Sonic & Knuckles

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 it’s 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.

The Master Emerald

The Master Emerald

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 bomb...


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.


Sonic & Knuckles

Sonic & Knuckles

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 Knuckles’ 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.

Knuckles Wall Climbing

Knuckles' Wall Scaling Abilities

Knuckles Gliding

Knuckles Gliding

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.


Click on a name for more info. Note: Describes gameplay when playing as Sonic.

The Zones

Mushroom Hill Zone

Flying Battery Zone

Sandopolis Zone

Lava Reef Zone

Hidden Palace Zone

Sky Sanctuary Zone

Death Egg Zone

The Doomsday Zone

Click on a name for more info...

Bonus Rounds

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.

Bonus Rounds
Rotating Fruit Machines Magnetic Spheres

Rotating Fruit Machine

Magnetic Spheres

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. it’s 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.

Special Stages

In the standalone configuration of S+K there are no competition modes nor a save game feature. Read on.


Sonic 3 & 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

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.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles Character Transformations
Hyper Sonic Hyper Sonic Jumping

Hyper Sonic

Sonic becomes invincible, double speed with 3 Sonic’s trail-blazing him and double height jump. Perform a double jump to instantly move from one side of the screen to the other. Do this is the air for a mega sized jump.

Hyper Knuckles Running Hyper Knuckles Gliding

Hyper Knuckles

Knuckles becomes invincible, double speed. Has an earthquake glide ability. Glide into a wall to make the floor shake and destroys all enemies.

Super Tails Super Tails Hovering

Super Tails

Tails becomes invincible and double speed with little birds following him. Cute


The Death Egg crashes into Floating Island and Sonic is thrown in Mushroom Hill Zone a dense forest that, as the name suggests, is populated with giant mushrooms. These mushrooms also serve as platforms for higher jumps through bouncing. Other mechanics include mine pulleys and plenty of loops for fast pace.

Weather cocks will try and slow your progress down with a gust of wind. When running through sections of the hillside area changes seasons.

Robotnik provides little challenge on this stage. Chase him and with a little bit of timing the mines can be easily avoided whilst landing a hit. After a few he'll fly into a tree.

Mushroom Hill Zone
Mushroom Hill Zone Act 1 Mushroom Hill Zone Act 1

Act 1

Act 1 Boss

Mushroom Hill Zone Act 2 Mushroom Hill Zone Act 2 Robotnik

Act 2

Act 2 Robotnik


The giant aircraft that attacked way back in Angel Island Zone hovers above. This time you get to go aboard in pursuit of Robotnik.

This is a fast and treacherous ride. Mines pulled to the ceiling by magnetic strips litter the floor. Rotating cages, flame jets are abundant and also plenty of spikes. Moving across the platforms and machinery is risky business because a fall generally means instant death.

After a rush to the very top of the aircraft avoiding being crushed, Robotnik springs a nasty invention. His machine hangs on a bar with spiked arms and rotates around. A hit must be done as he is above. Do not touch the arms nor wait above his head as a flame jet fires quickly.

Flying Battery Zone
Flying Battery Zone Act 1 Flying Battery Zone Act 1

Act 1

Act 1 Boss

Flying Battery Zone Act 2 Flying Battery Zone Act 2 Robotnik

Act 2

Act 2 Robotnik


Sandopolis, the hot sultry desert where the heat creates a shimmering effect. The background has a strong Egyptian influence with pyramids and hieroglyphics.

Tons of sand slides have you shooting through the zone. There is the need for plenty of block pushing and abseiling down buildings usually towards a fast moving sand fall.

Inside the huge pyramid ghosts are always nearby and will attack when the light level is low enough.

Robotnik is encased in a fortified mummy robot. With spiked fists and torso. A hit must be made to the head when the arm is off the ground and then again immediately afterwards. The shell quickly regenerates. Defeat him quickly before he charges his laser!

Sandopolis Zone
Sandopolis Zone Act 1 Sandopolis Zone Act 1

Act 1

Act 1 Boss

Sandopolis Zone Act 2 Sandopolis Zone Act 2 Robotnik

Act 2

Act 2 Robotnik


Deep in the ground, underneath Sandopolis is Lava Reef, another mining operation with pipes and machinery flowing lava. There are moving blocks of rock, collapsing platforms and plenty of eruptions.

As Lava reef progresses deeper and deeper underground towards an area of diamond excavation. Knuckles shows up and sends Sonic back down to the fiery depths.

Robotnik has two waves of attack. The first a race to safety as he launches rockets that destroy the platforms around. The next fight takes place on a sea of lava. A fire shield that can be found as you descend will be extremely useful.

Good timing with jumps will be needed to defeat him. He appears at one edge of the screen and tilts the lava flow towards him. Amongst the platforms will be a mine he has launched. You simply need to avoid the lava and the mine as it will run into him.

Lava Reef Zone
Lava Reef Zone Act 1 Lava Reef Zone Act 1

Act 1

Act 1 Boss

Lava Reef Zone Act 2 Lava Reef Zone Act 2 Robotnik

Act 2

Act 2 Robotnik


The very mysterious Hidden Palace (omitted from Sonic 2) makes its appearance as an intersection. It is the secret underground sanctuary of the Chaos Emeralds and more importantly the home of the Master Emerald.

The final confrontation with Knuckles awaits as he must stop Sonic at any cost.

