Sonic the Hedgehog 2/Knuckles

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Current Fastest Time

The current fastest known time is 14:40 by werster. Sonic 2 has a rich speedrunning history with lots of people contributing with strats, glitches and routes. What is presented here are not necessarily the fastest routes known, but rather what is typically thought of as reasonable in a single-segment speedrun.

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

Emerald Hill 1

Pretty simple stage, just follow the run above.

  • The jump over the diagonal spring is much tighter than with Sonic, so make sure to jump from very close to it.
  • After collecting the speed shoes, you want to start your roll just as you go through the third ring on the ramp. Ideally you want to land on the left hand side of the invincibility box up ahead, which means you can just hold right for the remainder of the stage. If you hit the right hand side of the invincibility, you're too high and will miss the 10 ring box up ahead unless you hold back a little to adjust.
  • If you land on the loop with the up-right facing spring, tap left just after hitting it, then switch back to right, which will ensure you don't get stopped by the corner up ahead.

This method almost always gets 0:20, but if all your spindashes are good then 0:19 is very possible.

Emerald Hill 2

Again, relatively straightforward, make sure to hold down as you cross the bridge at the start.

  • Instead of slowing down before the gap, it's possible to jump off the ramp into the monkey and land in the gap at full speed, this can save a second at the end of the stage if it goes very well, but sometimes you'll also stop dead upon landing.
  • Jump from just after the right bridge post, and tap left slightly after you hit the monkey in the tree. Hold down to roll, and tap left again after you go over the ring box, which should sneak you underneath the spikes.
  • There's a very small ramp just underneath the spikes in the tunnel, which lets you get into the tunnel here without losing speed. You should brake slightly before it though, to improve your angle slightly.
  • For the boss, start holding left as the horizontal line on the Egg-O-Matic lines up with the one on the drill, and roll as you go over the first bump. After four hits, hold against the left wall and short jump. Bounce on him two more times against the left wall (don't switch to right until after hit 6!), then slide along the ground for hit 7. For this you'll need to hold the button until you see Robotnik start flashing again - once you see that, immediately let go and glide into him for the last hit.

Typical run of this stage is 0:37.

Chemical Plant 1

  • Start with a 3 tap spindash and jump.
  • Make sure you jump at some point so you're running through the first loop. Slow down slightly and jump over the spring.
  • After the yellow blocks, you go through two loops that exit downwards, and a third regular loop - behind the right pillar of this loop is a steep ramp. Slow down just before it, jump, and hold right to hit the gap in the wall.

This typically gets a 0:23. It's also possible to beat the block cycle with very aggressive play at the start of the stage, but without a frame perfect jump after climbing the wall it won't save any time due to Knuckles's lower jump.

Chemical Plant 2

  • The jump off the ramp here is essentially blind, you can do it from a number of different places and it'll still work - or from the same places and it won't. That being said, you want to aim to jump as soon as you see the second cross-ramp appear on the screen. A number of different things can happen here, but the two best cases are either getting yourself half stuck in the floor, from which you press left to zip out, gain a ton of speed and carry on, or if you just maintain your speed along the path. Both of these let you reach the first possible cycle of the yellow blocks. However, both of these are kind of rare and you can expect to get stopped on the ground a lot, or embedded fully in the ground (from which you have to zip backwards or else the door up ahead will kill you), which doesn't give you enough time to reach the early cycle and puts you on the next one, which is 6 seconds slower. This method also comes with the risk of falling through everything and dying, so if you don't want to take that chance, you can just glide off the ramp after going past the third cross-ramp, which will safely put you on the second cycle.
  • Ideally you want to jump off the steep ramp after the loops just after it starts to straighten back up - if you jump from the steepest point of the ramp your jump will go straight through this gap which costs 3-4 seconds.
  • Let go of right as you go through the last stretch - much as Sonic would have to to avoid the speed cap - this will help Knuckles make the last jump over the steps without being stopped.

If you get the first cycle of yellow blocks, you can get 33 seconds here. On the second cycle you get at best 39.

