From Sonic Retro


Minecarts are objects that appear in various games throughout the Sonic the Hedgehog series, usually in underground-themed levels, following the same principles as they would do in real life. Depending on the game they are featured in, they can be useful vehicles that will carry the player's character to different destinations, or harmful obstacles that the player must avoid.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit)

Minecarts made their first appearance in Under Ground Zone and Gimmick Mt. Zone from the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where they were referred to as Railcarts in the USMedia:Sonic2 GG US manual.pdf[1] and EuropeanMedia:Sonic 2 GG EU Manual.pdf[2] manuals, and High Speed Trucks (ハイスピードトロッコ) in the Japanese manual[3]. The player can jump into a minecart to start it moving, and ride it along the tracks laid throughout the stage. If the cart rolls into spikes, it will destroy them completely. The cart will keep rolling until it hits a wall, at which point it will break apart and disappear.

Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball

The minecart in Toxic Caves.

The 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball features a minecart in the first level, Toxic Caves. After being rejected from the boss room, Sonic will be dropped into a minecart with two directions to go, both of them each leading to a Chaos Emerald. However, before going down the rails, the player will need to pull one of the switches on either side of the railways to switch the rail and allow the minecart to go down further.

Additionally, the player can hold any of the face buttons to operate the flippers, sending the minecart through the loops to the opposite railway, collecting Rings as it goes. The minecart can only do this a limited number of times with the same set of flippers, after which the minecart will come to a stop, forcing the player to let go of the buttons and continue down the railway they're on.

When both Chaos Emeralds have been collected from both sides, the minecart will disappear, and if the player hasn't collected the Chaos Emerald in the toxic pool yet, attempting to ride the minecart a third time will just send the player dropping into the Emerald.

Tails' Skypatrol

TSP ruin wood.png
Tails riding a minecart in Ruin Wood Area.

Referred to as Trucks (トロッコ) in the Japanese manualMedia:TailsSkypatrol GG JP manual.pdf[4], minecarts are one of the most prominent obstacles encountered in Tails' Skypatrol. These are found on the many railways throughout the game, and touching them with the Ring will make them start moving, with Tails latching on to the back of it for a ride. Tails can let go at any time by pressing 1 or 2.

The game's antagonist, Witchcart, uses a minecart as her sole method of transportation.

Sonic Adventure

In this game, minecarts are found in the Mystic Ruins Adventure Field where they are simply used as a means of being transported to different areas. One minecart is found out in the open in the station area, which will take the player to the jungle when entered. Another minecart, found inside the cave near Tails' Workshop, will transport the player to the Mystic Ruins Chao Garden.

Sonic Adventure 2

Minecarts in this game are found in Aquatic Mine. However, the player cannot ride any of the minecarts found in this level as they are all overturned. Instead, they are merely breakable objects that Knuckles can smash by punching to clear a path.

Sonic Advance 3

Minecarts in this game are featured as gimmicks found in Twinkle Snow. They are fully automatic and will carry a single character across short railway sections when entered. Once they reach the end of the track, they will crash and the player can continue through the level.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), rusty minecarts can be found lying about in Radical Train. Silver the Hedgehog can use his Psychokinesis to lift them up and throw them at enemies.

Sonic Rush Adventure

Minecarts in this game can be found as gimmicks throughout Coral Cave and Hidden Island 8, which were originally used to mine for gems as several of them fill the minecarts. When encountering a minecart, the player has to push them to get them moving (the Super Boost/Fire Boost will push it faster), then they will ride in them through automated sections, using A or B to jump and Left to slow down the minecart. Minecarts will also lead the player through 3D sections in which they must use Left or Right to choose a track when they reach a fork. At the end of a minecart section, the player will be flung into the air, allowing them to perform Trick Actions.

Sonic Rivals 2

In this game, minecarts are featured as handcars in Frontier Canyon Zone Act 3. There are two sections with two handcars for both racers to use, and players are required to repeatedly press Circle to make them move faster. Crashing into Containers will slow the handcars down, and as such must be jumped over with X.

Sonic and the Black Knight

Minecarts in Sonic and the Black Knight are found in Molten Mine, where they are obstacles that will head towards the player at a grinding section and must be avoided by jumping over them or switching to a nearby rail. Getting hit by one will knock the player off the rail.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

The minecart stage in the iOS version of Sonic 4: Episode I.

Minecarts also appear in Lost Labyrinth Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, with their use and function differring between versions. In the iOS/Android versions of the game, Sonic rides a minecart throughout the entirety of Act 2, which the player moves by using motion controls to tilt the stage, and occasionally having to press the Jump button to make the minecart jump over steps, Badniks and other obstacles.

The motion-controlled minecart was featured in prototypes of the console versions such as the PartnerNET build, where it had been a source of controversy among fans. As a result, the second Act was completely redesigned and the minecart was given a much smaller role. Instead, the minecart appears in short, sporadic sections and moves forward automatically, with the player only being able to make the minecart jump over obstacles before crashing at the end of the track.

Sonic Free Riders

The Rocky Ridge course in Sonic Free Riders features a section in which racers will ride about in a minecart, operating it with their body motions to accelerate or to jump between rails. Switching rails is necessary to grab Item Boxes and to avoid rocks that will slow down the minecart when collided into.

Sonic Lost World

Minecarts in Silent Forest Zone 1.

The Wii U/PC version of Sonic Lost World features minecarts dotted all over the grinding sections of Tropical Coast Zone 3, Silent Forest Zone 1 and Lava Mountain Zone 2 as obstacles that generally must be avoided.

The minecarts vary in contents, posing different dangers to Sonic. Most minecarts contain rocks or missiles and will hurt Sonic if he collides with them, and some of them may contain Cluckers who will open fire on him. Golden minecarts are filled with Rings and can be attacked with a Homing Attack, making them spill their contents all over the rails. Lava Mountain Zone 2 exclusively features minecarts filled with bombs, which are incredibly dangerous as colliding with one will instantly kill Sonic, even if he is Super Sonic.