Sonic & Knuckles: Wikis


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Sonic & Knuckles
Developer(s) Sonic Team
Sega Technical Institute
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Takashi Thomas Yuda (character design), Hirokazu Yasuhara (lead designer), Yuji Naka (programming)
Composer(s) Howard Drossin
Jun Senoue
Tokuhiko Uwabo
Tomonori Sawada
Naofumi Hataya
Engine Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Platform(s) Mega Drive/Genesis, Virtual Console, Xbox 360
Release date(s) Mega Drive/Genesis
JP October 18, 1994
NA October 17, 1994
EU October 19, 1994
Xbox Live Arcade
NTSC September 9, 2009
Virtual Console
JP October 27, 2009
NA February 15, 2010
PAL February 12, 2010
Genre(s) Platform game
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) VRC: GA
Media 16-megabit cartridge, DLC
Input methods Gamepad, keyboard

Sonic & Knuckles is a platform game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series for the Mega Drive/Genesis. It was developed in the United States at Sega Technical Institute by members of Sonic Team, and was published by Sega worldwide on October 18, 1994. It is the direct sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

As well as working as a standalone game, through a system dubbed "lock-on technology," Sonic & Knuckles acts as an expansion pack to both Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3, with which it was developed in tandem.[1]

A port of Sonic & Knuckles was released on September 9, 2009 for Xbox Live Arcade with complete backwards compatibility with earlier XBLA Sonic games[2], HD support, online leaderboards and network play.[3] It was later re-released on the Virtual Console in Japan on October 27, 2009, the PAL region on February 12, 2010 and in North America on February 15, 2010, all with the Lock-on feature compatible as well.



Sonic's story

Sonic & Knuckles title screen.

The story picks up from the ending of Sonic 3 - Dr. Robotnik's orbital weapon, the Death Egg, has been badly damaged in the climactic battle between himself and Sonic The Hedgehog. As the satellite falls back to Floating Island,[4] landing in a volcanic crater, Sonic jumps off, landing in a mushroom filled woodland.

Sonic knows there are many Chaos Emeralds hidden on the island, including the powerful Master Emerald, the secret to the island's levitation powers. Worried that Robotnik may try to harness this power to fuel a repaired Death Egg and also use it to build a big robot to kill him, he sets off to try and destroy it once and for all, keeping an eye out for Knuckles the Echidna, still smarting from his Launch Base defeat.

At Hidden Palace, Sonic finds Knuckles there waiting for him. They fight, and leave. Dr. Robotnik tries to steal the Master Emerald to which Knuckles reacts by attacking Robotnik trying to save it. Robotnik zaps Knuckles defeating him, giving Robotnik his escape opportunity. Knuckles now realises his mistake and that Sonic is on his side. Together they teleport to Sky Sanctuary.

At Sky Sanctuary, Knuckles follows them until he's tired, and in the background, you can see the Death Egg launching. Sonic moves through the level and gets on the Death Egg. At the end of the Death Egg zone, Sonic fights Robotnik's giant robot and defeats it. If Sonic doesn't have all seven Chaos Emeralds, he can go no further.

In The Doomsday Zone, Super Sonic chases after Dr. Robotnik who still has the Master Emerald. After defeating one of his ships, Robotnik tries to make one last getaway attempt with the Emerald. He gets the Emerald back and returns back to Angel Island. As Sonic and Tails put the Emerald back on the island, they meet Knuckles and the Island flies back into the air.

Knuckles's story

Knuckles's story starts when a mystery assailant, EggRobo, drops a bomb on a half-asleep Knuckles, which only manages to enrage the echidna. Knuckles then goes on to stop EggRobo from stealing the Master Emerald.

Throughout the story, Knuckles fights EggRobo instead of Dr. Robotnik. In the Sky Sanctuary zone, EggRobo is destroyed when Mecha Sonic attacks Knuckles. After a short fight with Mecha Sonic, he uses the power of the Master Emerald to become Super Mecha Sonic. Knuckles defeats him, and he is killed. In the ending, Knuckles is seen with Sonic and Tails flying on the Tornado heading back to Angel Island. They put the Master Emerald back and the credits roll as the island rises back into the sky.


For a more detailed examination of gameplay, see Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Playable characters are Sonic and Knuckles. Unlike in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Tails is not available, although he is still in the game, but in corrupted form.

Essentially, there are two separate games to tackle, depending on which character is selected at the start of the game. Although the appearance of the Zones is the same for either character, their layout and some of the bosses' tactics differ noticeably at points (Knuckles fights EggRobo in his boss battles, who has different and particularly smarter strategies than Robotnik, although a glitch in the game may make Knuckles fight the real Robotnik and his strategies). The majority of the zone differences are from the Lava Reef Zone onwards.

