SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3 For Sega Genesis FAQ/walkthrough by William Walker This FAQ/walkthrough is copyright William Walker, all rights reserved. It was started July 9, 2003. Do not alter it in any way or sell it for any profit, and if you wish to post it on your site, please e-mail me first to get my permission and give me proper credit for my work. This is the original version of this FAQ/walkthrough, though I did post one on GameFAQs before. 1. Introduction Two days after completing my FAQ/walkthrough for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, I'm off on my next project: Sonic the Hedgehog 3. I love the Sonic the Hedgehog series for the Sega Genesis - it was one of the first video game series I played a lot. I am planning on stopping writing FAQ/walkthroughs for other games after I finish this one for Sonic 3. My other games (including Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3D Blast) will be put on the back burner for a while. GameFAQs has been very gracious in posting my FAQ/walkthroughs on their site. I got information for this FAQ/walkthrough from my own playing and the codes from the GameFAQs codes page. However, I found the locations of some of the giant rings in the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Quest for Emeralds FAQ (in a section mainly written by Janus Operative and TurboKiller. I am not using any part of that FAQ in mine, but I did use it as a resource and derive information from it, and I wish to thank most heartily TurboKiller and Janus Operative. I also wish to thank Sega very much for making such a splendid game. Sonic the Hedgehog is a series of games about the adventures of the rolling blue hedgehog named Sonic and his quest to save the world (well, his homeland anyway) from the domination of the mad scientist Dr. Ivo Robotnik. Sonic the Hedgehog is the main character of Sega like Mario is the main character of Nintendo, and almost every new Sega system began with a new Sonic game released for it. Sonic games exist for Sega Genesis, Game Gear (a small portable system analogous to Game Boy) Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast. There's even a Sonic Collection game which consists of all seven Sonic games released for the Genesis on one cartridge with bonus features available now for the GameCube. I have currently written FAQ/walkthroughs for six of the Sonic Game Gear games (the main ones) and this is my third FAQ/walkthrough for a Sonic Genesis game. Sonic the Hedgehog 3, after the success of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, was a sensation when it came out. There's even a tipbook published by Sega for it. This game and Sonic & Knuckles were originally meant to be one game, but to get the game out on time, that idea was scrapped. That's why the games play almost exactly the same. You can play both games together (with some new things possible) by using the lock-on feature of Sonic & Knuckles with the Sonic 3 cartridge. This made me consider doing one gigantic FAQ/walkthrough that covered both games, which other people have tried. However, considering the amount of detail I like to go into in my walkthroughs, I decided such a project would be too long. So this FAQ/walkthrough only covers Sonic the Hedgehog 3. If you want to play the games together, look in the section of my Sonic & Knuckles FAQ/walkthrough when it comes out that covers Sonic 3 when you're playing it locked on. But for purposes of THIS FAQ/walkthrough, you are playing Sonic 3 alone. It is meant to be used with the Sonic & Knuckles FAQ/walkthrough, which I hope to do next. You may be playing this game in one of several ways: via cartridge, emulator, CD (this game and Sonic & Knuckles were released on a CD for the PC, and you can play either game alone or both games together like you were playing with the lock-on feature) or the GameCube collection. Any way is perfectly fine, though I am just playing off of the normal Genesis cartridge. I can't provide any additional information for people playing other ways if those ways are different in gameplay than the original game. Anyway, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is a good game. It's not as good as Sonic 2, though. Sonic 2 was undoubtably the best Sonic game for the Genesis. Sonic 3 is more upbeat, with more features, longer levels and many more bosses than any previous game. But it just doesn't have that charm of an old-style Sonic classic. You may love this game, but I still think Sonic 2 is better. Still, this is a good game and not as challenging as previous games, so it may be a good choice for someone who wishes to get acquainted with Sonic the Hedgehog. If you have any questions or suggestions, or wish to point out something I missed, by all means e- mail me! I love getting e-mails to remind me there are other Sonic enthusiasts out there who still play these obsolete games. Just make your e-mail as clear and precise as possible, and no stupid e- mails, thank you. My e-mail address is email@example.com . The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 story is as follows. At the end of Sonic 2, Sonic and his sidekick Tails the fox thought they had destroyed Dr. Robotnik's Death Egg ship. Also, during that adventure, Sonic had found all of the magical Chaos Emeralds of his homeland and managed to become Super Sonic, a superhuman version of himself. But actually, the Death Egg was not destroyed. At the last minute Robotnik managed to crash land it on the other side of Sonic's homeland. Sonic, determined to leave no chance of Robotnik returning, set off with Tails as Super Sonic on his red biplane to destroy Robotnik for good. But just as he arrived on this new area of his homeland, he crashed into none other than Knuckles the Echidna, another resident of Sonic's homeland and guardian of the Chaos Emeralds. Sonic lost his Chaos Emeralds and before he could recover, Knuckles grabbed them all and ran away. You see, Robotnik had tricked Knuckles into thinking that Sonic had stolen the Chaos Emeralds and he, Robotnik, was their rightful owner. He really wanted the Chaos Emeralds because the Death Egg was so badly damaged that it could never fly again without Chaos Emerald power. Now Sonic and Tails accompanying him were in a predicament - having lost the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic couldn't hope of being Super Sonic again unless he found them, and Knuckles had cunningly hid them and, believing Robotnik's lies, would try to stop Sonic and Tails' progress any way he could. And Knuckles was very clever and firmly under Robotnik's control. Finally, Sonic and Tails had to hurry to stop Robotnik before he could repair the Death Egg and get it flying again - that would mean disaster. Can they do it? 2. General Information Sonic the Hedgehog 3 has six zones, each with two acts. This is fewer acts than earlier games but is compensated for by the fact that acts are generally longer. At the end of the first act of every zone is a battle with one of Robotnik's inventions, while at the end of act 2 is a battle with Robotnik himself. So now, every act has a boss. Bosses at the end of act 1 are called 'mid- bosses', while act 2 bosses are just 'bosses'. (This comes from my old Sega tips for this game). Each act has power-ups, enemies, traps and obstacles, and gold rings. Rings are the same as in every Sonic the Hedgehog game - you need them to stay alive. If you get hit you lose all your rings. But do not worry - rings are fairly plentiful in this game, usually appearing in groups. Also when you lose your rings, some of them fly out away from you - if you are quick you can re-grab them. As long as you have at least one ring you cannot die from a normal hit. If you get hit with no rings, you die. You also die instantly if you fall off the screen, get crushed, drown or run out of time. (Running out of time is usually not a problem since you get a full 10 minutes to complete each act, but remember acts in Sonic 3 are longer than in earlier games). If you die you return to the beginning of the act you died in, or to the last Starpost you touched. Starposts are lampposts with a star on top of them, and they serve as checkpoints in case you die. They also are important in entering the Bonus Stage (see Section 4). You return to the Starpost with no rings and the same time on the clock as when you activated the Starpost. You begin the game with three lives. You can obtain an extra life from a 1-UP power-up, getting 100 rings, 200 rings (additional 100s provide no more lives) or by earning 50,000 points. If you run out of lives your game is over and you must return to the beginning of the game unless you have a continue. To get a continue you must collect 50 rings in a Special Stage (see Section 3). If you have a continue, press start at the continue screen before the countdown reaches 0 to return to the act you lost your last life in with three lives. Control in this game is fairly simple. You can walk, duck or look up using the directional pad. When you press up or down for a few seconds, the camera shifts to show what is above or below you. Pressing start pauses/unpauses the game. If you press down while walking, you will roll into a ball (this is also called the Super Spin Attack). This is one way to defeat enemies. The other way is to jump on them. To jump press A, B or C. It's not important that you actually jump ON an enemy, just that you hit it while rolling and you don't hit it at a dangerous point (such as spikes). To execute a Spin Dash Attack (referred to in the walkthrough as just spin dashing) duck and press A, B or C. Instead of jumping you will begin to rev up like an engine in place. Keep pressing A, B or C to increase power. Continue holding down on the directional pad until you are ready to release, then release down to speed off at great speed (faster if you powered it up). This is a super move for building speed quickly, rolling up walls, demolishing weak barriers or smashing enemies. Get used to executing it quickly and without error. One last move is possible in Sonic 3 for Sonic. It is called the Insta-Shield. To do this, do a double jump - press A, B or C again in the air after jumping, and Sonic will flash for a split second. This is supposed to protect him from danger if you time it right, but its real purpose is to extend Sonic's attack range for a split second, making it possible to hit an enemy slightly farther away than a normal jump could reach. This move is only occasionally useful but do not forget it. However, Tails cannot use the Insta-Shield; instead when he double jumps, he can glide for a short time using his two tails like a helicopter. He initially goes in the direction he was going when he started - if you were going up when you began gliding, you'll begin by surging upward a little further than you could with a normal jump. After about a second of weightlessness you slowly glide back down to earth. This move is very useful to a Tails player who can reach areas Sonic cannot reach by flying. However, you cannot defeat airborne enemies in this way unless you hit them from below (with your spinning tails). Otherwise, you get hit instead. Tails tags along Sonic in the regular game and can be controlled by a second controller. This is not a good way to play a two-player game, though, since Tails cannot open power-ups and must constantly keep up with Sonic. If Sonic runs off the screen and Tails is left behind, or if Tails dies for whatever reason, do not worry; he will come back soon. If Tails gets hit, nothing happens (you lose no rings). One new thing Tails can do in this game that he could not do in Sonic 2 is kind of cool: he can airlift Sonic. To do this normally, have Sonic jump onto Tails while Tails is flying, and then have Tails fly Sonic to wherever he wants to go. Tails can only fly for a short time, so bear that in mind. This is not really useful for getting Sonic out of danger since it requires two controllers (in fact, it is very difficult to do without a second player) but can be used to get Sonic to areas he could not otherwise reach. Since not all players can do this (not everyone has a second controller, or a second person willing to play as Tails for a short time) my walkthrough never requires using Tails to airlift Sonic. Scoring points is fairly simple in this game. Every enemy you defeat is worth 100 points. If you defeat several enemies in succession (on one roll or jump) your points increase to 200, 500, 1000, and they remain at 1000 until the tenth enemy or so, then you score 10,000 points for each enemy thereafter. Defeating a boss or mid-boss earns you 1000 points. You score a ring bonus at the end of each act of 100 points per ring in your possession. You also score a time bonus for how quickly you made it through the act. However, going for a high time bonus is not the recommended way of getting a high score. Not only are acts longer than earlier games and always have a boss, but the time bonus scoring system has increased its standards from earlier games, so you need to go even faster to earn a bonus. If you take longer than 3:30, you get a default bonus of 100 points. Here are the power-ups in this game. They are always found in monitors with a picture on them indicating what power-up it is. Jump on them or roll into them to break them open and collect them. Super Ring - Looks like a picture of a ring; worth 10 rings. Invincibility - Looks like three stars; makes you invincible to enemies (but not to anything that can kill you instantly) for a short time. Speed Shoes - Looks like a red shoe; gives you a burst of speed for a short time. Very rare in this game and often turn out to do more harm than good. 1-UP - Looks like Sonic's face (or Tails' face if you're playing as Tails); worth an extra life. Robotnik - Looks like a picture of Robotnik; found only in the last two zones. Avoid at all costs - collecting one causes you to get hit. Shields - This is one of the major changes Sonic 3 makes from earlier games. In Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 there was just one kind of Shield, and it protected you from losing rings one time. In Sonic 3 there are THREE kinds of Shields, each with different abilities. You can only have one at a time (getting a new Shield will replace an old one). All the Shields break when you get hit, but protect you from losing rings. Also, all the Shields protect you from certain projectiles such as some flying rocks and small energy balls. Projectiles that any Shield will repel are stated in the walkthrough. In addition, each Shield provides its own special abilities in addition to these: Water Shield - Looks like a drop of water. The last desirable Shield in most cases but much better than nothing. The only Shield you can have underwater; allows you infinite time underwater without drowning. When you have this Shield do a double jump (jump and press A, B or C in the air) and you will immediately bounce downward to the floor, and reflect off it like a ball, bouncing higher than you could with a normal jump. This move has limited uses, though, and is difficult to control. (All Shields produce some sort of effect for Sonic only when you do a double jump; the Insta-Shield move is disabled while you have a Shield on). Fire Shield - Looks like a fire. The second most desirable Shield in all zones except Hydrocity (in that zone there is so much water Fire and Lightning Shield are almost worthless; Water Shields are by far the best). Disappears if you step in water. Provides, in addition to protection against attacks like energy balls, protection against some fire-based attacks provided by no other Shield. It's safe to assume this protects you from most fire-based attacks but not all of them; check the walkthrough for individual information. When you have this Shield do a double jump and you will execute a move called a Fireball Spin Dash - you will blast forward as if you had done a spin dash in midair. This move is very easy to do and very convenient. Lightning Shield - Looks like a bolt of lightning. The best Shield to have in most cases. Sucks rings in towards you like a magnet when you go near them, so that you need only step near rings and they come flying toward you on their own. Real useful to say the least. Also, doing a double jump with this Shield does just that - a double jump, jumping again in midair. This is a fantastically versatile move which lets you jump higher and farther (higher than you can with a Water Shield bounce) and get out of sticky situations. The only other thing I wish to explain is the save feature. This is, unfortunately, only found in this game (and Sonic CD, and Sonic & Knuckles when locked onto Sonic 3). This is one trump card Sonic 3 has over most other Sonic games for the Genesis. On the screen after the title screen there are six save slots and one slot marked 'No Save'. Select an empty slot to begin a new game. Press up or down at an empty slot to choose between playing as Sonic and Tails, Tails alone or Sonic alone. The game, unfortunately, only saves your progress at the end of each zone, so if you wish to load a game, you must return to the beginning of the last zone you were in (and the state you were in at that time). The game saves your lives and Chaos Emeralds but not your score. If you play a game in the slot 'No Save', your game will not be saved and you will have to complete it in one go. The game automatically saves after each zone, so if you wish to play a game in multiple sessions, try to end each session at the end of a zone if you don't want to lose work. To erase a saved game go to the far right and select Robotnik. Move to the game you wish to erase, select it and press left to confirm your request and