TSS REVIEW: Sonic 3

A new character, Knuckles the Echidna, is the guardian of a very special Emerald. This is called the Master Emerald, and it is even more precious and powerful than all of the seven Chaos Emeralds. The Master Emerald is situated on the Floating Island, and Knuckles has sworn to protect it – no matter what.

Robotnik, still licking his wounds after Sonic 2, believes that the Master Emerald could power his Death Egg! He tricks Knuckles into letting Robotnik on his side, and therefore have access to the Master Emerald. Knuckles is in turn fooled into thinking that Sonic and Tails are the bad guys! As Sonic and Tails reach Angel Island, Knuckles nicks off with all of Sonic’s Chaos Emeralds. It’s up to Sonic to save the day.

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Platform: Sega Mega Drive | Developer: Sonic Team
EU Release: 24 Feb 1994 | US Release: 2 Feb 1994 | JP Release: 27 May 1994


Well, here we are with Sonic 3, which has had a total overhaul in graphics and gameplay. Sonic and Tails look much better than they did in Sonic 2, and this game brings a new addition to the Sonic party in the form of Knuckles the Echidna. This native redhead is on Robotnik’s side, and will do everything in his power to bring Sonic down. Sonic and Tails have a lot on their plate – bring down Eggman, evade Knuckles and to retrieve all seven Chaos Emeralds? No pressure, guys.

Fatboy is pretty wary of Sonic’s actions after the last two games, so he has made sure that every act of every zone is covered by a boss robot. While these guys aren’t as difficult as Robotnik, these Act 1 guardians do get meaner as you progress. But so does Robotnik, who still makes an appearance at the end of Act 2 of every zone. At the very end, you must infiltrate Eggman’s Launch Base Zone and bring his evil plans to an grinding halt!

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After Knuckles scarpered off with all of Sonic’s precious Chaos Emeralds, it’s your job to get them back! You do this by finding a giant ring anywhere within a zone – jump through it and you will be taken to an all-new 3D Special Stage! To complete, you must collect blue spheres, while avoiding the red ones. Run over all of the blue spheres and you gain a Chaos Emerald. Running around groups of spheres (say, running over the outside of a square of blue spheres), will make rings appear. If you collect all of the rings possible in a Special Stage, you will gain a ‘Perfect’ 500,000 points (an extra life).

No more will you have to depend on repeating each level to complete the game each time you turn the Mega Drive off. Why? Because of Sonic Team’s backup save data which is included on the cartridge. Start a game in any of the ‘NEW’ spaces and whenever you complete a zone, the file you are playing will automatically save for you. You can start a game as Sonic, Tails, or Sonic & Tails – and now Tails can use his flying abilities in game. If two players are playing (Sonic & Tails), Player 2 can fly and grab hold of Sonic so he can reach places that he normally can’t! Cool, eh?

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Sonic Team has taken everything from the last two Sonic games and made them 10 times better. One particular feature I’m talking about is the advanced 2-Player competition. You can now race a Grand Prix (a set of levels played one at a time), a Match Race (just one level race) and a Time Attack mode where you can race any level and test your speed! You can set items in play, and these include banana skins, enemies, rings, speed shoes, slow shoes and the switch around item from Sonic 2. AAAAND, you can play as either Sonic, Tails or even Knuckles! Without a doubt, this is one of (if not the) best Sonic games you can possibly get for the Mega Drive! If you find it, get it!

9/10

Screenshots

Published by

Dreadknux

Sexy founder of The Sonic Stadium, and creator and co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic fan convention. By day, I'm a super-fantastic games journalist, el professionale. By night, I'm the mother-loving Sonical Batman. I keep the site ticking, look after the TSS Network, and get all excited about Sonic games so that you can too. May contain nuts.