Labyrinth Zone

From Sonic Retro

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)
Labyrinth Zone
Labyrinth Zone
Fourth Zone, Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)
Number of Acts: 3
Location: South Island
Level themes: underwater, ancient ruins, underground/cave
Boss: Egg Mobile
Maximum rings, Act 1: 69 + 40
Maximum rings, Act 2: 57 + 60
Maximum rings, Act 3: 28 + 110
Underwater areas: yes
Non-English names:
Spring Yard Zone | Star Light Zone
For the 8-bit Labyrinth Zone, see Labyrinth Zone (8-bit). For the Sonic Drift racetrack, see Labyrinth (Sonic Drift).

Labyrinth Zone is the fourth Zone in the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic splashes down into this Zone after making his way through the sparkling city of Spring Yard Zone.


Labyrinth Zone is a ruin-like maze, most of which is underwater. It features many spears that protrude from the walls and floors, chained spike balls, Fire-Breathing Statues, fast water slides, 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.

A common obstacle encountered in the Zone are corridors with strong water currents that will carry Sonic through the winding tunnels. One particular section in Act 3 is even filled with poles that Sonic will grab onto, allowing the player to alter their position with Up and Down in order to avoid spikes. If the player holds on to these poles for too long, Sonic will inevitably lose his grip and let go.

Act 3 is the first-ever example of a vertically-looping level in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, sporting a water slide that the player will loop around seemingly-endlessly until they find a button that will open the way forward. This vertically-looping nature is also exploited at the end of the Act, in which the player must climb a long stairway to escape the rising water level, and eventually give chase to Dr. Eggman up a hazardous shaft.

This Zone was originally supposed to be the second Zone instead of the fourth, according to the unaltered Level Select menu in REV00. 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.


If you don’t pass through the water, you won’t be able to get through this maze. However, Sonic can’t swim.
Lets proceed and take a breath from a big bubble.
A countdown will begin when you are almost out of breath.

Sonic the Hedgehog JP manualMedia:Sonic1 MD JP manual.pdf[1] (translation by Vertekins)[6]

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.

Sonic the Hedgehog US manualMedia:Sonic1 MD US manual.pdf[7]

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.

Yuji NakaSonic Jam Official Guide[8]


Burrobot — Mole bots that leap from the ground and then simply move back and forth in a small area.
Jaws — Piranha bots that troll around underwater.
Orbinaut (Unidus) — Simple sphere bots. The catch is that they're circled by four spiked balls, making them virtually impossible to hit until after they've spotted the player and launched their spikes at them.


S2 pecky.gif
S2 rocky.gif


Fire-Breathing Statue

In other media

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

Labyrinth Zone appeared in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Submerged Sonic", where it appears as an underwater city ruled by King Saline. Dr. Robotnik would attack the Zone with a submarine, kidnapping Princess Bubbles and holding her hostage in exchange for the kingdom's power pearl supply. Sonic, Tails and Surff would defeat Robotnik and rescue the princess, saving the Labyrinth Zone in the process.

Sonic the Comic

In the Sonic the Comic series, Tails was captured and taken to the Labyrinth Zone by Arachbot, but was rescued by Sonic.[9] At first, the Zone was depicted as a flooded tunnel, but it was later depicted as a sunken city in Issue #83, where Sonic and Tails return to the Labyrinth Zone to destroy Robotnik's Badniks.

Sonic X

In issue #11 of the Sonic X comic series by Archie Comics, Labyrinth Zone was one of the locations in a virtual world created by Dr. Eggman which Sonic, Amy, Knuckles and Rouge waded through.


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