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  • :: General Info ::
    Title (Japan)
       Sonic & Knuckles
    Title (USA)
       Sonic & Knuckles
    Title (Europe)
       Sonic & Knuckles
    Developer
       Sonic Team
       Sega Technical Institute
    Platform
       Sega Mega Drive
    Format
       16M cartridge
    Genre
       Platformer

    :: Release Info ::
    :: Mega Drive Version ::
    Japan
       October 18, 1994
    USA
       October 18, 1994
    Europe
       November, 1994

    :: PC Version ::
    Japan
       February 14, 1997
    USA
       March 20, 1997
    Europe
       March 20, 1997

    :: Game Credits ::
    Executive Producer
       Hayao Nakayama
    Project Manager
       Hisashi Suzuki
       Shinobu Toyoda
       Masaharu Yoshii
    Producer
       Yuji Naka
    Director
       Hirokazu Yasuhara
    Lead Game Designer
       Hirokazu Yasuhara
    Senior Game Designers
       Hisashi Yoshida
       Takashi Iizuka
    Lead Programmer
       Yuji Naka
    Senior Programmers
       Takahiro Hamano
       Masanobu Yamamoto
    Character Designer
       Takashi Yuda
    CG Artist
       Kunitake Aoki
    Enemy Artist
       Satoshi Yokokawa
    Scene Artists
       Kunitake Aoki
       Chie Yoshida
       Tsuneko Aoki
       Shigeru Okada
       Takashi Yuda
       Satoshi Yokokawa
    Art Assistant
       Osamu Ohashi
    Music Composer
       Howard Drossin
    SEGA Sound Team
       Tokuhiko Uwabo
       Sachio Ogawa
       "Milpo"
       Masaru Setsumaru
       Tatsuyuki Maeda
       Tomonori Sawada
       Masayuki Nagao
       Jun Senoue

    :: Platforms ::
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       Sonic & Knuckles
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       Sonic Mega Collection
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       Sonic Mega Collection Plus
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       Sonic Mega Collection Plus
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       Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection
    Sony PlayStation 3
       Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection
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       Virtual Console

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       Sonic & Knuckles Collection
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    Sonic & Knuckles
    Last update: 05/20/07

    :: Quick Jump ::
       [Story | Gameplay Info | Comparison | Lost in Translation | Codes | Behind the Screens | Notes | Miscellanea]


    :: Story ::
       Having had its relaunch interrupted by the efforts of Sonic and Tails (the events of Sonic 3), the Death Egg plummets back down onto the mysterious island from whence it came. The enormous aerial base crash lands, conveniently enough, on the peak of an active volcano. Sonic and Tails, meanwhile, land safely in a lush mushroom forest deep in the island's interior. Shortly after his descent to terra firma, Sonic notices the island's guardian and all-purpose troublemaker, Knuckles the Echidna, sneak out of a hidden thicket. Curiosity piqued, Sonic investigates the thicket and finds a giant, multi-colored Super Ring. He leaps in and finds himself whisked away to a massive underground cavern. In the center of the cavern lies an intricately detailed and remarkably well-preserved ruin: the Chaos Emerald altar. In the middle of the altar lies a humongous green jewel - none other than the Master Emerald, the legendary "stone of power" that destroyed the echidna civilization. As Sonic gazes in awe at the beautiful gem, the seven Chaos Emeralds are whisked from his grasp by an unseen force. The Emeralds oscillate violently in midair and, with a blinding flash, return to their pedestals around the Master Emerald.

       The relentless Dr. Eggman, meanwhile, has once again evaded fate and is pleased to discover that the Death Egg is not too badly damaged. He has plans for one last ditch effort to get the machine back into operation, and that fabled Master Emerald should do the trick...

       Knuckles, whose game seems to take place entirely after the events of Sonic's, is left with the task of rescuing the recovered Master Emerald from the relentless pursuit of a rogue Eggrobo (or perhaps several Eggrobos).


    :: Gameplay Info ::
       A bizarre analogy replaces the usual off-kilter advice on the game's cover: "Sonic races through the green fields. The sun races through a blue sky filled with white clouds. The ways of his heart are much like the sun. Sonic runs and rests; the sun rises and sets. Don't give up on the sun. Don't make the sun laugh at you." Make of that what you will.

       Sonic & Knuckles uses the exact same engine as Sonic 3 (it is, essentially, an extension of that game), so for a description of the basic mechanics, Spin Dash your merry little way over there. S&K relies on a "locked-on" Sonic 3 cartridge for most of its best features, so when playing bare, the game is short and straightforward. Tails is nowhere to be seen, but Knuckles is, at last, fully playable.



    Sonic the Hedgehog -- Runs slightly faster and jumps slightly higher than Knuckles. Sonic can use the W spin attack and all the special attacks associated with Barriers. His game is longer, but altogether easier than the course travelled by his red rival.
    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 -- 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 (回転) -- 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 (回転ジャンプ) -- 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 (スーパースピンダッシュ) -- 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 (W回転アタック) -- 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.
    n/a
    fireball dash (火の玉ダッシュ) -- With a Flame Barrier equipped, jump into the air and tap any of the action buttons to shoot forward with a flaming midair dash.
    n/a
    continuous bound (連続バウンド) -- With an Aqua Barrier equipped, jump into the air and tap any of the action buttons to have Sonic bound straight back into the ground. This attack can be chained, turning Sonic into a spinning blue basketball.
    n/a
    2 step jump (2段ジャンプ) -- With a Thunder Barrier equipped, jump into the air and tap any of the action buttons for a second midair leap.

