This page will attempt to cover all relevant movement techniques for all 4 main level types: action stages (Sonic/ Shadow), mech stages (Tails/ Eggman), hunting stages (Knuckles/ Rouge), and Kart racing.
Action Stages (Sonic/Shadow)
Action stages are usually the most movement intensive stages, there are many different movement techniques used in these stages, especially in Sonic stages with the addition of the bounce bracelet.
The following is a list of most of the states you can be in as Sonic/Shadow. If you are a beginner, you don't really need to know all of these things, but they will help you understand the logic of how action stages function, and there's some terminology that you should know if you want to speedrun this game. Pay attention to the storage state, as it is possibly the least known about to beginners, and it has several uses.
Running state: The most basic form of movement, running has several properties.
- Sonic/Shadow will generally tend to stay on the ground while going over hills
- Running has a relatively low speed cap
- Easiest to control
Jump state: enter this state by pressing the jump button (usually the A button) while on the ground, or in the air after taking damage. The properties of this state are as follows:
- keeping the A button held after entering this state will reduce the effect of gravity for up to a second, allowing for a higher jump.
- you may perform a homing attack by pressing A in this state.
- As sonic, you may perform a bounce by pressing the action button (Usually B or X).
- This state has a low speed cap.
- Entering this state from a slanted surface can result in skewed gravity
Homing attack state: enter by pressing A while in the jump state or airborne spindash state. Properties:
- Entering this state gives you a burst of forward velocity
- You can damage enemies in this state
- this state has a low speed cap
- You will enter the falling state after about a second of being in this state
- Pressing B or X while in this state will make you enter the falling state early(this is known as a homing attack cancel and will give you more speed and distance)
- If there is an enemy, spring, or item box within range, you will lose directional control and home in on the target.
- You can get caught between two targets, which will end up locking your controls and targeting neither of them
- If your homing attack direction is roughly perpendicular to a target, you might start orbiting it (basically always a bad thing).
- You will remain in this state much longer if you are targeting something
Somersault state: enter this state by tapping B or X while in the running/ standing state. The properties of this state are as follows:
- This state has a very slow, constant speed and locks your directional input.
- You can damage enemies
- Sonic's/Shadow's hitbox is smaller in this state, allowing him to go under small gaps.
- you can perform a somersault jump by pressing A while in this state, giving you a higher, more controllable jump.
Spindash charging state: enter this state by holding B until Sonic/Shadow curls into a ball. Properties:
- After entering this state, velocity will rapidly decrease until you come to a full stop
- releasing the B and/ or X button will put you into the spindash state, your initial velocity in this state will be determined by how long you remained in the charging state, and what your velocity was before releasing the spindash.
- You can damage enemies
Spindash state: enter by releasing all action buttons while in the spindash charging state. Properties are as follows:
- This state has a high speed cap
- Sonic/ Shadow have a higher tendency to fly off of hills while moving fast
- Controls are more slippery, Sonic/Shadow acts much like rolling ball that can change it's own velocity to a degree.
- Moving across a flat surface, you will slowly decelerate until you come to reach a cutoff velocity, then you will enter the running state
- Moving uphill will cause you to rapidly lose speed until you roll back down the hill
- Moving downhill will accelerate you to a relatively high speed
- You will not stumble on the edges of platforms, you will fall right off of them instead
- You may jump in this state
- if you leave the ground while in this state, you will enter the airborne spindash state.
Airborne spindash state: enter this state by leaving the ground while in the spindash state. Properties:
- This state has the same properties as the jump state, but looks different.
Storage state: enter this state by holding B or X while in the running state. In the time between the initial B or X input, and when the spindash charging state begins, you are in the storage state. Properties are as follows:
- You can damage enemies
- You can move under tight gaps
- you can partially clip into walls
- you have the same speed cap as the running state
- you will fly off of hills very easily in this state
- hitting a spring in this state will induce strange effects
- if you hit a spring, grab a pulley, or leave the ground in this state, you will remain frozen in this state until you touch the ground
- if you release B or X while in this state, you will perform a somersault.
Falling state: enter this state by exiting the homing attack state or going off of any platform in such a way that doesn't enter the jumping/ airborne somersault state. Properties:
- You maintain control over your direction of movement in this state, but you can't perform any other actions for the most part
- your lateral speed cap is relatively slow, your vertical speed cap is moderately fast
Bouncing state: only available to sonic, enter by pressing B or X wile in the jump/ airborne spindash state. Properties:
- You will accelerate downward rapidly with a high speed cap
- You can damage enemies in this state
- Hitting the ground in this state reverses your vertical momentum (you bounce), and puts you in the post bounce state
- You may perform a homing attack in this state, doing so is known as a bounce accel, which is the fastest way to accelerate to full running speed from a complete stop in most situations.
- If you have skewed gravity in this state, you will bounce in the false down direction, this is known as a gravity bounce
Post bounce state: enter by hitting the ground in the bounce state. Properties:
- you may perform a bounce or a homing attack while in this state
- Bouncing in this state results in a higher bounce than bouncing from any other state.
- hitting a wall while moving upward in this state will transfer all of your momentum into vertical momentum, this momentum transfer is known as a superbounce
Useful movement tricks in action stages
There are many commonly used combinations of moves that will help you move through stages faster and skip unnecessary sections. As a beginner, It is recommended that you learn all of the following tricks, because the terminology associated with them will be used a lot when explaining strategies.