Aquatic Ruin 1

  • The spindash over the springboard is kind of silly, this is one of those spindashes I recommend charging a little longer before releasing. Sometimes the springboard will fling you out of the spindash, and it doesn't seem entirely related to your speed. That being said, having more speed will help your chances of getting over it cleanly.
  • Just before the path drops you into the water, there's a very slight ramp - hard to see because the path is obscured - that will get you right near the speed shoes in one jump. Two possible results: either you land on the box, in which case you should grab the wall and climb up, or you land just left of it, in which case, hold down to roll through it, then jump and glide out.
  • Either way, from there jump over the pool of water - if you enter the water with speed shoes on they stop working - and time a jump off the steepest part of the ramp ahead. You also need to hold left a bit on this jump, otherwise the path switchers don't work properly and you have to go around the loop rather than through it.

Anything from 0:21 to 0:23 is in acceptable range here.

Aquatic Ruin 2

  • Aim to jump from the very end of the first platform, such that you get a high ramp jump, and glide across. If you go through the very top of this enemy you can hold the glide across the first springboard and should safely land on one of the two further on, but if you're too low you'll need to either stop and spindash at the enemy or at the springboard.
  • It's possible to do a spindash jump off the steepest part of the ramp before the third springboard and glide all the way to the boss, but that saves only one second over this method and requires a perfect spindash and perfect angle off the slope.
  • Instead, full jump off a slight angle on the ramp after the three springboards, then press and hold jump again to superglide off the box.
  • Ideally you want to have about one character's height of a gap between Knuckles and the highest of the four rings as you pass over them. If you're lower than that, you'll hit one of the rotating platforms up ahead and you'll be forced to go to the end more slowly, costing about four seconds. On the other hand, if you're too high you can hit the top platform, or more likely just run into the pillar up ahead. This, however, you can save by just turning left, then right in the air for very little loss.
  • As soon as you see Knuckles's position shift towards the right of the screen, drop the glide and land in the boss area. It's not necessary to do this fight from the left pillar, but it is easier, because of a glitch in the game where Knuckles won't move if he spindashes left from the very right edge of the screen.
  • Not shown in the video above is a glitch that causes the boss to skip its blowing up animation: if you land the last hit on the exact frame the boss starts swinging its hammer it will exit the arena straight away and allow you to get to the capsule about 3 seconds quicker. It costs about half a second over an optimal boss fight to attempt, though
  • Speaking of which, make sure to jump on an incline when hitting the capsule. Nothing worse than losing a second due to a bad capsule jump.

If everything goes well, this strat generally yields 0:40-0:41. Getting the boss glitch saves a further 3 seconds, but shouldn't be relied upon.

Casino Night 1

  • A tap jump just as the ground becomes flat again after the first slope should put you behind the speed shoes. If it looks like you're going to hit them, you can save it by supergliding off the box to bounce over the bumpers up ahead.
  • The blue block moving up and down is on the camera timer, so just get to this area as quickly as possible to start its cycle, then wait on the left for it to fall. Hold only up and when you jump and glide, you'll grab the opposite wall each time. Hold right after the third jump and land on the red spring - let go of right when you hit it and don't touch right again until after you've gone past the bumper in the air!
  • Hit jump to use the flipper as soon as you run onto it, you should clear all the bumpers here and land on the flat ahead.
  • One case where Knuckles' low jump comes in handy: a full jump from the shield box goes right through the angled bumpers up ahead. Jump as late as possible on the next stretch to pass the blue block without hitting the ceiling, then from as late as possible on the flat up ahead, then as late as possible again from the 10 ring box to land on one of the last two bumpers.
  • Tap jump as you hit the ground after that, and glide to stop your momentum just as you go past the edge. Aim to drop right between the two bumpers on the pinball table.
  • Launch from between the last two coils on the spring, then jump out of the ramp, land and spindash to end the stage.

If this route is executed correctly, it finishes in 0:26 or 0:27.

