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Sonic Wiki Zone
Sonic Wiki Zone
This is a Sonic Wiki Zone Featured Article

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ3 & ナックルズ Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Surī to Nakkaruzu?), also known as simply Sonic 3 & Knuckles (ソニック3 & ナックルズ[3] Sonikku Surī to Nakkuruzu?), is a 1994 platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series made for the Sega Mega Drive, which is the result of combining Sonic & Knuckles with Sonic the Hedgehog 3 using the former cartridge's unique lock-on technology. It is essentially a large combined game which contains all Zones from the said games and also contains special features unique to this version. Sonic 3 & Knuckles is the original Sonic the Hedgehog 3 the developers originally intended to release to the public in a single cartridge, but time constraints and high manufacturing costs by Sega resulted in this game being split into two separate titles.[4]

The conclusion to the grand Death Egg saga, Sonic 3 & Knuckles is set on Angel Island, where Dr. Eggman carries out his plans to repair the damaged Death Egg and launch it into space to bring chaos to the world, following the events of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It is up to Sonic and Tails to stop the evil scientist. Along the way, they also have to deal with Knuckles the Echidna, the guardian of the island who has been tricked by the doctor into thinking that they are evil.


Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.


Sonic / Tails[]

Following the West Side Island incident, Dr. Eggman's Death Egg falls from orbit and crashes onto Angel Island along the way, thus pushing the island into the ocean and creating a giant tsunami. Fortunately, the island does not sink into the sea; instead, it stays slightly above the sea as if nothing has happened. Having survived the crash, Eggman is aware that the Chaos Emeralds are somewhere on Angel Island. He also detects the energy of a giant Chaos Emerald on the island, which he can use to re-launch the Death Egg. With this new plan in mind, the doctor starts to build a base on Angel Island while catching the local Animals to turn them into Badniks.[5]

Days later, Dr. Eggman meets Knuckles the Echidna, the warrior guardian of Angel Island. Aware of the echidna's position and duty, the doctor falsely tells him that he is a kind scientist who has come to "investigate" the Death Egg. He also "warns" him about Sonic, whom he says is an evil hedgehog that plans to steal the island's Master Emerald. Believing Eggman, Knuckles teams up with him to stop Sonic. Meanwhile, the blue hedgehog is relaxing somewhere away from Angel Island until his friend, Tails, detects a Chaos Emerald energy reaction out at sea with his Jewel Radar. As the fox ponders if this reaction has something to do with the tsunami that appeared days ago, Sonic finds a ring with ancient inscriptions on it that gives him a strong sense of nostalgia and prompts him to set out on another adventure. Eventually, the duo heads out to investigate the incident out at sea.[5]

Sonic 3 Intro 4

Sonic and Tails meeting Knuckles for the first time.

Arriving with Tails on Angel Island in the Tornado, Sonic uses the seven Chaos Emeralds he had acquired in their prior adventure to turn into Super Sonic and begins exploring the island while his friend follows him. Shortly after the hedgehog arrives on the island however, Knuckles pulls off a cheap shot on him from below, causing him to lose his Super State and drop all the Chaos Emeralds. The echidna proceeds to quickly take the Emeralds before running off, but not before taunting Sonic with a laugh before fleeing to hide the Emeralds around the island.[6] Now having to retrieve the Emeralds again and stop Dr. Eggman, Sonic and Tails make their way across the island, dealing with the doctor's and Knuckles' attacks along the way. Eventually, they arrive at the Launch Base, Eggman's base where he has almost finished re-building the Death Egg. At the end of this Zone, the spaceship is ready to take off. To reach it, the duo hitch a ride on a nearby Egg Mobile, though Knuckles keeps them from proceeding with it. Fortunately, local tremors causes him to lose his balance and fall down from the metal support pillar he is on, allowing Sonic and Tails free passage. In the end, the heroes manage to jump onto a platform on the Death Egg just as it starts to take off. There, Eggman returns to defeat Sonic through excessive force with the Egg Rocket. As Sonic and Tails defeat their nemesis once more, the battle has already taken its toll on the Death Egg during a critical point of its launch, and the space fortress plummets back to Angel Island once again while Sonic and Tails watch from afar.[6]

