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What is your favorite Sonic level of all time?


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As if the title didn't make it clear enough, I'd like to know what your all time favorite Sonic level or levels would be. Now, before we get started, I'm gonna lay down a few rules. First, since we don't want this to be a list topic, I want details. What is it about the level you choose that makes it so great in your eyes? Awesome level design? Memorable music? Unique theme? Is there a gameplay mechanic you like that's unique to the level you choose? Does it have an epic boss fight to go with it? 


Also, I'd like to see you name your favorite levels, preferably by era (Classic: 1, 2, 3 and CD; Adventure: 1, 2, Heroes and 2006 (though I would be very surprised if I saw anyone pick a level from 06 as one of their favorites); Modern: Unleashed, Colors, Generations and Lost World), and then, after explaining why you love the levels you do, see if you can pick your all time favorite from your favorites.


I'll go first, obviously. Let's begin with the Classic era, shall we? Hmm. Okay, I grew up with the Classic titles, and they're great games, but I just don't feel that they have many particularly memorable levels compared to the games that came after... except, of course, for Sonic 3 & Knuckles, which is one of my favorite Sonic games ever. That game is just packed with incredible levels, including Hydrocity, Marble Garden, Carnival Night, Ice Cap, Mushroom Hill, Flying Battery, Lava Reef and Sky Sanctuary. It would be so hard to pick a favorite of it wasn't so clear to me which one is the clear winner, which, to me, is...



Oh yeah, Flying Battery. Everything about this level is just so perfect to me. I've always had a love for levels taking place in the clouds, and this one's no exception. There are a couple annoying enemies here and there, but if you've got a shield they're no problem, and, in any case, they wouldn't be enough to ruin this level for me. The level design is just so great, it's got the perfect balance of platforming and speed (and in this level, the fast sections are truly exhilarating). It's also got an awesome two part boss at the end with an epic escape sequence between the two parts. The music in this level is also some of the most awesome and memorable I've ever heard in a Sonic game (and that's saying something). Everything about this level's so great, is it any wonder it's one of my favorites?


Now for the Adventure era. Fun though it may be, Adventure 1 just didn't have any particularly great levels that stood out to me, and I haven't played 06 (though, from what I've seen in it, none of the levels look like they could be called "memorable" in even the loosest sense of the word). Adventure 2, however, is like Sonic 3 in that it's full of great levels (for all the characters, not just Sonic), and picking just one is pretty much impossible. So I'm just gonna take a third option and go with...


That's right, a Heroes level. Nostalgia's probably playing a part here, since I played this several years before I ever got Adventure 2 (Heroes was actually my first 3D Sonic game), but I've got reasons beyond just nostalgia for picking this as my favorite Adventure era level. I know other people find the excessive use of grind rails annoying, but I've always liked them (and not just in Sonic; I enjoy the grinding in the Ratchet series as well). Rail Canyon is nice and fast paced and I really enjoy the music, which matches it perfectly. The boss for this level is also arguably the most fun Heroes boss (though, admittedly, that's not saying much). Plus, I'm just a sucker for desert levels.


Finally, the Modern era. I won't be counting Generations, so this is between Unleashed, Colors and... actually, as fun as Lost World was, it's just not quite as good as Unleashed and Colors, so this is between those two. Both games have great levels, but my favorites would have to be Arid Sands and Starlight Carnival, respectively. Both levels have nice, speedy gameplay and extremely memorable music, but which one is better? Hmm. If I had to choose, I'd have to go with...


Like I said, I'm a sucker for desert levels, and this desert level has something Starlight Carnival will never have: a hub world with NPCs (I'm also a sucker for games with hubs). Also, while Starlight Carnival's music is great, Arid Sands' music is just so insanely awesome that I frequently find myself humming it almost without realizing it. So, yeah, I'll go with Arid Sands.


All these levels are great, but which one is truly the best? Hmmmm.... These are all so great, it's hard to choose. But, if I had to, I'd have to say...


