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Sonic 3 & Knuckles

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Title Screen

Sonic 3 & Knuckles/en

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

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.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles is what happens when Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is inserted into Sonic & Knuckles by way of the "Lock-On" feature, creating the full third title of the Sonic series.

Level Select and Sound Test


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 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. Knuckles cannot select this level.
  • 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. Tails can enter Act 2, but cannot enter Act 1.
  • If Sonic or Tails beats The Doomsday Zone, the bad ending will play if he doesn't have all the Chaos 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

Debug Mode is unlocked by entering Mushroom Hill Zone and grabbing one of the lifts, followed by pressing Left, Left, Left, Right, Right, Right, Up, Up, Up (or use the Patch Code FFFFE2:0101). After the ring sound plays, 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 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 than it does in Sonic 3.

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

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


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


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 remains unused from Sonic 3 alone.

Arrow Lift


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 codes to do so. To enable it, use the 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


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

Sound ID Song Comments
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)
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 Sonic 3 & Knuckles at all. A longer version of this jingle can be heard at the end of the credits medley, though.

Sound Effects

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

Sound ID Sound Comments
This is a shield sound leftover from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
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.
Sounds like something revving up. This sound effect would see use in Sonic 3D Blast.
Sounds a little bit like the sound when you jump.
Sounds like a door closing.
Duplicate of $3A; another shield sound leftover from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Sounds like mild rattling.
Sounds like something charging up. Only seems to be referenced in some zone with a high level ID which is composed of garbage data.
Sounds like it would have been used in cooperation with $84.
A very quiet sound.
Another electric rev-up sound.
A small "tick" sound.
A low-humming, unsettling sound.
Sounds like something rising or powering up?
Another dashing noise.
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.
Possible unused waterfall sound effect?
Sounds like it would be used in coordination with $C4, the sound Red Eye makes when it's angry.
Another very faint sound that may sound like static.
Rumbling/electric sound?
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.