Video Game / Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island

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An isometric platformer known in North America as Sonic 3D Blast, starring Sega's three-foot speed demon, developed by Travellers Tales. The game was released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and the Sega Saturn (to compensate for the cancellation of the game that was supposed to be the Saturn's Killer App, Sonic X-treme) in 1996, as well as for the PC in 1997. It was initially passed up for release in Japan until 1999, to coincide with Sonic Adventure International. The Genesis version was the last brand new Sonic release for that system, and second-last overall, after the 1997 compilation Sonic Classics 3-in-1 (which was previously released in Europe in 1995).

Remember that little blue bird that Sonic the Hedgehog freed out of robot shells in the original 16-bit trilogy, the Flicky? It turns out they reside on Flicky Island, where they can travel through dimensions via giant rings. Learning about this, Dr. Robotnik has decided to invade the island and trap its inhabitants inside his Badnik army, that he can seize the seven Chaos Emeralds and take over the world.

During his usual nomadic routine, Sonic pays a visit to his little pals on Flicky Island, only to discover they've all been imprisoned in Badnik shells. Now, our true blue hero must free his friends and stop Robotnik once again.

As noted above, Sonic 3D is an isometric platformer (with nifty pre-rendered 3D sprites), but that's not the only difference in gameplay. Beating an act is not done by reaching the goal as soon as you can; instead, you have to collect a set of five Flickies and bring them to a giant ring; there are usually 2-3 giant rings, and once you successfully deposit each set , you beat the act. The only acts exempt from flicky collect-a-thons are boss acts and an act near the end of the game which plays like a classic Sonic stage.

The Saturn version somewhat rectifies the control issues by offering the analog pad as an alternative to the D-Pad, has a CD-quality soundtrack composed by Richard Jacques, additional graphical effects such as fog and water effects, and a polygonal special stage; but it lacks a save game feature (despite being on a system with a memory card-esque feature) and has unusually long loading times. The PC version includes Jacques' soundtrack and a save game feature, but lacks some of the Saturn version's other features such as the polygonal special stage and a few graphical enhancements.

Not to be confused with Sonic Blast for the Game Gear, though the games were marketed together in commercials. Also unrelated to Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: All of the zone names.
    • With the exception of Gene Gadget Zone, which uses two different "G" sounds (/dʒ/ and /ɡ/).
  • Art Evolution: Check out the artwork made exclusively for the Sega Saturn release in Japan - the style looks like a lot like the missing link between the "classic" and "modern" character designs.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: In the Genesis version, Knuckles' special stages are quite easy. Tails' special stages, in contrast, are much more difficult due to the sheer abundance of spiked balls combined with the fast pacing and frequent twists and turns. In the Saturn and PC port, both characters share identical special stages, but only one gives you an Emerald per act (a 1-Up is rewarded on a second playthrough).
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Archie Comics published a 48-page special featuring a story based on the game's plot, while Fleetway's Sonic the Comic did a very loose adaptation in issues 104-106.
  • Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: The setting for the Gene Gadget Zone boss.
  • Demoted to Extra: Tails and Knuckles make cameos throughout the levels and let you access the Special Stage, but they have no role in the plot (such as it is) you don't get to play as them.
  • Eternal Engine: Gene Gadget Zone and Panic Puppet Zone.
  • Excuse Plot: Robotnik is kidnapping innocent Flickies! Guess who has to save the day?
  • Game Mod: Sonic 3D: No Flickies is a romhack of the game that, true to its name, redesigns the game so that you don't have to collect Flickies and can just blaze through the levels like in the original sidescroller games, with the Portal Rings just serving as Checkpoints. Obviously, it makes the game a lot quicker and easier. A later mod of this romhack even gives you the ability to turn into Super Sonic if you get all of the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Green Grove Zone
  • In Case of Boss Fight, Break Glass: All of the end of level battles with Robotnik until Panic Puppet Zone Act 3, where flashing lights become the new target due to not being able to hit his cockpit directly (you hit the torso of the True Final Boss if you can reach his level).
  • Leitmotif: In the Saturn/PC version, Robotnik's normal theme is remixed into something more epic and sinister for the final boss music. It also makes a brief cameo in the Bad Ending.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Volcano Valley Zone, complete with leaping fireballs and collapsing stone bridges.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The loading times for the Sega Saturn port can run for as long as 30 seconds. This was slightly shortened in the japanese release, and the PC port substantially improved the loading times.
  • Market-Based Title: As mentioned above, the standard NTSC version is known as "Sonic 3D Blast" and the PAL version is known as "Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island", but Japan used both (the former for the physical Saturn release, and the latter for the Mega Drive edition via Sonic Mega Collection and Virtual Console).
  • Multiple Endings: Didn't get all the Emeralds? Well then you get the Bad Ending, which alludes to Robotnik returning. Get them all? Then you gain access to The Final Fight, which is pretty self explanatory, and if you beat it, you get the Good Ending.
  • Our Founder: In Panic Puppet Zone Act 2, Sonic has to reach the top of a giant Robotnik statue through his nose. The boss fight for the stage takes place inside the statue.
  • Power Up Letdown: The Speed-Up Shoes are not very useful in this game. They make Sonic, already slippery moving as is, very hard to control and it makes it easy for him to collide into an enemy or obstacle by accident. The open ended nature of the gameplay and lack of time limit also contradict the whole point of the powerup—helping you get to the end of the level faster.
  • Point of No Return: The final non-boss act of the game, Panic Puppet Zone Act 2, is a straight Sonic stage with no Flickies, and several points exist in the stage to prevent Sonic backtracking, but the most notable one is at the end of the stage, where you cross several plates that fall below you. After the second one, you're left with no choice but to enter the pipe in Robotnik's nose, which ends the stage and takes you to Panic Puppet Zone Act 3, a three-phase boss fight against three separate big-armed machines (if you have all the Chaos Emeralds, The Final Fight, which is in its own stage, follows Panic Puppet Zone Act 3).
  • Recurring Riff: The Saturn/PC soundtrack incorporates the title theme melody into nearly every single track in the game.
  • Single-Use Shield: The regular shield and Fire Shield power-ups return, and a new power-up, the Blast Shield, is added that lets you do a proto-Homing Attack on an enemy. The Fire Shield makes you immune to lava and fire, but all shields will vanish if you collide with an enemy.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Diamond Dust Zone.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the Flicky arcade game, which also revolved around guiding small bird creatures to a goal while avoiding enemies.
  • True Final Boss: The Final Fight, the Final Boss Battle is available by beating the game with all the Chaos Emeralds, beating this boss is needed to get the Good Ending.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The entire game involves killing Badniks to free Flickies. But then Panic Puppet Zone comes. Act 1 has you freeing them in pods. Act 2 lacks them entirely, being a traditional Point A to Point B stage. The manual handwaves it by saying that Robotnik hasn't had time to put them in the Badniks yet as Sonic got there sooner than expected.

Alternative Title(s): Sonic 3 D Blast, Sonic 3 D Flickies Island

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