Okay, I know nostalgia's playing a part here, but I can't help it. This level is just so perfect to me that if, for some reason, someone held a gun to my head and demanded to know my all time favorite Sonic level, I'd just have to go with this one.


Whew! Well, there's my incredibly long-winded opinions, and now I'd like to hear yours, the longer-winded the better!

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Eggmanland is my favorite level.


The reason why is because its like a fair level but a evil fair. its colorful and birhgt but the rides are pretty... evil and badass. It looks like Eggmans dream world.


I also like Music Plant. I love the colors, the music and even the springs and spikes.

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Oil Ocean has always been a personal favorite.


It's weird because actually playing it is pretty boring I feel, but ever since I first saw it when I was really young, I thought the idea for it was nuts. Was so used to just the normal ass "fire level," "beach level," "cave level," and the list goes on, but when I finally got to, well, this, it just blew my mind. The music stand-alone feels like it belongs to a desert sounding track, and I guess it's still fitting since it's not a cool ocean breeze like you'd think, well, an ocean would be. There's this looming hot orange sun scorching this aquatic oil rig thing out in the middle of nowhere, all over the sludgy black waves. The first time I accidentally missed a jump and fell down there, I was surprised that you could still be alive if you jumped enough since the oil was so thick.


I think it's just because I think it's literally an entire ocean ruined by an oil spill, that I feel like it's one of Eggman's worst offenses, even if it's never really played up. I start thinking how he'd have not just crammed a handful of animals into machines, but utterly decimated an entire environment in this. Maybe I'm over thinking it, but I guess that's why I like it so much.


Other than that there's just little artistic designs and quirks about it that are kinda the icing on the cake, such as the crazy awesome cannon things that zoom you around, those green tops that flare up from too much pressure, robotic sealife, and the works.

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Hydrocity. It's like the only not shit water level, because you don't even need to get in the water in most of it.

Also that music.

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Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Genesis)-Spring Yard Zone
The Spring Yard Zone is the first city level in the Sonic Universe. It also was a prototype for future casino/carnival levels, which I'm a fan of. biggrin.png
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis)-Casino Night Zone
The Casino Night Zone was the first Casino level to be made in a Sonic game. You've the slots, you've got the pinball machine, and you've got Casino themed music.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3-Ice Cap Zone
Sonic's first ice/snow based level, which sets itself apart from the other levels. Sonic starts this level snowboarding at the start. It also had awesome music.
Sonic & Knuckles-Lava Reef Zone
This one was a little tough...while I like Sky Sanctuary....Lava Reef has better music plus I liked the backgrounds of this level. In fact, Lava Reef is the longest level out of all the Genesis Sonic games.
Sonic CD-Stardust Speedway
Sonic races through a highway, made out of instrumentand parts of instruments, that's above a city. In fact, it seems that the whole city is having a giant dance party. There's alot of boosters and pathways that shoot Sonic in all sorts of directions. You have to carefully maneuver through amaze and touch switches to rearrange the level and find your way to the Signpost.
Sonic Triple Trouble-Sunset Park Zone
A park where enemies roll along in carts and platforms which Sonic and Tails can ride in after destroying them. There's alot of platforming here. After Act 2, instead touching a signpost, Sonic/Tails run on a train and dodge bombs being dropped by enemies until they reach the boss, which is the steam engine pulling the train.
Sonic Adventure-Speed Highway
This level is broken up into 3 parts. The first part is the actual highway itself, which takes place at night. The second part has Sonic run down the side of a Skyscraper, dodging helicoptors and pillars and grabbing items. The third part takes place in a downtown area during the morning. Most of the animals from thislevel, which can be given to Chao, are the Speed Type.
Sonic Adventure 2-Metal Harbor
After being released from the G.U.N prison cell, Sonic runs on the harbor towards the forest. While it is a short level, Metal Harbor is fun. Sonic even ends up on a rocket that gets launched on base.
Sonic Advance-Egg Rocket
Most of the levels in Sonic Advance have an Act 1 and Act 2. However, for level 6, both Acts are seperate levels themselves.
I like Egg Rocket because of the idea that you're inside of a rocket being launched into space, and you're trying to get to reach the cockpit where it's safe. As you reach checkpoints, the previous areas are detached from the rocket.
Sonic Advance 2-Music Plant
A colorful level where Sonic and friends run and bounce across keyboards, trumpets, and music notes. After clearing this level, you unlock Tails.
Sonic Heroes-Egg Fleet
This level is like a bigger and longer version of Sky Deck from Sonic Adventure. In this level, players must destroy the flagships of Eggman's fleet. To destroy them, you must kick the Speed Character through it, causing 4 mini explosions, followed by a big explosion with the entire team coming out of it.
Sonic Advance 3-Sunset Hill
While it is a remake of the Green Hill Zone, it's actually alot better. It's even got a sweet remix which is a combo of the original Green Hill and Central City from Sonic Battle. After clearing this area, you unlock Knuckles.
Sonic Rush-Huge Crisis Zone
This is basically a 2D version of Metal Harbor, except now you can actually go inside the ships. You do have to be careful when inside however, there are a few areas where you can be crushed to death by the ship's pistons and platforms.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2006-Radical Train

