Sonic 3 and Knuckles/Sonic

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Current Fastest Time

30:53 by mike89

Act 1 of each stage links to a tutorial video by mike89 for that zone. Because the two acts of each stage are contiguous, having the two acts together in a tutorial shows how you would do both stages together, and preserves the context for some of the things you can do in act 2s. The times in these videos are towards the upper limits of what is possible with what we currently know, and the total time of all of them is 29:36, which gives you an idea of how much improvement there still is.

Unless otherwise stated, you should start each stage with a 6 tap spindash.

Angel Island 1

  • Make sure you tap left just before going through the first ramp, so you hit the bottom of the spring up ahead rather than the side.
  • The vines at the start are based on how much time you've spent in a stage while the game is powered on, which is essentially random after your first attempt. You can hard reset them back to their initial position, but that one isn't really favourable.
  • When the screen stops scrolling for the boss, take a look at your time. It takes almost exactly 7 seconds from the screen stopping to defeating the boss if you do it ideally, but depending on when it ticks over to the next second determines whether the last hit is worth going for. If it's in the middle of a second, just wait for the fire to dissipate before attempting the last hit, but if it's close to a change in the second, then you need to make sure all the insta-shields go off perfectly. If done just right, the last one will make you invincible just before the fire goes off, after which you'll get the hit and then have the fire hit you.

Angel Island 2

  • It's possibly slightly faster to charge a spindash on the first crumbling platforms rather than bounce down, but there's not much in it and bouncing is much easier.
  • After the second pipe, simply mash the buttons and hope you get a bounce. There's two ways up: a bounce straight onto the spring, or off the slightly raised portion of ground, up to the slightly lower part of the platform.
  • The bounce to the lightning shield is important. The two jumps are both short (if the second one is too big, you'll hit the enemy above) but you also can't hit any walls, because the revolving bridge is on the camera timer and it has already started by the time you reach the checkpoint. Then you have to bounce to your maximum height or else you won't reach the above platform with the bounce.
  • The last pipe has a habit of slowing you down at multiple points, if you do a 2 or 3-tap spindash this tends to occur less often.
  • Again, you can tell what time you're going to get before the end: as the first step goes off screen to the left, add 40 seconds to your time and that's what you'll end up if you do the spindash at the end. The way that works is: after all the bombs have dropped, brake, then quickly turn right and spindash, and you'll be dragged along by the autoscroller. Once the trees appear, follow the pairs of trees in the foreground. As the 9th pair hits the left edge of the screen, the autoscroller will end and releasing the spindash will send you off at full speed. Once you hit the right edge, turn left, pause slightly and release a 3-tap spindash, then full jump once you hit the left edge. Ideally you just bounce the same amount on odd and even hits, but sometimes your odd or even hits will be too low; if so, you need to move over to the right on the second low bounce (either the 3rd or 4th hit).

Hydrocity 1

  • The spindash off the spikes is a bit tricky. It has to be timed so you just catch the fan just as it starts again: line Sonic up with the third spike on the left, and wait for the fish to run into you. Then release a 2-tap spindash, tap left a little to land on the second set of spikes up ahead, then hold left once you move off of those, with the objective of hitting the enemy up ahead from the side: if you hit it on the top you'll bounce up and lose a second or so.
  • Land on the set of spikes at the bottom. You have to be at a dead stop before you can spindash off these, so try and line yourself up while falling.
  • Turning around after the second set of three rings over the water lets you slow down just the right amount so you can clearly see where to land on the platform. Once you land on it, the fastest way to progress is a 3-tap spindash and -very- quick jump. This is a fairly difficult (and risky) move; if you don't feel comfortable doing it, simply wait for the second platform to fall and jump across.
  • If you spindash while standing up against the boxes on top of the loop, you'll break into a run as soon as you do, stopping you right in front of the second box. So stop before the boxes instead.
  • The boss of this stage is really stupid. To get a good time, you need at least four hits while the boss is in the middle of the screen, all while you have no idea where you are relative to it. My method is basically as follows:
  • Start at about the middle, do a full spindash up the left wall, trying to time it so you go off the top of the screen just as the boss music starts. Once you go off the top, hold right, and you should get the first two hits. At some point between the second and third hits, release right for a fraction of a second and press it again. Sometimes you'll get hit and you'll have to do the fight in a slower way, but that's manageable. If you get the third hit, then between that and the fourth hit, release right twice in the same way, then do this again to attempt to get a fifth hit (you'll often get hit at the same time yourself: watch the HUD, if it flashes you got a hit).
  • The next part can go a few different ways depending on how many hits you got. If you have 4 or more hits, you will be waiting down the bottom while invincible, and regardless of which side you're on should be able to get two hits as it moves across the bottom.
  • If you have three or less, listen for the spindash sound as the boss moves down the left side: once you hear it, spindash up the left wall. On the flat ground at the bottom, jump and insta-shield for a second hit, and you'll get hit in return. Then spindash up the right side for hit 5, and quickly insta-shield for hit 6 before becoming vulnerable again.
  • Make sure you're facing right when the stage ends!