Immediately after, Sonic and Tails fall to Mushroom Hill. Meanwhile, the Death Egg crash lands into Angel Island's volcano, still intact enough for Dr. Eggman to salvage it and re-launch it again. Aware of this, their heroes continue their mission to destroy the massive spaceship. However, their quest is suddenly interrupted when they spot Knuckles appearing from a hidden door in the thicket. After carefully examining the vicinity to make sure the coast is clear, the echidna disappears into the forest. Once sure that he is gone, the hedgehog and the fox emerge from their hiding place and open the door from where Knuckles came out of with a nearby Switch. Inside the hidden room, they are caught in an overflowing, dazzling light. Taking a closer look inside it, they see a Super Ring. Unable to quell their curiosity about what this ring could be, they touch it, causing them to be taken to the Hidden Palace, a giant solemn hall with a pristine altar. There, they see eight pillars with the Master Emerald and some other large stones, which use the power of the Chaos Emeralds to become inert Super Emeralds. Filled with questions, Sonic and Tails decide to set off to power the Super Emeralds in full, stop Eggman from re-launching the Death Egg again, and uncover the mystery of Hidden Palace Zone.[7]

Giant floating egg in the sky

Sonic watches the Death Egg take off from Sky Sanctuary Zone.

Making their way through Angel Island, Sonic and Tails arrive in Lava Reef, the location of the Death Egg. In an attempt to stop the heroes, the space fortress uses its laser eyes to reactivate the volcano. Surviving this attack, the duo arrives in Hidden Palace Zone again, where they have a battle against Knuckles. After the echidna is defeated, though, he and the heroes witness Eggman stealing the Master Emerald (and ignoring the Super Emeralds) with the Egg Mobile. Enraged, Knuckles tries to stop his former comrade, only for the latter to electrocute him and escape. Realizing that the doctor had lied to him and that Sonic and Tails were actually trying to save Angel Island all along, the echidna decides to befriend them and while exhausted from his injuries, takes the heroes to Sky Sanctuary, where Sonic and Tails continue onward, dealing with Mecha Sonic Mk. II along the way. They soon manage to get onboard the Death Egg as it continues its ascent into the stratosphere.

With the Death Egg revived once more and having successfully made it into space, Sonic and Tails pass though Dr. Eggman's many contraptions, before fighting the doctor and his Master Emerald-powered Giant Eggman Robo. After losing the battle, Eggman tries a last-ditch escape in his Egg Mobile with the Master Emerald, only to be ultimately stopped, triggering a chain reaction that causes the Death Egg to at last crumble and explode entirely. From here, the ending of the game will depend on the player's progress:

  • If the player has not managed to get all of the Chaos Emeralds, they will fall down from space before being saved by either Sonic or Tails in the Tornado. Meanwhile, the Master Emerald will stay in space. After the credits, Dr. Eggman is shown with the Master Emerald in his possession.
  • If the player has found all the seven Chaos Emeralds instead any of the Super ones, Sonic will transform into Super Sonic and have the final battle against Eggman in the Final Weapon in The Doomsday Zone. After defeating him, Super Sonic will fall down from space with the Master Emerald before losing the transformation shortly after. Both will then be saved by Tails in the Tornado. Sonic and Tails will then take the Master Emerald back to Angel Island, allowing it to float again. After the credits, an Eggrobo will be seen emerging from scrap, signifying the player didn't fully complete the game.
    • If the player is playing as Tails, he will skip The Doomsday Zone. Instead, he will fall down from space in his normal state like usual with the Master Emerald before both of them are saved by Sonic in the Tornado. The rest of the ending will be the same from there.
  • If the player has collected all of the 7 Super Emeralds, Sonic will instead transform into Hyper Sonic and battle Dr. Eggman in The Doomsday Zone. The rest of the ending will be mostly the same as Super Sonic's; The only difference being Sonic staying in his Hyper form as he falls until Tails saves him (and the Master Emerald now glowing), Knuckles is then shown on Angel Island with the Master Emerald and smiling as he watches Sonic and Tails fly off on the Tornado, before the credits. After the credits, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are shown posing around the "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3 & KNUCKLES" logo.
    • If the player is playing as Tails, he will transform into Hyper Tails (originally called Super Tails), skipping The Doomsday Zone, and repeating the ending but stays in the form as he falls from space until Sonic saves him.


Having barely survived its encounter with Sonic and Tails, Mecha Sonic Mk. II plots a full-on attack on Angel Island immediately after the destruction of the Death Egg. To aid it in its plans, it makes a certain Eggrobo its subordinate to replace Eggman and sends it to fight against Knuckles.[8] Later, while the echidna is relaxing on Angel Island with some Animals, they are attacked when a bomb suddenly thrown by the Eggrobo hits them. Fortunately, either by toughness or luck,[6] Knuckles survives the bomb attack and takes off after the Eggrobo to defend the island as its guardian, as by now, he already learned about Eggman's motives.

