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A regular loop in Green Hill, from the console/PC version of Sonic Generations.

A 360 degree loop! That's my favorite!

Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Comic[1]

The loop[2][3][4][5][6] (ループ[7][8][9] Rūpu?), also known as the giant loop[10] or loop-de-loop,[11] is a common gameplay element from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Seen in numerous places around the world of Sonic the Hedgehog, loops are large landforms of unknown origin in the Zone's scenery, that have a loop-de-loop which the playable character can run through as a part of the path. They are also found in numerous different versions crafted out of landscapes, though there are also loops in industrial, futuristic, or urban-themed levels.

Loops were introduced in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Besides having appeared in the games on countless occasions, loops have also made numerous appearances in other media.



Concept artwork from the early development of Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit) showing the functionality of a loop.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog series, loops are seen in almost every platform title and even in some spin-off games. While not every level of each game has loops, they are seen to be one of the most common elements in the series. The earlier games for the Sega Mega Drive featured a more developed game engine with momentum-based physics than any video game before.

In order to pass through a loop, a player must move at sufficient speeds in order to remain in contact with the surface of the loop, and will then exit on the other side. If a playable character is not moving fast enough, the playable character will fall down out of the loop, or not be able to scale the slopes. When moving through a loop, the player is able to either run or roll, if moving fast enough, through it. Also, similar to the real-life phenomenon of moving downhills, the loop can give the playable character more momentum should the player perform a Spin Attack while moving through the loop-de-loop. Numerous loops can also be differently formed with longer loop-de-loops, which requires more momentum on the player's behalf to be gained before the player can get through it.

Son1 02

Sonic running through a loop, from Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit). Note the group of Rings and extra life monitor above it.

Most of the time, loops have a certain amount of Rings set up in line on their loop-de-loops, which the player can collect by moving through them. loops have flat platforms above the loop-de-loop that the player can stand on. On such platforms, there can usually be found a huge amount of Rings, Item Boxes with different power-ups or objects to be used, and even alternate pathways that the player can access. Because the player cannot reach the flat tops of the loops by jumping, there are always moving platforms nearby the loops that can take the player to the top of them. In numerous games, however, the loops do not have platforms above it to move on or are part of the ceiling of the level. Also, in a few games, alternate pathways can go sideways or through the hole of loop-de-loops.


An example of the loop's start, from Sonic Adventure. Dash Panels guide the player automatically through the loop.

In later games, especially 3D games, there can usually be found a Dash Panel just before a loop begins, eliminating the need for the player to gain momentum before entering a loop. Because of this, backtracking in the levels of the 3D games can be hard, if not impossible. Games such as Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood have automatic sections of the loops where the playable character goes through them to another section of the level without the player having to control the character. In Sonic Runners, the playable character has to automatically perform a Spin Attack in order to pass through loops to collect Rings, or the player moves past it instead.

List of loop types[]

