Sonic The Hedgehog 3
Flying, it’s something that almost everyone in the world will try at least once and it’s something that many people love to do. Sitting in the front of the plane, with air people plying you with alcohol, it’s nearly perfect; however, few people would want to be standing on the roof of a prop plane flown by a mutant fox with two tails. Yet, this seems to be a recurring theme with the blue hedgehog. Towards the end of Sonic 2 there was lots of this insane behaviour and Sonic 3 opens in much the same way.
The basic plot of the former two titles in this franchise is made slightly more complicated in Sonic 3 as Sonic now has an arch nemesis who he needs to beat and get past – Knuckles the Echidna. Knuckles makes his presence known right from the start of the game and whilst his remit in Sonic 3 is limited, he’s still there and he’s still causing our poor blue hero a lot of trouble. Aside from this occasional nuisance, Sonic 3 doesn’t try and teach and old dog a new trick. Sonic’s prime goal is to speed his way through a variety of different levels and try and destroy Robotnik in under 10 minutes and try and save the innocent creatures in the world from Robotnik’s badnik creations.
What makes Sonic 3 different to it’s predecessors is the sheer size of the Zones, they are estimated to be around three times longer than Sonic 2 and contain multiple paths to the end. It’s no longer just a case of pressing right and jumping at the right time, it’s now possible to get very lost, go back and then start again. Yet, although the size of the Zones has increased substantially, the 10 minute time limit per act remains and therefore makes Sonic 3 a very challenging game. With 6 Zones with each normally containing 2 Acts, Sonic 3 is not the longest game in the Sonic history; nor is it the shortest.
Sonic 3 is also harder than older Sonic games, with far more enemies to destroy and even some basics, such as spikes, being reworked just to confuse the comfortable gamer. Once upon a time, spikes killed you, or made your loose your rings. In Sonic 3 they still do this, but sometimes they move, sometimes they shoot things and others’ spikes are soft and can be bounced on. This, coupled alongside the new types of shield, makes Sonic 3 a very different experience than Sonic 1 or Sonic 2.
When playing in two-player mode, Tails makes an appearance and whilst he is still somewhat useless overall, the ability to carry Sonic in the air around the level is very useful. Naturally, with Tails being the side-kick in every element, he gets tired fairly quickly so his usefulness is short lived.
The Chaos Emeralds are back in Sonic 3 and that’s one of the primary reasons for Knuckles hatred for Sonic. Yet, these Special Stages are very different to anything that’s been experience before. They aren’t at the end of the level after collecting 50 Rings, or when running through a checkpoint – they are simply found. Find a Giant Ring and jump into them. That’s when a 3D world emerges where Sonic has to run around the globe only collecting Blue Spheres. It’s easily one of the most addictive special stages in any Sonic game, ever. Collection of all of the Chaos Emeralds will result in the ability to use Super Sonic to destroy badniks across the level with ease and speed.
Sonic 3 is also unique as it’s the first Sonic game to allow the gamer to save. Whereas with Sonic 1 and 2 you’ve got to finish the game in one sitting otherwise, all the progress will be lost, Sonic 3 has a basic save mode that remembers what levels have been completed and allows the gamer to replay levels if they wish. This is a real step forward in Sonic games and the Mega Drive in general.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is a great step forward in Sonic games and has introduced many of the classic elements, such as multiple shield types and various paths to the end of the zone, that still exist in Sonic games today. Whilst it is a little short, it’s gameplay can be inexplicitly lengthened with it’s sequel – Sonic and Knuckles and is therefore not only a great experience but also versatile.