Other Modes
Data Select Menu
When you select 1 player mode on the title screen, you'll be taken to a data select menu before you can begin a game. Unlike its two predecessors, you can not only save your progress in Sonic 3, but also hold multiple saves at the same time - there are six different slots for saving games (enough for two of each character combination). To begin a new game simply highlight one of the slots labelled "new" using the left and right buttons, and then use the up and down buttons to select the character you'd like to play as for that save file; Sonic & Tails, just Sonic or just Tails. Press A, C or start to begin the new game, or B to return to the title screen. Once you've begun a save file you will not be able to change your selected character for it, and the only things that are recorded are the current level you're on and which emeralds you've collected. Whenever you play an incomplete save file, you will always begin at Act 1 of the most recent level you've started, and you will always begin with 3 lives. If you prefer not to save your data as you play, select the "no save" option on the far left side of the menu, where you can select a character as normal, and begin an unsaved game.
Sonic 3 allows up to six simultaneous save files, each recording your current zone, chosen character and number of emeralds collected so far. Select a file to begin from the start of that zone.
With a new save file selected, you can choose your character using the up and down buttons. To delete an active file, move over to the Eggman Delete option at the far end of the list. With him selected, highlight your chosen file to remove.
When you complete all six levels in the game and reach the end of the credits, the save slot will become a level select, allowing you to replay any level of your choosing by pressing the up and down buttons. Again, you cannot change character in this slot, and all levels begin on Act 1 only, but any additional Chaos Emeralds you pick up while replaying this save file will also be recorded, so you can always go back for any that you missed after having completed the game. If you ever want to delete a save file, select the Eggman option at the far right end of the menu and press A, C or start to pick him up. Go to the save file you want to clear and press A, C or start again to choose it. It'll ask you to confirm your choice, so press the left button for yes or the right button for no. Press B at any point after picking up Eggman to put him back.
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#1. Comment posted by Enyeribe C. Elegalam on Monday, 9th April 2012, 10:59pm (BST)
In the “Data Select” screen of Sonic The Hedgehog 3 alone, choose any character you want and do all 6 of your own game saved files perfectly: 2 for Sonic & Tails together, 2 for Sonic alone and 2 for Tails alone.
#2. Comment posted by True Sonic Fan on Friday, 5th October 2012, 1:34pm (BST)
His name is Robotnik, not Eggman.
#3. Comment posted by taismo4ever on Tuesday, 27th August 2013, 4:25am (BST)
If you leave the data select screen alone for 47 minutes, the music will change. Look it up on youtube.
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Bonus Stage
In any level, if you pass a checkpoint with at least 50 rings on hand, a circle of stars will appear over head, just as they did in Sonic 2. Here, they won't take you to a Special Stage, but instead, a smaller Bonus Stage where you can attempt to collect additional rings, power-ups or extra lives by bouncing around in a giant gumball machine. Your character will appear in a long shaft, the sides of which are covered in small yellow angular springs, each one disappearing after you hit it. You need to try and use these to bounce up the shaft, between the two walls and make it up to the gumball dispenser at the top. When you touch the crank, it'll turn and a gumball will fall just below it, so try and grab it to get the item it refers to, before it falls all the way to the bottom.
Jump into the circle of stars above checkpoints, when passed with at least 50 rings.
The bonus stage traps Sonic and Tails in a giant gumball machine, in which gumballs are retrieved by touching the crank, at the top of a tall shaft. Collect the falling gumballs to acquire a corresponding item..
..Possible items include 10-rings, rare 1-ups and the three shields, each represented by an appropriately coloured 'B' gumball.
The three shields are available, each with a "B" written on their gumball. The orange one is the fire shield, blue, water shield and the gold, the lightning shield. Grab one of these to instantly earn that shield, which you'll continue to hold when you return to the main game. There's also a grey ball with a ring on it, indicating 10 additional rings and a magenta 1-up gumball, which is the one you want to go for if you're low on lives. Also, there's an unmarked black gumball that is not an item, but a bumper, bouncing you off when you hit it. This can either be a good thing, if you can use it to bounce up to the crank at the top and churn out another ball without wasting a yellow spring, or a bad thing, when it annoyingly bounces you between it and several different springs while you attempt to get above it. A perfectly clear gumball does absolutely nothing when you grab it.
The catch to the game is that you must ascend the shaft using yellow side springs across the walls, each of which disappears after use. The gumball machine descends lower, the more you remove from the top, and if you fall all the way to the bottom, you will exit the bonus stage.
The black bumper gumballs can be helpful to keep you in the air, but can also be a hindrance when hit at the wrong angle, as they'll repeatedly bounce you into a whole line of springs, wasting them completely.
