Sonic 2's Special Stages are far more annoying. While they looked really cool back then (and still kinda look cool now), I still have a hard time getting the chaos emeralds in one run or just enjoying them in general. It doesn't feel well balanced and the difficulty seemed really cheap. Sonic 1's are better in my opinion. They feel a bit more consistent and are easier to memorize, which is one reason why I get all the emeralds on almost all my runs of that game. Sonic 3&K's Special stages are the arguably the best of the bunch. They're tad easy to follow, and they start slow enough for you to get a better glimpse at the pattern of the stage before shit starts going down. They looked good and felt good to beat... Though I have to say, the second half of the special stages (that is S&K's) is alot more intense than those of the first half.