Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (ソニックザヘッジホッグ3 Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Surī?), or simply Sonic 3 (ソニック3 Sonikku Surī?), is a platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega. It was released as a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The continuation, Sonic & Knuckles, was released later in the same year, which picks up the story directly after the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Lock-on technology allows people to play Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles as the combined Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, and the two are actually two parts of the same game. This game marks the first appearance of Knuckles the Echidna. Originally, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was meant to contain all of the levels that Sonic & Knuckles had, but the game could not be finished in time, so it was split into two.[1]

The game was released in Japan for the Sega Mega Drive on 27 May 1994. The European release was on 24 February 1994. The game was released for the Sega Genesis in the United States on 2 February 1994.


At the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the evil Dr. Robotnik had his Death Egg downed from orbit by the heroes, Sonic the Hedgehog and his companion Miles "Tails" Prower. Having not been completely destroyed after all, the Death Egg has crash-landed on the Floating Island, taking it to the ocean below. This island has special properties - not least of which being its eponymous power of magical suspension. When Dr. Robotnik detects the presence of a massive Chaos Emerald within the island's depths, he decides to once again seek out the Chaos Emeralds so that his fallen Death Egg can regain orbit in space. Turning his crushing defeat into a sleek advantage yet again, he kidnaps Animals to convert into Badniks and created a new line of weapons.

Meanwhile, Knuckles is taking his usual walk along the Emerald altar to check if the Emeralds are alright, suddenly a huge earthquake came out of nowhere, Knuckles saw the Emeralds reverberating in mid-air, stunned, he was suddenly threw into the air before blacking out. When he woke up, the Chaos Emeralds were gone, but Knuckles also saw a huge egg in the distance, surprised, he then recalled a legend of an ancient dragon sent to destroy the world in the end times, thinking this mysterious egg to be the dragon he set out, and... A giant egg-shaped figure appeared out of nowhere, calling himself "Dr. Eggman", he explained to Knuckles he had come here to study this giant egg, and that an evil hedgehog named Sonic was trying to not only interfere with his research, but steal the Chaos Emeralds as well. Knuckles, duped by the doctor, ran off to find this miscreant. Eggman smiled at himself, pleased at his ability to lie.

According to the Japanese manual (which was adapted into the PC version's help file), Sonic and Tails resumed taking a break on an island some distance away. Tails detects a strong Chaos Emerald reading with his invention, the Jewel Radar. Thinking that it had to do with the sudden tidal wave that occurred after the Death Egg's defeat, he decides to consult with Sonic to investigate. Meanwhile, Sonic woke up from his nap on the beach to find a Ring engraved with ancient letters washed ashore, which reminded him of a legend - an ancient civilization once tried to take a prosperous stone for its power, but were wiped out in an instant. It is said that the kami descended from the sky and reshaped their territory as an isolated floating island, along with the mighty stone of power. With a renewed sense of adventure, Sonic joined Tails to take the Tornado to the ocean. These details are not mentioned in most releases of the game.

They find the landmass previously known as the Floating Island resting on the ocean. Excited, Sonic hops off the Tornado prematurely and uses the power of the Chaos Emeralds he found during his previous adventure to transform into Super Sonic, showing off as he races the Tornado by gliding across the surface of the water. Unfortunately, he is caught off guard with the spiked glove of an echidna named Knuckles. Knuckles is the guardian of the island who was tricked by Dr. Robotnik into thinking that Sonic and Tails are thieves, so he quickly took Sonic's own Emeralds and hid them. Tails soon joined Sonic and they set off to explore and stop the nefarious Dr. Robotnik while evading Knuckles' cunning traps.

In the end, Robotnik manages to briefly get the Death Egg flying without the Chaos Emeralds, but is defeated by Sonic and Tails, causing the Death Egg to fall again.



The game gave Sonic a new look and approached the Sonic-style with a new attitude in mind. Levels are now three times larger than those found in the previous games and contain more secrets and different routes to take. Both Sonic and Tails have new abilities and new shields give Sonic additional powers. In addition, the game pays much closer attention to the plot than previous titles in the series, as small "cut-scenes" are played to show the story's progress, and Acts beginning exactly where the last Act ended. The addition of Knuckles, who was destined to become a recurring character in the series, adds to the experience as he occasionally shows up to try and hinder Sonic and Tails' progress.

