Other Modes
Special Stage
Normally, the completion of all Special Stages is essential for finishing the game properly and seeing the good ending. Fortunately in Sonic CD, completing the seven rather tough Special Stages, also known as Special Zones here, is only one of two things you can do to complete the game properly, so they are actually completely optional. The other alternative is to create Good Futures for each and every level, which I personally find to be the easier and more fun option. When you complete a Special Stage, you earn yourself a Time Stone (not Chaos Emeralds this time around), and all seven Time Stones automatically grant you a Good Future for every zone, so it's up to you. To gain access to a Special Stage, complete either Zone 1 or 2 (any timezone) of any of the seven levels, while holding at least 50 rings. Next to the signpost at the end, you'll find a giant ring floating in the air, ala Sonic 1. Simply leap in, and you're there. There are seven Special Stages, one for each Time Stone, and you play them one at a time. When you enter the first one, you'll return to the main game afterwards whether you were successful or not. When you gain another 50 rings in a different zone and return to the Special Stage, you'll go to the second one, and so on. Once you've made it through all seven, you'll start to revisit the Special Stages that you didn't complete, the next time you enter the giant ring.
To access the Special Stage, you need to complete any Zone 1 or 2, any timezone, with at least 50 rings on hand. You will find a giant ring that you must jump into.
Welcome to Sonic CD's Special Stage, which takes place on a pseudo 3D board filled with paths and patches of water. Hovering around above lurk six purple UFO's..
..To get the Time Stone on offer, simply jump into and thereby destroy all six UFO's, one by one, before your time runs out. Each one gives you either rings or increases your speed.
The water is what makes things difficult however. For every second you spend in it, 10 seconds are ripped from your timer, bringing you dangerously closer to returning to the rest of the game empty handed.
The Special Stage itself takes place on a fairly small, square pseudo 3D board which you can roam freely across. Sonic runs forward automatically, and you can use the left and right directions to steer him, while the camera remains behind him the whole time. The objective is to leap into the air and destroy six different purple UFO's that are floating around the arena. Sounds simple, eh? Well, as always, there is a catch, and that's the foul mistress of all gaming - a time limit. You start off with 100 seconds to do it, but the arena you're running around is principally made up of ground paths and water. For every second you spend in the water, an absolutely and completely merciless 10 seconds is taken off of the timer, so if you land in the drink, you'll want to jump out immediately and try to make it back to dry land as quickly as possible. Much of the ground is made up of roads, so if you jump at and miss a UFO, you may only have a small space to turn around in. Later Special Stages get considerably harder as more water is introduced, or the UFO's become faster and develop better skills at sneaking round you in mid air. You'll know when you've hit one though, as explosions will ensue and you'll get a power up of either additional speed (the sneaker icon) or some rings. Rings only serve as things that you can cash in for bonus points afterwards, and have no relation to health while in the Special stage, but for each UFO in a row that pays out rings rather than speed-ups, you'll get 20 for the first one, an additional 40 for the next, then 80, then 160, and so on. To make things a bit fairer as far as the time limit goes, if it gets down to 20 seconds left, an additional blue UFO will appear in the center of the arena, signified by a special low warping kind of sound. Popping this one is completely optional, and does nothing to your total number of UFO's destroyed, but it will shell out an additional 30 seconds for you when you destroy it, and they can reappear if you go down to 20 seconds again afterwards.
If your time drops below 20 seconds, look for an optional blue UFO to appear in the center of the arena..
..Destroy this UFO to add 30 seconds back on the timer.
Defending you from the water, some path edges are lined with bumpers that bounce you back.
Watch out for these chopper blocks. Run over them and you'll trip and lose some rings.
Dash panels that force you toward one direction are coloured according to the arena, and come in either big or small versions.
