Sonic News Network

Know something we don't about Sonic? Don't hesitate in signing up today! It's fast, free, and easy, and you will get a wealth of new abilities, and it also hides your IP address from public view. We are in need of content, and everyone has something to contribute!

If you have an account, please log in.


Sonic News Network
Sonic News Network

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ3 Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Surī?), also known as simply Sonic 3 (ソニック3 Sonikku Surī?) or Sonic III, 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.[6]

The game was released for the Sega Mega Drive first in the United States on 2 February 1994, followed by Europe on 24 February 1994, and finally in Japan on 27 May that same year.


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

The title screen of Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Following immediately after the events of the West Side Island incident, Dr. Robotnik's damaged Death Egg is on a collision course towards the planet like a giant fireball. Lying in its path towards the surface of the planet however, is a floating landmass with towering mountains and spread out forests: the legendary Floating Island.[7] There, Knuckles the Echidna, the guardian of the Floating Island, is patrolling the island's altar as he usually does, his duty being to protect the seven Chaos Emeralds that control the power of the "Pillar" that sleeps in the depths of the island and keeps the island and its Animals safe. As Knuckles tries to make sure that there is nothing strange going on with any of the Chaos Emeralds however, the Emeralds begin shining with a momentary flash of light, and before he can react to it, they begin vibrating abnormally, leaving Knuckles bewildered by this unknown phenomenon. As the Chaos Emeralds' vibrations grow more intense, a bright flash erupts before Knuckles as the vibrations reach their climax, knocking him out.[8] It is in this moment that the Death Egg collides with the Floating Island. This tremendous impact destroys mountains and forests on the island and makes the Floating Island fall into the ocean and create a giant tsunami upon hitting the sea's surface. Fortunately, the island does not sink to the bottom of the ocean, instead staying slightly above the sea as if nothing has happened.[7]

Having escaped the fallen Death Egg, Dr. Robotnik picks up the signal from a seemingly giant Chaos Emerald from a crack in the island created by the Death Egg's impact. Realizing that harnessing the power of that Emerald would allow him to re-launch the Death Egg, Robotnik quickly builds a base on the Floating Island in order to locate the Chaos Emeralds. In addition, he starts turning the local Animals into Badniks and remodeling the Floating Island's nature into a more severe one with an environment-changing machine.[7]

In the meantime, Knuckles regains consciousness and discovers his body has been thrown out of the altar. Discovering the altar in a partially destroyed state, Knuckles hurries back to the altar, only to discover that the Chaos Emeralds have vanished without a trace. Leaving the altar dumbfounded, Knuckles soon noticed the Death Egg in a lake nearby. This sight makes Knuckles deduce that the Death Egg is a legendary dragon described in the Chaos Emerald's altar, which states that it will bring disaster to the island.[8]

Knuckles spends the next few days patrolling the seven Chaos Emeralds' altar, but cannot find any traces of the Chaos Emeralds. Refusing to give up though, Knuckles begins searching every nook and cranny of the Floating Island until he encounters Dr. Robotnik in a forest. Upon learning that Knuckles is the guardian of the Chaos Emeralds, the doctor tells him lies that he is a kind scientist who has come to investigate the Death Egg. He also "warns" him that he is being followed by an evil hedgehog named Sonic who is disrupting his research and has stolen the island's Chaos Emeralds. Believing Robotnik's lies, Knuckles teams up with him to foil Sonic when he arrives.[8][9]

A few days after the Death Egg's crash, on an island far away from where the Death Egg impacted the Floating Island, Tails suddenly catches a strong Chaos Emerald signal on the Jewel Radar he has invented. Pondering if the giant tsunami that happened recently is connected to this, Tails hurries out to find Sonic. As Sonic himself tries to nap on the beach, he finds a small ring with ancient letters craved in on it drifting along the shore. Picking it up, Sonic starts to remember a legend about a certain "island" that was once a part of a continent. According to this legend, an exceptional civilization lived there and built a peaceful and wealthy society using the energy of a certain "power stone". However, when a rogue faction of elders tried to seize the power stones for themselves, they accidentally made their energy go awry, causing their entire civilization to be destroyed in an instant. After that, it was said that the gods came down from the sky and and restored part of the civilization as an "island" and hoisted it into the sky, along with the power stone. Driven by strong, unexplainable nostalgia, Sonic resolves to set out on another adventure.[7]

Sonic and Tails meeting Knuckles for the first time.

Arriving at the Floating Island with the Tornado, Sonic uses the seven Chaos Emeralds he had acquired prior to turn into Super Sonic and begins exploring the Floating Island while Tails tries to follow. Shortly after arriving on the island however, Knuckles pulls off a cheap shot on Sonic from below, which forces Sonic to de-transform and drop the Chaos Emeralds.[9] Knuckles proceeds to take Chaos Emeralds before leaving. Now having to retrieve the Emeralds again and stop Dr. Robotnik, Sonic and Tails make their way through the island, dealing with Robotnik's various attacks and Knuckles' antics along the way.

