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Special Stages


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Well, as I said in the leak topic, I've had this topic in mind for a while, but for whatever reason hadn't actually got around to making it yet. D=

Anyway, with Sonic 4 apparently set to adopt the original 'rotating maze' special stage mechanic, this seems like as good a time as any to ask- which type of special stages do you like best, or think worked the best? Which do you think were the worst? And how about entry methods? Again, which do you think were the best or worst?

Personally, I reckon that they pretty much perfected the entire special stage mechanic way back in Sonic 2. No matter what they've tried since, for me, the classic half-pipe special stages will always be the most iconic, definitive ones that I associate with Sonic. And somewhat unfortunately for me, the Sonic 1-style rotating mazes that have apparently made a comeback are my least favourite. >.>

In terms of special stage entry methods, again, I'm going to have to go with Sonic 2 and star posts. I find the original mechanic of having to survive to the end of the level with 50 rings a bit too demanding, and the giant ring mechanic from S3&K is just a bit too easy. And quite frankly, the less said about getting into special stages in the Advance games (especially Sonic Advance 2) the better.

I think Sonic 3D (the Saturn version, anyway) managed to improve on the basic halfpipe mechanic by spicing things up a bit. It was nice to see it return in rush, but I think it was a bit fiddly due to the touch controls meaning you couldn't actually jump.

Still, regardless of how it's implemented, I think the 'collect X amount of rings by point Y' idea works best for special stages, really. I just hope we don't get any more like the ones in Heroes any time soon. Or ever. D=

Edited by Mahzes
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I agree that the half-pipe stages seem more iconic. I mean, it was in the most games, and it just seems "Sonic-y" to me. In fact, I really can't stand the Sonic 1 special stages. But I think for Sonic 4, Sega should have made an entirely new special stage, because Sonic 1, 2, CD, and 3&K all had new and different ones.

My favorite special stages, however, would have to be Sonic 3 & Knuckles'. I don't know why, but I just love them. It was a bit too easy to find all the special stages though. They could have done without SO many special rings everywhere.

Edited by silversapphire
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I really hated Sonic 2's special stages. The stage's movement felt far too choppy compared to Sonic's to feel natural and the bombs placed behind curves were just unfair. Now Sonic 1, THAT was a special stage. And by Sonic 4's alpha leak, I'm guessing that's going to return. :D Sonic 3&K's was kind of meh to me at first, but it grew on me after playing Blue Spheres.

Edited by SuperStingray
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I'm happy the running down pipe aren't used again, for the... I don't know how many times. Sonic 2, Sonic 3D (Saturn), Sonic Heroes and Sonic Rush at least. Maybe in a future game, not now. The rotating stage was used in 1, in one of the bonus for Sonic 3&K but nowhere else, right?

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I'm actually quite thrilled to see the rotating maze stages back again, because they really are the most underused of all the special stages in the series. It's a nice nod back to the first game too, plus they were really fun.

The half-pipe stages are definitely what comes to mind when I think of special stages, but I must confess it's the Blue Sphere stages that have a spot in my heart. For many a year, I spent more time on Blue Sphere than Sonic & Knuckles itself. :lol: The entry method for them could have been a little more challenging though, cos even when I was a kid I got all the emeralds dead fast on Sonic 3 & Knuckles because they giant rings were so easy to find. If they were to bring back the same method I certainly wouldn't complain, but I'd like to really work for the emeralds.

Quite honestly, I was never that keen on collecting rings to enter the Star Posts.

It wasn't that it was a bad mechanic as such, more personal preference than anything. See, I've always had a habit of speed-running through games, Sonic ones especially, and it really slowed me down when I had to keep doubling-back for a Star Post I might have missed as I liked to get the emeralds out the way quickly. These days it's not so bad as I know all the levels off by heart, but it's not something I was that thrilled about first time around.

Didn't mind getting 50 rings by the end of the stage though, because you could still manage that whilst speeding.

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I alwayse loved the orb collecting Special Stage from S3&K. It had the perfect music, the perfect design, the perfect atmosphere, it was just...PERFECT. I would have to say my least favorite was probobly the one from Heroes. The controls were rather broken, plus the fact that it was more or less a rehash of the half-pipe from S2 made it feel boring and unoriginal, I mean it was the first time we got a Special Stage in a 3D game...I expected it to be a little more memorable. As for S4 using the spinning maze, I'm okay with that but I thought it would be pretty cool if they had combined all three main Special Stages(maze, half-pipe, orb collecting)somehow, it would at least be a bit more refreshing than just reusing old Special Stages with a new mechanic or two(which they've been doing alot of)

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As much as I love Sonic 2, I can't stand the special stages. I hate how some of the corners will case you to run straight into a mine. Not to mention some of the ring counts were just a tad bit unfair. However, I will agree that the entry method was better than Sonic one. But I'll take the half-pipe over the special stages in advance 1. That was the worst special stage in my opinion. It was a bit unfair due to judging where you had to line up the character to collect the rings, and also trying to time the tricks was a bit of a pain.

I will say that I absolutely love the Special Stages in both Sonic CD as well as Sonic 3 and Knuckles. Both of these stages we're just fun to play over and over again. I can't begin to explain the hours I've played the Red Sphere Blue Sphere "mini" game, and I've done the same once I unlocked the time attack for the CD stages. If anything, I wish I could see an updated version of Red Sphere Blue Sphere.

