Rings (リング Ringu?), also known as Gold Rings or Power Rings, are the most distinct items in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Rings serve as a unique health system in gameplay throughout most of the series; in most cases, as long as the players hold even one Ring, it will protect them from losing a life upon taking damage. Instead, the players lose a portion of their Rings, though the amount varies between games. Aside from this, Rings has serve many other purposes in different games, and collecting them grants things like extra lives, Continues and points.
Though of unknown origin, Rings can be found everywhere on earth and other places beyond time and space. They are most commonly found everywhere in the Zones/Stages, but can also be obtained from Item Boxes, Badniks and other sources.
Appearance and background
The Rings' design is based on either the basic and round-edged wedding rings or solid brass round rings. The size of Rings varies in certain games; in-game sprites and models show them being as about half the size of the playable characters, while certain cutscenes or promotional material show them being small enough to be held in the palm of the hand. Often the most common item in the games, Rings can be found everywhere in the primary playable levels where they spin around in one spot and either lie close to the ground or float in midair. Generally, they are arranged in large clusters or in strings along pathways, off ramps, above Springs, around shuttle loops, along Grind Rails, or simply in midair.
While they appear nothing out of the ordinary, Rings contain an unspecified form of energy referred to as "Ring Energy." This energy can be harnessed to fuel different devices, such as Emerald Detectors and Badniks, or energize other's powers and abilities, such as Silver's ESP and Sonic's Boost.
It is not known where Rings come from and no backstory has been given for them, except that they are spread all over the world of Sonic the Hedgehog. Aside from the main setting on earth, Rings are known to exist in underground caverns, on-board space stations, in outer space, on natural satellites and alien planets, inside cyberspace and even in alternate dimensions.
In general gameplay, the player can collect Rings by simply touching them. When this happens, it disappears, leaving only a small sparkling behind while a chime can be heard.
By far the most recognizable and prevalent attribute Rings display is their function to prevent their holder from being defeated. In general, possessing even a single Ring prevents a character from losing a life upon taking damage from things such as impacts from enemies and their attacks or damage-inducing obstacles. If an (unshielded) character takes damage while holding Rings, they drop their Rings which are then scattered in a circular pattern and bounce around the environment, while the player gets stunned and pushed backwards. However, there are certain dangers Rings cannot prevent, such as being crushed, falling into a bottomless pit, failing a mission with a time limit and drowning. In the pre-mentioned cases, the player's Ring count will be reset to zero should they resume the level. Taking damage without a Ring will result in the character's defeat.
During the brief period where the player drop their Rings after taking damage, there is a change to collect the scattered Rings, but they will eventually all disappear after bouncing for a while. Also, upon taking damage once and dropping the Rings, the player is given a momentary period of invulnerability (represented by the playable character rapidly flashing between visible and invisible). The amount of Rings the player drop when taking damage varies between games. In most cases, the player will drop all their Rings when taking damage just once and are thus vulnerable to attacks, while in some other games the player only drops a portion of them. The Rings' scattering pattern also varies in many later games, like in Sonic Rush where they bounce far wider when the player takes multiple hits. However, the player does not usually lose Rings if the playable character possesses any type of Shield and Invincibility.
In several games, fewer "recoverable" Rings are displayed on-screen when they are dropped than the number actually lost. While this amount varies, the maximum is usually around twenty; fewer are dropped in games on the Master System and Game Gear, about fifty are dropped in Sonic Rush, and about thirty-two in all the episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
Rings are normally earned by picking them up from the levels, but can also be earned in other ways which depend on the game. Various games has Super Rings which grant multiple, Badniks in Sonic Advance 3 release Rings upon defeat, and completing Action Stages Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) will give Rings for the Town Stages as award. Many Zone gimmicks can as well reward the player with Rings. Once the player collects 100 Rings, the player is awarded with an extra life and even sometimes with another one after collecting 200 Rings. Likewise, the player earns points or continues by collecting Rings. The player can also complete certain requirements to unlock extra features by obtaining Rings. Collecting and holding fifty Rings in several games will summon Star Circles or Giant Rings to enter Special Stages, and in many other games collecting enough Rings will pass through checkpoints or get Chaos Emerald in the Special Stages.
Aside from negating damage, granting awards and unlocking levels, the Rings serve other purposes. In the various games, they have been used as currency in Shops to exchange for items, be used as payment to unlock special moves in the gameplay, assist with moves such as the Sonic Boost or Light Speed Dash. Rings are as well essential to fueling a Super State or similar forms of transformations (which in many cases can be activated after collecting fifty Rings). Once in this state, the player's Ring count will decreases steadily every second the Super State is active, and once it reaches zero, the playable character reverts to his normal state.
Sonic the Hedegehog (1991)
In their first appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991), all the player's Rings will be scattered when taking damage. Additional Rings can be found inside Super Ring Video Monitors which are worth ten Rings each. Collecting 100 or 200 Rings grant an extra life, and each Ring held gives 100 points to the player's score at the end of an Act.
Holding fifty Rings at the end of the first two Acts of each Zone summons the Giant Ring above the signpost that lead to the Special Stage. Rings are also found in the Special Stages, where they give the player points, a Continue by collecting fifty of them, and an extra life by collecting 100 of them.
In the 8-bit version of the game, Rings share many of their attributes from the 16-bit game. However, after earning an extra life by collecting Rings, the Ring count will reset from zero. Also, when Sonic takes damage, all the Rings will fall off-screen, making them irretrievable. Usually, Rings are not found in the third act of each Zone. The Goal Plate also sometimes rewards the player with ten extra Rings. By holding over fifty Rings at the end of each Act, the player enters the Special Stage where a huge amount of Rings are scattered and can be collected for extra lives.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Rings' mechanics are the same as in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Collecting 100 or 200 Rings gives an extra life and at the end of an Act, the player receives 100 points for each Ring held. Also, in addition to Monitors with Super Rings that grant ten Rings each, Casino Night Zone has the Slot Machine gimmick which rewards the player with different amounts of Rings (or takes some away) depending on the slot combinations. If the player manages to collect all the Act's Rings and finish without losing any, the player receives a Perfect Bonus of 50,000 points.
