Relax to the mellow funks of the past as Sonic and friends return to Little Planet's firefly-lit marble cityscape. But things aren't so simple as fauna has grown rather lush.
— Theme Trailer description
Stardust Speedway Zone is the sixth Zone in the Mania Mode of Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Plus, and the seventh Zone in the Encore Mode of Sonic Mania Plus. This Zone is a re-imagination of Stardust Speedway from Sonic the Hedgehog CD for the Sega Mega-CD.
This Zone is situated in its original location. The first Act takes place in the Past of Stardust Speedway Zone, which has plant life growing everywhere. Since Sonic the Hedgehog CD however, the flora around the Zone has grown rather lush, and the Capsules containing the Little Planet flowers are now littered across the Act. There are also ancient buildings in the background and glowing fireflies that float everywhere. The Act is also decorated with pillars, ancient vases, and stone griffins. The sky also has star constellations that depict things such as harps, Roman helmets and Sonic's head.
The second Act takes place in Stardust Speedway Zone's Present, which is more urbanized and industrialized. Here, the plant life has made place for a neon-lit cityscape crossed with a highway made out of coppers and musical instruments, making the Act look like an orchestra palace. The Robotnik statue originally found in the Bad Future of the eponymous Round from Sonic the Hedgehog CD can also be spotted at the end of the Act.
In Sonic Mania Plus' Encore Mode, Stardust Speedway Act 1 takes place at sunset, giving the stage a yellowy-green colour, Act 2 is coloured turquoise with a red background, making it heavily resemble the original level's Bad Future.
Having been transported to Stardust Speedway Zone by Dr. Eggman with the Phantom Ruby, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles begin their search for a way off Little Planet, making their way from the past of this Zone into its present via a Time Warp Plate after defeating a Hotaru Hi-Watt. At the end of the Zone, they destroy a Metal Sonic Projector and are met by several happy Animals, only for Metal Sonic, who is ready for a rematch with Sonic, to attack them. After going several rounds with Metal Sonic, the trio finally defeat the robotic hedgehog. The heroes then discover Eggman with a wireframed mech of sorts. Before anything can be done, however, Eggman sics the Phantom Ruby on Sonic and co., teleporting them to Hydrocity Zone.
Finding themselves in the Past of Stardust Speedway Zone after having been teleported there by Dr. Eggman with the Phantom Ruby, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty and Ray set off to find a way to Eggman and the Phantom Ruby. After clearing out an obstacle, the group is able to use a Time Warp Plate to go to the Present of Stardust Speedway Zone. There, they find a Metal Sonic Projector. Destroying the projector, the heroes are met by several happy Animals, which are immediately chased off by Metal Sonic, whom Sonic and co. promptly engage. After defeating the robotic hedgehog following a strenuous battle, Sonic and co. find a computer room with Eggman, who is making plans to rebuild the Titanic Monarch, and the Phantom Ruby in it. No sooner, the heroes are sent to Hydrocity Zone by Eggman with the Phantom Ruby.
Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 features several gameplay elements from Marble Garden Zone, with the inclusion of Pulleys, Platform-raising Wheels and downward loops with pillars that the player spirals around. Large Capsules, similar to the ones seen in Sonic the Hedgehog CD, are also located throughout the Act. Destroying these will release Little Planet flowers and one massive plant known as a "Beanstalk". This plant will quickly grow to cover the surrounding area when released, spawning leaves that the player can use as platforms and dangerous bio-mechanical heads that inflict damage. The Act also has stone griffins that carry Rings, bouncy threads of vines that can be used for enhanced jumps, curled up vines that form bridges when walked across, and giant iron balls that swing around horizontally.
Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2 includes gimmicks like the Bungee Rope and fireworks the player can ride on.
Both Acts of Stardust Speedway Zone feature gimmicks and obstacles from the original Zone. These include iron balls that periodically pop out of holes, and shooters the player can load with the playable characters and then fire in different directions.
Act 1 begins in the Past era of Stardust Speedway Zone. At the end of this Act, the playable characters will automatically destroy a nearby robot transporter before using a Time Warp Plate to travel to the second Act in the present.
Act 2 takes place in the Present era of Stardust Speedway Zone.