What can I say? I like Sonic and I like trains. I will admit that the chase scene at the end of the level is kinda hard since you're running nonstop and the traincars are exploding.
Sonic and the Secret Rings-Night Palace
A beautiful castle that can change its own gravity and have Sonic walking on the walls and ceilings. The missions for this level are hard.
Sonic Rush Adventure-Blizzard Peaks
Another great ice/snow themed level. You start out with a snowboard in Act 1 and slide yourself the rest of the way.
Sonic Unleashed (HD)-Jungle Joyride Day
A level based off of South East Asia. Sonic runs from the decks of the village, to the jungle, to the ocean and beaches, and finally to the ruins. This is the longest Day Act in the HD versions.
Sonic and the Black Knight-Dragon's Lair
The climax of SATBK, where Sonic races through an underground cave. As the level name suggests, you have to fight a dragon in order to beat the level. This one is alot stronger than the Mist Dragon and it's getting backup by different enemies. To defeat it, you can either cut off its horn or knock down the pillars.
Sonic Colors (Wii)-Planet Wisp
While all the other theme parks were made, the Wisp's home planet was the last one to be transformed. Sonic must run through construction sites while trying not to fall into the purple waters and dodge Aero Chasers. Planet Wisp is also the first area where you can unlock the Pink Spikes Wisp, which is my favorite Wisp Power Up. Planet Wisp Act 1 is an awesome soundtrack.

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Its really hard.

Its a toss up between Lava Reef/Hidden Palace and Jungle Joyride day.


I love Lava Reef and Hidden Palace because of their setting. Volcanic magma chamber, and then crystalline caverns and then...a Hidden Palace. The artwork, and the implied lore of the place is just magical. Love how the Death Egg is always looming in the background. Love the mural of Super/Hyper Sonic fighting Eggman in Doomsday Zone. Love the music. Love everything.


Jungle Joyride, once again because of the setting. I love how you travel from a settlement on the water, to the jungle, to ruins, back through the jungle, through some more ruins in the water, through some more jungle, then past some beautiful waterfalls, then finally through to the temple at the end where the Gaia Gate Key is located. If only they had expanded the level so more of the lush jungle and the mysterious ruins could be explored. The potential the stage had to have hidden collectibles and secrets that expanded the Sonic Universes "lore", is what gets me with this particular stage.

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Rooftop Run Day from Sonic Unleashed HD, and its Modern counterpart are both clear standouts to me from any Sonic game. The break-neck, fast paced trek through the continent of Spagonia always keeps me coming back for more every time I play it. It has so many elements that just make it tick with me, like running up/down the Clock tower (depending on which version), evading Eggman's laser badniks, the energetic Electric Guitar/ Violin and Piano music, and how it perfectly combines speed with platforming, while having a fair learning curve that's easy to get a hold of. 


