- For Special Stages in general, see here.
Special Stages in Sonic Advance 2 are a series of special levels. For a character to enter a Special Stage, the player must find seven Special Rings hidden throughout an act and finish the act without losing a life. This requires that the player is fully aware of the Act's layout as finding seven Special Rings can be a painstaking task.
As the Chaos Emeralds are not shared, each character is required to collect the seven Emeralds separately. If Sonic collects them all, he can access True Area 53. If any character collects all seven, the game's Tiny Chao Garden mode and Boss Battles in Time Attack become available to the player. If all the characters have collected all seven Chaos Emeralds each, Amy Rose becomes a playable character.
Once the player successfully enters the Special Stage, the player has to control the character around a large, rectangular, 3D environmental stage, with their main objective being collecting 300 Rings within 2 minutes. However, there will not be 300 Rings physically on the stage so the player should collect Rings in succession; collecting Rings in succession will raise the ring multiplier to x2 (meaning that 1 physical Ring becomes 2 rings) and as long as Rings are collected in succession the ring multiplier will continue to increase until it reaches x9. The multiplier increase is only temporary; if no Rings are collected after a short amount of time, the multiplier will reset back to x1. There are gimmicks such as a dash panel and a Spring which can accelerate the character or launch him/her up into the air respectively. The only obstacle in the Special Stage is one of Eggman's robots from Sonic Adventure, E-100 Alpha, who constantly chases the character. Touching it will damage the character, making the character lose some Rings. If it touches the character while having no Rings, the Special Stage ends in a failure. E-100 Alpha is indestructible, but if contacted by a Spin Jump from a character, the robot will temporarily be knocked down. The arrow and color next to the character will indicate the direction and proximity of where E-100 Alpha is. (Green means far distance, yellow means fairly short distance and red means very short distance).
When having 30 seconds left on the timer, the music will change and the timer will flash red, indicating that the player does not have much time left in the Special Stage to pass the objective. When having 300 Rings, a figure of an Emerald flashing green, red and blue will appear indicating that the player has passed the objective in the Ring Count.
The Chaos Emerald earned depends on the zone the player entered from:
- Leaf Forest: Red Chaos Emerald
- Hot Crater: Blue Chaos Emerald
- Music Plant: Yellow Chaos Emerald
- Ice Paradise: Green Chaos Emerald
- Sky Canyon: Gray Chaos Emerald
- Techno Base: Cyan Chaos Emerald
- Egg Utopia: Purple Chaos Emerald