Sonic & Knuckles
No desert has shiftier sands than this treacherous terrain. Play the sands to your advantage. Time your attack on the Skorp just right!
— Instruction manual
Sandopolis Zone (サンドポリス Sandoporisu?, lit. "Sandopolis") 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.
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.
After jumping from the Flying Battery, the player lands in the sands of Sandopolis. They proceed through the desert to find a hidden pyramid. Unfortunately, Sonic (and/or Tails) end up releasing a swarm of ghosts that proceed to haunt the pyramid (these ghosts are already freed when Knuckles reaches the pyramid). The player must keep the lights in the pyramid on to keep the ghosts at bay, or they will attack once the lights have been extinguished.
After defeating Robotnik's Egg Golem, Sonic (and/or Tails) attempt to pursue him but fall into a hidden pit that leads to Lava Reef Zone. There either is no pit in Knuckles' story, or Knuckles knows how to avoid it and runs to Lava Reef Zone on his own.
Sandopolis Zone features small sand-falls allow the player to progress upwards by repeatedly jumping, while others will automatically carry them along their paths. 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, long ropes which the player can jump on to its handle to descend safely, sand slides, and bead strings that catapult the player once the player stands at a certain spot. There are columns of sand that block the player's path but can be disintegrated by simply jumping at them.
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).
In Act 2, the level darkens over time over four different states. This empowers Hyudoros which will attack the player once the level is at its dark 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.
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.
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 tempoararily 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 fired charged lasers if not hit.
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
Sonic the Comic
In the Sonic the Comic series 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.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Sandopolis Zone appeared in the form of the Sandopolis Desert. Eclipse the Darkling passed through here while in possession of the Master Emerald, being pursued by Shadow and Knuckles.
- The entrance to Lava Reef 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.
|N/A (Sandopolis Zone Act 1)||1:57|
|N/A (Sandopolis Zone Act 2)||1.50|