Greetings mortals, I am DracoJames102 and it is time to wrap up the Sonic the Hedgehog marathon.

Sonic marathon title card

Some of you may be wondering why I split this review into two parts. Six months after Sonic the Hedgehog was released, a game called Sonic and Knuckles was released which is probably one of the bulkiest game cartridges you will ever see. What you may not know is that Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles was meant to be one game which contained the biggest Sonic adventure at the time, but there was problems in the development process such as time constraints so the game was sliced in half. That is why I split this review into two parts. I wanted to review Sonic 3 in its purest form. So without further delay, let’s review the second half of Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles.

DownloadedFile

Story

The story continues immediately after the events of Sonic 3. Angel Island is still in the ocean and the Death Egg has crashed onto the island once again. This game introduces the Master Emerald, which has great power that can control the Chaos Emeralds and Knuckles is the guardian of it. Knuckles actually thinks that Sonic is on the island to steal the Master Emerald when it was really Doctor Robotnik (big surprise). Now it is up to Sonic to stop Doctor Robotnik to relaunch the Death Egg and protect the Master Emerald while Knuckles is giving him trouble along the way.

DownloadedFile

Once again the story is told through the gameplay and my opinion on it is exactly the same as the story in Part One of Sonic 3.

Gameplay

Sonic controls exactly like he does in Part One. There is no real change to the gameplay elements so read Part One if you want to know the control scheme. The HUD is also the same. The save feature from Sonic 3 is gone and Tails is no longer a playable character. The elemental shields are back and they operate just like they did in Sonic 3.

images-1

The title screen instead allows you to play the game as either Sonic or Knuckles. That’s right! The character that gave us so much trouble throughout the entire game is now a playable character. Knuckles’ story actually takes place after the events of Sonic’s story after Sonic took care of Doctor Robotnik. In his story, Knuckles is taking care of some leftover badniks on Angel Island after Robotnik’s defeat. Knuckles controls exactly like Sonic but he doesn’t have the same speed as Sonic and he cannot jump as high, but by pressing the jump button again in mid-air, Knuckles can actually glide (your guesses are as good as mine to how he’s doing this besides using his long dreadlocks). Knuckles can also use his spiked knuckles to climb walls and he can run through breakable walls that Sonic cannot break. Because of Knuckles’ limitations, he usually takes different paths than Sonic and some of those pathways have more spikes. Combined with bosses in Knuckles’ story that use different strategies, Knuckles is considered the hard mode of the game.

DownloadedFile-1

The goal of the game is still the same so I’ll just talk about the levels in this game. Mushroom Hill Zone is a pretty big level that has tons of multiple pathways to explore and complete the stage.

DownloadedFile-2

Flying Battery Zone is a much more forgiving Winged Fortress Zone. There are barely any bottomless pits, it is fast-paced and it is fun to travel through.

DownloadedFile-3

Sandopolis Zone has sandy gimmicks such as sinking sand pits. This zone is actually pretty long to beat especially the second act. The zone isn’t difficult by any means, it is just long.

DownloadedFile-4

Lava Reef Zone has tons of fire hazards and has some pretty strange enemies such as badniks that blow smoke which decreases the number of rings you have if you catch any of it. Bring the fire shield to this place.

DownloadedFile-5

Hidden Palace Zone is the shortest zone in the game and it only has one act. There are no enemies in this zone and this is where Sonic has a final confrontation with Knuckles before Doctor Robotnik steals the Master Emerald away.

DownloadedFile-7

Sky Sanctuary Zone also has one act. It doesn’t have that many bottomless pits and there are tons of pathways to ignore them. This is where you have some mini-boss sections against Mecha Sonic who uses some of the same boss strategies that Robotnik used in the previous games.

DownloadedFile-9

Death Egg Zone has been given two acts which is an improvement over its version in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It is glowing ring transport, conveyor belts and Act 2 contains anti-gravity segments. This is actually a really fun final level to play through.

DownloadedFile-10

Doomsday Zone is the true final level in the game and it can only be played after Sonic collects all of the Chaos Emeralds. The stage is packed with asteroids that can slow Super Sonic down and you need to keep collecting rings in order to sustain the super form otherwise you lose a life in this stage. This zone serves as the final boss stage where you have to damage Doctor Robotnik’s machine and stop him from getting away with the Master Emerald.

DownloadedFile-12

The special stages to collect the Chaos Emeralds have the same gimmick as Sonic 3 only they have different layouts. If you manage to collect the Chaos Emeralds with Knuckles, Knuckles can transform into his own super form that allows him to run faster, glide faster and climb walls faster.