Who spins faster

Knuckles battling Mecha Sonic Mk. II.

Making his way across Angel Island through the same Zones Sonic and Tails did in order (albeit generally taking alternate paths), Knuckles has many battles against dangerous Badniks and the Eggrobo in the exact same way the two heroes battled identical robots and Eggman (while boss fights at times are tougher). Eventually arriving in Sky Sanctuary, where the floating island is shown falling slowly from the sky and shaking in unstable balance, the echidna is caught by the Eggrobo using the Egg Mobile's hook, and is brought to the reactivated Mecha Sonic Mk. II. As the robot is about to attack Knuckles in an attempt to kill him, the latter frees himself at the last moment, making Mecha Sonic Mk. II accidentally destroying the Egg Mobile and ultimately the Eggrobo in the process. The final battle between Knuckles and the powerful Sonic-like robot begins, with the former emerging victorious. However, not yet defeated, Mecha Sonic Mk. II uses the stolen Master Emerald and its power to temporarily gain an advantage that of a Super State. Despite this, Knuckles still wins the fight. Immediately afterward, Sky Sanctuary Zone starts to crumble entirely and Mecha Sonic Mk. II ultimately explodes. From here, the ending of the game will depend on the player's progress:

Sonic 3 & Knuckles bad ending Knuckles 3

The "bad" ending of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, as Knuckles.

  • If the player has not managed to collect the Chaos Emeralds, an exhausted Knuckles is saved by Sonic in the Tornado, who will take him to Angel Island, which is shown floating in the skies. Angel Island will begin to fall back to the ocean due to the Master Emerald being lost. After the credits, Mecha Sonic Mk. II is shown re-activating itself in front of the Master Emerald, which it will then proudly stand on top of.
  • If the player has collected the 7 Chaos Emeralds, but not all the Super Emeralds, Sonic will show up in the Tornado and save Knuckles, who will be holding the Master Emerald and give Sonic a thumbs up with a smile. Sonic will then take Knuckles back to Angel Island, which will start rising much higher into the sky. After the credits, Knuckles will be shown in space doing a pose in his normal state. Unlike with Sonic and Tails, however, the scene showing an Eggrobo emerging from scrap does not appear.
  • If the player has collected all the seven Super Emeralds, Sonic will appear in the Tornado to save Knuckles, this time as Hyper Knuckles, and the Master Emerald. He will then take them back to Angel Island, which will start rising much higher into the sky. After the credits, Knuckles will be shown doing his pose in space with said transformation. Then, he, Sonic and Tails are shown posing around the "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3 & KNUCKLES" logo.


Fusion 2011-07-28 13-51-45-76

Knuckles in Angel Island Zone, from Sonic 3.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles is a side-scrolling 2D platforming video game, which plays identical to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, being the full version. Players can control Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, each with their own abilities. They can also play as Sonic while being accompanied by Tails, who is controlled by either a second player or an AI. The most basic actions these characters can perform are running and jumping.

The main goal of Sonic 3 & Knuckles is to pass a series of Acts in less than ten minutes for each of them. These Acts are designed so that they can branch into numerous pathways and have varied secrets for the player to find. At the end of every Act, a boss is encountered. After the bosses of the first Acts are defeated, a Goal Plate will fall. On the other hand, defeating the bosses of the second Acts will allow the player to open a Capsule. Either way, interacting with both of these gimmicks will automatically end their Act.

During gameplay, the player can find Rings, which basically work as the playable character's health. The number of Rings carried by the player is displayed in the top left corner of the HUD. As with past Sonic games, Rings serve as the playable character's main method of protection from damage; if the playable character takes damage while they carry at least one Ring, they will survive, though they will lose all their Rings. Taking damage while not holding any Rings will cost the player a life. The player will also lose a life if they drown underwater, get crushed, fall into a bottomless pit, or spend ten minutes in the same Act, leading to a Time Over. After losing a life, the playable character will respawn at the latest Star Post they touched, or at the start of a Zone if they have not touched any Star Post yet. If the player runs out of lives, they will get a Game Over, but they can keep playing by using Continues. Extra lives can be obtained by breaking 1-Up Item Boxes, collecting 100 Rings, or earning 50,000 points.

