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Green Hill Zone

Rey Skywalker-Ren

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Palm trees!

The majestic palm tree and brown checkered world. Green Hill Zone is by far the most iconic Sonic stage there is. When it pops up, it gives people nostoilga which is why Sonic team loves to rehash this stage over and over again. It is pretty much most people's first experience with the Sonic games. That and the music is also iconic itself. However, there are other things about Green Hill Zone other people wouldn't know, so I want to list some of those here. 

First here was a concept design for Green Hill shown at Joypolis:


-Even though he as been there many times, Tails doesn't remember Green Hill Zone at all however he does remember it in Sonic Chronicles.

-In Sonic X, Cream does say in the Japanese version that she used to live in Green Hill. (I'm not kidding, look it up)

-GHZ has appeared in the games 18 times. Seaside Hill is another reoccuring stage.

-Oh and Hatsune Miku has her own mix of GHZ, listen!

-Sonic Chronicles' version of GHZ is the only one that plays entirely different music

-The only stage that totally rips of GHZ is Splash Hill Zone - the only thing the others in the trope have in common are the grassy hills and the lakes in the background dependning on the stage. SHZ took the checkers and all.

-Silver's theme does sound a little like GHZ but that one was by accident according to the writers

-There are actual places named Green Hill

-This stage has been remade in all eras and like I said, it is the most remade stage.

-The beta name for Aquatic Ruin Zone was Neo Green Hill Zone (which was an actual zone in the Advance series)

-Speaking of the Advance series, Sunset Hill's music is a remix of Green Hill's music.

-Critics have praises this stage as a classic and how the music was catchy. Most critics did say they wanted to "work in Green Hill Zone". haha

So yeah, do you like GHZ? is it one of your favorite stages? Do you want to see it appear again in the future?

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Interesting facts Mikyeong! 

Here is a higher quality picture of that concept art if anyone is interested. 


interestingly, it looks like this in the Sonic 1 manga too. You can tell the artists were working with this art when they created it most likely. 


But to answer your question, yes I do like Green Hill Zone, and it is obviously one of the most iconic zones of all time. Don't think it's one of my top favourites though. When it comes to first zones, I think that Angel Island Zone can't be beat. XP 

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Frankly, GHZ is an example of how an iconic stage can become overdone as only a handful of games in the franchise don't start there.

Of course, it does have some interesting new takes despite that. Despite Seaside Hill being GHZ 2.0 in Sonic Heroes, it's unique by combining that with a beach and ruin motif. And Sunset Hill from SAdv3 is actually quite a warm and lovely take on the style simply by making it GHZ at sunset. Then there's Mecha Green Hill Zone, which is basically a robotic version of the level.

It's a great iconic stage overall, but it also shows that Sonic could do will more variety for his first level after having them so much over the years.

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Green Hill is probably the favorite level and more nostalgic level for the fans. I really like the level, the music, the layout. I think it's a remarkable level, but I think it's not a good idea to use Green Hill Zone in all Sonic games. I prefer to Green Hill appears only in games and celebratory events. But I think it's a good idea to use the theme and stage style, but with a different name, something like Emerald Hill and Palmtree Panic.

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There's nothing wrong par se with an opening green-like stage (i.e palm trees, forests, beaches) as long as it's unique and fits the theme of the game in question. Emerald Hill and Angel Island are good examples of an opening green stage which isn't a blatant rehash of Green Hill. Whereas Sonic CD's Palmtree Panic - whilst an enjoyable level - feels very similar to Green Hill.

I agree the name Green Hill and the design/coloring of the stage has been overused and doesn't need to be. *Gets ready for it to be used again in the 25th anniversary game*

I think SA2 and Generations versions of Green Hill were impressive. SA2's of course being a bonus for getting all 180 A ranks & winning all chao races.

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Sonic Adventure 2's rendition was exciting because Green Hill hadn't been seen in a Sonic game since Sonic 1. The games until that point did remix the level but never used Green Hill itself, which made it special. In recent years the remixes of the level and appearances have gotten out of hand and have made it lose its appeal.

