The Shield, also known as Barrier (バリア Baria?) in Japan, Normal Shield or Barrier Shield, is a power-up item, first introduced in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. It is obtained by breaking an Item Box with a blue or dark green circular symbol on the monitor. It is the first and original of all shield type power-ups.
The power-up itself envelops the playing character in a spherical barrier which protects the wearer from attacks or damage so that the player would not lose collected Rings or a life if they are hit without rings. Its color varies from blue, green and grey depending on what game it is in. Unlike its successors, it does not have any additional abilities to grant to the wearer.
The protection of Shield varies on certain forms. It is able to negate damage taken from enemies, spikes and some other level hazards. After hitting one of aforementioned alternatives though, the Shield disappears and the player is usually seen flying slightly backwards without losing Rings. However the Shield is not able to protect from falling into the bottomless pits or being crushed with spikes or in some cases, the time limit of completing the stage has been exceeded, which is the instant death. If the player also enters to the underwater sections, it doesn't disappear like elemental shields do, but neither it does protect from drowning.
Under normal circumstances, the Shield can be obtained by breaking Item Boxes/Monitors displaying the Shield's icon in the respective games or other objects containing power-ups. Once obtained, the Shield will surround the playable character until it is broken or the level is completed.
The Shield's color has been varied thought the series without any logical reason. As the Shield is originally known being colored as blue, while since Sonic Adventure, it changed its color to dark green. However one time in Sonic Generations, it is simply illustrated as transparent white bubble, but in most appearances it is transparent with a shade of either blue or dark green.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
The original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog marked the first appearance of the Shield. In the game, it can be collected from normal Monitors with a blue orb icon in it. The Shield is colored a washed-out blue and flashes around Sonic. Because the game is known to have a "Spike Bug", the player is able to lose the Shield, Rings and even life directly at a time when getting hit multiple times by spikes, despite few seconds flashing and invulnerability.
The 8-bit version of the game with the same name also features Shields. These Shields are somehow smaller and more brighter blue comparing to their 16-bit counterpart. They are also spinning around the player, and like in 16-bit counterpart, they do not protect from drowning in the underwater sections of Labyrinth Zone.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Shields have a darker tint of blue than of that in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Despite the sprite being changed slightly, the Shield otherwise retained its mechanics from previous titles. The Shield also appears in the two player mode of the game as a random power-up. Also, in Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Shield is colored grey instead of blue.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD
In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the Shield's appearance is identical to that of the original Sonic the Hedgehog and it abilities remain identical to that of those in the previous installments.
In Knuckles' Chaotix, the Shield is a generally encountered power-up. This blue Shield has similar effect from previous games, although it is only given to one of the two playable characters the player controls that breaks its Monitor. The other playable character in this case gets hit and falls ooff the screen, but comes back after for while. The Shield has flipping coin effect when the playable character is using it.
Sonic the Fighters
In Sonic the Fighters, the traditional Shield does not appear, but the game does feature the Barrier mechanics that the characters can use to protect themselves from attacks, though several hits against the Barriers can eventually break them. To use them in gameplay on the original arcade version, the player must hold down B button. At the beginning of arcade mode of the game, the player is given five Barriers in total to use for the duration of the match.
Sonic 3D Blast
In Sonic 3D Blast, three types of Shields are featured which have additional abilities beside the standard Shield's. First, there is the Blue Shield which can negate electrical attacks and obstacles, similar to the Thunder Shield. The second is the Red Shield which works like the Flame Shield by negating fire attacks. The last is the Gold Shield which enables the player to perform the Blast Attack which is similar to the Homing Attack.
It is worth noting, that the Flickies that follow the player also receive a small Shield when the player obtains one, and they do not fly away by hitting obstacles, if the player themselves do not.
In Sonic Blast, the Shield is again a Monitor power-up. In this game, it is small compared to the playable character. However, there are some monitors with question marks that gave one of the eight power-ups in the game at random, including the Shield.
In Sonic Adventure and its later iteration Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, the Shield makes its first appearance in a 3D game title. The color of the Shield is now a dark green instead of blue, but its functions from previous installments remain unchanged.
Sonic Pocket Adventure
In Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, the Shield has become one of the general monitor power-ups once more, where it is again colored light blue. The Shield is also seen in multiplayer mode of the game as well.
Sonic Adventure 2
In Sonic Adventure 2 and its later iteration Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, the dark green Shield appears once again. In this game, if the player has ninety Rings on hand and run past one of Point Markers, the player will earn a Shield automatically.
Sonic Advance series
In Sonic Heroes, the game features the dark green Shield again where it is called the Barrier once more. The appearance of the Barrier in this game is smaller and more colorful, even sometimes nearly invisible. It can be found in both Item Boxes or the floating balloon variants of them.
Sonic Rush series
In Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure, the dark green Shields are also seen where they are again called the Barrier. These power-ups are once again included in Item Boxes and balloon variants as well.