Eventually, Sonic and Tails arrive at Launch Base Zone, Dr. Robotnik's base where he has almost completed the re-building of the Death Egg. At the end of this Zone, the Death Egg is ready to take off. To reach the space station, Sonic and Tails hitch a ride in the Egg Mobile nearby, but Knuckles keeps them from proceeding with it. Fortunately, local tremors causes Knuckles to lose his balance and fall down from the pillar he is on, allowing the heroes free passage. In the end, the duo manages to jump onto the Death Egg just as it starts taking off. Here, Robotnik returns to defeat the two through excessive force with the Big Arm. However, that force proves to be his own undoing. When Sonic defeats Robotnik once more, the battle has already taken its toll on the Death Egg during a critical point of its launch. As the platform Sonic and Tails are standing on falls apart from the Death Egg, the space station plummets back to the Floating Island while the two watch from afar.[9] After the credits, a post-credits scene will play, which will depend on the player's actions:

The good ending of Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

  • If the player has not collected the seven Chaos Emeralds, the post-credits scene will show Robotnik and Knuckles laughing, with the latter juggling with the Chaos Emeralds the player did not collect with his left hand. The text "TRY AGAIN" will appear as well.
  • If the player has managed to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds, the scene will show Sonic and Tails posing in front of a "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3" logo.


Image Character Biography
Sonicthe20Hedgehog20320Japan.png Sonic the Hedgehog You know him as the world's fastest sonic-speed hedgehog. In this adventure, he plays a major role on the legendary "Floating Island".[10]
Tails 4.png Miles "Tails" Prower Sonic's sidekick and an energetic fox with two tails. He flies through the sky and helps Sonic in his adventures.[10]
CD Eggman.png Dr. Robotnik The evil genius scientist appears again. Will he get the Chaos Emeralds and become the ruler of the world? Or will he be a perpetual loser?[10]


Sonic and Tails in Angel Island Zone, the first Zone in the game.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is a side-scrolling 2D platforming video game which plays similar to past Sonic games. Players can control either Sonic or Tails. They can also play as Sonic while Tails is controlled by either a second player or the computer. Both of these characters can run and jump as their basic abilities.

The goal of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is to beat a series of Acts in less than ten minutes. In these Acts, the player can find many Gold Rings, which serve as their playable character's main method of protection. If a character is hit while having at least one Gold Ring, they will survive with the cost of losing all their Gold Rings. However, if the playable character is hit without any Gold Rings, they will lose a life, or get a Game Over if they do not have any lives left.

Scoring system


Button formation[11] Movement
Sonic-S3&K.png Sonic Miles-Tails-S3&K.png Tails
Controlpadds.png left/right Move
Controlpadds.png up Look up
Controlpadds.png down Crouch
A Button (Sega Genesis).svg/B Button (Sega Genesis).svg/C Button (Sega Genesis).svg Super Spin Attack
Controlpadds.png left/right + Controlpadds.png down Spin Attack
Controlpadds.png down + A Button (Sega Genesis).svg/B Button (Sega Genesis).svg/C Button (Sega Genesis).svg Spin Dash Attack
A Button (Sega Genesis).svg/B Button (Sega Genesis).svg/C Button (Sega Genesis).svg x2 Insta-Shield Fly/Swim



Gimmicks and obstacles


Playable characters

Non-playable characters



  1. Fire Breath (Angel Island Zone) (first appearance)
  2. Big Shaker (Hydrocity Zone) (first appearance)
  3. Tunnelbot (Marble Garden Zone) (first appearance)
  4. Bowling Spin (Carnival Night Zone) (first appearance)
  5. Big Icedus (IceCap Zone) (first appearance)
  6. Twin Hammer (Launch Base Zone) (first appearance)


  1. Egg Scorcher Mk III (Angel Island Zone) (first appearance)
  2. Egg Vortex (Hydrocity Zone) (first appearance)
  3. Egg Drillster Mk II (Marble Garden Zone) (first appearance)
  4. Egg Gravitron (Carnival Night Zone) (first appearance)
  5. Egg Froster (IceCap Zone) (first appearance)
  6. Egg Cannon (Launch Base Zone) (first appearance)
  7. Egg Rocket (Launch Base Zone) (first appearance)
  8. Big Arm (Launch Base Zone) (first appearance)


  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

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

Special Stages

Special Stages are entered by jumping through Giant Rings hidden in the scenery, with multiple of these being found in each Act. In addition, the player is not required to collect any amount of regular Gold Rings to enter the stage.

