This guide details Sonic’s primary movement mechanics: Running, Rolling/Spindashing, and Jumping.
This article was originally posted to SRC and written by The0nlyKyd on March 5th, 2019.
The default means of movement. Sonic accelerates from standstill to full speed in just over half a second. Sonic’s turns, while very slidey, are best when running versus his other movement options (exception being wall bounces when rolling, explained below). Sonic presents no hitbox to damage enemies or obstacles when running, making this his most vulnerable movement option. It’s best to run only to accelerate to top speed or to turn corners.
Normal Speed Cap: 75-79 Oscillating
Frames to Full Speed: 36-37
Supersneakers Speed Cap: 99-103 Oscillating
Frames to Full Speed: 48-49
Slopes have various effects on running, but typically the only noticeable effects are running up steep slopes. Running up shallow slopes has no noticeable effect. Running down shallow slopes seems to likewise present no obvious benefit. Steeper slopes range from not very beneficial to outright horrendous. Running down a steep slope often sees Sonic just drift off of them with his momentum and become briefly airborne. Running up steep slopes rapidly decelerates Sonic to the point where he can actually be forced to a full stop and taken downward. I don’t have any numerical specifics for slope interactions with running, but you’ll typically avoid running on slopes anyway due to superior movement options.
Rolling & Spindashing
Roll and Spindash share a single designated button in this game. If Sonic is moving laterally when the button is pressed, he’ll curl into a ball and maintain the speed for roughly 10 frames before rapidly decelerating.
If Sonic is at a stand still, he’ll instead curl up and start revving up a spindash. Spindash has 4 stages (what I’ll be referring to as 0-3). The first charge (0) is achieved 11 frames into holding the button. A timer then starts counting down from 15 to 0 every frame, upon reaching 0 it will reset and increase Sonic’s Spindash Charge by 1. Charging a spindash from standstill to full this way takes 56 frames, just under a full second. The process can be assisted by pressing a Jump button between revs to increase the charge by 1 and reset the rev counter before the normal 15 frame timer finishes. It’s best to try to time this right after the first charge is reached (when you hear the audio cue) then again as soon as you hear the next charge. This should cut down the time to full charge significantly. For TAS, the full charge can be reached in 16 frames, with frame 17 being the launch. Sonic’s highest 2 charges both have a higher speed cap than running and jumping normally, with the highest charge being faster than Sonic’s speedshoes speed caps. Like rolling, Sonic will start to rapidly decelerate after a short time.
Sonic obviously also has a hitbox for this making it possible to destroy enemies and certain obstacles in this form. Sonic’s turning is pretty horrible and he’ll uncurl completely if the turn is too sharp of an angle. Rolling into a wall bounces Sonic off that wall with his speed preserved. Rolling into the wall diagonally results in Sonic being bounced off in a 90 degree angle while rolling directly into a wall bounces Sonic back in the opposite direction.
Rolling and Spindash inputs can be stored when Sonic is descending, which can help maintain momentum or begin a spindash sooner and under a couple of circumstances where they might not normally be possible (an easy example is storing spindash on the first checkpoint ring break in Spring Stadium 2). Lastly, it’s worth noting that supersneakers have no effect at all on Sonic’s spindash speeds.
Spindash Launch Speeds:
0 Charge: 59
1 Charge: 89
2 Charge: 104
Full Charge: 119
Slopes definitely seem to have a more noticeable effect on rolling speed than running speed. The deceleration for inclines and acceleration for declines is more immediate. That said, you’re still not likely to see these interactions often since better options are available.
Sonic’s only means of vertical movement by default (terrain specific options such as springs exist). Sonic accelerates slower when using jumps, but maintains a VERY SLIGHTLY higher top speed than when running. Steering is possible when airborne, but will be slower and wider than taking turns while running. Jump inputs can be stored when descending. This allows you to press (and hold) jump as you descend to store another jump, which keeps Sonic curled up to never drop his hitbox.
Moving with constant use of this jump storage presents the benefit of having a hitbox up to destroy enemies and avoid specific obstacles (Spring Stadium spikes, Gene Gadget shock panels, etc) while keeping a similar max speed to running. Even though he turns aren’t as tight, they’re not exactly bad. I honestly recommend using this as your primary means of movement under general circumstances.
Normal Speed Cap: 77-79 Oscillating
Frames to Full Speed: 46-47 (1)
Speedshoes Speed Cap: 101-103 Oscillating
Frames to Full Speed: 62-63 (1)
1. Assuming jump on first frame of movement then continuing with jump storage until full speed is reached.
Slope interactions with jumping is going to be significant in optimal movement. You never want to jump on an incline and ALWAYS want to jump on a decline. For an incline, it’s best to jump at the base before the slope to try and make your way as far up as you can then running the rest of the way. Jumping on an incline causes Sonic to take a sharp cut in speed since the slope will always try to launch Sonic in the direction perpendicular to it. For declines, it’s best to jump as soon as you can for a brief burst of extra speed.
If you’re going fast enough, you can actually reach this game’s true speed cap with a downward slope jump. When this cap is reached it is maintained for as long as Sonic is moving that same direction or until he is obstructed by a steep slope, wall, enemy, or other obstacle. I’m not sure why this speed cap is maintained like this but I suspect it might be due to the coding of Diamond Dust’s slides, which behave similarly. The numerical data below is the expected speed boost from downward slope jumps under various circumstances.
Full Run: 89 Decelerating back to Running Speed Cap
Full Speedshoes: 127 Sustained until Direction Change, Steep Slope, or Obstruction
Spindash 0: 79 into Running Speed Cap
Spindash 1: 110 Decelerating back to Running Speed Cap
Spindash 2: 127 Sustained until Direction Change, Steep Slope, or Obstruction
Spindash Full: 127 Sustained until Direction Change, Steep Slope, or Obstruction
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