Headscratchers: Sonic 3 & Knuckles

  • Why is there a carnival zone on Angel Island of all places?? Did Robotnik have time to just build one? That always bugged me, the rest of the zones made relative sense in one way or another (despite, you know, radically different climates being right next to each other on a floating island).
    • I'd guess it was one of the most recent things that the Echidna civilization built before they disappeared. Knuckles maintained it because he was all alone on the island; the carnival and its maintenance were his only sources of amusement.
    • It's the surrealism of the Mega Drive trilogy (+ Sonic the Hedgehog CD). Spring Yard didn't follow a level theme (It wasn't really a city level, it wasn't a casino level, and it wasn't a mountain level...), Collision Chaos is a pinball table... "On drugs", and Carnival Night looks out of place in Angel Island. Actually, Sonic 3 has the most "normal" levels in the trilogy, so Carnival Night looks even more out of place.
      • Spring Yard Zone appears to be explained in that Sonic The Hedgehog's zones are arranged incorrectly - the original game's level select screen has them in a different arrangement of Green Hill > Labyrinth > Marble > Starlight > Spring Yard > Scrap Brain, which seems to show the stages becoming less rural and more industrialised as they progress, matching the theme of getting closer to Robotnik's main base. This was better enacted in Sonic 2, minus the placement of Chemical Plant Zone.
    • Alternatively, Carnival Night is Eggman's primary base on the island, while Launch Base is just the subset dedicated to getting the Death Egg airborne again. The Flying Battery's gotta refuel somewhere, and the level order was originally going to have Flying Battery immediately after Carnival Night, anyway...
  • Another question: why is the carnival level underwater?! It's as if Sega was going out of their way to put underwater levels in the game just for the heck of it, and making up for it by having no underwater sections at all in Sonic and Knuckles.
    • Apparently, Knuckles shutting off most of the area's power released the water. Somehow.
    • The water that appears in Sonic and Tails' version of the level is due to minor flooding. Notice during Knuckles' version of Angel Island Zone - Launch Base Zone, the amount of water in those levels has receded. This is because Angel Island is back in the sky and not the ocean at that point.
  • Why do the spitting statues in marble garden appear human?
    • Without knowing who built them, it's impossible to say. Humans could have built them. Or, just as humans make animal statues, anthropomorphic animals could build human statues. They might be religious.
      • It was built by Echidnas who have probably never heard of humans.
      • Nah, it was most likely built by humans, along with the Sandopolis pyramids, whose walls feature carvings with human figures. It was never stated that the Knuckles clan were the only beings in Angel Island, so there might have been human civilizations that lived there in the past but became extinct. Or alternatively, Marble Garden and Sandopolis might have been built before Angel Island came to be.
  • How did Knuckles knock Sonic out of Super Sonic mode? He even did so hard enough to knock the Chaos Emeralds out of Sonic. Isn't Super Sonic supposed to be invincible, at least for the early games?
    • Better question. Why does he hide the stolen emeralds in poorly hidden giant floating minigame rings?
    • Maybe being guardian of the Master Emerald just let's him do h4x shit like that? For all we know, canceling a Chaos Emerald-induced Super Mode is part that power set, like sensing Emeralds - not like he's ever had occasion to do it again.
    • Actually, in one of the cut-scenes in Sonic and Knuckles, Knuckles knocks a giant boulder into Sonic, which can revert him back to normal from HYPER. Since he's an NPC in Sonic's story, he's invincible in cut-scenes, but a joke in actual battle.
    • When Knuckles punched him out of the super form you start the level with no Rings. Maybe the transformation was just about to end and Knuckles had an extremely lucky shot.
    • It's a canonical fact that the Master Emerald can nullify the Chaos Emeralds. Maybe Knuckles used its power to cancel out Sonic's Super form? He might previously have "charged" himself with the Master Emerald's energy in order to nullify Super Sonic, or maybe he simply had the Master Emerald with him and used it (remember, SA 2 heavily implied that he can shrink the Master Emerald and carry it around).
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles had Knuckles going through Sonic's Angel Island Act 1. Since his story takes place right after Sonic's, wouldn't it still be recovering from the fire?
    • Well, in canon, Knuckles' gameplay never happened in Sonic 3...I don't know.
    • ...Uh, no.
  • Why did Angel Island fall from the sky in Sonic 3 anyway? The Master Emerald was still in Hidden Palace at that time.
    • Eggman's ship crashed into it, and the sudden force propelled it down.
      • Yeah, Sonic 3's backstory stated that the Death Egg knocked the island into the sea, and its weight has been actively pushing the island downwards since then. As the game shows, the Master Emerald is capable of levitating Angel Island OR the Death Egg, but not BOTH at the same time.
  • Why did they show the Death Egg getting destroyed in the Sonic 3 ending? They already knew that that story would be continued in Sonic & Knuckles. Granted, S3&K alters that cutscene to show the Death Egg falling rather than exploding, removing any continuity problems. But still, why wasn't the Sonic 3 version like that? For people that play the game without Lock-on, the Death Egg's presence in S&K will make no sense.
    • To make Sonic 3 seem more like a complete game for those that were unaware of S+K or couldn't buy it. And to be fair, the continuity of the games was extremely loose at the time, meaning it was hardly that big a deal.
  • So why exactly is Knuckles' story never even so much as mentioned in the Japanese material that details this game's plot?

    • I get that even back then Sonic was still a bit more story-driven than Mario platformers or others at the time, but it seems kind of glaring that they would go through all the trouble of still making Knuckles playable as they intended when the game was intended to be on one cartridge, even going so far as creating a cutscene for the stand alone Sonic & Knuckles cartridge, and then not even mention his plot even once, yes the setup is basic and easy to get, but so is pretty much the Sonic games that came before it and even in-game Sonic's story is pretty basic when you start as well, but that still didn't stop me from taking a look at the Japanese material for the stories which still give a very detailed plot to the games despite the setup for these plots being basic and easy to get.I get that out of the classics Sonic 3 & Knuckles probably has the most going on for it in terms of story, but I wouldn't exactly say there's much you can spoil, as despite being the most plot-driven of the classic Sonic games we pretty much know Sonic's going to win in the end anyway, and even if it is the most plot-driven compared to other Sonic games that were released later on it's still light as most of Sonic's games back then were, and even if it was to leave out spoilers, well simply having Knuckles playable right off the bat kind of gives away some stuff in the little story they do have, not to mention it kind of didn't make things at the end for me clear until at least watching Cybershell's finale for his Knuckles playthrough, I didn't know the Master Emerald had been stolen by Eggrobo and Mecha Sonic, mostly because I found it slightly hard to notice Angel Island falling in the background and nothing in the canon material was mentioning that it was stolen or that the Island was slowly falling, it didn't fall quite quick enough for me to pick up on that, not to mention the cutscene at the beginning shows nothing more than the Eggrobo trying to blow Knuckles up with a bomb and there's nothing that states at any point Knuckles was going to Sky Sanctuary to get back the Master Emerald.The American manual and story mentions some of this and despite the fact they get it wrong by stating it happens at the same time as Sonic's adventure, it's at least something, I could understand it if Knuckles story was basically like Tails where it's just Sonic's story with Knuckles, but his is different enough to warrant calling it a different adventure than Sonic's story. I kind of don't get why no actual canon material from the actual Japanese story doesn't at least mention some of Knuckles' story.