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Special Stages: What's Your Favourite & Why?


DanJ86
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This has probably been done before, to keep it or not is up to those mod people.

The question goes like this, What's Your Favourite Special Stage And Why?

Don't make a one word post and leave it that, tell me more or don't bother. I'm challenging you, are you up for it? But what are the choices, I hear nobody ask? Well, allow me to jog you down memory lane. Remember to look both ways before crossing the road.

Sonic The Hedgehog

Entry Requirement: Collect 50 rings and jump into the big ring at the end of the level. (Acts 1 & 2 only)

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It's 1991, you've collected 50 rings and have reached the end of a level. Don't forget to jump in the big ring or your efforts will be for nothing. Can't say it's one of my favourites, a simple mistake could end your run and when you get older like me, profanity is usually followed by it. The vomit inducer is a nickname I gave it, as it is very disorientating especially when removing the crystals that tend to block the emeralds and had to be touched several times before they disappear. Meanwhile the screen will keep going round and around. 

They should've sold the game with a free vomit bag.

Sonic The Hedgehog (8-Bit)

Entry Requirement: Finish the level with 50 rings or more.

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Nothing like it's 16-bit counterpart, these are simple platform levels with a time limit and no Chaos Emeralds. Your just there to get more lives really...It's still technically a special stage though.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Entry Requirement: Collect 50 rings and pass a starpost, then jump into the swirling stars.

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One of my personal favourites, but not my ultimate favourite. The half pipe special stage is probably the most recurring of all the special stage types we've seen up until now. With funky music, colourful areas and a cute furry sidekick, this one has many things the first did not. When the bombs come into play, things get more challenging, even more so with Tails as his reactions follow you a little slower. I tried to play this with the Sonic Heroes hack, suddenly your playing, followed be Tails and Knuckles. O_O

Ah, but it's all worth it if you can unlock the golden one.

Sonic CD

Entry Requirement: Collect 50 rings and jump into the big ring at the end of the level. (Acts 1 & 2 only)

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Smash all the floaty things before time runs out. I do enjoy these stages, but as you progress, things can get stressful. Working out the best time to jump for your attack can take some getting used to as well. Lining up an attack to only miss can be annoying, moving too fast and a turn and going wide of the floaty thing can be annoying and...did you know the time will drain much, much faster if you hit the water?

Sonic Chaos

Entry Requirement: Collect 100 rings and POW! Your gone.

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Can't say that I've experienced this one myself, but my spies inform me that these are platform levels with a labyrinth feel. The Chaos Emerald is hidden within and you have a time limit to locate it. They say the later ones are brutal, and while you can choose to play as Sonic or Tails, only Sonic can access the special stages.

Sonic The Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

Entry Requirement: Locate big rings hidden in levels and jump in.

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In my opinion, the easiest special stage out of all of them. Just collect the blue orbs, don't touch the red ones. That's not to say it isn't challenging, once the tempo picks up, your moving faster and every turn you take, the screen follows you remaining behind your character at all times. With faster speed, that disorientating feeling from the first game returns. But do you know the ring trick? Once a blue orb is touched, it turns red. If blue orbs are in a square pattern larger than 4, if you touch the orbs on the outside and turn them all red, once all the outside orbs are red, the entire orbs in the original pattern will turn into rings. Makes things easier, but also slows you down. Your more likely to reach the super fast tempo by doing that strategy, but it also means less red orbs to run into as you search for the blue ones.

Sonic Triple Trouble

Entry Requirement: Strike an item moniter with a Chaos Emerald displayed while having 50 rings.

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Well this has 2 new things in these special stages. 1) There're 2 different types of special stage depending on which number your on and 2) There's only 5 stages in this game. The first type is stages 1, 3 and 5, which are similar to the maze stages in Sonic Chaos, but not as tricky to navigate. You also face an awesome Sniper at the end. The other type is stages 2 and 4 with you flying the Tornado, collecting 80 rings around a short course. It's another special stage that I've never played so I couldn't comment on how fun it is.

Knuckles Chaotix

Entry Requirement: Collect 50 rings and jump into the big ring at the end of the level.

