SONIC & KNUCKLES FAQ/walkthrough by William Walker For Sega Genesis This FAQ/walkthrough is copyright William Walker, all rights reserved. Do not sell it for profit at all. If you wish to post it on your site e-mail me requesting my permission first; it is probably all right, but e-mail me just the same. This FAQ/walkthrough was begun July 31, 2003. 1. Introduction Well, here I am, writing my fourth FAQ/walkthrough in a row for the Sonic the Hedgehog series for Sega Genesis, one of my favorite game series, along with Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong and Zelda. There was a substantial time gap between the completion of my last FAQ/walkthrough for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and the beginning of this one. This is because my video game desire waxes and wanes and sometimes other things intervene and prevent me from having enough time or motivation to write FAQ/walkthroughs. I will adopt a one project at a time approach from now on, although I think I can safely say my next and last FAQ/walkthrough for a Sonic the Hedgehog game will be Sonic 3D Blast, although I cannot specify when or if I will begin work on that. It could be a very long time or even never, since the summer is ending soon, and I have to go back to school. In any event, Sonic is a rolling blue hedgehog who is the premier character of Sega much as Mario is of Nintendo, and he appears in several games in most Sega systems. There are seven Sonic games available for Sega Genesis, at least six for Game Gear, a small, portable unit (I have posted FAQ/walkthroughs for all of these), Sonic CD for the PC (Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3D Blast are also available in PC versions) and Sonic Adventure for more advanced systems. Since Sonic has so many games, many of which are high quality from the golden age of video gaming, it's easy to see why I like him so much. Sonic & Knuckles was the last really traditional Sonic platform game released for the Sega Genesis. This game was originally meant to be combined with Sonic 3 in one game, but the games were split in two in order to get them out on time. This explains why the gameplay is almost exactly the same as Sonic 3. The feature that distinguishes Sonic & Knuckles is its lock-on feature. The Sonic & Knuckles cartridge has a top that can be opened, and another cartridge for the Sega Genesis can be inserted into it. The only cartridges hooking Sonic & Knuckles up with will produce an effect are Sonic 1, Sonic 2 and Sonic 3. Locking these games on to Sonic & Knuckles will allow you to play different versions of those games. For more information see the lock-on feature section after the walkthrough for Sonic & Knuckles alone. Playing on the PC version and with the new GameCube cartridge that has all seven Genesis games (along with bonus features) in one cartridge will also allow you to play the games locked on. For purposes of this FAQ/walkthrough you can be playing off the cartridge, off the CD for the PC, using the GameCube cartridge or using an emulator. However, I am playing using the original cartridge and Sega Genesis, and cannot mention any abnormalities in play that may result from any of the other ways of playing this game. This FAQ/walkthrough contains my own work from playing the game, based on information in tips released by Sega. For information on locations of giant rings I used for reference the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Quest for Emeralds FAQ by TurboKiller, primarily information from the portion of that FAQ on Sonic & Knuckles ring locations, which was written primarily by Warrior of Zerona (Andrew Bautista) and TurboKiller. The locations of giant rings in the Sonic 3 Walkthrough for Knuckles section of my FAQ were obtained from the portion of Sonic 3 & Knuckles Quest for Emeralds FAQ written by Janus Operative and TurboKiller. I did not use any part of that FAQ in mine word for word, though. I wish to express my sincere thanks to the writers of that FAQ for providing me with a reference tool. If you would like to contact me, to ask questions, make suggestions or mention something I missed in my FAQ/walkthrough, by all means e-mail me! I love getting e-mails from other Sonic enthusiasts, if anything just to remind me some people still play and enjoy these obsolete games, and I like to help people out there if they need help. (That's why I wrote this FAQ/walkthrough). By all means e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I'm waiting for your e-mails! 2. Story Sonic & Knuckles takes place on an island called the Floating Island in the seas of Mobius, a planet in a galaxy far, far away. Floating Island has many different environments and biomes, remnants of ancient civilizations, and many inhabitants, mostly friendly animals. Its most affluent inhabitants, though, are Sonic the Hedgehog, a blue hedgehog faster than almost anything on the island, and Knuckles the Echidna, a pink character who is supposed to be descended from ancient civilizations and knows much of the secrets and tunnels of Floating Island. In particular, Knuckles is the guardian of the Chaos Emeralds, magical stones that have tremendous power and are hidden away in another dimension. The largest Chaos Emerald, the Master Emerald, is what keeps Floating Island floating in the sea. Tails the Fox, Sonic's two-tailed sidekick, is not present in this game (although he is if you lock on to Sonic 3). The story depends on whether you are playing as Sonic or as Knuckles. If you're Sonic, the story begins where it left off after Sonic 3, when Sonic thwarted the mad scientist Dr. Ivo Robotnik's plans to steal the Chaos Emeralds and use them to power his huge space station, the Death Egg, and make it fly again. That defeat left Robotnik bitter and eager for revenge, and he had fooled Knuckles into thinking that Robotnik was good and Sonic, not him, was the one trying to steal the Chaos Emeralds. Knuckles fell for Robotnik's lies and did everything he could to stop Sonic. In Sonic & Knuckles Robotnik has discovered the existence of the Master Emerald and is trying to steal it to make his Death Egg fly again. Sonic is racing against Robotnik to outsmart Knuckles, save the Master Emerald and prevent Floating Island from being destroyed. If you're Knuckles, the story is totally different. You're resting in Floating Island's mushroom hills, ever vigilant for any sign of trouble, when a bomb falls from the sky and narrowly misses you. You see the robot that dropped the bomb and realize Robotnik is at it again. As the guardian of Floating Island you immediately set off to stop Robotnik once and for all. 3. General Information Sonic & Knuckles has seven main zones, and also Special Stages, Bonus Stages and an eighth zone that only exists if you collect all the Chaos Emeralds in the game. Most zones have two acts though some have only one. An act is an individual level and is usually very long with many traps, enemies, obstacles and secrets. At the end of the first act of a zone you fight a mid-boss, which is a machine or robot created by Dr. Robotnik to stop you. At the end of the second act of a zone you usually fight Dr. Robotnik himself in one of his evil inventions. Keep in mind that some zones have more bosses than normal and bosses in this game can be a bit unconventional and unusual compared to other Sonic games. In all acts there are rings, which you need to collect to stay alive. Rings float in the air, usually in groups, and as long as you have at least one ring you cannot die from a normal hit. You do lose all your rings whenever you get hit, but some fly into the air and you can re-grab them if you're quick. If you get hit with no rings, you die. You also die if you fall off the screen, get crushed or run out of time. Running out of time is not usually a problem since you get 10 minutes to complete each act, but remember acts are long in this game. You cannot die from drowning like in other games because there is no water in this game. If you die you return to the last Starpost you activated (Starposts serve as check points and also have a role in entering Bonus Stages, see Section 5) with no rings and the same time on the timer as when you activated the Starposts. If you haven't activated any Starposts you return to the beginning of the act. You begin the game with three lives, and if you lose all three, your game is over and you must start again from the beginning unless you have a continue. To get a continue you must collect 50 rings in a Special Stage (see Section 4). If you have a continue, press start at the continue screen before the countdown runs out to restart in the act you lost you last life in with three lives but no score. To get extra lives, collect 1-UP power-ups, 100 rings, 200 rings (further 100s will not give you extra lives) or multiples of 50,000 points. Control is fairly simple, like in all Sonic games. Sonic and Knuckles mostly play the same. Use the directional pad to walk left or right, duck or look up. If you hold down or up for a few seconds while standing still the camera will move to show what is above or below you. Press down while walking to roll (also called the Super Spin Attack). This is one way to defeat enemies; you can also jump onto or into them to defeat them. Just be sure you touch them while rolling and you do not touch them in a dangerous location (such as spiked parts of them). Press start to pause/unpause the game, and A, B or C to jump. To do a Spin Dash Attack, duck and press A, B or C. Instead of jumping, you will rev up in place like an engine. Hold down and press A, B or C several times to increase power. Release down to fly off on the ground. Get used to this move and executing it quickly and correctly, since it is very useful for rolling up curved walls, getting up speed quickly, making long jumps or smashing through enemies or barriers. Knuckles can do a few other things as well. For one thing he can smash through most barriers with his knuckles just be walking through them (Sonic has to spin dash to break these barriers, or in some cases cannot break through them at all). Also, if Knuckles jumps and presses A, B or C in midair, he will glide forward as long as you hold A, B or C. This move is great for crossing gaps and defeating airborne enemies. Just hold down A, B or C as long as you want to glide. If you glide into a wall (or double jump right next to the wall) you can stick to it, and climb up or down the wall and jump off when you wish. This is simply referred to as climbing a wall in the walkthrough. Both of these moves are very useful and vital to getting past sections of acts that are unique to Knuckles, so master them quickly. Knuckles cannot jump as high as Sonic (this makes him unable to follow Sonic's route sometimes, just as Sonic is sometimes unable to follow Knuckles' route due to his inability to break down some walls). I give two separate walkthroughs for Sonic and Knuckles, since especially later in the game, the areas they have to traverse are often completely separate. Knuckles also plays only six zones, not seven, and some bosses have a different pattern when you play as Knuckles than when you do as Sonic. Generally speaking, playing as Knuckles makes the game substantially harder. I started playing as Sonic and I recommend you do the same. If Sonic does a double jump he will be surrounded by a white flash for a fraction of a second; this move is called the Insta- Shield and will extend his attack range momentarily, and can be useful to hit an enemy or boss that is high up. Also when Sonic has a Shield, he can do other, more useful moves by double jumping; Knuckles can never do these moves with a Shield, and this is why Shield items are generally more useful to Sonic than to Knuckles. 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 turns out to do more harm than good. 1-UP - Looks like Sonic's face (or Knuckles' face if you're playing as Knuckles); worth an extra life. Robotnik - Looks like a picture of Robotnik; found only in the last few zones. Avoid at all costs - collecting one causes you to get hit. Shields - In Sonic & Knuckles 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. 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. If you're Knuckles you cannot do any of these moves but can use the all the other benefits of the Shield). Fire Shield - Looks like a fire. The second most desirable Shield in all zones except Lava Reef (in that zone this is the most desirable Shield since it protects you from lava, very common in that zone). Provides, in addition to protection against attacks like energy balls, protection against lava and 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. 4. Special Stage Sonic & Knuckles has a Special Stage very similar to that of Sonic 3 but even harder. Collecting all the Chaos Emeralds is harder in this game than in most other Genesis games. A Special Stage in a Sonic game is a level outside the regular game where your goal is to collect a Chaos Emerald. (They aren't to be confused with Bonus Stages, where the goal is to collect more rings and power-ups). Chaos Emeralds are magnificent gems with tremendous powers, and play an important part in the story, but they aren't necessary to complete the game. They do make it easier, though, and allow you access to Doomsday Zone (see the walkthrough) if you collect them all. To enter a Special Stage you must find a giant gold ring. These are only found in the first four zones, and there is at least one in most acts. But there are fewer in general than in Sonic 3. This is one of the reasons collecting all the Chaos Emeralds is so hard in this game (the other is that the Special Stages themselves are harder). Sonic can access a few more giant rings than Knuckles can, so Knuckles has an even harder time collecting all the Chaos Emeralds. The Special Stage itself is fast-paced and very hard. You will be running along a huge globe (each stage's globe is a different color) that turns beneath your feet, and if you go too far in one direction, eventually repeats itself. You can use A, B or C to jump, and at an intersection on the globe, hold left or right to change your direction 90 degrees left or right. You can only move in four directions and usually run forward. Up and down on the directional pad have no effect. At some intersections there are colored spheres, and touching these produces different effects, depending on the type of sphere. Here are the objects at the intersections in the Special Stage: Blue Spheres - Your goal is to collect all of these, but be aware that they turn into red spheres when touched. If you touch all the blue spheres in a stage (indicated by the counter in the top left corner, which tells you how many are left) you get a Chaos Emerald. Red Spheres - Avoid at all costs, appear in place of blue spheres when you collect them but also many are present at the beginning of the stage as well. If you touch one the Special Stage immediately ends without you collecting the Chaos Emerald. Red Star Spheres - Useless to touch, these are bumpers that make you walk backwards if you touch them until you press up. Try to avoid them, especially if they are near red spheres. Yellow Spheres - New (these aren't in the Sonic 3 Special Stages) these catapult you five spheres ahead in the direction you were going if you touch them. Pretty cool. Rings - These are not of any use in helping you survive the Special Stage, but they are worth 100 points apiece at the end of a Special Stage, even if you don't collect the Chaos Emerald. If you collect all the rings in a stage you get a 'Perfect' bonus - 50,000 points, or one free life. If you collect 50 rings in one Special Stage, you get a continue. Rings are sometimes present at the beginning of the stage, but usually you have to create them by collecting all the blue spheres around the perimeter of a square or rectangle of blue spheres at least 3X3 in size. If you collect all the blue spheres on the perimeter of such a formation but don't collect any in the interior, the whole formation - including the blue spheres that have become red spheres - will turn into rings. Make sure you don't collect any blue spheres in the interior, though. Some stages have formations like this with some blue spheres on the perimeter already red, and you can transform the formation into rings by collecting the remaining ones on the perimeter. This is the Special Stage in a nutshell. Keep in mind that it is quite hard and will take a lot of practice to master, so don't get frustrated! If you need more help there are excellent guides for the Special Stage available with ASCII diagrams of the Special Stages. Lastly, you go through the Special Stages in a cycle, playing each one in order, only repeating the stages you haven't completed after you play through them all. If you fail to complete a Special Stage you have to play all the others before you can get to it again. Once you collect a Chaos Emerald in a Special Stage you never play that stage again for the rest of the game. If you collect all the Chaos Emeralds, touching a giant ring will give you 50 rings. When, and if, you collect all the Chaos Emeralds you can become Super Sonic or Super Knuckles. To do this you must have at least 50 rings and no Shield (if you have one and want to become Super you must lose it on purpose). Jump and jump again in mid-air (as if you were doing an Insta-Shield if you're Sonic or gliding if you're Knuckles) and you morph. Super Sonic is twice as fast and can jump twice as high as regular Sonic, and is invincible to enemies (though he CAN still die from falling off the screen, getting crushed or running out of time). Super Knuckles looks a bit more like Knuckles than Super Sonic looks like regular Sonic, and can run and glide twice as fast but not jump any higher. He is also invincible. Both Super characters lose a ring every second and unless they collect rings to make up for this loss, they eventually tick down to 0 rings, at which point they return to their normal form (with no rings). Shields have no effect on either Super character, except a Lightning Shield, which will cause rings to be sucked toward you. The ability to become Super makes the game easier and is quite cool as well. 5. Bonus Stage People are always confused by the difference between Bonus Stage and Special Stage. Sonic & Knuckles adds to the confusion because it has two different Bonus Stages. Special Stage you enter through giant rings and its purpose is to collect Chaos Emeralds. Bonus Stage is entered through Starposts and its purpose is to accumulate more rings and power-ups. Entering a Bonus Stage is the same as entering a Special Stage in Sonic 2 - touch a new Starpost with at least 20 rings (not 50, like in earlier games) and a halo of stars appears. Jump into it to be taken to a Bonus Stage. Although it takes practice, you can tell which Bonus Stage you'll go to by looking at the ring of stars. Orange and white stars indicate you'll go to a Slot Machine Stage while red and white stars indicate you'll go to a Glowing Spheres Stage. The difference is subtle and difficult to detect, but you can do it. On the PC version, the stars are either orange or red, not a mixture of orange or red and white, and their color is much easier to discern. The Slot Machine Stage is a bit risky to enter because you can end up losing rings, but it also has the possibility of a massive payout of rings. Don't enter it if you want to play it safe with your rings. This stage is a cross between the Sonic 1 Special Stage and the slot machines in Sonic 2's Casino Night Zone. You'll be in a rotating room with definite boundaries on the outside you can't pass, various spheres you can jump on and off of floating around, and a slot machine in the center. Your goal is to enter the slot machine as many times as possible and hopefully get more rings. You begin directly above the slot machine and can't avoid falling in it. After that you need to jump back in it by leaping from the spheres floating around it while avoiding the GOAL spheres on a portion of the walls. Touching a GOAL sphere ends the stage. The rotating aspect of the stage is pretty weird - you are constantly in a rolling state, and can jump off almost anything unless it's directly above you, and the rotating can tip you off things or throw you against the walls. It takes practice to master, unless you're already familiar with the Special Stage of Sonic 1, which works much the same way. Every time you land in the slot machine the slots spin. Unlike normal slot machines you nearly always get three of the same thing, or at least some combination that gives you rings. There are various slots, including bars, rings, faces of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, jackpots and Robotniks. Getting almost any combination of them will award you with rings, and getting three jackpots will give you 100 rings! However, annoyingly often the slots end up on three Robotniks, which means you lose 100 rings (though you can't go below 0 rings or die, even if you get three Robotniks and have no rings). This is what makes the stage so tricky - you have to decide whether to end the stage with a modest gain in rings, or play the slots again and try to get more - and risk losing all you got and more. Also, sometimes you lose early on and are playing to make up what you lost. Sometimes you succeed; often you don't. In addition to the slots there are 24 rings floating around the slot machine if four groups of six in a pyramid shape. In the walls there are some 'R' spheres - this stands for Reverse and makes the stage rotate the opposite way. To prevent you from staying in the stage forever (it's pretty easy to avoid the GOALs at the start once you know what you're doing) the blue blocks that make up much of the stage boundary change to yellow the first time you touch them, pink the second time, and into GOALs the third time you touch them. The stage ends when you touch a GOAL. Good luck and happy gambling! The Glowing Spheres Stage has the advantage of never producing negative results and can get you power-ups as well as rings, but it's very tricky to get very far in it. Basically you'll be in a very brightly glowing chamber about two screens wide with pop bumpers, large magnetic glowing spheres, and bumpers and flippers protruding from the walls. At the bottom of the chamber is a force field which begins moving up shortly after the stage begins. You begin on some glowing spheres right above the force field and will stick to them. Hold left or right to change the axis of your orbit around the sphere (you orbit them like a planet orbiting the sun) from up and down to diagonal to side to side. Press A, B or C to jump off a glowing sphere, in the direction you were last going. To jump off really far you must time it to sling yourself off the sphere by jumping as you pass over it, after pointing yourself in the direction you want to go. It takes practice. Try to jump from sphere to sphere and not fall, because if you fall in the force field, or it catches up with you, the stage ends. If you somehow manage to get to the very top of the stage and jump out of the top, the stage also ends (this is very hard). Avoid pop bumpers because they tend to bounce you where you don't want to go and aren't powerful enough to really do much good. Also use flippers on the walls to flip up. When on a flipper jump to make it flip. Avoid wall bumpers for the same reason you avoid pop bumpers. Go fairly quickly to stay ahead of the force field and make sure you have enough time to consider what to do next, but not so fast you are reckless and fall or miss power-ups. Get used to the mechanics of the glowing spheres and jumping off them in the right direction, and plan your route up to get as many power-ups as possible. Don't get power-ups in difficult positions and don't try to collect them all - just as many as is safe. This stage takes a lot of practice before you can get very far, so don't get frustrated. Power-ups are tiny glowing spheres surrounded by rings (usually) usually near large glowing spheres. When you touch them, they turn into a sphere that indicates what power-up they are and begin floating upward. Collect them quickly or they'll float away (they accelerate as they float up). It's best to flip up above a glowing sphere to activate a power-up and then fall back down onto the sphere to collect it. The higher you go, the better the power-ups and the more rings surround them (usually). Some rings are found away from power-ups in groups, although this stage is not particularly full of rings. The layout of this stage is the same each and every time, but each power-up is different. Most power-ups have two or three different things they can be and in each stage are randomly one of those things. As I said before, don't collect really difficult to reach power-ups - there are plenty within easier reach. The power-ups, once you can see what they are, are exactly the same as the gumballs in the Sonic 3 Bonus Stage (minus the REP). Here they are: Clear - Worth absolutely nothing. Solid black - A bumper. Avoid collecting. B - Gives you a Shield, depending in the color of the sphere surrounding the B. Blue is Water, red is Fire and brown is Lightning. (A Lightning Shield sucks rings toward you like in the regular game and is a huge help in this stage. Other Shields are no help since you're