Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is considered to be one of the best Sega games of all time, and yet a successor that became even more popular than the second game. The game introduced new stages, new emeralds, and a new neutral character, Knuckles the Echidna. This game is tied to it's direct sequel Sonic & Knuckles, as the two games were originally one until time constraints and cartridge costs forced the game to be split into two interlocking parts.
Plot. Shortly after Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Death Egg has crashed landed into a mysterious floating island known as Angel Island, reputed only by legend to exist. Dr. Robotnik meets Knuckles the Echidna, the last surviving member of a race of echidna warriors that inhabited the island in ancient times, and also guardian of the Master Emerald. Knowing that Sonic and Tails are after him, Robotnik tricks Knuckles into thinking that Sonic and Tails are trying to steal his emerald. Now Sonic and Tails must try to convince Knuckles that Robotnik is lying to him, and another adventure to retrieve the Chaos Emeralds and save the world has just begun.
Both characters can get elemental shields (lightning, fire, and water), which prevents attacks from that enemy, and proves more beneficial than the shields from the first two games. My favorite has to be the water shield, because it prevents Sonic and Tails from drowning, allowing them to be more time underwater. Special Stages where you get emeralds, are hidden in various stages, and not on star points. In a special stage, players must get all the blue balls in order to get the emerald. The star checkpoint special stages include getting a large amount of rings, leading to more lives and continues, which is great.
Concept. Players must guide Sonic and Tails throughout six stages, which each has two zones, but if played with the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge, that includes eight more stages, where you don't only get Chaos Emeralds, but the special ones, known as Super Emeralds. When all emeralds are obtained, Sonic can turn into Super Sonic, while Tails becomes Super Tails, and Knuckles becomes Super Knuckles. When playing as Knuckles, at the end, you fight against Mecha Sonic, to recover the Master Emerald from misusing it's power.
Design. Sonic's look has changed since the last game, he now has a facial expression and his mouth can be seen, which is very cool. Yuji Naka returns for the design of this game, and once again he has done a masterful job in designing the stages, loop-de-loops, characters, and more.
Music. Sega had originally hired the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson to compose the music of the game, but later the idea was scrapped. Wise choice, because imagine Michael Jackson having to sing in the game, it would be cheesy. Jun Senoue and Howard Drossin became the composers of the game.
Rantings. For Sonic 3, my main ranting is that the game was too rushed, and it is very short. However, what makes up for this rant is when you combine the two cartridges of both Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles, which is awesome. Also, the game can be very hard at times the more you progress.
Good Aspects. This game has a million great qualities, although it has not sold as well as Sonic 2, the game was still very well recieved by both fans and critics. It has high replay value, and you can download this game on the Wii Shop Channel for 800 Wii Points.
Overall. This happens to be one of my favorite childhood games, yet another one of my memories of visiting, sleepovers, and summer visits with my cousins both in Dominican Republic and New York City, I give this game a 9 out of 10.