Sonic & Knuckles
|Sonic & Knuckles|
|Developer(s)||Sega Technical Institute
|Designer(s)||Takashi Thomas Yuda (character design)
Hirokazu Yasuhara (lead designer)
Yuji Naka (programming)
|Engine||Sonic 3 modified|
|Platform(s)||Sega Genesis/Mega Drive|
|Release date||JP 1994-10-18
|Media||16-megabit cartridge, CD-ROM|
|Input methods||Game controller|
Current user rating: 65/100 (5 votes)
Sonic & Knuckles features 8 zones in total, but depending on the selected character and whether or not the quest for the Chaos Emeralds was completed, the game may be finished in 6 or 7 Zones instead.
Mushroom Hill Zone
An autumnal big valley with fantastic mushrooms. Dr. Robotnik's machine is stealing energy from this part of the island, making the zone increasingly dry. Sonic starts off on the upper area of this level, while Knuckles is below. If playing through this level as Sonic and/or Tails from Sonic 3, there will be an introductory cutscene showing them falling from the Death Egg platform, and Knuckles hiding the first Special Ring of the stage. When playing as Knuckles, there will be an introductory cutscene showing him being attacked by a Robotnik robot, which will replace the real Robotnik as a level boss.
The second act shows the seasons changing constantly, from spring, to fall, and possibly winter. Robotnik shows up at the end of the second act, firing off a beam that is responsible for the change in seasons. After destroying the beam, Robotnik will take off in his machine, forcing the player to chase him in a constantly stretching field, a mechanic that was reused in Sonic Advance 2's Boss Battles.
Flying Battery Zone
This flying fortress is a high voltage engine littered with loose screws and force fields, reminiscent of Wing Fortress. This Fortesss was the one bombarded Angel Island Zone in the previous game. Show first attempting to carpet bomb Sonic and Tails in the Angel Island Zone, Robotnik will fly aboard this aerial battleship, with Sonic and Knuckles giving chase. The inside of the ship is shown as being one of Robotnik's bases, having several animal capsules that hide enemies, animals, or rings. The first act boss is a capsule that must be defeated by causing its spiked balls to crash down on the botton on top.
The second act has the player going through the depths of the ship, encountering many hazards that can crush the player. A second miniboss is featured near the end; an attack system similar to the one featured in Sonic 2's Wing Fortress Zone, except that the goal is to wait for the beam to attack so many times before the ship begins to shake uncontrollably. At this point, the player has to race to the top, collecting rings before they are crushed. Robotnik attacks in a machine that can swivel up and down on the platform, and can spew fire from the top of the machine.
A desert temple with shifting sands. Act 2 takes the player into the dark and haunted pyramid tomb of a long forgotten pharaoh, within which malicious ghosts dwell.
Sonic and Knuckles run to the right of the ship, curling into a ball just in time to break down a door and land into the desert. There are many routes available to both of them, although there are a few routes that can confuse the player. The end of act boss is a stone golem that regenerates itself. The only way to defeat it is to lure it into the quicksand on the far left of the area.
The second act takes place inside of the ancient pyramid, where a number of ghosts that can harm the player dwell. Luckily, there are pulleys that light the pyramid up, which cause the ghosts to disappear, but the light will eventually disappear, causing the ghosts to reappear. This act was noted as being particularly difficult for a constantly repeating section in the beginning, involving the slides of sand and a timed jump onto a swinging platform. There are also plungers that release large amounts of sand, requiring the player to find an open space to stand in, lest they be crushed, and doors that have to be opened by pushing a switch and racing to get past the door before it closes. Robotnik attacks here in a large spiked statue that fires off an occasion beam. The player defeats him by attacking the laser eye, then attacking Robotnik's pod.
Lava Reef Zone
Lava Reef is the biggest, deepest and hottest volcano on Floating Island. Dr. Robotnik's Death Egg machine is located stucked atop the crater, awaiting launch.
Sonic falls down here while Knuckles simply advances to this stage. A fire shield is highly recommended here, as there is so much lava here. There are also machines that have spikes on their undersides, and rise and fall in attempts to crush the player. The end of act boss is two tentacle-esque arms that shoot fireballs (both requires about three to four hits to destroy), followed by a gigantic hand that tries to smash the player, and can only be beaten when its palm is on the ground.
The second act is noticeably cooler, as the lava is shown cooling and hardening. There are flame jets and spikes abound here. Near the end of the level, Knuckles will punch a boulder that sends Sonic tumbling down toward the downed Death Egg, which reheats the lava and causes many platforms to become fragile. Robotnik appears here, shooting off a volley of missiles that target the solid platforms, forcing the player to move to the right in order to stay alive. At the end of the forced scrolling segment, there is a checkpoint and several falling platforms. At the end of the fourth small platform, the screen will stop scrolling to the right, revealing a number of platforms that have a lightning shield, fire shield, and several rings. At the bottom of the section, Robotnik will show up, tilting the lava toward himself and firing off three explosive mines that settle into the lava. The player has to allow Robotnik to defeat himself by jumping onto the newly spawning platforms as the mines collide with him. Twelve mines later, and he is defeated.
