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Sonic the Hedgehog
Labyrinth Zone

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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.


— United States instruction booklet, Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)[1]

Labyrinth Zone (ラビリンスゾーン[2] Rabirinsuzōn?) is the fourth Zone in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, and its various ports and remasters. As with other Zones in the game, Labyrinth Zone is composed on three Acts, with a battle against the boss at the end of the third.

Description

The Labyrinth Zone is a flooded ruin made mostly of yellow bricks. One can also spot some tinted mosaic in the background. The Zone is also decorated with green, pink and blue crystals that are sprouting from the floors and ceilings, as well as thin pillars and vines that are hanging from the ceilings. Most of the ruins have also been flooded with murky green water.

Story

Labyrinth Zone was one of the many regions on South Island affected by Dr. Robotnik during his quest for the six Chaos Emeralds. There, the doctor kidnapped the local Animals and used some of them to power his Badniks, while leaving the rest of them in huge Capsules. When Sonic the Hedgehog arrived at the Zone however, he saved the Animals and followed Robotnik in his Egg Mobile through the exit of the caves.

Gameplay

Labyrinth Zone consists of narrow corridors that are partially flooded in some places. While underwater, the playable character's speed is significantly reduced. In addition, the playable character will drown if they do not replenish their oxygen supply with Air Bubbles or by resurfacing from the water. Air Bubbles in particular only appear in the underwater areas and only form in certain places. In selected sections of this Zone, the water level will also suddenly rise and cover previously dry sections. These raising water levels will also raise sponge-like blocks upwards. Regardless, the underwater sections can be skipped in some cases. Notably, in Act 1, there is a platform before entering the second water section which can take the player through most of the Act.

The Labyrinth Zone is full of traps such as spikes, spinning iron balls, and stone Gargoyles spitting fireballs (even underwater). The player must also watch out for some of the floor sections which can hide some platforms. These platforms will head upward in an attempt to crush the playable character against spikes on the ceiling or other levitating platforms underwater. In addition to spikes, there are also narrow corridors with spears protruding from the floors, ceilings and walls. In some sections, between the underwater sections and dry land, there are also platforms that run on moving belts, usually along rectangular paths. The player can use these platforms to get out of the water.

Labyrinth Zone has lots of Switches that open various passages, such as vertical doors or horizontal blocks blocking the exit from the underwater sections. Some of these passages lead into special tunnels where the playable character follows the water flow to the exit. Sometimes though, the player must avoid spikes and iron balls in these corridors by grabbing onto poles sticking out from the ceilings and move themself out of these obstacles' path. Use the up and down controls to move up or down the pole and use the Spin Jump to let go of them. From Act 2 and onward, the sections in the surface sections of Labyrinth Zone will also feature water slides, created by stone heads.

Overview

Act 1

The player starts out along a long corridor with various steps, jumping in and out of water as they do so. Halfway through the corridor, a Burrobot will jump out from its hiding spot from the second step up, while another one will jump out of a downward step towards the end of said corridor. After that, the player will encounter a swinging iron ball that rotates quickly, guarding a Shield monitor that is parked in the right corner. From here, the player must descend downward. Down there, there is a Switch which will open a door on the right and two Burrobots intercepting a Super Ring monitor to the left. As the door opens, the player will find an Air Bubble supply for the first time. From there, past the T-shaped obstacle is another Air Bubble supply guarded by a Burrobot. From here, the route traverses upwards for a short moment, where the player will find another Switch that will open a barrier. Byond that barrier, past the point on the left corner is a Super Ring monitor. Continuing onward on there, three Burrobots will jump out. This is followed by another underwater section, filled with Jaws and various spike pits.

On the staggered floor are two platforms partially hidden inside the ground. The left one of these platforms can carry the player up to the spikes on the ceiling and crush them, so the player must immediately walk off of it if they land on it. The platform on the right however can be used to reach a Switch on the right. Notably, the Switch/door to the left has a Super Ring monitor parked in the corner. From here, the player has to continue to the right. The player will then be blown away by a underwater current and fall down, during which the player encounter two more raising platforms and a swinging iron ball. Around here, two Jaws protect the four Rings along the ceiling. From here, the road traverses upwards, across and then upwards, where the player must dodge another two swinging iron balls. The area will then open out on a large Conveyor Belt with small platforms along it, and a red Spring in the bottom right corner which can be used to locate a Switch.