The Special Stages themselves are three-dimensional and spherical in lay-out. The playable character 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 the playable character checks all Blue Spheres around the sides of a square, the field turns into Gold Rings. Collecting 50 Rings gains a Continue, and collecting all possible Gold Rings in the stage gains a "Perfect" bonus of 50,000 points (equal to an extra life).

The playable character is rewarded with a Chaos Emerald when they have collected all Blue Spheres in the stage. Should they touch any of the Red Spheres, however, the Stage will abruptly end and the player is transported back to the Zone.

Other modes


The Competition menu.

Competition is an additional mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, loosely based on the 2 Player Vs. mode in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Players can play as either Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles, with Tails being able to fly in gameplay.

Unlike the 2 Player Vs. mode in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Competition mode features five exclusive Zones. These are:

  1. Azure Lake: A short but speedy course along the waters of the Floating Island.
  2. Balloon Park: A bouncy stage similar to Carnival Night Zone, with a loop and several bumpers and balloons to get ahead.
  3. Chrome Gadget: A tour through a Death Egg-like maze filled with platforms and force fields.
  4. Desert Palace: This desert ruin takes the player through high speed loops and over quicksand bridges.
  5. Endless Mine: An abandoned mine cave.

Each of the Zones in Competition loop around, and the players' goal is to pass through a post-like obstacle five times. Competition also has the following modes to play in:

  • Grand Prix: The main mode of Competition mode. Players race through the five Zones mentioned prior in order. The player who wins the most Zones is declared the winner. Before the race, the players are given the option as to whether or not they can get power-ups in the Zones.
  • Match Race: A mode similar to Grand Prix. Players race through the Zones, except they can select which Zone they will play in. Like in Grand Prix though, the players are given the option as to whether or not they can get power-ups in the Zones.
  • Time Attack: A mode for just one player, where the objective is to beat the Zones in the least amount of time.

Level Select

Main article: Level Select


Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was developed by the Sega Technical Institute in California, just like Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The game was considered Sega's most important game at the time. However, Sega of Japan had very little involvement during development.[12] Before development, the STI split into two different teams; one comprised Japanese developers, which developed Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Meanwhile, the other team, which was composed on American developers, would later focus on Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball.[13][14][15] Yuji Naka and Hirokazu Yasuhara were the primary creators of the game's design document and release schedule. Naka also selected majority of the team, while the STI director Roger Hector oversaw development.[12]

Development for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 started in January 1993, with a deadline in February 1994, when Sega and McDonald's made a major promotional campaign in the United States.[16] Initially, the team used the then-new Sega Virtual Processor chip, which allowed for 3D graphics. They made a prototype with the working title Sonic 3D. It soon became apparent that the game would not be finished in 1994 as intended however, and the team was forced to switch back to the 2D side-scrolling gameplay of past games.[17] The idea of an isometric graphics game would later be reused for Sonic 3D Blast in 1996.

Yuji Naka said that the team felt that Sonic the Hedgehog 3 needed a deeper story, which "made the project huge"; the Acts were made three times bigger than in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.[18] Many concepts that were scrapped in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would be reused in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. However, time was limited for all the concepts of the game to fit in one single cartridge, and the manufacturing costs of a 32-megabit cartridge[19] with NVRAM would be incredibly expensive.[20] Due to this and the McDonald's advertising, the team had to reluctantly split in half, with one of them working in Sonic & Knuckles, allowing more time to develop the second part and splitting the cost between two cartridges.[12][14] The Sonic & Knuckles cartridge implemented lock-on technology, which would allow it to be combined with the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 cartridge and open Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, allowing the player to experience the full game as originally intended.[20]


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.

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 in 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.


These are the achievements which add to the player's Gamescore 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


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 89.00%[21]
78.33% (X360)[22]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 94%[23]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 9.5/10[24]
GamePro 4.75/5[25]
GameSpot 8/10[26]
Hyper 90%[2]
IGN 9/10[27]
Mean Machines Sega 94%[28]
Nintendo Life 8/10[29]
Sega Power 90%[30]
Sega Magazine 95%[31]
Entity Award
Electronic Gaming Monthly Editors' Choice Platinum[24]

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 received extremely positive reviews from fans and critics alike. The game holds a score of 89.00% at GameRankings based on five reviews.[21] It was felt to be the best Sonic game ever. All the reviews in the column to the right are for the original Sega Mega Drive version of the game unless otherwise specified.

