This article pertains to the beta elements of Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Red revolving Spheres


This is a spinning mass of red Spheres, placeable via Debug Mode in the first half of Angel Island Act 1. The spheres look similar to those appearing in the Special Stage, but the object itself seems to have no apparent gameplay purpose. When it is placed, many palette and VRAM complications occur in the level, and the game will lag. Player 2 can manipulate this object.

  • Up - rotates the object vertically.
  • Right - rotates the object horizontally.
  • Down / Left - moves the object up or down.
  • A / C - changes the object's size.
  • B - rotates the object sideways.
  • Start - toggles automatic rotation.

Unused Icecap Zone breakable block

Sonic3 unused

There is an unused block that can be placed with Debug Mode in Icecap Zone. Jumping on it will break it.

Unused sprites

"Bored" AnimationSonic in his signature "waiting" pose, but instead of pointing towards the direction he's facing, he falls asleep from boredom instead. Never used in-game. Strangely, the final frame is used for the instructions for Sonic 3 in Sonic Classic Collection.
"Whistle" AnimationSonic whistling. Not used in-game.

Speculation reveals that this animation may have been paired with a "Help-Item" mentioned in a German magazine article. Sonic would have broken the monitor, used the whistling animation, and then Tails would fly in from offscreen to carry Sonic around as he pleased, similar to Player 2 controlling Tails while holding Player 1. A whistle sound which is probably related to this can be heard when breaking S monitors and at the beginning of The Doomsday Zone.

Unused 2P Knuckles SpritesUnused Gliding/Climbing animations exist for Knuckles in two-player mode, even though he doesn't have the ability to glide or climb while in two-player mode.
Leftover Continue AnimationLeftover animation from the Continue screen in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Mini Death EggSmaller rendition of the Death Egg. It seems to be part of a Death Egg hologram projector, which itself was unused in Sonic & Knuckles.
Diagonal Penguinator SpritesDiagonal frames of the Penguinator badnik from IceCap. These can be seen for a split second, if you place a Penguinator on the large hill at the beginning of the zone using debug mode.
Unused Robotnik SpriteUnused running frame where Robotnik has a different facial expression.
"Surfboarding" AnimationAn alternate animation for the intro. At one point, Sonic would have been surfboarding to Angel Island, rather than going Super Sonic. Interestingly, Sonic looks like his Sonic 2 incarnation. The surfing Sonic sprite can be placed in AIZ1 via Debug Mode. Also, the surfboard was reused as a Snowboard when IceCap needed a new intro, considering the lack of Flying Battery Zone.
SurfboardThese sprites were used when Sonic jumped off the board in his surfboarding animation.
Robotnik flying away

An unused Robotnik object discovered by Nemesis via Debug Mode in Hydrocity Zone. It appears to be nothing more than Robotnik flying away towards the horizon. Its purpose is unknown, though it may have been intended for an early bad ending.

Sonic 3 Flying Battery icon
FBZ Data Select iconAn unused save file icon for Flying Battery Zone before it was re-ordered to be in Sonic & Knuckles, which is different than the corresponding icon in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The background seen in this icon is also a more saturated blue than in the actual zone. You can view this icon in the PC and Genesis versions by hacking the save data to access level slot, or by using the PAR codes to view it in a completed game save slot while scrolling through the levels.

Sonic & Knuckles Zones

Sonic 3 - Accessing Sonic & Knuckles' Zones

Sonic 3 - Accessing Sonic & Knuckles' Zones

A few remnants of all the Sonic & Knuckles zones are still left in the game. As mentioned earlier, Flying Battery would have been played between Carnival Night Zone and IceCap Zone, but when the game was split into two that Zone was moved into Sonic & Knuckles to give it more levels. Most of the data that once belonged to these levels either is not present in the game anymore or is not currently accessible. Still, there are some leftovers in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 – a data select icon, its music, and even its bosses.

Even though the player can use codes or use Sonic 3C's savestates to access the unused zones, those will crash the game. All unused Zones outside of Flying Battery will say "Zone." Most (such as Sandopolis Zone and Death Egg Zone) will crash on the title card, while some (like Lava Reef Zone) will load the level and end up in a glitchy mess and crash. In the case of Flying Battery, while one can access it by way of PAR codes, it will be corrupted with IceCap Zone tiles appearing all over the place. However, the player will need to do this in a specific way because alone, these codes will crash the game when trying to access that level data. Using Sonic 3C's savestates to access the Lava Reef Boss Area or Hidden Palace Zone will have glitchy collision data, and Angel Island's sprites appear all over the place. Oddly enough, the Special Stage music plays here.

Main articles (Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic & Knuckles Collection) | Gallery (Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic & Knuckles Collection) | Beta elements (Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles) | Staff (Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic & Knuckles Collection) | Glitches (Sonic 3, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic & Knuckles Collection)
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