In order to reach the final boss and true ending of Sonic Mania and gain the ability to transform into Super Sonic, you’ll need to collect all seven chaos emeralds. You do so by entering special rings hidden in stages and completing the special stages found within where you chase down a UFO in a 3D game map.
Sounds simple, right? Well it can actually be quite a pain to nab all the chaos emeralds as you not only have to find the special rings but you have only once shot per stage to complete the special stages before the special ring you entered becomes unavailable. The special stages themselves are also really tricky as you have to boost your speed by collecting spheres and boost your timer by collecting rings.
Thankfully there’s a few tricks you can do to grab the emeralds much easier and quicker than normal.
Since you don’t have to go to specific special rings to get to specific special stages, you can use the same special ring to complete all of the special stages. One of the easiest special rings to get to is in Chemical Plat Zone Act 1, as found by YouTuber GameXplain in the video above. It’s best to complete the game once as you’ll be able to enter and exit all the stages easily.
Take the bottom path on the first double helix bridge and before you go through the loop, head to the left (don’t worry if you go through the loop because you’ll be bounced back by a spring and go on the right path). Go through the tube at the top of the platform past the two enemy robots, and take the left tube when the path splits into three. Keep moving to the right and go past the rising blocks and into the wall where you’ll find the special ring. If you do it right, you’ll head into special stages in less than 30 seconds. If you fail the special stage, simply pause the game and exit the stage (the special stage won’t be available until you exit completely).
Once you’re in a special stage, you can use a movement technique found out by YouTuber A+Start. Turn to the left or right and then jump while holding the directional button in the opposite direction. Do this multiple times in a row and hit some bumpers to make your character go much faster than intended, even at Mach One speed. It’s a bit tricky to pull off but keep practicing and you’ll get the hang of it. The video above shows A+Start nabbing the emerald within four seconds of starting one of the special stages.
After you nab the chaos emerald, exit the stage and repeat the whole process again. You’ll have all seven chaos emeralds in no time.