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- For Special Stages in general, see here.
Special Stages in Sonic Advance are a series of special levels. Much like some of the previous Sonic games, the player is required to collect at least a certain number of Rings to pass through two segments while avoiding bombs which take away the player's rings. The character rides a board through a bottomless hole.
Completing a Special stage will grant the player a Chaos Emerald and if the player has all 7 Chaos Emeralds (by completing all 7 Special Stages), the player will be able to access the game's true final level, Moon Zone, as Sonic after he defeats clears X Zone. Note that the Emeralds are shared, so any character can collect any Chaos Emerald.
For one to access a Special Stage, the player needs to find a Special Spring hidden throughout the following stages. Each of the location's springs will lead to their corresponding Special Stage:
- Neo Green Hill Zone Act 1 (Special Stage 1)
- Secret Base Zone Act 2 (Special Stage 2)
- Casino Paradise Zone Act 1 (Special Stage 3)
- Ice Mountain Zone Act 1 (Special Stage 4)
- Ice Mountain Zone Act 2 (Special Stage 5)
- Angel Island Zone Act 2 (Special Stage 6)
- Cosmic Angel Zone (Special Stage 7)
These springs will launch the character up into outer space and rides on a board traversing through a bottomless hole as mentioned earlier. The player can press to make the character perform a trick on a board which is essential and helpful to collect Rings or avoid obstacles. There is a giant yellow round void that if the player presses at the right time, the player will earn additional rings.
The character will need to collect a certain number of Rings in order to pass through the segments; otherwise the player will fail the opportunity to collect the Emerald. Note that the Special Spring can only be used once per visit to a level, so if the player does fail to get the Chaos Emerald from the Special Stage, he/she won't be able to return back to the Special Stage again in the same visit; The player will spawn next to the spring and can continue from where they left off.
- The boards the character rides on in the Special Stages somewhat resemble Extreme Gear from the Sonic Riders series games although the said series were released a few years later.
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