The Thunder Shield (サンダーバリア Sandā Baria?, lit. "Thunder Barrier"), also known as Lightning Shield and Magnetic Shield (磁力バリア Jiryoku Baria?, lit. "Magnetic Barrier"), is one of the shield variants in the Sonic the Hedgehog series that the player is able to pick up by breaking an Item Box with a lightning bolt or blue shield symbol on it. Like every shield, the player then becomes surrounded by a large bubble when obtaining it, with the Lightning Shield having electrical effects. The most known effect of the Lightning Shield is to attract Rings that are close to the player like a magnetic force. In some games, the player is able to do double jump and even reject all electrical obstacles and energy projectiles that enemies are shooting at the player. Like the traditional shield, it can also absorb one hit without the player losing Rings or a life when touching enemies or obstacles.

The Thunder Shield was first introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, as well as its locked-on form, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. Since then, the Thunder Shield has become one of the most recurring shield power-ups in the series. The functionality of the Thunder Shield has been varied only in a few games.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

Electric Shield Thumb.png

The Thunder Shield made its first appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, its add-on continuation Sonic & Knuckles and locked-on version Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles under the name Lightning Shield. The Lightning Shield is found in white Monitors with a white lightning bolt symbol on it. After breaking the monitor, a huge electrified shield surrounds the player with a rotating effect on it. It has multiple features and it can be found in most of the Zones in both games. It can be also obtained from Bonus Stages, where it is found in golden gumballs with a B-letter on them.

In this game, the Lightning Shield absorbs one hit against enemies and obstacles, and magnetically attract Rings nearby in the Zone until they catch the fast moving player. However, if the player loses the Shield while Rings are attracted to the player, thus causing the Thunder Shield to vanish, the Rings will stop following the player and bounce everywhere and disappear after a while. However, the player can easily touch and run past Electric Generators in Flying Battery Zone and Death Egg Zone without harm with the Lightning Shield on. Exclusively, if the player is playing as Sonic the Hedgehog, by pressing A Button (Sega Genesis).svg, B Button (Sega Genesis).svg or C Button (Sega Genesis).svg during a Spin Jump, the player will perform a Double Jump. The Lightning Shield can also hold up against most electrical based attacks but not against the lightning bolts that discharge from the electrical generators in Death Egg Zone. 

Like the Flame Shield, the player will lose the Lightning Shield after touching water. When this happens, the water will flash for a split second, representing the electricity from the shield being dispersed in the water. This will also have the effect of destroying all underwater Badniks on the screen. Strangely, the shield is not lost when the player's character skims across the surface of the water in the Hydrocity Zone.

Sonic R

The Thunder Shield's (called Thunder in the Japanese version of the game) next appearance was in Sonic R, where it was yellow in color. It can be found on Item Panels on the tracks with yellow orbs on them. After obtaining a Thunder Shield, it will accumulate all Rings near the player. However, if the player falls into the water while having the Thunder Shield equipped, he/she will lose it.

Sonic R is the first game, where the Thunder Shield does not allow the player to double jump as Sonic, who is able to perform it in the game without needing the Lightning Shield.

Sonic Adventure series

Lightning Shield Adventure 2.png

A Magnetic Shield in Sonic Adventure 2.

The Thunder Shield (renamed Magnetic Shield) later appeared in both Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, and their enhanced versions, Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, as one of many Item Box power-ups. In this game, the Magnetic Shield can be found in item boxes that have a blue electrical orb symbol on them. When obtaining a Magnetic Shield, it creates a plasma ball effect around the player.

In these games, the Magnetic Shield does not grant a double jump to any playable character while having it. However, like in previous games, it can attract nearby Rings by default and like a normal shield, it absorbs one hit after the player touches any harmful obstacles or enemies. In Sonic Adventure 2, if the player runs through the Point Marker with at least 90 Rings in hand, it automatically gives either a normal Shield if the player has no shields, or a Magnetic Shield if either shield type is already equipped.

In story mode, there are certain times where only Light Speed Dash can proceed. Equipping the Magnetic Shield can prevent the player from progressing the stage.

Sonic Advance series

The Thunder Shield (again referred to as the Magnetic Barrier) is featured in all three Sonic Advance titles. In these games, it can be obtained from item boxes that have a dark blue orb symbol on them. The appearance and effects of the Magnetic Barrier are the same as the ones presented in the Sonic Adventure games, meaning it can attract Rings nearby the player and absorb one hit when the player takes damage. However, it does not allow any of the playable characters in any of the three games to perform a double jump.

Shadow the Hedgehog


The Magnetic Barrier later appears, along with Heat Barrier and a normal dark green Barrier in Shadow the Hedgehog, where it can be acquired as a power-up from breakable Containers or once again activated by breaking an Item Box with a dark blue orb symbol. It functions similarly to the Sonic Adventure games by attracting Rings to Shadow and disappears when the player gets hit once or falls into a Bottomless pit.

Unlike Sonic Adventures 2, where the Thunder Shield can prevent players from progressing in maps where Light Speed Dash is needed to be performed, Shadow the Hedgehog maps leave behind silhouettes that allow Light Speed Dash to be used on them whenever it is required to proceed in a map.

