Retro Video Game Review: Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Sega Genesis)

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Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars

Released for the Sega Genesis system, Sonice the Hedgehog 3 starred the brand flagship character Sonic in another fast-paced adventure to recover the lost Chaos Crystals and finally defeat Dr. Robotnik once and for all. With his pal Tails and friend Knuckles in tow, the Blue Blaze was once again positioned to provide a racing good time.

Featuring new power-ups, a thorough save feature, an optional secondary quest (recovering all the crystals to unlock Super Sonic), two-player simultaneous mode, mini-games, and a two-player versus mode, Sonic 3 was packed with features, both classic and innovative. How did it measure up to the two previous games?


Sonic still moves similarly to the original Sonic the Hedgehog adventure, with the advance of the spin-dash technique introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. However, in 3 he has gained some power-up abilities to enhance his survivability and baddie-beating prowess: These come in the form of breakable boxes, each granting a different power when you press a button (A, B, or C) while Sonic is in midair. These range from the electric orb, which attracts rings directly to you and allows a higher double-jump; the fire orb, which enable Sonic to briefly shoot forward like a blazing meteor; the bubble orb, which allows infinite air underwater and oddly high bouncing on land; and the simple barrier orb, which, like the others, allows Sonice to take a hit before contacts start taking rings.

Otherwise, play continues as throughout the other games, which differently themed worlds having two stages each to complete. The wonderful difference now, though, is that there are multiple save slots for players to return to their files to advance forward farther. This truly enhances the experience and allows for additional replay value.


The appearances of Sonic 3 have greatly improved since the original title, and have even markedly advanced since the second installment. Some highlights include the snow effects on the level that begins with Sonic skiiing, and some of the bosses are truly awesome in their on-screen presence. The game handles the classic franchise-known speed well, without clipping or frame-rate problems that previous iterations exhibited. The enemies are crisp, the levels are well-designed, and everything looks as sharp as it plays.


The sound effects come often and are spot-on; tightly developed and hard-hitting, they range from the subtle “whoosh” of motion to the surprisingly many different fire-related sound effects that Sonic will encounter, including an entire forest fire near the beginning of the time. The background music, always a classic staple of the series, is also in high-gear here, with each distinct world having its own atmosphere, the mood aided by the tunes.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 has plenty of creativity and innovation to spare, and surprisingly playable multiplayer modes; for instance, the second player controls Tails and is able to lift Sonic in order to fly to areas. With a perfect degree of difficulty aiding the save-file factor for the challenge, the ever-grim figure of Dr. Robotnik and his machines, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is the one true definitive Sega Genesis adventure that should not be missed. And, once the player has unlocked Super Sonic by earning all the Chaos Crystals, one of the most rewarding player-controlled experiences in video gaming history unleashed. All things considered, this quintessential legend firmly earns its perfect five-star rating.


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