    Knuckles the Echidna -- Newcomer Knuckles is slower than Sonic and doesn't jump as high, but he can glide, climb, and punch through barriers Sonic would not be able to cross. Knuckles' game is shorter, but significantly more difficult than Sonic's.
    walk -- Knuckles' basic movement. Push left or right on the D-pad to initiate Knuckles' movement in either direction. As you hold the button down, Knuckles gains speed.
    run -- Begin walking and hold down the button to make Knuckles gain speed. After a few seconds, he'll break into a run.
    screech -- While running, quickly press and hold the opposite direction on the D-pad to make Knuckles 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 Knuckles gaze to the heavens. As you hold up, the camera pans upward, giving you a view of Knuckles' overhead surroundings.
    crouch -- While standing still, press down on the D-pad to make Knuckles duck. As you hold down, the camera pans downward, giving you a view of the stage beneath where Knuckles stands.
    spin (回転) -- While moving, press down on the D-pad to make Knuckles curl into a rolling attack. He'll remain in this position until you jump or slow down. The speed of Knuckles' movement while in spin form is based on how fast you're moving when you launch it, and also on the terrain Knuckles rolls along.
    spin jump (回転ジャンプ) -- Press A, B, or C at any time to make Knuckles 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 Knuckles push it along the ground.
    Super Spin Dash (スーパースピンダッシュ) -- While crouching, tap any of the jump buttons to have Knuckles 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.
    glide -- Jump and press any of the action buttons while in midair to have Knuckles glide slowly to the earth, extending the horizontal distance he would cover with a normal jump. The glide can also be used as an attack to destroy enemies.
    climb -- Glide into a wall to have Knuckles latch on. Press up or down on the D-pad to scale the surface, and jump to let go.

       The item roster is the same as Sonic 3's, minus Bobbins.

    Ring (リング) -- As long as Sonic has some of these, he won't lose a life if he takes damage. You get an extra life for every 100 you collect, and each one is worth 100 points at the end-of-level bonus.
    Item Box (アイテムボックス) -- In each stage, you'll find a number of these power-up bearing monitors. Pop them open with a spin to procure one of eight power-ups:
  • Big 10 Ring (ビッグ10リング) - Worth 10 Rings
  • Flame Barrier (フレイムバリア) - Protects against 1 hit, deflects projectiles, negates fire damage, and allows Sonic to perform the Hi no Tama Dash.
  • Aqua Barrier (アクアバリア) - Protects against 1 hit, deflects projectiles, and allows Sonic to perform the Renzoku Bound
  • Thunder Barrier (サンダーバリア) - Protects against 1 hit, deflects projectiles, negates electrical damage, magnetically attracts nearby Rings, and allows Sonic to perform the 2 Dan Jump.
  • High Speed (ハイスピード) - Temporary speed increase
  • Muteki (無敵) - Temporary invincibility
  • 1up - Gives Sonic an extra chance
  • Eggman mark - Inflicts damage
  • Point Marker (ポイントマーカー) -- These hold your place in a stage: should you lose a life, you'll start back at the last Point Marker you crossed. Cross one with at least 20 Rings on hand and a circle of sparkles will briefly appear above the post. Jump in to be warped to the Slot Machine or Rolling Jump bonus stage.
    spring -- Leap onto the broad side to catapult Sonic into the air. The yellow ones send him flying a short distance and the more powerful red ones send him farther.
    spikes -- Don't touch the pointy side, stupid. They're usually found in sets of four, but that's not a steadfast rule. Sometimes they're just lying out in the open, and sometimes they pop in and out of the ground (or the ceiling, or the walls).
    switch -- Jump on the button to cause a change in the nearby scenery, usually necessary to proceed.
    Special Ring (スペシャルリング) -- Giant Special Rings are hidden like Easter eggs in the nooks and crannies of each stage. Find one and leap into it to be warped to the Special Stage. Once a Special Ring has been used, it won't reappear until you've completed the game. Once all 7 Chaos Emeralds have been collected, Special Rings are worth 50 Rings each.
    bonus plate -- These mark the end of each first Act. After the sub-boss is defeated, the plate falls from the heavens and can be bounced through the air for 100 points a smack. If it lands on an invisible "hotspot", it'll produce an Item Box at the point of impact.
    capsule -- These mark the end of each second Act. After Eggman is defeated, proceed to the capsule and press the bright-ass yellow button on top to destroy the machine and free the helpless animals trapped within.

       Eggman seems to be running out of ideas for his animal-themed line of baddies and has broadened the scope of source material by including rocks and assorted mechanical doo-dads. Still worth 100 points each, though.

