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Quotation1 After touching this save point, I can start over from here, if for some reason I totally blow it. Quotation2
Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow the Hedgehog

The Star Post (ポイントマーカー Pointomākā?, lit. "Point Marker"), also referred to as the Point Marker (ポイントマーカー Pointo Mākā?), Lamppost (再スタート・マーカー Sai sutāto mākā?, lit. "Restart Marker"), and Check Point, is a common object in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Star Posts serve as the series' progress markers, and are found exclusively in the Zones. When passing a Star Post, the players' progress up to that point in the Zone will be saved, so when the player loses a life, the playable character will start over from the last Star Post they passed.

Description

Star Posts are similar in design to, but smaller than, street lights in real life, as the design of Star Posts has been simple and tends to be the same throughout the series: a yellow/blue post and a stretch rod with a bulb on the top. The way the rod spins has varied, but usually, in 2D games, it rotates 360 degrees twice and after that, it assumes the same vertical position it originally had while the bulb part changes its color or flickers. Star Posts have a different appearance in 3D titles from Sonic Adventure onwards, as there are (typically) two posts on opposite ends of each other, creating a gate the player can pass through. When going through the Star Posts, both lamp parts start spinning above the posts twice until they get into a vertical position. In games such as Sonic Unleashed and the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, the passage in-between two Star Posts is widened particularly in 3D areas to make it easier to pass through. Certain games in the series also do not use Star Posts' lamppost designs at all and instead use pads or holographic markers.

Star Posts function as check points for each point of their respective levels that saves the player's character's time and position within their level. If the playable character loses a life or gets time out, the next life will start from the location of the last Star Post touched with the time that was logged when the Star Post was originally touched. This does not apply when the player gets Game Over for losing all their lives or loses a life before touching any Star Post. Also, when the player respawns at a Star Post, they will (usually) possess zero Rings.

Besides saving a player's progress, the Star Posts have served for several other purposes as well. In earlier games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Star Posts also served as entry points for the Special Stages, and in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles they can be used to enter the Bonus Stages. In 3D games, they can also give a time bonus between the earlier and latest Star Posts and can even level up the player in Sonic Heroes.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

Startmarker

The Star Post made its first appearance in the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, where its was originally called the Lamppost[1] (再スタート・マーカー[2] Sai sutāto mākā?, lit. "Restart Marker"). In this game, Lampposts have a simple design with a yellow post, a grey stretch rod and a blue bulb on the top. When the playable characters touches a Lamppost, the bulb changes color from blue to red. These posts were used as checkpoints, which started as a tradition in the series.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Star Post Sonic 2

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, this object is referred to as the Star Post[3] (ポイントマーカー[4] Pointomākā?, lit. "Point Marker") for the first time, and possesses a different design. In this game, the Star Posts have a yellow hourglass-shaped post, a gray stretch rod and a red lamp on the top which has a black center with a white star in it. Star Posts are also featured in multiplayer Zones.

In gameplay, touching a Star Post will cause the post to twirl once and start flashing red and yellow. In addition, if the playable character possesses at least fifty Rings when touching the Stae Post, a Star Circle will appear above it. If the player jumps into the Star Circle, they will be transported to a Special Stage. If the player does not enter the Star Circle however, it will disappear after a few seconds. After leaving the Special Stage the player will be transported back (with zero Rings) to the Star Post where the Star Circle was formed.

In the locked-on game Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Knuckles retains the number of Rings he had at the last Star Post he passed when respawning in the Act at that point or after entering a Special Stage.

Sonic the Hedgehog CD

Star Post Sonic CD

In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the Star Post is referred to as the Lamppost[5] (再スタート・マーカー[6] Sai sutāto mākā?, lit. "Restart Marker") once again. They also have a design similar to the one they had in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, with a yellow cone-shaped post, a gray stretch rod and a blue bulb on the top. When the playable characters touches a Lamppost, the bulb will flash yellow and red.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

Star Post Sonic 3 & Knuckles

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, its add-on continuation Sonic & Knuckles and the lock-on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, the Star Post make a reappearance. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, it is referred to as the Starpost[7] (ポイントマーカー[8] Pointomākā?, lit. "Point Marker"), yet in Sonic & Knuckles it is spelled as Star Post[9] (ポイントマーカー[10] Pointomākā?, lit. "Point Marker").