constantly in a rolling state in this stage and can't jump like in the regular game. Also, you can take Shields into this stage, but not into the Slot Machine Stage). Black with a ring - Worth 10, 20, 40 or even 80 rings depending on how high up in the stage you are (the higher you go the more these give you). One of the most valuable power-ups, second only to the 1-UP. 1-UP - Found only sometimes in the power-ups near the top of the stage, worth an extra life. And now, without any further ado, turn on your Genesis, GameCube, emulator or insert your Sonic & Knuckles collection CD into your PC and select your character at the title screen (by pressing up or down) and begin the game! Without any further ado... 6. Walkthrough for Sonic This is the meat of this FAQ/walkthrough; it is the walkthrough for Sonic & Knuckles when you are playing as Sonic. The walkthrough for Knuckles is included afterwards and is not complete, since some parts of the game are the same for both characters. Keep in mind that I recommend playing as Sonic first, then Knuckles. This walkthrough tries to follow the path through each act that is the easiest to follow and finds as many 1-UPS and giant rings as possible. I tried not to follow very difficult paths, and thus may not guide you through every single 1-UP or giant ring. If you find a giant ring or 1-UP fairly close to the main path, by all means e-mail it to me. But don't e-mail me about secrets that require a major deviation from the path outlined in the walkthrough to find. Thank you. Also, bear in mind that this can be a hard game, especially later on, so don't get frustrated if you can help it, and if you are having trouble with a section or a boss, taking a break and regrouping may be a good idea. 6a. Mushroom Hill Zone A slight variation from the typical tropical paradise first zone, this zone is set in a forest with many different types of mushrooms. Experiment and see how each type can help you get around. This zone also has the highest concentration of giant rings in the game, so if you're going for all the Chaos Emeralds, it's important you collect as many as possible in this zone. Act 1 Begin by grabbing the three rings and going right. The large, red mushrooms are springboards you can use to bounce up. They bounce you higher if you bounce on them several times. Go right and you meet two yellow butterfly enemies that slowly fly toward you. These enemies are very common in this zone so I won't always mention them. Defeat or ignore them and go through the loop (spin dash if necessary). Continue right and you may get sent upward on a ramp. Keep going down a hill until you come to some Speed Shoes. Above them is a mole who pops out of a hole in the ground and throws mushrooms. If the mushrooms hit you, you won't be damaged but will be sent flying backward unable to control yourself briefly, and may hit another enemy. The mole himself isn't much threat and you can defeat him if you wish, but don't stand on his hole if he's going into it or about to come out of it. To the right is a strange machine with two hooks for you to grab. Grab onto one and press down. The machine will carry you up a few rungs. Keep repeating this, pausing a moment between each time you press down, until the machine carries you up to the level above (these machines are called 'pull-up machines in this walkthrough). On the level above bounce up on the spring to your right. Jump over the spikes, defeat or avoid another mole, and get the Super Ring in the short tunnel. On the other side hit the red spring to go through a loop and be sent over a gap at the end of the ledge (which only works if you're going fast enough). Use the mushrooms to bounce up. You encounter a dragonfly flying up and down; he is only vulnerable in his head. Hit his head or run under him and go through another loop. You find yourself swinging around a swing at the edge of a ledge. You need to jump off timing it so you fly up and to the right, and land on the next ledge, if you want to follow this walkthrough. It's rather tricky. If you fall, I am sorry but you are on your own unless you can backtrack and rejoin the path. On the ledge to the right, go right and use the spring to get up the curved wall. Go right and defeat another dragonfly, and at the edge of the ledge you come to a green vine that stretches out into the openness beyond when you walk on it. Drop down from the vine and grab the gray pole below you to swing down. You land on the edge of a cliff, and to your right inside the wall is the first giant ring of the game. Get your first try at the Special Stage, and when that is over, go right and out of the wall, down a hill to another swing at the edge of a ledge. Don't try to swing up and right; drop down instead. You'll probably land on a hill sloping left. Go left and just inside the wall below the yellow spring (which you can also use) is a red spring that will propel you up the hill. Be aware that the mushroom sticking out of the wall will drop off as soon as you land on it. If you use the red spring you'll probably land on a higher level; drop back down in that case. Proceed right from the cliff above the hill, and pass the Starpost. Ignoring the upper path go down a hill and you encounter a small orange mushroom jumping around in a small tunnel. This is a disguised enemy and you need to hit him twice; once to knock off his disguise and once to defeat him. To the right don't jump to the ledge with the mole and drop down with the mushroom on the edge. To the right is a pull-up machine, but ignore it, and jump into the right wall from either the machine or by jumping on top of the spring. You'll find a secret passage with another giant ring. Play another Special Stage, then exit the passage to the right and hit the spring to be propelled up to the main path. Go right and use the mushrooms to bounce up to the ledge above where a Lightning Shield is. Ignore the swing to the right of it and drop down, run down the hill and through the loop. Ahead of you the path turns into a thick vine that goes up and back left. Spin dash to get enough speed to run through this, but once you are right side up, slow down quickly. You do not under any circumstances want to hit the spring to the left, invisible in the ground, that will bounce you up to the higher level. That would make the last giant ring inaccessible. Instead you need to get to the right of the vine without walking back on the part that will send you back down it, and fall to the right of it. To do this you need to jump in the narrow passage avoiding contact with a certain section of the vine. The Lightning Shield's double jumping ability makes this much easier. If you go back below the vine just run or spin dash back up it, being very careful not to accidentally touch the spring to the left. Once down to the right of the vine go right, through a tunnel, to meet a jumping mushroom enemy. Defeat him and avoid the red spring that will send you back left. Bounce up on the mushrooms and go right to find a passage with a giant ring. After Special Stage, go right and, being careful of the dragonfly, hit the red spring. You'll go for a ride that ends in you being flung up next to a Starpost. Hit it and go right through a loop to the mid-boss arena. Mid-Boss This is pretty easy. It's a cinch if you have a Fire Shield, but you probably don't have one unless you got one in a Bonus Stage. The mid-boss is a flying robot with an axe that begins in the top right corner and flies to the right. Follow him and jump and hit him. Do not hit him from below because his thrusters will hurt you; hit him from the left instead. (If you have a Fire Shield you are immune to the thrusters so just deck him from below in that case). He stops at a tree in the foreground and begins cutting it off in sections, sending the broken pieces (logs) flying to the left. Avoid them and jump and hit him as he moves lower to cut the tree down. You can also get in one hit at the beginning. When he gets very low you can also hit him from above. After he cuts the whole tree down he'll repeat the pattern but you should have defeated him by then. To hit him when he's high up you have to use the Insta-Shield move to enhance your range of attack (or use the Lightning or Water Shields to jump higher). He takes six hits to defeat. After you defeat him an end of act marker will come down. When it touches the ground you have completed the act. However, you can fool around batting it in the air indefinitely, and each time you hit it you get 100 points. Also, if you can make it land in certain places it may cause power-ups to pop out of the ground, but I don't know what places cause power-ups to appear. Act 2 Go right until you meet Knuckles. He flips a switch that causes a wind to sweep you up into a very different version of this zone. Now it's autumn, but everything in the zone remains the same, just colored differently. Get the Invincibility to the left and go right, jumping to the higher ledge with the aid of the mushroom. You find a Water Shield, ten rings in a pyramid, and an enemy that looks like a gray chicken with a red pouch that he periodically inflates. He looks rather cute and silly but when he deflates the pouch, a wind will push you away form him, so be careful and defeat him between gusts of wind. Continue right to two mushrooms like a see-saw, one with a weight on it. Jump onto the mushroom without the weight and stay put and you will be catapulted up. Repeat this a second time landing on the mushroom again with more force and you will be catapulted higher, high enough to reach the ledge to the left with two Super Rings and a red spring pointing up and right. Spin dash right and hold right hard. You'll hit the red spring and fly right quite far. Keep holding right as you fly and you should land on a yellow spring that will bounce you through a loop. From where you stop jump to the right to find a secret tunnel with a giant ring. After Special Stage exit the chamber to the right. The stretching vine will make a bridge for you over the spikes. Go over the twisting vine that will take you down below it and set you going left; go left to a gray pole and swing below it. When you land watch out that the mushroom the mole to your left throws at you doesn't knock you into the dragonfly. Defeat the dragonfly and go right. Use the mushroom to bounce up to a ledge with a Super Ring and an Invincibility, then drop back down and go right down a hill and through two loops. You will roll through a Starpost and bounce up on a spring. Defeat the dragonfly ahead of you and go right to a stretching vine with a red spring right below it. Spin dash into the spring and you will be sent flying up the ramp and into the air; hold right hard. You should land in a tunnel in a cliff that leads to another giant gold ring; if you don't land in the tunnel and land next to two see-saw mushrooms spin dash up the cliff and enter the tunnel. After another Special Stage bounce up on the invisible spring in the bottom of the ring chamber to go up to the next level. Go right, jumping over the yellow spring pointing left (be careful not to fall) and hit the Starpost. Continue right and use the pull-up machine to be pulled up to the next level. Be sure that the chicken-like enemy on the ledge is not emitting a gust of wind when you jump off the pull-up machine or you'll fall back down. Defeat the chicken and go right to a dragonfly. Behind him, hidden behind the pole, are Speed Shoes. Get them, then use the mushrooms to bounce up to the red spring pointing up and left. Hit it and then use the swing to swing up and right, to the ledge. It may take a few attempts but you can try an infinite number of times. On this ledge go right, and use the swinging pole to pick up speed. Go through the loop but not too fast; if you go too fast you'll run right over the yellow spring pointing up and right on the edge. Hit that spring, then hit the yellow spring on the wall (sorry, this wall has no secret passages) and go down the twisting vine. You meet a chicken guarding a corridor with another giant ring; defeat him and play a Special Stage. However, on the other side of the corridor you find the zone dramatically changed - all the color is gone, but it's still the same zone. Go right and hit the red spring to go through a loop. It sends you down to a lower level; go right through a long series of loops. Eventually you go up a curved wall and encounter a dragonfly; defeat him and go right to a pull-up machine. To the right of it is a chicken enemy and behind it, another secret passage, leading to the last giant ring in Mushroom Hill Zone. If you've found all seven giant rings in this zone, great job. This chamber, though, has no way out to its right so you have to backtrack out. Grab the pull-up machine and pull yourself up through the ceiling, until you reach the top. When you do go right and defeat the dragonfly (be careful as he's in an awkward place). Use the see-saw mushrooms to propel yourself up to a Starpost. Hit it and go right to a strange blue satellite dish. Jump on it and it explodes, the zone turns back to its act 1 color, and you find yourself facing the boss. Boss This is a weird boss but most bosses and mid-bosses in this game, as mentioned in Section 3, are not what you'd call normal. The critical part of the battle happens at the beginning, and you must remember that once you jump on the satellite dish hold right and do not hold down the jump button, as the dish is sitting on top of Dr. Robotnik's machine and if you just keep bouncing up and down in place, you can get in up to five hits before he flies away, making the main battle much easier. Be careful not to get hit yourself at this time. After Dr. Robotnik flies away chase him and he'll continue flying away from you. You have to hit him when his thrusters are off (unless you're lucky enough to have a Fire Shield making you immune). He periodically turns on his thrusters and moves further away from you but then turns them off and moves into hitting range. Jump and hit him quickly at this time. This whole time you'll be constantly running right and he'll be flying right as if trying to get away from you. You also periodically pass wooden poles with spikes in between them - jump over the spikes on the ground and don't jump into the ones in the air. They usually alternate, at least for the first few poles. Try to hit Robotnik between the poles. You can run on like this forever, until you die or defeat the boss. It can be a little tricky to get used to jumping the spikes and hitting Robotnik, so don't get frustrated. Eight total hits, counting the ones you get at the beginning, and Robotnik's machine will begin to explode, and then crashes into a large tree and breaks apart with you conveniently running through a hole in the tree. On the other side jump on the plunger on top of the animal prison and it will break open releasing some trapped animal friends of yours. Congratulations on completing the first zone! You will see, after your points are tallied, a huge airship flying overhead, with Robotnik flying by in a cockpit very quickly repaired after his preceding defeat. You automatically run right and grab onto the airship, whereupon you are taken to... 6b. Flying Battery Zone The first zone in any Sonic game is usually a tropical paradise or something of the sort, and the last zone is usually a metallic fortress, but the second zone is quite varied. Sonic & Knuckles takes a bizarre turn here. You go from the peaceful forest of the first zone to fighting inside a giant flying battleship's corridors, shafts and ducts. This place is highly mechanized and much, much harder than Mushroom Hill Zone. In fact, it's very hard. It's also got very few giant rings (before I read the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Quest for Emeralds FAQ, I had not found any giant rings in either act of this zone!) and many different possible paths, some only accessible to Knuckles. This zone also has the best music in the game - some of the best in any Sonic game, I think! Act 1 You begin outside the flying battery in front of a jet device on the floor. Step on it to be sent zipping up a curved wall into the flying battery, around a loop and down through a large purple tube. When you come out go right to a platform; ride it down a shaft, then go left. You encounter two robots on the floor that are mostly stationary but shoot fireballs out of their front and back sides periodically. Watch out for them and grab onto the ceiling handles if you wish. To the left is a flame thrower on the floor. Grab onto the ceiling handles above it and climb to the left one at a time. The last one will lower you through the floor, to another flame thrower on the level below. To reach the ceiling handles below and to your right you must jump onto the flame thrower and then to the ceiling handles. It's a tricky jump but trying to jump directly will get you burned. Again climb to the right and the last ceiling handle will lower you through the floor. On the level below is a blue robot zipping back and forth across a section of floor. Jump off and defeat him (watch out as he moves quickly and is low to the floor) and grab the Super Ring and Fire Shield to the left. Go right and you see two blue robots moving back and forth on the ceiling. Ignore them, but jump just to the left of the leftmost extent of the left robot's range, where the floor above ends. There's an invisible 1-UP in the ceiling. Grab it and proceed right outside the flying battery. Watch out for three mines on the ledge that explode shortly after you walk by them. To the right will be an abyss spanned by several platforms. This is a tricky part since falling down will kill you. The platforms you must use to cross the gap are small and have propellers on their bottoms that will hurt you. In the middle there is also a sequence of ceiling handles you must use to cross the gap. Just jump from platform to platform slowly and carefully. When you make it across, on the opposite ledge is a jet sled that will propel you back into the flying battery. Jump over the flame thrower to the left to a Starpost. Note that all flame throwers, if you stand on them for a second, spring you up, and a Fire Shield (only) will protect you from the flames. To the left jump in the rotating purple tube. You'll rotate around the inside with it. There's a series of three tubes partially linked together; time it so you pass between tubes without falling. If you fall below these tubes are two animal prisons which break open to release rings! There are many animal prisons scattered around this zone and they all do different things, some helpful, some harmful, when you hit their plungers. After getting through the tubes spin dash up the curved wall and jump on the flame thrower. Let it spring you up (if you've lost the Fire Shield be careful of the flames). You'll run on the ceiling, then hit a jet sled that sends you up to some ceiling handles. Climb to the one on the left and survey your next obstacle. To the left is a snake of four round, connected blocks going in a square formation between four gray pipes, which you can stand on. You need to get to the top left pipe. To do this, jump to the bottom right pipe, then to the moving platform, then (when it moves up) to the top right pipe. Wait for the block snake, then ride it across to the top left pipe (the blocks move counterclockwise). From there jump to the block snake going around the four pipes above you when it comes by. Ride it left to the bottom left pipe, then jump off and jump from the pipe to the ledge to the left. If you don't have a Fire Shield be very careful of the flame thrower - try to jump on it and avoid touching the flames. To the left is an animal prison. If you have a Fire Shield, fireball spin dash over it. Otherwise you'll have to hit the plunger to get by it, which releases two fireball robots and two blue mouse-like robots. To the left is another flame thrower; let this one spring you up and back outside. Go right, being aware of mines on the floor, to an orange pole spinning around quickly. Grab onto it. When you want to jump off and fly right, just press A, B or C. Avoid touching the propellers on all these poles. On the second pole, climb up high enough to jump to the next pole (watch out for missiles). Repeat this until you reach the sixth pole. At this one, climb up as high as you can so you are right below the propeller (and I mean RIGHT below). Then hold left and jump off. You'll fly left and grab onto the fifth pole above the propeller (hopefully you'll be high enough and won't hit it). From there climb up and jump back to the sixth pole. Climb it as high as you can, then jump off to the right. You should land on a ledge with a Super Ring and a 1-UP. Grab them and drop down, and go left, jumping over the jet sled which will send you back, and go back inside the flying battery. Run over some mines and ride the platform down. Then go right to a magnetic ceiling. There will be two platforms with spikes on their bottoms, as well as two enemies, that will all be sucked up to the ceiling when it turns on and fall to floor when it's off. The enemies are helpless when on the ceiling so they're easy to defeat, but watch out for the platforms - they can crush you if you're not careful. I recommend running under them when they rise to the ceiling. Beyond this is a Starpost. Hit the switch to your right to open the barrier and drop down through a purple tube. Press no buttons and you'll land on the floor below. Magnetic ceilings will be to your left and right. To your right will be three large spiked mines that will be sucked up when the ceiling turns on. Run under them when they do, quickly, and jump over a fourth mine not below the magnetic ceiling. Then you find a Super Ring and an Invincibility. When invincible, run left, past the mines and some enemies below magnetic ceilings, to a series of curved walls. Spin dash up the first one. The second two, spin dash and land on the block snake as it goes between the two pipes in the wall. Just don't time it so the block snake crushes you. After these curved walls is a rotating wheel with two chains of three blocks protruding from it, rotating. Jump onto the outermost block in either chain when it rotates within range (it's a difficult jump) and ride it until you can jump to the ledge to the upper left. Jump on the animal prison and it will spring you up to the next level. Hit the jet sled and run through a loop and two purple tubes, but then slow down quickly. If you run to the far right run back left quickly before the ledge collapses. Go back left until you see a shaft leading up. Wait a moment and small gray ledges will appear out of the walls of the shaft, on alternating sides. Jump to them being aware they disappear quickly, and climb up the shaft. It's tricky to do and if you fall you must wait for the ledges to come out again before you can try again. When you make it to the top the floor closes below you. Go right being very careful of a flame thrower - it's hard to get by this one without getting hit. Go right to some spikes on the floor. Jump over them and continue right to a 1-UP. Don't bother with the block snake mess above you; go back left to the spikes. You can see a tube in the floor below them (even though I played the act many times, I had no idea this was there until I read Sonic 3 & Knuckles Quest for Emeralds FAQ!) Push the spikes to the right and you'll fall through the tube and land in a giant ring chamber. After a Special Stage walk right through a corridor and jump out. Go right to two magnetic platforms with spikes between them. These rise to the ceiling when it turns on but not all the way, so they are safe to stand on. You must jump to the first one, then the second one, then to the ledge when it goes up without falling on the spikes. Take it slow. Go right, watching out for mines, and the first set of spikes you see on the floor after the first two magnetic platforms covers a tube. This is another one I never saw. Ignoring the magnetic platform to the right, push the spikes to the right and drop through the tube, where you'll find another giant ring. After Special Stage go right and walk out of the hallway, where you'll find five animal prisons in a row. The second one releases some animals trapped inside; the others spring you up. To the right are two magnetic platforms with spikes between them. They are too far apart to jump between unless you use the ceiling handles between them. Now for a tough jump. From the magnetic platform on the right when it rises, you must jump to the edge of one of the block snakes rotating around the wheel to the right. It's very tough, since the magnetic platform is only in the right place for a few seconds, and the ceiling impedes your jump. This will take many attempts, but keep trying. Just don't open the animal prison to the right (it releases robots) and don't get crushed by the magnetic platform as it comes down. When you finally make it onto the wheel stay put until you come within range of the platform floating to your right. From there jump to the higher wheel, then jump right to the ledge. Hit the Starpost and go right to an animal prison. When you touch the plunger, it sprouts two enormous spiked balls and two eyes. It is... Mid-Boss This is the weirdest fight yet, with you battling a trap that looks like