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In 1994, Sonic Team released the next addition to the Sonic franchise - Sonic the Hedgehog 3. While this game was met with high praise, it felt rather unfinished and too short for some people. The reason for that is due to time constraints and pricing, they ended up splitting it, and the second half of it took form later that year in 1994 as Sonic & Knuckles, which had a lock-on ability, allowing you to attach it to Sonic 3, and letting you play the full game as it was originally intended. With that, it is to this day often hailed as, not just the best out of the classic games, but one of if not the best Sonic games of all time. This review comes from the opinions of the poster himself. This does not reflect the opinions of the rest of the gaming community. Plot: After defeating Robotnik, the Death Egg crash lands on a place called Angel Island, where Robotnik tricks Knuckles by making him think that Sonic is trying to steal the Master Emerald. When Sonic & Tails reach the island, Knuckles steals the chaos emeralds and as Sonic & Tails go through the levels, sets up traps for them, but finds out Robotnik is the one who's trying to steal the emerald, and starts helping Sonic & Tails. The game, as usual, takes off the first few games and adds new abilities. Like in Sonic 2, you are able to play as Sonic and Tails, but they actually differ in their controls and abilities this time. With Sonic, you play similarly to how he played in Sonic 2, you run fast, spin dash.. yeah, you should understand how that goes. Though, he also gets a small ability - a millisecond instashield. If you press the jump button twice, he creates a shield that exists for a millisecond to defend from enemies.. although it doesn't really work for me most of the time, but that's probably just me. You also get different boosts depending on if you have certain elemental shields on, but that's another story. And Miles "Tails" Prower makes a return, and he now has a flying ability and a swimming ability when you press the jump button twice depending on if you're on land or in water. Oh, and you can also lift Sonic as him as long as you have a second controller nearby. There's also a new playable character, that being Knuckles. Knuckles is slower and doesn't jump as high, but he's able to glide through air, climb up walls and punch through barriers. His levels are designed differently though and he's more of a "hard mode" in the game. He's the one I tend to have the most trouble playing as. Anyway, in this game with Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles both combined, you get 14 levels in the game, making it longer than Sonic 1 and 2. Those being.. Angel Island Zone - WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE!1 Hydrocity Zone - It's like Labyrinth Zone except not as nerve-wracking! It actually feels fast so that's nice. Marble Garden Zone - It's like Aquatic Ruin Zone with drills and things crushing you. Also, much better than Marble Zone. Carnival Night Zone - Pretty fun zone, it's kind of like Casino Night Zone in Sonic 2. I've heard a lot of people had trouble with the barrels, although to be honest I never really had trouble with 'em. Guess I got lucky and somehow knew to press up and down, who knows Ice Cap Zone - A fun ice level. Also, dat music. Launch Base Zone - Final level of the Sonic 3 portion.. but it's not as hard as Scrap Brain Zone and Wing Fortress Zone, but meh. Mushroom Hill Zone - I wonder if Mario had anything to do with this.. Flying Battery Zone - So much electricity ;-; Sandopolis Zone - Probably the most annoying Sonic level I've played. Lava Reef Zone - This zone pretty much requires having a fire shield. Hidden Palace Zone - Wasn't this supposed to be in Sonic 2? Sky Sanctuary Zone - It's an easier version of Wing Fortress Zone with the boss being stuff Robotnik already tried before and failed. Death Egg Zone - Aha! There's the difficult final level we were missing! Doomsday Zone - Only accesible by getting all the Chaos Emeralds (therefore obtaining Super Sonic). You collect rings and hit stuff. What more could you want? Once again, the levels are designed well and tend to be rather fun to play for the most part. I'm not a fan of some of the zones here like Sandopolis (especially as Knuckles), but again they feel fast and have that "multiple path" thing I like. Getting the chaos emeralds is pretty different in this game. Instead of collecting 50 rings and jumping into a ring at the end or jumping into halos when you get to checkpoints, this game has you find big rings throughout the level and going into them.. and they don't require any rings. And I do feel they are the best out of the classic special stages, since they have the best balance of difficulty in my opinion. While they don't take you to special stages, getting a certain amount of rings, going up to a checkpoint and jumping into a halo takes you to bonus stages which don't grant Chaos Emeralds, but grant you rings, shields and 1-ups, and they come in 3 forms. One is basically what happens if you make Casino Night Zone a special stage, one is a gumball machine and one is a vertical jumping thing. The first 2 are pretty good ways of getting rings and power-ups but the third one I never really saw much of a point to. In addition to the chaos emeralds which allow you to turn into Super Sonic and Super Knuckles, there are also Super Emeralds which can be collected if you collect the Chaos Emerald of the same color. Getting all the Chaos Emeralds and Super Emeralds lets you transform into either Hyper Sonic, Super Tails or Hyper Knuckles. Hyper Sonic is probably the most OP thing I've seen in a Sonic game. He has a double jump, seizure inducing colors, can breath underwater (sheesh sonic you really need 12 versions of emeralds to do that?) and can do all the things Super