- For the Sonic Adventure level, see Ice Cap. For the Sonic Drift 2 course, see Ice Cap (Sonic Drift 2).
IceCap Zone is the fifth zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Sonic and Tails enter from being shot from a cannon (complete with Sonic riding a snowboard), while Knuckles comes in through a teleporter. All characters exit through a small, snow-filled tunnel.
Both Acts contains an outer "snow" area and an inner "cave" area, and uses a background-changing effect to switch between those.
The zone is theorized to have been based off of Sonic 2's Hidden Palace Zone, as numerous objects in this level including bushes, bridges, and glowing orbs underground strongly resemble those of Hidden Palace.
||Things will get pretty chilly as Sonic and Tails slide their way through this arctic wasteland. Be sure to smash open blocks of ice to reveal power-ups and hidden passageways.
||While developing, we went snowboarding a lot at a nearby resort. People kept getting injured though… (laugh) Originally, this stage was planned to begin after zone 8 (Flying Battery Zone). Sonic was going to break down the door from the airship and make a snowboard out of it on the way down. The other characters can fly, so they wouldn't appear in that event.
— Yuji Naka, Sonic Jam Official Guide
The original background music for these levels is taken from the song "Hard Times" by The Jetzons. This song had not actually been released at the time of Sonic 3, and would not be for many years. The band had disbanded years before, but keyboardist for the band, Brad Buxer, was part of the Sonic 3 sound team, and decided to bring (part of) the song out of hiding. At this point, he was a collaborator with Michael Jackson who was also brought on the Sonic 3 sound team.
Due to obvious legal issues, the later Sonic & Knuckles Collection replaces all of the wildly different sounding, obviously licensed music (regardless of who was actually responsible), including IceCap, with original songs. It seems at least some of the legal issues were resolved for other rereleases of Sonic 3 such as Sonic Jam, Sonic Mega Collection, and so on.