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The Sonic 1 special stages were and are the bane of my existence.

The first time I ever played Sonic 1 was on an iPod Classic (*is ashamed*), so the controls were a bit awkward and strange, so I never got used to the special stages and got a chaos emerald only once in a while. Now, every time I play Sonic 1, whether it be on the iPod, an emulator, or the actual system, I screw up really badly. I dunno, maybe some sort of side-effect from constantly failing at first?

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Sonic 3 was the best in my opinion. It wasn't too hard, or too confusing, but it wasn't too easy either. The only problem is that you were given too many chances to play them. A skilled player could go super by Marble Garden if they were good enough. I think the method of entering the special stages was best in S1 & SCD.

I think the absolute worst special stages had to be Sonic Advance. I just couldn't seem to tell how to position myself to get the approaching rings.

... to be honest though, I thought Rush had the funnest special stages in the series. Even if it was just S2 enhanced.

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I hated the Heroes stages for several reasons. D=

Firstly, they were glitchy as hell, and half the time I'd find myself catching on the tunnel when I tried to run on anything except the floor, getting stuck running on the spot on the ceiling, or generally slowing down/ stopping/ running backwards when I shouldn't have.

The other thing that bugged me was the general 'chase the emerald' mechanic. Depending on how good you were and a bit of luck, the stages would either be over in seconds, or be a dragged-out, arduous task as the emerald got further away away from you.

Edited by Mahzes
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I hated the Heroes stages for several reasons. D=

Firstly, they were glitchy as hell, and half the time I'd find myself catching on the tunnel when I tried to run on anything except the floor, getting stuck running on the spot on the ceiling, or generally slowing down/ stopping/ running backwards when I shouldn't have.

The other thing that bugged me was the general 'chase the emerald' mechanic. Depending on how good you were and a bit of luck, the stages would either be over in seconds, or be a dragged-out, arduous task as the emerald got further away away from you.

Both legitimate complaints. I took that screenshot last night and about 10 seconds later into the stage I got stuck on a corner infinitly looping round. :/

Nevertheless, when the stages didn't break I found them hugely enjoyable, and very pretty both visually and musically. The changing Special Zone environments from Seaside Hill to Final Fortress were brilliant too. And for that, I forgive their failings!

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I never really liked Sonic 1's Special Stages...Blue Sphere was the best for me; challenging but not impossible. I hope Star Posts come back, but I'd like to see Big Rings as well (maybe do the Bonus Stage again?). It does seem odd that they would remix the Sonic 1 Special Stages instead of making something a little new but still notsalgic.

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I actually liked the whole find the gold ring in the level thing from S3&K.

The placement was perfect. It was easy, but like you could only get them all if you were really trying to.

For some reason I think that made the game feel alot more approachable when it came to emerald collecting.

But yeah, I really didn't like the Sonic 1 special stages, but Sega should keep them for the nostalgia factor.

They were much better as bonus stages like in S&K.

Edited by KoolKojoS
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The Sonic 1 special stage seems rather boring to me even if it's the "original".

Sonic 2 is my personal favorite, but the later special stages were really hard. If the team would have spent a little more time tweaking it, it'd be perfect.

I am not a big fan of the Sonic 3 & Knuckles special stage. Especially when it got really fast, it made me sick. :/

The Sonic CD special stage had a good premise, but the controls were damn lousy.

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I never really like any of the special stages in the classic games to be perfectly honest.

Sonic 1's were incredibly unfair and unpredictable, Sonic 2's were huge memorization fests, and S3&K's were tedious and boring.

Though if I could have any of them back, it'd be Sonic 2's since the only reason they were like the way they were at first was because of graphical limitations, hence why Rush's rendition of them was loads better.

Heroes' really failed due to the controls, but one thing I do love is the speed and how it's controllable, and frankly would've HIGHLY preferred that style to any other. I still play the first stage's bonus challenge once in a while, since the last stretch gives you loads of room to go crazy fast. And if you can do it right, the 3rd special stage in the multiplayer can give you the most epicly fast and stylish experience evar; speeding down the line at mach 5 and corkscrewing in circles was nothing short of the greatest special stage experience in my life.

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In Sonic Triple Trouble, half the stages were difficult and/or puzzling platformers with time limits, while the other half were battles against fang in one of his gadgets. ( I actually never got the sixth emerald though... ) ...I liked the Fang parts, but I wasn't big on the timed platformers. It could be done better. I REALLY hated the method of entry into the special stage. I think you had to find some uber hidden item box within the level. I think a game with multiple different special stages from earlier games ( spinning maze, half pipe race, UFO hunt, Blue spheres ) Two or so original ideas for a special stage, and one side boss ( preferably Fang, if not, some other rivalish character ) would be an awesome mix.

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I'd rant at you guys for not bringing these up, but then barely anyone actually played them so I forgive you folks.

However, the very first Sonic special stages I ever played and cleared are the stages from Sonic 3D Blast (Saturn Ver.)

To date no-one has ever topped them. I'd like to see them surpassed one day.

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Yup, it's in there, but my point still stands - most people haven't played Sonic 3D Blast, let alone the Saturn version specifically, because of the game's generally poor reputation, and so they're not going to give Sonic 3D Blast due consideration in a topic like this when it's actually one of the strongest examples - it took the design invented in Sonic 2 and expanded it about as far as it could go.

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