The two playable characters have different skills and abilities available. Sonic can jump higher and run faster than Knuckles, and he has the Insta-Shield ability. Also, he can use the special powers provided by any of the shields. Knuckles can climb walls, break through bricks with his fists and glide through the air.

As in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, there are two types of extra stages: Bonus Stages and Special Stages. The Bonus Stages are entered by collecting at least 20 rings (or at least 50 to access the second Bonus Stage), and jumping through the bright ring of stars that appears above each checkpoint in the Zones. The first Bonus Stage combines the slot machines of Sonic the Hedgehog 2's Casino Night Zone and the 360° tumbling labyrinth Special Stage of the first Sonic the Hedgehog. The second Bonus Stage is a large vertical course, with magnetic orbs that Sonic or Knuckles can use to propel himself upward. Along the way he can pick up shields, rings or lives. He is chased by a horizontal forcefield that slowly moves up and, when the character is caught in it, the stage ends. Reaching the top of the stage ends it as well.

Unlike Sonic 3, there are no save game slots available, unless the game is combined with Sonic 3 to make Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

Lock-on technology

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 locked-on to Sonic & Knuckles cartridge.

Sonic & Knuckles utilizes "lock-on technology" that lets the cartridge plus the Genesis/Mega Drive access data from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 so that elements of both Sonic & Knuckles and the locked-on game are combined. To play these combined games, the hatch on top of the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge can be flipped open and the second game placed inside.

The lock-on technology was actually a way of making up for the fact that the developers could not meet the deadline for Sonic 3. Originally, Sonic 3 was to be released with Knuckles as a playable character, and with all the Sonic & Knuckles levels playable (the level select screen in Sonic 3 features inaccessible Sonic & Knuckles levels and music for said levels can be played in the sound test; the Knuckles-only routes through the Sonic 3 levels can also be accessed via the debug mode). Time constraints forced them to split the project in two, releasing Sonic 3 with the completed levels and continuing work on the uncompleted ones, plus adding the Super Emeralds, and the lock-on feature. Indeed Sonic 2 had once run into similar problems, resulting in the original Hidden Palace and several other levels being removed.[5]

This kind of “lock-on” functionality is rarely seen elsewhere in video game history. Some Konami games for the MSX can be combined with another in the computer’s secondary cartridge slot to unlock certain small visual changes and cheats[6], and combining Salamander with Nemesis 2 unlocks an entire level. Some games for the Nintendo Entertainment System released by HES, as well as the Super NES game Super 3D Noah's Ark, feature a cartridge port on the top to accept other games for the system, but this was purely to override the systems' respective lockout chips, as these games were not licensed by Nintendo. Some video game peripherals require being joined with a cartridge in a similar manner (i.e. Game Genie; GameShark), or transfer data between games (the Transfer Pak) but don't allow the "lock on"-style merging of data from 2 different video games.

This feature is also included in the Xbox Live Arcade release of the game, which connects to any of the relevant titles purchased on the XBLA service. Sega also added it to Nintendo's Virtual Console version of the game, which also connects to any of the relevant titles purchased through the Wii Shop Channel.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Sonic 3 & Knuckles title screen.

Also known as Sonic 3 & Knuckles; there are ten immediate differences:

  • The player can play as Knuckles in the Sonic 3 levels, although Knuckles now no longer has an opening cutscene.
  • The player can play as Tails in the Sonic & Knuckles levels or have Tails follow Sonic throughout the entire game.
  • After the levels of Sonic 3 are finished, the Death Egg was seen to fall intact instead of being destroyed, the player continues straight to the levels of Sonic & Knuckles. In addition, these levels now have additional introductory sections to account for the scenery change, in line with those for all other levels.
  • Players can collect 7 Chaos Emeralds as well as 7 Super Emeralds. Each Chaos Emerald must be collected before the correspondingly colored Super Emerald can be collected.
  • Passing a star post can now open up all 3 Bonus Stages, including the slot machine stage (20-34 rings required), the magnetic orbs stage (35–49 rings required) from Sonic & Knuckles as well as the gumball machine (50–65 rings required) from Sonic 3.
  • Game progress can be saved during the Sonic & Knuckles levels using Sonic the Hedgehog 3's save feature.
  • There are now 8 save slots, rather than 6.
  • Save slots now display information about the number of continues, lives, and the Chaos Emeralds surround the player's character as the player collects them (the Chaos Emeralds are replaced with the correspondingly colored Super Emeralds when the player collects them).
  • Moreover, if the player already has Sonic 3 completed save data, with Emeralds collected, then these will be detected on first boot and copied to the corresponding blank save slots. The player can thus immediately begin playing the Sonic & Knuckles levels with the progress they may have already made in the Sonic 3 levels.
  • The game uses Sonic & Knuckles' sound bank exclusively with the exception of the Sonic 3 levels' BGM, which means that the songs that were different between Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles (which include the title screen, 1-up, and invincibility sounds, as well as the mid-level boss music, Knuckles' theme and end credits theme) use only the Sonic & Knuckles version.
Super Tails in Hidden Palace Zone. The artwork in the background foreshadows the final level The Doomsday Zone, where Super/Hyper Sonic fights Robotnik's giant robot for the Master Emerald.

