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Sonic & Knuckles
Sandopolis Zone

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No desert has shiftier sands than this treacherous terrain. Play the sands to your advantage. Time your attack on the Skorp just right!


— United States instruction booklet, Sonic & Knuckles[1]

Sandopolis Zone[1] (サンドポリス ゾーン[2] Sandoporisu Zōn?) is the third Zone of Sonic & Knuckles and the ninth of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. It is an extremely large desert and pyramid area located in Floating Island.

Description

Sandopolis Zone is an extremely large, sweltering desert area surrounded by pyramids and sand dunes in the background in Act 1. In Act 2, Sandopolis Zone takes place inside of a pyramid with several different-sized rectangular walls in the background. These walls have candles and murals depicted with hieroglyphics.

Story

Sonic's story

After jumping from the Flying Battery, Sonic and Tails land in the sands of Sandopolis Zone. They proceed through the desert to find a hidden pyramid. Unfortunately, Sonic and Tails end up releasing a swarm of ghosts that proceed to haunt the pyramid. To keep the ghosts at bay, Sonic and Tails had to keep the lights in the pyramid active or risk being attacked by the ghosts once the lights went out. Later, after defeating Robotnik's Egg Golem, Sonic and Tails attempt to pursue him but fall into a hidden pit that leads to Lava Reef Zone.

Knuckles' story

After jumping from the Flying Battery, Knuckles lands in the sands of Sandopolis Zone and proceed to find the same hidden pyramid that Sonic and Tails found earlier. Upon entering, the Hyudoros that Sonic and Tails released earlier are still haunting the interior of the pyramid, forcing Knuckles to avoid them until he reaches the Egg Golem, now piloted by the renegade EggRobo. Once EggRobo is forced to flee after the Egg Golem is destroyed, Knuckles avoids the hidden pit Sonic and Tails fell into earlier and heads into Lava Reef Zone.

Gameplay

Sandopolis Zone features small sand-falls that allow the player to progress upwards by repeatedly jumping, while others will automatically carry them along their paths. Larger ones will similarly either carry or safely lower the player to another level. The loops here are different, as the player will circle through them twice before going upward. Notable gimmicks include sand blocks which the player can ride on once the block is pushed onto the black rails, sand slides, and bead strings that catapult the player once the player stands at a certain spot. Other gimmicks include grappling handles that can be used to descend to lower areas, but depending on the device the grapple is attached to, it can either send the player spinning around across a large gap to the other side, or just let them rappel down to a lower ledge from the one they were just on. There are also columns of sand that block the player's path but can be disintegrated by simply jumping at them. Some sand blocks can also be jumped on, only to crumble away sometime after, and can sometimes be a hidden Rock'n.

Notable obstacles include quicksand pools that can either function as bottomless pits though some can lead to secret areas, the thick moving blocks that can act as crushers or have spikes on them, though they sometimes can serve as platforms (it is not possible for Knuckles to climb on these). Sand falls may also be filled with Sandworms that have to be avoided as most sand falls lead to bottomless pits.

In Act 2, the level darkens over time over four different states. This empowers Hyudoros which will attack the player once the Act is at its darkest state, once they are released from the Capsule they are imprisoned in which is unavoidable. Light switches hanging from the ceiling throughout the act can be used light the act back up to its fully illuminated state, which will repel the Hyudoros. The act features switch blocks which can be pushed to open barriers to subsequent rooms, although they close after a short amount of time so the player must pass through them quickly. Some rooms have bricks sealed in the walls that release sand flows when broken, which raises the ground level in the room, allowing progression to higher floors but also bringing a risk of crushing the player against the roof if they are not fast enough to keep up with the overflow.

Overview

Act 1

Act 1 opens with the player falling from the Flying Battery Zone and landing in the sand. They will need to jump to get out of the sand and proceed through the Act normally. Multiple routes can be taken using the gimmicks in the Act to move around. Some of the Giant Rings can only be accessed by Tails, especially if used to airlift Sonic to them. Some passages are inaccessible to Sonic and Tails as only Knuckles can break through the blocks to gain access to those paths.

