Item Boxes (アイテムボックス,Aitemu Bokkusu?), also referred to as Video Monitors, Monitors and Item Capsules, are common objects in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. First appearing in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991), Item Boxes contain various kinds of power-ups or bonuses which can be used by the player. Placed on the ground, mid-air or even hidden in different places in Zones, the player can open them with attacks to obtain power-ups.
Item Boxes are usually placed on the ground, but these containers are also set to float on the mid-air or they are placed in hidden areas or Zone's environment like palm trees. Item Boxes can also found floating in the mid-air. Item Boxes can be break open by attacking them, usually by Spin Jumping on them, performing Spin Attack or any other attack. Homing Attack will target Item Boxes the same way as it will target enemies, and some chasms can be crossed by using Homing Attacks on a string of floating Item Boxes. Also, certain playable characters can use weapons to break Item Boxes. In some games, if the player can hits a floating Item Boxes from below, it will make it drop to the ground where it can be broken easily. If the player holds the jump button while destroying a Monitor, the bounce back is the same as that of a Badnik; that is, the longer the distance the player fell onto the monitor, the higher he will bounce back up. The player can land normally on the Item Box, if the playable character does not perform Spin Attack or any other variation. Since Sonic Advance 2, Item Boxes can be open by simply touching them in certain games. After breaking it open, the item icon, that is seen in the Item Box will pop out and the player has gotten the power-up or item.
The appearance of Item Boxes have changed on several occasions. In the early games of the series, Item Boxes took the form of grey, rectangular computer Monitors with the icon of the power-up contained inside shown on the flickering screen. Even though they have got replaced in later games, Monitors sometimes have make appearances in recent games, such as Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic Generations. Since Sonic Adventure, Item Boxes had a redesigned to look more like glass capsules with a picture of the item or power-up floating inside. Variously, Item Boxes have seen having aid base beneath them or containers just float in the mid-air. In recent games such as Sonic Lost World, Item Box's appearance have been simplified with glass dome and red top and bottom covers.
Some of the 3D Sonic games use some form of the Item Boxes until since Sonic Unleashed, as being replaced with completely different items instead of item boxes such Super Rings and floating extra lives. Despite that, both usage of Item Boxes have been varied considerably at recent games in some form.
Monitors also appear in the 8-bit version of the game with same name, where they are also called video monitors in American instruction manual and have all the power-ups from 16-bit counterpart. The game also introduces the Arrow Monitors which would be replaced by the Star Posts.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
In 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Video Monitors have the same appearance and power-ups. Like in the first game, the player can hit the Monitor from below, as it drops down to the ground, but it can also crush the player. Video monitors are referred to as Item Boxes in the multiplayer mode of the game, where its power-ups can be randomized. The multiplayer mode features Teleportation power-ups which only appears in this game and Robotnik monitor, which actually first appeared as an inoperable object from Debug Mode in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. In multiplayer mode, each of players can win the round depending on how many monitors are broken.
In the 8-bit version of the game with same name, Item Boxes appear more generally and are called as 'Monitors. Monitors here have the same power-ups as in the 16-bit version of the game, excluding the Shield. The game also features Arrow Monitors as well.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD
In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Monitors appear normally and retrain all the power-ups from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. In the game's Special Stages, if the player blows up one of UFOs, the player can receive Monitor power-ups like Super Rings or Power Sneakers.
In Sonic Chaos, Video Monitors appear generally and have all the power-ups from the previous titles. The game also introduces the Rocket Shoes power-up, which can only be used by Sonic. However, the game does not feature Arrow Monitors. This is possibly due the fact that all Zones are being quickly passed in the game.
Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
In 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, Item Boxes are featured as hidden objects in small chamber in the corners of each stage. These items are usually extra lives, continues and certain variants with the Japanese kanji for "look" (見る). These variants are hints to secret codes that can be used in the game.
Despite having no normal shield, the game introduces three new shields Monitor power-ups, which include the Flame Shield, Water Shield and Lightning Shield. As the player enters the first and second Bonus Stages, these new shields and Rings can be collected from multiple colored floating orbs. Both games also features the Eggman Marks which inflicts harm on the player.