Sonic Rush series

The Magnetic Barrier also made an appearance in both Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure. In these games, the Magnetic Barrier's effects, appearance and means of obtaining it are almost identical to those seen in the Sonic Advance series.

Sonic Riders series

The Magnetic Barrier has also made appearances in Sonic Riders, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic Free Riders, either as one of power-ups found inside the item boxes, the effect granted by a Gear Part, or both.

In Sonic Riders and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, the Magnetic Barrier can randomly be obtained from one of the item boxes on the courses. When obtaining a Magnetic Barrier from an item box, it forms a temporary shield around the player that attracts nearby Rings.

In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, a Gear Part named "Magnetic Barrier" that is used exclusively for The Crazy and the Chaos Emerald allows the player to obtain a permanent Magnetic Barrier for the duration of the race. To activate this Gear Part, the player has to have collected a certain amount of Rings beforehand. In Sonic Free Riders, a Gear Part that can be equipped named Ring Eater grants its user the identical abilities of the Magnetic Barrier seen in the previous Sonic Riders title.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Main article: Thunder Guard

The Thunder Guard activated in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the Thunder Shield appeared in the form of an custom move for Sonic called the Thunder Guard. This ability can be activated using the Yellow Gem. When activated, it attracts nearby Rings and can absorb one hit when the player takes damage. While it disappears after taking one hit, the Thunder Guard can be created again by using the Yellow Gem once more.

Sonic Colors

The Thunder Shield made another appearance in the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors where they can be found inside item boxes. In this game, the Thunder Shield's effects, appearance and means of obtaining it are identical to those in the Sonic Advance series and the Sonic Rush series.

Sonic Generations

In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, the Lightning Shield is both an equipable Skill for Classic Sonic which grants one Thunder Shield once each Act, and an Item Box power-up. In this game, the Lightning Shield retains the effects it had in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, except that it will not disappear when Classic Sonic goes underwater.

The Item Boxes with the Thunder Shield appear exclusively in the Challenge Acts "Thunder Shield Challenge" and "With Your Powers Combined" where the player has use it to clear the Acts. The Skill for the Thunder Shield can be bought from the Skill Shop for 4,000 Shop Points after clearing the "Thunder Shield Challenge" and costs 70 Skill Points to be equipped. To activate the Skill in gameplay, the player has to press XboxY.png/PSTriangleButton.png.

In the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, the Thunder Shield's effects are the same as in the Sonic Advance series and Sonic Rush series. It can only be found in Emerald Coast Act 1. However, it can also be obtained as an extra skill after playing Versus Mode online.

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

The Thunder Shield appears in the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. To obtain it, the player must access the Level Select and in the "Items" category, they must switch to either "S1+S3" or "S2+S3". Some of the original Shield Monitors will then be replaced by the Thunder Shield. It also appears as one of the objects that can be placed freely in Debug Mode. Its functionality remains identical to that in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.

Sonic Dash

Sonic Lost World

The Thunder Shield made an appearance in both versions of Sonic Lost World. In this game, it is referred to as the Thunder Shield.[1] In the Wii U version, along with other power-ups and items, the Thunder Shield is also an obtainable power-up from the Miiverse, where players can share power-ups and items to each other via Miiverse.[2] It has a dark yellow thunder bolt symbol and after getting the power-up, it creates a yellow orb with small lightning-like effects around it.

In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, it can be regularly found from Item Boxes with a yellow electrical orb symbol on them. In addition, the player can also make Thunder Shields in Tails' Lab using sixteen Green Materials and sixteen Yellow Materials. Once made, these handmade Thunder Shields will be stored away for the player to use later in the Zones. During these Zones, the player can look up the Item Bag and select the Thunder Shield to instantly bestow it onto the playable character. Like in Sonic Advance series and the Sonic Rush games, it creates a blue electric shield around and attracts Rings nearby.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2013)

The Thunder Shield appears in the 2013 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 where its purpose is near-identical to that in the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. To enable the Thunder Shield in gameplay, the player must first open the Game Config menu in the Level Select. In the Items category, the player must either highlight the second (the icon displaying the Shield with the three elemental shields) or fourth option (icon displaying Random with the three elemental shields) before starting a stage.

Sonic Mania


The Thunder Shield returns in Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus. It functions much the same as it does in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, like drawing in Rings and enabling Sonic to perform a Double Jump when it is equipped. When the shield is equipped, the magnetic ceilings in Flying Battery Zone will attract the character and allow them to walk inverted as long as the magnetism is active, which opens up new routes through the Zone. It will disperse in water, but it no longer has the electrocution effect on underwater Badniks.


  • Sonic is the only playable character who has been able to perform the double jump with the Thunder Shield, and he only needs the shield to do it in two games. It has since become its own ability, which Sonic has been able to do in Sonic R and the Wii version of Sonic Colors.
  • The sound effect used for acquiring a Thunder Shield in Sonic Generations is instead "Sound #40" from Sonic 3 & Knuckles which, interestingly, is right before the original sound effect being used in Sonic 3 & Knuckles for the Lightning Shield (which is Sound #41).
  • In Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, using the Boost attracts Rings near Sonic similarly to the Thunder Shield, which makes it easier to collect them at high speed, although in Sonic Generations the Ring pull is considerably weaker.







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