SONIC 3D: BLAST / FLICKIES' ISLAND

MEGA DRIVE, SATURN & PC : SONIC TEAM/TRAVELLERS TALES 1997

Sonic 3D

Title Screen - Mega Drive Version

Mega Drive Version

Title Screen - Saturn Version

Saturn Version

HISTORY

Sonic 3D was SEGA's attempt (albeit a weak one) to give Sonic a breath of 3D action while the rest of the world was still going mad over Mario 64 and Sony were still doing well with their titles.

Travellers Tales
Sonic Team

Sonic Team, already occupied with other projects, enlist the help of Travellers Tales (TT) here in the UK to assist. Travellers Tales had previously shown some impressive programming skills throughout the Mega Drive/Genesis (16-Bit) era an example being Puggsy.

Sonic 3D was initially to be a Mega Drive/Genesis only title, yet the underrated Saturn desperately needed a good Sonic game. TT had managed to create a port to the Saturn in very short amount of time which impressed SEGA/Sonic Team. The eventual cancellation of Sonic X-Treme resulted in it's complete/official port to the 32-Bitter. Sonic 3D would become the back-up Sonic game.

Sadly this game feels like a throw together effort despite the impressiveness of the 16-Bit version. It does not make Sonic's first appearance in 3D a brilliant one especially where the Saturn version is concerned anyway.

Sonic 3D: Blast/Flickies Island was released on Mega Drive/Genesis, Saturn and PC. The PC version lags behind the Saturn version slightly but is the only version to offer a save feature. Despite the slight difference in the titles, the games are essentially the same.

The 16-Bit version has been included in some of the Sonic compilation titles such as Sonic Mega Collection. It has also been released on Steam.

It spawned an 8-Bit spin-off called Sonic Labyrinth on the Game Gear and TT would bring another a Sonic racing game to the Saturn and PC called Sonic R.

STORY

The mysterious Flicky birds

Flicky Island is the home of the mysterious Flicky Birds. They are very rarely seen and thought that their appearance is closely linked to the locations of the Chaos Emeralds. Sonic decides to check out Flicky Island. Robotnik, always after the prizes travels to the island too. With his evil scientific genius he now knows the secret of the Flickies - they live in a parallel universe and come into this world via Teleport Rings.

Robotnik creates the Teleport Ring Generator designed to lure the Flickies over for him to do with what he pleases and yet again they are turned into robotic slaves.

Sonic arrives and find the island in turmoil. The Flickies must be rescued from their mechanical prisons and returned to their own dimension as well as getting the Chaos Emeralds before the mad doctor gets his hands on all of them.


GAMEPLAY

Although the name suggests a different style of play, Sonic 3D is not that much of a diversion from the usual Sonic style of game. The graphics engine being an isometric view is really the only change.

The actions of running around, jumping, collecting rings and special items, destroying enemies and obtaining the Chaos Emeralds all still have to be achieved. As usual there are plenty of nooks and crannies that can be found with some exploration. These are generally found by smashing through walls or loose floor panels.

Sonic is the only playable character. He moves around in all directions via the D-Pad. Buttons A and C are jump and Button B is specifically for the Spin Dash which you have to be stationary to perform.

The levels themselves are split into sections best described as 'gameboards' since they are chequered. There are a minimum of 2 boards per act. Each act contains the usual Sonic special items inside monitors. They are:

  • Ring - earns 10 rings

  • Invincibility - temporally invincible

  • Speed boots - temporary speed boost.

  • Sonic - extra life

  • Sonic Medals - collect 10 for a continue.

There are also 3 types of shield each protecting Sonic from a particular element inside of each zone. All shields also absorb one hit. They are:

blue protects you from electrical discharges,
red protects you from fire,
gold (only) gives Sonic the Blast Attack. Perform a double-jump to home in on an enemy to destroy it.

Your goal on each board is to rescue all of the five Flickies and get them to the teleport ring. The five Flickies are scattered throughout the game board and imprisoned as Badnik's. Simply destroy the Badnik by means or a jump or Spin Dash attack to release the bird. Walk/Run over it to make it follow you. The Flickies will then follow you in an orderly line.

Once free, Flickies will still need your attention. If any of the group take a hit they will disperse. If Sonic takes a hit they will also disperse along with the usual scattering of rings.

The Flickies

Each colour of Flicky behaves slightly differently.

