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Chaotix Arcade Zones: Mighty & Ray Levels in Sonic Games


Sonictrainer

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Hello and welcome to my first character themed Level Topic. To celebrate Mighty the Armadillo & Ray the Flying Squirrel’s return in the spotlight and their inclusion in Sonic Mania Plus, I wanted to take an exclusive look at all of the games and levels they were playable.


NOTES: 
1. Starting with this topic, I’m trying out a new layout for my Sonic Theme Level Topics. Please let me know if you like it or not.

2. If Badniks or Bosses don’t have an official Name or only have Japanese Names that don’t translate well in English, I will try to get creative and come up with Nicknames while still posting their translated Japanese Name (The abbreviation OJN means Original Japanese Name). For today’s topic, a portion of the Knuckles Chaotix Badniks got Official English and Japanese Names and official artwork in their respective Instruction Manuals, while the others didn’t. Also, the Sonic CD Badniks didn’t get new English names in the remixed Zones of Sonic Mania.

3. All entries in this opening post are Levels and Hubs, from Official Licensed Sonic Games, where Mighty & Ray are playable. This includes: 

  • All areas of Eggman Island from Sonic Arcade (aka SegaSonic the Hedgehog)
  • Isolated Island and All Attractions of the Newtronic High Zone from Knuckles Chaotix
  • All Regular and Encore Versions of Zones in Sonic Mania Plus except for the Egg Reverie Zone
  • A brief look at the Bonus Stages & Special Stages in Knuckles Chaotix & Sonic Mania Plus

4. There is a Training Mode in Knuckles Chaotix, but I’ll talk about it another time.

5. If you know a Mighty & Ray Level/Hub from a Sonic fan game that fits Note #3, feel free to talk about it in the topic.

6. Coming Soon: Mystic Haunt Zones (Dream, Haunted, & Magic Levels in Sonic Games)


Sonic Arcade: Volcanic Vault, Icy Isle, Desert Dodge, Trap Tower, Landslide Limbo, Wild Water Way, & Eggman’s Tower

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Volcanic Vault is a volcanic region located on the eastern side of Eggman Island, where Eggman stuffed Sonic, Ray, & Mighty inside a prison with steel bars and a spike wall slowly coming towards them. Fortunately, they were able to break the bars on their cell by Spin Jumping into them. After escaping the prison death trap and being shot up into the sky, Hydrocity Zone style, they’ll have to run through a valley to avoid a stream of lava, use their speed to open a treadmill activated gate, carefully time jumps over small lava pits that sometimes shoot fire upward, travel across and climb up a broken bridge, and finally rush down an unstable path of igneous rock to the exit. Some Rings are hidden in the walls.

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Icy Isle is a winter region located in the center of Eggman Island and the second area Sonic, Ray, & Mighty come to after leaving Volcanic Vault. This time our trio will have to ice physics their way to avoid getting pierced by giant falling icicles, dodge big ice cubes that are sliding out of a wall that could knock them off into a pit, run across the snow and climb across some handrails, slip and slide but stop before reaching the edge of a cliff, go up a slope that has the harpoons from Labyrinth Zone, and finally run down a path while jumping across moving platforms and fragile ice cube bridges to the exit. Some Rings are hidden inside snow piles.

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Desert Dodge is a desert region located on the southeast side of Eggman Island and the third area Sonic, Ray, & Mighty come to after leaving Icy Isle. This time our trio has to run across a disintegrating path of sand while avoiding sandpits, with antlion claws waiting for them inside at the center, and a group of tornados following them from behind, that sends smaller tornadoes towards them. An insect robot will appear twice and glide alongside them to slow them down. Next, a row of purple ball rope traps will pop out of the ground, similar to the Blue Mega Muck in the Chemical Plant Zone. Finally, our heroes will have to stomp and Spin Jump through a road of quicksand before reaching the exit. Some Rings are hidden inside sand dunes.

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Trap Tower is 1 of 2 towers on Eggman Island, which is located on the northeast side. It’s also the fourth area Sonic, Ray, & Mighty come to after leaving Desert Dodge. The boys will have to avoid several crushing cylinder traps, that chase them from behind, giant spike traps, that slam into the ground, electrical traps, that appear on the path to slow them down if they run into them, and climb up a wall, which is slowly catching on fire and has mines planted behind parts of the ladders. Some Rings are hidden inside walls and metal containers.

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Landslide Limbo is a canyon region located in the northern part of Eggman Island and the fifth area Sonic, Ray, & Mighty come to after leaving Trap Tower. The trio will have to quickly run across a collapsing stone path while running off of ramps, grabbing and jumping off swinging handle bars, running along the side of a sandy cliff, launching off of catapults, and avoiding rows of fireballs. There are also fake painted backgrounds in certain spots that Sonic, Ray, & Mighty can crash into.

LL BOSS BATTLE

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Egg Chipper: At the end of Landslide Limbo is a mini boss, limiting space with electric fences and flamethrowers and constantly loading and firing projectile sawblades. Sonic, Ray, & Mighty will have to carefully avoid the sawblades while Spin Jumping into its battery to BREAK it down until its destroyed.

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Wild Water Way is an Eggmanmade river located on the southwest side of Eggman Island and the sixth area Sonic, Ray, & Mighty come to after leaving Landslide Limbo. After crossing a collapsing bridge to reach Eggman’s Tower, only to be locked out on the other side, our boys fall into the river below. As Sonic, Ray, & Mighty jog underwater, they’ll have to avoid giant fan blades, that are chasing them from behind, avoid turtles, that act as obstacles that block their path, maneuver around underwater mines, that float at the surface until characters get close enough and start sinking down, mechanical eels, that can be destroyed after breaking the rocks they’re connected too, and mechanical clams, that will try to chomp our heroes if they’re too slow. Fortunately, drowning doesn’t exist in this game. There are 2 walls in this level that are slowly filling up with water, where any cracks that appear in the wall will foreshadow areas where the wall will burst open. At the top of both walls is series of rapids with wooden platforms floating on top. After getting through the second wooden platform area, they’ll exit the level.

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Eggman’s Tower is the second tower on Eggman Island, located in the west and blocking the only entrance and exit to the Island. It’s also Eggman’s HQ, where he watched everything that happened to Sonic, Ray, & Mighty and remotely set off traps across the entire Island. As Sonic, Ray, & Mighty climb their way to Eggman’s control room, they’ll have to outrun and outclimb flames, a different version of the machine Eggman used to capture them in the intro cutscene, giant sawblades, the crushing cylinder from Trap Tower, and more collapsing platforms. After finally confronting Eggman, face to face, Eggman takes a page out of the Villain’s Official handbook…and presses a self-destruct button. Sonic, Ray, & Mighty have 20 seconds to escape down a series of slopes to reach the exit and beat the game. If they fail this time trial, players will get a GAME OVER and won’t be able to use any CONTINUES.

Fast Fact: Eggman’s tower base in Sonic X could be a reference to Eggman’s Tower in Sonic Arcade.


Knuckles Chaotix: Isolated Island, World Entrance, Botanic Base, Speed Slider, Amazing Arena, Techno Tower, Marina Madness, Bonus Stage, & Special Stage

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Isolated Island is a Green Hilled island close to Eggman’s Newtronic High Zone (aka Carnival Island). Knuckles starts his journey here, where he finds Eggman locking Espio inside of a Combi Catcher. After freeing Espio and watching Metal Sonic fly Eggman to safety, Knuckles & Espio team up to travel through 4 short sections of the island from morning to night while testing out the power of the Sling Rings (aka Link Rings/Ring Power/Tether Rings) before attempting to get the first Chaos Ring and reaching the World Entrance to the Newtronic High Zone. There is no Boss Battle here.

Fast Fact: There is technically one Badnik on Isolated Island but it only appears in Tutorial Mode.

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The World Entrance is the Hub of the Newtronic High Zone, where the Chaotix will return after completing an Act. Players can pick new partners in the Combi Catcher or skip ahead to the Level Select Roulette. The Combi Catcher is a massive crane games where players can unlock 4 of the Chaotix (Knuckles, Espio, Mighty, Charmy, or Vector) while the other 4 slots are Bomb & Heavy the Mechanix. There is a Bonus Stage Block that causes the crane to slow down next time the Combi Catcher is used. Once a team is formed, they can head on pass a Progress Screen, which tells which Acts Attractions are at or if they’re Cleared. Finally, the last stop is the Stage Select Roulette, where characters will have to hit a Bumper to stop a roulette that chooses the next Level and Act.

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Botanic Base is a massive greenhouse inside the Newtronic High Zone.

