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Sonic Mania Special Stages & Blue Spheres


TailsTellsTales
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If thread like this already exists please blow up thread.

Generally I made this thread for discussion of the special stages and/or blue sphere bonus stages. Basically what do you think of them? Is there any special stage in particular that was hard? I been noticing ss4 and ss5 have been giving people a hard time. Also what was some of your final or hardest blue sphere that you completed or are still struggling with?

Personally I been stuck on ss4 and have attempted 13 times to beat it with no luck. All 3 of my characters are at 3 emeralds waiting one day for that dang 4th chaos emerald.

I have 3 blue sphere stages I been stuck at. One where you immediately have to turn. One where you simply go around in a circle which happens to be the 8th secret Sonic 3 special stage. And finally one where you go in 4 smaller circles.

Anyway please discuss and maybe help others out perhaps. Maybe help give a certain person tips on how to beat ss4. :)

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I found the first four special stages to be fairly easy. #5 was by far the hardest, and I only won because of that weird glitch that causes the UFO to reverse direction. #6 was the second-hardest, but far more doable. #7, as many have stated, is surprisingly easy, almost as if the designers were cutting players some slack.

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The 5th special stage was truly hard until I found out the way to do it, and some bonus stage are really hard to make a "perfect", but I love the challenge. If it had been easy it wouldn't have been fun. I think both special and bonus stages were very well designed. I only wish the blue spheres were a separate mode and not a bonus stage. For future bonus stages I'd rather have some room for getting items.

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For the fifth special stage, try to focus exclusively on mapping out a route for blue spheres on the first lap. Go for as many rings as possible on the second. After that, get mach 3 and make a beeline for the UFO, you should have more than enough time to catch up with it because this stage has a ton of rings.

It's a difficult stage because it's the only one that requires a significant amount of strategy compared to the rest, even the ones after it. Most of the blue spheres are in out-of-the-way parts, so try to learn where they are and go for those first.

Don't forget that jumping also makes you turn faster, and leaping off a ramp makes Sonic strafe instead of turn. Speaking of ramps, I strongly recommend avoiding ramps on your first lap; only take them when you're at least at mach 2.

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It took me a while to warm up to the special stages.  The learning curve on the controls and handling of Sonic is pretty steep once the stage designs get challenging.  Like many, special stage 5 was the hardest for me, with 6 being just slightly less taxing and 7 being cake.  At one point I found them very frustrating and on par with 3D Sonic attempts like Sonic Heroes.  "This was fun until the level designs got too hard for the bad controls to keep up with", I felt.  But it turns out I just needed more time, now, I dig them.  And I'd certainly rather have like 30 levels of them than Blue Sphere.

I really loathe Blue Sphere in this game.  Everything about its inclusion.

  • The visuals were given a very pretty coat of paint but the actual clarity was not improved in any way compared to the originals, there's still distracting pop-in at the sides of the screen, and no real increase in "smoothness" like CD, 1 and 2's special stages got in their remasters.  Even the music, while great of course, was one of Tee's more straight-up "remasters" than a bangin' remix with it's own identity.
  • Using them as checkpoint bonus stages just feels very intrusive on the regular gameplay, as they are extremely long for how frequently they occur.
  • They offer no actual gameplay-related reward like the checkpoint bonus stages did in S3&K.  They're just there to unlock bonus features - something I'd much rather have had connected to regular gameplay (completing the game as every character, getting an overall low time record on time attack etc).
  • The later stages are full of mean-spirited, sudden reaction tests which force you to just simply remember where they tripped you up (emphasis on "where THEY tripped you up", not where YOU tripped up through lack of skill) for the next time that stage comes round - which is very difficult due to the way they cycle through many different ones before presenting you with that same one you failed again.  Anyone who has ever complained about modern Sonic being nothing but reaction tests but can abide some of these stage designs?  Go away.
  • To add extra frustation, many later stages start out pretty mundane but only get hard towards the very end once you're at full speed.  Replaying these can be a real chore of patience as you just sit through the easy, slow parts, often more than a minute before you get another crack at the hard part right at the end.
  • Finally it does feel like the jump is slightly "longer" than the original game, and this has messed me up more than once.  Sometimes depending on how you hit a yellow ball that you NEED to use, if you jump slightly over it rather than walk into it they'll fling you further and straight into death.
  • I feel they took away the opportunity for the Mania team to come up with some cool new bonus stages that use the regular physics and controls, like S3&K's did.
  • Finally, since they have no bearing on the regular gameplay, I'll skip them more often than not.  There's something very unsatisfying about choosing NOT to jump into the checkpoint sparklies when typically in S3&K it was always a good decision to do so that didn't take you out of the regular game for more than half a minute, and would pretty much always send you back into it better off than you were before.  Of course in addition, it's very frustrating when you accidentally jump into the sparklies when you didn't want to.  But yeah, since they ARE checkpoint bonus stages, I find it kind of ridiculous that IF you did jump into every Blue Sphere opportunity, you would spend more time playing this bonus game than you would the regular game.  That's ridiculous to me.

