Sonic the Hedgehog 3/Hidden content

From Sonic Retro

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Unused content


Artwork Name Description
"Bored" Animation Sonic in his signature "waiting" pose, but instead of pointing towards the direction he's facing, he falls asleep from boredom instead. Never used in-game. The version of Sonic Jam uses this animation.
"Whistle" Animation Sonic whistling. Not used in-game.
Sonic Retro
reveals that this animation may have been paired with a "Help-Item" mentioned in a German magazine article. Sonic would have broken the monitor, used the whistling animation, and then Tails would fly in from out-of-screen to carry Sonic around as he pleased, similar to a second player controlling Tails while holding the first player. A whistle sound which is probably related to this can be heard when breaking S-monitors and at the beginning of Doomsday Zone. It was used in the version of Sonic Jam also.
Leftover Continue Animation Leftover animation from the continue screen in Sonic 2.
Unused 2P Knuckles Sprites Unused Gliding/Climbing animations exist for Knuckles in two-player mode, even though he doesn't have the ability to glide or climb while in two-player.
Mini Death Egg Smaller rendition of the Death Egg. It seems to be part of a Death Egg hologram projector which was also unused in Sonic & Knuckles.
Diagonal Penguin Sprites Diagonal frames of the penguin badnik from IceCap Zone. These can be seen for a split second if you place a penguin on the large hill at the beginning of the zone using debug mode.
Unused Eggman Sprite Unused running frame where Eggman has a different facial expression.
Eggman turning An unused Eggman object discovered by Nemesis. It appears to be nothing more than Eggman flying away towards the horizon. Purpose is unknown.
Sonic 3 Flying Battery icon.PNGFBZicon.png Unused Flying Battery Zone icon Sonic 3 icon on the left, Sonic & Knuckles icon on the right. From the days when Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were to be a single game. The Sonic 3 icon can be found in both the PC and Mega Drive versions of Sonic 3, and can be viewed by hacking the SRAM for the game to access level slot $04, or by using the PAR codes 00C324:601E and 00C338:6002 to view the icon in a completed game save slot while scrolling through the levels.
Unused signpost art Leftover signpost sprites identical to Sonic 2's that remain in both this game and Sonic and Knuckles. Additionally, there's art for Knuckles, which is close to the final art, but with less shading. His nose is thinner and more of his spines cover the signpost.

Red revolving spheres


This is a spinning mass of red balls, placeable by debug mode in the first part of Angel Island Zone, Act 1. The balls look similar to those appearing in the game's special stage. The object seems to have no apparent purpose. When it is placed, palette problems arise in the level. It can be manipulated with the second controller. Pressing Up or Right change the object's size, Down and Left move it, A and C rotate one axis, B rotates another axis, and pressing Start toggles automatic rotation.


S3CharSelect.png S3EndSign.png

Some data for Knuckles seems to be in the game still. Using game genie codes created by LocalH (ASCA-AAHC + ASCA-BA9Y), Knuckles character select and continue icons will appear in game. The level clearing text and the end sign will also have Knuckles graphics. The character you play will still be Sonic.

Leftover Sonic 2 Menus


By setting the game's screen mode to $24, you can access the Sonic 2 options menu in Sonic 3! Either use the following patch code:


Or follow the instructions on SCHG How-to:Restore Sonic 2 Menus to Sonic 3.

Sonic 2's level select code can be entered here, along with Sonic 3's otherwise pointless debug mode code.


The 2-player menu from Sonic 2 can also be found by setting the screen mode to $1C, or using the following patch code:


Not much can be done in this menu however, each zone is X'ed out and it plays an error sound when pressing start.

Unused Surfboard Intro


This animation was found in the Sonic 3 ROM. It's part of an unused intro sequence, in which Sonic surfs onto Angel Island, rather than riding in on the Tornado. The sprites are based on Sonic 2's style, rather than those of the final Sonic 3. This savestate (info) (45 kB) will allow you to see the full sequence in action (thanks to Nemesis).


These sprites were probably used when jumping off the board.

Unused Music

  • 09: Flying Battery Act 1 (The loop point in the "echo" track of the lead instrument is set slightly later than the rest of the tracks. This leads to the song falling further and further out of sync each time the song loops. This was fixed in Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 & Knuckles)
  • 0A: Flying Battery Act 2
  • 0F: Mushroom Hill/Valley Act 1
  • 10: Mushroom Hill/Valley Act 2
  • 11: Sandopolis Act 1
  • 12: Sandopolis Act 2
  • 13: Lava Reef Act 1
  • 14: Lava Reef Act 2/Hidden Palace
  • 15: Sky Sanctuary
  • 16: Death Egg Act 1
  • 17: Death Egg Act 2
  • 18: Sonic & Knuckles Act 1 Boss (not totally unused as it can be heard while fighting the Hydrocity Zone boss by jumping out of the water after the drowning music starts)
  • 1A: The Doomsday Zone
  • 1B: Glowing Spheres Bonus Stage
  • 1D: Slot Machine Bonus Stage

Scrolling Credits

The game has a unused and unfinished scrolling credits routine. It can be activated by setting the RAM address FA87 to 02 during the credits screen. Just bits of letters scroll as it was not finished. A youtube video of the scrolling ending credits can be seen here. Normally the credits scrolls through static pages of text.

True Level Order/Unused Levels


The level select menu reveals what the level order may have looked like had Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles not been split into two separate games. The Sonic 3 levels are arranged the same as they are played in the game, but Flying battery from Sonic & Knuckles can be seen listed in between Carnival Night and IceCap. Following Launch Base two more Sonic & Knuckles levels can be found, Mushroom Hill (which goes by the name Mushroom Valley here), and Sandopolis.

In a commentary found in the Sonic Jam Official Guide book it was revealed that the transition between Flying Battery Zone and IceCap Zone would have Sonic break off the ship's door and use it as a snowboard. It also mentions that Flying Battery was meant as the eighth level, with IceCap being the ninth.

Also, when a level is highlighted, a level icon from Sonic 2 is shown, with the icons appearing in the Sonic 2 order e.g. Angel Island has the Emerald Hill icon, Hydrocity has the Chemical Plant icon, Marble Garden has the Aquatic Ruin icon. Even the special stage has the Sonic 2 special stage icon. It can also be noted that the second '2P VS' level has an icon which resembles the cut 'Hidden Palace' level from Sonic 2. However, in the Sonic Jam version of the game only the sound test icon is used.

None of the zones that would later appear in S&K can be selected normally, including the S&K Bonus Stage selections.

8th Special Stage

In Sonic 3, there was an 8th Chaos Emerald accessible via a hidden cheat code. The emerald is the same color as the 7th Special Stage, grey. To access it, to go the level select, set the sound test selection to 07, and press A + Start on the "Special Stage 2" selection. You can actual access any of the special stages in the game by setting the sound test to the corresponding stage number you wish to play.

This emerald has no special effect in-game, however, and does not appear on the end of special stage tally in any form other than a score increase.

A map of this special stage is as follows:


Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Sonic3 title.png

Main page (S3&K)
Comparisons (S3&K)

Promotional material
Magazine articles

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