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Level themes

From Sonic Retro

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All levels in the Sonic series exhibit a theme of some form. A level's art and any level gimmicks often contribute to this theme. Sometimes level themes correlate with the game's storyline; other times, they are used to simply incorporate a variety of settings into the game. A number of themes are visible across the Sonic series.

RyogaMasaki's now-defunct website "The Shadow Zone" initially categorized levels in this way. Recent games have introduced new themes, which have also been added to this list.

Tropical island theme

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The tropical island theme often occurs in the first levels of a game and has become very iconic of the Sonic series. This theme first appeared in Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog.

Ancient ruins theme

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Levels with the ancient ruins theme often look as if they were once occupied by another civilization. This theme first appeared in Marble Zone and Labyrinth Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog.

Carnival/casino theme

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Levels with the carnival/casino theme feature bright lights, carnival rides, and casino games. This theme first appeared in Spring Yard Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog.

Underwater theme

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The underwater theme represents levels that primarily take place underwater. This theme first appeared in Labyrinth Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog and later in Sonic the Hedgehog CD’s Tidal Tempest.

Jungle theme

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Levels with the jungle theme feature swamps, trees, and vines. This theme first appeared in Jungle Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit).

Industrial theme

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The industrial theme represents gameplay that takes place in factories or other industrial areas. This theme first appeared in Scrap Brain Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog.

Urban theme

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Levels with the urban theme feature buildings, roads, and cars. This theme first appeared in Star Light Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog.

Underground/cave theme

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Levels with the underground/cave theme often take place in underground caverns, with lava, sewage, and sometimes Chaos Emeralds. This theme first appeared in Marble Zone and Labyrinth Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog.

Spooky/supernatural theme

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The spooky/supernatural theme is uncommon. Levels may take place in haunted castles and graveyards. This theme first appeared in Mystic Cave Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Desert/western theme

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Levels with the desert/western theme feature sand, the hot sun, quicksand, and spikes. This theme first appeared in Desert Palace Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Lava/volcano theme

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The lava/volcano theme represents gameplay where the player must avoid bubbling lava, difficult traps, and fire-based badniks. This theme first appeared in Marble Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog.

Winter theme

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Levels with the winter theme are characterized by cold environments with snow and ice. This theme first appeared in IceCap Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Sky theme

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The sky theme occurs in the clouds, with Sonic often riding the Tornado. This theme first appeared in Sky Chase Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Flying fortress theme

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The flying fortress theme represents gameplay that takes place on Eggman's fleet of airships. This theme first appeared in Sky Base Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit).

Death Egg theme

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Levels with the Death Egg theme are set in outer space fortresses and occur near the end of games in the Sonic series. This theme first appeared in Death Egg Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Outer space theme

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The outer space theme represents gameplay that takes place in outer space. This environment is often the stage for a final encounter at the end of the game. This theme first appeared in The Doomsday Zone in Sonic & Knuckles.

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