|Sonic the Hedgehog 3|
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Takashi Thomas Yuda (character design)
Single player, multiplayer
Sega Genesis, Virtual Console
16-megabit cartridge, CD-ROM (PC)
Game controller, Keyboard (PC version)
Sonic the Hedgehog 3, or simply Sonic 3, is a platform game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was released as a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Its own sequel, Sonic & Knuckles, was released later in the same year, which picks up the story directly after the end of Sonic 3. Lock-on technology allows gamers to play Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles as a combined Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and the two are sometimes considered to be two parts of the same game. Originally, Sonic 3 was meant to contain all of the levels that Sonic & Knuckles had, but the game could not be finished in time, so it was split into two. Sonic 3 & Knuckles is the complete version of Sonic 3, as shown by Sonic Mega Collection's description saying, "Play through Sonic 3 Complete version..." when viewing the info for Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
The game was released for the Sega Genesis in the United States on February 2, 1994. The European Sega Mega Drive release came later that month. The game was released in Japan for the Mega Drive on May 27, 1994. It was re-released for the Sega Saturn in 1997 as part of Sonic Jam, the Nintendo GameCube in 2002 as part of the Sonic Mega Collection, the Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox in 2004 as part of Sonic Mega Collection Plus, and the Nintendo DS as part of Sonic Classic Collection.
At the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog had defeated Dr. Ivo Robotnik's latest scheme, putting a stop to his Death Egg and collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds. As Sonic and Miles "Tails" Prower flew off in the Tornado, they paid little attention to the broken space station plummeting towards Mobius. Breaking into the atmosphere once more, Dr. Robotnik could not control the direction of the falling sphere, each cloud passing over the machine being guided by fate and nothing more. As fate can be a strange mistress, it just so happened that in the pathway of the rapidly descending fortress was an island that was thought to only exist in legend. Hiding in the atmosphere under the shadow of clouds lay Angel Island, a floating island that moved across the oceans but never touching them. Perhaps the island would have stayed out of the eyesight of the doctor if not for this one moment, when the Death Egg collied into the surface of the island, shaking it to its very core. For the first time in eons, the island began falling as well, pushed by the force of Robotnik's creation. Colliding into the ocean, a massive tidal wave erupted on all sides. Though many were to notice the towering waves from miles away, none knew of the island that now sat idle in the ocean, untouched by the disaster except for the once-proud invention silently waiting to rise up once more...
A few days after this event, the young fox "Tails" was busy finishing up an invention of his own, the Jewel Radar. Fine tuning it, the machine came to life, immediately picking up the signal of chaos energy located somewhere beyond the shore. Thinking that it may have something to do with the strange tidal wave only days before, "Tails" flew out the door, heading towards the beach where he knew Sonic the Hedgehog was.
Sonic, who had been taking a much-deserved nap, awoke the exact same moment "Tails" hopped out the door. Looking about at the beach, the blue hedgehog spotted a strange ring washed up on shore. Running over to it, Sonic picked up the ring, noticing the characters of an ancient language carved onto its surface. Immediately, Sonic was reminded of a legend that he had heard long ago, about an ancient civilization that lived upon an island. Creating a society of peace and harmony, the people who lived within attributed their great prosperity to the "Stone of Power," a sacred gem whose energy guided them. One day, as these stories often go, a sect of wise men decided that they wanted to take the power of the stone for their own selfish gain, and tried to seize the energy. Unable to control it, their foolishness caused the great civilization to disappear in the blink of an eye, their way of life being forgotten. In its wake, the gods took the land, rebuilt it, and sent it, along with the "Stone of Power" into the sky...Although he knew not of the legend's basis in fact, Sonic decided right then and there that he would set off on yet another adventure, he and "Tails" preparing the Tornado once more.
Unbeknown to the pair, the legend that Sonic recalled was that of Angel Island, upon where the Death Egg had crashed. Only moments before the impact, the lone guardian of the island, Knuckles the Echidna, was going about his duties, protecting the island and making sure that the Chaos Emerald alters scatterd about were safe and secure. Though he was friends with many of the various animals that lived upon the island, he was the last of his kind, and knew of his sacred duty. At this particular moment, Knuckles looked over one of the alters, making sure that the emerald was in place and that nothing wrong had befallen them. Suddenly, the emerald began behaving in a way Knuckles had never seen, the gem glowing and vibrating wildly. Knuckles stood wide-eyed, unsure of what was going on. Before he could make his next move, a bright flash filled the room, a sound piercing through Knuckles' ears as he felt as though he were floating in midair.