When the player has both Sonic and Tails out, only Sonic can lose Rings from damage. Tails can collect Rings, but both of them share the same Ring count. In the game's multiplayer mode, both playable characters can collect Rings for their score. The total score after the race depends on how many Rings each player possesses.
By obtaining fifty Rings, the player can use the Star Circle at a Star Post to enter the Special Stage. Here, the player has to collect a certain amount of Rings on the stage's route within its different sections to get a Chaos Emerald. Inside the Special Stage however, both Sonic and Tails can lose Rings. After getting all seven Chaos Emeralds as Sonic, the player can collect least 50 Rings from regular Zone and transform into Super Sonic. In Super transformation, Ring score will drop one Ring per second.
In the 8-bit version of the game, Rings function like in the previous 8-bit installment, including the Ring score restarting from zero after getting 100 Rings. However, unlike in the previous game, the player can pick up Rings after dropping them. At the end of the first two Acts of each Zone, the Goal Plate can randomly reward the player with ten extra Rings. However, Rings are not featured in the third Act of each Zone.
SegaSonic the Hedgehog
In SegaSonic the Hedgehog, Rings are used to fill the playable characters' health gauge rather than protecting against damage. When the player completes the stage with over 50% of the Ring score, they are rewarded with a Ring Bonus and a pre-amplified health gauge.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD
In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the Rings' mechanics are the same as in the previous main installments. Numerous Rings can be found inside ceilings or behind walls which can only be collected by entering another timeline of the Act with Time Warp Plates. In this game, the player must hold fifty Rings at the end of the first and second Zone of each Round to summon the Giant Ring at the Goal Plate and enter the Special Stages. There, the player is sometimes rewarded with ten extra Rings for destroying UFOs.
Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
In both the 16 and 8-bit versions of Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, Rings' only function is to bestow points, and grants 12,500 points each when collected. Collecting all Rings from the Stage summons the star circle that leads to the hidden Bonus Stage.
In Sonic Chaos, Rings function much like in the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. If the player collects 100 Rings as Sonic, he will be transported into a Special Stage. Special Stages have both regular Rings and Giant Rings, the latter which grants 10 regular Rings each. Because Tails is unable to enter Special Stages, he instead earns extra life which makes the Ring count restart from zero.
At the end of the first two Acts of each Zone, the Bonus Plate randomly rewards the player with ten extra Rings. However, the third Act of each Zone has Rings spread out in certain places to prevent protection in boss battles.
Sonic Drift series
In Sonic Drift and Sonic Drift 2, Rings are spread out over all the race tracks. After the player collects at least two Rings (three if playing as Metal Sonic), they can perform the character's Special Power by pressing up on the D-pad. The player can lose Rings by drifting into obstacles, or getting hit by mines or the race course's exclusive obstacles.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and its add-on continuation Sonic & Knuckles, Rings function like in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Monitors in these games include Super Rings that are worth ten Rings each, and each Ring obtained adds 100 points to the player's score after completing an Act. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 also introduces the Thunder Shield which can attract nearby Rings. In the Competition mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the player can only hold one Ring at a time which is generally used to defend against Self-Propelled Bombs.
In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, collecting fifty Rings summons the Star Circle at Star Posts which transports the player to the Gumball Machine-type Bonus Stage. In Sonic & Knuckles however, collecting fifty Rings in the same case sends the player to the Glowing Sphere-type Bonus Stage, while twenty Rings leads to the Slot Machine-type Bonus Stage. In the locked-on version, all three types of Bonus Stages can be unlocked in the same case with the right amount of Rings: the Slot Machine with 20-34 Rings, the Glowing Sphere with 35-49 Rings, and the Gumball Machine with 50-120 Rings. The Glowing Sphere- and Gumball Machine-type Bonus Stages in particular feature yellow gumballs, which each grant ten extra Rings. Meanwhile, Slot Machine-type Bonus Stages normally include gimmicks that, like in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, will grant Rings when getting the right formations.
In Special Stages, Rings can also be found. Collecting fifty Rings grants a Continue and collecting all Rings in the Special Stage gives a Perfect Bonus. Also, if the player collects blue spheres from the edges of sphere clusters, all the spheres turn into Rings.
Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble
In Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, each Ring adds 100 points to the player's score after completing an Act. While collecting 100 Rings will grant an extra life, it keeps the Ring count from increasing further. This game is also the first in the Sonic the Hedgehog series where the player does not lose all their Rings when taking damage, instead only dropping thirty Rings. Also, getting the Ring panel on the Bonus Panel grants ten extra Rings.
To enter the game's Special Stages, the player must hold fifty Rings while breaking a Chaos Emerald Monitor. Additionally, Rings are spread out in platform- and plane-type Special Stages, where it is required in the latter that the player collects a certain amount of Rings to get a Chaos Emerald.
Sonic the Hedgehog's Gameworld
In the Japanese version of Sonic the Hedgehog's Gameworld, Rings are featured in the "Slot Machine" and "Poker Game" minigames, where the player can put bets by inserting Rings. Also, in the "Roulette Game" minigame, getting one of five images that show the Ring symbol double the amount of points. None of these three minigames are featured in the international versions though.
In the "Sonic vs. Robotnik" minigame, attacks have been altered in the international versions to both Sonic and Robotnik tossing Rings at each other, depending on what picture the game randomly selects.
in Knuckles' Chaotix, the Rings' mechanics are slightly different. In this game, Rings scatter from the immediate propinquity after being dropped, meaning the player can only recover a few of them. Both the player and Combi Partner can lose Rings when taking damage, and without Rings, the player can lose the Combi Partner for a short time. The player can call their Combi Partner back to his position, though at the costs of ten Rings. The Ring count can also become negative if the player uses the call command without sufficient funds. Additionally, because the game does not use the life system, the player is sent back to Newtrogic High Zone after taking damage without Rings.
