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Video Game / Sonic Labyrinth

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The One With… more rolling than usual.

Released in November 1995, Sonic Labyrinth is the eleventh title in the Sonic series released on the Sega Game Gear.

One day, Dr. Robotnik (aka Dr. Eggman) had an epiphany: if Sonic's speed was removed from him, taking over the world would be like taking candy from a baby. So, later that night, Robotnik had one of his robots sneak into Sonic's house and, rather than just kill him in his moment of weakness, replace Sonic's normal sneakers with a pair of supposedly-identical-looking Speed-Down Boots. Next morning, Sonic woke up, slipped on the shoes and found out that he couldn't run or even jump. Robotnik made himself known and gloated that the boots can only be removed by Chaos Emerald energy. He also claimed that the miracle gems are all hidden in the Super Labyrinth, his latest base. So, in a nutshell: Robotnik took Sonic's speed; Sonic must go through a dungeon to get it back.


As far as gameplay is concerned, the best way to describe it is: Marble Madness with Sonic as the playable character. Sonic can't run or jump, only walk and your only means of fast locomotion and offense is the Spin Dash. There are four "worlds" in the Super Labyrinth: Labyrinth of the Sky, Sea, Factory and Castle, and they each have three acts and a boss battle. The main objective in each main act is to collect three keys and make it to the goal in three minutes. Get hit, and you lose time and the keys fly out of you; don't grab the keys in time and they'll pop right back in their original spots. Fall down a pit or run out of time, and you die. With boss battles, rather than collecting keys, you must first go down a chute and collect rings on the way down. Once you reach the end, you'll actually fight the boss. Get hit once, and you lose all of your rings — even if you manage to get 99 rings in the tube — get hit again, you lose a life. If you lose all of your lives, you must start from the beginning of the game. You can probably see where this is going.


This game provides examples of:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Spin Dash can be charged up to four levels, but at that point it just badly bounces Sonic all over the place. The game can be played just fine by doing small spin charges and braking when you need to make a hard turn.
  • Big Fancy Castle: The Labyrinth of the Castle.
  • Boss Corridor: The fourth act of each Labyrinth only consists of a long slope with rings and hazards, then a hole at the bottom of the slope that takes Sonic down a metal wire chute to the Boss Room.
  • Boss-Only Level: The fourth acts start with a quick ring-collecting slope. Then it's on to the boss fight.
  • Bottomless Pit: The one hazard in the first three acts of each Labyrinth that can kill Sonic immediately regardless of time; falling into a pit shows a cutscene of Sonic falling through a chute similar to the boss chutes and into a pool of lava with spikes in it at the bottom.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Played with; thanks to Robotnik's Speed-Down Boots, Sonic is unable to move at any more than a snail's pace and cannot jump. Fortunately, he can still use his Spin Dash.
  • Continuity Nod: A suble and interesting one. The Japanese manual's story section states that Tails had recently gone on a "self-interested journey" alone. Earlier that year had been released Tails' Skypatrol, whose manual stated that Tails was on a "self-interested journey alone".
  • Diagonal Speed Boost: Sonic walks slighty faster if he moves horizontally.
  • End Game Results Screen: After beating the game, you see your final score and the game grades you on your performance.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: Anytime a item is in use. In some levels, getting a invincibility or speed power up makes the game practically unplayable due to all the flashing. The flashing was removed in the 3DS Virtual Console release.
  • Eternal Engine: The Labyrinth of the Factory.
  • Excuse Plot: Dr. Robotnik slowed Sonic down with heavy boots. You must go through his labyrinth to remove them.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Dr. Robotnik tries to do this to Sonic by removing his speed, but Sonic gets creative.
  • Four Is Death: There are 4 Labyrinths, and the 4th stage of each Labyrinth is a boss stage.
  • Game-Over Man: At the continue screen, Sonic lays on his back in a prison cell while looking bored. By choosing to continue, he easily breaks the gate with a Spin Dash.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Labyrinth of the Sky is the basic first world, but oddly enough the third act of the final world is what uses the Green Hill color scheme.
  • The Hero: Sonic the Hedgehog, naturally.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The Twinkle powerup... not that it helps much. The Rolling Attack is already nearly invincible.
  • Isometric Projection: The game is built on this perspective, making it sort of the Game Gear equivalent of Sonic 3D Blast.
  • Law of 100: Collecting 100 rings in either a boss act or the Secret Level will grant you an extra life.
  • MacGuffin: The five/six Chaos Emeralds.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Dr. Robotnik's minions.
  • The Maze: The game is called Labyrinth, you know. A few of its levels involve mazes of teleporters or gates.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Ending 1: You've cleared the game, "BUT IT IS NOT PERFECT!" Even though Sonic looks like he can run normally again, the game implies that you missed something in Zone 2-3.
    • Ending 2: You've finished the game and got through the secret level. "IT IS PERFECT! WONDERFUL!" The ending is pretty much the same, but you get the Level Select code and no "TRY AGAIN" message.
  • Oddball in the Series: A Sonic game where the titular protagonist can't even run. Instead of being a sidescrolling platformer, Labyrinth is something of a minigolf game where Sonic Spin Dashes around looking for keys to unlock the levels' goals.
  • Pinball Zone: The whole game consists of this type of level, seeing as Sonic must use his Spin Dash to get around quickly. Some levels also use pinball flippers as gimmicks.
  • Power Up Letdown: The only powerup you need is the yellow one for earning more time. Particularly laughable is the Power Sneakers item, since it only barely increases Sonic's walking speed.
  • Rolling Attack: The gameplay focuses on this technique.
  • Secret Level: Hidden in Zone 2-3.
  • Slide Level: The prologue to each boss level has Sonic slide down a slide and collect as many rings as he can before he fights the boss at the end.
  • Spectacular Spinning: You do remember that Sonic can roll, right? This game won't let you forget that.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: Springs and equivalent objects can be used to send Sonic to closed-off tracks.
  • Sprint Shoes: The Sneakers power-up.
  • Super Speed: Played with. The whole plot centers around Sonic's forced inability to run fast and his quest to regain it by rolling fast.
  • Timed Mission: The first three acts of each Labyrinth give Sonic a minute and a half to find the three keys and hit the goal; destroying robots and picking up the keys will extend the timer, while getting hit will decrease it. Run out of time or fall into a pit, and you lose a life.
  • Under the Sea: The Labyrinth of the Sea.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: The game ends with Sonic chasing after Dr. Robotnik, but when the doctor drops his Chaos Emerald, Sonic turns towards an exit and leaves him alone.
  • A Winner Is You: Clearing the game after seeing the Secret Level in Zone 2-3 just makes the credits congratulate you for it, as well as providing you with a level select code.


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