Special Stages are a set of seven levels in which the player can collect the Chaos Emeralds. SRB2 includes two sets of Special Stages: one for Single Player and one for Coop. The Single Player Special Stages are based on the game NiGHTS into Dreams. In these stages, the player flies along a curved 2D track and has to collect blue spheres in order to destroy an Ideya Capture containing a Chaos Emerald. In the Coop Special Stages, players walk around the stage in normal 3D movement and must collect a specified number of blue spheres to obtain the emerald.
Special Stages were introduced to SRB2 in Demo 4. As NiGHTS support had not been added yet, the original Special Stages used the latter format, although the player collected rings instead of spheres. The NiGHTS Special Stages were introduced in v2.1 and were originally used for both Single Player and Coop. v2.2 reintroduced the old Special Stages exclusively for Coop.
Special Stages can be accessed by collecting emerald tokens, which are hidden in every non-boss map of the main Single Player campaign. When the player completes a map after having collected tokens, they have one attempt at a Special Stage for every token. The player is always warped to the Special Stage that contains the next emerald they do not already have. For example, if the player has collected two tokens and already has one emerald, they are warped to the second Special Stage. If the player completes the Special Stage, they may try the third Special Stage right afterwards, otherwise they may try the second Special Stage again. If the player is in possession of all Chaos Emeralds already, a token awards a continue instead.
Custom Special Stages can choose between the two formats. The format is automatically detected for each Special Stage individually by checking if the map contains a functional NiGHTS track. By default, the Single Player Special Stages are assumed to be in the slots
MAP56, and the multiplayer Special Stages in the slots
MAP66. The location of the first Special Stage can be changed with the
SMPStage_Start parameters in the
MainCfg block, respectively. The second to seventh Special Stage must always be placed in the following slots. To use the same set of Special Stages for Single Player and multiplayer, set both parameters to the same value.
The Push Point and Pull Point, which are normally invisible, display sprites in Special Stages. They were intended to be used as gravity wells in Egg Satellite Zone, but the gimmick was ultimately scrapped.
NiGHTS Special Stages
If a Special Stage contains a functional NiGHTS track, it will automatically use the NiGHTS Special Stage format. The general setup in the same as in any NiGHTS stage. The player transforms into their NiGHTS form at the Ideya Drone and then flies along a curved 2D track. The goal is to collect a specified number of blue spheres (the amount varies between Special Stages) and deposit them in the Ideya Capture, a floating orb that is located between the middle and the end of the track. After doing so, the player is awarded a Chaos Emerald which must be brought back to the Ideya Drone. Special Stages also have a timer. If it runs out, the player will transform back into their original form and end the stage without obtaining the emerald.
While in SRB2's Special Stages the player immediately transforms into their NiGHTS form, it is also possible to create Special Stages where the player may roam the map in 3D mode before jumping into the Ideya Drone and transforming into the NiGHTS form. However, unlike regular NiGHTS stages, if the timer for the NiGHTS track runs out, the player will not return to 3D mode and the map will always end.
Unlike in regular NiGHTS stages, no lap bonus is awarded in the score tally screen. However, if the player has scored more than 50,000 points in the stage itself, they will be awarded a continue.
SRB2's Special Stages are themed after the zones in the main game. Each Special Stage has four emblems associated with it: two that are hidden in the map itself, one for beating a time requirement in NiGHTS Mode, and one for getting an A rank in NiGHTS Mode. Getting an A rank in all seven Special Stages unlocks a secret eighth Special Stage, Black Hole Zone, which can only be accessed in NiGHTS Mode. Completing Black Hole Zone rewards the player with a dubiously existent wire-frame Chaos Emerald.
Old Special Stages
Special Stages without a functional NiGHTS track automatically use the old format, which consists of regular 3D stages in which the player has to collect a certain number of blue spheres in a specified time to obtain the emerald. A bonus is awarded at the score tally screen for the number of collected rings, regardless of whether or not the emerald was obtained. These stages are typically small, rectangular and symmetrical. SRB2's multiplayer Special Stages are themed after the zones in the main game, but also use a special texture set to differentiate them from normal levels.
The time limit and sphere requirement for the old Special Stage format are set up directly in the map with the Special Stage Time/Spheres Parameters sector type. The Special Stage Damage sector type exists specifically for damaging substances in Special Stages, such as the red liquid used in SRB2's old Special Stages. It subtracts five seconds from the timer of any player who touches it. Other non-lethal damage types also exhibit this behavior in Special Stages. Being submerged in water will cause the timer to count down faster, unless the player is carrying an Elemental Shield or a Bubble Shield. The Special Stage Pit sector type will cause the Special Stage to abort when a player touches it. The Special Stage will also abort when all players have died or have run out of time. In multiplayer, the sphere and ring counts are shared among all players, but the timers are individual.
|Game modes||Campaign • Ultimate mode • Marathon Run • Record Attack/NiGHTS Mode • Multiplayer|
|Gametypes||Single Player/Co-op • Competition • Race • Match/Team Match • Tag/Hide & Seek • Capture the Flag|
|Level types||Supplementary: 2D mode • Mario mode • NiGHTS|
Other: Special Stage • Emerald Hunt