an animal prison. It also takes some thinking to figure out how to damage this guy, as he's immune to all direct attack. Every so often he sends one of his spiked balls (which other times float around to his upper left and upper right on chains) homing in on you. To defeat him stand on his plunger and wait for his eyes to blink; that's the signal that he's about to send a ball flying toward you. Then quickly run off the plunger being careful not to touch a spiked ball. The spiked ball will hit the plunger, damaging him. Repeat six times and you've won. Act 2 Go right and hit the jet sled. You will be propelled to the top of a purple tube. Go right and bounce up the shaft via the spring. At the top, hit another spring and go through a loop. When you stop rolling go right and defeat two floor enemies. Three ceiling handles are above you. Grab the left or right one and it will lower you through the floor. However, as soon as you go through the floor, jump off and fall down in the middle, as there are spikes on either side the ceiling handles will lower you into! If you successfully slip between them, pick up the Lightning Shield and touch the jet sled below it. It will send you flying down a rotating purple tube. At the bottom, stabilize yourself, then spin dash left up the wall and go left (watch out for mines). Hit the button to open the barrier and ride the orange corkscrew pole down. The ledges that go down the pole don't rotate, but watch out for the spikes to either side of the pole, and don't get crushed at the bottom - get off when you see the next hallway. At the bottom go right to another corkscrew pole. This time you will have an option of jumping off midway down to a hallway on the right but ignore it and ride down to the bottom. At the bottom go left to a Starpost. Spin dash up the wall left of the Starpost and try not to touch the plunger on the animal prison (it contains enemies). Go left, open a barrier and ride a corkscrew pole up. At the top bounce up a narrow shaft by means of two springs. At the top use the spring to bounce over the flame thrower. Go right and be careful of two blue enemies waiting in the narrow passage. Further right, left the claw on the ceiling grab you and take you through the rotating purple tube. Watch out; it drops you on some mines. Run off them to the right and wait for the magnetic ceiling to turn on, then run under the spiked balls on the floor as they get sucked up to the ceiling. Then press the button and drop down (there's a series of ledges you can use to climb up a shaft but don't this time). Go right to a loop and go through it, but then slow down. Walk over the bridge and it collapses; drop down rather than go up the purple tube to the right. Go right through a corridor and defeat the fireball-shooting enemy at the end. Jump on the block sealing the tunnel and go down it. Roll around a large block on a chain as it moves in a half-circle. You should be going quite fast and go up a ramp into the air. As soon as you leave the ramp, hold right hard and you should (if you were going fast enough) land on a high ledge to the right. If you miss it is possible, but difficult, to try again. If you make it go right and ride the corkscrew pole up. When you see the way off to the right don't go there; jump into the left wall right above the spikes. It is false, and there's a secret passage with a giant ring. After playing a Special Stage, go back to the corkscrew pole and exit to the right. Press the button to open the barrier. Go right past a Starpost and two magnetic platforms in a narrow corridor. Run under them when they rise and be careful not to get crushed. Then open another barrier and cross the corkscrew pole by spin dashing over after a ledge goes by. Open the barrier and ride the corkscrew pole down. Go right and jump to the magnetic platform when it rises up. When the magnetic platform goes back down jump off and go to the right. You'll come to more magnetic platforms with spikes between them; use the ceiling handles to go between them. Do the same with the next two magnetic platforms. Avoid the mines on the next ledge and let the claw carry you through the purple tube. Go right, defeat the blue enemy on the floor and grab the middle ceiling handle. It takes you down. Carefully jump on top of the flame thrower without getting burned, then jump to the ceiling handles to the right. The far right one takes you down. Open the barrier and drop down to a Starpost. Then go left through a corridor with a magnetic ceiling; be careful not to get crushed by magnetic platforms. Defeat the fireball robot and ride the corkscrew pole up. Then hit the jet sled to be sent up a purple tube. At the top of the purple tube hold left hard. The wall to the left of the tube has a secret passage leading to the last giant ring in this zone, but it's too high to reach from the ground without a Lightning or Water Shield. To reach it if you don't make it on the initial propelling up from the tube, you'll have to stand on the higher ledge to the right (next to the magnetic platform) and spin dash left, jumping as soon as you release the spin dash. If you just try to jump you will not make it. You must spin dash to reach the wall high enough. Luckily you can try as many times as you want. Just don't get crushed by the magnetic platform to the right. After you finally make it and play a Special Stage, use the two magnetic platforms to the right to reach the ledge to the right. Go right into a room with a purple background, where you face... Mini-Boss This is not the boss of Flying Battery Zone - oddly enough, this zone has two bosses in act 2. The first boss is a little similar to the boss of Sonic 2's Wing Fortress Zone at first glance, but is really quite different. You'll be trapped in a room by two force fields, with Robotnik behind the right force field controlling the laser eye on the ceiling. The laser eye follows you and eventually turns purple; when it does that, it's about to shoot a laser beam down to the floor, so run out from under it! Each time it misses, the force field on the left moves closer in, giving you less room and making it harder the next time, but it shouldn't be too difficult to stay out from under the laser eye when it fires. You can't jump high enough to damage it unless you have a Lightning or Water Shield but after six misses, it'll self-destruct, Robotnik will run away, and you can go right to a Starpost. (If you do have a Lightning or Water Shield you can hit the eye but it can take infinite hits with no effect, so don't bother). After you pass the Starpost you are in a new, albeit short, section of the act. A pillar falls behind you and the floor starts rising. You now must perform a series of quick moves or you'll get crushed by the floor. Jump up to the ledge and run right. When you come to a curved wall stop and spin dash up the wall (charge up your spin dash a few times). At the top hit the red spring and run left, around another curved wall. When you land on a yellow spring run right, jump over the spikes, and go right to a Super Ring. Now you're safe. Wait for the floor to catch up with you and stand on it so it carries you up the purple shaft (don't let it push you into the spikes). After that the floor will rise into the sky; stand there are wait to meet the real boss. Boss This isn't too hard and is kind of fun. Fighting high in the sky on a narrow platform (the floor) that spans the whole screen, Robotnik will fall from the sky in the center (so stay on either side) and attach himself to the ledge with two large, spiked arms attached to his machine. He will then begin slowly inching toward you like a monkey, climbing across the ledge with his spiked arms. When he corners you either jump over him in one fell swoop or jump between his arms, then jump over him. Watch out as if you land between his arms, he'll shoot a jet of flame up. After a while he swings the cockpit of his machine up above the floor and that's when you hit him. He'll do it four times at a time. You can get in two hits each time he swings above the floor but if you're a beginner or unsure of yourself stick with one. It may be wise not to hit him the first time he swings up as you may be out of position. Avoid touching his arms where they are attached to the platform, of course. Eight hits will do him in. Run right and bust open the animal prison. Then run right (automatically) and burst through a high door on the flying battery and into... 6c. Sandopolis Zone Another radical change of scenery. This is the only real desert zone for any Genesis Sonic game. Prepare to explore ancient buildings, jump in and out of quicksand pits and encounter a whole host of booby traps as you make your way through here. The music here is pretty nice. Also note that this is the only act in the game that does not have giant ring locations listed in TurboKiller's FAQ (it is an uncompleted section) so I may well have missed some easy giant rings, especially as there are seven total (according to Warrior of Zerona). Act 1 You begin this act falling from the sky and into the sand. Jump out of the sand and go right. You find a waterfall of sand slowly descending. Jump into it and jump repeatedly, several times, to reach the top. At the top is a brown monolith that will crumble to dust if you jump on it (these are common in both acts of this zone and serve no purpose so I won't mention them in the future). To the right is a scorpion robot moving back and forth. These guys are a PAIN!! If they see you they'll aim their 'stinger' (a small spiked ball) at where you're standing and most likely hit you, especially if your movement is constricted. The best way to defeat them is to take them out from behind or before they can use their stinger (they have to swing it back before they send it at you) but that's not always possible. Watch out for these guys! Defeat this one by spin dashing into him when he turns around (keep as far away as possible until he does) and go right to a block of sandstone on a ledge. Push the block right off the ledge and it will go over the scorpion across some tiny devices (its 'track'). Walk off the ledge onto the block once you push it off and ride it across, and you won't have to worry about the scorpion below. To the right, run over the pillar when it goes down (if you get crushed by this, you're either going way too fast or aren't trying very hard) and slide down the slide of sand. Then slide down the slide below it and you'll hit a yellow spring. Slow down, and go back left to the yellow spring. Climb the sandfall next to it to find a Super Ring. Then go right (if you climb the sandfall you can get back up to the slide but you can't climb up it - it's too strong). Eventually you'll pass some pillars in the background and come to a cliff. Grab the handgrip hanging from the ceiling (beware; the overhang collapses) and when you can, jump. You'll swing out over a wide area and cross a quicksand pit easily on the handgrip. When you come to a stop jump off and go right. The pillar cannot crush you so don't worry. When you come to a loop spin dash through it and you'll go around twice, then go up. To the left is a floating pillar moving horizontally. If you jump to it and ride it left you'll find two Super Rings. Go right to a sandstone block. Push it off the ledge onto its track, then jump on it and ride it right. You'll ride most of the way over a quicksand pit (really try to stay out of these pits; most have two blue sand worms patrolling them, and if you sink too far in ones near the bottom of the act, you die, but if you sink too far in one higher up you just fall through to a lower level). On the other side jump onto the ledge on a chain hanging from the wall and it moves up in a half-circle. Walk right but beware - that seemingly innocent monolith is an enemy in disguise. He can't hurt you though; he just jumps up and walks back and forth with the monolith on his head and you can spin dash through him to defeat him. Ahead is a scorpion. Stand on the level below it until it turns around, then jump up and quickly spin dash or roll through him. Jump on the half-circle platform and ride it up, then jump left to the moving pillar, and grab the Invincibility. Jump up two sandfalls (if you slide down the sand slide left of the second one, you'll eventually find a Fire Shield, but you'll have to climb back up to slide via the blocks sliding down it) and at the top, go right. You meet another scorpion above a moving pillar in the ground; like other scorpions it's best (but still very risky) to try to take him out when he turns around. After this scorpion go right past a Starpost and slide down two sand slides. You land in a quicksand pit; immediately jump to the right and don't fall through. Falling through won't kill you but it will make a giant ring inaccessible (and make the path much harder). You'll be pushed right back into the quicksand by a moving pillar with spikes on top. Trying to avoid the sand worms, jump back out and when the pillar moves right, go right. Jump up the sandfall above the level of the pillar and when it moves left, drop out. (Holding left or right in a sandfall will allow you to slowly move left or right). Go right to a sandstone block on a ledge; push it onto its track and ride it right. When the track appears to end and it drops to a lower track, at the last second, jump to the right. Hopefully you'll land on the half-circle platform; ride it up and go right, jump up a sandfall being wary of the scorpion, and go right to a giant ring. If you miss the jump you cannot try again short of dying on purpose; but if you proceed right you'll regain the path soon enough. From the giant ring room, go right past a moving pillar and drop down. Now you must climb up a sand slide by means of stone blocks sliding down it; it's pretty self-explanatory, just don't touch the sand slide or you'll slide back down. Once at the top continue right under a large sandfall in the foreground and hit the yellow spring. Go around a loop twice, then up to two sandfalls going UP. These defy the laws of physics but you can ride them; just watch out for the spikes between them. After these two bizarre sandfalls go right under a spiked pillar moving up and down (watch out as one of the monoliths is an enemy in disguise) and grab the handgrip hanging from the ceiling. When you can, jump and you'll swing all the way over to the right wall. Jump again and when you come to a stop, jump off. To the left is a small passage guarded by a scorpion with a Super Ring and a Lightning Shield. Grab them if you want, then push the sandstone block onto its track and ride it over the quicksand. After the quicksand go right, watching out for another scorpion, and hit the yellow spring. Go right to a string of orange spheres which will bounce you up quite high and far. Land in the sandfall and jump up it being very careful of the scorpion at the top (it's very hard to pass by him without getting hit). To the left destroy the monolith; below it is a spring that will bounce you up to two Super Rings. Then go right and jump to the half-circle platform; it will carry you up to a Starpost. Pass it and grab the handgrip. This time you'll need to jump many times to climb down a wall. Keep jumping out (you cannot control your movements when on one of these handgrips) until you reach the bottom. There's nothing to the left so push the sandstone block onto its track and ride it right. You'll need to jump to it once you get it moving. At the end of the block's track you can jump to a half-circle platform moving on its own, but don't; drop into the quicksand instead. Quickly jump over to the corridor to the right without sinking. In this corridor a scorpion is waiting for you. Stand as far away as possible until he turns around, then spin dash through him. Jump when a wall of sand appears before you and it will dissolve. Bounce under the pillar when it goes up and you'll go up a small ramp, and be sent into two sandfalls going up. Cross through them and get to the right ledge, be careful of the scorpion and get down to the string of bouncy spheres. Bounce into a sandfall on the ceiling that curves and goes horizontally, and ride it to its end. When you come to the end jump down and go right, to two pillars side by side that can crush you. When they recede jump by them and go right to a scorpion. Defeat him and ride the two half-circle platforms up. Follow the path being careful of spikes and ride another half-circle platform. Go left under the pillar and back outside. Go through the loop twice and be sent up; then bounce on the red spring on the left wall. Bounce over the scorpion on the next level and land on the half-circle platform. Ride it up and go right. When you come to a ledge jump right to a handgrip (beware; the overhang collapses). Rappel down the wall and at the bottom, go right over a pillar that can't crush you. Pass a Starpost, run under a spiked pillar and grab another handgrip. Rappel down the wall and go left to a Super Ring (hidden behind the wall in the doorway). Then go right, jump through the quicksand pit, and go right to a flat area. An enormous pyramid rises from the earth in the background. Out of a door in the pyramid emerges... Mid-Boss This is the strangest boss battle in the game. The mid-boss is a stone statue that doesn't even look like a robot, and has no weapons, but jumps toward you. You can knock him back into his shell form by jumping and hitting his head but cannot hurt him this way. To defeat him you must lure him to the left and get him to jump in the quicksand pit. That's the only way to defeat him. Stand on the edge of the pit until he gets close, then jump into the pit and jump continuously to avoid sinking. Make sure you're far enough away so that he doesn't jump on you (although he can't crush you if he does jump on you; he merely damages you). He will jump into the quicksand and blow up. After your points are tallied you go inside the pyramid (automatically) for act 2. Act 2 This entire act is inside a pyramid, and it's one of the longest acts in the game. In addition to everything familiar from act 1, there are two other things I wish to explain that are very common in this act. One is the large black levers on the floor you'll find. These open stone doors when you push them all the way, but after you push them, they slowly reset back to their original position, closing the door. So you have to push the lever and then quickly get through the door before it closes. There's a very distinct sound like heavy blocks shifting when one of these levers resets. The other new thing is more complicated. This pyramid is haunted by ghosts who are trapped in an animal prison you are forced to open (early in the act). Once released the ghosts will initially not be on the screen. If you wait a while, a small one will appear but just floats around; he poses no threat to you. Wait a while longer and two larger ghosts will appear, and the pyramid will become substantially darker. This is a 'warning' phase. If you wait even longer the pyramid will turn black as night, and many large ghosts will appear and disappear, and start swooping down at you. Not only can they hurt you now, btu it's very hard to see. Luckily you can avert this sequence of events by grabbing light handles, which hang from the ceiling, periodically. If you grab a light handle the pyramid will return to full light and all ghosts will disappear, but the sequence repeats itself unless you grab another light handle later. These light handles are scattered throughout the act and you can use each one an infinite number of times to scare away ghosts. Just always grab a light handle when you see one since they can be rather far apart, and move briskly, don't hurry, but don't dawdle either. You need to keep a good pace up in this act. The best way to avoid trouble with the ghosts is to grab light handles frequently and prevent the pyramid from ever reaching its 'warning' phase, if you can. Prevention is the key. Okay, begin the act by heading right, jump over the moving pillar, and grab the light handle (even though there are no ghosts yet). Continue right to a quicksand pit. Jump to dissolve the sand wall and cross the pit being very careful of sand worms. Another light handle is above the pit. Right of the pit is your first black lever. Push it right to open the door ahead of you, and when you've pushed it as far as you can, run right as fast as possible. Run into the string of spheres to be bounced up and left; quickly jump up the sandfall you land in. At the top run left and if you were quick enough, you'll make it under the door before it closes. The area behind it has a Lightning Shield and another lever to reopen the door. You only get one chance to get in there. Really try to make it since the Lightnign Shield is necessary to reach the first giant ring. Once you get the Lightning Shield (or even if you don't) go right, through a loop. You'll hit a spring and land on the animal prison that releases the ghosts; you can't avoid it. Go right and grab the light handle above the spikes. Push the black lever to the right to open the door and slide down the sand slide. When you slide off onto another slide sliding left, jump up the slide fighting the flow. This is only possible with the Lightning Shield's double-jump ability, and even then is hard. You need to jump almost as soon as you touch the sand slide so you don't get any momentum going left. Keep trying and time your double jump to gain the maximum amount of air. When (and if) you make it to the top, go right, down another sand slide, to a giant ring. After a Special Stage go left and soon you'll find yourself on the same sand slide you were on before. These sand slides repeat if you fail to make the jump from one to the other. Wheat yo must do is jump from the sand slide going left to the one going right where they intersect, near where a half-circle platform is moving. It's tricky to time but is easier with the Lightning Shield. If you miss don't worry; these sand slides repeat forever, though it can get a bit confusing. The real problem is that there are no light handles here so if you miss too many times the ghosts will start to come after you. You need to make two jumps from one slide to the other, I think, then you slide down past a Starpost and up to a light handle. This is a confusing section so I hope you get through it quickly; just keep trying to jump from one sand slide to the other and go right, not left. After you finally get to the Starpost go right to a black lever. Here comes another tricky part. Push the lever all the way then run right as fast as you can. Run up to the bouncy spheres and bounce left to a sand block. Immediately push it onto its track and get on it. When riding the block charge a spin dash (ignore the light handle, for once) and when you get close to the end of the track, release your spin dash. Hopefully you'll make it under the closing door. If you don't go back and push the lever again; the block should be back where it started if you go far enough away and come back. It seems like you won't make it but you can if you go fast enough. After this door jump right to the half-circle platform moving on its own. Grab the handgrip and quickly rappel down the wall (before the ghosts come back). At the bottom push the black lever to the right, but stop at the light handle before continuing. (Note: the whole next area must be done quickly, so the ghosts do not get too large). Go right, ride two half-circle platforms up, and go under the moving pillar. Bounce up on the springs before the door closes (this one closes horizontally). A scorpion awaits you on the next ledge. Defeat him when he turns around, then go right under a spiked pillar when it goes up. Go through a loop, bounce on some bouncy spheres, then go through another loop and two sandfalls. Pass the Starpost and go right, bounce over a stationary pillar, and push the black lever. Run under the spiked pillar, ride the half-circle platform and grab the light handle (finally!) Then jump onto the moving pillar and go through the door before it closes. Hit the stopper on the ceiling in the next corridor and the pyramid begins to fill up with sand. The next part involves climbing up fast enough to outrun the sand and not get crushed. Run left and let the rising sand carry you up. When you can quickly run left through a corridor and get to the far left. You can't br crushed against the moving pillar to the far left. Ride the sand up, then ride the half-circle platform (don't worry; the sand will have stopped rising temporarily) up to a black lever. Push it to open the door; run through and hit the stopper to restart the sand. This time it's much harder to outrun. Run to the right and let it carry you up. Jump to grab the light handle just long enough to eradicate the ghosts, then quickly run right to an open area. Stay to the left (there's a Super Ring and Speed Shoes to the right but they're not worth getting). Let the sand carry you up past a moving pillar with spikes on the bottom. This time, the sand will not stop, so as soon as possible, jump over the pillar and go right. Push the black lever to open the doors above you before you get crushed against them by the sand. Then run right through the corridor with spikes on the ceiling as quickly as possible. When you come to a vertically moving pillar