Casino Night 2

  • The setup used in this video is a strategy Tee-N-Tee developed to limit the threat of subpixels in this stage. Two full jumps at the start, one more against the bottom bumper, then spindash and start holding right after hitting the red spring. From the top, full jump again, hold against the left wall and glide just as you're about to break the speed shoe box. The timing for the glide is frame perfect, but if timed right you'll either drop down beside it or be attached to the wall halfway inside it - either is fine but if you grab it, tap down to drop off.
  • Tap right against the box for either 2 or 3 frames - if it's not exactly this long you won't get enough speed out of the wall later. One tap spindash and you'll drop into the wall, then do two more spindashes once you land, then switch to holding right. At this point it's possible to get pushed down into a hollow part of the wall and be stuck (3/8 of all y-subpixels cause this result) but if you do the manipulation correctly and get the clip behind the speed shoe box first try, this should not happen.
  • In order to pass by the left edge and complete the level wrap, you have to let go of holding right at just the right time. The first two frames once you see Knuckles leave the wall work for this, as well as three further frames as you move off the left side of the screen.
  • For the boss, jump as the checkpoint goes past the left of the screen, and you should land in the ramp below. One tap spindash up the ramp for the first hit, then run over to the other side and land on the blue bumper in the middle, then bounce on Robotnik for the remaining seven.

Using the subpixel manipulation at the start of the stage, 0:36 is the time you would expect. Faster times are possible by throwing caution to the wind, but the setup helps immensely for getting runs past this stage.

Hill Top 1

(1): Look for the three blocks at the bottom centre to reach this height.
  • Use the rings as a cue for where you'll end up on the first glide. You want them to be in about the bottom left corner as you start the glide, this will mean you land neatly on the corner of the platform next to the rock. Do another glide so as to land on the bobbing platform up ahead, then spindash through the tube and jump and glide out of the ramp.
  • On each of the next two ramps there are tiny pieces of ground that are much steeper than the rest, and you want to get your jumps off these in order to save climbing time.
  • As you go through the third ring on the cable platform, hold right to run off the platform and let it drop you into the lava pit. Wait until you see the three blocks on the bottom of the screen appear as you fall (see picture), then hold left to zip.
  • As the tunnel opens up, glide across the rock and run across to the flat ground, then stop and spindash, and jump in the tunnel. If you picked up a ring then roll through here, if not, run and you should pick up the first ring in the air. Either way, spindash again after getting hit, and after being flung off the ramp, land just behind the 10 ring box on the loop. Spindash to end the stage.

This stage can go as low as 0:37, but anything under 0:40 is still quite good.

Hill Top 2

  • Start with a three tap spindash and immediately jump off another tiny ramp, and you should land on the platform above.
  • Again, jump off another small ramp as you approach the shield box, and superglide off the box to go up to the top path. This removes any need to worry about cycles in this stage.
  • Tap left to slow yourself down a little so you don't get stopped by the lower ceiling of the tunnel ahead. Right at the end, tap jump onto the first platform, then make your way across.
  • Tap jump from about where the spring is to clear the spring pit. This jump is much easier with Knuckles than it is with Sonic.
  • As you move into line with the second ring in the first chain, start a glide, which should settle just below the ceiling of the next area.
  • If the last spindash doesn't have good speed, then jump over the first lava pit, as the trigger for the boss is landing on the platforms in the middle.
  • Simply roll off the platform as the boss appears, this will give you the perfect height to get all eight hits.
  • When jumping for the capsule, hold back a little bit and jump from the top of the incline.

This is a difficult stage to optimise, but as good as 0:53 is possible with clean execution.

Mystic Cave 1

For the most part, this stage explains itself.

  • Hang on to the first vine until you drop below the height of the ceiling, then glide over to the next platform, skipping the spike wall.
  • Spindash, then jump off the downslope to switch to running. If you're going too fast, then tap left to make sure the door is open enough for you to go through. Wait a fraction before jumping down, so that you don't hit the bug up above.
  • Spindash from behind the next rising door, jump from the ramp over the spikes and glide. After the next spindash, jump from the first ring of the set of three, then jump again as you land on the wooden blocks.
  • Move a little bit away from the spikes, but not too far. The objective is to have the snake pop out only a little, up and to the right. Superglide off its head and aim for the gap in the wall just above the bridge. Err on the side of gliding too high, if need be you can stall by gliding left and right until you get to the right height. If you're too low you don't get another chance to superglide up.
  • Land on the rising wall and quickly spindash off it to the end.