erase the game or right to cancel your request. If you begin playing a completed game (marked with Sonic's or Super Sonic's face if you completed it with all the Chaos Emeralds) you can begin playing at the beginning of any zone you wish by pressing up or down to cycle through the zones. Also, the save feature gives you infinite continues, as having a Game Over does not erase a saved game. 3. Special Stage Sonic the Hedgehog 3 introduces a completely new, extremely challenging and very unique Special Stage. A Special Stage in a Sonic game is an area outside the regular game where your goal is to collect a Chaos Emerald. There are seven Chaos Emeralds and one Special Stage for each one. To enter Special Stage, you need to find in the regular game a giant gold ring and jump into it. These rings are well hidden - usually in secret rooms. Read the walkthrough for more information. Luckily there are giant rings in every act and many more than there are Special Stages, so if you find most of them, you should be able to fail a few times to collect a Chaos Emerald in a Special Stage and still stand a chance of getting them all. My walkthrough does not tell where every single giant ring is, but I tried to cover as many as I could without going way out of the way. As I've already mentioned, I got some giant ring locations from part of a FAQ by TurboKiller and Janus Operative; thanks again guys! Once you enter the Special Stage get ready for a wild ride indeed. You get very little help or hints on what to do - unless you have the manual or another resource, you're on your own. Even knowing what you're supposed to do it's tough to get used to how fast-paced the action is in Special Stages; prepare to fail almost immediately a few times before you get the hang of it and start collecting Chaos Emeralds. The Special Stage in Sonic 3 takes a lot of practice, so do not get frustrated. If it's any consolation, the Special Stages in Sonic & Knuckles are even harder AND there are far fewer giant rings in that game, so getting all the Chaos Emeralds is very, very difficult. All the Special Stages are in the form of a gigantic globe that you run on and turns beneath your feet. The globe's colors (it's checkered) differ in each stage. There are individual intersections, or points on the globe where you can turn. To turn press left or right on the directional pad when you come to a point. It's best to hold left or right when you're going between points if you want to turn rather than just tap it. You can also jump at any time, but cannot turn when jumping. These are your only means of control in the Special Stage. You run very quickly so keep control of yourself. The Special Stage is like a board of points with various things on them that stretches so far, and if you walk off of it, you come out on the other side (in other words, the stage repeats itself if you go too far in one direction). Some points are empty but most have something on them. There are red spheres, blue spheres, white spheres with red stars on them, and gold rings. Your goal is to avoid red spheres at all costs and collect blue spheres. If you touch a red sphere, the stage immediately ends. If you touch a blue sphere, it turns into a red sphere. If you touch a white sphere with a red star you get bounced backward and walk backward until you press up; then you return to walking forward. Red star spheres are bumpers that often seal off masses of red spheres, and there is never any advantage from touching one - in fact, avoid them if you can, since while you're going backward you can get confused. Your goal is to collect all the blue spheres, but REMEMBER that they become red spheres once you touch them! The number of blue spheres remaining is shown in the top left corner. Once you collect every one and there are no blue spheres remaining in the Special Stage, all the spheres disappear and you collect a Chaos Emerald. Rings are sometimes found at the beginning of a Special Stage (this is rare and only occurs in a few stages) but usually you get them by transforming spheres into them. To do this you must have a mass of blue spheres in a square or rectangle that is at least 3 by 3 in size (there must be blue spheres in the middle for this to work). Collect ONLY the blue spheres on the OUTSIDE of the square or rectangle, and when you've turned all the ones on the perimeter to red spheres, the whole formation turns into rings. Be careful not to collect any spheres in the inside, though - if any of them are red, it will not work. This is also possible in a formation of the appropriate size in which some of the spheres on the perimeter are already red. This sounds tricky but soon becomes second nature. It is never necessary to collect rings but it is usually best to do so if you can, both to eliminate a mass of red spheres and because rings give you points at the end of a Special Stage. They do not, however, do anything like protect you from damage like in the regular game. At the end of a Special Stage you score 100 points per ring, even if you did not collect the Chaos Emerald. If you collected all the rings possible in the stage, you get a 'Perfect' bonus of 50,000 points, or one free life. Collecting 50 or more rings is also worth a continue. (If you see a picture of Sonic dancing after your points are tallied while a tune plays, you got a continue). The second time you enter a Special Stage you will go to the second one - even if you did not collect the first Chaos Emerald in the first stage. The only way to collect emeralds you miss is to go all the way through the cycle of stages until you come back to them. You never replay a Special Stage once you collect the Chaos Emerald in it. Once you have all the Chaos Emeralds, you can become Super Sonic like in Sonic 2. To become Super Sonic you must have all the emeralds (of course) at least 50 rings, and no Shield (lose any Shield you have on purpose by getting hit). Do a double jump (or perform an Insta-Shield) and voila! You morph into a yellow version of Sonic with superhuman powers. Super Sonic is like regular Sonic except he can run twice as fast, jump twice as high, and is immune to any enemy attack (though he CAN still die from anything that would kill regular sonic instantly, so watch out). Super Sonic does have one weakness - he loses one ring each second, so he has to constantly collect rings to make up for this. If he does not and his rings tick down to 0, he immediately morphs back into regular Sonic, with no rings. If you collect a Shield after becoming Super Sonic, it will have no effect except for the Lightning Shield, which will cause rings to be sucked towards you. Super Sonic cannot get any effect if he does a double jump. There is no Super Tails. One of the improvements Sonic 3 made over Sonic 2 was that becoming Super Sonic once you got 50 rings was a choice, since you didn't do it as soon as you jumped - instead, you need to double jump. This is useful if you wish to build up a larger reserve of rings. Once you have all seven Chaos Emeralds, the Special Stage is inaccessible, but by all means still seek out giant rings because they now give you 50 rings, which are enough to immediately turn into Super Sonic! 4. Bonus Stage This is one of the most confusing aspects of Sonic 3. In previous games there was only one kind of stage outside the regular game, and that was the Special Stage. But in Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, there's also something called a Bonus Stage, which is entirely different. Understand this: Special Stage is what you enter when you lap into a giant ring, and is about collecting Chaos Emeralds. Bonus Stage is something you enter when you leap into a ring of stars at a Starpost, and is just about accumulating more power-ups. You enter a Bonus Stage the same way you entered a Special Stage in Sonic 2: Touch a Starpost with at least 50 rings and a halo of white stars appears above the Starpost. Jump into that and you'll play a Bonus Stage. If you are Super Sonic at the time, you will immediately morph back into regular Sonic, and you can never be Super Sonic during a Bonus Stage. You return to the regular game at the conclusion of a Bonus Stage with the same number of rings you had when you entered (plus maybe some more) unlike Sonic 2. The Bonus Stage is simple enough. You begin falling down a shaft with yellow bumpers (of the type in Metropolis Zone in Sonic 2) on the sides of it, a gumball machine at the top, and four springs at the bottom. The bumpers can be used to bounce you up to the top by reflecting you off the walls, but each time you touch a bumper, it disappears permanently. Tails can be more of a hindrance than a help in the Bonus Stage, as he tends to destroy bumpers you could use later. The springs at the bottom can also bounce you up, but when you bounce on any of them, they all collapse. Falling below these springs will end the Bonus Stage. Your goal is to touch the crank of the gumball machine at the top by bouncing up to it with the bumpers and springs. Each time you do, a gumball falls out and floats straight down. Some gumballs have a high chance of appearing while others are quite rare. Here is what the various gumballs do: Clear - Does absolutely nothing. Solid black - Bounces you off like a bumper. Green with the word 'REP' - Stands for 'Replace'. If you've already collapsed the springs at the bottom of the stage by bouncing on them, getting this gumball will make them reappear. Otherwise it does nothing. Letter B - Gives you a Shield, type depending on the color around the letter B. Blue - Water Shield, Red - Fire Shield, Brown - Lightning Shield. Black with a ring - Worth 10 rings. Pink with the word '1-UP' - Worth an extra life. The best strategy in the Bonus Stage is to immediately bounce up to the crank on the springs, since you may be able to replace them later. Then bounce back and forth with the bumpers, hitting the crank each time. (By the way, the gumball machine descends so it's always above the highest bumper remaining). Go down the stage as you use up bumpers this way. If a gumball you want appears, drop down and get it by holding in the opposite direction you're going to avoid hitting the next bumper, then try to hit a lower bumper after collecting it and bounce back up. Collecting a gumball in this way uses up several bumpers so only do it if it's really worth it (any 1-UP or Super Ring, or a better Shield than what you have, are worth it). Don't be afraid to fall out of the stage to get a good gumball - it's usually worth it. Don't assume something better is coming up, since the good gumballs (especially 1-UPS) are quite rare. Grab what the stage gives you that you need and don't grab an REP gumball unless you can do so easily. Try to stay on top of things. Depending on your luck, even the most skillful player can come away empty-handed - it depends on what comes out of the gumball machine. The Bonus Stage also can only go on so long (there are only so many bumpers) so remember that. Good luck! 5. 2-Player Mode At the title screen, selecting a two-player game (select Competition) prompts you to a screen where you have two choices to make. Press up or down to select one of three different modes of 2-player play: Grand Prix, Match Race and Time Attack (you can also select Exit, which will take you back to the title screen). Pressing left or right at this initial screen will allow you to select between having power-ups in the two-player zones and not having power-ups. Once you select your mode of play each player must select their character. Player 1 uses controller 1 and Player 2 uses controller 2. Press left or right to cycle between the choices of Sonic, Tails or Knuckles and start to make a selection. Tails can glide like in the regular game by double jumping, but Sonic cannot use the Insta-Shield. Otherwise 2-player play is exactly the same as 1-player play. Knuckles is a playable character and plays exactly the same as Sonic (he cannot glide or climb walls like he can in Sonic &Knuckles). Grand Prix is a race through all five 2-player zones in order, and once each player selects their character, you immediately go to the first zone, Azure Lake Zone. Match Race is also a race between both characters but in only one zone you must select after choosing your characters. Time Attack is a 1-player way of playing the two player zones - only one player can play, you select your character and zone, and try to complete it as fast as possible. The three fastest times ever are recorded in the screen that follows completing the zone. You can do this to practice for Grand Prix or Match Race, or just to fool around. The 2-player zones are very simple and short compared to 1-players zones. They repeat themselves over and over as you run to the right, and the first player to complete five laps around the whole zone wins. The zones are played in a split screen like in Sonic 2's 2-player mode; Player 1 plays in the top half of the screen and Player 2 in the lower half. The two characters' positions in the zone are independent of one another and neither character can directly block or impede the other. If you are playing Time Attack or if, for some reason, you are playing Grand Prix or Match Race with only one controller attached, there will be no character in the lower screen. The goal in each 2-player zone is simply to go five laps through the zone as fast as you can. Each time you run past the pole at the start, you complete a lap. First player to complete five laps wins the zone. The number in the top right corner indicates what lap you're on. Running left across will actually make this number decrease, and thus is totally unproductive. At the beginning of every 2-player zone (including in Time Attack) there is a 3, 2, 1 countdown. If either player passes the start pole before the word 'GO!' appears, the word 'FAULT appears and the countdown restarts. You can go through an infinite number of false starts this way. Also at some point in every 2-player zone there are power-ups (if you're playing with power-ups - I prefer to play without). The power-ups are nothing like those in 1-player mode - they are spheres that rotate in the air, two at a time, and they change each lap. Touch them to collect them. Only one player can collect each power-up. I don't know exactly what each power-up does so I can't explain any more here. Some of them are ones not found in the regular game. Hopefully you'll understand what they do fairly easily. If a player dies at any time he simple returns to the beginning of the lap he was in (but in a close race, this costs precious time). The 2-play zones have no rings (except a ring power-up) or enemies. Here's a brief guide to each one: Azure Lake Zone: The first zone and a fairly easy one. Firstly you run through two loops. Coming out of the second loop you run up a ramp. This is the only tricky spot of this zone - try NOT to land on the high ledge above, as you will have to either drop down or run right and go down the zig-zag way - either costs you time. Try not to land in the mud pit, either, but if you do jump out - sink too far in it and you die. Try to run up the ramp at just the right speed so you miss the high ledge but land on the lower ledge to the right of the mud pit. From there run right and you'll come back to the start pole. Mastering that ramp and the correct speed is the key to fast times in this zone. Balloon Park Zone: Welcome to the fair! Begin by going right through a loop to two moving elephant trunks. Quickly drop in the moving gap between them (if you're running too fast you'll run right over it). It's tricky to do this quickly. Below are three pop bumpers and a conveyor belt on the floor. Run or spin dash right to a yellow balloon. You need to bounce on this balloon by jumping on top of it. You must land squarely on top of it to bounce straight up. If you touch it without bouncing on it, it will pop and you'll have to wait a second for another one to materialize (move out of the way so you don't pop it too). Bounce up to the left, then try to land right on top of another balloon, and bounce up to the start pole again. It's important you master those balloons and the elephant trunks to get a fast time, but it's difficult to master them. This zone can be a bit frustrating. Chrome Gadget Zone: This zone can be even more frustrating. Go right and ride the platform down. Go left when you can and hit either spring but not too quickly! You need to give the platform time to rise back into position first, or you might hit the white part on the bottom of it, which will for some reason kill you. Bounce right to some fans which lift you up to a gray switch. Hitting the switch alters the position of the spring up ahead, but I'm not sure exactly how. Bounce on the two springs to your right. Now for the trickiest part; you need to get over the depression to the right and get in the corridor to the right. Try to make it over on your first jump from the left ledge. If you fall in the depression you must run up the right side at just the right speed to enter the narrow corridor without running by it. Once in the corridor bounce down the yellow bumpers back to the start pole. You can lose a lot of time at that depression, which can get very aggravating. Desert Palace Zone: This is the easiest and fastest zone. Run right through a small depression. Go up the ramp but not so quickly you fly up into the sky. Run down the hill and through a loop. If the spring ahead is above the ground in position to bounce you back left, jump over it. Jump over the quicksand. If you fall in the quicksand quickly jump out. Don't sink too far in it or you die. The red button on the other side of the quicksand controls the position of the spring to the left. There's a ledge in the quicksand that appears and disappears - just ignore it. From here run right and soon you'll pass the start pole again. Beware that the bridge before the start pole appears and disappears, and though you'll make it across if you run full speed, if you fall through, you'll fall in the quicksand. This is a quick zone to run a lap through, so get used to the little nuances and shave a few seconds off your time in some places. Any error will be costly here. Endless Mine Zone: This zone takes the longest time to complete. It's a mine, of course. Go right and bounce up on the spring. Run right and break through the yellow rocks. Go right to a large depression. As usual in the 2-player zones, you must run up the right side at the right speed so you don't run right past the entrance to the corridor at the right side, at the top. Run up that side or spin dash, but don't go too fast or too slow. Once you enter the corridor go right, down a hill and through a loop, back to the start. Note that you can see the start pole at the depression midway through but it's impossible to reach it. Laps in this zone take longer than you'd expect. Mastering getting through the depression quickly is the best way to trim your time. At the end of a Grand Prix game, whoever won the most zones wins the game. At the end of a Match Race, whoever won the individual zone played. Either way you return to the screen at the beginning of 2-player mode to play again or return to the regular game. 6. Codes and Cheats Alas, I cannot get the Level Select code I downloaded from the GameFAQs code site to work. The code is supposed to be up twice, down twice, and up four times (on the directional pad) in the black screen after the Sega logo but before the title screen appears. That's a very short time to enter that button sequence, and I was not able to get it to work when I tried to when writing this FAQ/walkthrough. I remember getting it to work in the past but I cannot now. For the time being, you will have to be satisfied with the built-in level select that you get when you complete the game. I do apologize greatly. If you can get this code to work, according to the GameFAQs code page, you can press up once to find the hidden level select and sound test screen at the title screen. If you play sounds 02, 04, 05 and 06 in order and then begin the game at any level, you will begin with all the Chaos Emeralds (this is an automatic Super sonic code). I have no idea whether this code works or not. There is a trick for infinite lives, but as it is not a code, I explain it in the walkthrough. And now, without any further ado, the 1-player walkthrough! 