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Knuckles joins Sonic for best game yet

Sonic and Knuckles. For: Sega, Genesis. Hey, wait a minute, haven't we seen this guy before? Not the blue one _ we all know him; he's Sonic the Hedgehog _ but the funny-looking red guy with the dreadlocks. He looks kind of familiar.

It's Knuckles, the character who shows up for just a moment at the beginning of Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

You probably wondered, playing that game, just who this character was, what he was doing in Sonic 3 and where he went. Well, we have all your answers now.

Sonic and Knuckles are back together in a brand new adventure called, logically, Sonic and Knuckles. This is the biggest, baddest Sonic game yet, and there are some unbelievable tricks here.

For starters, Sonic's got a few new moves. He still has the speed and attitude that made him America's favorite hedgehog, but now he can go "super-Sonic," meaning he can fly when he's powered up. You also get new action such as reversed gravity fields and rappelling off walls.

Knuckles has some pretty slick moves of his own. In fact, we're not really sure just who the star of

this game is, and we suppose that's the reason they share equal billing.

Knuckles has muscle _ his fists can break through walls that Sonic can't even dent with a super spin. He can glide through the air like a flying squirrel (must be those long dreadlocks that keep him airborne). He can also climb to spots that Sonic can't reach.

Now, all that may make it sound like Sonic's all of a sudden Sega's number two hero.

Not so. Both characters have their pluses, and Sonic's biggest plus is that he's been around a while. Experience counts, right?

Well, sure it does, but it may not take long for Knuckles to catch up with the blue guy on that front because the most exciting thing about this game is a new technology that lets Knuckles do something Sonic can't even dream of: travel through time.

Sega's new "Lock-On" technology lets you take Knuckles back to Sonic 2 or Sonic 3 and promises all new levels, puzzles, power-ups, graphics and other hidden challenges (Sega calls 'em "Easter eggs").

The new technology allows carts to share programing and memory data, meaning bigger games.

For instance, Sonic 3 becomes a 34-meg game when you add Knuckles. As that character, you can punch through walls that Sonic couldn't budge, and you'll find new routes _ and even new bosses!

The differences in Sonic 2 aren't as dramatic as in 3, but you can use Knuckles' unique skills to pull off moves that Sonic couldn't.

It's hard to ask for more from a new game that breathes new life into a couple of your old favorites.

Ratings: Violence Factor 1; Kid (Under 7) 8; Mid-Kid (7-12) 10; Teen (7-12) 10; Big Kid (over 18) 10.

Inside tips

In the Flying Battery, right after you drop the second time (before you reach the two mice on the ceiling), jump and hit the ceiling,

and you'll find an extra life.

In the Mushroom Hill Zone, you'll come to a spot where vines grab your character and stop the game cold. In fact, you'll disappear. A spin dash is the only way out of this mess.

Sonic and Knuckles (from Sega) costs $69.99.

Got a question, an inside tip you'd like to share? Write to Chip and Jonathan Carter, Xpress, The Floridian, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731-1121. While they cannot respond individually, they will answer questions of general interest in their column.

1994 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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