Sonic 3 Complete is a hack of Sonic 3 & Knuckles by Tiddles. It began primarily as an alteration of the musical configuration of that game to to more closely resemble that of the original Sonic 3. It also contains bugfixes and other additional features. Recent versions provide additional patches to reverse some of these changes, or make others, to provide a version to match the player's own preference.
Initially developed privately for his own use, it was posted to the public in December 2009 following positive reaction to a similar hack posted by Hayate. Tiddles received Tech Membership for this hack not long after its initial release. Hayate's hack Sonic 3 Customizable is based upon the Sonic 3 Complete code, and bugfixes are shared between these hacks; however, Sonic 3 Customizable has not yet been updated with any Sonic 3 Complete changes since 2009, and hence does not contain every change listed here, though it contains additional features of its own.
- Tracks for title screen, invincibility, Knuckles' theme, miniboss, 1UP, Sonic 3 ending, continue/race results, and data select are the Sonic 3 versions.
- Various music cues are flipped around to work with this:
- Marble Garden 2 boss for Knuckles plays the standard zone boss theme.
- Flying Battery 2 sub-boss plays the Sonic & Knuckles miniboss theme.
- Hidden Palace plays Sonic 3 miniboss for Knuckles fight, Sonic & Knuckles miniboss for Emerald theft.
- Sonic 3 credits plays during the ending before the main credits begin (replacing Sky Sanctuary)
- The Blue Sphere difficulty screen now plays the Gumball Bonus music.
- Many of the Sonic 3 levels use their original Sonic 3 object layouts, most notably Hydrocity 2 and Launch Base.
- Knuckles' routes in these layouts were incomplete, but additions have been made to allow them to be played through.
- Music no longer fades out before the Got Through screen
- Act music no longer resumes after the Got Through screen before a zone transition.
- Credits music has been replaced with the Sonic 3C 0517 version.
- Sonic/Tails have their final Launch Base 2 boss restored, with its Sonic 3 sweeping behaviour.
- The ability to hit characters out of their super form has not been reintroduced.
- In a Sonic and Tails game, Tails does not appear for the final Launch Base bosses. Player 2 can press a button to make him appear.
- Knuckles' version is unaffected.
- The Special Stage results screen for Chaos Emerald stages is now styled much more like the version from Sonic 3 alone.
- The Continue screen uses title card-style text as it did in Sonic 3, rather than end credits-style text as it did in Sonic & Knuckles.
- Flying Battery shows up with its unused Sonic 3 icon in Data Select.
- Mushroom Hill is now named Mushroom Valley, as it was in the Sonic 3 level select screen.
- All references to "& Knuckles" removed, title screen positioning realigned to original setup. Zone title cards restored to Sonic 3's style.
- Tails alone no longer has extra tails in the Launch Base Zone 2 ending cutscene. (Sonic 3 & Knuckles regression)
- The egg prison at the end of Hydrocity is now correctly centred for Sonic and Tails. (Sonic 3 & Knuckles regression)
- The correct music will resume after a drown timer while fighting the Hydrocity bosses.
- The boss music gives way to the act music at the end of Sandopolis 1 and Lava Reef 2.
- The correct music will always resume when coming back from a special stage or bonus stage (Angel Island Zone 1, IceCap Zone 1).
- Workaround added to Mushroom Hill 2 and Sandopolis 2 bosses to prevent Knuckles from sometimes seeing Robotnik.
- Knuckles now fights EggRobo in Flying Battery 2.
- You will no longer lose barriers if hit from the blue spinning platforms in Marble Garden.
- SONIC text is no longer backwards when the Tornado flies left during the ending.
- Sonic's exit from Lava Reef to Hidden Palace is now blue rather than red.
- The music tempo glitch at the beginning of Doomsday has been removed.
- Collecting extra lives will not increase the counter past 99.
- Fixed possible Marble Garden 2 boss corruption after killing a Spiker with hyper dash.
- The normal super transformation sound effect is now used in Doomsday.
- Fixed HUD shadow colour in burnt area of Angel Island.
- Fixed spring artwork occasionally not being loaded for the Gumball Bonus Stage.
- Knuckles no longer shifts forward a pixel when looking up.
- The underwater character palette now reverts properly when Tails or Knuckles lose their super form.
- It is no longer possible to gain additional lives for having 100 and 200 rings in the Lava Reef boss area if those lives were already earned earlier in act 2.
- The Lava Reef and Death Egg boss areas will remember their starting timer if you die and restart (unless you die from a time over)
- Robotnik's bald shine on the save screen is no longer red.
- Stopped running animation being displayed in place of victory or super transform animation when in front of a solid object
- The Launch Base music now only restarts once after Knuckles defeats the Act 1 boss.