stop, wait for it to come down, and jump on it. Ride it up and push the black lever. Quickly run through the door (the 1-UP in the top left corner is not worth getting) and through the corridor. If you're fast enough you can grab two Super Rings before they are buried in the sand. Luckily, the sand will stop, for good, here. Ride the half-circle platform over to a light handle above some spikes. To the right is a lever that opens a door, but this one closes extremely quickly, so you must quickly jump through after pushing the lever. Run right under a moving pillar, defeat a scorpion, and when you come to a ledge, slow down, and ride the half-circle platform over to a handgrip. Rappel down the wall as quickly as possible and at the bottom, go right, jumping over a spiked pillar and going under a large sandfall. Bounce up to a light handle and jump over some spikes. (Note: the next section must be done quickly as the next light handle is a ways away). Be careful of the scorpion ahead; go through a loop and get bounced down onto a moving pillar. Jump left to another moving pillar and go left without falling in the quicksand. Jump over a moving pillar and grab the handgrip. You'll swing between two walls several times; make each jump as quickly as possible. At the bottom jump off and run right, past a Starpost, onto a sand slide. Slide down two sand slides in a row and after the second one, you'll get flung high in the air. Go right over a moving pillar to a light handle, at last. After turning the lights back on go back left, spin dashing up the curved wall, onto the moving pillar. Jump to the one moving horizontally and then to the ledge above. Bounce right with the spheres and go right to a black lever. Push the lever all the way and do the next section as quickly as possible! Jump on top of the lever and then jump to the half-circle platform. Ride it up, then hit the stopper to partially fill the area below with sand. Drop down past the horizontally moving pillar and run through the partially closed door. Go right, jumping off the light handle if you grab it by accident, and quickly run under the moving pillar. To the right will be a gap with a closing door on the other side of it. Jump over the gap and through the door, if you were fast enough to make it before it closes. Behind the door is a light handle, a lever to reopen the door, and a giant ring, the last in this zone. This is a tough giant ring to reach and you can't try again if you miss it (short of dying on purpose). After (hopefully) another crack at the Special Stage, go back through the door and drop down to a Starpost. Push the lever and drop through the rapidly closing door before it closes, and in the area below, go right to the boss (don't worry; the ghosts will go away). Boss This is another off the wall boss - literally. The boss is a huge orange brick statue that emerges from the right wall and lumbers forward slowly, alternately extending his two stone arms. One is in the background and one is in the foreground. When the one in the foreground extends jump onto it (you can't stand on the one in the background or be hurt by it). Being careful not to touch the spikes on the end of the arm or on the robot's chest, jump and hit it above the spikes. The tricky part of this battle is hitting the boss and landing back on his arm without touching the spikes. It takes practice. When you hit it the bricks fly away revealing Robotnik's cockpit. Hit that as many times as you can (in practice about twice) before the bricks come back, then repeat the pattern. If you're bold you can hit him several times on one extension of the arm. The machine is slowly advancing and eventually will crush you against the left wall, but you'd have to be really slow for that to happen. Sometimes the laser eye at the top of the statue powers up; I'd ignore it and hit the bricks since that will deactivate it, but if you don't hit it quickly, it'll fire a laser beam down at you. Be sure to always hit the bricks from the arm as you can't reach them from the floor. Eight hits to Robotnik's cockpit does him in. Go right and smash open another animal prison. Then you automatically walk right and fall down, into... 6d. Lava Reef Zone The game turns the heat up in this zone - both literally, because it is set in a volcano, and not literally, because the game definitely gets harder from now on. Although there is very little lava in the second act of this zone until the boss, there is plenty of fire. So in both acts, get and HOLD ON TO Fire Shields. They will make your life much easier. Avoid collecting other Shields in Bonus Stages if you can. Also, this is the last zone with any giant rings, so if you want to collect all the Chaos Emeralds, you've got to do it here. Both acts of this zone have great music. Act 1 This act is about moving through caves and tunnels in an active volcano. You begin by falling down and some ledges collapse. When you get to the bottom spin dash right to bust through some rocks, and roll under three stalactites that will try to fall on you. When you stop at a door press the switch next to it to open the door. Cross the lava lake (be aware that the rocks you must use as stepping stones sink if you stay on them more than a second). After this two robot worms will pop out of the wall in the background and start floating left. These worms are only vulnerable in the head and can be quite annoying. Defeat them or avoid them and climb the staircase. As you climb watch out for flame shooters to the left. At the top is a Lightning Shield. Not as good as a Fire Shield, but it's better than nothing. Take it and go right past a worm, to a more open area. Go down the incline and over the tiny lava lake. You encounter a rock that is an enemy in disguise. He can't hurt you if you touch him, but he flashes once you get close enough to reveal him, and explodes after a few seconds, sending out many smaller rocks. Any Shield will deflect these rocks; keep a good distance from these guys if you don't have any Shield. Cross the next lava lake via two collapsing ledges. To the right is a device creating a white cloud and before it, a strange rock on the ground. The rock will sink into the ground when you step on it and you'll bounce up on a hidden spring. Get the twelve rings in the air and land on the ledge to the right, where two Super Rings are guarded by a poison gas device like the one below. These machines are stationary and create a white cloud of poison gas which floats away from the machine if you don't defeat it quickly. Defeating one is simply a matter of jumping on it without touching the poison gas. After collecting the Super Rings jump to the ledge on the left. A spiked ball will be rolling back and forth, tearing up the ground. Jump over it to find a 1-UP and drop back down. Go back right, jump over the hidden spring and destroy the poison gas machine. Spin dash right through the rocks, and rotate downward around a pole. At the bottom run left and fly up the ramp over the lava lake. You come to another lava lake with a torrent of lava that periodically falls into it from above. Being very careful of the spikes that retract and extend, stand on the edge of the lava lake and jump over after a torrent falls. Go left, jumping past the exploding rock, and bounce up on a spring. Jump right to a Starpost, a Super Ring and a Fire Shield. Hold onto that Fire Shield as long as you can. Go left (watch out for swinging spiked balls on the ceiling) and defeat the green robot on the wall to open the door (he shoots bullets at you but any Shield will deflect them). To the left in the cave is a strange device on a conveyor belt. Stand on it and spin dash left, just spin dash, don't release. This will cause the device (called a spin dash machine) to move down the conveyor belt. Spin dashing right will cause it to move up. Once it reaches the bottom release the spin dash and go right, being careful of two lava worms. Press the button to open the door but beware of the exploding rock in front of the door. Go slowly; a rotating spiked ball on a chain is ahead. Carefully run past it and jump past the torrent of lava (if you have a Fire Shield, it can't hurt you). Go right past an exploding rock, and open the door. Ahead is a giant drilling machine that will start drilling the floor. You can hit it but that will have no effect so stay as far away as possible. After a few seconds it will cause a large section of floor to collapse and fall through. If you stay to the left you won't fall with the floor. Jump over the large gap and do a fireball spin dash (if you've lost the Fire Shield, you'll have to do a regular spin dash and jump to get enough speed) to get across. Behind where the drilling machine was is a 1- UP. Take it and drop down into a lava lake. If you don't have a Fire Shield you'll get hit unless you're lucky enough to land on a rock. Go to the right, over rocks if necessary, and out of the lava lake (there's a Super Ring to the left). Hit the button to open the door and climb the steps in the cave. Avoid a falling stalactite and exploding rock, and ride the spin dash machine up. If you don't have a Fire Shield beware of the flame shooter at the top. At the top of the spin dash machine's conveyor belt, walk left. You'll walk into a secret passage leading to a giant ring. After a Special Stage go right and spin dash through the rocks. Jump over the exploding rock. You come to a broad red platform with spikes on the bottom moving up and down in a shaft. When it falls walk on top of it (be very careful of these devices; they can easily crush you). Jump through the right wall near the top of the platform's motion and you'll find another giant ring, just like that! Below the giant ring is a Super Ring and another passage in the wall. Just don't get caught under the spiked platform. Ride it up after Special Stage and jump to the ledge above. Watch out for the swinging spiked ball. Jump on the spiked platform (be very careful) and ride it up. Climb the ledges and go right up a staircase. Hit the button and go back outside. Jump on another moving spiked platform. If you don't have a Fire Shield get the Lightning Shield to the left; if you do pass it up. If you jump to the ledge on the right at the top of the platform's motion and walk through the right wall, you'll come to a dead-end passage full of rings. Loot it, then drop back down and go right on the main path. (I won't mention exploding rocks from now on, since you should have a Shield most of the time, if you don't be careful of them). Spin dash through the rocks, bounce up on the springs to get some rings, and hit the Starpost. Walk left and when the ledge collapses, jump left to find a Fire Shield, if you lost the first one. This is the last one in the act so guard it well. Drop through the collapsing ledge and go right, over a bridge. Hit the red spring to bounce up to a higher path. Don't go on the lower path. On the higher path is a rolling spiked ball. If you jump over it you can find a Super Ring and a Lightning Shield but they aren't worth getting. Move right and jump on the spiked platform. Being careful when it moves up not to get squashed against the spikes, ride it up and jump to the spin dash machine on the left. Ride it up and go left to find 15 rings and a 1- UP. Drop down and carefully run over the spiked platform when it comes down. To the right is a poison gas machine. If you touch the poison gas it will engulf you and start stealing your rings, one a second, and inhibit your ability to jump. Luckily, unlike water piranha in Sonic 3, you can escape by jumping in rapid succession several times. To the right is another moving spiked platform; jump on it and ride it up. Get the Super Ring to the right guarded by a poison gas machine. Then jump up to the left, spin dash through the rocks, and climb the staircase with four exploding rocks. At the top go right and climb the staircase, avoiding the two flame shooters if you don't have a Fire Shield. At the top jump over the rolling spiked ball and go right, crossing a lava lake via two collapsing ledges. Go right avoiding exploding rocks, falling stalactites, lava worms and poison gas machines, to a shaft of collapsing ledges. Drop down to the bottom but beware of the last collapsing ledge; it has lava under it. Go left in this lower tunnel, spin dashing under the spiked platform when it goes up. Ride the spin dash machine to the left down. Go right, under two falling stalactites. Ahead in your path is a poison gas machine. It's best not to defeat this one, but oddly enough, you can spin dash right through a cloud of poison gas and it won't stick to you. Do that here. Continue; the path is fairly obvious, just watch out for many obstacles and enemies blocking your way. Ride a spin dash machine down and at the bottom, spin dash left to clear a tunnel blocked by rocks. At the end of the tunnel go right. Backtrack a little to find the switch to open the door. Pass a Starpost and go right to the mid-boss. Mid-Boss This is fun. Instead of one specific mid-boss, you'll be fighting three separate enemies. You must defeat two cannon orbs on chains and a huge, three-fingered hand to win this battle. The two cannon orbs come up first. Stand in the center since they come up on either side, then run under one of them (I prefer the right one). Jump and hit them when they come up and down. If you have no Shield, jump and do an Insta-Shield at the peak of your jump and you can damage them when they are extended to the top. You can do this even easier if you have a Lightning Shield or Water Shield. However, if you have a Fire Shield, you can only damage them when they come up and down, but don't lose your Shield on purpose; hold onto it as long as you can. If you lose it, then start hitting the orbs when fully extended. The orbs rise to the top of the screen and fire off three fireballs each, one at a time, left orb first. If you have a Shield these will be harmlessly deflected. Otherwise stay under one orb - its fireballs can't reach you there, and when the other orb fires, carefully jump over its fireballs. The uneven ground makes this a bit trickier. After firing, the orbs descend. They take four hits each to destroy, and if you're quick, you can get those hits in two appearances, but don't hurry. After the orbs go down a huge robotic three-fingered hand rises and follows you across the screen. Run back and forth trying to stay away from it - it can't hurt you, but after a while it stops moving and attempts to slam down on you. Make sure you are not in front of it when this happens. After slamming down it remains stuck to the ground for a second, then goes off the screen. You must hit it when it's stuck to the ground after it slams. Your window of time is very short and you're usually out of position, so it's hard to get more than one hit at a time. Just be patient and avoid carelessness. The hand and the orbs alternate appearances unless one has been destroyed. The hand takes six hits to beat, and once you destroy both the hand and the orbs, you win. Act 2 This game's zones usually have act 2 different substantially from act 1, and that trend continues in Lava Reef Zone. After defeating the mid-boss, the lava in the background cools and the volcano becomes dormant. Act 2 is set in a bright blue, crystal, phosphorescent cavern with many traps. It also has a very unusual (and hard) section before the boss, but that's getting ahead of myself. Start by going right over a flat stretch. Your first obstacles is a flame thrower that periodically shoots a jet of fire over an area you need to jump past. When it switches off for a second, jump by. There are a lot more flame throwers to come, however. Proceed right to a closed door with a switch. However, don't open the door with the switch; jump on top of the switch instead. From there climb into a secret area (watch out for the flame thrower to the left) with a red spring that sends you around a half-loop. When running around the half-loop, jump. It may take a few tries, but you should eventually get the Fire Shield on the ledge. Keep this as long as you can - it protects you from only the flame throwers in this level, not lava, but invulnerability to the flame throwers is a big plus. Go right to an exploding rock and a lava worm. Drop down to the two moving blocks and go right. Avoid the flame thrower above the path and jump to the moving block rather than continuing right. Jump to a series of moving platforms and at the last one, go right. You can jump up and go left but that's a different path altogether. To the right is a flame thrower on the floor - jump over it when it turns off if you've already lost the Fire Shield. Defeat the two lava worms and continue right. Go slowly to avoid two flame throwers. Follow the path until you come to a wall you must spin dash through; do so and bounce up on the red spring to the bottom right. Land on the moving block above you and when it moves left, jump into the left wall. On level with the top of the block is a secret passage leading to a giant ring. After a Special Stage you will fall through a hidden hole in the ring chamber. Go right, drop down and head left. To the left drop through the floor. In the next passage there are two spiked balls on the floor. They make a noise of powering up and start flashing faster and faster, then bounce up in the air. Jump over them between firings. Proceed right to three flame throwers in a row. They all work in synchrony so jump over them when they all turn off, and continue. Open a door with the switch and go back into the caves. Your next obstacle is a conveyor belt that moves yellow and purple platforms around a track. Jump onto one (beware of the spikes on their bottoms) and ride it around. To the right at the top is the path ahead, but wait for the platform to move to the crest of the conveyor belt, and jump left. High on the left wall is a secret passage leading to another giant ring. Play a Special Stage, then return to the platforms and take the passage to the right. Go right until you come to a Starpost. Jump up to the ledge to the right and ride the moving platform left. Climb up on two stationary ledges that have spiked balls rotating around them (being careful of the spiked balls). Go left, jump over the spiked ball on the ground, and run under the moving block that's made to crush you. Jump over two spiked balls and avoid a rotating one, and open the door. Spin dash through the poison gas machine and jump over two flame throwers. Continue left to a yellow spring. Just to the left of it is a flame thrower on the ceiling guarding a Fire Shield. If you lost the first one jump past the flame thrower carefully and snare it. Then bounce up to another conveyor belt of moving platforms, and ride it up. At the top you'll have a choice of going left or right. Go right and spin dash through a corridor with three poison gas machines, then jump past a flame thrower. Open the door and go right two a large rotating cylinder. It has spikes and tow places where you can grab on. Grab onto the one of the left and start rotating around. As you are just starting to go up, jump. You need to time it right so you get a slingshot effect to fly up higher. If you don't go up high enough, you can keep trying as long as you need. Swing up to the handgrips of another rotating cylinder, then up to the floor above. This can take a while. On the floor above bounce on the spring and land on the moving platforms. From the one on the right jump into the right wall - it has another secret passage with another giant ring. After yet another Special Stage backtrack out and go back to the main path. You'll be blocked by three moving blocks; just get between them and get past them as they move (don't worry, it's very difficult to be crushed by these blocks). Continue right and spin dash through a weak wall. In the next passage down you'll go through a strange, almost 3-D tunnel and fly right on a ramp. Go left down some stairs slowly. At the bottom of the staircase drop down but hug the right wall. You'll enter a secret passage in it. Be careful since there's a pit of spikes to the left. Left of the spikes there's a Super Ring and a Lightning Shield. Decide if they're worth getting. The secret passage in the right wall leads to the last giant ring in the game. Play your last Special Stage, then press the button in the ring chamber to open the wall to the right. Go right and back to the main path (you just took a small shortcut). Watch out for the flame thrower on the floor and go right to a Starpost. Open the door to the right of the Starpost and head outside the caves for the last time. You'll encounter lava for the first time in this act; jump over the two lakes of it (beware, the ledges collapse). Also beware of the exploding rock. Jump to a ledge with a spiked ball rotating around it, then ride the moving platform up. Go left, jumping over two flame throwers. To the far left is a yellow spring. Bounce on it and run right across the ceiling. Jump off so you land on the wide moving platform (moving horizontally). Be sure to press left when you land so you don't walk right off. Landing on this moving platform will take several attempts. From the moving platform jump right to a ledge with a spiked ball, then ride another moving platform up, and jump over a gap. Finally you're on a long walkway. Go right and climb several sets of stairs. In the background you'll see the bottom part of the Death Egg stuck in the ceiling (you're below it at this point). Part of the walkway collapses; don't fall or you'll lose a life. At the top of the staircase you meet... Knuckles. He pushes a huge blue boulder off and it tumbles down the stairs and into the abyss, taking you with it. Boss Area Get ready for the hardest part of the game yet. This is still the second act of Lava Reef Zone, and you're still a ways away from the boss, but the boss music plays from now on. The gauntlet of danger you must get through to reach the boss, as well as the boss himself, are extremely difficult. In many places, one false jump will kill you. There is also forced scrolling in this part. Be prepared to lose quite a few lives here and keep in mind that if you can get through, the next few levels are relatively easy. You begin by falling from the sky into the very depths of the volcano. Hold right as you fall. You land on a walkway above lava. Then, suddenly in a flash of light, Robotnik re- activates the volcano. The whole area turns red and orange and the middle of the walkway simply disappears. Robotnik floats onto the screen in a ship toting missiles, which he launches. Then the screen starts moving right at a fast clip. A white crosshairs appears on the platform you're on and missiles start hitting it, the second missile blowing it to bits, so quickly jump to the next platform over the lava. Soon it gets targeted as well so keep moving. Avoid collapsing ledges (you should be able to identify them by sight) and avoid falling in the lava at all costs. After four platforms get blown up you're past the missiles but the screen keeps moving. Go right and climb a staircase (if you're too slow and get left behind by the screen, you either get pushed ahead by it or die; I'm not sure which). At the top of the staircase are several collapsing ledges. You must use these to cross an abyss (jump quickly, of course) that will kill you if you fall into it. Then you pass a Starpost and face the hardest part of the whole section. To the right is a huge lava fall (like a waterfall) with pink platforms of lava rock moving down it. You must jump to the right across these small platforms (not much wider than yourself) as they move down and the screen moves right, making each jump precise as can be. A fall will kill you. These jumps are very hard so don't get frustrated. When and if you make it across to the fourth platform, the worst is behind you. Ride the fourth platform as it goes down (you'll no longer die) until you find some solid ledges midway up the lava fall. To the right is a Lightning Shield. Ignore it if you have a Fire Shield, otherwise grab it. Make your way left across the ledges, collecting rings on each one. The last ledge holds a Fire Shield in plain sight, bless the programmers! Grab it and ride the platforms to the left down to the lake of lava at the bottom of the volcano. Once your platform lands on the lava you will face... Boss This boss is very difficult. Robotnik has managed to do the impossible and come up with a lava submersible that can freely pop in and out of the lava. He first pops up in the right corner. He does not move but he does cause the lava to tilt and flow towards him. This entire battlefield is lava: lava you're fighting on and a background of falling lava. You begin with a Fire Shield but you may lose it. The best advice I can give you is KEEP THAT FIRE SHIELD AS LONG AS YOU CAN!! It will protect you from the lava completely, but you still must avoid contact with Robotnik and his spiked mines. If you lose the Fire Shield from touching one of the above you will have to stay on the platforms as they move on the lava, which is very difficult. When Robotnik's submersible makes the lava flow towards him the pink platforms do as well, shattering when they hit him. If you don't have a Fire Shield you must constantly jump left to the next platform (an endless stream of them comes from the left) to