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Upon entering the final section of certain levels, Sonic will suddenly accelerate to absurd speeds. In this mode, the player controls Sonic by moving left or right and jumping. Sonic is not able to use his normal attacks or Custom Actions during these sections (The Light Speed Dash can be utilized, however). If Sonic makes contact with an obstacle or runs directly into any sort of solid barrier, he will stumble and lose his rings while continuing to move forward. These sections have no checkpoints, so if Sonic dies, the player must restart the Super-Speed Stage (or return to the title screen if they've run out of lives).
Other game appearances
Super-Speed Stages seem to have had influences on future Sonic games. Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations utilize similar gameplay in some or most of the stages. Unlike Super-Speed Stages, Sonic does not take damage when running into barriers, with the exception of hazards. Also during these sections, the player retains all their moves except the Drift.
In Sonic Lost World, these stages make a return, although they are different from their original incarnation. Sonic can now be controlled more smoothly and can use all of his attacks, but at a much higher speed. However, in the Wii U and PC versions, he cannot activate Super Sonic in this section and the form will deactivate upon entering one. The 3DS version allows Super Sonic in the Super-Speed Stages.
The player cannot destroy any enemies in these sections, as they only damage Sonic.
In the Tokyo game show trailer, when Sonic wall-jumps in these sections, he would jump, do a spinning motion, then land on his feet. However, in the final release, Sonic would jump and look like he is going to land on his head, but is on his feet a split second later. The animation is likely missing due to the game's rushed development.
There seems to be a similar section found in Sonic Adventure when Sonic is running down the side of a building in the Speed Highway stage, though there are no enemies to be found. However, the helicopters can cause damage if the player runs Sonic into one. Additionally, when Sonic makes physical contact with something, he merely stumbles for a few seconds instead of losing rings.
In Sonic Generations, there is a section at the end of Crisis City meant to represent the Super-Speed Section from the original, though the section itself is completely different. There is also no auto-run, so the player must control Sonic manually. Additionally, in the original, Sonic runs away from the tornado, while in the redesign he runs towards the tornado and needs to dodge the cars and rocks thrown at him.
The achievement titled "Look Both Ways" in Sonic Generations that the player earns by clearing the Super-Speed Stage representation without harm is likely a reference to a line said by Sonic in the original Crisis City, "That tornado is carrying a car!", which has become a meme of its own.
↑ 1.01.1Sonic the Hedgehog (Xbox 360) United States instruction booklet, pg. 13.