Green Hill Zone is a recurring Zone in the Sonic the Hedgehog games. It is known for being one of the most famous and iconic video game levels of all time. Debuting as the first Zone in the original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, Green Hill Zone was the first Sonic experience for many people.
It is a picturesque paradise with green fields and beautiful blue lakes. Perhaps most distinctively, the soil is checkered brown. Obstacles include crumbling platforms and spikes in the original iteration. The Zone has made numerous reappearances in later Sonic games. Critics have also noted that some other games feature Green Hill-like aesthetic levels.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
As previously stated, Green Hill Zone's first appearance was in the original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog as the game's first Zone. Being a paradise with green fields and blue lakes, it features big waterfalls, palm trees, rotating flowers, totem poles, and iconic checkered soils. The player can also go through large shuttle loops and tumble down tunnels, but the player has to watch out for collapsing platforms, spikes, and spinning tree trunks with spikes. Dr. Robotnik has sent his Badniks to this Zone, including Motobugs, Buzz Bombers, Crabmeats, Choppers and Newtrons.
After completing the game, Sonic makes a brief return to Green Hill Zone for the ending sequence. The area is now free of Badniks and instead thronged with celebrating Animals. If the player manages to collect all six Chaos Emeralds in the game, Sonic will release them from his hands, while the emeralds start spinning; after the big flash, the Chaos Emeralds have disappeared and all the flowers of Green Hill Zone have changed their look, after which Sonic does his victory pose, thus ending the game.
Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)
Taking after its Mega Drive namesake, Green Hill Zone is also the first Zone of the 8-bit version of the game with the same name. The Zone, again like its Genesis counterpart, is filled with rolling plains of green and jauntily colored flowers. However, Robotnik has installed spike pits and set his ubiquitous Badniks loose on the verdant landscape. A rarity amongst Green-Hill-themed levels, this iteration sports underwater areas when Sonic enters a cave system in Act 2.
In the game's ending scene, Robotnik transports from Sky Base to escape through the Green Hill Zone, but Sonic follows him there too. He transports above the Eggman Mobile and gives the finishing move on the doctor. If the player has found six Chaos Emeralds, Sonic is then seen releasing them above the South Island, while making the pollution above the island disappear.
Green Hill Zone also appears alongside other Zones from Sonic the Hedgehog as a racetrack in Sonic Drift. Its appearance generally remains unchanged from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Green Hill Zone tracks from all Chaos GP cups are mostly simple and feature only few direct bends. Because of this, Green Hill Zone from red Chaos GP is the most challenging track of all three.
Green Hill Zone also appears in Sonic Blast. It is the first Zone of the game, which is represented by the green color, whereas the other Zones are Yellow Desert Zone, Red Volcano Zone, Blue Marine Zone and Silver Castle Zone. As side of that, Green Hill Zone in the game has green but also more rocky scenery as well. Badniks in the Zone are mostly taken from Emerald Hill Zone from Sonic the Comic.
Sonic Adventure 2
Green Hill Zone returns in Sonic Adventure 2, as the first time at full 3D form and as an extra stage that can be unlocked by collecting all 180 emblems in the game. The music is a remixed version of the original music, and when Sonic jumps or destroys an enemy, the same sound effects from the original game are played instead of the new sound effects from Sonic Adventure 2. The level's layout is similar to the original level, but shifts land instead of going straight.
Green Hill Zone appears in Sonic Battle as a battlefield, unlocked by completing Emerl's story. The arena is wide, with many open areas and platforms. Although not officially stated to be in Green Hill Zone, Emerald Town in Sonic Battle has similar palm trees and checkerboard rock faces identical to those seen in the original Zone.
Sonic Jump and Sonic Jump 2
Green Hill Zone returns as the first Zone of Sonic Jump and its sequel Sonic Jump 2. This iteration of Green Hill Zone seems to prominently feature a rocky mountain and the iconic loop-de-loop is absent as well. It is also given a new background music which would then be remixed in the later Sonic Jump games.
