Sonic the Hedgehog zone cliches
If you read through the general information sections of any of the games listed in the Archives section, you'll undoubtedly hear me rant and rave about the cliches used in Sonic zones. Don't take it the wrong way; I'm not complaining about the levels. I'm just pointing out that this is a great example of a typical Sonic cliche.
Below is a list of all the Sonic zone cliches, as I see them:
The Tropical Island Cliche
This is probably one of the most common of all the cliches. To my knowledge, it's appeared in every Sonic game to date, except Sonic Spinball. Common features in levels like this include palmtrees, waterfalls, bright flowers, and badniks relating to the environment (i.e., monkeys, pirahna, etc.).
First appeared: Green Hill Zone, Sonic 1
Emerald Hill Zone, Sonic 2
Angel Island Zone, Sonic 3
Palmtree Panic Zone, Sonic CD
Green Grove Zone, Sonic 3D Blast
Resort Island, Sonic R
Emerald Coast, Sonic Adventure
Neo South Island, Sonic Pocket Adventure
Ancient Ruins Cliche
Another common cliche found in most Sonic games. Expect to find Roman style pillars, brick walls, plenty of secret passageways, and spikes. On an interesting note, alot of the Ancient Ruins zones have small, unique variations to them, usually in the area of a natural trap. For instance, Marble Zone has lava, Aquatic Ruin has water, Marble Garden has tar, etc. etc.
First appeared: Marble Zone, Sonic 1
Aquatic Ruin Zone, Sonic 2
Marble Garden Zone, Sonic 3
(Possibly the famous lost R2 level from Sonic CD?)
Rusty Ruin Zone, Sonic 3D Blast
Regal Ruin, Sonic R
Lost World, Sonic Adventure
Bounce Around/Carnival Cliche
This one is a bit hard to explain. It involves alot of bouncing around off of bumpers and using pinball bumpers to propel upwards. This cliche hasn't appeared that often, but it's one of my favorites!
First appeared: Spring Yard Zone, Sonic 1
Collision Chaos Zone, Sonic CD
Carnival Night Zone, Sonic 3
A derivative of the original Bounce Around/Carnival Cliche, you'll find lots of pinball bumpers and springs, lots of stuff to keep you in the air. The main difference, however, is the obligatory bright neon lights and ring giving slot machines.
First appeared: Casino Night Zone, Sonic 2
Sonic & Knuckles Special Stage
Casino Zone, Sonic Adventure
Cosmic Casino, Sonic Pocket Adventure
Another of the common cliched zones. All or most of the level takes place underwater and the use of air bubbles is critical. You'll find plenty of pirahna badniks as well.
First appeared: Labyrinth Zone, Sonic1
Aquatic Ruin Zone, Sonic 2
Hydrocity Zone, Sonic 3
Tidal Tempest Zone, Sonic CD
Techno City/Large Factory Cliche
Jeez, Eggman's one busy little scientist! It always seems like he's building a technological city for himself in every game. I've also included levels that are set in factories of city-sized proportion, since they both seem to go along together. Metal galore, electric sparks, spikes, and nasty badniks are a few of the things often found in these zones.
First Appeared: Scrap Brain Zone, Sonic 1
Chemical Plant Zone, Sonic 2
Metropolis Zone, Sonic 2
Oil Ocean Zone, Sonic 2
Launch Base Zone, Sonic 3
Metallic Madness Zone, Sonic CD
Reactive Facory, Sonic R
Hot Shelter, Sonic Adventure
Final Egg, Sonic Adventure
I would classify these with the Tropical Island Cliche, but their just... not tropical islands. Coniferous trees, broad leafed plants, and lots of wooden objects set the scene for these type of zones.
First appeared: Mystic Cave Zone, Sonic 2 & Wood Zone, Sonic 2 (prototype)
Flying Fotress/Death Egg Cliche
This one has been worked to death, at least in the Death Egg area! No matter how many times you destroy the damn thing, it'll climb back up, crippled and wounded, and yell, "BRING IT ON, YA LITTLE BLUE SISSY!" Flying Fortress/Death Egg zones all take place on some type of aerial battleship made by Eggman for the singular use of destroying Sonic.
First appeared: Wing Fortress Zone, Sonic 2
Flying Battery Zone, Sonic & Knuckles
Death Egg Zone, Sonic 2
Death Egg Zone, Sonic & Knuckles
Underground Cavern Cliche
This type tends to be very popular among Sonic fans, probably because the famous Hidden Palace Zone was of this type. The setting is a huge cavern, littered with badniks and traps.
First appeared: Hidden Palace Zone, Sonic 2
Lava Reef Zone, Sonic & Knuckles
Hidden Palace Zone, Sonic & Knuckles
Hot sand, hot sun, quicksand, spikes... a virtual hell. You just gotta think to yourself that those rings are hot too! =) Note that this first appeared in Dust Hill Zone in Sonic 2 (prototype), but since we have no concrete proof except a picture, I won't include it.
First appeared: Sandopolis Zone, Sonic & Knuckles
Sand Hill, Sonic Adventure
(Possibly Dust Hill from early Sonic 2 builds?)