Once the player picks a character and starts playing, more differences become apparent. Knuckles' levels are different from Sonic and Tails' in most cases, with new areas and bosses. There are slight differences in object placement in some of the Sonic 3 Zones as well (Launch Base in particular). Sonic and Tails skips the final boss of Launch Base, while Knuckles still has to do it (although he skips the first true boss of Launch Base). The Sonic & Knuckles levels are the same, except that Mushroom Hill now has an intro (Tails airlifts Sonic in).

Collecting all the Chaos Emeralds in the Sonic 3 levels will turn Sonic or Knuckles into Super Sonic or Super Knuckles. However, these abilities will be lost once the player enters a Special Stage in the Sonic & Knuckles levels where their Chaos Emeralds are "traded" for access to corresponding Super Emerald special stages, thus beginning the Super Emerald quest. If the player does not have all of the Chaos Emeralds prior to reaching Mushroom Hill, the acquired Chaos Emeralds will become Super Emeralds and the player is given the opportunity to acquire the first Super Emerald. However, the player will not be allowed to return to Hidden Palace via warp rings until they collect the remaining Chaos Emeralds.

The Super Emeralds allow Knuckles and Sonic to access Hyper modes, which are identical to their Super modes aside from graphical changes and the addition of some few additional abilities. Tails cannot normally gain Emerald powers but does so when he collects all Super Emeralds, taking on the form of Super Tails. He has no Hyper form but simply remains Super, with four Super Flickies flying around him that automatically attack nearby enemies. Hyper Sonic and Hyper Knuckles have a few different abilities, like being unable to drown in the water. Hyper Sonic has a double jump instead of his normal air attack, which not only allows him to reach slightly higher areas, but any minor enemies on the the screen will be defeated. Hyper Knuckles can use an earthquake which can be activated by hitting a wall while gliding, causing a quake that destroys all enemies on the screen. All Super/Hyper forms have increased speed and are invincible until they run out of rings.

Taking care to avoid all the Special Stages in the latter half of the game, it is possible to finish the game with only the 7 Chaos Emeralds, retaining their Super powers (but not gaining Hyper powers) until the very end of the game. In this case the game endings will resemble the good endings from Sonic & Knuckles. This allows for a total of nine different endings — each character (Sonic and Tails together have the same as Sonic alone) has one with 0–6 Chaos Emeralds, one with all 7 Chaos Emeralds and 0-6 Super Emeralds, and the third with all 14 Chaos and Super Emeralds.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Knuckles in Sonic 2 title screen.

Also known as Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (or Knuckles in Sonic 2 for short), this game is identical to Sonic 2 (aside from a few changes to make it more playable with Knuckles) but with Knuckles now playable instead of Sonic or Tails. The title screen features Knuckles and the only option is "Press Start" (Options and the versus mode have been disabled). There are no new Zones. The only differences in gameplay is that Knuckles can explore once inaccessible areas (where secrets such as 1-ups have been added for Knuckles), some areas are harder because Knuckles cannot jump very high and accelerates slowly (in particular, the final boss of Sonic 2, the giant robot in Death Egg Zone, is regarded as being much more difficult to beat while playing as Knuckles because of his weaker jumping ability), the title cards (ex. Emerald Hill Zone Act 1) are green and red, shields are now grey, and Knuckles retains his rings after a Special Stage, making it much easier to obtain Chaos Emeralds. Getting the Emeralds is easier too, for the Special Stages have reduced Ring quotas for Knuckles making it much easier to obtain Super Knuckles.

Unlike the Sonic 3 lock-on, where the Sonic & Knuckles ROM referenced the data in Sonic 3 to add its additional features, this game used the Sonic 2 data bank exclusively except for an otherwise hidden extra data bank on the Sonic & Knuckles cart. The lack of knowledge over the existence of this patch made it impossible to find a working dump of the Knuckles in Sonic 2 ROM for a long time.

