For other uses of "Labyrinth", see Labyrinth (disambiguation).

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Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Labyrinth Zone

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Quotation1.svg Explore an intricate maze filled with water. A countdown begins to let you know when you are running out of oxygen. Breathing in air bubbles keeps you from drowning. Quotation2.svg
— Description from the Instruction manual.

Labyrinth Zone is the fourth Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog. It follows Spring Yard Zone and precedes the Star Light Zone.


Summit of South Island, showing Labyrinth Zone

The area is located within the caves of South Island's prominent mountain range (see image), and is a ruin-like maze partially submerged in water, containing the decaying remnants of an ancient civilization. It features many spikes, spears and water-driven contraptions, although, despite the doctor's efforts, Sonic's greatest hazard in this zone is not the enemies or the traps, but the water. Sonic is terrible at swimming and he can only hold his breath for so long. After staying underwater for a limited amount of time (eighteen seconds on the Mega Drive version, with warning bells after five, ten, and fifteen seconds) a countdown starts (five breaths/about twelve seconds), at the end of which Sonic drowns. Touching Air Bubbles found at certain points underwater resets the counter and prevents Sonic from drowning. This element found its way into many more early Sonic games.

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

Although only the fourth of seven stages (between Spring Yard Zone and Star Light Zone), Labyrinth is widely regarded as the hardest level in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991). Act 3 is particularly notorious for an underwater maze section in which the scenery repeats itself continuously until a hidden switch is found.


Main article: Labyrinth Zone boss

The Labyrinth Zone boss is unusual, in that Sonic does not need to defeat Dr. Robotnik in order to win. Instead, he follows his unarmed Egg Mobile up through an ascending passage, avoiding deadly obstacles and staying ahead of the rising water level.

Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)

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Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)
Labyrinth Zone

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Labyrinth Zone Act 1 (Master System)

Labyrinth Zone also appears in the Master System / Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog as the fourth stage. As with all other stages in this game, Labyrinth Zone consists of two standard Acts followed by a shorter, third Act which contains the Zone's boss (and not a ring in sight).

Robotnik's submarine appears once more (Master System)

The 8-bit Labyrinth Zone is significantly less dangerous than its 16-bit counterpart; the Acts are both smaller, and less hopelessly maze-like. Acquiring the Chaos Emerald can pose difficulties, though; it sits at the bottom of a spike pit close to the end of Act 2, requiring Sonic to pick up an Invincibility TV in order to collect the gem safely.

For the boss, Robotnik has repaired and re-armed his combat submersible since Sonic last fought it in Bridge Zone. Now it sports rather inaccurate homing torpedoes on top of the energy balls from last time. Interestingly, during the boss, Sonic has the ability to breathe underwater without the aid of air bubbles. This can also be seen in other zones with nonhazardous water.

Other game appearances

Sonic Drift

Labyrinth from Sonic Drift.

The Labyrinth Zone appears alongside other Sonic 1 Zones as a racetrack in the game Sonic Drift under the name Labyrinth.

In other media

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

Labyrinth Zone appears in the episode "Submerged Sonic" in which it is ruled by King Saline. Although the submarine boss from the 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog appeared in this episode the design of it is different then its game counterpart.

Sonic the Comic

In Sonic the Comic, the Labyrinth Zone appears as a network of tunnels dug by Badniks (lead by Arachbot) underneath half of planet Mobius.[1] It later appeared in its more familiar appearance from the games, as a sunken city.[2][3]

Sonic X

Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, and Rouge in the Labyrinth Zone in the Sonic X comic book.

In issue 11 of the Sonic X comic book, while trapped in a virtual world resembling the game Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic, Amy, Knuckles and Rouge travel through the Labyrinth Zone.

Archie Comics

The Labyrinth Zone in the Archie Comics.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comics published by Archie Comics, the Labyrinth Zone was prominently featured in the first half of the "Genesis" story arc. Sonic, Sally, Rotor, and Antoine travel through the zone after defeating Doctor Eggman in the Marble Zone.

After the events of Worlds Collide, the Labyrinth Zone became a permanent part of Sonic's World with a history virtually identical to its game counterpart.


  • Labyrinth Zone was originally intended to be the second stage, but it was pushed back in the level order because the designers felt it would be too hard for so early in the game. This can be seen in the level select of the first version of the game, although the zones were corrected to their final order in the revision.
  • Goggles were intended to be featured underwater. While they have unused sprites on both Sonic's head and as a video monitor icon, it was eventually revealed that they were merely intended as aesthetics rather than a lost gameplay mechanic. In the 2013 mobile re-release, the icons can be placed in Debug Mode and act as an air bubble.
  • In the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, if the player spins when they reach the end of Act 2, the screen will freeze and the player will have to reset the game.
    • A similar glitch is present in the 8-bit version, if the player jumps/stands in an area where the screen starts flickering between the ground and water colors (i.e. if the player in the water, and they see the color of being on land in the water flickering between the two) if they are in that area there long enough, the game will reset itself back to the title screen.
  • Act 5-1 of Game Land in Sonic Colors appears to be based on the Labyrinth Zone level layout.
  • This Zone appeared in the early Nick Arcade prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, albeit with its data partially overwritten. Eventually, this garbled zone got turned into the Oil Ocean Zone.
  • The Labyrinth Zone appears as a level in Lego Dimensions.
  • The character Longclaw in the Sonic The Hedgehog film bears a resemblance to the owl head-shaped tiles present in Labyrinth Zone. It is uncertain whether this was intentional, although one of said tile designs makes an appearance near the start of the film engraved into a rock.


Concept artwork




Name Game Artist(s) Length Music Track
Labyrinth Zone Sonic the Hedgehog 16-bit Masato Nakamura 2:07
Labyrinth Zone Sonic the Hedgehog 8-bit Yuzo Koshiro 3:05


Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)

Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)

See also

External links


  1. Sonic the Comic #5, "Lost in the Labyrinth Zone"
  2. Sonic the Poster Mag #9, "Trapped in the Vortex!"
  3. Sonic the Comic #83, "Bubble Trouble"

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