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Now, I have played these but never successfully got every Chaos Ring. They do bring a couple of new things to the table, like ignoring gravity. Paths are often hexagonal and you can freely walk on all sides, however if a path ends, you'll wanna move to another wall before you fall into the pit and earn an inta-fail. To earn the Chaos Ring, you needed to collect a certain number of blue spheres, but if you reach a checkpoint without finding enough, that section will repeat. Sound too good to be true, right? Well there is a catch. While there isn't a timer in the conventional sense, it's actually your ring count that plays the time role. The number depletes every second, but if you entered the special stage with lots of rings, those carry over meaning more time for you. I admit I like the new touches, but I still can't hide from the fact I've never earned all the Chaos Rings.

Sonic 3D Blast (MD)

Entry Requirement: Locate Knuckles or Tails hidden in the levels and give them 50 rings. (Doesn't have to be in one single go.)

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I've not openly said I hate any special stage yet...but I hate these special stages. While I don't think of them as challenging, I mostly find them ugly to look at, the music isn't much to like and the freaky environments in the background are rather off putting. These do play just like the half pipe special stages, but you have less room for maneuver...also I can't quite remember but I think you can fall of the stage...I could be wrong though...

Sonic 3D Blast (Sat)

Entry Requirement: Locate Knuckles or Tails hidden in the levels and give them 50 rings. (Doesn't have to be in one single go.)

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This is it. My personal favourite! I freakin' love the music, it has boosts, springs and jumps to mix up the traditional half pipe type and Sonics appearance and graphics are just...adorable! He does this little jump and a thumbs up when you reach a checkpoint and I always chuckle after getting an emerald as it looks like he's trying to hug it.

But while the PC version has a similar look and uses the same music...it's just not the same...

Sonic Blast

Entry Requirement: Locate a big ring hidden within the level. (1st Act: Extra life, 2nd Act: Chaos Emerald.)

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Another one I've never experienced myself. It's described as "a rather horrid take on Sonic 2's Special Stages." It doesn't look like it from the screenshot, but probably plays just like the half pipe type stages. While the environment reminds me of the special stages of Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

Sonic The Hedgehog Pocket Adventure

Entry Requirement: Collect 50 rings and jump into the big ring at the end of the level. (Acts 1 only)

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Pretty much identical to those on Sonic 2 in every way.

Sonic Jam (Game.com)

Entry Requirement: Locate big rings hidden in levels and jump in.

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It was listed on the Sonic New Networks special stage page. This game is different to the Saturn one of the same name. The stages themselves are based of the Sonic 3 ones, but without actual colour, your collecting black ones while avoiding white ones.

Sonic Advance

Entry Requirement: Jump on a large hidden spring.

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I don't really find these very memorable and kinda annoying I think. But they are pretty similar to Sonic 2's half pipe, with bombs being there too. You could also do tricks in certain areas for bonus rings, apart from that, I don't remember much.

Sonic Advance 2

Entry Requirement: Collect 7 Special Rings hidden within the Act. Brutal! >.<

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Similar in layout to the Sonic CD specials, I found the stages themselves and the method of entering them to be equally infuriating. So much so that I'd happily call this my least favourite of of all of them. A strategy guide was practically mandatory. To clear the stages you had to collect a set amount of rings, which could also be a problem as that amount was often not in the stage. You had to collect several quickly to build up a multiplier...did I mention Zero from Sonic Adventure will be chasing you?

Sonic Heroes

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SEGA Superstars

Entry Requirement: Eyetoy.

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Sonic Advance 3

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Sonic Rush

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Sonic Rush Adventure

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Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games

Entry Requirement: Dream Bobsleigh race.

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Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1

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Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 2

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Sonic Colours (Wii)

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Sonic Colours (3DS)

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Sonic Generations (3DS)

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Sonic Lost World (3DS)

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Edited by DanielJ86
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I really don't care about special stages but here are my thoughts:

Sonic 1: They seem to be somewhat luck-based and can be quite disorientating but I don't mind really these stages. I have gotten all 6 emerald four times in the IOS version and not going to do that ever again.

Sonic 2: FUCK. THESE. STAGES. I can't say that how much I hate these, they are based completely on memorization and trial and error. I have never gotten all 7 emeralds, not even in IOS after playing Emerald hill over and over again. And don't get me started on the original version and it's terrible draw distance. And music is the only  track in the game that I really hate. They are the worst special stages that I have so far played in the Sonic games. Not to mention how frustrating even gettingto one can be in the later parts of the game.

Sonic CD: Definetely an improvement and these are even kinda fun unlike previous two. I usually try to get all 7 stones when I play CD.

