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HUD is the widely used acronym for Heads Up Display. In Sonic games it usually contains an overview of informations such as score, elapsed time, number of lives remaining, number of rings collected.

Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Games

Sonic 1, Sonic 2, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles

In Sonic 1, Sonic 2, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the HUD is divided into two main parts:

  • one part in the top left corner, which displays, from top to bottom, the current score, the elapsed time, the number of rings collected;
  • a life counter in the bottom left corner, which displays the number of remaining lives.
The ring counter flashes red if the player has no rings; the timer flashes red from 9:00 to 9:59 (although a bug in Sonic 1 prevents it from flashing if the player has at least one ring).In Sonic 2, the HUD uses an italic font to increase its readability while in the interlaced mode used in 2P gaming. Once the interlaced mode has been dropped in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the HUD became straight again. In Sonic 2's 2P mode, the HUD doesn't display the score; in Sonic 3's 2P mode, the HUD has been completely redesigned and displays only the time (with centiseconds) in the top left corner, and the current lap in the top right corner.The HUD is also different in the special stages.

Sonic 1's special stage has no HUD whatsoever;

Sonic 2's special stage displays either the rings collected by Sonic and Tails in the top left and top right corner respectively, and the total at the top at the centre, or the rings collected by the character himself while not playing as Sonic and Tails together; occasionally, the number of needed rings to complete a section will flash on the screen;

Sonic 3 & Knuckles' special stage displays the number of remaining blue spheres in the top left corner, and the number of collected rings in the top right corner; in Blue Sphere mode, the ring counter counts downwards as well. Occasionally, messages such as "get blue spheres" and "perfect" appear on the screen.

Sonic Spinball

Sonic Spinball's HUD takes the form of a classic pinball display, and it's placed at the top of the screen. It displays the number of remaining "balls" as well as the score. Vital messages also scroll there.