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Ice Capped Zones 3 & Knuckles: Snow Levels in Sonic Games


Sonictrainer

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(This artwork is a panel from Archie’s Sonic Mega Drive: Next Level)

I love snow! It’s beautiful to look at, fun to play in, and enough of it can cause me to leave work or stay home from work and still get paid. 

On the other hand, ice can make travel dangerous, cause power outages, and be a nuisance to crush and melt. Also, some people just don’t like the cold. Although, I’m not sure where Sonic & all of his friends stand in the debate, there has always been at least 1 Ice Zone that he and his friends had to snowplow through. 

In the meantime, grab some warm clothes, a hot beverage, maybe some soup, and let’s sit by the heater Tails built, to see if each Ice Zone is their own special little snowflake.

 

Quick Backstory & Thank You Note:
The first Level Themed Topic I did was based on Ice Zones. Unfortunately, Version 1 was lost during the Forum Wipe where a number of Topics and Posts on here were deleted. Luckily, I usually start all of these in Word and still had a copy of the original saved on my PC. On December 24th, 2015, I posted Version 2.0. That one is missing several Ice Zones and feels incomplete (looking back, I also didn’t like how I arranged it). 

In celebration of doing these topics for the past several years, I bring you Ice Capped Zones Version 3.0, made with a better format (that’s easier to digest) and includes all current official Ice Zones. I’d also like to thank everyone who joins me on these adventures because I love doing these when I have free time. :)

 

Ice Capped Zones 3 & Knuckles Act 1: Snow Zones from the Classic Era (June 23rd, 1991 – September 8th, 1999)
Even though they debuted in the Classic Era, there’s only 6 of them. Despite the small number of Zones, they still made a big impact.

BIG NOTES:
1. All entries in this post are Ice themed Action Stages & Bosses from Official Licensed Classic Sonic Games that released before Sonic Adventure. This includes:

  • Ice Zones, Acts, & Bosses from Sonic Games on the Sega Genesis, Game Gear, & Arcades
  • All Versions of the Ice Cap Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
  • Zones with the words “Ice/Icy” or “Winter” in their names

2. I know Sonic X-treme had an Ice Level called Crystal Frost Zone. However, that game was cancelled and it was supposedly similar to the Ice Cap Zone. I may talk about it later in a Scrapped Zones Topic…

3. The next part of the Mystic Cave Zones will be updated soon. Research for the next time period (the Boost Era) is taking longer than expected due to Versions of games I’ve only played once and a few Sonic Games I’ve never actually played before.

4. I can’t continue making posts until someone else makes a post, after me, in this topic. This includes updating the topic with the next time period of Zones and answering my own Discussion Questions. Speaking of which, the Millennium Era Snow Zones will be added here next Friday, on December 11th, 2020.

5. All Zones will be posted in Spoiler Tags, under their respective Zones, so that images and other graphics don’t slow down load times.

6. All pictures and other graphics will be posted shortly.


Sonic Arcade (aka SegaSonic the Hedgehog): Icy Isle

Spoiler

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Icy Isle was the first ever Ice Level in a Sonic Game. Unfortunately, it was also an icy deathtrap located on Eggman Island and the second area Sonic, Ray, & Mighty had to marathon through after escaping their cage in Volcanic Vault.

While sliding through Icy Isle, the trio had to avoid giant icicles, that fell from the sky, destroyed the path behind them, and forced them to keep moving forward, watch out for giant ice cubes, that pop out the wall and slide across the ice to push them into pits, quickly climbed their way across monkey bar bridges, which were rigged, broke, and sent them hurling towards another icy path, navigate around spears, that popped out of holes in the ice, and ran across ice cube bridges, with each individual ice cube falling as soon as anyone touches them. Rings could be found inside piles of snow.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles: Ice Cap Zone

Spoiler

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The Ice Cap Zone is a frozen region of Angel Island. The first time Sonic & Tails traveled there, they were taking a shortcut to stop the Death Egg from being fixed and launched back into space.

Although Icy Isle was the first Ice Zone, Ice Cap Zone introduced a lot of gimmicks and ideas that would continue to be used in future Ice Zones, such as getting frozen into a block of ice, Rolling & Spin Dashing to break ice, and snowboarding. It also has chained platforms that require Spin Dashes to propel them into the air, an infinite sliding puzzle, Springs & Switches frozen in ice that can be freed using Spin Jumps, icicles that fall from the ceiling that can be used as platforms, and some bungee platforms that can be bounced on to reach higher areas.

Act 1 takes place inside icy caverns while Act 2 has more outdoor areas and a few underwater sections.

ICZ BESTIARY
The Badniks chilling in the first Ice Cap Zone were:

  • Penguinator is a penguin Badnik that attacks by sliding on its belly to hit you and send your Rings flying into the snow. However, once they start sliding, they can’t stop, and you’re good if you can curl into a Spin Attack or Jump over them.
  • Star Pointer is a type of Orbinaut that uses icicles as projectiles. Fortunately, they move super slow, their icicles travel super slow after being thrown, the projectiles can be melted by Elemental Shields, and Sonic can bypass them with his Insta-Shield to destroy Star Pointer directly.