Hydrocity 2

  • As you approach the ramp, short jump and insta-shield. The checkpoint time actually doesn't matter, what matters is the time when you get crushed by the wall. Spindashing here actually makes your hitbox expand slightly horizontally, meaning you get crushed sooner.
  • When you respawn, do a quick 1-tap spindash and immediately do as short a jump as possible. You should bounce off the ramp. Hold down to roll down the ramp, then, as Sonic is over the top of the dark green tile in the ground, do a small jump and insta-shield. This one's kind of tricky, but your aim is to just pick up a ring from the set of three at the height of your jump. It takes a fair bit of practice to understand just what the height needs to be, and often it'll feel like it should work and it doesn't, but this is the best setup I've come up with. This should push you into the ground.
  • Hold right. The screen should pan to the left, then back to the right, and eventually downwards as well. Once this happens, switch to holding left, and the screen should "bounce", and a short while later you should hear the braking sound.
  • While facing left, charge a spindash, and as you see the second ramp come onto the screen (at around 19 seconds), release it. Jump off the ramp and hold the jump for as long as you feel you need to - you should see the last current go past on your way up, that's about the height of the boss room.
  • For the boss, line yourself up on the dark green tile just below and to the right of Robotnik, and jump when the bottom of the ship lines up with the bottom of the pink section of the background. Then just continue to insta-shield for the remaining hits.

Marble Garden

  • Hold right all the way down the initial fall, then switch to left as soon as you hit the ground. Use the wall below to guide your fall onto the steepest part of the upcoming ramp, then jump off both of the next two ramps as soon as you hit them. The platform at the bottom of the second ramp will sometimes just let you straight through, as well as the one at the bottom of the third ramp but this is much rarer.
  • Charge a spindash on the crumbling platform, release it on the ground and jump into the ceiling, then jump and insta-shield through the upcoming ball and chain.
  • Wait for the platforms just past the driller to move - REACT, don't anticipate, if you're too early you'll just fall.
  • Next is a screen wrap - hold down until Sonic is right next to the top of the screen, then quickly release and jump. Tap right just after jumping just to stabilise yourself, since you need to spindash next thing. After spindashing, hold right until the screen scrolling slows down, then switch to left and do a short jump, and you should land on the speed shoes when the camera re-centres on you.
  • The platform just after the spikes can be just about anywhere depending on how the stage has gone. If the stage has gone really well so far it's right up the top and you can jump underneath it and insta-shield off one of the ring boxes, but if it's further down the cycle you can either roll off it and bounce off, or if it's right at the bottom, roll underneath the ceiling and skip all of them.
  • Jump down out of the loop and hold against the left wall, then come to a stop and hold down to do another screen wrap. Sometimes you'll stop right behind this pillar, so if you can't tell which way you're facing, make sure you tap right before doing the next spindash. Full spindash to the right, then when the scrolling slows down, you're up against a wall, and if you stay there a spring is going to appear where you are. In order to progress from here, you need to spindash, then jump a few frames later - sweep all three buttons to give you three attempts at this jump. Once in the wall, hold left until you appear on the ramp.
  • Once you see yourself on the ramp, hold right and roll. You should detach from the ramp and then land on it again, switch back to right before hitting the ground.
  • Stop at the dip in the ground nearest the left side of the spikes above, and hold down for a third screenwrap. This time, hold right just a fraction before jumping - you'll find it helps both in making the next part go slightly faster, as well as preventing you from doing a spindash instead of a jump. Continue holding right, then once the screen starts scrolling faster for an extended period, switch to holding left. Sometimes you'll get stuck on a ledge up top, if this happens just jump down from it and carry on.
  • Jump down the slopes as you would have at the start, except that this time as you go down the second one, hold left slightly, this will keep you away from the opposite facing slope. Once at the bottom, make your way into the pit (where the spikes are in the normal stage), hold down, and prepare for the hardest part of the run.
  • The safest way to make your way into the middle here is to do spindashes; however, you've gotta do them pretty quickly, otherwise the drill hits you, and any hit here ends the run because it changes the screen position. You need to do nine spindashes here, the 6th one gets the first hit, then do two more, and HOLD the 8th one until you hear the sound for a hit, then release it and do a 9th spindash, which you hold until the boss comes all the way back up. That should get five hits. Now hold right so you move to the left edge, and charge another spindash. Hold it and get hit - you're OK to get hit if you're on the very left edge of the screen - and tap left to move towards the middle and hold one more spindash for the last two hits.
  • Now, it's still not over! You should be able to see a silhouette of Sonic as the boss explodes, remember your position in the wall and, as the capsule passes over it, jump. If you jump at the wrong time, you can no longer complete the stage, so be very careful!
  • Finally, in order to end the stage safely, hold down until the screen scrolls all the way down, then hold right and quickly switch back to left (if you hold right for too long, you can run right underneath the crusher that appears and die). After the bonus tally the game will play the transition to Carnival Night, adding three seconds to your time.

Carnival Night 1

  • Tap left a bit to slow down before approaching the bumpers after the first spindash. If you hit it too quickly you'll bounce all the way back to the barrel, losing time.
  • As soon as you land on the boxes here, the game thinks you're standing on the wheel and changes the physics accordingly, that's why this stage plays the way it does. In order to get off the wheel normally, you jump. The lesson here: DO NOT JUMP or the effects of the glitch will end, and you need to keep them well into act 2.
  • After landing on the boxes, brake slightly so you land on the platform before falling; the gravity doesn't take effect until you land on something else. Face the ramp, charge a 2-tap spindash and release it just as the spikes retract. Hold left a little after you go over the lip of the ramp, you should land on the edge of the platform with the fire shield. Now hold left and roll as you go around the corner, but LET GO OF EVERYTHING before you hit the spikes. For some reason this makes the next part much more consistent than anything else we've tried. Now, once the spikes have retracted, but not before, start holding left again to go around the other side of the platform. Sometimes, instead of going around the corner you'll just fall towards the ceiling - the requirements are too precise to eliminate the chance of this happening entirely, but around 80% of the time you should go around the corner.
  • Continue holding left until you go past the ring boxes, then do a 1-tap spindash. It helps to imagine that, essentially, you're on a very steep slope similar to a backslash, and by holding left you crawl slowly up it, and you can spindash but only if you start charging quickly; if you leave it too long you'll just roll and jump and have to set the glitch up again.
  • Once you pass the left edge of the screen and it starts panning back to the right, you need to do two more 1-tap spindashes, except this time you can't see where you are. So it's a little more difficult, but the same premise as the first spindash should get you through.
  • Try to aim at the yellow block in the left wall before the boss starts. From here, hold left until the boss releases its spinning top and you see it hit the bottom of the screen twice while moving left. On the second bounce, hold down and you should roll down the wall and land on the top as it reaches the left wall. Continue holding down and charge a spindash, do NOT release it. Hold it all the way until you get hit, then let go of down. Move to the right edge of the top as it reaches the right wall, then as the top bounces off the boss start moving left, and roll off it as it reaches its highest point. Now continue to bounce on the boss and wait for the top to deliver the remaining hits.

