|First playthrough log:|
Green Hill Zone
Stayed on the top path as much as possible... Found 1 special stage ring in each of the 2 acts and got the first 2 chaos emeralds easily... I suck at the Blue Spheres stages though. I suppose collecting the silver medals from beating all the different randomized Blue Sphere stages will unlock stuff in the extras, probably.
Chemical Plant Zone
I have no idea where any of the special stage rings are in these 2 acts... especially in the 2nd act, that whole time I had no idea where I was going, so many paths... and the paths twist around so much, like you never know if going down and left will lead you towards up and right, or what...
lol I suck at this block matching puzzle... but Eggman sucks even more. The bosses in this game are all a joke so far.
The first completely new zone.
Well, I at least found another special stage ring in act 1, but I screwed up too much on the 3rd special stage and didn't win the emerald.
This level isn't as confusing as Chemical Plant, but it is still very sprawling, probably tons of secret 1ups and stuff that I'm missing... I really like the aesthetics in this zone... in Act 2 it started to look like a fancy TV set or something.
At this point I'm doing better at the Blue Sphere stages than I am at the emerald stages lol
Flying Battery Zone
By now I figured out the pattern that Act 1 of every old zone is similar to a classic stage, but still different in a lot of ways, while Act 2 is always a completely different stage that does a ton of new things. Act 1 has you walk upside down on the electrified ceiling when you have electric shield.
Finally, I got the 3rd chaos emerald... I was just playing really badly those last few tries... gotta get good. Also these special stage rings are very cleverly hidden. I almost never come across them on accident, instead they act as rewards for going off the beaten path.
Act 2 of Flying Battery is incredibly fun.
Damn, now I'm failing at the 4th emerald special stage.
Press Garden Zone
This is like, some kinda factory... or... something? What even is this place? Bouncy conveyor belts... alphabet megaman blocks...
Next is Stardust Speedway. Guess I'll stop here for now...
Are you the fastest thing alive? Time Attack is now unlocked!
Prepare to challenge! Competition is now unlocked!
Super peel-out, Sonic's ability from Sonic CD, is now unlocked!
Insta-shield, Sonic's ability from Sonic 3&K, is now unlocked!
So yeah, those 2 main menu options that were a mystery before are now "Competition" and "Time Attack"
The 5 options in Extras besides "Staff Credits" are still a mystery... and it shows 6 out of 32 silver medals from the Blue Sphere stages that I've gained.
This background art is amazing...
omg these teleporting laser firefly things... so annoying when they track directly ontop of you... oh and there's enemies that go in and out of the background... 2.5D gameplay elements like in Kirby's 3DS games.
And armadillo enemies that you bounce off of when they are rolling around in a ball... direct DKC influence.
And... I destroyed some machine, and a beanstalk and a bunch of flowers grew out of where it was... this feels like Yoshi's Island... OMG and there's even a piranha plant at the top of the beanstalk... we Yoshi's Island now.
omg... and then after the easy act 1 boss... that cutscene where you run through a "Present" post and warp to the future like in Sonic CD.
Hmm... okay so I can't attack him, I guess it's one of those "race" bosses, like Sonic 1's Labyrinth Zone boss and Sonic CD's Metal Sonic race... but Metal Sonic follows you around and attacks you while you are running through the level... kinda like a Shadow battle.
Oh wait that's only the first phase... once you get to the end, there's this big machine with Metal Sonic's face on it, and he uses it to summon a bunch of mini-Mecha-Sonics at you, that act just like the classic S2 boss, but they're really weak normal enemies that die in one hit now... but wait, I just kept on fighting them for a long time, until I slipped up and died... Maybe I'm supposed to hit them in their ball state so that they hit Metal Sonic?
Even knowing that, it's not as easy executing it as I thought... I finally got the timing down for how to knock the little sonic into Metal Sonic, but then Metal Sonic likes to shoot his projectile RIGHT when and where I need to jump.
Okay I got the hang of it, not that hard... but oh wait, that's still not the last phase!
Another run while avoiding his attacks section... Then you run while avoiding a spike wall and here you finally get to attack Metal Sonic directly. This part is pretty tricky, but I found eat easy to always pick a ring back up and outrun the spike wall...
lol I got confused at this boss where you actually pilot Eggman's machine and use it against him. It took me a while to figure out the controls, didn't know you could suck stuff up with a whirlwind...
Even after knowing the controls, this boss is actually REALLY tricky to figure out at first...
It took me a while to realize you don't hurt him with his own bombs, you hurt him by sucking up Eggman alone, when he's not near any bombs... the bombs mostly only hurt you if you suck them up with Eggman.
I should've remembered this because I'm pretty sure it's the exact reverse of a boss battle from the original Hydrocity Zone in Sonic 3.
