Sonic & Knuckles

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Sonic & Knuckles title.png
SonicandKnuckles MD Title JP.png
Sonic & Knuckles
System(s): Sega Mega Drive, Virtual Console, RealOne Arcade
Publisher: Sega
Sound driver: SMPS Z80 (modified; Sonic & Knuckles)
Genre: Action[1][2]
Number of players: 1-2
Release Date RRP Code Rating
Sega Mega Drive
1994-10-18[3] ¥7,800 G-4124
Sega Mega Drive
1994-10-18[4] $? 1563
Videogame Rating Council: GA
Sega Mega Drive
1994 €? 1563-50
Sega Mega Drive
1994-10-18 £38.99Media:S-l1600.jpg[5] 1563
Sega Mega Drive
1994  ? MDJ1653
Sega Mega Drive
199x  ? ?
Sega Mega Drive
199x  ?kr ?
Sega Mega Drive
199x  ? ?
Sega Mega Drive
199x  ? ?
Sega Mega Drive
1994-10-18 $? ?
Sega Mega Drive
199x $? FSON09SMC
Sega Mega Drive
199x R$? 047090
Tectoy: Todas as Idades
Sega Mega Drive
199x ₩? GM94021JG
Sega Mega Drive
199x  ? ?

RealOne Arcade
2003-04-17[6] $? ?

Wii Virtual Console
2009-10-27[7] 600[8]pts ?
Wii Virtual Console
2010-02-15[9] 800[10]pts ?
ESRB: Everyone
Wii Virtual Console
2010-02-12[9][11] 800[9]pts ?
PEGI: 3+

Sonic & Knuckles (ソニック&ナックルズ) is the direct sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 on the Sega Mega Drive. Released in the same year as its predecessor, the game was the first to boast the ability of "Lock-On Technology," which allowed the game to interact with past Sonic the Hedgehog titles. It is the second half of what some consider the greatest Sonic game of all (Sonic 3 & Knuckles) and the third part in the "Death Egg Saga".

It was also the last Sonic game led by Director Hirokazu Yasuhara. Being the swan song not just for Yasuhara but ultimately being the final Sonic game released through the Sega Technical Institute, many people consider the game to be the end of the "classic" series begun with the first Sonic the Hedgehog.


File:S&K MD JP SonicJam manual.pdf In the immediate aftermath of the ending of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the combined might of Sonic the Hedgehog and Miles "Tails" Prower were able to stop the premature relaunching of the Death Egg in the heart of the Launch Base Zone, an area Dr. Eggman had built around his fallen masterpiece. Although he did not have the Chaos Emeralds in his possession, the mad genius had tried to launch the space station as the heroes attempted to infiltrate his operations, even though the tricked guardian of Angel Island, Knuckles the Echidna, had tried to stop them. Crashing back into the once-floating island, the Death Egg decided to rest on the top of a volcano, the metallic image of Eggman that was built on its front now looking straight into the heart of the isle...

Being airlifted back to Earth by "Tails," Sonic and his two-tailed friend landed in the Mushroom Hill Zone, a lush forest full of oversized versions of its namesake. Quickly getting his bearings, Sonic looked about, seeing the still-existing form of the Death Egg sitting upon the mountain. Immediately annoyed by the fact it survived yet another crash landing, Sonic realized that Dr. Eggman would not give up on the flying fortress until it was completely destroyed. Knowing his time was not yet over on the island, Sonic spotted a familiar red figure out of the corner of his eye. Being sure to stay out of the Echidna's view, Sonic watched as Knuckles peaked his head around a doorway hidden in a thicket before running off, the door closing behind him. Once he was sure the guardian was gone, Sonic walked over to the doorway, pressing a nearby button and letting himself inside.

Once in, he stood in awe at the large, glowing ring spinning inside the room, more brilliant than any he had seen on his many adventures. Thinking the ring wonderful, he could not help but reach out, his curiosity getting the better of him. Touching the Giant Ring, a shrill noise filled his ears as a bright flash blocked all vision for the hedgehog. Shutting his eyes, Sonic was flung across the dimensions...

Sonic the Hedgehog entering the Emerald Shrine for the first time.

When his eyes opened again, Sonic found himself in a place he had never been in before, a solemn, ornate alter inside a giant room. Looking upon it, he could see seven empty spots built around a centerpiece, which contained a gigantic emerald. In shock, Sonic did not yet realize that this was the Master Emerald, a source of immense power connected to the Chaos Emeralds, and the reason the island floated before Eggman's intervention.

Even more strange to the hedgehog was when the seven Chaos Emeralds he had collected so far during his time on Angel Island floated away from him, strangely attracted to the giant emerald in the center. In another flash, each emerald disappeared, replaced by a much larger stone that filled the seven empty spots. Though impressive in size, Sonic could tell that something to the stones was amiss, and touching one of them sent him into the world of the Special Stage once more...

