|Fourth level, Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)|
|Number of Acts: 3|
|Level theme: underwater|
|Secondary level theme: ancient ruins|
|Tertiary level theme: underground/cave|
|Boss: Robotnik (Labyrinth Zone Boss)|
|Maximum rings, Act 1: 69 + 40|
|Maximum rings, Act 2: 57 + 60|
|Maximum rings, Act 3: 28 + 110|
|Underwater areas: yes|
Labyrinth Zone, the fourth zone in Sonic the Hedgehog, is a ruin-like maze zone, most of which is underwater. It features many spikes, Fire-Breathing Statues, and water-driven contraptions. The greatest hazard of this zone is not the enemies or the traps, but the water. Sonic, being a hedgehog, is terrible at swimming. After staying underwater for a limited amount of time (18 seconds, with warning bells at 5, 10, and 15 seconds), a countdown begins (5 breaths/about 12 seconds), at the end of which Sonic automatically drowns. Collecting air bubbles found in certain points resets the counter and prevents Sonic from drowning. This element has found its way into many more Sonic games, much to the dismay of most players.
This zone was originally supposed to be the second zone instead of the fourth, according to the unaltered Level Select menu. It is theorized to have been switched with Marble Zone in terms of level placement due to its higher difficulty.
Lost Labyrinth Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 4 seems to be based on this level. The first part of the boss fight in Sonic 4 is the same as this one, and Lost Labyrinth has the same badniks of this level.
At the end of this Zone's Act 3, Dr. Robotnik does not attack Sonic. Instead, the hedgehog has to follow him through an ascending passage filled with fire-spitting statues and tridents that is soon after flooded with water, with no air bubbles in sight. To complete the level, Sonic must climb to the top without getting hit or drowning.
Once at the top, Eggman, expecting Sonic to drown and realizing he isn't ready for a fight, flees in panic, leaving the player to hit the Capsule. Even if Sonic does manage to land 8 hits on Dr. Robotnik, he'll still fly to the top and flee.
|“||Explore an intricate maze filled with water. A countdown begins to let you know when you are running out of oxygen. Breathing in air bubbles keeps you from drowning.||„|
(Also note the Sonic Team Commentary for Marble Zone.)
|“||As for the air bubble idea, we were thinking of ways to make the character more unique, so we thought giving him some sort of weakness would be a good idea, and since there was a water stage, why not have him sink? So what to do when he gets in the water stage, we wondered, and after some deliberation we came up with the air bubbles.||„|
|Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)|