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Pinball Shooters, also known simply as Springs, is a gimmick in the Sonic the Hedgehog video games that can usually be found in casino-themed zones. As the playable character spins on a pinball shooter, the spring depresses, then launches the player forward or upward at a high speed. The Pinball Shooters first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and are also variants of springs.
Pinball Shooters work similarly to plungers on pinball tables. Pinball Shooters are usually located in a sharp turn or at the other end of a tunnel. As the character enters the tunnel, he/she starts rolling down it, before ending up on the top of the spring where the player continues to rotate. When the player holds down the jump button, the spring depresses. Once the spring is fully depressed, the player can release the jump button and launch the playable character forward or upward through the tunnel's most direct route.
If the pinball shooter is not fully depressed, the playable character will only be launched a short distance and will fall back on the spring. In a few games, the player does not need to load the shooter as it automatically launches the player itself.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Pinball shooters are first seen in the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. These objects are only featured in Casino Night Zone and are referred to as "Spring" in the American instruction manual. The player can load and release the pinball shooter and release it by holding down , or and then release them. After being launched from the pinball shooter, the characters usually enter a shuttle loop or one of pinball sections of the zone.
In the the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, there are several large red pinball shooters set around Toxic Caves. The player can load and release the pinball shooters by holding down and eventually releasing the 1 or 2 buttons. The springs will send Sonic to back to the pinball sections.
Pinball shooters are seen in Knuckles' Chaotix, as there are several shooters featured in Speed Slider, despite the level not being pinball themed. The pinball shooter will automatically launch the player out the tunnels once the characters land on the spring.
Pinball shooters can be seen at the right side of pinball tables in Casinopolis in Sonic Adventure, though they are only used in Sonic the Hedgehog's story. These pinball shooters automatically send Sonic to the pinball table.
Sonic Pocket Adventure
Pinball shooters are featured in Cosmic Casino Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, which closely resemble those from the Casino Night Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The player can load and release the pinball shooters by holding down and eventually releasing the jump button.
Sonic Pinball Party
A single pinball shooter is featured in on the right side of all pinball tables in Sonic Pinball Party. Like in Sonic Adventure, the shooter will launch automatically.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I
Pinball shooters are featured as one of the gimmicks in the Casino Street Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, . In this game, their appearance and functions are similar to the pinball shooters featured in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The player can load and release the pinball shooters by holding down and eventually releasing the jump button.
Two pinball shooters also appear in the DLC-exclusive Casino Night minigame in the console/PC version of Sonic Generations. It is located at the lower right corner of the pinball table, where the player will start. The player can load and release the pinball shooters by holding down and eventually releasing the jump button. Right next to the start-up shooter is a second pinball shooter where the player can fall down from the higher level of pinball table.
Sonic Lost World
Pinball Shooters make an appearance in the Wii U version of Sonic Lost World. They are seen in the casino-themed Frozen Factory Zone 3, in which they are normally set around pinball tables. They are very similar to the ones from the console/PC version of Sonic Generations.
In other media
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
A single pinball shooter is seen in episode Robotnikland of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, where it is part of large pinball table called "Pin-Ball Blizzard" at park that Robotnik has taken over. Pinball shooter has seen first bursting Sonic to the pinball table. After an while, Robotnik sends the large pinball ball with pinball shooter to the game while Robotnik controls the game itself. After Sonic starts to rule in the pinball game, Robotnik then as maniac sending Scratch and Grounder to the pinball shooter which launches them to the pinball table, who only gets bounced back and forth while Sonic gets away from "Pin-Ball Blizzard".
Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)
In the episode "Game Guy" of Sonic the Hedgehog animated series, Sonic gets launched once by large Pinball Shooter, when he enters the only time to the Robotnik giant pinball table inside the large pyramid base.