Sonic & Knuckles Retro Review
Sonic Team/Sega Technical Institute
Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis, Xbox 360(XBLA), Virtual Console(Wii)
Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis: October 17, 1994
XBLA: September 9, 2009
Wii: February 15, 2010
E (Comic Mischief)
The conclusion of Sonic 3 starts now
Once upon a time, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were originally the same game. However, due to lack of time and money, the two had to be split up. Instead of just releasing the Sonic & Knuckles as a splitting image of Sonic 3, the developers came up with an idea that would separate the two. Utilizing a system known as “lock-on technology” the cartridge would act as a sort of expansion pack for the previous game.
There are two sides to every story and this is no exception. Sonic’s story takes place immediately after the events of Sonic 3 as Sonic tracks down Dr. Robotnik who crash landed back on Floating Island. He must also recover the Chaos Emeralds before the doctor can. As for Knuckles’ campaign, it takes place after Sonic’s story and we find the Echidna relaxing when he is suddenly attacked by one of Robotnik’s surviving robots.
As far as gameplay is concerned, this title plays exactly like Sonic 3 with very few differences. Sonic still has to race through zones while avoiding danger and to keep an eye out for Chaos Emerald locations. The only noticeable difference comes when Knuckles is chosen. Unlike Sonic, Knuckles can’t run as fast nor can he jump high. He can’t even use the abilities of the elemental shields. While he lacks certain qualities, he certainly makes up for it with unique moves of his own. Knuckles can glide and even climb up walls which is excellent for hard to reach places. Sonic’s campaign is a bit longer than Knuckles in terms of zones to complete; Sonic has a hidden level if all Chaos Emeralds are gathered. Like always, for those players that want the good ending, you must collect the 7 Chaos Emeralds.
I mentioned early on about lock-on technology and how it acted like an expansion pack. What I mean is that for players that have previous games of Sonic downloaded, specifically Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles adds bonus content. For Sonic 3, it gives players access to the full game of Sonic 3. That means you can play Sonic 3 the way it was designed to be. As some incentive for you, if you play this way, you can collect what are called Super Emeralds; these allow Sonic or Knuckles to go into hyper mode.
- Impressive visuals even years later
- Added value by using the lock-on technology
- This is more of an expansion rather than full game
Overall, Sonic & Knuckles may be just a clone of Sonic 3 but the formula is so well done that there really isn’t much to complain about. You definitely get your money’s worth with this purchase but only if you own other Sonic games (especially Sonic 3).