Sonic and Tails' abilities

Sonic the Hedgehog

Name Sprite Description
Walk Sonic walk3.gif Push left or right on the D-pad to initiate Sonic's movement in either direction. As player hold the button down, Sonic gains speed.
Run S3run.gif Begin walking and hold down the button to make Sonic gain speed. After a few seconds, he'll break into a run.
Screech halt Sonic screech3.gif While running, quickly press and hold the opposite direction on the D-pad to make Sonic screech to a halt. He'll skid for a short distance, based on how fast he was moving.
Look up Sonic lookup3.gif While standing still, press up on the D-pad to make Sonic gaze to the heavens. As player hold up on the D-pad, the camera pans upward, giving player a view of Sonic's overhead surroundings.
Crouch Sonic crouch3.gif While standing still, press down on the D-pad to make Sonic duck. As player hold down, the camera pans downward, giving player a view of the stage beneath where Sonic stands.
Spin Sonic 3 & K kaiten.gif While moving, press down on the D-pad to make Sonic curl into a rolling attack. He'll remain in this position until player jump or slow down. The speed of Sonic's movement while in spin form is based on how fast player are moving when player launch it, and also on the terrain Sonic rolls along.
Spin Jump
Sonic 3 & K kaiten.gif Press A, B, or C at any time to make Sonic leap into the air with a spin attack. The height of the jump is proportional to how long player hold the button down.
Push Sonic push3.gif Certain objects can be pushed by running up against them. Continue holding the D-pad against the offending cube to have Sonic push it along the ground.
Super Spin Dash Sonic spindash3.gif While crouching, tap any of the jump buttons to have Sonic rev up with a stationary spin. Keep tapping the jump buttons to build up momentum, and let go of the D-pad to dash off with a full speed rolling attack.
Sonic wspin attack.gif Jump, then tap any of the action buttons while in midair to initiate a 360° slash that momentarily extends the radius of Sonic's spin attack and makes him immune from damage.

Miles "Tails" Prower

Tails is slightly slower than Sonic, but he has the ability to fly and swim for short lengths of time. He can't use any of the special Barrier attacks and has no Super State (unless playing Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles). His ability to fly gives him access to areas that Sonic can't reach and makes for an easier game in general. The majority of his sprites were recycled from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, with a notable exception being the flying sprite.

Name Sprite Description
Walk Tails walk3.gif Tails' basic movement. Push left or right on the D-pad to initiate Tails' movement in either direction. As player hold the button down, Tails gains speed.
Run Tails run3.gif Begin walking and hold down the button to make Tails gain speed. After a few seconds, he'll break into a run.
Screech halt Tails screech3.gif While running, quickly press and hold the opposite direction on the D-pad to make Tails screech to a halt. He'll skid for a short distance, based on how fast he was moving.
Look up Tails lookup3.gif While standing still, press up on the D-pad to make Tails gaze to the heavens. As player hold up, the camera pans upward, giving player a view of Tails' overhead surroundings.
Crouch Tails crouch3.gif While standing still, press down on the D-pad to make Tails duck. As player hold down, the camera pans downward, giving player a view of the stage beneath where Tails stands.
Spin Tails spin3.gif While moving, press down on the D-pad to make Tails curl into a rolling attack. He'll remain in this position until player jump or slow down. The speed of Tails' movement while in kaiten form is based on how fast player are moving when player launch it, and also on the terrain Tails rolls along.
Spin Jump Tails spin3.gif Press A, B, or C at any time to make Tails leap into the air with a spin attack. The height of the jump is proportional to how long player hold the button down.
Push Tails push3.gif Certain objects can be pushed by running up against them. Continue holding the D-pad against the offending cube to have Tails push it along the ground.
Super Spin Dash Tails spindash3.gif While crouching, tap any of the jump buttons to have Tails rev up with a stationary spin. Keep tapping the jump buttons to build up momentum, and let go of the D-pad to dash off with a full speed rolling attack.
Fly Tails fly3.gif Jump, then press any of the action buttons while in midair to have Tails whirl his two tails together and take to the sky. Continue tapping the action buttons to ascend, or let go to descend. While airborne, Tails can be maneuvered with the D-pad. Damage can be inflicted upon enemies or bosses by flying upwards into them with player's deadly whirling tails. After a short while (eight seconds on the game timer), Tails will get tired and fall to the ground.
Swim Tails swim.gif While underwater, jump and press any of the action buttons to begin swimming. Swimming is basically identical to flying except that he can't damage enemies or lift Sonic.
Lift Tails lift.gif In a "Sonic & Tails" game, have a second player control Tails and make him fly directly over Sonic. He'll latch on and give player 1 a lift. Tails' basic flight control is retained, though the speed of ascent is lowered due to the extra weight.