That said, its still the most iconic stage in the series, and I would honestly be pretty disappointed not to see it in an anniversary title like Generations.

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Aw man! Someone beat me to a Sonic Level Theme Topic! Oh well... (Deletes Green Hills Zone Word Document on Computer)

The Green Hill theme in Sonic games is a cool subdivision of the Grass level trope. Although I appreciate the original, I love some of its children more.

We've gotten some interesting Green Hill themed levels during the Genesis and Dreamcast Eras:

  • Emerald Hill Zone, which is faster to navigate and has the spiral bridges
  • Mushroom Hill Zone, which has a number of gimmicks and a cool seasonal change between Acts
  • Palmtree Panic Zone, with has multiple versions due to time travel
  • Neo Green Hill Zone, which combines elements of Green Hill with elements from Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2
  • Seaside Hill, which combines Green Hill with the beach and ocean ruins themes
  • Sunset Hill Zone, which is my top favorite Green Hill themed level with the Green Hill and Central City remix
1 hour ago, Mikyeong said:

-The only stage that totally rips of GHZ is Splash Hill Zone - the only thing the others in the trope have in common are the grassy hills and the lakes in the background dependning on the stage. SHZ took the checkers and all.

The Splash Hill Zone is my least favorite of the Green Hill Zone Themed levels. It tries throwing stuff from Green Hill Zone, Emerald Hill Zone, and Angel Island Zone together without understanding why those levels are so great. Windy Hill is better than this level.

1 hour ago, ChaosSupremeSonic said:

Then there's Mecha Green Hill Zone, which is basically a robotic version of the level.

While the Mecha Green Hill Zone sounds cool, I wish they had done more with it besides the "coconuts on the trees are actually bombs, don't touch them"

34 minutes ago, Solister said:

 But I think it's a good idea to use the theme and stage style, but with a different name, something like Emerald Hill and Palmtree Panic.

Exactly. As long as Sonic Team and whoever gets creative with a Green Hill Themed levels beyond changing the color of the checkerboard pattern and not always make it the first level, I'm Ok.

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Am so tired of Green Hill zone, and Seaside hill for that matter.
Altough i'd love to see Mecha Green Hill zone return. So much more potential that can be done with that concept that the Game Gear/ Master System couldn't handle.
And I like it when it's mixed with other themes, like when that Police car arcade game had a Green hill zone themed city, that was neat.

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I want to say I'm tired of Green Hill Zone but honestly it is mainly the spin-off games that fatigued me to it.  Going through the main series:

Sonic 1 - Green Hill Zone

Sonic 2 - Very much a rehash of GHZ, but it was their first time doing so, no problem

Sonic CD - Very much a rehash, but it being developed in tandem to Sonic 2 makes it forgivable, and the time travel stuff quickly distracts, especially come Act 3

Sonic 3  - The zone is a green tropical one, but spends 80% of the time on fire, no problem

Sonic Adventure - Tropical one, but a very realistic beach setting rather than anything truly resembling Green Hill

Sonic Adventure 2 - No Green Hill trope

Sonic Heroes - The first time they really seemed to be playing the "Green Hill card" but the ruins trope makes it kind of unique

Shadow the Hedgehog - No Green Hill trope

Sonic 2006 - More a rehash of Emerald Coast than Green Hill

Sonic Unleashed - No Green Hill trope

Sonic 4 - 100% rehash, and an act of disrespect to Sonic 2, CD and 3's creativity

Sonic Colours - First stage is about as far flung from the original as Green Hill referencing opening stages can go

Sonic Generations - Think we can forgive this one for using Green Hill

Sonic Lost World - Creative in the sense that the stage is set in the sky, but since ALL Lost World's stages are, it falls flat


The bolded ones are the only ones that seem distinctly re-hashy to me (other than Sonic 2 and CD, which I'm giving a generous free pass as first follow-ups).  The thing is it's the spin-off games that throw Green Hill in our face so much.  On some level I don't blame them, but it doesn't change the fact it wears us out.  The handheld games have always thrown grass/tropical stages at us much more frequently too, so they don't help.  The funny thing is, two out of the three bolded are exactly the games that get their locations re-used in spin-offs, Heroes for the All-Stars games and Dash, Lost World for Smash 4 and Runners.


