Review by Zylo the wolf
An expantion pack for Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
Sonic the Hedgehog is still today one of the most well known video game characters that have ever been made. After Super Mario, Sonic is the most successful mascot in this industry. Sonic's first three games on the Sega Mega Drive had all been awesome so many looked forward to the next game in the series. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 felt a little short and we didn't get to see much of Knuckles in that game, so everyone was expecting Sonic & Knuckles to be an awesome game and it would give us a chance to get to know the mysterious Echidna even better.
The game takes place directly after Sonic the Hedgehog 3. You even see how Dr Robotnik's (Now known as Dr Eggman in the whole world, his name has always been that in Japan.) base crashes into the island that most of Sonic The Hedgehog took place in. Sonic decides to look further since he knows that just because Dr Robotnik has been defeated once, he sure won't give up. Knuckles on the other hand decided to just relax after what happened in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. However while he's taking it easy in the Mushroom Hill Zone, he finds an odd robot that does look very similar to Dr Robotnik and decides to chase it.
As you might have guessed when you saw the title of this game, there are two different playable character in this game. You decide to either play as Sonic The Hedgehog or you choose Knuckles the Echidna instead. This is the first game where Knuckles is playable in the main game, but he was playable in the time attack mode in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
The stages are some what different depending which character you choose. Knuckles will pop up a few times make it more difficult for Sonic if you choose to play as the blue Hedgehog, but the game is actually a bit more difficult if you choose to play as Knuckles.
Sonic can in this game just like in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 run really fast, jump really high and has one extra ability with every power up box that you can crush. Knuckles on the other hand is not as fast and can't jump as high as Sonic, but he can unlike Sonic float in the air and use his knuckles to climb on walls. This means that one character can reach places that the other character can't, and so you have to take different routes depending on which character you choose.
Sonic & Knuckles is just like the previous Sonic games an platform game that focus on speed. The whole point with each stage is that you are supposed to reach the goal where a boss is waiting for you. The boss is Dr Robotnik if you play as Sonic, and the Eggbot if you play as Knuckles. There are a lot of enemies on each stage that our two heroes can jump on to defeat them.
On each stage there are many rings that our two heroes can collect. If an enemy should hit Sonic or Knuckles while they have any rings, then all the rings will be all over the screen, but the player will also survive. If you are smart then you will do your best to pick up at least one of the rings that you dropped, so you can take another hit from the enemies.
The type of bonus stages haven't changed at all from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. You still are in a room and you have to collect all the blue dots. If you touch a red dot then you will teleport back to the regular stage. Just like in any other Sonic game, you will get an Chaos Emerald if you managed to clear the bonus stage. You can either transform into Hyper Sonic or Hyper Knuckles when you have collected them all, which are exactly the same as Super Sonic in the previous Sonic games.
One thing that is unique to Sonic & Knuckles is it's lock on feature. There's a cartridge slot on the cartridge of Sonic & Knuckles, where you can attach another Mega Drive game. If you attach any random game or Sonic 1, you will see a screen with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Dr Robotnik. If you press A+C, you will be able to play many different bonus stages. I have no idea how many bonus stages there are if you use Sonic 1, but I think I read somewhere that someone said that you don't have enough life time to clear them all. This is just a strange bonus anyway.
But if you attach Sonic 2 to Sonic & knuckles, then you will be able to play as Knuckles in Sonic 2. Now you may find many easier ways to beat that game, however since Knuckles can't jump as high as Sonic or Tails, the final boss can be a real pain. But now you can play through Sonic 2 with 3 different characters, which is a nice feature.
Attach Sonic 3 to Sonic & knuckles and you will be able to use all the features in Sonic 3. For example, you can now play the Sonic & Knuckles levels with Tails. Another thing that many likes is that the save files in Sonic 3 finally gets useful since now you can play up to 14 different stages. What I personally like about this feature is that you can now play as Knuckles in the Sonic 3 stages, which means that there are tons of new places that you can reach. Many consider Sonic 3 & Knuckles to be one game, instead of just two different games.
However personally I'm not that happy with Sonic & Knuckles. The game only has two different acts that I really like (and only Sonic can get to that zone since with Knuckles that's the zone where you just meet the final boss). The game has a few good points, but if you don't already own Sonic 3, then I doubt you will much fun with this game. I'm sorry but I think that the best part with Sonic & Knuckles is that it allows you to play as Knuckles on the Sonic 2 and 3 stages.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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