Sonic and Knuckles (S+K) seemed to take everybody by surprise. The end of Sonic 3 did seem premature and incomplete but the thought of another Sonic game coming just a few months after the previous one did not seem a possibility. Still to many peoples surprise Sega and Sonic Team deliver another AAA quality title that ended the line of Sonic 2D adventures on the Mega Drive/Genesis wrapping up possibly the greatest Sonic adventure ever! Not only that, but the game itself was somewhat of a technical marvel.
Unfortunately from here on the craze began declining and the beginning of the dark ages for Sonic the Hedgehog began. The massive changes in gaming industry at the time most notably the move from 16-Bit to 32-Bit triggered some of self destructive issues within Sega.
Just as the Death Egg is heading off into orbit in Launch Base Zone (at the end of Sonic 3), the duo send it crashing back down. It crashes again with itís face poking into Hidden Palace; a place of mysterious power constructed for the housing of the Chaos Emeralds and home of the Master Emerald. Should Robotnik get the Master Emerald he will have infinite power.
Sonic has his problems though. The explosion sent him into Mushroom Valley on the other side of the island where Knuckles is already waiting to again deal with the blue intruder.
Knuckles is not without problems also. A bomb has exploded almost killing him. He sets off to deal with the invaders and sort out just who sent that bombÖ
S+K is a technically unique game. It is both a standalone game and an expansion pack as it modifies the previous games in the series.
This is done through it's 'Lock-On Technology'. The S+K cartridge has an additional cartridge connector on the top. A previous Sonic game plugs into this. Fire up your machine with the two games attached to combine the two. This is done through some changes in the Sonic game engine mostly sprite based.
As a result the gameplay changes slightly depending on which game configuration you have.
The cartridge on it's own is a full game and virtually identical in terms of style and gameplay as Sonic 3. Both Sonic and Knuckles have their own adventure. Each characters path is similar in that they each play the same zones but each act is changed sometimes slightly and sometimes drastically.
Sonic's moves are exactly the same as in Sonic 3. He's back with his Spin Dash and Instra- Shield. Tails though is strangely nowhere to be seen. Do not fret as he will return. His absence may be described as time or space saving measures for this game.
The main driver behind the game is the inclusion of Knuckles as a fully playable character. In Sonic 3 he could be controlled in the competition modes only. He is now a main sprite and controlled like any other character. He is also able to smash through some of the walls which Sonic or Tails can not. He can perform the Spin Dash but Knucklesí signature moves are gliding and wall climbing. To glide perform a double jump but hold down the button on the second jump. Knuckles will remain in the air. Use the D-Pad to steer him left and right. You pick up more speed the longer you glide yet you are slowly sinking all the time. Knuckles glides first so any enemies you aim for can be destroyed.
To climb, perform the glide move and steer Knuckles into a wall. Once locked on use up and down to climb. There will be a few walls in the game that he can not climb. This is very useful for locating special stage rings.
As mentioned the gameplay is the same as Sonic 3 with the same special items, shields and boss fights but there is a new array of Badnik's to defeat.
There are 7 Zones with one is more like an intersection when playing as Sonic and 5 zones when playing Knuckles. Both characters can access the 2 new bonus rounds and the same 7 special stages for the Chaos Emeralds.
Both bonus rounds are accessed via the star posts in each act but the amount of rings you have in your possession will determine which is played.
20+ rings will send you to the fruit machine. This is a cross between the fruit machine in Sonic 2's Casino Night Zone and the Special Stage from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Fall towards the middle to start the game to receive ring bonuses. The exit is by way of the 'goal' blocks in the corners. The other blocks making up the outside walls will also change to 'goal' after they have been touched a few times.
40+ rings will send you to the spheres chamber. You are inside a shaft filled with spheres, bumpers and flippers. When your character touches on of these spheres they will begin to orbit them. By pressing JUMP they will be released from the sphere. The goal is to move upwards through the shaft using the slingshot effect. itís a matter of timing but it is rather easy to get the hang of.
The smaller spheres are where the bonuses are located. They yield rewards the same as the Sonic 3 gumball.
Whilst your moving upwards there is a beam moving behind you. Should you fall into this beam you will exit the round. The other exit is right at the very top of the shaft.
Special Stages are again entered through the hidden giant rings and they play the same. In S+K they are more difficult. There is an additional object being yellow balls which are springs. They move you a few squares along the surface pretty quickly.
There are the standard 7 Chaos Emeralds to collect and both Sonic and Knuckles can be super versions of themselves upon collection of all 7 stones thus effecting the ending of the game.
In the standalone configuration of S+K there are no competition modes nor a save game feature. Read on.
SONIC 3 AND KNUCKLES
The combination of Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles is the culmination of the two projects and thus is the ULTIMATE SONIC ADVENTURE. Sonic 3 left many questions and anyone who managed to get the level select cheat working noticed that there were zones listed that were not playable as well as some tunes unused in the game. These were parts of S+K.
