Take one part technocological innovation, one part marketing effort, and one part greed, and stir 'em all up. Add in some of Sega's most popular mascots and what do you get? The combined force of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles into one massive game that combines the features and levels of both cartridges.

To access Sonic 3 and Knuckles you have to connect the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 cartridge to the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge and insert the combined effort into the Sega Genesis. The combination creates a new game that adds the Sonic and Knuckles saga on to the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The game no longer ends when Sonic causes the Death Egg to crash into the Floating Island; instead the game continues directly in to the Sonic and Knuckles levels. This means that the total level list is as follows:

  • Angel Island Zone
  • Hydrocity Zone
  • Marble Garden Zone
  • Carnival Night Zone
  • Ice Cap Zone
  • Launch Base Zone
  • Mushroom Hill Zone
  • Flying Battery Zone
  • Sandopolis Zone
  • Lava Reef Zone
  • Hidden Palace Zone
  • Sky Sanctuary Zone (Knuckles' game ends here)
  • Death Egg Zone (Tails' game ends here; so does Sonic's if he doesn't collect all the Chaos Emeralds)
  • Doomsday Zone (Only accessible if Sonic has all the Hyper Emeralds)

In addition to combining the levels, Sonic 3 and Knuckles allows the player to choose any of the three characters - Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles - and play as that character through all of the levels (remember, originally Knuckles was unavailable in the Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails was unavailable in Sonic and Knuckles). The game also combines the Chaos Emeralds from each game, meaning that after you collect the seven Chaos Emeralds you must collect the seven Hyper Emeralds. Collecting them all gives your character the ability to become Super Sonic/Hyper Knuckles/Super Tails.

As in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 the game uses a save system, so there's no need to plan out a full day to blast through the game. Saving your game in Sonic 3 and Knuckles will not overwrite any saves you may have on the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 cartridge.

All in all, if you have both the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles cartridges, this is the game you should be playing. It combines the best of both games into a long, challenging adventure. They just don't make games like this anymore. Sonic 3 and Knuckles was included in The Sonic and Knuckles Collection for the PC, Sonic Jam for the Sega Saturn, and is a hidden game in the Sonic Mega Collection for Nintendo GameCube that is unlocked after playing both Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles twenty times each.

One last little secret... if you use the debug code, it's possible to play as Knuckles in the Death Egg Zone. Now that's a challenge, as the level was not designed with his jump height in mind.

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