Sonic 3&K: My favourites and unlike previous games where I'm not really interested playing 7 of stages, here I will always play 14 of them. And the music is awesome.

Sonic Heroes: ugh... I said that Sonic 2s stages are worst. Well, these are just as bad with the horrible controls and structure (which kinda reminds me of Sonic 2, coinsidence?) And getting to them can be really annoying

Sonic 4: Pretty much Sonic 1 and 2s stages. Episode 1s are pretty same to me and Episode 2s are huge improvement over the 2s stages. But I don't really play them because I don't play Sonic 4 that much to begin with.

Advance games: I don't care about them, at all, even less than with other games. Why? Because somebody decided to make getting to a one as annoying as possible. Only Advance 1 has kinda tolerable method and while the stages are not as bad as 2s and Heroes, I still have no motivation to do them.

Overall, stages are not usually that good and I don't bother with them. I think that only in 3&K it is really worth it regardless who am I playing as. But at somepoint I have to do Heroes stages because I want to get to that final boss.

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I don't really have a specific one I prefer, but in general I've enjoyed the half pipe styled ones over most others. Sonic 2's, I think I'm a bit biased towards since it was my first Sonic game, but I like that it has its own sort of slope physics and lets you do corkscrews. It helped it feel like it was built on the same core mechanics as the main game, especially when S3&K and CD's special stages were so far removed from Sonic's usual physics. I remember Sonic Rush's being pretty good too; the touch screen controls gave you pretty accurate control and the tricks and enemies made for nice little bursts of action. And while I've never played it, 3D Blast on the Saturn looks to have some pretty cool halfpipe special stages.

Heroes' special stages were pretty shit though.

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Sonic 1: honestly I don't mind these that much. Maneuvering Sonic was never a problem for me in them, but they WERE boring as shit.

Sonic 2: I honestly don't HATE these, but I didn't like the way they were presented early on. Once we got 3D they were a lot better, but really it just annoys me how fucking much they were used.

Sonic CD: I try to like these, but they're really hard. Not much to say other than that.

Sonic 3: These ones are pretty cool. They're so much easier to see and comprehend.

Knuchaotix: Really underrated. I think these were my favorite parts of the game, actually.

Sonic Heroes: I'm on mobile right now, so I don't have a good way to post that part of Johnny's review. But you all know it, so.

Advance 1: actually ok now that I think about it. Just a little annoying perspective-wise.

Advance 2: there are special stages in this game?

Advance 3: Oh these ones are AWESOME. I don't know why, they're basically the same as Advance 1's but with a jump button, but there's just so much ENERGY. In fact, that energy is a recurring reason I fucking LOVE the GBA Sonic games. It's just so great.

Sonic Rush: eugh. I think I just really hate touch controls. Other than that, it's just Sonic 2 again.

Sonic Rush Adventure: maybe not though, because I really like racing Johnny. The control might just be better this time, though.

Sonic 4 episode 1: Somehow I like this better than Sonic 1. Maybe it's just that tilting the stage feels more responsive than moving Sonic in a continuously self-tilting stage.

Also, nearly every time I tried to swype "stage" it gave me "sausage". Imagine the special zone with sausages instead of colorful jewels.

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I haven't played much of many special stages aside from the original trilogy, but I love the Sonic 1 special stages, I really do. They're my favorite. Why? I think the primary reason is because they're more forgiving than the other two, and also feel much more relaxing. In Sonic 2, hit a bomb or two and there's no hope. In Sonic 3K, touch one red sphere and it's over. But with Sonic 1, the dreaded and dreadfully mislabeled "Goal" bumpers are a much less omnipresent obstacle and thus much less easier to avoid. Plus, I just really like the way it uses the spin jump mechanics. Rolling around and jumping off the walls...it's just fun. Plus, it feels more organic and less clear-cut than the other two. With the other two, it's a very single-minded, achieve the goal type of affair. In Sonic 1, you can just jump around, collecting as many rings as you want to in order to get continues, taking as long or as quickly as you want or need to get to the emerald. No pressure to Get blue spheres! or Get 140 rings! or anything like that. I also enjoy the way they're accessed; even though it's a special kind of annoying when you just don't jump into the goal ring in time, in general I like the concept. For me, they're honestly the easiest too.