Badniks in this game are powered by normal-sized, synthesized Dark Rings, which will disintegrate and cannot be collected. The game features Super Rings in Item Boxes, along with the exclusive Combine Ring power-up which combines all the player's Rings into a single large one. When taking damage with this power-up, the player will drop one large Ring which will fully restore the player's Ring count when picked up. However, this Ring will eventually implode and release all the Rings around the arena.
To access the game's Bonus Stages, the player must obtain twenty Rings and find its hidden Giant Ring. To access the Special Stages, the player must obtain fifty Rings to summon a Giant Ring that leads there above the Signpost at the end of each Act. Both Stages have Rings spread around in string formations and collecting them will extend the player's time limit in these Stages.
In Tails' Skypatrol, Tails wields a single Ring in his hand which he can use as a boomerang-based weapon in gameplay. This Ring has multiple functions, such as knocking down breakable daruma blocks or enemies, flipping switches, and latch on poles or bars.
In Tails Adventure, Rings are used to replenish Tails' health meter rather that protecting from attacks. The player is unable to recover dropped Rings after taking damage, and different weapons or attacks will take different amounts of Rings from the player. If the health meter reaches zero, the game ends.
The player starts the game with a health meter that can only contain ten Rings, but collecting a Chaos Emerald will increase the health meter by ten points. One of the game's equippable items, Fang, can make every destroyed enemy drop a Ring. Rings usually drop out of breakable walls and defeated enemies, but can also in very rare cases be found in certain sections of the Stage.
Sonic the Fighters
In Sonic the Fighters, Rings are spread everywhere from the playable characters whenever they get hit. However, they are only animations and thus have no impact on the gameplay.
In Sonic Labyrinth, Rings grant an extra life after collecting 100 of them. They only appear in long string formations in the Scroll Zones for the fourth round of each Zone, where they are used to protect Sonic normally during boss battles. Despite that, Rings cannot be retrieved after dropping them due to damage. They also appear in the game's Bonus Stage where every regular Ring is worth twenty-five Rings.
Sonic 3D Blast
In the first two Acts of each Zone, Tails and Knuckles can be found standing around, and bringing fifty Rings to one of them, the player is transported to the game's Special Stages. Even if the player doesn't have enough Rings, Tails and Knuckles can deposit them, while the player can find more. In Special Stages, the player has to collect a certain amount of Rings within different sections to ultimately receive a Chaos Emerald. In the Sega Saturn version of Special Stages in particular, there are plates that reduce the required Ring amount on each point of these Stages' routes. If the player can jump through this plate, it will grant an extra amount of Rings.
In Sonic Blast, Rings work much like in Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble. When taking damage, the player loses ten Rings, and collecting 100 Rings grants an extra life, but also restarts the Ring count from zero. Bonus Panels also grant different amount of Rings depending on the playable character; its Ring panel grants ten extra Rings, while both the Sonic and Knuckles panels grant thirty Rings if playing as the respective character.
In Sonic Jam, Rings are spread around the hub area known as Sonic World. There are Time Attack Games, with two challenges centering around collecting a certain amount of Rings around the area and returning them to the Jump Stand-looking switch within the shortest time.
In this game, Rings are used to unlock special features while racing. When trading a certain amount of collected Rings, the player can unlock Ring Gates that lead to hidden Chaos Emeralds or detours, or use Accelerators for a short burst of speed. Dr. Eggman and Eggrobo can also use the Homing Missiles on rival racers by paying at least ten Rings for each shot.
In Sonic Adventure, Rings function much like in earlier main installments; they grant extra life after collecting 100 of them and each Ring adds 100 points to the score at the end of an Action Stage. Item Boxes with Super Rings also appear which grant multiple amount of Rings, and when Knuckles use Dig, multiple Rings can pop out the ground. Sonic Adventure also introduces the iconic Light Speed Dash which lets Sonic dash along strings of Rings. Some switches also summon shinning Rings, which can be used for the Light Speed Dash. Like in the 2D games, Rings scatter in a circular pattern when taking damage. For Sonic, Tails, Amy and E-102 Gamma in particular, B-rank missions in Action Stages require the player to finish with a certain amount of Rings.
Rings have different purposes in the various Action Stages. Sonic's version of Casinopolis, where the player has to collect at least 400 Rings to reach the Chaos Emerald/Capsule in a chamber, has several gimmicks related to gathering Rings. Here, there are both special Slot Machines that drop Rings when bouncing on them, and traditional one on Sonic-themed pinball tables that grant different amount of Rings (or take them away) depending on the formations. There are also two pinball tables where the player has to gather 100 Rings to be transported back to the main hall or fall into the Action Stage's sewer section. Hitting a Bumper on pinball tables grants one Ring, and on the NiGHTS-themed table there are cards that grant different amount of Rings as well. Additionally, there are floating crown that drop Rings after scoring on bowling lane in Twinkle Park, and the Hanging Bell in Speed Highway drops Rings when hit.
In Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, there are several missions based around collecting Rings in certain situations.
Sonic Pocket Adventure
In Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Rings function like in the main 2D games. Getting 100 Rings grants an extra life and each Ring adds 100 points to the player's score at the end of each Act. Item Boxes with Super Rings also appear.
Cosmic Casino Zone features Slot Machines which grant different amount of Rings (or takes them away from the player), depending on the slot combinations. To enter the Special Stage, the player must have fifty Rings on hand at the end of first Act to summon a Giant Ring leading there. Like in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the player must collect certain amount of Rings within different sections of the Special Stages to get a Chaos Emerald. Also, in the game's Advanced Time Trial mode, the player must clear the Act with at least fifty Rings to record the score. Additionally, in the Duel mode "Get the Rings", two players compete by collecting Rings.