Sonic Rivals series
In Sonic Rivals and its sequel Sonic Rivals 2, the Shield reappeared under the name "Fire Shield". As its name states, it creates a barrier of fire around the user which retains all the functions of the Shield, though it will eventually disappear after being used. To use it, the player must obtain a Fire element Power-Up and must be ahead of their rival in the stage.
Shadow the Hedgehog
In Shadow the Hedgehog, the Shield reappeared as the normal, dark green Barrier again. In addition to the normal Shield, the game also introduced a new variant of the Shield, namely the Heat Barrier which hurts surrounding enemies while using it.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the Shield itself did not appear despite being listed in the game's manual, suggesting it was once included in the game, but was later scrapped. However, the game featured the Thunder Shield as an ability called Thunder Guard, triggered by the Yellow Gem. The game also introduces an exclusive shield called the Energy Field. In stages such as Dusty Desert and Tropical Jungle, where Sonic has to escort Princess Elise, the player can use the Energy Field to prevent Sonic from sinking into quicksand and water, though the field does not negate damage from enemy attacks and obstacles.
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, the Shield power-up only appears in Survival Battle. Its purpose remains much the same as in past games; the Shield protects the player from one attack, preventing the user from losing Hit Points (in Sudden Death mode) or allowing an opponent to gain a point for hitting the player (in Points Battle). The Shield will instantly dissipate if the player falls off the field, however.
In the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Sonic Unleashed, a different type of Shield is featured. This shield appear when performing Guard as Sonic the Werehog which will neutralize all damage Sonic receives from certain attacks. However, each hit it blocks consumes a part of the Shield Gauge, and if it drained completely from an attack, the Shield will break. The player is able to increase the size of the Shield Gauge by collecting Chaos Orbs and using them to increase its level, all the way up to maximum level 10.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing series
In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, one of the Item Box power-ups is a dark green Energy Shield that can be activated after obtaining it. When used, the Energy Shield works identically to the Shield in previous games.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
The Shield makes an appearance in both episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, although it is still colored dark green. If Sonic transforms into Super Sonic while the Shield is active, the Shield stays around Super Sonic.
The Shield made a reappearance in the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors and functions identically to that of the past installments.
In Sonic Generations, the Shields a reappearance in both versions of the game. In the console/PC version of the game, the Shield resemble a completely white orb like the Aqua Shield, but the icon for the Shield shows it being normally dark green. It can only be obtained if the player buys it as a Skills from the Skill Shop. The player can then equip its Skill and activate the Shield manually whenever desired during a Stage. They can only be used by Classic Sonic when playing through Act 1 of any Stage.
In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, the Shield can be found normally inside Item Boxes or get it as an extra skill after playing Versus Mode online.
Sonic Jump series
In Sonic Dash, dark green Shields are included at Item Boxes. When the player gets the Shield, it protects them from crashing into the Badniks without losing Rings. However, the Shield will disappear after a while.
in Sonic Runners, the Shield retains its light blue color scheme from the earlier games. Shield can be found at Item Boxes as regular power-ups, but they can also be bought as Equippable Items to be used during the level, where they cost 1,000 Rings.
In other media
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic X (comic)
In Archie Comic's Sonic X #10, Sonic finds shield monitor on the top of large loop at Green Hill Zone in issue 10. He first felt hesitated after getting it around and tries to outrun the shield, which doesn't work. After that, he proceed his journey until he comforts Doctor Eggman on his Egg Mobile with a checkerboarded wrecking-ball. He loses the shield after getting attacked.
In Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comics, Sonic is seen using sort of similar shield at issue 227, during the Genesis arc.. When Sonic, Sally and Boomer have entered inside of the Scrap Brain Zone and come across Doctor Eggman with large mechanic pillars, Sonic suddenly got trapped of blue forcefield around him. He uses it during the fight against Eggman's machine and as Antoine arrives into the Eggman's machine, Sonic finishes the battle and after that, the shield disappears.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, while playing as Super Sonic, it is noticeable that, the Shield's icon in the monitor changes to a golden yellow (matching Super Sonic's color scheme) and the player is then able to pick up the yellow shield around. This is due Sonic and shield sharing the same color palette in the game. The same thing can happen in Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where the shield starts glowing pink just like Super Knuckles does.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog, the manual states that there is "Shield" items in gameplay, however, in the final version of the game, it has no appearance in gameplay.
- ↑ Sonic Advance (Game Boy Advance) North American instruction manual, pg. 18.
- ↑ Sonic Heroes (PlayStation 2) European instruction booklet, pg. 24
- ↑ Sonic Rush (Nintendo DS) European instruction booklet, pg. 20.
- ↑ Sonic Rush Adventure (Nintendo DS) European instruction booklet, pg. 20.
- ↑ Sonic Rivals (PlayStation Portable) North American instruction manual, pg. 17.
- ↑ Shadow the Hedgehog (GameCube) United States instruction manual, pg. 21.
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (PlayStation 3) North American instruction manual, pg. 11.