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Happy 17th Birthday Sonic & Knuckles


Today is October the 18th, which exactly 17 years ago, on Oct 18th 1994, saw a simultaneous US & EU release of Sonic & Knuckles, finally completing the half-finished game Sonic 3 that Sega had released earlier in the year. With the upcoming Sonic Generations featuring at least 2 S&K levels, it’s nice to look back and reflect on what was arguably the highest point the franchise has reached to date, in terms of the crap-to-crud ratio of titles available; and the completion of the final of the 4 main Mega Drive/Genesis titles.

So, discuss! I remember S&K being the closest to launch I’d ever owned any Sonic title to that point – I THINK I got it as an Xmas present rather than actually buying it outright (£45 or so was a lot of money to a 9 year old in 1994), though. I remember spending hours Locking-On random Mega Drive games to it and playing their special stages, as well as being amazed at how Knuckles could be shoved into Sonic 2, a game that had been out nearly 2 years by that point.

What are your memories of this classic?

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30 Comments

  • Reply

    Happy 17th Birthday to the game that completed the greatest Sonic game of all time.. Sonic 3 & Knuckles. This game defined my childhood and there is no other from its era that can compete with the standards it helped set in gaming and still does to this day. I continue to play this and always will. HELL YEAH!!!

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    Well, it was my first EVER game on the first ever console. I didn’t know the things like “level”, “bosses”, “bonus”… And of course my gaming abilities were so bad. And I always thought that these places on a base and in desert (demo mode) is just advertisement – like what you get if you buy another cartridge… How I was shocked when I finally completed this Mushroom Hill!

    It was the beginning. And I’m very glad that my first experience was with this game.

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    I got s&k before 3, and i istantly falled in love with it. After some months i managed somehow to get to the death egg, (i was a kid frightened of the ghosts in sandopolis at that time xD) but i decided to wait for a 3 cartridge to finish the whole story.
    For some strange reasons, sonic 3 was unbelievable hard to find in my town, i had to order it, that was my first order too. And then i spent days and days playing all of s3&k. Best game in the franchise, personal favourite game of all time, after 17 year still unmatched. Generations looks good and somewhat inspired by this classic, even without a s3 level. Way to go sega, don’t forget a milestone like that. And thanks retro for bringing back awesome memories 🙂

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    Ah… Sonic and Knuckles, which is basically Sonic the Hedgehog 3: Episode 2. Happy b-day and thanks for your kickass music; mmm, Mushroom Hill Zone… mmm, Lava Reef Zone… mmm, Death Egg Zone (that zone better be in Generations!).
    I have yet to master your Special Stages, like I did with Sonic 3 after failing so many times to get the Chaos Emeralds. I’ll so it someday Sonic and Knuckles! You’ll see!

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    This game’s almost as old as I am~ this was my…second video game ever after 3D Blast. Always loved it, still do. I remember getting time up on those vine things that grab you because I didn’t know how to spindash and that thrill when you finally get to Sky Sanctuary and befriend Knuckles, and of course, that amazing final boss and its kickass music

    they don’t make’m how they used to, but I cannot wait to play Sky Sanctuary again in Gens

  • Reply

    Sonic & Knuckles…that’s one good childhood memory. Although, unlike the rest of you, I didn’t own a Genesis/Mega Drive when I was young. So I got the PC version of the game. No MJ music, but still essentially the same game. And said game was bloody awesome. I currently list it as my favorite of the cartridge-based titles, and my fourth favorite Sonic game in general, only behind the two Sonic Adventures and CD.

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    It was close to being the first game I ever played, but I picked up Sonic 2 instead. Now I always carry a copy of S3K close to me on my flashdrive wherever I go. In fact I was playing it a couple hours ago completely unaware today was its birthday. It’s like it was only yesterday…

  • Reply

    After I’d lost my Sonic 3 cart (kids lose things) I’d play S&K over and over, so that was great!

