|Special Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3|
|Features in||Sonic the Hedgehog 3|
Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Sonic & Knuckles
|Number of Zones||7 (In Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles)|
14 (In Sonic 3 & Knuckles)
This is the Special Zone that first appears in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and is also used in Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. These special zones are accessed through giant rings which are hidden throughout the zones in the main game. Whilst there are only 7 versions of this special zone in both Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, when playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles the number increases to 14 to allow the player to collect the 7 Super Emeralds as well as the 7 Chaos Emeralds.Mushroom Hill Zone onwards the Super Emeralds can be collected and once entering the giant ring the player is transported to the Hidden Palace Zone where they can choose which level to attempt. When entering a giant ring before the Mushroom Hill Zone but after all the 7 Chaos Emeralds have been collected gives the player 50 rings.
 Special Zone
This Special Zone takes place on a giant sphere which the player runs across, only being able to turn 90 degrees at a time. The objective is to collect all the blue spheres, there is no time limit, but the danger in these Special Zones are running into the red spheres which automatically end the stage. After passing over a blue sphere it changes into a red sphere, but running around the outline of a group of blue spheres collects them all and converts them into rings. There are also yellow spring spheres.