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Launch Base Zone

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Launch Base Zone
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Launch Base Zone
Sixth level, Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Number of Acts: 2
Level theme: industrial
Secondary level theme: underwater
Sub-boss: Twin Hammer
Boss: Launch Base Zone bosses
Maximum rings, Act 1: 294 + 130
Maximum rings, Act 2: 409 + 160
Underwater areas: Act 2
Non-English names:
IceCap Zone | Mushroom Hill Zone

Launch Base Zone is the sixth Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. All characters would enter from IceCap Zone by popping out of a patch of snow at the beginning.

Overview

Unlike most of Dr. Eggman's bases, this one isn't a completely robotic fortress of machines; instead, it is basically a very large construction site where he is repairing the Death Egg. During Sonic and Tails' adventure, the Death Egg itself can be seen half-submerged in the giant lake in the background for Act 1, surrounded by large cranes; in Knuckles' adventure, the Death Egg is no longer there.

Throughout Act 1, the kind of gimmicks the player will come across include huge cylinders that the player will revolve around and a variety of elevators, such as spinning yellow cups that travel up or down thin metal corkscrews (though some will spin out of control and fling the player into walls), and rapidly-spinning elevators inside glass tubes that will transport the player to other parts of the Act. Security alarms are placed around the Act, and will summon Flybot767 Badniks to attack the player if they pass through one. Outdoor sections are very fast-paced, as they are filled with long slopes to roll down, as well as Speed Boosters and tube-loops that will instantly propel the player into high speeds. Hooks attached to rails will carry the player at high speeds, and some walls require the player to Spin Jump into switch boxes to toggle them.

The Zone uses a technique for showing/hiding tiles indoors and outdoors when the player enters the large towers in Act 1. This effect was originally used in Sonic the Hedgehog 2's Wing Fortress Zone as a one-off, but like many of Sonic 2's one-off features, it appears several times in Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, being used in Angel Island Zone (Act 1), this Zone and Flying Battery Zone. At the end of Act 1 for Sonic and Tails, Knuckles would drop a bomb in one of these towers, causing it to crumble to pieces as the heroes escape and deal with the Twin Hammer placed by Eggman. In Knuckles' story, the echidna would climb up the destroyed remains of the tower and fight his mini-bosses in a different area.

Act 2 takes the player into the giant lake seen in Act 1's background, and is composed of a complex network of water pipes that the player will run along at high speeds throughout the Act. Some of the water pipes can also be entered into by Spin Dashing into the barricades that connect the pipes together, then entering the flushing water. Following lower routes will take the player into the lake water, which generally has no means of replenishing air but are otherwise not very long. While Sonic and Tails run around the surface and sky, Knuckles would instead explore the sewers beneath the lake, which will eventually flood after destroying one of the pipe barricades. At the end of Act 2, Sonic and Tails will make it to the Death Egg and fight a series of boss machines.

This Zone is rendered slightly less dangerous when played as part of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles as opposed to just Sonic 3, with several enemies and several sets of spikes above doorways removed from Act 1, and Robotnik Monitors and some of the boss fights dropped from Act 2. Additionally, once the Zone is cleared, the game will continue on into Mushroom Hill Zone, with Tails flying Sonic into the next Zone after taking down the Death Egg, and the pipe where Knuckles would face his bosses being blown up, sending the echidna falling to the next Zone.

Quotes

You're getting close to where Dr. Robotnik is repairing his Death Egg ship. This is your last chance to stop the Doc's evil scheme.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 US manualMedia:Sonic3 MD US manual.pdf[4]

This is the place where you can see the construction site where Eggman is rebuilding the Death Egg, hidden among the various ruins on the island. You never really see the Death Egg in Sonic 2, but here you can see it quite clearly. This is the climax at the midpoint of the story.

Takashi IizukaSonic Jam Official Guide

Enemies

Corkey-spr.png
Corkey — A gray energy cannon, found attached to rails or ceilings.
Flybot767-spr.png
Flybot767 — Silver bird Badnik that flies into the player.
Orbinauts3-spr.png
Orbinaut — A silver orb surrounded by four spiked orbs. Moves only when the player moves.
Ribot-spr.png
Ribot — Robotic frog that swings or flings metallic orbs.
Snailblaster-spr.png
Snail Blaster — A snail with a protective shell that covers blaster cannons.

In other media

Sonic the Comic

In the Sonic the Comic series, Launch Base Zone was built to facilitate the repair of Dr. Robotnik's improved Death Egg just like in the video games, with Troopers patrolling the area and Grimer residing within the Death Egg itself. Knuckles, in a bid to rid his island of all of Robotnik's influence, infiltrates the Zone and takes Grimer hostage, forcing him to tell Robotnik that the echidna is dead. When the Death Egg launches, the ship's main thrusters blow the scaffolding apart, bringing the Zone to ruin.

Archie comics

In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog comic series, Launch Base Zone was used as a landing site for the Tornado by Sonic and Tails in their search for Knuckles for the upcoming fight against Enerjak.

When the universe was rebooted by the Super Genesis Wave, Launch Base's origins became identical to the video game counterpart, and Relic the Pika would later use the base to conduct research with little success in contacting the planet's surface. Later, Team Dark would land a shuttle in the base in their mission to secure the Master Emerald before Eclipse the Darkling could, though Eclipse would attempt to hijack the shuttle after taking the Master Emerald. Knuckles and Shadow successfully intercepted, but with the echidna being forced to shatter the Master Emerald, forcing Eclipse to escape the Zone empty-handed.

References


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