Special Stages are a set of seven levels in which the player can collect the Chaos Emeralds. SRB2's Special Stages are based on the game NiGHTS Into Dreams. In these stages, the player flies along a curved 2D track as Super Sonic and has to collect blue spheres to obtain a Chaos Emerald. SRB2 also supports an alternative format for Special Stages in which the player walks around a 3D stage normally and must collect a specified number of rings to obtain the emerald. This format was used as a placeholder in SRB2 versions prior to v2.1, but it is still available for modifications.
Special Stages can be accessed by collecting Special Stage 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 50 rings instead.
By default, the Special Stages are assumed to be in the slots
MAP56. The location of the slots can be changed with the
SStage_Start parameter in the
MainCfg block, but they must always be grouped together.
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
The general setup for NiGHTS Special Stages is the same as for any NiGHTS stage. The player transforms to Super Sonic at the Ideya Drone and then flies along a curved 2D track. In Special Stages, rings are automatically replaced by blue spheres and Wing Logos are automatically replaced by rings. 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 spawn point (called the Ideya Drone). Special Stages also have a timer. If it runs out, the player will transform back into their original character and end the stage without obtaining the emerald.
While in SRB2's Special Stages the player immediately transforms into Super Sonic, 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 Super Sonic. 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.
At the score tally screen, a bonus is awarded for the highest link that the player achieved in the stage; it is calculated by multiplying the highest achieved link with 100 points. These points are added to the main game score, which is separate from the score in the Special Stage itself. Unlike regular NiGHTS stages, no bonus points are awarded for time 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 three emblems associated with it: one that is 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. No emeralds can be obtained in this stage, but the "NiGHTS Mastery" emblem is awarded for beating it.
Old Special Stages
To use the old Special Stage format, the
UseNiGHTSSS parameter in the
MainCfg block must be set to
false. The default value is
true, so the NiGHTS Special Stage format is used if not specified otherwise.
The old Special Stage format consists of regular 3D stages in which the player has to collect a certain number of rings 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. The Special Stages used in previous versions of SRB2 were typically small, rectangular and symmetrical. A special texture set was used to differentiate them from normal levels.
The time limit and ring requirement for old Special Stages is set up directly in the map with the Special Stage Time/Rings 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 ten rings from any player who touches it without spilling those rings. Spikeballs also exhibit this behavior in Special Stages. Being submerged in water will cause the timer to count down faster. 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 a player dies.
Special Stages in Coop mode
Special Stages can also be played in Coop mode. Both time and sphere/ring count are shared among all players. While this can make the Special Stage easier, in the old Special Stage format it also means that one player's mistake can cost everybody time or rings. This is especially critical in Special Stages with pits that immediately end the stage once a player falls into them. In the NiGHTS Special Stages, players who join the game during a Special Stage are forced to spectate until it is finished, to avoid interfering with the other players.
|Game modes||Campaign • Ultimate mode • 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