Wall Walking

In Brief

  • When moving at top speed, Sonic can walk on walls.
  • In the classic games, this creates suspense.
    • The stronger presence of gravity, ensures that the player knows that falling is inevitable.
    • classic_good.png This suspense creates an adrenaline rush.
  • In the modern games, wall walking is more automatic.
    • Devices such as speed pads and scripted sections prevent the player from falling.
    • modern_good.png This allows the sections to be longer and so have more spectacle.
    • modern_bad.png However, it also removes the suspense which can lessen the rush.

At top speed, Sonic can defy gravity by running up walls and even ceilings.
Wall walking takes different forms in the classic and modern games.

Wall walking in the classic games

In the classic games, the floors and walls are sometimes connected together by curves. Additional curves may also be used to connect the wall to the celling. When running at the curve at top speed, Sonic can walk on the wall or ceiling. This can be a thrilling experience, and so produces an adrenaline rush.


▲ With enough speed, the curves allow Sonic to walk on walls.

Wall walking and suspense

Wall walking curves create suspense: Sonic can only walk the wall/ceiling by maintaining his top speed. The moment he decelerates (even slightly), he will fall. This creates suspense, as the player knows that deceleration is ultimately inevitable, it is just not clear as to when it will occur. The suspense enhances the rush of adrenaline, as the player becomes frantically eager to maintain the speed.

When running on ceilings, enemies that are placed directly under Sonic enhance the suspense, as a decrease in speed will not only cause Sonic to fall, but could cause him to land on an enemy and take damage.


▲ When walking on ceilings, enemies below Sonic add suspense

The panic is spurious, as the enemies are carefully placed in sections where Sonic is unlikely to hit them.
The pleasure principle of Fair Challenge This placement is important, as the player has little control over Sonic when he is running on walls, and so hitting the enemies would produce a high level of frustration that would negate the pleasure of the adrenaline rush.

Benefits of wall walking in the classic games

The pleasure principle of Superpower Wall walking allows Sonic’s speed to be put to a meaningful purpose. A slower character would not possess the speed needed to walk on walls.

The pleasure principle of Player Choice Walking on walls can be a optional choice for the player to make. As this video of wall walking in Mushroom Hill demonstrates, the player can ignore the curve and moved forward by following the main path.

Wall walking in the modern games

In the modern games, wall walking is usually implemented as a scripted section. The most famous example of this is the ‘going down’ section of Speed High Way in Sonic Adventure

Differences with the classic games

As wall walking is implemented as a scripted section, the player does not have to worry about maintaining Sonic speed.
modern_good.png This allows the sections to be much longer and so have an increased sense of spectacle.
modern_bad.png However, it also removes the suspense present in the classic games, as the player no longer has the fear of falling.

modern_good.png As the modern wall walking sections are longer, they can allow for greater interactivity by including power ups for the player to collect or obstacles for the player to avoid.
modern_bad.png However, as is a key trait of scripted sections, the wall walking sections can become repetitive if over used.

The modern implementations of wall walking sections also lack the choice that was present in the classic incarnations: Unlike the classic examples, the player is forced to play the wall walking sections. It is impossible to avoid them.

Wall jumping

The modern games have extended the concept of wall walking with wall jumping. This was first introduced in Sonic Adventure and latter appeared in Sonic Heroes and Sonic the Hedgehog [For X-Box 360/PS3].

Wall jumping is often implemented as a scripted section. Provided the player repeatedly taps the ‘jump’ button, Sonic will automatically jump of the walls.
modern_bad.png This removes the suspense that wall walking created in the classic games as there is never any real danger of falling.

▲ Wall jumping generally occurs as a scripted section

Modern games need to:

  • Make wall walking/wall jumping sections less automatic
    • This will help to create a sense of suspense, which will enhance the adrenaline rush.

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