BB BESTIARY
The Badniks watching over the plants in the Botanic Base are:

  • Thornberry: a robot bush that flies in the air and repeatedly releases and retracts drills that act as thorns, like Bubbles from the Marble Garden Zone.
  • Hassle Nut: a robot nut or acorn that flies in the air. If the Chaotix Tag Teams get too close to it, it will grab a member and then try to explode, like Grabber from the Chemical Plant Zone.
  • Bushbubble: a robot fusion between a plant and a light bulb, it slowly moves on the ground. At night, it periodically lights up and becomes untouchable, like Flasher from the Mystic Cave Zone.
  • Inchworm: a new type of Catakiller that slowly inches itself across the ground.
  • Spiketower: a robot that rolls on the ground with its big grappling hook, which it uses to stick itself to the ceiling and then swing back and forth.

BB BOSS BATTLE
After reaching a certain part of Botanic Base, Eggman flies in to zap the floor:
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Dark Shocker: The Dark Shocker is a red Egg Mobile, powered by a Dark Ring, that can cover itself with electricity. During the entire battle, a crane will grab one of the Chaotix while the other member has to swing around to attack Eggman while he’s not electrified. Even if a Chaotix gets shocked, the crane will release the other team member temporally, so they can both try to recover their Rings.

 

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Speed Slider is a roller coaster style speedway attraction in the Newtronic High Zone. A city with flying cars can be seen in the background. Supposedly, Mighty and Espio are the best characters to have for this level.

SS BESTIARY
The Badniks running around the Speed Slider are:

  • Hoverby Mk II: an upgraded version of Hoverby, a butterfly Badnik first used in the Palmtree Panic Zone. Its wings have been replaced with jet engine turbines, allowing it to move much faster and even come to a stop in midair.
  • Needlenose: a robot mosquito that was also first used in the Palmtree Panic Zone. They still fly in the air and fall down like arrows if the Chaotix are underneath them.
  • Dribbler: a robot that dribbles 2 bumpers in each hand like basketballs (does that count as double dribble?).
  • Gotcha: a big robot octopus that hides throughout the area, appearing from the foreground or background. It will try to hover in and grab one of the Chaotix with its crane game tentacles. If it succeeds, one of our heroes will be caught in a Ring stealing energy ball until their partner can destroy Gotcha.

SS BOSS BATTLE
After the Chaotix walk in front of the carousel, the entire thing will rocket off into the sky:

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Dark Carousel: Instead of cute horses and sleds, Eggman’s Dark Carousel is filled with spiky platforms and the Dark Ring powering it. The Tag Teams will have to work through the altered physics to avoid the spikes and attack the Dark Ring as they rotate around.

 

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Amazing Arena is a fighting attraction inside the Newtronic High Zone. Unlike the other attractions, the Chaotix will have to find switches to reactivate power before trying to complete the Act. Touching the Goal Post without finding the switch will just reset the area to the same Act for next time.

AA BESTIARY
The Badniks ready to fight in the Amazing Arena are:

  • Motorspike: a Badnik wearing armor with a few spikes on it.
  • Ticktock: a pendulum clock Badnik that swings a spiked ball back and forth in midair.
  • Bopwheel: a battle robot with wheels and a spiked bat.
  • Scamcorder: a tripod camera Badnik that moves around on the ground.

AA BOSS BATTLES
Unlike the other attractions, there are 2 bosses waiting to entertain the Chaotix in Amazing Arena:

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Dark Monitor: An optional Mini Boss that the Chaotix can run into while exploring Amazing Arena. Dark Monitor is a monitor that creates a giant robot version of Eggman that attacks with its long arms. The amount of damage it takes to defeat the Dark Monitor and the amount of Item Boxes rewarded for defeating it depends on the Act the Chaotix encounter it in.

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Dark Projector: The Dark Projector is an Egg Mobile carrying a movie projector, that can summon Badniks from a monitor in the background, and 2 transforming balls. Eggman will fly across the area, with 2 balls rotating around him. Once he makes it to the other side, the projector will cause a Badnik to appear while Eggman sends one of the balls, which transforms into an arm, downward.

 

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Techno Tower is a tall tower located in the Newtronic High Zone. Eggman Billboards found on different floors hide secrets.

TT BESTIARY
The Badniks surveying different floors of Techno Tower Base are:

  • Bombbearer: a robot bug that flies in the air while carrying bombs.
  • Ringleader: a ringmaster robot that flies in the air.
  • Hot Pot: a cooking pot Badnik that has a bomb inside it. It spits it out of it head periodically.
  • Nitro: a RC car Badnik that moves on the ground. 
  • Launchpad: a robot armed with a rocket launcher. 

TT BOSS BATTLE
After reaching the top of Techno Tower, a giant glass dome containing an extra floor is placed over the Chaotix:

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Dark Globe: The Dark Globe is a round mech, that moves on wheels, has small round hands and long arms, and has a Dark Ring in the center of it. Eggman will swing the arms in front of the Dark Ring to protect it. Also, 2 floating mirrors will also appear to create lasers, that bounce of the of the ground and glass. Hitting the Dark Ring several times will defeat it.

 

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Marina Madness is a harbor in the Newtronic High Zone where flying submarines are docked. The Chaotix can press switches to ride the submarines to different parts of the stage. There are no underwater sections here.

MM BESTIARY
The Badniks causing a frenzy in Marina Madness are:

  • Piranha: a robot fish shaped missile that flies in the air and drops spiky bombs from its mouth
  • Poptank: a robot hermit crab that slowly moves across the ground and ceiling. 
  • Eagle Ray: a robot sting ray that flies through the air.
  • Flatfin: a cyan robot fish that flies through the air.
  • Croc Cannon: a robot crocodile submarine.

MM BOSS BATTLE
A strange object flies out of the ocean as the Chaotix reach the outskirts of Marina Madness:

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Dark Prism: The Dark Prism is an Egg Mobile with a unique defense system, powered by a Dark Ring. At first Eggman’s entire ship is covered in a prism like barrier. Eventually, it will break apart into smaller triangles that fly around the ship. During this period, the Chaotix can counterattack.

 

FINAL BOSS BATTLE
After Clearing all 5 Attractions in the Newtronic High Zone, Metal Sonic appears to take on the Chaotix:

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Metal Sonic: Once a Chaotix Tag Team, reaching the Stage Select Room, the entire screens will change to 4 numbers and a “X”. Metal Sonic will then fly in and jack into the center of the roulette. Now the Chaotix have to make the machine select the “X” panel 5 times to defeat Metal Sonic. If the roulette chooses a number panel instead, 1 of the machine’s 4 defense mechanisms will activate.

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Titan Metal Sonic (aka Metal Sonic Kai): Eggman used the power his remaining Dark Rings to transform Metal Sonic into Titan Metal Sonic. There are 3 phases to this fight: The first phase requires hitting his torso 8 times, which will cause his left arm to come off. The second phase will have Titan Metal Sonic try to smack the Chaotix from the background. While his hand is down, the Chaotix has to hit it 8 times to destroy the other arm. Finally, in the last phase, they have to dodge the laser being fired from his chest and attack the torso 8 more times to end the Boss Battle.

Fast Fact: If you managed to get all 6 Chaos Rings before facing Metal Sonic, you’ll get the good ending where Sonic & Tails appear to pose with the Chaotix. If not, in the Bad Ending, Titan Metal Sonic goes out to attack an unknown city and set it ablaze...

 

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Bonus Stage (Knuckles Chaotix)

  • How to get there: Find of the Big Rings hidden throughout the Acts
  • Summary: The Bonus Stages in Knuckles Chaotix are a Looney Tunes style bottomless pit filled with blocks. Each Block has a different effect and can help increase Rings and get other bonuses. The problem is that the Timer is the Ring Counter, so players don’t want to stay in here too long.
  • Reward: More Rings & other Bonuses


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Special Stage (Knuckles Chaotix)

  • How to get there: Reach the Goal Post with at least 50 Rings and Jump into the Big Ring above it.
  • Summary: The Special Stages in Knuckles Chaotix are a mashup between the Halfpipe Highways of Sonic 2 and the Blue Spheres of Sonic 3&K. Instead of running down a single road, the Chaotix are running through 3D obstacle courses to try and collect enough Blue Spheres to get 1 of 6 Chaos Rings. It’s also forgiving, having a looping track effect if players aren’t able to collect enough Blue Spheres the first time. The only way to fail/leave the Special Stage is to fall off the course or run out of time, which is once again dependent on your Rings.
  • Reward: Collecting all 6 Chaos Rings (Yellow, Cyan, Green, Pink, Purple, and Blue) will unlock the Good Ending.