The player will in this area need to jump on the right side of the aforementioned Conveyor Belt. On the right side of this Conveyor Belt is a Switch on a ledge, guarded closely by spikes. The player has to jump softly to avoid hitting the spikes here. Once the Switch is pressed, a floor will open up at the bottom. Past this hole, to the left is a Burrobot, followed by a Lamppost. This leads to a narrow corridor. Along some downward steps from here, the player will encounter a giant spear for the first time, which can be cleared safely with a running Spin Jump once it retracts. Past the T-shaped block from here are four more giant spears, which leads to a red Spring. This Spring will help the player reach a diagonally-upwards corridor. Inside this corridor, the player will encounter a block which looks like a piece of swiss-cheese. This block, which floats above water, can be stepped onto while the water rises to reach the corridor on the left. Once the player is underwater again, a Jaws will swim in from the left. From here, the road steeply steps down towards a spike pit, and then up towards an Unidasu with another platform-based Conveyor Belt. Once the player reaches the top, avoid the fireballs fired from the Gargoyles attached to the walls. From here, the corridor on the right will narrow and become bumpy. The player should also Watch out for the rising water, especially if they steps on a swiss cheese block, as the combination can crush the playable character. At the end of the corridor is a Switch that opens a door. Behind this door, the route then zigzags upwards with giant spears along the kinks. To the right around here is a Super Ring monitor, and at the top is a Switch which opens the last barrier, with the route behind it leading to the Goal Plate.

Act 2

Act 2 starts out on a bumpy road, with two Burrobots rising out on either side of a pit of moving spikes. Do not jump too high here, as there are some ceiling spikes. From here, the player will slide down the water pouring from the Gargoyle's mouth and then fall underwater. Once underwater, watch out for the raised platform. Also, on the overhang to the right is an Invincible monitor. From here, past the T-shaped block, is a Jaws and an Unidasu. The road will then head down and to the right, with two more Jaws guarding the area. From there, to the left hand side are two Super Ring monitors. After that, beyond the T-shaped block are two Air Bubble supplies and a Burrobot before a set of steps. These steps lead to a gate, which will open up and suck the playable character along a current.

Once out of the current's tunnel, the player will arrive in large area with two Jaws and several platforms, with most of them having spikes underneath them. There is also a Shield monitor on top of a platform. At the bottom of this pit, the player has two choices for routes: taking the red Spring on the left, which will launch the playable character upwards in a straight line to get them out of the water and to the top, or climb up the ledges on the right side, which leads from platform to platform. Around here is also a Super Ring monitor on the far right platform. There are as well two more in the top-left corner, and another one in the middle, below the platform that leads to the highest platform. This monitor has a Switch hidden inside which opens a door to the next area. Inside this room, beyond the Lamppost, is a T-junction, intercepted by a swinging iron ball and some giant spears guarding the lower route. To the right is also an Invincible monitor, which is recommended to pick up before dropping down and continuing on. From here, the downward path zigzags and has some more Switches and barriers along it, all of which leads underwater again. To the left from here is an Unidasu, followed by two blocks on the left edge, which will lower themselves when the playable character steps on them. To the right from here is another fireball-shooting Gargoyle, followed by an upside-down giant spears.

From here, two Jaws can be found swimming above the T-shaped block. This is followed by another giant spear and another Unidasu. The player must then jump to dodge the balls the Unidasu throws. The road then bends steeply upwards where a swinging iron ball must be avoided. From here, to the right is an Air-Bubble supply and another Unidasu, the height of which it is easy to dodge by ducking. From here, beyond the next T-shaped block, is a rectangle-shaped Conveyor Belt with platforms on it that move counter-clockwise. This Conveyor Bet intertwines with another one which moves its own set of platforms clockwise. However, the sudden appearance of the spikes can make them difficult to avoid. The player must Spin Jump to the right side as soon as the other Conveyor Belt appears for the safest route. However, if the playable character falls off the platforms, move to the left to avoid the spikes in the bottom right corner of the pit below. Once the playable characters lands on a platform on the other Conveyor Belt, they can just wait before jumping off to the ledge on the right. This round will lead to the Goal Plate.