In Sonic Shuffle, playable characters can win or lose Rings by participating in mini-events or mini-games. When a game ends, all collected Rings are saved in a score tally to be used to buy art and special features from the Sonic Room. Rings also affect the player's overall rank after clearing the board.
On every board, there are two spaces: blue Plus Ring Spaces and red Minus Ring Spaces, which namely adds or subtracts three Rings from the player's score. When Precioustones appear on the game board, the amount of the Ring gained or lost is doubled on both spaces and if the player continues landing on either spaces for consecutive turns, it will multiply the Ring amount up to five times. If the player lands on too many Minus Ring Spaces or Plus Ring Spaces, Dr. Eggman will activate Light Mode or Darkness Mode, where the former turns all Minus Ring Spaces into Plus Ring Spaces and the latter vice versa.
In Battle Spaces, the player loses Rings if they do not pick up a card of higher value than the opponent's. Many regular and "Accident" mini-games reward the winning with the most Rings, while those on the 2nd and 3rd place lose most of their Rings, and the fourth player earns nothing. Rings are used as currency to buy Force Jewels from Jewel Shop Spaces. If the player picks up Dr. Eggman Card, one of the doctor's roulette choices involves taking all the player's or opporments Rings. For stepping on the Void Precioustone Space, the player can pay fifty Rings to have Void steal a Precioustone from an opponent and give it to the player.
Sonic Adventure 2
In Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Rings appear in strings and clusters. Collecting 100 Rings grants an extra life, and each Ring grants 10 points to the score right after collecting it. Collecting Rings also affects to total score and the rank in the end of each Action Stage. Like in Sonic Adventure, different amount Rings are found as items inside Item Boxes and their balloon variations. In Action Stages for Sonic, Shadow, Knuckles and Rouge, Rings protect normally the player from taking damage. However, Tails and Dr. Eggman use Rings to refill their Health Gauge, although ten Rings only restore a small portion of it.
Passing Point Markers with a certain amount of Rings grants the player an item:
|90+||Barrier/Magnetic Barrier (unless already using Barrier)|
Pressing switches or using the Mystic Melody at Ancient Ruins sometimes summons Ring strings for the Light Speed Dash. In this game, there are also secondary missions based around clearing the Action Stage with 100 Rings in order to receive A rank.
In Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, all Rings collected from a cleared Action Stage are used as currency to purchase items from the Black Market. In the original and expanded multiplayer mode of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, having different amount Rings enables the playable character to use special moves against their opponent.
Sonic Advance series
In all three Sonic Advance titles, Rings function like in earlier main installments. Collecting 100 Rings grants an extra life and each Ring adds 100 points to the score at the end of each Act. There are also Super Ring Item Boxes, but they grant different amounts of Rings like in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2. Additionally, the Special Stages for all three games require the player to collected a certain amount of Rings within different sections to get a Chaos Emerald. In The Moon Zone, many of the Super Egg Robot's trap pods contain Rings, which Super Sonic can collect by charging into them at the right time.
Because Sonic Advance 2 is more fast-paced compared to previous games, Rings affect the playable character's acceleration, causing the running speed to increase as the player collects more Rings. In the Special Stages of Sonic Advance 2 in particular, the player can collect Rings consecutively to form combos, which can double, triple, quadruple and beyond the Rings the player obtains. There are also red and black pods called Extra Rings (エクストラリング Ekusutora Ringu?) scattered around the stage, with each one of them granting five extra Rings.
In Sonic Advance 3, all robots created by Dr. Eggman are powered by Rings, which can be collected after destroying them. A piggy bank-type enemy called Bu-bu also appears which absorbs all the player's dropped Rings when taking damage.
Sonic Pinball Party
Rings appear in all the stages of the Sonic-themed pinball table. By swinging the ball through the Ring Loop in the right upper corner four times and then into the Feature Hole, the player can activate Ring Mode, which will make Rings appear all around the table which are worth a huge amount points. Ring Mode lasts for 120 seconds and every ring collected will respawn.
In Sonic Heroes, Rings function like in Sonic Adventure 2. Collecting 100 Rings grants an extra life and each Ring adds 10 points to the player's score after collecting one. Different sets of Super Rings can be found in Item Boxes, their balloon variations, and Target Switches. Bouncing on all three circles on the Wide Spring also rewards with a Super Ring bonus.
Casino Park and BINGO Highway feature singular and traditional Slot Machines, which grant Rings or take them away, depending on their formation. BINGO Highway also features the Bingo gimmick, where the player can collect neon chips along the routes to fill the bingo grids and earn huge Ring bonuses. In terms of enemies, the Egg Magicians are capable of absorbing Rings from the player. Also, many secondary missions for Team Rose, and the missions for Team Chaotix in Casino Park and BINGO Highway, involves clearing the Stage with a required amount of Rings.
One of the game's multiplayer modes, the Ring Race, involves collecting more Rings than the opponent within the time limit.
In Sonic Battle, Sonic throws a temporary Ring out of nowhere when he performs Sonic Drive, which he will then Spin Attack towards, damaging all foes in his path. This Ring cannot be picked up. Emerl and E-121 Phi can perform this skill as well.
Sonic Rush series
In both Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure, Rings work almost like in the Sonic Advance games. Collecting 100 Rings grants an extra life and each Ring adds 10 points to the player's score after completing each Act. Sonic Rush is the first game where the dispersion of the Rings occurring when taking damage becomes greater for each hit, making it harder to recover them. The games also include Super Rings that grant different amounts of Rings, which can be found inside Item Boxes or their balloon variations (Sonic Rush only).
In the Special Stages of Sonic Rush, the player has to collect a required amount of Rings within their different sections to get a Chaos Emerald. Along these routes, there are both regular Rings and metallic Rings with "5" in their middle on the edges of the routes which grant five Rings each. There are also Dash Panels which guide Sonic through strings of Rings automatically. If the player hits the Trick Spring, it will send Sonic into mid-air where the player can complete a quick time event to earn five, ten, or twenty extra Rings, depending on how quickly the player executes this. Also, destroying Flappers grant three Rings each.