Sonic 2's special stages...ugh. I rarely even try to play them. Not only are they very frustrating and annoying, they're just not fun to me. Maybe the basic idea is just too simplistic and unengaging for me...and when you combine that with their unforgiving nature, the fact that you have to lose fifty rings to get into them, and the fact that they don't give you continues or lives, and you have one hot steaming mess of a special stage, in my opinion. I'm glad other people can get enjoyment out of them, lol.

Sonic 3K's are rather good, but I'm really not very skilled at them. I do like how intense they feel when you're going very fast!

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I generally appreciate the Sonic 1 special stages for their creative environments, contemplative music, and unique mechanics that compliment the preexisting gameplay style by making use of the main game's physics under a set of vastly different circumstances.  But what makes it so frustrating for me is that with the way it's inherently designed, it's difficult to convey distances in great detail.  This is especially problematic with the number of branching pathways, where you're not sure what leads to what, but you have to try them all to find out.  If you're wrong, you get penalized with a series of Goal pads that are nearly impossible to avoid.

For that reason, Sonic 3 has always been my favorite special stages.  For one, they provide a proportional amount of challenge and reward in the forms of not just Chaos Emeralds but rings and continues as well.  Things speed up to hectic degrees, but the perspective makes it easier to convey long distances, meaning I'm not constantly guessing what's coming up next and thus I have time to avoid any obstacles or change my route if necessary.

I never really cared for Sonic 2's half pipe special stages.  They're all right, I mean, and win points for having a deceptively simple premise.  But they suffer from the same problem as Sonic 1.  They require advanced knowledge of what's ahead.  Being forced to replay a game over and over in order to achieve a task like "clearing that one special stage" may have been expected in the early 90's, but it certainly wasn't an attractive feature.  Also, with how many games utilize this particular special stage setup, it's become pretty stale for me, personally.

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the Sonic one Special Stage was kinda boring  XD i never liked it too much..

though Sonic 2 Special Stage it was a bit more exiting.. even more when i had not enough rings (thanks to Mr Tails) .. its very funny

Sonic 3 (and knuckles) special Stages are really fun in my opinion.. really exiting when it gets faster and faster! the good thing is that you can do them each time you want.. that's why i like it :)

CD its difficult XD at least for me .. those UFOs were faster than me XD

Knuckles Chaotix: its an interesting one.. XD all a challenge to not fall .. but there is many chances to complete it  ^_^

Sonic advance games: i never made it XD because i didn't found it.. or never completed the chao quests...  :lol:

that's all i've met..

ahh no.. !

also

Sonic Triple Trouble: it was so much DIFICULT! XD  its like the one on Advance 3.. but this one its awfully hard.. hehe

 

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Specialstage1.png

Sonic 2 Special Stage Music

Sonic 2 was likely the first Sonic game where I encountered special stages (as early as early stages of kindergarten when once I was allowed to come home with a friend at the time, we went straight to multiplayer and did the special stages - first encounter with Sonic, wheeee), and thus it is the one which stuck in my mind and became the most nostalgic version for me. Even if it became increasingly frustrating to beat them in exchange for chaos emeralds, I just always loved them. The music plays a big part in this, as it felt so upbeat and energetic, cheering me on as I somehow pass the challenge (is that Knuckles' arm during the thumbs up scene?) or hopelessly bump into every bomb there is. It just always kept me going, the music just really made me happy.

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Sonic 3 Special Stage Music

Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) came along, and while I find Sonic 2's special stages to be more upbeat and energetic, Sonic 3's feel more like a rewarding resort. Even if the music and run speed picks up the pace quickly, the music makes it feel like a relaxing place, as if you would be at the beach or even in Heaven somewhere. Apart from epic music in both games, I grew to love Sonic 3's due to the fact that you had to look for them. With the exception of that one you basically run into near the start of the game, most of the entries to these stages are scattered around in hidden areas. Looking for them throughout the game became a joy, and finding one felt like finding a shiny treasure chest of gold. There was also the fact that you could use level select to go through levels you already had beaten and simply look for them.

Uncovering secrets and hidden areas is something I have always enjoyed doing. At one point during my short SSR DJ era, I believe during an early Summer of Sonic event (?), I had a long show where I was talking about Sonic 3 & Knuckles' special stages, mentioning where you would find their entrances in which zones, and then taking a break by playing the corresponding zone's music. That almost killed me with nervousity, haha! But it goes to show that I love Sonic 3's special stages very much, even if only for the joy in searching for those secret spots scattered all over the game.

