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Sonic 3 & Knuckles was released in 1994 as two separate game cartridges: Sonic 3 came in February and represents the first half of the game, while Sonic & Knuckles, representing the second half, arrived in October. New types of Shields, twice the number of Chaos Emeralds to collect and a new playable character, Knuckles, with his own special routes through the game distinguish Sonic 3 & Knuckles from its predecessors.


Note: Runs on standalone Sonic 3 or Sonic & Knuckles are not allowed. Runs must be performed on the full game.

Return to the Game List, the FAQ, or the Home Page.

Single-segment as Sonic with deaths 0:30:53 by Mike McKenzie.

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Author's comments:

How things come full circle. Sonic 3 & Knuckles was one of my first ever games, one of the first games I ran ILs of, one of the first games I submitted a speedrun of to this site. It's also where my speedrunning journey ends. It's been a wonderful ride, but it's time to move on. Therefore, for this run I give thanks to everyone I've met through my speedrunning journey. Thanks for sharing this eccentric, sometimes frustrating, but immensely rewarding hobby with me. It's been a blast!

I had long decided I wanted my last run to be of this game, since as far as I'm concerned it is simply the best game of all time. Originally it was going to be the co-op run, but I still had the bug after that and ended up going back to Sonic 2, which was a great decision as it produced my best run of any game. This, however, isn't far behind. It's a different kind of run with all the different glitches and so many ways it can go wrong, but amazingly just about everything fell into place. That there was only really one level I was unhappy with, and it was as deep into the run as Sandopolis 2, speaks volumes of just how well this went compared to how it can go.

I've created a Youtube playlist of my best runs of each level, taken from full game runs that I've failed to complete for one reason or another (as well as one from this run, it was that good!). You can view them here:
I intend for these to be used as a learning resource, because the fact that every other level has a massive glitch in it makes for a daunting watch. So use those (and the provided descriptions) to help you start out!

As that playlist shows what the stages are meant to look like, there's no real need to go into the kind of analysis I normally do here. Instead, just look at those videos and pick out all my mistakes.

Enjoy the run!

Single-segment as Knuckles with deaths 0:22:40 by Adrian Perez.

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Author's comments:


The Sonic Center: I learned some vital things by watching the individual level videos here.

mike89: With Knuckles being his main category, I learned a lot from watching his old runs and asking questions. Since learning this category came second for me, his old Tails runs served as a great basis for me to apply a lot of general concepts to this run.

werster: With an affinity for doing risky things, I learned a lot of alternate strats from him that allowed me to see a greater scope of possibility in this game.

TeeNTee314: He taught me the right way to execute a particular section of Flying Battery 1 that is critical to making the fast route work, which saves more than a minute over the normal route.

DMTM: He taught me a new route for Angel Island 2 which is both practical and a few seconds faster.

Aglar: One of the TASers for this game. He's the first one I got in touch with and was incredibly open to answering all my questions to the best of his ability. I learned some extremely important technical things about the game that contributed to this run. He also came up with a magical Mushroom Hill 1 setup for Tails that turned a 50/50 situation into 95% consistency, a concept that applies to Flying Battery 1 in this run.

marzojr: The S3K encyclopedia; there's almost nothing this guy doesn't know about this game. Like Aglar he TASes this game and has years of collective knowledge, some of which he has generously imparted to me. His work on the TASes speaks volumes.

S3K Resources

Before watching the run, you may want to read a little from the SDA Knowledge Base, which has some information on glitches, tricks, and mechanics:


Angel Island 1 (0:48): The average time for this level. 47 is possible but extremely tight. I missed a slide under the spikes but it's minor.

Angel Island 2 (0:40): This route was discovered just this year. It's a few seconds faster than the old route, but it makes catching the platform cycle ahead tougher. Fortunately I got a very low 48 in act 1, so there was a bit of leeway with the cycles such that I could try the trick at 0:10 twice and still make 1st cycle at 0:25 (albeit barely).

Hydrocity 1 (0:54): Slight mistake at 0:22, I slid off the platform instead of landing on the ground below it with a glide, but that's inconsequential for this otherwise smooth level. Most of the variance here comes from the boss, which is so difficult to handle perfectly that it might as well be luck. You can get anywhere from 49-1:00 depending on what happens, and 54 is more towards the uncommon lower end of that spectrum.

Hydrocity 2 (0:02 + 0:58): A death is required here, because the ensuing level wrap trick won't work if the act 1 map area is still loaded. Dying unloads that area, so the goal is to hit the starpost as quickly as possible and then die quickly. The time between hitting the starpost and the screen fading out is added to the final level time, so 9 - 7 is 2 seconds, which is about as fast as we've gotten it so far. Refer to the Knowledge Base link above for more info on level wraps and appearing in the boss room, something we'll see many times throughout this run.

