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Sonic 3 & Knuckles

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Title Screen

Sonic 3 & Knuckles

Developers: Sonic Team, Sega Technical Institute
Publisher: Sega
Platform: Genesis
Released in JP: October 28, 1994
Released in US: October 18, 1994
Released in EU: October 18, 1994
Released in AU: November 19, 1994
Released in KR: October 18, 1994


AreasIcon.png This game has unused areas.
ObjectIcon.png This game has unused objects.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
SoundIcon.png This game has unused sounds.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
SoundtestIcon.png This game has a hidden sound test.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.


BugsIcon.png This game has a bugs page

Hmmm...
To do:
Document version differences in Sonic Jam, the Sonic & Knuckles Collection, and other compilations.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles is a game that results when Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is inserted into Sonic & Knuckles by way of the "Lock-On" feature, thus creating a full 32 megabit game with an awkward title.

Sub-Page

Read about notable bugs and errors in this game.
Bugs

Level Select and Sound Test

Gensonick-stage.png

Sonic 3 & Knuckles' level select is performed similarly to that of Sonic & Knuckles: grab one of the rope swings in Angel Island Zone and press Left, Left, Left, Right, Right, Right, Up, Up, Up (or use the Pro Action Replay (PAR) code FFFFE0:0101). After the ring sound plays, press Start then A to return to the title screen.

At the title screen, "Sound Test" will be available below "Competition". This will open up the level select menu (with a sound test at the bottom-right). Press C on this menu to change your character (00 is Sonic & Tails, 01 is Sonic, 02 is Tails, and 03 is Knuckles).

When this code is enabled, you can perform three actions while the game is paused:

  • Press A to go back to the title screen.
  • Hold B to progress the game in slow motion.
  • Press C to advance one frame.

Notes about the levels:

  • Lava Reef Act 3 goes to the boss room. Debug mode is required to select this level as Knuckles.
  • Lava Reef Act 4 goes to Hidden Palace Zone. Each character goes to their respective entrance in the level.
  • Sky Sanctuary Act 1 is Sonic and Tails' version of the level and Act 2 is Knuckles'. Sonic and Tails cannot go to Knuckles' level and vice-versa.
  • Knuckles can enter Death Egg, but he cannot defeat the Act 1 boss (he cannot jump high enough to hit the boss in the first phase).
  • The Doomsday Act 2 leads to the final boss of Death Egg. If Knuckles defeats the boss, the game will reset to the SEGA screen.
  • Knuckles cannot enter either Act of The Doomsday without debug mode enabled. Tails can enter Act 2, but not Act 1.
  • If Sonic or Tails beats The Doomsday Zone, the bad ending will play if he doesn't have all the Chaos Emeralds and/or Super Emeralds.
  • If Knuckles beats The Doomsday Zone, the game will reset to the SEGA screen.
  • Bonus 1 goes to the Glowing Spheres game. Bonus 2 goes to the Slot Machine game. Finishing each stage will restart it.

Debug Mode

Bye, Sonic.

To unlock Debug Mode, enter Mushroom Hill Zone and grab one of the lifts, then press Left, Left, Left, Right, Right, Right, Up, Up, Up. A ring sound will play as a confirmation. Alternatively, use the Pro Action Replay code FFFFE2:0101. Afterward, to turn it on, go into the level select, and hold A while selecting a level.

Normal gameplay now has added debug features:

  • Press A to reverse gravity (reaching the top of the level will kill you as if you fell off a bottomless cliff).
  • Press B to enter edit mode.
  • Press B + C to rapidly cycle through all available animation frames for the current character (pause the game and use frame advance to view individual frames). Press B again to return to normal gameplay.

In edit mode:

  • The coordinates of the current object are shown by the top line of hex digits in the HUD.
  • The coordinates of the current viewport are shown by the bottom line of hex digits in the HUD.
  • Press A to cycle forwards through the object list.
  • Press A + C to cycle backwards through the object list.
  • Press B to enter normal mode.
  • Press C to place the current object shown.

You can use debug mode to enter any level a character would normally not be able to enter (see above), though in some cases this causes player sprites to become corrupted.

Entering edit mode during some parts of the game (such as the light tubes in Death Egg) will crash the game. Entering edit mode and placing an object when dying may also crash the game.

Unused Palette

Sonic3&K SSEntry Alternate.gif

Directly after the regular palette script for the S&K special stage rings is an alternate, unused palette cycle.

It seems the developers originally played around with having the ring simply glow like Super Sonic, rather than the Hyper Sonic-esque rainbow strobe effect seen in the final version.

Unused Special Stages

Two unused Special Stages from both Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles can be accessed via a hidden cheat code. First enter the level select and Debug Mode cheats and then set the Sound Test selection to 07, then press A + Start while selecting "Special Stage 1" to access the eighth Special Stage from Sonic 3, or "Special Stage 2" to access the eighth Special Stage from Sonic & Knuckles.

Completing these Special Stages will award you with an eighth Chaos/Super Emerald that is colored yellow (whereas the emerald was grey in Sonic 3). However, the emeralds you get from these Special Stages have no special effect in-game and will not appear on the results tally or in Hidden Palace.

It is worth noting that the eighth Special Stage from Sonic 3 has a different palette in this game compared to the one used in Sonic 3.

Interestingly enough, these zones returned in Sonic Mania as Bonus Stages, and Sonic 3's 8th Special Stage has some Blue Spheres replaced with rings, making it possible to get a perfect bonus.

Sonic 3 8th Special Stage Sonic & Knuckles 8th Special Stage
Sonic3 unused special stage.png S&K unused special stage.png

Unused Objects

Carnival Night Button

Sonic3-CNZButton.png

A button of unknown purpose. It can be placed in either Act of Carnival Night Zone via debug mode, but it doesn't seem to do anything. This remains unused from Sonic 3 alone.