 

Sonic Mania Plus: Angel Island Zone, Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, Studiopolis Zone, Flying Battery Zone, Press Garden Zone, Stardust Speedway Zone, Hydrocity Zone, Mirage Saloon Zone, Oil Ocean Zone, Lava Reef Zone, Metallic Madness Zone, Titanic Monarch Zone, Bonus Stage, & Special Stage

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The Angel Island Zone is a lush jungle with caves and rivers that was the starting point for Sonic & Tails when they first stepped foot on the Floating Island. It seems sometime between the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles and the appearance of the Phantom Ruby, most of the damage done by Eggman’s bombers has vanished and small animals are happily hopping around the area. Of course, the ashes could have also magically disappeared thanks to the Master Emerald returning or it could all be an illusion created by the Phantom Ruby. Fan theories aside, this Zone is the Intro for both Mania Mode and Encore Mode. In Mania Mode it’s a cutscene where we see the original form of the HBH before they unearth the Phantom Ruby. Meanwhile, Encore Mode starts with Classic Sonic returning from the Eggman Empire Fortress in Modern Sonic’s time & space with the Phantom Ruby following behind him and floating off to the distance. Unsure of its destination but aware of the dangers it can cause, Classic Sonic rushes after it, freeing and teaming up with Mighty or Ray and witnessing Heavy Magician using it to reactivate the other HBH.

AIZ ACT 1 (Sonic Mania Plus Encore Mode Version)
Angel Island Zone Act 1 is a small recreation of the first section of Sonic 3’s original version of the Zone, except without the Giant Ring Locations, giant tree stump, and everything going up in flames. 

At the end, Sonic will find Ray & Mighty inside a Combi Catcher Style Prison Capsule. After freeing them, Sonic has to choose who he’ll team up with. If Sonic teams up with Mighty, Mighty will have to Hammer Drop to a lower path while teaming up with Ray leads to the higher path.

AIZ BESTIARY (Sonic Mania Plus Encore Mode Version)
The Badniks still running loose in the Angel Island Zone, that Knuckles needs to find and dismantle, are:

  • Monkey Dude: a robot baboon hanging near the tops of trees, waiting to throw fruits at Sonic.
  • Rhinobot: a robot rhino that will aggressively charge at Sonic.
  • Bloominator: a robot rose that periodically fires projectiles from its bud. Despite the spikes on its sides, Sonic can destroy it by Rolling, Spin Dashing, or Drop Dashing into it.
  • Catakiller Jr.: a new version of Catakiller that flies instead of crawling and uses flares/electricity instead of spikes to protect itself. Its head is still its weakness.
  • Sweep: a new Badnik that wasn’t originally in the Zone before. It’s a robot pond sweeper that skates along the top of lakes. It’s pretty much a water version of Needlenose.

 

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The Green Hill Zone is a tropical mountain coastline of South Island. In Mania Mode and Encore Mode, after the Phantom Ruby was craned out of the ground or given to Heavy King in the Angel Island Zone, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, Ray, & the HBH were all transported there. Although, in Mania Mode, Knuckles actually starts out from inside a cave with its own exclusive features, including an exclusive Giant Ring. Both paths intersect at some point though. 

GHZ ACT 1 & GH ACT 1 ENCORE (Mania Version)

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Green Hill Zone Act 1 remixes the original 16-bit version’s Act 1 and Act 2. You still have the hidden Item Boxes & Springs in certain palm trees, Swinging Platforms, the levitating pillar platforms surrounded by spike pits, unstable mountain cliffs and floating platforms, and breakable walls inside of the mountains. There’s also a new lower path and 1 new Badnik addition.

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In Encore Mode, it looks like the sun is setting in the Green Hill Zone.

GHZ ACT 2 & GH ACT 2 ENCORE (Mania Version)

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Green Hill Zone Act 2 remixes a small section of the original 16-bit version’s Act 3 while bringing back the bramble bridges, which can now be burned and destroyed by the Fire Shield. It also adds elements from the 8-bit version of Green Hill Act 2, such as pools of water and more caves, introduces ziplines, and adds a remixed background from one of the beta versions of the Green Hill Zone.

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In Encore Mode, the sunset background continues from Act 1.

GHZ BESTIARY (Mania Version)
The enemies patrolling the Green Hill Zone like it’s 1991 are:

  • Motobug: a robot ladybug rolls around a single tire. Unfortunately, they are way too slow to be a problem for Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, Ray, or anyone for that matter.
  • Buzz Bomber: a robot wasp that flies across the Green Hill Zone, only stopping to take pot shots at our boys.
  • Chopper: a robot piranha that lives in water, underneath bridges and jump out to chop down anything that crosses them. They still jump out from bridges in Act 1 but also swim from side to side in the waters of Act 2.
  • Crabmeat: a robot crab that slowly moves from side to side and shoots projectiles in small arcs from its claws.
  • Newtron: a robot chameleon that comes in 2 forms: a green variety that hides in inaccessible areas to snipe projectiles at our boys before disappearing and the blue variety that hides and then becomes the projectile, transforming into hero seeking missiles.
  • Batbrain: a robot bat that was originally used in the Marble Zone. They hang on the ceilings of caves and wait for our boys to come by before dropping down on them.

GHZ BOSS BATTLES (Mania Version)
The Death Egg comes to the Green Hill Zone in 2 cool boss battles:

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 DD Wrecker: Waiting at the end of GHZ Act 1 is DD Wrecker, 2 miniature Death Eggs chained together. Each D has the ability to turn into individual wrecking balls, which is visually indicated by them turning red and releasing 4 spikes. Fortunately, they both take 3 hits each to defeat. Although once one of them is destroyed, their twin will change its attack pattern.

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Death Egg Robot: At the end of GHZ Act 2, Eggman drops in with a new version of the Death Egg Robot, armed with its expendable arms from Generations and the Eggman Bombs from Sonic 2. Also, even though this is a roaming Boss Battle, the road is not endless like in Sonic Advance 2. If our heroes don’t finish him off and waste too much time, they’ll forced off a cliff at the end of the road and into a bottomless pit.


The Chemical Factory Plant Zone is a factory that makes a special chemical called Mega Muck (aka Mega Mack) on Westside Island. Thanks to Eggman getting his hands on the Phantom Ruby, the floor plans have been updated and Mega Muck production has resumed.

Sonictrainer Says: I always liked calling it Mega Muck because it’s the same color as the Pokémon, Muk.

CPZ ACT 1 & CP ACT 1 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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Like in Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone Act 1 combines elements of the original Zone in Sonic 2. Our heroes will have to run or roll on the curvy chemical pipes, Spin Jump to destroy lids and travel through empty pipes, use the floating platforms, small yellow platforms on rails, and cube elevators to reach higher or hidden areas, avoid blue Mega Muck that arcs between tubes, and try to swim through Purple Mega Muck for short periods of time.

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In Encore Mode, it’s nighttime in the city and plant, bringing in nice shades of blue.

CPZ ACT 2 & CP ACT 2 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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Chemical Plant Zone Act 2 takes place in a new part of the factory where new types of Mega Muck are being created and tested. Cyan Mega Muck is similar to the electrified floor in the Wacky Workbench Zone and can become bouncier once it turns into Green Mega Muck. Another new variety of Mega Muck is a sticky variant of purple Mega Muck allows our heroes to ride horizontal and vertical conveyor belts as well as hold Item Boxes in hard to reach places. There’s a Mega Muck Bubble elevator that may remind some people of NiGHTS. Besides the new products, there’s a new pipe system installed, that seems to originate from the Carnival Night Zone, that allows the boys to pick a pipe on the left or right side. There are also stopping points in the pipe system where they quickly stop to choose a direction. There is an area that only Knuckles can break through...

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In Encore Mode, the nighttime theme continues and adds in aqua blue.

CPZ BESTIARY (Mania Version)
The Badniks mixing up the Mega Muck in the Chemical Plant Zone are:

  • Spiny: a robot anemone that’s slow but can move on walls and ceilings and shoot a projectile out of its head.
  • Grabber: a robot spider that waits on the ceiling to drop down and grab enemies. If our boys get grabbed by Grabber, they have to quickly shake out of their grip before Grabber self-destructs. A new set of rails installed in the factory ceilings gave them more “grabbing” space.
  • Catakiller Jr.: Did you miss them in the Angel Island Zone? Don’t worry, Eggman decided to deploy them again here in Act 2…

CPZ BOSS BATTLES (Mania Version)
Eggman’s cooked up some remixes for Sonic and the others:

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Amoeba Droid: The Amoeba Droid is a remixed, upside down version of the Ice Cap Zone Sub Boss, Ice Ball. Instead of throwing snow & ice, it now uses Blue Mega Muck as its weapon and shield.

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Mean Bean: Before leaving the Chemical Plant Zone, Eggman tries to defeat our heroes using his intellect in a game of Puyo Puyo in his Mean Bean Machine.


The Studiopolis Zone is a city of movies, television studios, advertisements, and references, which could be located on Westside Island. After leaving the pipe from the Chemical Plant Zone, our heroes continue onward through the streets, shops, and production sets to follow the trail of the Phantom Ruby.

Fast Fact: Studiopolis Zone is the Zone with the most Easter eggs in Sonic Mania Plus. There are at least 20 different Sonic & SEGA references in both Acts.

