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Death Chambers: Horror Levels in Sonic Games

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When I think of Sonic levels, they are normally areas filled with nature and manmade structures. However, there are a few areas of Sonic's world and Blaze's world that many people tend to avoid because of their supernatural occurrences and creepy atmospheres. Are all of these locations really haunted by ghosts? Or are they just tricks created by Dr. Eggman to keep Hedgehogs and G.U.N. from finding him and ruining his plans? Don't let the level get to you...

Note: The List in this opening post only contains Horror Levels from Sonic games I myself have played, experienced, and remember well enough to talk about, as well as levels I feel are debatable as Horror Levels. For example, I have never played the Rivals games so I didn't mention the Mystic Haunt Zone. If you have a favorite Horror level I forgot about, a level I didn’t mention because I never played it, or have a level you feel can be described as a horror level, feel free to talk about it in the topic.


Sonic 3 and Knuckles: Sandpolis Act 2

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Everything is fine inside the pyramid for Sonic and Tails….until they accidentally release some ghosts that were trapped inside a Prison Capsule. This changes from an archeological adventure to a race to find light switches to keep the ghosts from growing stronger within the darkness. If it gets too dark, they will start attacking Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles from all over the screen.

Sonic Adventure: Twinkle Park (DLC Halloween Event) and Red Mountain

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This was a one of the special holiday events that slightly changes the appearance of Station Square and Twinkle Park, where ads are posted all over Station Square and new decorations appear in Twinkle Park.

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Red Mountain starts off as a dangerous fire level with different enemies and traps. For the most part, it seems like any other fire level….until you go inside the mountain. Dancing tombstones, giant spiders, giant jail cells, skulls that emit fire… what the heck are those guys inside the cells? None of the characters can get to them. One of the missions in DX calls it a prisoner of hell… Are they supposed to be souls?

Sonic Adventure 2: Pumpkin Hill, Aquatic Mine, Pyramid Cave, Egg Quarters/Death Chamber
Currently, Sonic Adventure 2 has the most horror levels out of any Sonic game.

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Pumpkin Hill is a haunted trio of mountains: one containing a church with a graveyard, one with a flying teleporting train, and one filled with pumpkins. Knuckles reclaims his Shovel Claw here to help him collect the shards of the Master Emerald.

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Aquatic Mine is an abandoned, haunted mine that has a unique system of controlling the water. While Knuckles can search all 3 levels for Master Emerald Shards, he can also find a secret path to a Air Necklace to help prevent him from drowning.

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Pyramid Cave has Sonic blaze through Eggman's pyramid base to find the very odd, locked door surrounded by Neon Eggman Lollipop Signs. He also get his Bounce Bracelet to help him reach higher areas and attack from above quickly.

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Death Chamber and Egg Quarters has Knuckles and Rouge find 3 Egg Keys to open the door to Dr. Eggman's base. Unfortunately, Knuckles has to fight King Boom Boo after finding his keys.

Sonic Heroes: Hang Castle/Mystic Mansion

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A giant haunted house created by Dr. Eggman…I think. The entire place is filled with Enemies, traps, and puzzles based on invisible paths, areas with artificial gravity that flip everything upside down, Grind Rails connected to look like spider webs, and objects appearing and disappearing upon activating switches. Reaching the Goal Ring at the end of Mystic Mansion will make you happy to be out of the madness.

Sonic and the Secret Rings: Skeleton Dome

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The Skeleton Dome is a giant graveyard filled with bones, both small and large. While it seems to be snowing here, it’s actually dust from the remains in this eerie landscape. After receiving the Red World Ring, Sonic and Shahra travel to the dome’s throne room to see King Solomon and take down the 40 thieves.

Sonic Riders: Digital Dimension

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This course has racers going through a virtual simulator that switches back and forth between a scary underworld and a door leading up to heaven. The illusion does end after the heaven section and before racers return to the Start through.

Sonic Rush Adventure: Haunted Ship Zone

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The Haunted Ship Zone is a ship graveyard where Silver Material can be found. Sonic and Blaze must bounce off of ropes, launch out of spare cannons, and avoid cannonballs from Captain Whisker’s ships in the background.