    Tonbar (トンバー) -- Dragonfly bots that hover up and down. They can only be damaged on their heads - venture a poke anywhere else and you'll find yourself bereft of Rings. ("Tonbo" is Japanese for dragonfly.)
    Tefu-tefu (テフテフ) -- Butterfly bots that flutter delicately through the air, slowly spiralling in on Sonic/Knuckles. ("Tefu-tefu" is Japanese onomatopoeia for a fluttering noise.)
    Hidden (ヒドゥン) -- Springy sphere bots that hop around covered with a mushroom cap. Bop them once to knock their headgear away and make them vulnerable to attack.
    Mogu-mogu (モグモグ) -- Mole bots that pop in and out of holes in the ground to chuck mushrooms at invading corporate mascots. The mushrooms don't inflict damage, but knock their unfortunate victim back, potentially into other hazards. ("Mogura" is Japanese for mole.)
    Kekko (ケッコー) -- Stationary windvane rooster bots that periodically inhale deeply, then release with a gust of wind. The gust doesn't inflict damage, but can blow Sonic/Knuckles into nearby obstacles. ("Kekko" is Japanese for cluck.)
    Chu-chu (チューチュー) -- Mouse bots that scutter along the floors/walls/ceiling. ("Chu-chu" is Japanese for squeak.)
    Pon-pon (ポンポン) -- Rolling beetle bots that fire flashing projectiles from their cannon-like snouts.
    Scorp (スコープ) -- Scorpion bots that roll along the ground, occasionally pausing to whip out their probing stingers at nearby hedgehogs. It's a very difficult attack to avoid.
    Nal (ナール) -- Giant caterpillar bots that swim around in quicksand and only occasionally leap out to attack. Like Sonic 1's original Nal bots, they can only be damaged on their spike-free noggins.
    Rock'n (ロックン) -- These heavily guarded bots charade as plain rocks until you get close enough. They're incapable of inflicting damage, but can push Sonic/Knuckles around. Rolling into them is the only way to destroy them.
    Hyudoro (ヒュードロ) -- These ghosts inhabit the pyramids of Sandopolis. They hover harmlessly in the air until the lights go out, then attack en masse. They can be momentarily scared away with a spin, but only turning on the lights will curb their assault. ("Hyuudoro" is the sort of noise a ghost would make.)
    Mamba (マンバー) -- Fiery caterpillar-esque bots more or less identical to Sonic 3's Meramora. Only their heads are vulnerable.
    Iwamodoki (イワモドキ) -- Self-destructing bots that charade as plain stones until approached, then blow themselves up into a rocky shower. They can't be destroyed, only avoided, but you still get 100 points when they explode.
    Puwazone (プワゾーン) -- Bizarre eye bots that release little clouds of vapor. Step into a cloud and it slows your character down almost to a halt, syphoning Rings out one at a time. Jump or Spin Dash to brush away the cloud.
    Eggrobo (エッグロボ) -- Eggman-shaped robots that fly down from the heavens and fire laser blasts at approaching hedgehogs. When playing as Knuckles, these guys usually take Eggman's place in the boss fights.
    Guardy (ガーディ) -- These bots hover slowly through the air, but halt to fling a spiked mace as soon as Sonic approaches. They'll repeat the attack constantly until destroyed.
    Crow (クロウ) -- These bots zip by and pause briefly to prod Sonic with one of their pointy spear tips. They're difficult to hit.

       There are only 5 full-blown Zones this time, and cut that number down to 4 if you're playing as Knuckles. Each character can access areas the other can't - level structure and events change accordingly. Knuckles has an altogether tougher time, especially at boss fights, but Sonic alone can access the dreaded Death Egg and final battle. As usual, sub-bosses are defeated in 6 hits while Eggman's boss contraptions take 8. Both dish out a 1,000 point bonus upon defeat.

    Mushroom Hill Zone -- The lush forests of Angel Island are rife with assorted fungi of all shapes and sizes. Larger shrooms can be used as trampolines or parachutes. Press down on the D-pad to crawl your way up the rather annoying pump elevators and Spin Dash to break free of sticky vines. As you progress through Act 2, notice the seasons (read: color scheme) change.

    Hey Ho (ヘイ・ホウ) -- The woodcutter bot... cuts wood. The machine starts at the top of a tree and chops his way down, sending segments of timber flying straight through the air or bouncing along the ground. When he gets to the last bit of trunk, the Hey Ho's attack changes depending on which character you're playing: if you're Sonic, the machine gets his hatchet stuck and ends up flying back across the screen. He promptly recovers, gives up on the remaining trunk, and moves forward to another tree. If you're Knuckles, the Hey Ho succeeds in cutting the last block, but loses his head in the process. His head flies across the screen, then jets itself back to its owner. The Hey Ho further harasses Knuckles by flying down to attack before moving on to the next tree.

    Jet Mobile (ジェットモービル) -- When you come across a peculiar satellite transmitting to some unknown source, bust the machine with a spin and Eggman (or Eggrobo if you're Knuckles) will emerge from the wreckage and begin his escape through the forest. Chase him down through a series of arches strung with damage-inflicting mace chains. Eggman has no attacks, so the only challenge is to keep moving and attack while avoiding the maces. 8 hits later and Eggman smashes into a tree, but quickly recovers and escapes to his aerial fortress, which is conveniently flying low enough to jump onto.

    Flying Battery Zone -- The biggest danger in Eggman's flying fortress are the corkscrew elevators, which tend to be placed so that a slightly mis-timed Spin Dash will result in squish doom. Capsules can contain Rings, enemies, happy animals, or the sub-boss. When you're outside and the path appears to be blocked, just wait for the very poorly-guided missiles to fall into the floor and bust a way through. Finally, despite their similarities to Sonic 2's Grabber enemies, the mecha spiders here are good and will carry you across large gaps.

    Gapsule (ガプセル) -- This menacing machine awakens as soon as you jump on the yellow button on his head. The Gapsule is incapable of moving, but his flail-like arms can reach anywhere in the arena, and he would just love to smash you to pieces. When his eyes flash, he's homed in on your exact position and will promptly swing - so move out of the way fast, preferably with a Spin Dash. Fortunately, Eggman didn't spend too much on AI development for this particular contraption, and the Gapsule will smack itself upside the head if you happen to be standing on top when he swings. This is what you want to do, because there is no other way to damage him.