On the Sail Routes in Sonic Rush Adventure, Rings lie across the water surface along with Super Ring Item Boxes (each Ring grants 100 points). Collecting Rings fills the Boost Gauge and keep the combo going while using Wave Cyclone or Aqua Blast. Rings can also be picked up from far distance by using stylus while piloting Ocean Tornado and Deep Typhoon, and shooting enemies or obstacles with these vessels grants four extra Rings.
Shadow the Hedgehog
In Shadow the Hedgehog, Rings function most like in Sonic Heroes, as collecting 100 of them grants an extra life and each Ring adds 10 points to the player's score. In this game, Shadow drops only ten Rings when taking damage. Super Rings are also found in yellow and grey-colored Item Boxes. The game also introduces transparent Rings placed along regular ones or in trails, which cannot be collected normally or grant points, but still enables the Light Speed Dash.
The Hero Mission of Circus Park involves collecting 400 Rings to complete the Stage. In the same Stage, hopping through flaming tires or hitting bells grant Rings. When the player gets the Ring combination from the slot-machine mechanism on the Egg Dealer during the battle with it, Eggman's Rings will spray out in the center of the arena.
Sonic Riders series
In Sonic Riders, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic Free Riders, Rings are scattered across all the tracks in formations or as Super Rings inside Item Boxes. In Sonic Riders and Sonic Free Riders, collecting Rings allows the player to increase their parameters (as well as attacking abilities in Sonic Riders) by leveling up; getting thirty Rings raises the player's level from one to two, and getting sixty Ring raises it from two to three. In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, the player can pay a certain amount of Rings to activate a Gear Part during a race.
After the player clears a race in each one of the three games, all the accumulated Rings from the race can be used as currency to purchase Extreme Gears from the shop.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Rings have their standard attributes and are found in Action Stages, Town Missions, and occasionally Town Stages. Collecting a single Ring adds ten points to the player's score, while getting 100 gives an extra life, and after completing an Action Stage, the player gains 100 points to their total score for each Ring in their possession. Super Rings are also featured inside Item Boxes and grant different amounts of Rings.
Unlike in previous games, enemies like the Egg Gunner can fire rounds that only make the player drop one Ring per hit, without the player receiving any invulnerability as a side-effect. Additionally, when completing Action Stages or Town Missions, the player is rewarded with a different amount of Rings, depending on the rank they receive:
|Rank Bonus||Points required||Rank|
All residual Rings from the Action Stage and Rank Bonuses will be deposited in the player's total Ring score, which can be used for purchasing items available at Shops. In gameplay, the player is also able to use the Light Speed Dash for Sonic and Shadow to travel along strings of Rings.
Sonic Rivals series
In Sonic Rivals and Sonic Rivals 2, Rings appear in strings or cluster formations. Whenever taking damage, the player only loses ten Rings. After completing a Zone, each Ring adds 100 points to the player's total score.
Certain Zones in Sonic Rivals 2 require the player has collected a certain amount of Rings, depending on the playable character to finish a Act. Sonic Rivals 2 also features "Knock Out" and "Ring Battle" Acts: in "Knock Out", the player has to make the opponent drop all their Rings, and in "Ring Battle", the player has to collect more Rings than their opponent.
Sonic Storybook series
In the Sonic Storybook series, Rings are presented in varying degrees. They retain their standard functions and appear in string formations. Whenever the player takes damage, they lose twenty Rings. The games also introduces the Rich Rings, which give the player twenty Ring each.
In Sonic and the Secret Rings, Rings appear normally and can be found inside clay cups or treasure chests. From the start of the game, the player can only carry fifty Rings at maximum, but the limit increases as the player progresses and Sonic's level rises. The player can also equip small Ring Bonus Skills that automatically gives the player Rings when starting the Stage. Each World in the game includes missions involving collecting certain amounts of Rings.
In Sonic and the Black Knight, Rings are almost completely absent, making it the first notable game in the series with such a case. Instead, they are replaced with yellow fairies which give the player Rings, depending on the size of their clusters, in most of the Missions. However, Rings and Rich Rings appear normally in the Legacy Missions.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Rings can be collected on trails or different formations around each of the region's overworld. The player can use collected Rings as currency for purchasing items and upgrades from shops. If every party character got knocked out in a battle, the player can retry with the cost of Rings from the count.
In Sonic Unleashed, Rings are found in both the daytime and nighttime Action Stages, and as well the exclusive Town Stages and Entrance Stages. The game also includes Super Rings, but without being contained in Item Boxes. While Rings retain their basic functions from previous main titles, Sonic only drops fifty percent of his Rings in the daytime Action Stages whenever taking damage in this game (provided he has forty or more).
In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of the game, collecting the first 100 Rings grants an extra life, and the player earns 100 points for each Ring at the end of each Act. These mechanics do not apply in the PlayStation 2/Wii version of the game. In the daytime Action Stages on all versions, another major functionality of the Rings is to fill up the player's Ring Energy gauge/Boost Gauge, which is needed to activate the Sonic Boost, which can attract nearby Rings as a side effect. In the PlayStation 2/Wii version in particular, collecting thirty, sixty and ninety Rings both completely fills up the Boost Gauge and extends its size by a certain amount. Collecting Rings also increases Sonic's speed.
In the nighttime Action Stages on all versions of the game, Rings function differently. As Sonic the Werehog, collecting Rings replenishes the player's Life Gauge. Also, the player does not drop Rings when taking damage. In these Action Stages, Super Rings can be found, though those on the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version only give ten Rings each, while those on the PlayStation2/Wii version can give up to 100 Rings each. Collecting Rings in the nighttime Action Stages also affect the Rank after completing an Act.
