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Sonic Spinball is a pinball game released for the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is an 8-bit port of the original Sega Mega Drive game, Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, and was released for the Sega Master System and Game Gear in 1994.

Plot

Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.

The title screen of the Sega Master System version of Sonic Spinball.

Dr. Robotnik 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, Robotnik 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, Robotnik 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 Robotnik's escape ship as it takes off with Robotnik inside and destroys it. Afterward, Robotnik falls back into the Veg-O Fortress as it gets destroyed.

Gameplay

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.

Controls

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

Objects

Items

Gimmicks and obstacles

Characters

Playable characters

Non-playable characters

Enemies

Bosses

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

Levels

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. Robotnik 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. Robotnik 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

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.png controls the left Flippers and Game Gear I Button.png controls the right ones.
    • Type 2: Pressing Controlpadds.png down controls the left Flipper, Game Gear II Button.png controls the right ones, and Game Gear I Button.png 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.

Development

Reception

 Reception
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]


Re-releases

Image Game Platform Description
Sonic 2 in 1 Game Gear.jpg Sonic 2 in 1 Sega Game Gear Released in a compilation with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) in 1995.
Sonic adventure dx.jpg Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut Nintendo GameCube
PC
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.jpg 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.jpg Sonic Gems Collection Nintendo GameCube
PlayStation 2
Released in a compilation with several other Sonic games in 2005.
SonicChaosSpinballBox.jpg Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos & Spinball Techno Source Plug and play console Released in a compilation with Sonic Chaos in 2005.
SonicPCCollection.jpg 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.

Trivia

  • The game's artwork on both the Sega Game Gear and Master System versions show Dr. Ivo Robotnik from the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog television series. Similarly, Robotnik's in-game sprite during the final battle also resembles his depiction in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. This is unlike the Sega Mega Drive version of the game, which used a design for Dr. Robotnik that is similar to his regular main series design in both the cover and game.
  • 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.
    • They are also the only two games to use the term "Mobius" worldwide; the Japanese version of the storyline even mentions that Dr. Eggman already conquered the planet, putting Sonic and Tails in a "Freedom Fighter" role similar to that of early Western depictions.
  • 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.

References

  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 the Hedgehog spin-off games
Sonic the Hedgehog handheld games
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