avoid getting impaled against Robotnik. It's almost as hard as the section above (which, by the way, you have to do all over again if you die) and you must make extremely accurate leaps very quickly. To make matters even worse Robotnik will shoot three mines out of the top of his submersible and they will land on the far left, and float back towards Robotnik along with the platforms. Avoid contact with them as well as the lava. When they hit Robotnik they damage him. Yes, this is another boss you cannot directly hurt - you simply need to stay alive long enough for enough mines to strike him, and he will self-destruct. Unfortunately, eight hits are not enough to crack this touch submersible - fourteen mines must strike him. After every third mine he goes back under the lava. If you don't have a Fire Shield stay on the platform in the center, as he'll pop back up on the left side, and repeat the sequence but from the other direction. You must survive four and a half sequences to win. While you have the Fire Shield just concentrate on jumping over the mines as they float toward you and ignore the platforms, and if you lose it, concentrate only on jumping from platform to platform - don't even worry about the mines. Also keep alert and don't let Robotnik pop up underneath you. Robotnik is immune to all attack so don't even think about trying to hit him. Just retain a ring for as long as you can, keep jumping, and pray. Eventually you should come out on top. After you win stand on the middle platform - don't touch the lava even after defeating Robotnik. The prison egg will float from the ceiling; nice touch! When it floats above you and is low enough jump and hit the plunger. Time it right or you might get pushed into the lava. After your points are tallied, the lava cools once again, and you can walk across it to the right, into... 6e. Hidden Palace Zone As soon as you notice there is no 'act 1' annotation at the beginning of this zone, you'll know this is no ordinary zone. It is an extremely short zone with only one act, no secrets, and no real boss. It does have some story development, however. This zone looks much like Lava Reef Zone, act 2, but is in a palace instead of a cave. It even has the same music as that act. Just proceed - there's no secrets and only one path, and nothing to watch out for other than a few spikes here and there. Just follow the path and bounce up on springs until you encounter a teleporting device in a room (it looks pink). There's a Super Ring to the right if you jump over it. After taking it, stand on the center of the device and you will be automatically 'beamed' up, Star Trek style, to another level. After this cool experience go right, past a Starpost, into a room where you will fight Knuckles. Knuckles is pathetically easy, but you might get hit a few times. The key to beating him is to stay away from his knuckles. He begins in the right corner. Jump on him. When you jump on him it's important to immediately jump away yourself to avoid being next to him when he recovers. He has two attacks: spin dashing at you and gliding across the room. When he is spin dashing he is invulnerable - avoid being in his way or jump over him, if you can. Hit him when he is standing still. When he glides across the room hit him from below. Hit the back half of him - do not touch his knuckles or you will get hit. Often he simply glides several times in a row and you can just whack him from below each time, making the battle a cinch. Just don't touch his knuckles and don't touch try spin dashing or rolling into him. He'll be defeated in a short time. After taking eight hits Knuckles is knocked out for a moment, but then some explosions happen to the right, and he regains his senses and runs right. Follow him into the emerald room in the palace. You'll see seven empty pedestals (if you're playing Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles locked on, they may have Chaos Emeralds in them; see Section 8) and at the top of the room, the Master Emerald. Then Knuckles jumps up to the Master Emerald just as Robotnik shows up and grabs it with a grabber at the bottom of his ship. Knuckles now realizes at last that he's been tricked and Robotnik, not you, is the one trying to steal the Chaos Emeralds, but it's too late - Robotnik has stolen the Master Emerald. Knuckles runs right to try and stop him, and you follow automatically. Knuckles jumps and grabs onto the Master Emerald but Robotnik zaps him with two electric devices from his ship, knocks him off the Master Emerald, and flies away. The floor collapses and you fall into a prison cell. Knuckles is dizzy for a moment but shortly regains his senses and bashes down the door to the cell. Follow him left to another teleporter. Both of you (automatically) jump onto it, and are teleported to... 6f. Sky Sanctuary Zone This zone has only one act, but it is divided into three parts, and at the end of each part is a boss. It is a far from normal zone. You'll be walking around the ruins of an ancient civilization, just levitated somehow in the clouds. The music and clouds are very tranquil, but don't get too complacent - Robotnik now has the Master Emerald, and he'll do everything possible to prevent you from getting it back. Keep in mind that falling off the screen is a danger here, although once you get higher up (in this zone, your main objective is usually to climb up) if you fall there's often ground below you. This zone I found to be fairly easy, quite fun, and about as long as one act of a normal zone. Part 1 You begin by being beamed up, with Knuckles, into a teleporter in the clouds. Walk right and in the background you'll see the Death Egg rising through the clouds. The rats. So Robotnik got it to fly again after all. The Death Egg launches a series of ships out - these will try to stop you in this zone. Once it floats off the screen Knuckles runs right and presses a switch off-screen, causing a bridge to extend. Don't worry; if you accidentally walk off the ledge at the beginning, you won't die; you'll just float somehow in mid-air. This is the last time you will see Knuckles in the game. Proceed right past the switch and grab onto the pole, then jump onto the ledge. Be careful of the spikes since you have no rings. Go right on the ledge until you meet a red and gray robot with a laser gun. (You may encounter throughout these zone small ships that appear out of nowhere and fly up off the screen; these pose no threat to you). This is the only enemy in this zone and defeating him involves taking him out as quickly as you can all the time, before he can shoot a laser beam at you. Defeat him and hit the red spring. Run right very fast for a ways and eventually you should hit a spring in a green tower and get bounced up. From the top of the tower jump to the ledge to the left via two floating gray towers (they collapse so watch out). You encounter another floating robot; defeat him and cross the collapsing bridge. If you drop through it go left to find a Lightning Shield; use the white clouds to spring back up. (You can only bounce up on white clouds, not clear clouds). On the ledge to the left continue left until you come to a green conveyor belt. Jump on it and you ride around it; when you circle over to the left jump to the ledge on the left. Defeat another enemy and cross a series of collapsing floating towers. On the other side is one last robot, who you don't have to defeat if you run under him via the spring below him (which pops up from the floor). To the far left, bounce up on some white clouds, and go left to the first boss. Boss This is the exact same boss as the first ever Sonic boss (in Green Hill Zone, Sonic 1). Seems the programmers couldn't think of any new bosses so they reused old ones. The only change is, Robo-Sonic is piloting the ship! He'll be your foe in all three boss battles in this zone. In this battle there are two ledges on either side of the screen, above the floor. Robo-Sonic appears and starts flying back and forth in the top center. Hit him a few times before he brings out his weapon, a large red wrecking ball on a chain which he starts swinging back and forth. To avoid the ball run under one of the ledges (I prefer the right one) and wait for the ball to start swinging in the other direction. When it does, jump onto the ledge, jump and hit Robo-Sonic's ship once, than drop to the floor and run back under the ledge quickly (before the ball can swing back). Repeat this pattern and you'll find this boss easy. Eight hits defeats him, for now. Part 2 After defeating the first boss a teleporter appears out of the floor; jump on it to get beamed up to the next section. After you stop teleporting run right over the collapsing bridge (all bridges that look like this collapse, and quite quickly). A robot waits for you on the other side; just roll right through him. Go right ignoring the green towers above (which, oddly enough, float up and down in relation to the level you're on) until you pass a Starpost. To the right is a bed of spikes with a pole moving above it; jump over the spikes but ignore the route above; go right instead over two collapsing bridges and defeat another robot. (If you fall through these bridges there is land below but it's not worth exploring, in my opinion). Jump up to the floor above (which floats up and down). To the right will be two moving poles, one above the other. Grab onto the upper one when the floor floats up and it floats down. Then jump right onto the green conveyor belt, ride it over, and jump off to find a Fire Shield. Grab it if you don't have a Lightning Shield and continue right, dropping down to nab a Super Ring. Cross the chasm via the green conveyor belt, and continue right (ignore the swinging cup with spikes on the bottom) over a collapsing bridge, to the second boss. Boss This is supposed to be a reencounter with the boss of Sonic 2's Metropolis Zone, but there's a bug that makes him a total cinch to beat. The battle begins the same way as the original boss - Robo-Sonic's ship floats down, surrounded by seven gray orbs that orbit around it like Saturn's rings, protecting it from damage. He floats down in the center and then coasts across the bottom of the screen twice. Jump of him both times. If you have any Shield, jumping him should be easy. Otherwise it is fairly difficult. After this he moves to the center and causes the orbs to expand to cover almost the whole screen - stay in either far corner and you'll be fine. Then he makes the orbs circle around his ship making the bottom of it unprotected, so hit him from below. This will cause him to float up to the top and one of the orbs turns into a clone of himself. So far same as before, but now the bug kicks in. You'd think that the orbs circling around the bottom of Robo- Sonic's ship would protect it but oddly enough, they don't. To jump high enough to hit it, you must jump and use the Insta-Shield at the peak of your jump, which isn't really that hard. Or you can use a Lightning Shield double jump or a Water Shield double bounce. If you have a Fire Shield losing it on purpose might be a good idea. Keep hitting it and each hit will cause another orb to turn into a clone. As long as at least one clone is alive at all times Robo-Sonic will stay put and not resume his pattern. After turning all the orbs into clones hit Robo-Sonic one more time and he will be defeated, and all the clones disappear. Part 3 After victory, another teleporter appears. Use it to get beamed up to the final section. Go left, defeat the robot in your way and pass a Starpost. Ride the small conveyor belt and jump to the next ledge with the aid of a collapsing tower. Stand at the edge of the higher ledge at the base of the arc of rings. A spiked cup will pick you up and take you in a half circle, collecting rings. After it releases you roll across a section of floor and get bounced back up to the path by some white clouds. Jump onto the green tower and the ledge to the left. Bounce up on more white clouds, then use the collapsing towers to jump over to the conveyor belt. Ride it right and jump off but watch out for a robot on the other side. Continue right, watching out for the bottom of a swinging spiked cup, and drop through the next collapsing bridge - there's a Super Ring below it. Proceed, jump past another spiked cup and bounce over to a teleporter on a white cloud. Get beamed up and go right, over a collapsing bridge. Roll under one robot and at the next green tower, be careful - some animals will come out, but then another robot. Jump and defeat him, then enter the tower and bounce up. Hit the spring to your right and roll over four collapsing bridges by bouncing on springs. You don't need to push any buttons. After this you pass a Starpost and arrive at a teleporter; jump on it to get beamed up to the third and final boss. Boss This is a battle with Robo-Sonic reminiscent of the Sonic 2 battle, but far easier, both because you have rings and Robo-Sonic now has a predictable pattern. When the battle begins Robo-Sonic will jet over to the right corner in blade form. He can only be hurt when he is not in the form of a spiked wheel (blade form); when he's standing up. He will do one of two things; land and turn to face you, and face the wall and crouch. Beware that if he faces the wall he'll immediately jet across the screen, in standing form, backwards. If he stands in the right corner make a short jump and hit his forehead. Do not touch the spikes on the back of his head. If he moves to the left corner jump over him and hit him when he stops. You can get more than one hit each time but I highly recommend sticking to one at a time. After hitting him he'll turn back into a blade and move over to the other corner in one of three ways. The first way, which he does first, is to simply jump and jet across in midair. The second way is to jump, land in the center of the screen and bounce high, landing on the other side. The third way is to jump, land in the center of the screen and jet across the rest of the way on the floor. He does these in a pattern and if you know what he's going to do next you stand a better chance of dodging him. Bear in mind that each time he lands in a corner he'll either stay put or jet back to the opposite corner - you can tell by the way he faces. This battle may drag on as you should only try for one hit at a time but if you keep alert you should come out on top. After eight hits, Robo-Sonic is defeated, and your points are tallied. Then the floor crumbles away, taking Robo-Sonic with it, but you jump to the tower in the background, and run around it automatically on a staircase that twists around it as it and the tower collapse. At the top of the tower you automatically jump off and into the Death Egg. Now, the fun begins... 6g. Death Egg Zone Well, this is every Sonic player's dream come true. For the first and to my knowledge only time, you get to fight through the corridors of the Death Egg itself. (Sonic 2's Death Egg Zone didn't count; it was just two boss battles). The music in this zone, alas, isn't that good; it's too metallic and drones on and on. Ah, danger, what can I say? Every thing of pain that can spear, zap or (best) crush a hedgehog you will find in this zone. You'll also find bizarre and sometimes unbeatable robot enemies, mazes that boggle the mind of even the most experienced gamers, strange traps and rooms seemingly impossible to escape, and more bosses than you could have thought possible, all harder than anything you've seen in Sonic before. Good enough for you? Ready for the time of your life? Got plenty of lives and continues, I hope? Then let us begin! Act 1 This act is inside the Death Egg. The background looks like a huge, open area somewhere in a location in Star Wars. You run onto the screen and first encounter a robot shaped like a triangle that swings a spiked ball around the bottom half of himself. When he sees you he swings the spiked ball farther out, to try and hit you. He can only swing it horizontally, thankfully, so he isn't really that tough; just jump on him from above and the spiked ball will disappear. Next you find a bridge of white photons spanning a gap. The bridge is solid only while the photons are visible and it constantly cycles on and off. Cross it as far as you can and drop onto the metal ledge partially below; from there spin dash up the wall. In the next area is a large bridge of blue blocks over a depression. This bridge will rise and fall like a see-saw; when you step on one side, it sinks and the other side rises. The bridge, once triggered, moves by itself. If you push it too far in one direction the blocks will snap and fall off the screen. There's no need to use this bridge (below it is a jet sled, like the ones in Flying Battery Zone, that will propel you up the wall to the right) but remember how it works because there will be others in the future. To the right is what looks a little like a spiked ball circling around a pole but it is harmless; it simply makes you float above it when you walk over it. Continue right to a jet sled. When the photon bridge to the right is not solid, touch it to run through the bridge (if you run up the bridge when it is solid you can follow another path, but it's not worth it). Jump over the yellow spring and defeat the spiked ball robot like the one at the beginning of the act. To the right, if you fall in the depression, a blue robot with four spikes will try to spear you with the bottom spike. These guys are unbeatable unless you use an Insta-Shield so stay away from them. Jump on the blue platform on a long chain and it will move 90 degrees in one direction. After the first one drop down, grab the Lightning Shield on the ledge, then jump to the next platform. Ride it up and go right. You come to a glowing pad with a photon bridge turning on and off above it. This is a very tricky spot; it's almost impossible to cross without getting hit unless you combine spin dashing at it with the Lightning Shield's double jump. Don't try to cross the photon bridge when it is solid. Continue right over a conveyor belt. You come to a conveyor belt that rises when you step on it. As it rises, it continues to move, so don't get pushed into the spikes on either side and watch out for two missile launchers, one in each wall, as well. These moving conveyor belts are very tricky to handle. When it stops, go left and avoid the blue spike robot and the electric pad on the ceiling (the lightning coming off of it will reach the floor). Enter the anti-gravity chamber. These chambers simply bounce you between the ceiling and floor and are kind of fun. Go through until you come out. Then grab the Super Ring and jump to the hook on the car overhead (careful of the missile launcher). It will carry you over the electric pad. Jump off and go right to a jet sled. Hit it to run up a wall and land on a photon bridge. Watch out for the missile launcher to the right. Drop down through the two photon bridges to a Starpost. Then jump back to the lower bridge and up to the ledge on the right. Go right climbing the steps avoiding missile launchers on each step. At the top grab the car to be carried over an electric pad. Hit the jet sled on the other side and you land on a bridge that extends upward when you land on it. Walk forward and at the edge, you will be launched into a light tube. These things are way cool; when you're in one rings of light surround you and carry you with them along a preset course through an open area. They are very cool to watch. Once you come out of the light tube you'll land on another bridge. If you go back into the area the light tube took you through you can find three Super Rings and a Lightning Shield but they probably won't last very long in this place. This bridge extends downward, to a jet sled. Go right to a conveyor belt that begins moving downward when you step on it. Avoid spikes and missile launchers on the walls as you descend. At the bottom, go left, to a photon bridge over an electric pad. Spin dash across when the bridge becomes solid and jump through the one-way door on the other side. Go left and ride the platform down. Right below where it stops is a hole in the floor; drop through it to find an Invincibility. Below the Invincibility is a spring that will bounce you back up. Go left and step on the small conveyor belt and it begins moving down. Missiles will be launched at you from both sides but you should be invincible to them; however, stay on the conveyor belt. It goes over an electric pad and finally goes down into an abyss. Jump off before it falls (falling into this chasm will kill you) and hit the Starpost. Proceed right into a giant anti-gravity chamber. This is a bizarre part of the act that takes a long time to get out of. You'll be in a huge metal chamber and will constantly be sucked to the right, but the exit to the right is sealed. Every time you hit it, you get bounced back left. To open the exit you must touch all six yellow lights on the object moving vertically in the middle of the huge chamber, and turn them all red. The three lights on the right shouldn't be very hard to touch, but the ones on the left will, since you must use the springs in the room to bounce far enough left, then let yourself be swept back right and hope you hit the object in the right place. It's very tricky to do and can be quite aggravating, but with any luck, eventually you'll get all the lights red, though it may take a lucky hit or two. Once you do touch all the lights exit the chamber to the right and go right. Hit the jet sled to be sent up to a light tube. Ride it, then ride the bridge up and go right (be very careful of two missile launchers) and ride another bridge up to another light tube. Ride it as well, and on the other side, you pass a Starpost. Ride the bridge down and go right to the mid-boss. Mid-Boss This is insane. This is so difficult if you don't win on your first try, it may be worth your while to go back into the act from the Starpost to get more rings before trying again; it may improve your chances. If you have a Shield on your first try you should try as hard as you can to win on your first try, as any Shield makes this battle much easier. Alright, you'll be facing a large red eye on a pillar in the center of the arena. The eye is your target, but it surrounds itself with eight metal spheres that rotate around it. Then the orbs move down to the floor leaving the eye exposed. They will expand their circle to cover the entire screen except the corners briefly, then contract again to the central pillar, then go back up to the eye and repeat the pattern. You need to stay to the side and avoid touching the metal spheres and jump and hit the eye. This is almost impossible to do without getting hit yourself, however, for two reasons. One, the eye moves away from you when you jump at it, so you'll need to jump farther than you think to hit it. You must jump from outside the metal sphere ring and as soon as you hit the eye, immediately press in the other direction to (hopefully) fall far enough away from the deadly spheres. You also must time it so you don't land when the spheres expand their circle; hit the eye right after the spheres stop protecting it, or after the spheres expand their circle and retract, before they go back up to the eye. Jumping to the eye and bouncing back to safety is impossible enough (any Shield but especially Lightning or Fire Shields make the jump much easier, and that's why a Shield is so desirable for this battle) but it gets even worse. Every hit you score causes a metal sphere to explode shooting spikes in eight directions. The sphere that explodes is random but if it's one on the side you are jumping from you may get hit no matter what you do. Luckily the spikes do not touch the floor; they float above it, so if you make it back to the floor after a hit, you are safe as long as you run back to the corner if the spheres are about to expand their circle. You need to hit the eye eight times and destroy all the spheres. When only a few are left you can try your luck jumping and hitting the eye while the spheres are protecting it, timing it so you don't hit a sphere, but that's very risky. The only other advice I can give you is to try, at all costs, to retain at least one ring; that is your first priority at all times. Trying to hit the eye only after the spheres expand may help, as it's easier to grab a ring if you get hit without walking into the metal spheres. After eight hits you will find to your horror that the mid-boss isn't defeated yet! No, there are really two mid-bosses to this act, but the second one is a little easier and requires more patience than anything else. The eye will now break off the pillar and extend two platforms from itself, each platform spiked on the bottom. It will float back and forth across the room and rotate the platforms around itself. Jump onto one of the platforms and when it passes directly below the eye, jump, hit the eye and - this is vital - land back on the platform. Every time you hit the eye it goes berserk and sends a laser beam down to the floor, and makes the platforms rotate very fast so they scrape the floor. If you are standing on a platform you are safe (oddly enough, the laser beam can't hurt you if you're on a platform) but if you are not, run as far away from the berserk eye as you can and hope for the best. Hopefully it will return