Speed Hero Situations

In Brief

  • Super hero situations require the play to apply Sonic’s speed to a useful purpose.
  • This can take two forms:
    • (1) Speed devices: Devices that aid progression, which needed to be powered by Sonic’s speed.
    • (2) Outrun obstacles: Obstacles that can only be overcome by outrunning them.
  • Super Hero Situations create a meaningful purpose for Sonic’s speed.
    • They add value to the speed and cause the player to respect it as a super power.
  • classic_good.png In the classic games, super hero situations establish the identity of the Sonic series
    • A slower character would lack the speed needed to overcome the situation.
    • modern_bad.png Modern day games only contain situations where Sonic has to outrun obstacles.
    • As a result, much of the unique identity of the series is lost.

It’s no use being “the fastest thing alive”, if the speed is not utilised an interesting manner. The classic games had a number of situations that required the player to make full use of Sonic’s speed.

Benefits of super hero situations

The situations allow Sonic’s speed to have a meaningful purpose. This causes the player to respect and value the speed as a super power.

What are super hero situations?

Super Hero situations takes two key forms:

(1) Speed Devices

These are devices that are powered by Sonic’s speed. They usually aid progression.

▲ In this Sonic has to use his speed to turn the washer. This will allow him to travel upwards.

(2) Outrun Obstacles

These are obstacles that Sonic needs to be outrun.

▲ Here Sonic must run past this crusher before it strikes.

Key features of super hero Situations

Familiarity and innovation Devices that make use of Sonic’s speed are usually based around platforming clichés. This adds familiarity which enables the player to grasp the mechanics of the device. As the same time, the devices incorporate a unique Sonic twist which creates innovation and freshness.

Identity Super hero situations are key technique for establishing the identity of the Sonic series, as they can not be overcome by a platform character that lacks speed (and/or the ability to roll into ball).

Uniqueness In the classic games, each level contains a unique type of super hero situation. While the situation may be repeated through out the level, it does not appear in other levels. This prevents the situation from becoming repetitive and so allows each level to remain fresh.

Examples of speed devices

Outrun obstacles

Fake Dangers

Speed devices

Conveyor Belts
Rotating Tunnels
Hanging Platforms
Spinning Crosses

Spin Dash Elevators
Spin Dash Switches

Super hero situations in the modern games

Some of the speed devices made a minor appearance in Sonic Adventure. However, they have been phased out in later games.

Sonic Adventure is often regarded as being the ‘truest’ interpretation of the classic games and this authenticity could derive from the fact that it uses speed devices (which, as noted above, are key part of Sonic’s identity).

A small number of speed devices appeared in Sonic Advance 3. However, the tag character mechanic allowed the player to by-pass most of the devices, which rendered them useless.

While outrun obstacles occur in the modern games, they are often implemented as dramatic scripted sections, which carry a number of disadvantages (examined in the dramatic scripted sections page).


  • Super hero situations rarely appear in the modern games.
  • Although the speed devices are often simplistic adding them will create a sense of freshness.
  • The devices help to establish the identity of the Sonic series as they present a mechanic that can only be used by a fast character.

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Super Power Mechanics (Section Index) Super Power Mechanics Gravity Obstacles


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