The reason Knuckles appears to die mysteriously is because there is an invisible death block in the wall. When Knuckles glides, his collision becomes very small, and when he drops the glide it extends back into its normal size. Part of it clips into the ground and touches the death block. At 0:27 you can jump through the blue ramp because it is composed of "top solid" blocks. These are blocks designed to allow passage through them from below so as long as you're ascending. Due to the collision where it meets the floor, you can embed yourself in the floor and zip to the left for a wrap. At 0:32 there is a tiny piece of floor you can jump off and grab the wall. You then glide to the right and grab that wall, and make your way up to the boss room. 1:00 is a perfect time here.

Marble Garden 1 (1:14): The trick at 0:27 is a screen wrap, possible in a few levels with a special coding trick that allows them much more verticality than size limits would normally permit. The game thinks you're at the bottom, so it scrolls down to catch up with you. During this time, objects far off screen will unload to optimize CPU performance, including the yellow spring that I clip through. This clip is possible because Sonic and Knuckles both sink downward 5 pixels when doing a roll jump, enough to induce a neat result called "sprite ejection."  The game reads Knuckles as being off the spring's center, but still inside it enough to where it pushes him away. Ejection makes characters ignore solidity, which is why he enters the wall. Interestingly, Tails only sinks 1 pixel downward when he roll jumps, so he's incapable of performing this clip.

A second screen wrap is used to sink through the mud while its death plane is unloaded. This puts you in a strange loopback-type area. Once you reach a certain point, scrolling the screen makes the act 2 boss appear. He appears because Marble Garden is a special case where the "dynamic level events" of both acts are shared. If you jump at any point here (except on the far left) you will shift the screen and soft lock the game. Defeating the boss if that happens is possible, but there is no way to hit the capsule. To circumvent this, spin dashes are used to get every hit and maintain the right position to hit the capsule once it lowers enough. Once you hit it, the level still isn't over. The game expects (and requires) Tails to grab you after the capsule is hit. Fortunately there are methods that allow you to do this, and when done correctly they avoid the spike crusher that appears (yes it can kill you if you're too close).

Marble Garden 2 (0:03): The game technically transitions to act 2 and does count to 3 before fadeout, so it's added to our final time.

Carnival Night 1 (0:55): A very straightforward level. This was nearly perfect aside from the last hit on the boss. If I had delayed it slightly I would've gotten 54, which is a perfect time.

Carnival Night 2 (0:41): Also very straightforward, but the bumpers add some variance. Due to average bumpers and missing the jump at the end I lost a few seconds, but a smooth level otherwise.

Ice Cap (1:00): This level has what used to be considered a major run killer. I came up with some changes for it that make it far more consistent. Even so, getting an optimal time (59) is tough because of the jump around the midway point, which doesn't always leave you in the same spot. This madness is possible due to 2 things: slope glitch, and vertical screen wrapping. However once you pass a certain point in the tunnels near the end, the game loads the full act 2 area in advance and unloads everything before that. The act 2 area does not wrap vertically, so jumping out is necessary in order to prevent falling to your death.

Launch Base 1 (0:50): Due to Knuckles's height, the strat that Tails does here to save extra time is much harder and less consistent. With it you can get a 48, and with an incredibly tough alternate strat that avoids the Flybot you can go lower still. The strat shown here, however, is the only reasonable one, and it nets a 50 at best. There are some rings on the left side of the boss room before you jump down, but that wastes a few seconds. Fighting the 2 bosses here might look scary with 0 rings, but the method I developed to fight them is surprisingly consistent and easy. It requires understanding a few subtleties about movement, and you are always in danger of dying, but dying here is so rare I can't justify getting those rings.

Launch Base 2 (2:00): This is a highly flow-based level. Simple, but requires many well-timed maneuvers that are as stylish as they are important. Unfortunately I lost 2 seconds to bad luck at 0:49. There is an invisible block in the wall that can sometimes (uncommonly) kill all your momentum. For some odd reason it does this more when you run as opposed to roll, completely opposite to other sections of the level with these blocks. Whether it stops you is based entirely on your subpixel values, which you have almost no control over. Without that bad luck this would've been a perfect 1:58.

The boss is also has very interesting strats, particularly when he drops down from above. His position when he drops is random, so you have to react when he stops. As long as he doesn't drop on the far left side while facing left you are fine (and it's very rare that he does so). He also "bounces" upon reaching the bottom of the screen, and the height of this bounce is also random. If he gets a high bounce you can sneak in 2 hits before he starts moving left and right. If he gets a low bounce you can only get 1 hit. Following this is a strat I developed (and am extremely proud of). Since roll jumps make Sonic and Knuckles sink 5 pixels downward, you can jump and barely hit the boss when he's below the ground. Each one of these hits saves a whopping 5 seconds, making this strat a 15 second time saver. The most important thing is to keep a ring here. Rings have a random chance of falling through the floor instead of bouncing, so grabbing it before it touches the floor is always the priority.