Carnival Night 2

  • Full spindash, don't jump into the ceiling even though the temptation is there, and switch to holding left as soon as you hit the boosters. Now you should land on a barrel - jump off it, while you're on a barrel is the only time you can without breaking the glitch - and ever so slightly edge to the right, landing on the clam below. Bounce over to the left and hit the side of the barrel moving away, then do a 2-tap spindash as soon as you land. Two things can happen as you go through the corner: ideally, you fly off the corner and end up alongside the barrel, or you stay on the wall, and after a second fall back down it and get pushed up into the wall. In both cases, the input is the same: press right to move right up against the barrel, then tap left. As the barrel moves to the lowest point in its cycle, do a 3-tap spindash to go past it.
  • From here, hold right and you will move left off the platform you're on. Then press left to go right off the second one, and stop at the edge of the gravity tube, and instead of letting it take you up, spindash. Now the screen scrolls up quite slowly, but you need to hold left to move to the right edge of this platform, and as soon as you're off it, do a 3-tap spindash and you should roll around the wall, going through a 10 ring box and into some antigravity platforms. Controls finally go back to normal!
  • A 1-tap spindash should hit the first two balloons, then use the yellow and red ones to get up to the next platform. Just run off the second one at full speed and you'll hit a balloon, turn straight around and stop dead on the third platform, 1-tap spindash and tap left slightly and you'll hit a balloon clearing the spring.
  • As soon as the barrel starts moving up you get extra jump height from it - enough to get up to the second barrel. For the second barrel you need to move it down and up four times, switching from down to up and vice versa as you pass the centre of the pendulum. As you go up the fourth time, jump as you go past the centre, then hold the jump button as you bounce off the bat, and the 10 ring box, and let go just as you make contact with the ramp in the ceiling. When you see Sonic stand up on the wall, switch from right to left and run into the wall. Hold left until you're most of the way down, then quickly switch to right so that you stop in the wall for a fraction of a second, then back to left again, and the booster should push you into Knuckles's area. If you don't switch to right at all you'll get stuck in the wall instead, this is really important!
  • The next spindash really should be timed so that you can get past the bumpers up ahead, but it's really tricky because what time they open up like this isn't something you can tell just from the act 2 timer. All these objects actually started rotating at the start of act 1! If you get past all three sets of bumpers, you can line yourself up on the side of the cannon platform, tap right three times to wait for the next set of bumpers to open up, and do a full spindash. DON'T HOLD RIGHT, if you do you'll just get thrown into the spikes. More likely though you'll get stopped by a bumper somewhere and just have to take the cannon up to the top.
  • Spindash up the hill, jump to start running again, then after you go through 12 boosters, jump and release all directions and you should fall through the two boxes like this. Then 1-tap spindash and jump. The next section has 25 boosters - I count them in lots of four, and in the middle of the 6th set of four I jump, then move left towards Knuckles.
  • Knuckles will only notice you if you're facing right, so if you just walk through this cutscene trigger the game softlocks. So jump just before you reach it and tap right in the air.
  • Jump and insta-shield at the top of the jump and you'll land the first hit as early as possible. If all the hits go well, the last hit should be just as Robotnik drops the ball - you actually want to do your last insta-shield a bit earlier than the others to avoid getting hit.

Ice Cap

  • What you're aiming for with the pause on the falling platform is to land on one of three frames. Watch Sonic's head and try to get the top of it to line up with the bottom of the spikes: the perfect frame is where they're lined up nicely, but one frame either side of this one works too. While paused, hold right and keep it held after unpausing and you should be standing in mid-air alongside the wall. Next, do a short jump, don't press any directions yet, let Sonic get about halfway down the first slope and then jump twice. Because you're slightly offset from the actual ramp here, the first jump will merely put you back on the ramp, so you need the second one to get off it and onto the right-facing slope below.
  • As you land on the second slope, hold down. As you enter the wall, hold left, then switch to right for one beat in the music, then back to left. Keep holding left for about five seconds until you hear some rings and a checkpoint - you won't always hear the checkpoint but it's good to know where it is - then quickly switch to right for another beat in the music and back to left. Now keep your eye out for a pit that appears at the end - this is the pit in Knuckles's end to this stage, which is covered by a bridge. If you stand on that bridge, you lose the effects of this glitch, so wait until after you're certain you are horizontally past this pit and then jump. There's a few different places you can end up here; sometimes you end up in a wall and all you need to do is hold right to zip out of it, then jump down and you end up roughly here anyway.
  • Now jump on the right side of one of the mounds of snow with four little dimples on it (aim for between the two on the right) and hold right to zip. Once the screen starts scrolling to the right you'll see one of two things: a checkpoint or a switch encased in ice. If you see the switch, it's really easy, just hold right for a second or so, wait for the final corridor of Ice Cap 2 to appear, then hold left and jump and you appear in the boss room. If you see the checkpoint, it's a little more involved.
  • As soon as you see the checkpoint, move your eyes over to the clock. Hold left for two seconds, right for one, and left for one. Start attempting to jump on this last second, and as soon as you hear the jump sound, switch to right. Keep jumping while holding right until you don't notice the screen moving down any more. Then, when you see the top path with the large ring, jump again and you should fall into the boss room. Move all the way to the left.
  • As the boss music starts, short jump and hold right, landing on the upslope on the ground. Before reaching the right edge of the screen, jump up and insta-shield to grab a hit. With good timing you can get two more from the ground before the platform falls.
  • Dodging the ice blast as you go for hit 6 is actually trickier than it looks, the hitbox is much wider than it appears to be, particularly at the top. If you consistently get caught by it, it may be worth waiting half a second before jumping on the platform, which will put you at the top of your bounce when it's firing.
  • If for whatever reason Robotnik ends up on the left side of the screen after this fight, make sure you delay hitting the capsule by a couple of seconds. If Robotnik is still on the screen when the bonus tally is being loaded, it won't do it properly (the numbers just won't appear) and you won't get back control after it finishes.
  • Also remember that "act 2" will count towards your time if you let it tick over to one second.

