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Wing Fortress Zone

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Wing Fortress Zone
Wingfortress.png
Wing Fortress Zone
Tenth level, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit)
Number of Acts: 1
Location: Above West Side Island
Level theme: flying fortress
Boss: Barrier Eggman
Maximum rings: 196 + 100
Non-English names:
Sky Chase Zone | Death Egg Zone

Wing Fortress Zone is the tenth Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, set aboard Dr. Eggman's airship. Like the previous Zone and the next, this Zone only has one Act.

Overview

This level features two of the three cutscenes in the game (the third being the end sequence), with the Tornado first being shot down by the airship's lasers as Sonic/Tails hops on to the flying ship. From here on out, Sonic/Tails must continue the attack on the battleship alone.

Due to being an airship, the top of the Zone consists of straightaways along the deck and wings of the ship, which bear Eggman's insignia, while the bottom routes consist of perilous platforming sections where one false move will result in the player plummeting to their death, which will become easy to make if the player becomes Super Sonic. There is even a section where the player is blown about by strong winds, with breakable panels for the player to latch onto if they need to better position themself.

Dr. Eggman has placed various hazards around the ship to ward off intruders, such as Cluckers and spherical turrets that shoot slow-moving projectiles at the player, and a cluster of gun turrets that can be used as platforms if the player jumps across them while they are open. Speed Launchers will also catapult the player in a given direction at high speed, though the player must be careful not to hold Right or Left when using them, as doing so will kill the player's momentum and possibly drop them into danger.

Due to the Zone's design, there are numerous shortcuts the player can take which will allow them to bypass large portions of the entire Zone. One example of a shortcut they can take is after the first bottomless pit section, where the player can take damage from the spinning propellers, then use their temporary invincibility frames to pass through the blades, skipping the deck entirely.

Tails gives a ride to Sonic on the repaired Tornado (which now features a booster) to help Sonic reach Death Egg Zone.

After defeating Barrier Eggman, the second of three cutscenes plays at the end of the Zone, when Sonic/Tails runs to catch Eggman's spaceship as he flees to the Death Egg, with the Tornado returning, fully repaired after the damage it withstood at the beginning of the Zone and sporting a new rocket booster. The booster reappears in the opening sequence of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, but not in the ending of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The booster gives the Tornado enough speed for Sonic/Tails to grab on to the shuttle as it exits the stratosphere and docks at the Death Egg, leading to the final Zone.

Quotes

You've found Robotnik's secret stronghold - a flying battleship. Could this be Sonic's final fight?

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 US manualMedia:Sonic2 MD US manual.pdf[6]

This stage is the same as what appears in Sky Chase, so you can see that the entire thing is in the shape of an aircraft. Making the stage into the shape of an aircraft was particularly difficult. When playing as Super Sonic, making delicate movements becomes a bit difficult, but it still seems too bad that you can't fight the last boss with him.

Naoto Ohshima, Sonic Jam Strategy Guide

Enemies

Clucker sprite.png
Clucker — Chicken enemy. Sits in a podium and fires eggs at the player.

Development

This conveyor belt seems to have no functionality for whatever reason.

Wing Fortress Zone was known as Sky Fortress Zone for much of its development, although the Title Cards of all known betas in which the Zone exists (CENSOR prototype to Beta 8) mention it as Wing Fortress Zone. It was one of the last Zones in the game to be added and likely the last to be finished, alongside Sky Chase Zone. The original name for this level would much later be repurposed for a similar Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II.

Questions have, in fact, been raised as to whether Wing Fortress was finished. During the second half of the stage, the player encounters a suspended cable with seemingly no purpose, passes a diagonal conveyor belt which despite being animated, has no effect on gameplay, and is introduced to an area filled with hooks and dead ends which serve no other purpose than to slow the player down. The use of boosters to propel the player past some of these elements may suggest the development team perhaps did not want to draw much attention to these areas.

In addition, the boss also lacks a sound effect for its laser. This, combined with the oddities above, leads the Zone to appear noticeably less polished than others in the game. The 2013 remake addresses this issue.

Early layout

A small piece of the Wing Fortress Zone appears in Sky Chase Zone, but the player will not be able to see it completely.

This piece of the Wing Fortress has several differences from the final version. It is possible to notice that some windows have been removed and others added, as well as rivets, a long metal frame in the left and a small platform near the propellers of the lower left corner.

In other media

Sonic the Comic

Wing Fortress Zone as it appears in Sonic the Comic #6.

In the Sonic the Comic series, Sonic and Tails would return to the Wing Fortress which has been abandoned since the events of Sonic 2. There, they would search for a means of boarding the Death Egg, only to discover that the airship's defense systems are still functional and fully automatic. After overcoming them all, the heroes find a shuttle, which they use to board the Death Egg.[7]

References


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