The next thing Knuckles knew, he was sprawled out at the entrance to the alter, having been knocked out by whatever had happened. Regaining consciousness, Knuckles' first thought was of the Chaos Emerald inside, running back to the alter. Looking about at the half-broken area, Knuckles could not find a single trace of the emerald, with not a clue as to where it could have gone. Emerging out of the alter in a daze, Knuckles was unsure of his next course of action, glancing out at the horizon. It was then that he saw it, a strange, almost egg-shaped object embedded into his island. Snapping back to reality, Knuckles wondered if this object was the same as in a legend he knew of, the egg of the dragon...
Over the next few days, Knuckles explored the rest of the island assessing any damage as he went to the other six Chaos Emerald alters, finding each in the same state as the first. Refusing to give up, Knuckles continued to investigate, knowing that the answer to what had just happened must be on the island. It was during this process that he came across a strange, egg-shaped man wandering about the island. Confronting him, the man merely smiled, and calmly explained that he was a scientist who had come across the island to study the strange egg that had appeared. Making sure to fully trick the guardian, Robotnik continued, telling the Echidna that he also knew of the emeralds that were on the island, and that a blue hedgehog by the name of Sonic was the one looking for them. Shocked, Knuckles ran off, the mad genius smiling at his own skillful lie.As if on cue, the Tornado, flown by "Tails" with Sonic standing atop it, appeared on the horizon. Sonic, noticing the island neither of them had seen before, couldn't help but be overcome by the urge to show off, having brought with him the seven Chaos Emeralds he had gathered on West Side Island. Transforming into Super Sonic, Sonic ran across the remainder of the ocean between the plane and the island, darting about the shoreline. Caught off guard, a lone knuckled fist swung at Sonic, knocking him off balance, the Chaos Emeralds falling about him. Turning back into his true blue self, Sonic spotted who the fist was connected to, a red Echidna who could only laugh at Sonic's misfortune. Grabbing the emeralds, Knuckles ran off into the jungle beyond. Not knowing what he had gotten himself into, but more than expecting Robotnik to be behind it, Sonic and "Tails" ran off to follow the tricked guardian. Knowing Sonic to be on the island, Robotnik laughed to himself, setting up the same tricks as before, creating yet another mechanical army to once again seek out the Chaos Emeralds in the hopes of using them to relaunch the Death Egg and finally succeed in his quest for world domination.
"The stage is set once again. From here, Sonic the Hedgehog begins his new adventure."
The game gave Sonic a new look and approached the Sonic-style with a new attitude in mind. Levels are now three times larger than those found in the previous games and contain more secrets and different routes to take. Both Sonic and Tails have new abilities and new shields give Sonic additional powers. The game pays much closer attention to the plot than previous titles in the series, as small "cut-scenes" are played to show the story's progress, and acts beginning exactly where the last act ended. The addition of Knuckles, who was destined to become a recurring character in the series, adds to the experience as he occasionally shows up to try and hinder Sonic and Tails' progress.
Sonic and Tails AbilitiesEdit
|Walk||Push left or right on the D-pad to initiate Sonic's movement in either direction. As you hold the button down, Sonic gains speed.|
|Run||Begin walking and hold down the button to make Sonic gain speed. After a few seconds, he'll break into a run.|
|Screech halt||While running, quickly press and hold the opposite direction on the D-pad to make Sonic screech to a halt. He'll skid for a short distance, based on how fast he was moving.|
|Look up||While standing still, press up on the D-pad to make Sonic gaze to the heavens. As you hold up, the camera pans upward, giving you a view of Sonic's overhead surroundings.|
|Crouch||While standing still, press down on the D-pad to make Sonic duck. As you hold down, the camera pans downward, giving you a view of the stage beneath where Sonic stands.|
|Spin||While moving, press down on the D-pad to make Sonic curl into a rolling attack. He'll remain in this position until you jump or slow down. The speed of Sonic's movement while in spin form is based on how fast you're moving when you launch it, and also on the terrain Sonic rolls along.|
|Spin Jump||Press A, B, or C at any time to make Sonic leap into the air with a spin attack. The height of the jump is proportional to how long you hold the button down.|
|Push||Certain objects can be pushed by running up against them. Continue holding the D-pad against the offending cube to have Sonic push it along the ground.|
|Super Spin Dash||While crouching, tap any of the jump buttons to have Sonic rev up with a stationary spin. Keep tapping the jump buttons to build up momentum, and let go of the D-pad to dash off with a full speed rolling attack.|
|W spin attack/force field/insta-shield||
Jump, then tap any of the action buttons while in midair to initiate a 360° slash that momentarily extends the radius of Sonic's spin attack and makes him immune from damage.
