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Dash Panels (ダッシュパネル Dasshu Paneru?), also called as Dash Zones (ダッシュゾーン Dasshu Zōn?), Dash Pads and Boosters, are gimmicks that appear in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They are flat panels that allow the player to reach top running speed. Dash Panels are usually placed in high-speed sections in the Zones, and are even used to used to change the player's direction immediately.

The Dash Panels made their first appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but it was not until Sonic Adventure that Dash Panels became a frequently featured objects in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series.

Description

Dash Panels' primary function is to send the playable character forward with a burst of speed that make the user exceed the speed of sound.[1] As soon as the playable characters touch a Dash Panel, they will automatically initiate a running dash away from the Dash Panel at their maximum running speed. However, Dash Panels can normally only launch the playable characters in one direction.

Dash Panels are always placed on solid surfaces and are usually used to help the player move across sections and gimmicks where high-speed momentum is needed. As such, they are commonly placed on steep uphills, close to loops, runnable walls and ceilings, or just straight paths. In some games, however, Dash Panels can be placed in locations that make it impossible for the player to backtrack in the levels. In some of the 3D games, Dash Panels can be placed in their own individual location, but there are also cases where they are lined up so they cover the whole width of the pathway.

While usually used to reach maximum running speed, Dash Panels also serve in many automated sections of the levels to guide the playable character down certain pathways by shooting them in the right direction. In several games, using the Dash Panel can make the playable character automatically use the Spin Attack when touching it.

The appearance of the Dash Panels have been changed frequently over the course of the series. In the first games, they were booster mechanisms, which are referred to as Boosters,[note 1] that have lines of endless running wheels that push the playable character forward when running between them. This design appeared in several later games such as Sonic Chaos and Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble. In several early games, their design were also changed somewhat for each Zone to fit their environment and could even function differently.

While a more flat panel design was introduced in Sonic Blast, it was not until in Sonic Adventure that they were redesigned as flat plates with endless moving treadmills on them, which were named Dash Panels. This design for the Dash Panel usually feature yellow, red and gray color schemes with arrows on the running treadmill parts. Since Sonic the Hedgehog 4, the booster design from early games has been reused in games such as Sonic Generations and Sonic Lost World.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

The Boosters were first introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Here, two types of it are introduced.

Dash Panel Sonic 2

The first and most basic type of the Boosters appear in Chemical Plant Zone. These Boosters are larger than the playable characters. They consist of a pair of spinning black wheels and have a glittering arrow on it. Here, they are placed in the more fast-paced and linear parts of the Zone.

Wing Fortress Panel

The second type of Dash panels resemble plane launchers and appear in Wing Fortress Zone. These pads launch the player a far distance into the air while propelling them forward. Pressing down on the D-pad when the playable character is fired away, however, will minimize the distance the player is thrown. When the player is standing on these pads, they can also jump off them as well. After being used, the pad will hover back to its standard position.

Sonic the Hedgehog CD

Dash Panel Sonic CD

In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Boosters only appear in Stardust Speedway. Here, they resemble grey protrusions from the ground. When using these Boosters, the playable characters will create flames behind them as they shoot forward. As a rare exception, this Booster can propel the users forward in both the left and right direction. They are good to use on linear sections when attempting to use the Time Warp Plates.

In the Special Stages, there are two types of plates with flashing arrows on them called Dash Zones. Regular Dash Zones are medium-sized, while Mini Dash Zones (ミニダッシュゾーン Mini Dasshu Zōn?) are smaller. Otherwise, they work like regular Dash Panels. However, they make navigating the Special Stages harder.

Sonic Chaos

Dash Panel in Sonic Chaos

In Sonic Chaos, the Boosters resemble those from the Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. In this game, their color scheme differs between each Zone due to palette limitations. They also make the playable character use the Spin Attack upon using then. Here, Boosters appear in the more linear sections of Sleeping Egg Zone, Aqua Planet Zone and Electric Egg Zone.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles and the lock-on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, the Boosters' appearance and functionality change according to each Zone.

Hydrocity Hand Panel

In Hydrocity Zone, the Boosters are revolvers hidden underneath the ground and have hand-shaped attachments. When the player gets caught by the Boosters' hand, the revolver loads the player and sends them forward at high speed. The player can also use them to move across corkscrew loop pillars easily.