Some corners have rough terrain, of varying colour and pattern, which slows you down.
Take a ride upwards with these large fans. You'll float gracefully across the arena, destroying any UFO's on the way.
Similar to fans, these groups of springs throw you upwards. Higher than fans, but not as far.
On the arena floor, there are several other objects and surfaces to watch out for, in addition to the water. Patches of different coloured ground (the colour varies depending on the stage) that appear on path edges will slow you down considerably when you run across them. Similarly, chopper blocks are sort of opening spiky mouths that grab your feet if you step on them. Sonic will fall flat on his face, ruining his momentum and causing the loss of some rings. Having no rings at any time does not mean you are vulnerable to being thrown out of the stage, as the timer is the only thing that can end it for you. Large round yellow fans will send Sonic spinning up into the air, and able to float a long way across the arena. These can be useful to ambush UFO's from above, as you do not have to be jumping to destroy them in this case, and are also good for crossing wide gaps of water. Groups of red circular springs can also be used for a similar purpose, only they keep you spinning in a ball while in the air and tend to launch you higher, but not as far. Bright arrows on the floor will send you dashing off in their direction when you touch them, which can be useful on long paths, but a pain when pointing directly to the water. Finally, some path edges protect you from going into the surrounding water with the use of red bumper bars and circles, which knock you back and forth between them, but can make it difficult to turn around. All other markings and objects on the ground are pretty much just decorative, and may vary between stages.
Successfully defeat all UFO's and Sonic stops, the camera pans round to pace him and the Time Stone floats down from above.
Your score is tallied up, Time Stone or not, and extra lives may be awarded.
Your stats are listed at the top while playing, including the number of UFO's left in the arena on the top left, number of seconds remaining in the middle, and ring count on the top right. At the end of a Special Stage, whether you completed it or not, you'll be shown the score tally screen which presents you with images of the Time Stones that you've secured thus far, and adds your time and ring bonuses to your current game score. "Extend Players" is also listed, and any Sonic icons that appear here signify an extra life each for you when you return to the game, achieved by scoring certain amounts of points from time and ring bonuses. When you've collected all seven Time Stones, Good Futures will be granted to every single zone as if you had visited the Past and destroyed the machine yourself, and the giant rings will no longer appear at all after completing a zone with 50 rings on hand. It's worth mentioning though that any Time Stones you do collect, and also any that you fail at getting, are only saved to the game once you've completed the level you obtained them in. This is to prevent you from being able to score them all in the first level simply by restarting over and over. I know that's what you were planning, weren't you? Cheat.
There are no set patterns to complete any of the Special Stages, but each one has a completely different background and visual elements, and they are listed below. See the Time attack or Unlockables sections to find out how you can get to play all seven of these at your leisure, in Time Attack mode.
The Green Time Stone Arena 1
The first Special Stage arena takes place on an ice world, with frozen sculptures in the distance and planets in the sky above.
The sky's wavy animated pattern also turns red.
As you would expect, it's pretty straightforward compared to the later arenas, with lengthy, full pathways and mostly only thin rivers running through as opposed to huge pools. You'll be fine!
This first stage takes place on what appears to be an ice planet of sorts with some large crystal structures in the distance, beyond the blue water. Several planets and moons are in the sky above, including an Earth-like one, and the sky itself switches between blue and red animated, wavy patterns. Pathways are grey and the slower patches are green grass it would seem, with a yellow border around the edges. Arrow zippers and bumper innards are light blue, unlike the rest of the stages where they are green. Paths are relatively wide and easy to use, patches of water are only really thin rivers, and UFO's are at their slowest here. Shouldn't be too much of a problem after a couple of goes, perhaps.

