Green Hill Zone (グリーンヒル Gurīn Hiru?, lit. "Green Hill"), also known as just Green Hill (グリーンヒル Gurīn Hiru?), is a recurring location in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. A natural paradise of a Zone, Green Hill Zone served as the first location Sonic the Hedgehog passed through during his mission to free South Island from the tyranny of Dr. Eggman. Since then, the Zone has returned in many shapes and forms, although always as part of Sonic and his allies' journey to foil threats to the world.
Green Hill Zone is known for being one of the most famous and iconic video game levels of all time, and was the first Sonic experience for many people.
Green Hill Zone is a picturesque paradise with green fields and beautiful blue lakes. It also features big waterfalls, palm trees, rotating flowers and totem poles of unknown origin. Perhaps most distinctively, the soil is checkered brown. Obstacles include crumbling platforms and spikes in the original iteration. Several other regions have also been known to feature Green Hill-like aesthetics.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
In the original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, Green was a paradise with green fields and blue lakes. It featured big waterfalls, palm trees, rotating flowers, totem poles, and its iconic checkered soils.
Green Hill Zone was the first Zone Sonic the Hedgehog ran through during his adventure to stop Dr. Robotnik's search for the Chaos Emeralds on South Island. Along the way, Sonic had to pass through large shuttle loops and tumble down tunnels while watching out for collapsing platforms, spikes, and spinning tree trunks with spikes. Making matters worse for Sonic were the Badniks who patrolled the Zone, including Moto Bugs, Buzz Bombers, Crabmeats, Choppers and Newtrons. At the end of Green Hill Zone, Sonic got attacked by Robotnik and his Egg Mobile-H. Sonic managed to defeat the doctor however, and was able to proceed with his journey.
At the end of his adventure, Sonic made a brief return to Green Hill Zone. There, he discovered that the Zone was now free of Badniks and thronging with celebrating Animals. Having collected all the Chaos Emeralds as well, Sonic released them from his hands, while the Emeralds started to spin; after a big flash, the Chaos Emeralds had disappeared and all the flowers of Green Hill Zone had changed their look, making the Zone even more beautiful. With everything said and done, Sonic struck his victory pose.
Master System/Game Gear
In the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, Green Hill Zone was filled with rolling plains of green and jauntily colored flowers. In addition, this iteration sported underwater areas, a rarity among the Green Hill layouts. However, after coming into power on South Island, Robotnik would install spike pits and set his ubiquitous Badniks loose on the verdant landscape.
Green Hill Zone was the first Zone Sonic traveled through on his mission to end Robotnik's evil operations on South Island. After being defeated for the final time, Robotnik fled from Sky Base to escape through Green Hill Zone. However, Sonic followed him there through a teleporter, which teleported him to above the Eggman Mobile, thus allowing Sonic to deal Robotnik the finishing blow. Afterward, Sonic released the six Chaos Emeralds he had found, which made the pollution above South Island disappear.
In Sonic Blast, Green Hill Zone was represented by the green color, whereas the other local Zones were Yellow Desert Zone, Red Volcano Zone, Blue Marine Zone and Silver Castle Zone. Aside from that, Green Hill Zone also had a more rocky scenery as well.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Green Hill Zone took 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. It was also shown to be inhabited by Wild Boars and Enraged Armadillos.
Sonic eventually arrived in Green Hill Zone when he received a call from Tails, who needed his help dealing with the Marauders. Ever the hero, Sonic began making his way through Green Hill Zone to Tails in Central City. Along the way, Sonic noticed that the local animals had become strangely belligerent and prone to attack on sight; this behavior was later discovered (by the beleaguered Dr. Madden) to have been caused by signal-generating machines hidden around the area.
While making his way through Green Hill Zone, Sonic met Amy, who joined his party and helped him get past a Marauder Scout blocking the way out of Green Hill Zone. Sonic and his team later returned to Green Hill Zone to look for the missing Knuckles, only to find the area overrun by robots. Investigating some old Eggman hideouts, the team found no trace of Knuckles. However, they did found some Communicators that led them straight to him. Sonic and co. soon after returned to Green Hill Zone again to find Dr. Eggman. Along the way, they managed to recruit Cream for their party after helping her find Cheese. Eventually, Dr. Eggman himself was discovered, operating out of an underground hideout. There, Eggman convinced Sonic and co. to let him help them in their quest to stop the Marauders.
In both the console/PC and Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, Green Hill received a more realistic appearance. This time around, as a side-effect of the Time Eater's time-traveling, a past version of Green Hill got transported to the White Space where it was drained of color and life.
After ending up in the White Space, Sonic paid a visit to Green Hill when he first saw it in that realm. By speeding through Green Hill, Sonic was able to fix space, thereby restoring Green Hill and, by extension, Tails from their lifeless states. When the Time Eater later got destroyed, Green Hill was seemingly return to its rightful place in the timeline.
Sonic Runners Adventure
In Sonic Runners Adventure, Green Hill Zone possessed its green-striped grassy plains and checkered soil. It also had a bright blue sky, and a wide lake in which many blocky islands and mountains sat in. It was also filled with many palm trees, flowers, and running waterfalls.
While Tails wandered around Green Hill, Dr. Eggman caught him using his Mind Control Ray and forced him to built him a robot teleporter. Eventually though, Tails got an emergency transmission out to Sonic. Hoping to find Tails, Sonic arrived in Green Hill where he followed the eyewitness accounts of local Flickies and clues left behind by Eggman and his robots. Eventually, Sonic located a Badnik-producing facility and shut it down before rescuing Tails from Eggman's clutches. There, the fox cub brought Sonic up to speed on what he knew had happened to him. Afterward, Sonic tracked Eggman down and defeated him in battle. However, Eggman would escape through his damaged robot teleporter in the aftermath, forcing Sonic and Tails to follow him through said device.