Miles "Tails" ProwerEdit
Tails is slightly slower than Sonic, but he has the ability to fly and swim for short lengths of time. He can't use any of the special Barrier attacks and has no Super form. His ability to fly gives him access to areas that Sonic can't reach and makes for an easier game in general.
Overview of playEdit
As the player, you control either Sonic or Tails. Your aim is to guide them through six Zones, defeat Dr. Robotnik and collect all Chaos Emeralds along the way. The six zones are divided into two acts where, unlike previous Sonic games, each zone has a mini-boss at the end of the first act, and each first act connects directly to the second, preserving any shields the players may have. After a boss is defeated, a short cutscene is shown to segue into the next zone.
Basic gameplay remains unchanged from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, with the addition of a spin attack for Sonic (by double-tapping the jump button) and flight movement for Tails, enabling him to pick up and carry Sonic around the map. In addition, three new shields, each with their own special ability, are added to the item bonuses:
- Fire Shield: absorbs all fire damage and enables the player to walk freely on lava. Sonic can use it to perform a horizontal charge in mid-air.
- Bubble Shield: deflects all water based attacks and enables the player to breathe underwater. Sonic can use it to bounce on his enemies.
- Lightning Shield: protection against all electrical damage. But more importantly, the electric shield will magnetically draw any rings nearby to the player. Sonic can use it to perform a vertical charge or double jump in mid-air.
Both the fire and electric shields cannot be used under water, and they will instantly fizzle when submerged in it. All shields deflect enemy shots.
- Angel Island Zone: A tranquil jungle that is set ablaze by Dr. Robotnik after Sonic and Tails arrive. The mini-boss is one of the hovering flame drones that burned the jungle. Sonic and/or Tails faces off against Dr. Robotnik's own flame-wielding vehicle at a waterfall.
- Hydrocity Zone: The inner workings of a complex hydroelectric dam. After tangling with a mini-boss that can spin Sonic and Tails in a whirlpool, Dr. Robotnik tries to stop them with his own whirlpool inducer as well as depth charges.
- Marble Garden Zone: The marble ruins of an ancient civilization. The mini-boss uses a pair of drills to attack Sonic and Tails, both directly and by drilling into the rock above and raining debris on their heads (reminiscent of Dr. Robotnik's own vehicle in the Mystic Cave Zone of Sonic 2). Dr. Robotnik attempts to crush the pair under the collapsing ruins, and when Tails airlifts Sonic out of danger, charges at them directly with his drill. This is the only zone without any water to drown Sonic or Tails, though tar pits can still drag the heroes down and kill them.
- Carnival Night Zone: Tails drops Sonic into a playful carnival filled with balloons, pinball bumpers, and cannons to launch from, although unlike Casino Night Zone in Sonic 2 there are no slot machines. After Sonic and Tails survive the mini-boss on a slowly eroding platform, they face Dr. Robotnik, who this time drops a large sphere and uses it to create an electric storm that draws the pair towards its discharge. Halfway through Act 2, Sonic must push a rotating cylinder down through a slot low enough for him to escape through. This is completed by well timed jumps and holding down on the D-Pad, essentially frustrating many players who didn't figure out the tricks at first. Carnival Night Zone is the longest of all zones available in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (and Sonic 3 and Knuckles as well).
- Icecap Zone: Sonic is shot from a cannon and lands on a snowboard in the snowy mountains. The level contains vents that shoot out cold bursts that freeze and harm Sonic. At the end of Act 1, a snow machine that spins snow at Sonic or Tails tries to crush them. Robotnik attacks in Act 2 in a machine that that has a spiked platform drop down and fires the freezing bursts in a pattern at Sonic.
- Launch Base Zone: Dr. Robotnik's site that houses the stricken Death Egg, with spinning elevators for facilitation of travel and alarms to keep out intruders. The mini-boss uses two flailing arms. Dr. Robotnik uses three different weapons to stop Sonic and Tails: first, a static projectile launcher at the foot of the Death Egg. When that fails, Robotnik flees to the Death Egg and Sonic chases after, leaving Tails behind. After boarding, Dr. Robotnik employs a rocket armed with lasers to fight Sonic, and then finally resorts to a large pair of arms (possibly inspired by his powersuit at the end of Sonic 2) to grab Sonic in a ball and slam him into the floor (as well as the rather impressive ability to damage even Super Sonic, though taking Super Sonic to the final battle is rare).
