Lava Reef Zone (Sonic Mania)

From Sonic Retro

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Sonic Mania
Lava Reef Zone
  • Act 1
  • Act 2
Lava Reef Zone
Tenth level, Sonic Mania
Number of Acts: 2
Level theme: lava/volcano
Secondary level theme: underground/cave
Tertiary level theme: industrial
Sub-boss: Drillerdroid
Boss: Heavy Rider
Alternate boss: Heavy King
Non-English names:
  • JP: ラバーリーフ Rabārīfu
Oil Ocean Zone | Metallic Madness Zone

Lava Reef Zone is the tenth zone in Sonic Mania, which is based on Lava Reef Zone from Sonic & Knuckles.


Act 1 is once again a magma-filled mine-type level with the addition of loops, slopes and extra details to suggest a hazardous mining environment in the vein of Endless Mine such as metal fences and "keep out" signs. By climbing to the top of the stage, you can now see that the cavern has an open sky, revealing volcanoes and mountains. There is also a section where one of the upgraded Tunnelbots causes an earthquake that makes the magma slowly rise, forcing the player to climb up to higher ground in a sequence reminiscent of Hill Top Zone.

Act 2 is once again set in a crystal wonderland with flamethrowers and spiky things, along with several elements adapted from Quartz Quadrant such as switchable conveyor belts and the background being reminiscent of that zone's Good Future. High up in the zone, you can see holes in the ceiling that give you a glimpse of the night sky as well as the Little Planet, serving as a clue to the next zone.

Like the original Lava Reef, the second Act segues into a "third" Act that's considered part of Act 2, only this time it's set in Hidden Palace Zone. Sonic and Tails take a top entrance (which was originally Knuckles' entrance) that immediately takes them to a boss fight against the Heavy Rider, while Knuckles takes a different entrance that leads him through some of Sonic's original level design, eventually reaching the Emerald Shrine where he fights the Heavy King instead. The Emerald Shrine houses not only the Master Emerald, but also the Super Emeralds which are now cracked and completely drained of their power.


References and Easter eggs

Reference Appears in Source Game Source Level
Wooden Loops and walkways in an underground cave Act 1 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Endless Mine
Walking platform mech. Act 1, Act 2 Sonic the Hedgehog CD Metallic Madness
Rexon's appearance. Act 1, Act 2 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit) Hill Top Zone
Gushes of lava resembling those seen in Marble Zone. Act 1, Act 2 Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit) Marble Zone
Tunnelbot's appearance both as an obstacle in Act 1, as in the original Lava Reef Zone, as well as an armored mini-boss. Act 1 Sonic the Hedgehog 3/Sonic & Knuckles Marble Garden Zone/Lava Reef Zone
Falling debris when mini-boss drills into the ground. Act 1 Sonic the Hedgehog 2/Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Mystic Cave Zone/Marble Garden Zone
Internal earthquakes that cause lava to boil and increase its volume thus chasing the player. Act 1 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit) Hill Top Zone
Controllable conveyor belts. Act 2 Sonic the Hedgehog CD Quartz Quadrant
An Extra Life monitor is moved along a conveyor belt, and must be collected before it falls off and disappears. Act 2 Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit) Scrap Brain Zone (8-bit)
Spike ball on chain as the Heavy Rider's weapon, swinging horizontally. Act 2 (Sonic/Tails) Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Marble Garden Zone
Sound effects used by the Heavy Rider. Act 2 (Sonic/Tails) Sonic Spinball
The Motobug used by the Heavy Rider called Jimmy. Act 2 (Sonic/Tails) Polygon Jim/Motobug the Badnik in Sonic the Hedgehog
Heavy Rider's boss arena lifting off into the sky during the fight (as of v1.04). Act 2 (Sonic/Tails) Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Launch Base Zone
Layout recreation of Hidden Palace Zone. Act 2 (Knuckles) Sonic & Knuckles Hidden Palace Zone
Emerald Shrine with the Super Emeralds and the Master Emerald. Act 2 (Knuckles) Sonic & Knuckles Hidden Palace Zone
Knuckles' flashback to the Master Emerald theft scene from Sonic & Knuckles in a comic-style thought bubble. Act 2 (Knuckles) Sonic & Knuckles Hidden Palace Zone
The thought-bubble flashback and the art-style used within. Act 2 (Knuckles) Sonic Mega Drive 1
Master Emerald's power being absorbed by the Heavy King, just like Mecha Sonic in Sky Sanctuary Zone during Knuckles' final boss fight. Act 2 (Knuckles) Sonic & Knuckles Sky Sanctuary Zone
Orb teleporter after completing Act 2 as Knuckles. Act 2 (Knuckles) Sonic & Knuckles Hidden Palace Zone/Sky Sanctuary Zone



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