There is an alternate route that lets Knuckles fight Sonic's boss, but this is not allowed because it freezes the timer, and the call that normally reinitializes the timer doesn't exist for Knuckles, trivializing the entire boss fight along with all its time-saving strats.

Mushroom Hill 1 (1:04): An interesting facet to this level is that you can opt to get 1 of 2 fire shields, one at the start or one near the end. Both actually wind up taking the same amount of time, but getting the one at the start is easier to execute correctly. A 1:03 is possible but requires almost perfect execution everywhere. It is also possible to get a much faster time by doing the same level wrap Tails does, but it's not worth it for Knuckles as there it is already extremely unlikely to nail all the really big time savers quickly in the same run. And since Knuckles actually has to backtrack to pull the wrap off, he only gets a few tries at most to save any time, assuming you arrived there as fast as possible.

Mushroom Hill 2 (1:07): I actually lost 4 seconds here due to bad luck. The loops in this zone have the potential to kill your momentum depending on your subpixels, and one loop in particular is especially mean about this. It doesn't happen often, but I just happened to get the short straw this time.

Flying Battery 1 (0:51): It's incredibly difficult to get an almost perfect time like this. The difficulty is positioning yourself carefully on the platform so that you can enter the wall. I got it 1st try which saves a chunk of time by itself. The following sections are also very significant (though much easier). Thanks to an explanation from TeeNTee314 that improved my understanding, I developed a great setup for consistently dropping down, 1 of 2 reasons that used to prevent us from going for this route. Next up is the level wrap itself which, thanks to the same concept Tails applies in MH1, changes from 50/50 to 95% consistency. Once done with that, you zip out of a wall for a second and then climb up to the boss.

Flying Battery 2 (0:13 + 1:29): Like Hydrocity 2, a death here is required to unlock the act 1 area and make the level wrap possible, and the fastest way is to use the mines. This level used to have one of the worst run-killing tricks in the game. Currently it's still pretty tough and the times here will vary, but it is far more consistent thanks to an odd property I learned about Knuckles. Normally when trying to clip at 0:10, there is a possibility of being pushed below the platform if your horizontal subpixels are bad. Fortunately when Knuckles grabs onto a wall, he resets horizontal subpixels to a fixed value determined by your horizontal location in the level. It just so happens that the value you get here will guarantee the clip into the wall. Unfortunately the timing for this still requires 2 frame perfect inputs. You must jump on a specific frame, wait 1 frame, then glide on the next. Once in, you zip to the left and position yourself correctly, followed by a 2 frame trick. All of this is very precise, making a perfect time on this level extremely unlikely. I lost 16 seconds here, which sounds bad but is actually uncommonly great.

Sandopolis 1 (1:25): This is the level that the entire run hinges on. The trick here is the single hardest one in the run. Until recently you could only attempt it twice, because you needed to super glide off the 2 monitors in order to gain enough height. Once you have the height, you glide, position yourself under the ceiling, and drop the glide on the perfect frame. If successful, you must spin dash very quickly and hold right (wait too long and it won't work). After getting that, you have to release right within a specific 3 frame window. Here's the kicker, that window actually changes based on what subpixel range you have, so it won't always be the same 3 frames.

I have to give huge credit to marzojr. for this one. While discussing this level I told him about a method I found that uses the loop to get inside the ceiling. From there he found a method that allows infinite tries of this trick, without the need for the 2 monitors. This method requires a 1 frame glide, followed by a 2 frame glide release window. It's much harder than the monitor method, but grants more opportunities. I managed to get it 1st try in an already amazing run, which is just about the most unlikely thing you'll ever see. This occurrence is what sealed the deal, and everything after this was just icing on the cake.

Sandopolis 2 (2:20): This is the last truly difficult level, mainly because Knuckles has a very hard time maintaining 1st cycle throughout. But thanks to clean execution I managed to keep 1st cycle up to the end, losing only a few seconds to having to try a 2nd spin dash at 1:48 and the boss fight. Still, keeping 1st cycle means getting close to a perfect time here, so a few seconds lost is more than fine.

Lava Reef 1 (1:25): It might not look it, but the 1st jump here is critical. Bumping into the rocks screws with the screen-based objects ahead, which ultimately slows you down enough to make you miss 1st cycle (about a 4 second loss). The jumps at 0:35 and 0:37 are very precise, but I got both which saved a lot of time. The only real mistake here was missing some slope jumps at the boss that Knuckles needs to gain enough height, but they're so tough that you almost never destroy both arms before they go off screen once. You'd be hard-pressed to see anything better than 1:25 outside an IL, which would include one of the toughest level wraps in the game. Once done with the boss, Knuckles actually can do the same trick Tails does with the fire shield, but it's so tough that I've only gotten it a few times ever.

