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Sonic News Network
Sonic News Network

Tails running through the Special Stage, from the Sonic 1994 Official Calendar.

Grab Rings and avoid bombs while navigating the roller coaster of a halfpipe.

— Description, Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia

Special Stages in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are a series of extra levels. When entering them, the playable character will run down an endless, half-pipe highway littered with bombs and hard curves. During this, the player's perspective is switched to third person. The player's objective in the Special Stages is to collect enough Rings to clear different sections and eventually obtain a Chaos Emerald.

Since their first appearance, there have been many incarnations of these Special Stages throughout the Sonic the Hedgehog series, including the Sega Saturn and PC versions of Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Sonic Rush, the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

To enter the Special Stages in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the player has to hold fifty Rings while passing a Star Post to open a Star Circle. Jump into the Star Circle while it is open to enter a pseudo 3D half-pipe in the Special Stage. There are a total of seven different Special Stages in the game, each containing a Chaos Emerald at the end of it.

Within the Special Stages, the playable character(s) constantly runs down the half-pipe route. Moving left and right is done with Controlpadds.png and running off one edge on the half-pipe makes the playable character leap to the opposite side. Additionally, the player can still use the Spin Jump, although performing it in the half-pipe's corners moves the player a little sideways.

Along the half-pipe are several Ring formations which the player must collect in certain amounts. Along the path are also Bombs, each taking away ten Rings from the player when touching them. Bombs appear in various formations, some of which surround the whole path; in such cases, the player can jump over them. As the player clears more Special Stages, the navigation difficulty and the amount of Rings needed to be collected increase.

Each Special Stage's route is cut into three sections which the player can only progress through by collect enough Rings. When the player comes across a checkpoint on the route with the required amount of Rings, the player moves onto the next section and must collect a new amount of Rings. Otherwise, the player gets rejected from Special Stage. The character(s) used to play the Special Stages determines the number of Rings required. After clearing the third section, a Chaos Emerald will be given to the player. The result screen then plays, showcasing the player's Ring Bonus and Gems Bonus being added to the total score. Afterwards, the player returns to the Star Post of the Zone with no Rings in their possession. This is excluded in Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where Knuckles will retain the number of Rings he had before entering the Special Stages.

After getting all seven Chaos Emeralds from the Special Stages, Sonic/Knuckles can transform into Super Sonic/Super Knuckles. In addition, the game's ending will change.

In the 2013 remaster of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Special Stages have been graphically re-modified into 3D. If the player activates the Level Select code, they can play a track from 00-07 (inclusive) in the Sound Test and then replay the corresponding Special Stage from Level Select (00 plays the first Special Stage, 01 plays the second Special Stage and so on). An eighth Special Stage has also been added which has a more challenging layout and can only be accessed via this method.

Ring requirements

No. Chaos Emerald color Checkpoint
1 2 3
1 Blue 30 (Sonic/Tails)
40 (Sonic & Tails)
30 (Knuckles)
70 (Sonic/Tails)
80 (Sonic & Tails)
70 (Knuckles)
130 (Sonic/Tails)
140 (Sonic & Tails)
130 (Knuckles)
2 Purple 50 100 (Sonic/Tails)
90/100 (Knuckles)
140 (Sonic/Tails)
130/140 (Knuckles)
3 Red 50 (Sonic/Tails)
60 (Sonic & Tails)
50 (Knuckles)
110 (Sonic/Tails)
100/110 (Knuckles)
160 (Sonic/Tails)
140/160 (Knuckles)
4 Pink 40 110 (Sonic/Tails)
100 (Sonic & Tails)
90/100 (Knuckles)
150 (Sonic/Tails)
140/150 (Knuckles)
5 Yellow 50 (Sonic/Tails)
55 (Sonic & Tails)
40/50 (Knuckles)
90 (Sonic/Tails)
110 (Sonic & Tails)
80/90 (Knuckles)
160 (Sonic/Tails)
200 (Sonic & Tails)
130/160 (Knuckles)
6 Green 80 (Sonic/Tails)
70/80 (Knuckles)
140 (Sonic/Tails)
130/140 (Knuckles)
210 (Sonic/Tails)
220 (Sonic & Tails)
170/210 (Knuckles)
7 Gray 100 (Sonic/Tails)
50 (Knuckles)
150 (Sonic/Tails)
190 (Sonic & Tails)
100/150 (Knuckles)
190 (Sonic/Tails)
210 (Sonic & Tails)
140/190 (Knuckles)
(2013 remaster)
Blue 80 (Sonic/Tails)
90 (Sonic & Tails)
80 (Knuckles)
190 (Sonic/Tails)
210 (Sonic & Tails)
190 (Knuckles)
270 (Sonic/Tails)
280 (Sonic & Tails)
270 (Knuckles)