Launch Base Dash Panel

In Carnival Night Zone, there are similar-looking side dash tunnels which magnetically warp the player through them. As a side-effect, the player cannot backtrack through such tunnels. More basic Boosters also appear in Launch Base Zone which launch the player forward with a segmented pole that is raised from underneath.

Flying Battery Panel

In Flying Battery Zone and Death Egg Zone, there are plane launchers similar to those in Wing Fortress Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. They function like those in Wing Fortress Zone, but their appearance slightly varies and they do not lift Sonic off the ground.

Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble

Dash Panel STT

In Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, the Boosters have the same design as in Sonic Chaos. Unlike those in Sonic Chaos', however, these Boosters do not force the playable character to use the Spin Attack and they only give a small speed boost. They generally appear in Meta Junglira Zone where they have a wooden look, and rarely in Atomic Destroyer Zone.

Sonic 3D Blast

Booster Sonic 3D Blast

Booster as it appears in Sonic 3D Blast.

In Sonic 3D Blast, the Boosters have a different design and functionality. Here, they are at first a plate with arrows, but when standing on them, a blue wheel will appear behind Sonic and rev him up as he Spin Dashes, before launching him forward.

In this game, the Boosters are generally used to automatically travel between the sections of a Zone, or to travel uphill. In front of the Boosters tha leads to another section are purple gates that prevent the player from passing through unless they uses the Boosters.

The player is unable to backtrack down the same path used by the Boosters, but they can use alternate paths to return to previous sections. In the Sega Saturn version of the game, the Special Stages also have red gates which can lead Sonic through strings of Rings with a speed boost, similar to the Boosters.

Sonic Blast

In Sonic Blast, the Special Stages have more panel-like Dash Panels. In this game, they are flat and blue with yellow arrows on the running treadmills. They are usually placed in front of strings of Rings to make it easier for the player to collect said Rings with the speed boost they give (which lasts for a few seconds).

Sonic Adventure

SA1-Dash Panel

Dash Panel from Sonic Adventure.

In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, the Dash Panels are featured as a main gimmick for the first time. In these games, the Dash Panels are rectangular plates with a grey treadmill on them that runs endlessly, and hazard stripes on the front and rear. They are usually set individually on narrow routes, though there can be more than two or three Dash Panels set in wider areas where momentum is needed. When used by Sonic, he can only go faster than he already is by using the Spin Dash.

Sonic Pocket Adventure

Dash Panel Pocket Adventure

In Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, there are Booster-based Dash Panels similar to those that appear in Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. These Boosters only appear in Secret Plant Zone. Plane launcher-like plates also appear in Aerobase Zone which function like those in Wing Fortress Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Sonic Adventure 2

Dash Panel in Sonic Adventure 2

The Dash Panel in Sonic Adventure 2.

In Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, the Dash Panels are more advanced in design than in Sonic Adventure. Here, they are still rectangular, but with a wider bottom edge, and they have hazard stripes on the sides. They also have a treadmill with grey arrows and red edges on the front, and a smaller black one with red arrows on the rear.

In these games, the Dash Panels are generally featured in High-Speed Action Stages and Shooting Stages. Like in Sonic Adventure, narrow sections use lone Dash Panels to provide much-needed momentums. However, several wider areas utilize larger lines of Dash Panels than in Sonic Adventure.

Sonic Advance series

Dash Panel Sonic Advance

In all three Sonic Advance titles, the Dash Panels' design is a fusion of the designs for the Boosters and modern Dash Panels, being small yellow plates with orange running wheels on them. They also appear more often in the Acts than in most other games.

Occasionally, the Dash Panel's appearance is changed to fit a Zone's atmosphere, such as in Techno Base. In Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3, Dash Panels can also make the player enter Boost Mode upon using them.

Sonic Heroes

Dash Panel in Heroes and 06 I

The Dash Panel in Sonic Heroes.

In Sonic Heroes, the Dash Panels have a new design. In this game, they are flat plates with a gray running treadmill on them. These treadmills have red arrows on them showcasing their direction. They also have orange frames on the sides which are colored red on the bottom.

