Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Genesis)

In this review, we run through the Sega Genesis game Sonic the Hedgehog 3. We find out if this adventure game is worth playing.

This game was released in 1994. We are growing more familiar with this franchise. Previously, we played the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis. That game got a particularly great score. We also tried the Sega Master version of the title. While it still got a good score, it wasn’t as good. Next, we tries Sonic the Hedgehog 2. That game also got a pretty high score here. So, we continue going through this franchise by trying the third game in the series.

The game apparently follows the events of the second game. Sonic and tails encounter Knuckles who steals the gems Sonic had previously collected. Sonic then sets off to get the gems back.

A lot of features have been carried over from the previous two games. This includes various springs, bumpers, and power-ups. Still, there are a few new features that have been included in this game.

One new feature is the increase variety of shields. Instead of just one shield, there are multiple forms of shields including an electric field and even a fire shield. Each shield comes with their own special powers.

Other features include floating disc’s that activate largely when Sonic runs on them. In addition, there are giant tires in the ground that activate when you use Sonic’s spin move.

The level progression has been tweaked slightly. Instead of just starts and finishes in the game, you can actually advance from one level to another without a hard cut between the two. This is an interesting new feature as it makes level transitions a little smoother.

In addition this, you can bounce the spinning sign around at the end of the level for additional points.

Another great feature is the save function. This is new to the series and is definitely a much needed improvement over the previous games.

One final feature are bonus levels. These can be found by finding a giant gold ring. Collect this ring and you’ll be transported to a third person perspective level.

One thing I read about this game is that some complained that this game didn’t innovate much from the previous game. The various level features and the newer power-ups said to me there are plenty of small ways the game improved on the previous game. The additional bonus level is another big advancement from the previous game because the 3D levels are now part of one player play. So, I’ll go against the grain and say there are new features in this game and that there’s a nice boost in innovation here.

What I will also say is that this game increases the difficulty by a fair bit. In the previous game, I noted that there are a few frustrating moments. In this game, level features are much harder to figure out. In fact, it’s like this game depends on you mastering the previous game before even getting to this game. If you are new to the series, this game is not the greatest to start with. The more challenging areas may be a little off-putting to new players.

Another thing I noticed is the fact that this game puts less emphasis on alternate routs. Some levels still have them, but, in general, I found this game to have a more linear feel to it which I think is a step back for this series.

There are still fun features in this game that have been carried over from previous games, but this game doesn’t quite have as big of a fun factor as it’s previous games had.

Generally speaking, this is probably the weakest Sonic on the Genesis game I’ve played so far. While there are innovative features to be found, the increase complexity to the play can be confusing. If you’ve never played the previous games, then this game might even be unplayable at certain moments. The game has a more linear feel to it which I think is a step back. The bonus level concept of going into a 3D environment is great. So, while a good game, not as strong as far as I’m concerned.

The graphics definitely don’t disappoint. It still retains that nice polished look with smooth animations and highly detailed backgrounds. The 3D bonus level is an excellent thing to see here. While other systems are increasing the graphical firepower, this game manages to keep up with other games such as Pinball Dreams and Uniracers. So, still a well done job here.

The music is generally pretty good, though there isn’t as much wow factor as I’m used to. The sound effects have received the least attention as it is seemingly just carried over from the previous game. So, a decent job, but nothing particularly amazing here.

Overall, I was expecting this series to knock it out of the park a third time. Unfortunately, this game proves that even this series has weaker moments in the franchise early on. There is some innovations found here with new features. Unfortunately, the difficulty is increased in a way that makes it dependent on players having played the previous games first before tackling this one. This proves to be a big misstep here. The simplification of the level designs also takes this series back a step. Still, the addition of the 3D bonus level is an excellent thing to see. The graphics are great. This game shows that it can still handle the competition in this regard. The audio is decent enough, but nothing amazing. Overall, a decent game all around.

Furthest point in game: Got stuck and timed out on Carnival, Act 2.

General gameplay: 19/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 74%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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