With this, Sonic knew there was much more to the story than he originally thought. What was that giant emerald? How did Knuckles fit into all of this? And what of Eggman's true intentions? Only by restoring these seven "Super Emeralds," confronting Knuckles and entering the center of the Death Egg would Sonic be able to find the answers to his questions...

"The "Sonic the Hedgehog" adventure on the "floating island" is underway and there is still more to come!"


Sonic the Hedgehog in Dr. Eggman's other flying fortress, Flying Battery Zone.

Essentially being Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Part 2, Sonic & Knuckles plays exactly like its predecessor. When controlling Sonic the Hedgehog, all of the same moves available to him in Sonic 3 are retained: the spin attack, the spin dash and the W spin attack make up the bulk of his repertoire. With these three standard moves, Sonic must run through each "Act" of the seven "Zones" under the ten minute mark, all while avoiding badniks, spikes, and an assortment of other dangerous pratfalls that come along his way.

Rings, springs, loop-de-loops, and all the standard elements of the Sonic games thus far are also retained, as well as the various item boxes that are scattered throughout each level. The entire collection of power-ups available in Sonic 3 return: Speed, Invincibility, 1-ups, the Eggman box and the three new shields. The "Thunder Barrier, "Flame Barrier," and "Aqua Barrier" all retain the same abilities as the last game, although with a lack of water in any of the Sonic & Knuckles stages the Aqua Barrier's ability to allow Sonic to breathe underwater is unutilized.

Knuckles the Echidna gliding through the Mushroom Hill Zone.

Though "Tails" is absent as a playable character in the standalone version of Sonic & Knuckles, the other title character, Knuckles the Echidna, is presented as an option on the title screen. When chosen, a short cutscene occurs, placing the game after the events of Sonic's game, Knuckles being terrorized by an Eggrobo that survived Sonic's run through the island. Possessing the same spin attack and spin dash moves as Sonic, Knuckles is also given a variety of his own unique skills that make him stand out. When a player presses the jump button twice on the control pad, Knuckles has the ability to glide, slowly descending back to the ground as he does so. If he so happens to run into a wall during this decent, he immediately grabs hold, able to climb up a variety of surfaces to let him reach higher ground. The knuckled fists that let him do the climb also come in handy when he comes across various blockades in his path. Though Sonic is forced to spin dash through certain blocks (and is completely unable to break through others), Knuckles needs to only run ahead, his fists forward, giving him access to pathways in the level that Sonic can not get to.

Regardless of who you're playing as, running past the many Star Posts that litter each Zone with a certain amount of rings will cause a familiar circle of stars to surround the top of the checkpoint. As opposed to Sonic 3's single Bonus Stage, Sonic & Knuckles comes packed in with two. The first, accessible if you have between 20 and 34 rings, is a stage reminiscent of the Special Stage from the first Sonic the Hedgehog. Rotating at the same 360 degree angle, the center of the psudo-maze features a slot machine similar to those from the Casino Night Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The second, playable if you pass a checkpoint with 35 rings or more, features a room full of bumpers and flippers, along with numerous glowing spheres that Sonic is attracted to. Spinning around them, the player must push the jump button to pull away from its gravity, the direction Sonic or Knuckles if facing determining which way they will go.

Sonic and Knuckles confrontation in the Hidden Palace Zone.

Special Stages and the Chaos Emeralds within also return, accessible by finding one of the mysterious giant rings hidden in the levels. The stage plays exactly like the ones in Sonic 3, where Sonic or Knuckles must collect all of the blue spheres and avoid the red ones. Only available through the Lava Reef Zone, collecting all seven of the emeralds with either Sonic or Knuckles allows them to transform into their respective super states, Super Sonic and Super Knuckles. Needing fifty rings to make the transformation, pressing the jump button twice will allow the characters to zoom through the levels at blazing speeds, neigh invulnerable to boot.

Collecting the Chaos Emeralds also serves a greater purpose in the game. While using either character and collecting them will unlock the good ending, collecting all seven using Sonic will unlock an extra 8th level, the Doomsday Zone. Playing significantly different than the previous levels, it provides the perfect backdrop to wrapping up the "Death Egg Saga" started in the previous two games. This extra level is not available in Knuckles' game, which wraps up in the Sky Sanctuary Zone, meaning he is also not normally playable in the Death Egg Zone. This shortened amount of levels is made up by the fact that Knuckles' game is considerably harder than Sonic's, with the final boss of the game being completely different.