Not least, special stages meant a lot for me because it added a second goal to the game, and that goal was often very hard to reach fully, especially in Sonic 3 & Knuckles where they basically rip the emeralds from you and you have to do it all over again, with more challenges and certain new aspects, but with more rewarding power! Besides, that new challenge lobby gave me the chills! Being able to jump right into the game, do a level select and being able to transform into a God, cruising around the level, I enjoyed that because I had already beaten the game and its challenges once, I felt I had gained control over every danger etc, but now I am just becoming silly.

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I remember being in awe of the graphics of Sonic 2's special stages back in 92. I also liked the exhilirating, roller coaster feel of those stages, but they were so darn frustrating! Sonic 1's were calm and relaxing, though a little dull. Sonic 3's were easily my favorite. Addictive, challenging, but not frustrating. And the music was excellent. Never could find the special stages in the Advance games.

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I think the Special Stages in Sonic Heroes (with Team Sonic c:) are my favorite.

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I love the music in the stages! Probably one of my favorite parts. The controls are challenging, but once you figure it out it's not that bad! I actually figured out not too long ago how to properly play the special stages. I've been doing it wrong all these years. x3

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What do you guys think about Lost World 3DS's Special Stages ?

Until recently, I didn't even know Lost World 3DS had a special stage. I've been meaning to get the game, I just forgot. XD

You can find footage of them on YouTube, but it's hard to figure how enjoyable it would be by watching it alone. I thing it does use the gyro function though...

http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=3cLBniQfjcE

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S3&K special stages are the best.

They have the challenge and difficulty just right, from accessing the stage, to comencing the stage, and to completing or failing them without being -too- cheap about it. Your goal is to simply collect all the blue spheres, which is simple to do, but gets more challenging when the tempo speeds up and you really have to be quick on the upkeep. Then there's the dread of touching the red spheres once that'll boot you out of the special stage without the emerald, and the added bonus of reducing the number of blue spheres when you square around a group of them.

Now, it does require some memorization, and when you do that it becomes a matter of luck because of the increasing tempo. But it's my favorite out of all of them.

Sonic 2's special stages, meanwhile, can go fuck themselves with a cactus. Especially when you're playing with Tails - that two tailed bastard just ruins everything at the worst moment in that game, huh?

Edited by ChaosSupremeSonic
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The Sonic Rush special stages are my favourite mainly because they're pretty straight forward and enjoyable. The stylus controls definitely work well enough and being able to perform tricks was pretty fun. Additionally, it had good challenge and being able to earn rings for beating enemies and succesfully performing tricks from balloons was also really satisfying. There's just something about these special stages that really gel and connect with me. It just feels so fluid and right. They have so much energy and action going on which I really enjoy and of course, the music is great too. Very catchy! I regularly went back to the special stages and always got a kick out of them.

I also genuinely enjoy the special stages in Sonic Generations 3DS. They're basically the Sonic Heroes special stages (circular glass pipe) but they're pretty much done right this time. The controls feel a lot more smoother and tighter than they did in Heroes which overall makes it pretty enjoyable and a real blast to play through this time around. It's a bit on the easy side but to me, it's one of the main (or few) highlights of the 3DS version. (Just wish it had the Emerald Challenge music instead of the Bonus one). The EC music in Heroes is great.

I've never been a fan of Blue Sphere or any of the others (especially Lost World. Ugh, the special stages are really awful in that game).

 

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I don't like any of the Special Stages since they don't play anything like the core gameplay.

I think this is a fair opinion.  While it's very easy to meet with the answer that "that's why they're called special stages," I'm not sure that's sufficient; I think it would be an interesting and perhaps relevant route to take for special stages to provide some twist on the regular gameplay rather than being, in essence, a completely different game.  It should be a special stage, not a special stage.  That's the feeling I have.  Granted, when they can't settle on a core gameplay idea for the games themselves, little wonder they have difficulty with special stages.  This isn't to say that I don't like the special stages we have, but I've always preferred the ones which involve Sonic running around doing things, as they're the most relevant.

There are a lot of special stage types I don't remember even in games I've played myself; I'm a big fan of Sonic Rush but I remember nothing of its special stages, for instance, nor any of the Sonic Advance special stages - but who ever actually reached a special stage in Advance 2, anyway?  For the ones I remember, though...

