|First playthrough log:|
Green Hill Zone
Stayed on the top path as much as possible... Found 1 special stage ring in each of the 2 acts and got the first 2 chaos emeralds easily... I suck at the Blue Spheres stages though. I suppose collecting the silver medals from beating all the different randomized Blue Sphere stages will unlock stuff in the extras, probably.
Chemical Plant Zone
I have no idea where any of the special stage rings are in these 2 acts... especially in the 2nd act, that whole time I had no idea where I was going, so many paths... and the paths twist around so much, like you never know if going down and left will lead you towards up and right, or what...
lol I suck at this block matching puzzle... but Eggman sucks even more. The bosses in this game are all a joke so far.
The first completely new zone.
Well, I at least found another special stage ring in act 1, but I screwed up too much on the 3rd special stage and didn't win the emerald.
Act 2 is really easy... the stage pretty much just plays itself for the most part... I found a couple of special stage rings here, and still failed to get the 3rd emerald... also there seems to be a lot of alternate paths even on the easy stages like this.
At this point I'm doing better at the Blue Sphere stages than I am at the emerald stages lol
Flying Battery Zone
By now I figured out the pattern that Act 1 of every old zone is similar to a classic stage, but still different in a lot of ways, while Act 2 is always a completely different stage that does a ton of new things. Act 1 has you walk upside down on the electrified ceiling when you have electric shield.
Finally, I got the 3rd chaos emerald... I was just playing really badly those last few tries... gotta get good. Also these special stage rings are very cleverly hidden. I almost never come across them on accident, instead they act as rewards for going off the beaten path.
Act 2 of Flying Battery is incredibly fun.
Damn, now I'm failing at the 4th emerald special stage.
Press Garden Zone
I just realized some of these bosses aren't actually Eggman... there's these other enemy robots that are like, working against Eggman or something? and then Eggman uses an emerald to warp you to another area whenever the next zone is a classic zone...
Next is Stardust Speedway. Guess I'll stop here for now...
Are you the fastest thing alive? Time Attack is now unlocked!
Prepare to challenge! Competition is now unlocked!
Super peel-out, Sonic's ability from Sonic CD, is now unlocked!
Insta-shield, Sonic's ability from Sonic 3&K, is now unlocked!
So yeah, those 2 main menu options that were a mystery before are now "Competition" and "Time Attack"
The 5 options in Extras besides "Staff Credits" are still a mystery... and it shows 6 out of 32 silver medals from the Blue Sphere stages that I've gained.