Look out for the green 'Rep' gumballs. These will reintroduce the initial line of red springs along the bottom of the shaft, saving you from elimination, but like the side springs, they disappear after one go.
Initially there's a row of red springs at the bottom to bounce you back up should you fall down there, but after one touch, these springs will disappear and if you fall to the bottom, you'll return to the main game. If you can pick up the green "Rep" gumball, the safety springs will be reinstated for one bounce only. There's nothing you can do to bring back the yellow side springs that have already disappeared though, and as the top ones are cleared, the gumball machine moves further and further down the shaft. You've got to fall down the bottom sooner or later, but it's a case of what bonuses you can grab before you do.
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#1. Comment posted by Enyeribe C. Elegalam on Monday, 9th April 2012, 10:57pm (BST)
Remember, the only way to find the Bonus Stage is for you to always grab 50 rings during every act, touch the Star Post and jump into the tiny stars that appears. In the Bonus Stage, grab special power-ups, rings and extra 1-ups by turning this crank of this special Gumball Machine, and now you must return to the Star Post that you touched.
#2. Comment posted by Kyle on Saturday, 5th October 2013, 4:14pm (BST)
Oddly enough when you have a shield prior to entering the bonus stage in Sonic 3 alone, you'll lose the shield when you enter the bonus stage; however it is possible to regain the shield you lost, if you're lucky.
#3. Comment posted by underp on Thursday, 10th December 2015, 7:34pm (GMT)
I have personally had instances where it works with 20 and higher. In sonic 2 it was 50
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Special Stage
In my opinion, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles can lay claim to having the most entertaining Special Stage of them all. To get your spiny booty in one, you need to track down a giant ring, loads of which are hidden throughout the six stages, usually in secret rooms in some of the walls. When you find one, leap in and read on..
Look for the hidden giant rings about the levels to be transported to the Special Stage!
The Special Stage is played in pseudo 3D, with the camera permanently set behind your character(s). You move across the checkered planet automatically, but can turn in right angles only by pressing the left and right buttons.
There are blue spheres and red spheres. Your aim is to collect all the blue spheres, however touch a red sphere and you return to the game - to make it even more complicated, blue spheres turn into red ones after being collected!
As is usually customary, the Special Stage is in pseudo 3D, and this time each one occurs on a small checkered planet. The view is forever positioned directly behind your character, looking down on him slightly as he heads forever forward across the smooth terrain, and regardless of which direction he's running across it in. You can alter his direction with the left and right buttons, but only in straight right angles, so you can head in four different directions as you go round and round the planet continuously. Laid out neatly on the checkered ground are four different types of object, blue and red spheres, white bumper spheres with a red star on them, and of course the rings. Put simply, your goal is to collect every blue sphere on the planet, the total number of which varies between each of the seven different planets on offer. Upon collecting every last one, you'll be rewarded with one of the coveted Chaos Emeralds you've been after. All you have to do is touch a single red sphere however, and your attempt has officially failed, and you will be returned to the regular game, without a shiny coloured jewel in your hand. You'll find plenty of spheres that are already red, but the tricky thing about this game is that blue spheres actually turn into red spheres after you've touched and passed them, so you've often got to work out ways in which you could grab all the members of an arrangement of blue spheres, without colliding with any that you've already turned red.
Fortunately, there is a mechanism that works in your favour. Blue spheres are most often arranged in squares or rectangles. If you collect all the spheres on the outside of the square only, so that you box in all the ones in the middle by completely surrounding them with reds, the whole collection of them will instantaneously disappear! All the spheres will automatically be collected, and in each ones place will be a ring. The rings are not mandatory but if you collect 50 of them, you'll be rewarded with a continue. Collect all the rings on the planet to earn yourself a Perfect, which will cash in for a whopping 50,000 points!
Blue spheres are frequently arranged in squares of at least 3x3. If you collect all of the ones around the outside of the square, and thereby boxing in some of the blue spheres inside...
..All of the spheres in the square will instantaneously turn into rings! 50 rings in the Special Stage are worth a Continue, and collecting all of them will net you 50,000 points.
The only other type of sphere is the bumper sphere. It can't be collected or turned into anything else, but it does knock you backwards when you run into one. Dangerous if there happens to be a red behind you.
The other common object you'll find are the white bumper spheres with red stars on them. These just bounce you backwards when you hit them, but if there's a red behind you, it could spell disaster, so try and avoid them. Also, don't forget that you can jump at any time by pressing the usual jump buttons. While at a fast speed, it's possible to jump over up to two spheres at a time. Speed is the other factor at play, because the longer you spend collecting these blue spheres, the faster you will run, as the speed (and tempo of the music) will increase a little bit about every 25 seconds. When things are running quicker, you'll need to make quicker reactions in order to stay in the game. I don't know if there's any kind of limit to the speed you can go at, but if you go on for long enough, it'll get pretty darn quick, trust me.