The Competition Mode features different kinds of Monitor power-ups, which include Super Rings and Power Sneakers. Competition Mode does not feature monitors, as their power-ups are collected from small bubbles.
Sonic Drift 2 features differently colored Monitors lying on the tracks. Like in Sonic Drift, the red ones grant a boost in speed and the blue ones makes the racer invulnerable. There is also two new types of Monitors: the yellow ones makes the racer jump and the black ones allows the racer to set up Mines. To utilize the Monitors' effects in this game, the player has to press up on the D-pad after obtaining them. The blue monitor's invincibility play the same jingle from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
In Knuckles' Chaotix, Monitors appear normally and include Rings, shields, power sneakers and invincibility. New Monitor power-ups in the game are the Combine Ring which combines all collected Rings into one when they are lost, the Swap and Change which switch the playable characters, the Grow that enlarges the user, and the Shrink that shrinks the user.
In Sonic Blast, there are 8 different power-ups in the game. In addition to the Rings, Shield, Power Sneakers, Invincibility and Arrow Monitors, there are now separate 1-UP monitors for Sonic and Knuckles, which do nothing, if the player opens them with the opposite character. There are also Eggman Marks and monitor with question mark, which gives a random power-up.
In Sonic Jam, Monitors appear briefly as hidden objects in Sonic World. These Monitors included cheat codes and major information from the games featured in game's compilation.
In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, the Monitors are redesigned as glass capsules with the power-ups' icon floating inside them which are showed on the screen below after braking them. Some of these Item Boxes are set on the ground or floating in the mid-air. If the player is using Sonic, he can target them with his Homing Attack.
Sonic Adventure features the basic power-ups such as Power Sneakers, Invincibility, Shield, the Magnetic Shield and extra life. However the Super Ring Item Boxes are given a new concept where they give different sets of Rings from five to ten. There are also Super Rings with question marks on them, which can grant one, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or even forty Rings. The game also introduces the Explosion that destroys all enemies nearby.
Sonic Pocket Adventure
In Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, the Item Boxes reuses their original grey monitor design from the earlier titles. The game features all five basic power ups from previous games.
Sonic Adventure 2
In Sonic Adventure 2, the Item Boxes have almost the same look from Sonic Adventure. In addition to the Item Boxes floating in midair, those on the ground have aid bases to hold them. Sonic Adventure 2 also introduces the item box balloons, variants of the Item Boxes which resemble red balloons floating in midair.
In the Sonic Advance games, the Item Boxes include all the basic power ups from Sonic Adventure. In Sonic Advance, Item Boxes have a slightly different shape as their glass section is more cubic, but in Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3, they are more round and the player can break open them now by simply touching them.
In Sonic Heroes, the Item Boxes and its balloon variants reappear, though the Item Boxes in this game are shaped like triangular prisms with three screens to show the power-up's icon. Item boxes can also be found inside of Cages that power type characters can break.
The multiplayer mode in both games features Item Boxes with random Ring bonuses, a power-up which can slow down other players, a variant of Max Tension Bonus which fully depletes the other player's Tension Gauge in addition to its single player usage, Confusion which scrambles the other player's controls birefly and Attract which brings the other player where the opponent is.
Shadow the Hedgehog
In Shadow the Hedgehog, Item Boxes look similar to how they looked Sonic Heroes and feature the same power-ups from Sonic Adventure 2. Many Item Boxes are also floating indirectly in the air and can break open using weapons. The game features also introduces the exclusive Heat Barrier that damages surrounding enemies and Damage Recover which restores the health of vehicles.
Sonic Riders series
All threeSonic Ridersgames feature Item Boxes on the tracks with different power-ups to take advantages of the Extreme Gear's features. Item Boxes in these games also look slightly similar to those in Sonic Adventure 2. There can appear up to more than eight Item Boxes in a row on the tracks and all of them give randomized items which are indicated by the question mark icon on them.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Item Boxes look the same from Sonic Adventure, but with more details. The Power-ups they contain are largely the same as in previous games. Peculiarly, after getting an Item Box with an extra life in these, they exact Item Boxes become empty should the player lose a life.
This game introduces the Gauge Up power-up, which replenish the Action Gauge. Power-ups like the Shields were also programmed into the game, but were never featured in the final product. Tails can also throws Item Boxes as a part of his Dummy Ring-related attacks.
