Capsules (カプセル,Kapuseru?) are large metal containment units in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Created by Dr. Eggman, they are used to contain Animals until they can be turned into Badniks. First time seen in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Capsules have appeared in various shapes, but are most often a metal container with a single switch on the top. Pressing the switch will either destroy or open the Capsule, thereby releasing its contents.
There are numerous, different capsule designs being featured in the franchise, which are all created by Doctor Eggman to imprison animals friends inside of them. There have been exceptions being including something else in capsules. It is described as large grey unit, that has small support pedestals beneath it. The common aspect seen in Eggman's mechanical creations (aside of Badniks) is that, capsules do have yellow and black stripes set on them. On the top of it is usually seen the switch, that opens all loose hatches, while releasing all animals inside. In Sonic Advance and Sonic Lost World, they are also described as being highly resistant even to high falls and can only be destroyed by the top switch.
One capsule is generally featured at the end of single, second or third act of zone/action stage rather having signpost. By pressing the switch on top of it (or hitting the capsule at one time) releases hatches around the capsule, thus releasing animals out of it. The player usually finds it right near boss arena after defeating the boss of zone.
In recent games, starting from Sonic Adventure 2, Egg Capsules have been replaced by Goal Rings, though a different variation called Wisp Capsules appear in some levels of Sonic Colors, which Sonic must destroy to save the captured Wisps. Despite that, capsules have been featured in occasional times.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Capsules are first featured in original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, as being seen at the end of the zones' third act, following a boss battle. These capsules are light grey, shapely units that have yellow and black stripes and an small window at the right front. It has four small support pedestals under it. At top of the capsule is grey switch. After pressing the switch, the capsule starts exploding while the player moves automatically after the doctor. After exploding, dozens of small animal friends are freed and quickly moving away in both directions, leaving behind a pile of remnants of the capsule and results starts popping out. Scrap Brain Zone act 3 doesn't feature a capsule, as the player is transferred to Final Zone automatically after completing it.
The 8-bit version of the game with same name also features Capsules (known as "Metal Cages" in the American manual) at the end of third act at each zone, which is short and only has a boss battle. Capsules are more thinner than their 16-bit counterparts, but does mostly have the same method, while the player moves to the next zone and animals run to the other direction. Only third act zones that don't have capsules in the end are Scrap Brain Zone and Sky Base Zone.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Capsules are next seen in the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where a single capsule is now featured at the end of the second act on each zone, after defeating one of Robotnik's vehicles. This capsule's design is similar to previous one, but it is more detailed. There are four hatches, black and yellow stripping on lower part and four support pedestals beneath it. There is yellow switch, which by pressing it opens hatches and releases animals inside of it. After doing that, the player is able to move at background while the stage results are being calculated. Capsules are not featured at Sky Chase Zone, Wing Fortress Zone and Death Egg Zone, which only have one act.
Drastically different looking capsules called Prison Eggs are featured in the 8-bit version of the game with the same name. These variations float in the air and are round-shaped, resembling Robotnik himself, as having eyes and mustaches. Instead of a switch, the player has to do Spin Jump onto it and the capsule will open its bottom hatch. Sonic moves to the next zone while capsule keeps exploding and all animals fall out the capsule and run away. Crystal Egg Zone don't feature capsules as featuring two different endings after completing boss from either of the zones.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD
Capsules are next seen in Sonic the Hedgehog CD, at third zone of the round while having slightly different design. These capsules are large units, which have bigger pillar and round pod at its top with black and yellow stripe and two small antennas. The color scheme and shading changes depending the level and its timeline. Instead of animals, these capsules contain seven flower seeds of Little Planet, which are also used to power up Badniks in the game. After hitting capsule once after the boss, the player moves to the next round, while capsule is exploding and seven seeds land to the ground and increase flowers to the place. Capsule is not seen at Stardust Speedway (saving Amy Rose from being tied up to the pole) and Metallic Madness (ending the game after final boss).
The Sonic the Hedgehog 2 variation of capsule is seen in Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, as being part of third Bonus Stage known as "The March". Here, the player has to destroy the capsule and free the animals, while dozens of chicken robots that resemble Scratch are walking around the capsule. The player has to enough of chicken robots to get hit the capsule.
At Flying Battery Zone, there are numerous capsules throughout the zone and at the zone's background. Some do contain animal friends, but others contain Rings, Badniks, or nothing at all. In some cases, the switch on top of the capsule may act as a spring. Capsule at the end of the Zone's first act will turn into the act's sub-boss Gapsule, which has eyes and two large spiked balls. There is single capsule left at Sandopolis Zone Zone which when pressing the switch, releases Hyudoros around to harm the player, when the place is completely dark.
In Sonic Adventure and its remake Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, Capsules are featured at the end of some of Sonic and Tails' Action Stages. Their design in this game is more simple and bulky. It has yellow and black hazard stripes around it, small foot supports and a large releasing button on top. Once the Capsule is opened, the player has completed the Action Stage and their score is tallied.
Usually, certain arenas related to the story or collectible Chaos Emeralds in Action Stages replace the Capsules as the goal for Sonic or Tails. After clearing either Sonic's or Tails' stories, Capsules will take these unique objects' place as the goal at the end of the Action Stages.
In the Sonic Advance games, capsules have different designs and are featured in different ways in each game. In the first title, it repeats its role from the previous games, where they appear at the end of second Act on each Zone. Here, they crash down from above after beating the boss. The Capsule's design appear as a hybrid between its Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic Adventure design, except it in this game has the Eggman Empire logo on it. The capsule will only knock the player back should it hit them.