Lava Reef 2 (1:30): A fairly straightforward level, which eases some of the pressure nearing the end of the run. The fire shield picked up at the end of act 1 is very helpful. There is one on the way in act 2, but it wastes a few seconds if you have to get it. Losing the shield at any point is disastrous. There are so many flamethrowers that you'll constantly be losing a few seconds having to damage boost through them. The next fire shield is late in the level, but at that point there are only a few more flamethrowers so ultimately it doesn't help much. Since I kept the shield throughout, it was smooth sailing. It's possible to make an earlier cycle here, but since the times for act 1 vary it makes setting the cycles up for act 2 favorably way more time-consuming as you cannot simply defeat the act 1 boss at any specific time.

Hidden Palace (0:09): This is barely even a level, but there are 2 significant facets to it. You need a good brake at the start, and a good spin dash. I got the brake, but my spin dash was slow, resulting in a 0:09 instead of 0:08.

Sky Sanctuary (1:02): I held my glide too long at 0:16, leaving me a tad too far left and getting hit instead of hitting him a 3rd time. This threw me off to get all my hits on the right side, and to top it off he gave me bad luck on the left side afterwards. However since I finished the 1st phase with him on the right side, I saved time as he reached the Master Emerald quicker and the timer is active during this cutscene. Mecha Sonic has a degree of luck in the 2nd phase as well. Once he stops in midair, he chooses between firing energy spheres or diving at you. Each time he dives you lose 5 seconds. Fortunately he has a significantly higher chance of firing at you compared to diving, and he did not dive at all in this run. My average here is 1:01.

This was an extraordinarily solid run. It's filled with so many favorable and unlikely happenings, as well as tight execution across the board. Thanks again to all who helped develop the game to this point, even so long in its lifespan, and those who helped me in my journey to attain this milestone.

Single-segment as Tails with deaths 0:25:27 by Adrian Perez.

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Author's comments:


The Sonic Center: I learned some vital things by watching the individual level videos here, particularly the wheel glitch and many level routes.

mike89: His CGDQ run from years back was the first full run I found, and was an important step for helping me start running this game. mike89 himself has also helped me countless times, and honestly has contributed so much to the game's development that it really wouldn't be where it is today without him. Also just a great guy all around.

werster: Back when I started I bugged this guy repeatedly, asking for help with various glitches and tricks. The majority of the crazy stuff seen in this run was taught to me by him, as well as some critically important routes and strategies, which even includes some of the newer ones.

Aglar: One of the TASers for this game. He's the first one I got in touch with and was incredibly open to answering all my questions to the best of his ability. I learned some extremely important technical things about the game that contributed to this run. He also came up with a magical Mushroom Hill 1 setup that turned a 50/50 situation into 95% consistency.

marzojr: The S3K encyclopedia; there's almost nothing this guy doesn't know about this game. Like Aglar he TASes this game and has years of collective knowledge, some of which he has generously imparted to me. His work on the TASes speaks volumes.


S3K Resources

Before watching the run, you may want to read a little from the SDA Knowledge Base, which has some information on glitches, tricks, and mechanics:


Angel Island 1 (0:47): This is the ideal time for this level. I've only ever gotten close to 46 with these strats, so we're off to a great start.

Angel Island 2 (1:29): Minor problem at around 41 seconds. With a proper spin dash jump you can land and smoothly run up the slope, but sometimes you will be stopped here. The game imposes a movement lock if you hold left or right during this, so I had to release to neutral for a short moment before spin dashing up. The tube can also do several different things to you, depending on your subpixels. Can save 2 more seconds here.

Hydrocity 1 (0:36): Straightforward level. A 35 is possible if the flight after the lightning shield is timed perfectly. The boss actually appears off screen when the music starts, so you can sneak a quick hit, land, then fly up and use the invincibility for the remaining 5 before he goes back off screen.

Hydrocity 2 (0:05 + 0:32): A death is required here, because the ensuing level wrap trick won't work if the act 1 map area is still loaded. Dying unloads that area, so the goal is to hit the starpost as quickly as possible and then die quickly. The time between hitting the starpost and the screen fading out is added to the final level time, so 7 - 12 is 5 seconds, which is about as fast as we've gotten it so far. Refer to the Knowledge Base link above for more info on level wraps and appearing in the boss room, something we'll see many times throughout this run.

Marble Garden 1 (0:50): At around 24 I avoid the spring because, more often than not, the steep slope to the left completely kills your momentum. Flying over it eliminates that possibility and is only marginally slower. At 32 the screen slows down, but ideally you want it to keep moving quickly. 2 seconds to be gained here.

Marble Garden 2 (0:46): I'm actually really proud this fight, because it's made possible thanks to something I discovered (I came up with loads of optimizations for this game, but very few new discoveries). The pattern is actually determined by how you fight the act 1 boss (more specifically, the sparkles from the signpost, you can thank marzojr for that bit of info!). The actual strat for the act 2 boss is entirely mine as well. It's not only the fastest way, but also one of the easiest and most reliable. A 45 is possible with perfect spin dashes up the slopes.