In this game, Dash Panels usually appear in rows of three and their main function is to guide the player rather than increasing their speed. Additionally, Pinball tables in Casino ParkBINGO Highway and Pinball Match have flashing neon orange arrows which function like Dash Panels. The Special Stages in the game also have different, flashing panels on rows. Due to the nature of the game, whenever the player uses them, their playable characters' perspective aura will appear ahead of them, similar to when using a Dash Ring.

Aside from regular Dash Panels, Sonic Heroes also introduced the Dash Rail, which are essentially Dash Panels on grind rails.

Shadow the Hedgehog

Final Haunt Screenshot 7

Dash Panels in Shadow the Hedgehog.

In Shadow the Hedgehog, the Dash Panels have the same design they had in Sonic Heroes, except their orange frames are duller and their bottoms are grey. Other than that, their layout is the same as in Sonic Heroes.

Sonic Rush series

Ss dash p

The Special Stages' Dash Panel in Sonic Rush.

In both Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure, the Dash Panels have the same design and additional functions they had in the Sonic Advance titles.

In the Special Stages, Dash Panels are used to guide the player through the lines of Rings. Also, their design in the Special Stages closely resemble the one in Sonic Heroes.

Sonic Riders series

In Sonic Riders and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, the Dash Panels' design closely resembles the one they had in Sonic Adventure 2, while later in Sonic Free Riders, their design resemble more the ones they had in Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors. In these games, they can either be set in long rows to guide the way and gain extra amount of boost for each racer, or individually to guide the player through narrow pathways.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

28014

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the Dash Panels have the same design they had in Sonic Heroes. In this game, many of them are placed by themselves rather than in rows and serve primarily to guide the player's direction. Due to the game's incomplete development, the Dash Panels can sometimes glitch, resulting in the player running into an invisible wall or steering away from strings of Rings. The Dash Panel can also glitch when using the Psycho Shock on it, delaying its speed boost until the player jumps.

When using a Dash Panel, the player will be unable to control the playable character for a short time. For Sonic and Shadow, the Dash Panels are mostly used to gain speed. In Silver's case, they are just used to direct him, since they do not work properly with him.

Sonic Rivals series

In Sonic Rivals and Sonic Rivals 2, the Dash Panels have a drastically different design in the regular Zones. In these games, they are gray treadmill panels set between two white high-tech posts, but otherwise give the Dash Panel's speed boost when passing through them. They are usually placed at wide pathways, loops and slopes.

Sonic and the Secret Rings

In Sonic and the Secret Rings, the Dash Panels are given a more yellow color scheme to fit the local environment. Like in the previous games, they are most of the time set in rows or placed individually, depending on the route's scope.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, the Dash Panels have grey edges and black and yellow arrows, much like in Sonic Adventure. They are only encountered when the player chooses the flee option during a battle or when an opponent is escaping. During this section, they appear on the path the playable characters are running, where they increase the characters' running speed briefly, thus improving the chances of reaching the goal of the path.

Sonic Unleashed

Dash-Panel-Sonic-Unleashed-Manual

A Dash Panel in Sonic Unleashed.

In Sonic Unleashed, the Dash Panels look similar to how they did in Sonic Heroes, except their frames are red and the arrows on their treadmill are orange. In this game, they only appear in the daytime Action Stages, where they are seen placed individually in the 2.5D sections of the Acts and in rows of three-to-five in the 3D sections.

Sonic and the Black Knight

In Sonic and the Black Knight, the Dash Panels retain their design from Sonic Unleashed. In this game, they are encountered exclusively in the game's Legacy missions. Like in the games before it, they appear mostly in rows, but can also appear individually, depending on the scope of the road.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4

Dash Panel Sawnik de Hedge Hog 4

The Booster in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.

In all three episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, the Dash Panels have their Booster-design from the early installments in the series. In these games, they are attachments with rapidly spinning red wheels on a gray plate which has arrows it.

Unlike in the early games, the Boosters appear more often and are featured in every Zone. Also, like in Sonic Chaos, the Boosters make the playable character use the Spin Attack upon using them. Dash Panels also appear in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II's Special Stages, where they have their modern design. Here, they are placed individually and direct the play through strings of Rings.