That was amazing... and again, that was only Act 1. It remixed existing Hydrocity level design into a bunch of new ideas, to the point where it stands on its own as a totally unique level.
Act 2... whoa... suddenly it's castlevania like atmosphere...
Sweeet... after that tiny break from special stages, I came back to special stage 4 again and beat it this time... It was like something kicked in me and i "got good" and started doing laps at top speed without running into anything... Collectng a surplus of rings was easy and it felt like I had a ton of time now... but it really tests your endurance with this one, not only going top speed without running into anything, but you also gotta take risky shortcuts to gain ground on the emerald... It felt more like a really tough 1-on-1 Sonic R race... except the gameplay and controls are actually good.
This eggman jetstream boss is really fun.
|Mirage Saloon Zone|
This is instantly my favorite Tails flying stage...
(er, no, nevermind, it's actually really easy to jump down into it from the back of the train... you'd think the motion of the train would throw you off whenever you jump, but no. it's really just a normal level that happens to be ontop of a train)
5th Special stage.. I almost got it down, but I let him get way too far ahead by taking the long way too many times and going in the grass too much. might get good on the 2nd try...
This weird robot that may or may not (probably is) working for Eggman... sends a giant worm after me... huh... Are those robots actually much farther away... and bigger... than they look from this 2d perspective? maybe they are the giant robot minions from the Sonic Forces trailers...?
This tornado-ride boss is really cool. the worm jumps at you from the background/foreground at different 3D angles, and from the sides at different 2D angles...
slanted chozo beaks act as pinball things... I wasn't expecting a casino night style level in a desert.
But then I did fall down to the bottom path a bit later...
Also I'm getting a LOT better at those Blue Sphere stages now.
Okay I was wrong about that giant robot theory... these robots are actually piloted by those felix the cat looking characters
2nd try... wasn't that hard.
This game so far has never gotten me close to a game over yet... the amount of exploring I do for rings/lives I'm doing keeps my lives in the double digits the whole way through so far.
Next, a chozo gun shoots Sonic & Tails over to a big factory looking area...
|Oil Ocean Zone|
Fell down to a bottom path after getting a flame shield. uh... woops... now the ocean is on fire... at least I got to a special stage ring lol
Jeez... the 5th special stage isn't messing around... still didn't beat it.
I even found a 2nd special stage ring in Act 1... nope still playing way too sloppy.
I'm liking this stage a lot so far... though not too sure how much of this stage is taken straight from S2, I have to refresh my memory on that.
I just realized... all these Silver Medals I'm getting on the Blue Sphere stages... I bet you get a Gold medal for collecting as many rings as possible before getting all the blue spheres... so I really haven't been acing them all yet after all.
Act 2... now the place has really blown up... smoke everywhere... low visibility...
Just realized when the smog is covering the level... your rings are like an air meter... there are switches to make the fog go away and traps to make it come back. (oh wait nevermind, it just comes back on its own in time)
Woah... we got some Mario style warp pipe gameplay now... at least that's what it felt like, going down into this submarine where you're safe from the fog...
That Oil Ocean boss took me a few tries. It's like a harder version of the original Oil Ocean boss from Sonic 2.
|Lava Reef Zone|
Wow, this is actually taking a bunch of elements from Sonic 1's Marble Sone... and other levels from the past games as well...
Act 2... This level takes some of the other aspects of Marble Zone... like using lava shield to make exploring the lava sections a lot easier.
The platforming in this stage is extremely tight and focused, kinda like a DKC level... while still making great use of Sonic and Tails's abilities.
Although the thing about using flame shield, you can't catch onto Tails to fly... at least not easily.
Lost the fire shield there for a bit, but it was really easy to just switch to playing carefully and slowly until finding another fire shield.
The fire shield makes you mostly invincible in this level, with the exception of the moving walls that crush you.
It took me a little bit to realize he goes up the unicycle rails in the background... that's how you avoid him and get hits in.
|Metallic Madness Zone|
...This seems to be the last "full" zone in the game... or I could be wrong... The last 2 zones may or may not just be boss fight zones.
Now I'm at 17 lives... I'm definitely not gonna get the all emeralds ending, but I'll likely beat it without a single game over unless the bosses coming up are just crazy.
Oops I was wrong, this seems to be a full level as well.
This level design is pretty confusing... I can see little bits and pieces of influence from older Sonic levels in this, including Starlight Zone, and some Sonic 3 stuff... but it's still mixed up enough to feel new.
Actually it gets kinda confusing later on... I can't figure out which way is forward. There's all these weird warp clouds that teleport you to some other room... I have no idea where I'm going.
omg... the environments later on in this level look incredible...
Wow... so I just realized, all those times you encounted Eggman and he used an emerald to warp you to another dimension... there's some other dimension where Eggman has taken over and everyone is robots...
on one side of this fight you're fighting Eggman who's holding an emerald, on the other side your fighting some giant missile-throwing robot enemy in the background.
