Special Stages in Knuckles' Chaotix revolve around collecting the 5 Chaos Rings, much like those seen in Sonic and the Secret Rings, though it should be noted they are NOT the same. To get these, the player runs through a 6-sided tube collecting rings and Blue Spheres, like those seen in Sonic & Knuckles. The start will say a certain number of Spheres to Collect, and they must be collected by avoiding bumper spheres, mines, and gathering rings. 1 ring is lost for every second that is spent in the special stage. Special Stages can be accessed by having more than 50 rings after completing a stage and subsequently jumping into the bonus ring.
- The only ways to lose are by running out of rings and by falling out of the level through a hole in the tube.
In Knuckles' Chaotix, there are also Bonus Stages, which can be accessed by jumping into bonus rings hidden in the stage. There are a number of floating boxes, and as the player falls, he must avoid exit boxes, and hit Ring, point, and powerup boxes. There are also red and yellow springs plus other obstacles. Like the special stage, ring count decreases when inside. There are two ways to leave: Hit an exit block or run out of rings.