Review by Retro

Reviewed: 07/07/01 | Updated: 05/20/02

Best graphics so far, more powers, and a faster game, but is it the best Sonic?

Well, a few people might argue that it is, but in my opinion, it's a great game, but the original Sonic the Hedgehog is still the best. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic is still a furiously fast hedgehog that collects tons of rings and has Dr. Robotnik as his main adversary, but some things have changed this third time around.

Before you even begin a game, you'll see that Sonic 3 has a save feature. There are several slots in which you can save your game. Also, before you start, you can choose whether to play as just Sonic, just Tails, or Sonic and Tails. Then it's time to begin this glorious adventure with the speedy hedgehog or the fox with a few tails.

Without a doubt, when Sonic the Hedgehog 3 first came out, almost all Sonic fans were wanting it after seeing the commercials or the back of the box because it was easy to tell that it had the best graphics of any previous Sonic outing and that it was FAST! And that's true, Sonic 3 does have the best graphics of the first three games and it's also the fastest. But that's not all it has.

There are a few worlds in Sonic 3. There is an ice world (Ice Cap Zone), water world (Hydrocity Zone), a huge casino (Casino Night Zone), and a few others. Each level presents its own challenges to Sonic, and even Tails, even though Tails can fly. More than ever before, in Sonic 3, Sonic and the crew will have to use more things to help them through the levels than just moving platforms and upside down loops. Now there are things they must use such as ropes swinging back and forth, contraptions that hold and speed Sonic and the others up dramatically and then set them loose, elevators, spinning tops, and many others.

But don't worry! Even though Sonic 3 might be the most challenging adventure Sonic and Tails have set foot on so far, it's not all bad. There are still the familiar crates with cool items to help the duo of Sonic and Tails in their quest, such as rings, invincibility, and extra lives. But there are even more new items that will help them out nearly as much. First of all, I have to mention this though. Sonic can still crouch and start spinning in order to speed up and then roll very fast, but he has a new move in his repertoire. Sonic still jumps the same way, but now, if you make him jump and press the jump button again while he's in the air (double jump), he will flash once. You can use that flash to destroy enemies in close contact if you have really good timing.

The new items are electricity, fire, and a bubble. All three of these newbies have their own strengths. All three are shields (in the form of a bubble shape around you), so they will protect Sonic or Tails for once when they get hit. When you get hit, the shield will be gone. The electricity attracts coins, the bubble allows Sonic and Tails to have a full air supply under water without having to worry about drowning, and the fire is just cool, I mean hot. If you make Sonic do a double jump while using any of those 3 items, they will move a certain way. With fire, Sonic will dart forward, the bubble can be used to stomp enemies or to bounce real fast like a basketball, and with electricity, he will just move up a little bit. Anytime you double jump with Tails, Tails will just take off and start flying.

As you probably expected if you've played Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, another new thing about Sonic 3 is the bonus rounds. If you're good at exploring and finding secrets, you will find a huge, spinning gold ring from time to time in the levels of Sonic 3. Jump into this ring and you will be transported to the new and challenging bonus round. In Sonic 3's bonus rounds, you will see many red balls and a few blue balls. You have to collect all the blue balls without touching any of the red balls. If you collect all the blue balls, you will earn yourself a cherished chaos emerald. But if you touch just one red ball before you collect all the blue ones, your bonus round will be over and you will be transported back to the main game. Also in these bonus stages, you can collect coins and there are white bumpers with a star on them. If you hit any of these bumpers, you will be knocked backward.

The whole time you're playing in the bonus rounds, Sonic or Tails will just be running forward the whole time. All you can do is make them jump and make them turn left or right. As you collect more of the chaos emeralds, the bonus stages get progressively harder. There are also other new kinds of bonus levels such as a gum ball machine that dispenses extra lives, bubbles, coins, and so on. I won't tell you how to get to those because it's easy enough to find out how when you play the game.

Another cool new power from what I hear is a way to make Sonic turn into Super Sonic. I haven't ever done this and I don't know how to make him turn into Super Sonic, but I've heard that it makes Sonic flash, makes him faster, and that it makes him invincible.

Dr. Robotnik is stronger and tougher than ever in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. He's trying to make Sonic's third adventure be strike 3 and sonic's out. The levels are also bigger and more complex this third time, so you need to be prepared for more of a challenge than Sonic 1 or 2 gave you. Luckily, Sonic 3 is fun enough and good enough to keep you wanting to play it until you get to the end and fight Dr. Robotnik in his updated robotic form.

But wait, that's not all! Like you could in Sonic 2, if you play as both Sonic and Tails, a friend can pick up the controller and control Tails while you control Sonic. I guess you could sort of call that a two player game. However, if you really want to play a two player game with one of your friends, you can choose the option on the main menu that's called Competition. In this Competition mode, you and your friend will get to compete against each other in a race! You can choose from a few different levels to race on such as a factory level, one set in the swamps, and a few others. During the race, you and your friend will play on a split-screen. One of you will be on top of the television screen, and the other on the bottom. Whoever crosses the finish line three times first, wins. Don't forget, Tails can fly.

Finally, there's one more great feature that Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is known for. If you have or rent the game called Sonic & Knuckles, you will be able to play as Knuckles in Sonic 3. Knuckles is the red dog-looking creature that keeps showing up and stomping on the switches to make you fall while you play Sonic 3. Knuckles can literally climb walls, he's fast, and he can fly.

All in all, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is a great game. It has a few cool levels, but in my opinion, the levels just aren't as fun as the ones in Sonic 1 or Sonic 2. But in ways it's better than Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 since it has the Competition modes, it has the best graphics of the three, and it's much faster. If you liked Sonic 1 or Sonic 2, I would definitely recommend getting Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

GRAPHICS - Compared to Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 has the best graphics. I especially liked the graphics in the first level with the glowing fire effects in the background. Most of the other levels look good and have great background graphics. The characters such as Sonic and most of the enemies, are also well done and have good animation.

SOUND - The sounds in Sonic 3 for the most part, are well done. The sound effects haven't changed much from Sonic 2, except for with the new weapons. Some parts of the game such as the first level and the Ice Cap Zone ones, have great music, but other parts don't have so great of music.

CONTROL - If you were good at controlling Sonic in Sonic 1 or Sonic 2, you won't have any problems controlling him and Tails in Sonic 3 because it's all exactly the same, except maybe a little better.

REPLAY VALUE - Sonic 1 is still my favorite game in the series, but I have played Sonic 3 a good bit. It's fun to go all the way through the game in a one player game and it's almost as much fun to compete against somebody else in the races.

OVERALL - Overall, I would put Sonic 3 either in second or third place when comparing it to the two previous games in the series. I guess I like Sonic 3 a little better than Sonic 2 since it has the two player races. If you're a Sonic fan and you don't own Sonic the Hedgehog 3, get it now. It's well worth it!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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