The best time you can expect here is 0:33, but anything up to 0:35 is acceptable here.

Mystic Cave 2

  • Wait for the spike ball to get to around 8 o'clock, then jump and land on the right half of it. The hit from the damage will knock you onto the platform.
  • Hold down to roll as you go over the bridge, you'll hit the ceiling and stop if you're forced back into a run.
  • Here's how you should set yourself up for the boss fight:

Sonic2 MC2bad.png
The spikes at the start of the boss fight can fall in multiple different patterns. The safest place to stand is here, in line with the right edge of Robotnik's hitbox as he falls. The picture above depicts one of two patterns where a spike drops here, and on those patterns you should move back into the middle once you identify it. Both patterns are characterised by the first two spikes falling on the far right and then the far left. From any position, jump for the first three hits, then spindash and you will get the rest before Robotnik has the chance to move away.
This is one of the simplest stages in the run, and really should be 0:43-0:44 every time.

Oil Ocean 1

  • You should roll through the start, until going through the first enemy.
  • The pattern of jumps in the last section is designed so the fan at the end doesn't have time to stop you. Once you see the first ball cannon on screen, do one large jump, then two small jumps up to the second ball cannon, then two large jumps to the wall. Climb up and quickly spindash away, then glide to land on the last platform.

This route gets times between 0:33 and 0:35.

Oil Ocean 2

  • By holding right the whole time after landing on the 2nd oil cap gives you a glitch called "Mega Sonic" which in a nutshell doubles your jump power, acceleration and top speed.
  • Land on the ramp next to the green sideways spring while facing right, then release all input. You should be pushed up inside the wall. Then simply hold right and you should level wrap to the boss.
  • While off screen, you should hold nothing until you see the approach to the boss arena come into view, specifically when you see the last ramp with four rings in it, at which point you should start holding left. Once Knuckles appears at the right edge of the screen, do a full size jump into the pit and roll. As soon as you hear the sound for the first hit, do a mid-sized jump. This should get the next 6 hits; for the last, charge a spindash as soon as you land. Then jump quickly to make sure you get out of the pit.

This method should give times between 0:40 and 0:41.

If you find the boss strat too hard, you could take a look at this alternative route which wastes 12 seconds compared to the wrap, but saves 6 seconds compared to not getting a 1 cycle boss.

Metropolis 1

  • All you have to do in the opening is make sure you get to the two brown platforms by the time they move off the edges at 12 seconds.
  • As you go up through the yellow springs, hold right for a bounce to the left, one to the right and another to the left. This should slow you down enough so that when you get to the top, you clear the corner.
  • The clip through the mesh is frame perfect, it requires doing a full jump and gliding just as you're about to land on the base of the cylinder. It costs 2-3 seconds for each additional attempt.
  • Wait for a little while after climbing up the shaft with the two star enemies, for some reason it takes quite a while before you can spindash after climbing up here.
  • As you hit the last set of yellow springs, you should hold jump, and let it go after clearing the corner of the pit after the second bounce. The last ramp is a little finicky, so you should move a little way beyond the edge to ensure you can spindash away properly.

With a first try mesh clip, you can get as low as 0:40 on this stage!

Metropolis 2

  • Jump from the third ring on the first ramp, then ideally you land on the platform on the conveyor belt as it comes up out of the lava. If you overshoot, you can save it by doing a glide just before you go across it, because gliding causes you to dip slightly immediately after activation.
  • The damage should knock you onto the platform on the right. From here, run kind of slowly off the platform, aiming to hit a gap between two platforms at the bottom of the lava pit that you can't really see. There's a guide in the tutorial video as to where these platforms are and where you should aim to be as you fall.
  • The next glide is actually much scarier than it appears, because there's only a very small window where you can grab the wall. Use the horizontal pipe as reference, and glide from just underneath it. Hold up and right, you'll climb up the wall and fall, then zip off to the left.
  • Here, like in CN2, you need to let go of right at the right time. There are four frames in a row that work: two either side of the vertical pipe, and the next two on the left from there. After holding right until one of these frames, just let go and you should get the level wrap.
  • As this ramp appears on screen, start holding left:

Sonic2 Met2left.png
This should get 0:14 or 0:15.

