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Time Attack is a type of gameplay featured in numerous games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Time Attack lets the player test their speed skills and ranks their times, some of which they can upload online until the servers get taken down. The players' speed skills can also be measured more inaccurately in multiplayer.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD
Sonic the Hedgehog CD is the first Sonic game to utilize this gameplay where stages (including Special Stages) can be replayed in Time Attack mode for a challenge. Time is recorded and then added to the player's save file at the end of a stage. Note that Sonic cannot travel to other timelines in this mode and by default, the first two 'Zones' are always played in the Present while the third 'Zone' takes place in the Bad Future. In Special Stages, the player is not affected if running on the water in terms of the time. Using a cheat code, one can see the best times of members of the Sonic Team, who developed the game.
In the 2011 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the player can unlock certain features if he/she can clear Time Attack with the total time falls below a certain amount.
Time Attack appears in Sonic R where players complete three laps and race for the best time. Once the player picks a character, they will have to race their previous self in order to beat their time.
Sonic Advance series
Time Attack mode appears in all 3 of the Advance titles although Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3 requires special requirements to unlock boss battle mode. Here, the player needs to complete the stage as fast as they can although they are given only one life to do so.
To have the best time, the player will have to race their ghost in order to have a new time. They can also challenge other ghosts online to beat their best time. In Sonic Free Riders, each course (both standard and expert) have a specific time to beat to unlock Xbox Achievements.
Time Attack appears in Sonic Rush as an unlockable gameplay feature. (The player must have cleared either story mode to unlock this.) As with other games, the player basically just needs to complete the stage/defeat the boss as quickly as they can, as either Sonic or Blaze with only one life to do so. In most cases, the 1-Up Item box is mainly replaced with Max Tension Gauge for each stage. Only the top five fastest times are recorded per stage. There are special, playable stages that are exclusively playable in this mode for both games that involve lapping around the start five times similar to Competition Mode in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
In both Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, in the Stage Select screen the player may switch to using Time Attack Mode (by pressing //) and try to complete each stage as quick as possible with only one life. As there are no 1-Up Monitors in this mode, they are all replaced by the Super Rings Monitor.
Time Attack selection screen in Sonic 4: Episode II.
In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, in Xbox Live/Network mode, players compete for the fastest times on the leaderboards by completing each stage as fast as possible. Note that there are no lives in this mode, the player can take as many tries as needed to complete each act. When the player uploads a time for each stage (both Classic and Modern), an achievement/trophy is unlocked for accomplishing this.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
In the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Time Attack is once again a gameplay feature where the player must clear each Stage as fast as possible with Sonic and has one life to do so. To unlock each Zone so that they are playable in this mode, they must have been cleared in the regular gameplay. All of the six main Special Stages are also playable in this mode. By default, each of the main Acts have a time of 10 minutes each while the Special Stages each have 5 minutes.
Differences from the main gameplay is that the timer in the HUD also displays centiseconds and all 1-Up Monitors have been removed, resembling the Time Attack Mode from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
Sonic Lost World
In Sonic Lost World for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, there is a Time Attack Mode. Time Attack Mode allows the to race against themselves and other people around the world for the best time on each stage. The player is also ranked according to the time they completed in.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
In the 2013 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Time Attack mode appears again and works nearly identical to the Time Attack mode in the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. However, Sky Chase Zone and Death Egg Zone are not playable in Time Attack. To compensate for this though, an entirely new Zone called Boss Attack Zone was exclusively added to this Time Attack. The Zone features Sonic having to defeat all 11 bosses of the game in one go. Hidden Palace Zone is also playable in Time Attack once the player has found and completed the said Zone in regular gameplay.
If the player scores a record time outside of Time Attack in Sonic Rush, it won't save over.
Time Attack appears in many non-Sonic games under the same name, even if speed is not emphasized.
The leaderboards in Sonic the Hedgehog 4 for Time Attack (and Score Attack) have three different categories: Regular Sonic (if you completed the stage without transforming into Super Sonic), Super Sonic (if you completed each stage as Super Sonic), or both (the better of the two times between Super Sonic and Regular Sonic).
The music of Time Attack mode in Sonic Generations is a remix of the title screen music of Sonic Mega Collection.