Sonic the Hedgehog

In the development of Sonic & Knuckles, Sega attempted to implement Knuckles into the original game, but decided to leave him out. According to several programmers and hackers, the reason why Knuckles could not be placed into Sonic the Hedgehog like he was in Sonic 2 was that the palette colors of Knuckles' sprite would have, in fact, completely altered the palette scheme of the entire game. Therefore, instead of a Tails in Sonic 1 and a Knuckles in Sonic 1 feature, fans were treated to a full version of the Blue Sphere game (see below). Hackers, however, succeeded three years laterin making a game hack called Miles Tails Prower in Sonic the Hedgehog and several years later in making a game hack called Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog[7]. The color palette problems were overcome by reusing the shoe colors (two shades of pure red) for Knuckles' body, instead of the original three shades of pinkish-red, and changing his socks from green to blue, so that the palette did not have to change.

Any other Genesis/Mega Drive game

Opening of Blue Sphere.

Placing the first Sonic game, or most other Genesis/Mega Drive games, into the cartridge will display a screen depicting Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Robotnik underneath scrolling text that repeats "No Way? No Way!" supposedly meaning that the game is unplayable. By pressing the A, B and C buttons together, a minigame based on the Chaos Emerald bonus levels is unlocked, called Blue Sphere. There are over 100 million unique levels. The last level, "Special Stage", repeats itself once the level is beaten. Only by locking the original Sonic the Hedgehog or Sonic Compilation in the Sonic & Knuckles cart can one play through all the stages. The other Genesis/Mega Drive games will only play one level each, which will infinitely repeat. Despite being near randomly generated, the levels are playable for the most part, even if many bits and pieces of levels get recycled. On another note, some levels may be nearly impossible to complete while others are not as difficult.

In Sonic Jam and Sonic Mega Collection, Blue Sphere is playable as a separate game. Sonic Jam allows the player to access it by choosing to play Sonic & Knuckles and "lock it on" with Sonic 1. In Mega Collection, the game has to be unlocked separately. Additionally, there was a 1997 PC CD-ROM version released, entitled Sonic & Knuckles Collection, that contained Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It also contained the full version of Blue Sphere, accessible through its options menu.

Playing these levels via a game with a battery pack has been known to erase saved games. Additionally, games made after Sonic & Knuckles was released will not work with its lock-on feature. There are only a few games made before Sonic & Knuckles that do not work, such as Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium and Super Street Fighter II. The reason that these games are unable to work with Sonic & Knuckles is that the combined size of the two games' data exceeds 6 megabytes, which is the maximum amount of memory that the Genesis/Mega Drive allots for game data.

Release and reception

Prior to the release of Sonic & Knuckles in North America, Blockbuster Video and MTV co-sponsored a tournament contest where kids were allowed to play a pre-release of the game, leading to a final tournament held at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California. A special on the game showing the tournament final, "MTV's Rock the Rock Warning", was aired shortly before the game's release.[citation needed]

The game was well received upon release, with reviewers praising its presentation and gameplay, but its lack of originality was criticized.

The Virtual Console version was also given positive reviews, earning a 9.0 from IGN for the game itself and the returning lock-on system that can be used with the other Sonic re-releases.


  • Executive Producer: Hayao Nakayama
  • Producer / Lead Programmer: Yuji Naka
  • Director / Lead Game Designer: Hirokazu Yasuhara
  • Senior Game Designers: Hisayoshi Yoshida, Takashi Iizuka
  • Senior Programmers: Takahiro Hamano, Masanobu Yamamoto
  • Character Design / Animator / Scene Artist: Takashi Thomas Yuda
  • Scene Artists: Kunitake Aoki, Chie Yoshida, Tsuneko Aoki, Shigeru Okada, Satoshi Yokokawa
  • Music Composers: Brad Buxer, Bobby Brooks, Darryl Ross, Geoff Grace, Doug Grigsby III, Scirocco, Howard Drossin
  • Sega Sound Team: Bo, Sachio Ogawa, Milpo, Masaru Setsumaru, Tatsuyuki Maeda, Tomonori Sawada, Masayuki Nagao, Jun Senoue


External links

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Sonic & Knuckles
Box artwork for Sonic & Knuckles.
Developer(s) Sonic Team and Sega Technical Institute
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Takashi Thomas Yuda (character design), Hirokazu Yasuhara (lead designer), Yuji Naka (programming)
Release date(s)
Sega Genesis
Xbox Live Arcade
Genre(s) Platform
System(s) Sega Genesis, Sega Channel, Windows, GameTap, Xbox Live Arcade
Players 1-2
ESRB: Kids to Adults
VRC: General Audiences
Preceded by Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Followed by Knuckles Chaotix
Series Sonic the Hedgehog
For the lock-on minigame, see Blue Sphere.

