Star Post creating a Star Circle in . Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Star Circles,  also referred to as  Bonus Gates, are reoccurring effects in the . They are essentially portals leading into the Sonic the Hedgehog series Special or Bonus Stages
The Star Circles are rings of tiny floating stars created by
Star Posts or other significant objects, which appear and grant access to Special or Bonus Stages after specific requirements are fulfilled. These requirements varies between games. The player simply has to jump into the Star Circles to be transported to the designated Stage.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
First appearing in the 16-bit version of
, the Star Circle is in this game red and white, and is created by a Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Star Post when the player has collected least fifty Rings. In this game, they lead solely to the Special Stages.
The Star Circle rotates around the Star Post upon being activated, but will shrink and disappear after couple of seconds. If the player does not get a
Chaos Emerald from the Special Stage, they can repeat the process by activating another Star Post. However, it cannot be activated after getting all seven Chaos Emeralds or in the game's multiplayer mode.
Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
In the 16-bit version of
, the player can collect every Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball Ring in a Stage to open a Star Circle (referred to as Bonus Gate in the urgent order) leading to the fourth Bonus Stage named " Clucker's Defense". The Star Circle itself can be found in remote sections or hidden areas of each Stage.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
, the Star Circle work like in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 by activating a Star Post while holding fifty Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Rings. In this game, the Star Circle leads to the game's only Bonus Stage.
, the Star Circle serves the same purpose and work in the same manner as in Sonic & Knuckles Sonic the Hedgehog 3, except it can lead to one of the game's two types of Bonus Stages. Where the Star Circle takes one depends on the player's Rings. Having 20-49 Rings creates a yellow Star Circle that leads to the Slot Machine Bonus Stage, and having more than fifty Rings creates a red Star Circle leading to the Glowing Spheres Bonus Stage.
In the locked-on game
, all three Bonus Stages are featured and are accessed by different Star Circles with different amounts of Rings in the same manner as in both games:
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
It should be noted that after over fifty Rings, the pattern restarts with 70-84 Rings leading to Slot Machine-type, 85-99 Rings to Glowing Spheres-type and at least hundred Rings to Gumball Machine-type Bonus Stage.
Sonic Triple Trouble
, there are Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble Chaos Emerald Monitors in each Act which open Star Circles. When the player finds one with least fifty Rings on-hand, breaking it creates the Star Circle above it. In this game, it gives access to the Special Stage.
In other media
Sonic the Comic
series published by Sonic the Comic Fleetway Editions, the Star Circle appears as an energy field surrounding the Star Posts and allows travel between Zones and the Special Zone. In the media, Sonic has to run around the Star Post to charge it with Sonic Speed Energy to create the energy field
Star Posts and dimensional portal in
comic series and its spin-offs published by Sonic the Hedgehog Archie Comics, the Star Circle looks identical to its game counterpart, although it is not referred to by name. In this media, it is created between a set of Star Posts and serves as a portal between dimensions.
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