Green Hill Zone (8-bit)

From Sonic Retro

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)
Green Hill Zone
  • Master System
  • Game Gear
Green Hill SMS.png
Sonic1 GG GreenHillZone.png
Green Hill Zone
First Zone, Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)
Number of Acts: 3
Location: South Island
Level theme: tropical island
Boss: Green Hill Zone boss
Maximum rings, Act 1: 107 + 10
Sega Master System
/ 108 + 10
Sega Game Gear
Maximum rings, Act 2: 58 + 40
Sega Master System
/ 55 + 30
Sega Game Gear
Non-English names:
Bridge Zone
For other similarly named levels, see Green Hill Zone.

Green Hill Zone is the first Zone in the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog. As with other Zones in this game, this Zone consists of two standard Acts followed by a shorter third Act which contains the Zone's boss.


The Zone is loosely based on Green Hill Zone from the Sega Mega Drive version of the game, with differences being fairly obvious. Less dynamic colors, with limitations caused by the hardware of the SMS/GG. The blue background of the MD game is now somewhat paler, and the plants in the background do not animate quite the same.

Like its Mega Drive counterpart, this Zone is filled with rolling plains of green and jauntily colored flowers. It's not all natural goodness, though, as Dr. Eggman has installed spike pits and set his ubiquitous robotic minions loose on the verdant landscape. Geographically speaking, the Zone is located on South Island. It is Underground tunnels containing water appear in Act 2, which are unlike anything in the Mega Drive version of this Zone. These pools would return in Sonic Mania's version of the Zone.

Sonic later makes a brief return to Green Hill Zone during the ending sequence, destroying Eggman's Egg Mobile (and Eggman as well) and saving South Island in the process, using the Chaos Emeralds to ensure South Island's prosperity if he has all of them.


The field is filled with palm trees and tropical flowers in bloom. As you progress through the gentlly-sloping hills, there is an entrance to the underground… Sonic will have to progress through a cave with groundwater flowing through it.!

Sonic the Hedgehog JP Game Gear manualMedia:Sonic 1 GG JP Manual.pdf[1] (translation by Vertekins)[4]

Tumble down rolling hills and splash through the chilling waters in an underground cavern. Bounce on springboards but not on spikes. Ouch!

Sonic the Hedgehog US Game Gear manualMedia:Sonic1 GG US manual.pdf[5]


Moto Bug — Insect robots that scoot along the ground.
Crabmeat — Crab bot that shoots fireballs from its pincers.
Buzz Bomber — Insect bot that shoots stinging fireballs.


The Zone's background music is based on the 16-bit counterpart. The composition is not identical; Some notes have been altered to better suit the hardware capabilities. Less audio channels are used (again due to hardware restrictions) resulting in a tune with much less depth than the original, but still easily recognisable.

Special item locations

The following are the locations of the Chaos Emerald and 1-Up monitors in each Act. Detailed maps featuring the locations of these items can be found here.

Chaos Emerald

The Chaos Emerald for this Zone is located in Act 2. In the top-most cave after the checkpoint, jump over the spring and drop down the leftmost waterfall to reach a hidden room with the Chaos Emerald.

1-Up monitors

  • Act 1: Hidden in a tree, located after the first spike pit.
  • Act 2: Jump into the wall to the left after landing in the first water pool.
  • Act 3: Jump down into the second pit to find the monitor in front of a bed of spikes.

Technical information

Offset Description
$627C Green Hill palette
$628C Green Hill cycling palette
$10000 Green Hill 32 x 32 mappings (184 tiles)
$155CA Green Hill level header pointer
$15AB4 Sprite Layout for Green Hill 1
$15B00 Sprite Layout for Green Hill 2
$15B43 Sprite Layout for Green Hill 3
$32FE6 Header for Green Hill art
$32FEE Line Pre-Load for Green Hill
$330EE Line selection for Green Hill
$337A8 Green Hill art data


Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)
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