The Zone features the picturesque paradise with green fields that Green Hill is known for. After the area fell under Dr. Eggman's rule however, it has become dry and sandy due to the heavy desertification caused by Eggman's industries.
Green Hill Zone is an overall peaceful and natural landscape with block-based brown mountains in the background and a lightly clouded blue sky. Like its original incarnation, the Zone features countless blocky hills in all manner of sizes and arrangements. The Zone's ground is covered in green-striped grass (including on shuttle loops) that moves with the wind, and the soil itself is covered in checkerboard patterns in different shades of brown. There are also several log bridges, tall palm trees, bright flora like purple flowers and moving sunflowers, hard-pointed bushes, square-leafed ivy, and different types of Totem Poles with all manners of facial expressions. There are also a couple of wooden scaffolds.
Green Hill Zone has one major difference from its original incarnation: the bright lake that dominated the scenery in the background has been replaced with a sea of scorching sand, and all the Zone's waterfalls have turned into sandfalls, as if a desert is sprouting from the Zone itself. Also, the dried-out lake has formed deep canyons and caves in-between the hills. What looks like pyramids can also be spotted in the background.
Green Hill Zone is a fast-paced stage. However, there is not an overwhelming number of enemies, and most obstacles just include spikes and bottomless pits. In the case of the latter, gaps that lead into bottomless pits are marked with wooden crosses on the soil next to them.
There are many pathways in the stage to choose, whether if the player wants to go along a higher route with numerous floating platforms, the center route, or a lower pathway. The player can reach the top of high hills by using higher pathways or climbing up from below using certain routes.
Many cliff edges in the stage's structure (or bridges) are weak and will collapse when the player steps on them just once. There are also platforms attached on chains that swing in horizontal directions. These platforms are useful when the player has to cross gap sections or reach higher ground. There are as well landmasses that move up and down, and Winding Tunnels through the hills. In terms of objects, Green Hill Zone includes the regular Monitor power-ups for Classic Sonic, standard gimmicks such as Boosters, Springs (some of which are invisible until the player steps on them), Catapults, and Red Star Rings.
When beginning the stage, start by going right. After the second log bridge, one can either take a Spring on an incoming cliff to reach a higher path, or skip the Spring and follow the lower path. Regardless, the paths will eventually rejoin and lead across some moving landmasses and into a Winding Tunnel. Afterwards, the path will divide again, leaving the player to either follow a higher path or lower path. Like before, these two paths will eventually come together, just before the player has to descend down some land layers to reach a Winding Tunnel at the bottom.
After said tunnel, the player can either follow the path along the bottom or take a higher path across some floating platforms and swings. After these paths rejoin, the player has to cross a log bridge that crumbles behind Classic Sonic to reach the Goal Plate.
After Sega had released the first trailer showcasing footage of Classic Sonic's gameplay in Green Hill Zone, fans on social media began criticizing the stage's presence in Sonic Forces. Some claimed that the implementation of the stage in recent Sonic games has been kind of repetitive, especially after it was reintroduced in several modern games, and particularly Sonic Generations. However, some fans defended the stage implementation.
- After Green Hill Zone was revealed to be in Sonic Forces, Shun Nakamura would state on his Twitter account that this stage was "not Green Hill" but something else.
- ↑ 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.”
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Sonic Forces - Classic Sonic Green Hill Gameplay. YouTube. SEGA (25 April 2017). Retrieved on 26 April 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 fans are getting a little tired of Green Hill Zone. Polygon (26 April 2017). Retrieved on 28 April 2017.
- ↑ Shun Nakamura on Twitter (Japanese). Twitter (16 April 2017). Retrieved on 26 April 2017. “Nakamura_Shun: グリーンヒルじゃなくて○○○○○だぜ”