Act 3

Act 3 is the longest of the three Acts and poses some unique challenges. The player first starts out on a huge water slide. Notably, while sliding to the left, the player can jump off the slide in order to reach two rocky ledges. One one of these ledges contains a Shield monitor and the other has a Switch just below it that opens the exit from this section. This section will continue to loop around until the player presses the aforementioned Switch that opens the exit out of this area. To reach it, jump onto the ledge on the right to trigger the Switch and open the floor. From there, down and to the right, is another Switch, guarded by a swinging iron ball. The area on the left on the other hand, which is guarded by a Jaws, has twenty Rings available to collect. From there, underwater and past the floor is an Air Bubble supply and four giant spears. From here, directly in the middle is a block disguised as a floor piece. Stepping on it will make it lower itself down, revealing a secret route as described below.

  • The lower route starts off with three Jaws approaching the player and two Air Bubbles at the bottom. From here, the road meanders upwards where two Burrobots will pop out. A gate will then open and a current will start flowing, pulling the playable character along it. Along the route that the current takes the player, the player can hold onto a pole. While hanging onto these poles, use them to avoid spikes and do not spend too long on the walls. At the end of the current, the tunnel that the player was in will lead into a large area, with various floating platforms, some Air Bubble supplies at the bottom of the area, and a rocky ledge on the right with a closed door. Take the red Spring on one of the platforms here to reach a Switch, which will open the aforementioned door. Beyond this door, the player will then come across a low-shooting Unidasu, meaning the player must jump to dodge its attacks. The road will then shift upwards where there are ledges left and right. Here, two Burrobots will drill out from the left side. Ahead from here is another Switch that will release the barrier, which will lead to the final section where there is a Lammpost on the left.
  • If the player ignores the lower, they can take the upper route instead. However, it is longer and has Rings. In-between the rocky overhang on this route is a swinging iron ball. Along the short road from here is a Burrobot, followed by an overhang to the right. Jump carefully here to avoid the side-facing giant spear. From here, jump from platform to platform to reach the next road on the left, where there are moving spikes to dodge. The road will then step up to a Super Ring monitor parked in the corner. From here, above surface and to the right are some stationary spikes built in-between three more swinging iron balls, the second of which swings its mace around slower than the other two. From here, avoid standing next to some spikes. Past the third spikes set from here is a safe platform. In addition, another Super Ring monitor can be found here by jumping from platform to platform. The road will then step upwards, where another spike set blocks the first step, and with Burrobots rising out of the others. From here, the player will come across a long Conveyor Belt with platforms on it, with four other terminals. Notably, the Conveyor Belt goes clockwise. Also, the top right side of the area has an Invincible monitor, the bottom right has a Super Ring and an Air bubble supply, and on the bottom of the area is a Switch surrounded by spikes on either side. In the bottom left corner of this area is a barrier from where the next section can be accessed, and in the center-left side are four Super Ring monitors and a One-Up monitor. From here, underwater and past the barrier is an Air Bubble supply, a Switch, and a Burrobot. Once this barrier has been opened, another Burrobot will rise up from a T-shaped block. From there, a rocky overhang will lead to a curved tunnel. Once the player gets out of this tunnel, they can pick up an Invincible monitor in the top-right corner in this area. From here, in the bottom-right area is a Switch that opens a barrier leading to a Lamppost. From here, beyond this point is a large area with several narrow gaps, which can run over. As soon as the player then passes a T-shaped block, an Unidasu will attack. From there, below the gaps are some Jaws and some Air Bubble supplies. Also, in the right corners are two more Super Ring monitors. From here, a Switch on the next overhang will open a barrier, allowing the player to continue on. From there, the player will encounter a red Spring, an Air Bubble supply, and an overhang oo the right. Using the overhang will reveal a Shield monitor. From here, the road bends up and to the left, where there is another Super Ring monitor on top of a T-shaped block. Beyond that point, there are no more Rings available to collect. To the left on the other hand are four platforms that are accompanied by swinging iron balls. Falling off these platforms will mean that the player will have to make their way up again from the bottom. Should the player be able to cross these platforms through, the road will then step upwards and back over water. There, there is another Conveyor Belt with platforms on it that move clockwise along an impassable wall. Hitting the Switch at the top of this area will reserve the direction of the Conveyor Belt, allowing the player to reach a way out of this area in the top-right corner. From here, five Burrobots will jump out to attack the playable character. From here, the player will slide down another water slide to the final section. There, there is a Lamppost to the left.
    • There are three Swiss Cheese blocks spread apart on the floor in this area. As soon as the player steps on the first block or moves past that point, the water will start to rise. In addition, the player must watch out for a Burrobots, which will ambush the playable character as soon as they land on the middle block. If the player falls off these platforms, they can simply move back to the left, where the water will set to its safe position. From here, the player must climb up a long rocky overhang on the right. Five Burrobots will as well appear in different areas during the ascent. At the top of this route, the water will stop rising. There will then then be a Shield monitor on the left. However, on the right, Dr. Robotnik will appear in his Egg Mobile, triggering the Zone's boss battle. Also, behind the player, a barrier on the lower left side will close off of the exit.