Navigating the desert leads to a massive sand fall, where a hidden pyramid rises from the ground, before releasing the Guardian. Once the Guardian is defeated, the tomb can be entered to proceed into Act 2.

Act 2

Act 2 takes place inside the tomb of the pyramid the Guardian was protecting. When Sonic and Tails open a Capsule, they will release Hyudoros. Only when the lights remain on will the Hyudoros remain at bay, but as the lights falter and extinguish themselves, the Hyudoros will come out, and when the lights are out completely, they will attack. Knuckles will deal with the Hyudoros as soon as the Act begins for him as they will have already been released by Sonic and Tails when they came through earlier.

Sand slides and more moving columns dot the interior of the pyramid, along with sliding Switches that must be pushed to open up passageways for a short time before the switch slowly slides back into its original position and seals the path off again. Sand dispensers must be broken sometimes to cause the sand to lift the player up to a higher area. As in Act 1, some paths are inaccessible to Sonic and Tails and only Knuckles can access them by breaking the blocks sealing them off.

Once past the final barricade to the boss room, the Hyudoros will retreat and the lights stay on for good for the fight against the Egg Golem.

Bosses

Guardian

The Guardian serves as the boss of Act 1, which emerges after a pyramid rises out of the ground. The Guardian mainly attacks by jumping towards the player. It can easily be broken apart by a Spin Attack to the head, but will quickly reform and continue to attack. To defeat it, the player must lead it to the quicksand pit on the far left of the area and have it jump in, destroying itself. After beating this mini-boss, the player enters the pyramid to start Act 2.

Egg Golem

The player must hit the head of the Egg Golem as it constantly moves forward, which is the only weak point on its body to temporarily expose Robotnik/Egg Robo. Eight hits are required to defeat the boss. The left arm while extended acts as a stepping stone that the player can use to jump up and hit its head but the player must be mindful of the spikes that cover most of the Egg Golem. Over time, the Egg Golem will fire charged lasers if not hit from its eye that travel at a slanted angle towards the ground in front of it.

Other game appearances

Team Sonic Racing

In Team Sonic Racing, Sandopolis appears as one of the main locations in the game. It has three racetracks, each of which explore different aspects of the location. During the events of the game, Sandopolis served as the site of many races between different racing teams, which were sponsored by Dodon Pa.

In other media

Books and comics

Sonic the Comic

The Sandopolis Zone in Sonic the Comic.

In the Sonic the Comic comic series and its spin-offs published by Fleetway Editions, the Sandopolis Zone is a desert Zone found only on the Floating Island. In this media, the Sandopolis Zone is filled with many ancient ruins, most noticeably the Lost Pyramid of Sandopolis, making it an ideal target for treasure hunters. The comic presented a fairly faithful adaptation of this Zone which first debuted in Sonic the Comic #47.

Archie Comics

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Sandopolis Zone originally appeared in the form of the Sandopolis Desert on Angel Island.

After the timeline was rebooted following the events of Worlds Collide, the Sandopolis Zone became virtually identical to its game counterpart's. Eclipse the Darkling passed through here while in possession of the Master Emerald, being pursued by Shadow and Knuckles.

Trivia

  • The entrance to Lava Reef Zone from this zone is different between Sonic and Knuckles. Sonic goes into a tunnel and falls through a hole, but Knuckles runs right over it, even though the pre-released Hyudoros should indicate that Sonic has been there already.
  • If the player goes to Act 2 in regular gameplay, the act will be at its fully dark state. However, if the player uses level select to enter Act 2 or restarts it, the act will start in the second illuminated state.
  • In Act 2, after finishing a Bonus or Special Stage, the player will continue the Act at its second illuminated state regardless of the state it was at when the player entered the Bonus/Special Stage.
  • Sandopolis Zone appears as a part of the Sonic the Hedgehog Adventure World in Lego Dimensions.

Gallery

Sprites

Screenshots

Music

Name Artist(s) Length Music track
"Sandopolis" 1:57
N/A (Act 2) 1:50

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sonic & Knuckles (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 13.
  2. Sonic & Knuckles (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 35.

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