to normal before it corners you. Make sure that you are near the center of the screen each time you hit the eye, not near a wall - the eye makes the platforms rotate farther away from itself after each hit, and if you're too close to a wall you may get slung off. When the eye is berserk don't press any buttons either or you also could get slung off; just stay put. Also try to stand in the center of the platform, not on the edges - again, to avoid getting slung off. The key to this battle is simply waiting for good opportunities to hit the eye. Be patient and never go for more than one hit at a time. The only exception I can think of is if you're short of time on the clock. If this is the case you may want to run out of time on purpose; this will cost you a life but reset the clock to 0:00, while if you die from other causes because you were rushing to beat the clock, you'll have the same time as you had when you touched the last Starpost. Eight more hits will finally destroy the eye and end this ridiculous battle. Act 2 This is the last act of the game. It takes place outside the Death Egg with a great view of Sonic's home planet, Mobius, in the background that you will have for the rest of the game. It is a lot like act 1 as far as obstacles but introduces a bizarre new twist: walking on the ceiling. It begins exactly like act 1: go right to meet a robot twirling a spiked ball around himself. Be very careful of him as you have zero rings. Move close enough to make him see you, then jump up and defeat him when the spiked ball moves to the right. Next comes a photon bridge; spin dash across it when it is solid. Run through the anti-gravity chamber but when you come out, you'll be walking on the ceiling! Cool... until you realize that the traps and obstacles are twice as hard to dodge on the ceiling because you're so disoriented! Your controls remain the same, though, even down to duck and up to look up. I will refer to objects in your perspective, not Sonic's; when you're on the ceiling, you jump 'down' and fall 'up', because I believe that's less confusing. Go right over a photon bridge (watch out for the blue spike robot patrolling the area) and through another anti-gravity chamber, after which you'll be back on the floor. Jump right over the chute to find a Lightning Shield and a Super Ring, then drop into the chute. You come to a junction and can choose which way to go. Up is the way you came, down leads to another Lightning Shield, and left and right each lead to separate paths through the act. Go right; it is the easiest path. When you emerge from the anti-gravity chamber you'll be walking on the ceiling again. Go right, ride an extending bridge up, and continue right. Bounce down, 'over' a pillar blocking your way via the yellow spring (avoid another blue spike robot) and continue right. Next comes a triangular robot with a spiked ball; defeat him like usual, just on the ceiling. Hopefully you won't get hit. Go right over a conveyor belt to a bridge that extends up (really down from Sonic's perspective, but up to you because you're on the ceiling). If you still have a Lightning Shield do a double jump from the bridge onto the photon bridge below. If you don't have a Lightning Shield you'll have to make this jump from the solid floor to the left, making it trickier. Either way, time it so you land on the bridge when it is solid and jump down to a platform below it with a 1-UP! Cool - a rare 1-UP in Death Egg Zone, and it's practically free! Snatch it and fall back up to the bridge. Now you need to touch several bridges to make them extend up, but be very careful of missile launchers guarding each bridge. They often get you even with precautions but observe them and time your moves between when they fire to maximize your chances of making it out safely. At the top of this area go left and jump over a depression in the ceiling via two moving platforms (beware a spike robot). Go left and enter the anti-gravity tube. It will take you to a new location but also transfer you from ceiling to floor or floor to ceiling. Now on the floor again, go right, to a photon bridge. Below it you will find a pit with a Super Ring, a Water Shield, a missile launcher and a bridge that extends up allowing you to get back to the photon bridge. Drop in if you want the goodies and cross the bridge. Jump over an electric pad via two moving platforms and continue right. Defeat a spiked ball robot and go right to a conveyor belt. It moves down when you step on it and spikes and missile launchers will attack as you descend. I hate these conveyor belts, and when you've encountered them for yourself, you will too. Descend to a Starpost and go right through the anti-gravity chamber to another conveyor belt. This one goes down as well, but it's on the CEILING. That makes it even worse. It's extremely difficult, but try to avoid the obstacles as best you can and get to the bottom. What makes this conveyor belt so sneaky is not only that it's on the ceiling, but if you die later on and return to the previous Starpost, you must go down it again with zero rings, which makes it very likely you will die several more times. Well, you expected a challenge, didn't you? After this conveyor belt go left and watch out for the spikes on the floor (you may jump into them if you aren't careful). Go left past a spike robot through a one-way door. Now you're in an area where you need to bounce down to the bottom via springs that pop out of the walls, alternating walls. It sometimes helps to visualize these kinds of areas as if you're on the floor... that can help you visualize your proper movement. Bounce from spring to spring (if you mess up and fall back to the ceiling you can try again infinite times) to the bottom and go right. Avoid a missile launcher, and run over an electric pad on the ceiling (the pad is on the floor). Continue right to an anti-gravity tube. At the other end you meet a spiked ball robot; defeat him and go right, past a missile launcher and two spike robots (it's sometimes possible to defeat a spike robot by just jumping into it but don't try it; it usually only happens if you're lucky) to a bridge of blue blocks. Now for a really maddening part. You need to use this bridge, which behaves like a see-saw, to reach the ledge on the right. Step on the left side and it begins descending, but jump over to the right side at just the right time. The bridge continues to move in the direction you trigger it even if you jump. If you run over to the right too soon it won't rise high enough for you to reach the ledge, but if you wait too long, the bridge will snap and fall off the screen, taking you with it to your doom. Wait on the left until just the right time before jumping over to the right side. It's very tricky. As if that wasn't hard enough another bridge is just ahead. Use the same tactics to maneuver it, but be aware that some missile launchers may also knock you to your death. After you finally get past these bridges go right to a Starpost. Go right past two enemies to an anti- gravity tube. Go left on the ceiling to a light tube. Ride it, then go right, past a spiked ball enemy, to another light tube. Ride it as well, then go right to an anti-gravity chamber. Go through it (there's two junctions but both have only one way to go) and when you come out, ride the bridge down (careful of two missile launchers) and go left to a third light tube. When you come out grab the Super Ring and Lightning Shield, then go right and climb up the bridge. Enter the anti-gravity tube to the left, then run right and enter another tube. Go right past a spiked ball robot to a bridge; ride it down. Go right to a conveyor belt that carries you over an electric pad. Jump to avoid the missile launcher. Note that if you jump on this conveyor belt it changes direction; do so if you find yourself moving back toward the missile launcher. When you reach the end of the conveyor belt jump off to the Starpost. Go right and enter the anti-gravity tube to be taken to the boss. Boss This is actually pretty easy, once you figure out what to do. The boss of act 2 is a large purple sphere with a shield that constantly rotates around it, following you. The shield will protect it from all attack (if you're playing Sonic 3 locked on and are playing as Sonic and Tails, there will be two shields) but the sphere does nothing to attack you; it just hovers back and forth. It periodically drops spiked tanks onto the floor - these slowly roll at half the speed of the sphere, eventually stopping and exploding, which sends spikes out in three directions. The key to the battle are the two anti-gravity tubes on either side of the screen. They allow you to transfer from floor to ceiling, and all the spiked tanks will follow you. When you're on the ceiling the machine releases spiked tanks onto the ceiling. To damage the sphere you must enter an anti-gravity tube so that a spiked tank is right below the sphere and hits it as it goes from floor to ceiling. This is easier said than done for many reasons. One, you only actually transfer from floor to ceiling or vice versa a few seconds after stepping into an anti-gravity tube. This means you must enter the tube before the spiked tank and sphere move into alignment; substantially before. It will take several tries to get the timing right since both objects are moving. Another problem is that often the tank you are trying to use will explode right before you transfer as each tank doesn't last very long. Finally, you can only damage the sphere when moving from floor to ceiling, not the other way around (although if a tank strikes the sphere on the way from ceiling to floor, it will explode). But look on the bright side - you have all the time in the world, unless you're short on game time (in that case see my advice for the mid- boss and bear in mind you have three more bosses after this one) and there is an endless supply of tanks to use. Under no circumstances should you venture into the main area - what good would that do? Stand right outside one anti-gravity tube at all times and enter it when you think you can get a hit in. The only thing to watch out for is when a tank explodes on the floor the spikes it launches may touch both anti-gravity tube exits on the ceiling depending on where it was when it exploded. Bear that in mind as you zip from ceiling to floor. Since it's impossible to get hits in from the ceiling, always return to the floor immediately every time you go to the ceiling. Eight hits (which will take forever to get in) and the sphere breaks apart and the right anti-gravity tube breaks away. Run right and follow Robotnik to the final battle. 6h. Final Battle You automatically chase Robotnik and he jumps into a huge machine (like in Sonic 2). Note that you will only have rings (and a Shield if you have one) for any of these bosses on your FIRST try at the whole battle, and if you die, you must restart from the beginning. Try as hard as you can to win on your first try, although if you're playing for the first time, that is almost impossible. When the final battle music begins (and it's actually fairly good; it's the same as Sonic 3's final battle music) immediately run right as far as possible. You'll be fighting on a narrow platform at the bottom of the screen that will partially collapse. Once far enough to the right you'll hear crashing noises as Robotnik's gigantic machine moves toward you. It appears behind you with two hands with three fingers each looking very threatening. The first battle is actually fairly easy... it just requires a lot of patience. After shifting a few times the hands will crash down onto the platform. Stay away from directly in front of them until they crash down once. Then they follow a very simple pattern; they crash down, shift position, and crash down again. When they are about to crash down stand in front of them and jump straight up. The only way you can die in this battle is by standing in front of the hands when they crash down or walking into a finger when it is on the floor, but you'll get used to their pattern very quickly. When they crash down, jump and you'll land on one of the fingers when it is on the floor, damaging it. It's only possible to get one hit at a time safely, so this will take a while. Each finger takes three hits to destroy. Once you destroy all three fingers on both hands, you are done and the machine sinks below the platform. Now for the hard part. The machine will rise again to the left, only now you're looking at it from the side and not the front. It begins advancing right, and the floor starts collapsing as it overtakes it. You must constantly move right during this battle to stay ahead of the collapsing floor. Luckily it goes on forever. The machine's initial attack is to shoot a huge fireball at you from a flame thrower on it. Stay to the far right, jump over that and turn around and hit the machine. You need to hit it in a specific location, above the floor but below the flame thrower, and after you hit it immediately move right because you'll be very close to where the floor is collapsing. When you hit the machine a panel on it slides open to reveal the Master Emerald. You hear a 'powering up' noise you have heard at other points in the game. Stay to the right of the collapsing floor but not on the far right; stay in the middle. When the noise reaches its zenith and is quiet for a moment, jump and hit the Master Emerald. You will damage the machine and be bounced far to the right. You must time this correctly because the machine shoots a giant laser beam to the right that will scorch you unless you jump and hit it when it is doing so. The laser beam cannot be jumped over. After firing, it closes back up and shoots another fireball, and the pattern repeats. You can get more than one hit each time you open the panel but one (or at most, two) is safest. Get the timing of exactly when to jump down pat or you won't stand a chance. Good luck. After eight hits the machine will explode and sink below the platform. You are not done, yet, though. Robotnik now tries to fly away from his exploding Death Egg with the Master Emerald, and you can't let that happen. This final battle is simply about chasing Robotnik and hitting his escaping ship eight times. The floor starts collapsing very, very quickly; you have to hold right all the time or you'll die. NEVER roll; that will almost always cause you to slow down and fall to your death. Robotnik will be flying in the upper right corner. When you get close enough to hit him jump and hit him, holding right all the time to stay ahead of the floor. Debris will be falling from the sky but ignore it; it cannot hurt you. Just keep running and hitting Robotnik when you catch up to him, it's simple really, just hold right and don't press down. For your eighth and final hit the platform will suddenly stop collapsing behind you, so to ensure you don't bounce back into it, wait until you are almost right below Robotnik before jumping up to hit him. Eight hits and you've won the game if you didn't collect all the Chaos Emeralds. If you DID collect all the Chaos Emeralds, though, READ ON! It's not over yet! 6i. Doomsday Zone You will only play this zone if you have all the Chaos Emeralds (or you can access it from the Level Select menu). This means it is only for expert players, and a good thing too, because it is insanely difficult! It is nothing like a normal zone. It begins with you falling in the sky and turning into Super Sonic. You begin with 50 rings but lose one ring every second. If your rings tick down to zero, you die. Nothing else can hurt you in this zone or cause you to lose rings, because you're Super Sonic. You are chasing Robotnik who somehow managed to escape with the Master Emerald from his Death Egg, which was finally blown to smithereens. You must stop him at all costs. You will first go through an asteroid field with rings and asteroids, collecting as many rings as you can. Then you will face two bosses, the second in another asteroid field, so you can collect rings while fighting the second boss, but not the first. You must defeat both bosses before your rings run out. I can give little advice for the first asteroid field, other than use your wits and react quickly. You can fly through high or low but neither way seems to yield more rings. Rings usually appear in groups of three or six, occasionally in larger groups. Avoid asteroids as they slow you down temporarily if you hit them (larger ones slow you down more) and missiles (they knock you back if you touch them). There is an ideal path that nets the most rings but I can't find it. Just go through and get as many rings as you can. Occasionally, I've managed to get 100 rings in here. After emerging from the asteroid field get ready for what may be the hardest challenge in Sonic & Knuckles. You will meet a huge blue ship flying through the sky with a tiny gray cockpit in the top right corner. You cannot directly damage the ship. Your controls are the directional pad to fly in the four directions, and A, B or C to get a speed boost in whatever direction you're flying. This is critical to win this battle and you can do it an infinite number of times. Depending on how many rings you have, you will have between one and one and a half minutes to win this battle. The ship has three cannons near the center which shoot off incredibly annoying white bullets. If one touches you, you will be sent back to the left and lose time. The bullets fire every few seconds at where you are flying so keep moving and use your charge move (press A, B or C) to avoid them. The key to the battle are the missiles the ship periodically launches from a bay in the bottom right corner in batches of three. Once launched the missiles home in on you but they are slow. If one strikes you it explodes and knocks you back. To damage the ship you must make missiles strike the cockpit. The first hit should be easy - just fly above the cockpit, dodging bullets as best you can, and one of the missiles should pass through the cockpit on its way to you. To get the other two missiles to hit the cockpit you must fly around - I like to fly in a loop back to the left, down, right and back up - so the cockpit is between you and the missiles. They always take the most direct path to you. Use your charge move as much as you can to stay ahead of the missiles and avoid bullets all the time. After the three missiles are destroyed the ship launches three more. Get the technique down and make it so most of the missiles strike the cockpit, and you should get more and more hits each time. Don't pay attention to your ring count. The better you do in the asteroid field, the easier the battle. Keep trying even if it seems impossible and good luck. Eight hits and the ship will blow up (with quite a nice explosion) and fall to Mobius (which is still in the background) but it's STILL not over! Robotnik now busts out his last trick; a ship designed to fly right as fast as can be and spirit the Master Emerald away. The transition between battles costs you precious time but once you are chasing the second ship (which looks a little bit like the final boss of Sonic 2) you can collect more rings. You will be going through another asteroid field like the first one, only now Robotnik will be flying ahead of you, and he will launch missiles back at you (these are different from missiles you've encountered previously) which will knock you back if they strike you. This battle is a bit of a balancing act - there's no way you can charge at Robotnik, collect rings and avoid asteroids and missiles at the same time. You have to concentrate on one and your strategy depends on how many rings you have. If you have a lot of rings it's best to charge ahead and hit Robotnik as many times as possible. You can hit him fairly easily by just charging at him and hitting him anywhere - he's a sitting duck, just bang on A, B or C like crazy to zip up to him. If you need rings, try to collect them as you fly. The more rings you have at the start of the battle, of course, the better. If you're skillful you can stay stable or even increase your ring total as you fly, but that takes expert flying and luck to encounter large groups of rings. Avoid asteroids and missiles as best you can, but if you crash through a few asteroids to hit Robotnik, it's usually no big deal. This is the absolutely last fight of Sonic & Knuckles so good luck! If you get in eight hits before your rings run out, Robotnik's ship will blow to bits, and the Master Emerald is yours. Congratulations - you've completely smashed Sonic & Knuckles! You get one of two endings, depending on whether you completed the game with all the Chaos Emeralds and completed Doomsday Zone, but even the inferior ending is definitely good! I won't reveal a word about the ending - you must find out for yourself! If you want more you can play again, possibly as Knuckles if you want a change of pace, or try to collect all the Chaos Emeralds if you haven't already, and of course, there's always the lock-on to other games feature. Congratulations, you have completed Sonic & Knuckles as Sonic!! 7. Walkthrough for Knuckles Before I begin this walkthrough, a few points I wish to make. One, Knuckles follows the same path as Sonic for much of the first three zones, so this is not a complete walkthrough by any means - it often refers you to the walkthrough for Sonic. It only covers sections that are different for both characters. If you are Knuckles and following Sonic's route you may be able to take other routes by breaking walls, climbing walls or gliding to reach areas inaccessible to Sonic, but if you do that you are on your on your own. Also, when Knuckles fights the same bosses as Sonic, they are frequently harder to defeat. Knuckles' game is substantially shorter - Death Egg Zone does not exist and Sky Sanctuary Zone is just two boss battles - but it is also very hard in places. I urge you to get used to gliding and wall climbing early on, for you will be tested in your abilities later. Also, Knuckles simply cannot access as many giant rings as Sonic, so if you want all the Chaos Emeralds, you'll need to make do with less opportunities and hopefully get it done as early as possible. Finally, because Knuckles can glide and climb walls, some giant rings that Sonic has trouble reaching may be easier with Knuckles, as may be some difficult sections of some acts. 7a. Mushroom Hill Zone Act 1 You begin this act in an unfamiliar place but most of it is the same as Sonic's act 1. Go right to a yellow spring; bounce up on it to the high ledge on the right. Get the Fire Shield and go right through a loop. Continue until you come to a mushroom that drops down. Grab the wall to the right of it and climb up into a hidden area. Go right, bash through the wall, grab the Super Ring and Invincibility and drop back to the main route. Go right down a hill until you come to a dead end; use the mushrooms to bounce up to the level above. Hit the red spring to the right and run up the vine, past the pole and high into the air. Now you're in Sonic's area. Don't land on the ledge to the right with the falling mushroom; drop down and spin dash left through the loop. It seems impossible but can be done if you really charge up your spin dash. Go left, backtracking, until you come to a pull-up machine. Grab onto it and follow Sonic's walkthrough for the rest of the act; it is the same pull-up machine as the first one that Sonic encounters. Mid-Boss This is a bit harder than Sonic's version, for two reasons. One, because you cannot jump as high as Sonic, you must wait for the mid-boss to get lower before you can safely hit him. Two, instead of launching his logs straight left, the mid-boss now makes them bounce along the ground, which makes them harder to dodge. Otherwise follow Sonic's strategy. Act 2 Go right and bash through the barrier where Sonic would meet Knuckles. Continue right and use the mushroom to bounce up to the higher path. Grab the Invincibility and run through the tunnel below. You find yourself in the fall version of the act. Get the Super Ring, defeat the chicken enemy and drop down while still invincible. There are a lot of spikes around here. After you drop down, go right through the barrier and run up to the higher path. Go right into a tunnel, bounce up on the spring, and go right where a brown sticky vine will grab you. Spin dash to be released from it and defeat another chicken, then jump over the spikes to the parachute mushroom. It will carry you down like a parachute, but jump off, go left to the two see-saw mushrooms, and use them to bounce up to the level above. You'll come up in front of a loop; instead of going through it to the right, spin dash left through another loop (you'll need a very high-powered spin dash). You'll roll to a stop at a mole on a ledge. Jump over him and glide to the left. Be careful not to fall. Once you glide to the left you'll find a U-shaped depression with a pole in the middle. Run or spin dash into the pole from the left, and you'll run up the right side and high into the air. Hold right to land on the falling mushroom and quickly jump onto the spring. Go through the loop and you'll find yourself at the first giant ring in Sonic's walkthrough. Follow Sonic's walkthrough for the rest of the act. Boss This is also somewhat harder, both because you can't jump as high, which makes it harder to get more hits in at the beginning (it's harder to jump on top of the satellite dish and still continue to hit Robotnik) and Robotnik is faster in the running part, so it's harder to catch up to him. Also, some poles will have to sets of spikes between them, one on the ground and one in the air, which you must jump between. Sonic doesn't have any of these to deal with. Follow Sonic's strategy but don't try gliding; it slows you down in the long run. 7b. Flying Battery Zone Both acts of Flying Battery Zone are exactly the same for Knuckles as they are for Sonic. Follow Sonic's route; there are some areas only Knuckles can access, or Knuckles ahs an easier time accessing, but they don't have any giant rings in them. Explore them at your leisure. The mid-boss and mini-boss are exactly the same as Sonic. The boss, though, is substantially harder, because he now shoots continuous flumes of flame upward rather than only when you land directly above him. He also moves faster and only swings above the floor twice at a time, not four times. You'll need to be careful jumping over him because of the jets of flame and only hit him once each time he swings above the floor. Be careful. 