Carnival Night 1 (0:56): The wheel glitch in this level is among the most notorious of this game. What's less obvious here is that there are actually many possible outcomes in the boss fight, depending on several things: the timing of when you drop onto the top, your position on the top, when you start walking, and when you start rolling. If done well, it should look exactly like this, though a 55 is possible with a near perfect spin dash at the very start.

Carnival Night 2 (0:42): The wheel glitch is carried over to act 2, and through a series of somewhat complicated events, used to get to the boss. I messed up the roll jump at the end, doing it a tad earlier and not triggering the boss sooner. I also got hit an extra time in the boss fight, which can sometimes happen due to how Robotnik bobs up and down. A 39 is possible here. It's also possible to jump straight into the cannon without failing repeatedly...

Ice Cap (1:03): This level has what used to be considered a major run killer. I came up with some changes for it that make it far more consistent. Even so, getting an optimal time (59) is tough because of the jump around the midway point.

Launch Base 1 (0:46): This is perhaps one of the few levels that remains untouched, even years later. There is nothing we know of that can speed this up apart from an extremely risky boss strat that can net a 45, a time that's still possible doing exactly what I did anyway (I was just a few frames late on the final hit), and a TAS-only strat that avoids the Flybot altogether. Even Hidden Palace has newer time savers.

Launch Base 2 (1:25): My best time here is 1:24, and this is one of the hardest if not the hardest level to execute optimally with Tails. The only mistake here was failing the flight near the end, which would go smoothly under the ceiling without bumping the wall or making the screen go too low.

Mushroom Hill 1 (0:45): The door clip here is one of the biggest run killers. It's extremely precise and very easy for your run to burn up in smoke. Thankfully I got it 2nd try, which is not too much of a time loss. I spin dash in the wall after nearing the left edge so that I can get into the correct position, which turns an otherwise 50% success rate into 95%. This setup is very new and was discovered by Aglar after I asked him to perform a miracle for me.

Mushroom Hill 2 (1:06): At 11 I get a jump from midair because, for one frame, the game considers you grounded. This lets you hit the spring earlier and saves 3 seconds. The route for this is actually fairly recent, so I wasn't completely consistent at it yet at the time of this run. It is extremely flight heavy and requires very precise timings and adjustments. I can get a 59 here.

Flying Battery 1 (1:29): This level remains almost unchanged. Through a few small optimizations, the ideal time here has dropped from 1:31 to 1:28, leaving only 1 second to gain.

Flying Battery 2 (1:15): This level has seen a change in route, thanks to ways of making it more consistent. The first jump to the sloped ceiling relies on having good subpixel values, lest you unstick and drop to the ground, killing the run. A 1:14 is doable, about a 9 second improvement over the old route.

Sandopolis 1 (1:12): Another level that remains unchanged. I lost a second here due to hitting the boss a bit late. It didn't help that the leeway for that hit was reduced by bouncing off the rock at the start of the level. It's not always possible to avoid hitting that rock, as the height you get from jumping out of the sandfall varies.

Sandopolis 2 (2:12): Minor mistake right at the start. Instead of the normal spin dash jump, I got a straight jump, which happens when you press jump at exactly the same time you release the spin dash. Since this is a very cycle heavy level, I missed the first cycle at around 30 seconds, and again at 39. The rest of the level could've been slightly better, but was close to perfect. If I maintain first cycle throughout, a 2:07 is possible here.

Lava Reef 1 (1:39): This stage is home to the biggest run killer Tails has to put up with. Because of that (as well as the nature of the ground here), the times in this level tend to vary significantly. At 13 it's possible to clip into the ground and wind up where the starpost is, which saves 9 seconds over going around. It is, of course, based on subpixels, and highly unlikely. At 46 we have the stair clip, which is incredibly hard to get 1st try and is where many runs have died. Assuming one gets both tricks right away and a perfect level, a 1:28 is possible here.

Lava Reef 2 (0:39): The challenge in this level comes down to only one thing: wall skip. I messed it up a bit, losing 9 seconds.

Hidden Palace (0:32): Some minor improvements have changed the average time here from 31 to 30. Unfortunately I got a terrible spin dash and landed on the left side of the spikes, which knocked me back and lost me 2 seconds. With near perfect spin dashes, a 29 is possible but extremely rare. As I wait for Knuckles to break the wall at the bottom, I spend the time by doing my patented Reverse Slinky Technique™ on the stairs!

Sky Sanctuary (0:57): Nearly perfect. The poor flight timing at 35 lost me 1 second, but everything else was ideal. 56 is the best time here.

Death Egg 1 (1:40): A very rare mistake at 8: getting hit by the Spikebonker. It's really bad to get hit here for two reasons. One is that it wastes time by itself of course, but it also makes you reach the lightning bolts at a different time. The bolts can still hit your lightning shield, so I was fortunate that their cycle was still favorable. The rest of the level is straightforward until the boss, who is probably the hardest in the game apart from Hydrocity 1 with Sonic and Knuckles. I got a bad 1st phase, taking longer than 1:30 to finish when it should be under that. But the 2nd phase was perfect. Still a hefty 10 seconds to gain here, though it's insanely difficult to play this stage perfectly.