In the Wii and PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, Item Boxes are called Item Capsules. These objects are dispersed throughout the stages and puzzles in the Gaia Gates, and when breaking open, it gives Sonic an item. These items mostly include collectibles like movies, hints, music, and artwork, but also sometimes give the player an extra life. In the night stages, many Item Capsules contain Dark Gaia Force which helps the Werehog charge his Unleashed Gauge, restore his health or contribute to the total score at the end of the stage.
In the 2012 version of Sonic Jump, Item Boxes are given the regular Monitor design. They contain many familiar power-ups from previous games, but also includes Magnets, bombs and different set of Shields.
Item Boxes are featured in Sonic Dash, as the player runs towards it, they contain ten rings or magnets, that are similar to ones from Sonic Jump. The appearance of Item Boxes is identical to ones from Sonic & All-Stars Racing. Item Boxes can be found at normally at corners, but also behind of walls, Totem Poles or any other obstacles as well.
Sonic Lost World
In Sonic Lost World, the Item Boxes are given a more basic appearance, with a more round glass capsule and large red cups on the top and bottom. In the Wii U version of the game, Item Boxes found in-game usually appear as containers for Wisps, rarely containing other items like Super Rings, but are featured more generally in the Nintendo 3DS version where they grant Super Rings, elemental shields, Power sneakers and Invincibility, and can be found under rocks, in mid-air and inside other breakable objects and structures.
In the Wii U version, many of the mentioned power-ups are rewarded by completing certain missions in Zones, finding random drops on the map of the Lost Hex, or being gifted by other players through Miiverse. Item Boxes cannot be homing attacked in the Wii U version, but can be locked on in the 3DS version.
Item Balloons are also featured in the Tropical Coast Zone 2 and 4 in Wii U version, which the player can only reach with the Orange Rocket. If the player succeeds, the balloon reveals a golden cannon inside it which they player can use to aim the Orange Rocket elsewhere.
In Sonic Runners, Item Boxes retain their appearance from Sonic Lost World and are set on the pathways or floating in the mid-air. The Item Boxes can contain different types of Wisps, regular Shield, Magnets, Invincibility, and Combo Bonus. Like in Sonic Lost World, they are also featured as Equippable Items, which can be picked up by touching them on the screen. Super Ring Item Boxes appear as separated items, but also as Equitable Items, and they can be acquired as reward after getting a high enough score.
There is one alternative form of item boxes: the balloons or floating item boxes in Sonic Rush. These balloons are red and they have a white and blue circles with a star on them. They act like capsules, except that they are always floating in the air. Since they don't have a picture, there is no telling what each one contains. Balloons sometimes contain special bonuses that do not appear in item boxes, like the wing, which gives Knuckles an extra boost into the air as he glides. They first appeared in Sonic Adventure 2, continued on Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, and Sonic Rush and has been used only in spin-offs such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games.
The Target Switch is an Item Box variant that only appear in Sonic Heroes. These switches appear as targets floating in midair. If the player tries to fly too close to it, the Target Switch will start spinning and cannot be hit. To earn its power-up, the player has to hit the Target Switch with Thunder Shoot from a safe distance.
Gives ten Rings. In later series different variety of Ring Power Ups were added with a number with the icon to tell how many rings will be added like one, five, ten, twenty or even a hundred. ? would mean random.
Bestows an aura of sparkles (or, in later games, a shiny rainbow aura) upon the player character that grants the temporary immunity from damage and destroys opponents on contact. The invulnerability lasts twenty seconds, during which time the background music changes to an upbeat fanfare. This power-up does not protect the character from hazards that cause instant death, namely drowning, getting crushed and bottomless pits.
Encases the player character in a defensive barrier that protects the player from a single attack or damage. Once damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knockback, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life. Does not protect the character if he/she drowns, gets crushed or falls into a bottomless pit. The colour of normal shields was originally a transparent blue but later began to vary throughout the series.
Allows the player to accelerate much faster than normal and increases his top speed and jump height. While active, the background music plays at an increased tempo, except in certain games where a separate track plays like Sonic CD. The Speed Shoes wear off after roughly thirty seconds.