- Knuckles is no longer blocked from his normal Carnival Night exit when arriving from above
- Drowning timer resets when turning hyper, along with music if necessary
- The slot machine bonus stage now awards a continue through rings collected in the slot machine as well as around the sides.
- Knuckles no longer turns into Sonic at the end of the slot machine bonus stage.
- Various double jump fixes for Sonic, mostly involving unintentionally going into a slow bubble bounce by double jumping right before a bubble shield activated.
- Fixed bug where a time over would not restart the starpost timer after continuing from a game over.
- Fixed final Launch Base boss code to release Sonic from the arm after the boss is defeated - this was firing in the wrong situation, making Sonic always drop to standing after clearing the boss, but leaving him stuck if Tails killed the boss while Sonic was held.
- Fixed occasional misalignment of continue screen
- Fixed wrong tiles on Continue screen if you hit Game Over with Super/Hyper Sonic
- Fire sprites no longer appear underwater in Angel Island
- It is no longer possible to repeatedly double-jump in the Hydrocity fan tubes
- Incorrect grabber arm sprite on DEZ final boss fixed - now uses the latched rather than open variant.
- Fixed jittering screen lock after Marble Garden 1 miniboss
- Workaround added to avoid occasional loss of music track change if requested during the 1up sting.
- Debug: Hyper Knuckles can now wall smash when turned hyper by a monitor.
- Debug: Tails' ring counter now falls in Doomsday.
- Debug: Characters other than Sonic appear correctly in Doomsday.
- Debug: Knuckles exits Doomsday to the title screen instead of a broken Sonic ending.
- Knuckles' introductory cutscene now plays in Angel Island rather than Sonic & Knuckles' Mushroom Hill, and feeds directly into the level rather than fading out and restarting.
- The Mushroom Hill demo sequence now plays as one of the Sonic 3 demos.
- Sonic's Angel Island intro can now be skipped using the button (only until Knuckles interjects).
- For Super/Hyper forms to be invoked, you must press any button to jump, followed by a different button to double-jump.
- To transform with debug mode enabled, you need to double-jump by pressing while is held down.
- This allows Tails/Knuckles to play without powering up after having all emeralds.
- Sonic can now transform even if he has a barrier.
- Using the super transformation move while already transformed will allow you to turn back to normal.
- While in super or hyper form, sped-up level music plays instead of invincibility music.
- Super music changes now consistently have no effect during bosses.
- Speed shoes monitors now have no effect when collected in super or hyper form.
- You now need to collect 50 rings within the slot machine bonus stage itself to get a continue. (Can be patched back to the original setup)
- Rings lost within the bonus stage will not take away from your collection total for the continue.
- You can now do this in every slot machine bonus stage. Originally, you needed to wait until a new act or lose your rings in the main level.
- Added a HUD element to the Slot Machine bonus stage to show progress towards a continue.
- Added an extra cutscene after Launch Base, showing the Death Egg crashing, based on the Sonic Sonic & Knuckles Knuckles title screen.
- After Hidden Palace, Knuckles is replaced by Robotnik on Sonic's continue screen
- Minor alterations to the Icecap intro to maintain day-night cycle consistency.
- The screen now pulls up after Carnival Night 1's miniboss, to make the signpost easier to control.
- The existing Sonic 3 & Knuckles cheats work, plus:
- + on 1 Player on the Sonic 3 title screen takes you to Sonic & Knuckles, with all the same changes, including music.
- Restrictions on zone and character selection from the level select in Sonic & Knuckles are removed if debug is enabled.
- + on the Sonic & Knuckles title screen takes you to back to Sonic 3.
- + on 1 Player on the Sonic 3 or Sonic & Knuckles title screen takes you to Blue Sphere
- Tails has been added as a playable character in Blue Sphere.
- While playing a special stage through Blue Sphere, pressing while paused will return to the Blue Sphere select screen.
- Pressing on the Blue Sphere menu screen will now return to the title screen. Your progress will be retained until you reset or turn off the game.
- on Sonic 3/Sonic & Knuckles title screen menu switches region graphics (Tails/Miles, TM signs)
- on Sonic 3/Sonic & Knuckles title screen menu enables level select.
- 01 03 05 07 on sound test enables debug
- 02 04 05 06 on sound test gives all Chaos Emeralds
- This will not reset the status of anything done with Hidden Palace Zone/Super Emeralds
- 12 14 15 16 on sound test gives all super emeralds
- When paused and level select is enabled, the button now exits to different places:
- 1P level/Special Stage: level select
- Grand Prix: GP results
- Match Race: Match Race setup
- Time Attack: Time Attack setup
- "DEATHEGG" and "THE DOOMSDAY" changed to the more sensible "DEATH EGG" and "DOOMSDAY" in level select.