Sega Superstars Tennis
In Sega Superstars Tennis, Green Hill Zone was fitted with a tennis court with various characters making cameo appearances around the field, mainly the Chao from the Sonic Adventure series, also Blaze the Cat, Silver the Hedgehog, Knuckles the Echidna and Big the Cat. This is where many missions in Sonic's world in Superstar Mode take place, including a singles tournament with various Sonic characters.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Green Hill Zone takes on a more realistic look, adding detailed rocky textures to loops and other gimmicks, while still retaining certain features, such as checkered walls in certain areas. Wild Boar and Enraged Armadillos can be fought, and later, Eggman's robots.
Green Hill Zone is the first stage of Sonic Generations. In this level, Green Hill has received a more realistic appearance. With Classic Sonic, the level is in 2D, as it was in the original title. With Modern Sonic, the game features the 3D gameplay of recent titles. Being the very first level in the franchise, this is also the first level of the game. It is also the only level that appears in both console and Nintendo 3DS versions.
Sonic Jump (2012) and Sonic Jump Fever
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
Green Hill Zone appears as the location for the Hole-In-One Curling Dream Event in Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
In July 2016, to coincide with the series' 25th anniversary and in celebration of achieving 200 million downloads, an update added Green Hill Zone as a new level, complete with the stage's original music.
Green Hill Zone is set to appear in Sonic Mania. In this game, the Zone has been reimagined with larger levels and more bosses, but it otherwise retains the same appearance and layout from the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
Appearances in non-Sonic games
Super Smash Bros. series
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Green Hill Zone is an unlockable stage, which is obtained by unlocking Sonic. The stage features its classic style and terrain, and familiar Green Hill objects such as palm trees, totem poles, item boxes, and spinning flowers.
It features Green Hill Zone's music along with Scrap Brain Zone's music from the original game, and other iconic soundtracks from other Sonic games. The background also includes moving platforms (either swinging or levitating up and down), spikes, and Rings. And just as in the original Green Hill Zone from the first game, the middle section of the land crumbles after a while of fighting on it. Luckily, it is the only section of land that does so in this level. A midway lamp post sometimes appears in the stage. When hit, it spins, damaging characters that go near it (except for the character that hit the post).
Most iconic of this stage is the famous shuttle loop, in which Tails, Knuckles and Silver make cameo appearances by occasionally running through the loop. If the Pokémon Trainer is present during the match, he will be standing on top of the loop (instead of the 1-Up Monitor that is usually there).
In the Japanese PC game Sega Splash Golf, there are a number of courses themed after Sega franchises. The Sonic the Hedgehog course looks very similar to Green Hill Zone with checkered hills, green grass and floating Rings. There are also containers on the course taken from Sonic Adventure 2.
Samba de Amigo Wii
There is a Sonic-themed level of the Sonic Team game Samba de Amigo Wii. This level takes place in Green Hill Zone where the protagonist, Amigo dances alongside Sonic the Hedgehog himself. There are also many Miis and Chao dancing on the sides.
In the Japanese arcade game Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax, one of the stages taken from the SEGA franchise, aside from Valkyria Chronicles, is Green Hill Zone, with the design taken from Sonic Generations where the Springs and Dashpads are from Modern Sonic and the Rings are also visible.
Green Hill Zone appears in LEGO Dimensions as a playable world.
In other media
Sonic the Comic
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Green Hill Zone is a location that appeared on Mobius during both periods where Dr. Eggman and his accomplishes reshaped reality with the Genesis Wave. After the entirely of the Multiverse was altered by the Super Genesis Wave, the Green Hill Zone became a permanent part of Sonic's World.
