Lightning (also known as Electricity and Thunder) is a recurring element in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It acts most commonly as hazards in industrial themed stages, but has also occasionally served as power-ups and special moves.
Hazards and obstacles
Lightning and electricity usually appear as obstacles encountered throughout the various levels in the Sonic video games. When a playable character makes contact with electricity without protection, the player will take damage. Having a Lightning Shield will protect the player from almost all these hazards.
Electric Generators are made to weaponized electricity through electric discharge. The machines usually charge and discharge it's electricity zapping anyone within vicinity of it's electrical reach. Badniks such as E-16 Electro Spinners are capable of defending themselves with electrical shields. Thunder Ball and certain Flapper are able to concentrate electricity towards directions like lightning.
Attack and powers
In a few games, Lightning has been incorporated as a special power or gimmick that the player can use in conjunction with their attacks for more potency or as a separate power/powerup to enhance the player's performance.
Sonic Rivals series
In Sonic Rivals , Lightning is used as a power-up. When used offensively, it will remotely zap the target and paralyze them in place. When used defensively, the effect is the same, although it is implemented via a few decoy Rings that will only affect the target if they touch it.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
Lightning is one of the many elements featured in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, though it does not have the same stunning/paralyzing effects of former games. It is used in attacks such as Sonic and Shadow’s Atomic Strike. Robots, N'rrgal and Zoah are are resistant to lightning while Kron, Voxai and other organic enemies are weak against it. Chao named Knickt can shield the player with a Lightning-based shield, protecting them from damage.
Sonic Forces: Speed Battle
In Sonic Forces: Speed Battle, Lightning serves as a power-up item that can only be obtained at random from Item Boxes. It is useable by Amy Rose, Rouge the Bat and Shadow the Hedgehog. It is represented by a yellow bolt of lightning discharging at some points. When used, the Lightning will shock a certain number of opponents (based on their level) for a split second but will not paralyze them nor cause them to lose Rings. Rather, one of the stored power-up items the hit opponent(s) has will disappear at random and cannot be used, represented by that item covered in a discharge of electricity before disappearing. In addition, should a hit opponent be under the effects of the Power Sneakers, Ice Boost, Illusion Boost or Wind Boost Item, their effects will be canceled.
Lightning will only strike at one random opponent but the ability can be upgraded for each individual user by increasing their level to a certain value; at level 6, Lightning will strike two random opponents and at level 12, Lightning will strike all three opponents.
Another power-up named the Storm Cloud that is exclusively useable to Shadow summons clouds that shoots lightning which can also shock opponents, slow them down and cause them to lose a power-up item.