Sonic 3 & Knuckles: The Challenges

Sonic 3 & Knuckles: The Challenges is a ROM hack created by ColinC10 of the Sega Genesis title Sonic 3 & Knuckles which alter the traditional gameplay to a Challenge Mode spreading numerous trials across the game’s various levels.

Released as two separate games due to time constraints and cartridge size limitations, Sonic 3 & Knuckles would hit markets first in 1994 as separate, but compatible, cartridges as Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. These cartridges could be combined via “Lock-on technology” featured on the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge which allowed Sonic 3 to be inserted into it and allow for consumers to enjoy both games with all three characters, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, available across all of the two games’ levels.

New Game Features

This game has the following new features

  • Challenge Mode
  • Altered Levels

Game Description

If you want to see a video of Sonic 3 & Knuckles: The Challenges in action, check out the video below.

YouTube video

Sonic 3 & Knuckles: The Challenges takes the traditional formula of the Sonic classic and throws a wrench in it, providing added difficulty and gameplay objectives for the player across each of its levels in order to turn the entire game into a Challenge Mode adventure.

Each of the varied challenges in this hack present the player with a specific objective which they must complete before they can complete the level or they will be forced to restart. If the original game was too easy for you, this is bound to be just what you are looking for.

Some challenges present the players with some tricky problems while others present you with hilarious one. The Sidekick challenge, for instance, reminds players of Sonic 2 days where Tails was constantly being left behind or dying off screen. In this challenge, you play Tails, and must followed and AI Sonic. Who’s laughing now?

Title Screen

This hack notably does not come with any title screen, per say, and it simply load you directly into the level/challenge selects screen, as presented below.

The Challenges Title Screen


This hack does not present and changes to the original game’s graphics.


Sonic 3 & Knuckles: The Challenges starts the player off on what is essentially a level select screen in which they will choose what type of challenge that they wish to take on and then they will be provided levels that fit that challenge. Challenges comes with character limitations as well as prerequisites. There are a total of eight challenges, with many of them requiring the player to have completed a certain number of challenges to unlock them.

Across each of the levels, players will find that the mechanics of the game have been altered in various ways, such as the Ring Grab challenge were you play as Tails and must collect 200 rings before reaching the boss or else you will be faced with a game over screen and have to restart the challenge level.


All the sounds and original music provided by the base game remain intact for this hack.


If you wish to play this game you can download the Sonic 3 & Knuckles: The Challenges Rom by clicking here.


So is this game worth a try? Sonic 3 & Knuckles: The Challenges is an intriguing hack that takes the base game and provides an increased difficulty by presenting players with a specific goal they must accomplish before facing and defeating the boss. These new mechanics flawlessly add to the game in increase difficulty in a uniquely organic way instead of the typical ways we see difficulty inflated by hacks. Definitely worth a try.

If you have played this game please let us know what you thought of the game by leaving us a comment.