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Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles chronology and endings/Character Icons

From Sonic Retro

When one of the save slots in Sonic 3 & Knuckles is completed, the space usually reserved for the level icon turns into a character portrait, according to the number of Chaos Emeralds and Super Emeralds collected by the player, and to the character used. The table below describes all the possible combinations; playing as Sonic and Tails together will yield the same results as playing as Sonic alone. The portrait is updated when the game is completed, not when the emeralds are collected. For example, to display the "7 Super Emeralds" icon if the game was already completed once when the player didn't have all the emeralds, the player should play through the last level for the chosen character (Doomsday, Death Egg, or Sky Sanctuary) and display the credits roll again, otherwise the portrait won't change.

Sonic
Tails
Knuckles
Less than
7 Chaos Emeralds
S3K SonicIcon.png S3K TailsIcon.png S3K KnucklesIcon.png
7 Chaos Emeralds
and less than
7 Super Emeralds
Sonic3-SuperSonicIcon.png S3K TailsGoodEndIcon.png S3K SuperKnucklesicon.png
7 Super Emeralds
S3&K-completed savestate.png

Sonic 3

When playing Sonic the Hedgehog 3 not being locked on the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge, the table gets simpler:

Sonic
Tails
Less than
7 Chaos Emeralds
S3K SonicIcon.png
7 Chaos Emeralds
Sonic3-SuperSonicIcon.png