There are two on-screen counters in the Special Stage. The blue sphere one on the top left tells you how many of them are yet to be found, while the ring counter on the top right tells you how many rings you've got so far. As I've already mentioned, there are seven different planets in total, for each of the emeralds and each time you enter a giant ring, you'll play the stage after the one that you played previously, whether you obtained the emerald there or not. When you've made your way through all seven, you'll go back and do the ones that you didn't succeed at, when you next enter another ring.
Collect all the blue spheres on the planet to claim the emerald!
Now that you know how to play, lets take a look at the seven Special Stages. Each has a different colour scheme in its checkered patterns that vaguely reflects the colour schemes of the levels in the rest of the game.
The Green Emerald Planet 1
102 Blue Spheres
64 Rings
A nice and easy one to start you off with. Large open corridors containing squares of blue spheres, 4x4 or 2x2. Try out the strategy of going around the outsides of the 4x4 boxes to collect them all together and turn them into rings. Don't expect the 2x2 ones to turn into rings, because there aren't any blues in the middle, so they'll all stay red. The main thing you've got to be careful of are two tricky instances of a very thin winding passageway of blues amidst walls of bumpers. Hit one of those bumpers and you'll be sent back into one of the reds you've just made, and that'll be it for you, so good timing on your movements is crucial as you wind your way through them. Perhaps it's best to try and get them done first so that you don't find yourself desperately trying to do this at a stupidly fast speed by the end.
There's a number of squares of blue spheres here on which to practice the technique of collecting only those around the outside of the square, thereby collecting them all and turning them into rings!
The tricky parts in this first stage are these winding lines of blue spheres, amidst bumpers. Take one wrong move on the way and you'll be knocked back into a red, formerly blue sphere. Take these early on in the stage to avoid having to do them quickly.
The Yellow Emerald Planet 2
127 Blue Spheres
87 Rings
Essentially a long, winding corridor, with some larger rooms along the way, amidst a sea of reds. There are plenty of 4x3 rectangles of blue spheres within the corridors, and other blue formations in the center of the larger rooms. Do one rectangle at a time while traversing the corridors, but beware that two of the sides will be right next to walls of bumpers, so don't turn the wrong way. There's a 5x5 rectangle in an open room that has a single bumper in the middle of it. Don't worry about that. If you go around the outsides, you'll still make all the blues turn to rings, but the bumper will remain. In another square, only the spheres on the edge are blue, all the middle ones are bumpers. None of them will turn to rings when you make all the outside ones red, so make sure you turn away quickly at the end, or you'll run right into a red.
Several squares en route of this long corridor, amidst seas of red spheres, coated with bumpers.
This one might catch you out - a square of bumpers surrounded by blues. As you collect them around the outside, turn away or jump at the end, as none of them will turn to rings and you'll walk straight into your initial red.
The Purple Emerald Planet 3
118 Blue Spheres
80 Rings
A simple maze-like affair, with sixteen even-sized square rooms separated off by double lines of reds, and each with a selection of blues or bumpers in the middle. Don't leave a room until you've got all the blues, because you'll probably find it difficult to get them back later. Each room has a "door" into the next consisting of a pair of blues, framed by bumpers either side, so once you've gone through these it'll be difficult to go back. Go from room to room until you get to the end. Easy enough.
This stage is made up of sixteen rooms, separated by a double layer of reds. There are blue spheres/bumpers in the middle of each room and doorways of two blue spheres, surrounded by bumpers that link one room to another.
You're lead on a specific route through all the rooms, so be sure to collect all the spheres/rings that you come across in each room before you leave it, as returning later on will prove difficult!
The Blue Emerald Planet 4
115 Blue Spheres
80 Rings
This one's quite tricky. It's basically a large room with different formations dotted around, and may take you one or two goes to complete. There are four places where a 3x3 collection of blues are surrounded by bumpers, except for an entrance and an exit on two different sides, each with two blues in it. Sometimes it's tempting to go straight from the entrance to the exit along the sides of the square and hope that you'll turn everything into rings, but it won't work. You need to enter, turn the 3x3 square into rings, then exit. Another tricky point that requires your best timing is where you have to jump three hurdles of bumpers in order to get the three singular blues that sit between them. Finally, in the middle of the whole thing is a massive collection of blue spheres in the shape of a cross, with four bumpers in the middle. The best way of tackling this is to go all the way around the outside of the cross, rather than breaking them up into squares and rectangles, because that can get complicated, and time consuming. By surrounding the middle blues in red ones around the perimeter of the cross, you'll collect them all in one fell swoop.