Green Hill Zone has received consistently positive opinions from critics, particularly for its music. Craig Snyder at MakeUseOf named the level as one of the five best levels in video games, calling it "a great way to prepare for what’s to come". Tim Turi from GameInformer found the level's music "catchy", and Wong ranked it as the thirteenth greatest piece of gaming music from the 16-bit era. In 2010, Sega's community manager, Aaron Webber, returned from a vacation to find his cubicle redecorated to resemble Green Hill; IGN's Levi Buchanan claimed that "everyone wants to come back to" this, and Owen Good of Kotaku exclaimed "I want to work in Green Hill Zone, too!" Writing for the Sabotage Times, Carl Anka ranked the original Sonic the Hedgehog as having the greatest music of any video game, largely as a result of Green Hill Zone's theme.
Critics have compared levels, particularly first levels, of later Sonic games to Green Hill Zone. Turi considers Emerald Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Mushroom Hill Zone from Sonic & Knuckles, and Seaside Hill from Sonic Heroes to fit the same general mold as Green Hill Zone, noting repetition in Sonic level design and stating that "gamers have played Green Hill Zone dozens of times." However, he has opined that the Sonic Generations version of the original Green Hill "trounces them all" in both its 2D and 3D incarnations. Justin Baker of Nintendo World Report and Skrebels both analogized Windy Hill from Sonic Lost World to Green Hill, while Carter thought similarly of The Legend of Zelda downloadable content levels.
Impact and legacy
Green Hill Zone has also been recognized by critics as a classic, well-known video game level. It has been described as "classic" by Samit Sarkar of Polygon and by Jim Sterling and Chris Carter of Destructoid. Comparably, Joe Skrebels of Official Nintendo Magazine called it "nostalgic", while Christopher Grant from Joystiq considered it to have a place "in the center of your retro-gaming shrine". Kevin Wong of Complex stated that the game's and level's popularity were such that "even if you didn't have a Genesis, this was the level you played at the department store while your parents went shopping." Andy Kelly from Computer and Video Games called the Green Hill theme a "monumental slice of Sega nostalgia", and GamesRadar writer Justin Towell also referred to it as classic. Anka has summarized that "Green Hill Zone in the original game has gone down as an instantly recognizable piece of music in pop culture".
To mark Sonic's 15th anniversary in 2006, Sega released a papercraft version of Green Hill as a PDF on its website. In 2011, not long after the release of Sonic Generations release, Sega held a contest inviting gamers to upload playthroughs of the game's 3D version of Green Hill completed in under one minute and fifty seconds to YouTube; winners were eligible for Sonic merchandise.
- Green Hill is the most recurring Zone in the Sonic series, having appeared a total of twenty-two times, with Seaside Hill from Sonic Heroes being the second.
- In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, while Sonic reminisces on the "good times" he had in Green Hill Zone, Tails asks how Eggman's kidnapping of small animals and turning them into robots could have been "good times". Strangely, Tails first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and never officially went through Green Hill Zone during the events of Sonic the Hedgehog. In Sonic Generations, Tails does not remember Green Hill Zone.
- Green Hill Zone has reappeared multiple times, including in Sonic Battle, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Tails appeared in Green Hill Zone in these games and more, but he does not seem to remember any of it in Sonic Generations. However, it should be noted that most of these appearances are non-canon, cameos, or both.
- The music for Green Hill Zone in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood plays a different theme.
- Green Hills Zone, a Zone from the Sega Master System/Sega Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, is heavily based on Green Hill Zone.
- Mecha Green Hill Zone, a Zone from Sonic Chaos, appears to be a mechanized version of Green Hill Zone.
- Many Zones in the Sonic the Hedgehog series are inspired by Green Hill Zone, such as Balloon Park from Sonic Drift 2, the area of Sonic World from Sonic Jam, Neo South Island Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Seaside Hill from Sonic Heroes, Neo Green Hill Zone from Sonic Advance, and Forest Falls Zone from Sonic Rivals.
- The beta name for Aquatic Ruin Zone was Neo Green Hill Zone.