Knuckles and his abilities make for a tricky fight yet use of Sonic’s Intra-Shield should make for a quick fight when he's readying his fists, then assist Knuckles to defeat the real enemy, caught in the act executing his plan...

Hidden Palace Zone
Hidden Palace Zone Hidden Palace Zone

Hidden Palace Zone

Hidden Palace Zone

Hidden Palace Zone Hidden Palace Zone




Robotnik makes off with the Master Emerald and the Death Egg is launched. Knuckles and Sonic transport to the Sky Sanctuary Zone, a floating installation of ancient origins.

It consists only of one act where Sonic must race through the collapsing platforms, bounce nearby clouds, ride the turntables and defeat the enemies to reach the Death Egg before it move too far out of reach to board. When playing as Knuckles this is where his adventure ends.

The latest incarnation of Mecha-Sonic uses classic Robotnik attacks and must be defeated 3 times. The first attack will be the classic wrecking ball. The second is the duplicates and laser with the third and most tricky being the one on one fight.

Sky Sanctuary Zone
Sky Sanctuary Zone Sky Sanctuary Zone

Sky Sanctuary Zone

Sky Sanctuary Zone

Sky Sanctuary Zone Sky Sanctuary Zone

Sky Sanctuary Zone

Sky Sanctuary Zone


The Death Egg is in orbit and prepping for annihilation. It is Robotnik's most technological frontier-death trap present at the end of all Sonic games, and it is tough.

Gadgetry and mechanics are abundant. Discharges of electricity, temporary platforms created by lasers and plenty of internal defences in the form of missile launchers and the meanest Badniks. There are entire sections in act 2 where the gravity is reversed and played upside down.

The battle with Robotnik takes place in orbit and he has some pretty big hardware at his disposal powered by the Master Emerald. Destroy the robots hands before being chased along the collapsing walk way.

The robot then launches fireballs from the nose across the surface until a hit is made on the torso. It will open to reveal the internals and charge a massive laser blast. A hit must be made and then a well timed jump is needed to avoid the laser. It will then close up.

Deah Egg Zone
Death Egg Zone Death Egg Zone

Act 1

Act 1 - Boss

Death Egg Zone Death Egg Zone

Act 2

Act 2 - Robotnik


The Death Egg crumbles but Robotnik still has the Master Emerald and flees. In low orbit Sonic harnesses all the power of the Chaos Emeralds in his possession collected. An asteroid field and random missiles slows down Sonic's progress with your ring count falling all the time.

There are plenty of rings around but the rocks will need to be avoided. If your rings = 0 you fall out of the sky. Tap JUMP repeatedly for more speed.

Upon catching up, the first attack comes in the form of heat seeking missiles. Manoeuvre around for them to collide with the grey face of the craft whilst avoiding the projectiles from the three turrets. When defeated he speeds off.

Sonic must collide with him for do damage. Landing a hit, waves of larger missiles and more asteroids slow down the final pursuit.

The Doomsday Zone
The Doomsday Zone The Doomsday Zone

The Doomsday Zone

The Doomsday Zone

The Doomsday Zone The Doomsday Zone

The Doomsday Zone

The Doomsday Zone

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 & 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.

Knuckles' 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.

Sonic 2 & Knuckles
Special Stage Super Knuckles

Special Stage

Super 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.

Sonic 2 & Knuckles
No Way Special Stages (Blue Spheres)

No Way. No Lock On

Pressing A+B+C = Special Stages (Blue Spheres)

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.

Blue Spheres Passwords




2965 3192 9023


3610 2354 7327


2921 0274 3999


3737 7423 1487


3053 9029 9071


3698 8191 7375


3009 6111 4047


3482 7286 3167


2809 6267 2575


3275 3622 4191


4028 3236 9596


5004 0865 7853


4383 9797 0354


5358 4423 5191


4981 1647 0667


5092 6073 6399


3009 5482 2601


2854 0444 0347


3208 0017 1236


3562 7978 8608

Codes up to level 30,000 should keep you busy for a while!


Level Select (Solo)

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.

Level Select

With Sonic 2

Level Select

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.

Super Knuckles

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.

Debug Mode

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

Level Select

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
01 = Sonic
02 = Knuckles
03 = Tails

Debug Mode

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.

Slow motion - Pause game play and hold BUTTON B.

Restart - Pause game play and press BUTTON A.

Frame advance - Pause game play and press BUTTON C.

Debug Mode



Xbox Live Arcade Achievements



Gamer Points

Sonic Finale

Complete the game as Sonic.


Knuckles Finale

Complete the game as Knuckles.


Please Continue

Earn a Continue in either a Bonus or Special Stage.


Points III

Score 80,000 points.


Gettin' Super

Collect all seven Chaos Emeralds.


Chaos Emerald

Collect a Chaos Emerald.


Hot Feet

Finish the Lava Reef Zone.


Desert Runner

Finish the Sandopolis Zone.


Grease Monkey

Finish the Flying Battery Zone.


Fun Guy

Finish the Mushroom Hill Zone.


Extra Hedgehog

Collect 100 rings.


Two Sided

Start the game once as each character.


Extra! Extra!

Enter a Bonus or Special Stage.



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.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles PC version

Selecting Special Stage Mode simulates locking Sonic 1 onto the Sonic & 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.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles PC version


Sonic & Knuckles 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 either FLAC or MP3 format on the Sonic & Knuckles Soundtrack page.

Sonic & Knuckles Soundtrack


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