Death Egg 2 (0:04 + 2:00): Like Hydrocity 2, it's necessary to die here so that the act 1 area unloads (losing 4 seconds at the start), which will enable the level wrap to work. I lost a second here, defeating the boss at 1:14. The rest is fairly easy. There is actually one last thing that can go wrong here. On extremely rare occasions, a glitch will occur which shifts the position of the floor, causing the right side of it to not be solid.

That's all for this run. It's amazing how, after all these years, new discoveries and optimizations are still being found for this game! It's a testament to how incredibly deep and excellent it is, as well as the dedication of all those who have sought and continue to seek to push this game to its limits.

Single-segment as Sonic and Tails with deaths: 0:30:05 by Mark McKenzie and Mike McKenzie.

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Author's comments:

mike89's Comments:

Thanks go out to:
The SDA crew (too many of you to list now) - keeping SDA awesome!

werster - obviously, for being the larger half of this run. There's no doubt that if I was playing Sonic we wouldn't have pushed this as far as we did in the end.
HDL - the undisputed best at this game, came up with a lot of strats for us
Sprint, nitsuja, upthorn, marzojr - The TASing crew for this game. nitsuja in particular took the game to a whole new level, and the latter two have built upon his work.
ORKAL - Posted an excellent series of videos on Youtube highlighting just how broken this game really is. I highly recommend you check them out if you're interested in the game.
Everyone who watched in both our streams, you guys are great!

Speedrun history:
25/9/10 - 37:04 - mike89/flyingfox
21/1/13 - 30:05 - werster/mike89

That gap, right there, is the reason for this run in a nutshell. Ever since flyingfox and I completed the 2010 run there's been new TAS developments, new consistent real time methods, for tricks practically on a monthly basis. It should also be noted that the execution in levels is considerably better too, but tricks are worth more of that seven minutes' improvement, by far.

We had about five months to do this run - I returned home from England in September and moved to Queensland in February, so for all of the time between that (minus the two weeks we spent in the USA for AGDQ) we were living together and able to do attempts. I say "able to" because it wasn't always the one thing either of us wanted to do at a particular time, and particularly after bad sessions I would lose motivation to do the run for a week at a time, if not more. At times our consistency suffered for this, but for the most part every session or two there would be one good run amongst all the wreckage.

In the end, it was doing this run at the Spooktacular marathon (surrounded by a bunch of spooky games, lol) that got this going more frequently. The run was an absolute trainwreck, but people absolutely lapped up the interaction! That was also the reason I ended up going to AGDQ'13, I wasn't going to go until then but that tipped me over the edge. So you have my brother to blame for that. :P

This next part is going to be part of all my submissions for this game, so if you've already read it, skip it and go straight to the run analysis.

A Crash Course in Sonic 3 Level Design
Many of the tricks that enable the times for this game to reach the league they are in now have to do with the way levels in Sonic 3 are handled. In a sense, what you see is not always what you get, as the following tricks demonstrate:

* The Loopback Area
The map for each level in Sonic 3 is exactly 32768 pixels wide. Obviously the levels themselves are not all exactly that long: if you're able to go past the end of the stage, what you find is that the level restarts. However, in this "loopback" area, there are no sprites. There's a couple of ways to reach this area, but the easiest, and by far the most useful, is:

* Horizontal Underflow Glitch
At the start of any given level, you can try and go left right at the start, but of course the game won't let you, there's a hard lock there. However, because the game performs collision checks every frame, if you were able to move fast enough you could bypass the lock on the start of the stage and go "behind" the left edge of the stage. In memory, the game treats your x-coordinate as less than 0... which, being an unsigned integer, increases it to the maximum allowed by the map - 32767. This sends you to the aforementioned loopback area. Now the camera scrolls as fast as it can to the right trying to find you. The camera will stop scrolling under one of two conditions: either the game finds you, or it encounters a boss. Therefore, in any level which permits this, it is possible to skip from the left side of the level right to the boss!
Now before you start asking why I don't do this on every stage, remember that I mentioned you need a lot of speed to get through the left hand side. There's a few ways of doing it depending on the circumstances, but the most common is being ejected from a wall. That requires getting stuck in a wall in the first place, which requires some very select circumstances depending on the level. In the Sonic and Tails run, it is used in Hydrocity 2, Marble Garden 2, Carnival Night 1, Ice Cap, Launch Base 1, Mushroom Hill 1, Flying Battery 1, and Death Egg 2.

* Vertical Looping
The same also applies vertically: that is to say that if you cross the top of the screen, you're actually interacting with the structures on the -bottom- of the screen! In both the horizontal and the vertical cases, while you're off screen you can still move around freely, so if you know what you're interacting with and how to take advantage of it, you can move around just as quickly as if you could see what was going on.

