"Roughly 50 percent of what should have been one hell of a game."
The tale of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is one of technological limitations and a creative way to work around them that took eight months to be realized. It's also a tale of an incomplete game that wasn't truly finished until those months had passed.
After Sonic the Hedgehog 2 proved to be bigger and better than the original, Sega had the lofty goal of making the series' third game truly massive. While an ambitious concept, there was one big roadblock in their attempt to turn it into reality. Only so much data could be inserted into a cartridge, so it became a sure thing that a lot of material would be left on the cutting room floor.
And so, when Sonic 3 was released in February 1994, it wasn't all that it was expected to be, only featuring six worlds containing two large stages each. Later that year, Sonic & Knuckles hit the market, boasting all the remaining content, as well as the ability to also control erstwhile antagonist Knuckles.
Now we come to that creative workaround. Sonic & Knuckles was released on a cartridge possessing something called "lock-on technology", by which a person owning both it and Sonic 3 could attach the two cartridges together and get both games at once just as things were originally intended. A massive platformer containing 14 worlds, the ability to control Sonic, Tails and Knuckles and different ways to play various levels depending on which character was being used.
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (January 21, 2022)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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