Don't be fooled by these formations, you still need to go around the perimeter of the middle 3x3 square. There are blues on the entrance and exit of the formation but you can't collect them all in one fell swoop by going in, around and straight out.
There's a massive cross shape of blues. You could separate them out into squares, but by far the easiest solution is to go right around the outside of the whole cross.
The Grey Emerald Planet 5
58 Blue Spheres
54 Rings
Not that hard to do, but arranged in a strange way. There are two long corridors side by side, each leading into two different large rooms, and feature hurdles of bumpers to jump over. The walls of the corridors are all made of red spheres except, on one corridor, for an occasional trio of bumpers. When you see these, turn and leap over them to find two different 3x3 sets of blues between the two corridors. If entering these from the other corridor, there won't be any bumpers, instead you'll need to look for three reds on their own, with nothing standing immediately behind them, and leap over those instead. One of the large rooms has bumpers that are kind of in the shape of a hollow cross, and four blues on the outer corners of it. You can either go around the outside, or for quickness, leap over the bumpers. The other large room contains four 3x3 clusters of blues.
Parallel corridors are linked subtly by other, slightly hidden corridors that house sets of blue spheres. Look out for single lines of bumpers or reds in the walls, and jump over them.
Other blue formations can be found in large rooms at the end of the parallel corridors. Here, there's a vague cross shape of bumpers, with tricky singular blues held just outside the corners of the cross. Either jump the bumpers or go around the outside.
The Red Emerald Planet 6
128 Blue Spheres
64 Rings
Here's an interesting one. Four rooms each with a 4x4 set of blues in the middle (with bumpers guarding the corners). Connecting all the rooms together are corridors that start on each side of the rooms, and each one with four blues at either end. The best, and least confusing way to collect the sets of four is to get them horizontally, so you grab one, turn to the one next to it, then move up and grab the next two, then turn and carry on. Don't go straight ahead and then turn back for the other two, because then you'll have to turn back again and do a very large leap over the reds. It is possible to leap over two reds, but you want to keep it to a minimum here, if possible. Get all four in one go too, don't leave two of them for later or you'll be struggling to find all the ones you've left behind, unless you can work out a clever pattern. This one can be quite tough, especially when the speed increases while you're making a lot of quick turns.
Corridors linking large rooms each have four blues at the end. It's best not to go right through one side of the four and then turn back for the other side, as you'll then have to jump over two reds. Take one blue, turn and grab the one next to it, then do the same to the following two.
In the center of each room is a 4x4 square. Just be mindful of the bumpers around the edges.
The Light Blue Emerald Planet 7
60 Blue Spheres
74 Rings
A rather strange and mixed up one, this, and also one that's fairly easy to mess up on. For best results, check the map provided, as it's quite hard finding your way around this planet without it. From the start, you're placed between two large formations that are symmetrical to each other. Each of these consist of an outer edge mostly of reds, several bumpers behind them and an open space in the middle with a lone, awkward red sphere just off the center. The tricky thing is that on opposing corners of each of these odd formations there is one 3x3 square and a 4x4 square, each of which are already partly complete with reds. For each, complete the 4x4 squares first, in which you only need to collect the blues on two sides of the square to remove them all, then enter the middle of the formation, carefully skirting around the lone red to get the half complete 3x3. In these, two sides have been completed, leaving an awkward four, for which you have to start from the middle of one of the sides, and go around to complete the square correctly. Nearby the far edges of each of these large formations, at the top and bottom of them are "gateways" of four blue spheres each, and then further above the center are another pair of symmetrical 3x3 half-done squares of blues, and two long lines amidst the sea of reds, padded by bumpers.
Odd formations include squares of half complete spheres. Carefully complete them by grabbing the remaining blues on the outside, however it's very easy to mess up. By turning them all to rings through, you'll make your passage through easier.
An annoying single red sphere is very awkward to navigate your way around, especially at the inevitable speed increase. Try jumping straight over it.
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#1. Comment posted by Anonycat on Friday, 31st December 2010, 12:35pm (GMT)
Special Stage 2 has 111 rings--the 87 figure seems to exclude the convertible 5x5 formation.
#2. Comment posted by Anonymous on Thursday, 3rd February 2011, 9:52pm (GMT)
All of the planets except planet 5 have the same main color scheme of the zones
#3. Comment posted by DigitalDuck on Wednesday, 27th April 2011, 6:40am (BST)
The reason "Planet 5" doesn't fit in terms of colour scheme? The fifth level was originally Flying Battery Zone, before S3K got split into two separate games. That's why its colour scheme resembles that of FBZ.