DownloadedFile-15

The boss fights are just as challenging as the boss fights in Sonic 3. There are still mini-bosses to fight and Doctor Robotnik has some new mechs to fight you with.

images-2

Graphics

The graphics are exactly the same as the graphics in Sonic 3 so read my opinion on the graphics in Part One.

Music

The soundtrack in Sonic and Knuckles is just as awesome as Sonic 3′ s soundtrack. I love Flying Battery’s theme, Sky Sanctuary’s theme, Death Egg Zone’s theme and the mini-boss theme.

Control

The control is an opinion you have heard so many times this far so I am not even going to bother explaining it for the sake of not sounding like a broken record. I will say however that Knuckles controls just as beautifully as Sonic and Tails and his gliding has just the right amount of momentum without being too stiff.

Sonic and Knuckles Lock-On Features

The cartridge of Sonic and Knuckles came with a lock-on feature where you can place another Sega Mega-Drive cartridge on top of it. Depending on the cartridge you place on the slot on top of the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge, you experience a different feature.

images

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Knuckles

If you place Sonic 3 on top of the lock-on slot, you get Sonic 3 and Knuckles which is basically the completed Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Not only can you play all of the stages from Sonic 3 and all of the stages from Sonic and Knuckles in a single play-through, but the save feature comes back as well as Tails and Knuckles as playable characters. So not only can you use Knuckles to explore the sections of the Sonic 3 stages that you couldn’t get to before, but you can use Tails’ flight capabilities to further explore the Sonic and Knuckles stages.

images-3images-5

If you manage to collect all of the Chaos Emeralds before you reach Mushroom Hill Zone, you can enter the Sonic and Knuckles special stages to collect the Super Emeralds. You lose the ability to transform into your super form while searching for the Super Emeralds, but collecting all seven Super Emeralds will grant each character a new bonus.

images-4

 

Collecting all of the Super Emeralds with Sonic will allow him to become Hyper Sonic, which is an even better version of Super Sonic. Hyper Sonic can not only run much faster, he also cannot drown underwater and he has a double jump that kills everything on screen.

DownloadedFile-13

After Knuckles collects all of the Super Emeralds, he becomes Hyper Knuckles. Hyper Knuckles can run faster, climb walls faster and glides faster. If he manages to glide into the wall from a distance, the resulting collision will kill every enemy on the screen.

images-6

Tails does not have a super form when he collects all of the Chaos Emeralds, but he can transform when he collects all of the Super Emeralds…and he is incredibly broken. Not only can Tails run and fly faster, but he also has an army of super flickies, which are birds that can damage anything on the screen. This puts all bosses at your mercy.

DownloadedFile-8

Knuckles in Sonic the Hedgehog 2

If you connect Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to the lock-on slot, you can play through Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with Knuckles, who controls exactly like he did in Sonic 3.

DownloadedFile-14

If you connect any other Sega Mega-Drive cartridge, you can play different variations of the blue sphere special stages. But this is only if you want to kill some time by practicing at this particular special stage.

Final Thoughts

I am going to make my opinion on this game as simple as I can…Sonic 3 and Knuckles is my absolute favourite Sonic the Hedgehog game of all time. I don’t mean to say that all of the future games are bad, it is just that out of all of the Sonic games I have played this is the one that I have the most fun with. The elemantal shields are awesome and the new playable characters manage to bring something different without completely changing the gameplay mechanics. The level design is the best that I have seen out of any Sonic game. They are really big but not in the sense that they take forever to complete and each time I play through each of the levels, I always find something new whether it’s a different pathway to complete the stage or some awesome hidden goodies.

I highly recommend this Sonic the Hedgehog game to everybody, although I recommend that you play Sonic 3 and Knuckles as it is the true version of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. There’s nothing wrong with playing Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles separately, I just think that you will get the most enjoyment out of playing the two games together. You can unlock it on the Sonic Mega Collection for Gamecube, Playstation 2 and Xbox or if you want to be more up-to-date, you can get both halves of the games on the Nintendo Wii’s virtual console and you have the option to play the two games together. Heck you can still buy the original Sega Mega-Drive cartridges if you are really feeling nostalgic (like I am). This is not only my favourite Sonic the Hedgehog game ever made, but it is one of my favourite games of all time.

Before I give the final rating and before I wrap up the marathon for good, I just want to talk about the classic Sonic series in general. This series is one of my defining examples as a timeless video game series. Each game manages to improve the formula more and more and that’s what I classify as a good video game series. It is true that I properly got into the Sonic franchise with Sonic Heroes, but over time, I grew to love the classic series of games more and more which is not exactly what I can say for other Sonic games. I can definitely recommend this series to anybody who wants to get into the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Buy and play these games whenever you have the chance. You won’t regret it.

Final rating: 10/10

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s