Like I said, I love both versions, and I'm not sure which one edges out for me. The Unleashed rendition is longer and more challenging, while Generations spices it up by basically having you take the same route in reverse and focus on make it look more visually appealing through the drop dead gorgeous Balloon Festival in the background. Either way, it's a level that always keeps my heart racing, and I'm happy to constantly play it.

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Speed Highway (At Dawn) from SA1, mostly because I liked the idea of running around in an environment of that kind. There's also Apotos Day from Sonic Unleashed for its thrill of speed and Camelot Castle from SatBK for its design.

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"Hidden Palace Zone" ("Sonic 2"):



When I was playing Sonic fan games, I always saw the zone's tiles in the fan games. I thought it was an original tile set until I was more in the Sonic scene. When I first got wind that there was an unused track in "Sonic The Hedgehog 2", I did some research. That zone is what came up. A mysterious zone from the past. I love how all of the scrapped Badniks + a new badnik are back in the new "Hidden Palace Zone". And also the music, ("Mystic Cave Zone" 2P music) is a nod to the Simon Wai prototype. The only thing I dislike is the boss battle (the original one from the prototype is so much better despite it a clone of "Mystic Cave Zone" boss). 


"Star Light Zone" ("Sonic 1"):



This is a beautiful and peaceful zone after the heck that was "Labyrinth Zone". It has perfect speed. beautiful music, and an easy boss before the other challenging zone, "Scrap Brain Zone".


"Frog Forest" ("Sonic Heroes"):



I love "Sonic Heroes". I have it for the "Sony Playstation 2" and I never experience a glitch in the game so I don't know why you guys are complaining. Out of all of the amazing zones that appear in "Sonic Heroes", my favorite will have to be "Frog Forest". "Frog Forest" is an incredible zone due to the vast swampy feel of the zone. Also the frogs: black frogs = bad rain and green frogs: good rain. That makes a very strategical situation if you want to take a shortcut in the zone, or just take the scenic route.


"Emerald Coast" ("Sonic Adventure"):



This is my all time favorite zone in ANY Sonic game period. My dad's friend's friend bought over a "SEGA Dreamcast" with a "Generator Demo Disc Vol. 1" disc. I tried the first few games and I loved it, (esp. "Fur Fighters"). But then I saw Sonic. I never even heard of "Sonic Adventure" beforehand, so I picked that game, and wow. The only zone to play was "Emerald Coast", but I didn't care.The music was and is phenomenal (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uhh8K2wJC1E). And then, the whale. I was in awe as the whale chased after me and it's the first time in the Sonic series that Sonic is being chases by an object. Also the water is so crisp and clear despite Robotnik's pollution to Sonic's world.


"Hill Top Zone" ("Sonic 2"): 



Many people in the Sonic community hates this zone, but I find it rather fun. Of course Sonic's known for his speed, but the platforming sections of the classic series are pretty fun as well and this zone shows it off very well. There is also two ways to clear the second act (the other way I found out was via "Sega Genesis Collection") making this a very diverse zone IMO. I love the music as well (

). The boss wasn't great by any means, but OK nonetheless.
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Yeah going to go with Rooftop Run Day from Sonic Unleashed HD/ Sonic Generations, because of reasons already explained, like the break-neck speed and the running up the clock tower.

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I really love both Lava Reef/Hidden Palace Zone and Death Egg Zone from Sonic & Knuckles. Both have incredible layout and awesome music. In Death Egg Zone I love blasting through as Sonic with the lightning shield - you can pick up insane amounts of rings! I even love the upside down Act 2  - adds an extra challenge which is fun. It's a shame they couldn't make the Death Egg level longer in Sonic 2, I imagine it would have been just as awesome. I like how Lava Reef as Sonic feels very different to playing as Knuckles - as you get the feeling that this is very familiar territory for Knuckles but is a real challenge for Sonic. Not sure if that was intentional but it's how I feel when I play it. 