#4. Comment posted by The Sentinel on Monday, 16th May 2011, 10:25pm (BST)
Comment 1 is right, Special Stage 2 has 111 rings.
#5. Comment posted by Enyeribe C. Elegalam on Monday, 9th April 2012, 10:56pm (BST)
The only way to earn yourself a Perfect Bonus in Sonic The Hedgehog 3 is for you to always collect all the rings in each 3D Special Stage. This not only includes free-floating rings in the 3D Special Stage, but also rings that are generated once a rectangular perimeter of blue spheres is cleared. You’re awarded 50,000 points at the end of the 3D Special Stage for collecting all the rings, regardless of if you’ve earned the Chaos Emerald at the end of the 3D Special Stage.
#6. Comment posted by Enyeribe C. Elegalam on Monday, 9th April 2012, 11:00pm (BST)
Right now, the only way to get the better ending is for you to always do all of the 3D Special Stages perfectly and collect all the 7 hidden Chaos Emeralds as Sonic to unlock Super Sonic in all the levels. Right after collecting all the blue spheres and turning them into rings, You might always wanna grab all the rings to earn yourself a “Perfect” while avoiding the red ones and get the last several blue spheres to receive a Chaos Emerald at the end of each 3D Special Stage. If you did everything right, You’ll earn yourself an extra big “Perfect Bonus” 50,000 points on each 3D Special Stage. Plus, You’ll get a lot of extra 1-ups and a lot continues! With all the 7 Chaos Emeralds collected, You’ll become Super Sonic!
#7. Comment posted by Kiel on Monday, 19th January 2015, 11:51pm (GMT)
A clever pattern for Stage 6:

I like your description but I saw the map and thought indeed there should be a clever way to get all the blue spheres in the corridors, without ever having to weave through the 2x2s super-fast or jump. I wrote on a map printout, and here are instructions I came up with.

You start partway through a corridor, in the "right lane". In the instructions I ignore the 4x4 clusters in the chambers, as they're easy to get. The hardest part I guess is keep your bearings in the chambers as you transfer to the new corridors. (You may have to pause a lot to keep your bearings :) Below is not the only possible configuration but it worked on the first try:

- You start partway through in a corridor, and simply go straight forward in the "right lane".
(Get the 4x4 clusters whenever you come to a chamber if they're there of course, but these instructions ignore them.)
- Go straight through chamber, keep in R lane.
- At the next chamber, turn R, take the L lane.
- At the next chamber, turn R, take the L lane.
- At the next chamber, turn R, take the L lane. The chamber you come into next is the first one you entered and should be empty of the 4x4 cluster.
- At this chamber, go straight, keep in the L lane.
- At the next chamber, turn L, take the L lane.
- At the next chamber, turn L, take the L lane.
- At the next chamber, turn L, take the L lane.
- At the next chamber, go straight, keep in the L lane.
- At the next chamber, turn R, take the R lane.
- At the next chamber, turn R, take the R lane.
- At the next chamber, turn R, take the R lane.
- At the next chamber, go straight, keep in the R lane.
- At the next chamber, turn L, take the R lane.
- At the next chamber, turn L, take the R lane.
- At the next chamber, turn L, take the R lane. You get the remaining 2 blue spheres in the first 2x2 cluster, and you're done!, ending right where you began.

Looking at this path drawn on a map, it kind of looks like the geometry of baseball stitching. I liked the graph theory classes in college and my degree's in math - the reason this works is that there's an "Eulerian path" in the nodes-and-lines representation of the stage.

Also note that the "Planets" idea is a lie!! :) The stages really must all be in the shape of a torus! You take the map - the left and right edges join together in a loop, and the top and bottom edges join together in a loop. You go from a flat square paper, joining to make a cylinder, and then joining its ends to make a doughnut shape - a torus! I'm sure the Sonic team decided making the stages appear as big spheres was simpler or more appealing though, but still there is the puzzle...

-- Submitted by an old-school Sonic lover whose first and only console was the Genesis and who loved the Sonic gameplay in elementary school. I just got some Sonic games on Steam a couple weeks ago and enjoy the nostalgia.

I must say, very impressive website!! This is my go-to place for Sonic.
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Super Sonic
Collect all the Chaos Emeralds from the Special Stages as Sonic to unlock Super Sonic in the levels.
With emeralds in tow, simply collect 50 rings and perform a double jump to transform into Super Sonic!