Gumball Machine (Bonus Stage)Edit
As in previous Sonic games, Star Posts are scattered throughout each act to save the player's progress. Furthermore, if Sonic has collected at least 50 rings and he hits a check point, a bright halo of stars will float above it, which Sonic can then jump through to access the bonus stage. The bonus stage is a large gumball machine in which Sonic constantly falls down. Spring bumpers on the side of the walls make sure he stays in the air, but whenever he hits one it disappears. Each time he passes the slot of the gumball machine it releases a ball with a bonus item in it which Sonic can then grab. Bonuses include shields, rings and lives. Additionally, black balls bump Sonic down while transparent balls contain nothing. The stage ends when Sonic falls to the bottom of the stage off screen.
Blue Sphere (Chaos Emerald Stages)Edit
The Emerald stages are entered by jumping through Warp Rings hidden in the scenery, and multiple of these large, golden rings can be found in each act. In addition, the player is not required to collect any amount of rings to enter the stage.
The stages themselves are 3 dimensional and spherical in lay-out. Sonic moves across the surface of a giant, checkered orb and has to hit a set amount blue spheres while dodging bumpers and red spheres. Sometimes blue spheres are found in a square formation. If Sonic checks all blue spheres around the sides of a square, the field turns into rings. Collecting 50 rings gains a continue, and collecting all possible rings in the stage gains a "Perfect" bonus of 50,000 points (equal to an extra life).
Sonic is rewarded with a Chaos Emerald when he collects all blue spheres in the stage. Should he touch any of the red spheres, however, the stage ends and he is transported back to the zone.
For the first time when released, two bosses would be confronted in the entire level. In Act 1, a machine of Dr. Robotnik's will be encountered at the end. Unlike the main bosses, a sub-boss would only take 6 hits before exploding into flames.
- Fire Breath (Angel Island Zone)
- Big Shaker (Hydrocity Zone)
- Tunnelbot (Marble Garden Zone)
- Bowling Spin (Carnival Night Zone)
- Big Icedus (Icecap Zone)
- Twin Hammer (Launch Base Zone)
At the end of Act 2 in any zone, Robotnik is encountered with all sorts of different contraptions attached to his newly designed Egg-O-Matic. As in the first games, eight hits are required to defeat Robotnik's machines.
- Flame Mobile (Angel Island Zone)
- Screw Mobile (Hydrocity Zone)
- Drill Mobile (Marble Garden Zone)
- Graviton Mobile (Carnival Night Zone)
- Freezer Mobile (Icecap Zone)
- Ball Shooter (1st boss of Launch Base Zone)
- Beam Rocket (2nd boss of Launch Base Zone)
- Big Arm (3rd/final boss of Launch Base Zone)
MultiplayerEditSonic 3 retained head-to-head racing introduced in Sonic 2, although instead of using levels from the single player game, five entirely new tracks were created for competitions and Knuckles was added as a selectable character. Players can select to play a Grand Prix of all five tracks, a single track to race on, or race the clock in time trial mode.
The five tracks are:
- Azure Lake: A short but speedy course along the waters of Azure Lake. This track is the fastest among the five multiplayer stages, and can be completed in well under 20 seconds.
- Balloon Park: A bouncy stage similar to Carnival Night with a loop and several bumpers and balloons to get ahead. A well known bug in the loop can enable the player to skip large parts of each lap.
- Chrome Gadget: A tour through a Death Egg like maze filled with platforms and force fields. If a racer touches the bottom of a platform he dies.
- Desert Palace: This desert ruin takes the player through high speed loops and over quicksand bridges. However, should a racer start spinning in the loop too early, he will be hurled back at high speed to the beginning of the track.
- Endless Mine: The longest of the five stages, set in an abandoned mine cave. Endless Mine poses no real dangers to the racers but needs some well timed jumps and speed stops to complete the stage in a smooth fashion.
Sonic 3 had the option, unseen at this point in the Sonic series, to save the level where a player had been and resume it at a later date - which increased the replay value tremendously as several levels sport secret passages and, although not vital to the ending of the game, allowed the collection of 7 Chaos Emeralds at a later date.
A closer inspection of the ROM by fans provides some details on the marketing scheme pulled by Sega with the release of Sonic & Knuckles. While Sega originally stated that the new "revolutionary" lock-on technology literally transformed the secondary game (i.e. Sonic 3 or Sonic 2), the analysis of the ROM reveals that Sonic 3 was produced with full knowledge and possibly even having most of Sonic & Knuckles already completed as far as Lava Reef Zone on the Sonic 3 cartridge. Therefore, the whole second version of the game wasn't totally a Sonic & Knuckles original.
