The 10 HARDEST Levels in Sonic Games
VOICE OVER: Ty Richardson
WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
With the franchise's inclination towards high speed and well-placed traps, these are the hardest levels Sonic has traversed. For this list, we'll be looking at the toughest levels from Sega's "Sonic the Hedgehog" series. Our list includes Final Fortress from “Sonic Heroes” (2005), Death Egg Zone from “Sonic & Knuckles” (1994), Wing Fortress Zone from “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (1992), Lost Impact from “Shadow the Hedgehog” (2005), and more!
Script written by Ty Richardson
“Sonic Mania” (2017)
Most of the Zones featured in “Sonic Mania” offer up unique ideas and mechanics to keep the gameplay fresh. As for Titanic Monarch Zone, this was a level we could have done without. The first Act isn’t too much of a hassle - just somewhat more verticality integrated than most Sonic games. Act 2 is where things can get harrowing. Act 2 features a hazard called the “Ruby Mist”, and it can teleport you to random locations around the map, mostly places you’ve already been to. And if there is anything players despise, it's being forced to do the same thing over and over again.
Wing Fortress Zone
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (1992)
For a setting, Wing Fortress Zone is actually kinda cool. As for actually traversing it, it’s miles away from being one of our favorite Zones. Wing Fortress Zone simply demands too much precision and constant slow down, often putting enemies and traps into specific spots just to mess with you. On top of that, most of the Zone is a bottomless pit. So, if you fall, that’s it. You’re dead, and you gotta start all the way back at the beginning or at whatever checkpoint you previously found. Like we said, it’s faaaar from being considered a “favorite”. We’d rather do the Death Egg Zone instead, speaking of which…
Death Egg Zone
“Sonic & Knuckles” (2004)
Whereas “Sonic 2” made the Death Egg Zone a back-to-back double boss fight, “Sonic & Knuckles” made it a full-fledged Zone that will make you annoyed quick. Spikes, springs, and electrical traps have all been placed in inconvenient spots. Basically, this is where the game will fight you to control your speed, and it gets worse the further you progress. And did we mention the occasional shift in perspective where you get to run on ceilings or fall sideways? If you want to hear about the double boss battle Death Egg Zone in “Sonic 2”, be sure to check out our 10 Hardest Sonic Bosses list.
“Shadow the Hedgehog” (2005)
This 2005 spin-off had some interesting levels and locations, but Lost Impact is absolutely the worst of them all. See, it’s not even hard in the same vein as Wing Fortress Zone or even Titanic Monarch Zone. It’s hard because of how convoluted the level design is. Lost Impact is way bigger than it needs to be, forcing you to go and explore branching pathways without giving you any real direction as to where the goal is. And if you choose to hunt the thirty-five rogue experiments, you’ll most likely be wasting time trying to find the last one because they were shoved in some corner you never knew about. In other words, Lost Impact is hard because of how much patience it demands from its unhelpful, labyrinthian design. You’re better off just going straight for the exit.
“Sonic Adventure 2” (2001)
Regardless of how you feel about rail segments in your “Sonic” games, many of us can agree that Final Rush is the toughest level of the Hero story in “Adventure 2”. While we can appreciate the intricacy and multiple pathways to the goal, Final Rush assaults you the same way no matter which path you take. Expect swarms of robot hornets and Artificial Chaos as you venture forth, and pray that you have enough lives to make it to the end.
“Sonic & Knuckles” (1994)
We try not to double down on more than one entry from the same game, but Sandopolis Zone was one we could not ignore. Act 2 of the Zone can already be frustrating due to the limited lighting. And remember - many of us were not playing this game on TV’s with decent backlighting let alone at clearer resolutions before the 2010’s. So, this Zone was much darker than it looks today. But to make matters worse, Sandopolis Zone features some quicksand pools that will either aid you in finding secrets or straight up kill you. So, you’ll probably want to look up a guide before tackling this Zone again.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” (1991)
Care to take a guess what Labyrinth Zone is like? It’s in the name, and just uttering the name is giving us flashbacks. Labyrinth Zone was the most annoying stage in the game, a bigger nuisance than even Marble Zone. You’ll be left flipping switches like a madman as you try to figure out which path leads to where. But what makes it more frustrating is how most of the Zone is flooded, and we all know what happens when Sonic is submerged in water.
“Sonic Heroes” (2005)
What’s great about the early stages of “Sonic Heroes” is that you can lose a teammate and still find a way to make some progress. Not in Final Fortress, though. Here, you can lose teammates easily among the mindless destruction. Lasers rain down from the sky. Floors can collapse. And Eggman’s got his strongest enemies at every turn. And if you so much as lose just one person, you’re not getting to next area. You’re better off jumping off the stage and starting over because you won’t get far without a full team of three.
“Sonic Unleashed” (2008)
This one is the bane of every Sonic fan’s existence. Eggmanland sounds like it should be the most fun level in the game like the casino- and carnival-themed levels in previous titles. Eggmanland completely removes fun from its design and opts for inconvenient enemy placement and a plethora of bottomless pits. And you have to endure all of this for nearly half an hour! Why does it go on for so long we will never know, but when we replay “Unleashed”, there’s a reason we stop just before this stage. It is not worth the hassle.
All of Them
“Sonic the Hedgehog” (2006)
Of course we had to put “Sonic ‘06” on here! Have you ever played “Sonic ‘06”? If you haven’t, allow us to elaborate on just how broken this game is. The whack physics, shoddy controls, various bugs and glitches, lazy enemy placement, and lack of direction will find some way to off you in the cheapest ways possible. It does not matter which character you’re playing as or how early into the game you are, “Sonic ‘06” will make life difficult in the most unexpected ways.