 

DEBATABLE MENTION:

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Sonic the Hedgehog 2006: Crisis City
Crisis City takes place in an apocalyptic future where the fire monster Iblis and his minions continually burn the world alive. All 3 teams will have to rush through the ruins of a burning city while avoiding the unstable structures, flames, debris, and enemies. While it doesn't have ghosts, it is a literal hell on earth.

While Crisis City also takes place in an unfinished game, it did get a chance to for redemption as a proper level in Sonic Generations. The idea of the level is also revisited in the Chaotic Inferno Zone in Sonic Rivals 2.

 

If you had to choose, what would be your number 1 Horror Level in a Sonic Game?
 
What are some old or new ideas you'd like to see in future Horror Levels in Sonic games?
 
What's another level theme you'd like to see fused together with the horror themes in Sonic games?

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I feel like a reimagined take on the burned Angel Island Zone from Sonic 3 could fit in well here.  If the music had been more downbeat after the carpet-bombing, we might even count that very level among these ranks.

The ghosts and darkness in Sandopolis Zone Act 2 are a pretty interesting device; looking at it from a removed perspective, they mostly look pretty silly, but it does add a genuine sense of tension to the level if you don't know it that well.  That was a really good level gimmick.  It didn't change the gameplay, but it did change your approach to it, and it also rewarded skill and speed.

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Well since Rivals 2 was the very first Sonic game I played, my go to is Mystic Haunt.

While people may love to say how bad Sunset Forest Act 3 sounded, Rivals 2 had a pretty nice soundtrack and Mystic Haunt's music is definitely up there with my favorite themes in the game. With a nice in-level gimmick where you have to constantly press switches to keep the castle lit or else the ghosts come attack you, it's never a bore with Mystic Haunt. It's probably one of my favorite zones in the Rivals series.

I'd also add good ol' Cryptic Castle from Ow the Edge.

Another nice tune to a semi-creepy castle, I'd even say that it's probably one of the better designed levels in the game even! Either you light torches to keep Eggman's defenses up, find Cream & Cheese or just going through the level, I always have a fun time playing through this level.

Also just a small note.

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WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS THING?! SWEET HOT SAUCE CHRISTMAS CAKE?!

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Probably doesn't count, but I love Moon Mansion Zone from the fan game Sonic after the sequel, the music and color-sceme just make it work for me.
In general I don't really like spooky levels but this is a big exception.


From the official games, errr. I'll go with Sonic adventure's Red Mountain. The mysterious prisoners make it fascinating.
It's mostly mysteries and "the unknown" that I like about horror more then straight forward ghost monsters.
So weird prisoners of hell in the background is more freaky then physical ghosts to spindash to pieces.

 

A modern idea for a haunted stage I'd like would be like Sonic returning to one of Eggman's old bases from the previous games, but now deserted, out of power and overgrown with plantlife.
Like returning to Scrap brain zone, but now with toned down music, the lights off, crumbling walls everywhere.
The Boss arena, now oddly quiet, with loose cables and broken glass anywhere, just a strange hint of Eggman's silhouette in the cabin as if he can pop up any minute to re-activate the machine, but it's just a misplaced shadow...Or is it?


Prison island from Shadow's game could have had this potential but they sadly didn't go that route.
Odd, considering how much that game loves it's grit and decayed ruins.

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If I recall there's at an extreme stretch Toy Hell from Illbleed on the Dreamcast. Sonic's there alright; a giant deformed Sonic puppet thing called Zodick who you fight.

Now that's Sonic Horror. Thing's fucking terrifying. 

And he's a boss because they called him Zodick!

What? YOUR immature...

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Shoutouts go to my favorite iteration of this trope, Hang Castle/Mystic Mansion. AtS' Moon Mansion is also a natural contender. While they are the the fantasical extremes of their trope it pulls it off well enough to be grounded in a sense of reality of their world. ..That's not saying much innit though since Sonic's world is crazy enough as is. 

 

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I was thinking of something from Sonic & the Black Knight since there's that line Sonic says at the beginning about it being Halloween everyday, so the only real contender is the Deep Woods, which is not only the home of Nimue Lady of the Lake and the battleground against Lancelot, but it is the darkest looking level in the game, a haunted forest just outside of Camelot.  The Shrouded Forest provides a similar feel being a forest warped by Merlina's dark magic, and acting as a barrier to Dark Hollow.

