At the end of certain levels, Sonic will suddenly speed up to nearly absurd speeds, perhaps even his true speed. In this mode, the player controls Sonic by moving left or right, and jumping. Sonic is not able to use his normal attacks or Custom Actions during these sections. The Light Speed Dash can be utilized, however. If Sonic makes contact with an obstacle or runs directly into any sort of solid barrier, Sonic will stumble and lose his rings but continue to move forward. If Sonic has no rings when he takes damage, the player must restart the Super-Speed Stage or return to the title screen if they've run out of lives.
Other game appearances
Super-Speed Stages seem to have had influences on future Sonic games. Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations utilize similar gameplay in some or most of the stages. Unlike Super-Speed Stages, Sonic does not take damage when running into barriers, with the exception of hazards, and Sonic is able to stop running.
In Sonic Lost World, these stages make a return. However, they're a bit different from their original incarnation. Sonic now can be controlled more smoothly, can jump on enemies, and is equipped with the Homing Attack in addition to being more versatile.
The player cannot destroy any enemies in these sections, as they only damage Sonic.
If the player has purchased the Blue Gem, he/she can achieve Mach Speed, and can use it at will (besides the actual sections), though it only lasts a short time.
In the Tokyo game show trailer, when Sonic wall-jumps in these sections, he would jump, do a spinning motion, then land on his feet. However, in the final release, Sonic would jump and look like he is going to land on his head, but is on his feet a split second later. The animation is probably missing due to the game being rushed.
There seems to be a similar section found in Sonic Adventure, when Sonic is running down the side of a building in the Speed Highway stage, though there are no enemies to be found. However, the helicopters can cause damage if the player runs Sonic into one. Also, when Sonic makes physical contact with something, he merely stumbles for a few seconds, instead of losing rings.
In Sonic Generations, at the end of Crisis City is a section meant to represent the Super-Speed Section from the original, though the section itself is slightly different. There is also no Auto-run, so the player must control Sonic manually. Also, in the original, Sonic runs away from the tornado, while in the redesign, he runs towards the tornado and needs to dodge the cars and rocks thrown at him (the player gets an achievement for not getting hit once during this segment).
The achievement titled "Look Both Ways" in Sonic Generations that the player earns by clearing the Super-Speed Stage representation without harm is likely a reference to a line said by Sonic in the original Crisis City, "That tornado is carrying a car!", which has become an internet meme of its own.
↑ 1.01.1Sonic the Hedgehog (Xbox 360) United States instruction booklet, pg. 13.