Metropolis 3

  • The piston clip works slightly differently to with Sonic - you need to grab onto the small wall below the piston. When it comes back down, it can't crush you, so it pushes you into the ground instead. Then simply jump off, and once Knuckles appears from behind the wall, glide and hold the glide until you land on the cylinder.
  • 3 tap spindash out of the first teleporter, then do three sweeps on this next spindash to a) make sure you get good speed, and b) make sure the platform has moved high enough that you actually land on the next one.
  • Hold jump for the first bounce off the yellow springs, let it go just after the second, then hold left and glide and hold jump again for the fourth bounce, which should clear the mantis enemy ahead. Hold down as you land on the ramp so you aren't stopped by the cog.
  • The moving platform above the red spring is on the universal timer, which means that if you hit the red spring before about 33 and a half seconds, it will block you on your way up. To avoid this, try to hit it at about 34, by which time it should be out of the way.
  • Charge the spindash after the second teleporter a little longer, which should get you enough speed to get through the mantis enemy without getting hit. Then hold down until the screen scrolls all the way down. Let go of down and immediately full jump and tap right, the screen should start scrolling very fast, but it will slow down when you land. Do another mid-sized jump when you see it slow down.
  • Two things to look out for here: first, the bolt should be running down the middle of the screen, and secondly, watch the block that looks somewhat like a face in the background. As it moves off the top of the screen, jump a third time and you should drop through the ground to the final stretch where the boss is.
  • This boss takes three rounds. For the first round, you want to spindash from here and release it as soon as Robotnik turns to face right.
  • For the second round, the two eggs that are alongside each other should be behind Robotnik when you release, regardless of whether you're attacking from the left or right.
  • For the third round, simply roll into Robotnik once he reaches ground level, and jump for the last hit.

A good time here is between 1:19 and 1:21.

Sky Chase

Don't die. Spindash at the end to ensure 2:05.

Wing Fortress

  • After taking the hit on the propellor, three tap spindash and do a full jump. Once you land on the second conveyor belt, jump immediately, wait until you're definitely past the platform above you horizontally, and start gliding across the pit. Land on the zipline, which is just beyond the three rings on the ground.
  • The slope glitch does work in this stage, but using it to get hits on the boss doesn't, at least not in the same way as Sonic. So just carry on these ziplines as normal.
  • Let the final spindash go until you hit the side of the button, then immediately jump and glide and hold down to break it.
  • Getting the one round boss here is very difficult. To start, line up on the left of the laser to force it left, then as soon as it moves move over to the right. Time the jump onto the first platform to appear with the music, then make the first hit, and tap glide to land back on the platform. You should get three more hits from this platform, then land on the second platform after the fourth hit. For the fifth hit you want to wait until the platform has moved directly under the laser, then hit the right half of the laser with your jump. This should knock you onto another platform, from which you can get the final three hits before it folds up again. You should actually delay the jumps for the last two hits slightly so that you get a quick enough bounce off the laser to get the following hits in time.
  • If you miss any hits, just follow the laser wherever you need to to get the remaining hits.
  • As the boss is exploding, stand near, but not too near, the laser and hold down. After the screen scrolls all the way down, quickly spindash and you can jump through the laser, saving a second.

If you hit everything in this stage, you get 1:46. Missing the one round kill on the boss costs at least four seconds, and a further half second for every additional hit you miss in the first round.

Death Egg

  • If you get the final hit on Silver Sonic on the exact frame he switches from standing straight up to leaning forward, he simply disappears and you can't progress to the final boss. As a result, in serious runs, it's worth delaying the last four hits by a quarter of a second to play it safe.
  • Every jump on the final boss should be a full jump. The first two are entirely standing still, on the next three you should start moving as Robotnik's back foot starts moving and jump when the gap opens up, for hit 6 give yourself plenty of room and jump clear over the flame, then line up next to the back foot and jump straight up three more times. The last three hits are simply a case of jumping from the right position on the ground.

This should be either 0:50 or 0:51 depending on how Silver Sonic went.

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