As a secondary objective in the game, the player can enter Special Stages through hidden Super Rings to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds. By doing so, they will be able to transform into either Super Sonic or Super Knuckles for Sonic and Knuckles respectively. In addition, they will also be allowed to enter seven additional Special Stages to collect the seven Super Emeralds, with which they will be able to further transform into Hyper Sonic, Hyper Tails (Super Tails), or Hyper Knuckles. Depending on whether or not the player had collected both the Chaos and Super Emeralds will affect the ending of the game. In addition, by collecting a certain number of Rings and touching a Star Post, they will be given the option to enter a Bonus Stage and get Rings and Shields, maybe even an extra life or two.

Scoring system[]

New features[]

  • The player can play as Knuckles in the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Zones, although his opening cutscene from Sonic & Knuckles has been removed in favor for transiting from Launch Base Zone to Mushroom Hill Zone.
  • Likewise, the player can play as Tails in the Sonic & Knuckles Zones (except for The Doomsday Zone) or have him follow Sonic throughout the entire game.
  • Passing a Star Post can now open up all three Bonus Stages, including the Slot Machine Stage (20-34 Rings required), the Glowing Sphere Stage (35–49 Rings required) from Sonic & Knuckles as well as the Gumball Machine Stage (50–65 Rings required) from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
  • Game progress can be saved in all Zones (including those from Sonic & Knuckles) using the save feature from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Super Emeralds[]

Main article: Super Emerald

The Master Emerald (center-top) surrounded by the seven Super Emeralds.

Super Emeralds are larger, enhanced versions of the Chaos Emeralds. When the player enters the first Giant Ring in Mushroom Hill Zone, they teleport to Hidden Palace Zone where the Chaos Emeralds are taken and transformed into large, gray, dull emeralds, each almost the size of the Master Emerald itself (sharing the same sprite), thus beginning the Super Emerald quest. The player can step on one of the gray emeralds to commence a Special Stage for a chance to convert it into a Super Emerald. If the player does not have all of the Chaos Emeralds prior to reaching Mushroom Hill Zone, the acquired Chaos Emeralds will still become gray Super Emeralds and the player is given the opportunity to convert one of those Chaos Emeralds into a Super Emerald. However, the player will not be allowed to return to Hidden Palace Zone via the Giant Rings until they finish collecting the remaining Chaos Emeralds in the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Zones. If the player has not collected a single Chaos Emerald by Mushroom Hill Zone (or has converted all of their Chaos Emeralds into Super Emeralds but have less than seven) and goes to Hidden Palace Zone via the first Giant Ring, the player must exit the area by jumping on the teleporter in the bottom central part of the room, directly below the Master Emerald.


By collecting all seven Super Emeralds from the Special Stages, each of the three main playable characters (Sonic, Tails and Knuckles) will have access to more powerful forms upon using the power of the Emeralds. As with Super Transformations, the player must have collected 50 Rings and then press the jump button during a jump (as long as Sonic is not equipped with an elemental shield) to initiate the transformation. While under the transformation, one Ring is consumed per second and once the player has zero Rings, completes the Act or enters a Bonus Stage at a Star Post, the user will revert back to normal.

Name Image Description
Hyper Sonic Hyper sonic Enhanced version of Super Sonic. While retaining all of Super Sonic's traits, including increased running speed, high jumping ability, the ability to smash through patterned walls (except for those that are intended only for Knuckles to break through) and invulnerability to enemy attacks and obstacles, Hyper Sonic's movements have been increased further, he has the ability to breathe underwater, and he gains a new ability (called the "Hyper Flash") which serves as a mid-air dash towards any direction and can also destroy all on-screen enemies at once.
Super Tails Hyper-Tails-Gif-2 Tails' Super Transformation. Following the typical traits of a super form, Tails' running speed, jumping height and flying speed are all increased and he is also invulnerable to enemy attacks and obstacles. In addition, Tails is aided by four "Super" Flickies who will automatically attack nearby enemies, including bosses, acting as personal bodyguards for him. Unlike Hyper Sonic and Hyper Knuckles, however, Super Tails lacks a move that can destroy all enemies on the screen at once and will still drown underwater. He will also still get tired after flying for an extended time.
Hyper Knuckles Hyper Knuckles animated Enhanced version of Super Knuckles. While retaining all of Super Knuckles' traits, including increased running speed, increased gliding speed, increased wall-climbing speed and invulnerability to enemy attacks and obstacles, Hyper Knuckles' movements have been increased further (via afterimages), has the ability to breathe underwater like Hyper Sonic, and he gains a new ability (called the "Gliding Shock Wave Attack") where whenever Knuckles glides into a wall at sufficient speeds, the impact will create a sudden, powerful tremor that destroys all on-screen enemies at once.


