Sonic running through a Giant Ring.
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Large golden, rotating rings of unknown origin.
Giant Rings, also called Special Ring (スペシャルリング Supesharu ringu?) in Japan, Warp Rings, Dimension Rings and Factory Rings in Sonic Advance 3, are larger variants of gold rings that appeared in several games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. These variants of rings have made first appearance in the original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Unlike regular rings, which are usually collected by the players, giant rings instead serve as transportation device, taking the player to other locations such as the Special Stage. Like regular rings, there's no known origin for these mysterious large rings. These rings are also somewhat rare objects, which appear, if the player has fifty normal rings on the hand, or are seen hidden on numerous places. There are also different variants of giant rings appeared throughout the series.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Giant Rings are first seen in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, where these objects appear if the player has at least 50 rings on reaching the end of the first two Acts of the first five zones. The Giant Ring will appear right above and behind the signpost. If the player jumps into the giant ring, he will be transported to one of six Special Stages, where he will have the opportunity to collect one of the Chaos Emeralds. Acts 1 and 2 of Scrap Brain Zone don't feature Giant Rings at all.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD
Giant Rings are used the same way at every timeline of each round's first and second zones in Sonic the Hedgehog CD. By collecting 50 rings and jumping into Giant Ring at the end of zone (which similarly floats on right above the signpost), transports to a Special Stage, where the player has to destroy all UFOs in the stage in an attempt for receiving a Time Stone if done successful.
Giant rings make another appearance in Sonic Chaos, only being featured in the first and second Special Stages of the game. Unlike in previous games, giant rings here are now seen mostly on large groups. Instead of transporting, if the player flies through one of giant rings with Rocket Shoes, it gives 10 extra rings and makes it disappear after that. First Special Stage's groups of giant rings actually form words such as "SHIMA", "RAY" and "5OO". The last group of giant rings feature a Chaos Emerald in the middle, which the player has to collect within a time limit.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
Giant Rings (named Special Rings) return in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and its add-on continuation Sonic & Knuckles. Unlike in the original Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic CD, giant rings are now hidden throughout the zones of both games and they do not require any number of rings to enter. Giant Rings can be found be going through the walls that has some hidden routes that lead to one of the giant rings. It transports the player a Special Stage, where the player has to collect blue spheres in able in order to get seven Chaos Emeralds. The player is also able to recognize hidden giant rings by looking the gameplay hud if it starts to change color.
By locking-on two games to one, when the player enters Mushroom Hill Zone, the player will find a Giant Ring that flashes multicolored instead of gold (named Super Rings), and they will transport the player to the Emerald Shrine (in the Hidden Palace Zone), where players can enter different but almost identical Special Stages in an attempt to "upgrade" their Chaos Emeralds to Super Emeralds. If the player doesn't have all Chaos Emeralds, the player has to collect the rest of Chaos Emeralds from normal Giant Rings before being able to collect Super Emeralds. Like with normal Giant Rings, the gameplay hud starts flashing multicolors when the giant ring of Super Emeralds is located nearby. If all of the Emeralds are collected, the player can access a Hyper Form rather than a Super State if playing as Sonic or Knuckles (or simply a Super State as Tails).
After getting all of the Chaos Emeralds and Super Emeralds, the Giant Rings will no longer transport the player anywhere, but instead grants the player 50 rings (which is enough to transform or prolong the transformation).
In Knuckles' Chaotix, there are two different types of Giant Rings, which have the same look but transports to different places. The first type of Giant Rings are hidden around at all five levels of each zone. These giant rings transports the player to the Bonus Stage, where the player can earn rings, points and power-ups. The second types are featured normally at the end of each act, like in previous titles. If the player doesn't jump to the giant ring before the results pop in, it will disappear. After getting 50 rings and jumping into giant ring, it leads to the Special Stage, where the player has to collect certain amount of blue spheres while running at the same time. After completing Special Stage, the player is awarded one of the six Chaos Rings.
