Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (also known as Sonic 3 & Knuckles or Sonic 3 Complete Version) is a platform video game which is the result of locking-on Sonic & Knuckles with Sonic the Hedgehog 3 using the former catridge's unique "lock-on" technology. It is essentially a large combined game of its two lock-on components which contains all Zones from the said games and also contains special features unique to this game. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles is the original Sonic the Hedgehog 3 the developers intended to release but time constraints by Sega resulted in this game being split into two.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Characters
- 4 Zones
- 5 New features
- 6 Changes
- 7 Cheats
- 8 Re-releases
- 9 Scrapped mobile re-release
- 10 Reception
- 11 Trivia
- 12 Gallery
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
Following the events of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Dr. Robotnik's Death Egg falls from orbit and impacts the Floating 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, Dr. Robotnik is aware that the Chaos Emeralds are somewhere on the Floating 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 the Floating Island while catching the local Animals to turn them into Badniks.
Days later, Dr. Robotnik meets Knuckles the Echidna, the guardian of the Floating Island. Learning of Knuckles' position and duty, the doctor tells him that he is a scientist who has come to "investigate" the Death Egg. He also "warns" Knuckles about Sonic, who is an evil hedgehog that plans to steal the island's Master Emerald. Believing Robotnik, Knuckles teams up with him to stop Sonic. Meanwhile, Sonic is relaxing somewhere away from the Floating Island until his friend, Tails, detects a Chaos Emerald energy reaction out at sea with his Jewel Radar. While Tails 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, Sonic and Tails head out to investigate the incident out at sea.
Sonic and Tails' stories
Arriving with Tails at the Floating Island in the Tornado, Sonic uses the seven Chaos Emeralds he had acquired prior to turn into Super Sonic and begins exploring the island while Tails tries to follow. Shortly after arriving on the island however, Knuckles pulls off a cheap shot on Sonic from below, causing him to lose his super transformation and drop the Chaos Emeralds. Knuckles proceeds to take the Chaos Emeralds before running off. Now having to retrieve the Emeralds again and stop Dr. Robotnik, Sonic and Tails make their way through the island, dealing with Robotnik and Knuckles' attacks along the way. Eventually, they arrive at Launch Base Zone, Dr. Robotnik's base where he has almost finished re-building the Death Egg. At the end of this Zone, the Death Egg is ready to take off. To reach the Death Egg, Sonic and Tails 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 pillar he is on, allowing Sonic and Tails free passage. In the end, the duo manages to jump onto a platform on the Death Egg just as it starts to take off. There, Robotnik returns to defeat Sonic through excessive force with the Beam Rocket. As Sonic and Tails defeat Robotnik 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 the Floating Island while Sonic and Tails watch from afar.
Immediately after, Tails flies Sonic and himself to Mushroom Hill Zone. Meanwhile, the Death Egg lands in the Floating Island's volcano, still intact enough for Dr. Robotnik to salvage it and re-launch it. Aware of this, Sonic and Tails continue their mission to destroy the Death Egg. However, their quest is suddenly interrupted when they spot Knuckles appearing from a hidden door in the thicket. After carefully examining the vicinity, Knuckles disappears into the forest. Once sure that Knuckles is gone, Sonic and Tails 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 the light, 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 Hidden Palace Zone, a giant solemn hall with a pristine altar. There, they see some pillars with the Master Emerald and some other stones, which use the power of their Chaos Emeralds to become inert Super Emeralds. Filled with questions, Sonic and Tails decide to set off to power the Super Emeralds, stop Dr. Robotnik from re-launching the Death Egg again, and discover the mystery of Hidden Palace Zone.