  • The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Zones have the following differences when playing as Knuckles:
    • Most Act layouts are different, as Knuckles follows a different path compared to Sonic and Tails (though it is possible to go to their paths via Debug Mode).
    • Some items are placed in other areas, and Launch Base Zone in particular had some of its dangerous hazards removed.
    • Knuckles does not face the Egg Gravitron at Carnival Night Zone Act 2 and simply has to jump on the Capsule switch to clear the Act.
      • It is still possible for Knuckles to fight the Egg Gravitron (piloted by Eggrobo). The transition from Carnival Night Zone to IceCap Zone with Knuckles still remains the same as with Sonic and/or Tails when he hops in the cannon, but when IceCap Zone starts, Knuckles will still be seen emerging from the teleporter instead as if he cleared the previous Zone normally.
  • After Launch Base Zone is cleared, the screen scrolls downward with the Death Egg falling rather than playing the ending animation seen in Sonic 3 and gameplay immediately proceeds to Mushroom Hill Zone.
    • The Big Arms boss fight at Launch Base Zone Act 2 is omitted for Sonic and Tails, while the Egg Cannon boss fight is omitted for Knuckles.
  • The save files now have the following changes:
    • The number of save files has been increased from six to eight.
    • Upon accessing 1 Player Mode for the first time, any existing save files from Sonic 3 will be imported to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. These will retain the character, last Zone (a completed save file in Sonic 3 will become a Mushroom Hill Zone save file) and number of Chaos Emeralds, but will default to three lives and zero continues. This feature is missing in some later compilations.
    • Save files now display information about the number of continues, lives and the Chaos Emeralds surround the player's character as the player collects them (the Chaos Emeralds are replaced with their correspondingly colored Super Emeralds when the player collects them).
    • New character portraits displayed on top of cleared save files have been added: two for Knuckles (when his playthrough is finished with and without all seven Chaos Emeralds collected as well as not collecting all of the Super Emeralds) and one shared across every character when their playthroughs are completed with all seven Super Emeralds.
  • The BGM tracks that were different between Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles now only use the Sonic & Knuckles ones. As such, the entire game now makes use of themes such as that game's intro theme, boss soundtrack, Knuckles' music in cutscenes; and the Sonic & Knuckles tracks for the 1-Up jingle, and the Invincibility track.
  • All Act title cards now display a "SONIC 3 & KNUCKLES" text.
  • The Sonic 3 Zones now have a slightly different layout to make them easier, which is especially noticeable in Launch Base Zone.
    • While the Sonic & Knuckles Zones have been left virtually unchanged, a short sequence was added at the start of Sonic and Tails' version of Mushroom Hill Zone Act 1 showing Knuckles coming out from a hidden passageway and then proceeding to close it with a switch. A similar series of events was already mentioned in the Japanese manual of Sonic & Knuckles.
      • The way the Act starts is different as well, showing Tails carrying Sonic to the ground, in a similar way to how Carnival Night Zone Act 1 starts for them.
      • As Knuckles, the Act starts with him falling from the sky after what happened in Launch Base Zone. The next section is a small room with a Giant Ring, followed by where the Act would start when playing as him in Sonic & Knuckles.
  • The method of accessing the Level Select and Debug Mode cheat codes is different.


Button formation Movement
Sonic-S3&K Sonic Miles-Tails-S3&K Tails K-T-E-S3&K Knuckles
Controlpadds left/right Walk/Run
Controlpadds up Look up
Controlpadds down Look down/Crouch
Sega Genesis A Button/Sega Genesis B Button/Sega Genesis C Button Spin Jump
Move + Controlpadds down Spin Attack
Controlpadds down + Sega Genesis A Button/Sega Genesis B Button/Sega Genesis C Button Spin Dash
Sega Genesis A Button/Sega Genesis B Button/Sega Genesis C Button x2 Insta-Shield N/A
Tapping Sega Genesis A Button/Sega Genesis B Button/Sega Genesis C Button N/A Flying/Swim N/A
Sega Genesis A Button/Sega Genesis B Button/Sega Genesis C Button > Hold Sega Genesis A Button/Sega Genesis B Button/Sega Genesis C Button N/A Glide
Controlpadds up/down while on a wall Climb



Gimmicks and obstacles[]


Playable characters[]

Non-playable characters[]



The 14 Zones in Sonic 3 & Knuckles are all from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, the first six being from the former and the rest from the latter. Also, each Act has a boss fight, with the player battling a sub-boss in the first Act and later, the Zone's main boss in the second Act. Additionally, when the player has collected at least the seven Chaos Emeralds by the time they have reached the final Zone as Sonic, they will be able to enter a secret level with the true final boss and having all of the seven Super Emeralds will unlock the true ending.