Andrew Humphreys of Hyper, who declared himself to not be a Sonic fan, said that the game was undoubtedly one the best in the series along with Sonic the Hedgehog CD, though he said that he preferred the Special Stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 over the ones in this game.[2] Sega Magazine stated that the game was "far superior than Sonic 2 as a whole" and "a serious contender for the Best Platform Game Ever award".[31] Sega Power wrote that, despite their skepticism, they found Sonic the Hedgehog 3 to be "excellent" and easily "the most explorable and playable game in the series."[30] Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded the game their "Game of the Month" award[24] and later ranked the game at number 1 in "The EGM Hot 50," indicating that it received the highest average score out of any game they had reviewed that year. GamePro wrote that it "proves that you can teach an old hedgehog new and exciting tricks. Take that old Sonic magic, add fun new variations, and you have another spectacular game."[25]

The game has sold over 1.02 million copies in the United States alone as of December 2007.[32]


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 the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade on 10 June 2009. It will also re-released on Sonic Origins, a compilation game that is scheduled to be released in 2022.


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, Balloon Park, Chrome Gadget, Desert Palace and Endless Mine).
  • 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.
  • 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 the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, where Big Arm appears as the Boss Gate of the Classic Era.
  • Surprisingly, when the player finishes a Zone in exactly nine minutes and fifty nine seconds, they 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 fifty nine 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.
  • Although Tails cannot carry Sonic underwater, the player can execute this with a second player: have both players make Sonic and Tails jump, and tap the second 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.
  • 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.
    • A similar glitch occurs with playing Flying Battery Zone's music in the standalone, but instead of the music getting louder, 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.
  • In the Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Mega Collection Plus manuals, it states that Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was released on "January 24, 1994". This is incorrect because it actually released nine days after the said date for the Sega Mega Drive.
  • 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. ソニックザヘッジホッグ3. Sega.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Humphreys, Andrew (March 1994). "Review: Sonic 3". Hyper (4): 26-29. Archived from the original.
  3. Virtual Console, page 4 (Japanese). Nintendo. Archived from the original on 5 March 2018.
  4. Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Nintendo. Archived from the original on 23 November 2010.
  5. Sonic the Hedgehog™ 3. Nintendo.
  6. 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"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 4-6.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 34-36.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Sonic The Hedgehog 4. Sega. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved on 27 October 2017.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 32-33.
  11. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pgs. 7-9.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Roger Hector: Director of STI Interviews. EmulationZone (2008). Retrieved on 20 June 2021.
  13. Day, Ashley (2007). "Company Profile: Sega Technical Institute". Retro Gamer (Imagine Publishing) (36): 28–33.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Sonic 3 & Knuckles - Behind the Scenes". GamesTM (60): 140–144. August 2007.
  15. Horowitz, Ken. Development's Den: Sega Technical Institute. Sega-16. Retrieved on 20 June 2021.
  16. Gander, Matt. Twenty-five years ago, to this very month, Sonic 'Happy Meal' toys were available in the UK. Game Asylum. Retrieved on 20 June 2021.
  17. "ソニックチーム物語" (in Japanese). Sega Magazine (3): 9–13. January 1997. Archived from the original.
  18. Sonic the Hedgehog GameTap Retrospective Pt. 4/4. YouTube. Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved on 20 June 2021.
  19. Sonic & Knuckles (Sega Mega Drive) European instruction booklet, pg. 4.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Sega's Yuji Naka Talks!. GameSpy. Retrieved on 31 December 2014.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Sonic the Hedgehog 3. GameRankings. Archived from the original on 9 December 2019.
  22. Sonic the Hedgehog 3. GameRankings. Archived from the original on 9 December 2019.
  23. Ahmet, Deniz; Skews, Rik (March 1994). "Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 3". Computer and Video Games (148): 34-36. Archived from the original.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 "Review Crew: Sonic 3". Electronic Gaming Monthly (56): 30. March 1994. Archived from the original.
  25. 25.0 25.1 The Unknown Gamer (March 1994). "ProReview: Sonic the Hedgehog 3". GamePro (56): 42-44. Archived from the original.
  26. Provo, Frank (12 September 2007). Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Review. GameSpot.
  27. Thomas, Lucas M. (11 September 2007). Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Review. IGN.
  28. Megadrive Review: Sonic 3 44-49 (March 1994).
  29. McFerran, Damien (6 September 2007). Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Review (MD). NintendoLife.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Pegley, Rob (March 1994). "Mega Drive Review: Sonic 3". Sega Power (52): 28-30. Archived from the original.
  31. 31.0 31.1 "Review: Sonic 3". Sega Magazine (2): 87-88. February 1994. Archived from the original.
  32. US Platinum Videogame Chart. The MagicBox (27 December 2007). Archived from the original on 10 January 2016.

External links

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Main article (Sonic 3 & Knuckles) | Staff | Manuals | Glitches | Beta elements | Gallery
Sonic the Hedgehog console mainline games