Sonic & Knuckles is a platform game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Sonic Team in collaboration with Sega Technical Institute, and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis in 1994. It is the direct sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which was released earlier that year. The game features unique "lock-on technology" which enables another cartridge to be plugged in via the socket on top. This allows for Knuckles to be used in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and links the two direct sequels together into Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.

Table of Contents

Getting Started

editSonic the Hedgehog series

Sonic the Hedgehog · Sonic the Hedgehog 2 · Sonic the Hedgehog CD · Sonic the Hedgehog 3 · Sonic and Knuckles · Sonic Adventure · Sonic Adventure 2 · Sonic Heroes · Shadow the Hedgehog · Sonic Rivals · Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) · Sonic Unleashed

Sonic and the Secret Rings · Sonic and the Black Knight

Sonic Chaos · Sonic Triple Trouble · Sonic Blast · Sonic Pocket Adventure · Sonic Advance · Sonic Advance 2 · Sonic Battle · Sonic Advance 3 · Sonic Rush · Sonic Rivals · Sonic Rush Adventure · Sonic Rivals 2

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine · Sonic Spinball · Sonic Compilation · Tails' Skypatrol · Tails Adventure · Sonic Labyrinth · Sonic the Fighters · Sonic R · Sonic Riders · Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity · Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Sonic & Knuckles

Developer(s) Sega Technical Institute
Publisher(s) SEGA
Release date October 17, 1994 (NA)

October 18, 1994 (JP)

Genre Action
Mode(s) Single player
Age rating(s)
Platform(s) Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS2, GameCube, Xbox
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Sonic & Knuckles was released when Sonic the Hedgehog 3 had to be split into two games to meet the deadline. The Lock-On port on the top of the cartridge could be used to insert a Sonic 3 cart and combine the two games (using Sonic 3's SRAM), or to insert a Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cart and play as Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic 2.


Sonic & Knuckles carries on from where Sonic the Hedgehog 3 left off. At the end of Sonic 3, after Dr. Robotnik's defeat at Launch Base, the rebuilt Death Egg fell back onto Angel Island and crashed on top of Lava Reef's volcano (retconning the ending of Sonic 3, in which the Death Egg is destroyed). Now the evil doctor attempts once again to repair the Death Egg, this time by trying to use the Master Emerald to fuel its engines. This all-powerful jewel, upon which the Chaos Emeralds base their powers, is guarded by Knuckles. In Sonic 3, Dr. Robotnik was able to fool the echidna into working for him and against Sonic. In Sonic & Knuckles he betrays Knuckles in order to obtain the Master Emerald. Knuckles then realizes that Dr. Robotnik has been playing him all along. Sonic and Knuckles then reluctantly work together in order to stop Robotnik and save Angel Island. In this way Sonic & Knuckles resolves the feud between the two characters, and ties up the plot of Sonic 3.


  • Mushroom Hill Zone
  • Flying Battery Zone
  • Sandopolis Zone
  • Lava Reef Zone
  • Hidden Palace Zone
  • Sky Sanctuary Zone
  • Death Egg Zone
  • The Doomsday Zone

External links

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Sonic series
Main series:
Sonic the HedgehogSonic the Hedgehog 2Sonic CDSonic the Hedgehog 3Sonic & KnucklesSonic CrackersSonic 3DSonic AdventureSonic DX Directors CutSonic Adventure 2Sonic HeroesShadow the HedgehogSonic the Hedgehog (2006)Sonic Unleashed
Handheld series
Sonic the Hedgehog · Sonic the Hedgehog 2 · Sonic Chaos · Sonic Triple Trouble · Sonic Blast · Sonic Labyrinth · Sonic Pocket Adventure · Sonic Advance · Sonic Advance 2 · Sonic Battle · Sonic Advance 3 · Sonic Rush · Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis · Sonic Rivals · Sonic Rush Adventure · Sonic Rivals 2 · Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
Sonic Classics · Sonic Jam · Sonic & Knuckles Collection · Sonic Mega Collection · Sonic Gems Collection
Sonic Spinball · Sonic Drift series · Mean Bean Machine · Tails Adventure · Tails' Skypatrol · Knuckles' Chaotix · Sonic the Fighters · Sonic R · Sonic Shuffle · Sonic Pinball Party · Sonic Riders · Sonic and the Secret Rings · Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity · Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games · Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games · Sonic and the Black Knight

This article uses material from the "Sonic & Knuckles" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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