[[caption-width-right:320:It's Sonic! It's pinball! It's ''spinball''!]]

''Sonic Spinball'', sometimes called ''Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball'', is a [[DigitalPinballTable pinball game]] spinoff (no pun intended) of the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' games. It was originally released for the UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis/[=Mega Drive=] in 1993 as a hold-over for ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic the Hedgehog 3]]'', and later also made for the UsefulNotes/GameGear (and UsefulNotes/SegaMasterSystem in Europe). Its gameplay is derived from the requisite [[PinballZone pinball-themed level]] found in most ''Sonic'' titles. Notably, this spin-off was not produced by Creator/SonicTeam, but rather by Sega's America-based Creator/SegaTechnicalInstitute (the same team that developed games such as ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'', ''VideoGame/KidChameleon'', ''VideoGame/ComixZone'' and ''The Ooze'').

The plot involves Sonic and Tails on a mission to stop Dr. Robotnik's Veg-O-Fortress, a diabolical contraption built on Mt. Mobius that aims to robotize the animals of Planet Mobius. As per usual, Tails' plane is [[CaptainCrash shot down]], and Sonic is forced to go solo. There are four stages to the game, all reminiscent of giant multi-tiered pinball tables, with Sonic as the ball. The standard platforming action used in earlier Sonic games is limited here, as the blue hedgehog's movement is mainly controlled by flippers, although the player can still use his Spin Dash attack to reach some areas in a hurry. In each stage, Sonic must find all of the Chaos Emeralds in a level, which will give him access to the BossRoom.

Incidentally, this is the closest fans of ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM'' ever got to a licensed game based on the cartoon: Princess Sally and the other Freedom Fighters, plus Scratch from ''Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog'', make brief cameos during ''Spinball'''s {{Bonus Stage}}s. It is also one of few ''Sonic'' games to feature characters from an animated adaptation (the other being ''VideoGame/DoctorRobotniksMeanBeanMachine'', which follows the canon of ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'').

!! Tropes used in ''Sonic Spinball'':
* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: The opening level, the Toxic Caves.
* AnimatedAdaptation: The ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'' episode "Attack on Pinball Fortress", in which Sonic, Wes Weasley, and Sergeant Doberman break into Robotnik's fortress to get their hands on Robotnik's stupidity ray gun. Plotwise, it actually isn't anything like the game, but they do include a boss fight with a Scorpius wannabe from the game's first level.
** Also goes in reverse: Scratch from ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'' makes a cameo in one of the bonus stages.
** The [=SatAM=] episode "Game Guy" had a pinball-themed deathtrap with a one-way ticket to The Void. Sonic was put into a plastic ball, set onto the playfield, and told that hitting ''his'' bumpers would keep the Void sealed, but hitting the Robotnik bumpers would open it. Naturally, Robotnik himself took control of the flippers...
* AutobotsRockOut: The last level's music is pretty [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJoTiMSf7vw hardcore]], even for a Sonic game.
** Actually, all of the stage music is very industrial as well as the boss music. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9Zzb1yu_x4 This]] is probably the most bass heavy piece of music in the history of the series.
* BewareMyStingerTail: Scorpius, the boss of the Toxic Caves.
* BonusStage: One exists between every level, and there are some within the levels if you are able to collect all of the rings.
* BossArenaIdiocy: The ''entire game''. All those convenient pinball mechanisms? Part of Robotnik's Pinball Defense System, [[AllThereInTheManual as stated in the manual]]. Which he designed and built despite the fact that Sonic's signature ability has been curling into a ball since the very first game. Even official sources, namely the Museum section of ''Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection'', snark at Robotnik's reasoning.
* ButtonMashing: The game tells you to do this when Sonic is about to be eaten by Rexxon. To be specific, it says:
* ChekhovsVolcano: Not just that, but it's the entire goal of the game.
* CollapsingLair: The final stage, "The Showdown".