In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, the Rings that the player collects during Acts and missions will be deposited in the player's total Ring score. They can then be used to purchase objects from Shops.
Mario & Sonic series
In the Mario & Sonic crossover sports games, Rings, along with Coins from the Super Mario games, are featured as collectible items in the Dream Events of each game. In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, Rings and Coins appear in Dream Ski Cross and Dream Snowboard Cross events, where collecting five Rings/Coins will activate a Special Action for the playable character.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
In all three episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Rings have similar attributes from earlier installments. Obtaining 100 Rings grants an extra life and each Ring is worth 100 points at the end of each Act. Like in Sonic Rush though, the Rings will scatter further and further away for each time the player takes damage. Super Rings are also featured as Monitor power-ups.
To enter episodes I and II's Special Stages, the player must hold at least fifty Rings at the end of each Act to summon the Giant Ring. Both incarnations of the Special Stages have Rings scatter around, which are required to be collected in certain amount to progress. In the Special Stages of Episode II, the player is required to collect set amounts of Rings within different sections to get a Chaos Emerald. Unlike in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the player's partner, Tails, does not lose any Rings in the Special Stages when taking damage.
Casino Street Zone features Slot Machines, which give different amount of Rings or takes them away, depending the combination. Exclusively on the console versions, Casino Street Zone Act 2 includes card gimmicks which grant ten extra Rings. Additionally, depending on how well the player executes the Combo Attack from the Special Combination power-up in episode II, the player is granted a large amounts of Rings.
In Sonic Colors, Rings function like in earlier installments. In the Wii version of the game, each Ring is worth 100 points at the end of each Act, but the player is not rewarded with extra lives by collecting them. Aside from being found on the surface and in midair, Rings are also found in the soil sections for the Yellow Drill. Rings will also sometimes appear after pressing switches. Sonic Colors features Red Star Rings, which can be collected to unlock Acts at the Game Land. At the score tally after completing an Act, if the player hits the score numbers and the Rank enough times, they drop Rings and extra lives. Similarly, bosses will drop Rings when they are defeated, though the Frigate Orcan, Frigate Skullian and Nega-Wisp Armor will occacionally drop Rings from breaking Containers or after taking a hit. The Game Land Acts likewise include several Ring-based gimmicks: Goal Rings drop Rings after touching them, the Punching Balls release Rings when attacking them, and the Slot Machines grant certain Ring amounts based on the slot formations.
In the Nintendo DS version of the game, collecting 100 Rings grants an extra life, and the Rings held at the end of each Act adds the "Ring Bonus" to the total score. Several missions in the game are likewise based around collecting Rings. Additionally, the game include Super Rings in Item Boxes.
In both the console/PC and Nintendo 3DS versions of Sonic Generations, Rings are found in everywhere, except in the White Space. Collecting 100 Rings grants extra life and holding Rings at the end of an Act earns the player a Ring Bonus. In this game, both Classic and Modern Sonic lose eighty percent of their Rings when taking damage (provided they have twenty or more). For Modern Sonic, collecting Rings also fill up the Boost Gauge which is need to activate the Boost. The game also features Red Star Rings (console/PC versions only) and Super Rings, which are worth ten Rings each, but as Monitor items in the first Acts and as separated items in the second Acts.
On the console/PC versions of the game, there are Skills that center around Rings. For Classic Sonic, Ring Time lets the player turn every enemy on the screen into Rings for a short time. For Modern Sonic, Ring Energy Bonus makes Rings fill up the Boost Gauge faster while Endless Boost lets the Boost Gauge stay full at the cost of preventing the player from obtaining Rings. Then, for both characters, Safety Net lets the player start an Act with ten Rings 10-Second Rings lets dropped Rings remain for ten seconds before they disappear, and Super Sonic let the player use super transformation for both Sonics after collecting at least fifty Rings. When using super transformation, the Ring count drops by one for each second, though it will drop faster when using Super Sonic Boost as Modern Super Sonic.
As a unique feature in the rival battle with Shadow on the console/PC version of the game, Shadow can collect Rings, and the player must deduce his Ring count to zero to defeat him. Casino Night, featured as downloadable content in console/PC version and as a regular Stage in the Nintendo 3DS version, also has Slot Machines, which grant different amount of Rings depending the combination. In the Nintendo 3DS version, Bumpers likewise grant Rings when hit.
Sonic Jump series
In both the original Sonic Jump and Sonic Jump 2, Rings are scattered on cluster or trail formations, but otherwise retain their basic functions. Each Ring grants 100 points to the total score at the end of each Act.
In Sonic Jump (2012) and Sonic Jump Fever, Ring's functionality is expanded further. As well as protecting the player, remaining Rings can be stored outside gameplay by completing a Zone in Story Mode or losing the game in Arcade Mode. Within Zones, the player can also find Ring banks, where their collected Rings can be stored too. These stored Rings can be used to purchase power-ups, upgrade the playable character or unlocking new characters from the Shop. Because both remake games use free-to-play concept, the player can make in-app purchases to buy Rings.
In the games, there are two Monitor power-ups centering around Rings. The Magnet attracts Rings nearby much like Thunder Shield, and Ring Time transforms all enemies in range into collectible rings for short amount of time.
In Sonic Jump Fever, the player loses Rings normally by taking damage from enemies, but hitting obstacles like Spikes or falling into the bottomless pit, allows the playable character to restart with all their Rings retained. Long strings of Rings can also be collected when the playable character enters the Fever mode.
In Sonic Dash, Rings have their standard functions, except the player cannot recover dropped Rings, and collecting 100 rings will not lead to an extra life. In gameplay, the player can collect Rings during each run and then bank them when transiting between the route sections by using a Spring with a Ring-icon over it. Banked Rings will thus not be lost when the player takes damage. Banked rings can be used to purchase upgrades for future runs.