    Hang Mobile (ハングモービル) -- Toward the end of Act 2, Eggman traps you in an arena with a moving laser blaster on the ceiling, very similar to the Wing Fortress boss from Sonic 2. The blaster chases you down while warming up, but pauses before unleashing the blast, giving you just enough time to run out of the way. With each blast, however, the width of the arena is shortened. You can jump and attack the blaster as much as you like, but it can't be destroyed. All you can do here is avoid the laser and wait for the overpowered blaster to destroy the whole stinking ship, then chase Eggman to an exterior platform. Eggman latches onto the platform from below and crawls along, spouting flame from the top of the pod everytime you play Jack-be-nimble and attempt to jump over. After a while, he'll swing upward four times - this is your only chance to attack. When playing as Knuckles, Eggman constantly spouts puffs of flame (regardless of whether or not you attempt a jump) and only swings upward twice in a row. Destroy Eggman's mobile and escape the plumetting fortress to land safely in...

    Sandopolis Zone -- ...the warm sands of Sandopolis, a Saharan-esque desert complete with pyramids and Egyptian-style ruins. You can leap your way up quicksand falls, and don't be afraid to fall through quicksand pools, as there's usually hidden goodies beneath. Act 2 takes places entirely in a giant pyramid. It's dark and spooky when you wander in, but you can turn on the lights by pulling switches. Those ancient light fixtures are a bit dodgy, though, and the pyramid will slowly darken until you pull another switch. This has no direct bearing on your travels until you've freed the Hyuudoro ghost enemies from their capsule - when the lights are out, the ghosts get aggressive and will attack Sonic until you turn the lights back on. (Note that when playing as Knuckles, the ghosts have already been freed and you've got their antics to deal with from square one.) This Zone is long and grueling... keep an eye on the timer.

    Guardian (ガーディアン) -- The stone golem, like all the other sub-bosses so far, looks mean but is incredibly stupid. The rock monster jumps toward your character, one slow leap at a time. You can temporarily knock him out by hitting his head, but he'll pull himself back together and be none the worse for wear. You will note, however, that there is a pool of quicksand all the way on the left end of the arena. The object is to lure the Guardian to the pool and have him hop right in. He will sink like, well, a rock. Golem.

    Egg Golem (エッグゴーレム) -- Eggman's latest contraption is encased in a sphinx-like shell. The machine trudges forward, firing laser blasts from its eye - if you let the machine chase you all the way to the edge of the screen, it will crush you like the small woodland creature you are. The object is to leap onto the Golem's hands and jump into its face, which will cause the brick armor to momentarily fly away, leaving Eggman vulnerable to attack. The window of opportunity is brief, however, for the ghostly bricks will return and reform the sphinx armor in just a few seconds. Crush the Golem and head even deeper into Angel Island's interior.

    Lava Reef Zone -- The interior caverns of Angel Island are rocky and quite toasty. It goes without saying that flowing magma is painful to the touch and should be avoided. Spin Dash on the wheel elevators to raise or lower them, and stand on protruding stones to spring upward. At the beginning of Act 1, you'll encounter the Gakiin drill bot from Sonic 3. It can't be destroyed, but it will (inadvertently) open the path for you. Things cool down a bit in Act 2, but avoid the sweeping flamethrowers.

    Heat Arms (ヒートアームズ) -- A giant, three-fingered hand reaches from the depths and attempts to squash you like a bug. The hand will pause just before attempting the blow, so get out of the way, but be sure to get back in time to land a hit before the freaky phalanges release their grip on the dirt and return to the abyss. Inbetween rounds of patty-cake, a pair of testicular orbs will arise from the darkness and wiggle in the air, each firing off a set of three flashing projectiles. The hand and both orbs must be destroyed before you can proceed. The hand takes 6 hits, the orbs take 4 each.

    Hot Mobile (ホットモービル) -- Sonic alone must face this boss... Knuckles waltzes right through the end of this stage scott free (no capsule or anything). As you approach the site of the fallen Death Egg, Eggman launches a surprise attack, tearing up the platforms around you with missiles. Avoid the blasts and keep moving until you reach the magma falls. Proceed downward to the magma pool and Eggman pops up from the lava in a spiky, well-armored submarine. As soon as he emerges, the entire pool slopes downward toward his invincible machine, and whatever platform you're on slides directly into the sub and shatters. More platforms slide in from off-screen, so keep hopping and for the love of goodness, don't touch the lava. While you're performing your boiling ballet, Eggman attempts to disrupt your groove by firing off large landmines. The mines slide down the surface of the magma along with the platforms, and eventually return to the sub from whence they came - inflicting damage in the process. In short, your only challenge is to avoid the mines and hop platforms. Eggman eventually defeats himself with his own mines. The Hot Mobile is fairly sturdy, and takes 14 hits. (Note that a Flame Barrier makes this boss substantially easier.)

    Hidden Palace Zone -- This ancient underground ruin houses the legendary Master Emerald. The stage is short and straightforward - no enemies, only some spikes and springs. Hop onto the glowing orbs to be warped upward. Eventually you'll reach a room with a mural depicting Eggman's conquest for the Master Emerald. In this chamber, longtime antagonist Knuckles finally confronts Sonic to duke it out. When playing as Knuckles, the stage is even shorter... just some tiered steps followed by an orb that warps you directly to Sky Sanctuary (and Knuckles' final boss battle).