    What happens if you put 12 Sonic & Knuckles carts on top of each other? Personally I think it would begin to shake and spark, darken the room as you watch with fear, and eventually Sonic Underground starts playing on your TV.

    But it’s probably just Blue Spheres.

  • Reply

    It’s also my birthday, but that matters not here.

    Memories? Accidentally find that place in Mushroom Hill Act 2 before the boss in the highest path, and the greatness that is Sonic 3 & Knuckles, that’s my memories.

  • Reply

    Getting a hold of the Sonic & Knuckles Collection for my PC was around the same time I taught myself how to draw.

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    My biggest memory was when my friend showed me that by combining S&K with Sonic 3 you get the “whole” adventure. I was stunned, than he showed me the Hyper?Super forms. I cried out of joy that day. Best day ever!

  • Reply

    I played Sonic and Knuckles when I was a kid and I could never get past Sandopolis Zone!!! I loved Mushroom Hill and I am glad it is in the 3DS version of Sonic Generations. Death Egg Zone or Flying Battery Zone would’ve been cool to see too.

  • Reply

    Well, unfortunately, I was born after all the Genesis mayhem (to be exact, I was born the exact same year Sonic Adventure came out), but thanks to a good friend who gave me his old Genesis, I was able to experience one of the greatest platformers ever made. Every moment, be it big (Dr. Robotnik’s betrayal in Hidden Palace) or small (the snow falling on Sonic after snowboarding in Ice Cap), I can fondly remember. But what’s really burned into my brain was the Doomsday Zone. An epic battle between Sonic and the maniacal doctor in space. No, it didn’t take place on some space station, it was literally IN SPACE. It burned into your head the fact that this is Robotnik’s final stand, and he’s not pulling any punches. For fighting through the most intense three minutes in video games, you get the best ending in video games, set to the best ending song in video games. And then what? You get the ability to go back and play any stage you want with your godlike powers intact. And that was only HALF of the full adventure! There’s a reason this game defies time. Still-ground-breaking physics, smooth, flowing level design, fresh, top-of-the-line graphics, and music that perfectly sets the mood. This game was a classic before classic was cool. It has some sort of indescribable, perpetual magic to it. It’s a game that can appeal to anybody, yet it has replayability and challenge that draws in hardcore gamers. A way past cool piece of awesome. Happy B-Day to you, Sonic & Knux.

  • Reply

    I tried so hard as a stupid kid to play ‘Knuckles the Echidna in Aladdin’.  ..such fond memories. 

    (I should learn how to make that a hack but there’s no Aladdin disassembly)

  • Reply

    Happy Birthday, Sonic & Knuckles.

    I’m just gonna go ahead and drop this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=julMDvTs6W4

  • Reply

    As I child I had sonic 2, sonic 3D blast, sonic and knuckles, and sonic CD. S&K was my favorite game, behind sonic cd. Some of my most fond childhood memories are of me playing this game.. Ah nostalgia. Proud to say I still own it and my genesis 🙂

  • Reply

    The very first time I played/heard of Sonic (3) & Knuckles was on a demo CD I got when I was about 6-7. I didn’t care about any other game in that CD, I just spent hours playing the only level, Angel Island, with all the characters… As a sonic fan, I looked everywhere for the PC version (I didn’t have a Mega Drive), but for some reason, this game was very hard to find here in Brazil…
    Until one day, in 2004, when I was already 13, I found it in a random Computer Store, in a pack called Sonic Action Pack. It contained Sonic & Knuckles Collection, Sonic R and Sonic CD. Me and my brothers became really happy when we found it… We spent a lot of time playing this game. Sonic 3&K is my personal favorite Sonic game… And Sonic & Knuckles was the last great 2D Sonic game we had (maybe the last great game of the whole series)… Definitely a game to remember, and I think I don’t have to say anything about the music, graphics and gameplay, as we all know they are fantastic.