* ComicBookAdaptation: In issue #6 of [[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog the Archie comic]]. The pair of kangaroos (featured in the Lava Powerhouse) reappeared in a later issue as a literal KangarooCourt.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Noticably darker than the main series games at the time, even bordering on nightmare-inducing at times (like Scorpius, the first stage boss that's a giant robot scorpion with Robotnik's head, that lets out inhuman screams as you hit it). And the animals being turned into robots is shown more explicitly here than any other game by far.
* DeathThrows: If Sonic falls into lava/toxic waste/anything that causes him to lose a life, he'll slowly fall off the screen with his hands in the air.
* DisneyVillainDeath: Both Sonic and Robotnik end up free-falling through the sky at the end. Tails catches Sonic with his newly-repaired plane, leaving Robotnik to plummet [[DeathByIrony into his exploding fortress.]] (Subverted, of course, since Robotnik has famously [[JokerImmunity survived worse]].)
* DownTheDrain: The Toxic Caves, the first level of the game.
* EternalEngine: The Machine, the third level.
* EvilLaugh: Somewhere offscreen, Robotnik emits a digitized, [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI Kefka]]-esque cackle whenever you lose a life.
* {{Expy}}: The Machine stage was created based on concept art for Cyber City Zone (or more famously, Genocide City Zone), a zone cut from the development of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2.''
** Assets from the infamous Hidden Palace Zone from ''Sonic 2'' were reused in the Toxic Caves, [[http://www.randomsonicnet.org/srz/index.php?page=interviews/cs.htm according to this interview with Craig Stitt]], a level designer in both games. The [[https://i.ytimg.com/vi/xyhkJEasqGc/maxresdefault.jpg geometric rock pattern]] which makes up most of the structure of Hidden Palace is very similar to a [[http://info.sonicretro.org/images/8/89/Toxiccaves.png pattern of rock structures]] which appears in the background of the Toxic Caves.
* GottaCatchEmAll:
** The goal of each level is to collect all of the Chaos Emeralds. Doing so shuts down the factory's power.
** There's also the optional side challenge of collecting all the rings in each level for a big point bonus.
* HaveANiceDeath:
** "TOO BAAAD", which is triggered by Sonic dying. Unless that was his last life, in which case you get "[[GameOver GAME OVER]]".
** If you fall down a death chute and don't have the ball saver activated...
---> '''Lava Powerhouse:''' "BOGUS DUDE..."\\
'''The Machine:''' ''(ScareChord)'' "BIG MISTAKE"\\
'''Showdown:''' ''(ScareChord)'' "READY TO FRY?"
* InCaseOfBossFightBreakGlass: The final bosses.
* LethalLavaLand: The Lava Powerhouse and Showdown levels.
* LoadBearingBoss: Defeating each boss causes the Fortress to sink a bit further into the sea. At the game's conclusion, the entire volcano waits to explode until the ''exact moment'' Robotnik falls into it.
* LogoJoke: In the Genesis version, Tails flies his plane past the Sega Logo twice. In the Game Gear version, Sonic spins back and forth, building the Sega Logo, and lying under it when it is finished.
* LooseCanon: Loose to the point that it's not clear at all if ''Spinball'' fits in '''any''' [[AlternateContinuity existing continuity]]. Dr. Robotnik has a design closest to Classic Eggman and the Veg-O-Fortress scheme is just like something he'd do in the games, but the characters and art direction feel like a weird mashup of the classic series with either the [[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog Archie]] comics or the ''[[WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog Adventures]]'' and [[WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM SatAM]] cartoons, complete with their respective characters making cameo appearances in the bonus pinball rounds. On top of that, there are a total of 16 Chaos Emeralds instead of 7 (although it could just be the same ones slipping away between rounds), and they look completely different than usual. Additionally, ''Spinball'' is the only game in the entire series where the setting is Mobius.[[note]]Not counting DolledUpInstallment ''VideoGame/DoctorRobotniksMeanBeanMachine'' or mentions in the English-localized manuals of ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD Sonic CD]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogTripleTrouble Sonic Triple Trouble]]''.[[/note]]
* MinecartMadness: In the Genesis version, the first stage, Toxic Caves, has a segment where Sonic must ride a mine cart that will take him to rooms where the second and third Chaos Emeralds are held. To access them, Sonic must first pull the switches that unlock the paths to these rooms. There are also pinball flippers that act as switches by changing the direction of the mine cart. If Sonic collects the second and third Chaos Emeralds before he collects the first, the mine cart disappears and Sonic falls straight into the slime vat where the first Chaos Emerald is held.