Unused in-game. In the original Sonic the Hedgehog it would appear to give Sonic unlimited breathing underwater; however, an interview with a former Sega employee revealed that the goggles were just a cosmetic feature for use when Sonic was underwater, and would be taken off when he resurfaced.
Appears only in 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Chaos, this Monitor gives the player an extra continue if the player loses all of their lives, allowing the player to start the Zone over with three extra lives.
Note that an otherwise unused, but fully functional Continue monitor also appears in the 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but it's locked in a wall so it's impossible to get without cheat codes.
Gives a random power up to the character. It only appears in the 2-player mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and additionally can give two extra power ups that don't appear in 1-Player mode: Robotnik and Switch / Teleport.
Switches Sonic and Tails' position on the map. It only appears in the 2-player mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It can only be seen normally by breaking a Random monitor, but using debug mode will allow you to gain access to a Teleport monitor. Breaking a teleport monitor with one player has no effect, but the bright screen and sound effect are still there.
Appears in Sonic Chaos and Sonic Triple Trouble which allows Sonic and Tails to use a Pogo Spring. With it, the Pogo Spring can bounce the player to reach greater heights. In Sonic Triple Trouble, they are featured as monitor items.
Works like a Shield and attracts nearby rings. It also negates electrical-based damage and repels certain projectiles. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, it would also give Sonic the ability perform a double-jump by pressing the jump button in mid-air (Tails and Knuckles fly or glide when pressing jump in midair, and do not gain the double jump). Once non-electrical damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knockback, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life. The shield will also disperse if the character dives in water deep enough to drown in. Does not protect the character if he is crushed or falls into a bottomless pit.
A shield that negates any fire-based damage for the character wearing it, such as fireballs and lava, and repels certain projectiles. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, it would also give the ability to perform a "Fireball Spin Dash" in the air by double-tapping the "A" button as Sonic (Tails and Knuckles already fly or glide when pressing jump in midair, and do not gain the Fireball Spin Dash). Once non-fire damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knockback, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life. The shield will also disperse if the character dives in water deep enough to drown in. Does not protect the character if they get crushed or fall into a bottomless pit.
This shield allows the player character to breath underwater indefinitely without fear of drowning. It allows Sonic to quickly plummet downward and bounce by pressing the jump button in mid-air (Tails and Knuckles already fly/swim or glide when pressing jump in midair, and do not gain this bonus ability from the shield). It has the ability to repel certain projectiles, not including spiked projectiles (for obvious reasons) and explosives. Once damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knock-back, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life. Does not protect the character if they get crushed or fall into a bottomless pit.
Causes damage, similar from contact with a Badnik or hazard like spikes. The character either loses a barrier, rings, or a life. In some earlier games, it can be found with Debug Mode, and destroying it would do nothing.
Depending on game, it can give Speed Shoes and Invincibility or grant Super form and fifty Rings. It only appears in the Debug Mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles and 510 prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog CD. While being unused in original Sonic the Hedgehog, it does become used in 2013 re-releases of the game and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Appears only in Knuckles' Chaotix. Fuses the player's rings together as they are collected until he is hit. Upon taking damage, the player will release one ring equivalent to all rings lost. If the ring is not collected in a short time, it explodes into individual rings.
Appears only in Sonic 3D Blast, the Gold Shield protects from a single instance of damage and allows the player to launch forward by pressing the jump button in midair, similar to the Flame Shield from Sonic 3 & Knuckles. However, it will target nearby enemies like the later Homing Attack. Once damage is taken, the shield will disperse and the player will suffer knockback, but will lose the shield rather than his rings or life.
Appears only in Sonic Generations, as classic Sonic can used it to skate through the City Escape. The player can only jump forward while skating. It disappears when the player collides with an oncoming obstacle or wall.
Appears only in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II on certain golden monitors. Activating it makes Sonic and Tails bounce around and destroy Badniks at the screen while the player is pressing A-button for five seconds. It rewards with certain amount of rings and points.
Key: SA1 = Sonic Adventure, SA2 = Sonic Adventure 2, SH = Sonic Heroes, ShTH = Shadow the Hedgehog, STH = Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), SR = Sonic Riders, SRZG = Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
Adds an extra life to the total number of lives. In the Adventure games the picture inside shows the head of the current player character, but in Heroes and onward (except Shadow the Hedgehog) it simply reads "1Up" (in Heroes, this is because the player controls a team of three characters).