  • Reply

    I remember–and this was before I was able to get games on my own, mind–that when I was in grade school and S&K came out, one of my friends (who, unfortunately, I later had a falling-out with that was mostly my own dumbass fault) had S&K and I kept pestering and pestering him to let me borrow it. My Knuckles-mania sprung up from that, and would persist for years and years to come. As a side note, it would be at least a year before I discovered that such a thing as “Sonic 3” even existed, which says something about how on-the-ball I was at the time.

  • Reply

    Happy birthday my dear game, YOU were the one that hooked me into the Sonic franchise. And your locked-on system… Sigh, so much memories

    -plays “Virtual Sonic – Sonic and Knuckles” Theme-

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    I didn’t know today was S&K’s birthday. With that fact in mind, I might post an update on S3K loco. Although I never played the Mega Drive version of S3&K as a youngin, I remember Sonic 3 (alone) being the first Sonic game I ever played, over at a friend’s house with his model 2 Genesis. Years later, I bought Sonic & Knuckles collection for the PC (and I still have it). Too bad S3&KC is too old to work on my Windows 7 laptop, which is too cheap for hardware virtualization :(. I remember my friend and I could never get past MGZ’s zone boss. Anyways, happy birthday S3&K and to your unique lock-on technology!

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    Finally beating that damn Lava Reef Boss. Does anybody realize it’s possible to have 99 lives AND continues in Sonic 3 & Knuckles?

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    This game’s pretty much a year and a month older than me. One of the best Genesis/Sonic games I’ve played. Happy birthday.

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    It wasn’t £45 it was £34.99 due to Sonic 3 being £59.99, still had a crappy box though.

  • Reply

    Sonic was present all my childhood. I grew up with him.
    Sonic 3 was the first Sonic game I had(and the third cartridge of mine), at 9 years old, more or less. When I moved to the neighborhood, another kid invited me to his house(that kid being now my best friend, Andres). I came to his place with Sonic 3. He saw him and said “I’ts like a game I had”. He take off my cartridge, and put his.
    SONIC & KNUCKLES. HUGE WOW. Those mushrooms were so different to the tropical setting I was used to see my blue hero. He handed me the game for 2 weeks. That time I only got to Lava Reef. Then, a couple of years later we completed that game. Later I completed Sonic 3, that Big Arm was my childhood nightmare.

    Well, then HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONIC & KNUCKLES!!!!!!

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    BTW, I’m from Argentina. My only console was a Genesis(II), and mom bought it in ’98, I had six. THE BEST CHILDREN’S DAY GIFT EVER. 🙂

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    I have got s3, s3k and sk on my pc, when all i need is s3k.

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    Failing to beat Sandopolis Act 2, especially with Knuckles because of me not being aware of the fact that I could hold the switch with that brick. That’s one memory of the game I’ve had.

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    I know it looks like sinestesia, but the Sonic & Knuckles titlescreen always had the smell of something new for me, like if it were the inside of a car Ijust bought.

    I just freaking insanely love it. More than the other classics. Maybe not more than CD, but whatever.

  • Reply

    Ah, S&K. Indeed a classic. A good classic too. A favorite of mine. I really enjoyed this game. I hadn’t been born yet (not for another 3 and a half years), but it was a game I played when I got older, after playing other classic Sonic games from my earlier childhood, like Sonic 1 and 2. Then I played 3, which also caused me to notice S&K, and immediately I fell in love with the game. Good game, man, good game. I wish I was around to remember that, but I would at least had to be about 6 years older to remember!

  • Reply

    Somehow I ended up with S&K on launch date, but didn’t have Sonic 3! So for the next few months I struggled with no saves and having to leave the game paused when going for dinner and stuff.

    When I finally got Sonic 3 second-hand I wondered why the hell I had been such an idiot doing it this way round!

    Good memories though, truly the pinnacle of Sonic.

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