Sonic Lost World
In both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions of Sonic Lost World, Rings have the same attributes. In Wii U version, each Ring grants 100 points to the player's score at the end of each Zone. During the initial release of Wii U version of the game, collecting 100 Rings did not grant extra life, but it was later fixed in the 3.0.0 version patch. Additionally, using running or Parkour will attract nearby Rings. The game also features Super Rings as both Item Boxes or separated items, and missions that include collecting a certain amount Rings.
In gameplay, using Color Powers like Indigo Asteroid, Crimson Eagle and Orange Rocket will attract nearby Rings. Several Zones in the game also present their own exclusive Ring-based gimmicks: Windy Hill Zone 3 and Silent Forest Zone 3 have small cyan crystals on the ground that grant Rings if the player moves through them. Tropical Coast Zone 3 and Lava Mountain Zone 2 has golden Minecarts with Rings that the player can break with the Homing Attack to collect its Rings along the Grind Rails. Frozen Factory Zone 2 features a snowball gimmick, where the player curls into snowball which will make Rings stick to snowball's surface until they are absorbed by passing a Star Post. Then, there is Frozen Factory Zone 3 with its Slot Machine's which can give or take away Rings depending on its formation, and its bumpers that grant Rings by hitting them.
In the Wii U version's DLC level Yoshi's Island Zone, Rings are replaced by Coins, though they function like Rings. There are also enemies like the Sprinkler that drops Rings, and the Tarantula that summons Rings when defeated.
Sonic Boom games
In Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, Rings basically have the same mechanics from their mainstream counterparts, except that when taking damage or falling into a bottomless pit, the player only loses a small portion of their Rings.
In Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric in particular, the player can only carry 100 Rings at a time to begin with, though the player can increase the limit by purchasing special upgrades. Sometimes, Rings pop up when the player approaches a pathway, as a way to guide the player. Also, the majority of the enemies and several breakable obstacles release Rings that the player automatically collects when destroying them.
In Sonic Runners, Rings their regular basic attributes, except each only grant a single point to the score after collecting one and when dropping them due to damage, the player is unable to recover them. Additionally, Rings can be used to keep a combo going when collecting Crystals. The game also features Super Rings as separated items (or inside Item Boxes as rewards for completing an episode or as purchases from the shop).
When the player passes a Star Post, all the player's previously collected Rings are banked in total score. Once done with a stage, all the Rings the player has collected Rings is banked as well, and can be used to purchase equippable items.
While the player advances through the Episode Maps, Ring bonuses sometimes appear which the player can obtain once reaching their points on the Episode Maps. The Item Box power-up Magnet and Color Powers, such as Cyan Laser and Indigo Asteroid, can attract nearby Rings for a short amount of time as well. When the player performs the Spin Attack through Shuttle Loop, they will attract the Rings and Super Rings in the middle of the loop hole; otherwise, the player will miss them. During the battles against Dr. Eggman, Eggman drops a huge amount of Rings from the Egg Mobile every time he is hit.
Super Rings are the most commonly used variations of Rings, which are often found inside Item Boxes. Such Item Boxes have a Ring icon on them, and breaking them will grant the player extra Rings. While Super Rings normally give ten Rings, from Sonic Adventure and onward, Super Rings can sometimes give up to fourty or even a random number of Ring bonuses. From Sonic Unleashed, Super Rings are sometimes separate items from Item Boxes, which are depicted as slightly larger variants of regular Rings with an indicative number in their center.
Giant Rings are larger variations of regular Rings. They can either be summoned at the end of each Zone's Act by collecting fifty Rings or be found behind in hidden areas. Giant Rings are used as transportation devices to Special Stages, or in very few cases grant a huge amount of Rings to the player.
Dark Rings are synthesized Rings that appears in Knuckles' Chaotix. Dark Ring come in either regular Ring or Giant Ring variations, which are reddish-brown, and are used by Dr. Eggman to power his Badniks and his mechs. When the player destroys a Badnik or one of Eggman's mechs, a Dark Ring will pop up and disintegrate completely.
Dash Rings are Ring-based game gimmicks. In gameplay, the player can use them to dash through mid-air by passing through them. Dash Rings are either designed as mechanical rings or simple orange-colored Rings. An sub-variation of the Dash Rings are called Rainbow Rings, which grant extra points or allow Trick Actions.
Special Rings only appear in Sonic Advance 2, where the player has to collect seven of them in each Stage to enter Special Stages. They are sligtly larger than regular Rings, with upward-pointing wings and a star in their center.
Dummy Rings refer to items used by Miles "Tails" Prower and Rouge the Bat in Sonic Heroes and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). They are used as a part of the playable characters' attacks, and can either cause explosive damage or paralyze enemies upon touch. Dummy Rings look identical to regular Rings, but they cannot be collected.
The seven World Rings are magical items in Sonic and the Secret Rings, which bind the reality of the world of the Arabian Nights together. During the game's story, the Erazor Djinn seeks the World Rings to conquer the Arabian Nights, and uses Sonic to get his hands on them. Each World Rings come in a different color and represent a different emotion, and like the Chaos Emeralds they can be used to empower beings, though their collector's life must be sacrificed to unlock their power.
The Revival Rings only appear in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood as consumable items. They can revive one knocked-out party member while restoring ten percent of his/her Hit Points.
Rings of Life
The Rings of Life only appear as consumable items in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. It can be used to revive any party member while fully restoring his/her Hit Points.
Red Star Rings
Red Star Rings are a more common variation of Rings from more recent games, which were introduced in Sonic Colors. Red Star Rings are slightly larger, red rings with a star in their center. Usually, Red Star Rings are collectible items found in each Act/Zone, which can be used to unlock different features upon collecting them, such as new Acts in Game Land, concept artwork, or music tracks. Sometimes, they are also used as a game's premium currency.
Blue Rings are loose variations of Rings and objects that appear in Sonic Colors. They are found in Acts with Blue Wisps, and touching them will grant points. When the player uses the Blue Cube Color Power, Blue Rings will turn into Blue Blocks, which cannot be collected nor break, and vice versa.
