The best part about Sonic Mania Plus is definitely the return of the Special Stages. These new Special Stages come packed with even more difficult routes in Encore Mode. Considering that the difficulty is extreme by this point, we’ll talk about some tips and tricks so you can learn how to catch up with these UFO’s as soon as you can.
Keep in mind that we’ll be talking about the Special Stages in Encore mode of Sonic Mania Plus but some of these tips can apply to the later Special Stages in Mania Mode. The main focus a player should have is definitely patience and mastery of the mechanics exclusive to Special Stages. Let’s talk about the first aspect to think about
Do NOT Attempt To Beat Special Stages on the First Run of Encore Mode
While it’s definitely doable, I’d recommend players to enjoy the rest of the game proper before going after the Chaos Emeralds through the Special Stages. The main reason of this is because the Giant Rings you use to enter said Special Stages cannot be entered again even if you restart the stage.
It’s better to use the chances the player has to enter the Special Stages to learn the routes the player has to take and eventually snag the Chaos Emeralds if they’re skilled enough. That way the player will be able to enjoy the rest of Sonic Mania Plus’s Encore Mode and focus on Emerald Collecting for the Best Ending later.
Another reason why it isn’t encouraged to go after the elusive Chaos Emeralds in Sonic Mania Plus on the first run is because the player will find it easier to collect them after the game is Cleared. Using the Stage Select feature of the game the player can go to Flying Battery Zone Act 1 and find a very easy to get Giant Ring as demonstrated below:
Organize Your Gameplay Phases
There is an order to the things you should be collecting in the Special Stages. The most widely accepted strategy is to divide the gameplay into different phases which are focused on certain aspects of the gameplay.
First off, on the first few laps of the stage, it should be noted that the player has to collect as many rings as possible. This is done to extend the time for the chase to be increased exponentially before the speedy part comes up.
As such, the player should forget that there’s a time limit at all and just focus on collecting the rings that are sprinkled throughout the Special Stage. The more rings that are collected, the longer the player will have to actually catch up and get the Chaos Emerald.
Of course, it’s also recommended to collect Blue Spheres for Speed and increase the Speed Level to Mach 2 (not 3) on the first lap and learning the stage layout well enough to know which way to go when getting to a crossroads.
From the second lap onwards the player will have to shift the priorities and start to collect as many Blue Spheres as possible while still collecting rings. This is to get the player to Mach 3 before the second lap is over and to collect any leftover rings that couldn’t be collected on Mach 1.
Now that the time has been extended as long as possible and the player is at Mach 3 at this point. It’s time to catch up to the UFO that’s trying to take that Emerald away and do the platforming sections the Special Stages have for them.
It’s important to note that platforming becomes tricky and complicated the second the player reaches the Mach 3 speed. It’s definitely an obstacle that shouldn’t be taken lightly, of course. If the player doesn’t know the layout of the stage that well, they will definitely fall off the platforms and fail the Special Stage, forcing a retry.
By the time the player catches up to the UFO, they will start to feel more and more anxious as the end of the Special Stage draws near. Especially due to the time limit and other aspects beginning to kick in. However, it’s important to note that, even while under pressure, the player should just focus on the platforming.
The reason for this is that focusing on the UFO will distract the player from taking the necessary turns or jumps and make them fall off at the very last few moments. It should also be noted that sharp turns are the player’s best friend as the UFO takes longer to do those and the player can cut corners to catch up with the UFO much faster.
Conclusion: After Eggman!
Should the player follow these instructions and, of course, learn how the stages work and the extent of Sonic & Co.’s abilities, the Special Stages become a much easier puzzle to tackle on. It definitely isn’t a game breaker but these stages really are tricky and require a lot of familiarity with the territory in order to complete.
Sure, it’s possible to do on the first try should the player actually be skilled enough and capable of learning the layout of the Stages in the first lap. However, it’s also worth noting that there really isn’t a pressure to complete the Special Stages and doing this post-game can actually say that there’s a nearly infinite amount of chances to try to score those Emeralds.
After that, there’s nothing else to do but to go back to Titanic Monarch and tackle the final boss head on for the best ending Sonic Mania Plus’s Encore Mode has to offer. Or you could just go back to the rest of the Zones and cruise through them as the Super forms of Sonic & Co.
And there you have it folks, guide that teaches you how to beat the Special Stages in Sonic Mania Plus easily and getting those elusive Chaos Emeralds. If this guide was helpful, do not hesitate to suggest future guides in the comments below.