Sonic can do. And Tails has a Super form in this game for once (sheesh tails you really need 12 versions of emeralds to turn super?), which increases all his abilities and he gets a flicky army to attack other enemies because why not. Hyper Knuckles increases Knuckle's abilities and gives him the ability to destroy every enemy on screen if he glides for a long distance and hits a wall. Don't you just love OP abilities? And then there's the elemental shields which gives the characters even more abilities. Those being the lightning shield, flame shield, and water shield. The lightning shield protects against electric damage, and brings in rings towards the character your playing as. And if you get it while in Hyper form or Super form, well.. was the Super/Hyper form OP enough? The water shield gives the player the ability to breath underwater (well there goes that complaint about the characters needing 12 emeralds to do that!), and flame shield gives immunity to fire or lava damage. Plus, these all gives Sonic extra abilities - Lightning gives him a double jump, water gives him a bounce and flame gives him a boost. Multiplayer also returns, as a competition mode featuring 5 multiplayer levels and either a time trial or Grand Prix. I personally prefer the competition mode in Sonic 2 though for some reason. There's also a new save feature, which is definitely a good idea. I like Sonic 1 & 2, but sometimes I really don't feel like taking 2 hours to complete them in one sitting. With that all out of the way, the Sonic & Knuckles cart has lock-on technology (as long as you're playing it on the Sega Genesis) which doesn't just let you play the full Sonic 3, but also you can lock it on to other games. If you connect it to Sonic 2, you can play as Knuckles in Sonic 2.. which makes the game even harder. The final boss alone is about 10x harder if you play as Knuckles ;_;. Connecting it to Sonic 1 gives you a huge number of the blue sphere stages to play, and if you play all of them.. you really must have lots of time on your hands. They were planning Knuckles to be playable, but they didn't due to palette issues. Connecting it to Thomas the Tank Engine for Sega Genesis lets you play as Knuckles the Tank Engine, and connecting it to Cory in the House for Nintendo DS, well... 10/10 game Just kidding, of course. But if you hook it up to any Genesis game other than those three, all you get is this: As well as 1 little special stage. Oh well, guess I can't play as Knuckles in Crystal's Pony Tale. As for the graphics, they're even more improved. The environments look good, as the backgrounds and color schemes look nice and match the levels quite well. If there was one nitpick about the graphics, it's that I'm not too big of a fan of Sonic's new sprite in this game. Not that it's too big of a problem, but it looks kind of "derpy" to me in a way. And for the music, well.. this is probably my favorite soundtrack in the Sonic series. It has tons of catchy tracks like Ice Cap Zone and Hydrocity Zone. I do prefer the ending track to Sonic 3 alone, but otherwise the soundtrack is quite good. And that's not surprising since Michael Jackson supposedly had a part in it. I'm not going to tell the full story on that since there seems to be about a million different sources and stories on that, but if he did, I'd say this is some of his best works yet. Overall Opinions: Sonic 3 & Knuckles is tied with Sonic 2 for me as the best Sonic game. The game is bigger and more complex, which makes it even more fun to play, the different characters give the game more replay value (especially Knuckles) and the game is overall great. While I'm not too big on some of the levels, I have to say I really like this one. Friday Game Review: Hong Kong 97 (Super Famicom, 1995, yes I'm seriously doing this) Sunday Television: 90s cartoons vs 2010s cartoons Next MLP Episode: Made in Manehattan (S5E16)
In 1991, Nintendo released their answer to the Sega Genesis taking over the market - The Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The Super Nintendo, while having slower speeds, had better hardware for the most part. And to answer that, Sega developed a CD add-on, that while having the same power of the Genesis, had a disc drive, which allowed for cheaper games and more space. And to get people interested in the system, they developed a game with the blue hedgehog, originally intended to be a sequel to the original, but was later pushed to after Sonic 2's release. And with that, we got Sonic CD. Did they do good, or was it poor compared to the first 2 games? Let's find out! This review comes from the opinions of the poster himself. This does not reflect the opinions of the rest of the gaming community. Plot: Sonic arrives to Never Lake, where "Little Planet" appears at the end of the month, but finds Little Planet attached by a chain to a mountain, and mechanized, where he finds out this is the work of Robotnik/Eggman. He also discovers Robotnik/Eggman made a robot called "Metal Sonic" to kidnap Amy Rose, who followed Sonic to the planet. With this, Sonic must go through the Past, Present and Future, gain all the time stones and rescue Amy Rose to restore peace to Little Planet. I'm just going to comment one thing about the plot. In the original manual in the United States (read it via the Sonic Gems Collection), apparently they stated the damsel in distress was Sally Acorn from the Sonic SatAM series. I don't really understand how they screwed that up considering they look nothing alike. Going onto the game itself, it plays similar to the first and second games. Going fast, getting rings, spin dash, all your basic stuff you'd see in Sonic 1 and 2. But again, there's a few changes. First of all, the spin dash works slightly different from Sonic 2. You do the same button combination, but you have to wait for the sound byte to play all the way through