Launch Base 1

  • There's a certain beat in the music you can time the first jump with. You need to trigger the alarm but also not catch the lip of the ramp.
  • At exactly 8 seconds, step onto the rotating cylinder. Move a little way out to the right, and again use the music to time your jump off. Hold right down to the ground, then line up with the tiles on the platform above while waiting for the flybot to come down and attack you. Try and set it up so Sonic's toe is in the middle of the first tile. If you overrun it, you can turn and face the other way, and line up Sonic's heel with the line between the first and second tiles. You also have to give yourself enough time to scroll the screen all the way up - hold up until you get hit, then hold right as you fall and you should zip.
  • Once the screen scrolls back to the right, tap left and then hold down. You should see the screen scroll down after a couple of seconds, you need it all the way down or you don't stop at the boss. Once you see Sonic appear, release down and jump, then do a 3-tap spindash and fall.
  • You have no rings for the boss, but there's nothing to it really. Just insta-shield for every hit and it shouldn't be any trouble.
  • The second boss can still kill you after the first one dies! The spindashes are to dodge it but also to make sure that it kills you immediately after the bonus tally. If you kill the second boss too, in the time it takes you to fall to the kill plane here, the timer will start and you'll lose two seconds.

Launch Base 2

  • The spindash at the start is frame perfect in two ways. First, you have to release a 6-tap spindash the very frame after making the last button input, and you then have only one frame to jump off the pipe to get embedded in the ground. Unfortunately there's no real way to make this easier, you just have to learn the timing. If you miss it, you can't go back up to the top and do it again because the positioning required is subpixel-accurate, so the best thing to do is to die to the flybots on the lower level, respawn at the top and try again. Hold right all the way down the pipe and if you land in the floor you should zip immediately.
  • Once the screen starts panning to the right, hold right for a little longer, then release all directions and jump. Tap left once you land, then charge a spindash. As soon as Sonic appears, release it, then do a new spindash for each remaining hit. Remember that the boss is invulnerable for half a second at a time, and if you do a spindash too quickly you'll hit the invisible wall on the left and stand up, and you'll die when it becomes vulnerable again!
  • Once you land on the platform, line yourself up with the curve on the bottom of the platform. It looks like the laser will hit you, but it won't. After the first four hits and the top part breaks off, leave the fifth hit just a little longer, so that the spike ball won't get in the way when going for hit 7.

Mushroom Hill 1

  • The spindash after the cutscene should be a full spindash. If you only do a 3-tap here you won't land on the switch. Switch to holding left as soon as you hit the wall and you should land on it.
  • Short jump onto the switch and hold left. There are three pauses on the way under the door, you probably don't need all of them but the last one is highly recommended. The first pause should be as you pass the black mushroom, then release everything. As you pass about halfway under the door switch to right, then on the last pause, switch to left, and you should get pushed into the ground like so. Hold left until you drop, then switch to right. Hold right for about a second, and as you get close to the edge of the wall, edge your way closer with 1-tap spindashes. Once you see the thin orange tree appear in the background, do one more spindash and then hold right. If set up this way, this zip has a 95% chance of working - you can consider yourself very unlucky if it doesn't work.
  • Move over alongside the tree to dodge the flames of the boss. For the third hit, jump out to the right and insta-shield, then after spindashing, wait until you hit the right edge then jump back to the left for hit 4.
  • The lightning shield is a bit tricky to pick up, because there's not a lot of room for the signpost to land. You want the post to land in line with the dark brown log in the foreground.