Making their way though the Floating Island, Sonic and Tails arrive in Lava Reef Zone, 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 the Hidden Palace Zone again, where Sonic and Tails have a battle against Knuckles. After the duo defeats Knuckles though, the three witness Robotnik stealing the Master Emerald with his Egg Mobile. Enraged, Knuckles tries to stop the doctor, only for the latter to electrocute him and escape. Realizing that Robotnik has lied to him and that Sonic and Tails are actually trying to save the Floating Island, Knuckles takes the heroes to Sky Sanctuary Zone, where Sonic and Tails continue onward, dealing with Mecha Sonic along the way, before managing to get onboard the Death Egg.
With the Death Egg having made it into space, Sonic and Tails pass though Dr. Robotnik's many contraptions, before fighting Robotnik and his Great Eggman Robo, a mech powered by the Master Emerald. After losing the battle, Robotnik tries to escape in his Egg Mobile with the Master Emerald, only to be stopped. Meanwhile, the Death Egg starts to crumble and explode. From here, the ending of the game will depend on the player's progress:
- If the player has not managed to get all 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. Robotnik is shown with the Master Emerald in his possession.
- If the player has found the seven Chaos Emeralds, but not the Super Emeralds, Sonic will transform into Super Sonic and have a final battle against Robotnik in The Doomsday Zone. After defeating him, Super Sonic will fall down from space with the Master Emerald. Both will then be saved by Tails in the Tornado. Sonic and Tails will then take the Master Emerald back to the Floating Island, allowing it to float again. After the credits, an EggRobo will be seen emerging from scrap.
- If the player is playing as Tails, he will skip The Doomsday Zone. Instead, he will fall down from space in his normal state 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 the seven Super Emeralds, Sonic will transform into Hyper Sonic and battle Dr. Robotnik in The Doomsday Zone. The rest of the ending will be the same as Super Sonic's from there. After the credits, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are shown posing around a "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3 & KNUCKLES" logo.
- If the player is playing as Tails, he will transform into Super Tails, skipping The Doomsday Zone and repeating the ending.
Some time after getting the Master Emerald back, Knuckles is relaxing in Angel Island Zone with some Animals until they are attacked by a bomb thrown by EggRobo. However, Knuckles survives the bomb attack and takes off after the EggRobo.
Making his way though the Floating Island, Knuckles has many battles against the EggRobo. Evenutally arriving in Sky Sanctuary Zone, where the Floating island is shown falling slowly from the sky, Knuckles is caught by the EggRobo using an Egg Mobile's hook, and is brought to a reactivated Mecha Sonic. As Mecha Sonic is about to attack Knuckles however, he frees himself in the last moment, making Mecha Sonic accidentally destroy the EggRobo and the Egg Mobile. Soon after, a battle between Knuckles and Mecha Sonic starts, with the former emerging victorious. However, Mecha Sonic uses the stolen Master Emerald and its power to gain an advantage with a Super State. Despite this, Knuckles still wins the fight. Immediately afterward, Sky Sanctuary Zone starts to crumble. From here, the ending of the game will depend on the player's progress:
- If the player has not managed to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds, an exhausted Knuckles is saved by Sonic in the Tornado, who will take him to the Floating Island, which is shown floating on top of the ocean. After the credits, Mecha Sonic is shown re-activating itself in front of the Master Emerald, which it will then stand on top of.
- If the player has collected the seven Chaos Emeralds, but not the Super Emeralds, Sonic will show up in the Tornado and save Super Knuckles, who will be holding the Master Emerald. Sonic will then take Knuckles back to the Floating Island, which will start rising into the sky again.
- If the player has collected all seven Super Emeralds, Sonic will appear in the Tornado to save Hyper Knuckles and the Master Emerald. He will then take Knuckles and the Master Emerald back to the Floating Island, which will start rising into the sky again. After the credits, Knuckles, Sonic and Tails are shown posing around a "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3 & KNUCKLES" logo.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles is a side-scrolling 2D platforming video game, which plays identical to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. Players can control Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, each with their own abilities. The most basic actions these characters can perform are running and jumping.