In other media
Sonic the Comic
In Sonic the Comic, the Golden Rings are an apparently naturally-occurring phenomenon on Mobius. They were used by Doctor Ovi Kintobor in conjunction with his Retro-Orbital Chaos Compressor (ROCC) to transfer most of the evil energy on Mobius into six Chaos Emeralds. They possessed strange properties (possibly inherently or as a result of their use in the ROCC) and emitted special Ring Energy. Robotnik was able to use the rings to power his Neutrino Accelerator. According to Tails, this Ring Energy was also responsible for Sonic's first transformation into Super Sonic, although Sonic had absorbed so much Ring Energy over the years that later transformations were caused purely by stress.
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs, Power Rings were originally natural byproducts of Chaos Emeralds. They were artificially created by the brilliant Overlander scientist Nate Morgan as a clean alternative to fossil fuels to protect Mobius' environment. After Morgan's banishment from his home city, when his original tests failed, the Mobian Sir Charles Hedgehog aided him in mass producing Power Rings to be used by the Kingdom of Acorn. Following this, the city of Mobotropolis entered a new Golden Age as the Power Rings had brought their kingdom out of the medieval ages. After that, Power Rings was used not only as power supplies for technology, but also as a means to increase the power and capabilities of certain individuals such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower and Knuckles the Echidna.
Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)
In the Sonic the Hedgehog television series, the Power Rings were invented by Sir Charles Hedgehog for Sonic to battle villains. They are generated by a machine, powered by the Power Rock, which is located in the Power Ring pool in the Great Forest. One Power Ring rises to the surface every day (two very day later on) and if not caught, it sinks back underwater.
The Power Rings' energies can only be harnessed by Sonic, which he can use to temporarily boost his speed. Additionally, they can be used to temporarily restore the free will of a roboticized victim and block a Roboticizer.
In the anime series Sonic X and its comic series published by Archie Comics, the Rings are used by Sonic and his allies to give Sonic a power boost, much like the Power Rings in the Sonic the Hedgehog television series and the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs. Tails usually has them loaded into his various aircrafts so he can deploy them to Sonic during battle.
Rings are featured as part of many action figures or collection releases, many of them being manufactured by Jazwares. "Single Figure Packs" line has Sonic action figure with two Rings as extras. For the release of Sonic Generations, Jazwares produced Commemorative Statue of Classic and Modern Sonic running on a large Ring base.
The "Collector's Edition" of Sonic Generations for PlayStation 3 includes collectible bronze Ring. For the "Roleplay" line, Jazwares produced a large Gold Ring toy, that make their sound effects from the games. Good Smile Company has produced Nendoroid figures of Sonic the Hedgehog with a Ring as one of its extra accessories.
- The iconic Ring chime is heard in almost every game in the franchise, while being altered in several handheld games or having only at a slightly lower pitch in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut. In early games for the Sega Genesis and its add-on accessories, the sound effect is programmed to be heard between the left and right speaker as the player keeps collecting Rings.
- By using Debug Mode or cheat codes in early installments of the series for Sega Genesis and its add-ons accessories, the Ring counter's limit is seen to be 999 Rings or even beyond. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, if the player collects more than 999 Rings, the counter will use letters in place of numbers in the hundred spot (i.e A93 Rings instead of 1,093 rings).
- Rings can form a significant formations in several games, usually being arrows pointing to the direction. Examples include the first Special Stage of Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit) having further section with Rings formatting "SEGA" and one point at Sonic's Final Egg in Sonic Adventure having Rings formatting silhouette of Sonic's head.
- Rings are acknowledged several times as being part of storylines in certain games. These include games like Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic Rivals 2. A joke was made in Sonic Generations in which both Classic and Modern Tails were discussing about how many rings Sonic collects and where he puts them.
- Rings are mentioned in the cartoon Gravity Falls by the character Dipper Pines. In episode 10 "Fight Fighters", he rattles off a string of different video game power-ups, one of which happens to be "rings".
- Rings are not the only form of currency in Sonic's world - for instance, when Sonic Colors is set to Japanese, the cutscene before the Tropical Resort boss has different dialogue in which Dr. Eggman, Sonic and Cubot haggle the price of the ride using yen. Yen is also referenced in some of Eggman's in-game announcements.
- Rings are also seen in Wreck-It Ralph; first when Sonic gets hit by an escape pod, Ralph is piloting and later during the credits when it shows Sonic battling Eggman and also getting hit.
- According to the promotional ad for Sonic Jump (2012), Sonic has collected 70 billion Rings since his debut in 1991, which are enough to ask 70 billion girls to marry him.
- ↑ Sonic Lost World for Wii U Gets Free Update. Sega Blog (10 December 2013). Retrieved on 27 May 2015.
- ↑ Sonic the Comic #8, "The Origin of Sonic"
- ↑ Sonic the Comic #1, "Enter: Sonic"
- ↑ Sonic the Comic #7, "Super Sonic"
- ↑ Sonic the Comic #26, "Part 1: Kintobor spelled backwards is..."
- ↑ Sonic the Comic #3, "Mayhem in the Marble Zone"
- ↑ Sonic Team (November 15, 2005). Shadow the Hedgehog. multiplatform. Sega. Story: Circus Park. "Tails: Look at that! It's Eggman's theme park. He made it out of the Rings he's taken from around the world. I've got to get those Rings back!"
- ↑ Backbone Entertainment (November 13, 2007). Sonic Rivals 2. PlayStation Portable. Sega. Story: Knuckles and Rouge. "Knuckles: Well, I better collect some more Rings for this detector."
- ↑ Sonic Team (November 1, 2011). Sonic Generations. Console/PC. Sega. Story: Ending. "Classic Tails: He collects how many? Wow, where does somebody put all those gold rings? / Modern Tails: You know what? I don't know. I keep forgetting to ask."