7. Walkthrough This walkthrough tries to cover as much of the game as possible, in particular guiding you to the important secrets in each act (1-UPS and giant rings). Each and every one of these is not covered - there are multiple paths possible in each act, and some of them are too difficult to reach for me to bother covering. I tried to follow the path that was the easiest to get through and could be followed through fairly ordinary play. If I have missed a secret, e-mail me only if you feel it could be incorporated into my walkthrough without taking the player way off course. Thank you for your consideration. This walkthrough was meant to be used by Sonic and Tails or Sonic alone; if you are playing as Tails you can still follow it, but some sections may be easier and you may be able to reach some areas Sonic cannot, because you can fly. There are no general tips I can give for this game other than stay alert, go slowly and remember that this game can be challenging so do not get frustrated! 7a. Angel Island Zone This zone at first appears to be the standard tropical paradise for a first zone but it has a twist which isn't immediately apparent. After the opening sequence where you crash into Knuckles and lose the Chaos Emeralds (which does not occur if you're playing as Tails) the game begins. Act 1 Go right and defeat the monkey enemy in the tree (watch out for the coconuts he throws). When you come to a blue-gray boulder jump on it to smash it. In the ground below where the boulder was is an invisible spring. Bounce up to the spring in the tree a little bit to the left, and from that one, bounce left to a ledge with a moving platform just off of it. On this ledge is a Super Ring and Speed Shoes. Get them, drop down and continue right. Jump over the yellow spring in your way which will bounce you back to the left. You come to an enemy on the ground who looks a little like a robot rhinoceros that will charge at you; it's difficult to jump on him, so I recommend rolling or spin dashing into him. Jump over the two spikes and you come to a cliff with an overhang that will collapse (as well as all other overhangs that look like this). To the right are some swinging vines you can grab onto, but instead drop down and spin dash to the left. You'll break through the boulder and enter a room with the first giant ring! Play your first Special Stage, and when you return, go right and jump over the two yellow springs in your path. You can grab onto the swinging vines but don't; continue right and go through a loop. Slow down quickly - if you run onto the ramp ahead too fast, you'll get sent flying over the pond to your right. You don't want that because right below the ramp in the pond is a Water Shield. Get it and go right, jumping over the spikes in the pond below the waterfall. Bounce up out of the pond and continue. You some to a boulder that you can't smash but can push left. Do so, then jump on the ground where the boulder was. It'll break and you'll fall into a hidden chamber with two Super Rings and an Invincibility. Below the Invincibility is a spring that will bounce you back out. Hit the red spring to the right. Go through the loop, but then stop. Turn around and spin dash back up the slope and through the loop, then through another loop. If you can't get up enough speed use a charged-up spin dash. Left of the second loop is a yellow spring. Bounce up to a floating ledge with a Starpost to the left. Activate it, then bounce up again on the spring, onto the top of the second loop. From there jump down and right to the top of the first loop you went through (which has a Super Ring on it, partially hidden), and from there jump as far right as you can. You should land on a limb of the big tree to the right with a 1-UP on it. To continue you need to go run up the inside of the trunk of the big tree. This is not possible unless you're running very fast. I recommend backtracking through the two loops, then spin dashing through them from the other direction to build up the necessary speed. After running up the tree, you encounter a robot that comes down on the right side of the screen. This is the mid-boss of act 1 but you don't fight it yet; you can hit it if you wish but that has no effect. Wait a second and other robots like it will appear, and a huge sea of fire appears. At the bottom of it you are totally unscathed and are still in act 1 of Angel Island Zone, it's just that now the background and foreground are burning, and will be for the rest of the zone. So much for the tropical paradise. Anyway go right to a Starpost. Do NOT stand below the ceiling spikes to the right when they appear; they will crush you. Spin dash under them when they disappear. After this jump into the depression and you'll break through the ground and fall to a lower level. Spin dash left through two boulders to a chamber with a red spring pointing up. Use it to bounce up to a giant ring at the top. After returning from that Special Stage, go right along the bottom route. You come to an overhang over a like of water. Do not fall into the lake but jump to the right to a bridge (which also collapses, so quickly run across it). Defeat the rhinoceros enemy patrolling the ground and jump on the boulder. From there jump to the moving platform, and then to the overhang. You encounter a stationary enemy that looks like a flower; he periodically shoots out two mines to the side of him. If you have any Shield these mines cannot damage you; otherwise be careful around this guy. Go right and cross two overhangs quickly (they too collapse) and go through a loop. Use the moving platform to the right of the loop to reach the top of it, where a Lightning Shield is. Get the Super Ring and go right. Bounce up on a spring. Stand on the boulder and from there jump to the overhang to the left. If it collapses and you fall, do not worry; it will reappear if you leave the screen and come back. To the left is another flower enemy guarding a Fire Shield. Defeat him and get the Shield (even if you got the Lightning Shield a minute ago; in this case a Fire Shield is more valuable, as you'll soon see). Jump to the overhang on the right and run right to a flat area. Listen to the ghastly mid-boss music and prepare for your first mid-boss. Mid-Boss You will encounter that same flying metal pod you met halfway in the act. This boss is a joke; he will lower down on the right, shoot a flame thrower at you, then move over to the other side of the screen and repeat. Your Fire Shield makes you immune to the flame thrower so you just need to avoid direct contact with the pod. Jump and hit it six times and it's history. Now the end of act marker comes down. Once it touches the ground you've completed the act. However, you can have fun by jumping and batting it around in the air, and each time you do so you score 100 points. If you get the marker to land in the right place a power-up might even pop out of the ground. You'll have to experiment with this though, as I don't know where exactly making the marker land will make a power-up appear. Anyway, congratulation on completing the first act of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. On to act 2. Act 2 Go right and spin dash through the boulder. Go down the twisting tunnel. On the other side hold down on the directional pad. You'll automatically go right into a room with a giant ring! How easy can it get? After another Special Stage go out of the room and drop down into the water. Go right into the pond with a blue caterpillar enemy swimming in it. This enemy is nasty as to defeat him you must hit his head. Anywhere else gets you hit. Try to defeat him, then jump on the boulder on the bottom of the lake and it'll be smashed. Below it is a red spring that bounces you quite high up the waterfall. Bounce up about three times and the third time, there should be platforms moving down the waterfall. (It takes time for the platforms to appear). Jump up them (they slowly float down the waterfall so fighting their movement isn't too hard) and at the top of the waterfall jump right, defeat the flower enemy, and grab the 1-UP. Now jump on a platform and ride down the waterfall. If you accidentally grab the swinging vine jump back onto the platform and continue floating down. You don't want to take the high path. When you come to a bridge a little bit above the surface of the lake (you probably already touched this bridge and made it collapse) jump off the platform to the right. Spin dash through the two boulders and get the Water Shield between them. You see a floating spiked log in the water. Avoid it and drop into the water. Go left to find another 1-UP. Then bounce back out by means of an invisible spring. Go right to encounter several spiked floating logs, and some floor spikes too, in shallow water. Avoid the spikes and when you come to a curved wall, spin dash up it (don't use the spiked log as a boost). Once out of the water, go right, spin dash up another curved wall and through the boulder (ignore the moving platform). Go down a tunnel into the water. Bounce up and go right to a room with a gray button. Hit that to drain the water and open a path ahead. Go back down and through the new path. Go right to a Starpost. Continue right to a bridge that periodically flips over (the bridge tiles seem to ripple). When it does this you can fall through the bridge. However, that's exactly what you want to do, so fall through it and go right to another bridge over a body of water; fall through it, too. (Don't bother with the Lightning Shield to the left). In the water grab the Super Ring and spin dash right. Burst through the boulders, grab the Water Shield, and bounce up out of the water. Go right to a tricky spot; a lake with mostly spikes in its bed, but also a 1-UP. Stand on the boulder to the left and do not grab the swinging vine. Duck to see where the 1-UP is and attempt to walk off the ledge and land on it. If you fail, you'll get hit since it's surrounded by spikes. Anyway grab it and jump onto the other piece of safe ground, above and right of it. From there jump up to the bridge and quickly run right to safe ground because the bridge collapses. try not to collapse the bridge until you're ready to run across it, as it's the safest way to escape this area. Go right and defeat a caterpillar and rhinoceros enemy. Go right and drop into the lake again (you'll see some appearing and disappearing ledges which you'll climb in a minute). Inside this pond spin dash up the right side and hold right. A little bit above the surface you'll go through the right wall and find a giant ring; the last in Angel Island Zone. Then go back out of the pond and this time climb up the ledges that appear and disappear. Go right, bounce up on two springs in the ground, and go left. Cross the waterfall again via another pair of appearing and disappearing ledges, and bounce up again. Spin dash left to find a bonus room with two Super Rings and a Water Shield. Then go right on a higher level with a rhinoceros enemy. Jump right and cross the waterfall for the final time via a collapsing bridge. Unlike overhangs, these bridges never reappear once collapsed so if you fall, it'll be very hard to cross this gap a second time. Go right to find a monkey in a tree and a curved wall. The tree the monkey is in has a Fire Shield, which will prove to be very valuable, but to get it you must spin dash up the curved wall with high speed (charge up the spin dash) and hold left to reach it. You cannot reach it by jumping from the Starpost. Hit the Starpost and go down the tunnel to its right. Once outside it go right and an enormous airship starts chasing you and begins dropping bombs on you. The Fire Shield does not protect you from the bombs, but they will all fall behind you if you hold right hard and never press down (rolling will slow you down). Just hold right hard and you'll be unscathed, but if you fall behind and start getting hit you could be in serious trouble. Try to get back ahead of the bombs if that happens. After the airship flies away run right through a wood (you see Robotnik in the background) to a waterfall where you face your first boss. Boss The boss music is actually very good. This guy is quite a bit harder than the mid-boss (he's very hard if you don't have a Fire Shield). At the start of the battle he'll appear to your left and drop two fireballs, which will destroy the bridge. Do NOT attempt to hit him initially; it is too dangerous. Falling off the island you are on will kill you and that is the main danger in this battle. After dropping two fireballs, Robotnik's ship will go behind the waterfall (you can just see a faint outline of it) and move to either the left or right side of the island. When he appears, hit him. He'll drop two fireballs either straight down ir, if he's off to the side a bit, diagonally so they move over the surface of the island. The fireballs are very hard to dodge but your Fire Shield will protect you from them; just be very careful not to accidentally fireball spin dash to your doom. Also don't jump to hit Robotnik right before he disappears if he's floating off the edge of the island. Go for about three hits each time Robotnik appears if you have a Fire Shield. If you don't you must be much more careful, since a hit from a fireball will possibly knock you off the island. Hit the ship once before it fires and once after, and jump over the fireballs if he fires them over the island. Robotnik takes eight hits to beat (mid-bosses usually require six hits and bosses eight). After winning you get a bit of a surprise; instead of going right to an animal prison like usual, one appears upside-down above you! Hit the button below as it floats by to break it open, freeing some animals. Congratulations on completing the first zone! I hope you built up a few extra lives since you may need them in the near future. After your points tally go right and you meet the malicious Knuckles again - he laughs and hits a switch which makes the bridge you're on collapse, and you fall into... 7b. Hydrocity Zone In most Sonic the Hedgehog games (but not Sonic & Knuckles or Sonic 3D Blast), there's a zone that's at least partially underwater. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 gets this zone out of the way early. There was water in Angel Island Zone but it was usually fairly shallow so I never bothered to explain it. Now I will: water slows your movement, and if you remain underwater for more than about 25 seconds, a countdown appears and you hear 'panic' music. If you don't jump out of the water, get an air bubble or get a Water Shield before the countdown reaches 0, you drown and die. Water is actually found in all the zones (except Marble Garden Zone) but is most concentrated here. This zone (only) has air bubbles on the floor in some of the longer underwater stretches. Basically stand by a mass of bubbles on the floor for a second or two and a large bubble should rise; touch that and you'll refill your air. Be careful underwater - you can drown faster than you'd think. Also this zone has some very difficult sections... it's the zone I believe is most likely to frustrate players into never playing Sonic 3 again. I hope you don't get frustrated. Act 1 You begin this act falling down a waterfall into the water, landing between two springs. If you go left and jump over the spikes, you will find a spring that will bounce you up out of the water to a Super Ring. Be careful of the two puffer fish enemies floating above the spikes - they can only be defeated when they retract their spikes. Drop back into the water and go right, get the Super Ring and press the button. You get swept away by a current down a tunnel and grab onto a pole. Jump off to continue being swept along. Jump off the next pole as well (but move up on it so you don't fly into the spikes) and you get sent out of the tunnel into another underwater area. Immediately go left to find a Super Ring and an Invincibility. Behind the Invincibility is a spring that will bounce you to the right. When you're invincible your best course is to head right as fast as you can. This area is dangerous; you must worry about puffer fish, spikes, drowning, but worst of wall the red piranha fish. These are small enemies who seem to pose little threat, but if you let one grab you, it will stick to you like a leech and steal your rings, one per second, until you run out of rings (at which point it kills you) or you drown. You cannot jump once one grabs you so it is almost invariably lethal to be grabbed by one. So watch them and take them out carefully. Run right and jump up onto the conveyor belt. Ride it right. The fans will push you onto the top of the conveyor belt for a second. When you reach the right side hold right to fall off without grabbing the bottom of the conveyor belt (which will take you back left). Get the Super Ring (be very careful of piranha) and hit the spring below it. Bounce up out of the water and get the ten rings. Then go right (ignore the air pocket on the floor since you just got a breath of air) and jump to another conveyor belt. Ride it right, fall off and get the Super Ring below it. Then go right to find a cannon. Jump over it from a distance (be very careful of the three energy balls it periodically shoots out) but DO NOT destroy it, yet. That will cause the floor to collapse below it. Instead run into the wall to the right of it. You find a secret passage with a Water Shield. This is VERY valuable; keep it as long as you can! Then go back out and destroy the cannon. The floor collapses. On the level below is a hidden spring that will bounce you up to some rings. To the left of that is another cannon, destroy it too (the Water Shield, or any Shield, will protect you from the energy balls) and drop down. Ignore the bubbles (unless you lost the Water Shield) and go right into a tunnel. Another current catches you; jump off the two poles (don't let the current carry you into spikes) and after the second pole a flume of water propels you high in the air. Land on the ledge to the right (don't grab the conveyor belt) by holding right and you find a Starpost. From this Starpost spin dash right and you'll go on quite a long ride, eventually ending up with you skimming the surface of two lakes (if you're going fast enough you'll run right over the surface of the lake) and up in the air. Some fly-like enemies attack you here. Only the larger ones can hurt you, though. You can continue right but instead go back left, and drop into the second lake. You land next to a Starpost on top of a loop. Activate it then drop down to the left. You see an air pocket with a hand that reaches out of the floor behind it. Allow this hand to grab you and it will give you a super speed boost and send you zipping right through the loop and the tunnel below it. Enjoy the ride you go on and when you come to a stop ride the conveyor belt right (hold right on the conveyor belt to move faster, and also to drop off and land on the ledge to the right). Go right. A platform in the floor will rise up if you step on it. Don't ride it up as it will smash you against spikes on the ceiling. To the right is an air pocket, then another rising platform in the floor at the entrance of a tunnel. It you are timid just run over this platform and enter the tunnel. If you are daring step on this platform and ride it up holding right HARD. You should just barely avoid being crushed against the ceiling and enter a secret passage in the right wall with a 1-UP. Grab it and drop down, and enter the tunnel to the right. Another current pushes you forward; jump off two poles (avoid spikes) and you get sent high in the air, up to ten floating rings, and land on a walkway. Go left and you meet a red enemy with a spike on his back he launches when you come close. Get close enough to make him launch his spike and run off, then go left to find a Super Ring. Hit the spring behind it to go running right. You go on quite a ride, through a Starpost, and eventually wind up in the mid-boss arena. Mid-Boss This guy is pretty tough for a mid-boss. At the start he appears in the middle, then rolls along the side of the arena (which is U-shaped, the bottom half submerged in water) twice. Stand in the center and jump over him both times (he is invulnerable right now). Then he comes to rest on the pillar in the center. Now you can hurt him so jump and hit him from below. You should get at least three hits in before he creates a whirlpool that makes you swirl around the pillar in the center but does not pose nay threat to you, it just prevents you from hitting him. When the whirlpool dissipates, regain control of yourself and continue hitting him. If you're quick, you can take him out now. If you aren't quick enough he'll fly off and roll around the arena again, repeating the pattern. You should take him out before he does this, hopefully. The time you need to be most careful of is when he rolls around the arena - it is simple enough to jump over him if you are calm, in the right place and know what you're doing, but accidents still happen. Act 2 This is a very long act, with a very difficult part at the beginning. Luckily a lot of it is just zipping along slopes and slides after the beginning. After act 1 you get sucked through the floor and into a hallway. Spin dash right (charge up this spin dash well) and you burst through some barriers. You fly up a ramp and into the air. Hold right and hopefully you have enough velocity to land on the flat area to the right above the water. If you miss it you're most likely hosed since as soon as you flew up, the wall to the left begins moving right. The first section of this act involves that wall chasing you through an obstacle course - if it crushes you, you're dead. There's a Starpost at the foot of the wall but ignore it. From where you landed above the surface spin dash right up the curved wall. Don't charge up; just duck and fire. Once on top of the wall do another quick spin dash right. Burst through three more barriers then HOLD LEFT. You need to avoid hitting the spring to the right which will bounce you back left, and slip in the small gap in the floor. Drop through there as quickly as possible and drop through the gaps on alternate sides of this shaft. You'll go back underwater; after the third gap, hold right to avoid landing on another harmful spring. Spin dash right up three successive curved walls (avoid the spikes) and at the top, you've outrun the moving wall. Be prepared to lose a few lives before you start making it consistently. Breath a sigh of relief; the worst part of the act is behind you. Spin dash right through some more barriers. Then spin dash up the curved wall and onto the moving rotating cylinder. Ride it up, bounce on the spring and ride the fans up. Then go left, down a blue slide. When you see a hand rising out of the floor, let it grab you and throw you at great speed up the steep slide to the left. You come out at a Starpost. Climb up the steps to the right avoiding the blue planes that come horizontally at you (the planes have shark marking as painted on them). At the top of the steps you next encounter a red enemy who looks like a weird truck with a gray spike on his back. The key to defeating these guys is to get close enough for them to launch their spike and then spin dash through them without touching the spike. Go through a loop, down a slide, through another loop and down another slide. You go into some water then up a ramp and high into the air. Land on the right ledge and jump over the red spring that will send you flying left. Spin dash up the curved wall onto the rotating cylinder (the blue drops that sometimes drop from the ceiling are totally harmless). Jump on the spring and hold left. You don't want to get airlifted by the fans to the right just yet; hold left and you should bounce into a secret passage in the left wall, right below a block sticking out of it, that has a 1-UP. If you miss at first, try again. Then hit the spring again and let the fans carry you up. At the top of the shaft spin dash left and you'll go on a long ride - down two slides, underwater, then up a ramp and finally landing on a bridge. Spin dash up the curved wall to the left (above the water) and jump over the spikes to find a 1-UP. The spikes are hard to jump over because of the low ceiling but the 1-UP is well worth it. Just don't go down the slide to the left, and jump back over the spikes. Drop back down and head right. Break through some barriers and go up a curved wall. Let the hand thing throw you up a steep slide and you come up above a bridge. Hold left to enter a tunnel in the wall with an Invincibility. Behind it is a spring that'll send you on another ride. Go through a loop and down two slides, then up the ramp. Try to land on the gray block to your left. There are three gray block snakes in the area you're in that move periodically in a square formation, and you can use them for transportation once you get the hang of their movement. At the bottom of the slide is a hand that can throw you back up the ramp if you fall down. Land on the gray block snake to the left, and jump into the left wall. There's a not-so-hidden tunnel in it that leads to a giant ring. Play a Special Stage, then use the block snakes to reach the ledge to the right. Go right through a one-way door to an area with four rotating cylinders moving horizontally as they rotate. Use them to climb up but be extremely careful not to let them crush you or get moved into spikes! This can be a tricky section. At the top go left to an Invincibility. Get it and ride up on the fans when they turn on. Use the fans on alternate sides of the shaft to climb up, and at the top, get the Super Ring to the left and go right. Spin dash through the loop and down the slide; you'll go flying up in the air and should try to land on the high ledge where a blue plane is waiting for you. Go right past three more blue planes flying left, past the Starpost. Climb up on three rotating cylinders (use the same caution you did in the earlier section) and at the top, go left. Let the hand grab you and throw you on another ride. When you go flying up in the air at the end of this one, press no buttons and you'll fly up between two rotating cylinders. Try not to fall back down (if you fall back down you'll need to climb back up, which is a pain). Land on the right cylinder (if you pressed no buttons on the ride you should barely have enough altitude to make it). When this cylinder moves up to its highest point, jump up and hold right. You should barely make it into a tunnel in the right wall leading to another giant ring. After Special Stage drop back down to the cylinders and go right. Smash through some barriers and drop onto a bridge. Knuckles pops up again, and presses a button that destroys the bridge. Drop down and go right. A current sweeps you through a tunnel. Jump off the poles (avoid being swept into spikes) and at the end of the tunnel you come to a Starpost. Activate it and run right to the boss.* *BUG: This sometimes happens to me but it may never happen to you. I don't know whether it's built into the game or just my cartridge. Sometimes instead of meeting the boss like usual, you just run right and come to the animal prison. If you jump on the animal prison, the game may crash completely, or it may do nothing. Whenever this bug happens, I always jump over the prison and jump into the pit to the right of it (which is also a bug) which kills me and returns me to the Starpost, and the bug usually does not happen a second time. Just wanted to mention this. Boss This boss is easy. At the beginning he lowers himself down in the middle (the water level in this battle is just above your head). Hit him from the side but not from the bottom where his propeller is. About two hits is good for now. Then run away to either side (I prefer the right side) and hold in that direction hard. Robotnik will crate a whirlpool that sucks water up to himself (like a reverse whirlpool, water being sucked up instead of down) and if you get caught in the center, you'll take a hit. But hold to the outside of the arena hard and the whirlpool won't suck you up. After it dissipates the column of water in the middle goes down. You can jump on it as it does and use it to hit Robotnik. After this Robotnik flies back and forth out of reach dropping depth charges into the water. These hurt you if you are standing by one when it explodes, but if you jump right before one explodes, the jet of water it fires up will propel you up, allowing you to hit Robotnik (don't do this if you are inexperienced as it is rather hard to pull off). After a while Robotnik lowers himself down in the middle and repeats the pattern. The best time to hit him is when he lowers himself down to the water's surface. This can be a long battle if you don't or can't use the depth charges to hit him, but it isn't that hard since the only real threat to you is the whirlpool (which is easy to avoid). Like most bosses, this boss takes eight hits to beat. After winning go right and jump on the more normal animal prison. Then hold your breath as a huge flume of water blasts you out of Hydrocity and into... 7c. Marble Garden Zone This zone is set in an ancient city high in the mountains, with high walls and steep hills, and spinning blue tops that zip you around like crazy. Signposts sometimes tell you which way to go. There are a fair number of secrets and all in all it isn't too difficult. Just avoid getting crushed in some places. Act 1 You begin this act falling from the sky. Press no buttons and you land on the edge of a ledge. Go right and jump over the gap to a Super Ring. Run into the wall to the right of it and grab the Lightning Shield in the secret room. Go back out and drop down. You'll run down a long series of very steep hills with rings on them. About midway down there's three spinning platforms that you can use to take a path right but continue down. At the bottom, the ground collapses and you fall underground. There are 90 rings on the slope (you probably won't get them all, though). Spin dash through the pillar blocking your way. Jump over the spring and go right. You come to a large spiked ball swinging back and forth along the floor on a chain. Jump over it (this is somewhat difficult) and you encounter a machine (this will be the mid-boss of act 1, but that's later). Hit it and it goes into the ceiling, causing a short earthquake and making the blocks to your right descend, allowing you to climb back above ground. Continue right. You come to a red mud pit with three platforms moving in a circle above it (connected to a central point). Jump on these platforms to get across. If you fall in JUMP OUT IMMEDIATELY or you'll sink and die. These are a bit like oil in Sonic 2 but kill even more quickly. Continue right and you encounter some spikes. This is one of the most bizarre things in this game, but these spikes are actually an enemy that shoots energy balls to the side when you come near. That isn't bizarre - any Shield will deflect the energy balls - but what is bizarre is that jumping on these spikes will bounce you up and not hurt you - try it! Spin dash into one of these guys to beat him. Beware as sometimes there are regular spikes where you think there's an enemy. Go right to a strange blue wheel partially in the ground. Stand on it and spin dash and steps will rise from the ground, allowing you to climb the steep hill. At the top you come to a blue top. Moving this top is tricky - jump on it and press and hold left. The top can float and by holding in one direction (left or right) it will go that way and rise. Maneuvering it in the air will take practice, but if you fall off, go back to the top of the hill and it'll be there again. Do not jump off until you can jump to the ledge on the left. If you move one of these tops onto the ground, it will speed in one direction and carry you with it, and it is the only thing that can demolish some walls. Bear that in mind. After using the top to reach the ledge to the left, go left. Use the rotating platforms to reach the ledge and continue left. At the second group of rotating platforms, climb up and go right. You meet a blue enemy who looks a little like a puffer fish. He floats around aimlessly, retracting and extending spikes. Hit him when he retracts his spikes - he is totally invincible with them extended. Go right to another blue wheel in the ground. Spin dash on or next to it to make a column rise. Jump onto the column. Cross the spike bed via two moving platforms. Then climb the steep hill via two more moving platforms. Once at the top go right down a slope, and spin dash through the pillar. Go right to a blue top but ignore it and jump over it and down. You'll land in a mud pit so JUMP as soon as you land! Go left, out of the mud pit, into a room