    Knuckles the Echidna -- Knuckles fights with all his basic maneuvers: Spin Dash, spin jump, and a glide attack. He'll guard if you try to attack him from directly in front, so jump on him, Spin Dash him from behind, or knock him out of mid-glide from below. 8 smacks later and the red rival is out for the count. Immediately following his defeat, Knuckles is roused by some ruckus further in the chamber. He rushes to the Emerald altar directly ahead and is shocked to see the good Dr. Eggman making off with the Master Emerald. Knuckles latches on to the sacred stone in a very quaint attempt to drag it out of Eggman's grasp, but is electrocuted off by a pair of probing mechanical tentacles from Eggman's mobile. Eggman makes his escape just as Knuckles recovers from the shock, but now it's clear to the hard-headed echidna who the real villain is. Knuckles makes up for his stupidity by showing Sonic a hidden room with a teleportation orb that takes him directly to...

    Sky Sanctuary Zone -- Sonic and Knuckles arrive in the crumbling aerial ruins just in time to see the Death Egg lift off. Knuckles is too pooped from his recent battles to give chase, but he opens the path for Sonic, who must pursue the aerial battleship before it gets too high to reach. The Zone has only one Act, but it's fairly lengthy, and an upgraded blue Mecha Sonic (presumably the same as the one from Sonic 2) harasses you throughout. (When playing as Knuckles, this stage consists of the final boss battle and nothing more.)

    Sub-boss 1: - Mecha Sonic first attacks in a flail-swinging Egg Mobile reminiscent of the Green Hill Zone boss from Sonic 1. He takes a full set of 8 hits before retreating.

    Sub-boss 2: - Mecha Sonic's second assault borrows the Flying Eggman boss from Sonic 2's Metropolis Zone. Once again, a full set of 8 hits is required for sending him along home.

    Mecha Sonic (メカソニック) -- The robo rogue drops the Egg Mobile and faces Sonic/Knuckles head-on for the final encounter. Despite his rather edgy new appearance, though, his attacks are mostly unchanged from Sonic 2. He dashes from one side of the screen to the other, either in upright pose or in a spiky spin attack. He'll interrupt his attack pattern at random with a new backwards dash. He can only be damaged from the front and only when he's upright. 8 spins later and he collapses, allowing Sonic to move on to the Death Egg Zone. Knuckles, however, gets one more curve ball...

    Mecha Sonic round 2 -- The fallen Mecha Sonic dashes over to the Master Emerald and absorbs its power, allowing him to transform into an invincible Super form. While under the influence of Master Emerald power, Mecha flies through the air and attacks by dashing down at the hapless echidna below. Occasionally he pauses to unleash a condescending belly laugh along with a trio of glowing orbs. This attack seems to drain his super strength, causing him to transform back into normal blue Mecha Sonic. He immediately spins toward the Master Emerald to replenish his energy. As he leaps onto the jewel, there's a brief window of opportunity to land an attack (or two if you're quick). After taking 6 hits, Mecha starts running out of gas, and even in Super form his attack pattern becomes more limited. He hovers slowly through the air, occasionally pausing to unleash a burst of shrapnel. After every couple of bursts, he momentarily loses super strength and dips toward the ground in normal blue form, offering another brief window for attack. 2 more hits (for a total of 8) and Mecha Sonic explodes with the rest of the crumbling ruins. This is the end of Knuckles' game.

    Death Egg Zone -- Eggman's gigantic aerial fortress is stocked with electric traps and some particularly nasty enemies. Stand on either end of teetering bridges to tilt them upward and open the path, but move fast because once they've tilted too far, they collapse. Toward the end of Act 1, Sonic gets pulled into a vacuum chamber for a game of sideways pinball. To open the gate and proceed, you must push all 6 buttons (3 on either side) of the bobbing platform in the center of the board. In Act 2, the gravity frequently reverses, so you'll be trodding along the ceiling as often as the floor. (Note that while Knuckles doesn't play this stage in the normal game, it's possible to get him here with the level select code.)

    Red Eye (レッドアイ) -- The Red Eye begins its assault stuck in a large column. 8 metallic orbs rotate around the column, guarding the eye. The orbs, however, periodically drop from their position and sweep the floor, leaving the eye vulnerable. Each time the eye takes damage, a single orb floats into the air and explodes into a burst of spikes. Once the eye is out of orbs (ie, 8 hits), it breaks free from the column and floats around in the air, orbited by a pair of platforms with spiky undersides. The eye won't do much to attack until it's been hit, then it flashes red and sweeps the ground with a large laser. During this phase, the platforms whip around the machine at high speed, so they're impossible to land on, but if you already happen to be standing on one, stay put and you'll be impervious to the laser attack. 8 more hits and the Eye is poked.

    Death Ball (デスボール) -- The Death Ball doesn't have much in the way of offense, but due to the rotating shield bumpers that crawl along its surface, it's utterly impossible to hit. The Ball hovers slowly around the arena, and occasionally opens up its bottom to drop a rolling bomb. The bombs trod along the ground for a while and eventually explode into a trio of spikes. The Death Ball is impossible to hit with a normal spin, but it's possible to send the rolling bombs back up into the machine by stepping into one of the anti-gravity chutes on either end of the arena. As the gravity reverses, the bombs fly upward, and if you time your maneuver right, a bomb or two should land right smack into the vulnerable underside of the Death Ball. If your timing is off, the upside-down bombs can still be sent flying with a rolling attack. 8 hits later and the Ball is toast, opening the way to the real boss.