Ice Cap Breakable Block

Sonic3-ICZBreakableBlock.png

A glowing block that can be placed in either Act of IceCap Zone via debug mode. Jumping on it destroys it like the ice blocks. This also remains unused from Sonic 3 alone.

Arrow Lift

S3ArrowLift.png

Some strange platform that isn't placed in any level, but the graphics fit perfectly with Launch Base Zone. It has no movement on its own when placed, and needs specific Pro Action Replay (PAR) codes to do so. To enable it, use the Pro Action Replay (PAR) code 1EFC52:1200 and it will replace the first ring monitor in Act 1. From there, enter FFF7E0:00FF to make it move down, and FFF7E0:0000 to make it return to its original position.

(Source: Sonic Retro, shobiz)

Unused Audio

Music

These songs can be heard in the Level Select/Sound Test.

Sound ID Song Comments
$26
The Sonic 3 credits theme. Of the Sonic 3 tracks which were "replaced" in-game by their Sonic & Knuckles counterparts, only this song is still present.
(Source: Sonic Retro)
$32
A short "Game Clear" jingle. Though Sonic 3 used this sound ID for its own jingle played after defeating the final boss, it isn't used in the Genesis version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles at all. This jingle did end up becoming used in the Sonic Origins version of this game when defeating Big Arm. A longer version of this jingle can be heard at the end of the credits medley.

Sound Effects

Even when locked on with Sonic 3, some sounds still go unused.

Sound ID Sound Comments
$3A
This is a shield sound leftover from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
$40
Sounds like an electric zap. This sound would later be used for the Thunder Shield in Sonic Generations and Sonic Lost World, suggesting that it may have been an early sound effect for the Thunder Shield.
$5A
Sounds like something revving up. This sound effect would see use in Sonic 3D Blast.
$6B
Sounds a little bit like the sound when you jump.
$6D
Sounds like a door closing.
$71
Duplicate of $3A; another shield sound leftover from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
$7D
Sounds like mild rattling.
$84
Sounds like something charging up. Only seems to be referenced in some zone with a high level ID which is composed of garbage data.
$85
Sounds like it would have been used in cooperation with $84.
$8D
A very quiet sound.
$8E
Another electric rev-up sound. This sound effect was eventually used in Sonic Origins for the spindash-activated flywheels in Marble Garden Zone.
$99
A small "tick" sound.
$A1
A low-humming, unsettling sound.
$A5
Sounds like something rising or powering up?
$A6
Another dashing noise.
$B5
A leftover from Sonic 1 that was used for the breakable diamonds in the Special Stage. Might have been used for the Slot Machine Bonus Stage which is based off that Special Stage.
$BC
Possible unused waterfall sound effect?
$C5
Sounds like it would be used in coordination with $C4, the sound Red Eye makes when it's angry. This sound was used in Sonic Origins for when Red Eye calms down.
$D1
Another very faint sound that may sound like static.
$D6
Rumbling/electric sound?
$D8
Sounds like a screeching warning siren. Repeatedly pressing the C button when playing this sound in the Sound Test makes it play longer.
$DD - $DF
All of these sounds are duplicates of $DB (heard when running across water in Hydrocity Zone) and are likely placeholders.

DAC samples

Hmmm...
To do:
Replace disassembly names with accurate descriptions of what the samples are.

Plenty of DAC samples also go unused.

DAC ID Sound Comments
$89
Named in the disassembly as "dRideCymbal"
$96
Named in the disassembly as "dLooseSnare"
$9A
Named in the disassembly as "dMidTimpaniS3"
$A6
Named in the disassembly as "dDanceSnare"
$A7
Named in the disassembly as "dLooseKick"
A completely unreferenced DAC sample, placed between samples $AF and $B1 in ROM.
$B8
Named in the disassembly as "dHipHopHitKick2"
$BD
Named in the disassembly as "dPowerKick2"

Sprite Oddities and Misalignments

Multiple sprites within Sonic 3 & Knuckles contain oddities or slightly misaligned mappings.

Oddities

Sonic

Sonic's sprites seem to be the most inconsistent, as many sprites use different, earlier versions of Sonic's head, including a straight edit of Sonic 2's sprite.

Sonic3 Sprite Compare.png

Sonic's sprites for running on a vertical corkscrew are the same as the corkscrew running sprite in Sonic 2 but flipped vertically. Oddly enough, they seem to have taken the time to redraw the first three frames of the animation yet left the rest of them untouched. This is strange due to the fact that the sprites for a horizontal corkscrew have been redrawn completely.

Sonic3 Sonic Vertical Corkscrew.png

This oddity is a leftover from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which in turn is leftover from the prototype. Strangely, this was not fixed in any version, not even Sonic Origins!

Tails

Tails' sprites are, for the most part, ripped straight from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. However, not counting new sprites, a few have been redrawn.

Sonic3 Tails Redraws.png

Misaligned Mappings

Misaligned mappings appear prominently within Super Sonic's sprites.

Used Sprite Intended Mapping Comments
Sonic3 Super Sonic transform misaligned.png Sonic3 Super Sonic transform fixed.png Top half of torso is erroneously shifted 2 pixels to the left.
Sonic3 Super Sonic balance misaligned.gif Sonic3 Super Sonic balance fix.gif On multiple frames, top of head is erroneously shifted 2 pixels to the right.
Sonic3 Super Sonic idle misaligned.png Sonic 3 Super Sonic idle fixed.png On all frames, middle of head is erroneously shifted 1 pixel to the left.