* Wall Ejection
Once inside a wall, holding left sends you right, and holding right sends you left. Easy!

* Boss Coordinates
Sonic 3 has an interesting way of determining when you're in a boss room: it decides that you're in a boss room not when your character is within the coordinates that make up the room, but whether the -camera- lines up with the boss room! What this means is that when the camera is scrolling right to work out where you are, if you can reach the right y-coordinate at the time when the camera crosses the right x-coordinate, the camera will lock on the boss, and your character will magically appear in the boss room. In order to do this, you have to know what is in the loopback area and how to use it to your advantage.

* Vertical Screenwrap
Four levels (Marble Garden 1, Ice Cap 1, Sandopolis 2, and Sonic's Sky Sanctuary) are too tall for the game to fit into the space allocated to each level. To counteract this, in these four levels the kill plane is removed and you are able to fall infinitely, ie. the level wraps vertically. Using a similar methodology to horizontal underflow, if you duck down so that the screen goes down to its lowest point and then jump, the game thinks you're at the bottom of the screen and scrolls down to try and find you. While you're not in a loopback area in this instance, sprites don't exist if they're off screen, which enables you to pass through them.

* The Two Kinds of Timers
Timed objects in Sonic games can have one of two timing properties. Most timed objects operate on what's known as the universal timer, which starts as soon as the level is loaded (in the case of Sonic 3, this means that act 2 objects are actually timed from the start of act 1!). A handful of other objects, however, operate on a separate timer that only starts once you bring them on (or near) the screen. A good way to test this is in Flying Battery 1, in the room with the orange circle platforms that run through the tubes. The platform with the blades on the bottom is on the universal timer, while the orange circle platforms operate on the camera timer. If you enter this room at different times you'll catch the blade platform in different positions, while the orange circle platforms around it will stay in the same spot.

And a couple of things specific to the Sonic/Tails combination:
* Tails Returns!
At times you may notice me (as Tails) stop for seemingly no reason; the purpose for this is to make him reappear at a specific point. Tails has certain "zones" in which he will reappear, and after a certain length of time spent off screen, once Sonic enters a new "zone" he will begin to fall. Additionally, you can make Tails fall even faster by jumping to the same height that Tails is falling at, which returns control to player 2 immediately.

* Tails Phases Through Sprites?
Using a similar methodology to the screen wrap glitch above, if you move Tails off screen he can pass through certain sprites. The same rules apply, except that you only have a limited time because after a few seconds Tails will be treated as being too far off screen and be returned to Sonic's position.

With that in mind, hopefully some of the decisions in the run will make more sense. On to it, then!

In these comments, I'm going to refer specifically to my actions. All of the technical stuff about what Sonic's up to will be in werster's comments... hopefully.

Angel Island 1 (0:48) [-0:03]
So, what's going on at the start of the level is... there's a flag where Sonic doesn't get control until Knuckles disappears off the screen, but there's no such flag for Tails. So Tails can carry Sonic a fair distance into the level before the timer even starts. I actually force Tails to appear slightly sooner than normal by mashing the buttons in the intro.
[0:38] Tails will always respawn here, and if you're lucky he'll drop out of flight and jump out to the left. At this point I take back control and follow Sonic into the miniboss room. If Tails is too far back he'll actually stop at the left edge, which is far from ideal as you have to get all the way across to the tree, stop (in order to make sure you're flying straight up) and then fly up without flying too high, but high enough to reach the miniboss at its highest point. Obviously the tree is my visual cue here; it's far enough away that neither Sonic or Tails will get hit but close enough that Sonic's Insta-Shield will hit the boss.

Angel Island 2 (1:30) [-0:03]
I don't do anything here, but that background music is awesome, right? Right?

Hydrocity 1 (0:47) [-0:04]
[0:00] The trick here is simply to hit A (only once!) and right at pretty much the same time. I use a certain note in the music to time it, which consistently lands us just behind the hand.
[0:33] By a complete miracle I managed to catch myself up while off screen and land in the charging hand here. This lets me go through to the boss and help out getting a couple of hits if necessary.
[0:45] As it turned out, it was necessary, but we chained hits together just about perfectly so he didn't even go up the right hand side!

Hydrocity 2 (0:31 +7) [-0:03]
[0:07] The trick to doing this consistently as Sonic and Tails is that there's actually a consistent height that works for Tails solo. As Tails has more control over his vertical position (by being able to jump and then later fly) we actually use Tails to put Sonic into the ideal position. Unlike the last time I did this category, this method almost never fails.
[0:22] As soon as the boss room appears I start mashing buttons and Tails appears soon after. Once I'm released from flight, I then fly up and get four hits before he comes into Sonic's range, and he gets the other four from below.