SPZ ACT 1 & SP ACT 1 ENCORE
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Studiopolis Zone Act 1 takes place outside, where Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, & Ray can run behind yellow tinted windows, bounce around different formations of Bumpers and the new Bumper Balloons, hop inside HORNET TV trucks to be converted into waves, travel through satellites, and hop out of a Game Gear TV, grab a quick snack inside of giant popcorn makers, use producer chairs as elevator platforms, use clapperboards as diving boards, and break any glass they run past.

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In Encore Mode, Studiopolis Zone switches its primary colors (blue, red, & yellow) for secondary colors (Green, Orange, & Purple).

SPZ ACT 2 & SP ACT 2 ENCORE
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Studiopolis Zone Act 2 takes place inside of one of the largest studios in the city where Egg TV seems to be broadcasting. While indoors Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, & Ray will bounce across Bumper Balloons, take a chance of increasing their Rings and Points with the Gallop Lotto, be converted into electricity and travel through power cords, use stage lights as stepping stones, flip panels to reveal cool references, and use giant movie reels as elevators to reach new areas.

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In Encore Mode, it continues the color swap, showing off a lot of yellow and purple.

SPZ BESTIARY
The Badniks working the movie magic in the Studiopolis Zone are:

  • Mic Drop: a microphone Badnik that drops down, like a ninja, and swings around and discharges electricity.
  • Tubinaut: a movie version of the Badnik, Orbinaut. This is a new version of the defensive Orbinauts, that protects itself by spinning its spotlights very fast and creating its own insta-shield. Not only can the Tubinauts’ shield cause damage, it can even repel Super Forms! However, when the satellites are slowly moving, they can be destroyed individually with a Spin Jump or Roll. Its facial expression changes depending on the number of lights it has left.
  • Canister: a movie version of the Badnik, Snail Blaster, that shoots film as projectile. They’re usually found on the walls and the film it shoots slowly floats down, making it hard to dodge sometimes.
  • Shutterbug: a robot fly that also acts as a camera. They act as paparazzi, so they don’t value personal space…
  • Cluckoid: a weathervane robot that first appeared in the Mushroom Hill Zone. It makes a cameo as the weatherman in the Weather Globe Boss Battle.

SPZ BOSS BATTLES
Studiopolis Zone is bringing 2 new Boss Battles straight to you live from EGG TV:
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Heavy Gunner: Heavy Gunner is a blue male HBH that catches up with our heroes at the end of SPZ Act 1 and starts a highway chase. Armed with his rocket launcher, his helicopter, and his squad of Egg Robos, he will constantly shoot missiles onto the road. The trick is to dodge the red ones and Spin Jump or roll into the Heavy Gunner colored missiles to send them back to sender. Doing this 4 times will take out his squad and helicopter, causing him to retreat.
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Weather Mobile: The Weather Mobile is a news program where Clucker does a report on the weather and Eggman tries to take advantage of it. There are 3 forecasts that temporary affect the stage and the chances to hit Eggman. When it’s windy, fans will try to blow our heroes into a ceiling of spikes. There are poles on the left and right side of the room to prevent a lesson in acupuncture. If they’re bold, characters could also use the wind to hit Eggman and bounce back onto the pole. When it’s stormy, storm clouds will appear and zap anyone underneath. Though they’re easy to avoid, a Lightning Shield will also protect Sonic & Friends. When it’s sunny, heat lamps will try to fry everyone except Eggman. To avoid sunburn, our boys will have to stand under Eggman or use a Fire Shield.


The Flying Battery Zone is an airship Eggman created and used to carry supplies to the Death Egg after it fell into Angel Island. With the Phantom Ruby in his procession, Eggman decided to remodel the Flying Battery and give it new routes to travel to while collecting scrap metal and dropping off new Prison Capsules between Islands and Zones. After it flew past the Studiopolis Zone, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, & Ray managed to catch a ride.

FBZ ACT 1 & FB ACT 1 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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Act 1 of the Flying Battery Zone remixes the original’s Act 1 and 2 but removes the slow-moving spiral elevators, where Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles had to stand in one spot and wait but then quickly move to avoid getting crushed. Now Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, and Ray will have to grab and move across handrails, some of which will pull up or drop down to new areas, avoid getting burned by flamethrowers, which can be used as Springs if they can safely get on top of them, quickly float across the giant turbines, open or bounce off of the unused Prison Capsules, which may contain Rings or an ambush of Badniks, run up and down and all around wire pillars, which can be vertical or horizontal, swing sideways across the giant propellers on the outside of the airship, avoid getting crushed by the Spiked Magnets, use the round orange and blue platforms to get to new areas, quickly run and jump over landmines, trick parachuting missiles into making an opening in the ship, and use the Lightning Shield to travel along the electric batteries…when they’re on.

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In Encore Mode, the grays and golds of the Zone switch places.

FBZ ACT 2 & FB ACT 2 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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Flying Battery Zone Act 2 switches things up by adding the spot decoration and Cluckers from the Wing Fortress Zone, the electric defense system from the Wacky Workbench Zone, and junk piles, that characters can sink into. There are also secret rooms filled with Item Boxes. Outside, it will start to rain as the airship heads into a storm.

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In Encore Mode, it continues the color scheme of Act 1.

FBZ BESTIARY (Mania Version)
The Badniks returning to charge up the inside and outside of the Flying Battery Zone are:

  • Technosqueek: a giant computer mouse with eyes that acts like a regular mouse. In the past, they only scurried across walls and ceilings, but now they can also run up and down support beams.
  • Blaster: a robot bug with caterpillar wheels and a turret. Fortunately, they also get magnetized by the electric batteries, leaving them open to a Spin Attack.
  • Clucker: a robot chicken that first appeared in the Wing Fortress Zone. In Mania, they can now turn and shoot in both directions while some of their turrets can fly and appear on the ceiling.
  • Madmole: a robot mole that first appeared in the Mushroom Hill Zone and piloted certain parts of the original Flying Battery. A few of them are piloting parts of Act 2.

FBZ BOSS BATTLES (Mania Version)
While the first Boss is a remix of a remix, Act 2 features a new boss.
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Big Squeeze: The Big Squeeze is a giant trash compacter that slowly gets closer and closer to turning our heroes into pancakes. As the compacter pushes the trash into a ladder, an electromagnetic crane will create Orbinauts out of the wreckage and send them towards our heroes. After having enough trash to reach the crane, everyone will have to hit it several times before the walls get too close for comfort. The Lightning Shield will also make things easier.
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Spider Mobile: The Spider Mobile is a giant spider mech Eggman rides in upside down that shoots electric web and has giant Bumper protecting most of its body. To damage it, our heroes will have to Spin Jump or use the spinning poles to ram into the Bumper and knock the Spider Mobile’s cockpit into incoming rows of spikes.

 

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The Press Garden Zone is the ruins of a paper printing factory in a beautiful cherry blossom forest, that’s somehow growing in a snowy climate. As for where Press Garden Zone is…I couldn’t tell you. I would debate that it’s on Westside Island but that’s a discussion for another time. Anyway, Eggman reactivated the machines and became the chief editor of this historical landmark and turned it into a frozen propaganda spewing death trap.

PGZ ACT 1 & PG ACT 1 ENCORE
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Press Garden Zone Act 1 takes place inside the reactivated factory, where our heroes will run across spiral bridges from the Launch Base Zone, bounce off of newspaper belts, use the Flame Shield or Mighty’s Hammer Drop to destroy boxes, quickly jump across typewriter blocks, and quickly escape from giant paperweights. Hidden in a lower part of the Zone is a pit where several Splats ink generators are located.

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In Encore Mode, it’s nighttime, so the inside of the factory is darker and filled with shades of purple.

PGZ ACT 2 & PG ACT 2 ENCORE
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Press Garden Zone Act 2 takes place outside, making it the only Ice Level in the game. Speaking of ice, this is one of the few times our heroes will want to be frozen, because doing so will allow them to ram through paths blocked by ice cubes safely while bouncing off of Springs. The Fire Shield will also melt any ice it touches. Besides the icy objects in this Act, there are also ninja platforms, that shoot darts that can be used as platforms, and woodchippers, that are filled with large chopped pieces of trees that characters can stand on briefly before they get too close to the blades.

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In Encore Mode, our heroes will run through the Zone during the night with lit lanterns being the only source of light in the dark background.