and then let go for the speed boost, otherwise it won't work. Don't get why they changed that, especially since whenever I play the original version via emulation or the version on Gems Collection, it seriously throws me off. There is, however, a new maneuver called the Super Peel Out. This time, you hold up and one of the buttons, which gives Sonic a boost, and it's even faster than the spin dash, although you can't kill enemies with it. I rarely even use it considering it's rather pointless most of the time besides for being slightly faster so.. yeah. I'm not sure this was seen in any other Sonic games besides for a couple Game Gear games, so I guess you shouldn't get used to it! But one of the most infamous aspects of the game is the time travelling. If you hit a post that either says "Past" or "Future" on it and you run at a constant speed for a certain amount of time, you either go to the Past or Future as indicated by the signs. Always found it kind of interesting personally. The point of these is to go to the past, and try to find a Metal Sonic hologram and a enemy generator, and if you do these, you set a good future for the stage, which is indicated by the visual aspect, the music and a little line at the end of the level "ey you got a good future congrats." If you set a good future for all the stages, you get the good ending of the game.. although there is a different method to doing that. Like in Sonic 1 and 2, there are special stages yet it reverts to the original game where you get 50 rings and jump into a giant ring. If you successfully complete a special stage, you obtain a time stone, and if you collect them all, you get the good ending.. but there's no super sonic sorry. I personally prefer the first method though, just because I like having that exploration in the game, plus I feel the first method has more replay value. In this game, there are 7 zone- I mean, rounds. Don't get why they changed the name but whatever. Palmtree Panic - An even more colorful Green Hill Zone. Enough said. Collision Chaos - Imagine Spring Yard Zone or Casino Night Zone except more things bouncing you everywhere. Tidal Tempest - It's like Labyrinth Zone except so.. calm. I like it! Quartz Quandrat - WOO SO INDUSTRIAL Wacky Workbench - oh god so much bouncy bouncy Stardust Speedway - >mfw after playing this level (ew why'd I use a clip from boast busters) Metallic Madness - nice base you got here robtnik Don't have too much to say about these zo- I mean, rounds. Besides for Stardust Speedway, they don't really stand out much like the first 2 games. A common complaint with this game is that the level design is rather annoying, often having bouncers or trampolines or whatever everywhere. And while I can see this in a couple levels, I really don't mind it for the most part. It kind of makes the game fun for me, plus the levels do feel pretty fast at points, even though Sonic does run at a slower pace than in Sonic 2. Plus, like the first 2 games, it still has that "multipath" thing I like. The bosses, on the other hand, haven't really been improved. I mean, the Metal Sonic is still one of the best moments of the game, but otherwise, the Robotnik/Eggman bosses are either annoying or too easy. So, yeah, nothing much to say there. One of the best things about the game, hands down, is the music. Besides for the "past" themes, there are two different soundtracks to the game, one for the US and one for Japan and Europe. The US soundtrack tends to focus on more "rock" tunes and the Japan and Europe soundtrack tends to have remixes of tunes found in the Game Gear/Master System version of Sonic 2. But, personally, I think they're both just as good. They really show off the CD-quality capabilities of the Sega CD. Some tunes I personally prefer in the US, like Wacky Workbench Present and Sonic Boom, and some tunes I prefer in the Japan/Europe version, like Stardust Speedway: Bad Future and the Special Stages. Although, as for the US version.. the Game Over and Boss themes sound pretty creepy. Guess they really wanted to give the impression of you losing and Robotnik's appearance so they figured "ey let's you themes that are 2spooky4me" and they added them in. That aside, both the soundtracks sound good, and both of 'em are probably 2 of my favorite soundtracks out of the Sonic franchise. The graphics do look good again. They look more colorful and flashy to me, and again show off the capabilities of the Sega CD. I also should mention some Easter Eggs in the game, just for fun. If you leave the game idle without pausing for 3 minutes, Sonic says "I'm outta here!" and jumps out of the screen. Because why not. There are also some hidden images that can be found via sound test. You can go look them up cuz I'm lazy, but they are.. Other Ports: Steam/XBLA/PSN/iOS/WinPhone/Android - This version was released in 2011 on the platforms mentioned. And, I honestly have to say, if you're going to get this game.. get this version. I have the Steam version, and this definitely improves on the game. It goes back to the original spin dash mechanics like in Sonic 2, Tails is unlockable, you can use both the soundtracks, and the game was restored in HD, and it looks really good in widescreen and 60FPS. It may just be me, but I feel this version feels a bit smoother than the previous versions. Oh, and there's another hidden image. Overall Opinions: One of my favorites out of the series, especially the 2011 version. Yeah, some levels get pretty annoying with them bouncing you everywhere, but still, I think Sonic CD is rather fun to play, and really showed off the Sega CD's capabilities for the time. Sadly, most of that was used for mediocre FMV games. ;_; Friday Game Review: Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Sega Genesis, 1994) Sunday Television: 90s cartoons vs 2010s cartoons Next MLP Episode: Rarity Investigates! (S5E15)