As the player, the player controls either Sonic or Tails or both. The player's aim is to guide them through six Zones, defeat Dr. Robotnik and collect all Chaos Emeralds along the way. The six Zones are divided into two Acts where, unlike previous Sonic games, each Zone has a mini-boss at the end of the first Act, and each first Act connects directly to the second, preserving any shields the players may have. After a boss is defeated, a short cutscene is shown to segue into the next Zone.

Basic gameplay remains unchanged from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, with the addition of the Insta-Shield for Sonic (by double-tapping the jump button) and flight movement for Tails, enabling him to pick up and carry Sonic around the map. In addition, three new shields, each with their own special ability, are added to the item bonuses:

Both the Flame and Lightning Shields cannot be used underwater and they will instantly fizzle when submerged in it. All shields deflect enemy shots.


  1. Angel Island Zone: A tranquil jungle that is set ablaze by Dr. Robotnik after Sonic and Tails arrive. The mini-boss is one of the hovering flame drones that burned the jungle. Sonic and/or Tails faces off against Dr. Robotnik's own flame-wielding vehicle at a waterfall.
  2. Hydrocity Zone: The inner workings of a complex dam from the echidna age. After tangling with a mini-boss that can spin Sonic and Tails in a whirlpool, Dr. Robotnik tries to stop them with his own whirlpool inducer as well as depth charges.
  3. Marble Garden Zone: The marble ruins of an ancient civilization. The mini-boss uses a pair of drills to attack Sonic and Tails, both directly and by drilling into the rock above and raining debris on their heads (reminiscent of Dr. Robotnik's own vehicle in the Mystic Cave Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2). Dr. Robotnik attempts to crush the pair under the collapsing ruins, and when Tails airlifts Sonic out of danger, charges at them directly with his drill. This is the only Zone without any water to drown Sonic or Tails, though tar pits can still drag the heroes down and kill them.
  4. Carnival Night Zone: Tails drops Sonic into a playful carnival filled with balloons, pinball bumpers, and cannons to launch from, although unlike Casino Night Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 there are no slot machines. After Sonic and Tails survive the mini-boss on a slowly eroding platform, they face Dr. Robotnik, who this time drops a large sphere and uses it to create an electric storm that draws the pair towards its discharge. Halfway through Act 2, Sonic must push a rotating cylinder down through a slot low enough for him to escape through. This is completed by pressing up and down on the D-pad, essentially frustrating many players who didn't figure out the tricks at first. Carnival Night Zone is the longest of all Zones available in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles as well).
  5. IceCap Zone: An icy area that takes place within an icy cavern and within icebergs. The level contains vents that shoot out cold bursts that freeze and harm Sonic. At the end of Act 1, a snow machine that spins snow at Sonic or Tails tries to crush them. Robotnik attacks in Act 2 in a machine that that has a spiked platform drop down and fires the freezing bursts in a pattern at Sonic.
  6. Launch Base Zone: Dr. Robotnik's site that houses the stricken Death Egg, with spinning elevators for facilitation of travel and alarms to keep out intruders. The mini-boss uses two flailing arms. Dr. Robotnik uses three different weapons to stop Sonic and Tails: first, a static projectile launcher at the foot of the Death Egg. When that fails, Robotnik flees to the Death Egg and Sonic chases after, leaving Tails behind. After boarding, Dr. Robotnik employs a rocket armed with lasers to fight Sonic, and then finally resorts to a large pair of arms (possibly inspired by his power suit at the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 2) to grab Sonic in a ball and slam him into the floor (as well as the rather impressive ability to damage even Super Sonic, though taking Super Sonic to the final battle is rare).