The main goal of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles is to pass a series of Acts in less than ten minutes. In these Acts, the player can find Rings, which basically work as the playable character's life source. When hit while having at least one Ring, the playable character will remain alive at the cost of lossing all Rings. However, if the player gets hit without having any Rings, they will lose a life, or get a Game Over if they do not have any lives left.
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Miles "Tails" Prower||Knuckles the Echidna|
|/ /||Spin Jump|
|left/right + down||Spin Attack|
|down + / /||Spin Dash|
|/ / twice||Insta-Shield||N/A|
|Tapping / /||N/A||Propeller Flying/Swim||N/A|
|/ / + Holding / /||N/A||Glide|
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Super Tails (first appearance)
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Dr. Robotnik
- Rock Drill
- Mecha Sonic
|No.||Sonic and Tails||Knuckles|
|1||Doctor Robotnik's Flame Craft|
(Angel Island Zone)
|2||Doctor Robotnik's Whirlpool Machine|
(Marble Garden Zone)
|4||Self D-Struct Machine|
(Carnival Night Zone)
(Launch Base Zone)
(Mushroom Hill Zone)
(Flying Battery Zone Act 1)
(Flying Battery Zone Act 2)
(Lava Reef Zone)
(Sky Sanctuary Zone)
(Sky Sanctuary Zone)
(Death Egg Zone Act 1)
(Death Egg Zone Act 2)
- Angel Island Zone
- Hydrocity Zone
- Marble Garden Zone
- Carnival Night Zone
- IceCap Zone
- Launch Base Zone
- Mushroom Hill Zone
- Flying Battery Zone
- Sandopolis Zone
- Lava Reef Zone
- Hidden Palace Zone
- Sky Sanctuary Zone
- Death Egg Zone (Sonic and Tails' stories only)
- The Doomsday Zone (Sonic's story only)
Super Emeralds are enhanced versions of the Chaos Emeralds. When the player enters their first Special Stage in Mushroom Hill Zone, they teleport to Hidden Palace Zone where the Chaos Emeralds are taken from them and transformed into gray (apparently depleted of power) Super Emeralds, thus beginning the Super Emerald quest. If the player does not have all of the Chaos Emeralds prior to reaching Mushroom Hill Zone, the acquired Chaos Emeralds will become Super Emeralds and the player is given the opportunity to acquire the first Super Emerald. However, the player will not be allowed to return to Hidden Palace Zone via the Giant Rings until they collect the remaining Chaos Emeralds. If the player has not collected a single Chaos Emerald by Mushroom Hill Zone 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 the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower and Knuckles the Echidna) will have access to more powerful forms upon summoning the power of the Emeralds. As with super transformations, the player must have collected fifty 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.
|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||Tails' super transformation. Following the regular 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 bodyguards for him.|
|Hyper Knuckles||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, he has the ability to breathe underwater, 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 tremor that destroys all on-screen enemies at once.|
- The player can play as Knuckles in the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Zones, although Knuckles' opening cutscene from Sonic & Knuckles has been removed in favor for transiting from Launch Base Zone to Mushroom Hill Zone.
- Knuckles' level layouts in the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Zones are different from Sonic and Tails' in most cases, with new paths and different bosses that are generally more challenging.
- Knuckles doesn't face the Doctor Robotnik's Energy Ship 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 boss (piloted by EggRobo) that Sonic and/or Tails normally fight in their version. 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.
- 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.
- After Launch Base Zone is finished, the screen scrolls downward with the Death Egg falling rather than playing the normal ending animation and gameplay immediately proceeds to Mushroom Hill Zone.
- Game progress can be saved in all Zones (including those from Sonic & Knuckles) using the save feature from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- 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 the Hedgehog 3 will be imported to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. These will retain the character, last Zone (a completed save file in Sonic the Hedgehog 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).
