For other uses of the term, see Lava Reef (disambiguation).

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Lava Reef Zone

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Quotation1 Enter the biggest, hottest Zone on Floating Island! Beware of exploding rocks and Toxomisters that poison the air! Quotation2
— Instruction manual

Lava Reef Zone (ラバーリーフ Rabārīfu?) is the fourth Zone of Sonic & Knuckles (and the tenth of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles). It is the last normal Zone (due to the fact that all subsequent Zones have no Giant Rings).


It is the longest Zone in Sonic & Knuckles, and is also the longest Zone in any other Genesis Sonic game. It is based in a boiling hot network of mines, and then the magma chamber of the Floating Island's volcano in which the Death Egg crashed at the beginning of the game.


There are lots of tear-away platforms, and most of them break away into bubbling lava. As in the Volcano Valley Zone in Sonic 3D Blast, the most valuable commodity here is the Fire Shield. The mini-boss is a pair of bullet-shooting tentacles and a giant metal hand. Destroying the hand will end the boss fight, even if the tentacles are not yet destroyed first.

Act 2 of this Zone is the player's last chance to obtain Chaos Emeralds/Super Emeralds, and there are only a few of the Giant Rings in the Zone. In the second Act, the majority of the boiling lava has cooled and hardened. As the player makes their way through the massive cavern, the Death Egg becomes visible in the height of the mountain, still inactive. If playing as Sonic, or Tails in the complete game, Knuckles will drop the player into a cavern with the Death Egg for the boss fight. The Death Egg's laser cannons in its eyes suddenly activate, causing the lava to reheat and return to its molten state. Some of the ground turns fragile at this point, and Sonic must immediately move before facing a hot bath in the bubbling lava below. Dr. Robotnik appears in the background in his fortified Egg Mobile, armed with missiles and mines. The player must make their way from platform to platform ahead of Robotnik's missile barrage and avoid falling to their death as the screen forcibly progresses. After the camera halts, the player must traverse sparse footing down a lava fall. There's a Lightning Shield here which can help collect all the rings, but the Flame Shield is by far the most valuable for the boss fight once the bottom of the fall is reached. The player should find the Flame Shield and jump down to fight the boss.

If playing as Knuckles, there is no boss fight. Instead, Knuckles proceeds through a tunnel behind where he would drop the boulder on Sonic and Tails and straight to Hidden Palace Zone.


Main article: Hot Mobile

Hot Mobile

In a similar fashion to the Submarine Eggman boss from Hill Top Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Dr. Robotnik will rise up from the lava. However, his machine is fully protected with spikes. On the center platform, Dr. Robotnik will appear on the right and left sides, rising from the lava. Creating a southwest/southeast current, he'll attempt to make the platforms Sonic/Tails are standing on run into his protected machine, while constantly shooting spiky mines in means to cause problems while the player jumps from platform to platform. Eventually, after enough mines hit his machine, the scientist will be defeated and the lava will cool down, allowing access to Hidden Palace Zone.

In other media

Sonic the Comic

In the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions, the Lava Reef Zone is a Zone set in a volcano on the Floating Island. Sonic and Knuckles passed through here after escaping the Sandopolis Zone.

Archie Comics

Main article: Lava Reef (Archie)

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series published by Archie Comics, Lava Reef Zone was a location that Sonic, Knuckles, and the Chaotix visited when they went to go free Locke from captivity.


  • In both Acts, the Death Egg can be seen between the rocks; in Act 1 it is located at one point of the Act and it appears to be away in the heights, while in Act 2 it is located near the end of Act 2 but it's more close (even more after Sonic fell down).
    • However, the Death Egg is gone when playing as Knuckles.
  • The boss segment in Act 2 is considered the Act 3 of Lava Reef by the fans, due to the whole Act being turned red.
    • Additionally, in the Level Select, the boss segment is listed as "Lava Reef 3".
  • The Lava Reef Zone appears as a part of the Sonic the Hedgehog Adventure World in Lego Dimensions.



Name Artist(s) Length Music Track
Lava Reef Zone (Act 1) Tatsuyuki Maeda, Tomonori Sawada, Sachio Ogawa, Masayuki Nagao, Masanori Hikichi 1:27
Sonic & Knuckles - 09 - Lava Reef Zone Act 1
Lava Reef Zone (Act 2) Masayuki Nagao 1:43
Sonic & Knuckles - 10 - Lava Reef Zone Act 2


Sonic 3 & Knuckles Lava Reef Zone act 1

Sonic 3 & Knuckles Lava Reef Zone act 1

Sonic 3 & Knuckles Lava Reef Zone act 2

Sonic 3 & Knuckles Lava Reef Zone act 2

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