* NintendoHard: The game is basically four gigantic pinball tables (all of them tough as hell, especially the last one) that all have to be beaten with '''no continues or passwords.''' Good luck with that.
** The port included in the UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance iteration of ''[[CompilationRerelease Sega Smash Pack]]'' is almost exactly the same as the original version (the only difference is the sound). This means [[CameraScrew the levels have not been adjusted for the GBA's smaller screen resolution]]. Also, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking the ending is slightly glitched]].
* NonIndicativeName: Veg-O-Fortress? Veg-O-Machine?
** NoPronunciationGuide: Are they pronounced with a soft 'g' or a hard 'g'?
* ObviousRulePatch: There's a bit in the first level's minecart area where you ''could'' put Sonic on an endlessly looping track for infinite points... but after a few loops, he'll halt the minecart and yell at you (through the score display) to cut that out.
* OffModel: Robotnik looks like a giant in the final fight, being several times larger than Sonic, but in the ending they're around the same size.
* PinballScoring: Duh.
* PinballSpinoff: One of the more fitting examples, considering Sonic's ability to roll into a ball.
* PinballZone: Pretty much the whole game.
* PlotCoupon: You can't take on the bosses until you find the Chaos Emeralds. There are three in the first two stages, and five in the last two.
* ProgressiveJackpot: Clearing the {{bonus stage}}s after each level adds to a "Rising Jackpot" that adds a ''huge'' score bonus if you manage to defeat Robotnik in the Showdown level.
* ReformulatedGame: The 8-bit version is largely this. It has only has one type of Bonus Round replacing the multiple minigames, and the level design has been truncated and rearranged -- the Toxic Caves and Showdown in particular have changed so much that they've been renamed Toxic Pools and the Final Showdown, complete with their bosses being replaced. For the most part, the game still plays like a downgraded port of the 16-bit version, unlike the wholly original [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog1 previous]] [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2 titles.]]
* ReplacedTheThemeTune: Creator/SegaTechnicalInstitute, who developed the game, used a remix of the ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog Sonic the Hedgehog]]'' theme for the title screen, assuming it was owned by Creator/{{Sega}}. In reality, the first game's music was owned by the game's composer, Masato Nakamura, and the team likely would've been sued had they used it. The team found this out shortly before the game was scheduled to be shipped, so Howard Drossin quickly (as in, ''that night'') made a replacement tune and re-dumped the cart. However, this was done during the manufacturing process, resulting in the original version accidentally seeping into the North American market in ''very'' limited quantities.
* ScareChord: One plays when something disastrous happens, such as when the sewer monster in the Toxic Caves is about to eat you, or when you fall down a death chute.
* SmashingSurvival: If you get caught in Rexxon's mouth, you have to rapidly smash the buttons to get loose before he eats you.
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: Even though it's not a done deal, Robotnik panics in his cockpit when you reach him, in contrast to his other appearances.
* TotallyRadical: The top banner's lines, like "BOGUS DUDE" and "ULTRA COOL SLIDE".
* VillainExitStageLeft: After the usual task of nabbing emeralds, the final objective of "Showdown" is to prevent Robotnik's ship from escaping.
* VolumetricMouth: While in the main 2D games Sonic does this after drowning, here he ''always'' does it regardless of cause of death.
* WidgetSeries: The game is arguably among the weirdest (and creepiest) games in the overbearingly Japanese ''Sonic'' franchise, but it was actually put together by an American team - hence the ''[[WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM SatAM]]'' influences and the dark vibe. This WHAT status was actually used in the game's marketing in Japan; ''Spinball'' was [[GratuitousEnglish heralded]] as "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3fjPux-86o AMERIKKANO FANKAY AKSHON!]]" "[[http://info.sonicretro.org/images/5/5d/Spinball-box-jap.jpg from U.S.A.]]"