View arena map - Compiled by DarkWolf for VGMaps.com.
The Orange Time Stone Arena 2
Arena 2 takes place on a rather sunny day with a sky filled with lovely puffy clouds. Oh, and a big brown planet too. Of course.
There's a long stretch of pathway through the middle, surrounded by rivers. Don't mind the grilles, they're just aesthetic.
Might be easy to be thrown into the water by these small dash panels on this precarious winding road.
Arena 2 is a bit more pleasant than the previous one and takes place up in the sky. White fluffy clouds line the horizon, and a large brown planet can be seen sitting amongst them. Water is a darker and undisturbed blue colour this time, and the slower patches are just more gravely areas of the grey road. The roads themselves are a bit thinner, with sharper turns, but the UFO's don't tend to have a great deal of difference in their speed just yet, so another one that shouldn't give you too much trouble.

View arena map - Compiled by DarkWolf for VGMaps.com.
The Yellow Time Stone Arena 3
Arena 3 puts you under the ocean, in the midst of an impressive aquatic base on the sea bed.
Water areas are getting a bit bigger now. Try to avoid situations where you must cross large areas by jumping in and out of it, as every split second in there is merciless on your timer!
The water edges are pure black as opposed to blue, but still water nonetheless, so don't be fooled into thinking that the thin rivers are solid ground!
This one seems to be a mechanical base submerged deep underwater. There are various structures in the background, with lines of rocks sitting behind them below a deep blue sea. You can see the surface at the top, and if you look carefully, streams of bubbles emanating from the base and rocks below. Colours of the arena stuff are similar to the previous arena, except that the slower areas are now a perfectly flat, non textured green colour with yellow border. UFO's still aren't that great at dodging you, but there is a bit more water around this time (I'm sure being outside an undersea base might have something to do with this). Make sure you stay within easy access of the blue UFO in the middle, and try to avoid the larger pools of water, as they're too big to jump.

View arena map - Compiled by DarkWolf for VGMaps.com.
The Blue Time Stone Arena 4
By far the prettiest of the seven, this arena places you in a fantasy-like setting, with majestic floating islands, rocky cliffs and lush waterfalls.
Although areas of water are numerous, they're generally quite thin, and the slightly sandy pathways are fairly wide.
Watch out for this diagonal arrangement of chopper blocks in a large open area in one of the corners.
This one's very pretty. The background features a large body of water with fantasy-like images of tall rocks and waterfalls cascading down between them. There's one large collection of these, with some man-made buildings at the top and even a few that are floating in the sky. Misty clouds surround the lower regions of the rocks, with a clear blue sky above. Meanwhile, the paths in the arena are a slightly sandier colour to the greys we've seen so far, and the water is a glistening blue while the green grass with yellow borders return, this time with a certain Sonic-esque checkered pattern about it. Patches of water occupy thinner areas than some of those in Arena 3, but paths are quite thin and numerous too, some of which are even based on metallic panels rather than the regular ground. UFO's still fairly easy to hit.

View arena map - Compiled by DarkWolf for VGMaps.com.
The Turquoise Time Stone Arena 5
This time you're in a fairly run of the mill night time city scape. Not sure what the tall, slightly curved red structures are though.
Water is pure black and in much larger pools now, so try your best to stick to the paths as much as you can.
Rough terrain is orange here.
This one's a busy night-time city, with light green and blue sky scrapers littering the horizon. Both the sky and the water are pure black, while the slower path edges are now orange with mechanical elements to them. You'll instantly notice that these UFO's are no longer messing around and are suddenly much quicker and better at avoiding you as you jump. This is where you're likely to start having the big problems, and water is fairly abundant too. Try not to perform your jumps too early, as this gives the saucers plenty of time to sneak around the side of you, and from now on, they are less concerned with sticking to specific areas of the arena.

View arena map - Compiled by DarkWolf for VGMaps.com.
The Purple Time Stone Arena 6
The sky is a vibrant psychedelic pattern, with some fairly ancient structures on the horizon below.
By this point, UFO's have an annoying tendency to slip around either side of you as you go for them, if you're not quite quick enough.
This series of curves surrounded by water can be tricky, especially when dash panels threaten to throw you right in!
Arena 6 features a rather psychedelic sky that comes with a wavy pattern and constantly changing, vibrant colours. Below that is a fairly ancient looking city with pillars and bridges. There are some fairly close and compact paths, while other areas sport larger pools of maroon water that are tough to dodge. The ground has a gravely texture and the slower edges feature green and yellow squares. The UFO's are just as tough to hit as in Arena 5 so you've got your work cut out for you once again. Increased speed tends to help, but you are more likely to land in the water this way, so it'll take some skill to hop between the paths while moving at this pace.