The Zones in the game are as follows:

Special Stages[]

Bonus Stages[]

Competition Zones[]



No. Sonic & Tails Knuckles
1 Fire Breath
(Angel Island Zone)
2 Big Shaker
(Hydrocity Zone)
3 Tunnelbot
(Marble Garden Zone)
4 Bowling Spin
(Carnival Night Zone)
5 Big Icedus
(IceCap Zone)
6 Twin Hammer
(Launch Base Zone)
7 Hey Ho
(Mushroom Hill Zone)
8 Gapsule
(Flying Battery Zone Act 1)
9 Laser Prison
(Flying Battery Zone Act 2)
10 Guardian
(Sandopolis Zone)
11 Heat Arms
(Lava Reef Zone)
12 Egg Wrecker
(Sky Sanctuary Zone)
13 Egg Bouncer
(Sky Sanctuary Zone)
14 Red Eye
(Death Egg Zone Act 1)
15 Death Ball
(Death Egg Zone Act 2)

Zone bosses[]

No. Sonic Tails Knuckles
1 Egg Scorcher Mk. III
(Angel Island Zone)
2 Egg Vortex
(Hydrocity Zone)
3 Egg Drillster Mk. II
(Marble Garden Zone)
4 Egg Gravitron
(Carnival Night Zone)
Egg Froster
(IceCap Zone)
5 Egg Froster
(IceCap Zone)
Egg Rocket
(Launch Base Zone)
6 Egg Rocket
(Launch Base Zone)
Big Arms
(Launch Base Zone)
7 Egg Scrambler
(Mushroom Hill Zone)
8 Egg Hanger
(Flying Battery Zone)
9 Egg Golem
(Sandopolis Zone)
10 Egg Inferno
(Lava Reef Zone)
Mecha Sonic Mk. II
(Sky Sanctuary Zone)
11 Knuckles the Echidna
(Hidden Palace Zone)
Super Mecha Sonic Mk. II
(Sky Sanctuary Zone)
12 Mecha Sonic Mk. II
(Sky Sanctuary Zone)
13 Giant Eggman Robo
(Death Egg Zone)
14 Final Weapon
(The Doomsday Zone)


  • Sound Test/Level Select: At Angel Island Zone, grab hold on a swinging rope and press the following in order: Left, Left, Left, Right, Right, Right, Up, Up, Up, with a Ring chime sounding if successful.) Then, pause the game and press Sega Genesis A Button to return to the title screen. The Sound Test option should be available to select below "Competition".
  • Debug Mode: After accessing the Sound Test, play through either act of Mushroom Hill Zone and grab a hold on one of the manual elevators and press the following in order: Left, Left, Left, Right, Right, Right, Up, Up, Up, with a Ring chime sounding if successful. Then pause the game and press Sega Genesis A Button to return to the title screen. Go to the Sound Test again then while highlighting any Act hold Sega Genesis A Button before selecting the Act to start the Act with Debug Mode. Additionally, with this mode on, the player can access any Act with any character.


