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Pulleys (リール Rīru?, lit. "Reel"), also known as Upreel (アップリール Appu Rīru?), Downreel (ダウンリール Daun Rīru?) and Crane Lift, are recurring gimmicks in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. As their name implies, they are wheels with handles used to help the player scale steep slopes.


Pulleys usually hang on floating plates or are set at the tensile panels on edges of steep slopes in zones or other places. When grabbing onto the Pulley, the playable characters will be pulled up, thus helping the player reach the top of the slope. Sometimes pulleys do not pull down their reel unless the player has defeated all enemies nearby or has pressed a switch nearby. However, pulleys can sometimes have different purposes depending the gameplay style.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Similar looking reels called Pulley Rifts[1] are first seen in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, where they are only featured in Marble Garden Zone Act 2. Here they are set on steep hills that the player is unable to run up easily. When the player picks up the white ring that is attached to the rope, it will automatically pull the player up the slope. The other end of the rope is attached to a Spinning Wheel that pulls the rope to itself when the player is moving upwards.

The Spinning Wheel will stop after the player has moved next to it. The player can then let it go by jumping to the other side, which may have another reel with a white ring on it to pull the player up to the top of another slope. Another, different type of pulleys are featured in Launch Base Zone Act 2, which look like red and yellow colored hooks from the same Zone and are attached to hovering Twin Hammer crates. By holding onto the pulley, it pulls the player to the upper pathway or descends to a lower section.

Sonic Adventure 2

Pulley Adventure 2

The appearance of pulley in Sonic Adventure 2.

Pulleys are one of the main objects seen in Sonic Adventure 2, where they can pull the player upwards and make it possible to reach to the top of the slope. The traction engine itself is a floating platform, which the player is able to jump on like normal platforms. When the player grabs the red handle on the black and yellow striped stock, the player will go up while the playable character is hanging on the handle. The player is then able to jump off normally and the reel descends back down.

Pulleys can be found at platforming and mech shooting stages. During the mech shooting stages, both Tails and Eggman are able to shoot their enemy targets while hanging on the reel. Pulleys are also featured in the arena during the Egg Golem fight, which the player can use if he/she is managing to fall down the quicksand pool.

Sonic Advance series

Pulleys and their appearance varies between two of the three Sonic Advance titles. In Sonic Advance, they only appear in Angel Island Zone, where they are metallic handles hanging from a metallic cord on the ceiling. These Pulleys do not appear often, but they usually lead to alternate pathways.

In Sonic Advance 3, Pulleys resemble the ones from Sonic Adventure 2 with floating platforms that are set on the ceilings. Here, Pulleys slowly pull the player upwards to the top of the slope. They can be only found in Route 99 and in the second mini game of the game.

Sonic Heroes

Pulley Heroes

Pulley in Sonic Heroes.

Pulleys in Sonic Heroes function similarly as they do in Sonic Adventure 2. However, in this game, the floating traction engine platforms are replaced with smaller, floating devices that the player is unable to stand on. Pulleys also have two traction ropes instead of one, and the handle is a large ring with flashing details.

When the lead character grabs the ring handle on the Pully, the other team members hold on to on each other's feet below the lead character. Pulleys can be found in most of the stages of the game. Occasionally, there are also times when the player has to descend below by using the Pulleys that decrease traction ropes down instead of up.

Shadow the Hedgehog

Dolphin 2015-12-24 23-01-49-814

The Pulley in Shadow the Hedgehog.

In Shadow the Hedgehog, Pullys look like they did in Sonic Heroes and function like they did in previous games. In this game, the Pulley allows for 360° rotation and when the player press the jump button, the character dashes away from it. In addition, the player can use weapons when hanging on it. After the player releases a Pulley, it returns to its original position.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Pulleys are also featured in Sonic the Hedgehog, where they can be found in a few action stages such as Aquatic Base. Pulleys are once again seen to have floating traction engine platforms, while the handles are white rings. There are also several Pulleys that can decrease traction ropes down instead of up on hall sections, as the player can safely move down by using them.

Sonic Unleashed

Pulleys appear in Sonic Unleashed, where they are named Crane Lifts and have a new appearance. Despite their redesign, they function similarly, except they can now lift the player to top faster than before. They do not have a floating traction platform, but are attached to the edges of steep walls and slopes. On the other end of the rope is a red colored square ring with neon circular on the center.

They are only seen in day stages, where the player can grab on to these to reach higher areas. Sometimes the player has to destroy a certain amount of enemies to make the red square ring descend in order grab it and progress through the game. As of this game, pulleys can now be targeted with the Homing Attack.

Sonic Colors

In the Wii version of Sonic Colors, Crane Lifts function exactly like they did in Sonic Unleashed. Like in the previous game, Crane Lifts can pull the player to higher areas. Some only appear when the player has eliminated all enemies from an area.

Sonic Generations

SonicGenerations 2013-07-31 19-47-47-313

The Pulley in Sonic Generations.

Pulleys reappear in Sonic Generations, where they look like the Crane Lifts from Sonic Unleashed, and are slightly bigger. They are only found in modern Sonic's stages and challenges through the game. Some of them can also lead the player to secret pathways.


Artworks and models


See Also


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