The Underrated Sonic & Knuckles Turns 25

Sonic & Knuckles, the final 2D Sonic title on the SEGA Genesis, hit its 25th anniversary today. The Sonic franchise has seen mixed success in recent years, but that hasn't stopped the blue hedgehog. In fact, Sonic will be speeding his way into Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD later this month.

Debuting in 1991 on the Sega Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog was a massively popular game, and the only one to rival Super Mario at the time. Whereas Super Mario titles typically are not fast-paced, Sonic featured a speedy character capable of zooming through stages, known as Zones. The game was not just about running, however. There was platforming and boss battles against the nefarious Dr. Robotnik.

Naturally, Sonic the Hedgehog would receive directs sequels and start a franchise. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 expanded on its predecessor, delivering more Zones and one of the hardest final bosses in the series. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 continued the series' established quality, and introduced a mainstay character: Knuckles the Echidna. Later that same year, SEGA released Sonic & Knuckles. Although perhaps not as discussed as the games before it, Sonic & Knuckles nonetheless retains everything that makes Sonic enjoyable, and featured a number of memorable aspects.

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This week, Sonic & Knuckles celebrated its 25th anniversary. The official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter acknowledged the occasion with a humorous video. Check out the Tweet below.

The backstory behind Sonic & Knuckles is quite interesting. Originally the plan was to make Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles one game, but factors prevented it. However, with the unique "lock-on technology," players could combine cartridges into a single game called, "Sonic 3 & Knuckles."

Although Sonic & Knuckles isn't too different from its predecessors, there are a number of notable features. For the first time, Knuckles was playable for the campaign, and he came with new gameplay moves. The title featured notable stages, such as Sky Sanctuary Zone and Flying Battery Zone, stages that were brought back later on in the franchise. Of course, players will never forget the final race as Super Sonic at the end of the Doomsday Zone. The Zones, soundtrack, and visuals made Sonic & Knuckles a fantastic installment.

It's a shame Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were not included in the SEGA Genesis Mini. These two are acclaimed titles everyone should play. Sonic & Knuckles provided a satisfying conclusion to the original Genesis 2D lineup.

Source: Sonic the Hedgehog/Twitter

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