The boss of Stardust Speedway Act 1 is the Hotaru Hi-Watt, a giant version of the local Hotaru. When the battle starts, it will disappear and leave regular-sized Hotaru to battle the player. After the player overcomes them, the Hotaru Hi-Watt will reappear. It then proceeds to rain down a column of energy before disappearing again and restarting the process. It is vulnerable as long as it is visible however. After taking six hits, the Hotaru Hi-Watt will be defeated.
The boss of Stardust Speedway Act 2 is Metal Sonic. During the first part of the fight, the player must run to the arena while dodging Metal Sonic's attacks. Once in the arena, the player has to knock the constantly respawing Silver Sonics that appear into Metal Sonic, who is sitting above the arena, by knocking the Silver Sonics up to him with the Spin Dash when the Silver Sonics use the Spin Dash too. After landing four hits, the player must run to the next section while dodging Metal Sonic's attacks again.
Once in the next arena, the boss battle will diverge depending on the version of the game. In Sonic Mania prior to update Version 1.04 and RC 1.05.0713, the player has to run away from an approaching spike wall while attacking Metal Sonic when he is vulnerable. Once eight hits are dealt, Metal Sonic will be defeated. In Sonic Mania as of Version 1.04/RC 1.05.0713 and Sonic Mania Plus, the player will instead face Giga Metal - a transformation of Metal Sonic achieved with the Phantom Ruby. Once eight hits are dealt to Giga Metal's belly, Metal Sonic will be defeated.
Encore Mode Act 1
1. The player should take the path with the pulleys. After exiting the spring maze, they need to take the lower path right until they begin bouncing off the vines. They should bounce up to the path with the Star Post. They need to then enter the next spring maze and take the left path down to the ring chamber.
2. Upon exiting the ring chamber, the player needs to take the launchers up to the highest one. They should then launch upward to the right to get on the top path. The player must make sure to jump over the spring to continue right to bounce off the vine to the pulley. They have to break the capsule and climb the Beanstalk all the way to the final leaf next to the launcher moving up and down. They should launch themselves near the top of the swing to reach the upper platform with a Giant Ring on top.
Encore Mode Act 2
1. The player should take the lower path down to the launcher. The need to launch down to the left to go down to a chamber full of launchers. They need to make their way to the farthest right launcher on the bottom. The player needs to launch up to the highest platform they can reach to the right. They should continue right and bounce up one level to reach another launcher. They have to launch to the right and continue straight right after the gap with the spring which will lead them to a loop. Before they hit the second loop, the player should stop and turn to the left. From the hill in between the loops, they need to jump to the left but watch out for the hidden spring. The player need to them jump up to the left and then to the right to find a small tunnel leading to a ring chamber.
2. After exiting the ring chamber to the right, the player should launch upwards to the right to the second launcher and then launch straight up to the rocket. They have to veer to the right to get on the top path. The player should launch down to the bottom path and take the spring maze to the left to find the ring chamber. If they get the wrong path and reach the Star Post near the loop on the bottom, they can work their way left through the spring maze and also reach it.
- This marks the first of two times in which Knuckles, Mighty and Ray are playable in a Sonic the Hedgehog CD Zone, the other being Metallic Madness.
- In keeping with the nomenclature of Sonic Mania, Stardust Speedway is referred to as a "Zone". In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, "Zones" are the individual levels that make up a stage (typically referred to as an "act") and the stages themselves referred to as "rounds".
- When fans questioned about the absence of the iconic "huehue"(s) during Act 1's music, Tee Lopes, the game's composer, jokingly responded with a video on Twitter.
- Lucas Carvalho, one of the game's artists has said on Twitter that this Zone was the one he loved working the most on Sonic Mania.
- Stardust Speedway Zone features several references and Easter eggs:
- The diagonal vine catapults in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 are similar to the catapults from Sandopolis Zone in Sonic & Knuckles.
- The curled-up vine bridges in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 are based on the same objects from Mushroom Hill Zone in Sonic & Knuckles.