Image Game Platform Description
Sonic & Knuckles Collection NA front Sonic & Knuckles Collection PC Released alongside Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Blue Sphere in 1997.
Sonic Jam USA Cover Sonic Jam Sega Saturn Released alongside other Sega Mega Drive games in 1997.
Sonic&GarfieldPack Sonic & Garfield Pack PC Released as part of Sonic & Knuckles Collection in 1999.
Sonic Mega Collection cover artwork Sonic Mega Collection Nintendo GameCube Released alongside other Sega Mega Drive games in 2002. It is unlocked after playing Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles twenty times each.
SonicMegaCollectionPlus Sonic Mega Collection Plus PlayStation 2/Xbox/Microsoft Windows Released alongside other Sega Mega Drive and Sega Game Gear games in 2002. It is unlocked after playing Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles twenty times each.
SFP PS2 Sega Fun Pack: Sonic Mega Collection Plus & Shadow the Hedgehog PlayStation 2 Released as part of Sonic Mega Collection Plus, alongside Shadow the Hedgehog, in 2009.
N/A Xbox 360 Re-released in 2009 as part of the Xbox Live Arcade service. It is only available if Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are both downloaded on the same account.
Browser Re-released in 2009 as part of the PlaySega service.
SonicPCCollection Sonic PC Collection PC Released as part of Sonic Mega Collection Plus, alongside Sonic Riders, Sonic Heroes and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, in 2009.
SCC FRONT 12 2 lrg Sonic Classic Collection Nintendo DS Released (as Knuckles in Sonic 3) alongside other Sonic Sega Mega Drive games in 2010.
N/A Wii Re-released in 2010 as part of the Virtual Console service. It is only available if Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are both downloaded on the same account.
SegaMegaDriveClassicCollection3UK Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection - Volume 3 PC Released alongside other Sega Mega Drive games in 2010.
SegaMegaDriveCollectionGoldEdition Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection Gold Edition Released as part of Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection - Volume 3, alongside volumes 1, 2 and 4; in 2011.
Steampicturesonic3andknux N/A Released for the Steam service in 2011. On 20 May 2022, the game was delisted from the service due the announcement of it being in Sonic Origins.[9]
Sonic-Origins-Cover Sonic Origins Xbox Series X and Series S/Xbox One/PlayStation 5/PlayStation 4/Nintendo Switch/PC (Steam/Epic Games Store) Released on 23 June 2022 to celebrate the Sonic series' 30th anniversary. In addition to a remaster version of Sonic the Hedgehog, this game in the compilation contains additional modes, new cutscenes, and Missions. Additionally, the game includes Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as playable characters, and the Drop Dash for Sonic.
Sonic Origins Plus Sonic Origins Plus An expanded re-release of Sonic Origins. Now featuring Amy Rose as a playable character and all the Sonic Game Gear titles. Released on 23 June 2023 (exactly one year after the original version). Unlike Sonic Origins, Sonic Origins Plus was released physically and digitally.

Scrapped mobile re-release[]


Sonic 3 & Knuckles Proof of Concept - Celebrating its 20th Anniversary

On 18 October 2014, Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley released a concept video showcasing a prototype of a remastered version of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for smartphone devices they have worked on for a while (see video below). However, circumstances prevented the development from proceeding any further.[10]

As showcased in the video, the following aspects of the game were completed:[10][11]

Contrary to popular belief, this concept was not the basis for the version used in Sonic Origins; the concept build was built from the RSDKv4 engine used for the 2013 remasters of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, while the version in Sonic Origins was built from scratch using RSDKv5 previously used for Sonic Mania. However, the Angel Island Zone levels from this concept build can be seen ported in the game files for Sonic Mania.[12]


Sonic 3 & Knuckles received critical acclaim from fans, and is often considered one of the best Sonic games ever released. On Metacritic, the game holds a score of 8.8 based on fifty fan ratings, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13] In 2022, IGN placed it as the sixth best Sonic game in their "10 Best Sonic Games" list.[14]


