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.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Main article | Gallery | Staff | Prereleases ( Nick Arcade | Simon Wai) | Re-releases ( 2006 | 2013) | Knuckles in Sonic 2
Sonic ( Super Sonic) | Tails ( Super Tails**) | Knuckles ( Super Knuckles) | Dr. Robotnik | Animals ( Becky, Cucky, Flicky, Pocky, Pecky, Cucky, Ricky, Pecky, Picky, Rocky, Locky, Wocky, Rat, Tocky)
Badniks Aquis | Asteron | Balkiry | Banper* | BBat** | BFish* | Bubbler* | Bubbler's Mother* | Buzzer | Cactus* | Chop Chop | Clucker | Coconuts | Crawl | Crawlton | Flasher | Frog* | Gator* | Gohla | Grabber | Grounder | Jellies** | Lobster* | Masher | Nebula | Octus | Rexon | Shellcracker | Slicer | Snail* | Spiker | Spiny | Stegway** | Turtloids | Redz** | Whisp
Zones Emerald Hill Zone | Chemical Plant Zone | Aquatic Ruin Zone | Casino Night Zone | Hill Top Zone | Mystic Cave Zone | Oil Ocean Zone | Metropolis Zone | Sky Chase Zone | Wing Fortress Zone | Death Egg Zone | Hidden Palace Zone** | Genocide City Zone* | Dust Hill Zone* | Rock Zone* | Wood Zone* | Egg Gauntlet Zone** | Boss Attack Zone** | Proto Palace Zone** | Special Stage
Drill Eggman | Water Eggman | Tonkachi Eggman | Catcher Eggman | Submarine Eggman | Drill Eggman II | Hidden Palace Zone boss** | Submarine Eggman II | Flying Eggman | Barrier Eggman | Mecha Sonic | Death Egg Robot
Climb | Glide | Spin Jump | Super Dash Attack | Super Spin Attack | Insta-Shield**
Ring | Monitor ( Super Ring, Shield, Power Sneakers, Invincibility, Extra Life, Teleporter, Eggman, Lightning Shield**, Flame Shield**, Water Shield**, S**) | Continue | Spring | Star Post ( Star Circle) | Bumper | Switch | Air Bubbles | Signpost | Capsule
Bomb | Booster | Original Soundtrack | Bumper wall | Cannon | Chaos Emerald | Conveyor Belt | Corkscrew loop | Crusher | Debug Mode | Egg Jet | Fan | Flipper | Giant spear | Gondola | High-speed elevator | High-speed warp tube | Mega Mack | Metal nut | Perfect Bonus | Pinball Shooter | Seesaw | Shuttle loop | Slot machine | Spiked ball | Spikes | Stone pillar | Tornado | Totem pole | West Side Island | Winding Tunnel
*Exclusive to the prototype versions of
Sonic the Hedgehog 2. ** Exclusive to the 2013 re-release version.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
Main articles ( Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3 & Knuckles) | Gallery ( Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles) | Beta elements | Staff ( Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles)
Sonic ( Super Sonic, Hyper Sonic) | Tails ( Super Tails) | Knuckles ( Super Knuckles, Hyper Knuckles) | Dr. Robotnik | Mecha Sonic ( Mecha Sonic's Super State) | Animals ( Flicky ( Flicky's Super State), Pocky, Pecky, Cucky, Ricky, Rocky)
Batbot | Blaster | Blastoid (Carnival Night Zone) | Blastoid (Hydrocity Zone) | Bloominator | Bubbles | Bugernaut | Butterdroid | Catakiller, Jr. | Chainspike | Clamer | Cluckoid | Corkey | Dragonfly | EggRobo | Fireworm | Flybot767 | Hyudoro | Iwamodoki | Jawz | Madmole | Mantis | Mega Chopper | Monkey Dude | Mushmeanie | Orbinaut | Penguinator | Pointdexter | RhinoBot | Ribot | Rock'n | Sandworm | Skorp | Snale Blaster | Spikebonker | Spiker | Star Pointer | TechnoSqueek | Toxomister | Turbo Spiker
Angel Island Zone | Hydrocity Zone | Marble Garden Zone | Carnival Night Zone | IceCap Zone | Launch Base Zone | Special Stages | Bonus Stages