When played the ending of Sonic 3 is altered slightly for the continuation of the adventure. Combined with Sonic 3 you can play this gargantuan adventure with Sonic, Sonic and Tails (yes he's back), Tails alone or Knuckles alone. There is in totality 26 acts in 13 zones with 14 special stages and 3 bonus rounds!
None of the gameplay of Sonic 3 is altered. The parts of Sonic 3 that were not accessible by either Sonic or Tails are accessed with Knuckles for his own route through the game. Some of the levels change totally for the Knuckles adventure. Angel Island act 2 for example is totally different.
Knuckles in Angel Island
The Sonic 3 competition modes are available and the save game ability extends into the levels of Sonic and Knuckles regardless of which character you are playing with. There is now an additional 3 slots available for saving games.
The number of emeralds up for grabs is now double. After collection of the 7 Chaos Emeralds they are traded in (at the start of S+K) for the chance to collect the Super Chaos Emeralds. Collection of these mega gems makes grants your character 'hyper' abilities. At last Tails is able to transform into something more powerful also.
The ending for each character is again different. There are only slight changes between the Sonic and Tails endings. Knuckles' ending is very different. They even fight different last bosses.
SONIC 2 AND KNUCKLES
Knuckles takes over Sonic 2 and is the only playable character. The gameplay is not altered (apart from a few aesthetic changes) yet there are some tweaks to a few of the levels. This mode is purely a gimmick and not explained by any story.
Knuckle's abilities are the same. He can still glide and perform the Spin Dash. You can go exploring where Sonic was not able to with the gliding and wall climbing abilities though there is not much extra to find.
Knuckles can play the special stages for the collection of the Chaos Emeralds and they remain exactly the same as Sonic 2. A tweak to the game means that your count of rings does not return to 0 whenever you exit a special stage. There are again 7 to collect and upon collection of all 7 you can become Super Knuckles who is invincible with double speed.
The ending sequence is also different and this varies depending if you have all of the Chaos Emeralds or not.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG AND KNUCKLES
The game is actually not compatible with the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge. You are greeted with a No Way when you power on. However, pressing A+B and C here will reveal a code of 12 numbers and a stage number. These are a massive collection of Special Stages of the Sonic 3/S+K variety. The code is basically a password.
Pressing a button will turn the bobbins at the side of the level to either pink or red to indicate which player you wish to play with. Sonic = blue and Knuckles = Red.
This can be done with just about any other Mega Drive/Genesis game but with anything other than the original Sonic The Hedgehog cartridge will only give you one level.
Codes up to level 30,000 should keep you busy for a while!
During Mushroom Hill Zone Act 1 move right until you see a mine shaft (pulley) and jump onto it. Then press LEFT, LEFT, LEFT, RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT, UP, UP, UP. A ring sound will confirm the code active. Pause the game and press A. The game will restart. On the title screen hold BUTTON A and press START to access the level select.
With Sonic 2
On the title screen press UP, UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT. A ring sound will play. Hold down BUTTON A and press START for the level select.
On the level select screen play tunes 01, 06, 07, 07, 07, 02, 01, 06. A Chaos Emerald chime will sound. Collect 50 rings and perform a double jump for Super Knuckles.
On the level select screen play tunes 1, 9, 9, 4, 1, 0, 1, 8. Highlight a level, Hold down BUTTON A and press START.
With Sonic 3
During Angel Island Zone Act 1 find a vine and jump onto it then press LEFT, LEFT, LEFT, RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT, UP, UP, UP. A ring sound will confirm the code has worked. Pause the game and press BUTTON A to reset. Underneath the 'Competition' option on the title screen should be 'Sound Test'.
To change the character you are playing with press BUTTON C on the sound test screen. The numbers highlighted in yellow have the following meanings:
00 = Sonic and Tails
Do the level select cheat for Sonic 3 and Knuckles as well as Sonic and Knuckles standalone. On the level select screen highlight an act, hold down BUTTON A and press START.
Press B during game play to change your character into a game object. Press BUTTON A to change into a new object. Press BUTTON C to place an object on the screen. Press BUTTON B again to revert back to your character.
Note: The type of object that may be selectable will vary from level to level.
Sonic works perfectly with Kega Fusion, Gens and Gens32. You can download these from the Mega Drive/Genesis Emulators Page.
You can download the soundtrack to the game in MP3 format on the Sonic and Knuckles Soundtrack Page.
The Sonic and Knuckles collection was released on PC in 1999 by Xplosiv.
You can play Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles or Sonic 3 and Knuckles
The games play exactly as their console counterparts except for the music which is recreated with low grade FM synthesized versions.
Selecting Special Stage Mode simulates locking Sonic 1 onto the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge.
It is playable under Windows using DirectX 5 or higher and requires a P133 or above CPU. Any PC about these days should have no problem running it.
It can be purchased for as little as £2 in some places. The package also includes the Sonic Screensavers.