled Bomb S3&K. Creates a bomb that flies leftwards and explodes on impact to any player. Self-Propelled Bomb
Super Ring SU, SC, SG, SLW. Appear slightly larger than regular rings with the number five, ten or twenty to represent it's value. Super Ring
Extra Life / 1-Up SU, SC, SG, SLW. Adds an extra life to the total number of lives. Simply a black panel with a gold frame in the first game but replaced with simply Sonic's head with a blue aura. OneupcolorsExtra Life 07

In other media

Stay Sonic

Item Boxes, referred to as simply PCs, have been given some sort of a back story in Stay Sonic. As planning to use his Retro Orbital Chaos Compressor to contain all the negative energy of the planet within six emeralds, Doctor Ovi Kintobor required a seventh gem to stabilize the process, but could not locate one himself. To broaden his search, he set up a network of monitors across the entire planet that served as an interlinked communications system, allowing the people of Mobius to pass along any information to him that they could about the final emerald's potential whereabouts.[4]

Sonic the Comic


An empty Monitor in Sonic the Comic. Art by Mike Hadley.

Monitors also appear in Fleetway's Sonic the Comic, as sharing the same kind of background from Stay Sonic. The another one of Kintobor's creations was an artificial duplicate of Sonic known as an Extra Life, which was stored within one of the planet's many monitors.

Unfortunately, the Extra Life was never needed and so remained trapped in its monitor for years, slowly becoming corrupted and bent on revenge, until it duped Tails into freeing it by pretending to be the real Sonic. After besmirching Sonic's name by causing chaos in the Emerald Hill Zone, the Extra Life was sucked back into its monitor by Tails, and the box was then kicked into space by the real Sonic.[5]

Archie Comics

In the Archie Comics's Sonic the Hedgehog comics and its spin-offs, monitors or item boxes hasn't been seen until one item box has been seen to being developed in Sonic Universe #38, which has been created by Hope Kintobor and possibly G.U.N. It was originally invented to be device to help E-123 Omega during combat battles.

However Snively teleported himself to the GUN laboratory and tries pleasing Hope being part of their family and rule the world with him and Regina. Hope disagrees to join him after the conversation and activates the item box which has Flame Shield in it, forces the Snively to leave him and activates the alarm. Snively leaves the place and Hope has been seen crying alone with Flame Shield still on it at the laboratory where later Omega finds him.

Item box (Archie)

The Item Box from Sonic the Hedgehog #282.

In the Post-Super Genesis Wave timeline, the Item Box has appeared once again, this time in the Soumerca Egg Army's base. Where they used it to store the Master Emerald's shards. In this continuity, it resembles both the designs of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Colors.


  • In the classic Sonic games, there is a brief delay between the moments where player breaks the Item Box and when the player receives the power-up. For example, if the player gets a Shield or Invincibility item, it is still possible for the player to take damage before the power-up's effect is received.
  • Monitors from Sonic the Hedgehog (1991), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog CD are based on the basic CRT monitors, while Monitors in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles bear resemblance to Apple's Macintosh from the mid-1980's. Monitors in Knuckles Chaotix, Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic Mania seem to have a generic CRT design. Later on, Monitors in Sonic the Hedgehog 4 seem to be loosely based on modern flat-panel LCD TVs, while Sonic Generations brings back the original CRT design, albeit with a more modernized look. Monitors in Sonic Forces use the same CRT design from Sonic Generations.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles are the only games where the player is able to get crushed by the fallen Monitor. Normally in games such as Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and Sonic CD, Monitors usually are seen bouncing on Sonic's head and falling simply to the ground without damaging him or simply being broken open in other games.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, Sonic does not get crushed by a fallen Monitor, but instead he sinks through the ground and gets stuck. This is a regular in-game glitch, that is possible to happen often in corner sections.
    • In Sonic Generations (3DS), Monitors simply bounce repeatedly on Sonic's head until he moves out of the way. Jumping straight underneath them will not break them.
  • In games where players are allowed to choose both Sonic and Tails, the latter couldn't destroy Monitors on his own. However, this was possible in the Simon Wai and Nick Arcade prototypes of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • Although Item Boxes don't appear in the two-player Competition Mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, one Item Box can be seen at the options menu of Competition Mode, as items can be set on and off.
    • The same way, Tails Adventure doesn't feature Item Boxes, although one can be seen upper left corner of gameplay hud, showing the amount of the rings that player has.
Item box expo

One of Item Box advert posters.

  • City Escape has advertisements of different stuff in Sonic Adventure 2, one of them being Item Boxes with ten Rings and various other power-ups.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, an extra-life Monitor can be seen at the top of the loop in the Green Hill Zone stage.
  • Item Monitors make several appearances in LEGO Dimensions. Extra-Life and Ring monitors appear in several places, and Item Monitors displaying a picture of a 1x1 Lego brick serve as the Minikit collectable in Sonic's level pack.


  1. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Genesis) North American instruction manual, pg. 6.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Game Gear) North American instruction manual, pg. 8.
  3. Sonic Unleashed (Wii/PlayStation 2) North American instruction manual, pg. 10.
  4. Pattenden, Mike (4 January 1993). Stay Sonic. Fantail. ISBN 0140903909.
  5. Sonic the Comic #13, "Double Trouble"
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