Sonic & Knuckles
Mushroom Hill Zone | Flying Battery Zone | Sandopolis Zone | Lava Reef Zone | Hidden Palace Zone | Sky Sanctuary Zone | Death Egg Zone | The Doomsday Zone | Special Stages | Bonus Stages
Azure Lake Zone | Balloon Park Zone | Chrome Gadget Zone | Desert Palace Zone | Endless Mine Zone
Doctor Robotnik’s Flame Craft (Angel Island Zone Act 1) | Doctor Robotnik’s Whirlpool Machine | Tunnelbot | Self D-Struct Machine | Iceball | Swing’m Spikez | Hei Hou | Gapsule | Barrier Eggman | Guardian | Heat Arms | Egg Mobile-H | Flying Eggman | Red Eye | Death Ball
Doctor Robotnik’s Flame Craft (Angel Island Zone Act 2) | Doctor Robotnik’s Waterspout and Depth Charge Machine | Doctor Robotnik’s Jet Drill Pod | Doctor Robotnik’s Energy Ship | Doctor Robotnik’s Freeze-O-Matic | Ball Shooter | Beam Rocket | Big Arm | Jet Mobile | Hang Mobile | Egg Golem | Hot Mobile | Knuckles | Mecha Sonic | Mecha Sonic's Super State | Kyodai Eggman Robo | The Doomsday Zone
Bound Jump | Double Jump | Fireball Spin Dash | Glide | Gliding Knuckles Attack | Hyper Flash | Insta-Shield | Propeller Flying | Spin Jump | Spin Dash | Spin Attack | Wall Climb
Air Bubbles | Balloon | Banana | Bomb | Booster | Bumper | Bumper wall | Cannon | Capsule | Change | Chaos Emerald | Cloud | Continue | Fan | Jump Stand | Monitor ( Water Shield, Flame Shield, Invincibility, Lightning Shield, Super Ring, Power Sneakers, Extra Life, S, Eggman) | Movable box | Mushroom | Pulley | Ring | Signpost | Self-Propelled Bomb | Slow-Down Shoes | Snowboard | Sphere | Spikes | Spring | Spinning Top | Star Post ( Star Circle) | Super Emerald | Switch | Transport | Zip Line
Angel Island | Barrel | Blue Knuckles | Conveyor Belt | Corkscrew loop | Crusher | Debug Mode | Fireball Cannon | Flipper | Flywheel | Freeze | Giant spear | Goal | Gravity Control Switch | Gumball | High-speed elevator | High-speed warp tube | Icicle | Jewel Radar | Perfect Bonus | Platform-raising Wheel | Pole Elevator | Relief | Reverse | Ring Shooter | Seesaw | Shuttle loop | Slot Machine | Snowblower | Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic the Hedgehog 3 | Spiked ball | Strange Relief | Tunnelbot | Warp Point | Winding Tunnel | Wonderman
Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble
Main article | Beta elements | Gallery
Sonic | Tails | Dr. Robotnik | Knuckles | Nack | Metal Sonic | Flicky
Boing-o-Bot | Bombaberry | Sunset Park Badnik | Kameka | Rabibin | Meta Junglira Badnik | Penguin Bomber | Spidal Tap | Tidal Plant Badnik | Mecha Hiyoko | Bomblur
Great Turquoise Zone | Sunset Park Zone | Meta Junglira Zone | Robotnik Winter Zone | Tidal Plant Zone | Atomic Destroyer Zone | Special Stage
Marvelous Queen | Tart Turtle | Marve-shupopolous-gou | Wood Buttarundorf | Giga Thomas "Pen" | Knuckles the Echidna | Metal Sonic | Atomic Destroyer Zone Boss 1 | 2 | 3
Flying Spin Attack | Heli-Tails | Spin Attack | Spin Jump | Strike Dash | Super Spin Dash | V. Maximum Overdrive Attack
Ring | Monitor ( Super Ring, Power Sneakers, Rocket Shoes, Pogo Spring, Super Heli-Tails, Jet Board, Propeller Shoes, Invincibility, 1-Up, Marker, Chaos Emerald ( Star Circle), Time Bonus) | Continue | Spring | Air Bubbles | Bonus Panel
Bomb | Booster | Breakaway Bumper | Chaos Emerald | Comic Adaptation | Conveyor Belt | High-speed warp tube | Sea Fox | Shuttle loop | Spiked ball | Spin Coaster | Switch | Teleporter | Tornado