PGZ BESTIARY
The Badniks printing fake news in the Press Garden Zone are:

  • Dragonfly: a robot dragonfly that was first deployed in the Mushroom Hill Zone. Its body is mostly sharp blades except for its head.
  • Splats: a robot rabbit that hops out of an ink bottle to stamp papers and enemies.
  • Juggle Saw: a pair of robot crabs that pass a sawblade between each other.
  • Woodrow: a robot woodpecker that stays outside the factory in Act 2. They’re positioned on trees filled with bombs and will peck them to make the bombs fall if enemies get too close, although Mighty’s shell can protect him for a bit.
  • Icebearer: an ice version of Bombbearer, that drops ice bombs that touch the ground and creates icebergs that damage our boys if they touch it before it melts. Fortunately, our heroes can use their bombs to get frozen.
  • Asterion: a robot starfish that first appeared in the Metropolis Zone. Heavy Shinobi loves to use them in his Boss Battle.

PGZ BOSS BATTLES
2 cold machines are waiting to put the ice on Sonic and add his name to the obituaries:
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Shiversaw: Shiversaw is a newly designed steam powered Super Badnik that uses frozen sawblades to cut its enemies. Fortunately, its blades aren’t sharp or sturdy enough to break the stronger boxes in the arena, which gives Sonic and the others time for a counterattack.
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Heavy Shinobi: Heavy Shinobi is a green male ninja HBH that fights by using what I believe is an ice sword. Heavy Shinobi can freeze things so fast, only Sonic could probably see its movements. He also does flip jumps while throwing Asterion as explosive shuriken. The key to victory is attacking while he’s jumping, which will stun him for a short amount of time allowing another Spin Jump to damage him.

 

The Stardust Speedway Zone is a highway on the Little Planet that travels through a musical city of lights and sounds, where Sonic had won a race against Metal Sonic and finally reunited with Amy as the prize. Eggman has returned once again to rewrite the history of this Zone while researching the effects of the Phantom Ruby’s powers…by rebuilding a new tower he originally made of himself.

SSZ ACT 1 & SS ACT 1 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 takes place in the Past Version of the Zone, where the highway is a giant garden maze outside of an ancient civilization that valued the arts. The Mountain Pulleys, path changing vertical pillars, Wheel Switches, and giant Marble Spiked Balls on chains from the Marble Garden Zone, the bouncy and bridge-like vines from the Mushroom Hill Zone, and the spinning spike line hazards from the Collision Chaos Zone have been added here. For the Zone’s original gimmicks and hazards, the blue spiked balls, the blue spiked, swinging platforms, and the Zone’s original designed boosters are back. Also, the Little Planet Prison Capsules have been repurposed in this Zone to create beanstalks, that have leaf platforms and giant Mega Chopper style carnivorous plants, when destroyed. As for removed elements, the blue sphere signs, that allowed Sonic to switch paths, are no longer here.

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In Encore Mode, the skies and environment are a little bit darker. As if it is a Bad Past…

Fast Fact: Mighty's Hammer Drop can squash the Mega Chopper Plants in Act 1.

SSZ ACT 2 & SS ACT 2 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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After destroying the Badnik Machine and touching a Future Signpost, our heroes will time travel to Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2. In Mania Mode, it takes place in the Present Version of the Zone and all of the plants are gone. However, the music motif lives on in the roads, buildings, and other parts of the city. In Act 2 characters will also use different types of Jump Selectors to reach higher areas and jump and hold onto fireworks, from Tropical Resort (Generations Version), that fire straight up into the air. Also, the cool flame animation still appears when characters speed through the checkerboard markers. At the end of the Act, our heroes will end up at the bottom of the construction site where they’ll find a Metal Sonic projector…

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In Encore Mode, Stardust Speedway Act 2 takes place in the Bad Future Version of the Zone. The beautiful starry skies have been corrupted by air pollution caused by the multiple factories Eggman filled the city with. However, all Badniks are fully functional and have not become rusty yet.

SSZ BESTIARY (Mania Version)
The Badniks zooming around the timeless streets of the Stardust Speedway Zone are:

  • Firefry (OJN: Hotaru): a robot firefly that freezeframe themselves near enemies before shooting its lightbulb laser downward.
  • Dust Swarm (OJN: Kabasira): a robot mosquito column made of a leader and afterimages. The afterimages are used as ammo by the leader. Destroying the leader takes out the entire swarm although the leader is not always in front of the swarm.
  • Speed Bumper (OJN: Dango): a robot pill bug that can rebound our heroes while rolling or cause them to come to a complete stop if they roll into it. For some reason, they are pink in Act 1 and green in Act 2.
  • Traffic Flight (OJN: Kanabun): a robot beetle that flies in a circular motion between the foreground and background.

SSZ BOSS BATTLES (Mania Version)
A newcomer and 2 blasts from the past are waiting to turn Stardust Speedway into streets of rage:

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Deepfry (aka Hi-Watt Hotaru): Deepfry is a giant Firefry traveling with a swarm of Firefries. While the swarm of Firefries will attack in pairs and create ropes of electricity, Deepfry will then try to torch the track with its giant laser.
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Metal Sonic: A Super Badnik Eggman created in Sonic’s image in order to defeat him on Little Planet. Since then, Metal Sonic has been the most common Sonic robot Eggman has bought back to help him in his plans. The first time Sonic fought against Metal Sonic, they raced each other through the Stardust Speedway Zone with Sonic as the victor. Now Metal Sonic will attack our heroes as they try to make it to the highest road, surrounding the newly built Eggman tower. Before and after the Silver Sonic part of his Boss Battle, Metal Sonic will use a Homing Spin Dash, where he’ll try to follow a hero’s path before launching forward, use his Ring Spark Shield, where he’ll charge up first before discharging electricity from his body, or his Maximum Overdrive, and boost through the air to knock the Rings out of Sonic & Friends.
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Silver Sonic Mk. I: Silver Sonic Mk. I was the first Metal Sonic Eggman ever created and was a prototype for Silver Sonic Mk. II, Metal Sonic, Mecha Sonic, and all future evil knockoffs. He first fought against Sonic in the Scrambled Egg Zone. This new version of Silver Sonic Mk. I was created by a generator, powered by Metal Sonic, allowing Silver Sonic Mk. I to be mass produced but in a smaller size and not as durable as before. Also, when it’s destroyed it releases 4 projectiles. At this point in the boss fight, the boys will have to bounce Silver Sonics into Metal Sonic, while they roll or Spin Jump, or try to destroy them so that their projectiles hit Metal Sonic. Metal Sonic can still attack through.

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Giga Metal: Once Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, & Ray make it to the top, Eggman will throw the Phantom Ruby over to Metal Sonic, causing him to transform into Giga Metal, a Phantom Version of Titan Metal Sonic. In this form, he will march forward while destroying the path and creating a bottomless pit behind him. Giga Metal will then attack by firing a laser from his mouth or shooting bouncing bombs, which was a move used by Eggman in the Under Ground Zone and when he was piloting the Egg X in the X Zone. After hitting the Phantom Ruby capsule on his chest multiple times, the illusion will break and split up Metal Sonic and the Phantom Ruby.

 

The Hydrocity Zone is an underground series of water channels and systems on Angel Island. While Knuckles has been gone, Eggman returned and did a little remodeling.

HCZ ACT 1 & HC ACT 1 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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Hydrocity Zone Act 1 is a remixed version of the original Act 1 but with mechanics, gimmicks, and hazards borrowed from other Zones, such as: 

  • harpoons, from the Labyrinth Zone, that pop up to try and stab our heroes on the ground and ceiling.
  • Hook Switches, from the Mystic Cave Zone, that can be grabbed and pulled to make the water rise or sink in certain locations or open paths.
  • Air Bubble Shields, from the Aqua Lake Zone, that character can ride to prevent drowning and stay protected from projectiles while avoiding hazards and following the current produced by the fans.
  • small gondolas, that characters can ride across the water to reach certain areas. (I can’t remember if this originates from a specific Zone)

Besides the those, there are the Zone’s custom boosters, where a gloved hand grabs characters and winds them up on a gear before launching them, the grabbable conveyer belts, that characters can ride to reach higher areas, and the infamous fast current sections, where characters have to grab a pole to avoid swimming into spike balls and other hazards in a very narrow tunnel.

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HCZ ACT 2 & HC ACT 2 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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There’s not much I can say about Act 2 besides the giant crush wall being removed completely and that the spinning vertical tube platforms appear. The background appears to have windows with some sort of light source both above and underwater. There are also candle lights…

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HCZ BESTIARY (Mania Version)
The Badniks watching the tides in the Hydrocity Zone are:

  • Pointdexter: A robot pufferfish that swims slowly while periodically releasing and retracting its spikes. Once its spikes aren’t out, it can be destroyed with a Spin Jump.
  • Mega Chopper: A smaller version of Chopper, that is literally just a giant mouth, that acts like an underwater parasite, stealing the Rings, Speed, Jump, Roll, and other abilities, like Knuckles’ climbing, from anyone it can get its teeth in. Luckily, they can be shaken off before dying from air loss or Ring loss.
  • Turbo Spiker: A robot hermit crab that is a fusion of the Badniks, Spikes, from the Spring Yard Zone, and Spiker, from the Hill Top Zone, improving the advantages of both. Turbo Spikers roll around near Shuttle Loops. If our heroes get within range, it will launch its drill in a diagonal direction and then run away. Honestly, the angle of the drill makes it very hard to dodge. However, once its drill is gone, it’s defenseless.
  • Blastoid: A robot turret that fires 3 shots at a 40 degree angle. Although they can’t change its angle, their placement in the Zone makes up for it.
  • Bugernaut: A robot horsefly that travels in pairs. They fly around and annoy intruders. The bigger ones in the pairing is the one that needs to be taken out to defeat it.
  • Jawz: A robot shark that acts like a missile that flies in the air and swims underwater. They appear in schools.
  • Jellygnite: A robot jellyfish that swims slowly underwater but acts similarly to Grabber. It first appeared in the Hidden Palace Zone on Westside Island.