  • I really like the 3K special stages as they're each designed very differently, and with colour schemes and the like a factor I feel they give a very strong sense of individual identity and place.
  • The Sonic CD special stages are... odd, and often don't feel fair, when the UFOs just seem to slip away if you don't jump at them just right.
  • Rush Adventure's special stages are, in fact, a twist on a part of regular gameplay, and I like them for that; they're designed-course hard-mode versions of the regular jetski travel, and I think that was a really good approach to take, even if the later ones are so brutally hard that you practically have to upgrade your vehicles postgame in order to stand a chance (though I'm certain that I beat them all with the vanilla jetski in my original playthrough... eventually).
  • As for Lost World, I actually really enjoyed the gyro special stages, but sometimes I felt the level design in them was weak and confusing.

I think it would be interesting to see special stages that use the regular gameplay physics but with some kind of major twist.  I'm not sure what that would constitute, though, as it would depend on what the regular gameplay was like in the first place...

Oh, and another thought: Are we also discussing means of entering special stages as well?  I liked the giant rings scattered across the map in 3K; they encouraged exploration and added depth to the levels.

Edited by FFWF
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I mean, I think Sonic 3 had the best Special Stages from a gameplay standpoint but that's not saying much. I still think Blue Sphere is pretty terrible, it's just not as godawful as Sonic 1 and Sonic 2's Special Stages. Sonic CD's in particular are atrocious despite being a funny idea. I think Sonic 2's are the most interesting and exciting conceptually, but playing them and accessing them is a drag.

The Special Stages have always been tech demoes, showing off the hardware power rather than focusing on gameplay, especially from Sonic 2. Sonic was a technical masterpiece generally as a brand, but the Special Stages were the biggest 'in your face' example of sheer technical mastery. They were good at that for their time but good god have they aged now when they aren't technically impressive anymore. 

To me, the Special Stages have always been something I've done just because I have to if I want to unlock Super Sonic. I don't get an joy from playing them. 

As for accessing Special Stages, Sonic 3 had the best approach. It was more forgiving and made more sense. The whole point of rings is that the system encourages to run fast and be rash because you can always pick up your rings again. Limiting that with an arbitrary ring count limit for Special Stages was a stupid idea.

Edited by Regen
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Gonna give my opinions on all of the ones I've experienced! Special stages are a fun topic that isn't explored much.

Sonic 1 is my favorite game out of the original trilogy, but its special stages aren't! Not to say I don't enjoy them, I certainly do. They're very simple, and very easy (probably just because I'm so familiar with them..!) so they're more relaxing to me than anything. I never really fuss over making sure I obtain all six emeralds when I play Sonic 1, but if I happen to have fifty rings upon reaching the end of an act I'll definitely hop into a special stage.

Sonic 2's special stages... Nah. I think the first and second of these special stages are fun, but anything after that isn't enjoyable to me. They're too stressful. I adore Sonic 2, but I've gotten all the emeralds enough times in my life that I don't really feel the need to play these special stages anymore.

Sonic CD's are enjoyable! I honestly don't have that much to say about them, really. They have some rad music, though! Both the American and Japanese versions.

Sonic 3's rock! I really, really love Blue Spheres, and they are my favorite of the original trilogy. They're simple, and don't blindside you with red spheres like Sonic 2 loves to blindside you with bombs. The constant speed increase keeps things interesting. I think they're very fair, and incredibly fun! Plus, you get Hyper Sonic for doing all of them, which is fantastic.

Genesis Sonic 3D Blast's are way too easy and are visually a snoozefest. I really, really don't like them. They're among the very few special stages in the series that seemingly don't get much harder as you progress. And the music sucks.

Saturn Sonic 3D Blast's are way better..! They're just like Sonic 2's but a bit more fair, and have absolutely kickin' music. They're visually interesting, fair, and have really great music. Basically everything I look for in a special stage, and exactly the opposite of the Genesis version of 3D Blast's! Too bad the only way to play them is to own a Saturn and this particular version of 3D Blast.

Heroes' special stages are terrible. The method they have you doing to get into them is annoying enough on its own, but the special stages are just... They feel like a mess. The idea is okay, but the controls are so awful that I can't have any fun with them.