Spindash jump (hold B/X, Release -> A)
Perhaps the most important trick, a spindash jump is used to clear a large gap that you can't normally jump across. To perform it, simply charge a spindash and press the Jump button (usually A) immediately after releasing the action button (usually B or X). Optimally, you want as little time as possible between releasing the spindash and making the jump, as there are several places in the game that require very tight spindash jumps.
Homing attack cancel (A->B/X)
Used after most spindash jumps, the homing attack cancel is a way to get more distance and speed out of a homing attack. To perform a homing attack cancel, press B or X immediately after performing a homing attack. The closer the inputs are, the greater the effect you get from it. Most homing attacks should be canceled to exploit the boost of speed you get, however, never cancel a homing attack directed at an enemy, as you will take damage from doing so.
Spindash Canceling/ chaining (B__BB_BB_BB)
Because you lose speed rather quickly while going across flat surfaces and uphill in a spindash, it is best to exploit the burst of speed at the beginning of the spindash and then cancel it immediately after releasing to keep the maximum speed. Cancel a spindash by pressing B/X immediately after releasing it. If you have a large flat or uphill area to move across, it is usually best to chain several spindash cancels together, as this is the fastest way to move across flat and uphill sections. It is important to note that you shouldn't cancel spindashes while going downhill, because it is simply faster not to.
Spindash hover (Hold B/X, add A, release B/X)
Spindash hovering is used to cross a large gap where you land at a lower altitude than your starting point. It is useful in a few places because you end up landing sooner than you would with a spindash jump. To perform a spindash hover, Hold A before releasing your spindash, this will dramatically slow your rate of falling for about a second.
Spindash Jump hover (spindash jump with a short a tap, wait a second, Start->hold A)
A more advanced technique that has some uses. This abuses the fact that holding A while in a jump state makes you fall slower. normally, pressing a while in a jump would make you homing attack, but if you pause the game first, all it does is add an A input as if you had been holding a before you paused, tricking the game into thinking you just started your jump. If you do this trick properly, it is the best way to clear very large gaps where the place you land is much lower than your starting point.
Bounce Accel (B/X->A)
This trick is exclusive to Sonic. This is the fastest way to reach full speed from a complete stop, and usually the best way to come back to the ground as fast as possible. To perform a bounce accel, jump, bounce, and immediately cancel the bounce with a homing attack. The result is a fast downward homing attack that puts you at full running speed when you hit the ground.
Superbounce (hold B/X, Release -> A->B/X)
This trick is exclusive to Sonic. The superbounce abuses the properties of the post bounce state to launch you very high up. to perform a superbounce, bounce into a wall with great speed. Usually, to do this, you must charge a spindash, release it, and quickly jump and bounce before you reach the wall. This trick is moderately difficult at first, but quickly becomes second nature as it is used a great deal in runs.
Mech Stages (Tails/Eggman)
While these stages tend to get less love than the Action Stages, it is extremely easy to bleed time on the Mech Stages. Try these techniques to keep your speed unlock your full movement potential.
Staying On the Ground
As with all the other characters, staying on the ground is the fastest way to move. Try not to jump unnecessarily.
While on the ground, the mechs cannot make sharp turns. They will slow down considerably. On stages which require sharp turns, you can jump right before turning. Turning in mid-air preserves a lot more speed. Otherwise, try to position the mech in a way that you can make a more gradual grounded turn.
When trying to hit multiple targets, it is usually better to target each individually, as you can shoot your missiles faster individually than in groups.
With the hover upgrade, mechs can slow their falling speed, but they can also increase their jump height by quickly activating the hover after jumping. By pressing A twice quickly, you can get enough height to skip various obstacles.
Pause hovering takes the idea of hover jumping, but it uses a pause to get even more height than previously possible! A perfect pause hover has the following inputs:
- A + Start
- no inputs
- A [hold]
With these inputs, you get even more height than possible with a pauseless hover jump. There is only one trick in the game which needs a perfect pause hover, but pause hovering can make a lot of hovers easier to execute.
While targeting multiple enemies, you can cancel your shot by letting go of the targeting button and quickly executing a whistle (Y -> B). This will prevent missiles from being shot, but you will still get the points from the combo. This technique has its uses in categories that require getting all A-ranks (180 Emblems).
There are only two levels in story runs which are kart racing levels: Route 101 in Hero and Route 280 in Dark. There are also 3 tracks available for play in 1P and 2P modes. Though the karts have slightly different physics, there are some general techniques which apply to all karts in general.
While turning, let go of the A button and quickly press the A button again. Drifting allows you to make sharper turns, though you cannot accelerate on flat ground while in this state.
However, you can preserve the speed that you get from downhills and boosts. For both Route 101 and Route 280, as soon as you get above normal driving speed, you will want to drift and keep the drift going throughout the remainder of the stage.
The game has a counter which increments by 1 every time you grab a ring. When the counter reaches 20, you get a boost, and the counter resets to 0.
When you grab a checkpoint balloon or the mid-air balloon on lap 2, the counter increments by 20 (regardless of the number of rings it gives), effectively giving you a boost and resetting the counter to 0. The balloon in the middle of the road on lap 2 only increments the counter by 10.