7c. Sandopolis Zone Act 1 Follow Sonic's walkthrough for this act. This is a huge act with many, many paths and many giant rings I haven't found. Many of the high paths are for Knuckles only; explore them if you want, and see what you can find! I have only found one specific item, though, which I'd like to point out for you. At the last Starpost, shortly before the mid-boss, as Knuckles, jump to the wall to the left. It's a tough jump. Keep trying until you make it, then climb the left wall as high as you can. When your climb is blocked glide over to the wall to the right. Climb it as high as you can. Then glide left, above the obstruction, and you will find a giant ring only Knuckles can reach. Mid-Boss Same as Sonic. Act 2 This act begins with a nasty surprise: the ghosts begin the act released, and since the pyramid is pitch dark to start with, you'll have to do some fancy maneuvering to avoid the ghosts and reach the first light handle to get rid of them. Don't worry; if you die, you will be granted a reprieve from the ghosts on your next life. Proceed through the act just like Sonic (again, there are some alternate paths you can take) until you reach a place where you must jump from one moving block to another, but can't because Knuckles can't jump as high as Sonic (this is very far into the act). When you reach this location go right instead, and break down the wall. Now you will be in a new area. Go right and drop down. From the half-circle platform, try to jump down and spin dash into the scorpion without getting hit. It's tricky to do. Do not push the sandstone block onto its track but jump over it, grab the light handle and continue right. Do not bother pushing the black lever because it slides back very quickly. Go right to the wall (don't get crushed by the moving block at the foot of it) and climb the wall. At the top jump left and smash the stopper. This will partially flood the lower area with sand. Drop down and go back left, to the sandstone block. Now you can push it over the sand, into the black lever. Use it to jam the black lever in the open position, then go right and hop through the open door. Grab the light handle on the other side. Then go right, push the black lever, and climb the left wall. It is very difficult to jump off the left wall and glide right through the narrow space without hitting the spikes, but it can be done. If you have trouble, make sure to constantly push the black lever before each attempt. When you do make it go right, defeat the scorpion, climb through another tight space, and run through the door before it closes. You'll be at the final Starpost (unfortunately, you will not be able to reach the last giant ring). Push the lever to the right and drop down through the door, and you're at the boss. Boss He moves twice as fast, but use the same strategy. 6d. Lava Reef Zone Act 1 In this act, you begin in a wholly unfamiliar place, and you are supposed to follow a route that is much harder than Sonic's until near the end, but there's a secret way to get into Sonic's route near the beginning, though it's tough to do. This will make your life much easier and allow you to access the two giant rings in this act. Begin by going right, past three falling stalactites. Spin dash until a spike platform that tries to crush you, and go down the stairs avoiding two rotating spiked balls. You encounter the enormous drilling machine in Sonic's route in front of a lava fall. Stay away from it as it drills through the floor, and don't fall in the hole. Go back left until the screen stops shaking. Then go back right and the drilling machine will be gone. Glide over the hole and climb the stairs as best you can. There's a flame hole every two steps which makes going up very dicey; you may want to take a hit and just climb up haphazardly while you're invincible. At the top of the stairs is a button; press it and walk right, through the false wall (and a door which the button opens) and emerge into Sonic's route, just after the first spin dash machine. Follow Sonic's walkthrough for the rest of the act. Mid-Boss Same as Sonic, but you can't jump high enough to hit the cannon orbs, so you can only damage them when they come up and go down. This makes defeating them take a bit longer. Act 2 Knuckles has had a pretty easy life so far, with most acts being much the same as in Sonic's game, only some bosses being more difficult. This act is the last normal one in the game for Knuckles, and it is almost fully different from Sonic's act. On the bright side, you will get one last giant ring that is exclusive to Knuckles (but you will not be able to reach Sonic's four giant rings) and will not have to deal with Sonic's very difficult boss at all! Act 2 begins exactly as it does for Sonic: go right past the flame thrower, but you won't be able to climb up to the area with the Fire Shield because of Knuckles' low jump. Instead, hit the button, go through the door and cross the bridge with the chain of spiked balls rotating around it. This isn't really that tough. On the other side go right carefully to avoid being crushed by the blocks. When you come to the moving blocks in the air, you won't be able to jump high enough to reach them. Instead, go right. Jump over the two Robotnik power-ups and onto the exploding rock. Before he explodes, jump up into the right wall. You will break down a barrier in it and walk into a bright orange pipe. When you go shooting out of the pipe regain control of yourself and proceed to the left. Break down more barriers of rock. You'll come to two yellow springs on the floor and a Fire Shield on a ledge that you can get if you bounce between the two springs and jump off the ceiling at the right time. Grab it and hang onto it as long as you can; this act is much easier without flame throwers and exploding rocks to worry about. Go right in the lower tunnel, drop through the floor, and pass a flame thrower on the ceiling and three exploding rocks. Go right and jump over the moving block blocking your way. Cross another bridge with a chain of spiked balls rotating around it. Then glide over some spikes, and use the two springs to bounce up to a Starpost. Once you activate it drop back down and continue right, through a door. In the narrow corridor with the poison gas machine, spin dash through it and the one behind it. Carefully cross the moving block trying to crush you, and get on the conveyor belt moving spiked platforms. Ride it down and glide to the left. In the left wall, climb up or down and you'll find a secret passage leading to a giant ring, the last for Knuckles. It is very tricky to get back to the conveyor belt from this secret passage but it can be done. Good luck. If you make it (or even if you don't) jump off the conveyor belt to the right and jump over the moving block. Smash through the barriers and enter another orange pipe. This one spits you out right below a flame thrower. You now need to climb up past three flame throwers. This is a really nasty spot if you've lost your Fire Shield; during the brief moment that the flame throwers go off, you must climb the walls and jump on top of them, for it is only there that you are safe from their sweep. You must do this with each flame thrower, and if you get hit, it is very difficult to recover rings. Good luck. If you make it you will encounter an exploding rock; stay as far away from him as possible until he explodes. Then and only then try to climb past another flame thrower. This one doesn't seem quite as tough but it's still aggravating. After this climb the right wall as high as possible. You see a flame thrower on the ceiling; when it turns off, glide to the left, and quickly climb past it. Climb up past the moving block (don't get crushed by it) and slip by the flame thrower with a button below it to a Starpost. Now you can breathe a sigh of relief; not only is your progress saved but to the left, guarded by a spiked ball that bounces up every so often, is a Fire Shield! Grab it and drop back to the moving block below. From there jump and press the button to open the door between the two flame throwers, and go between them protected by your Fire Shield. Next comes an assortment of obstacles and enemies; go slowly and get by them as best you can. When you pass through another door jump past another flame thrower and enter another orange pipe. This turns out to be the last one. Upon blasting out of this one hold right as you will run around a loop that will send you back left. Once in control of yourself go right over two pairs of pipes, the second one with a moving block above it - wait for the moving block to move down and then spin dash up and onto it. Continue right past two flame throwers (there are a LOT of flame throwers in the next section; I hope you still have that Fire Shield) and jump past the moving block being wary of the rotating spiked ball. Get past two more spiked balls and head back left. Drop down and go right past no less than four flame throwers. Break through a barrier and climb up into an area with many moving blocks. This seems quite tricky at first and can be rather difficult. Climb up past the first block and then jump or climb down onto it, and then jump up the series of blocks as they move back and forth. You'll need to do some fancy jumping to make it. Once at the top go right past a flame thrower and three spiked balls (one rotating, two bouncing) and glide over a large bed of spikes. On the other side go through a door, past another flame thrower, and go through a rock wall out into the open. Two exploding rocks will await you; ignore them and glide to the right, following the rings. Don't fall into this abyss or you'll lose a life. You should glide into a narrow passage, the outside of which collapses. Once in there go right past two more flame throwers, and on the far right you find an exit. There is no boss here. 7e. Hidden Palace Zone Just walk right down steps until you come to a teleporter. Jump on it to be beamed to Sky Sanctuary Zone. 7f. Sky Sanctuary Zone When you get beamed up you will get three rings. Immediately Robotnik appears in a ship with a grabbing device attached to it. Allow yourself to be grabbed (you have no choice). The final battle music comes on, and Robo-Sonic appears. He turns into a spiked wheel and jumps at you but at the last second, you glide free of Robotnik's grasp, and Robo-Sonic hits and blows up Robotnik instead! Now you fight Robo-Sonic. The battle is exactly the same as Sonic's third and final battle with Robo-Sonic; use the strategy in Sonic's walkthrough but try as hard as you can to retain your rings. After defeating Robo-Sonic, don't dance for joy just yet. The music of Doomsday Zone comes on, and Robo-Sonic jets right, jumps onto the Master Emerald, and turns into Super Robo-Sonic! Time for the final fight for Knuckles. Super Robo-Sonic flies back and forth across the top of the screen; he is totally invulnerable when yellow. After a while he stops in the center of the screen and does one of two things. Stand in the bottom right corner near the Master Emerald all this time. One thing Super Robo-Sonic can do is swoop down and try to ram you, then sweep back up to the top of the screen. You must try to jump over him if he does this but it's very difficult; you often will get hit. Try to retain a ring if you get hit at any cost. What Super Robo-Sonic will do more often is hover in the middle of the screen and shoot three gigantic energy spheres at you. They are aimed at where you are standing so running from one side of the screen to the other will make them miss, but it will put you out of position. After this attack Super Robo-Sonic runs short on power and turns back into his normal, blue state. He immediately turns into a spiked wheel and jets over to the Master Emerald. He powers up again and repeats the pattern. Follow him and hit him once or twice as he jumps up onto the Master Emerald. You must not touch him after he lands on it since he is invulnerable then. You must hit him as he jumps but after he leaves his spiked wheel form, which is a short window of time. Depending on your position you can go for one or two hits. This battle is very difficult and it will take many tries before you get the hang of it, and you have to be lucky that Super Robo-Sonic does not do his swoop attack very often or at all, since it's impossible to damage him is he keeps doing that. After six hits Super Robo-Sonic changes his pattern and starts floating slowly above you, but this is where it gets easy. Every so often he stops and shoots out eight rings in the eight directions; these rings hurt you but dodging them is fairly easy, just move to below and slightly to the left or right of Super Robo-Sonic. Also every so often, he has a power dip and dives down halfway to the ground, and resumes blue form for a second. Jump and hit him when he does this keeping alert for it. Don't worry above hitting his forehead or avoiding his spikes; just hit him when he is blue. After only two more hits Super Robo-Sonic will be defeated and you will get an ending slightly inferior but different to Sonic's. Congratulations, you have completed the game as Knuckles!! 8. Lock-On Feature This is Sonic & Knuckles' technology gimmick. It allows you to play altered versions of Sonic 1, Sonic 2 or Sonic 3, by inserting the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge into the machine, and inserting the cartridge of the game you wish to play locked onto Sonic & Knuckles into the slot at the top of the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge. I am only able to play Sonic 3 locked on now since I no longer have Sonic 1 or Sonic 2 in cartridge form (I have, instead, the Sonic Classics cartridge, which is three games, including Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, in one cartridge). If you are playing through the GameCube Collection, as I assume a substantial portion of my readers are, I cannot say exactly what you have to do to play the games locked on, because I do not possess a GameCube. If you are playing the PC version of this game you will have a choice before you begin of playing Sonic 3 alone, Sonic & Knuckles alone, or both games together as if locked on. You will not be able to play Sonic 1 or Sonic 2 locked on, though. Alright, enough chatter, on with the explanations of the games you can lock onto! 8a. Sonic 1 Locked Onto Sonic & Knuckles If you insert Sonic 1 into Sonic & Knuckles and turn the power on, you will get a screen that shows all the characters in Sonic with the words 'No Way!' scrolling across the screen. Some players never figure out that there's a whole game concealed by this. Press and hold buttons A, B and C and press start. 'No Way!' will change to 'Special Stage'. I am unable to explain exactly how to work the screens that follow but I'm sure you can figure it out. You can play Special Stages that are not like any in Sonic 3 or Sonic & Knuckles (I believe these Special Stages are ones that were created but rejected for selection into the main game). Some of these Special Stages are quite hard; don't get frustrated! You can only advance to the next stage when you collect a Chaos Emerald, but fi you collect all the rings in a stage, you can skip ahead ten stages. Don't worry about running out of stages - the exact number I am not sure of, but I have heard there are over 3,000 of them, and some accounts put the number as high as 30,000! If you just love the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Special Stage and want to spend some hours playing stage after unfamiliar stage, this is the place to do it. Have fun! I'm not sure if you can save your progress, though. 8b. Sonic 2 Locked Onto Sonic & Knuckles If you insert Sonic 2 into Sonic & Knuckles and turn the power on, you can play through Sonic 2's regular game as Knuckles! The game is exactly the same in every respect, and if you collect all the Chaos Emeralds, you can become Super Knuckles. Tails does not exist, and you cannot play two-player mode. You also cannot go to the Options menu, which means that you cannot use the Chaos Emerald code to get all the Chaos Emeralds easily, but the Special Stages are the same. (I've heard but cannot confirm that they are actually much easier, the ring totals you need being much reduced). There are some 1-UPS you can only reach as Knuckles, and if you get high enough in an act, sometimes you can skip much of the act by just gliding to the right. The game is quite fun until you get to two bosses late in the game, when it suddenly becomes ugly. Throughout the game Knuckles' lower jump than Sonic is a bother but can be overcome fairly easily in most places. The boss of Metropolis Zone, though, is extremely difficult (but possible) to defeat. If you can't become Super Knuckles (which is very likely) you'll have to use a high-risk strategy of trying to hit him where he isn't protected by his orbs, as you can't jump over him. For the first few hits you'll probably need to trade hits with him each time, and get a few lucky shots in once he's deprived of some of his orbs. Try to retain a ring at all times, but even that's difficult. Even worse than the boss of Metropolis Zone if you get past him is the final boss. You cannot jump high enough to hit him above his spikes except when he lands from a jump and 'bows' to you, and even then, it's tough. I've heard sometimes instead of hitting him you go through him and die instead due to a bug in the game. I don't know if you have enough time on the clock to defeat him hitting him only once after each time he lands, even if you were able to do that without dying. It would be very difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating; there is a guide for Knuckles in Sonic 2 available if you want to try your luck at it. Good luck. If you do manage to defeat the final boss I believe there is an ending for Knuckles but I've never seen it. I personally used to like to just play the game up to the end, which was quite fun, and not worry about trying to complete it. Enjoy the new experience of Sonic 2! 8c. Sonic 3 Locked Onto Sonic & Knuckles This combination is different from the other two since you're playing two games that are much more similar (in fact, they were originally supposed to be one game). When you insert Sonic 3 into Sonic & Knuckles and turn the power on, you'll go to the title screen of Sonic 3 but with new music. You can play 2-Player Mode the same way as in normal Sonic 3, but if you begin a normal game, you'll find there are additional slots to save games in (eight plus No Save) and you can choose between playing as Sonic, Tails, Sonic and Tails, or Knuckles. If you play as any of the first three, here's what you can expect: You will begin playing Sonic 3, which will be exactly like normal, except for a few places where it's been changed slightly. One such place is in Hydrocity Zone, Act 2, where the first yellow spring in the act is replaced by a 1-UP, right in plain sight! There are other places like this, in both acts of Launch Base Zone, and in other places. The music is also different; the mid-boss, encounter with Knuckles, 1-UP, and Invincibility themes are their Sonic & Knuckles counterparts. The main gameplay difference, though, is that when you enter a Bonus Stage, you can enter any of three: the Sonic 3 Bonus Stage, or either Sonic & Knuckles Bonus Stage. Luckiyl, it is very easy to see a ring of stars that will send you to a Sonic 3 Bonus Stage: it is solid white, while those that will send you to either Sonic & Knuckles Bonus Stage are the same colors as in Sonic & Knuckles alone. Otherwise, the game is exactly the same as Sonic 3 by itself, including in the Special Stages. If you collect all the Chaos Emeralds you can become Super Sonic (but not Super Tails) just like normal. When you defeat the first final boss (the huge, pillar-like ship) you will not go on to face the final boss. Instead, your points for completing act 2 will be tallied, and you will then go to Mushroom Hill Zone, Act 1. You will be in an unfamiliar area and will soon encounter Knuckles below you. He presses a button that closes a door and walks away. Jump down and press the button to reopen the door and go through it. You find a giant ring, one which does not exist in the regular Sonic & Knuckles game. Soon after this, you enter the familiar act, and the rest of the game is exactly the same as Sonic & Knuckles alone, except that you can still enter the Sonic 3 Bonus Stage, and if you are playing with Tails, he will remain with you for the whole game. The game with or playing as Tails is exactly the same, except Tails' flying/capacity to airlift Sonic may make new areas accessible. Note that I have never been able to defeat the boss of Marble Garden Zone as Tails and have thus never been able to play Sonic & Knuckles as Tails. The main difference in gameplay between the two games, however, concerns the Special Stages. Once you enter Sonic & Knuckles you can no longer become Super Sonic even if you collected all the Chaos Emeralds in Sonic 3. All giant rings now flash rainbow colors, and instead of transporting you to a Special Stage, they transport you to the emerald room of Hidden Palace Zone. The first time you enter a giant ring, all the Chaos Emeralds you collected in Sonic 3 will disappear, but for each one you collected, a gray Super Emerald will be beamed down onto a pedestal in the room corresponding to the emerald you got. When in this room, every time you enter it by entering a giant ring, you can choose to jump on a gray Super Emerald or an empty pedestal. If you jump on an empty pedestal you will play the Sonic 3 Special Stage corresponding to it and if you collect a Chaos Emerald in that stage, a gray Super Emerald will appear on the pedestal. If you jump on a gray Super Emerald you will play a Sonic & Knuckles Special Stage corresponding to the pedestal the emerald was on, and if you complete the stage successfully, you will collect a Super Emerald and that gray Super Emerald will become colored in. Your goal is to collect all seven Super Emeralds, although doing so may require you to play more than seven Special Stages if you did not collect all the emeralds in Sonic 3. However, you cannot collect any Super Emeralds until you enter Sonic & Knuckles. You can also exit the room in Hidden Palace without playing any Special Stage by stepping on the spot you get beamed down onto again (since you probably always do want to collect a Chaos Emerald or Super Emerald, avoid this most of the time). Each pedestal corresponds to a number of Special Stage from one to seven, btu I don't know the correspondence at this time; it does have a pattern, however. I hope you can figure it out and apologize for my lack of information. If you collect all the Super Emeralds the room is inaccessible, and any future giant rings you touch will instead give you 50 rings. When you reach this room in the regular game, the Super Emeralds you have made appear and the ones you have collected will be shown. If you collect all the Super Emeralds you will also be able to tap into the ultimate form of your character: you can become Hyper Sonic, Super Tails, or Hyper Knuckles. (I have never seen Super Tails but know, from the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Quest for Emeralds FAQ and e-mails that he does exist). Hyper Sonic is all but unstoppable. He has all of Super Sonic's powers plus a new one: by doing a double jump (jump and press A, B or C in the air) he can do a move I call the Sonic Boom; all enemies on the screen are defeated instantly and Hyper Sonic blasts high upward, much higher than any other form of Sonic can jump. Hyper Sonic also flashes rainbow colors, is surrounded by stars, and when he moves, an afterimage of him is left behind. Simply put, he is the coolest, and you shouldn't be dissatisfied with him after collecting all 14 Chaos Emeralds. Unfortunately, he can still die from anything that can kill Super Sonic, so don't get too careless. Super Tails is surrounded by flickies which defeat all enemies on the screen for him and he also has super abilities in jumping, running and flying, to my knowledge. (Everything I know about Super Tails comes from the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Quest for Emeralds FAQ). Hyper Knuckles is similar to Super Knuckles, and cannot jump any higher, or use an equivalent of the Sonic Boom. He does at least have all the powers of Super Knuckles, though, and may be able to run even faster. All these forms lose one ring per second and revert to normal if they run out of rings, just like Super Sonic and Super Knuckles. In addition, if you are playing as Sonic or Sonic and Tails and complete the game with at least all the Chaos Emeralds in Sonic 3, you play Doomsday Zone as Super Sonic, even if you haven't collected all the Super Emeralds. If you have collected all the Super Emeralds, you play Doomsday Zone as Hyper Sonic, but he plays exactly like Super Sonic in Doomsday Zone. If you're playing as Tails alone I believe the game ends when you complete Death Egg Zone. If you select Knuckles as your character you will play Sonic 3 but some acts will be entirely different; see the next section for a complete walkthrough of Sonic 3 as Knuckles. You are able to enter all three Bonus Stages, and can collect the Chaos Emeralds of Sonic 3 just like Sonic or Tails (though you'll have access to fewer giant rings). After completing Sonic 3 you go onto Sonic & Knuckles. Sonic & Knuckles will be exactly like you're used to except that at the beginning of Mushroom Hill Zone will be an unfamiliar stretch before you get to familiar ground with an extra giant ring, like Sonic. For information on entering Special Stage in Sonic & Knuckles see the section explaining that above; it is the same for Knuckles as for Sonic. 