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Sonic Spinball (ソニックスピンボール Sonikku Supinbōru?), also known as Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, is a pinball game released for the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is an 8-bit port of the Sega Mega Drive game Sonic Spinball, and was released for the Sega Master System and Game Gear in 1994.


Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.
Sonic Spinball Title 8-Bit

The title screen of the Sega Game Gear version of Sonic Spinball.

Dr. Eggman has assumed control of a volcanic mountain, where he has built the Volcano Veg-O Fortress for his evil scheme of turning all the creatures on Mobius into robots. Harnessing energy from the molten lava in the volcano to power his fortress, Eggman has imprisoned thousands of Animals in the Veg-O Fortress, whom he plans to turn into robots using his Veg-O Machine. To fortify his fortress, Eggman has also installed a complex pinball system inside the Veg-O fortress.[2]

Eventually, Sonic the Hedgehog and Miles "Tails" Prower try to attack the Veg-O Fortress using an airplane. While Sonic falls off the plane, he manages to make his way into the Toxic Pools, the lowest point of the Veg-O Fortress. From there, he scales the fortress from the inside, collecting the Chaos Emeralds stabilizing the volcanic activity inside the fortress along the way to ensure the Veg-O Fortress's destruction. He also destroys any Badniks along the way, freeing the Animals inside them. Eventually, he arrives in The Machine, where he frees the imprisoned Animals and destroys the Veg-O Machine. With the Veg-O Fortress just about finished, Sonic gets onboard Eggman's escape ship as it takes off with Eggman inside and destroys it. Afterward, Eggman falls back into the Veg-O Fortress as it gets destroyed.


Sonic Spinball 8-bit Toxic Pools Screenshot 1

Pinball gameplay in Sonic Spinball.

Like its 16-bit counterpart, Sonic Spinball is a pinball-themed game where the player must guide Sonic the Hedgehog, who assumes the role of the ball, through several levels. While Sonic is curled into a ball, the player can use Flippers to launch him up and/or across the respective levels. When Sonic is not curled into a ball, his moveset resembles that from the main titles in the Sonic games; in addition to being able to walk around on the floors of the pinball table-based levels, Sonic can also jump, crouch, and perform the Super Spin Dash.

Throughout the game, the player's objective is to collect Chaos Emeralds, which are hidden around the levels. Each level has a different amount of Emeralds to collect. Their collection is obligatory, as collecting them all lets the player fight the boss of the level and progress with the game. Each Emerald is required to be collected in different ways though.

Sonic Spinball makes use of a variety of Item Boxes, with there being three different types: the extra life, the Continue, and a secret, unnamed Item Box type that contain hints to secret codes that can be used in the game.

Like other Sonic games, Sonic Spinball features a life system. As the player cannot take conventional damage throughout the game; Sonic can only die if he falls off a level's pinball table. Lives can be earned from the extra life Item Boxes. If Sonic dies, the player can resume gameplay at the cost of a life. Losing all lives will result in a Game Over. However, the player will be able to keep playing if they use a Continue.


Button formation Movement
Sonic Pinball
Controlpadds left/right Move
Controlpadds up Look up N/A
Controlpadds down Look down/Crouch
Controlpadds down + Game Gear I Button/Game Gear II Button Super Spin Dash
Game Gear I Button/Game Gear II Button Jump Tilt left/right flippers



Gimmicks and obstacles[]


Playable characters[]

Non-playable characters[]



  1. Toxic Pools boss
  2. Roboiler
  3. Veg-O-Machine
  4. Final Showdown boss


Sonic Spinball consists of four levels, in which the player must find a certain number of Chaos Emeralds in order to advance. Doing so will allow the player to enter a boss room where they will fight the boss of that level. The levels in order are:

  • Toxic Pools: A stinky cavern full of toxic sludge and mine carts where Dr. Eggman dumps all his industrial waste. There are three Chaos Emeralds to collect here.
  • Lava Powerhouse: A power station of sorts that uses magma and steam energy to run various machines. There are three Chaos Emeralds here.
  • The Machine: A high-tech level where Animals are turned into Badniks. There are five Chaos Emeralds to find here.
  • Final Showdown: A rocket ship that Dr. Eggman tries to escape in. There are five Chaos Emeralds here.

Bonus Stages[]


Sonic in a Bonus Stage.