HCZ BOSS BATTLES (Mania Version)
Both Bosses from the Original in Sonic 3 & Knuckles have returned in reverse to change up the end of the Acts.
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Dive Eggman: Dive Eggman is a diver suit Eggman created that allows him to swim underwater and plant bombs. After avoiding collapsing debris, our heroes will have to borrow Eggman’s Screw Mobile to get revenge. The Screw Mobile can create water tornados and drop grenades, which can be used to destroy the Dive Eggman Bombs.
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Laundro Mobile: The Laundro Mobile is an upgraded version of the Egg Mobile that has parts from the Super Badnik, Big Shaker. The first part of this Boss Battle has Eggman pushing characters through underwater tunnels. To fight back and avoid drowning, Sonic and the others will have to swim into Switch Mines and direct Eggman into them, causing Eggman to take damage and an air bubble to appear on the path. After hitting a certain number of times, the fight will take place in small pit area like the original Mini Boss.

Sonictrainer Says: Turbo Spiker sucks.

 

The Mirage Saloon Zone is a beautiful sandy desert attraction where customers can take break from their travels and get a cold drink or ice cream sundae. After leaving the Hydrocity Zone and gathering together on the Tornado, everyone was heading in the direction of the Phantom Ruby’s signal. In Mania Mode, Heavy Magician intercepted the Tornado, knocking Knuckles off the plane.

MSZ ACT 1 (Sonic & Tails)
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In Mania Mode, Sonic, Tails, Mighty, & Ray will ride the Tornado through the desert in a remixed version of the Sky Chase Zone (Tails flies for Sonic & Sonic flies for everyone else). Halfway through the level, Eggman will appear with a freight train and characters will try to race to the front of the train. At the end of the Act, Nack, Bean, or Bark will appear on an Armadiloid and shoot down the Tornado.

MSZ ACT 1 (Knuckles)
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Knuckles will try to catch up with everyone else by traveling through a canyon section exclusive to him and his climbing and gliding abilities.

MS ACT 1 ENCORE
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In Encore Mode, the boys will have to travel through a canyon trainyard filled with flatbeds with barrels, Badniks, and spikes, and secret tunnels, that can be accessed through special abilities or carefully looking. During Mirage Saloon Act 1 Encore, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, & Ray will use the swinging bars, from the Angel Island Zone, to reach new areas, use Spin Jumps to destroy cracked boulders to reveal hidden Springs or other secrets, touch the top of spray bottles and run along a path of water/soda before it runs out, which is similar to the water hose from the Pirates’ Island Zone, bounce off of bird shaped flippers and 2 types of Zone exclusive Bumpers, fall off of or jump off of down arrow barrels to reach new areas, avoid more of the tiny spiked ball bars, like the ones in SSZ Act 1, use the seesaws, from the Star Light Zone, to reach higher areas, use giant Egg Robo guns as Jump Selectors to get launched in specific directions, and finally catch the same train that appeared in Act 1 in Mania Mode. Paintings of Heavy King will watch characters as they go through the Zone.

The color palette will change to sky blue, cyan, pink, and purple after getting onto the train, making it look like the desert is cooling down.

MSZ ACT 2 & MS ACT 2 ENCORE
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In Mirage Saloon Zone Act 2 takes place in the actual restaurant parts of the saloon. Along with the same gimmicks from the Knuckles Version and Encore Mode Version of Act 1, characters will run through Shuttle Loops made of sand, that collapse after running through them, hop across or spin on the stools, that are similar to the spinning devices seen in the Palmtree Panic Zone, and bounce off of giant piano keys, which are remixed from the Music Plant Zone.

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In Encore Mode, Mirage Saloon Zone Act 2 gets a purple palette swap

MSZ BESTIARY
The Badniks trying out their camo in the sands, parlors, and skies of the Mirage Saloon Zone are:

  • Rattlekiller: a snake version of Catakiller that slithers around poles and tries to bite enemies like a Crawlton.
  • Cactula: desert versions of Nebula with new paintjobs that help disguise them as the top part of cacti. When the Tornado flies close enough, they’ll pop out of their hiding spots. Their attack pattern is the same though, dropping a bomb from underneath.
  • Armadiloid: desert versions of Turtloid, that are armadillos instead of turtles, that appear in Act 1 ST. The premise is still the same, with small versions riding the big versions. Only the small ones can be destroyed but the big ones can be used as platforms afterward.
  • Bumpalo: a buffalo Badnik with a Bumper built onto its back to protect it from Spin Jumps. However, Mighty’s Hammer Drop will bypass the Bumper while the others can destroy them by rolling into it.
  • Vultron: a vulture Badnik that stands on top of cacti and tall objects and swoops down when enemies get close.
  • Roller Mk. II: an upgraded version of Roller, an armadillo Badnik that first appeared in the Spring Yard Zone. Roller Mk. II rebounds and uncurls after being hit in ball form and will try to follow enemies. Eggman may have gotten inspiration from Mighty when making Mk. II since it has similar colors, abilities, and sound effects from Knuckles Chaotix.
  • Pithead: a green spiky, heavy, and projectile-less version of Orbinaut our heroes will have to use and avoid when launching off of the seesaws.

MSZ BOSS BATTLES
Heavy Magician has prepared several performances for the saloon stage and has asked for 5 brave volunteers:
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Uber Catakiller: The Uber Catakiller is an upgraded, pink version of the Bead Worm, a Super Badnik and a member of Eggman’s Master Robot Series that appeared in the Gigalopolis Zone. In Mania Mode’s Act 1 on the Tornado, Sonic, Tails, Mighty, & Ray will have fight it as it strikes from below the sands, while avoiding its spikes and being rebounded into the bottomless pit. In Knuckles’ Mania Mode Act 1 and in Encore Mode, it will fight like Bead Worm, breaking off segments of its body and bouncing them around the area. Like other Catakillers before it, its head is still its main weakness.  
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Heavy Magician: Heavy Magician is a yellow female HBH that uses her powers and magic box to transform into Nack, then Bean, then Bark, and repeats the cycle. Fortunately, the illusions can be broken with a well-timed Spin Jump.
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Mirage Nack the Weasel (aka Fang the Sniper): Nack was a treasure hunter that tried to collect the Chaos Emeralds on 3 separate occasions so that he could sell them to the highest bidder. His first attempt was after Eggman accidently scattered them into Nack’s home dimension, but they were recollected by Sonic & Tails. His second attempt was during the second Chaos Grand Prix, where the prizes were Chaos Emeralds. Finally, his last attempt was during the Chaos Championship, where he stole the Purple Chaos Emerald from its Guardian, which may have been Honey the Cat, and hid in the Casino Night Zone. While Heavy Magician takes his form, she will fight using his popgun to shoot corks while bouncing around the stage.
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Mirage Bean the Dynamite: Bean is a woodpecker that was one of the Chaos Emerald Guardians, protecting the Green Chaos Emerald in the Dynamite Plant Zone. While Heavy Magician takes his form, she will toss bombs and randomly jump around the stage.
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Mirage Bark the Polar Bear: Bark was the top snowboarder of North Island and one of the Chaos Emerald Guardians, protecting the Yellow Chaos Emerald in the Aurora Icefield Zone. While Heavy Magician takes his form, she will bash the ground and cause debris to fall from the ceiling.

Fast Fact: Nack the Weasel is one of the few Sonic characters that has 4 fingers instead of 5. Also, his name was changed in Japan because it sounded too close to Knuckles or Knux.

 

The Oil Ocean Zone is a giant quantity of oil located on Westside Island. In the past, Eggman used the oil here to help fuel the Death Egg. Now he’s collecting it for something else…

OOZ ACT 1 & OO ACT 1 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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One of the major new additions to this Zone is that any character can grab a Fire Shield and BURN EVERYTHING set the oil on fire. Besides this and a new Badnik addition, not much else has changed. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, & Ray will try to run fast enough to break free of wind blocking fans, ride elevators up and down, slip and slide down streams of oil, cross over bridges with spiky rings as obstacles, jump on top of lids being launched into the air by green flames, use them as platforms, and avoid getting crushed by them, and use the Zone’s unique cannon system to fly around the area. The oil here is like quicksand and characters fall in and stay in it too long, they will automatically die. Also, Mighty might want to avoid using the Hammer Drop to accidently dive into the oil…

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In Encore Mode, the skies are clear blue and void of air pollution.