In Super form, Sonic is considerably faster, going even beyond the need to run at all - he hovers across the paths effortlessly.
After you've collected all the seven Chaos Emeralds as Sonic, you'll be able to transform into the all powerful Super Sonic once again. This is a much faster and largely invulnerable version of Sonic and is well worth unlocking. Tails does not have a super form in Sonic 3 alone. With all emeralds in tow, all you need to do is grab at least 50 rings, lose any shield that you may have at the time, and do a double jump. Sonic will turn yellow, his spikes will point upwards, and the music will change to the invincibility theme. He looks a little more evil this time around, with a whole new sprite, rather than an edited version of his regular one, with wilder spikes and green eyes (long before regular Sonic was given green eyes, of course). Super Sonic has much faster acceleration and top speed than his blue alter-ego, and he can also jump a great deal higher. He has the effect of a constant invincibility power-up so he cannot be damaged by any badnik or similar obstacle that would normally cause Sonic to lose rings if he runs into it. Any badnik unlucky enough to meet Super face to face will explode on first touch, but just like everyone else, he can still die by being crushed between two solid objects, drowning, or by falling off to the bottom of the level. Don't forget this.
Super can also jump higher than your average hedgehog as well, getting to far platforms with ease and making short work of bosses that are normally perched too high.
Traps and badniks are no problem either as you have the effect of a continuous invincibility power-up.
One thing to watch out for though is a falling ring count. You lose one ring per second, and will return to normal when depleted. The big rings are still here though, and can now be collected, representing 50 rings each.
Super Sonic is not completely invulnerable. He can still be crushed, drowned and fall to his death, so don't get too carried away!
There are a couple of catches though. Firstly, the reason you had to collect 50 rings first is because your ring count is directly related to how long you can remain in your super form for. Though Super Sonic can't lose any rings by getting hit by something, one ring is automatically subtracted from his total every second. Keep collecting as many as you can to feed your chaos-powered addiction, otherwise you'll turn back into plain old blue as soon as your ring count reaches 0. Keep an eye out for the giant rings too - they're still around and they no longer grant access to the Special Stage, they instead deliver a handy 50 rings when collected. If you reach the end of an act then you'll automatically be reset to regular Sonic. The main disadvantage of being super though is that his speed and high jumps make him a lot harder to control, so you may find yourself falling off of ledges, having difficulty jumping to an exact spot, or running into a crusher before you even realise it. Still, he can certainly make some tricky bits a whole lot easier - not to mention more fun.
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#1. Comment posted by Anonymous on Thursday, 4th August 2011, 10:08am (BST)
It sould be noted that these screenshots are not fom sonic 3 alone, but from sonic 3 and knuckles, as his colour is slighly brass in sonic 3 alone.
#2. Comment posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, 13th November 2013, 3:32pm (GMT)
One more thing, in Sonic 2 alone, at the Final Boss (in teh Launch Base Zone), he can STILL lose his rings if this Boss, aka Big Arm, catches him so be careful of this Boss.
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Competition Mode
Like its predecessor, Sonic 3 takes into account the possibility of you having friends or siblings and comes fully equipped with its very own 2 player mode. In split screen, you and your pal can play as either Sonic, Tails or Knuckles across five completely original, mini levels in a race to the end. You can access it at the title screen by pressing down to highlight the "competition" option and then press start. You'll then be greeted with a menu screen with three different gameplay options on it. Grand Prix is a race through all five stages, in essentially a best of five competition, though all five races are played anyway, even if one player wins the first three. Match race allows you to compete in one round at a time in a course of your choosing, and time attack is for one player only as they attempt to race for the fastest time on any of the courses. The first two modes are also playable with only one player, though the split screen will remain. While competing in a two player race, items will also appear on the courses, but if you wish, you can disable these by using the left and right buttons to highlight the item on or off icons on the right of the menu. Press A, C or start to begin the selected mode and select the exit option or press B to return to the title screen.
Competition mode features Grand Prix (a race through all five courses), Match Race (a single course race), or Time Attack (for one player to hone their skills).
Players can choose from Sonic, Tails or even Knuckles, all with their own unique stats for speed, jump and traction. Tails can still fly, however Knuckles cannot yet glide or climb walls.
Before you begin a race, you'll need to pick your character. Use the left and right buttons to make your selection, when prompted, and A, C or start to proceed with them. Before player 1 does that, player 2 can press start, if in grand prix or match race, and select a character to compete with. Both players can be the same character if they wish. Press B at any time to return to the main competition menu, though once a race has begun, you cannot exit until it is complete. Sonic is the obvious choice for speed, and has a decent jump, but poor traction. Tails has his flying ability, making him ideal for high jumps, and he and Knuckles are of a similar speed. Although Knuckles has a weaker jump, he has the best traction and is easiest to control, but he has yet to be bestowed with his gliding and wall climbing abilities, as seen in S&K.