Image Title Level examples Description
GHZ 16 Loop Regular loop The most basic type of loop that is located on flat terrain and has a platform directly above it with items, enemies, or other objects set there. It can also be seen between the ground and the ceiling, in which case it will not have a platform above it. They are easy to go through while backtracking in the level. In Egg Utopia in Sonic Advance 2, the player can go through these loops while gravity is reversed.
SLZ Loop Downward guiding loop Another basic type of loop, downward guiding loops will guide the player directly down to a lower part of the level, but will sometimes have a small ramp at the end to further direct the player. Similarly to regular loops, they can have platforms directly above them but are most often found in between the ground and a ceiling. These are difficult to backtrack through, as the player must build up a great amount of speed before doing so. The downward guiding loops in Marble Garden Zone lead to corkscrew poles that deposit Sonic on either the left or right of it. The player can jump off during this sequence to end up on a preferred side.
EHZ Loop Downhill loop These loops are found on downward facing hills, which can give a large amount of speed if the player rolls into a ball while going through them. Like previously mentioned loops, they may have platforms placed directly above them. While they are not as hard to backtrack through as downward guiding loops, the player still has to build up speed before attempting to do so.
ARZ Loop Tall loop These larger loops have alternate pathways going through the hole of the loop itself. The player may be unable to get through these loops normally, but if they are launched by a Spring or Dash Panel beforehand, they will be able easily move through one. Depending on the game, it can be impossible to backtrack through these loops.
CNZ Loop Automatic pinball loop These loops are similar to downhill loops, except that they are found only in casino zones, and the player automatically moves through of them after being launched by Pinball Shooter. If the player does not have enough momentum, the playable character will roll back down to the Pinball Shooter and must try to get through it again.
HTZ Loop Down tunnel leading loop They are mostly similar to downward guiding loops, which only lead to tunnels below the loop. In Hill Top Zone and IceCap Zone, these tunnels are blocked with breakable blocks, which the player has to destroy by performing Spin Attack on the loop. After entering to the tunnel, it will soon lead to another place on the level.
PP Loop 1 Tunnel loop Loops have also been placed in underground tunnels or high-speed warp tubes in certain games. These sections are automatic, as the player is unable to control their character when going through them. In Sonic Advance 2, large and long horn instruments are seen making a loop which the player can go through. It is impossible to backtrack through these loops in any game.
PP Loop 2 Deadlock loop Palmtree Panic
(Sonic the Hedgehog CD)
These are a very rare types of loops, being only seen in Sonic the Hedgehog CD. They send the player back in the direction they came from. They are seen to have a small platform above part of the loop-de-loop, while the bottom part has a block in the center with springs usually being set to lead out of it.
AIZ Loop Crossing loop Angel Island Zone
(Sonic the Hedgehog 3)
Only seen in Angel Island Zone Act 1, where one of the downhill loops crosses two pathways together. The upper one goes downhill as normal, while the lower one comes from the bottom pathway and leads to the upper loop.
ICZ Loop Bottom corner loop In IceCap Zone Act 2, these types are usually on the bottom of downward guiding loops and are oppositely positioned to walls. The player can gain a large amount of speed by rolling while going through this loop. It is impossible to backtrack through these loops.
LBZ Loop Underground launcher loop If the player enters the right pipe, a launcher will automatically boost the player through the loop and shoot them upwards, where another launcher loop may be. While they are shown to be mechanized in Launch Base Zone, they are not in Neo Green Hill Zone. Jumping to the upper pipe will fire the player backwards.
MHZ Loop Tubular loop These loops are similar to many other loops. The only difference is that, while they aren't part of ceilings, they don't have any platform above them which the player is able to walk across. In Mushroom Hill Zone, some of them can lead to falling (such as in the picture on left). In 3D games, these types have been frequently used.
FBZ Loop Upward guiding loop Another general type of loop, which is similar to a downward guiding loop. However, these are usually located on an upper part of the level, and the player must use a Dash Panel or Spring in order to get enough momentum to travel through them. They are easier to backtrack through than some of the other loop variations.
SPZ Loop Multi-spinning loop Another type of loop, in which when the player enters the loop-de-loop, it will make the playable character automatically run through the loop two or more times, until the loop ends.
Sk-dez-objectsimg13 Ring shooter loop After being launched by a Ring Shooter, it can sometimes send the playable character(s) through several mid-air loops, while guiding the player to the other side of the level.
LFZ Loop Giant loop One type first seen in Sonic Advance 2. Giant loops are very similar to other kinds of loops, although the player needs to have huge amount of speed to get through these. In Leaf Forest Act 2, there's a giant loop that has large hole on the top of it. Some giant loops may have platforms on top of them, and they are frequently seen in 3D games.
Three Way Loop Giant three-way loop One of the frequently seen types featured in Sonic Heroes. It is a basic giant loop that is separated to three different ones side by side. Each of the three members on the playable team can use these to get power-ups from item boxes on each loop. In Sonic Generations, they lead to three different pathways, which the player can choose.
R99 Loop Inverse loop Route 99
(Sonic Advance 3)
These types of loops are not usually seen, as they are set below the ground. The player has to gain a large amount of speed to swing the playable character around them. They are sometimes set dangerously over bottomless pits.
Vine rail loop Rail loop These are made out of different grind rails. The player can go through them easily by using Dash Panels set before the loops.
SonicRushBlazeScreenshotSquareShuttleLoop Long loop Night Carnival
(Sonic Rush)
These types of loops are similar to regular ones, but take slightly longer to go through. The player must have gained a certain amount of speed to get through these.
Sand loop Disintegrating loop Mirage Saloon
(Sonic Mania)
These loops are made of sand. They function much like normal loops until the player runs through one, at which point it will evaporate.


  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), some loops allow the playable characters in the game to walk through them without needing to use them and some can allow them to stand upside down at the top of, loops without falling. This is because loops are designated with guide splines that allow for smooth movement when used correctly. A loop without a guide spline set will make the loop not function properly, allowing the former result, while a loop's guide spline magnetizes a player to it, allowing for the latter result.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a loop can be seen in the background of arena Green Hill Zone with Tails, Knuckles and Silver being seen running through it constantly.
  • In some of the 2D side-scrolling Sonic games, as the character runs through a loop, if the player inputs the character to jump while in the middle, the character will actually accelerate.

See also[]


  1. "Sonic the Hedgehog in... Sonic's Favorite Course". Sonic the Hedgehog: Hero Edition. Tomy. 2017.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2: Sega's Official Player's Guide. Compute; Expanded edition. 1993. p. 75. ISBN 1-55958-335-5.
  3. Sonic R (Sega Saturn) United States instruction booklet, pg. 15.
  4. Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. 17 June 2003. p. 16. ISBN 978-0761542865.
  5. Sonic Advance 2: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. 11 March 2003. p. 20. ISBN 978-0761540083.
  6. Hardlight (7 March 2013). Sonic Dash. iOS. Sega. "Missions: Visit a loop or corkscrew 3 times"
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 30.
  8. (in Japanese) ソニックジャム オフィシャルガイド. SoftBank. 2 October 1997. p. 18. ISBN 978-4797303377.
  9. (in Japanese) ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ2 メガドライブ公式ガイドブック. SoftBank. 16 March 1999. p. 30. ISBN 978-4797308624.
  10. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 7.
  11. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 12.