Mushroom Hill 2

  • When falling from the wind, tap left slightly during your fall but otherwise be holding right. You should land at the edge of the platform, jump immediately on landing.
  • You only have a couple of frames after landing on the mushroom to jump before it bounces you off itself. If this happens you can just do three bounces off the mushroom, and the third will be high enough for you to reach the red spring to the left, at the cost of about two seconds.
  • Hold down as you go through the loop, then jump out of the top left to switch to running, and do a second jump from quite low in the loop; if you jump from too high you'll lose speed before running through the tunnel. Jump off the unfolding bridge, and then again just as you go into the ramp that tries to run you underneath. When you see the ground below, lightning shield to clear the ramp.
  • Jump out of the next loop when Sonic passes behind the vertical section, you should land on this spring. Hold back slightly and you'll land on this ramp, clearing the enemy. Leave the jump from the unfolding bridge as late as possible.
  • Roll down the ramps after the tunnel, but jump out of the second and third loops because being on the ground can sometimes cause you to stop dead.
  • Hold jump until you get near this ceiling, then let it go and double jump when you think you can land straight on this left pulley here. If you miss it, you need to make sure you jump onto the left one rather than the right - it lets you go up to the top path ahead.
  • Hold down and let go to go upwards on the pulley. After 12 of these, as long as they all go up two rungs instead of just one, you have enough height to lightning jump up to the red spring and go up to the top.
  • Landing on the fire shield is really tricky, but you need it for an ideal boss time. If you overshoot, go back and get it.
  • Do a full jump from just after the last mushroom on the ground, and wait for Sonic to bounce back after hitting the radar, then do a fire dash to bounce on the boss. You should get six hits before it flies away. Jump and fire dash for the last two hits.

Flying Battery 1

  • Listen to the beats in the music, and hold right until you hear the seventh beat. Then let go for a fraction, hold down and wait until the screen goes down all the way. Press A to spindash and pause at the same time - what you're looking for is whether the top of the screen shifts at all. If it doesn't, release the spindash and hold right, and Sonic should roll all the way through the loop, then instead of entering the mesh cylinder you'll go straight past it.
  • Once you see both the invincibility and lightning shield boxes on the screen, do a full jump and you should land to the right of the invincibility. Continue holding right and you'll go through the wall.
  • At the first of the five rings on the slope, full jump again and you should land on the flat ground. Carry on holding right until you get out of the tunnel after the large ring.
  • When you can see the capsule below you, stop, ensure you're facing right, and spindash. Jump into the ceiling to maintain spindash speed while running.
  • Nothing difficult about the boss, but I take a hit deliberately to get Sonic's regular sprite back. That lets me see when I'm teetering over the edge of the button for the last hit, since that means I can just jump straight up and down and land on the corner. Once you land, don't touch anything until you get pushed out to the side, then you're safe to move over to the right. Whatever you do, don't jump!

Flying Battery 2

  • Make sure you start charging your spindash before the screen starts panning right, otherwise you'll move back into the teetering sprite and be unable to spindash again.
  • Wait about half a second, then do a full jump and hold right until you can see Sonic standing on the ramp in the ceiling. As soon as you see that, switch to left and Sonic will run into the ground. Now watch for these larger floor tiles, as the third of them leaves the top of the screen, pause, and switch back to right and unpause. You'll slow down and then "drop" - once this happens switch back to left and you'll zip out of the wall. DO NOT switch back to right until you see Sonic pushing against the wall outside.
  • Run through the cylinders, then jump from the back of the zipline and switch to left just before landing in the ramp. Land on a fairly shallow part of the ramp (so you're running about 30 degrees into the ground), and hold left to zip off to the right. Start mashing the buttons after around 3 seconds in the wall - as soon as you hear the jump sound switch to holding right and when the screen re-centres on you you should be standing somewhere on the corkscrew as it moves upwards. Jump up to the platform with the zipline and hold right all the way up the cylinder.
  • There are two ways to do the laser skip: one way requires the double spindash method to force the laser off screen and move through it, and the other way requires doing a spindash on a precise pixel. Both ways are shown in the video above.
  • When the platform gets up to the top, make sure to scroll the screen all the way to the right. The boss won't start until you do.
  • Stand in the middle and the moment the claws appear on screen, jump and insta-shield for the first hit, then spindash as soon as you hit the ground and you should get three more hits as it goes around. After the fourth hit though, you need to move away, because this boss will shoot fire at you if you're standing in the middle at any point when it's settled at the bottom. So as soon as you hear the 4th hit, release the spindash. You can either just take the hit, or jump over the claw - if you jump at exactly the wrong time though you'll jump straight up, if this happens then insta-shield and move away as quick as you can.
  • The boss now makes nine shuffling movements, after it makes the ninth one jump towards the gap, aiming to hit it just as the boss comes up over the threshold. Ideally that will get you three hits before it goes back down, then land in the gap and hold a spindash for the last hit. If you only got two, just hold the spindash a bit longer.

Sandopolis 1

  • Watch Sonic's back spike as you push the block, as soon as it moves past the rightmost spike, you're safe to jump over the block.
  • Stand on the moving platform and charge a spindash, but DO NOT RELEASE it until it moves completely down to the ground. You want to use the momentum of the slide to help you get up the ramp ahead.
  • If you're really unlucky, once you get to the top of the ramp the moving block can actually send you back down to the ground. If this happens you need to catch it really quickly and move left to avoid going down the slide the other way, then spindash back up.
  • Ideally you get a really flat jump off the next ramp and go through the two sandfalls so quickly that they don't slow you down, but if your jump isn't quite perfect you can guide yourself to fall to the left of the second one and spindash. A full jump from just to the right of the sandfall should clear the rock and land you on the rising platform up ahead.
  • Charge a spindash and, when the spikes retract above, release it. The sandfall here will either stop you, or you'll keep a bit more speed and run up the ramp. Either way, stop at the top and do a full spindash, and jump off the flat ground to get up to the platform on the other side, jump on the rock and, as soon as you enter the sandfall, check your time. If you enter the sandfall before the timer ticks over to 24, you'll be able to make the early cycle up here. Roll after landing on the rising block to give yourself a little extra time.
  • After pushing the block off, line up on the left edge of it and 3-tap spindash and very quickly jump. This is like the jump in Hydrocity 1 but more difficult as the platform is smaller. Make sure the enemy in the rock is actually dead before you release the spindash.
  • The jump after the spring needs to be from one of the two small upramps, if you do it from flat ground or a downslope you won't reach the platform above and will have to go back to the spring.
  • If you get just the right angle off the jump after the loop you can sneak past the rising platform and save a few more seconds. Again, hold down after your jump so you roll through.
  • The fall at the end is tricky, takes some getting used to. You can just fall on the spikes and not lose much time, but unless you collect one of the rings that drops you won't have any for the boss fight, and taking a hit makes the end of the fight much easier.
  • Aside from the last hit, it's fastest to just have the boss jump out towards you. After the boss lands from the fifth jump, take a look at your time, then try to get hit about 2.5 seconds later. That gives you enough invincibility time to get into position and hit the boss from the right hand side. DO NOT insta-shield this hit, if you do sometimes he'll fall back to the right instead.
  • Depending on your time, you actually want to burn a few seconds here on the boss map to make sure the first moving block is out of the way for act 2. Each cycle of the moving blocks is 6 seconds long, and at 2:21 or 2:27 the block will be out of the way. So if you're at 2:17 or 2:23, each time you hit the signpost up adds a little more than a second, so hit it three times, and send it into the sand with the last one so it's nowhere near any of the boxes (which waste another second if they pop out). Also be sure to stand on the right edge of the screen too, as standing anywhere else will make you take longer to start the next stage.