Sonic Colors

In the Wii version of Sonic Colors, Dash Panels look exactly like they did in Sonic Unleashed. In this game, they are placed individually in the 2.5D sections of the Acts and in long rows in the 3D sections.

In the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors', the Dash Panels look more like they did in the Sonic Rush games. Like in the Sonic Advance titles, using these Dash Panels allows the player to enter Boost Mode.

Sonic Generations

In Sonic Generations, the Dash Panels come in two different designs, but they function in the same way. Act 1 of each Stage feature the original Boosters from earlier games, with rapidly spinning black wheels and red and black platforms, while Act 2 of each Stage feature Dash Panels with the designs from Sonic Unleashed. Additionally, the Booster has its own trophy in the hidden Statue Room.

Sonic Dash

In Sonic Dash, the Dash Panels serve as minor objects when the player enters the Loop-de-loop section. In this game, they are somewhat different with simple red and black colored panels with blue arrows on the treadmills. They are used to give small amount of increased speed when the player enters the shuttle loop or corkscrew loop in their sections. They also make the playable character perform the Spin Attack automatically.

Sonic Lost World

Boost Panels Lost Worlds

A Dash Panel as it is seen in Sonic Lost World.

In both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions of Sonic Lost World, the Dash Panels have the original Booster-design from the early installments of the series. However, their placements within the Zones are somewhat different from the standards, as they can be placed on narrow steep roads or inside tubular pipes.

Like in previous games, rows of three or five Boosters appear in the 3D sections of the game, while other are placed individually to guide the player. Along with the Spin Dash, the Boosters are the only way for Sonic to reach maximum running speed.

Variants

Accelerators

Main article: Accelerator (Sonic R)

Accelerators are objects in Sonic R that serve as the game's counterpart for the Dash Panels. The more Rings the player has when passing through them, the further distance will the Accelerator send the player. To use it, the player must pay up to fifty Rings.

Jump Panel

Main article: Jump Panel

Jump Panels were first introduced in Sonic Drift 2, but it was not until Sonic Adventure that they became one of the general objects in the series. Unlike the Dash Panels which send the player into a dash along the ground, these panels sends the player flying into mid-air, usually to get to the other side of gaps. Since Sonic Adventure 2, they have branched into two types; regular and Trick Jump Panels.

Dash Ring

Main article: Dash Ring

Dash Rings are another version of the Dash Panels which were first introduced in Sonic Adventure. When passing through these rings, the player's character is send flying the direction the Dash Ring is facing while giving a small boost in speed. Early on, they were designed as high-tech rings, but later became more generic orange rings. Since Sonic Heroes, Dash Rings also come in a different variant called Rainbow Rings.

Dash Rail

Main article: Dash Rail

Dash Rails are another variant of the regular Dash Panels introduced in Sonic Heroes. They function similarly to their ground counterparts, but are meant to boost the users' speed when grinding on Grind Rails.

Blue Fairies

Blue Fairies are one of four different types of Fairies that appear in Sonic and the Black Knight. In the game, they hover in clusters and function like a Dash Panel when touching them, increasing the playable character's running speed and sending him/her running in a linear direction. Like regular Dash Panels, they are placed in different sizes of rows. They can also send the playable character zooming up and down in midair, similar to a Spring.

Trivia

  • One of major criticisms of Dash Panels from the community over the years have been the object's unfitting placements or the over usability of them in many games. Notable this has been part of the explanation, where the game has claimed to become more heavily scripted and giving no possibility to backtrack or doing exploration.[2]
  • Sonic Pinball Party features the Dash Panel briefly as part of the plunger in each Sonic-themed pinball table of the game.
  • In the PlayStation 2/Wii version of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations, when Sonic runs past a Dash Panel while using the Boost, Sonic will do a Spin Dash animation.

See also

Notes

  1. None of the booster mechanisms were named or mentioned in the earlier installments in the series. The name "Booster" was given for the Dash Panels in the classic stages in the console/PC versions of Sonic Generations and the name is used for them in the trophy room and instruction manuals.

References

  1. BradyGames (1 November 2011). Sonic Generations: BradyGames Official Strategy Guide. BradyGames. p. 15. ISBN 978-0761555100.
  2. Sonic Science - Categories Of Control


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