In the last 3 weeks, I decided to play every Sonic game from the first one from 1991 all the way to the final game in 1994. Everyone of these games I blazed my way through all the stages, special zones, and grabbed all the chaos emeralds to get all the games' good endings. Now, I have played Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to death since the time I owned a SEGA Genesis in the mid 90's, but I have never had the chance to play Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. Yes, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are two games but really they're one game all together. It seems Japan didn't have enough space to put in 14 Zones into one cartridge so they decided to split them into two. This explains why Sonic 3 only contain 6 stages while Sonic 2 had 11-12 overall. I have beaten Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles but I never had the chance to play the infamous Sonic 3 & Knuckles which combines these two games into one. So, 3 weeks ago I decided to go through the Sonic trilogy and began to play the first game one week, then Sonic 2 the following week, Sonic 3 the week after that and finally just yesterday I played the rest of it to finally conclude my Sonic Trilogy run on Genesis.
While playing through Sonic 3 & Knuckles for the first time in my life I noticed some differences compared to the solo game of Sonic 3. First, Knuckles' theme from Sonic 3 is changed to the theme from Sonic & Knuckles. Second, the first zone bosses' theme from Sonic 3 are also changed to the theme from Sonic & Knuckles. Third, they managed to fuse in the special stages from Sonic & Knuckles like the slot machine, and that strange white room with the energy orbs into Sonic 3. Not to mention they added my favorite gumball machine stage into Sonic & Knuckles. And finally, the changed I noticed the most was the Dr. Eggman battle at the end of Launch Base Zone 2 in Sonic 3. They completely removed the battle where Sonic fights Dr. Eggman in his mini-craft with those huge arms. Now, there is a battle on this same stage but after you defeat Eggman in your first encounter they quickly jump to Sonic & Knuckles' Mushroom Hill Zone. If I recall in Sonic 3, in Launch Base Zone 2, there was 3 encounters with Dr. Eggman before the game ended. Sure, they have the 1st two encounters but Sonic 3 & Knuckles doesn't. Why remove this boss battle from the game? Moving right along, since this is the first time I going through this game with both the games combined I managed to grab all seven chaos emeralds but wasn't able to transform into Super Sonic this time. That's odd? Luckily in this game there is a stage right when you defeat Dr. Eggman in Death Egg Zone 2 where Sonic transforms into Super Sonic and gives chase to Eggman in space in a zone called The Doomsday Zone. This stage was hard as hell. We all know Super Sonic needs 50 rings to transform but what happens when you transform, your flying through space, and your rings begin to decrease? It's a mixture of disaster since you have to fight Dr. Eggman 2 more times before you are declared victorious. Sure, there are rings in space to keep your transformation but not enough of them during the boss fight.
So finally, when you defeat Dr. Eggman, you get the ending, blah, blah, blah, and then I noticed another zone entitled the Hidden Palace Zone. Hidden Palace? So I go into this new zone and I see 7 huge emeralds representing the 7 chaos emeralds. So my chaos emeralds separate and I stepped onto one of the emeralds and *flash* a special zone!? WTH? For the fun of it I manage to beat the zone and I got a SUPER EMERALD? WTF!? There are 7 more emeralds in this game to get and now they're Super? Ok, so we have Chaos Emeralds in which transforms Sonic into Super Sonic so I wondered what would happen if I managed to get all 7 Super Emeralds? Once I completed grabbing all 7 Super Emeralds now Sonic can transform into ..............HYPER SONIC? So, how is he different compared to Super Sonic? The answer, not much. Hyper Sonic is nothing more than Sonic in Super Sonic form just glowing in different colors with huge sparkles around him. Wow.
In conclusion, I set out to take on all the great Sonic games from my past child hood and managed to beat them all again. Only this time to discover more secrets when I put both Sonic 3 & Knuckles together. In the 90's, it was Sonic's time and prime. The blue hedgehog was on top of the gaming world next to Mario of course. SEGA really gave Nintendo a run for their money at the time but unfortunately Sonic just couldn't pull out another great game since the end of Sonic & Knuckles back in 1994. Everything after that for Sonic was nothing but trash.