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Sonic 1: Labrynth Zone


Reasoning: The music really sells this one for me. Something about it is so good. I love the architecture in this level as well and even though its a water level, it is manageable.



Sonic CD: Collision Chaos Zone


Reasoning: Well, the music of course. Just the mystique of the level as well. How you can basically beat the level by flying through the air on top, running through unique mazes in the middle, or by running all the way there yourself at the bottom.



Sonic 2: Metropolis


Reasoning: Again the music is a major factor. Also, the pace of this level and the unique design was always so great to see. It felt like when I got to this level I gained the confidence that I was going to beat the game.



Sonic 3: Ice Cap


Reasoning: Its just such a vintage level in the game. Right from the snowboarding to the crazy slip and slide paths. The music speaks for itself. Nuff' said.



Sonic Adventure: Lost World


Reasoning: Just an overload of nostalgia. To me the image above is an iconic image in Sonic's history. The level itself is phenomenal; you have the snake at the beginning, the sliding panels that you run on (On the walls), amazing mazes, and of course the part when you line the lights up with mirrors. An absolute masterpiece level. Also, the music is great and there are multiple tracks for this level. (Broken record=All Sonic music is good)



Sonic Adventure 2: City Escape


Reasoning: Rolling around at the speed of sound...




These are just a few of my favorites. So many other underrated levels out there doe.


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I'll keep it to just one:




Chemical Plant Zone (Sonic 2)


Admittedly a lot of it is down to nostalgia, but this level has always and will always resonate very strongly with me.  First of all, the music is absolutely fantastic and is not only my favourite Sonic track ever but one of my all time favourite musical pieces in general.  Sonic 2's soundtrack in my opinion is one of the best in the series.  The way it covers so many different genres and styles so masterfully just through the use of the Mega Drive's limited set of instruments is just incredible.  Nonetheless there's so much energy in this track and the beat is so fantastic that I can't help but love it to death.


Next is the level visually.  Despite being an industrial level, the amount of contrast and just how vivid it is overall is simply stunning.  The bright combination of blue and yellow helps the level to become instantly recognisable and the dark red/orange city scape in the background gives the area a slight dystopian feel.  This is only the second zone in the game, yet you're already seeing the fruits of Robotnik's scheme.  It feels very edgy.  As much as I dislike to use that word, I feel it's actually very suitable in this situation.


Though the most important reason as to why this level is my favourite in the game is the incredible sense of speed it offered.  Sonic 1 was kinda fast but only for a couple of zones (namely Green Hill Zone and Star Light Zone) and the speed cap was holding you back from reaching your true potential.  Emerald Hill was also fast but not even close to this.  That sensation for the first time being able to outrun the screen was incredible.  It made you realise that this game was taking it to the next level.  This is thanks to a combination of the speed boosters (which whilst are over saturated in current games serve as an awesome one time gimmick here) and wicked and eclectic level design.  There's so many fantastic set-pieces, so many amazing level layouts and some of the coolest shortcuts in the game.  It all melds together to form an experience that's endlessly fun and invigorating.

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  • 2 months later...

I was browsing through the Sonic Discussion sub-forum and I came across the topic and wondered how I missed it as I love gushing about my favorite Sonic-related things. Looking at the date the topic was made I'm pretty sure I missed it due to being busy with the 30 Days of Sonic event. Anyway...


