The Spinning Wheel (ドラム doramu?, lit. "drum"), also known as the trampoline type floating island (トランポリン型浮島 toranporin-gata ukishima?), is a gimmick that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a type of cylinder-shaped barrel that is normally found floating in midair and can sometimes be used to progress with the Zones.
Spinning Wheel are found in amusement-themed stages. Its general appearance seem to be based on real-life circus barrels used by clowns or trapeze performers. The Spinning Wheel functions differently depending the game, though the common feature is to stand on it and being capable of moving it.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and the lock-on game Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Spinning Wheels are the main gimmicks of Carnival Night Zone. In this game, they are red barrels with rows of white diamond shapes on them and generally float in midair. While the player stands on them, the playable character will rotate with them. There are two types of these gimmicks. The first type works as moving blocks. Like the rotating pillars in Hydrocity Zone, they can move in all four cardinal directions, sometimes in square formations. However they can as well crush the playable characters if the player get stuck between them and an incoming surface.
Another type of the Spinning Wheel works as a stationary platform until the player interacts with it. By jumping on it and then pressing up and down on , the player can make this Spinning Wheel swing up and down. Depending on how long the player moves the Spinning Wheel, its swinging area will increase and when the playable character gets off it, the Spinning Wheel will steadily return to its original position. There are also sections in the Zone where the player has to move these Spinning Wheels to reach pathways above or below them.
In Sonic Advance, yellow Spinning Wheels with a blue background and yellow stars on them are found in Casino Paradise Zone. They are not common gimmicks and remain stationary. When the player stands on it, the Spinning Wheel moves only slightly. However, the player can make it launch them up a little bit by pressing up and down on , like in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- In Shadow the Hedgehog, there are floating barrels in Circus Park that are almost identical to Spinning Wheels from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Despite their appearance, they function as normal tubular platforms without any features.
- Near the end of Carnival Night Zone Act 2, the player comes to the room with a single Spinning Wheel placed in a shaft. Instruction booklets and the game itself do not give any hints to the Spinning Wheel's functionality, giving the players a hard time understanding how it works. Because of this, this Spinning Wheel has received the nickname "Barrel of Doom" from the fan community. A fan question related to the Spinning Wheel was presented to the game's senior level designer Takashi Iizuka at the Summer of Sonic event in 2011. Iizuka mentioned it was an idea from Hirokazu Yasuhara, the lead game designer. After giving this statement, Yuji Naka commented his understatement for many players finding it hard to understand the Spinning Wheel's functionality and gave his official apology for including it in the game.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Knuckles skips this section completely by using his lower pathway to reach the end of the Zone. Also, by choosing the easy mode for either standalone Sonic the Hedgehog 3 or lock-on game in Sonic Jam, removes the Spinning Wheel in the shaft room entirely.
- The Official Sonic 3 Play Guide is notable for being the only strategy guide from the 90s that specifically mentions the shaft room and the functionality of the Spinning Wheel.
- The fan community's dislike of the Spinning Wheel was referenced in Sonic Universe #67 where E-123 Omega blew up said Spinning Wheel while passing through the Carnival Night Zone.
- In LEGO Dimensions, the Spinning Wheel appears several times and its infamy in the fanbase is referenced on several occasions. Omochao even refers to it as the "Barrel of Doom" in the Sonic the Hedgehog Adventure World.
- An official mug based on the Spinning Wheel was revealed during the official Sonic panel at SXSW 2019. It was soon available to purchase from the Sega Shop.
- Hill, Simon (June 1994). "Carnival Night: Act Two". The Official Sonic 3 Play Guide. Titan Books. pp. 64-65. ISBN 978-1852865672. "Past the Bouncers you get into a long springy room–having been knocked senseless, you eventually exit at the other end. If you can, walk down the steps and underneath a Spinning Wheel. Walking right a little further you come across a Spinning Wheel level with the ground and, as you approach it, a shutter slams down to block you way back. Step onto the platform and gain height (using the pushing-up-and-down method). You need to make a gap between your platform and the ground big enough to get Sonic through to collect the Shield Power Up."
- (in Japanese) ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ３ 公式ガイドブック. Shogakukan. 1 July 1994. p. 16. ISBN 978-4091024794.
- "ギミック紹介" (in Japanese). ソニックアドバンス必勝パーフェクトガイド. Aspect. 8 February 2002. p. 26. ISBN 978-4757209145.
- Summer of Sonic 2011: Sonic Team on Stage. The Sonic Stadium (18 July 2011). Retrieved on 20 November 2015.