OOZ ACT 2 & OO ACT 1 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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It seems the effects of the Boss Battle from Act 1 caused the air to become polluted. Fortunately, an air quality system, similar to the light system in the Sandopolis Zone Act 2, was created in case of an emergency such as this. As long as characters can find a switch to grab and pull, the air quality will return to normal. However, if they take too long, the area will fill up with smog, lowering visibility and lowering the Ring Counter. While it doesn’t instantly kill, running with no Rings and not being able to see where you’re running is a bad combination. A few submarines from Marina Madness are here as well, allowing characters to escape the smog and explore the inside of the ships.

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In Encore Mode, things become even more blue.

OOZ BESTIARY (Mania Version)
The Badniks burning precious resources at the Oil Ocean Zone are:

  • Octus: a robot octopus that shoots a small ball of oil at enemies while hovering in the air for a brief moment.
  • Aquaris: a robot seahorse that flies in random patterns while shooting a projectile from its mouth.
  • Sol: a fire version of the offensive Orbinauts, that uses fireballs instead of spiked balls. Their fireballs will also burn the oil while they move or sometimes after destroying them. 

OOZ BOSS BATTLES (Mania Version)
2 oily Bosses are waiting to slip our heroes in the Oil Ocean Zone:
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Meter Droid: Meter Droid is a remixed version of Heigh-Ho, a Super Badnik from the Mushroom Hill Zone, that acts as a plumber instead of a lumberjack and uses a giant wrench instead of an axe. Our heroes will have to quickly attack Meter Droid before he can cause the pipe lids in the area to shoot up. Anyone unfortunate to not be in the middle of the area when this happens will be sent into a ceiling of spikes and crush killed.
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Mega Octus: Mega Octus is a giant version of Octus that Eggman rides inside of, that has weapons from the Submarine Eggman 2 and Heat Arms built into its tentacles. Sonic and the others will have to avoid attacks while attacking Mega Octus once it comes out of the oil.

 

The Lava Reef Zone is an underground series of caves filled with lava, ingenious and metamorphic rocks, and gemstones underneath an active volcano on Angel Island. Unfortunately, since the Death Egg last launched from here, things are even hotter than usual. After arriving via a flying submarine, Sonic, Tails, Mighty, and Ray try to follow Eggman’s trail while Knuckles makes a detour to check on the Master Emerald.

LRZ ACT 1 & LR ACT 1 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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The Walker Weights from the Metallic Madness Zone have been added here and can be used to crush spikes on the ground, cross some of the lava pools, and crush any Rexons swimming in the lava. Fences with barbed wire have been added, that can be destroyed with a Spin Dash. Rexon reappears from the Hill Top Zone and Tunnelbots reappears from the Marble Garden Zone. Some of the wooden Shuttle Loops may be the same design as the ones in the Endless Mine Zone. Finally, some of the lava sprouts are similar to the ones Sonic encountered in the Marble Zone. Besides the borrowed elements, characters will still have to try not to get hit by giant rolling spike balls, Spin Dash to power Transports, little elevators that slowly travel up and down, avoid getting crushed by Spiked Traps, and maneuver around all of the lava.

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In Encore Mode, the caves were changed from green to red, but it’s very hard to tell anything’s been changed since most Fire Zones look like this…

LRZ ACT 2 & LR ACT 2 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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Lava Reef Zone Act 2 is a diamond mine where elements of the Quartz Quadrant Zone have been added. This includes the conveyor belts, which now have rock and Undermine shoots, conveyor belt switches, which characters have to touch to change the direction of the conveyor belts, and background elements of the Good Future.

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In Encore Mode, it looks a little like the Bad Future of the Quartz Quadrant Zone.

LRZ BESTIARY (Mania Version)
The Badniks helping to mine the Lava Reef Zone are:

  • Fireworm: a robot worm that hides inside walls. Their heads are the weakness.
  • Toxomister: a gas pipe robot that emits a toxic mist. Breathing in this mist will drain the Ring Counter, lower your speed, and lower your jump height. Characters can shake it off or use a Shield to prevent its effects altogether.
  • Undermine (OJN: Iwamodoki): a mimic Badnik that pretends to be an igneous rock. If intruders get close, they lose their cover, start glowing, and explode into 4 projectiles. Besides their explosion, there’s no other way to destroy them. They will also appear on conveyor belts in Act 2 and can crush kill if they land on anyone’s head.
  • Rexon: a robot dinosaur that originally appeared in the Hill Top Zone. They swim in the lava and shoot fireballs from their mouths. Their heads can be destroyed but their backs can be used as platforms afterwards.

LRZ BOSS BATTLES (Mania Version)
While Act 1 features a remixed Sub Boss from Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Act 2 has an exclusive Boss Battle for Knuckles. 
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Driller Droid: Driller Droid is an upgraded version of Tunnelbot, a Super Badnik that first appeared in the Marble Garden Zone. The main difference between the 2 is that Driller Droid is covered in thick layers of armor. Before anyone can make a dent in it, they’ll have to trick into digging into the lava reef to melt off its armor.
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Heavy Rider & Jimmy: Sonic, Tails, Mighty, & Ray will travel on an upper path to fight against Heavy Rider, a purple female HBH that rides a Motobug named Jimmy. Heavy Rider likes to use a Spike Ball as a morning star and shield, swinging it sometimes or holding it in front of her during the other times. Meanwhile, Jimmy is tougher than regular Motobugs, has the ability to jump, and can’t actually be destroyed. As she rides around her stunt track, flamethrowers and confetti will sometimes sprout from the middle.
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Heavy King: Knuckles will travel on a lower path to prevent Heavy King, a red male HBH and is the leader of the HBH, from stealing the Master Emerald from the Hidden Palace.


The Metallic Madness Zone was a fortress Eggman created on Little Planet. Unlike before time seems more altered here and even more so than in the Stardust Speedway Zone…

MMZ ACT 1 & MM ACT 1 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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Metallic Madness Zone Act 1 takes place in the present, although construction equipment and other things that were originally only seen in its Past are still in the Present for some reason. The foreground and background swapping mechanic has been pushed further, creating new paths in the far background that characters can reach via the weighted seesaw catapults.

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In Encore Mode, the Zone takes place in the Bad Future of Metallic Madness Zone, where most, if not all, of the metal has rusted. Badniks are still in working condition though.

MMZ ACT 2 & MM ACT 2 ENCORE (Mania Version)
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Metallic Madness Zone Act 2 takes place in the present, although parts of the Bad Future are appearing too early. The shrink rays return to make our heroes smaller, allowing them to squeeze through certain areas. The falling spike rail trap returns, but teleports in before falling much faster and giving a brief hint of where to stand to avoid getting crushed.

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Metallic Madness Act 2 Encore continues to take place in the Bad Future of Metallic Madness Zone.

MMZ BESTIARY (Mania Version)
The Badniks still causing a riot in the Metallic Madness Zone are:

  • Hackucles (OJN: Mekabu): a robot rhinoceros beetle that runs on wheels and has a sawblade for a horn. Fortunately, they can only face one direction with their saws. However, they can lift them to do a small uppercut.
  • Buzz Killer (OJN: Pobe): a new version of the Buzz Bomber family that flies around while swinging 1 or 2 small spiked balls on chains back and forth.
  • Bomb Mk. II: an upgraded version of Bomb, that acts like a Russian nesting doll, duplicating itself into smaller pieces before exploding. Still can’t touch them.
  • Drag Race (aka Scarab): a robot scarab that moves Spikes, Item Boxes, and other objects back and forth on the ground.

MMZ BOSS BATTLES (Mania Version)
The Bosses of the Final Zone and Grand Metropolis Zone are back to drive Sonic insane:
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Egg Pistons Mk. II: The Egg Pistons Mk. II is an upgraded version of the trap room Eggman used on South Island in the Final Zone. Like before, it starts out with 2 pillars moving to try and crush characters and then firing 4 electric projectiles that land down towards the ground. Eggman will be hiding inside of the pillars. However, the room will change after a certain point, destroying the electric projectile system but causing multiple pillars to move one after the other at random.
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Mini Mobile (OJN: Gachapandora): The Mini Mobile is a gumball machine Eggman operates that uses the same tech as the Egg Mobile in the Metropolis Zone and the design of the Dark Shocker in Botanic Base, featuring new types of Eggman duplicates and a new Metal Version of Amy, called Amy Doll. While still shrunk, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, & Ray will have to hit the dispenser and take out all of the toys. Once it’s empty, sparks will fly out and the dispenser will have to be hit one last time to make Eggman fall out.