In the 2013 remaster of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, if the player is playing the Special Stages as Knuckles and Tails, their Ring quotas are the same as Sonic and Tails.

2 Player VS mode

Some of the Special Stages are available in the 2 Player VS mode of the game. Here, the players compete against each other to collect the most Rings in one round. These Special Stages are identical to the ones in single-player mode.


Name Artist(s) Length Music track
"STH2 Special Stage 〜Mega Drive version〜" Masato Nakamura 1:47

Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure

Special Stages in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure look almost identical to those in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. To enter these Special Stages, the player must hold at least fifty Rings when reaching the end of the first act of each Zone and then jump into the Giant Ring there. The type of Special Stage the player is sent to depends on which Zone the player enters from (e.g. entering from Neo South Island Zone takes the player to the first Special Stage).

Because there are only six regular Zones with two acts (including Sky Chase Zone and Aerobase Zone), the game only has six Special Stages to earn six Chaos Emeralds from. The seventh Emerald is acquired through normal gameplay.

The Special Stages in this game follow mostly the same rules as those in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Here, the player has get through three half-pipe sections by collecting enough Rings at different checkpoints while avoiding bombs. Inside these stages, the player can do the Spin Jump and run around the half-pipe. However, the objects inside the Special Stages are laid out in formations different from those in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Additionally, there is sometimes a flashing flower along the routes which grants a Continue.

Unlike its Sonic the Hedgehog 2 counterpart, the Special Stages do not reward the player the ability to transform into Super Sonic, since after collecting the seven Emeralds, he can only be played in Chaotic Space Zone, which is the true final Zone of the game.

Ring requirements

No. Chaos Emerald color Checkpoint
1 2 3
1 Blue 30 70 130
2 Green 30 70 130
3 Red 40 80 150
4 Yellow 40 80 150
5 Pink 50 90 150
6 Gray 40 80 140


Name Artist(s) Length Music track
"Special Stage" Maitaro 1:34


  • In the Special Stages of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, if the player controls Sonic with Tails, there will be a slight delay when the computer controlling Tails tries to follow Sonic's movements. This can lead to Sonic being able to avoid Bombs while Tails fails, thereby costing the Rings both playable characters have collected.
  • Since there are a total of seven Star Posts in Emerald Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, it is possible for the player to achieve the super transformation at the end of the first Zone.
  • Special Stages in Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 have many segments for Knuckles, where a lower Ring count is required than the Special Stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
    • However, in the 2013 remaster of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Knuckles' ring quotas now match Sonic's (or Tails'), or Sonic and Tails' if its equally the same (except the second checkpoint of the fourth emerald where it matches the Sonic and Tails' one). He also no longer retains his Rings when finishing a Special Stage.
  • In theSonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Sonic, Mega Man, Tails and Rush had to go through a half-pipe that is similar to the half-pipe in this specific Special Stage.
  • A remix of the Special Stage's music appears as one of the selectable songs in the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.
  • The extra special stage included with the 2013 remaster uses the half-pipe color scheme of the first two-player Special Stage (magenta).
  • Tails and Knuckles' arms are both miscolored tan on their Special Stage sprites in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This was fixed in the 2013 remaster.



See also

Main article (Knuckles in Sonic 2) | Staff | Manuals | Glitches | Beta elements | Gallery | Pre-releases (Nick Arcade, Simon Wai) | Re-releases (2006, 2013, 3D, Sega Ages)