Star Posts in this game have a design similar to the one they had in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. As such, they have a yellow hourglass-shaped post, a gray stretch rod and a red lamp on the top which has a black center with a white star in it. In gameplay, touching a Star Post will cause the post to twirl once and start flashing red and yellow.

The Star Circle, which appears over a Star Post when passing it with enough Rings, also returns, though entering it now takes the player to a Bonus Stage. If the player collects over fifty rings and enters the Star Circle in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the player will be sent to the Bonus Stage's Gumball Machine. Different-looking Star Posts are also featured in the Competition Mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 which serve as the starting point and goal.

With Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles combined, the player is able to transport themselves into all three types of Bonus Stages after passing Star Posts with certain amount of Rings. Passing a Star Post with 20-34 Rings will summon a yellow Star Circle that leads to the Slot Machine Stage, passing a Star Post with 35-49 Rings creates a red Star Circle that leads to the Glowing Sphere Stage, and passing a Star Post with fifty or more Rings will manifest a silver Star Circle that leads into the regular Gumball Machine-type Bonus Stage.

Sonic Adventure

Point Makers Sonic Adventure

Point Markers as they appear in Sonic Adventure.

In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, the Star Post is referred to as the Point Marker[11] (ポイントマーカー[12] Pointomākā?). In this game, the Star Posts have red-colored posts with blue circles containing a yellow star around their lower halves, a gray stretch rod and a blue lamp on the top of each of them. In gameplay, Star Posts only appear in the Action Stages. Also, activating a Star Post will cause the post to twirl and the lamp to turn yellow.

The game introduces the concept of a two-post gate in an Action Stage, where the player can go through them to save their progress. It also gives a time bonus between the earlier Star Posts to the current ones. The exact time at which the Star Post was touched is displayed briefly at the bottom of the Action Stage display whenever a Star Post is touched.

Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure

Star Post Pocket Adventure

Star Posts in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure have a similar design to those in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, though they don't activate a star circle to enter a Special Stage.

Sonic Adventure 2

Point Makers Sonic Adventure 2

Point Markers in Sonic Adventure 2.

Point Markers make an appearance in Sonic Adventure 2, as having the same design from Sonic Adventure. Point Markers can be found in Action Stages of Sonic, Shadow, Tails and Dr. Eggman. As saving the player's progress, they can also earn the player items depending on how many Rings he or she has when they pass through the Point Markers. The pattern follows:

Rings collected Reward
20-39 5 extra Rings
40-59 10 extra Rings
60-79 20 extra Rings
80-89 Speed Shoes
90+ Barrier/Magnetic Barrier (unless already using Barrier)

Sonic Advance games

Checkpoint Sonic Advance 1 & 3

Point Markers make appearance in all Sonic Advance games, being called Check Points and resembling those from Sonic Adventure. In Sonic Advance there are now only 2 check points in each act of a zone. In Egg Rocket Zone, there are no check points, but the game saves its progress four times at certain sections as the rocket starts out of launch section and removes portions of rocket during the flight until its reaching to end of the planet's atmosphere.

Checkpoint Sonic Advance 2

Checkpoints in Sonic Advance 2 are different looking, as having a post with orange and white stripes and its lamp part is blue while it has rotating "C" on it, which blows to yellow orb as the player goes through it. In the game, there are now more checkpoints than two in each act. Checkpoints also don't appear in boss act of the stages.

In Sonic Advance 3, Checkpoints return their design from Sonic Advance, but these objects are now also located more than 2 checkpoints per one act. Checkpoints don't appear in vs. boss act of the stage.

Sonic Heroes

G9SE8P-1

The Checkpoint in Sonic Heroes.

Checkpoints make an appearance in Sonic Heroes with a complete redesign, as they are now are plates which have red circles on the ground with a yellow star inside them, surrounded by a blue glow. Passing through them saves the player's progress and gives a Power Core to whichever character is in the lead.