There are so many incredible levels within Sonic's games but if I had to choose what is my favorite level of all time, I would have to go with Sweet Mountain from Sonic Colors:




I love this level so much because it has so much creativity, it is fun to play and it involves my favorite level trope: food! The fact that I have a huge sweet tooth gives me plenty of reasons for this level to appeal to me as well. smile.png
Cake, cookies, donuts, cupcakes, ice cream, gingerbread men, lollipops, jelly bean rockets, cheeseburgers all being part of the level design... even the Egg Pawns are fitting to this level with the Chef hats and whisks that they have:
I thought this level was very creative tied in with some gameplay aspects such as:
Running around loop-de-loops being made out of donuts and candy canes:
Using the Drill Wisp to drill through cake tongue.png
Shooting up in the sky and drifting via the Rocket Wisp. Bonus points for this level having all the other Wisps available to use as well to add to the fun. wink.png
The music for Sweet Mountain is great too. Take Sweet Mountain Act 1 for example:
To further sweeten the audible deal are some of Dr. Eggman's hilarious public announcements over the loudspeaker:
  • "We know they look delicious, but please refrain from licking the rides. That would be disgusting. Do you know where those rides have been? People have been sitting on those rides! With their BUTTS! Okay, go ahead; lick them. Don't say we didn't warn you."
  • "We hope you're enjoying this sunny day here at the park. Sadly, a sunny day once again means that the Choco-Coaster is out of service... due to melting."
  • "There's no line at "Bake Me Crazy", the ride that simulates what it's like to be baked like a cake. The ride itself lasts an amazing 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, not recommended for our guests who are sensitive to temperatures exceeding 350 degrees."
  • "Due to cost restraints, some of the donuts used in this ride are of the stale variety. We apologize for this cost-cutting measure, and hope that you enjoy the ride."

Put all of these elements together and you have yourself a very fun and appealing level for both the ears and eyes to play through IMO:




Every time I play through the levels in Sweet Mountain I always see something new as it never ceases to amaze me. I had no idea that a level design based on food would be so fun to both look at and play through! happy.png
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It's awfully hard to make a decision.... When I first saw the topic, I immediately thought Adabat from Sonic Unleashed. But the more I think about it, the more other amazing stages I find. happy.png


What makes Jungle Joyride one of my forever favorites is its picturesque design. All stages in Unleashed were a graphic marvel, full of amazing little effects and brilliant details, but to me Adabat just topped all of the other zones. It starts with this dynamic part where you're running straight ahead on wooden planks, and at that part you can only guess the eye candy that lies ahead. Then when you reach the end of the first section and get the first camera sweep that captures the ocean, you begin to realize what more there is to come. From lush green jungles, mysterious ancient ruins, over turquoise water with fish and reefs barely hidden by transparent waves the stage is just allover beautiful. It's one of those places you wish you could visit on a vacation. smile.png


Another favorite of mine is Lost World from Sonic Adventure. It has this mystical old ruin atmosphere, complete with traps, flaming arrows, an Indiana Jones reminder in form of a giant ball of rock chasing you, it has magical switches, glowing gravity-defying panels in the wall, and a mural at the end that's apparently thousands of years old, but depicts things that haven't happened yet. Awesome.


I also love Eggmanland, also for its atmosphere. It's maybe the stage that reflects Eggman's character better than any other. It's full of evil traps, but it also has a lot of little quirks, like the laughing moving walls, the mad rollercoasters of death, or the Eggman-shaped water towers. There's mad scientist bad guy written all over this stage, and it's probably the stage that made me anticipate the actual confrontation with our all favorite villain more than any other stage before and after it.


Oh, and Sonic Heroes. THERE'S BINGO ON THE TABLE!

No, seriously, I love the casino stages is Heroes. They are really fun, and you can play them for a really long time just for fun, collecting rings on the game tables until you have over a thousand of those shiny rouns. wink.png

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This is a tough decision, but i think I'll go with this one:
Aquarium Park from Sonic Colors.
This is one of the few underwater levels that I like. The visuals are beautiful, I love the eastern influence, the underwaters parts with all the sea life and the samurai-themed Egg Pawns.


The level's music is great too:



Most of the available Wisps are fun to use and the swimming ability is a great addition, making running through the underwaters portions less of a pain.

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