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Something Rotten In The State Of Sonic & Knuckles

Sonic 3 and Knuckles Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was one of the most highly anticipated titles of its day back in the era of the Sega Genesis, and the release of sequel/second half Sonic & Knuckles half a year later only raised the blue blur to new heights.  Some people, however, were skeptical of what the whole lock-on technology aspect of the experience meant for the future of the franchise, and even as Sonic fans were ecstatic at being able to connect to the two cartridges to form one long adventure (or one long adventure and one slightly new adventure, if one takes the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 lock-on into consideration), a few folks (such as Andrew Bentley over at GameSpite) only saw the long way to fall.

The con becomes readily apparent once you think about it a little, obviously enough. The original Sonic 3 cart had an absolute plethora of save spots, something new to the series altogether, and a spiffy menu to go with it, and it was just as long as the previous two Sonic adventures with the addition of a multiplayer mode to boot. The Sonic & Knuckles cart, on the other hand, had that goofy “Lock-On” dealie on top of it and had no save menu at all, and you could only choose between the title characters on the main screen with no extra menus and no multiplayer mode. Of course, if you were a kid like me, you probably just popped the Sonic 3 cart into the lock-on slot and had at it with the mind-blowing realization that Sonic 3 & Knuckles let you pick up at the start of the new material from a clear save from the first game.

My only Genesis-owning friend of the time owned Sonic & Knuckles, but none of the other games in the franchise.  He never actually locked it on to Sonic 3 or Sonic 2 which, to me, seemed like such a waste.  The end result feels like only watching half a movie or just reading half a book.  I never did understand the method to his particular brand of madness.