Sandopolis 2

  • A 1-tap spindash and jump gets you over the block at its lowest point. After the next spindash, jump off the flat ground and insta-shield to give you control over landing on the light switch. Push the next block all the way since you need the lightning shield from the top left.
  • This is another stage where you can screen wrap - hold down while next to the door after the ghost capsule and spindash as soon as you see the scrolling slow down, you should appear on the slide. Do a sweep of the buttons as you get to the bottom of the slide, aiming to land between the two opposite facing slides up ahead.
  • After pushing the block past the third dot, jump over it and do a 3-tap spindash - if you mess it up, you can still save it by quickly jumping off the top of the springboard. Do a full jump off the flat ground, hold jump all the way down and hold left against the wall, and you should pass through the floor and into the sand. Jump straight out and 2-tap spindash to the right. 1-tap spindash off the next platform - you might have to wait for the spiked block to move out of the way. Hold left as soon as you release the spindash - if you touch either the sandfall or the platform on the right, when you fall you can actually end up falling straight through the door at the bottom!
  • Wait for the enemy to turn around or, alternatively, if it attacks you as you fall, wait for its head to retract, then jump up on the platform and spindash. The spiked block should be up and out of the way.
  • Using the moving block, line yourself up with the steepest part of the sandfall slope, then full spindash and jump off said slope. A lightning jump should be enough to get you up to the next platform. From here, make sure you're away from the edge, and hold down to start a screen wrap, then quickly do a 1-tap spindash, full jump and lightning jump. Then jump again as soon as you hit the ground to make the screen scroll quicker, and hit the sand switch at the same time.
  • After the speed shoes, ideally you want to get a high jump off the steepest part of the slope similar to the last one, which with a lightning jump will just get enough height to get you on top of this spiked block.
  • The jump over this rock is just to see where the platform above you is in its cycle. This particular jump is why keeping the lightning shield to this point is so important: if you lose it, you have to wait for the sand to catch up, which can take ten seconds or more.
  • The best way to deal hits on the boss is with the insta-shield, so the best thing to do here is to take a hit immediately to the spikes on the bottom, then when the arm extends use it to deal all eight hits. It's possible to get five hits in the first cycle, but doing so isn't any faster and will most likely just result in you getting hit.

Lava Reef 1

  • You can get randomly stopped by the ground at the start, right underneath one of the stalactites. Just doing another spindash gets you out of harm's way fine.
  • Make your way up the stairs three at a time by only moving a little right with each jump. I find the best way is to hold right and jump up to the top of the jump, then let them both go until landing on the next stair.
  • If you're really lucky, just as you hit the bottom of the slope here you'll get pushed into the floor and zip down to the fire shield and checkpoint. This saves between 9 and 12 seconds, but is very rare. But hold right all the way down the slope just in case!
  • Keep mashing the buttons all the way down on the spindash-activated elevator, until you have enough room to exit on the right. Then use the fire shield to immediately bring it to a stop.
  • After the miniboss comes probably the most frustrating part of the game... there's two different sections of floor just past the door switch, one with the seemingly randomly placed rocks on the left and the more seamless rocks on the right. Your aim is to do a full spindash and jump on the first frame you move onto the seamless rocks, because this section of floor is level and results in more consistent jumps, but what often happens is you just jump straight up in the air. The height you need to hit with the jump is VERY precise, Sonic needs to be almost but not quite fully above the height of the stair, so you need to hold jump for exactly three frames as well as jump from just the right spot. Takes a lot of practice.
  • Once you fall into the stair, hold left to zip, then tap right as you fall, 1-tap spindash and jump from the corner of the rock that juts out slightly, which should give you enough height to escape this room. Fire shield dash and hold left immediately after.
  • When you land on the rock in the middle of the floor, make sure you hold down - if you don't you'll run straight into the snake enemy and lose your fire shield.
  • When the spike platform moves up so that the top of it is in line with the ceiling of the corridor you just came in through, fire dash to the right. This will cause the next spike platform up ahead to start its cycle, and even if you miss the slope jump on the next platform you can still make it on comfortably. Move back to the left a little bit though, because there's a slight overhang on the right side, so if you're holding against the right wall you'll just fall back down. That applies to the second spike platform too!
  • Losing the fire shield isn't strictly necessary, but I find it faster because it gives you an effectively larger range on the boss. The arms normally sit just out of range of your jump but insta-shield makes it much easier to defeat them in one cycle.
  • Starting this fight from the left instead of the right also ensures the shots from the arms don't get in your way nearly as much.
  • When the hand is on screen, move to the rock on the left as seen in the video - if you kill the boss here the signpost will drop onto another fire shield, invaluable for act 2. Watch as it moves slightly up and down - as it moves down for the fourth time, do a mid-sized jump aiming to land on it as soon as it hits the ground. If in doubt, make your jump larger rather than smaller, because getting hit means you'll get no hits on that cycle, which loses 8-9 seconds.
  • There is an immensely difficult trick you can do to get stuck underneath the fire shield box as it appears. You have to roll underneath the box as it bounces, and stop Sonic's momentum and stand up at just the right time. If you can do it, you can skip all of act 2 all the way to the final outside section, and save a minute. However, nobody's ever done it in a single segment run. If you can, more power to you. It doesn't cost any time to attempt anyway, so why not?