Bonus Stage

Main article: Bonus Stage

As in previous Sonic games, Star Posts are scattered throughout each Act to save the player's progress. Furthermore, if Sonic has collected at least 50 Rings and he hits a checkpoint, a bright halo of stars will float above it, which Sonic can then jump through to access the Bonus Stage. The Bonus Stage is a large Gumball Machine in which Sonic constantly falls down. Spring bumpers on the side of the walls make sure he stays in the air, but whenever he hits one it disappears. Each time he passes the slot of the Gumball Machine it releases a gumball with a bonus item in it which Sonic can then grab. Bonuses include shields, Rings and lives. Additionally, black balls bump Sonic down while transparent balls contain nothing. The stage ends when Sonic falls to the bottom of the stage offscreen.

Special Stages

Special Stages are entered by jumping through Giant Rings hidden in the scenery, and multiple of these large, Golden Rings can be found in each Act. In addition, the player is not required to collect any amount of Rings to enter the stage.

The stages themselves are three-dimensional and spherical in lay-out. Sonic moves across the surface of a giant, checkered orb and has to hit a set amount Blue Spheres while dodging bumpers and Red Spheres. Sometimes Blue Spheres are found in a square formation. If Sonic checks all Blue Spheres around the sides of a square, the field turns into Rings. Collecting 50 Rings gains a Continue, and collecting all possible Rings in the stage gains a "Perfect" bonus of 50,000 points (equal to an extra life).

Sonic is rewarded with a Chaos Emerald when he collects all Blue Spheres in the stage. Should he touch any of the Red Spheres, however, the stage ends and he is transported back to the Zone.

Competition Zones

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 retained the two-player head-to-head racing introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, although instead of using levels from the single-player game, five entirely new Zones were created for competitions and Knuckles was added as a selectable character. Players can select to play a Grand Prix of all five tracks, a single track to race on, or race the clock in Time Trial Mode.

The five Zones are:

  1. Azure Lake Zone: A short but speedy course along the waters of Azure Lake. This track is the fastest among the five multiplayer stages, and can be completed in well under 20 seconds.
  2. Balloon Park Zone: A bouncy stage similar to Carnival Night Zone with a loop and several bumpers and balloons to get ahead. A well-known trick in the loop can enable the player to skip large parts of each lap.
  3. Chrome Gadget Zone: A tour through a Death Egg-like maze filled with platforms and force fields. If a racer touches the bottom of a platform they die.
  4. Desert Palace Zone: This desert ruin takes the player through high speed loops and over quicksand bridges. However, should a racer start spinning in the loop too early, they will be hurled back at high speed to the beginning of the track.
  5. Endless Mine Zone: The longest of the five stages, set in an abandoned mine cave. Endless Mine poses no real dangers to the racers but needs some well-timed jumps and speed stops to complete the stage in a smooth fashion.


Playable characters

Non-playable characters




  1. Doctor Robotnik's Flame Craft (Angel Island Zone)
  2. Doctor Robotnik's Whirlpool Machine (Hydrocity Zone)
  3. Tunnelbot (Marble Garden Zone)
  4. Self D-Struct Machine (Carnival Night Zone)
  5. Ice Ball (IceCap Zone)
  6. Swing'm Spikez (Launch Base Zone)

Main bosses

  1. Doctor Robotnik's Flame Craft (Angel Island Zone)
  2. Doctor Robotnik's Waterspout and Depth Charge Machine (Hydrocity Zone)
  3. Doctor Robotnik's Jet Drill Pod (Marble Garden Zone)
  4. Doctor Robotnik's Energy Ship (Carnival Night Zone)
  5. Doctor Robotnik's Freeze-O-Matic (IceCap Zone)
  6. Ball Shooter (Launch Base Zone)
  7. Beam Rocket (Launch Base Zone)
  8. Big Arm (Launch Base Zone)

Technical specifications

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 had the option, unseen at this point in the Sonic series, to save the level where a player had been and resume it at a later date - which increased the replay value tremendously as several levels sport secret passages and, although not vital to the ending of the game, allowed the collection of 7 Chaos Emeralds at a later date.

A closer inspection of the ROM by fans provides some details on the marketing scheme pulled by Sega with the release of Sonic & Knuckles. While Sega originally stated that the new "revolutionary" lock-on technology literally transformed the secondary game (i.e. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 or Sonic the Hedgehog 2), the analysis of the ROM reveals that Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was produced with full knowledge and possibly even having most of Sonic & Knuckles already completed as far as Lava Reef Zone on the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 cartridge (Flying Battery Zone has the most remaining data as it was originally in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the others crash when loaded). Therefore, the whole second version of the game wasn't totally a Sonic & Knuckles original.


