Players choose one of four teams, each of which have a speed character, flying character, and power character (listed in that order below).
Team Sonic's gameplay features fast-paced levels and an intermediate difficulty.
Team Rose's gameplay involves short levels with small amounts of enemies, and some tough enemies don't even appear. It is recommended for beginners.
Team Dark features very difficult gameplay with long levels and lots of enemies, recommended for experts.
Team Chaotix features a mission-based gameplay, with really easy levels and insanely hard ones. Recommended for intermediate to expert players. Espio features unique invisibility.
Speed Types are fast and good at taking out the weaker enemies. Power Types are slower but stronger, and can smash obstacles as well as enemies. Fly Types can fly their teammates across large gaps and they are good at grounding air enemies so other characters can attack them easily.
Sea Gate: Tutorial. Only Teams Sonic and Rose can play this. It tells you about almost every aspect of the game.
Seaside Hill: First proper level. Easy to complete as it doesn't have too many robots, and they are all weak. Team Chaotix's Missions are to find 10 or 20 Hermit Crabs.
Ocean Palace: Second Level. Harder and Power Types and Fly Types are used more often. It features a section at the end for Team Sonic and Team Dark where you get chased by giant rock wheels. Team Chaotix's Missions are to find a Lost Chao, or to find it without being detected by the enemies.
Grand Metropolis:? After the first boss you go to a futuristic city with conveyor-belt style paths. Team Chaotix must destroy EVERY Robot, or destroy them within a time limit.
Power Plant: The first difficult level. Team Sonic and Team Dark face a tough escape from the energy core while Team Chaotix must destroy three of the strong Golden Turtle Robots, or five in the Extra Mission.
Casino Park: After another boss, you face a Casino-based level. Giant Pinball tables take up most of the level, so there aren't many robots. Team Chaotix must collect 200 or 500 rings.
BINGO Highway: A very difficult level which is also very long, even for Team Rose. Team Chaotix must find 10 or 20 Casino Chips.
Rail Canyon:? Getting tougher after another boss. Grind on rails and dodge trains in a very long and hard level. Team Chaotix must reach the Terminal Station using a harder route than the other teams, and the Extra Mission adds a time limit.
Bullet Station: More difficult enemies and rail grinding, and even getting shot out of giant cannons. Team Chaotix must destroy 30 secret weapon capsules, or 50 (maybe 60) in the Extra Mission.
Frog Forest: Back to a relatively easy level. Giant Frogs summon rain to make giant plants grow, and Team Chaotix must complete the level without being seen by the frogs, while the Extra Mission adds a time limit.
Lost Jungle:? Stick close to a swamp in the level where tough Egg Hammer Robots are introduced. Black Frogs can summon rain that kills plants (probably acid rain). Teams Sonic and Dark must escape a Giant Alligator while Team Chaotix must find 10 or 20 Chao Babies.
Hang Castle: Scary! Pumpkin Ghosts and invisible paths appear in this level. Team Chaotix must find ten Keys, while the Extra Mission says they must do it without being seen by the Robots.
Mystic Mansion: Even scarier. Team Sonic and Team Dark face three challenges (one per character) at the end of the level. Team Chaotix must blow out all the Red or Blue candles.
Egg Fleet: Penultimate level. Complete this level which has tough enemies like E2000 Robots to reach the final level. Team Chaotix must not be detected, and the Extra Mission adds a time limit.
Final Fortress: A flying fortress of epic proportions. This is very tough. Beware as all the toughest enemies come together here, Team Sonic and Team Dark must escape giant laser cannons while Team Chaotix looks for five or ten keys to release their "client".