Sonic Spinball

Sonic spinball

Developer: Sega Technical Institute
Publisher: Sega
Preceded By: Sonic Chaos
Followed By: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Series: Sonic the Hedgehog
Genres: Action
Release date(s): 1993
Media Cartridge
Number of players Single-player, Competitive 2-player
Platforms Sega Genesis, Game Gear

Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (also known as Sonic Spinball) is an adventure pinball game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was originally released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1993 and later ported to the Game Gear system.

It was also released in 1995 on the Master System in Europe by Sega Europe (which is one of the last games released in Europe for the system and is quite hard to find), and was later released in Brazil by TecToy and in Portugal by Ecofilmes. This version is a port of the Game Gear version.

The Mega Drive/Genesis version was released on the Wii's Virtual Console on March 12, 2007 in North America and April 5, 2007 in Europe, and also appears on the Sonic Mega Collection compilation for Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC. The Game Gear version also appears as an unlockable minigame in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut for the GameCube and PC, as well as Sonic Gems Collection for the Nintendo Gamecube.

The game title is a pun on pinball and Sonic's famous spin move. It is the only Sonic game to feature characters from the Saturday morning cartoon Sonic the Hedgehog and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, other than Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. The game's musical score was composed by Howard Drossin.


Sonic Spinball is essentially the logical continuation of a tradition of pinball themed levels that started with Spring Yard Zone on Sonic the Hedgehog. The game features four large pinball 'tables' - a sewer level, a geothermal power station, a badnik factory, and a launchpad system. The player must guide Sonic through each of the four levels and collect all of the Chaos Emeralds, then fight Dr. Robotnik.

The main difference between this game and an actual pinball game is the ability to influence the "ball" (Sonic) directly by using the D-pad. The A, B and C buttons operate the flippers and can be assigned in the Options menu. Sometimes the player can control Sonic on foot, but for the majority of the time he is rolled into a ball controlled by the flippers. The traditional Sonic the Hedgehog platformer gameplay is kept to a minimum.


Dr. Robotnik has assumed control of Mt. Mobius and turned it into a mechanical base. Utilizing energy produced by the magma flowing under the volcano, this new monstrosity (the Veg-O-Fortress) has the power to transform helpless animals into robot slaves at an astounding rate. Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails fly onto the scene to mount an aerial assault, but Sonic is knocked off the wings of Tails' airplane by a blast from the fortress. He falls into the water, but is rescued and taken to the subterranean levels of the Veg-O-Fortress. The fortress must be destroyed from the inside-out, and the only way to make that happen is to trigger an eruption in the volcano it's built on. Sonic knows this can be done by removing the Chaos Emeralds that keep the volcano stable. Robotnik, however, is also aware of the fragile relationship that exists between the Emeralds and the mountain, and he's set up an elaborate Pinball Defense System to make sure the precious jewels don't go anywhere.

Sixteen Chaos EmeraldsEdit

The total count of Chaos Emeralds in Sonic Spinball is sixteen, and they are all the same color - blue. Although the number of Emeralds did fluctuate slightly in other early games (frequently Sonic only had to collect six in the Game Gear titles, and in Sonic the Fighters there were eight Emeralds up for grabs), this vast increase from the canonical seven has spawned a variety of speculative explanations. One of the more popular theories is that the gems kept within the Veg-O-Fortress are Robotnik's early attempt utilizing artificial Emeralds, of the kind Tails creates in Sonic Adventure 2.



  • Toxic Caves (or Toxic Pools in some versions): Sonic is flushed into a stinky cavern full of toxic sludge and mine carts, which just so happens to be the place where Robotnik dumps all of the industrial waste. There are 3 Chaos Emeralds to collect here that must be obtained by hitting multiple switches. In 8-bit versions, the design for this level has completely changed.
  • Lava Powerhouse: Sonic ascends to the next level, a power station of sorts that uses magma and steam energy to run various machines. There are 3 emeralds here.
  • The Machine: There are 5 emeralds here in this high-tech level. Sonic can also find a giant-sized animal prison in the very middle of this zone.
  • Showdown: Sonic has to find 5 Chaos Emeralds and reach the top of the Launch site to defeat Dr. Robotnik before he manages to escape.

Bonus stagesEdit

At the end of each of the first three stages, Sonic gets to play a bonus round. Not really a true Special Stage, these bonus rounds are set up like real pinball machines, with Sonic at the controls. The player is given a task to complete and three balls to play with. Flipper controls are the same as in the normal game, but the ball cannot be controlled with the D-pad like Sonic. Pressing all the flipper buttons at once will make Sonic shake the machine, though repeated shakes will cause a 'tilt' and lock the flippers.


Completing the bonus stages are optional and serves only to increase the player's score. The three bonus rounds, in corresponding order to the normal zones, are:

  • Trapped Alive: The object is to destroy all the robot machines and free the helpless animals trapped inside them and then destroy Robotnik. Among the prisoners are Sonic's Freedom Fighter pals from the SatAM cartoon: Tails, Bunnie Rabbot, Sally Acorn, Muttski and Rotor Walrus. Also imprisoned are Animal friends, Flicky and Wocky.
  • Robo Smile: A grinning Robotnik face moves across the machine. The objective is to knock out all of Robotnik's teeth.
  • The March: Similar to Trapped Alive, the object is to destroy the capsule and free the animals and Freedom Fighters within. The capsule is circled by a ring of Scratch copies.
  • The Clucker's Defense: An additional, a hidden multi-ball bonus game, Clucker's Defense can be played on any stage, but only if the player manages to collect every ring in the zone. Several star circles will appear in the stage, hidden at various points on the board. By leaping into them Sonic will be warped to this bonus round. The object is to destroy a crab badnik who is protected by a pair of Cluckers.

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