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31 Bonus Levels of Christmas
Sonic the Hedgehog 3: Chaos Globe
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 17, 2010   |   Episode 23 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 31 of the best-known bonus stages in all of video games. Each day we're going to look at a different level and review it, while also trying to figure out what makes it tick. Join us as we post a new episode of the 31 Bonus Levels of Christmas every day leading up to the biggest holiday of the year!
Sonic the Hedgehog 3: Chaos Globe
[ Console: Arcade | Year: 1990 | Grade: B ]

This perspective is great for a bonus stage, but I wouldn't want to play a whole game like this!
The Context: Empowered by the success of the first two Sonic the Hedgehog games (not to mention Game Gear, Sega Master System and Sega CD releases), Sega brought their beloved mascot back for a third adventure. This time around they added new characters, cool power-ups and one of the best looking (albeit controversial) bonus stages around. What nobody knew at the time was that Sonic 3 was the beginning of the end for Sega's Hedgehog. Although the company would later go on to release the passable Sonic & Knuckles, but the Hedgehog was never the same after this 1994 installment.

The Rules: Sonic and Tails must collect all of the blue orbs to earn a, you guessed it, Chaos Emerald. This time around they walk in nothing but straight lines around a small globe-like planet. Players

His Sonic costume is only the second creepiest thing in this picture!
can only turn at 90 degree angles, making it tricky to pick up blue orbs while avoiding the red ones. Thankfully there's a trick to this madness, including the ability to collect large chunks of orbs by simply completing the outside layer. Much like past Sonic games, these bonus levels start easy and become increasingly more difficult.

The Verdict: Looking back on it now, I'm surprised how much this Sonic 3 bonus stage resembles levels found in Super Mario Galaxy. It's as if you're stuck on a tiny globe, racing around to pick up all of the blue orbs. A lot of people don't like this bonus stage due to its restrictive control scheme, but that doesn't bother me. The 90 degree turns work for me, as does the orb collecting and maze-like structure. It also looks incredible, with sharp graphics and the most convincing scaling and rotation I've seen in a Genesis

Great things come in hedgehogs!
game. It baffles me that there is any controversy over this stage, but I won't let that take anything away from my enjoyment of the final great Sonic game.

Completely Missing the Point: I know I'm in the minority here, but I think Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is high water mark for this long-running franchise. Everybody I know disagrees. They think Sonic 2 is tops. While I certainly love Sonic 2, it didn't feel like the leap forward I was hoping for from a sequel. The level designs are great and adding a second character was a stroke of genius, but it's not my favorite. I like the additional power-ups found in Sonic 3. I think Knuckles is a great addition that would later be paid off in a worthwhile way. The level designs are polished and the graphics cannot be beat. Don't listen to the haters; Sonic 3 is the best in the series.
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