"Oh man...mega awesome, and more!"

This game isn't all to different from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, mainly because this is the continuation of Sonic 3. Due to time restrictions, the levels and bonuses in this game never made it to Sonic 3; all the better, because thanks to the delay of the second part of the game, Sonic games now have more meaning.

Story: 10/10
After being defeated by Sonic again, Robotnik has now crash landed. He now needs a new power source to get back up in the air and take over the world, and boy does he find one! It turns out that his pal Knuckles has a special emerald known as the Master Emerald. This emerald has the power to neutralize the chaos emeralds, and whoever wields the power of this mighty emerald may have enough power to conquer the world! With this in mind, Dr. Robotnik goes out to steal the Master Emerald from Knuckles, and he succeeds. Seeing his wrong, Knuckles now teams up with Sonic to take out Dr. Robotnik once and for all.

Gameplay: 10/10
The gameplay in this game isn't too different from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, so much of this is going to look the same from my Sonic 3 review. The controls are simple: The A button to jump, A + A to do a special, down + A to spin dash, up + A to fly, down + A while moving to roll, right/left to move right and left, and up/down to scroll up and down the stage. It's not as easy as it sounds, though, because the levels in this game can become quite a debacle if you don't know what you are doing. The main focus of this game is speed, but in some stages, you need to solve a puzzle in order to continue. It may involve jumping from platform to platform or moving through an underwater maze. Sometimes the gameplay is easy, like in the very first set of levels, whereas at the same time it can be down-right hard, like in the last group of levels. The new thing to master in this game is the A + A special moves that can be performed when you get a shield. In the previous games, all you got was this shield that protected you from attacks. In this game, though, there are three different types of shields! All these shields protect you from losing rings when attacked, but a certain shield has a certain added effect. The fire shield allows you to sustain no damage when attacked with fire! Plus, if you jump and press A in mid-air, you can do a fire dash, which puts you at top speed when you touch the ground again. The water shield allows you to breathe underwater, which is pretty cool when going against those pesky underwater levels. Press A while in mid-air to do a bounce, which can make your overall jump higher. The electric shield (my personal favorite) can do three things. This special shield allows you to dodge electric damage, which could help against bosses. It can also allow you to double jump when you press A while in mid-air. The special part about this shield is that it's a magnet against rings! If you come close to a ring, it will be pulled towards you, which could help in the ring collecting process. Throughout the level, there are giant rings hidden. Jump in one of them, and you'll be transported to a special stage, giving you an opportunity to grab a chaos emerald. The controls are easy: right/left to move right and left, and A to jump. If you collect all of the blue spheres without touching the red ones, you'll get a chaos emerald; if you obtain over 50 rings, you can get yourself a continuation, which is good for 3 extra lives after you main life count is gone. The lampposts are no longer used for special stages, oh no. Now they're for a bonus stage! If you have 20 rings when you touch a lamppost, you can jump in the stars surrounding it. You'll be transported into one of three places: To a gumball machine, which allows you to earn rings, shields, and extra lives, a casino-like place, which allows you to gain and lose rings (if your counter goes over 50 rings while in this stage, you earn a continuation!), and a magnetic field area with live galore--I've managed to get four lives in this level at once!!! With these new additions to the game, it looks extremely marvelous.

Graphics: 10/10
The Sonic sprite is pretty much the same from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The levels are all still bright and cheery, and the backgrounds totally rock. The one difference is the level colors: The later levels now look colorful and great whereas the middle levels look bland. All in all,basically everything from Sonic 3, graphics-wise, is the same.

Sound: 10/10
Splendid, to put it simply. The music in this game is breath-taking. It really brings back memories. The simple jumping, zooming, and ''shield'' sounds are pretty much the same, but the levels are hardly the same. The music in the levels brings a beat to the ear--especially the boss battles. Some of the level music really is hard not to hum, and I do so every now-and-again. Heh...good music...good times...

Extras: 10/10
I had to add this section to my extras, mainly because there are so many! This game gets its reputation from its connectivity. If you connect this to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, you can do many things. You can now play Tails in S&K levels, and you can play Knuckles in Sth3 levels! Plus, you can now collect 14 different emeralds--7 chaos emeralds and 7 super emeralds. Allowing more emeralds makes gameplay more fun. When connected, you also can save the lives and continuations that you earn, so that you don't have to worry about losing those 56 lives you gained. Another great thing is when you connect this game to Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Knuckles becomes playable in the game! If that wasn't enough, if you connect this onto Sonic the Hedgehog and enter a button code, you can play different versions of the special stages! If you complete one of the stages, you can get an emerald. Of course, there is no limit to what you can earn! With these extras, this is what gives the game an extra zip.

The Bottom Line: Oh man, this game is totally awesome. If you didn't like Sonic 3 but you liked the previous titles, buy this game. If you didn't like the previous titles but you like Sonic 3, buy this game. If you don't like Sonic at all, then still give this game a go. If you're absolutely crazy about Sonic, like me, then WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? Awesome extras and hours of fun await you! ^_^


Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/19/04

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