 

So yeah, Blue Spheres in Mania, one of the few things that just absolutely didn't sit well with me, and I guess for that I can at least be thankful that they have no real bearing on the regular game.

Final verdict:

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I got to be real. I would been got the emeralds if it was the blue sphere as the special stages. I am at 29/32 in the blue sphere thing. I do not know how I feel about the actual special stage. Obviously since I have attempted the 4th one so many times, I kind of starting to find it very cruel given that the 5th one is possibly harder. Not to mention I kind of want to defenestrate anybody who says ss4 is easy.

The blue sphere is different in that the jump button does not work the same as the Sonic 3K game. Sometimes when I need to jump only one sphere it jumps over two spheres.

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20 hours ago, Sean said:

For the fifth special stage, try to focus exclusively on mapping out a route for blue spheres on the first lap. Go for as many rings as possible on the second. After that, get mach 3 and make a beeline for the UFO, you should have more than enough time to catch up with it because this stage has a ton of rings.

It's a difficult stage because it's the only one that requires a significant amount of strategy compared to the rest, even the ones after it. Most of the blue spheres are in out-of-the-way parts, so try to learn where they are and go for those first.

Don't forget that jumping also makes you turn faster, and leaping off a ramp makes Sonic strafe instead of turn. Speaking of ramps, I strongly recommend avoiding ramps on your first lap; only take them when you're at least at mach 2.

I found it's easier to stay on the UFO's trail to keep it in sight and focus on rings. There's a fork in the road about halfway through, if you take the same route as the UFO and can position yourself properly (being only Mach 1 helps) to chain the three item boxes (two sets of rings and the up arrow which automatically boosts you to the next Mach level--you'll have to turn to hit the last one). By that point you'll probably have somewhere around 50 seconds and if you just keep following the UFO's path, you'll catch up to it on your second lap or the beginning of your third, provided you're still mindful of the hazards.

Special Zone 5 is a bit tricky, but I don't feel like it's as difficult to stay close to the UFO as it is in, say, stages 4 or 6, both of which still give me some trouble.

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You can catch the UFO at mach 2 on every special stage. All you need to do is take the optimized route, and keep pace on the first lap. If you can reach mach 2 while you are still in spitting distance of the UFO, then you should be able to overtake it no problem. Its much easier to navigate corners at mach 2 than it is to try to make up a country mile in mach 3. You don't need to go out of your way to chase rings and spheres. All the ones you need will be right in your way.

 

As for the blue sphere, I'd be fine with it if it didn't pop up so often. I have no idea who's bright idea it was to lower the ring requirement to enter a special stage. For some reason they lowered it to 20 or 25 and now I am shooting the bird with every single starpost I come across. I'm not playing Sonic Mania so much as I am playing blue sphere with 30 seconds of Mania in-between. Need to push it back up to 50. 

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1 hour ago, Sega DogTagz said:

As for the blue sphere, I'd be fine with it if it didn't pop up so often. I have no idea who's bright idea it was to lower the ring requirement to enter a special stage. For some reason they lowered it to 20 or 25 and now I am shooting the bird with every single starpost I come across. I'm not playing Sonic Mania so much as I am playing blue sphere with 30 seconds of Mania in-between. Need to push it back up to 50. 

Or if there was an off-switch added for recurring bonus stages.

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