View arena map - Compiled by DarkWolf for VGMaps.com.
The Red Time Stone Arena 7
The final arena puts you in a Martian landscape, with a green sky and huge planet, tall alien towers and odd red water.
Some pathways are rather angular at their edges.
Pools of water are definitely at their biggest here, so avoid situations where you find yourself making splashes as you desperately try to hop across them.
The final challenge takes place on a somewhat Martian-like planet. Rocks and green terrain appear at the front of the horizon while tall, green alien towers loom behind. A larger, angular building is also present, as is another large planet in the heavily green, starry sky. Adding to the eerie feel, the water here is bright red and has thin white grid lines running through it, with black edges on the pools. Slow areas return to the basic grassy with yellow border formula. This arena has plenty of large pools, thin paths and annoying, dodging UFO's. Everything you need for a major headache. Still, with enough practice, it can be done, especially if you've already been victorious in the previous two.

View arena map - Compiled by DarkWolf for VGMaps.com.
#1. Comment posted by Ajavalo on Saturday, 25th July 2009, 10:19am (BST)
I think that there are two different types of purple UFO's: the ones with white strips give you speed up and the others with yellow strips give you rings. Also, in the photo with the Time Stone, you said "Time Zone".
Zone instead of stone!
#2. Comment posted by Joshi on Tuesday, 1st December 2009, 2:30am (GMT)
"Martian-like planet"? Since when is Mars green?

This is Venusian at best!
#3. Comment posted by Emerl on Saturday, 19th June 2010, 4:01am (BST)
There are always 4 ring UFOs and 2 Speed UFOs, so the maximum rings you can get are 10 + 20 + 40 + 80 = 150.
In addition, the special stages are loosely based off the seven rounds of the game. Would this mean that there would have been eight special stages if R2 went ahead?
#4. Comment posted by Sonicfan32 on Tuesday, 12th July 2011, 6:22pm (BST)
The 3d special stages were new to Sonic. Most players found it odd to adapt, but the new gameplay I believe opened up an idea for the game Sonic Jam, and the Sonic Adventure games.
#5. Comment posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 8th January 2012, 6:21pm (GMT)
There's a hidden Arena 8 that you can access using the sound test code. It features a giant Robotnik head on the horizon.
#6. Comment posted by Cf on Monday, 30th April 2012, 5:21pm (BST)
I think the part about scoring is slightly off... at least for the 2011 re-release.

Purple UFOs give 20 rings, with any consecutive purple UFOs doubling your score. So if you hit all purple UFOs first it's 20 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 160. But you can also do purple blue purple purple purple for 20 + 20 x 2 x 2 = 160. Note that the extra time UFO does break your chain.

I always try to get the maximum 160 when I do a stage for the challenge :)

