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Sonic News Network
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An S-shaped tunnel in Green Hill Zone, from Sonic the Hedgehog (1991).

Tunnels,[1][2] also referred to as S-tunnels,[3] S-shaped tunnels (S字型のトンネル[4] S jikei no ton'neru?), S pipes[5] (S字パイプ[6] S ji paipu?, lit. "S-shaped pipe") or just tubes,[7] are gameplay elements in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They are tight, fast-paced passageways usually placed inside the structure or the underground sections of a zone. When the player enters a tunnel, the playable character automatically uses the Spin Attack and rolls down the tunnel, while gaining speed at the same time. Most of the time, they serve as automated sections in the game.


Tunnels are placed inside of the structures in the zones, with the shape of them being different in each game. While some of the tunnels can be very linear, they are usually shaped as winding routes, coming in shapes such as "S" formations. After the player enters the tunnel, he/she has less control over the playable character, though the playable character automatically gains more speed after exiting the tunnel. While not usually being able to, if the player is able to gain enough running momentum, he/she is able to backtrack through tunnels as well. If the player does not have enough running speed when attempting this, the playable character normally rolls back out of the aperture.

An S-shaped tunnel featured in Hill Top Zone, from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Tunnels first appeared in Green Hill Zone in the original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog. In this game, the winding tunnels usually go through tall level structures in S-shaped formations. This later returned in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where similar S-shaped tunnels appear in Hill Top Zone and below the shuttle loops. Casino Night Zone featured different, automated tunnels that are set in-between the sections of the Pinball Shooter and the shuttle loop/pinball arena. Hidden Palace Zone in both prototypes and the 2013-release feature similarly functioning tunnels.

In Sonic the Hedgehog CD there are several Rounds where tunnels are featured. In this game, they are extremely useful to gain enough speed to utilize the Time Warp signs. In Palmtree Panic, these tunnels are featured along with several others that can even be converted into underground-shuttle loops. When the player usually exits the tunnel in this game, hatches closes the aperture, preventing the player from re-entering them. While linear tunnels are featured in Collision Chaos, S-shaped tunnels also appear in Quartz Quadrant. Additionally, several linear tunnels contain conveyor belt systems to transport the player up or down. Many winding tunnel sections are also featured in Wacky Workbench and Stardust Speedway.

Angel Island Zone Act 2 in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 features long tunnel sections that are blocked by breakable piles of rocks. Hydrocity Zone Act 1 features a limited amount of tunnel parts, most of the time below the shuttle loops. IceCap Zone Act 2 also contains S-shaped tunnel sections which are similar to the ones from Hill Top Zone. At Flying Battery Zone in Sonic & Knuckles, when the player enters the linear tunnel part from below, the player does not usually curl into a ball, but rather gets bounced by Springs inside the tunnel to reach the other end of it.

In Neo South Island Zone Act 2 in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, only two tunnel sections are seen, while more linear tunnel sections are featured in Cosmic Casino Zone. The 3D variation of Green Hill in Sonic Adventure 2 features tunnel sections, which are heavily automated. In Sonic Advance, S-shaped tunnels are featured in Angel Island Zone. In Sonic Advance 2, some regular tunnels are featured at Hot Crater and Ice Paradise, while Music Plant features ones that loosely looked like French horns. In Sonic Rivals 2, the winding tunnel appears in all the zones, in which they are colored cyan. In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, S-shaped tunnel routes oddly contain Dash Panels inside the to give extra an amount of speed. These S-shaped tunnel sections are also seen in Green Hill of both console/PC and Nintendo 3DS versions of Sonic Generations. In Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Plus, regular S-shaped tunnels are found again in Green Hill Zone, while Studiopolis Zone, Flying Battery Zone, Stardust Speedway Zone, Hydrocity Zone and Metallic Madness Zone also feature long or small pieces of tunnel sections. Automated tunnel sections are also featured in Lost Valley, Green Hill and Casino Forest of Sonic Forces.




See also


  1. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 7.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 14.
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2: Sega's Official Player's Guide. Compute; Expanded edition. 1993. p. 19. ISBN 1-55958-335-5.
  4. (in Japanese) ソニックジャム オフィシャルガイド. SoftBank. 2 October 1997. p. 18. ISBN 978-4797303377.
  5. Sonic Mania United States instruction manual.
  6. Sonic Mania Japanese instruction manual.
  7. Sonic Advance 2: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. 11 March 2003. p. 18. ISBN 978-0761540083.
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