In-between levels, the player has the opportunity to score points and Continues in a Bonus Stage. Here, Sonic is dropped into a giant birdcage/fish tank, complete with Rings, bumpers, treasure boxes, and mechanical birds/fish. The objective in these stages is to collect as much loot as possible within the time limit. Spin into a treasure box three times to open it and earn different loot. Also, collecting at least half of the Rings in the cage lets the player proceed to an adjoining cage. Each Bonus Stage consists of three cages, but if the player fails to make it to the exit within the time limit, they do not get to keep any of their loot.

Other modes[]


Options is the setting menu for Sonic Spinball which contains the following prompts:

  • Control: Select which button is needed to tilt the Flippers, featuring to different presets:
    • Type 1: Game Gear I Button controls the left Flippers and Game Gear I Button controls the right ones.
    • Type 2: Pressing Controlpadds down controls the left Flipper, Game Gear II Button controls the right ones, and Game Gear I Button controls both of them at the same time.
  • Difficulty: Change the difficulty level from "Easy" to "Normal". "Easy" will reduce the number of drop targets the player needs to hit.
  • Continues: Selects how many Continues the player will get at the start of the game.
  • Sound FX: Play several in-game sounds.
  • Music: Turns the game's music ON and OFF. It also allows the player to listen to several tracks featured in the game.



Review scores
Publication Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly 4.25/10 (GG)[3]
Mean Machines Sega 90% (GG)[4]
Sega Power 82% (GG)[5]
Sega Pro 59% (SMS)[6]
60% (GG)[7]
Super GamePower 3.2/5 (SMS)[8]


Image Game Platform Description
Sonic 2 in 1 Game Gear Sonic 2 in 1 Sega Game Gear Released in a compilation with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) in 1995.
Sonic adventure dx Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut Nintendo GameCube
Featured as an unlockable mini-game in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut in 2003. To unlock it, the player must collect 80 Emblems.
SonicAdventure2-Pack US Cover Sonic Adventure 2-Pack Nintendo GameCube Featured as an unlockable mini-game in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.
Gc sonic gems collection p o5pa9w Sonic Gems Collection Nintendo GameCube
PlayStation 2
Released in a compilation with several other Sonic games in 2005.
SonicChaosSpinballBox Sonic the Hedgehog Plug-and-play console Released by Techno Source in a compilation with Sonic Chaos in 2005.
SonicPCCollection Sonic PC Collection PC Featured as an unlockable mini-game in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut in 2009.
FunPlay 20-in-1 Plug and Play console Released in a compilation with several other games in 2009.
Sonic Origins Plus Sonic Origins Plus PlayStation 4Xbox OneNintendo SwitchXbox Series X/SPlayStation 5PC (Steam, Epic Games Store) The Game Gear version was added to this re-release of Sonic Origins, which released on June 23, 2023.


  • The game's artwork shows Dr. Ivo Robotnik from the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog television series. Similarly, the doctor's in-game sprite during the final battle also resembles his latter depiction. Although, the doctor exclusively wears a bodysuit and gauntlets that appears to be slightly based off the ones from his said design in the 16-bit version of the game, the latter depicts his head for the character that is more similar to his regular main series design in both the cover and game.
    • The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog design was likely used as it was the same design used in the official series stylebook at the time.
  • This game and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine are the only Sega Mega Drive games that have an actual counterpart on the Sega Game Gear and Sega Master System consoles.
  • The total Chaos Emerald count in Sonic Spinball is sixteen, as opposed to the standard set of seven, and they are all blue-colored.
  • This was the final Sonic title released for the Sega Master System.
    • However, in Brazil a port of Sonic Blast was later released for that console as well.

See also[]


  1. "Game Gear Review: Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball". Mean Machines Sega (EMAP) (24): 90. August 1994.
  2. Sonic Spinball (Sega Game Gear) United States instruction booklet, pg. 3.
  3. "Review Crew: Sonic Spinball". Electronic Gaming Monthly (61): 36. August 1994. Archived from the original.
  4. "Game Gear Review: Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball". Mean Machines Sega (24): 90-91. October 1994. Archived from the original.
  5. Crook, Simon (September 1994). "Sonic Spinball". Sega Power (58): 64. Archived from the original.
  6. Hill, Mark (February 1995). "Review: Sonic Spinball". Sega Pro (41): 48. Archived from the original.
  7. Hill, Mark (September 1994). "Review: Sonic Spinball". Sega Pro (36): 50-51. Archived from the original.
  8. Bros, Marjorie (May 1995). "Master: Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball". Super GamePower (14): 47. Archived from the original.
Sonic Spinball (8-bit)

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