with a giant ring. After another Special Stage cross the mud pit (there's some moving platforms midway across) and go right down a slope, jumping over spikes. At the bottom is a spiked ball moving up and down, guarding the entrance to a tunnel. Jump when it goes up and run underneath it, and run right to a Lightning Shield and beyond that, a Starpost. To the right of the Starpost is a steep hill. You need to climb that hill to continue. The way to do this is to get a running start from behind the Starpost and jump onto the hill, and run right. Hopefully you will make it up to the less steep part near the top, but if you don't have enough momentum, jump back to the Starpost and try again. If you slide down past the Starpost, spin dash back up. DON'T go through the loop at the bottom - once you go down the blue pole, you can never go back, and I have no idea how to get out of that area. When you finally make it up the hill to your left will be some rotating platforms - if you jump to them and go left, you'll find two Super Rings, but you risk sliding back down the hill if you miss. At the top of the hill go right and jump over the spikes. Jump to the ledge above the second set of spikes (which are really an enemy) and continue right. Bounce up on a spring and watch out for the floor spikes above it - those are real spikes. Go right to a spiked ball guarding a pillar; time a spin dash so you roll under the ball and through the pillar. You grab a whopping three Super Rings and burst out another pillar, ending up next to a blue face on the wall. Stand right next to it and it'll shoot arrows out of its mouth, but they will barely go over your head. In between arrows, jump and hit the red spot on the face's forehead. Do so three times and the floor moves allowing you to continue. Go left to a bed of spikes. Cross it via a moving platform and jump to the three rotating platforms to the left. Be careful not to fall since there's another giant ring in the wall just left of the rotating platforms. Find it and when you return, drop down. Hit the red spring to the right and go left. At the yellow spring to the left collapse the ground in front of it and drop down again. Now go right on this lower level. Jump over several floor spikes and you come to another vertically moving swinging spiked ball. Drop down by it and spin dash through the pillar. You come to another spiked ball but behind this one is a blue pillar that pounds up and down trying to crush you. You must time a spin dash to spin dash under both obstacles at once; wait for a good opportunity before you release. Go right further to a blue wheel; spin dash next to it to make two steps lower allowing you to go underground. But instead jump back to the left and you'll find a column the blue wheel caused to rise out of the ground. Jump onto it, then onto two moving platforms that lead up to an alcove in the ceiling with a 1-UP. Pocket it and drop down underground. To your left is a blue top on a red stand. When you jump on it, it will whisk you through the pillar to the left. But instead jump over it and go as far left as possible, then go back right. The steps should have moved back into the ceiling and you can get the Lightning Shield below them (the third one in the act). Get it and then jump on the top. You blast through the pillar and go down a shaft. At the bottom you head left. Jump off the top now and continue left. The ground begins to incline downward, and right before it becomes very steep, jump onto the rotating platforms. Then jump left to find two Super Rings. Then slide down the two hills. At the bottom spin dash up the hill to your right. At the top, go right. If you jump on the rotating platforms and climb up a ways, you can find a Fire Shield. Anyway go right a while to a mud pit. Cross it and another one to the right of it (watch out for blue puffer fish enemies). You come to a Starpost; touch it and spin dash through the pillar to meet the mid-boss. Mid-Boss This is easy. You're up against the same drilling machine you met at the beginning of the act. It rises into the ceiling and causes rocks and spikes to fall from the ceiling. The rocks do not hurt you; the spikes do but any Shield will deflect them. If you have a Shield all you need to worry about is the drilling machine falling on you. The chances of that are fairly low but it's hard to avoid when it does happen. If you don't have a Shield, dodge the falling spikes as best you can. When the machine comes down, before it goes back into the ceiling, hit it away from its drills. You can get a few hits in at the beginning as well. Take it out as quickly as you can, especially if you don't have a Shield or lose one you have. Six hits does it. Act 2 Go right and spin dash through the pillar. Jump and grab the ring-shaped handle hanging on a chain and it carries you up the slope. Jump off and do the same with the second handle. Jump to the ledge and go right. Watch out for a spike enemy and spin dash through a pillar. The ground starts to shake; do not stand on the right side. Robotnik appears in a machine with a drill on the right and the boss music plays, but you're not at the boss of course. Hit Robotnik or just wait and he flies away. Then continue right. And back above ground. You see a new enemy, a green grasshopper robot that jumps when you come near. Defeat it (be wary that these enemies are sometimes invisible, hiding in the floor until you get very close) and go right. After spin dashing up a short curved wall and passing a signpost pointing right, spin dash right. You'll cross a piece of ground that changes position to become a steep hill downward and crash through a pillar on the other side if you were going fast enough. This route leads to a 1-UP and soon rejoins the other route. Go right to a pillar in the ground that moves back and forth and moves up and down at the same time. Avoid the spikes on the side of it and jump on it. When it moves up and to the right jump off when it is at its highest point and hold right. If you jump high enough you'll land in a secret passage in the right wall (it may take some time for the pillar to move into the right position). Go through this passage and you drop into a room with a 1-UP, a Super Ring and a grasshopper. Exit to the left and spin dash through the pillar. Go down the hill and jump on the top. It takes you down a steep hill and breaks through the floor, opening up the next passage. But to the left is a Starpost; jump off quickly and activate it. The spinning top next to the Starpost can be used to break through the ground again if it reappears. On the lower level spin dash under a spiked pillar that tries to crush you and jump onto the rotating platforms above you. Jump to the right ledge but be very careful of the swinging spiked ball on a chain. Jump over it and go right until you come to a blue wheel. Spin dash on it to make steps come up, allowing you to continue right. You come to a vertically moving platform; ignore it temporarily and drop down. Spin dash into the spike to your left to defeat it and reveal a spring under it. Then spin dash under the moving pillar to the right, into a giant ring room. After Special Stage, backtrack and bounce up, and ride up on the moving platform. Then go right to a blue top; jump on it to be taken for a ride. The ride ends after you go up a shaft and crash into a puffer fish (you will not lose rings since you're on the top, but if you had a Shield, you'd lose it). Defeat the puffer fish and go right, defeating three grasshoppers. Jump up to the rotating platforms via the spike enemy and on the higher level, go left. Spin dash at the blue wheel to raise some steps, and continue left. Grab onto the handle and get pulled up before the ground before it collapses. Jump to the other handle, ride it up, then bounce on the spring. You land at a Starpost; activate it and hit the red spring next to it. You go on a ride through two loops and down two thick blue poles. Press no buttons until you bounce up on a spring, then go left. Ignore the moving platform and jump over the swinging spiked ball on the ground. You find an Invincibility. Now go back up the moving platform and jump to the left on floating platforms. Go left, drop down and go right to a face that spits arrows. If you're not still invincible, be very careful of its arrows since they are at ground level. Hit the red spot three times to open the floor below. Go left to a Fire Shield below another blue face. Jump and hit its red spot three times avoiding arrows, then go right. A column rises allowing you to spin dash through the two pillars. Do so and go right until you come to a blue wheel. Spin dash on it to lower the stairs and continue right. Jump over the spring at the bottom of the hill and cross the mud pit via the rotating platforms. Jump on the top and it carries you right, then hits a spring and goes left. You smash through a pillar and begin going up a shaft. Now jump off and go left before you reach the top of the shaft. Spin dash under the spiked pillar and you come to a piece of ground that collapses. Left of it is an entrance to a giant ring room. Enter it and play a Special Stage. Afterwards, drop down to find yourself where you were before. Retrace your steps, jump on the top again, and this time, do nothing as you ride up the shaft. When you come to a stop jump off, defeat the puffer fish and jump over the spikes. Spin dash through the pillar and jump and hit the blue face's red spot three times to drop down. Get the Fire Shield to your right and go left, to a Starpost. Spin dash at the blue wheel to move the columns blocking you, and drop down to another area where Robotnik appears, this time on the left. After he leaves, go left and outside. Get the Super Ring, wait for the ground to shift and go down. Go right, through a pillar, and drop down. Go left, spin dash under the moving pillar and drop down again. Now run right AS FAST AS YOU CAN jumping over spikes. The ground rises in this part so if you aren't quick enough you'll end up flattened. Run right until you can go no further, then ride the ground up until the earthquake stops. Hit the Starpost and go left. Watch out for two grasshoppers that jump out of the ground. Drop down and jump over the moving spiked pillar. Bounce up and go left to a blue wheel. Spin dash to make steps rise, then go right and ride the moving platform up. Spin dash through the pillar and back outside. Prepare to face the boss. Boss This is a very interesting boss. At the beginning he appears directly above you. You can hit him from below just barely to the left of his two thrusters. If you have no Shield it's actually easier because you can jump and do an Insta-Shield at the peak of your jump. If you have a Lightning Shield it's very easy, but if you have a Fire Shield it's very hard since you can't jump any higher. Unfortunately a Fire Shield will NOT protect you from his thrusters. Try to get in about two hits before he moves his drill down and pounds into the ground. Qucikly jump on him once. Then the ground collapses and he flies up off the screen. You are now below the screen, but you soon appear in the air being airlifted by Tails. If you're playing as Sonic alone Tails makes a brief appearance now to help you out. Robotnik will be floating to your right but when you approach him he flies away. Now watch him in the background - he'll fly across the screen from the direction you saw him go in the background. His pattern is left, left, top, bottom (the directions he comes from). His first, appearance, though counts as coming from the left so at first it's left, top, bottom and then the above pattern. It is unsafe to touch him at his drill or his thruster. If you get hit you will fall off Tails and CANNOT recover any rings. This means your rings are meaningless, and unless you have a Shield you will die the second time you get hit. Be VERY careful. Hit Robotnik from above when he flies sideways and from the side when he flies up or down, being careful of his drill and thruster. Don't touch him while Tails is holding you. Don't bounce off him and hit his thruster or drill, or bounce back to Tails and then hit him. If possible hit him once per pass and then fall off the screen. If you fall off the screen Tails will automatically airlift you again, and you cannot die from falling off the screen. Tails will slowly lift you up until you're floating about halfway up the screen, and you can use the directional pad to move left or right, and any jump button to jump off Tails. Use the above strategies and hopefully you'll get the hang of this boss after a few tries. The more hits you get at the start, the better. This boss can be very hard (he was very frustrating the first time I played this game) but on the plus side, the mountain background flying by is cool. If you are playing as Tails alone your game will likely end right here because this boss is almost impossible to beat with Tails alone. You'll be flying solo, and all you can do is hit Robotnik from below, away from his drill and thruster, with your tails. Any other contact with him gets you hit, and only two hits kills you like Sonic. It's only possible to hit Robotnik from below when he's flying sideways (it may be possible when he's going downward but it'll take some fancy flying to miss his drill) and even then it's almost impossible to time. Maneuvering yourself is almost impossible. This boss is not impossible to beat as Tails (when I released my old walkthrough for this game, I got a lot of e-mails from people explaining as such) but anyone who can do it has my compliments. I have never done it. Eight hits as usual and you've completed another zone and are, incidentally, halfway through the game. That boss was hard but the next zone is fun. The animal prison floats above you like in Angel Island Zone and you must have Tails hit it from below. I like how the animals you set free fly around you as you bob up and down in the air and your points are tallied. Then the sky darkens and it becomes night. Off to the balloons and cannons of... 7d. Carnival Night Zone This zone is at night at a large, colorful carnival. This zone is obviously based on Casino Night Zone of Sonic 2, but regrettably it is nothing like as good. The music is not nearly so memorable and there are no slot machines. But there are bumpers, balloons, rotating barrels, twisting poles, spinning magnetic wheels and cannons, so you can expect a fast and rather wild time of it in here. Act 1 Tails airlifts you into this act. Begin by going right to four balloons. If you pop them they will bounce you up. Jump up to the floating ledge with a Super Ring. You see a red and white rotating barrel in the floor. If you jump on it, it will begin oscillating up and down. By pressing and holding down as it reaches its highest point, and up as it reaches its lowest point, you can make it oscillate further and further, but this is pointless with this particular barrel. Get used to and practice the technique if you can, though, because you will need it in act 2. You also encounter pop bumpers, which give you 10 points each time you bounce off them, although after a certain number of bounces they stop giving you points. Some move around. Don't worry, they can never crush you. Continue right to the first enemy in this zone: a blue clam thing that is very hard to defeat, because he bounces you off diagonally if you jump on him. He's not really worth trying to defeat in my opinion but can be used to spring into interesting places. He sometimes spits small spiked balls out sideways, but any Shield can deflect these. Otherwise, be careful. Keep going right, across an anti-gravity floor that lifts you up above it. If you look up you'll see some balloons above you. If you bounce across them you can reach some floating ledges with three Super Rings and a Fire Shield, but it's difficult to reach those. Stick to the low road and watch out for spikes (especially the ceiling ones that retract and extend; they can crush you). Eventually you should spin down a pole that looks like a candy cane. If you execute a maximum- power spin dash back up this pole there's a chance (albeit a slim one) that you'll fall through the pole and land on a moving rotating barrel in the area below it. If you land on that barrel you can jump to the left to find a room with a giant ring. I recommend you pass this one up as it's very hard to reach and there are more giant rings later. Continue right and an electric bat may attack. These enemies are annoying because of their swooping motion but they aren't too bad. To the right is a huge white pillar that is extremely tall and thick, with a white grid on it that constantly rotates. Grab onto it and you'll rotate with it. This one rotates downward. When you rotate over to the right side of the pillar, jump off (on the low road) and go right over an anti- gravity floor. Go down the hill and you see a black wheel spinning above you. If you jump onto the wheel and roll you will roll around it (it's magnetic). Hold in the direction you're going around the wheel to increase your speed. If you jump off at just the right time, you can land on the floating ledge to the left. From that ledge jump to the left and bounce up on two balloons, to a ledge on the right. Go right from there to a secret room with two Super Rings and a 1-UP. This is very hard to reach, though, because of how hard it is to use the magnetic wheel to jump onto the ledge - your jump off must be timed perfectly. If you find yourself getting too frustrated just continue right. To the right, cross an anti-gravity floor sloping upward and jump over a spring pointing backward and a blue clam. Go right and jump in the cannon. The cannon constantly swings back and