Lock-on technology

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were not only developed at the same time but originally intended to be two halves of a single game, the "complete" version of Sonic 3. Due to a variety of reasons, the game was split in half, the first part coming out in February of 1994 and Sonic & Knuckles being released in October. Presented with a unique opportunity, the cartridge of Sonic & Knuckles was developed specially for the game, adding a slot on top that allowed other Mega Drive games to be connected. Depending on the game, a different result is shown:

  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles - Playable when connecting Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Allows the full game to be accessed, with Sonic, "Tails" and Knuckles playable in both halves.
  • Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - Playable when connecting Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Allows Knuckles to play through the game, with subtle design differences to take advantage of his unique moveset.
  • Blue Sphere - Playable when connecting Sonic the Hedgehog. Allows numerous interpretations of the Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles Special Stages to be played, providing a sixteen-number password to pick up where the player left off.

Though advertised as being "backward compatible," there is evidence in the original Sonic 3 that the Lock-On Technology of Sonic & Knuckles was planned from the start, with pointers in the game code detailing where various changes in Sonic 3's level design would be when the two are connected.


The following is an explanation on how the scoring process works within the game:

Hitting bumpers: 10 points for each of the first ten hits on any given bumper; after that no more points can be gained from that bumper.

Hitting enemies: (a chain refers to all enemies destroyed until the next time Sonic lands on some form of ground)

  • First enemy in a chain = 100
  • Second enemy in a chain = 200
  • Third enemy in a chain = 500
  • Fourth through 15th enemies in a chain = 1,000 each
  • 16th and all subsequent enemies in a chain = 10,000 each

Destroying a Dr. Eggman boss robot or mini-boss: 1,000 points

Ring bonus at end of level: 100 points for each ring held

Signpost: At the end of each Act 1, a signpost falls from the air; jump at it before it hits the ground to keep it in the air and score 100 points. You can get as many 100-point bonuses as you're able to keep the sign in the air for.

Time bonus at end of level:

  • Game clock reads 0:59 or less = 50,000
  • Game clock reads 1:00 to 1:29 = 10,000
  • Game clock reads 1:30 to 1:59 = 5,000
  • Game clock reads 2:00 to 2:29 = 4,000
  • Game clock reads 2:30 to 2:59 = 3,000
  • Game clock reads 3:00 to 3:29 = 1,000
  • Game clock reads 3:30 to 9:58 = 100
  • Game clock reads 9:59 exactly = 100,000

Special stage: 100 points for each ring held. If you collect all rings, you also get a 50,000-point Perfect Bonus (even if you don't get the Emerald).

Music and sound

Sound test

The level select to Sonic & Knuckles, which contains the sound test.

Below is a listing of the songs available to be played through the sound test within the game, accessible through the level select code.

The sound test for Sonic & Knuckles is the same as the sound test for Sonic 3 & Knuckles, with a few exceptions:

  • Tracks 01 - 08 and Tracks 0B - 0E are not playable because the acts associated with the zones are located in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
  • Track 1E is not playable because the bonus stage is not in Sonic & Knuckles.
  • Tracks 20 - 24 are not playable because the acts associated with the tracks are in the Competition Mode, which is located in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
  • Track 26 is not playable because it is the track played during the credits for Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
  • Track 2D is not playable because it is played during the setup of Competition Mode, which is located in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
  • Track 31 is not playable because it is the "Drowning" theme. All of the zones in Sonic & Knuckles have no water.

NOTE: In Sonic Classic Collection, the mid-boss music for Sonic & Knuckles is reverted to its original Sonic 3 track. However, the same was not done for Sonic 3 & Knuckles.


Sales data

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Sonic the Hedgehog 3#Sales data


Being the direct continuation of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, it only made sense that both Archie Comics and Fleetway would create comic book adaptations in their respective comics based on Sonic the Hedgehog. For Archie, the comic was published not in the main series but in the 48-page special Sonic & Knuckles. Though taking place on the "Floating Island" and using selected set pieces from the game, the plot was largely unrelated to the game, neglecting the Death Egg entirely. Instead, the Death Egg would be utilized in the "Sonic Quest" mini-series. For Sonic the Comic, the "Death Egg Saga" would begin in issue 43 and continue on through issue 53. The game was also loosely adapted in the American junior novel Sonic & Knuckles by Michael Teitelbaum.