Chopper blocks half your current ring total, with the exception of reducing it to 0 if you're down to 10.
#7. Comment posted by Cullen on Sunday, 14th September 2014, 2:58pm (BST)
I've sometimes imagined guys from different games and TV shows racing in these places (including the "mane" characters from MLP:FIM. It's not weird). Sonic CD's Special Stages are awesome!
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Time Attack
Another feature that separates the game from its Mega Drive cousins, Sonic CD also offers its own Time Attack mode, accessible from the title screen after completing the first level. This allows you to record your top three times for the completion of each zone of every level that you have already beaten in the main game. Although this allows you to replay them at your leisure, all Past and Future posts are removed in Time Attack mode, so time travel is impossible as you are tied down only to the Present versions of every zone. Also, you only get one life per zone, so if you die, you return to the menu system even if you managed to obtain extra lives, as the counter goes straight to 0. Though checkpoints are still there, they're pretty useless for that reason, and Special Stage rings are unobtainable. When you select Time Attack mode, you'll be presented with a list of the levels you have unlocked, as well as the collective total of the best times currently listed for all three zones of that level. The grand total of all the best times for all the levels is presented at the bottom. The US soundtrack here features the instrumental version of "Sonic Boom", also heard in the ending movie, while the JP soundtrack offers an original, "jungley" piece of music called "Little Planet". Use the up and down buttons to highlight a level, each of which brings up its own image to the left, and press start, A B or C (or Spacebar) to select the level. The three best times for Zone 1 will be listed. At the top, use left and right to highlight either "Exit" (to return to the list of levels), "Next" (to move to the next zone, or return to Zone 1 if you have Zone 3 selected) and "Go" (to play the currently selected zone).
The Time Attack option becomes available on the title screen once you have completed the first level.
Select a level to play. Your best times for each zone of each stage are added up into a single, neat total, with which you can unlock extra features if you can get it low enough. Here's my best efforts. Feel free to be smug if you can better it.
Before you set any records, all best times are 5 minutes exactly for every zone, and made by "AAA". After playing the selected zone, you'll return to the previous screen, and if you made the top three, your position, 1st, 2nd or 3rd, will be flashing to indicate where you came. Press any button to set your initials, which at first are set as "YOU" by default. The flashing letter indicates the one that's currently selected. Press left or right to switch between these and up or down to change the letter. When you're done, ensure the last letter is selected and then the A/B/C/Start/Spacebar button will set the initials in stone for you, and you can choose what you want to do next at the above menu. If you enter the same initials enough times, they'll become the default ones set for every new record you make, but I'm not sure what the requirements are to make this happen, exactly. It's worth noting that in the Mega CD version, your records remain as they are regardless of how many new games you start in the main mode. In the PC and Sonic Gems Collection version, your time attack records (and unlocked modes, explained in the next paragraph) are applicable only to one main game, so if you start a new one from the title screen, you'll be given a completely fresh new time attack mode along with it. To get your old records back, you have to select the original main game from the Saved Games menu. See "Saved Game Management" for more info on how to do this.
With a stage selected, choose 'next' to change the zone or 'go' to play it. When you set a new record, you can edit your initials using the arrow buttons and A, B, C, or start (or spacebar) to save them.
Get a total stage time of 30:21:05 or less to unlock Special Stages in Time Attack mode, accessed by pressing left on the main Time Attack menu. These maintain their own separate total time amount.
The beauty of Time Attack mode is its ability to offer you an additional challenge after you've completed the main game, allowing you to suckle more joy out these wonderful levels. Your grand total of best times on the main level menu sums up how awesome you are at legging your way though them, into one single, convenient lump sum of time, and is made up only of your first place times for every single zone. Shave crucial seconds off of this total to bring it down below certain amounts, and you'll be able to unlock three extra modes in the game. Getting rid of all those nasty default 5 minute scores should be your first priority. Bring it down to 37'27"57 or less to unlock the D.A. Garden, an enhanced sound test menu explained below. Bringing your time down to 30'21"05 will actually unlock the ability to play Special Zones in Time attack mode. These are accessible by pressing left on the main Time Attack menu screen, where the seven different Special Zones will be listed on the left side, with the pictures moved to the right. Selecting one to play is the same process as with the regular stages, except that the "Next" option is removed from the top menu. A separate time total is tallied for these zones too, and to ensure that you'll always get definite results out of each Special Zone, the annoying countdown, along with its fiendishly cruel water stipulation from the main game has been removed, so in this mode, its no longer a case of if you'll finish the Special Zone, but when. Great for gaining some practise in them to use in the main mode, and to return to the list of regular levels, press right. Finally, if you can cut your total time down to 25'46"12, you'll unlock Visual Mode, which allows you to view the opening and ending movies of the game, as well as an exclusive pencil test movie.
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D.A. Garden / Play Music