Wait for the countdown at the start of the race to finish before setting off. For best effect, charge up a spin dash.
The race is held on two split screens as players dart through pint-sized courses.
Each of the five courses are very short, but they repeat continuously, and both players need to complete five laps of each course in order to move on to the next. When you begin a course, both players are positioned behind the start marker and a countdown from 3 begins. During this time you are allowed free movement, but if you pass the start marker before the countdown finishes, a fault will occur and you'll restart. Instead, use this time to charge up a spin dash. In each player's window, the clock counts upwards in the top left corner, while a number in the top right indicates the lap you're currently on.
Speed-up item.
Slow-down item.
Spring item. Knock it down, and good for one bounce.
I mentioned earlier about the items. As with most 2-player modes, a selection of items are thrown in to make the competitive experience that little bit more unpredictable. When a player passes the marker to complete a lap, sometimes a pair of items appear in a particular place on the course, moving in a large circle, and replacing any ones that may have been left there already. Such power-up/power-downs include the standard red speed-up shoe and also a new grey slow-down shoe, that, as its name would suggest, has the opposite effect. When you pick either of these up by touching them, they'll remain in effect for about 10 seconds or so, and their icon will appear in the small white box at the bottom of your screen. There are also three items that, when touched, simply drop to the ground and wait to be interacted with by either player. A small spring item is good for one use, while a banana peel will send a player sliding across the ground uncontrollably for a few seconds. When you knock down a small bomb badnik, it'll drop to the floor and then move along the ground backwards, hoping to encounter the other player coming along the opposite way. If one of the players collide with this thing, they'll be sent back to the start of the current lap they're on, unless they happen to have the ring item. If you get hit by the badnik while still holding the ring (which doesn't seem to have a time limit, unlike the shoes), you'll instead take a hit and lose the ring, which will bounce around and you can pick it up again if you're quick enough. Possession of the ring is also indicated by the icon in the small box, and you won't lose it if you pick up one of the shoe items afterwards. The final item is the blue circle with arrows. This means that if one player touches this while both players are holding an item, they will be swapped around.
Ring item. Protects from being hit by the badnik.
The badnik moves backwards through the course. The banana peel makes you momentarily lose control.
This item switches the player's currently held power-ups.
Finally, the courses themselves..
Azure Lake
Race through loops in the tranquil mountainside forests of Azure Lake.
Loops send you up over the mud pit toward this tree trunk. It can't be passed from the upper platform, you have to head left a little to drop down and pass by it from underneath, to complete the lap.
There's a button near the tree trunk that raises a horizontal spring between the two loops - the perfect trap to annoy a trailing opponent!
A tranquil forest lake near the snowy peaks of Angel Island, with grass-covered, purple ground of various square patterns, and with plant-life dotted around. A suitably energetic and melodic piece of music accompanies, and structure-wise it's a simple, standard first stage deal, really. A couple of loops send you up to a high ledge, and down a step where there's a thick tree trunk you can't get past. You need to go down to the bottom platform and go underneath to complete the lap. Items appear between the ramp off of the second loop and the high ledge, and at the end of that ledge is a button. Press it to bring up a horizontal spring after the first loop that will hopefully spring your rival backwards. There's also a sludge pit below, much like those of Marble Garden that'll drag you down and return you to the start of the lap, if you land in it and don't jump out quickly enough.
Balloon Park
The circus is in town, no doubt around the Carnival Night region of the island. Roll down a loop into a fairly large curved room.
These odd elephant platforms move back and forth, always leaving a small, moving gap in which you need to fall through. The quicker you can do so, the better!
To end the lap, you need to bounce off of these constantly reflating balloons to return to the checkpoint at the top. You need to carefully jump on them, or your trajectory on the bounce will be off.
The circus is in town around the Carnival Night Zone area, with a similar background to that level but with more circus tents, below a purple night sky. The temporary framework that comprises the foreground is decorated with flags, glitzy lights and illustrations of circus animals, and the mini-stage bops along to a quick, bouncy tune. A loop leads you into an area where decorated elephant platforms move back and forth in the floor, with an equal distance between them that allows you to slip through below. There are bumpers in the space below, where items will also appear, and to the right of this are two bouncy balloon objects sitting on ledges. One on the bottom right of a tall shaft, and the other on the top left. Touch the top of the first balloon to pop it and send yourself bouncing up to the one above, which you can use to bounce up to the marker on the top right ledge. These balloons constantly re-inflate soon after they are burst, but you have to touch the top of them in order to bounce. Sonic's speed may cause him trouble with this stage, so it's better suited for Tails or Knuckles.
