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The Special Stage.

If you have collected 50 rings by Acts 1 or 2 of any zone, a giant, gold ring will appear at the end of the stage. Jump into the ring and you will warp to a rotating maze known as the Special Stage, where you will be given the opportunity to collect a Chaos Emerald.

There are six Chaos Emeralds to collect, each one lying in a different maze. If you collect all six before the game ends, you will be able to view an alternate ending to the game.

The only way out of this stage is to grab the Chaos Emerald or to touch the goal. If you collect 50 rings here, you will earn a continue, and if you manage to accumulate 100 rings, an extra life will be awarded. A continue means, if you lose all of your lives, you will re-start at the start of the act where you lost your last life; however, your score will return to 0.

Special Stage Elements[edit]

Picture Item Description
Special stage ring sonic the hedgehog.png Special Stage Ring Jump into this ring to warp to the Special Stage
Ring sonic the hedgehog.png Ring Grab 50 to earn a Continue, or 100 to earn an extra life.
Bumper sonic the hedgehog.gif Bumper Bounce off of these. Bumpers don't dispense points in the Special Stage.
Reverse sonic the hedgehog.gif Reverse Reverse the rotation of the maze.
Up sonic the hedgehog.gif Up Increases the rotation speed of the maze. Changes to a Down when touched.
Down sonic the hedgehog.gif Down Slows down the speed of the maze. Changes to an Up when touched.
Hashira sonic the hedgehog.gif Jump Stand Posts that provide a safe surface to jump off of. When you cross a row of transparent Jump Stands, they become opaque and form a barrier to keep you from falling back.
1-up Provides an extra chance to complete the game, not the Special Stage.
Emerald barrier sonic the hedgehog.gif Emerald Barrier Multi-colored crystal blocks that guard the Chaos Emerald. Bump into each one 5 times to change its color and make it disappear.
Goal sonic the hedgehog.gif Goal Touch one of these to exit the Special Stage, but you'll forfeit your chance at the Chaos Emerald.