I'm not sure what you're supposed to do to avoid Eggman's electric tentacles at first, besides just tanking the hits until you can destroy some of the tentacles...
|Had to stop here for now, right at the last boss...|
Knock Knock! & Knuckles mode is now unlocked!
You can now do anything! Debug mode is now unlocked!
Debug mode is hidden in the menu somewhere, idk...
In Extras it shows that I have 17/32 medals. More than half of them now... but... only 2/32 of them are gold.
|lmao... are you kidding me... Tails got caught in both of Eggman's purple dimension warping hands, and it soft-locked the game... I can't do anything now except wait for the time out death.|
Beat it on the 4th try...
To use cheats such as alternate modes, And Knuckles and Debug, you must go into Mania Mode and hover over the 'No Save' icon on the right. Next, press Triangle (or Y on Xbox, or X on Switch) to activate these options.
Oh, that's easy... It's even mentioned right there on the screen when you hover over the No Save file...
The Secrets menu has:
- Debug Mode on/off toggle
- Sonic Ability toggle between Mania and CD. Mania means you have the drop-dash ability by holding jump after you hear a ring noise in the air... CD means you have the peel-out ability by holding up and jump on the ground, similar to spin-dash... I dunno why you can't just have both...
- & Knuckles on/off toggle
All of these toggles only take affect when you start a new game on the "No Save" file, so it's not at all a legit way of playing through the game... also the & Knuckles mode replaces Tails when you choose a Sonic & Tails game... damn, I was hoping you could go through the game with all 3 characters.
When playing with Debug Mode on, you can press X to turn Sonic into an object placement cursor, and you can cycle through the objects with the jump button, and place them onto the level with the Y button... I wonder if doing Blue Sphere stages in this mode will count all the medals you get? If so, this is very useful... otherwise I guess it's only useful for practicing Blue Sphere and UFO special stages in order to get good enough to clear them in the main game.
There's also the Level Select mode.
PS4: Select the No Save option on the far right of Mania Mode with Debug Mode enabled, and press Options, Triangle and Square.
Switch: On the title screen, press Y + B buttons together.
Xbone: Select the No Save option on the far right of Mania Mode with Debug Mode enabled, and press the Menu button, Y and X together.
If you've already beaten the game though, you already have instant access to every level through Time Attack mode or by choosing the starting zone in your completed file in Mania mode.
Actually, this is also where the Sound Test is hidden.
You also get instant access to the first UFO and Blue Sphere special stages in the Level Select... but ONLY the first for some reason? Whenever you beat a level through Level Select mode, it just puts you back out to the title screen.
|woah... I just tried out Knuckles & Knuckles on No Save mode... apparently (some of?) the stages have a completely different layout when you play as Knuckles.|
Then I went on No Save with Sonic-only, with Debug Mode on, to try and find all the early special stage rings and practice doing the special stages... After a bit of practice I managed to beat all 7 special stages without much trouble... it's really just a matter of focusing on collecting rings first while you're still slow, while also taking whatever shortcuts you can, then once you have a healthy amount of time, collect orbs while continuing to take shortcuts and avoiding the obstacles.
I also got a few more gold medals in Blue Sphere stages...
Yeehaw! Mean Bean is now unlocked!
ah, so that's one of the unlockables in the Extras menu...
|I'm doing a full Knuckles playthrough now... so far I'm really enjoying climbing around and exploring everywhere and grabbing tons of rings/lives... and yeah I'm finding a ton more special stage rings this time. Sometimes I'm even getting time-out because I spent so long exploring.|
Most of the boss fights are really annoying with Knuckles, due to his gimped jump height and lack of a drop-dash ability.
Only some of the levels have a different layout for Knux... Mirage Saloon Act 1 completely skips the airplane stuff and goes to a completely different level made for Knuckles, and a different boss fight... This was where I beat the last special stage and unlocked Super Knuckles...
|Lava Reef Zone Act 2 has a different layout with Knuckles as well... it feels like an entirely different level than when I played this with Sonic + Tails...|
lol... at this one point, I died because I was climbing above a pit, and I had to jump and glide somewhere, but since I had over 50 rings it made me turn into Super Knuckles instead, and I couldn't glide because of that and died in the pit...
Act 1 of Metallic Madness has you "shrink" by going into the background, while Metallic Madness Act 2 has you shrink for real... I like the 2nd one better, because of how it makes your sprite look like the Game Gear sprites.
No way! Blue Spheres is now unlocked!
After that 2nd playthrough, I now have all the blue spheres levels beaten, and 8/32 of the gold medals on them.
The unlocked Blue Spheres mode includes the original Blue Spheres stages from Sonic 3, as well as completely new Blue Spheres stages in "Mania" mode that weren't in the main game... like with some green spheres that turn blue after you hit them once.