    Kyodai Eggman Robo (巨大エッグマンロボ) -- Eggman's ultimate final mech, like the one from Sonic 2, is designed in his own glorious image, except this one is much, much bigger. The Doc begins his assault by simply trying to smush Sonic into hedgehog jelly with his two gigantic robot hands. Each hand has 3 fingers and each finger takes 3 hits. Once all the offending digits have been destroyed, the machine repositions itself on the left side of the arena, and chases Sonic down the platform. Occasionally he'll unleash a puff of flaming snot vapors from his nose... the flames sweep the ground and are easily jumped over. Venture a spin anywhere on Eggman's head and he'll open up his massive maw, revealing the Master Emerald within. Once exposed, the Emerald charges up for a huge laser blast that is extremely difficult to avoid, but the brief charging phase is your only opportunity to land a hit (careful not to fall over the edge). Manage 8 hits on the Emerald chamber and the Eggman Robo crumbles, but Eggman himself escapes in his Egg Mobile... with the Master Emerald in tow. The last line of business is to chase the escaping Eggman along the crumbling platform. It sounds easy, but it's a tricky business to spin the Doc without knocking yourself back over the edge. 8 hits later and Eggman drops the Emerald, but still manages to escape. If you have any less than all 7 Chaos Emeralds, the game ends here and you get the bad ending. If you do have all 7 Emeralds, however, Sonic transforms into Super Sonic and proceeds to...

    The Doomsday Zone -- This stage is only accessible if you collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds then beat the Death Egg Zone. Eggman is escaping through the stars with the Master Emerald, and he's picked a lovely meteor shower to cover his trail. Only Super Sonic is up to the task of space travel, but as usual, his Ring count starts at 50 and constantly depletes. Make sure to keep the Rings flowing in, because if the count hits 0 and you transform back into normal blue Sonic, you lose a life and start the whole stage over.

    Use the D-pad to maneuver Super Sonic up and down, and press any of the action buttons to shoot forward with a small burst of speed. Grab as many Rings as possible (there's plenty if you know where they are), but avoid the meteors, which slow your progress. Eggman fires missiles at Sonic, and while they obviously don't inflict damage, they will temporarily stun him which can be crippling when you need to keep Rings flowing through. After a short while, the meteor shower ends and you'll catch up with Eggman's space vessel. The machine fires flashing projectiles and homing lasers - either one will stun Sonic, and since they tend to hit in rapid succession, even a single hit can blow the fight. The object is to maneuver the homing missiles so they fly right back into the Eggman Robo's face. 8 hits and the shuttle falls into oblivion, but the relentless Eggman escapes once more in the old Eggman Robo (the one from Sonic 2). He's still greedily clutching the Master Emerald, and flies into another meteor shower firing fat bombs and tiny mines at the rampaging hedgehog behind him. All you have to do here is fly smack into the machine with your raging Super Sonic self. You'll be knocked back to the edge of the screen after each hit, but that's the only damage you can expect to take. 8 more hits and Eggman's number is (finally) up. Grab the Master Emerald and enjoy the good ending.

       Like Sonic 3, the giant Special Rings are hidden like Easter eggs in the nooks and crannies of each stage. Locate one and hop in to warp to the Special Stage. The Special Stages, like the rest of the game, are based on the Sonic 3 engine, so for a detailed synopsis of that, head over thataway. New to the mix are Yellow Balls, a simple addition that adds a whole new dynamic to the already difficult bonus game.

    Blue Ball (ブルーボール) -- Tag all of these to complete the stage. Once a Blue Ball has been tagged, it turns into a Red Ball. When you encircle any cluster of Blue Balls by tagging only the balls on the outer edge, the whole cluster transforms into Rings.
    Red Ball (レッドボール) -- Touch one of these to be expelled from the Special Stage like that two-week-old chicken leg in the back of the fridge you thought was still good.
    Yellow Ball (イエローボール) -- Touch one of these to spring forward 5 squares on the grid. They're usually necessary to proceed, but tread with caution.
    Bumper Ball (バンパーボール) -- Touch one of these to be bumped backwards. Can be extremely dangerous at high speeds, but they're occasionally a necessary evil.
    Ring (リング) -- Collect 50 Rings in the Special Stage to earn a continue, worth a full set of 3 lives. Collect all the Rings in a Special Stage (including those revealed by encircling Blue Ball clusters) to earn a 50,000 point "Perfect" bonus. Even if you miss the Perfect bonus, each Ring is worth 100 points in the tally.
    Chaos Emerald (カオスエメラルド) -- Successfully clear the board of Blue Balls to earn a coveted Chaos Emerald. Collect all 7 Emeralds to earn the ability to transform into Super Sonic or Super Knuckles.

       As always, collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds to earn Super Sonic rights. Collect 50 Rings in any stage, then jump into the air and tap any action button to transform into Super Sonic. Super Sonic is invincible to all damage except getting smashed, falling off the screen, or drowning. His speed is increased and his jump is heightened, but he can't perform the W spin attack (not that he'd need it). Note that as long as Sonic is in Super form, his Ring count is steadily depleted. If the tally hits 0, he reverts back to his normal blue form. Knuckles can also transform into Super status, but his jumping ability is not affected.

       Sonic 3's gumball Bonus Stage is gone, but has been replaced with two new, equally inconsequential bonus games. Cross a Point Marker with at least 20 Rings on hand and a colored ring of sparkles will appear above the post. If the sparkles are yellow, hop in to be warped to the Slot Machine game. If they're red, leap inside to be warped to the Rolling Jump game.