In this interactive sound test, you can move Little Planet around and change its size, or to get to the music menu, press A. Select a track with left and right and A again to play it.
Select a 'G' mix track to get the Good Future image of Little Planet. While a track is not displayed, you can move the planet around the screen while day changes to night and back to day again.
Selecting a 'B' mix track however places it in the Bad Future. You can zoom in and out of the planet on alternate presses of the C button.
This additional little mode can be accessed from the title screen menu of the game ("D.A. Garden" in the Mega CD version, or "Play Music" for the PC) after you achieve a total time of 37'27"57 or less for all the levels in Time Attack mode. The D.A. Garden is kind of a sound test with a bit more imagination put into it. A regular sound test menu is still accessible via a cheat, but this mode features an animated, rotating picture of Little Planet, complete with certain features of the levels (the same one that appears on the PC loading screen), against a clouds-and-sky backdrop. As time passes by, the sky changes from day to night, back to day again, while various animations of characters and objects, including groups of blue flickies, Eggman, Metal Sonic, Tails in the Tornado, a couple of stars and even small UFO's fly around in front of it, appearing randomly and usually one after the other. Press the A button to make whoever is on-screen at the time bugger off so that the music menu can appear in the black bar at the bottom. Here, use the left and right buttons to select your music from the game, which is named, not numbered, and A again to play it. Selecting a Good Future track will change the image of Little Planet to the Good Future version, which features the visual properties of some of the Good Future levels, as opposed to the Present ones. Similarly, selecting a Bad Future track will give you the Bad Future variation of the image, and the sky also changes to a more distorted orange colour, with vibrant red sunsets. All other tracks return you to the regular Present version of the image, even with a Past track selected, and some non-level music is not available for playing at all. When not selecting a track, you can move the planet around using the directional controls, and zoom in/zoom out on it by holding the C button as you wish. At any time, press B to return to the title screen.
Blue flickies are probably the most common animated characters to appear.
Tails makes one of his cameo appearances here as he pilots the Tornado.
Luminous UFO's dart across the screen, either alone or in pairs.
Eggman makes rare appearances on his little flying scooter.
Metal Sonic rockets in and out.
At night, be on the lookout for these occasional shooting stars.
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Visual Mode
Visual Mode is accessible with a low enough total time in Time Attack mode and allows you to view the opening and both versions (good and bad) of the ending, plus an exclusive pencil test sequence.
The pencil test features slightly groggy lineart sketches of Sonic's animated sequences from the final movies.
This is a very small mode on the title screen menu, accessible only when you have achieved a total time of 25'46"12 or less in Time Attack, and allows you to view the animation videos from the game. On a vertical menu, use the up and down buttons to highlight, and Start/A/B/C/Spacebar to select between the opening, good ending, bad ending, and even a bonus pencil test movie that features rather pixellated lineart of some of Sonic's animations. These are from the opening and ending, although at the end of the movie, there's an exclusive pencil animation of Sonic running at different speeds before launching into a ball. Sadly, unlike the opening and ending, this is unavailable in high quality for Sonic Gems Collection, so you have to make do with it being very unclear and groggy-looking, regardless of what you're playing the game on. You can exit to the main menu via an exit option at the top of the list.
At the end of the pencil test is an additional sequence not seen elsewhere..
..From a standing position, he launches into a sprint, followed by his spinny leg run and jumps into a spinning ball.
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Saved Game Management
Saved game files are organised in one of two completely different methods, depending on whether you're playing the Mega CD version or the PC/Sonic Gems Collection version, and this is probably the most significant difference, in terms of how they've designed the separate versions.
I'll start with the PC/Gems version, as you'll be more likely to have to swap between saved games here. Every new game you begin (by selecting "New Game" from the title screen) is automatically recorded into the "Saved Games" section on the title screen menu, along with your progress details through it. These are recorded when you complete a level, making note of any Time Stones you've picked up or Good Futures you've created for whole levels (i.e. both of the first two zones in a level). Each new game also features its own separate set of Time Attack records and unlocked modes, so if you're attempting to score fast times in Time Attack mode, you can only do that in individual saved files. However, you can also only play the main game mode of that save file once. If you choose "Continue" after having already beaten the game, you'll just be stuck on the last level, and will have to start a new game to return to the first. You will have to use the Saved Games menu system to switch between any new games you want to start and your continuous progress in the Time Attack mode.