forth; press A, B or C when in it to fire. You need to time it so you fire up and left and land on an upper ledge. It may take a few tries to get it right. Once on this ledge go left and jump over the rotating barrel. You come to a strange platform that has a zig-zag line across it and turns to jelly when you jump on it. Jump on this platform and it begins to sink. But then jump again and it rises more than it sank. The key is to let it sink a little bit by standing on it between jumps to make it rise quickly. This takes practice, like a lot of things in this game. Once you get use to the platform's dynamics ride it up the shaft and at the top, be very careful not to jump into the spikes. Go right (watch out for a bat who will activate when you come close) through a vacuum tube to a rotating grid pillar. Use the red spring below and right of it to bounce high up the pillar, and near the top jump off to the left to the ledge and go left. To the right are some Speed Shoes but they do more harm than good so ignore them. Jump over the yellow spring and jump through some rotating pop bumpers that get in your way. To the left is a vacuum tube that, once you go through it, sends you running left quite fast and is one-way. Run through it and jump through more pop bumpers. Beware, just beyond them are two rotating barrels that move in and out of the ceiling, trying to crush you. Run under them when they go up and go through another vacuum tube. You run up a curved wall and bounce through a corridor via some purple bumpers on the floor and ceiling. Continue left past three pop bumpers rotating around a central one, and eventually you come to a jelly platform. Ride it up being careful of the spikes on the ceiling, then go right. Get the Water Shield on the ledge to the left and go right and you'll be sucked up through a vacuum tube. (To prevent the walkthrough from going on forever some enemies and obstacles are not being mentioned). At the top of the vacuum tube you land in an area with twelve rings. Go left and jump on the jelly platform, then jump through the left wall to find a giant ring. Play a Special Stage, then go back out and jump on the magnetic wheel. Run around it clockwise and roll to stick to it. Hold right to roll faster and time a jump off as you go over the top, so you jump right onto the ledge. Watch out for the spikes. It may take a few tries. Go right on this ledge to a Starpost, and spin dash through a checkered wall that blocks your way and go down an orange tube. Now things get really confusing as the tube can send you out to the left or the right, completely randomly, and each way leads to a different path. If you get sent to the left get the Invincibility to your left by jumping on the red spring, then go right through a bumper corridor. After that continue right under a magnetic wheel and spin dash up the wall. You'll be bounced to the right by a yellow spring (a one-way barrier closes below it). If the orange tube sends you to the right go right, watch out for the bat, and run under some ceiling spikes (ignore the rotating barrel in the floor). Go right down two curved walls and you come to the same spring you get to if you take the other route. Two magnetic wheels are above this spring, but ignore them and go right to an anti-gravity floor. The middle part of this floor is moving and there's a Starpost below it. Drop down to the Starpost and go right, and drop down. Hold right to enter a room with a giant ring. To get back up to the Starpost you must execute a super-high powered spin dash from the floor below and spin dash up the wall. It may take a few tries. Jump back up the anti-gravity floor and continue right. You go down three hills and over a patch of anti-gravity floor, then down another orange tube. This one will also randomly send you left or right. My walkthrough stops briefly here; just follow whichever path you get sent on until you come to three of those giant white pillars that rotate. You come here on both paths. Grab onto the second pillar which rotates upward, and go up to the ceiling. Then jump onto the far right pillar and quickly jump off to the right, to a ledge with some spikes and a Water Shield. Behind the Water Shield is another giant ring. After Special Stage, you'll drop through the room and land to the right of a rotating barrel that can crush you. Go right and get sucked up the vacuum tube. In this room, spin dash up the right wall and hold right hard. At the very top of the right wall is a secret passage leading to two Super Rings and a Lightning Shield. After grabbing these, drop back out and spin dash up the left wall and go left. Watch out for the ceiling spikes, which can crush you if they come out and you're below them. Jump over the blue clam and go up the vacuum tube. Hit the Starpost and go right to the mid-boss. Mid-Boss This is the hardest mid-boss in the game. You're fighting in a wide chamber with an orange and green checkered floor that begins moving downward when the battle begins. The mid-boss is a metal robot that comes down from the ceiling and launches the part at the bottom off, which resembles a small spiked top. That bounces all around the room, destroying any block of the floor it touches, and hurting you if it touches you. You can ride the top if you jump on it, though, but avoid the spikes on its underside. The rest of the robot floats around, sometimes surrounding itself with a field of electricity. Even if you have a Lightning Shield you must avoid touching it when it's electrified. When it is not, hit it and it will not take damage, but will extend itself into an extended shape. You cannot directly damage the robot - you must hit it to make it extend, then wait fro the top to smash into it, which will damage it only if it's extended. Note that it eventually returns to its initial state. Hit it quickly at the beginning and after each time the top hits it, to defeat it as quickly as possible. If you're lucky the top will keep bouncing into it but that top's movement is very erratic and can be hard to predict. What really makes this battle hard is that if you take too long, the top will destroy a lot of the floor and eventually open up holes, and falling in a hole will kill you. You could eventually actually run out of floor. So try to destroy the robot as quickly as possible by hitting it quickly. Luckily unlike other mid-bosses, four hits is all it takes. Act 2 Wow! Sonic 3 usually has very long acts, but this act is SO long, you should try to hurry in this act. If you don't you may find yourself running low on time. Finding all the secrets in this act is very hard indeed, but I'll do my best to walk you through. I hope the length of my walkthrough doesn't put you off. As usual I only want to be very clear and detailed. If you find yourself very low on time it may be best to run out on purpose, as running out of time resets you to 0:00. This means you are unlikely to rush on the second time around and die from other causes. Let us begin. Start by going right through a hallway and several vacuum tubes. You go down a candy cane pole. Continue running right over several mounds. You come to a stop at some rotating pop bumpers. Jump past them and go down two corridors of bumpers. The lower one is in the water. Water is in this act and there are no air pockets (though popping a balloon underwater causes a bubble to appear) so be careful not to drown here or later on. The lower bumper corridor bounces you onto a rotating barrel moving sideways. When the barrel moves left jump through the left wall. You'll find a secret passage leading to two Super Rings and a Water Shield. It is very useful to breathe underwater; try not to lose it. Go back out (there's another passage leading farther left but it goes nowhere useful) and drop down. Watch out for the lower rotating barrel; it can crush you against the wall. Jump down to the right of it when it moves to the left and go through the vacuum tube. You pop some balloons and come to a stop at another rotating barrel. This one can crush you so carefully run under it. Jump onto the rotating barrel moving back and forth above the floor (you have enough space to walk below it). Then jump and you'll do a super jump and hopefully get lifted by some anti-gravity floors. Hit the Starpost and go left, jump over the spring, and jump up to more anti-gravity floor. There are some rotating pop bumpers here. Bounce up to the level above and go left. Do NOT look to the right; there is an Invincibility guarded by a blue clam that is almost impossible to get (and usually ends up getting you hit instead). Go left, watch out for some ceiling spikes that could crush, and go through more bumpers. Ride the jelly platform up and go left to a cannon. Ignore the cannon and get the Super Ring, and jump into the left wall. In the room with two Super Rings and a Water Shield, below the Water Shield is a shaft leading down. Fall down but hold either left or right hard. You'll land in another chamber below this one with a giant ring in it. If you don't hold left or right hard you'll fall through it as well since there's a hole in the bottom center. After Special Stage, fall down and you find yourself near the beginning of the act. Retrace your steps through the water and back to the cannon. This can take a while. Once finally back at the cannon jump in it and fire up and a little right, but mostly up. You need to bounce off some balloons to bounce up and reach the ledge to the right. There's some annoying rotating pop bumpers that can bounce you back down at the top, so this can be frustrating. Just keep firing from the cannon and eventually you'll make it. On this ledge go right. Jump over three gaps in the floor with balloons in them (you can use the balloons to help cross the gaps). If you fall you'll have to retrace your steps a ways. After the third gap jump over the yellow spring. To the right is a corridor with three weird enemies who flash. They flash faster and faster and eventually jump from floor to ceiling, or ceiling to floor, and send out two electric sparks diagonally from their new position. They never move sideways but still, be careful. Take them out and avoid being close to them when they change position. After this jump on the stationary rotating barrel to get it moving. If you jump as the rotating barrel is moving upward, you'll do a higher than normal jump. Use this to reach the ledge, then do the same thing with the next rotating barrel. Get it moving up and down by holding down as it goes up and down as it goes down. Repeat this and it'll oscillate faster and farther in each direction. It's a little tricky at first because the barrel is making only short movements but becomes easier once you get it going. When it is moving upward jump and if you time it right, you'll be propelled upward very high and can land on a ledge with a Super Ring and a Fire Shield. Using these rotating barrels can be very frustrating and takes practice. From this ledge jump left and hold left hard. You'll go through the wall and find another giant ring. This giant ring chamber also has a hole in the bottom that will make you retrace your steps a little if you fall in it. After another Special Stage get back on the rotating barrel but this time you must jump even higher; to the ledge on the right where a Super Ring is. You don't have to get within sight of the ledge - just jump when it's moving up quite fast and you'll be sent flying up very high. Get the Super Ring and go left, past two bleu clams and a rotating barrel that tries to crush you. Then go up a vacuum tube. To your left will be a rotating barrel moving up and down. When it moves up spin dash underneath it and you'll go through a cunningly concealed secret entrance to another giant ring chamber. Watch out for a hole at the bottom of this one, too. After Special Stage, drop down through the chamber onto an anti-gravity floor. Go right and up the vacuum tube, to where you just were. Jump onto the rotating barrel and then to the ledge on your right. It's easiest to reach the ledge with a fireball spin dash but be careful not to overshoot and slow down quickly once you land on the ledge. Once on this ledge use the red balloon to bounce up to the ledge above and to the right of you where you find three Super Rings. Drop back down and go right. Cross an anti-gravity floor with two sets of rotating pop bumpers above it blocking you. Slip in between them and at the end of the floor you see an open space. Drop through it and go left under the floor, to find a 1-UP. Nab it and run back out. Be careful of some spikes under there though. After that continue right jumping over a depression with pop bumpers in it. Jump over a rotating barrel and some spikes. Go through a one-way door and pass a Starpost. You meet Knuckles; he presses a switch that makes the bright colors of the carnival become dull. After he runs off go right and break the yellow floor. But first it may be worth your while to try to bounce up to the right ledge with a pop bumper, as there's a Water Shield there. Go back into the water and go left. Run past a rotating barrel (it can crush) jump over a jelly platform floating above spikes, and you come to a corridor with six enemies that switch shoot off electric sparks. Rather than defeat them and risk getting hit, I recommend just spin dashing through the corridor as fast as possible. After you're through drop down again. Go right through a bumper corridor, drop down and go left through another bumper corridor. About now the water will drain, allowing you to move normally and breathe. Get over the two annoying springs and the floor spikes, and drop down past two rotating barrels. Go right and down over an anti-gravity floor. Drop down and go left, drop down again and go right (all over anti-gravity floors). Below the third and last one is a 1-Up, but the only way to get down there is through the rotating barrel to the left. You must get it moving up and down over a wide area, then when it goes down below the anti-gravity floor, make a short jump off to the right (not contacting the underside of the floor, which will suck you back up through it). It's probably more trouble than it's worth. Go right past a series of obstacles partially submerged. After a while you go up a vacuum tube. After that go left under three rotating barrels (watch out for two electric spark enemies between the second and third barrel) and up another vacuum tube. Hit the red spring to your left. Spin dash through the wall to the right (it may be worth your while to grab a Lightning Shield to your left first) and through a vacuum tube. Go right over some hills, eventually running up a curved wall. When you come to a stop go left and bounce on the two balloons to reach a ledge with two Super Rings. Drop off to the left and go left through another vacuum tube. Jump left past three huge rotating grid pillars, and ride the left one up to the ceiling. From the ceiling jump left to a switch that turns the color back on. Spin dash left to a Starpost. Jump onto the magnetic wheel to the right and jump up (it isn't necessary to speed up on this one; in fact it makes it harder to make an accurate jump) to the ledge on the right with the aid of some balloons. Go right until you come to a room with a rotating barrel. This is a very tricky spot that takes a while to get past; get the barrel moving up and down, and get it moving far enough that when it goes to its lowest point, you can tap the jump button and get off to the right without landing back on the barrel if you time it correctly. The hard part is just getting the barrel moving far enough - it takes a while, and if you mess up your holding of the buttons it can be ruined. It's very tricky. When you finally get off the barrel to the right (there's nothing in the area above it) get the Invincibility and go left. Go over an anti-gravity floor, then drop down and spin dash right. Go down a candy cane pole but at the bottom of it, slow down even though you're running quite fast. To the right is a candy cane pole going up. Spin dash up it weakly so you don't go all the way up it. If you're lucky you'll stop moving on the underside of it and fall through it. If you don't, keep trying. Once you fall through it go right to two Super Rings and a Fire Shield, then go left and under the left candy cane pole as well. Go left until you come to a spring, then bounce up and go left. Go down two anti-gravity floors (some annoying pop bumpers get in the way, as usual) and jump over a rotating barrel to find a Starpost. Go right for a long ride through vacuum tubes. At the end of it you fall through a vacuum tube and meet Knuckles. He presses a switch and runs off, then you go up the tube. At the top go right to the boss (at last!) Boss After that LONG act you're probably hoping for an easy boss. Luckily this boss is fairly easy. Dr. Robotnik flies overhead in a large red machine with three green electric chargers at the bottom of it. He carries a green energy orb which he drops down to the floor. Then he moves above the orb and with his chargers creates an impressive electric storm around the orb that sucks you into it (like the whirlpool with the Hydrocity boss) and damages you if you touch it. After that dissipates he lowers down to retrieve the orb and repeats the pattern. The Sega tips say you can only hit him when he comes down to retrieve the orb, but there's a much better and faster way (you can beat this boss very quickly if you're skilled, which is good because you may be short on time now). First purposely lose any Shield you have. Then jump up to his machine - it appears to float just barely out of reach, but if you use the Insta-Shield at the peak of your jump, you will hit him. Be careful however - if you mistime it you may get hit if you touch one of the electric chargers. Just jump and deck him, using the Insta-Shield at the peak of your jump, and if you get a good rhythm going he'll be defeated in no time. If you prefer a more cautious approach (because you have plenty of time and/or a lot of rings) only hit him after he drops the energy orb and after the electric storm dissipates. Avoid jumping up and hitting the energy orb when it is attached to the bottom of his machine and also avoid it as he drops it to the floor (note that it bounces quite far from where he drops it). Avoiding the electric storm is easy: just move away and hold in the direction away from it while it is going on. Don't try to hit Robotnik from above as he retrieves his orb - that is risky as you often fall off him and hit an electric charger. Just keep hitting him from below with the Insta-Shield and if you time it well each time you should be okay. Eight hits does this boss in as usual. After victory go right and open the animal prison. Then go right and jump in the cannon. Wait for a second and you get blasted, literally, to the ends of the earth... 