I'll sum up my thoughts on the Advance series' special stages in one paragraph. Sonic Advance 1's were alright, similar to Sonic 2's in concept. Nothing special, and considering the extra final boss of Advance 1 is boring I don't think it's ever worth it to try and collect them. The chao falling down that tunnel makes me laugh, though. I adored Sonic Advance 2 when I was younger (still do!), so I actually had the strategy guide to aide me in collecting the seven special rings needed to enter the special stages. That said, this method of entering them is awful and I hope they never do it again. The special stages themselves are boring, and similar to 3D Blast on the genesis, they are incredibly easy. Finally, Advance 3 made getting into special stages even worse. Why the hell do I have to collect ten chao over the course of three acts (plus one in the hub world), THEN find a key that randomly pops up in a level just to TRY a special stage? Then if you fail it, you have to go and play through an act to find a key again. Unlike Advance 2, Advance 3's special stages will challenge you, and you will probably fail a couple of them at least once. The key system would honestly be alright with me, if I didn't have to collect ten chao first. Why does getting into a special stage have to be so much busy work? AWFUL.

Rush's special stages are awesome, and my favorite of the half-pipe type special stages. They're easy overall, but they definitely require you be paying attention and have quick reflexes if you want to succeed. Controlling Sonic with the stylus feels natural and responsive, so I really have no complaints about these. I love 'em! They also have one of my favorite methods of entering them. All you gotta do is find one of those special handles in any given zone, and as long as you have enough boost, you can enter! Very simple, as it should be. ...Do the Johnny races in Rush Adventure count as special stages? They're fun too, at any rate.

I don't really have an opinion on Sonic 4 Episode 1 or 2's special stages. They're boring, frankly. Although I appreciate the ease of entering them, at least.

Generation 3DS's special stages are Heroes' special stages done right. Well, mostly anyway. They're honestly kind of boring, but they control infinitely better than Heroes' special stages and that alone makes them infinitely more enjoyable. Plus, they are also very easy to enter and retry, which I always like, obviously.

And finally, Lost World 3DS. I think Lost World 3DS is probably one of the worst games in the series, and the special stages are certainly a factor in me saying that. They are my absolute most hated special stages out of any Sonic game. If you haven't seen or played them, which some of you probably haven't, the idea is that Sonic is floating around in 3D space attempting to collect spheres, and you have to direct where he's going by tilting your 3DS around. Good luck trying to play this anywhere but in your own home, because this nonsense requires you to move your body around more than the average Kinect game. Surely someone in testing thought to tell the developers that this wasn't any fun? Anyway. They have good music, at least.

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I think the Special Stages in Sonic Heroes (with Team Sonic c:) are my favorite.

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I love the music in the stages! Probably one of my favorite parts. The controls are challenging, but once you figure it out it's not that bad! I actually figured out not too long ago how to properly play the special stages. I've been doing it wrong all these years. x3

How do you actually play these things? Tell me your secrets.

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I really enjoyed the special stages on colors DS, partly because of very catchy and energizing music. As colors on the wii, the special stages were a lot of fun as well. They were simple obstacle courses, and were quite a bit of fun with two players.

I'm a little surprised the color special stages don't receive more recognition; they were simple and still well done.

As for my most disliked special stage...hmm, I'll join the consensus and say Sonic 2's. I'm relatively good at them; long ago, I used to be able to get all the emeralds by act 2, but the draw distance; it's just not good enough for this type of stage. Yes, I know there were great graphical limitations at the time; however, because of this, the levels are almost entirely memorization rather than reflex. It becomes a bit of a chore, having to memorize all the bomb placements through trail and error. Fortunately, this type of stage redeemed itself with Sonic 3d blast PC. I loved that game; partially because of the special stages. The draw distance was amazing, and had amazing music. Sonic 3d blast PC was the good version of this type of stage.

One additional note; to be honest, I never understood folks who complain about tails messing up the special stages. Yes, he does do this; the game designers knew this too; that's why there's a Sonic Alone option.

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I think Sonic-1 & Sonic Colors-Wii special stages are my faves out of the games I actually played... I also really like the bonus stages on Sonic 3&K.

 

I love the idea of special stages/minigame levels overall... But 1 thing I feel is missing most of the time from them in Sonic games is a retry SS-level button after you lose... I don't see much real reason why you can't be allowed to replay the SS-level right away if you want... Even if it costs 1 life to do or whatevz would be fine. If nothing else that is why I always welcome save-states, especially on the classic games. Hohoo.

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