9. Walkthrough for Knuckles in Sonic 3 This walkthrough is for Knuckles in Sonic 3 and is only of any use when used combined with my Sonic 3 FAQ/walkthrough since it is not complete; it only gives a walkthrough for areas where Knuckles' route deviates from Sonic's. Other than that, everything about playing as Knuckles I said in the beginning of Section 7 applies here as well. Good luck! 9a. Angel Island Zone Act 1 Follow Sonic's walkthrough until near the end, where you will not be able to jump from a boulder to a ledge (which has a Fire Shield on it) because you can't jump as high as Sonic. However, below the boulder are some boulders in a wall you can break down (it's pretty easy to find). Smash through them and go right to the mid-boss. Mid-Boss This will be substantially harder than Sonic's version, because you won't have a Fire Shield (meaning you have to watch out for his flame thrower) and also since now the missiles he launches come down, and if they hit you, they damage you. Dodge the missiles and the flame thrower as best you can. Be patient and don't try to get too many hits in at once. Expect a long battle, much longer than Sonic's. Act 2 This act is totally different from Sonic's act 2. Go right and bash through the floor and you'll be in an underground area. This is a long section and there isn't much need (or point) for a step-by-step walkthrough. Just make your way right slowly to see upcoming dangers and you should be fine. Near the start, head down and left to find a Fire Shield in an alcove. There are a lot of spikes here, along with many moving platforms and a few enemies like those in Sonic's act 2. Just go slowly and carefully. Further on you'll find a Lightning Shield on a ledge guarded by a flower enemy that shoots mines. Don't collect it unless you've already lost your Fire Shield. You want to keep that Fire Shield all the way to the boss if you can. Eventually you'll come out of the underground and pass a Starpost. Spin dash right through three loops. You'll shoot up a ramp and land near a flower enemy. Defeat him and continue right. Go down an incline, then cross the depression with a flower enemy on a ledge in the middle of it. Continue right to a tunnel. Go down it, then when you come out ride the moving platform up and glide to the right. Continue right and you'll break down some boulders and pass another Starpost. Now you face another, shorter underground section. The same advice applies; go slowly and try not to get hit. There are no secrets worth mentioning. When you reach the end of this section hit the red spring and you'll run through many boulders and find yourself at the boss. Boss Again, this boss is the same as Sonic's boss but much harder because now he launches four fireballs, not just two. If you don't have a Fire Shield it'll be a real challenge to avoid the fireballs; you may want to take the boss out quickly if you can, but that carries its own risks. If you do have a Fire Shield it's a piece of cake. 6b. Hydrocity Zone Exactly the same as Sonic's walkthrough for act 1 and act 2 until you reach the part right before the end where you meet Knuckles in the original game. (The mid-boss is exactly the same but you may have a much harder time jumping over him; you may want to climb a wall and glide to the other wall when he approaches). When you reach this spot near the end of act 2 break through the wall and go right. Climb up a shaft with some rotating cylinders, and jump over some spikes. Let a hand throw you up the next wall. Now you face a huge bed of spikes. Climb the left wall and glide across. Then comes a tricky series of corridors with rotating cylinders in them. Descend carefully being very careful not to get crushed. Plan your moves carefully. After three cylinders. Hit the Starpost and go right to the boss. The boss is again harder than Sonic's boss, because he does not lower himself down to the water when he creates the whirlpool; he stays up out of hitting range. So, the only ways you can hurt him are by being blasted up to him by his depth charges and jumping on the column of water as it goes down. Expect a long battle. 9c. Marble Garden Zone For act 1, follow Sonic's walkthrough; it is no different. At one point fairly early on you'll be unable to climb some block steps because of your low jump but just climb as high as you can, glide left and climb the wall to continue. The mid-boss will be harder because there is now a rotating pillar that is spiked that is in the arena. It pops up when the spikes are falling from the ceiling and goes down, only to pop back up again. It can be annoying but you also need to use it as a stepping stone to reach the mid-boss, as he will float out of jumping range after he comes down from the ceiling. Get in your hits carefully, one at a time. You'll need quite a bit of luck to avoid getting hit, though, as well as fast reflexes. Act 2 Follow Sonic's walkthrough until you come to a statue on a wall which you cannot reach because of your low jump (this is quite far into the act). When you reach this point, backtrack until you see a signpost pointing up. Climb the wall a little to the right of it as high as you can, and at the top will be a signpost pointing left. Glide left to another wall and climb it, watching out for the blue puffer fish enemy who patrols the area. Once you've climbed the left wall glide back over to the right, and finally glide left (watch out for the swinging spiked ball) onto the ledge. Hit the Starpost and go left, into a room. The screen begins to shake and Robotnik makes an appearance on the left. After he goes away go left to a blue wheel; spin dash on it to make some steps rise to the right. Climb up them and hit the statue's eye three times. This will open the path up to the left. Go left and climb the wall. When you reach a ledge go left and grab the Speed Shoes. Then go right. Follow the path; the ground continues shaking. You find yourself in an area very similar to Sonic's route where the floor tries to crush you. Run right as fast as you can, and spin dash at the blue wheel to open the way. Go right and let the floor carry you up to the floating ledge. As soon as you can, jump up to it. You have to hit the statue's eye three times to open the door to the left and dash to the left before the floor can crush you. It's very difficult and you must work perfectly, jumping three times from the ledge. Watch out for the statue's arrows. If you make it, go left through the door; the earthquake stops. Grab the ring and be carried up. Jump right to a Starpost and go right to the boss. Boss The first and only entirely new boss for Knuckles! This boss isn't too easy though... he's actually rather frustrating. When the battle starts a spiked chain will be launched from a random point on the ceiling either vertically or diagonally, forming a wall you cannot touch without getting hit. Then a similar spiked chain goes from floor to ceiling, vertically or diagonally in a random place, maybe intersecting with the first chain. Since you have no way of knowing where the spiked chains will be launched, avoiding them is more a matter of luck than skill. Robotnik will then move down the first chain and up the second, gathering them back into his machine. Hit him once each time he does so, if you can. Repeat this pattern until Robotnik is defeated (eight hits). It can be a long, tough battle. 9d. Carnival Night Zone Act 1 Both acts of this zone are totally different from Sonic's acts, and seem shorter but are substantially harder, with some especially tough spots. Begin act 1 by going right and go up a vacuum tube. Go left for some Speed Shoes if you want, then go right and break down a barrier. Bash through another barrier and run down a candy cane pole. Go up another candy cane pole, then down a third. Then just keep going right until you come to a tall white rotating pillar. Annoyingly, though, this one rotates downward. Run back to the left and then spin dash right, powering it up with all your might. Hopefully you will have enough speed to run up to the top of the rotating pillar. When you rotate over to the right, immediately jump off into the small hallway. Go right to another pillar, this one rotating upward, and being the first in a series of four pillars (which alternate rotating directions). Jump right from pillar to pillar, watching out for bats which fly around here; you are defenseless on the pillars. On the right side of the fourth pillar, break through the floor, hit the Starpost and go left. Cross two rotating barrels and smash through a barrier. Drop down at the magnetic wheel and start going right. When you come to a rotating barrel jump on it and ride it over the spikes. Run over the anti-gravity pad and you come to a fork in the path. Go right, and jump on the blue clam to be bounced over the spikes. Now go through a hallway with three rotating barrels that can crush you, going carefully and one barrel at a time. Jump on the platform that rises when you jump and ride it down, being sure to jump off before it smashes into the spikes. Jump on the rotating barrel to the right, then up to the Starpost. Walk into the wall right of the Starpost to find a secret room with a giant ring. Then jump on the platform to the left and make it rise by jumping. When it rises enough, glide right over the spikes into the corridor, and go right to the mid-boss. Mid-Boss Exactly the same as Sonic. Act 2 This act begins like Sonic's act 2 but without water; follow the same path until you come to an area where you are at an apparent dead end (this is in the first underwater area Sonic goes through). To the right will be a moving anti-gravity pad over spikes. When it moves to the left, glide over it and climb the right wall. At the top smash through a barrier. Now you're in new ground. Go right but watch out for a blue clam waiting in ambush. Continue until you come to some pop bumpers rotating below you. Glide right and you should make it to a ledge with a Super Ring and a Lightning Shield. Pocket them and continue right past two electric, floor-to-ceiling enemies, and more pop bumpers. When you see a rotating barrel moving below you and to your right, jump down onto it when it moves toward you. Then jump onto another barrel, and up to the cannon. This is a tricky spot; you need to launch from the cannon up onto the ledge on the right, but if you mistime it you will launch into the spikes. The walls are unclimbable so you must use the cannon. It's a very tricky shot to pull off, requiring nothing short of perfect timing. When you finally make it you'll land near a Starpost. Hit it and go right down a hill ignoring the upper path. Continue right through a tunnel and through some one-way vacuum tubes. Eventually you fall through a tunnel into a chamber with three Super Rings. Try to collect them all, then drop through the chamber and go right through more vacuum tubes. After this sequence of vacuum tubes you come to the animal prison. Pop it open and you've finished the act - there is no boss. After your points are tallied jump onto the teleporter device to your right and you get sent to... 6e. Icecap Zone Act 1 Dang, there's no snowboard ride for Knuckles! You begin by being teleported up and come out at the end of Sonic's snowboard ride. Follow Sonic's path until his path is blocked by an ice pillar you can't break down. However, drop down and go right; you can break down these ice pillars. You come to an area with many ice mines floating in the air. You can try gliding from wall to wall to get down avoiding mines and spikes, but chances are sooner or later you'll get hit, and that will cause you to fall to the bottom, where you're trying to get to. Near the bottom of this area is a Lightning Shield. At the bottom, go right and break down more ice pillars, and you rejoin Sonic's route. Continue to follow it until you reach that very difficult jump for Sonic, from the ledge to the ice cart. The jump is a snap for Knuckles - just climb the wall and glide, but don't ride the next cart up. Instead, go right, past an ice shooter, and break down an ice pillar. Go right until you come to a button; press it and drop down, hit the Starpost, and go right to the mid-boss. Mid-Boss Same as Sonic. Act 2 You begin this act underground, unlike Sonic. Go right and bounce up on the spring. Continue right through a loop and a tunnel. Ride the ice cart above the underground pond up, and jump to the collapsing ledge. Continue right until you go through a loop, smash through some ice, and land on a platform in the water that sinks. Sink with it to the bottom of the screen, then jump off onto the yellow spring at the foot of the wall to the left. Bounce up and hold left; you'll enter a hidden passage in the wall with an underwater giant ring. After a Special Stage, use the spring to bounce back up out of the water, and continue right. Jump across another gap in the ice via a sinking platform, and go right past two ice shooters. Hit the spring and ride the cart up, and jump up to a purple sling. Jump on it until it starts slinging you up, then do nothing and let it sling you up higher and higher. Sling up to the ledge on the right and go under another ice shooter. Cross a bridge and go through two loops. You slide up a ramp and come up under a bridge; follow Sonic's walkthrough for the rest of the act (Sonic's path comes down here through the tunnel in the ceiling). Boss As usual, the boss is harder than Sonic's this time because he now constantly moves the platform below him up and down as well as shoots out the jets of freezing air, as if he wasn't already hard enough. Follow Sonic's strategy but only jump onto the platform when it's lowered and don't be standing on it when it goes up. This boss is very difficult to defeat, even with experience. 6f. Launch Base Zone Act 1 Follow Sonic's walkthrough until you reach the final building, which you will be unable to enter because the doorway has been replaced by a solid wall. Climb this wall and enter a higher doorway on the building. Walk right and drop down. You'll see a red button to your right. DON'T PRESS IT YET! Instead, go left over the red bridge to a Starpost. Then go back to the right, press the red button, and drop down to the mid-boss. Mid-Boss This is MUCH harder than Sonic, because you'll be fighting TWO mid-bosses AT ONCE! Try to concentrate on one, but that's difficult. You really have no place to hide, so just grit your teeth and get whatever hits you can in when the two mid-bosses retract their spiked arms. Retain a ring at all times at all costs. After you get one or both down to one arm, it becomes much easier. Good luck and keep trying even if it seems impossible. After you win, the floor will explode. Act 2 This is your final test in Sonic 3. It is almost totally different from Sonic's act 2. Begin by going right, bounce up on a spring, and defeat a frog enemy. Hit the speed booster on the floor to roll over a section of pipe. Hit the other speed booster and roll up the pipe, eventually landing on a stationary platform. Jump to the moving platform to your right, then to the next pipe. Go right past a frog and a black orb enemy, and at the end of the pipe jump to the hook and ride it right. When the hook stops jump to the moving platform when it moves toward you being careful not to fall. Jump to the ledge and go right, defeating another frog enemy, and cross a small gap via a moving platform. Walk onto the pipe and go right down two inclines. After the second one you come to a speed booster at an apparent dead end, but jump over it into the wall - there's a secret passage leading to a giant ring. Play a Special Stage, then walk out and hit the speed booster to run left. When you come to a pipe section, spin dash through it and enter the column of water for a short ride through the pipes. When you come out go left to a Starpost. Go right, defeating two frog enemies and a black orb surrounded by spikes. You come to a speed booster; hit it and run right up the pipe to a hook. Let it carry you down, then drop down and hit the speed booster below to run left. Roll up the pipe and when you stop, go right, and ride the hook right. Drop off the hook and go right being careful not to touch the spring or the flame thrower. Climb the wall above the spikes. At the top hit the red button and ride the cup to the right down. Jump out to the left and jump over the flame thrower. You come to a Water Shield. Take it and try VERY hard to keep it because there's a long underwater stretch with no air later on. To the left of the Water Shield drop down into the water and hit the speed booster. Roll a long way until you come to another speed booster; hit it as well and when you stop rolling you'll see a breakable pipe to your left. Spin dash through it but as soon as you do, the water rises to flood the act, and you can't enter the stream of water which is now underwater. So go left over the pipe instead. If you have a Water Shield, go slowly and try very hard not to get hit. If you don't, go as fast as you can or you will drown. Go left until you come to a wall with two red enemies who shoot fireballs. Jump to the wall on the right and glide over to the wall on the left above the enemy. Climb through the purple ring attached to the wall. Once on the ledge above, go right, jumping over the black orb. Go right to a speed booster; hit it and roll up the wall, then hit the red spring to the right. Press no buttons (do not roll) and you'll land in a cup which takes you up out of the water. (This short part is borrowed from Sonic's route). The cup flies over to the left; when you fall out, grab the hook and ride right. Jump to the platform that drops and quickly jump up to the Water Shield if you don't already have one, then drop down onto the pipe and go right. When you come to a cup you won't be able to jump into it like Sonic, but you will be able to smash the barrier to the right. Go right in this new area and spin dash through the pillar. Continue right until you find a pipe with a breakable part. Spin dash through it and step into the flow of water to go on a water ride that takes you above the water. Hit the Starpost to your left and go right, avoiding a few obstacles and enemies, until you come to the boss. Boss You will face two bosses in a row, the two final bosses of Sonic 3 for Sonic. The first battle is no different. The second (with Robotnik's grabber ship) is actually easier, for a change, because now he glides across the screen trying to grab you four times in a row, not just twice. You also probably don't have to worry about time on the clock and can glide into him to meet him whenever he moves across the screen. Follow the same precautions as you do for the final boss of Sonic 3, and don't try to hit him when he flies back and forth at the top of the screen, then drops to the floor. After eight hits, he will be defeated, and after you open an animal prison and your points for act 2 are tallied, you go to Mushroom Hill Zone. There will be a short section before you enter the beginning of Mushroom Hill Zone in Sonic & Knuckles, with a giant ring in plain sight. Don't worry about missing it. 10. Cheats and Tricks I only know of two codes for this game: level select and level select when locked onto Sonic 3. I'm not sure if there's a code you can use to access all the Special Stages when locked onto Sonic 1. One isn't mentioned in my code sheet from GameFAQs. I also don't know how to activate the level select when locked onto Sonic 2. My codesheet doesn't give me one so I assume it must be the same as when playing Sonic 2 alone. I cannot confirm this, though, since I can no longer play Sonic 2 locked on. To start at any act when playing Sonic & Knuckles alone, begin the game as Sonic and go to the first pull-up machine in Mushroom Hill Zone (I believe any pull-up machine will do just as well). Grab onto one of the hooks and press left, left, left, right, right, right, up, up, up on the directional pad. You will hear the sound of a ring being collected. Pause the game and press A. You will return to the Sega logo. At the title screen, select your character and hold down A, and press start. You will go to the level select menu. Select the act you wish begin on. You cannot enter Doomsday Zone unless you are playing as Sonic. If you select an act of Death Egg Zone as Knuckles you will play Death Egg Zone as Knuckles - try it sometime. If you complete it, however, you will get no ending; you will just return to the Sega logo. If you select a Special Stage or Bonus Stage, after that stage is completed, you will go to act 1 of Mushroom Hill Zone. Oddly enough, the zones of Sonic 3 are also on the level select menu. If you select one of them you will begin in act 1 of Mushroom Hill Zone. To use the level select when locked onto Sonic 3 begin the game as any character and go until you come to the swinging vines in act 1 on Angel Island Zone. Grab onto one and enter the same sequence you do for Sonic & Knuckles (left, left, left, right, right, right, up, up, up, start, A) to be sent back to the Sega logo. At the title screen press up once or down twice to find a new option, Sound Test. Select it to go to the level select menu. The same rules apply, but now you can start at any Sonic 3 zone, of course. To activate debug mode, you need both games locked on. Enter the level select code at the beginning. Go to act 1 of Mushroom Hill Zone, go to a pull-up machine, and enter the exact same code. When you begin the game again (and you still have the option of going to the level select menu to start at any act) pause the game and press and hold B. You will move in slow motion as long as you hold down B. Press C to jump and use the directional pad to move, like normal but in slow motion. Press start to unpause the game and return to regular speed. If you press A when paused, you will return to the Sega logo, but the code will still be active. Not much to it, but fool around if you'd like. Those are the only codes for Sonic & Knuckles on the codesheet, but if you know of more codes, and make sure they work, I'd love to hear about them! However, I know you are supposed to be able to turn into different sprites in debug mode, but I never could get that to work. Please don't e-mail me explaining how to do that as it's already on the codesheet. 11. Conclusion Well, I hope you enjoyed Sonic & Knuckles. It is quite a game, the pinnacle of Sonic the Hedgehog's development on the Sega Genesis. If you want more Sonic, you can try the classics (Sonic 1 and Sonic 2) if you haven't already. There's also Sonic 3D Blast, which is the most 'modern' Sonic game available for the Genesis (it's also available on the Sega Saturn and PC). If you want more fun with Sonic & Knuckles, try the various lock-ons. It's hard to exhaust all the possibilities. Try playing as various characters, completing the game with all the Chaos Emeralds and as many lives and/or continues as you can. My next FAQ/walkthrough will probably be for Sonic 3D Blast, but I have no idea when, if at all, I will begin work on it. I enjoyed writing this FAQ/walkthrough greatly and hope it will accomplish its purpose: to help gamers complete Sonic & Knuckles as easily as possible. Once again, I wish to thank Turbokiller, Warrior of Zerona (Andrew Bautista) and Janus Operative for writing the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Quest for Emeralds FAQ, which I used for reference. Thanks guys! If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or additions please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com . I love getting e-mails! (Just as long as they are pertinent to this game and don't contain any stupidities). Once again, this FAQ/walkthrough is copyright William Walker, all rights reserved. It was completed on August 27, 2003. Enjoy Sonic & Knuckles!