7e. Icecap Zone This zone is my favorite one of Sonic 3. Despite being late in the game, it's not too difficult (actually, the whole game is pretty easy when you stop to think about it). This is also one of only a few frozen wasteland zones in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The only other ones I know of are Diamond Dust Zone in Sonic 3D Blast and Robotnik Winter Zone in Sonic Triple Trouble (for Game Gear). Luckily, there's no slippery ice in this zone. All switches, springs and power-ups are encased in ice. Jump on the ice blocks to smash them (rolling through them will not work). This zone has one final advantage: unlike most of this game, it actually has pretty good music! Act 1 This act gets off to the coolest start of any act in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. You go on a ride down a hill on a snow board for about 15 seconds. After this ride (which has 40 rings) you crash into a wall and fall into an ice cavern (where you'll be for the rest of the act until the mid-boss) and a pile of snow falls on you. Go right and spin dash through the ice pillar to a Starpost. Hit the red spring behind it to run into the ice cart on a chain with great speed, causing it to move in a half-circle up to its highest possible point. From there jump right (the overhang will collapse, so beware) and spin dash through the bottom section of the ice pillar. This will shorten it and allow you to jump on it, then onto the ledge. You then meet your first enemy: a little gray orb that floats slowly, surrounded by four spikes. He is invulnerable when the spikes surround him but he slowly releases them to float at you; once the spikes leave him he is vulnerable. It's usually not worth waiting for him to release his spikes to defeat him, though. To the right will be a gray button (encased in ice). Jump over it and go right over the bridge through the wall to find a giant ring. After Special Stage go back and hit the switch to collapse the bridge and drop down. Slide down a hill. To your right will be three ice shooters in a corridor. These shoot bursts of freezing air downward if you get close. If you touch a burst you will be encased in ice and, unless Tails breaks you free quickly (this is rare unless you quickly take up a second controller or have someone controlling Tails, and requires Tails is with you in the first place) take a hit. So avoid these ice shooters by spin dashing underneath them and go down another hill. This hill is interesting as it is infinite; if you go down the four slopes you will land on the first slope again, and it goes on forever. To break this cycle, as soon as you start sliding down the fourth slope, jump. Hopefully you'll land on an ice platform that will slide down and smash through some ice barriers, breaking the cycle. It can be tricky to jump onto the ice platform but if you mess up you can try again as many times as necessary. (Note that I have heard that if you jump on this infinite hill at the right time you can enter a giant ring room somewhere along it; I haven't found it yet). Once the ice platform stops moving be careful; to your right is an ice pillar moving up and down and another one that will rise from the floor when you step on it; both can crush you. To the right is a spring; bounce up to the left to find a Lightning Shield. Then bounce up to the right and go right, defeating some enemies who look and behave like penguins. Bounce up on another spring and go left to an ice cart. Spin dash onto it to move it up to its highest point, then quickly (before it goes down) jump to the next ledge. Do the same with the next two carts, watching out for ice spikes. Once at the top go right over a series of ice pillars. Some of these will rise to the ceiling when you step on them, but just run straight across without stopping and you'll be okay. Beyond these pillars are two large moving blocks of ice that block your path. Jump onto the one on the right and wait for the one on the left to move up, opening a space between them. Slip through that space and quickly (before either block comes back down and crushes you) slide down the hill to the right. You come to a stop at a Super Ring. Now you must cross two beds of spikes using icicles on the ceiling that fall into the spikes when you get close enough. Use the icicles as stepping stones but beware; your jumping must be accurate or you'll fall in the spikes. Between the spike beds is an ice shooter but it does not reach the floor. Once beyond the spikes bounce up on the spring and go down the hill to the right. When you come to a stop go left to a Starpost and an ice platform. Hit the Starpost, then push the ice platform to the right. As soon as it starts moving, jump on it and it'll take you on quite a ride that ends with you being bounced up on a spring. Go right over four ice pillars (run full speed and you won't have to worry about being crushed). Then hit the switch and drop down. Go left over three more pillars and drop down again. Spin dash right and you'll go under three ice shooters and ride an ice cart up. After this ice cart is a very tricky spot; you stand on a small ledge to the left and must make a very hard jump to the ice cart to your right. It's almost impossible to make this jump unless you have a running start, but unfortunately there's a spring in the left wall that will make you fall off the ledge. You need to jump against the left wall and fall to the right, far enough away from the wall to avoid the spring. Then run to the edge of the ledge and jump right in one fluid motion. It's very tricky. If you have Fire or Lightning Shield, it'll be much easier. Otherwise just keep trying. If you fall you will end up to the right of the three ice pillars you just ran over; just go over them again and go right to be back at the ice cart. This is a jump I admittedly have a lot of trouble with myself very often, so don't get too frustrated. Once you finally do make it the rest is much easier. Let two springs propel you up two ice carts, then go right and up another ice cart. Jump to the collapsing overhang and watch out for an ice shooter positioned above the rings (the rings are there as bait). Spin dash into the ice cart to your right and its chain will break. You land in a hallway and an ice pillar slams down behind you blocking your way back. Go right past a Starpost and back outside. Hit the spring to run up the curved wall and go right to the mid-boss. Mid-Boss This takes a while but isn't that tough. The mid-boss is a small machine that looks a little like a gray snowman who summons eight snowballs to swirl around him. At the beginning he is, alas, out of hitting range (even using the Insta-Shield) unless you have a Lightning or Water Shield. After he surrounds himself with snowballs he swoops across the screen twice; stay in either corner and you'll be safe. Then stand below him and wait for him to release his snowballs. Then jump and hit him, preferably twice, before he moves up out of hitting range. Then comes the tricky part; five of his snowballs fall from the sky once, and you must slip in between them to avoid getting hit. They fall quickly and without warning so you must react quickly. After this he repeats the pattern, sometimes swooping across the screen once instead of twice. Keep hitting him after he releases his snowballs. Six hits does him in. Act 2 This act has many different paths, but I'll follow the lower one, which often goes underground, because it allows you to find one more giant ring. Be careful NOT to fall in the water unless I tell you there's a giant ring down there; there is no area under the water in most places and usually falling in will make you die from falling off the screen. Begin the act by running right down an incline and pick up the Lightning Shield. Defeat the spike enemy (any Shield will protect you from his spikes and make him very easy to defeat) and go right under an ice shooter and through a loop. Roll through in succession a tunnel, a snow pile and another loop. Make sure you're not going too fast or you'll run up the ramp and land on a bridge above you. Spin dash through the bottom of the ice pillar to your right, then jump on it and onto the ledge. Defeat two spike orbs and spin dash under an ice shooter (do so from a distance to avoid setting it off prematurely). Go through another two loops and you run up a ramp. Don't land on the ledge to your right; drop down and take the low road instead. Go under an ice shooter and spin dash through the loop. You break through the ground and go underground. Once underground go right and drop down further by hitting the switch to collapse the bridge. Go right past an assortment of enemies until you reach an underground lake with ice platforms floating in it. Cross these platforms being careful that they sink into the water when you touch them, so make each jump quickly. Also watch out for the ice cannons above all the platforms but the first - they don't reach the platforms, but they could hit you as you jump from platform to platform, and getting frozen will cause you to fall to your death. Avoid this by making short jumps between each platform. It's rather tricky and nerve-wracking. After crossing the first lake you come to a single ice platform floating in the water; jump down to the right of it and hold right. Underwater you will go through the right wall and find a giant ring. After playing a Special Stage go back to the left. Drop down hugging the right wall - right next to the wall is a spring that will bounce you up out of the water, but if you miss the spring you'll die. Bounce back up and go right to a Starpost. Hit the red spring to the right of it to go up a curved wall. To the right will be two Robotnik power-ups. Avoid collecting them at all costs and jump over them to the purple sling. To use this device stand on the purple part in the middle and it will sling you up. If it doesn't you need to jump on it with more force. Usually a simple jump will provide enough force to get it to sling you up a short distance, then land on it again to get slung up much higher. Watch out for the spike pit below the sling. Use the first sling to land on another one to the left (you can also stand on the ice blocks the sling is attached to) and from that one go up to a third one, and from there to a ledge. Go right to a fourth sling. Collect the Super Ring to the right, then use the sling to sling yourself up onto a bridge. From this bridge spin dash right. You'll go through three loops. Hold down on the control pad to make sure you keep spinning. Roll over a bridge and through a Starpost. You should be going quite fast, and consequently be sent up high in the air when you roll up a ramp. As soon as you get sent into the air hold right. If you hold right and were going fast enough you should land on a sling. If you do not I recommend backtracking through all three loops (spin dash through them to get enough speed to go up them) and trying again. Don't forget to hold right as you fly up and be going quite fast. The sling sends you up to an area filled with rings, but don't bother with those unless you want to collet every ring possible. Land on the ledge to the right and go through the right wall to a giant ring. Play yet another Special Stage, and when you come back, go right and drop down through two bridges by collapsing them with switches. Then go right to the boss. Boss This is a hard boss. Robotnik will fly an ice machine that floats slowly back and forth and lowers a platform below it. The platform is spiked on its underside. Robotnik constantly sends out jets of freezing air that will freeze you (and more than likely hit you) if you touch them. The pattern of ice jets is random and he sometimes shoots jets down from his machine onto the platform or sideways from the platform. You must jump onto the platform and then hit his machine from below since it's out of jumping range from the ground, but the ice jets complicate this. Because their pattern is random it's impossible to know that an ice jet won't come down to the platform right as you jump on it and freeze you in your tracks. Be very careful not to get cornered - that almost invariably gets you hit, but there's very little you can do about it. The only strategy you can use is to jump onto the platform at the right time and hope an ice jet won't touch you. Jump and hit Robotnik quickly and then scamper off after one hit into the open area. You can sometimes sort of predict where he may shoot his ice jets next but it's very hard, especially as he sometimes shoots two down in a row. This can be very frustrating especially if you don't have Tails with you. Just keep trying and eventually you'll master Robotnik's pattern or just get lucky. Another annoying problem is that you have a more difficult time recovering lost rings in this battle because you get frozen and not just plain hit, and your rings often fly off the edge of the screen. After six hits the platform breaks and Robotnik lowers himself into jumping range, constantly shooting ice jets down and behind him. Just jump and hit him twice from the front to finish him off. Break open the final animal prison and go right through a tunnel blocked by ice. Off to the last zone! 7f. Launch Base Zone This zone is an immense disappointment to me. It's pretty much set in stone that every Sonic game ends with a super-mechanized, super-hard zone, but Sonic 3 is the exception. Instead you get this drab place of girders and bridges more like a construction site than a fortress, that really isn't much harder than any other zone. The music is also just horrible (though oddly enough, on the PC version, the music is redone and it's great!) In any event, let us begin the walkthrough... Act 1 You begin by being shot up through the floor and land on some snow left over from the previous zone. Run to the right. Your first obstacle is a siren on the floor. Jump over it and move on. If you touch the siren it will cause a red plane-like enemy to swoop down and attack you*. This enemy isn't really hard to defeat, though - just annoying. Go right to a huge rotating gray cylinder. Step on it and when you rotate to the bottom, jump off to the floor below. Go left and jump into the tunnel to find a giant ring. Be very careful of the spiked block moving up and down outside the tunnel; don't let it crush you. After a Special Stage go to the right. Let the floor collapse and bounce up on a spring. Advance right slowly, for ahead is a nasty device that shoots a horizontal jet of flame out. Jump over it after a burst and continue right, but watch out that these things don't ambush you. Go right down a hill, up a hill, through a tube and finally up through the ceiling. You land next to an elevator; jump into it to be taken to a new location. *INFINITE LIFE TRICK: You can use the sirens to obtain infinite lives if you're inexperienced and don't have any qualms about cheating to get an edge over Dr. Robotnik. Simply spin dash in front of a siren. Never release the spin dash. An endless stream of red planes will attack you but since you're spin dashing they'll all be defeated. After a while each will yield you 10,000 points, so every five will yield an extra life. Remain spin dashing until you get as many lives as you want. After you come out of the elevator go left past the spiked block (it's usually best to jump over rather than run under these if you can). You meet an enemy who looks like a black orb surrounded by four spikes. Unlike the similar enemy in Icecap Zone he never releases his spikes so he is impossible to defeat unless you get hit yourself first, are invincible, have Tails hit him (after he gets hit himself) or use the Insta-Shield. His movement is a bit odd: when you look away from him he moves toward you, when you look at him he stands still (like Boo Diddly in Super Mario Brothers). Jump over him and jump in the purple cup and it goes up the pole. Don't jump out until it stops moving. When it stops you'll see an enemy who looks like a frog swinging a wrecking ball around him in a circle to your right. Time your jump so you don't hit the ball and defeat him, then continue right into a building. When you enter a building you can see inside it. Go right and go up via some moving platforms. The red enemy attached to the wall is invincible except when he opens up to shoot out two energy balls, so I recommend against trying to defeat him. Any Shield will deflect the energy balls though, and if you don't have one you can usually get past him before he shoots the energy balls. At the top go left and hit the red button. Red