|Okay, special stage 5 wasn't actually that hard. But 6 and 7 are really confusing. 6 is probably the hardest, especially since the path winds around constantly and trying to avoid falling off or getting hit when you're mach 2 is extremely difficult. Once you get to mach 3, you can take a lot of shortcuts jumping over everything and it doesn't take much time to catch up.|
I managed to beat special stage 6 by Press Garden Act 1 in this playthrough where I'm using a guide to find all the special rings. It's actually not easy to find most of these special rings either. A lot of them require Mighty or Knuckles, although I still prefer to keep Tails around whenever possible, and some of them require a fire shield or something like that.
The last special stage took me a while too, and I didn't manage to beat it until Hydrocity Act 2.
Mirage Saloon Act 1 is a completely new stage in Encore Mode, and I wasn't able to find any of the special rings here on my first time through it. This level is really confusing even when following a guide.