Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to Day #12 of my Month of Nostalgic Game Reviews where I’ll be giving you reviews of some of my most nostalgic video games from my childhood. Today the Sonic love continues with one of the finest Sonic games next to its predecessors, Sonic the Hedgehog 3!
Okay now I’m in the zone. While Sonic 2 is my favourite game ever and I used to play it all the time, Sonic 3 I played just about the same amount of time and I have super nostalgic memories with this game. Now some of you may be asking, “Why aren’t you reviewing Sonic 3 along with Sonic & Knuckles as the complete games?” Well I’m reviewing these nostalgic games the way I remember them and I never owned the other half of Sonic & Knuckles until a few years later. Anyways onto the review.
So Sonic 3 was released in 1994 on the Sega Mega Drive and interestingly this game is the first half of a whole Sonic title. See originally during this game’s development cycle Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were meant to be released as one single-cartridge game. However, due to time constraints and manufacturing costs, the developers decided to split the game in half. In terms of the premise Sonic 3 follows on directly from the end of Sonic 2 where Sonic defeated his enemy, Dr. Robotnik; crash-landing on a floating island, Sonic encounters new character Knuckles the Echidna, and must once again collect the Chaos Emeralds while also working to stop Dr. Robotnik from relaunching his ship, the Death Egg.
When it comes to gameplay the formula is similar to the last two previous Sonic games, though it is largely improved and changed from before. In this game there are only 6 zones, with 2 acts and a boss encounter at the end of each act (there’s a mini boss at the end of Act 1 and a Robotnik boss fight at the end of Act 2). However in Sonic 3 after finishing Act 1 you start Act 2 straight away, transitioning into the next act seamlessly. Sonic and Tails also have new moves to use. Sonic now has a split second shield to use to protect him against projectiles. While Tails can now fly for a limited time and swim through the water too, obviously with Tails’ flying ability it allows him to explore areas Tails can’t. Also if a player controls Tails and flies then Sonic can be carried along too. And lastly one of the sexiest additions to the Sonic series was the use of shields including fire (protection from fire), bubble (allows to breathe in water) and thunder (a magnet for rings and gives you a mid-air jump), all of which have different attributes and an interesting ability for Sonic when you double tap the jump button.
Also star posts checkpoints in this game allow you to enter a gumball machine if you have 50 rings when you run past them, inside there you can get rings, shields and extra lives. Another thing to note is that the Special Stages in this game are found by jumping into massive gold rings hidden throughout levels. Inside you had to work your way through a 3D space where the goal is to collect all the blue spheres in the level without touching any red ones. If you collected all of the blue spheres then you got a Chaos Emeralds, and if you get all 7 then you again gain access to Super Sonic. And lastly multiplayer returned in Sonic 3, where you play through unique levels as either sonic, Tails or Knuckles in Grand Prix or Time Attack mode. These levels were varied and allowed for the uses of items that would either improve or impede your progress or hurt the opposite player.
Graphically this game is great to look at and every environment has a great use of colour and art style (though I think it looks rougher than Sonic 2‘s very smooth look). The soundtrack was also like the best thing ever and was the first soundtrack composed by Jun Senoue who would obviously compose many Sonic soundtracks to come. and let’s not forget the fact that Michael Jackson had a hand in crafting this soundtrack too, it’s something I picked up on when I was a kid because the ending song sounded like “Stranger In Moscow” and when I found out MJ had indeed worked on the game, my mind blew up! And you know when the King of Pop is making music for your game its some awesome stuff yo! 😀
When it comes to nostalgia with Sonic 3, there is no greater joy in my world when it comes to 16-bit gaming. While Sonic 2 is overall my favourite Sonic game, Sonic 3 had so many better elements like the new shields, soundtrack and crazy level designs. I loved playing through Angel Island Zone and Marble Arch Zone, I really hated Hydrocity Zone because of the slow water sections and that horrible moving wall in Act 2! Plus Carnival Night Zone I liked from a visual and audio standpoint but I could never get past that infamous barrel bit in Act 2 because I was an idiot as a kid lol. I never beat it until a few years ago, I loved the music in this game and used to play this a lot with my sister too. I never beat the game properly until I got Sonic Jam and saw the rest of the game, but I’m glad I did that way because I’m a much better gamer now than I was before.
In conclusion Sonic 3 is totally badass, it took the basic formula and gameplay and innovated it again to a much higher degree. With the additions of a different art style, amazing gameplay and a kick ass soundtrack Sonic 3 is considered by any to be the best Sonic game ever and while I love this game, I still love Sonic 2 much more. Anyway if you haven’t gotten around to playing this game, stop reading this review and go and play it now. It’s one of the finest games from the 90s. 🙂
Okay so when tomorrow comes around we’ll be reviewing the last game related Sonic, Sonic & Knuckles so look forward to that one folks. And don’t forget to share your nostalgia in the comments below! 😀