In the Adventure games it destroys all onscreen enemies. In the Riders games, it launches a bomb at players ahead knocking them off balance.
Unused in-game. It may have been a time-stopping item with a similar effect to Chaos Control. It also could have been related to E-102 Gamma's levels in some way, which were based around a countdown timer.
Obscures vision with a splash of colored paint for a limited time.
In the Competition mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, power-ups which were not contained in Item Boxes were introduced. Instead they could be collected simply by touching them. Such power-ups when first introduced were initially held inside small floating bubbles during Competition Mode, allowing faster usage of them during races.
Games like Sonic Unleashed, Colors and Generations would later pick up this concept for more classic and common power-ups, but without anything encapsulating them.
Key: S3&K = Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (Competition Mode), SU = Sonic Unleashed, SC = Sonic Colors, SG = Sonic Generations, SLW = Sonic Lost World
Provides the character a boost of speed for a limited time, which increases max speed and acceleration.
Creates a bomb that flies leftwards and explodes on impact to any player.
SU, SC, SG, SLW.
Appear slightly larger than regular rings with the number five, ten or twenty to represent it's value.
Extra Life / 1-Up
SU, SC, SG, SLW.
Adds an extra life to the total number of lives. Simply a black panel with a gold frame in the first game but replaced with simply Sonic's head with a blue aura.
In other media
Item Boxes, referred to as simply PCs, have been given some sort of a back story in Stay Sonic. As planning to use his Retro Orbital Chaos Compressor to contain all the negative energy of the planet within six emeralds, Doctor Ovi Kintobor required a seventh gem to stabilize the process, but could not locate one himself. To broaden his search, he set up a network of monitors across the entire planet that served as an interlinked communications system, allowing the people of Mobius to pass along any information to him that they could about the final emerald's potential whereabouts.
Sonic the Comic
Monitors also appear in Fleetway's Sonic the Comic, as sharing the same kind of background from Stay Sonic. The another one of Kintobor's creations was an artificial duplicate of Sonic known as an Extra Life, which was stored within one of the planet's many monitors.
Unfortunately, the Extra Life was never needed and so remained trapped in its monitor for years, slowly becoming corrupted and bent on revenge, until it duped Tails into freeing it by pretending to be the real Sonic. After besmirching Sonic's name by causing chaos in the Emerald Hill Zone, the Extra Life was sucked back into its monitor by Tails, and the box was then kicked into space by the real Sonic.
However Snively teleported himself to the GUN laboratory and tries pleasing Hope being part of their family and rule the world with him and Regina. Hope disagrees to join him after the conversation and activates the item box which has Flame Shield in it, forces the Snively to leave him and activates the alarm. Snively leaves the place and Hope has been seen crying alone with Flame Shield still on it at the laboratory where later Omega finds him.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles are only games, where the player is able to get crushed by the fallen Monitor. Normally in games such as Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and Sonic CD, Monitors usually are seen bouncing on Sonic's head and falling simply to the ground without damaging him or simply being broken open in other games.
In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, Sonic does not get crushed by fallen Monitor, but instead he sinks through the ground and gets stuck. This is regular in-game glitch, that is possible to happen often in corner sections.
In Sonic Generations (3DS), monitors simply bounce repeatedly on Sonic's head until he moves out of the way. Jumping straight underneath them will not break them.
In earlier games, when the player has both Sonic and Tails, Tails couldn't destroy monitors as his own. This was although possible in Simon Wai and Nick Arcade prototypes of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, as Tails was a "copy-paste" programmed character of the main playable character.
There are certain monitors at above sections that can't be reached with Sonic or Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. However, with lock-on technology of Knuckles in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Knuckles can reach these sections that have those monitors.
Although Item Boxes don't appear at Competition Mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, one Item Box can be seen at options menu of Competition Mode as items can be set on and off.
The same way, Tails Adventure doesn't feature Item Boxes, although one can be seen upper left corner of gameplay hud, showing the amount of the rings that player has.
City Escape has advertisements of different things in Sonic Adventure 2 as one of them being Item Boxes with ten rings and various other power-ups.