- The Pulleys in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 are based on the same objects from Marble Garden Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The swinging lines of iron balls in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 are similar to the same objects from Collision Chaos in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- The Platform-raising Wheels in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 are the same as those from Marble Garden Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The Capsules with Little Planet flowers in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 are the same as those from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- The pillars the player can run downhill of in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 are seemingly based on those from Marble Garden Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- In Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1, there are giant iron balls that swing around horizontally via chains. These obstacles are based on the same ones from Marble Garden Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The robot transporter, the Time Warp Plate, and the time travel animation leading into Act 2 in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 are all elements taken from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- The fireworks that can be ridden in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2 appear to be based on the same gimmick from Tropical Resort in the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations.
- The Bungee Ropes in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2 originate from Sunset Hill in Sonic Advance 3.
- The Metal Sonic Projector before the boss fight in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2 is taken from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- The second phase of the Metal Sonic boss fight is based on the boss fight from World Entrance Level 1 in Knuckles' Chaotix.
- The appearance of Silver Sonic in the Metal Sonic boss fight and its associated sound effects are derived from the boss fight with Silver Sonic in Scrambled Egg Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit).
- In Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2 in Sonic Mania v1.05.0713, the form Metal Sonic takes during the final phase of his boss battle (Giga Metal) is based on the final boss of Knuckles' Chaotix.
- In Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2 in Sonic Mania v1.05.0713, the way Giga Metal marches towards the player is very similar to how the Great Eggman Robo matches towards the player in the Death Egg Zone in Sonic & Knuckles.
- In Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2 in Sonic Mania v1.05.0713, the way the glass dome on Giga Metal's chest becomes more cracked as it takes damage is similar to how each Egg Mobile-themed boss in Sonic 3D Blast shows how much damage it has taken.
- The Hotarus' attack patterns in Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 and 2 are based on those they had in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- In Stardust Speedway Act 2, if the player takes a firework, they will see a bunch of Rings arranged in the shape of a diamond. This is a reference to "Diamond in the Sky", a song from Sonic R.
- In the last stage of Stardust Speedway Act 2 boss fight, a giant Eggman statue can be seen in background. This statue appeared in the original Stardust Speedway Act 2 and in the outro animated sequence of Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- The vines that Sonic runs down and later launch him upwards are similar to the ones from Leaf Storm in Sonic Rush.
- One of the many constellations that can be seen in the background of Act 1 is of the Tantalus logo, a reference to one of the studios that worked on Sonic Mania.
- The flower heads on Beanstalks resemble unnamed Badniks from Flower Park Zone in Sonic: Mega Drive.
- The roles and abilities of the Hotarus in Sonic the Hedgehog CD are switched for their appearance in Sonic Mania. In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the Hotarus appeared in Stardust Speedway as regular enemies that appeared exclusively in pairs and created a chain of electricity between them, with a special variant appearing in Metallic Madness as a sort of miniboss that shot beams of light straight down. In Sonic Mania, the latter appear commonly throughout both acts of the zone, with the former exclusively appearing during the Hotaru Hi-Watt miniboss.
- This version of Stardust Speedway uses the Japanese/European soundtrack of Sonic the Hedgehog CD and not the one composed for North America. However the first stage is set in the Past and the USA version of Sonic the Hedgehog CD used the same Past stage songs as the Japan/European versions of Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- This version of Stardust Speedway has the same level number as the original.
- Players can place the old version of the Hotarus into the level in Debug Mode but it does not function correctly.
- This is the only Zone where if the player is equipped with a shield upon completing Act 1, it will not carry over to Act 2 (even if the player does not skip the transition cutscene).
|Stardust Speedway Zone (Act 1)||Tee Lopes, Naofumi Hataya||2:58|
|Stardust Speedway Zone (Act 2)||Tee Lopes, Naofumi Hataya||2:56|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Sonic Mania OST - Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1. YouTube. Sega (31 July 2017). Retrieved on 7 August 2017. “Relax to the mellow funks of the past as Sonic and friends return to Little Planet's firefly-lit marble cityscape. But things aren't so simple as fauna has grown rather lush.”
- ↑ Tee Lopes on Twitter. Twitter (31 July 2017). Retrieved on 1 August 2017.
- ↑ Lucas Carvalho on Twitter. Twitter (31 August 2017). Retrieved on 6 September 2017.