- For the Sonic Drift 2 level, see Mystic Cave (Sonic Drift 2).
Mystic Cave Zone is the sixth Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This Zone was referred to as Dust Hill Zone in the Simon Wai prototype and several gaming magazines. The reason gaming magazines referred to the level as Dust Hill was probably due to the level select labeling the level as such. It is also one of the first levels in a Sonic game to fall under the Underground Cavern theme.
After braving the volcanic chaos of Hill Top Zone, Sonic and Tails venture into an eerie network of mines located within a vast cavern inside West Side Island's mountain range, with man-made passageways leading the heroes around walls of moss-covered rocks. The player can pull down on some of the ivy hanging from the ceiling to form bridges to cross over as well as to ascend or descend to other routes, and ride across platforms that knock into each other like a pair of clackers. Two dangers to watch out for are thin rock pillars and moving stacks of wooden crates that can easily crush the player if they are not careful. Other dangers can include spinning spiked balls as well as spikes that protrude from the walls (though they can be used as stepping stones to reach high ledges).
This Zone is infamous for having an inescapable pit of spikes in Act 2 that is very easy for players to fall into. Should a player fall in there as Super Sonic, they will be waiting down there for a potentially long time. In the 2013 version, the spikes in the pit have been removed, thus falling down there will lead to a pleasant surprise: the secret entrance to Hidden Palace Zone.
At the end of the Zone, the player will encounter Dr. Eggman in the Drill Eggman II, which he has been using to dig into the caves in search of the Chaos Emeralds.
||Robotnik's been digging for Chaos Emeralds in this eerie forest of flickering lights, glow-worms and stinging centipedes. Hang on to the ivy to discover escape routes.
— Sonic the Hedgehog 2 US manual
||The feel here is a haunted-house (obakeyashiki), isn't it. But we ended up making a cave stage instead. When making this map, first we had drawn the island, there was a cave, there was a lake, a mountain, a construction site, we were thinking of all these areas. Like Sonic would be here at first, and then he'd go someplace else. That was part of the cave.
— Yuji Naka, Sonic Jam Official Guide
||Crawlton — Centipede Badnik. Fixed to the wall and extends to attack the player when they approach.
||Flasher — Firefly Badnik, which moves around slowly and is invincible when flashing. Referred to as "Frasher" in Sonic Jam, which is Engrish for "Flasher".
|| Mystic Cave Zone level value
|| MCZ Palette (0F)
|| MCZ layer deformation info
|| Dynamic pattern reloading for 01, 02, 03, WFZ, 09, MCZ, SCZ (empty)
|| 01, 02, 03, WFZ, 09, MCZ, SCZ misc sprite mappings (empty)
|| MCZ object debug list
|| MCZ primary 16x16 collision index
|| MCZ secondary 16x16 collision index
|| MCZ Act 1 level layout
|| MCZ Act 2 level layout
|| MCZ 16x16 block mappings
|| MCZ main level patterns
|| MCZ 128x128 block mappings
|| MCZ Act 1 ring locations
|| MCZ Act 2 ring locations
|| MCZ Act 1 sprite locations
|| MCZ Act 2 sprite locations
In other media
Sonic the Comic
In the Sonic the Comic series, Mystic Cave Zone was originally used as a hideout by Captain Plunder and his Sky Pirates, marking their debut in the comic series. These pirates kidnapped Amy Rose, prompting Sonic and the Freedom Fighters to travel into the cave and rescue her.
Dr. Robotnik would later enter the Zone and set up a cult under the disguse of "Doctor Sun", installing many traps and tricking many children into becoming Badniks. Sonic and Tails later entered the cave and evaded the death traps, eventually exposing Robotnik and putting a stop to the cult.
In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs, Mystic Cave Zone was visited by Knuckles, Amy and Team Dark near the end of the Shattered World Crisis in pursuit of a unique energy signature, which leads them deeper underground into West Side Island's own Hidden Palace Zone.