    • Slot Machine: The slot game is played inside a large enclosure that rotates like the Sonic 1 Special Stages. In the center is a giant slot machine: hop in to test your luck for big Ring bonuses. Touch a Reverse Block to reverse the maze's rotation or let Sonic fall into one of the Goal Blocks when you want out. The border blocks of the maze change color each time you touch them, eventually transforming into Goal Blocks.
    • Rolling Jump: This game is played like vertical pinball machine. Use flippers and bumpers to send Sonic or Knuckles springing against the pull of gravity, but keep moving because a helix of orbs constantly creeps upward from below, and if you fall into the cluster the stage ends. Tag tiny glowing orbs to convert them into bubble power-ups. Big glowing orbs have their own gravitational pull. The stage ends when you fall into the creeping helix or reach the pinnacle.

       The basic story mode is short and straightforward, but observant players will notice the curious mushroom-shaped cartridge. Flip the lid on top to reveal a port which will snugly hold almost any Mega Drive cartridge in existence. Dubbed "lock-on" technology, the feature allows the oddly-shaped cartridge to interact with previously released games. Sega presumably had plans to utilize this gimmick with additional titles, but Sonic & Knuckles remains the only "lock-on" cartridge ever released. Its interactivity with most games is limited, but by slapping Sonic 2 or Sonic 3 onto the probing S&K cart, you can indeed teach an old hog new tricks.

    • Stick almost any standard Mega Drive cartridge on top of S&K and power on to access a screen featuring an off-color Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Eggman. The message "No way!" repeatedly scrolls at the top of the screen, but the condescending notice can be circumnavigated by pressing A, B, and C simultaneously. The message now changes to read "Get blue spheres!" Press A, B, or C to toggle between Sonic and Knuckles and START to access a single randomly generated Special Stage. The stage you get varies depending on what game cart you've chosen to violate. Clear the stage to get a password that can be used to access it again in the Sonic 1 & Knuckles set.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog -- Pop Sonic 1 onto S&K and you'll get the usual "No way!" screen with two key differences: the character portrait is the correct hue and a single "No way?" with question mark appears interspersed with the harsh exclamation point No way!'s. Press A, B, and C simultaneously to access a series of randomly generated Special Stages each marked with a stage number and 12-digit password. Clear one level to progress to the next, or score a Perfect to jump ahead 10 rounds. There are a total of 134,217,728 levels, though only 128,016,000 unique layouts (the stages begin repeating themselves from level 1 after that). Have fun.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 -- Slap Sonic 2 onto the S&K cart and you can access "Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2". As the title might imply, you can now play through the entirety of Sonic 2 as Knuckles, complete with his gliding and climbing abilities. The game is mostly unchanged except for an extra goody here and there, placed in the nooks and crannies Sonic and Tails couldn't have accessed two years prior. Ring quotas for completing Special Stages have been slashed, making them significantly easier. Flickies are red and Barriers are gray, presumably due to palette limitations.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 3 -- Lock Sonic 3 onto its successor and you can play the entirety of both games with the benefits of each. The changes are numerous, so here's a bullet list for convenience sake:
      • The title screen changes slightly, and features the BGM from the S&K title.
      • Sonic 3's 6 save slots are increased to 8.
      • If you start at the beginning and complete all the Sonic 3 stages, you flow straight into the S&K stages. (If you've already got completed Sonic 3 save data, your save will be converted and you'll start at Mushroom Hill with all your previously collected Chaos Emeralds.)
      • Knuckles can now play all 6 Zones from Sonic 3 and Tails can proceed to the new S&K Zones.
      • Object placement in Sonic 3 is slightly altered so that it's a bit more well-balanced.
      • Sonic and Tails no longer fight the Big Arm at the end of Launch Base.
      • A number of the in-game BGM tracks and jingles change, including invincibility, 1up, sub-boss fights, and Knuckles' theme.
      • All three bonus games can appear at Point Markers... the one you get depends on how many Rings you have. 20-49 Rings will access the Slot Machine or Rolling Jump game at random. 50 or over accesses Sonic 3's gumball machine bonus.
      • Once you've got all 7 Chaos Emeralds, the Special Rings begin flashing multiple colors. Jump into one and you'll find your character at the Master Emerald altar. You'll lose the Chaos Emeralds (and your ability to transform into Super status), but you'll earn the chance to play through the S&K Special Stages to win Super Emeralds. Collect all 7 Super Emeralds and beat the game to get the perfect ending. Also, if you're playing as Sonic or Knuckles, collect 50 Rings, then jump into the air and press one of the action buttons to transform into Hyper mode. Hyper mode is similar to Super mode, except that a trail of ghost images follows your rapidly flashing character. Hyper Sonic can perform a mid-air dash that destroys all enemies on screen (tap A, B, or C in midair after a jump) while Hyper Knuckles can clear the field with his basic climb attack - as soon as he latches onto the wall, he triggers an earthquake that pops all the local baddies. Tails, meanwhile, finally earns the ability to transform into Super Tails, complete with speed upgrade and a foursome of super-powered Flickies that automatically charge at any enemies on screen (including bosses).
      • Some of the Sonic 3 bosses attack differently when playing as Knuckles:
        • Fire Breath (Angel Island sub-boss) -- In addition to the normal puff of flame, the Fire Breath also launches a trio of missiles that fall from the sky each round.
        • Flame Mobile (Angel Island boss) -- The Flame Mobile spouts more sweeping flame and at a much faster pace than in Sonic/Tails' game.
        • Screw Mobile (Hydrocity boss) -- Eggrobo can whip up a waterspout without actually having to lower the machine to the water's surface.
        • Gakin (Marble Garden sub-boss) -- Knuckles has the added inconvenience of a rotating spiked column that bobs back and forth around the arena as he's trying to fight Gakin.
        • Drill Mobile (Marble Garden boss) -- This boss has changed completely to the point that it's not even really the Drill Mobile. The Eggrobo attacks by slinging a pair of spiked chains at an angle through the ground and ceiling. He then proceeds to trail down the chains and coil them. The object is to avoid the spikes, but position yourself so you'll be able to land a hit when he's coiling.
        • Freezer Mobile (Icecap boss) -- The platform underneath the Freezer Mobile now bobs up and down constantly, and the puffs of frigid air occur much more frequently.
        • Graviton Mobile (Carnival Night boss) -- No boss at all here. Knuckles runs straight through to the capsule.
        • Twin Hammer (Launch Base sub-boss) -- Knuckles gets to fight two of these tricky machines at once. Each takes a full 6 hits.
        • Launch Base Zone bosses -- Knuckles gets to skip the Ball Shooter entirely, but he still has to fight the Beam Rocket and Big Arm. (Sonic and Tails actually get to skip the Big Arm when S&K is locked-on to Sonic 3.)