In Sonic Mania, Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails and Knuckles got transported to Green Hill Zone with the Hard Boiled Heavies after the aforementioned group of EggRobos unearthed the Phantom Ruby on Angel Island. This would be the first Zone the trio visited on their new adventure.
Upon their arrival, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles noticed that the Phantom Ruby had transformed the Hard-Boiled Heavies into more dangerous forms with free will. As the villainous group made their escape, Sonic and his friends would pursue them through Green Hill Zone, eventually uniting under the common goal of keeping the Phantom Ruby from falling into the wrong hands. At the end of Green Hill Zone, the trio got attacked by Dr. Eggman and his Death Egg Robot, but were able to defeat them. Sonic and co. would afterward follow Eggman and spy on him while he took the Phantom Ruby from his Hard-Boiled Heavies, who had now gone rogue and wanted the gem for themselves. Once Eggman got the Ruby however, the gemstone's powered caused Sonic and co. to be sent to Chemical Plant Zone
In Sonic Forces, Green Hill Zone had been turned into a partial desert due to the heavy desertification caused by Dr. Eggman's industries. As a result, sandworms had taken up residence in the otherwise peaceful region.
While on a recon mission to Arsenal Pyramid, E-123 Omega jumped the gun and launched an attack on the base by himself. Within it, he encountered Infinite, who made short work of the robot using his new power. Shadow the Hedgehog soon after came to the facility to find Omega, only to encounter Infinite instead. After explaining his backstory to Shadow and how the black hedgehog had humiliated him a few months prior, Infinite trapped Shadow in a illusion. Although Shadow soon escaped it, Infinite was still pleased with the results. As the facility then began exploding around them, Infinite made his escape while Shadow was forced to withdraw.
A month later, while traveling through Green Hill, Sonic received an emergency call from Tails, who needed his help in the City, prompting Sonic to leave the desert-like region. Six months later, after Sonic was rescued from prison by the Avatar, the two ventured to Green Hill to destroy Eggman's base, the Arsenal Pyramid. Tails and Classic Sonic later traveled to Green Hill to find Eggman. There, they witnessed a meeting between Eggman and Infinite, and learned some vital information from them. After Eggman and Infinite parted ways however, Classic Sonic emerged to battle Eggman. Although Eggman ultimately lost to Classic Sonic, the doctor ensured the victorious duo that he would triumph over the Resistance and have the world for himself in just three days before making his escape.
When the Resistance needed to destroy the Death Egg, the Avatar went to Green Hill where they distracted Eggman's forces while the others attacked the Death Egg. While there, the Avatar got attacked by the Death Crab, but managed to defeat it. After the Resistance successfully destroyed the Death Egg, Eggman and his lackeys retreated from their spot in Green Hill to Metropolis.
Other game appearances
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.
Sonic Adventure 2
Green Hill Zone returned in Sonic Adventure 2, as the first time in 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.
In Sonic Battle, Green Hill Zone appears 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 returned 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 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 Sonic Dash, 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.
Sonic Forces: Speed Battle
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).
Sega Splash Golf
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.
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax
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 the first part of the Sonic Dimensions level pack and part of the Sonic the Hedgehog Adventure World. Brick-built Moto Bugs, Buzz Bombers, Choppers, and Newtrons appear as enemies in the Level Pack. Tails' Lab (based on its appearance in Sonic the Fighters) and a shooting gallery modeled after Big the Cat and Froggy can be built in Green Hill Zone in the Sonic the Hedgehog Adventure World. The portal to the Sonic the Hedgehog Adventure World is also modeled after Green Hill Zone's iconic loop-de-loop.
In other media
Sonic the Comic
In Sonic the Comic, Green Hill Zone was the first of the zones introduced in the comic. The zone was initially inhabited by the Freedom Fighters and several Emerald Hill Folks before they moved to the Emerald Hill Zone. Before then, this Zone was constantly targeted by Dr. Robotnik.
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, Green Hill Zone became a permanent part of Sonic's World.
Green Hill Zone is known for being one of the most famous and iconic video game levels of all time. It 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 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.
- 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.
- Even though Green Hill Zone appears in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Sonic Forces: Speed Battle and Sonic Forces, the music does not.
- Green Hills Zone, a Zone from the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, is heavily based on Green Hill Zone, and shares its name in Japanese.
- Mecha Green Hill Zone, a Zone from Sonic Chaos, appears to be a mechanized version of Green Hill Zone.
- 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.
- 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 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 Zones 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.
- A level called Green Hill Zone is the second level in the platformer game Dash Dash. Besides the name, it has almost nothing common with the real thing.
- Green Hills Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit)
- Emerald Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- Mecha Green Hill Zone from Sonic Chaos
- Neo Green Hill Zone from Sonic Advance/Sonic N
- Green Hill from Sonic Generations
- ↑ Sonic Forces - Classic Sonic Green Hill Gameplay. YouTube. Sega (25 April 2017). Retrieved on 26 September 2017. “Classic Sonic discovers Green Hill Zone is looking more dry and sandy under Eggman's rule, from the heavy desertification caused by his industries.”
- ↑ Sonic Forces: Looming Shadow, "Looming Shadow"
- ↑ Episode Shadow
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Turi, Tim (April 18, 2011). Sonic Generations: Bridging A 20-Year Generation Gap With Two Gameplay Styles. Game Informer. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 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.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 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.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Skrebels, Joe (September 8, 2013). Sonic Lost World preview. Official Nintendo Magazine. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 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.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 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