ICZ ACT 1 BOSS BATTLE: Sonic, Tails, & Knuckles VS Hailstone
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Hailstone was a Super Badnik that worked similar to Star Pointer, using ice as a shield and projectiles. Unfortunately, it could wield bigger chunks of ice and it can grab more after throwing them. It was still vulnerable after launching all of its ice into the air, allowing Sonic & Tails to get some hits in before avoiding the hail. Knuckles fights Hailstone on an exclusive path underground.

ICZ ACT 2 BOSS BATTLE: Sonic, Tails, & Knuckles VS Eggman/Eggrobo & the Freezer Mobile
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The Freezer Mobile equipped the Egg Mobile with a raising and lowering platform with 3 frostthrowers blowing cold air out of it. Sonic & Tails had to quickly use the platform to reach Eggman before being frozen solid. The platform broke off after a few hits but the Egg Mobile was still able to release cold air.

Sonic Triple Trouble: Robotnik Winter Zone

Spoiler

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The Robotnik Winter Zone is a snowy region of an unknown location (although…it could be Angel Island…), that Eggman had taken over.

While plowing through the Robotnik Winter Zone, Sonic & Tails fell down pits only to be lifted back into the air by updrafts, used Spin Dashes to destroy ice blocks and create new paths, and avoided pop-up spikes.

Sonic also used his Jet Board, a super-fast snowboard that could be unlocked from Item Boxes, to slide through the level.

RWZ BESTIARY
The Badniks enjoying an icy vacation in the Robotnik Winter Zone were:

  • Penguinator Mk. 2 (aka Penguin Bomber in Japan) was a new version of Penguinator that slid around on skis instead of their bellies. Despite having a bomb motif, they could still be destroyed with a Spin Attack, Spin Dash, or with Sonic’s Jet Board.
  • Pirate Spider (aka Spidal Tap in Japan) was a spider Badnik that pirated platforms. Before Sonic & Tails arrived, they searched the Zone, each finding a platform they liked and planted themselves there. They never moved or attacked, even if Sonic & Tails got close. Fortunately, a good Spin Jump sent them packing.

RWZ BOSS BATTLE: Sonic & Tails VS Emperor Penguinator
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Emperor Penguinator (aka Giga Thomas Pen in Japan) was a flying Super Badnik in charge of the Robotnik Winter Zone. 

It attacked by self-generating multiple Penguinator Mk 2 onto the snow to try to stop Sonic & Tails. After they were able to get close enough to it, Sonic & Tails had to carefully hit it without touching the flames on its thrusters. Eventually, it fell into a pit and Knuckles showed up to send Sonic & Tails to the next Zone via avalanche switch.

Fast Fact: It appears this Zone is the one shown on the US Box Art.

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Sonic Drift 2: Ice Cap

Spoiler

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The Ice Cap Zone returns as the 3rd Course of the White Chaos GP. 

It’s a regular Lap course, where drivers can drift along a few inclines built on the sides of the track. Drivers also had to avoid snow piles, which appeared on the road and caused cars to slow down, or poles, that appear outside on the sides of the road and would will bring cars to a complete stop.

Fast Fact: Ice Cap is actually the Zone everyone is racing through on the Box Art.

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Sonic Fighters/Championship: Aurora Icefield

Spoiler

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The Aurora Icefield was a frozen arena built on North Island, the home of Bark the Polar Bear. During this time, Bark was the Guardian of the Yellow Chaos Emerald and the 3rd opponent of the tournament.

Fast Fact: There’s a remix of this level’s music in Sonic Gems Collection…with lyrics…?

 

Sonic 3D Blast: Diamond Dust Zone

Spoiler

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The Diamond Dust Zone was a snowy region on Flicky Island.

While saving the Flickies in the Diamond Dust Zone, Sonic Spin Dashed or Rolled to destroy spiky snow piles, ran across semi-frozen water, used or avoided bumpers planted in the ice, got turned into a hedgehog popsicle by 1 frostthrower to slide down a specific road, and used a shortcut hidden under frozen ponds to quick travel between areas.

In the Sega Saturn Version, there’s a snowing animation, the ground actually looks icy, there are dinosaur bones embedded on walls, and igloos can be seen in the background.

DDZ BESTIARY
The Badniks freezing Flickies in the Diamond Dust Zone were:

  • Powder was a snowman Badnik. When Sonic gets close to them, they start growing until they explode. The good news is that they couldn’t move and they didn’t have Flickies inside of them. Only bombs. Sonic can run pass them or Spin Jump into them to destroy them before they detonate.
  • Hat Trick was another snowman Badnik. Unlike Powder, they slid across the ice, spinning and shooting several rounds of projectiles from the turrets on their hats. The Flickies freed from Hat Tricks were always frozen.
  • Pengo was a penguin Badnik. Unlike their cousin Penguinator, they didn’t really do anything besides waddle back and forth.
  • Splats was a rabbit Badnik. The ones seen on Flicky Island had spiky feet and bounced around on pogo sticks. Sonic could still Roll into though…are the spikes just for show?

