From Sonic Retro
Blue Sphere (also known as No Way! after the message on the title screen) is the game created by utilizing the Lock-On Technology in Sonic & Knuckles in conjunction with any game but the full game is unlocked when using Sonic the Hedgehog. It is a compilation of "Special Stages" in the same style (and engine) of the ones featured in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles with a total of 134,217,728 levels in all. However, after level 128,016,000 some of the previous levels begin to reappear. After completing all 134,217,728 stages it restarts from the beginning.
The levels in Blue Sphere are slightly different than the special stages in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. In Blue Sphere, the ring counter decreases rather than increases, and if the player collects all the rings and blue spheres in a level, a "perfect" score is awarded and the player is shown a screen with the stage's difficulty. Then the player is advanced 10 levels. Each time the player completes a stage, a 12-number password is given for that stage. Also, each stage has a difficulty level assigned to it, represented by an icon. There are 13 difficulty levels in all. Difficulty is assigned based on the number of spheres in each region of the stage's map, so some level 13 stages might actually be less difficult than level 12 or 11.
The name Blue Sphere comes from the name shown in its listing in Sonic Mega Collection.
List of icons by difficulty level
Method of Accessing the Game
To access the game Sonic & Knuckles must be locked-on to another game. Once this is done a "No way? No way! No way! No way!" screen will pop up with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Robotnik making odd faces, telling you the cartridge is supposedly incompatible. However, pressing , , and simultaneously will allow this mini-game to be played. From here, pressing , , or will switch characters between Sonic and Knuckles; the player cannot play as Tails alone or as Sonic with Tails following.
A single Blue Sphere stage can be created by locking on Sonic & Knuckles to any Sega Mega Drive game. The stage layout is produced randomly from information in the inserted cartridge's ROM header, along with the stage's 'code' for use in the full Blue Sphere game. Only by locking the original Sonic the Hedgehog (REV00 or REV01) or Sonic Classics (on real hardware only) can one play through all the stages.
In Sonic Jam, Sonic Mega Collection, and Sonic Mega Collection Plus the Blue Sphere game is playable as a separate game. Sonic Jam allows the player to access it by choosing to play Sonic & Knuckles and "lock it on" with Sonic 1. In Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Mega Collection Plus, the game has to be unlocked separately.
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