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If I had to choose my favorite spooky or quote on quote horror Sonic level from any Sonic game? I would choose Pumpkin Hill, Why because I just like the level for its design and it has an awesome catchy tune that plays in the background. Also I used to just play the level just for the music. I love Pumpkin Hills music, I love it so much that I even have the song on my Ipod! :D 

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The levels I still struggle with now is the Ark levels from SA2, they can be pretty challenging when you are set a certain mission.

Most of the Ark levels are not really Horror Levels…although Lost Colony is close to being one.

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Dr. Eggman is the first person to be aboard the Ark in 50 years. No one is there except for the machines and G.U.N. robots. It's also very dark throughout this stage. Even the music starts out ominous.

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Yeah, this series has had some very disturbing levels.

 

Adventure had Lost World, a place that was once the cornerstone of a great city, leveled to dust by Chaos; and it's still flooded! Imagine all those who died there, not only to him but later to the traps of the temple. Final Egg and the Amy-only section of Twinkle Park were creepy too.

 

SA2 had Lost Colony, which is already a disturbing idea to begin with. Shadow... Don't get me started on that or 06. They have a lot of scary levels. In Shadow, EVERY level is frightening, but special mention goes to Lost Impact and The Doom, two levels that show how evil Black Doom really is by trying to break Shadow's spirit. You want to save gentle giant Maria, but you can't; you're trapped in a cycle of death with no way to save the one you loved. 06 had a few stages evoking Hell. The End of the World is really spooky as well. Spinball would also fit into this category, enhanced by harsh electronic music.

 

Surprsingly, I find Rivals 2 and Lost World to be the scariest games in the series.  Rivals 2's Chaotic Inferno may be even worse than Crisis City if you take certain factors into account. Silver was alone before he met Espio, while in 06 he at least had Blaze (who was likely his imaginary friend). This means Silver's loved ones ARE ALL DEAD. No more Blaze (if she was real), Shard, Gold, Edmund... They all died horribly to the terrible Ifrit, who just keeps SMILING at Silver's plight. It smiles at everything, really, implying it may not be the mindless horror it seems to be. At the end, it eats Eggman Nega, destroying one of the last things giving Silver's life meaning. 

 

And Mystic Haunt is scary too. Is it the final resting place of Silver's beloved, and Nega came to screw things up in an act of evil desecration? Could that Hyudoro boss be Gold or something? Silver being forced to fight his dead loved ones... And it's a place where Chao are eaten.

 

Lost World, rather than scaring through sympathy/empathy, goes straight for scaring the player head-on. Dessert Ruins is the first sign Lost Hex had a good reason to be lost. Nothing makes much sense in here; donuts dance, cannons shoot truffles, and licorice is the only road above certain death. Lava Mountain is scary because Sonic is killing a bunch of goofy, silly bad guys in quick sucession. Poor Zomom cries about his cruel mother and Zor embraces death! Combine that with Sonic's CRUEL rejection of Zeena (the single worst cutscene in the game) earlier on and you feel like a monster. 

 

And then there's Hidden World. What is this place? It was hidden for good reasons. The floor is pulsating, alive, even. You're dogged by these teratoma... THINGS out to gobble you up.  You kill the last one by feeding it it's own offspring. The Nightmare reflects those you have justly & unjustly killed coming back to haunt you for their deaths. Yoshi's Island? It's about becoming the opposite of who you really are.

 

Sorry for thinking way too deep, but I do did those games disturbing.

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My answer really depends on whether we're talking about my favorite level with a horror theme, or my favorite horror theme in a level. For the former I'd have to say Pyramid Cave, I really like the level but I always think of it as more of a desert level than a horror level. As far as my favorite horror theme I've got to go with Lost Colony. You are alone, in the dark, on an abandoned space colony where everything wants you dead. The soft red and green lights that give the ARK a futuristic feel in other levels suddenly become very eerie, the BGM "Trespasser" is a rather somber, haunting piece befitting the ARK's tragic history (but still keeping with Eggman's musical style) and a striking contrast to the much more vivacious tracks of other levels. It really is a great setup for what is easily the most atmospheric Sonic level ever made. There might not be any ghosts in this level, but by the time you're through you'll swear you saw a few lurking around the corners of the screen.