Lava Reef 2

  • Take your time after hitting the first switch to see just where the spikes are. A lot of this level is seeing where in a cycle you are and responding accordingly.
  • With the rotating handles you want to jump when you're in the middle of the cylinder, which will give you the most height upwards.
  • Jumping from the first block with an X on it after spindashing should land you on the rock and run past the springs at pace. Then jump, hold left to line yourself up, and importantly, roll under the snake. Same reason as act 1, you'll just take a hit if you don't.
  • The next spindash is 2 taps, and hold nothing, to squeeze under the ceiling. Most of the time you'll lose your shield here, it doesn't really matter whether you do or not.
  • Ideally the insta-shield through here avoids damage entirely, but you have to react to where the spike balls are.
  • From the next rock enemy, again do a 2-tap spindash and hold nothing and you'll squeeze between the rock and the ceiling. Having no shield helps here because you can react to however the spikes are laid out on this cylinder.
  • Jump from the X furthest to the right after the checkpoint and you should land on the spike platform and run along past the cloud enemies. Again, these enemies will hit you if you're running but not when you're rolling, so you can either jump through them or roll under them.
  • Wait for the flamethrower to wave upwards before doing this jump. This way you can get bounced to the right. If you still have your shield you obviously don't have to wait at all.
  • To collect the lightning shield, you actually have to be much further to the right than you think you do. If you're a full box to the right of it, there's no chance of you hitting the 10 ring box instead. After hitting it, hold the jump button for a fraction otherwise you'll simply fall on the spikes.
  • As you go through this tunnel, picture Sonic in the middle of the screen as he would normally be, and in between the third and fourth sets of rocks, jump into the ceiling and you should land on the button. If you try to do it by slowing down instead you'll end up in the special stage, which just looks embarrassing.
  • As the second flamethrower appears on screen, jump off the ramp and to the switch.
  • Another stair clip here - spindash from the third X on the platform and jump from the fourth. The jump height is the same, but it's easier here because the entire ground is flat. Once you fall into the stair, tap left only for a couple of frames. About a second later tap right so you're facing right as you go through the tube.
  • Here you need to do a double spindash to exit the tube. This isn't as hard as it sounds, but the timing is a bit strange: you need to wait about a quarter of a second after the camera appears to have stabilised, otherwise Sonic won't be against the wall yet and will simply jump. If you miss, just tap left and spindash down the pipe, then tap right and spindash back up it and try again.

Hidden Palace

  • You don't get control until about the middle of the third set of tiles, so hold left until then, then switch back to right and spindash.
  • Once you hit the spring on the right, hold left. Once you hit the spring in the floor, switch to right, and when the spring sound ends switch back to left. This should carry your remaining momentum up to the top floor.
  • 3-tap spindash off the teleporter and stop and spindash again at the checkpoint. As you pass behind the second purple pillar, do a full jump. You want to hit Knuckles from the left hand side, adjust as you feel necessary. Then just sit slightly to Knuckles's left and insta-shield every time he starts gliding, trying to keep knocking him to the right edge.

Sky Sanctuary

  • Stay put until Knuckles moves. The first vine you're going to jump on is on the camera timer, and moving over to the right is close enough to get it to start its cycle. If you just wait and release the spindash as Knuckles begins to move, it will be in the perfect position when you can move to it.
  • As soon as the screen unlocks, release the spindash on the bridge, wait to hit the side of the spikes, then hold left and jump, then as soon as you attach to the vine, hold right and jump.
  • Make the next jump from as close to the spikes as possible, and hold left as you're falling to try and land next to the spring. Ideally, it will launch you as soon as you hit the ground.
  • Jump from the flat ground where the pillar is, insta-shield the lightning shield box from below, then hold left to be launched by the spring, switching to right as soon as you hit it.
  • As a matter of habit I make sure I face left on this pillar here, since if you're facing right and accidentally spindash instead of jump after this screen wrap, you'll go straight into the pit and die. For additional safety, do the same as in Marble Garden 1 where you switch directions to right just before jumping. This should only be a short jump, you don't want to hit the wall or you're dead. Hold right all the way down, and lightning jump once you're safely underneath the pillar.
  • Full spindash from near the teleporter and short jump from behind the pillar over the spikes.
  • Jump onto the spring that appears. 1-tap spindash to the right and immediately jump, and lightning jump at the peak. If you miss, just hit the spring at the bottom and go around normally.
  • Metal Sonic is home to the only true randomness in the game - whether he stays still on one side or slides to the other is not in your control. However, by taking hits before the start of each vulnerability period, it actually doesn't matter which pattern you get. Time a jump so you'll be at the peak as Metal Sonic passes over the middle of the screen and get hit. Tap left and start insta-shielding. If Metal Sonic stays still, you should be able to get five hits before he curls back up again. If he slides, you can get three, then spindash and jump into him for three more if you're quick. Either way, take another hit while he's invulnerable and get the remaining hits in the same way.

