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Winding Tunnel

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Twisting Tunnel

An Ƨ-shaped winding tunnel featured in Green Hill Zone.

Winding Tunnels, also referred to as tunnels or S-tubes are tight, fast-paced passageways and one of the many gameplay elements in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They are usually placed inside the structure or the underground sections of a zone. When a playable character enters a Winding Tunnel, he/she curls into a ball and rolls down the Winding Tunnel, while gaining speed at the same time. Most of the time, they somewhat serve as automated sections in the game.


Winding tunnels are placed inside of the structures in the zones, with the shape of the winding tunnels being different in each game. While some of the winding tunnels can be very linear, they are usually shaped as winding routes, coming in shapes such as "Ƨ" formations. After the player enters the winding tunnel, he/she has less control over the playable character, though the playable character automatically gains more speed after exiting the winding tunnel. While not usually being able to, if the player is able to gain enough running momentum, he/she is able to backtrack through winding tunnels as well. If the player does not have enough running speed when attempting this, the playable character normally rolls back out of the aperture.


Winding tunnel featured in Hill Top Zone.

The winding tunnels first appeared in Green Hill Zone in the original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog. In this game, the winding tunnels usually go through tall level structures in "Ƨ" formations. This later returned in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where similar "Ƨ" shaped tunnel routes appear in Hill Top Zone and below the shuttle loopsCasino Night Zone featured different, automated tunnels that are set in-between the sections of the Pinball Shooter and the shuttle loop/pinball arena. Hidden Palace Zone in both prototypes and 2013-released versions feature similarly functioning pipes.

In Sonic the Hedgehog CD there are several Rounds where winding tunnels are featured. In this game, they are extremely useful to gain enough speed to utilize the Time Warp Plates. In Palmtree Panic, the winding tunnels are featured along with several others that can even be converted into underground-shuttle loops. When the player usually exits the winding tunnels in this game, hatches closes the aperture, preventing the player from re-entering them. While linear winding tunnels are featured in Collision Chaos, "Ƨ"-shaped winding tunnels also appear in Quartz Quadrant. Additionally, several linear tunnels contain conveyor belt systems to transport the player up or down. Many winding tunnel sections are also featured in Wacky Workbench and Stardust Speedway.

Angel Island Zone Act 2 in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 features long and winding winding tunnel sections that are blocked by breakable piles of rocks. Hydrocity Zone Act 1 features a limited amount of linear winding tunnel parts, most of the time below the shuttle loops. IceCap Zone Act 2 also contains winding tunnel sections which are similar to the ones from Hill Top Zone. At Flying Battery Zone in Sonic & Knuckles, when the player enters the linear winding tunnel part from below, the player does not usually curl into a ball, but rather gets bounced by Springs inside the winding tunnel to reach the other end of it.

In Neo South Island Zone Act 2 in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, only two winding tunnel sections are seen, while more linear winding tunnel sections are featured in Cosmic Casino Zone. The 3D variation of Green Hill in Sonic Adventure 2 features tunnel sections, which are heavily automated. In Sonic Advance, "Ƨ"-shaped winding tunnels are featured in Angel Island Zone. In Sonic Advance 2, some regular winding tunnels are featured at Hot Crater and Ice Paradise, while Music Plant features ones that loosely looked like French horns. In Sonic Rivals 2, the winding tunnel appears in all the zones, in which they are colored cyan. In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, "Ƨ"-shaped winding tunnel routes oddly contain Dash Panels inside the to give extra an amount of speed. Winding tunnel sections are also seen in Green Hill of Sonic Generations.


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