- For the 16-bit version of this game, see Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball.
Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, also known as Sonic Spinball, is an 8-bit port of the original Sega Mega Drive game Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, released for the Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear in 1994.
Dr. Robotnik has assumed control of Mt. Mobius on Planet Mobius and turned it into a mechanical base. Utilizing energy produced by the magma flowing under the volcano, this new monstrosity base (the Veg-O-Fortress) has the power to transform helpless animals into robot slaves at an astounding rate. Sonic the Hedgehog and Miles "Tails" Prower fly onto the scene to mount an aerial assault, but Sonic is knocked off the wings of Tails' airplane by a blast from the fortress. He falls into the water, but is rescued and taken to the subterranean levels of the Veg-O-Fortress. The fortress must be destroyed from the inside-out, and the only way to make that happen is to trigger an eruption in the volcano it's built on. Sonic knows this can be done by removing the Chaos Emeralds that keep the volcano stable. Dr. Robotnik, however, is also aware of the fragile relationship that exists between the Emeralds and the mountain, and he has established an elaborate Pinball Defense System to make sure the precious jewels don't go anywhere.
The general objectives of this pinball game remains the same as the 16-bit version of the game as obstacles still need to be cleared, Chaos Emeralds must be collected, and bosses must be defeated. Enemies are the same as they do on the 16-bit version and the theme of the levels are also remains the same.
Although all the levels in this game carry the same theme as the 16-bit version of the game, the layout of the levels and the graphics are different. Due to the different level layout there are several more opportunities to travel on foot. The pace is also slower and causes the game to had a floaty physics. The bonus stages also different as they have the same objective level to level, and do not change to a first person perspective. There are also hidden rooms which contains cheat code bearing monitors, which when broken, will display a cheat code.
It is also possible to win a free ball after getting a Game Over. This can be done by stopping the on screen spinning roulette wheel that appears and matching four numbers with the last four numbers in the current score. If the four numbers are matched successfully, a free ball will be achieved.
- Toxic Pools: Sonic is flushed into a stinky cavern full of toxic sludge and mine carts, which just so happens to be the place where Robotnik dumps all of the industrial waste. There are three Chaos Emeralds to collect here that must be obtained by hitting multiple switches. Aside from a different level layout, this level is similar to Toxic Caves in the 16-bit version of the game.
- Lava Powerhouse: Sonic ascends to the next level, a power station of sorts that uses magma and steam energy to run various machines. There are three emeralds here. Aside from a different level layout, this level is similar with its 16-bit version.
- The Machine: There are five emeralds here in this high-tech level. Sonic can also find a giant-sized animal prison in the very middle of this zone. Aside from a different level layout, this level is similar with its 16-bit version.
- Final Showdown: Sonic has to find five emeralds and reach the top of the Launch site to defeat Dr. Robotnik before he manages to escape.
In-between levels, the player gets the opportunity to score points and continues in a Bonus Stage. Sonic gets dropped into a giant birdcage (or fish tank), complete with Rings, bumpers, treasure boxes, and mechanical birds (or fish). The objective is to collect as much loot as possible within the time limit. Spin into a treasure box three times to pop it open and earn different loots. Collect at least half of the Rings in the cage to proceed to an adjoining cage. Each round 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.
|Sega Game Gear||Released in a compilation with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as part of the Sonic 2 in 1 package in Europe in 1995.|
|Nintendo GameCube, PC||Featured as an unlockable mini-game in the 2003 video game, Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut. To unlock it, the player must collect 80 Emblems.|
|Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2||Released in a compilation with several other games as a part of the Sonic Gems Collection compilation in 2005.|
|Techno Source Plug and play console||Released in a compilation with Sonic Chaos as part of the Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos & Spinball package in 2005.|
|PC||Featured as an unlockable mini-game in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, which was included in the Sonic PC Collection package that was released in 2009. To unlock it, the player must collect 80 Emblem.|
|Plug and Play console||Released in a compilation with several other games as a part of the FunPlay 20-in-1 compilation in 2009.|
- The game's artwork on both Game Gear and Master System version shows Dr. Robotnik from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Unlike the Genesis version, which used a design similar to the games, Robotnik's in game sprite also resembled his depiction in the cartoon.
- This game and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine are the only Sega Genesis games that have an actual counterpart on the Game Gear and Master System.
- 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.
- This was the final Sonic title released for the Sega Master System, excluding Brazil, which had a SMS port of Sonic Blast as well.