''Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball'', often shortened to ''Sonic Spinball'', is a [[DigitalPinballTable pinball game]] spinoff (no pun intended) of the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' games. It was originally released for the SegaGenesis/[=Mega Drive=] in 1993 as a hold-over for ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic the Hedgehog 3]]'', and later also made for the [[OtherSegaSystems Game Gear]] (and Sega Master System 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 SonicTeam, but rather by Sega's America-based Sega Technical Institute (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 Eggman's volcano fortress. 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 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, 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 Scorpius 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 "Friend or Foe" 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.
* 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, "Showdown".
* ComicBookAdaptation: In issue #6 of [[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog the Archie comic]]. The Kangaroo Twins (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 Eggman end up free-falling through the sky at the end. Tails catches Sonic with his newly-repaired plane, leaving Eggman to plummet [[DeathByIrony into his exploding fortress.]] (Subverted, of course, since Eggman has famously [[JokerImmunity survived worse]].)
* DownTheDrain: The Toxic Caves, the first level of the game.
* EternalEngine: The Machine, the third level.
* EvilLaugh: Somewhere offscreen, Eggman 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.''
* GottaCatchEmAll: The goal of each level is to collect all of the Chaos Emeralds. Doing so shuts down the factory's power.
* 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'' Eggman falls into it.
* 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 GBA port from 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]].
* PinballScoring: Duh.
* PinballSpinoff: One of the more fitting examples, considering Sonic's ability to roll into a ball.
* 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.
* ScareChord: One plays when something disastrous happens, such as when the sewer monster in Toxic Caves is about to eat you, or when you fall down a death chute.
* 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 Eggman'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.]]"