- Level Select now has the Data Select background, replacing the Sonic 2 SONIC/MILES pattern.
- Added entries to Level Select for the Gumball Bonus Stage and the Hidden Palace Special Stage entryway.
- New level select font, designed to be similar in style to the title card font.
- Sound effect F3 will now speed up music as if speed shoes were active when used in the level select.
- F4 returns to normal speed, as does starting another track.
A selection of patches has been provided to allow some of the hack's changes to be reversed, or provide alternative configurations, according to player preference. The following options are currently available:
- Use the Sonic & Knuckles versions of the title screen, invincibility, game clear and 1UP tracks.
- Use the Sonic & Knuckles version of only the 1UP track (overrides the above).
- Use the Sonic & Knuckles midboss and Knuckles tracks exclusively. (Not compatible with the following patch)
- Use the Sonic 3 midboss theme when fighting Knuckles only. (Not compatible with the previous patch)
- Use the slower Sonic & Knuckles continue/race results/Blue Sphere music.
- Use the original Sonic & Knuckles credits music instead of the Sonic 3C 0517 version.
- Bring back the Sonic & Knuckles-style music fadeout before the results screen.
- Resume Act 2's music after the zone results screen in cases where Sonic 3 & Knuckles did this.
- Use the full set of Sonic 3 or Sonic & Knuckles level layouts.
- Use the original Sonic 3 & Knuckles double-jump/transformation button setup (any double-jump invokes a super form transformation, if available, unless Sonic has a shield, which prevents transformation).
- Disable the ability to cancel out of super or hyper forms.
- Disable the Big Arm boss in Launch Base 2 (use the Sonic 3 & Knuckles sequence).
- Use the original ending music (Sky Sanctuary instead of Sonic 3 Credits) - this can be set separately for Sonic's and Knuckles' endings.
- Skip the new cutscene following Sonic and Tails' Launch Base
- Start the Sonic 3 Credits music with the credit sequence (best used when the ending music has been changed back to Sky Sanctuary, otherwise the below patch is more useful) - this can be set separately for Sonic's and Knuckles' endings.
- Allow the ending music to continue through both into the credits - this can be set separately for Sonic's and Knuckles' endings.
- Revert to the original method of gaining continues from the slot machine bonus stage
- Remove the extra continue counter HUD from the slot machine bonus stage
- Rename Mushroom Valley back to Mushroom Hill
- Revert to the old daytime-ish Icecap intro colour scheme
- Go back to using the invincibility music for super/hyper transformations. (It still doesn't play during a boss.)
- Require 50 rings instead of 20 at a starpost to access a bonus stage, as in Sonic 3.
- Always play Gumball bonus stages, as in Sonic 3.
The full set of these patches in IPS format can be downloaded in a separate archive below. Alternatively, an online customiser has been set up which allows for customisations to be selected and applied to a custom downloadable copy.
Known Issues in the Current Release
This section only lists issues that are specific to Sonic 3 Complete and do not occur in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and that may occur during normal gameplay, not requiring the use of debug mode to activate.
Issues with the standard release
- When playing as Sonic or Tails, moving right quickly after restarting from the final starpost in Launch Base Zone Act 1 may cause the boss graphics not to appear correctly. This bug existed in Sonic 3 alone, was fixed in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and has resurfaced now that the old object layout is being reused. This can be avoided by waiting a couple of seconds before moving off from this point, or by using the patch to reinstate the Sonic 3 & Knuckles level layouts.
- After using and to escape out of a level in the Blue Sphere minigame, then going back into the level, the game will pause as soon as you should gain control. It can be resumed normally using .
Issues with specific patch options
As of the current release, the options to make the game use more of the original Sonic 3 layouts than the standard release cause a few glitches. There are no such issues in the standard release, which still uses Sonic 3 layouts in the most noticable places (particularly Hydrocity and Launch Base). As such, it is recommended not to use the Sonic 3 layout patch options for the time being. The specific known issues are listed below.
- Using a patch option that forces the use of the original Sonic 3 layouts for Sonicmay cause the Chrome Gadget and Desert Palace competition levels to become unplayable. Avoid using these patch options on the current release if you intend to play Competition mode.
- When using a patch option that causes Knuckles to play the original Sonic 3 layout in Marble Garden Zone Act 2, taking the high left route at the beginning of the act will cause the game to crash.
- Using any of the patches that force the use of the original Sonic 3 layouts for Knuckles can cause Knuckles' ending to stop and not show the ending screen.
The following contains IPS patches for the 101226 version as documented above. These will also work for the previous version 101222.
Release topic on Sonic Retro Message Board