In Sonic Advance 3, there is a mini-game which include a larger variant of the Capsule with more buttons on it, which must be pressed as quickly as possible within a time limit to earn a bonus points before it opens. Depending on the player's performance, the player can be rewarded with extra lives.
Different looking capsules are featured now as breakable objects in Sonic Heroes. These capsules can be found at Eggman's operation bases, such as Rail Canyon, Bullet Station, Egg Fleet and Final Fortress. These capsules are white and red colored, tube looking units with round glass dome at upper section. Any power type character in the game can destroy these capsules easily on the way. Like containers, some of them might hide item boxes as well. These are even featured as the main objective of Team Chaotix in their mission at Bullet Station: Destroy 30/50 capsules!; The extra mission has a mandatory mission to destroy all of the capsules until there are none left in the level to complete the mission.
At the beginning of Team Dark story, Shadow is seen to being inside of capsule in a coma while getting found and released by Rouge the Bat. Only few moments later, E-123 Omega destroys the same capsule, but Shadow manages to dodge strike. In the climax of Team Dark's story, Rouge finds the corridor hall with many capsules containing Shadow Androids.
Sonic Rivals 2
In Sonic Rivals 2, the capsule is only featured on its own card, where its appearance is taken from Sonic Adventure. This card is able to collect by doing successfully Speed Boost 100 times in the game.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, a plethora of capsules can be found anywhere of Metropolis and many other locations. The design of capsules is mostly taken from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but there are also simple variations, that loosely bears resemble to ones from Sonic Advance without Eggman Empire decal in it.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
Capsules make a reappearance in both two episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, as having its design directly taken from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It can normally be found near right after the boss fight of each zone and by pressing the switch on top of the capsule, the zone ends. The capsules can be targeted with Homing Attack. Only zones that don't have capsules are E.G.G. Station Zone and Death Egg mk.II Zone.
Capsules also made a notable appearance in console versions of Sonic Generations, as being featured at two challenges on both Seaside Hill and Planet Wisp for classic Sonic. In the game, these capsules have its design from original Sonic the Hedgehog, with many detailed changes, including grey and cyan colored switch. In two missions, the player has to find and open capsules, that are located that at many places of two challenge levels.
There are more than ten capsules in each challenge and each single capsule contains 14 animal friends, as the challenge requires to release 140 animals. Challenges include many obstacles and Badniks being on the player's way or surrounding capsules. As the player jumps onto the switch, it releases animal friends inside from capsule. The single capsule is also featured as trophy at secret trophy room of the game.
Sonic Lost World
In Sonic Lost World, capsules look loosely similar to ones from Sonic Generations and do appear at the end of every zone, as the player has to reach capsule in order to complete the zone. As in Sonic the Hedgehog, the player must press the switch on top of the capsule to free the animal friends trapped inside. The player can also find other, smaller capsules hidden throughout zones in order to free more animal friends. The player is able to collect these animals like ones after defeating Badniks to unlock Zone 4 or Secret Zones. In the 3DS version of the game, Sonic can open a capsule by performing a Homing Attack on the yellow switch.
Eggman is also seen carrying a capsule on his Egg Mobile, while Sonic and Tails are chasing him in the opening cutscene. As Eggman drops it down, Sonic tries to reach to the capsule at the mid-air. However Tornado gets shot by Eggman's laser and trio has to land on the Lost Hex, where Sonic finds out the dropped capsule at the end of Windy Hill Zone 1. Later in the Silent Forest, Sonic and co. find out lonely capsule. As Sonic wants to check it out, Tails notices something being wrong at the same time. He pushes Sonic aside in the mid-air, causing him to being pushed inside the capsule, that suddenly closes and disappears from the place. It is revealed to be part of Deadly Six plan to get Sonic inside the capsule and transport it to their lair in the Lava Mountain. While their plan wasn't success after finding Tails inside the capsule, they decided to make him robotic underling.
Sonic Colors features different variants of capsules called Wisp Capsules created by Doctor Eggman, which keep Wisps imprisoned inside. There are three kinds of Wisp capsules: smaller ones, that the player is open and release the Wisp's power, medium sized ones that are featured at the end of certain acts (similar to capsules) rather than Goal Ring and bigger ones, that are only featured in cutscenes of the game.
The single capsule is featured in Sonic the Hedgehog Yearbook 1991' story "Double Sonic", where the design of it is taken from original Sonic the Hedgehog. When Sonic finds out his friends are once again captured, he runs through the Green Hill Zone after Flicky told him about Capsule. However the capsule turns out to be a trap, which exploded on his face and Robotnik tries to smash him with his wrecking ball connected to his Egg Mobile until Tails comes out to help Sonic.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Capsules are known as Prison Eggs or Egg Prisons. In this media, the Prison Egg is a type of storage cage used by the EggmanEmpire to hold prisoners.
↑Sonic the Hedgehog (Game Gear) United States instruction booklet, pg. 9. "There are six action-packed zones, each with three exiting Acts. You'll encounter Dr. Robotnik in the third Act of every Zone. A metal cage appears after destroying Dr. Robotnik. Jump on top of it to set the innocent animals free."
↑Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Game Gear) United States instruction manual, pg. 11. "After you defeat each Master Robot, attack the Prison Egg to release its captives."