Managing the Saved Games menu is similar in principle to the Data Select menu in Sonic 3. You have six slots to store six different saved game files at a time, each one recording the level you're on in the main game, which Time Stones and Good Futures you have managed to secure thus far, and all of your Time Attack records and unlocked modes. Sonic's miniature sprite acts as the selector for several options on the left, moveable using the up and down buttons, and you can select an option using the Start or A button (or spacebar), which is accompanied by the Checkpoint sound effect. Press B or Esc at any time afterwards to cancel an operation that you're doing, accompanied by the air bubble sound effect. Your saved games are listed to the right, with dates and times of your most recent plays, and the current one selected is indicated by a green background behind its Sonic head icon. The "Select" option allows you to choose a different file to play, which you can then select using the up and down buttons and then A, as usual. After selecting the file once, it'll ask you to confirm your choice a second time before finally switching. Other options are dealt with in a similar way; "Copy" allows you to select a file and then move to a blank slot and create a duplicate of it there, and "Rename" gives you the option of renaming the file of your choice from "Player 1" to something a bit more catchy. Left and Right moves between the letters while up and down allows you to change each one, and A confirms. If you use up all six slots, you'll be unable to start a new game until you delete one from the list, so you can do that using the "Delete" option. Also useful for pissing off a particularly annoying sibling who is enjoying the game.
Saved Games management in the PC/Sonic Gems version, the more straightforward of the two. You can have up to six games saved at a time, containing individual Time Stones/Good Futures and Time Attack records.
The Mega CD version is a little more confusing to operate, but allows you to make copies of your current progress and set of records. The central 'Data Sonic CD' button represents the current data loaded, which can be exchanged for the other copies, though be careful as whatever was loaded before is overwritten!
On the Mega CD, it's all a completely different kettle of fish. There is no "Saved Games" menu, but there is a "RAM Data" menu that allows you to make copies of your current save file, and delete them or load them. In this version of the game, Time Attack records and unlocked modes are not tied down to only one file, if you select to start a new game, your records will remain with it. However, when you make a copy of that saved file using the RAM data menu, in addition to your progress through the levels of the game, those record details are also included, so if you were to load up an old copy of your file, you would also bring the Time Attack records back to where they were when the copy was created. So, as opposed to the PC version where management of saved games can be important, this is mostly just for making backup copies, or perhaps strategic ones, if you'd like to keep easy access to certain levels outside of Time Attack mode.
Little Sonic follows you around the screen as your option highlighter!
Maneuvering your way round the menu and knowing what's what might take some explanation, if you ever need to explore this mysterious corner of the game. As with the PC counterpart, your current option is highlighted by Sonic's little continue sprite, who waddles around the screen with you. At any point, you can press A or C to select an option, or B to back out of a selection. At the top, either side of the exit option are RAM and CD options. RAM is where the data is stored on the machine, and I've never owned a Sega Mega CD so I'm not completely sure, but I believe CD represents a kind of memory card that can be exchanged between consoles, and you can store save files on either location. Correct me if I'm wrong. Below each you'll find a list of any files that may exist, each given only a number, with a Sonic head icon. Press left and right to hop between them, and the exit button, and up and down to highlight a particular file. Underneath the exit button, there's a button with Sonic's head over it called "Data Sonic CD" - this represents the currently loaded data and can also be selected. When you pick any of these with A or C, the Copy and Delete options just underneath will become active. Selecting copy will prompt you to pick a destination for your new copied file. Pick RAM or CD and it will add a new numbered file to the list, and you can actually change the 2-digit number if you wish, by using the D-pad. A final confirmation question confirms your decision. If you choose to copy a file straight to "Data Sonic CD", this will actually load the data you've selected for immediate use in the game, overwriting anything that is currently loaded, so before doing this, make sure you've saved a copy of what was loaded somewhere else if you still need it! With any file selected, the delete sequence goes pretty much as you would expect it to, and you're asked to confirm your choice before any files are permanently erased. The fact that files are given largely arbitrary numbers rather than dates, names or details on what the data contains makes this whole thing a whole lot more confusing than it needs to be and seemingly all to easy to accidentally erase all your hard work, so be careful with it!
#1. Comment posted by Breetai on Monday, 31st August 2009, 3:56am (BST)
CD is the internal memory on the machine. RAM is the RAM cartridge (memory card). You had it backwards.
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#1. Comment posted by Anonymous on Monday, 20th June 2011, 11:49pm (BST)
There is,however,a secret Special Stage that is only accessible by using the Sound Test Cheat and setting FM,PCM,and DA numbers to 07. But why is Eggman in the background?
#2. Comment posted by hypermario13 on Monday, 31st October 2011, 9:41pm (GMT)
@Anonymous:Because its Special stage 4 takin over by Eggman of course
#3. Comment posted by chicobo329 on Tuesday, 27th December 2011, 8:29am (GMT)
Special Stages are improved considerably in the 2011 re-release. Instead of using Mode 7-like scrolling and sprite manipulation for the UFOs and stage backgrounds, the game uses smooth 3D style scrolling (while keeping the sprites 2D). The great part of this means not only do Special Stages run at a silky smooth 60 fps like the rest of the game does, but the UFOs move smoothly and have proper perspective when you approach them closely. This makes UFOs much easier to track down and also makes the floors of the stage and the background elements look prettier. Tails is able to enter Special Stages and has a new set of sprites just for this mode. He can collect Time Stones like Sonic can. Naturally Tails cannot fly while in the Special Stages, so he has no extra or different abilities than Sonic while in one.