So I think generally people are just tired of the grass/tropical setting being used for opening stages.  It is a tricky act mind you, since grassy stages do have the least fodder for trope gimmicks, making them great places for training areas of the game's basic rules - after all you can't have lava geysers interrupting that sort of thing... or... well, can you?  Sonic 2 on Master System is only critiqued for opening harshly due to it's boss, not the first two acts.  Really, placing tropical stages mid-game and more unique tropes for the first stage is the exact sort of challenge Sonic Team should be undertaking to make their stage designs more unique.  Doesn't get much more uninventive than a Sonic game managing to match the New Super Mario Bros games' trope/world subject matter in identical ordering from the start to the end of the game.


But uhh... I guess I got a tiny bit off-topic, focusing on the "GHZ is boring" matter there lol.

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2 minutes ago, TheRatchetFanBoy said:

Honestly, I do love Green Hill, it's where Sonic was born 

Actually, Sonic was born in Christmas Island.

But Green Hill. I like its aesthetic, for a stage called "Green Hill", you see a lot more brown than green. But it looks nice, simple but very memorable level. As for all the clones, eh if it's not super blatant I personally don't mind it. Levels like Seaside Hill does a decent job to not 100% rehash Green Hill's looks but the iconic checkerboard style is still seen in that level. But for Splash Hill and Windy Hill, yeah..... 

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Always loved GHZ. Really pleasant aesthetics and music. I love the way it's structured, so few bottomless pits, tiered stage design so that the higher routes are the fastest and safest routes but are the most tricky to stay on, lower routes are the slowest and most dangerous routes, it's a good design. I don't mind that it's been copied a bunch, it's a really good tone setter. What would bother me more is if every level after that were shamless copies of other levels as well ( Hey there Sonic 4. )

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Green Hill Zone is a great stage. It has a wonderfully bold and pleasant appearance perfect for a level destined to become iconic - high-contrast checkerboards, lush green grass, palm trees with really cool geometric-looking leaves, flowing water, other scenery touches such as flowers and totem poles, etc. Not too wild and out-there, but still whimsical and distinct. A perfect example of what Sonic stages should generally be, visually speaking. It's also a lot of fun to play - I like that it's more challenging than some other first stages, such as Emerald Hill Zone, and that it has a lot of different paths and secrets to explore, while still being relatively easy, as first stages should be. It's just so pleasant in so many ways. The iconic music is nice too, though personally I prefer Emerald Hill Zone's by a large margin.

In general, I'm not fond of pure rehashing, BUT I am very fond of the idea of putting a new spin on an old level or level trope, such as what Seaside Hill did rather nicely. Revisiting a level every once in a while isn't a bad thing at all, though. But even so, it would be best to revisit a variety of levels rather than just the same one over and over again. There are so many neat locations we get to explore in the Sonic games; I'd love to give many of them a second look, preferably with a new spin or angle, rather than just Green Hill again and again. I don't especially mind starting Sonic games with a Green Hill-esque stage, but it's better if they're not an overly close copy.

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As for my opinion on Green Hill: I don't find much special about it. To be it's just a run of the mill forest stage with checkers. Same with the music. I don't find much special about it other than to give you that "first time" vibe. However, I do like the Generations mix.

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Green Hill Zone is a pretty cool stage, but honestly IMO it's been overused way too many times. I can understand why it's been used, since it's the first level in the very first game that started the franchise. But to see the same stage get rehashed over and over again really makes it become boring IMO... :\

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The original Green Hill Zone and the Modern Generations Green Hill Zone are some of my favorite stages to replay.

But I do get kind of tired of hearing the theme sometimes due to the sheer amount of times it has been used.

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