These are the achievements which add to the player's Gamerscore on the Xbox Live Arcade version of Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Image Name Description Gamescore
Complete the Game.jpg Complete the Game Finish the game. 25
Fast Freeze.jpg Fast Freeze Complete the Icecap Zone. 25
Complete Chaos.jpg Complete Chaos Collect all seven Chaos Emeralds. 25
Points I.jpg Points I Score 20,000 points. 10
Points II.jpg Points II Score 40,000 points. 15
Points III.jpg Points III Score 80,000 points. 25
Marble Finishes.jpg Marble Finishes Finish the Marble Garden Zone. 15
Wet Feet.jpg Wet Feet Walk on Water. 15
Wet and Wild.jpg Wet and Wild Finish the Hydrocity Zone. 15
Chaos Emerald.jpg Chaotic Collect a Chaos Emerald. 10
Halfway there....jpg Halfway there... Collect 50 rings. 10
Goodie Gumballs.jpg Goodie Gumballs Get a blue gumball. 10


The music was composed by Brad Buxer, Cirocco Jones, Bobby Brooks, Darryl Ross, Geoff Grace, Doug Grigsby III, Michael Jackson, Sachio Ogawa, Tatsuyuki Maeda, Jun Senoue, and Masanori Hikichi, with additional tracks by Tomonori Sawada, Masaru Setsumaru, Yoshiaki Kashima, Masayuki Nagao, and Miyoko Takaoka. Due to Jackson's alleged involvement with the game, a full composer breakdown is unavailable, as no official soundtrack of the game has been released.

So far, it is known that:

  • Jun Senoue composed the stage clear and game over jingles, alongside the bonus stage themes
  • Tomonori Sawada composed the title screen music and the game's jingles
  • Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley and Brad Buxer composed the Knuckles theme music
  • Masaru Setsumaru arranged the Act 2 music
  • Yoshiaki Kashima composed the special stage music
  • Masayuki Nagao arranged Hydrocity Zone Act 2's music
  • Miyoko Takaoka composed Marble Garden Zone's music

Michael Jackson's involvement

It was thought that Sega hired pop sensation Michael Jackson to compose the music for the game, but his work was scrapped. However, the music has some similarities to Jackson's work, as the chip tunes in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 were based on music sheets from Jackson. His album Dangerous was released a few years before Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and would be the basis for the chiptunes on Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Brad Buxer confirmed that some of Michael Jackson's work is in the game.

Here are some examples:

  • Marble Garden Zone: If "Will You Be There" is played over the Zone's music, it seems to fit. Despite this, they share nothing in common. The music for Marble Garden Zone was composed by Miyoko Takaoka.
  • Carnival Night Zone: One part sounds similar to "Jam". Carnival Night Zone's music also contains a sample taken from Michael Jackson's "Jam".
  • IceCap Zone: Sounds (only very loosely) like a sped-up version of "Who Is It?", with chord progressions similar to those in "Smooth Criminal". It was later discovered to be an instrumental version of a previously unreleased song by The Jetzons called "Hard Times" - with involvement from Brad Buxer and Michael Jackson.
  • Ending Credits: Sounds very similar to "Stranger in Moscow", but this could be a coincidence, as the song wasn't released until 1996. It has been stated though, that Jackson did use this theme as the base for "Stranger in Moscow".

When Jun Senoue was asked if he knew anything about Michael Jackson's involvement, he said "I don't know anything about that...[laughs] Yes I do, actually." This game marked Senoue's debut on the Sonic series, albeit only as a sound effects designer. Much of the in-game music was handled by a team of musicians supervised by frequent Michael Jackson collaborator Cirocco, although Sega staff composer Howard Drossin ended up finishing the soundtrack after the deal with Jackson broke down. Drossin would subsequently act as the sole composer on Sonic & Knuckles.

When fighting the mini-bosses in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, just as the song begins, players can hear "Come on!" and during the song, "Woo!" These sound bits were likely taken from the Genesis version of Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, as they can be heard during the game.


Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was re-released for the Sega Saturn in 1997 as part of Sonic Jam, the Nintendo GameCube in 2002 as part of the Sonic Mega Collection, the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2004 as part of Sonic Mega Collection Plus, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as part of Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection and the Nintendo DS as part of Sonic Classic Collection. It was also digitally released for the Wii's Virtual Console on September 2007 and on Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade on 10 June 2009.


Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was very well received by critics. Much praise was given to the quality of the gameplay and graphics, which "pushed the Genesis/Mega Drive to it's limits". However, criticism was focused on how short the game was without locking on to Sonic & Knuckles.


The HUD is green due to palette interference from Knuckles' socks.

  • Originally, Knuckles was meant to wear green socks. However, he was forced to wear yellow socks in the cutscenes where he meets Sonic or Tails to avoid interference with the HUD's palette (Knuckles' socks would have turned the HUD green; see the picture at the right). However, in Sonic & Knuckles (and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles), his socks appear green, but only when playing as Knuckles.
  • The first letters of the names of the race tracks in Multiplayer mode make up the sequence: A, B, C, D, and E (Azure Lake Zone, Balloon Park Zone, Chrome Gadget Zone, Desert Palace Zone and Endless Mine Zone).
  • While Sonic and Tails have their respective "special abilities" in Competition mode, Knuckles does not have his glide/climb ability seen in Sonic & Knuckles. Instead, he uses Sonic's Insta-Shield ability (which is ineffective for Competition mode).
  • Some of the tunes (e.g. Game Over, Act Clear, etc.) are reused in Sonic 3D Blast.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 3's cartridge contains unused music tracks that appear in Sonic & Knuckles.
  • This is the only Sonic game that Michael Jackson was involved in (albeit in composing some of the soundtrack).
  • Marble Garden is the only Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 not to feature water; though none of the levels in Sonic & Knuckles feature water, despite the presence of the Water Shield.
  • Some Zones from Sonic & Knuckles appear in the level select screen, which is activated via a cheat code, seen as "Sound Test" on the title screen. Incidentally, this cheat code is considered one of the most difficult to execute in any game ever released.
  • Like a few other titles in the series, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 has the occasional bug in which a player can get stuck in the scenery. The English manuals address this problem, but suggests that it is a deliberate "feature"; " a diabolical trap from which Sonic can not escape, and the player will have to reset the game."
  • According to the game's tester, Jay Pataki, the message "Get Blue Spheres" at the start of the game's Special Stage(s) originally said "Get Blue Balls". The text was changed after the mostly male staff believed that the original message had sexual undertones.

Flying Battery Zone and Knuckles, seen in the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 level select.