In versions prior to the 2011 re-release, all UFOs except for the special 20-second-left UFO were purple. In the 2011 re-release, UFOs can be colored purple or blue. The special blue UFO that appears with time running down is blue with red elements. The normal-appearing UFOs that are blue have white elements instead.

In all versions of the game, UFOs do not move randomly per se. Several UFOs I've come across in other Special Stages move in predetermined patterns at varying speeds.

#4. Comment posted by chicobo329 on Tuesday, 27th December 2011, 8:42am (GMT)
It's somewhat unclear right now what the prerequisites are to unlock the extra modes in the 2011 re-release, however they are generally different than in prior versions of the game. These extra modes: DA Garden, Visual Mode, Sound Test, and Stage Select are all accessible under the 'Extras' menu of the Main Menu.

Two unlockables I know for certain are the Stage Select and Sound Test options. The Stage Select is unlocked if all Special Stages are completed with a total time of 5 minutes or less. The Sound Test is unlocked if all Special Stages are completed with a total time of 4 minutes or less.

The DA Garden functions the same way in the 2011 re-release, even with the different ways to play around with the spinning Little Planet graphic. Past versions of songs are not accessible in the DA Garden and can only be listened to in the Sound Test.

The Stage Select works just like the Sega CD original, right down to the unimpressive and bland presentation of it all: just three sets of numbers. The numbers alter what Zone, Act, and Time Period you want to go to.

The Sound Test is also like the Sega CD original, however the 'FM' option is removed, leaving only the 'PCM' and 'DA' options to choose from. The several 'easter egg' images and debug mode, along with the secret 8th Special Stage are still accessible with the same number combinations: you just need to ignore the 'FM' inputs as there is no FM option to select from.

Visual Mode works the same way although without the same menu interface in the original. All of the visuals that could be viewed can be done so here as well and are put in as highest quality as possible. This means you can finally see a clear view of the pencil test!
#5. Comment posted by chicobo329 on Tuesday, 27th December 2011, 8:46am (GMT)
As for saved games, on my XBLA version at least, there's only four save slots although progress is saved in the same manner as the games. I'm not sure if the original is like this but the game will save when you enter a Special Stage. If you feel like you're about to lose a Special Stage, a player could quit the game to the Main Menu and restart the Special Stage again. As long as you restart without completely running the clock to 0, you can keep retrying the stage until you get the Time Stone. If the timer hits 0, the controls are locked and the game saves, recording your failure and moving on to the next act/zone.
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