Another role that Checkpoints in Sonic Heroes play is bringing back any crushed or contained character to the playable team during stages. This only happens, however, if the said character is still crushed under a Weight or captured by Klagen or its gold variant.

Shadow the Hedgehog

Checkpoints, renamed Save Points, appear in Shadow the Hedgehog. There is not a yellow star nor is there a blue glow, but it will save the player's progress and allows the player to warp to other points they have visited before. This can be very useful if the player forgets something at another point in the stage. Like in Sonic Adventure 2, touching a Save Point with a certain amount of Rings will reward Shadow. For example, he gets Extra Life if he has 100 Rings.

Sonic Rush series

Checkpoints also appear in both Sonic Rush games and have a similar function to Checkpoints in 2D games: saving the player's progress and allowing the player to start from the last Checkpoint if they lose a life. In Sonic Rush, Checkpoints are similar to those from Sonic Heroes, while in Sonic Rush Adventure, Checkpoints have a spinning ring above the chalice and a yellow star at the center. As the player goes through, the ring disappears, and the star turns yellow and starts spinning slowly. This also fills up the Tension Gauge.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Point Markers reappear in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), returning with the same design as the Sonic Adventure games. It saves the player's progress and gives a time bonus.

Sonic Rivals games

Although Star Posts do not appear in Sonic Rivals and Sonic Rivals 2, there are similar kinds of posts that are at the start point and act as a goal sign. Both of posts have a round star sign on top of them.

Sonic Unleashed

Point Markers appear in Sonic Unleashed, once again called Check Points and saving the player's progress. Check Points look like a gate with lamps hidden; the lamps open up when the player crosses it. The interval between the posts has been expanded considerably so a player can not miss the Check Point. Also, posts have a light laser between on them. In the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 version, the checkpoints also record Sonic's speed at the moment he passes through it. As PlayStation 2/Wii versions have mission-based levels, Check Points don't appear at all.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4

Star Posts appear in both episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, having the same design from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and being more detailed in Episode II. In both episodes it serves as a checkpoint from which the player can restart if he or she loses a life.

Sonic Colors

In the Wii version of Sonic Colors, instead of having their lamps hidden like in Sonic Unleashed, the Star Posts are positioned like in Sonic Adventure. Passing through a Checkpoint grants a "Checkpoint Bonus" which is worth 2,500 points. Noticeably, for each consecutive Checkpoint the player passes, the Checkpoint Bonus will be doubled; passing two checkpoints consecutively for example gives 5,000 bonus points. This bonus can be doubled until it reaches a total of 640,000 point bonus for the ninth Checkpoint and anyone after that. If the player loses a life, however, the Checkpoint bonus will be reset to its original amount.

While the Wii version has the Point Makers design, the Checkpoints in the Nintendo DS version use their design from Sonic Rush. In both versions, there are no Checkpoints at all in Terminal Velocity.

Sonic Generations

Cherpointgen

Star Posts as they appear in Sonic Generations.

Star Post make an appearance in Sonic Generations, where they are nearly the same as in Sonic Colors with the exception of having light in the middle instead of light lasers. Star Posts appear in both classic and modern acts and several challenges. When passing through it a time is shown on the screen showing the time difference the player took to pass through it between their fastest run and the current run

Sonic Lost World

Star Posts make another appearance in Sonic Lost World, repeating its role and having mostly the same look as in Sonic Generations. They do not feature light lasers or lighting in the middle, and when the player transports to the two-dimensional sections of the zone, there is only one Star Post seen instead of a two posts gate. Also, unlike in previous games, there are Star Posts placed on Grind Rails too. However, the Nintendo 3DS version of the game uses two Star Posts as a gate even in 2D sections.

On the Wii U version, should the player lose five lives in a row before reaching the next Star Post, the "Warp" appears. Breaking the Warp transports the player to the next Star Post, thus skipping that section of the Zone. In the 3DS version, a Special (golden) RC Vehicle will appear when the player has lost too many lives.

Sonic Runners

Star Post in Sonic Runners

A Star Post in Sonic Runners.

