Friday, January 29, 2016

Sonic 3 and Knuckles (Sega Genesis, 1994) (Sonic and Knuckles Half)

 Here we go, second half of a double-header. This title screen is actually from the standalone version of the game, but I'm continuing to play it as the full Sonic 3 and Knuckles combination.

Back in Mushroom Hill Zone, Knuckles continues to be nefarious. He's in disguise.

The game changes a bit depending on which character you play as; I'm sticking with Sonic though. Other characters face different bosses, for instance.

 I think this is some sort of showroom for the Chaos Emeralds. Collect 'em all to unlock the super-secret final level.

Interesting boss here, not the usual "Robotnik in a mech". It's like some sort of Dark Souls refugee if that game had machines...and colors.

 I kid, Dark Souls is awesome, and I like the way you constantly find switches that open up shortcuts to more easily get through the areas. Speaking of, Knuckles shows up again here to throw a switch. I'm not sure exactly what's going on...

 This game is as fun as all the others, with more of the same brisk running and jumping. Nothing ground-breaking here, but there's no need to reinvent the wheel in a situation like this.

 Ah, there's the Robotnik vehicle. I liked the first boss more.

Next up, Sonic crosses some monkey bars while training to be a member of ISIS

Here's Sonic learning what he's actually training for.

Mario-esque fire chains pepper the next area, which is a fairly generic metal base.

These rotating platforms are interesting, at least. The entire apparatus is basically a corkscrew, and doesn't look particularly three-dimensional even though the platforms are rotating into the background. This highlights the superiority of Super NES Mode 7 technology.

I've definitely seen this before. Didn't this exact fight happen in one of the earlier games, with Robotnik hiding behind a barrier while you dodge lasers? I think it did.

I'm usually a Boss-thusiast and enjoy discussing the different bosses in any given game; Robotnik's various mechs and capsules aren't all that interesting to me though.

THIS is interesting... a desert world, complete with pyramids and ruins. I love areas like this in games. It's probably my favorite level-theme overall.

Sonic rappels down a wall. What a rugged outdoorsman!

An odd lump draws near. Command?


The golem is indestructible until you lure it into the quicksand pit. It's like a Reverse-Crocomire.

Pyramid stages are always fun. Having Mario 64 flashbacks.

These ghosts materialize and follow Sonic around, getting more and more aggressive over time, until you shine a light on them and make them go away. They're like fraternity guys.

This is interesting. It's a Robotnik mech, but the exterior is all gold brick. It's like Robotnik: Dubai Edition.

The next area is Lava Reef Zone, so named because of all the molten lava (seen here scorching Tails). It has one of the better musical tracks in the game.

I wouldn't be celebrating, guys; there's a WAVE OF LAVA BEHIND YOU

Technically, the music I linked before is for Lava Reef Zone Act 2, which begins here. It's a crystalline, rocky place.

Knuckles drops a boulder on Sonic at this point. I really don't know what's going on, since I thought they were homies in this game...

Next boss is another interesting one; you basically have to jump from platform to platform on this lava ramp while the boss tries to draw you in, allowing the boss to defeat itself as it gets hit with its own attacks.

Now we get the X Vs. Zero of the series, complete with red and blue color schemes, as Sonic fights Knuckles.

It's a good brawl, and Knuckles lives up to his name by launching Superman Punches. Victory is a matter of jumping on his head a few times; the fight is unfortunately short and easy.

Robotnik makes off with a Chaos Emerald, knocking over Knuckles in the process. Behold, Knuckles! You follow a false idol!

Now, Knuckles joins our heroes as we chase down the real villain. It's a great moment in the Sonic mythos.

The next area is the Sky Sanctuary zone, which is pretty much a cloud level. Having this right after the Lava Reef zone is an interesting contrast.

Next, we encounter a saucer boss with a massive ball and chain. But wait! That isn't Robotnik. Who is that?

The second form of the saucer is a bit difficult because it's invulnerable a lot of the time and protected by spheres.

Defeat the saucer and the boss leaps out for mano-a-mano combat. This is Mecha-Sonic, sorta the Super Shredder version of Sonic. He's big and bad.


Mecha-Sonic may have a nasty spin-jump, but he isn't too difficult to turn into scrap. Gotta say, I'm liking the boss lineup in this game and the way it departs from the usual saucer fights so often.

One can bounce between these two springs rapidly if they're so inclined. It's like being in the middle of a Night at the Roxbury sandwich.

After the Heaven/Hell contrast of the previous two zones, the fifth zone is the interior of Robotnik's massive Death Egg. It's the Starkiller Base that we saw previously.

The good news is that the Death Egg's security-lasers have trouble reaching corners.

The Death Egg takes off into space as this reminds me more and more of a Mega Man game.

Reverse-gravity hijinks ensue as Sonic must walk on the ceiling to get through part of this stage.

The boss here is a saucer with shield protection. Those shields seem to be made from the same thing as Captain America's shield, because nothing gets through them.

I see Robotnik has finally learned to remotely control his mechs from Wii U Gamepad range. If Robotnik perfects distant remote-control technology he'll be unstoppable.

Win that fight and a high-speed chase commences, with Robotnik fleeing the scene on his remarkably skinny legs.

The final boss (sort of) is a massive, Gamma-like mech, damageable only by attacking the knuckles. ...huh.

It isn't a difficult fight. After this the game ends, but if you've collected all the Chaos Emeralds, there's one more section.

There's a big clue here as Robotnik flees with a Chaos Emerald in tow.

The ending screen. It's pretty much a "good ending", with Sonic and Tails flying away in a plane to presumably go on their honeymoon.

However, collect all of the Chaos Emeralds hidden throughout the game, and there's one more stage after the final battle. For this one you play as Super Sonic; once you have all seven Emeralds, you can turn into this form any time you have 50 rings or more.

Super Sonic fights one last Robotnik mech in this final stage; it's easier than ever since Super Sonic is pretty much indestructible.

Here's the last Chaos Emerald, and that's a wrap for this game.

Ending screen now has Super Sonic. Akira Toriyama should sue! ...unfortunately, Harlan Ellison already sued, and now Sega is no more.

Good game. I skimmed over a lot of the game mechanics, like playing as Tails or Knuckles. Basically, Tails can fly while Knuckles can climb walls and glide. Knuckles' gameplay is said to be the most interesting part of this installment, and his mobility is especially useful for speedruns. Maybe I'll make another run at it with him later.


  1. I don't know much about this game, but isn't the giant green emerald the master emerald that Knuckles protects? It seems too big to be a chaos emerald.

    1. Very possibly, I wasn't too familiar with the lore for this one.

  2. I'll give Robotnik this, he tries to get the job done himself every time. Which means he fails a lot, but still...

    With all due respect to Flame Stag, Lava Reef is so great.

    It doesn't help that the Master Emerald looks just like the rest... only much larger.

  3. It'd be fun if someone reprogrammed these Sonic games to make it easier to have stretches of running really fast.

    The familiar Robotnik fight you've highlighted is the final boss fight from Sonic 1, right?

    This lava level theme is awesome, and so is the stage; thanks for linking them.

    Ahh the lava wall is soo cool!

    Mecha Sonic is such a nasty fight in Sonic 2.

    Ahh, nice memories, seeing this again. Does S3&K have a save function btw?

  4. Sonic 3❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️