Giant rings (called Dimension Rings in US manual) are featured generally in Sonic 3D Blast (known as Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island in Europe). In the game's storyline, it is told that Flickies are able to travel between dimensions by using giant rings. As Doctor Robotnik soon notices this, he imminently creates a "Dimension Ring Generator" to capture Flickies from their dimension and turn them into robots. As Sonic arrives to Flicky Island, he starts a self-appointed operation to rescue all Flickies from the island.
In Sonic 3D, the gameplay mechanic requires Sonic to collect Flickies from throughout the levels and then deliver them through a Giant Ring, which has a red band to grab to spin around the giant ring. Once all five Flickies at the one section are collected, Sonic himself can then pass through the Giant Ring and move on to the next section of the stage. Giant Rings can be found two or three places in each first and second acts of most of zones. The first and second Giant Rings opens new sections, while the last Giant Ring works as goal and transports the player to the next act. The first act of Panic Puppet Zone only has one giant ring and the second act contains none at all, as the player has to reach to the entrance of Robotnik's giant statue.
In the good ending, Sonic is transported back to Flicky Island from the Giant Ring after defeating Robotnik once again, while bad ending in the Saturn version of the game shows Giant Rings appearing nearby Sonic, showing that Robotnik finding at least four of the Chaos Emeralds.
Giant Rings also make another appearance in Sonic Blast, where they are apparently smaller than the playable character himself. Like from previous games, these giant rings are hidden, although in this game there is only one giant ring per act of each zone. Also the Giant Rings in the first act includes a Special Stage where the player can only earn extra life, while the second act's Giant ring transports the player to a Special Stage with a Chaos Emeralds being able to be collected.
In compilation game Sonic Jam, after completing all the challenges at the Sonic World, a single giant ring can be seen floating above the river at the front of waterfall. The player is able to get there by jumping on the spinning totem pole and there to the moving platform and being enough of high, the player can jump to the giant ring, which transports the player to somewhere unknown. The game progresses to the end credits of the compilation game after that and then returns to the title screen.
Sonic Pocket Adventure
The giant ring made another appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, as repeating its role from original Sonic the Hedgehog. The player must have once again 50 rings in order to make giant ring visible at the end of first act of each zone. The player has to jump immediately to it, when signpost falls down to the ground. The player enters to the Special Stage, which is similar to one from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Sonic Advance 3
Giants rings make another appearance in Sonic Advance 3; this time, they are renamed Factory Rings. Each Factory Ring leads to a hub for the portals to each zone, the Chao Playground and the Character Selection Screen. To access the Factory Ring, player simply has to jump into it. From there, the player can access the Zone Portals, Chao Playground and Character Selection Screen.
The Factory Rings are seen in each of the zones' hub worlds; the area where the player can enter one of the three Acts in that Zone. Hub worlds generally also feature smaller giant rings, though they are still bigger than normal Rings. These Ring transport the player to certain acts of each zone and after completing it, the rings will gain a rotating golden crown above them. The hub world for Chaos Angel also features a large metallic ring with a red Eggman Empire decal on it that transports to Altar Emerald and the final boss of the game.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
Giant rings make another reappearance in both episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, where it has similar role from its earlier appearances. As having 50 rings on the hand during that time, it can be found at the end of first and second acts for each zone, where it can be found right above the signpost, similar to the original Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic CD. Two episodes featured different Special Stages, where the player transports. Sonic 4: Episode Metal doesn't feature giant rings at all.
Sonic Lost World
The Giant Ring reappears in the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World, where they are seen once again as feature to enter Special Stages of the game. If the player clears the Zone with 50 rings in the hand, the giant ring appears, and the player has given choice to enter the Special Stage. If the player chooses "Yes", Sonic transports to Special Stage via the Giant Ring.
Chaos Rings are six powerful multi-colored rings, that actually are larger variants of normal rings in Knuckles' Chaotix. In the game's Japanese storyline, they were accidentally created when Doctor Robotnik contacted a Special Ring, an artifact once used by the Knuckles Clan which Robotnik and Metal Sonic seemingly use to form a monstrous robot. Chaos Rings can be collected by completing Special Stages of the game.
