Review by NWalterstorf

"Sonic & Knuckles + Sonic and Knuckles 3"

I really don't want to call this a mix review, because it is and it isn't. I want to mention Sonic 3 and Knuckles. Why? Because that is what the game Sonic and Knuckles originally inspired to be. The very cartridge was meant to have Sonic 3 inserted and played through. While I won't mention the first part of the Sonic 3 and Knuckles game, I will mention the latter half, which is still officially Sonic and Knuckles.

So here's a great game, and back when they were selling Genesis, was being given away from free with a purchase of the Sega Genesis game system. I remember getting one for Christmas after my first Sega Genesis broke. It's a great game in the lineage of Sonic, no doubt.

The graphics are incredible. It's even better than Sonic 3's graphics, in all forms. You really can't get any better spriting in a video game than this. The sounds great, too. I love the music, although I will admit I favored the music of Sonic 3 a little more.

Gameplay wise, it's a great game. I love the fact that you can choose to play the game as Sonic or as Knuckles; your choice. They each have pretty much the same zones, but with different paths and different forms of bosses than the other (the bosses Knuckles face are more difficult), and there's a dramatic difference in both of the endings depending on 1) if you choose Sonic or Knuckles, 2) if you got all of the Chaos Emeralds, and 3) if you played Sonic 3 and Knuckles all the way through and got the Super Emeralds.

The stages are great; there's about 13 total, plus a secret bonus stage which I won't mention. The way they play with both of the characters is varied, giving you a reason to complete the game with both characters. It was designed for you the play through the game first with Sonic, then with Knuckles, which is more difficult. Of course, with varied stages, various bosses (some different altogether), and varied endings, there's no good reason why you shouldn't play through this game multiple times.

Would I recommend it? Definitely, this is a true Sonic game. In fact, I'll give you another reason why. Because you can play Sonic 3 and Knuckle with this game. The way the cartridge was designed is to have the Sonic 3 video game plug right into the top of it. The result? A long, excellent game.

By plugging the Sonic 3 game into the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge, you can play through all of Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles using Knuckles, as opposed to Sonic and Tails. Also, you can play as Sonic and Tails throughout the whole Sonic 3 and Knuckles as opposed to just Sonic if you choose to go that route.

I don't care for Tail's AI, though. I always find Tails to be less-helpful than anything. He often jumps when I don't want him to jump, and he'll stand on moving platforms I don't want him to stand on. As annoying as he may be, you can only play as him if you plug the cartridge of Sonic 3 into Sonic and Knuckles; and even then, you can choose not to play with tails. That's why I didn't subtract a point: you don't have to play through the game with tails (as opposed to how you were stuck with tails in Sonic 2).

You can also save your gameplay, which is a great feature. It's not just for looks, either: when you beat the game, "clear" will register over the file of which you saved your game, allowing you to replay any stage you wish. Also, you can go pick up the rest of the chaos emeralds. In Sonic 3 and Knuckles (the two games combined), you can play through both Sonic 3 and Knuckles, beat the game, get the chaos emeralds, and discover the more powerful emeralds: super emeralds! Collecting those give you phenomenal power, as Super Sonic and Super Knuckles tern into Hyper Sonic and Hyper Knuckles.

Needless to say, this is a great game, and plugging Sonic 3 into its cartridge is great. It turns a great game into an even greater game. Should you buy it? Sure you should, if you still own a Sega Genesis; while you're at it, purchase Sonic 3 as well, if you can find it, because it's meant to plug into Sonic and Knuckles. Is this really a game you should get? Really, is it worth the cost? Yes, it is definitely worth the cost.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/20/06

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