- For other uses of the term, see Sky Sanctuary (disambiguation).
Sonic & Knuckles
Take the battle to the clouds when Sonic fights Robotnik's Badniks on the floating ruins of an ancient time!
— Instruction manual
Sky Sanctuary Zone (スカイサンクチュアリー Sukai Sankuchuarī?, lit. "Sky Sanctuary") (also known as Sky Palace) is the sixth overall Zone of Sonic & Knuckles (and the twelfth of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles). It is a cesspool of ancient ruins scattered in the sky above Angel Island. It is considered to be sacred ground which is forbidden for anyone except Knuckles the Echidna to enter or walk on.
Sky Sanctuary is composed mostly of pillars and towers (which appear to bear some type of Roman or Gothic-style architecture) with sparse bridges and beams connecting them. Only the tops of the towers are ever seen, as the zone takes place towering above a thick sheet of clouds, but the whole of the sanctuary is believed to float in a manner similar to Angel Island. The stone pillars are all a weathered yellow in color, and vines grow unrestrained everywhere.
In Knuckles' story, the zone overlooks Angel Island, floating far away amongst the clouds. All that is seen of the zone is a dull, flat arena where Knuckles faces Mecha Sonic. The Master Emerald sits near the right of the arena.
As Sonic, the Zone is much longer than Knuckles' version. Sonic must jump from platform to platform, climbing up the Zone and chasing the ascending Death Egg before it rises too high into orbit. Knuckles briefly helps Sonic by activating a bridge on the Sky Sanctuary Zone, but he isn't able to continue any farther to help due to exhaustion (presumably from Robotnik's earlier electrocution attack back in Hidden Palace Zone). Sonic must also battle numerous Eggrobos, which hover in place and fire lasers straight ahead when Sonic moves into their line of sight; they can be defeated like regular Badniks. Sonic must also fight Mecha Sonic in this Zone, in three separate boss battles. In the first, the robotic doppelganger pilots Doctor Robotnik's Egg Mobile-H (from the Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog); in the second, the robot pilots the whirling bubble-pod mobile from Metropolis Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. In the third battle, Mecha attacks on foot, without assistance, proving itself a dangerous enemy in its own right. After this final battle, Sonic runs up a corkscrew ramp to the top of a tall floating landmass that literally crumbles and falls beneath him, then leaps aboard the Death Egg. (Note that, in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, playing as Tails will initiate Sonic's version of the level.)
As Knuckles, this is the final Zone of the game, and consists of two boss fights against Mecha Sonic. The level itself is very short, with only three Rings to help Knuckles through both fights. The Zone is very small - just a flat, boss stage - after most of the Zone fell to pieces and disappeared in Sonic's storyline. In the second fight, Mecha Sonic uses the Master Emerald to enter its Super State. Knuckles must race to gain back the Master Emerald for Angel Island, which is actually seen to slowly glide downwards in the background as the battle progresses. After Mecha Sonic is defeated, it detonates with a large explosion, initiating a cascade effect that destroys any remainder of the zone; Knuckles barely escapes unscathed thanks to a timely assist from Sonic and the Tornado.
Fortunately, Knuckles also manages to salvage the Master Emerald from the chaos; as he and Sonic fly back to Angel Island in the background, they rightfully deposit the sacred gem back into its home island, causing Angel Island to flash and rise higher and higher into the background. The island continues to rise as the end credits roll.
- In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, a remix of the Zone's music plays in the Dream Gliding event.
- All three of the fights with Mecha Sonic bear some similarity with bosses in earlier games, although the second fight is made much easier by the Insta-Shield move, something which Sonic did not have when facing the original version in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The last battle with the two Sonics on foot can be likened to the fight with Mecha Sonic in the Death Egg Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- If the player plays this Zone as Sonic and/or Tails and crouches at a certain location after Knuckles activates the bridge, Knuckles will make a "shooing" gesture at the player's character(s) before turning to the player themselves.
- If the player finishes the stage with a shield power-up, they will notice that when Sonic leaps off the corkscrew, his sprite is just left suspended barely off screen, and half of his shield will remain visible in midair.
- In Knuckles' version of the Sky Sanctuary Zone, Angel Island continually descends in the background as the player spends more time in the Zone. At 10 minutes, which is the normal time limit, Angel Island just disappears under the Sky Sanctuary.
- In the Sound Test option, the Knuckles and Sonic (and Tails) version of the Zone is separated by two Acts.
- The music for the Sky Sanctuary Zone was remixed for Chaotic Space Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.
- If the player triggers the sound effects SFX (i.e. collecting Rings, destroying Badniks, etc.) during the music of Sky Sanctuary Zone, the trumpet instrument of the track will momentarily disappear, with the bass still playing.
|Sky Sanctuary Zone||Tomonori Sawada||2:09|
|Sky Sanctuary (FM Synthesizer)||2:03|
|Sky Sanctuary (General MIDI)||2:03|