buttons change the position of checkered red and black bridges. After hitting it go right over the new bridge, get the Lightning Shield to your right, then jump in the cup and ride it up. On the next level watch out for a spike orb and two lasers on the ceiling. Go left to another cup; stay in this one until it breaks off its pole and flies right. After it hits the wall and you fall out go right and leave the building. (If you ever jump out of a cup and can't continue leave the screen and return; if you go far enough away the cup will return to its original position). Outside the building you meet the frog enemy again but this time he's positioned on a red girder in the background, and lowers two wrecking balls to the floor, one at a time. Jump and hit him from above to defeat him. Continue right and drop down (avoid the flame shooter on the left). On the level below go right and defeat another frog enemy on a red girder. Hit the red spring and use it to run up the hill to the left and ride the cup down. Then jump out and go left to a Super Ring and Speed Shoes. Grab them both then bounce back up and run right down a hill. You bounce up on a spring, go through a tube, and go down another hill. Eventually you end up at a speed booster device in the ground. It will send you running right; keep going through another tube and hit another speed booster. You come to a stop on a red bridge with a frog enemy swinging a wrecking ball in a circle to your left. Defeat him and go left to another one that drops his wrecking balls onto the floor. Then you must cross a large rotating cylinder but this is complicated by the two black orbs surrounded by spikes who patrol the cylinder. One is on the top and one is on the bottom and you must slip between them. It's tricky to do. I suggest just running left as you go onto the cylinder and you'll probably make it between them with no effort. If you fall go right to find a cup that will take you back up (you'll also find a red button which, if you backtrack, makes those two Super Rings below the red bridge accessible). Once across the cylinder enter the building. Jump over the red spring and the flame device, then go up the incline being careful to avoid lasers. Hit the Starpost, exit the building and drop down. Use the speed booster on the floor to be propelled left. Run up the left wall, then go right (hopefully you'll be going fast enough to avoid landing on the black orb enemy). To the right is a cup, invisible in the floor. Ride it up and enter the building. Destroy the laser and hit the red button to make the bridge disappear. Drop down and go right avoiding a black orb and a flame shooter. Exit the building and continue right to a red hook. Jump onto it and hold right to be carried across the gap. Jump off and jump under (or over) the moving spiked block. Enter the tube from the left to be blasted through the ceiling. Go right and drop down. Defeat a frog enemy swinging his wrecking ball in a circle and go inside again. Jump to the right to avoid the spikes and bounce up, then continue right. Run under the laser and avoid the spikes. Defeat a frog enemy who drops his wrecking balls onto the floor and cross a gap with two flame shooters via two moving platforms. Finally, jump over a black orb and bounce up on a spring to the rotating cylinder above. Rotate to the top of it and go right, back outside. Jump over the spiked block and enter the elevator. When you come out go left, drop down and enter another elevator. Then go left again, past a spike block and some spikes. Step on the platform to make it drop and go down. Go down past the moving platforms and avoid the red enemy on the wall who shoots energy balls. Hit the red button to make the bridge extend below you. Go right past a laser to a Super Ring, and jump in the cup. Ride it down and go right to a Starpost. Go right down a hill and through three tubes. After the third one go right into the building and bounce up on the spring. Jump on the moving platform and into the cup to the left. Ride it up, then jump into another cup. You meet Knuckles. He throws a bomb at you and the building starts to shake. Falling back down at this point will kill you. After Knuckles leaves jump right and get outside the building. The ledges will collapse so be careful. Once outside the building will collapse, leaving an empty space. If you try to enter that space you'll find it's still full; you cannot die from falling off the screen. Go right past the Starpost to the mid-boss. Mid-Boss You briefly see Robotnik flying around and can even hit him but it will do nothing. This, the final mid-boss, is a robot with two short spiked arms around a round center. He moves toward you rotating the arms around him, then contracts them to his body. When he does this jump and hit him from the side. Don't touch the arms even when contracted. Do so quickly because soon he starts swinging the arms around again. After three hits one arm will be destroyed; it is probably safe to hit him while he is swinging the other arm around since it can't cover all of him at once. Easy mid-boss. Six hits does the job. Act 2 This is it, the last act of the game. It's very different from act 1 - mostly on pipes or underwater, although the cups are still here. You must move quickly in this act or you may not have enough time on the clock to fight the final battles. If you run into time trouble I recommend running out the clock to get a fresh 10 minutes, rather than trying to hurry. Begin by going right and ride the cup down. Go right and drop down between the two platforms. Go right, fend off an attack by two planes and drop into the water. To your left is a red spring, above it is a tunnel leading to a giant ring. Play a Special Stage, then hit the red spring and go right over the pipeline. You'll get sent above the water and run on the ceiling over a flame shooter, and bounce up on a spring. Go right past a flame shooter to a red spring. Defeat the frog enemy waiting to the right, then hit the spring and run up the curved wall. When you come to a stop go left to a rotating cylinder. Rotate to the bottom of this cylinder and jump off to the floor below. Get the Super Ring and go left, jump over the black orb, and hit the red spring. Roll up the pipe and you'll be sent high in the air; land in the cup to the left and ride it up. Jump out and defeat the frog enemy, then turn around and jump left. If you jump left far enough you'll land in a tunnel leading to another giant ring (oddly enough, this act is rich in giant rings, so if you have only one or two more Chaos Emeralds to collect, don't despair of collecting them). After a Special Stage run back out and drop down - the cup will be there again. Ride it back up and go right to a red hook. Grab it and ride it right. Jump off, jump over the red spring and go right. Avoid the flame shooter and cross the pipeline. Spin dash through the small pillar blocking your way. Go right and defeat a frog enemy, then drop down a shaft lines with three flame shooters. Be careful and drop past one at a time. At the bottom go left and cross the red bridge. Run, do NOT spin up the curved wall. The reason is that at the top are two deadly Robotnik power-ups. Run up the curved wall (if you don't reach the top get a running start) and land on the Robotnik power-ups. Being very careful not to roll, walk left through the tunnel. Use the moving platform to hit the red button, then walk back out over the Robotnik power-ups. To the right drop down where the bridge was. Drop past the flame shooter and go right down a pipe, then up a pipe. Water will be below you. Don't go too fast or you'll be sent flying left by the speed device at the top of the second pipe. Jump over that and go right, down into the water. Go right to two springs in a depression; hit the one on the right to run up the ceiling and land at a floating Starpost. Then bounce on the left spring, land on the overhang which collapses, and go right, defeating a frog enemy and two red planes. Go right and spin dash through the pillar. You are at a dead end but enter the stream of water pouring from the pillar you just smashed. It takes you on a way-cool ride through the pipes. When at last the ride ends, you find yourself standing next to a Robotnik and a Super Ring. Get the latter but not the former, and go left and defeat the frog enemy. Run through the doorway avoiding the laser beams that periodically fall through it, onto the rotating gray cylinder. This one is guarded by two black orbs surrounded by spikes. Jump off the bottom of the cylinder and go left along the pipe. When you come to an apparent dead end, jump in the tunnel and go left to a 1- UP. Retrace your steps to the left, bounce back up onto the cylinder, and go left across it. On the other side of the cylinder is another laser-guarded doorway. Run through it timing it so you don't touch a laser beam. Avoid touching the red spring behind the doorway but jump over it and hit the one pointing left. Go left and bounce up on the springs to break through the ceiling. Go left and ride the cup down. Jump off to the left and slide down the pipe. If you go far enough right and then back to the left, you can walk under the pipe sloping up. Behind it is a speed machine and a tunnel leading to a Super Ring and a Water Shield. Go right across the pipe and spin dash up the curved wall. (If you're going very fast you may be able to land on a higher ledge but don't go that way). Go right, defeat a frog enemy and avoid a flame shooter, until you come to a hook. Grab it and ride it down. To the left will be a red spring behind a pillar but ignore it and go right down a pipe. You'll see a speed machine that will send you left but above it is a tunnel, sticking out of the wall, that leads to the last giant ring in the game. After your last chance to play the Special Stage, hit the speed machine and run left over the pipeline. You come to a stop at a Super Ring; ride the cup down into the water. Jump out to the left. Strangely, when you jump out of a cup underwater you jump very high and slowly (you're almost weightless for a while) and you can use this fact to reach the ledge to the left if you jump out and hold left. To the left is a Super Ring and an Invincibility. Grab it and run right, past several obstacles, until you see a red spring pointing right; hit it. You get bounced into a cup; sit tight until it breaks off its pole and flies to the left. Then grab the hook and ride it right. Jump off the hook onto the platform, and jump up to a Water Shield (quickly, because the platform drops). Drop down onto the pipe and go right. Get past several enemies until you come to a cup. Jump into it and then into the other cup. It takes you above a pipe. Jump out and go right along the pipe, past a Starpost, to the boss. Boss This is not the final boss, of course. He is rather difficult, in my opinion. When the battle starts Robotnik himself will jump into a machine at the top of the ledge above you. He is too high to jump and hit him, but a ledge comes up out of the side of the tall ledge and you can use that to jump and hit him. But as soon as the ledge is fully extended, a black ball is fired out right above it and will hit you if you're standing on the ledge. The ball will roll back into the ledge and be fired again, and the ledge keeps extending and retracting between firings. The ball usually alternates between being fired above the ledge and below it, at least for the first part of the battle. You must jump on the ledge and then hit Robotnik's machine from above, but be careful of that black ball at all times. It's difficult to get several hits at a time because the ledge doesn't stay put for very long. Just keep jumping and holding right to hit Robotnik from the ledge. Although this is a somewhat hard boss, it's a mere warm-up for what's coming. Eight hits, as usual, wins the battle. After victory go right and jump in Robotnik's cockpit and it begins floating right. Tails, if you're playing with him, will not be with you from now on. As you float right you meet Knuckles for the last time. He initially tries to stop you, but then his pillar collapses and he falls into the water, and that's the last you see of him. You continue to float to the right and in the background, you see the huge Death Egg taking off. Eventually you jump off the cockpit onto a red ledge on the Death Egg, and it's time for... Final Boss #1 This is interesting. Robotnik now appears in a machine that looks like an enormous pillar with three sections. The first two sections both have lasers attached to them. He initially come up on the right shooting lasers across the screen, and you must jump on him. But that is complicated by an incredibly annoying tiny spiked orb that rotates around the top section of his machine and must be dodged. Watch for it and hit him from above when the orb is not in the way. He will go up on the right first, then come down on either side (it's random after the first time) and then repeat. It's easiest to hit him when he is coming up. If you aren't hitting him be very careful of the lasers - they can be pretty vicious. Try to time your hits so you are above him when they fire. Again, watch for that spiked orb. Keep on top of things and take as few risks as you can. Only hit him from above. After four hits, the top section will blow away, leaving him with one laser and continuing his pattern as usual. Four more hits destroys the second section, and the last section consists only of his cockpit, has no laser, and takes only one more hit to defeat. The orb, however, stays with him during the whole battle. Hopefully you'll get the hang of this battle after a few tries and be able to consistently make it out with some rings. After you win, the sky darkens, the music changes from the normal boss music to a decent final battle tune, and it's time for... Final Boss #2 This is the final fight of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Robotnik's last creation is a huge, very menacing ship with a giant grabber attached to it. Robotnik sits in the top part which has spikes on top of it and the grabber is below it, outstretched in the direction he's going. When the battle begins he'll move across the screen from the right. You must hit him or be hit yourself. The only way to hit him is to execute a perfect jump and hit him between the grabber and the spikes. Basically, stay as far away from the side he'll come from as you can (he comes first from the right, then the left) to give yourself the maximum reaction time. As he comes, make a jump high enough to get over the grabber but not a full jump or you'll hit the spikes, and hold in the direction of him. With luck you'll fly right into his cockpit and damage him. This will take practice and many attempts. If you touch the spikes on top of his ship or get grabbed you'll get hit. He flies across the screen twice unless he grabs you, then he may alter his pattern and skip a fly-by (giving you one less chance to hit him). After two fly-bys he appears at the top of the screen, out of hitting range, flying back and forth. When he stops moving get out from under him as he'll drop to the floor, with only the spikes on top of his ship above the floor. He then moves back and forth and you must jump over him each time. Eventually he'll stop and you must get behind him, as he'll sweep back into the air and hit you (or grab you) if you're standing in front of him. He is impossible to hit when he does this - only try to hit him on his fly-bys. After this he repeats his pattern, making two fly-bys at a time, coming from the direction he last went in. Having a lot of time for this battle is a real help, as it will be a slow battle of attrition. Getting used to the hitting technique is the most important thing for you to do, as it's very hard to do. Always try to re-grab a ring before doing anything else if you get hit (unlike Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, you do have rings in this final battle) and keep trying, even if it seems impossible at first. Good luck. After eight hits Robotnik will be defeated. Be warned, though: the ending is a big disappointment. I won't tell you much about it, but there isn't even any heroic music or replays of music from the zones of the game during the credits. But otherwise, enjoy it, and congratulations on completing Sonic the Hedgehog 3! 8. Conclusion When I replayed Sonic 3 for the first time in ages, I was struck by how easy it seemed to be. Apart from a few bosses being very hard, the game itself seemed to be easier, by comparison, than Sonic 1 and Sonic 2. In any event I hope you enjoyed Sonic 3. Once you've completed it you can continue to play it - perhaps trying to complete it with all the emeralds - or play a different Sonic game. Sonic 1 and 2 are classics, no doubt about that, and Sonic & Knuckles is very similar to Sonic 3. In fact, you can lock the two games together to play both in succession. There's also the more advanced Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic CD for the computer, the pinball-oriented Sonic Spinball, and that's just for the Genesis. There are loads of other Sonic games available for Game Gear and Dreamcast. I hope you enjoy Sonic the Hedgehog to the greatest possible extent. I also hope my FAQ/walkthrough helped you with Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Again, if you have any questions, comments, additions or suggestions, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I'm waiting for your e-mails, all you people out there! Send them in! This FAQ/walkthrough is copyright William Walker, completed July 18, 2003. All rights reserved. For now, I hope my FAQ/walkthrough helps you. Good luck and enjoy Sonic the Hedgehog 3!