The Titanic Monarch Zone is a giant robot, that looks like Heavy King with Eggman’s mustache, acting as a HQ for Eggman and the HBH, past the Metallic Madness Zone on Little Planet. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, & Ray will have to travel along the outside and inside of the mech, carefully navigating between different machines and traps to finally finish things.

TMZ ACT 1 & TM ACT 1 ENCORE
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Titanic Monarch Zone Act 1 takes place outside of the giant robot, where our heroes will run on giant power cables, avoid electrical currents or, unless they have a Lightning Shield, ride them and use them as shortcuts to higher areas, catch a ride on Egg Robo operated air cars, that explode after carrying them to their destination, swing from a few poles, and defy gravity on giant electric orbs and bounce off the triangle Bumpers from the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Special Stages.

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In Encore Mode, all of the Red is swapped for Green.

TMZ ACT 2 & TM ACT 2 ENCORE
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After taking an elevator and entering through a door, Titanic Monarch Zone Act 2 takes place inside the giant robot. The Zone is split into 4 separate areas and is being affected by Ruby Mist, a gas created by the Phantom Ruby that teleports any characters that touch it. After going through all 4 areas, a portal will open to Eggman’s Boss Room.

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TMZ BESTIARY
The Badniks that live to serve in the Titanic Monarch Zone are:

  • Turbo Turtle: an upgraded version of Turtloid, that stand on the ground while carrying fans that blow our heroes in specific directions. Fortunately, the fans can be useful in some areas, Turbo Turtles can’t change the direction of their fans, and they can’t keep the fans on forever.
  • Flasher Mk. II: an upgraded version of Flasher, a firefly Badnik from the Mystic Cave Zone, that can no longer fly but can walk on floors, walls, and ceilings with rubber hose legs and suction cup feet. It can still zap people though.
  • Ball Hog: a robot pig that first appeared in the Scrap Brain Zone. They stand in one spot while producing bouncing bombs from their bellies.
  • Bug Sentry: I’m not sure what kind of insect Bug Sentry is, but it flies through the air while shooting homing missiles. These missiles will surround and follow characters until they get out of Bug Sentry’s range.

TMZ BOSS BATTLES
Eggman is done with tests on the Phantom Ruby and has made sure to be ready for Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, and Ray before they got here:
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Crimson Eye: Crimson Eye is an upgraded version of Red Eye, a Super Badnik that appeared in the remodeled Death Egg Zone in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The first part of the battle is the same as with Red Eye, where attacking Crimson Eye’s pupil will cause 1 of the metal balls surrounding it to explode and shoot some spikes throughout the area. After destroying its tower, Crimson Eye will go into its second form, where its armed with 2 cannons. At this point in the fight characters will have to fight while the gravity changes, making it harder or easier to Spin Jump, as Crimson Eye lands on the ground or ceiling and starting firing projectiles.

Fast Fact: In Encore Mode, Crimson Eye becomes Emerald Eye due to the palette swap.

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Phantom Egg: The Phantom Egg is an armor suit Eggman wears with the Phantom Ruby planted in the middle of it. The Phantom Egg has a shield, that only disappears while charging up, missiles, that fire out the top of the armor, and Ruby Fists, that grab our heroes and teleport them into rooms with new versions of the HBH called the Phantom Heavies.

Phantom Heavies: Longer exposure to the Phantom Ruby in the Titanic Monarch Zone caused the HBH to transform even further. 

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Phantom Gunner: Phantom Gunner is an upgraded version of Heavy Gunner, that changed due to more exposure to the Phantom Ruby. Its arms are gone and have been replaced with 2 rocket launchers that fire more rounds than he normal could as Heavy Gunner. However, the brief mini boss is still the same where the white and blue missiles will come flying back to him.

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Phantom Shinobi: Phantom Shinobi is an upgraded version of Heavy Shinobi, that changed due to more exposure to the Phantom Ruby. His body is now a giant shuriken with 8 extending blades.

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Phantom Magician: Phantom Magician’s room is a quick round of the shell game where she hides inside one of the giant cups and shuffles each one around. If our heroes choose the right one that Phantom Magician is hiding in, they’ll avoid the lasers shooting out of the other 2 giant cups.

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Phantom Rider: While Phantom Rider looks the same as her Heavy Form, Jimmy now looks more like a badass motorcycle. In Phantom Rider’s area, she’ll race on the upper path while our heroes run on the bottom path.

Phantom King: He's the only member absent from this fight...


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Bonus Stage (Sonic Mania Plus: Mania Mode)

  • How to get there: In Mania Mode, after a character touches a Star Post with at least 25 Rings, a portal will open to the Blue Sphere Bonus Stages.
  • Summary: The Bonus Stages in Mania Mode are original and new maps of Blue Spheres.
  • Reward: Collecting all Silver & Gold Medallions will unlock new features in the Extras Menu. Also, collecting all Gold Medallions will change the Mania Mode Bonus Stage into the Encore Mode Bonus Stage.

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Bonus Stage (Sonic Mania Plus: Encore Mode/Mania Mode)

  • How to get there: In Encore Mode, after a character touches a Star Post with at least 50 Rings, a portal will open to the Pinball Bonus Stages.
  • Summary: The Bonus Stage in Encore Mode is a Pinball Machine based on Sonic Arcade, Sonic Spinball, & Knuckles Chaotix. Players will have to bounce characters into top part of the table to enter a Combi Catcher roulette filled with different prizes.
  • Reward: More Rings, more Characters, which act as your Life Counter in Encore Mode, & Elemental Shields, which are helpful in different Zones

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Special Stage (Sonic Mania Plus)

  • How to get there: Find of the 3D Giant Rings hidden throughout the Acts
  • Summary: In Sonic Mania’s Special Stages, characters can only run and jump to chase down a UFO carrying a Chaos Emerald. Collecting Blue Spheres will increase their Speed and collecting Rings will increase their time. There are 7 Special Stages in Mania Mode and Encore Mode each, making a total of 14 altogether. 
  • Reward: Collecting all 7 Chaos Emeralds will allow Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, and Ray to become Super, combining the powers of Speed Sneakers and Invincibility. It also allows Sonic to enter the Egg Reverie Zone after defeating the Phantom Egg in TMZ Act 2.

 

Zone Discussion Questions
1. Sonic Arcade & Knuckles Chaotix were not easy to find and play back in the day or now, besides emulators. Are you one of the lucky few to have actually played them? Or are you like me and missed out on them?

2a. What is your number 1 BEST level in Sonic Arcade? Or if you can’t pick one, what are your top favorites?
2b. What is your number 1 WORST level in Sonic Arcade? Or you can’t pick one, what are your least favorites?
2c. What are your favorite Level Music Tracks from Sonic Arcade?

3a. What is your number 1 BEST level in Knuckles Chaotix? Or if you can’t pick one, what are your top favorites?
3b. What is your number 1 WORST level in Knuckles Chaotix? Or you can’t pick one, what are your least favorites?
3c. What are your favorite Level Music Tracks from Knuckles Chaotix?

4a. Out of the 9 remixed Zones in Sonic Mania Plus (AIZ, GHZ, CPZ, FBZ, SSZ, HCZ, OOZ, LRZ, & MMZ) which one do you like the MOST? Or if you can’t pick one, what are your top favorites?
4b. Out of the 9 remixed Zones in Sonic Mania Plus, which one do you like the LEAST? Or if you can’t pick one, what are your least favorites?
4c. Out of the 4 original Zones in Sonic Mania Plus (SPZ, PGZ, MSZ, & TMZ), which one do you like the MOST? Or if you can’t pick one, which 2 or 3 are your top favorites?
4d. Out of the 4 original Zones in Sonic Mania Plus, which one do you like the LEAST? Or if you can’t pick one, which 2 or 3 are your least favorites?
4e. What are your favorite Zone Music Tracks from Sonic Mania Plus?

5. Do you think Sonic Arcade or Knuckles Chaotix should get remakes to retell the stories of those games while fixing problems with controls, level design, movesets, partner mechanics, and other things? If you say yes, what would you change and keep the same?


Mighty & Ray Discussion Questions
1. Before Sonic Mania Plus was announced, what were your initial thoughts on Mighty & Ray?

2. Who did you enjoy playing as more in Sonic Mania Plus? Mighty, Ray, both of them, or neither of them?

3. Is there anything you would change about Mighty & Ray in Sonic Mania Plus? (Animations, moves, sprites, etc.)

4. Would you like to see Mighty & Ray playable again in the future, whether in a Sonic Mania Sequel or other new games? 
4a. If you say Yes, should Mighty & Ray stay in the Classic Timeline or someday appear in the Modern Timeline?
4b. If you answered Yes again, would you keep their Archie Modern Designs (seen below)?

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