  • Despite its official name, Sonic 3 & Knuckles has also carried other names in various sources. These include Sonic 3 + Sonic & Knuckles (ソニック3+ソニック&ナックルズ[15] Sonikku Surī Purasu Sonikku to Nakkuruzu?), Sonic 3 Complete Version,[16] and Sonic 3 Complete Edition (ソニック3・完全版[17] Sonikku Surī Kanzenhan?).
  • According to the Sonic & Knuckles English manual, Sonic 3 & Knuckles altogether is 34 megabits of data. Though the full game in reality is actually 32 megabits, the remaining two meg within the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge is used to patch Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to create Knuckles in Sonic 2. The large amount of ROM memory proved quite expensive during development, as Sonic 3 alone required 24 megabits. Alongside manufacturing problems, Sega at the time also had a tie-in with McDonalds promoting their Happy Meal, which itself cannot be rescheduled, ultimately resulted the original game being split into two and producing the lock-on technology. In comparison, the previous game, Sonic 2, was only 8 megabits within its cartridge.
  • While the game relies on pre-rendered CGI to create some of its sprite art (which can be seen on certain props such as in Ice Cap and the Roulette Bonus Stages), the 3D-looking Sonic seen on the title screen was actually created via a physical model which was photographed and then digitized into sprite form.
  • Unlike Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, which award players a 50,000 point bonus if one completes an act in under 30 seconds, Sonic 3 & Knuckles instead rewards said bonus if an act is completed in under 60 seconds (and a 10,000 point bonus for completing an act in less than two minutes), as almost none of the acts in the game (with the lone exception of Hidden Palace Zone when playing as Knuckles) are possible to complete in under 30 seconds. This difficulty is due to various factors, such as the sheer length of the acts and unavoidable boss encounters (such as the Flying Battery Act 2 boss fights). Some acts, such as Hidden Palace Zone, don't even award players with a point bonus in the original cartridge release. However, the game does reward players with a staggering 100,000 point bonus if an act is completed with the timer on the last possible second (9:59).
  • In the game's Sound Test located in the Level Select menu, the player can choose number 26, which will interestingly cause the Sonic 3 credits music to play, despite it not being used anywhere else in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
  • According to the English manual of Sonic & Knuckles and the Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I website, both Sonic's and Knuckles' stories occurred at the same time. However, it is strongly implied in-game that Sonic's story happens first, causing confusion. In spite of this, the Zones' enemy placements and layouts are virtually identical, and if one uses Debug Mode as Knuckles in Lava Reef Act 1 to enter Sonic's path in the level, the Death Egg can still be seen in the background (although it is no longer visible in Act 2 and Hidden Palace Zone), suggesting that the latter happens only shortly after the former. When using said cheat mode, any character can be freely played in any Zone.
  • The "& Knuckles" part of the title spawned into a popular Internet meme in modern times.[18]
  • Just like Sonic 2 and 3, the game has Eggman's glasses depicted as empty black eyes, which would be later corrected in Sonic Origins.
  • In the original release, Tails was unable to become Super Tails when collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds, and instead could only transform upon collecting all of the Super Emeralds. This was changed in Sonic Origins and Sonic Origins Plus, where in the remake, the original Super State is renamed "Hyper Tails" to avoid confusion of the different transformation seen in Sonic Heroes and Tails can now use super transformation as Super Tails (in the appearance of the original form but without "Super" Flickies) with the Chaos Emeralds without the need of their Super counterparts.
  • The announcement for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 film was likely a pun on this game, as it was announced along with a spin-off series later titled Knuckles. The Paramount+ Facebook page also even responded with a comment about this reference.[19]






See also[]


  1. Sonic 3 & Knuckles on Steam. Valve. Retrieved on 26 January 2015.
  2. SEGA Mega Drive & Genesis Classics :: Free update with new features! - Steam Community (30 May 2018).
  3. (in Japanese) ソニックメガコレクション最強攻略ガイド. Shogakukan. 1 March 2003. p. 149. ISBN 978-4091060907.
  4. Kemps, Heidi (30 September 2005). Sega's Yuji Naka Talks!. GameSpy. Retrieved on 31 December 2014. "Sonic 3 is literally half a game. Sega management back then wanted the game out at a certain time and we only had half the stages done, so we had to put the leftovers into Sonic and Knuckles. So when you bought S&K and attached it to Sonic 3, you got the whole of what Sonic 3 was planned to have been."
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 4-6.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Sonic The Hedgehog 4. Sega. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved on 27 October 2017.
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 12-13.
  8. (in Japanese) ソニックジャム オフィシャルガイド. SoftBank. 2 October 1997. p. 93. ISBN 978-4797303377.
  9. Standalone Sonic titles to be delisted May 20th ahead of Sonic Origins release. Delisted Games (20 May 2022). Archived from the original on 2 August 2022. Retrieved on 2 August 2022.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Mawson, Chris (2 April 2015). Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Remastered Interview with Christian 'The Taxman' Whitehead. Power Up Gaming. Retrieved on 19 April 2017.
  11. Stealth (18 October 2014). Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) 20th Anniversary. Tumblr. Retrieved on 29 March 2015.
  13. Sonic 3 & Knuckles for PC Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 29 October 2021.
  14. IGN Staff (15 July 2022). The 10 Best Sonic Games. IGN. Retrieved on 2 December 2022.
  15. Sonic & Knuckles (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 38.
  16. Sonic Mega Collection Plus game description
  17. (in Japanese) ソニックジャム オフィシャルガイド. SoftBank. 2 October 1997. p. 76. ISBN 978-4797303377.
  18. & Knuckles. Know Your Meme (20 December 2014). Retrieved on 4 December 2020.
  19. Paramount+ on Facebook. Facebook (15 February 2022). Retrieved on 15 February 2022. "Sonic Movie 3 is officially in development from Paramount Pictures and SEGA! Plus, next year a new original Knuckles series with Idris Elba is coming to Paramount+. Sonic Movie 2 hits theaters April 8!"
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