Knuckles simply advances to the next stage.
Hidden Palace Zone
This ancient temple is where the mysterious Super Emeralds are hidden. For Sonic, crucial plot points are revealed here. For Knuckles, Hidden Palace is merely a passage to Sky Sanctuary.
The shortest level in the game, Sonic heads forward to do battle against Knuckles, where Robotnik's deception is revealed in his stealing of the Master Emerald and electrocution. Here, Knuckles decides that Sonic is trustworthy, and leads the way to the teleporter to the next stage. If playing as Knuckles, the next stage will be his last.
Sky Sanctuary Zone
The battle takes to the clouds as Sonic fights Dr. Robotnik's badniks across the crumbling ruins of an ancient civilization. Sky Sanctuary is the end of the game for Knuckles.
Robotnik has finally repowered the Death Egg, and is taking off into space. With one last assist from Knuckles, Sonic must make his way to the top, fighting off Robotnik's newest Sonic Robot a total of three times.
Knuckles' version of this stage is completely straightforward. As he teleports up, he is captured by the Robotnik robot, which is destroyed by the Sonic robot, known as Mecha Sonic. After Knuckles defeats him, Mecha Sonic will jump onto the Master Emerald and absorb its power, becoming Super Mecha Sonic. The strategy to defeating him lies in it exhausting its own power by firing off three energy blasts. Afterwards, he downgrades and has to return to the Master Emerald for a recharge. During this time, it's the only chance the player has to damage him. After dealing six hits, Mecha will show his exhaustion, and will attack by shooting out eight green rings. On occasion, he will lose his power, giving Knuckles the chance he needs to finish off the robot.
Death Egg Zone
Sonic has now breached deep into enemy territory, and finds himself in the bowels of Dr. Robotnik's giant space station. Death Egg Zone is only playable with Sonic (or Tails when locked on with Sonic 3). Unless all the Chaos Emeralds were collected, this is where the game ends for Sonic. Knuckles could only get to Death Egg Zone via the Level Select code.
Sonic is the only character to explore this stage. There are materializing platforms and electricity abound. The boss here is an electronic eye that comes in two phases. In the first phase, it's surrounded by rotating spheres that explode into shrapnel when damage is dealt. Once the spheres are gone, the eye will detach and spawn two platforms with spikes on the underside. Everytime damage is dealt, it will fire off a thick beam similar to the one used in Flying Battery, and the platforms will rotate at high speed.
The second act focuses on gravty manipulation, featuring switches that switch gravity from the ceiling to the floor, featuring routes that open up depending on the gravity. The boss featured here has a string of bosses following it.
The first boss requires the player to use the gravity tubes on the side to change gravity in order to cause the spiked pods dropped by Robotnik's robot to collide with it. Afterwards, the player chases him to his new mech, which starts off the battle by collapsing most of the platform. Robotnik will try to smash the player with his three-fingered hands, which require three hits per finger to destroy.
Here comes the worst part of the battle. The mech will now appraoch the player from the left, firing blasts of fire from its nose. Hitting the mech's nose will drop the armor, revealing the Master Emerald's pod, which must be hit. Beware, though, as Robotnik will charge energy into a strong beam which can only be avoided by jumping. After the mech is defeated, Robotnik will attempt to escape with the Master Emerald, forcing the player to chase him down and hit him while staying ahead of the collapsing platform. Eight hits later, and the fight's done....
The Doomsday Zone
In this final zone, Sonic unleashes incredible Emerald forces in his ultimate showdown with Dr. Robotnik. The Doomsday Zone is only accessible if the player has collected all the Chaos Emeralds. Completing it unlocks the "good" ending. Here, the player uses Super Sonic (and only sonic) rather than normal Sonic — or if locked-on to Sonic 3 and the player has collected the Super Emeralds as well, the player can play as Hyper Sonic. Sonic must navigate through the number of asteroids, collecting rings and avoiding Robotnik's missiles. The boss battle here takes two phases.
Phase one has Robotnik's spaceship firing tracking missiles and bullets. Sonic has to move around the ship, making the missiles hit the cockpit. Eight missiles to the cockpit will cause it to go down in flames, but Robotnik will attempt to escape in a mech strikingly similar to the one he used in Sonic 2's Death Egg Zone. He will be doing everything he can to stop Sonic, firing missiles and mines at Sonic. The only way to reach him here is to hold down right on the D-pad and ramming into Robotnik. Eight blows to the mech, it will go down, and Sonic will catch the Master Emerald.