Special Stages are a series of extra levels in Sonic 3D Blast. All three original releases of the game for Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn and PC feature different Special Stages in terms of aesthetics and gameplay mechanics.
To enter the Special Stages, the player must find Tails or Knuckles somewhere in the Zones and touch the characters while carrying at least fifty Rings. in order to be transported into the Special Stage. Once in the Special Stage, the player must clear a course to earn a Chaos Emerald. Collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds lets the player access The Final Fight and see the good ending of the game.
Sega Genesis version
'Special Stages (also referred to as Bonus Stages) on the Sega Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast come in two aesthetic variants depending on which character that is used to enter the Special Stages with with. Tails' version has steel bridges with a bright background, while Knuckles' version has wooden structured bridges with a darker background. Regardless, the player's goal is to collect a set amount of Rings that appear on the stages' route before reaching one of three checkpoints. The Ring requirements for each checkpoint remain the same in all Special Stages (50, 100, and 150 Rings in order). After passing the third checkpoint, the player will receive one of the seven Chaos Emeralds at the end of the bridge.
In these Special Stages, Sonic is constantly moving forward on a bridge. The player can only move left or right with and perform the Spin Jump for jumping over obstacles or climbing over hump points on the bridge. Along the path are Mines, each of which will subtract ten Rings from the player's Ring count. If Sonic does not have any Rings when hitting a mine, the player exits the Special Stage without getting a Chaos Emerald. The player exits the Special Stage in a similar fashion if they have not gathered enough Rings when reaching a checkpoint.
After receiving the Chaos Emerald from a Special Stage, the player gets a Ring Bonus and an Emerald Bonus worth 10,000 points. After getting all the Chaos Emeralds, the player can return to previous Special Stages to earn extra lives instead. As restarting the Zone after the Special Stage, the Ring count is set back to zero.
Sega Saturn version
Special Stages on the Sega Saturn version of Sonic 3D Blast are very similar to those in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. In these Special Stages, Tails or Knuckles brings Sonic to an endless, colorful 3D half-pipe course with down-curving slopes. Every second stage the player is brought to introduces a different background setting (dusk forest, bright mountains, cloudy sky or outer space).
The objective in each of these Special Stages is to collect a required amount of Rings before passing a checkpoints. Each Special Stage has two checkpoints in total. Like in the Sega Genesis version, Sonic is constantly running down the half-pipe course and can only move sideways. He can also only use the Spin Jump to leap, which makes him move a little sideways when performing it in the half-pipe's corners, and the Spin Attack (by pressing when reaching maximum speed) to gain vastly increased momentum. These half-pipe courses also have tunnel sections where Sonic can run around along the ceilings, and moments where they form corkscrew loops. The player will also come across floating platforms above the half-pipe courses, which function as temporary, alternate pathways with Rings on them.
Like in the Sega Genesis version, Rings and Mines are found along the half-pipe courses, whereas the latter can decrease the player's Ring counter by ten Rings each time the player impacts one. Local gimmicks include red Dash Panels, Springs at the end of half-pipe routes, and Ring gates that slowly counts down. When touched, the Ring gates will stop counting down and give a specific amount of Rings based on the number they stopped at.
If the player does not collect enough Rings after reaching a checkpoint, they will exit the Special Stage without getting a Chaos Emerald. After completing the Special Stage and receiving the Emerald, the player gets a Ring Bonus and an Emerald Bonus worth 10,000 points. After getting all the Chaos Emeralds, the player can return to previous Special Stages to earn extra lives instead. Also, when returning to a Zone after the Special Stage, the player's Ring count is reset to zero.
Special Stage information
|No.||Emerald color||Ring requirements|
|Checkpoint 1||Checkpoint 2|
The PC version of Sonic 3D Blast features Special Stages similar to the Sega Saturn version, but with all the characters and objects being entirely sprite-animated. The player's objective is to collect enough Rings to reach the end of the Special Stage. While running constantly, Sonic can move sideways on the half-pipe and perform the Spin Jump by pressing the SPACE BAR. Half-pipe courses have completely different layouts with no gimmicks from the Sega Saturn version. Rings and Mines are the only objects presented in Special Stages, altough Sonic only loses five Rings when getting hit by a Mine. Each Special Stage also only have one checkpoint instead of two.
After collecting enough Rings, the player receives a Chaos Emerald. Unlike the other versions though, the player does not receive any Ring or Emerald Bonuses at the end of the Special Stages. Instead, the player gets sent back to the regular Zones with zero Rings in their possession. After collecting all the Chaos Emeralds, the player will get rewarded with extra lives when re-entering the Special Stage.
- In the Sega Genesis version, Mines in each Special Stage come in different color schemes in contrast to a Chaos Emerald that the player is about to be rewarded.
- The models of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles in the Special Stages on the Sega Saturn version of Sonic 3D Blast are the same as the ones seen in Sonic R.
- A slowed-down remix of the music that plays in the Special Stages in the Sega Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast can be heard in Windy Valley in Sonic Adventure.
- The unused theme that would have played in Knuckles' Special Stages in the Sega Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast was remixed as the theme for Twinkle Park in Sonic Adventure.
- The music that plays in the Special Stages in the Sega Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast is very similar to a music track heard in the first level of another Sega game, Super Fantasy Zone.