- The BGM tracks that were different between Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles use only the Sonic & Knuckles version. These include the title screen, 1-Up, Invincibility, Act 1 boss, Knuckles' theme, and end credits. As seen in the November 3, 1993 prototype, the Act 1 boss music that appears in Sonic & Knuckles is the music originally intended for all Act 1 bosses throughout the entirety of Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- All Act title cards now display the game title of Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
- Passing a Star Post can now open up all three Bonus Stages, including the slot machine stage (20-34 Rings required), the magnetic orbs stage (35–49 Rings required) from Sonic & Knuckles as well as the gumball machine (50–65 Rings required) from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Acts now have a slightly different layout to make them easier. The Sonic & Knuckles Zones remain intact, however.
- The method of accessing Sound Test/Act Select and Debug Mode is different (see Cheats).
- With Debug Mode enabled, the player can access any level with any character, even those that cannot be normally accessed (such as Sonic and/or Tails in Knuckles' Sky Sanctuary Zone and vice-versa, or Tails or Knuckles in The Doomsday Zone).
- Sound Test/Act 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. (A Ring chime will sound if successful.) Then pause the game and press 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. (A Ring chime will sound if successful.) Then pause the game and press to return to the title screen. Go to the Sound Test again then while highlighting any Act hold before selecting the Act to start the Act with Debug Mode.
- Sonic & Knuckles Collection (1997)
- Sonic Jam (1997)
- Sonic & Garfield Pack (1999)
- Sonic Action Pack for PC (2000)
- Sonic Action 4 Pack for PC (2001)
- Twin Pack: Sonic CD and Sonic & Knuckles Collection (2002)
- Sonic Mega Collection (2002)
- Sega PC Mega Pack (2003)
- Sonic Mega Collection Plus (2004)
- Sonic Mega Collection Plus & Super Monkey Ball Deluxe (2005)
- Xbox Live Arcade (2009)[note 1]
- Sega Fun Pack: Sonic Mega Collection Plus & Shadow the Hedgehog (2009)
- PlaySEGA (2009)
- Sonic PC Collection (2009)
- Sonic Classic Collection (2010)
- Virtual Console (2010)[note 1]
- Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection Volume 3 (2010)
- Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection Gold Edition (2011)
- Sonic 3 & Knuckles for Steam (2011)
- Sonic Origins (2022)
Scrapped mobile re-release
On October 18, 2014 (the twentieth anniversary of the original release of Sonic & Knuckles and subsequently Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles), Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley (who developed the remastered versions of Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2) 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.
- The title screen
- Angel Island Zone with all enemies, gimmicks, bosses and intro/intermission sequences
- All three Bonus Stages
- Special Stages, including “Blue Sphere” functionality
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles received critical acclaim from fans. On Metacritic, the game holds a score of 8.8 based on fifty fan ratings, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
- If using Debug Mode and a certain number of S monitors are destroyed at once (most effectively with the Insta-Shield), then the controls of the character will be locked and by pressing Start the game will turn back into Sonic & Knuckles. This is the only way to access Debug Mode in Sonic & Knuckles.
- In the game's Sound Test located in the Level Select menu, the player can choose number 26, which will interestingly cause the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 credits music to play, despite it not being used anywhere in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Also, the other tracks that differ between Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles (1-Up, Invincibility, Knuckles' theme, Act 1 boss, Intro) use the Sonic & Knuckles version.
- The "& Knuckles" part of the title spawned into a popular Internet meme in modern times.
- Sonic 3 & Knuckles on Steam. Valve. Retrieved on 26 January 2015.
- SEGA Mega Drive & Genesis Classics :: Free update with new features! - Steam Community (2018-05-30).
- Sonic Mega Collection Plus game description
- 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."
- Chris Mawson (2 April 2015). Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Remastered Interview with Christian 'The Taxman' Whitehead. Power Up Gaming. Retrieved on 19 April 2017.
- Stealth (18 October 2014). Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) 20th Anniversary. Tumblr. Retrieved on 29 March 2015.
- Sonic 3 & Knuckles for PC Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 29 October 2021.
- & Knuckles. Know Your Meme (26 December 2014). Retrieved on 4 December 2020.