    :: Comparison ::
       A few years after the Mega Drive version, Sega released Sonic & Knuckles Collection for PC, consisting of Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and the complete locked-on Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The two versions of S&K are identical except for the music. Players are given the option to choose between FM synthesizer or MIDI BGM, most of which are based on the original Mega Drive tunes.
    :: Codes ::
    Level select: Start a normal game as Sonic or Knuckles. Grab onto one of the pump elevators in Mushroom Hill and press:
    . You should hear a Ring chime. Pause the game and press A to reset, B for slow motion, or C for pixel-by-pixel movement. Reset the game and hold down A as you choose your character to access the level select menu.

    Sonic 2 & Knuckles level select: With the Sonic 2 cartridge locked-on, input the following at the title screen:
    . You should hear a Ring chime. Now hold down A and press START to select your level.

    Sonic 2 & Knuckles debug: With the Sonic 2 cartridge locked-on, input the level select code. At the new sound test menu, play the following tracks in this order: 01, 09, 09, 04, 01, 00, 01, 08 (October 18, 1994 was S&K's release date). You should hear a Ring chime. Hold down A when selecting your Zone. Press a button to begin construction:
       A = Changes highlighted item
       B = Toggles between items and Knuckles
       C = Places highlighted item

    Sonic 2 & Knuckles all 7 Emeralds: With the Sonic 2 cartridge locked-on, input the level select code. At the new sound test menu, play the following tracks in this order: 01, 06, 07, 07, 07, 02, 01, 06. You should hear the Chaos Emerald jingle. Knuckles now has all 7 Chaos Emeralds.

    Sonic 3 & Knuckles level select: With the Sonic 3 cartridge locked-on, start a normal game as any character. Grab onto one of the swinging vines in Angel Island and press: . You should hear a Ring chime. Pause the game and press A to reset, B for slow motion, or C for pixel-by-pixel movement. Reset the game and a new "Sound Test" option will open up at the title screen. Select it for a sound test and level select menu.

    Sonic 3 & Knuckles debug: With the Sonic 3 cartridge locked-on, choose any character and input the level select code. Go to Mushroom Hill, grab onto one of the pump elevators, and press: . You should hear a Ring chime. Pause and press A to reset the game, then go to the level select menu and hold down A as you choose your Zone. Press a button to begin construction:
       A = Changes highlighted item
       B = Toggles between items and Sonic
       C = Places highlighted item

    Sonic 3 & Knuckles secret Special Stages: With the Sonic 3 cartridge locked-on, choose any character and input the debug code. At the sound test menu, play track 07, then highlight Special Stage 1 or Special Stage 2, hold down A and press START. Clear the first round to earn a Chaos Emerald and the second to procure a Super Emerald.


    :: Behind the Screens ::
       After having developed Sonic 2, 3, and S&K at Sega Technical Institute in the US, Naka and the remaining Japanese staff returned to Sega of Japan. The "Sonic Team" name was revived for the first time since Sonic 1, and the group entered what many would call their golden period, developing such creative triumphs as NiGHTS into Dreams... and Burning Rangers. Missing from the group, however, was original game director Hirokazu Yasuhara, who chose to remain with the American staff at STI, a decision apparently triggered by creative friction with Naka during the development of Sonic 3. There was some continued animosity between Sonic Team and the STI staff for several years afterward, with Naka going so far as to demand the withdrawal of the NiGHTS engine from STI's programmers during the development of Sonic X-Treme. (Following the collapse of STI in the late 90's, most of the staff - including Yasuhara - migrated over to STI founder Mark Cerny's Naughty Dog studio.)
    :: Notes ::
    Death Egg: Eggman's Death Egg is a very obvious spoof of the Death Star, a major plot element and special effects showcase for George Lucas' 1977 sci-fi epic Star Wars.


    :: Miscellanea ::
    • The designers surveyed many players to determine whether or not to reverse the "duck" and "look up" controls in the anti-gravity segments of Death Egg. Most players found it more natural to press down to crouch even when the scene was flipped, so the basic control was retained.
    • In June 1995, Archie Comic Publications released a 48-page comic titled and loosely based on Sonic & Knuckles. The special was released as a supplement to their ongoing Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series.

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