This article is for shield introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. For the shield introduced in Sonic Adventure, see Magnetic Shield.

The Thunder Shield (サンダーバリア Sandā Baria?, lit. "Thunder Barrier"), also known as Lightning Shield, 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 Thunder Shield is to attract Rings that are close to the player like a magnetic force. In some games, the player is able to perform the 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. From Sonic Adventure onward the Thunder Shield was largely replaced by the similar Magnetic Shield, before returning in the console/PC version of Sonic Generations. The functionality of the Thunder Shield has 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 (Thunder Barrier in Japan). 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, 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 Lightning Shield (called Thunder in the Japanese version of the game) next appeared 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. It can only be obtained by Sonic, Tails and Knuckles the Echidna.

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 Generations

In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, the Thunder Shield (called Thunder Barrier in Japan) 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.

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 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 was also an obtainable power-up from the (now defunct) Miiverse, where players could 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. 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, where it is once again called the Lightning Shield (Thunder Barrier in Japan). 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 is able to perform the double jump with the Thunder Shield. The double jump has since become its own ability, which Sonic is been able to perform 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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