Like the original stage, this Zone is set in an industrialized area that contains pools of various synthetic chemicals, most prominently Mega Mack, as well as long tubes. New additions to the setting include gelatinous chemicals, sticky platforms and chemical bubbles.
Like the original Zone, Chemical Plant Zone has blue chemical jets that shoot indestructible balls of blue sludge from one tube to another, or in a parabolic path; these require very quick reflexes, as touching the sludge will cause damage. There are also yellow-clad pipes filled with blue chemicals that spiral through almost the whole map. These pipes can have very steep drops and may climb after a drop. There are also collections of yellow/purple squares that move back and forth periodically. The player must use these blocks to scale vertical shafts, which requires a knowledge of the game physics and quick reflexes.
New to this Zone are pools of gelatinous caustic chemicals. Landing on the surface of these pools causes the player to bounce upward, similar to a Spring. The color of the pools determines the height of the bounce; blue pools create small bounces and green ones crate large bounces. In some place, there are injectors in the pools with which the player can inject new chemicals to change the pools' color by standing on their plunger. There are also strange gelatinous purple pads set on the walls and roofs around the Zone. Touching these pads makes the playable characters stick to them until they jump off. These pads may also move along the surfaces they are placed, allowing the player to ride them across obstacles or through shafts. In addition, there are purple bubbles pushed upward by double helix-shaped sludge springs, which the player can use to reach higher areas.
The Zone has the original Zone's High-speed warp tubes, miscellaneous terrain features that suck the player in and deposit him/her at the other side of the tunnel, that wind across the Zone. In Sonic Mania, these tubes come in new shapes, and the player can choose which tube to follow at intersections.
Act 1 remains true to the original Chemical Plant Zone, featuring several slopes on which Sonic can reach full speed. The pools of Mega Mack return including the infamous "rising pool" from the original stage where Sonic must escape from a vertical shaft with shifting block platforms that fills up with Mega Mack or risk drowning (and unlike the original version, the shaft fills up faster than Sonic can ascend so it is inevitable the player will be trapped under the liquid).
Act 2 introduces many of the new stage gimmicks and also features a new background. The helix lifts, sticky sliding platforms, and bouncy gel pools all appear in this Act. In addition, the intertwined tube chutes that originally appeared in Carnival Night Zone are present, although they are translucent instead of opaque.
- The music for Act 2 has samples of Metallic Madness's music from Sonic the Hedgehog CD (JP version) in it.
- Catakiller, Jr., an enemy that appears in this Zone, was originally an enemy in Angel Island Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The green chemicals that bounce Sonic up make the same sound effects as the electrified floor in Wacky Workbench Zone, and work in a similar way.
- The Act 2 boss of this Zone is a reference to the gameplay of the Puyo Puyo series and the spin-off Sonic title, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.
- ↑ Takahashi, Dean. Hands-on with the Hedgehog’s return to 2D in Sonic Mania. Venture Beat. Retrieved on June 2017.
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