Boss

Main article: Egg Mobile (boss)

The boss of Labyrinth Zone is Dr. Robotnik in his Egg Mobile. Unlike other boss fights in the game, Robotnik does not actively try to attack the playable character. Instead, he will runs away from them through a vertical corridor full of traps. As the player progressing through this corridor, it will be filled with water. The player will also encounter obstacles, such as spears and stone Gargoyles spewing fireballs. While the player can destroy Dr. Robotnik's Egg Mobile for extra points, this boss fight will be automatically completed once the playable character makes to the top of the corridor.

Other game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)

In Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit), Labyrinth Zone appears as the fourth Zone in the game. Most obstacles remain intact, though the level design and boss have been done from scratch.

Sonic Drift

Labyrinth, from Sonic Drift.

In Sonic Drift, Labyrinth Zone (named Labyrinth) is the third track of the game, following Spring Yard and preceding Star Light (as in its original appearance).

In other media

Animation

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog television series, Labyrinth is an underwater city in Mobius, ruled by King Saline. At some point, Dr. Ivo Robotnik tried to invade the city in his quest for the Power Pearls to conquer Mobius, only to be stopped by Sonic, Tails and Surff.

Books and comics

Sonic the Hedgehog (promotional comic)

In the Sonic the Hedgehog promotional comic, Labyrinth Zone was where Sonic ended up in after getting out of the Warp of Confusion with one Chaos Emerald. There, he found Dr. Ivo Robotnik, whom he followed through the caves to Starlight Zone.

Sonic the Comic

In the Sonic the Comic comic series and is spin-offs published by Fleetway Editions, the Labyrinth Zone appears as a network of tunnels dug by Badniks (lead by Arachbot) underneath half of planet Mobius.

Sonic X

In the Sonic X comic series published by Archie Comics, Labyrinth Zone appears as part of a virtual world resembling the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic, Amy, Knuckles and Rouge once traveled through the Zone.

Archie Comics

Sonic in Labyrinth Zone, from Sonic the Hedgehog #288.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series published by Archie Comics, Labyrinth Zone was a Zone formed by Dr. Eggman during Operation: Clean Sweep. Sonic, Sally, Rotor, and Antoine traveled through the Zone after defeating Dr. Eggman in Marble Zone.

After the Super Genesis Wave re-wrote history, Labyrinth Zone became a permanent part of Sonic's World with a history virtually identical to its game counterpart.

Films

Paramount

In the Sonic the Hedgehog film series produced by Paramount Pictures and its spin-offs, the secret temple on Earth that housed the Master Emerald appears to have based on Labyrinth Zone. It features traps that are all nearly identical to the hazards in its game counterpart (spikes in the floor and ceiling, spiked metal balls, flames shooting out of walls), small patches of colored crystals, an owl motif in the stonework, and an overhead shot of the interior of the temple reveals that it is designed like a maze. Additionally, Sonic enters the temple by sliding down a slope with water running down it, and has to escape the temple as water starts to fill it, mirroring the water hazards.

Trivia

  • The level design of Labyrinth Zone Act 1 was reused for Game Land 5-1 in the Wii version of Sonic Colors and Sonic Colors: Ultimate, with various obstacles being replaced with the ones appearing in those games.
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 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 remaster, the monitors can be placed in Debug Mode and act almost identical to an Aqua Shield.
  • In the original Sonic the Hedgehog, if the player spins when they reach the end of Labyrinth Zone Act 2, the screen will freeze and the player will have to reset the game.
  • This Zone appeared in the early Nick Arcade prototype version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, albeit with its data partially overwritten. Eventually, this garbled zone got turned into 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.

Gallery

Concept artwork

Artwork

Screenshots

Gallery

Music

Name Artist(s) Length Music track
"Labyrinth Zone" Masato Nakamura 2:07

Videos


References

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 7.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 33.

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