- For a list of glitches that function in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, see Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles/Glitches.
This article contains a list of glitches from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Unless otherwise noted, all glitch names are conjectural. Many of them have not been confirmed by Sega.
List of glitches
- Angel Island Zone Music Glitch
This bug/glitch can be found shortly after the first encounter with Flame Craft. If the player enters and exits a Special Stage, the Zone's music would automatically change to Angel Island Zone Act 2's theme, although the title card states that it is still Act 1. This is also possible if the player enters a Bonus Stage.
- Skipping the Hydrocity Zone Boss:
If the player pushes against the wall during the "cutscene" with Knuckles and speeds ahead as fast as they can, they can bypass the boss and jump on the Capsule. Doing this allows the player to destroy the capsule as Super Sonic.
- Garbled Graphics:
In Angel Island Zone Act 2, if Sonic (or Tails) gets stuck in the last tunnel before the Act 2 boss, they will travel backward. When they reach the entrance to the tunnel, the graphics will be glitched. This is due to the sprites for the airship having been loaded after traveling through the tunnel, as the game does not expect the player to return to the previous section.
- Flying Tails in Bonus Stage:
Tails can fly in the Bonus Stage. To do this, the player must hold the jump button while entering a Bonus Stage. Tails will jump when the Bonus Stage starts, and the player can jump again to fly as normal.
- Super Sonic in Bonus Stage:
It is possible for Sonic to transform into Super Sonic in a Bonus Stage. To perform this glitch, the player should hold jump while entering Bonus Stage, and Sonic will jump when the Bonus stage starts. The player can then jump again to transform.
- Game crash in Marble Garden Zone:
To perform this glitch, the player first needs to set the playable character to Sonic and Tails (character value 00 in Level Select), then go to Marble Garden Act 1. They should travel through the stage until they are on the pathway towards Tunnelbot. Next, they must make Sonic stand still, pick up controller 2 and defeat the boss using just Tails. If the player did this correctly, all of the sprites will vanish and the game will crash once the signpost lands. This is because Sonic and Tails are not where they should be when clearing the level. This glitch can also be done in the S3C prototypes of Sonic & Knuckles. This was later fixed in Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic & Knuckles Collection.
- Level Select glitch:
To perform this glitch, the player must travel to a checkpoint in a level. After hitting the checkpoint, they must pause the game and push A to get back to the Level Select menu. They can then choose any level (other than the level they exited out of), and in whichever level they have chosen, they will be placed in the same coordinates as the checkpoint of the level they exited from. However, if the coordinate value doesn't exist in the level they enter, the game will crash. This glitch was fixed in the S3C prototypes of Sonic and Knuckles.
- Level Skip:
While technically intentional and not so much a glitch but more of an overlook, by using Super Sonic to run up the curved wall next to the Thunder Shield above the loop in Hydrocity Zone Act 1 (Super Sonic can go up slopes of any angle, even vertical walls, with ease), the player can cause Sonic to go above the level and easily reach the next hole in the ceiling, just before the Act's boss.
- Super Stop:
When the player defeats Robotnik in Hydrocity Zone as Super Sonic, Sonic will remain transformed and the Super Sonic music will continue playing, but his quills will drop down like his normal appearance. He will also stop losing rings, and everything blue on the results screen will flash yellow.
This was fixed in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
- Zombie seat back:
Using Tails to fly over the Ball Shooter boss in Launch Base Zone will result in Robotnik not showing up. After destroying the boss and continuing with the level, the back of the seat of the Ball Shooter's cockpit can be spotted in the following places:
- On one of the red scaffolds holding up the Death Egg while Knuckles punches the Egg Mobile
- Whenever Rings are lost on the following bosses, the seat back will be floating to the upper-right of one of them, following it. It vanishes with the ring if collected.
- If the level is completed, it shows up to the upper-right of Tails while he watches the Death Egg fall, and turns gray when he does his victory pose.
Note that this glitch may also work in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
- Robotnik-face Knuckles (May work in S3&K):
Sometimes when the Ball Shooter boss is destroyed as Super Sonic and Tails, when Super Sonic flies to Knuckles in the Egg Mobile, Knuckles may have Eggman's head floating just to his left. It follows his every move, including falling. Note that this glitch may also work in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
- Tails's last wish:
As Sonic and Tails in Angel Island Zone Act 2, if Tails falls into the pit on the left once the boss is completed and the capsule floats down, he will bounce back up and fall away as usual. He can also press the capsule's button when he bounces up. If this happens, the level will be completed, and when Sonic walks off to the right, Tails will either be standing on the left side of the bridge or on Knuckles' ledge. If he is on the ledge, he will be walking to the right, but not moving. Note that this glitch may also work in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
- Boss Bypass:
When Knuckles destroys the bridge in Hydrocity Zone, the player should hold down right on the D-pad. If they do this correctly, Sonic will be able to bypass the battle with Robotnik and head straight to the Capsule (this can be more easily done using Super Sonic). Opening the capsule will clear the zone, but the game will continue after Sonic performs his ending pose, and the player won't be able to proceed to Marble Garden Zone unless they reset the game. Bypassing the capsule will let the player travel to the point where Hydrocity Act 2 repeats the level's layout, with the use of Tails' flying ability. It should be noted that unless the player destroys the capsule, they will still be able to go back and fight Robotnik as normal. If the player opens the capsule and then defeats Robotnik, the capsule will disappear. The player can also perform this glitch by simply running to the capsule, then running back to defeat Robotnik.
All of these glitches are technically fixed in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but Knuckles does not have an Act 2 boss in Carnival Night Zone.