Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (InstanceTopic, 19)

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Sonic and Knuckles redirects here, because it's basically the same game anyway, so there.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3, whose second half is known as Sonic & Knuckles, is the third (fourth if Sonic CD is included) installment of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is full of much win, and even the idiots argue whether it's the best Sonic game ever. It's well known for it's graphical advancements (which includes the use of several graphical illusions and tricks), 3 playable characters, two player competition mode, and musical score partly by none other than Michael Jackson. It is also the most massive 2D Sonic game to date, with 14 Chaos Emeralds to collect, 13 massive zones, and a boss at the end of every act. Because it is so massive, it's also the first Sonic game to let you save your progress, which is epic even though it doesn't save which act of the zone you were in. It also had to be split into two parts because they ran out of time finishing the huge game, with the two halves' releases apart by a little more than a year. The Knuckles half, unfortunately, does not let you save unless you use Lock-On Technology™ to merge it back with Sonic 3.


One day Sonic the Hedgehog and his buddy Tails randomly decide to fly to Angel Island in their airplane/super form, because they can. Unfortunately, Knuckles the Echidna makes a sneaky underground attack against the blue blur and steals his precious Chaos Emeralds (which he shouldn't have been holding in the first place). Knuckles has a good laugh, and then he makes his get away, thus prompting Sonic and Tails to give chase. Mysteriously, this scene doesn't happen when you play as Knuckles. Anyway, you soon realize Dr. Eggman is also involved in some shady business, what with his burning down jungles and bombing stuff with his Flying... Battery? (Well, it's better than a Flying can, at least) Sonic continues to hunt down his obese nemesis through a variety of Angel Island locales, until he arrives at the Launch Base and learns of his sinister plan to relaunch the Death Star Egg back into orbit and take over the world. Eggman fails as usually though, and his Death Egg falls into a dormant volcano. However, Eggman is desperate, so he continues his antics by distracting Sonic with more random deforestation. Finally, Eggman plays Knuckles for a dope and steals his Master Emerald and launches the Death Egg. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are all pretty fed up with Eggman's antics by now though, so Sonic and Tails take to the Death Egg to teach the "good" doctor a lesson while Knuckles gets left behind with an evil Metal Sonic lookalike, who also wants the Master Emerald (which somehow was never stolen to begin with?). Eggman is still desperate after his Malicious Fingers get broken, so Super Sonic has to save the day for the first time, setting the now abused "tradition" of (anti-)climatic Super Sonic boss fights. Happy End!



  • Angel Island (and mysteriously not Floating Island. Pay attention, Archie.)
  • Hydrocity
  • Marble Garden
  • Carnival Night
  • Ice Cap
  • Launch Base
  • Mushroom Hill
  • Flying Battery
  • Sandopolis
  • Lava Reef
  • Hidden Palace
  • Sky Sanctuary
  • Death Egg
  • Doomsday

Music changes

Sonic 3 contained several tracks composed by Michael Jackson, or including his voice samples. He only appeared in the credits as "Scirocco", not by his real name, as he felt constrained by the SMD hardware and did not want to be represented by his work in the game. It's quite possible he walked out soon after Sonic 3 was released, without giving SEGA any rights to use his music in the later releases of Sonic & Knuckles or Sonic & Knuckles Collection. The tracks in question are the mid-boss, Knuckles' theme, Carnival Night Zone, Ice Cap Zone, Launch Base Zone, the Competition menu screen, and the beta credits music ($26 in the sound test).

Sonic & Knuckles replaced five common tracks from Sonic 3: the title screen, one-up, invincibility, mid-boss and Knuckles' theme. The first three were just changed to give the new release a "makeover", but the other two had to be changed as SEGA wouldn't have been able to release MJ's music in S&K. The other tracks, however, were only ever used while the Sonic 3 cart was locked on, so S&K could simply play them from the S3 cart, getting around this problem.

Sonic & Knuckles Collection, for PC, was a standalone release and unable to take any data from any cartridges the player might happen to own. Thus, in this version of the game, all of MJ's music had to be replaced, hence the S&KC-specific compositions. Interestingly, the "Unused Theme" in the PC OST, which lies right between the Competition Menu and Save Game Menu tracks, takes the place the S3 mid-boss theme would have done, even though this track would never need to be used in S&KC. The most likely explanation here is that SEGA simply told their composers to replace every track worked on by MJ regardless of whether or not it was necessary, which would include this one. Not that it sounds anything like a mid-boss theme should...

Ice Cap Zone is the only exception to the above, however, because it has just been discovered that Brad Buxer of The Jetzons composed it, rather than Michael Jackson. Because the song still belonged to a record-making musician though, and because the original song was still using MJ samples, it was replaced in the PC port anyway, because who wants to chance the secret cult of Sonic 3 musicians suing SEGA for damages?

XBLA port

SEGA apparently still thinks Sonic 3 is worth buying twice, so they decided to release emulated versions of both it and Sonic & Knuckles separately on XBLA, with the full game available as a "bonus option" from the latter if you've bought both versions. However, they removed all the menus and the original save system, replacing it with their own inappropriately-modern menus and savestate system... which means no more Hyper Sonic in AIZ for you! [1]

External links

Sonic 3 Complete, a project to restore Sonic 3 as it was meant to be.