- The song "Dreams of an Absolution" has a similar tune to the background music of Green Hill Zone. Singer Lee Brotherton has said that this was not intended, but appreciated.
- In the 16-bit version for the Mega Drive, this is one of two Zones in which an Invincibility TV can help with the boss, the other being Spring Yard Zone. It is hidden in a high tree which Sonic can grab by leaping off the end of the hill at top speed. In fact, the boss can be defeated before it even wears off.
- Stage 1-1 of the Sonic Simulator from Sonic Colors is a rebuild of Act 1 of the 16-bit version.
- This stage has been made in all three game eras (Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)—Classic; Sonic Adventure 2/Battle—Dreamcast; and Sonic Generations—Modern).
- This is the most remade Zone in the Sonic the Hedgehog games.
- Sunset Hill, a Zone from Sonic Advance 3, is a homage to Green Hill Zone. Sunset Hill's music is also a remix of Green Hill Zone's music.
- A remix of Green Hill Zone's music appears as one of the selectable songs in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Nintendo DS version).
- A Trance remix of this song called "Green Hill Zone (Crystiara Remix)" was performed by Hatsune Miku, a popular VOCALOID, and protagonist of another popular SEGA series.
- The beginning of Mega Water S' Stage in Mega Man: The Wily Wars resembles the Green Hill Zone.
- Interestingly, Green Hill is the name of various real-world places.
- Green Hill Zone appeared in fighting games such as Sonic Battle, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, making it a battlefield for four times.
- This is one of the stages that was made into a Meccano play set, along with Chemical Plant Zone.
- Splash Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I and Windy Hill from Sonic Lost World look very similar to Green Hill Zone.
- Green Hills Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit)
- Mecha Green Hill Zone from Sonic Chaos
- Neo Green Hill Zone from Sonic Advance/Sonic N
- Green Hill from Sonic Generations
- ↑ http://min.us/i/NSvSpCzu6w7J
- ↑ Snyder, Craig (October 31, 2013). 5 Of The Best Video Game Areas, Levels, And Dungeons. MakeUseOf. Retrieved on May 4, 2014.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Turi, Tim (April 18, 2011). Sonic Generations: Bridging A 20-Year Generation Gap With Two Gameplay Styles. Game Informer. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Wong, Kevin (September 5, 2013). The Best Video Game Music of the 16-Bit Era. Complex. Retrieved on May 14, 2014.
- ↑ Buchanan, Levi (August 12, 2010). Who Wants to Work in the Green Hill Zone?. IGN. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ Good, Owen (August 12, 2010). Prank Redecorates Sega Desk As Green Hill Zone. Kotaku. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 10 Of The Best Original Videogame Soundtracks. Sabotage Times (June 18, 2013). Retrieved on May 15, 2014.
- ↑ Baker, Justin (May 28, 2013). First Trailer for Sonic Lost World Released. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Skrebels, Joe (September 8, 2013). Sonic Lost World preview. Official Nintendo Magazine. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Carter, Chris (December 18, 2013). A very brief, but welcome joyride. Destructoid. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ Sarkar, Samit. Sonic: Lost World gameplay footage shows off three very different levels. Polygon. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ Sterling, Jim (June 9, 2011). E3: Sonic Generations might get more than a 4.5. Destructoid. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Grant, Christopher (June 26, 2006). Build Sonic a papercraft playground for his Bday. Joystiq. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ Kelly, Andy (April 28, 2012). Video game soundtracks: The 100 best themes of all time (Part 1). Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on May 14, 2014.
- ↑ Towell, Justin (July 20, 2011). Hands-on with Sonic Generations on 3DS reveals 1991 Green Hill Act 1 layout... in 3D. GamesRadar. Retrieved on May 15, 2014.
- ↑ Good, Owen (November 2, 2011). Run Green Hill Zone in Under 1:50 and Collect Some Nice Sonic Merch. Kotaku. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ http://info.sonicretro.org/Dreams_of_an_Absolution
- Green Hill Zone at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia