Top 10 Sonic the Hedgehog Games with the Best Special Stages

SuperSonic17
One of the key aspects to the classic Sonic games (and some of the modern ones) are the special stages, where you play a certain challenge in an attempt to get one of the chaos emeralds (or various). Throughout the series these came in all different shapes and sizes, and some were better than others. Here are the 10 I consider the best.

Once again feel free to add any more that you like. If I didn't include any chances are I really didn't like them.

The Top Ten

1 Sonic 3 & Knuckles

I suck at these, but it's a really fun and challenging experience!

I do not like you Sonic. You will never be as good as Mario. - ShigeruMiyamoto

I love these stages but I suck at them as well. - CNSucksNow

Why Sonic Team Need To Re-Use These Instead Of The 1/2 Pipe:

1) The turning.
90 degrees turns on a dime means simple controls and special stages. They also pause, so you can get a feel of where you're going when you're just starting.

2) Speeding up.
Longer you take, the more the controls are faster and will become harder.

3) The music.
This is my #1 song for Special Stages, the rest are mediocre at best, or right below this.

4) Simple.
It's so simple... Just walk around and pick up the spheres, but don't run into the red ones.

5) Fun.
It's #1 on the list, right? - mattstat716

V 2 Comments
2 Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

The music kind of makes the stages. Getting to the special stage is quite much more relaxing than some other special stages. It also is probably one of the easier and less frustrating special stages. Just got to pay attention and know what you're doing. - cjWriter1997

The very first special stages. To access them you have to finish an act with 50 rings then jump into the giant ring at the goalpost.
These stages put you in a rotating maze you have to navigate and jump your way through to get the emerald whilst avoiding the goal spheres. These stages are a little tough at first, but after geting the layout down aren't too troublesome. I've got to the point now where I can usually get them all without failing. The idea behind them is unique and the stages have a very trippy feel to them. Also you only get a maximum of 10 chances to get all 6, so don't screw up too much.
Definitely a worthy challenge. - SuperSonic17

3 Sonic Rush Adventure

Very different from your usual special stages. To get to them you have to sail to a certain part of the sea map and find Johnny, after that you race him on the jet ski for the emerald. Given how much fun the jetski was to control with the DS stylus this was an enjoyable experience, and it becomes challenging not only dodging the obstacles but keeping your boost gague fueled and knowing when best to use it. I liked these stages (and this game) a lot. - SuperSonic17

4 Sonic 4 Episode 1

Heavilly influenced by the Sonic 1 special stages, and it requires the same way of entering them.
This time you actually get to rotate the level yourself to guide Sonic through. The catch is though you're on a time limit, and there are some ring gates where you need a certain number of rings to get through. It's challenging both to get through fast and collect rings, but satisfying once you can pull it off.
Despite the goal spheres and the time limit, your greatest hazard will be the bumpers, the damn bumpers ain't half violent. Hitting one can easily shoot you off course and lose control until you hit the goal sphere. It can make these stages occasionally frustrating, but at least you can have the option to retry them. - SuperSonic17

5 Sonic 4 Episode 2

Just like with Episode 1 these special stages used Sonic 2's as a blueprint. Just like before get 50 rings then jump in the giant ring at the goal.
It has sonic and Tails running in a half-pipe, collecting rings whilst avoiding hazards. What makes these stages more enjoyable is how the camera gives you a better field of view for anticipating rings, Tails AI doesn't screw you over as much, plus you can also control your speed with the push of a button. They emphisise speed well and are very enjoyable.
They're really nothing to worry about because just like with Episode 1 you can keep retrying them, so just perservere onwards and you will get the chaos emeralds. - SuperSonic17

6 Knuckles Chaotix

One of the more ambitious special stages to show what the 32X was capable of. Once again, 50 rings, giant ring goal, blah blah blah.
The stages contain 3D hexagonal tunnels where you have to collect blue spheres to advance onwards and rings for extra time. It's recommended to finish the stages with as many rings as possible to get more time for the special stage. They start out simple but as the layout gets more complex and sometimes disorienting it requires some tricky manouvers to survive, and it can be all too easy to fall off the stages.
You get plenty of chances to get all of the chaos rings, so just keep at it. - SuperSonic17

7 Sonic Rush

To access these special stages you have to find a special swing with Sonic, then hold the boost button until Sonic flys into the portal.
These stages also use the half-pipe, ring collecting objective that we've seen before, however here you use the DS stylus to control Sonic. Because of the added precision this is very intuitive and fun. The stages do get very difficult later though, so be warned. I've only ever beaten the seventh special stage once before. - SuperSonic17

8 Sonic Advance 3

It's a bit more of an ordeal to enter these special stages. You have to find all 10 Chao in that world's levels, then collect the special key to access the special spring. It's easier than it sounds because once you find a Chao you keep it, and you don't have to find them all in one go like in Sonic Advance 2. Also the Chao chart gives you a better idea of where the remaining Chao are.
The special stages themselves involve the character riding on the Tornado and they have to move around and collect rings. Honestly getting to the special stages is more taxing than the stages themselves. It's not too hard to judge distance, and the stages allow for some (but not too much) error.
It can be quite a chore, but worth doing for Advance 3's awesome final boss. - SuperSonic17

9 Sonic CD

More stages ambitious for their time. How to enter? Same as Sonic 1.
These stages have Sonic running in a 3D field where you have to destroy 6 UFOs before time runs out. Sounds simple, but these stages can be frustrating due to the slightly slow turning circle, the fact that the UFOs sometimes have sporadic movements, and worst of all THE WATER. The damn water. If you touch it your timer shoots down, which can be a serious hinderance to obtaining the time stones. You can destroy a time UFO that appears when you have 20 seconds left that gives you more time, but if you miss them you'll likely run out of time.
These stages do have good music and they are the best way to get the good ending, unless you want a lot of backtracking in the levels. - SuperSonic17

10 Sonic The Hedgehog 2 V 1 Comment

The Contenders

11 Sonic Unleashed

This is by far the best sonic game so far.awesome music, great gameplay, and a nice new mechanic! The game deserves way more attention than it gets.The story is very fun as well! In the end, all sonic games r fun.Except Sonic 06 and Sonic Boom:Rise of Lyric.Sega, I'm super hype for Sonic Project 2017!

This is not a best Sonic games list. This is the best special stages in Sonic games. Read the list before you comment. - cjWriter1997

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