Chrome Gadget
Allow the triangular platform to descend all the way to the bottom, while you stand on it.
Next, use fans to reach a higher platform to the right.
After the fans there's a button that causes a pop-out spring to appear later on, making it difficult to bypass a large curved area, into a corridor. For best results, try and spin dash straight into the corridor from the adjacent ledge.
A series of Metropolis style yellow springs down a shaft leads you back to the start of the lap.
A large mechanical base set at night, filled with lights across the horizon, green structures and a small, bright moon watching overhead. Excellent music too that's actually rather twinkly and optimistic. After the start, you'll be brought to a triangular platform that gradually drops downwards as you stand on it, and lifts back up when you get off. Either stay on it until it goes all the way to the bottom and head through the exit on the bottom right, or go left before it reaches the bottom and use a couple of horizontal springs to throw you toward the exit. Either way, be careful, because it's very easy to get crushed by this thing into the corner of a neighbouring ledge. Use fans to take you up to a ledge with a button, and then more springs to a higher ledge. To the right of this is a deep curve along the floor with the next corridor beginning on the other side of it. If you pressed that button it'll cause a spring to pop out at this entrance, which may make it hard to get through without running around through the curves around this area, especially for Knuckles with his poor jump. The best method seems to be to simply spin dash into it from the adjacent ledge. Through the corridor and some yellow side-springs will send you back toward the marker, with items nearby. Tails' flying ability comes in handy here.
Desert Palace
Press the red button to raise another annoying little horizontal spring at the end of the large preceeding loop, to send your trailing opponent backwards.
There's a sinking sand pit in the middle of these ruins that will suck you down and return you to the start if you hang about in it.
A single lap loops through the map twice on separate paths. On the second, beware of the bridge, which dissolves when stepped on and drops you straight back in that quicksand.
Our first taste of the Angel Island deserts, with sandy hills in the distance and tall palm trees and stoney pillars nearby. The 2 player mode continues its run of great music with a suitably cheerful number here. A speedy stage, so ideal for Sonic to race through, and consists mainly of a series of curves and one very tall loop-de-loop. One lap actually consists of two runs through the map, on separate paths. There's a sandpit along the way that'll suck you down and spit you out back at the start of the lap, but it's fairly easy to hop along. A platform sits at the far end to assist you, but dissolves when stepped on, and a large red button on the right side of it brings up a horizontal spring across the other end of the pit, just after the loop, so it'll send your trailing opponent back through it. You'll find the items just before the end, and also a long bridge that disintegrates when you step on it, and reappears soon afterwards. Be careful of this as it drops you right back into the sandpit, which just so happens to be situated directly below, and you'll have to carry on to the right and repeat the second half of that lap if you fall through.
Endless Mine
A stack of boulders presents an interesting mechanism. One player has to break through, but this will allow the other to sneak past more quickly and take the lead. Someone's got to do it though!
Run through loops and curves along intertwining wooden pathways.
Like Desert Palace, two separate paths through the map consitute one lap, making this one of the longer courses.
Underground tunnels of wooden platforms and green and purple dripping rock make for this fairly rare stage setting, similar to Mystic Cave Zone from Sonic 2, with a lovely little "tunnely" sort of tune. It's straightforward enough, but quite long. Down some steps and up a spring, and you'll find three yellow boulders that need destroying. If both players reach it at the same time, he who has to break the rocks will often be left behind as the other sneaks through quickly. Following that is a long stretch of curves and a loop to complete the lap, with items appearing near the marker. Like Desert Palace, it takes two separate trips through the map to complete one lap, each leading you on a different, intertwining pathway.
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#1. Comment posted by Ultimusic on Thursday, 25th November 2010, 3:48am (GMT)
Recommended Path For Azure Lake: Jump just before the end of the 90 degree curve therefore skipping unnecessary path
#2. Comment posted by Michael on Thursday, 23rd August 2012, 1:45am (BST)
Endless Mine wins my vote for the best music in Sonic 3! :)
#3. Comment posted by taismo4ever on Tuesday, 27th August 2013, 4:30am (BST)
In sonic generations, the city escape act 1 music has a tiny bit of endless mine's music intertwined within it.
#4. Comment posted by angelthehedgehog on Wednesday, 27th November 2013, 6:17pm (GMT)
endless mine has one of the best sonic songs ever!
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Content for this page last edited:
21st November 2010

Files last uploaded for this page:
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