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Time Attack is a type of gameplay featured in numerous games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The main goal of Time Attack is to typically finish stages in the fastest time possible. Usually the best results achieved in a Time Attack mode are stored in long-term memory by the game (on a hard disk or non-volatile memory), so they can be shared with friends or improved upon at a later date. Most games feature an online leaderboard function which displays and ranks player's times accordingly until the servers get taken down.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog CD

The Time Attack menu in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.

Sonic the Hedgehog CD is the first Sonic game to utilize this gameplay where stages (including Special Stages) can be replayed in Time Attack mode for a challenge. Time is recorded and then added to the player's save file at the end of a stage. However, the player will not be able to enter the Time Warp in the first two Zones, and the third Zone will always be in the bad future. In Special Stages, the player is not affected if running on the water in terms of the time. Using a cheat code, one can see the best times of members of the Sonic Team, who developed the game.

In the 2011 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the player can unlock certain features if they can clear Time Attack with the total time of all Zones below a certain amount.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and its add-on continuation Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, the player can access the gameplay of Time Attack in Competition mode, where the player takes control of Sonic, Tails or Knuckles and run through any of the five Zones made exclusively for this mode (Azure Lake Zone, Balloon Park Zone, Chrome Gadget Zone, Desert Palace Zone and Endless Mine Zone).

Sonic Labyrinth

Sonic R

Time Attack appears in Sonic R where players complete three laps and race for the best time. Once the player picks a character, they will have to race their previous self in order to beat their time.

Sonic Advance series

Time Attack mode appears in all three of the Advance titles although Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3 requires special requirements to unlock boss battle mode. Here, the player needs to complete the stage as fast as they can although they are given only one life to do so.

Sonic Rush

Time Attack appears in Sonic Rush as an unlockable gameplay feature. The player has to have cleared all Acts in the normal game to unlock the mode. As with other games, the player basically just needs to complete the stage/defeat the boss as quickly as they can, as either Sonic or Blaze with only one life to do so. In most cases, the 1-Up Item box is mainly replaced with Max Tension Gauge for each stage. Only the top five fastest times are recorded per stage. There are special, playable stages that are exclusively playable in this mode for both games that involve lapping around the start five times similar to Competition Mode in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

Sonic Riders series

Time Attack also appears in all three Sonic Riders games: Sonic Riders, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic Free Riders where players race on Extreme Gear to complete three laps of a course as fast as possible. However, most Item Boxes (except those that are set to give a specific item) are removed in the mode.

To have the best time, the player will have to race their ghost in order to have a new time. They can also challenge other ghosts online to beat their best time. In Sonic Free Riders, each course (both standard and expert) have a specific time to beat to unlock Xbox Achievements.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4

The Time Attack selection screen in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II.

In both Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, in the Stage Select screen the player may switch to using Time Attack Mode by pressing XboxX.png/PSSquareButton.png/WiiDSA.png and try to complete each stage as quick as possible with only one life. Due to this, all 1-Up Monitors in this mode all replaced by the Super Rings Monitors. 

The online leaderboards in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I and Episode II for Time Attack have three different categories: Regular Sonic (if the stage was completed without transforming into Super Sonic), Super Sonic (if the stage was completed while Sonic has transformed into Super Sonic), or both (the better of the two times between Super Sonic and Regular Sonic). 

Sonic Colors

Sonic Generations

In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, in Xbox Live/Network mode, players compete for the fastest times on the leaderboards by completing each stage as fast as possible. Note that there are no lives in this mode, the player can take as many tries as needed to complete each act. When the player uploads a time for each stage (both Classic and Modern), an achievement/trophy is unlocked for accomplishing this.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2013)

In the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Time Attack is once again a gameplay feature where the player must clear each Stage as fast as possible with Sonic and has one life to do so. To unlock each Zone so that they are playable in this mode, they must have been cleared in the regular gameplay. All of the six main Special Stages are also playable in this mode. By default, the main Acts have a time of ten minutes each while the Special Stages each have five minutes.

Differences from the main gameplay is that the timer in the HUD also displays centiseconds and all 1-Up Monitors have been removed, resembling the Time Attack mode from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.

Sonic Lost World

In Sonic Lost World for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, there is a Time Attack Mode. Time Attack Mode allows the player to race against themselves and other people around the world for the best time on each stage. The player is also ranked according to the time they completed in. In the Wii U and PC versions, the Time Attack Mode for a Zone is unlocked once the player clears Normal Play mode of that Zone.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2013)

In the 2013 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Time Attack mode appears again and works nearly identical to the Time Attack mode in the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. However, Sky Chase Zone and Death Egg Zone are not playable in this mode. To compensate for this though, an entirely new Zone called Boss Attack Zone was exclusively added to this mode. The Zone features Sonic having to defeat all 11 bosses of the game in one go. Hidden Palace Zone is also playable in Time Attack once the player has found and completed the said Zone in regular gameplay.

Sonic Mania

Time Attack re-appears in Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus where its role functions similarly to previous titles. All Acts with the exception of Mania Mode's Mirage Saloon Zone Act 1 (apart from Knuckles' version), Egg Reverie Zone and Angel Island Zone are available to choose from. The player can unlock the playable acts once the player has played those zones in Mania Mode. Here, the player does not fight any of the bosses and simply needs to reach the goal section to complete a time attack run. Also, the player needs to pass the signpost placed at the beginning of the Act to start the timer. All 1-Up Monitors have been replaced by the Super Ring Monitors. Unlike most incarnations, the player can use the "Quick Restart" function to restart the Act at any point by pressing and holding PSTriangleButton.png/Y button.png/Switch x.png for around a second, causing a white circle to form around the character before the screen to fades out to white while a sound effect plays (sounding similar to the Player Swap Monitor in Competition Mode) and the level reloads. The music does not restart and instead plays continuously much like with Sonic Lost World although the player can still restart via the pause menu or dying as normal. Each character has their own Time Attack record for each Act.

In Sonic Mania Plus, the player can also toggle between Mania Mode and Encore Mode versions of the playable acts by pressing PSTriangleButton.png/Y button.png/Switch x.png in the Zone select menu.


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