Speed Highway was actually the first level ever shown to the public while the game was in production, with lots of varying play styles and good music. There are three sections to Speed Highway. This level makes a reappearance in Sonic Generations.
This section is available to Sonic & Tails (this is Tails' only section). This is the main section of the level and is filled with twists, turns and elevators to keep you on your way. Many of the highways are suspended in the air, so try not to lose control. There is a shortcut about halfway through the stage. When your character reaches the first save point, you will be sent flying up the side of a building. Keep pushing forward and to the left to go higher up the building. There will be an alternate off ramp as well as a Power Sneaker power-up item. There are more shortcuts so keep a sharp eye open.
This section is only for Sonic (of course). Sonic will reach a glass ledge, only to have to glass break from underneath him. But instead of falling, Sonic will run down the side of the building! Watch out for helicopter blades and barricades. Pick up some power up items and Sonic will eventually make it to ground level unharmed.
This section is available to Sonic & Knuckles (this is Knuckles' only part). It's a run through the main downtown district of Station Square. Lots of monkey driven Police Pods will be chasing after you. Also, be sure not to stand in the traffic or you'll get hit. Let the camera lead you and you'll be fine. For Knuckles, more areas are available, for instance rooftops inaccessible as Sonic, and there are a lot of items for him to destroy while looking for emerald shards.
A Rank Tips
The "A Rank" for Sonic Adventure is really just the third optional mission for a level, which is a race against time. This time, Sonic is called to beat the level in 2min 30sec. Here's some tips on how to conquer the limit:
- Spin Dash. Hold down that button as many times as you can. Especially do it at the very beginning. Of course, some narrow passages you would do well to NOT spin dash, as you'd most likely discover a very long drop instead of a mission completed.
- The floating platform shortcut located at the beginning won't really save you much time. In fact, it'll result in the same time as going about this part normally.
- It is a REALLY good idea to, at the track-guided platform after the loop at the start, jump onto the rail guiding it and run over to the first checkpoint. Much faster.
- This game isn't as tech-savvy as its successor, so the level plays normally while under the time limit (i.e. checkpoints are present). Usually the use of checkpoints here are not completely recommended, as Sonic is required to go into his crouching stance before you can move him, sacrificing precious seconds (you may not think it's a big deal, but you just may think differently soon), not to mention the fact that you lose the momentum that you had before going back to the checkpoint (the momentum is very vital to your A rank). But on the first checkpoint, you can preform a neat little trick: If you manage to hit the checkpoint AND the dash panels simultaneously, when you go back to this one, Sonic will be blasted ahead right from the start, saving you good time.
- After the first checkpoint, you now are running alongside a skyscraper. Instead of just taking the regular, neon-colored tunnel route, you should take the upper route mentioned above in the "Speed Highway" section (make sure to snag the Power Sneakers while getting there. Items don't respawn after using checkpoints, and this power-up is good to use, so don't die) and skip ahead to the pre-helicopter section.
- Take the upper route in the pre-helicopter section. It'll go by faster. Power Sneakers are located here too.
- Snatch the Power Sneakers after the helicopter; they're located on the right.
- After the next big loop after the helicopter, LAND ON THE PLATFORM THAT FOLLOWS EXITING THE LOOP. This gives you a view of a row of enemies just begging to be homed attacked. This is a shortcut that pretty much absolutely necessary for an A Rank, as this brings you straight to one rocket away to Act 2. You COULD use the regular homing attack here, but the Ancient Light will get you there quicker.
- Act 2 is very straightforward. Make sure to not hit anything, as while it may not deduct rings (exception being the helicopters), it WILL slow Sonic down. Nobody wants that.
- In Act 3, you'll probably have 40-30 seconds before your attempt fails with zero fanfare. You can't slow down now; this is crunch time.
- Ignore most shortcuts and just do a straight spin dash trough the areas. You'll get to the goal must quicker. For example, the very first shortcut-which is a dash panel that carries you up onto a building-actually takes more time than using the spin dash to carry you through the streets.
- Remember that bit where you can run alongside a building in Act 3? Don't use that. Sonic traverses this achingly slowly; jump down and spin dash to the fountain area.
- It's vital to remember that cars are rushing along the roads, and they hurt. Keep to the sidewalk for the sake of your time, because nothing speeds up the clock like injury.
- To make better time, use the fountain at the end to immediately boost up towards the goal.
| Sonic the Hedgehog
Level Number: 6
Maximum Rings: 756 + (5-200)
A-Rank Requirement: 2m 30s
| Miles "Tails" Prower
Level Number: 6
Maximum Rings: 535 + (3-120)
A-Rank Requirement: Race
| Knuckles the Echidna
Level Number: 1
Maximum Rings: 185 + (1-40)
A-Rank Requirement: 1m 0s