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I was recently talking to Roger (the same one in this very topic) and I had the idea in my mind that OW THE EDGE is as close to a Zombie Apocalypse that we can get in the sonic 'verse, not counting Steve's SONIC ZOMBIES or that filler Sonic Show episode with Shadow and Rouge's heads pasted onto the cast of Night of the Living Dead.

 

Think about it:  the normally fantastic world of Sonic the Hedgehog is turned on itself by an unnatural force headed by a cultist-like leader who has connections to Shadow himself.  if this was the zombapocalypse, the cultist would probably be Ixis Naugus.  Now replace the Necromancer with Black Doom and the ghouls with the Black one's alien spawn:  BINGO.

Topping this is the fact that Cryptic Castle is possibly being Hang Caslte/Mystic Mansion's evil return as well as Shadow returning to twisted locations of his past: Prison Island, after being blown to bits by the dynamite packs he, Eggman, and Rouge planted back in SA2, has radically transformed into something similar to the Lost Woods, but it is too unsuitable for actual Gun Soldiers to do combat here, instead sending in the Hunters.  And then there's Space Colony ARK hosting five stages:  The ARK, The Doom, Lost Impact, Space Gadget, Cosmic Fall.  In the ARK, Shadow either works with Black Doom to destory the ARK's defenses and activate the Eclipse Cannon or he can do his own thing and get onto the space colony.  The Doom is practically Shadow's worst nightmare:  the GUN military coup 50 years in the past leading to the death of Maria.  Lost Impact follows the same sort of plot.  Space Gadget is more or less Final Rush and Final Chase put in a blender.  Cosmic Fall has Shadow either working with Black Doom to get the Chaos Emerald or work with Vector and FIND THE COMPUTAH ROOM!

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Never played Adventure 2 when I was a kid but if I did, I would be freaking out on King Boom Boo boss fight. I did however watched that one Sonic X episode that had him in a episode as a kid, and that gave me the creeps when Boo Boom was chasing the characters up the stairs. Even now since last year when I finally got my hands on SA2, the first time I fought King Boom Boo and he was chasing around Knuckles while face towards the ground going all Pacman like, getting ever so close to me, that actually spooked me a bit.

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I just remembered that there are two zones within Sonic 2 that are pretty spooky themselves.

Obviously there is the Mystic Cave Zone, the music makes it creepier than it should.  Malcos made it even creepier with his OCRemix "Circus Cave."  And bear in mind that Act 2 has the inescapable spike pit, which I am thankful Stealth and Taxman removed so that we can have the Hidden Palace Zone.

And while it's not in the game proper (other than the layout of Metropolis Act 3) there is Genocide City Zone

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While this is only from the Long Version hack, it's damn creepy.  I mean we have these idols mounted into the walls with gaping faces and lolling tongues, eyes glowing yellow.  The sewers are littered with skeletons.  Human skeletons.  Every doorway you pass, there's one of the Hyudoro Ghosts from Sandopolis mentioned in the opening post to this topic.  And this is the last zone before Sonic and Tails/Knuckles go through before entering the Metropolis Zone, which has the afforementioned original GCZ layout, so that leaves me thinking:  What did Eggman do to the people of Westside Island before he built his Metropolis base?

Even creepier is that there is a Ceepypasta based on this same level that is a bit more compotently written than that godawful Sonic.exe creepypasta and draws some inspiration from the Bad Ending of Sonic 2 8-bit where Tails is implied to have died from Silver Sonic.

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I just remembered that there are two zones within Sonic 2 that are pretty spooky themselves.

Obviously there is the Mystic Cave Zone, the music makes it creepier than it should.  Malcos made it even creepier with his OCRemix "Circus Cave."  And bear in mind that Act 2 has the inescapable spike pit, which I am thankful Stealth and Taxman removed so that we can have the Hidden Palace Zone.

 

hmm Mystic Cave from Sonic 2 does count? XD i mean.. the Music speaks to me about spooky .. :D

Mystic Cave can definitely count as a Haunted Level:

  • It seems like an old mine.
  • there's a number of  traps that will either instantly kill Sonic and Tails or slowly knock all the Rings out of him.
  • Crawlton popping out of walls and ceilings
  • I agree that the music works with a Haunted level

Whether you're playing in Single Player or Multiplayer, this level very stressful.

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