Hidden Palace Zone (Sonic & Knuckles)

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Hidden Palace Zone
For the Hidden Palace Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, see Hidden Palace Zone. For drx's website, see Hidden Palace.
Hidden Palace Zone
Fifth Zone, Sonic & Knuckles
Number of Acts: 1
Location: Angel Island
Level themes: underground/cave, ancient ruins
Boss: Knuckles the Echidna
Maximum rings: 33 + 40
Non-English names:
Lava Reef Zone | Sky Sanctuary Zone

Hidden Palace Zone is the fifth Zone of Sonic & Knuckles (the eleventh Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles). Hidden Palace Zone houses the shrine where Knuckles hides and protects the Master Emerald. As Sonic (and/or Tails), it is the setting of a major turning point in the game's storyline.


The Zone begins at the end of Lava Reef Zone Act 2. After a few steps, the scenery changes into that of Hidden Palace. Depending on the character being used, one of two scenarios will unfold shortly within the stage.

As Sonic and/or Tails, the player will traverse through a short speed section with Rings, Spikes and Springs before engaging in a confrontation with Knuckles. Before this fight, the player can see the Death Egg leaving the mouth of the volcano. After the fight, a cutscene occurs in which Dr. Eggman steals the Master Emerald using a giant claw-arm attached to his Egg Mobile. Knuckles attempts to save it, but Eggman shocks him into submission. After this, Knuckles will lead the way to a Warp Point that sends the player to the next Zone, Sky Sanctuary.

As Knuckles, the Death Egg is gone from the background.

As Knuckles, the Zone merely acts as a pass-through to access the Sky Sanctuary Zone, albeit starting in a different area than Sonic and Tails are sent to—it is an upper route through the first half of the level. The Warp Point that Sonic and Tails land on before they go to face Knuckles is where he teleports to Sky Sanctuary. He cannot reach the area where the Master Emerald is except through the Super Rings of Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

In the game data, Hidden Palace is listed as Lava Reef Act 4 in the Stage Select menu, as it is placed in the 2nd Act of the 2nd level slot reserved for Lava Reef data. This is not an unreasonable jump by in-game standards either, as it shares music and overall appearance with Lava Reef Act 2, although the backgrounds are different as the Death Egg can be seen leaving the mouth of the volcano in Hidden Palace, while it was still stuck there in Act 2.

The mural in the background where Sonic and/or Tails fights Knuckles depicts/predicts the final battle in The Doomsday Zone.

Via Super Rings

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, the player can access Hidden Palace Zone via flashing Super RingsMedia:S&K_MD_JP_SonicJam_manual.pdf[4] after clearing Launch Base Zone. The first Super Ring encountered by each character in Mushroom Hill Zone will warp the player to Hidden Palace, where any of the Chaos Emeralds that have been collected will be transformed into greyed-out Super Emeralds, and it is up to the player to activate them by standing on them and clearing their respective Special Stages. If the player hasn't collected any Chaos Emeralds, standing in the middle of the area below the Master Emerald will send the player back. All other Super Rings encountered afterwards will begin flashing and send the player back to Hidden Palace Zone as long as all the remaining Chaos Emeralds have been collected.

Oddly, if the player collects all the Chaos Emeralds, but avoids entering the Super Rings, the Super Emeralds will be seen in the Zone when the player eventually reaches it through the normal Zone progression. Despite this, the player's Emerald count is unchanged, and the player can still turn Super.

Hidden area

When playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles, it is possible for Tails (or Sonic with Tails) to access a hidden area just before the first Warp Point without using Debug Mode by flying upwards. This hidden area contains several Monitors containing a Super Ring, every type of Shield, Power Sneakers and an Invincibility. By jumping over the gap and to the right, the player will find two more Super Rings and an extra life.


Some mysteries are solved! Robotnik makes his big play, and Knuckles finds out who the REAL bad guy is!

Sonic & Knuckles US manualMedia:S&K MD US SonicJam manual.pdf[5]

In other media

Sonic the Comic

In the Sonic the Comic series, Hidden Palace is a structure deep underground in the Floating Island from where the royal family ruled the place in ancient times. The Emerald Chamber holding the Chaos Emeralds is located there and is visited many times throughout the comic's history.

Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie comics)

In this series, Hidden Palace is a mysterious location deep within Angel Island built by the ancients, its existence unknown to most people until its discovery by the Dark Legion. It hosts the emerald altar and the ancient tapestry. It was used as a hiding place for Knuckles' people and the Master Emerald during Eggman's attack on the island until its location was exposed to this one.

Sonic Prime

Hidden Palace makes a minor appearance in Sonic Prime in the episode "It Takes One to No Place" during a flashback depicting Sonic and Knuckles' first battle, reflecting the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The ancient mural and emerald altar with the Master Emerald and can be seen there.


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