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Hint Ring

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For the gimmick in the Sonic Boom video games, see Hint (Sonic Boom).

The Hint Ring (ヒントリング Hinto Ringu?) is a recurring gimmick in the Sonic the Hedgehog series which first appeared in Sonic Heroes. It is a variation of the Hint which provides the player with additional help during gameplay.


The Hint Ring's design has varied over the course of the series. However, its general motif is a floating question mark surrounded by several colors.

In gameplay, the Hint Rings can be found all over the various types of levels. When touching it, the game provides the player with information about the surroundings, gimmicks, objects, enemies, how to play etc. How these messages are relayed differs between games, although they are usually accompanied by a message box and/or text.

Game appearances

Sonic Heroes

Hint Ring Sonic Heroes

A Hint Ring in Sonic Heroes.

In Sonic Heroes, the Hint Rings are presented as a rainbow-colored question marks surrounded by a ring of dots in different colors. When using a Hint Ring, one of the characters on the player's team will speak out its contents as a trialogue between the team's members (normally with subtitles).

Every character has their own description of the information from in the Hint Ring. However, there are cases where the characters do not speak and only subtitles appear, which is most likely a glitch. It should be noted that in this game, the Hint Ring cannot be used if the characters are already speaking. If the Hint Ring's subject has already been used before getting coverage on it from the Hint Ring, said Hint Ring will disappear.

Shadow the Hedgehog

Dolphin 2015-11-27 19-52-18-483

The Hint Ring in Shadow the Hedgehog.

In Shadow the Hedgehog, the Hint Rings are presented as white question marks surrounded by a multicolored sphere. When using the Hint Ring, the playable character will speak out its contents.

Like in Sonic Heroes, every character, including Shadow himself, have their own description of the information for the Hint Ring. In Shadow's case, he will talk in first person to the player, while the other characters will have a dialogue with Shadow. In the Expert Mode, Hint Rings are only used to play good luck messages from the game's supporting characters.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)


The Hint Ring in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the Hint Rings regain their design from Sonic Heroes, but with a golden question mark inside them instead. When used, an announcer will speak out the Hint Ring's contents rather than one of the characters. If the player uses a Hint Ring while the playable character is talking, the dialogue will change to the Hint Ring's while the playable character's gets cut out.

Sonic Unleashed

Hint Ring Unleashed

A Hint Ring in Sonic Unleashed.

In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed, the Hint Rings are identical to how they appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), except that their question mark rotates. When using a Hint Ring, the playable character is immobilized while a text box containing information from Chip, sometimes accompanied by an illustration, appears on the screen. To continue reading or close the text box, the player must press XboxA/PSXButton.

In some cases, the Hint Rings will vanish after using them, if the player did not use them at all.

Sonic Colors

In the Wii version of Sonic Colors, the Hint Ring has the same design from Sonic Unleashed. When using the Hint Ring, the screen darkens and the gameplay freeze as a textbox containing the Hint Ring's info appears. These hints are read out loud by Tails. The player can skip their explanation by pressing the Jump button. After usage, the Hint Ring will vanish briefly for then to return, except during boss battles where they cannot be used freely.

In the battle against the Nega-Wisp Armor, a unique Hint Ring will give no actual description of the boss as Tails' signal to Sonic is very weak, resulting in a broken sound and text.

Sonic Lost World

In Sonic Lost World, the Hint Rings have the same design as in Sonic Unleashed. In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, Hint Rings appear normally, mostly in the tutorial Zone of Windy Hill. When using it, the game freezes and a textbox containing the Hint Ring's contents will appear. The player can continue reading or close it by pressing WiiDSA.

In Wii U version of the game, an illustration of the Hint Ring appears occasionally as a notification icon on top of the screen. Touching the Hint Ring will unveil its information on the Wii U GamePad.

In other media

Sonic Boom

Main article: Hint (Sonic Boom)

In the Sonic Boom video games, the Hint Ring appears under the name "Hint." In these games, the Hints have the same appearance as their mainstream counterparts and function in the same manner.


Tsonic win 2015-06-09 11-57-21-79

A Hint Ring in Frog Forest, which was supposed to be removed for Super Hard Mode.

  • When the player chooses the Super Hard Mode of Sonic Heroes, all Hint Rings are completely removed from every Stage with the exception of one, which can be found after reaching the second half point of the Frog Forest.
  • In Mystic Mansion of Sonic Heroes, when the player touches the Hint Orb next to the trolley as Team Rose, if it is Amy turn to talk, she will not say anything. The subtitle "The trolley controls are the same as the bobsled. Make sure to dodge the ghosts." will still appear.
  • On the 10.8 release of Sonic Heroes, the Hint Rings will remain in place even after something has been done (e.g. using switches to open up cages or doors).
  • The additive blending limitations of the Hint Ring.
  • The graphical glitches of the Hint Ring's blending.
  • On the PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Heroes, the Hint Ring's circle particles only have the linear dodge blending used due to graphical limits making the subtractive blending impossible to be assigned to the particles. On certain instances with graphical bugs around, the question mark models will change their blend functions to an additive transparency.
  • When fighting Metal Madness in Sonic Heroes, the Hint Ring at the right incorrectly makes Team Rose say that the boss will shoot fire if you grab his right arm (the flame-shooting arm).
  • The "voice" of the Hint Rings in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), is very similar to the Duke of Soleanna's sound.
  • Every picture used to illustrate the information of the Hint Rings in Sonic Unleashed can be found in the game files for the PC version of Sonic Generations.




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