  • Knuckles and the Flying Battery Zone were originally planned for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and still have existing data (see picture to the right. It may appear to be from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, but note the icon and "Zone 5". In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Flying Battery Zone is identified as Zone 8 and the icon in the screenshot doesn't exist in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles).
  • The level icon of the scrapped Hidden Palace Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 can be seen in the level select menu. In fact, all icons used in the level select menu are recycled from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • The song "Wonderman", by Right Said Fred, has many references to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, with clips from the game and lines such as "Attitude and Power Sneakers", "If you take a nap, he'll spin attack", "Speedy Gonzales", and "Z-z-zoom Sonic Boom". In the video, there's even a sign in front of a factory that says "Hydrocity Zone", and near the end, a witness says "He's just a flipping hedgehog, okay?!"[2]
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles is considered the true game, as Sega was forced to release the games separately due to time constraints and cartridge prices.
  • The day of this game's North American release was known as Hedgehog Day, a parody of Groundhog Day on February 2.
  • The music that plays when an Act is completed has been reused and remixed in many of the modern Sonic games.
  • This game is represented in Sonic Generations. Big Arm appears as the Boss Gate of the Classic Era in the Nintendo 3DS version.
  • Within classic City Escape's music of Sonic Generations, a section of Endless Mine Zone's music was used.
  • Surprisingly, when the player finishes a Zone in exactly 9 minutes and 59 seconds, the player will earn a total of 100,000 points (and two lives), which is higher than the usual 50,000 points when completing a Zone's Act in less than 59 seconds.
  • A remix of the data select music can be heard in the museum in Sonic Jam. Another, more orchestrated remix can be heard while choosing cutscenes, viewing concept art from various Sonic games, choosing music, and viewing characters in Sonic Generations. Another remix of the data select music can be unlocked in Sonic Gems Collection to listen through the games museum mode, and the remix is called "Sonic 3 MegaD Mix" and also contains sound effects of the game.
  • Sonic's second wait animation from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 appears in Sonic Generations, as one of Classic Sonic's wait animations.
  • In Sonic Generations, the Fire, Thunder and Water Shields appear as skills for Classic Sonic.
  • Although Tails cannot carry Sonic underwater, the player can execute this with a 2nd player: have both players make Sonic and Tails jump, and tap the 2nd player's jump button rapidly. Tails should lift Sonic, but drift down due to the extra weight. However, as Tails clutches Sonic before drifting down, the player must jump while Tails swims upwards. Tails will clutch Sonic again, and the player can do this over and over until he/she has reached his/her height, but this is tricky, as Tails will drift down if not executed quickly enough.
  • The invincibility music for this game can be heard in a commercial for Progressive Insurance, where Sonic is frantically running around the store looking for the best insurance premium.
  • A sped-up version of the invincibility music heard in this game is used as the invincibility music for Sonic Drift 2.
  • In Angel Island Zone Act 1, if the player goes into the Special Stage after the minor boss sets fire to the jungle, the music for Act 2 will play for the rest of the stage. This also happens in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
  • The boss theme of this game was remixed for Act 2 of Panic Puppet Zone in Sonic 3D Blast (Sega Genesis version) and the boss fight music for Aquatic Relix Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.
  • Looking at the North American/Chinese cover, one can see that Sonic and Tails are in Angel Island Zone due to the jungle-like area they are in, and Dr. Robotnik's Flame Mobile is in the cover.
  • On the EU/Brazil/Australian cover, one can see that both Sonic & Knuckles are located in Carnival Night Zone.
  • With Balloon Park being a carnival-themed Zone, one can assume that the Zone could well in fact be located in Carnival Night Zone itself or just near Carnival Night Zone.
  • With Desert Palace being a desert-themed level, the Zone could be connected to Sandopolis Zone from Sonic & Knuckles.
  • In the standalone version of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, waiting 47 minutes on the save file select screen will cause the music to change for one loop. This does not occur in the locked-on version, so this may have been unintentional. Footage can be seen here.
    • A similar glitch occurs with playing Flying Battery Zone's music in the standalone, but instead of the music getting louder, instead, the "echo" gets more and more behind each time the song is looped.
  • The Japanese Sonic the Hedgehog 3 manual actually had the same Badnik names as the original North American manual, though later supplemental materials like the Japan-exclusive Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Official Guide Book and Sonic Tweet changed the names to follow the Japanese naming conventions of the Classic series. Despite more or less being a direct expansion, Sonic & Knuckles did not share the same Badnik names across seas.
    • The Japanese Sonic the Hedgehog 3 manual also told Knuckles' perspective, as he was knocked unconscious when the Death Egg hit, found the Emerald(s) to be missing from the Pillar, and mistook the shape of the fallen Death Egg as a dragon's egg from a prophecy of dark times. This presumably made Knuckles easier to trick, as Robotnik researched the island and confidently explained himself as a savior preventing the egg of doom from hatching. The 2013 mobile re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 instead shows Knuckles about to approach Robotnik who is openly down on his luck, discarding that version of the story.
  • While the storyline in Sonic & Knuckles Collection is a closer translation of the Japanese version, it had a few differing details. Besides changing Dr. Eggman back to Dr. Robotnik, it mentions Earth, renames the Jewel Radar (ジュエルレーダー?) to the "Jewel Reader", and specified the reference to the kami (which can mean Gods or Japanese nature spirits) to a "sky god". The only known deity associated with the Emeralds would later turn out to be a water entity.
  • On the twelfth of November 2015, it is announced that Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are coming to the Xbox One via backward compatibility.[3]
  • The final boss theme of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was remixed as the background music for Last Utopia Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure and Nocturne in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.



  1. 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 & 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.”
  2. Right Said Fred - "Wonderman"

External links

Main articles (Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic & Knuckles Collection) | Staff (Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic & Knuckles Collection) | Manuals (Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles) | Glitches (Sonic 3, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic & Knuckles Collection) | Beta elements (Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3 & Knuckles) | Galleries (Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic & Knuckles Collection)
Sonic the Hedgehog console mainline games
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