There exist larger variants of Dark Rings in Knuckles' Chaotix. As normal, synthesized rings are featured to being powering up Badniks, larger variants of Dark Rings are seen being powering Eggman's vehicles at the end of fifth act for each zone in the game. After defeating the boss, it pops out the destroyed vehicle and evaporates into the air as ash. Near the end of the game, Robotnik uses one to used to power up Metal Sonic and transforming him into a monstrous robot.
Goal Ring is another variant of Giant Ring, that is first introduced in Sonic Adventure 2. It has then become the recurring object that is located at the end of each level for completing it on the most of recent games.
Goal Rings do act similarly to normal Giants Rings in Sonic Heroes, where if you were Team Dark or Team Rose and you got to the end of the level on a side mission and you had not completed the required objective you could touch the Goal Ring and it would act like a Warp Ring and send you back to the start of the level to complete the objective.
Apperances in other media
Sonic the Comic
In Sonic the Comic, several items appear that are based on the Giant Rings from the games. Sonic uses a Sonic 1-style giant ring as a short cut to instantly travel from the Green Hill Zone to the Marble Zone, but accidentally collects too many rings and finds himself sent to the Special Zone. The use of Giant Rings (and rings in general) was quickly phased out of the series. The Giant Rings' role of providing instantaneous travel between Zones was taken over by Star Posts.
Following an attack on the Floating Island by the Death Egg, Knuckles uncovers a large ring covered in ancient Echidna writing. He accidentally activates the ring and is sucked inside, transporting himself to the Special Zone.
The Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics also features Giant Rings, which are known as Warp Rings. The Warp Rings were created by Doctor Finitevus and when charged up with Chaos energy allow instantaneous transport for anyone who uses them. They can seemingly penetrate any security measures and allow travel to any location, regardless of distance.
The continuity also featured the Super Warp Ring; a more powerful version of the Warp Ring that can provide transport through time and between dimensions.
In the French comic Sonic Adventures volume 1, "Dans les griffes de Robotnik", a Sonic 3-styled Giant Ring is depicted hovering over the boiling magma in a volcano in the hidden city of the Echidnas. Sonic, Amy Rose and Princess Alucion fall through the giant ring when Doctor Robotnik tries to throw them into the volcano. They are transported to the Blue Sphere Special Stage, where Sonic gets the highest score, wins the Seven Magical Emeralds and the Golden Armor.
- Formations of giant rings in Sonic Chaos refer to designers of the game, M.Shima, Ray and 5OOZO, who are also listed in the game's end credits.
- As classic act of Mushroom Hill Zone in Sonic Generations recycles its level layout from the first act of original game, hidden Giant Rings are replaced with 8 normal rings on large ring formation.
- Although Sonic appears to pose with the giant ring in both artworks of Sonic Jump and Sonic Dash, (see the image at the infobox), none of the aforementioned games actually featured giant rings at all.
- ↑ The Flickies travel freely between dimensions using the Dimension Rings! Without wasting any time, Robotnik develops a new device: the Dimension Ring Generator. He captures Flickies from the Flicky dimension using his new device, and begins turning them into robots. Later on, Sonic and his friends arrive at Flicky Island, and find the place in pandemonium. - US manual of Sonic 3D Blast, page 3.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Sonic Mega Collection Plus; Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles hints
- ↑ This is a Factory Ring. You can change characters in there. Omochao, Sonic Advance 3
- ↑ Sonic the Comic 3, "Mayhem in the Marble Zone"
- ↑ Sonic the Comic #53, "Total Chaotix, Part 1"
- ↑ Sonic the Comic #106, "Flickies' Island, Part 3"
- ↑ Sonic the Comic #108, "The Evil Empire, Part 1"
- ↑ Sonic the Comic #134, "Eternity Ring"