Originally, Sega hired pop sensation, Michael Jackson to compose the music in the game, but Jackson had a lawsuit, surrounding him, so the idea was scrapped. However, the music has some similarities to Jackson's work, as the chiptunes in Sonic 3 were based on music sheets from Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson's album Dangerous was released a few years before Sonic 3 and would be the basis for the chiptunes on Sonic 3.
Brad Buxer confirmed that some of Michael Jackson's work is in the game
Here are some examples:
- Marble Garden Zone: If "Thriller" is played over the zones music, it seems to fit.
- Carnival Night Zone: one part sounds similar to "Jam"
- Icecap Zone: sounds (only very loosely) like a sped up version of "Who Is It?", with chord progressions similar to those in "Smooth Criminal"
- Ending Credits: sounds very similar to "Stranger in Moscow", but this could be a coincidence, as the song wasn't released until 1996.
When Jun Senoue was asked if he knew anything about Michael Jackson's involvement, he said "I don't know anything about that...[laughs] Yes I do, actually." This game marked Senoue's debut on the Sonic series, albeit only as a sound effects designer. Much of the in-game music was handled by a team of musicians supervised by frequent Michael Jackson collaborator Cirocco, although Sega staff composer Howard Drossin ended up finishing the soundtrack after the deal with Jackson broke down. Drossin would subsequently act as the sole composer on Sonic & Knuckles.
Bad Guy ArtworkEdit
- Originally, Knuckles was meant to have green socks, however, he was forced to have yellow socks in the cutscenes where he meets Sonic or Tails to avoid his socks from interfering with the HUD's palette (Knuckles' socks would have turned the HUD green also; see picture to the right). However, in Sonic 3 & Knuckles (and Sonic & Knuckles), his socks appear green, but only when playing as Knuckles.
- The first letters of the names of the race tracks in Multiplayer mode make up the sequence: A, B, C, D, and E.
- While Sonic and Tails have their respective "special abilities" in Competition mode, Knuckles does not have his glide/climb ability seen in Sonic & Knuckles. Instead, he uses Sonic's Insta-Shield ability (which is ineffective for Competition mode).
- Sonic 3's cartridge contains unused music tracks that appear in Sonic & Knuckles.
- Marble Garden is the only zone in Sonic 3 not to feature water; though all levels in Sonic & Knuckles do not feature water albeit has the bubble shield.
- Sonic 3 was the second Sonic game to feature an ice-based level (after SegaSonic the Hedgehog), which would later become a recurring theme in the series.
- Some levels from Sonic & Knuckles appear in the level select which is activated via a cheat code, seen as "Sound Test" on the Title screen. Incidentally, this cheat code is considered one of the most difficult to execute in any game ever released.
- Like a few other titles in the series, Sonic 3 has the occasional bug in which a player can get stuck in the scenery. The UK manual addresses this problem, but suggests that it is a deliberate "feature"; " a diabolical trap from which Sonic can not escape, and the player will have to reset the game."
- Sonic 3 is the only game of the Genesis/MegaDrive trilogy without the first level to have the word "Hill" in it.
- In the game, Angel Island is seen sitting in the ocean, while in Sonic & Knuckles, the island is floating in the sky.
- Knuckles and the Flying Battery Zone were originally planned for and still have existing data in Sonic 3 (See picture to the right. It may look like it's from Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but note the icon and "Zone 5". In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Flying Battery is identified as Zone 8 and the icon in the screenshot doesn't exist in Sonic 3 & Knuckles).
- You can see the level icon of the scrapped Hidden Palace Zone from Sonic 2 in the level select menu. In fact, all icons used in level select are recycled from Sonic 2.
- The song "Wonderman", by Right Said Fred, has many references to Sonic 3, with clips from the game, and lines like, "Attitude and Power Sneakers", "If you take a nap, he'll spin attack", "Speedy Gonzales", and "Z-z-zoom Sonic Boom". In the video, there's even a sign in front of factory that can be seen that says "Hydrocity Zone", and near the end, a witness says, "He's just a flipping hedgehog, okay?!"
- The game, "Sonic 3 & Knuckles" is the true game. SEGA was forced to release the games seprated due to time constraints and cartridge prices.
- In the level Marble Garden Zone when you run on the blue spinning platforms, Sonic's pupils disappear.
- There is a rumor that Michael Jackson wrote Sonic 3's music because of the pop-like quaility in some zones to SEGA's good relationship with the king of pop.
- The day of Sonic 3's release was known as Hedgehog Day, mirroring Groundhog Day from Feburary 2nd.