Blue Flickies are the least trouble. Once you bust them open, stand still and they should make their way to you.

Pink Flickies move around a little more but they do try and catch up with you. They will fly in circles around you when you're standing still.

Red Flickies move around from one point to another and do not try to follow. They do not move very far but good timing is needed to catch them.

Green Flickies = Problems. They veer off randomly around the game board and are the most difficult to catch. On some of the harder levels going after these may get you killed.

The indicator at the bottom right of the screen shows you how many Flickies you've rescued.

Once you have collected a Flicky you can take it to the Teleport Ring which will be in a static location somewhere on each board. Once a Flicky has gone through the teleport ring it does not come back out.

However, there are advantages by having a full line of Flickies. You can reach some of the Sonic Medals that are usually above springs and the more Flickies you take to the Teleport Rings at once the more points you get.

Once all 5 Flickies have been sent home the teleport ring will then serve as the route to the next gameboard. It is possible to go back to completed boards for collection of rings ect.

Each zone consists of three acts with act three being a confrontation with Dr Robotnik. There are 7 Zones with a final boss zone.

The Saturn version of the game will display a map of the act when the Start Button is pressed.

Saturn In Game Map

Saturn In Game Map

ZONES

MEGA DRIVE

SATURN

Green Grove Zone

Rusty Ruin Zone

Spring Stadium Zone

Diamond Dust Zone

Volcano Valley Zone

Gene Gadget Zone

Panic Puppet Zone

The Final Fight

Green Grove Zone

Rusty Ruin Zone

Spring Stadium Zone

Diamond Dust Zone

Volcano Valley Zone

Gene Gadget Zone

Panic Puppet Zone

The Final Fight

Click on a name for more info


Special Stages

Tails and Knuckles make cameo appearances during each act and serve as your gateway into the Special Stages. You need to take 50 rings in total to either of them to gain access for the chance to collect a Chaos Emerald. Their positions in each act are static but you can only be transported to a Special Stage once.

After collecting all the Chaos Emeralds you can enter again for the prize of an extra life instead.

The actual Special Stage differs between the Mega Drive/Genesis and Saturn/PC versions but both special stages revolve around the same idea - collecting set amounts of rings in a certain amount of space.

Mega Drive Version

Sonic runs along a weak quazzy-3D bridge. There are mines to avoid and you'll loose rings should you touch one. There are also steps in the bridge which are easily jumped over but sometimes hamper the oncoming view and therein lies the trickiness as it speeds up also. Complete all the goals and the shiny gem is yours.

Special Stage - Mega Drive Version Special Stage - Mega Drive Version

Saturn Version

Can be described as an enhanced version of the Special Stage from Sonic 2. Saturn power shows through with the half-pipe design benefiting from the Saturnís polygon abilities with the designers adding tunnels, corkscrew twists, springs and platforms. That said the handling is quite sluggish and will need some getting used to.

Special Stage - Saturn Version Special Stage - Saturn Version

CHEATS

Extra Life In Rusty Ruin

At the very start of Act 1, enter the door behind and perform a spin dash to find the extra life.

Level Select (Mega Drive/Genesis)

Press B, A, Right, A, C, Up, Down, A, Start when the phrase "Press Start" appears on the opening screen. Easily remembered as BARRACUDA. The level selection screen will be displayed before gameplay begins.

Level Select

Level Skip (Mega Drive/Genesis)

Activate the level select cheat. Pause the game and press Button A.

Saturn

At title screen when Start is flashing, hold down Button C and press Start. It will enable the cheat code.

At any time during play, pause and press:

Button A to skip 1 act
Button B to skip 3 acts/1 zone
Button C to skip to puppet panic zone act 3
Button X to add 1 life
Button Y to add 1 extra medal
Button Z to earn all Chaos emeralds

EMULATOR COMPATIBILITY

Perfect! Play it with KEGA Fusion, Gens and Gens32. You can download these from the Mega Drive/Genesis Emulators Page.

The Saturn version can be played with the SSF Emulator.

Misc Info

  • The Mega Drive/Genesis version also includes a small FMV sequence. It also uses some 32-Bit words in order to improve processing performance.

  • In the event of a processing error, the game is designed to return to the level select screen.

  • The Saturn version supports the 3D Controller in which the analogue stick helps with the isometric nature of the game.

Related

Sonic Labyrinth Feature

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