Star Posts make another appearance in Sonic Runners, where they function both as regular check points and banking points for Rings. This time, there are only single Star Posts in each section either after beating Dr. Eggman and speeding up the running pace or at the middle-point of the stage usually at the higher pathways.

Sonic Mania

SMStarPost

In Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus, the Star Posts take after their classic design, sporting a grey post with a yellow bottom and top and a bumper icon on the middle. It also has a grey-white stretchy rod with an extra component, and a large blue bulb on top that changes to red when the player passes it.

Like in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, the Star Post both saves the player's progress up until they pass it and allows passage to the Bonus Stage. Should the player pass a Star Post with at least twenty-five Rings in their possession, the Star Posts' bulb will flash yellow and red, and a Star Circle leading into the Bonus Stage will appear. After leaving the Bonus Stage, the player will return to the Star Post where the Star Circle was formed.

Sonic Forces

In Sonic Forces, the Classic Stage feature the yellow and blue Star Post from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, while the Sonic stage, Avatar Stage and Tag Team Stage feature the standard modernized Star Post from recent games.

Other game appearances

A single Lamppost appears Sonic Jam, having the same design from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. A lamppost with the design from the original Sonic the Hedgehog appears as a statue in Sonic's Schoolhouse. A single Lamppost also appears as part of Green Hill Zone in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and returns along with the stage in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. If the player punches it, the round lamp part starts spinning and can damage players if it is touched again. Checkpoints also appear in both Sonic Jump and Sonic Jump 2.

Variants

Bell

Bells (ベル Beru?) are replacements of Star Posts that only appear in Tails Skypatrol. The yellow bell floats in the air, and when the player touches it as Tails, it will save the player's progress. The player also starts from the last bell after losing a life.

Giant Ring

Main article: Giant Ring

Star Posts are replaced by Giant Rings as check points in Sonic 3D Blast, which are actually used to lead Flickies of Flicky Island into it. If the player loses a life, they will restart at the point where the Giant Ring was located.

Marker

Main article: Marker
Blast Monitor

Arrow monitor in Sonic Blast.

Markers are the replacement of Star Posts in several Sega Game Gear and Sega Master System Sonic games. By breaking the Marker's monitor, it will save the player's progress.

In other media

Sonic the Comic

Star Post Sonic the Comic

Sonic creating an energy field around the Star Post in Sonic the Comic.

In the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions, Star Posts initially existed all over planet Mobius. They can only be activated by Sonic the Hedgehog when he charges with Sonic Speed Energy. This way, the Star Posts allowed instantaneous travel to any other Star Post and the Special Zone. Most of the Star Posts were destroyed by Dr. Ivo Robotnik though.

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

Signpost AoStH

A Star Post in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog television series, the Star Posts have a more simplistic design and allow access to the Special Zones. During a race, Sonic and his allies used a Star Post to take a shortcut.

Archie Comics

Star Post Archie

The Star Posts in the Archie Comics.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Star Posts are a technology invented by Tails and Rotor Walrus to allow travel to other Zones. They were originally only meant to allow access to the Special Zone, but were later upgraded to access other dimensions like Moebius.

Following the events of Worlds Collide which lead to a rebooting of the timeline, the Star Posts became a technology that was used by Dr. Eggman during the Eggman Invasion.

Trivia

  • In order to access the Bonus Stages in Sonic Mania, the player needs 25 Rings. This is a reference to Sonic Mania celebrating the 25th anniversary of the series.

See also

References

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Mega Drive) North American instruction manual, pg. 5.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction manual, pg. 19.
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Mega Drive) United States instruction booklet, p. 11.
  4. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, p. 18.
  5. Sonic the Hedgehog CD (Sega CD) United States instruction booklet, p. 10.
  6. Sonic the Hedgehog CD (Sega CD) Japanese instruction booklet, p. 17.
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) United States instruction booklet, p. 14.
  8. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, p. 24.
  9. Sonic & Knuckles (Sega Mega Drive) United States instruction booklet, p. 9.
  10. Sonic & Knuckles (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, p. 20.
  11. Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast) United States instruction booklet, p. 9.
  12. Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast) Japanese instruction booklet, p. 11.
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