Rereleases and ports

Direct ports from source code, sold in compilations:

Emulated, sold individually:

Emulated, sold in compilations:

Production credits

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: sega:Sonic & Knuckles/Production credits


Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Sonic & Knuckles/Manuals

Promotional material

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Sonic & Knuckles/Promotional material


Physical scans

Sega Mega Drive
91 Sonic Retro Average
Based on 1 review
Publication Score Source
GameFan (US) 91
Mega Drive, JP
Mega Drive, US
Sk-box-us back.jpgSk-box-us spine l.jpgSk-box-us.jpgSk-box-us spine r.jpg
Mega Drive, US (not for resale)

Mega Drive, EU
Sk md eu cover back.jpgSk md eu cover spine.jpgSk md eu cover alt.jpg
Mega Drive, UK
Sk md uk cover.jpg
Mega Drive, FR (Blister pack)
SK MD FR blister front.jpg
Mega Drive, PT
Sonic & Knuckles MD PT Box Back.jpgNospine.pngSonic & Knuckles MD PT Box Front.jpg
Mega Drive, PT (alt)
SK MD PT alt cover.jpg
Mega Drive, SE (rental; SF)
SonicandKnuckles MD SE Box Rental Back.jpgNospine.pngSonicandKnuckles MD SE Box Rental.jpg
Mega Drive, GR
SonicandKnuckles MD GK Box.jpg
Mega Drive, CZ

Mega Drive, LT[12]
Sk md lt cover.jpg
Mega Drive, AU
SK MD AU back.jpgNospine.pngSK MD AU front.jpg
Mega Drive, AU (Platinum Collection)
Sk md au plat cover.jpg
Mega Drive, BR
SonicandKnuckles MD BR Box.jpg
Mega Drive, Asia
Sk md asian back cover.jpgNospine.pngSk md asian cover.jpg
Sk md asian cart.jpg
Mega Drive, KR
Sk md korean cover.jpg
S&K MD KR cartback.jpgS&K MD KR cart.jpg
Mega Drive, KR (Hi-Com)
SK MD KR hicom front.jpg

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 0658f691
MD5 4ea493ea4e9f6c9ebfccbdb15110367e
SHA-1 88d6499d874dcb5721ff58d76fe1b9af811192e3
2MB 1994-06 Cartridge
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 8e8dadd0
MD5 75a45f805fb3d49cdb19a8b88ea44fed
SHA-1 5f2c4dc4e739d562e9f0525361ba83f3e0551e21
4MB 1994-05-25 CD-R disc[13] 0525 prototype Download.svg (2.41 MB) (info) Page
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 03a52f63
MD5 58fa2355c62fb2a006cedd14939afbe2
SHA-1 173524ffae78438b5ddd039ec8b8def786f28aee
2MB 1994-06-06 CD-R disc[14] 0606 prototype Download.svg (1.22 MB) (info) Page
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 7a6c1317
MD5 42c804977cd4beae2273dd9455608fd5
SHA-1 a55b784590e602a82719d6721b2789f686564d2b
2MB 1994-06-08 CD-R disc[15] 0608 prototype Download.svg (1.22 MB) (info) Page
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 7092f368
MD5 b98e7a31cb5023ac51898f15f43a3bd0
SHA-1 bc67cb9edb8958a66723a8346c9d58d43d18ca80
2MB 1994-06-10 CD-R disc[16] 0610 prototype Download.svg (1.23 MB) (info) Page
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 b0a253e8
MD5 338aa7c29911bfef133dd2d072da2cbb
SHA-1 8585b617e6828bf0b255d4ef747384db7ff67826
2MB 1994-06-12 CD-R disc[17] 0612 prototype Download.svg (1.23 MB) (info) Page
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 2615f5dc
MD5 a9210c75f8b36b8ea27067e5f54bab22
SHA-1 e365c42a2c754b9df98b5b74dbc3e7f94c1a84f4
2MB 1994-06-18 CD-R disc[18] 0618 prototype Download.svg (1.23 MB) (info) Page
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 1ea5b9d1
MD5 65a8ad3222bbdb54534ddcd6836d46b1
SHA-1 b84d197e646ceece8681d35af3b4014c1bbeae35
2MB 1994-06-19 CD-R disc[19] 0619 prototype Download.svg (1.17 MB) (info) Page

ROM hacking


External links


Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic & Knuckles title.png

Main page (S3&K|KiS2|Blue Sphere)
Maps (S3&K) (KiS2) (Blue Sphere)

Promotional material
Magazine articles
Video coverage

Hidden content (S3&K)
Bugs (S3&K)
Region coding
Hacking guide

Sonic the Hedgehog games for the following systems
Sega Mega Drive

Sega Mega-CD
Sega 32X
 1991  Sonic the Hedgehog | Sonic Eraser     1992  Sonic the Hedgehog 2     1993  Sonic the Hedgehog CD | Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine | Sonic Spinball     1994  Sonic the Hedgehog 3 | Sonic & Knuckles     1995  Chaotix | Sonic Classics     1996  Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island    
Wii Virtual Console
 2006  Sonic the Hedgehog | Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine     2007  Sonic the Hedgehog 2 | Sonic the Hedgehog 3 | Sonic Spinball | Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island     2008  Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit)     2009  Sonic Chaos | Sonic & Knuckles     2010  Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I