Best Ending Basics

In this [guide](((Edit made here and in some of the section titles for reading clearity. Edits made by Ame.))) I’ll be giving info on collecting Chaos Emeralds in the game. This guide is primarily for those considering picking up the Good Ending run. Things to consider in this run that are different from the regular Beat The Game category are: Special Stages, Emerald/Ring Routing, Freed Flicky Flagging, & The Final Fight.
This guide was originally posted to SRC and written by The0nlyKyd on April 27th, 2019.

Special Stages

The primary difference between the categories is the inclusion of Special Stages. Special Stages are accessed by banking 50 rings with either Knuckles or Tails. Knuckles and Tails both have their own banks. These 50 rings don’t have to all be banked at once, but it’s optimal to do so (ex. You can give Knuckles 20 rings, then come back and give him 30 more). They’re found in the first 2 Acts of every stage except Gene Gadget & Panic Puppet(((Director’s Cut uniquely adds Knuckels or Tails in Gene Gadget and Panic Puppet zones to allow for the new restriction of 1 emerald collection per zone))). This means you have until Volcano Valley Act 2 to collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds.

The Special Stages themselves differ from the 3 main versions of the game: Genesis/Mega Drive, Saturn, and 1997 Windows verison. The consistent factor between them is Sonic will be tasked with collecting a specified number of rings before reaching checkpoints in an autoscroller while avoiding spiked bombs (which makes Sonic lose rings). Upon completing the Special Stage, Sonic will be awarded a Chaos Emerald. The stages differ in appearance and layout based on whether Tails or Knuckles takes you in on the Genesis/Mega Drive version. In the Saturn and 1997 Windows versions, Sonic is only allowed to collect 1 Emerald per Act of a stage. Completing a Special Stage after all Emeralds are collected (or if you already collected one in that same Act on the Saturn/’97 Windows versions), Sonic will receive an Extra Life.

Emerald Routing

If you’re keeping count, you’ll recognize that there are 20 opportunities in any single run to enter the Special Stage. You only need to get 7 Emeralds, so optimally you only need 7 of these 20. You’re now tasked with the decision: Which ones do you take? Choosing which Special Stages to enter is what we refer to as Emerald Routing. A lot of work has been put into this routing over the last couple of months to find out the best Special Stages to enter. I’ll be giving a bit of a list here, just know that the top criteria for optimal run is having the least amount of time lost for entering the stage versus completing it without collecting emeralds. This includes the proximity of Tails and/or Knuckles to the main path in the stage as well as the convenience of grabbing 50 rings before reaching them (aka Ring Route). A secondary consideration, especially if you’re still learning the run (or the game in general), is safety. This is to say how risky is that ring route, path to Tails/Knuckles, or even how late in the game (and therefor close to your deadline) that Special Stage is accessed. I’ll be interpreting info here on what are the best Special Stages to enter. This information is coutesy of Kurayami, AmberCyprian, and Zurggriff. They’ve done a lot of work in optimizing this route. Below I’ll be referring to Stage, Act Number, and a letter indicating the character used to enter the Special Stage. Example, Spring Stadium 1T means Spring Stadium Act 1 with Tails. Likewise, Rusty Ruin 2K would be Rusty Ruin Act 2 &Knuckles. T+K means you use both characters.

Best Special Stages in an Optimal Run

Green Grove 2K
Spring Stadium 1T
Spring Stadium 2T (the difference between the two is very minor)
Diamond Dust 1T
Diamond Dust 2T+K (Knuckles only for Saturn/’97)
Volcano Valley 1K (Saturn/’97 only)
Volcano Valley 2T

Best Safeties/Backups

Green Grove 1K (incredibly safe, beginning of game and only 1 enemy in the route)
Rusty Ruin 2K (lots of rings, plus Flicky Flagging, which is explained below)
Volcano Valley 1K (only a backup for Genesis/Mega Drive)

Trying to walkthrough all of the details of accessing these stages would be… umm…. just bad. Instead I’ll recommend runs to watch. The 2 runs below showcase variations on all 10 of the emeralds mentioned above. The only route not shown would be both Special Stages in a single run of Diamond Dust 2.

Void’s 39:15 Run

Showcases Green Grove 2K, Rusty Ruin 2K, Spring Stadium 1T, Spring Stadium 2K, Diamond Dust 1T, Diamond Dust 2T, Volcano Valley 1K

Zurggriff’s 1:03:56 Run

Showcases Green Grove 1K, Green Grove 2K, Spring Stadium 1T, Spring Stadium 2K, Diamond Dust 1T, Diamond Dust 2K, Volcano Valley 2T

CoEmpathy’s All Emeralds Run

Showcases…. well…. All of them

There are plenty of variations on these stages that you can take. Just take note on how fast and how reliable they are. You may go for the fastest possible route, but if you take a hit and lose your rings in Volcano Valley 2 before reaching Tails your run could easily die.

Feed Flicky Flagging

Freed Flicky Flagging is part of Emerald Routing but deserves its own section. Discovered by Zurggriff, Freed Flicky Flagging is the act of changing a Flicky’s active state from Free to Following by using a Special Stage. Flickies typically exist in 1 of 4 states:
Captured: The Flicky is trapped within a Badnick or Capsule
Free: The Flicky is roaming freely
Following: The Flicky is following Sonic
Rescued: The Flicky is deposited into a Goal Ring

Flickies will typically go through all 4 of these in an average playthrough of any stage. They’re trapped until their associated Badnick or Capsule is broken, are then Free until Sonic collects them, and are then Following Sonic until he takes them to a Goal Ring and they’re Rescued. At the risk of redundancy, this means Sonic must destroy the Badnick/Capsule, grab the Flicky, take the Flicky to the Goal Ring. Okay I think everyone gets it lol. Flagging lets you skip that second step as Sonic. If you enter a Special Stage, all Free Flickies will have their flags changed to Following instead, which can save a little time. With the Emerald Route above in mind, this is useful for Green Grove 1K, Rusty Ruin 2K, Diamond Dust 1T, Diamond Dust 2T, & Volcano Valley 1K. All of the linked videos above showcase this.

The Final Fight

If you collect all of the Chaos Emeralds and then beat Panic Puppet 3, a new boss becomes available. This is The Final Fight. It’s kinda bad. I recommend watching the videos above. Great Reward for Collecting Emeralds… but at least the Flickies are grateful. If you’re asking yourself “did this really need its own section in this guide?” the answer is no. You’re welcome.

Thanks for reading. Join us on Discord. Reach out to fellow runners if you’re interested in running. Also hit up AmberCyprian in the Discord channel if you need some help on stuff because they’re always looking to indoctrin….. i mean HELP…. people get into this game. It’s fun.

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