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Game Over refers to a situation in a video game where the player has lost all lives, which were lost by getting hit by an enemy, deadly obstacles, getting crushed, drowning or falling into bottomless pits. Many games are also known to show the words "Game Over" on the screen after all lives are lost.
Throughout the series, Sonic the Hedgehog games are seen to feature Game Over as well. In earlier games, getting a Game Over without any Continues made the player start at the beginning of the whole game, mostly at the title screen or menu section.
After the save feature got introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog CD and Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the player could continue the game from the first act of the Zone where they got a Game Over. Like in many arcade games, if the player has received Continues from Item Boxes, Special Stages or any other way, the player is able to continue the game if he/she wants to. In SegaSonic the Hedgehog arcade game, when the player gets a Game Over, the player has to insert more coins into the cabinet within ten seconds to continue or get a Game Over. In several games such as Sonic Adventure and Sonic Generations, if the player gets to the Game Over menu, the game asks to continue playing or return to the title screen or menu section of the game.
Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) are the three Sonic games in the series which do not feature a Game Over Screen. Instead, the games move straight back to the menu when the player gets a Game Over, making the player start the level again.
The only Sonic games to not feature the Game Over are Knuckles' Chaotix and Sonic Forces, which both involve infinite lives. If the player loses a "life" in one of the zones in Knuckles’ Chaotix, he/she returns to the hub-world, Newtrogic High Zone.
The Game Over screen in Shadow the Hedgehog will display "Black Out" for a few seconds and then the player is asked to continue.
The Game Over screen of the Wii U/PC version of Sonic Lost World is heavily reminiscent of the Continue screen from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Pressing here subsequently restores the player's life counter up to nine lives, and the player returns to the World Map (if the player has not finished Windy Hill Zone 1 yet, however, that Zone is replayed). If the player presses , the game goes back to the Title Screen, leaving any unsaved data lost.
In the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World, the words "Game Over" immediately appear, the screen slowly darkens, and pressing here gives the player the following message:
- "When the going gets tough, try creating Items and RCs in Tails' Lab."
- "Tails' Lab is located to the far left of the World Map."
The player's life counter is subsequently restored to ten lives, and they are sent back to the World Map (if the player has not finished the Tutorial Zone yet, that Zone is replayed).
- In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, if the player waits three minutes while standing still, Sonic will then say "I'm outta here!" and he will then jump off the screen, resulting in loss of all lives and an instant Game Over.
- When Sonic beats Shadow in their final showdown in Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic replies "Game Over, Shadow". Similarly after the player defeats Diablon and Sonic at the Black Comet in Semi-Dark Story of Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow says "Game Over, Sonic!", possibly refreshing their battle in Sonic Adventure 2.
- The Game Over theme of Sonic Generations is a remixed version of the Game Over theme from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and the Sega Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast.
- All versions of Sonic Lost World uses the same Game Over theme from Sonic Colors.
- The Game Over music from the Japanese and European versions of Sonic the Hedgehog CD is a heavily distorted and slowed-down eerie portion of "Sonic - You Can Do Anything".