DDZ BOSS BATTLE: Sonic VS Eggman & the Freezer Mobile Mk 2
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The Freezer Mobile Mk 2 added a conveyor belt, with several Frostthrowers added to it, and could drop Powders onto the arena. 

Unfortunately, Eggman could only freeze Sonic if he could get close enough (which as we know is next to impossible), which forced him to get closer to the ground and allowed Sonic to counterattack. For every hit Sonic made on it, a frostthrower was destroyed in the process.

Fast Facts

  • Pengo is also the name of a Sega Arcade game, where players control a red penguin and push ice blocks to defeat Sno-Bees.
  • Although we haven’t seen the Diamond Dust Zone since, the Genesis Version’s music has been remixed and used in Sonic Chronices: The Dark Brotherhood, Sonic Generations, Sonic Dash, and Mario & Sonic at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games


Act 1 Regular Discussion Questions
1. Which of the Classic Era Ice Zones are the best, in your opinion?

2. Which of the Classic Era Ice Zones are the worst, in your opinion?

3. What are your favorite Classic Era Ice Zone Music Track(s)?

4. Are there any ideas/gimmicks from these first Ice Zones that you feel should return or stop coming back?

5. Would you like to see any of these Zones get remixed or return in a future game?
  

Act 1 Special Discussion Questions
1. Would you want to see more of North Island in the future?

2. In the Classic Universe, which characters do you believe love/hate the cold?

3. Are there any scrapped Ice Zone ideas from the Classic Era, like the Crystal Frost Zone, that you want to see used in the future?

4. Are there any good Ice Zones that you saw, played, or heard of in a Classic Sonic fan game?

5. Do you think Sonic gets cold or does running at super speed keep his body at a warm, comfortable temperature?

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  • 3 months later...

Wow, can't believe I somehow missed this topic a few months ago! Wonder where I was or why I missed it (tbh I was sick with COVID and gaming a lot but anyways...).

The only one of these I'm really familiar with is Ice Cap. The music for Diamond Dust (Genesis) is amazing though, as is of course Ice Cap's. These ice zones always have great music.

We deff need more ice zones going forward (which it seems has been done more in later games).

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On 12/4/2020 at 1:09 AM, Sonictrainer said:

50667261131_ccf3173698_z.jpg

(This artwork is a panel from Archie’s Sonic Mega Drive: Next Level)

Man, Mega Drive continues to be a glaring hole in my otherwise comprehensive Archie collection. *Shakes fist* I'll get you one day Mega Drive! One Dayyy!

Oh, and let's not forget, everybody, ANY zone in Sonic R can be a winter level if you just believe!~ 😛

 

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Act 1 Regular Discussion Questions
1. Which of the Classic Era Ice Zones are the best, in your opinion?

Without thinking too hard on it Ice Cap is the titular winter level that absolutely supersedes everything else.

Notable runners up are Diamond Dust, and Aurora Icefield. I really like Aurora's reflection effect and those frost walls, to say nothing of the music track. All of Fighter's tracks standout in general. 

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2. Which of the Classic Era Ice Zones are the worst, in your opinion?

Honestly, ice levels in video games often get slammed because ice physics stir violent reactions in folks the world over, but I don't think I really have a bone to pick with any of the ice levels I've encountered with this franchise. Drift's zone's are mostly just backdrops that haven't aged too well so I suppose it rather unceremoniously gets the prize.

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3. What are your favorite Classic Era Ice Zone Music Track(s)?

  Oh, Diamond Dust hands down. What makes Diamond Dust stand out as a zone is that it achieves a festive atmosphere. That's something Ice Cap doesn't really go for. Ice Cap sells the adventure and isolation of being lost in the snow, while Diamond Dust invokes holiday cheer. Owed in no small part thanks to the music.

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4. Are there any ideas/gimmicks from these first Ice Zones that you feel should return or stop coming back?

I'm up for more snow boarding, Generation's rendition of City Escape worked quite well. Hell they got 3 games out of it with Sonic Riders, and I liked those well enough. Also I'd like to see icicle gimmicks return, I know their really more of a feature of Sonic Adventure's Ice Cap, not the classics, but just putting it out there.

I don't necessarily want to go hanging off stalactites exactly as you do in SA1 all over again, but I do want someone to think up gimmicks along those same lines. Silly things to do with ice.

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2. In the Classic Universe, which characters do you believe love/hate the cold?

Knuckles would hate it.

Mania Adventure would lead me to believe Amy actually likes going out in the snow.

Bark's just a given. 

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LET HIM IN! *bricked*

but in seriousness, I'd believe, being particularly furry let's Tails adapt to the cold better then most, not that he necessarily loves being out in it.

 

I'll leave it at those for now.

 

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