Death Egg 1

  • Once the entire torpedo cannon sprite has appeared, turn left and double jump and you should just make it up to the platform above.
  • Tap right slightly on the way left in the gravity tube, then switch to holding right just before reaching the turn. If you turn too late, you can still save it by mashing the buttons, this will keep you to the outside of the tube.
  • After the zipline, switch to holding left as soon as you go through the door, then switch to right just before going through the turn again.
  • When you land on these conveyor belts after jumping they change direction, so after two jumps it will be moving left and you'll get a little boost away.
  • Try not to hit the top corner where the door is, because it's a little slow in retracting sometimes and can stop you if it's not all the way in.
  • In the large gravity tube you can only move up and down. Move down slightly just before the second hit, and move back up slightly just before the third. Then move up, lining yourself up with the bottom of the blue bumper, then up slightly once you pass it to hit the orange spring. Move down a little to hit the top switch, then up again to hit the spring again and hold down to hit the middle switch. After hitting the last switch, hold up and line yourself up with the middle of the exit tube. Escape by holding right, jump a couple of times at the top of the rotation to make sure you go through.
  • The jump on this platform is to dodge the trigger for the light tunnel in the middle. Hitting this costs around ten seconds of going around in circles.
  • For the first phase of the fight, double jump so you're bouncing on the eye and line yourself up so you bounce straight up and down. This will give you the best chance of dodging any spikes that come straight up at you. The objective is to bounce like this for all eight hits, and ideally keep the shield on the way back down, although this isn't essential.
  • In the second phase, you can control which way the platforms rotate by which side of the boss you're on - if you're on the right, the platforms will rotate clockwise, and if you're on the left they'll rotate anticlockwise. The optimal strategy here is to bounce on the eye again, but this time to keep shifting from the left to the right so that the platforms remain on the sides and the spikes can't hit you. It's very difficult to adjust to on the fly so normally what happens is you'll get hit at some point, but you have the insta-shield and a ton of rings so you can just get the remaining hits from the ground.
  • If the fight doesn't go so well, learn to use your invincibility time wisely. Depending on your ring situation this can mean going all out for hits or prioritising getting rings first. I recommend going for rings if you only have one or two and you have more than two hits left to kill the boss - if you have two or less hits to go you can usually get those before your invincibility runs out. Also, if you have only one ring, it will always fall left, so try to be on the left side of the boss so you get hit that way.

Death Egg 2

  • Delay the first spindash a little bit - do 3 sweeps of the buttons instead. If you go too quickly, the screen won't pan quickly enough and you can stop dead in front of the enemy who will gladly kill you.
  • Sometimes you'll fall straight into the tube. If that happens, then press down at the intersection, where there's another lightning shield, then go right.
  • Wait on releasing the next spindash until the platforms have moved all the way down, otherwise the star enemy is very likely to hit you.
  • You need to go most of the way into the tunnel to unload the stair platforms. Tap right after touching the left wall (and left after the next one) so you're ready to spindash immediately upon landing. 3-tap spindashes will get you through, even though the second one looks kind of close!
  • Always jump over the pit after the teleporter, even if you think the temporary platform will be on. If it's not, you'll land on a water shield, which will cause you to lose significant time.
  • On the upside down conveyor belt, you can hold up against the spikes because sideways spikes don't hurt you under reverse gravity. After bouncing away from them for the second time, switch to left and double jump out of the pit.
  • It's possible to do a very small jump off the slight decline, clearing the gap and not hitting the spikes, but quite difficult. Slowing down and jumping off the platform in the middle works most of the time instead - it'll only fail if the platform is at the highest point in its cycle.
  • After appearing in the top teleporter, do a 2-tap spindash and jump to kill the spike enemy.
  • Stop on the far left blue platform, this will cause the right side to move up fastest. As soon as the torpedo above you fires, double jump so you land on the far right platform, then double jump out of the pit.
  • Hold left on the spring in the pit until you hear the one you're about to land on pop out, then switch to right and you should catch the right half of the spring, giving you just enough distance to make it to the pop-out spring on the right side.
  • Release the spindash after the tubes as soon as you get enough room so that you clear the trigger for the light tunnel. This one costs about 15 seconds if you get caught in it!
  • Full spindash and immediate jump to kill the spike enemy, and do a lightning jump into the ceiling to maintain more of your speed.
  • On the first boss, move slightly out of the teleporter you appear in and then move back in, then simply spindash through each spike car as it lands on the ceiling.
  • For the second boss, move all the way to the left of the screen, and stay there until you can see the left hand appear after the 6th shake of the screen, then move across in between the two hands for the 7th. Release a full spindash facing right.
  • The hardest spindash is the second one, you only just have enough time to get back into the middle and set yourself. If you stop a little bit early by accident, you can still save it, just release the spindash a bit earlier, before the right hand falls.
  • Do the third spindash to the left, and the fourth to the right.
  • As the third tile falls completely off the screen, jump into the nose of the third boss and jump again into the weak point. For the third and fourth hits, jump over it and hold left all the way, this will help you dodge the laser.
  • If you really want to be fancy, as soon as the final boss stops exploding and the shaking sound becomes dominant again, do a full jump into the pit, and you'll bounce off Robotnik just as he comes up. This will speed the last part up, although it doesn't matter as the timer has already stopped.
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