Marble Garden 1 (0:55) [-0:05]
[0:04] I stand still here for no other reason than to control when Tails comes back.
[0:23] This is kind of a blind catch, but by default we both move across to the right hand side and hope it works. Normally it does.
[0:46] What's meant to happen here is that I either drop down before we enter the boss room, or during the first couple of hits, I fly upwards and get hit 5, and we one-round the boss without waiting as the old run did. But Tails didn't drop down in time and we only got five hits.

Marble Garden 2 (0:56) [-0:14]
[0:03] I'm actually trying to follow Mark through here... I just accidentally did that stupid one-frame thing where if you jump the same frame you release a spindash, you just go straight up. Now we have to wait for Tails to respawn up the top.
[0:12] Okay, that looked really easy, but in our attempts Tails would miss catching Sonic like 60% of the time and we were never any the wiser as to why. Another really frustrating aspect of running this game. :/
[0:32] Watch for the speed shoes to go off the left hand side of the screen - I start mashing about now in the hope that Tails will respawn in the boss arena. It certainly wasn't 100% consistent, but it worked more often than it didn't. Not this time though!

Carnival Night 1 (0:43) [-0:08]
[0:37] Mark currently has the wheel glitch (where the game thinks he's standing on the wheel) and cannot jump, otherwise the glitch will be broken. However, since he's standing on the left wall he has control over the camera. So he moves the camera into specific positions while I fight the boss, trying to keep the spike on the right hand side of the screen.
[0:43] I also have to collect the lightning shield here. The signpost drops over a white tile on the ground (regardless of where the boss is killed!), you're aiming for the very next white tile to the right.

Carnival Night 2 (1:14) [-1:20]
Now here's where things get fun.
[0:16] One interesting side effect of the wheel glitch is that obviously the game doesn't expect you to be in any other state while also on the wheel. So if Sonic lands on a barrel, or is caught by Tails, as happens here, that overrides the inability to jump (but only while in that state).
[0:46] Strictly speaking flying Sonic up here isn't necessary, but this allows him to maintain wheel glitch all the way through to the boss, which skips the Knuckles cutscene below.
[0:59] Have to do one more setup first, though. This took three tries. The correct positioning is to get quite close to the corner and have Sonic jump from there.

Ice Cap 1 (1:33) [-0:29]
[0:31] As Tails, literally all you have to do is break this block. That completely breaks Sonic's collision detection and causes this to happen.
[1:02] If you can see the eight tall ice blocks as you come through here, Sonic is in Sonic's hallway at the end of the act and the rest is easy.

Ice Cap 2 (0:00) [-1:01]
If you were to get one second here, this would actually count against your time. Thankfully, this did not happen.

Launch Base 1 (0:40) [-0:03]
[0:03] What you want to do here is watch very carefully and jump at the very moment that Tails starts running on flat ground. If you go too late, you get what happened to me at AGDQ where I got caught by the lip. :(
[0:10] Here, just tap A twice and have an idea of where the left edge of the spikes is.

Launch Base 2 (1:28) [-0:16]
[0:37] I was nearly rendered completely useless here, but Mark just missed the double bird bounce. Flying up here saves 20-odd seconds over Sonic's intended route.
[1:10] Here you just have to hold Sonic up in the corner and let him do everything with absolutely no risk.
[1:19] This one's fun. Simply spindash in place as you always would for six hits, then Sonic jumps over and gets the last three.

Mushroom Hill 1 (0:39) [-0:39]
[0:17] As Tails here, my primary objective is to make sure I pick up a ring. This isn't strictly necessary for the boss fight, but it takes a lot of the risk out of it.

Mushroom Hill 2 (1:13) [-0:09]
[0:16] The only place Tails might get called upon to do anything is here - if Mark missed the mushroom jump twice I would fly him up instead.

Flying Battery 1 (1:19) [-0:08]
[0:09] At the start you're kind of at the mercy of how high Tails decides to respawn. The reason Sonic stays up here is if you continue down, Tails will keep slowly floating down and waste many more seconds.
[0:12] Now Tails lifts Sonic onto the monkey bars and all hell breaks loose. Keep your eye on the platform Tails is standing on: right now, Sonic has slope glitch, and that will be cancelled if he touches that platform. It does slowly oscillate up and down, so Sonic has to wait until it's all the way down before exiting the wall. Similarly, as Tails I anticipate this, and start flying about a jump height above where Sonic will be.
[0:34] Flying through this always looks cool. If you don't fly through this trigger, you'll actually start running around the outside of the cylinder instead - and you still have to fly Sonic up to the top.

Flying Battery 2 (1:24) [-0:10]
[0:09] There's a couple of different ways of doing this (you can have Tails fly Sonic up through the cylinder and the next tube, for instance) but this is the method we settled on. Normally Tails would appear from the top and Sonic could line this up by jumping in between the second and third monkey bars, but he appeared from the bottom instead so we reverted to this method.

Sandopolis 1 (2:17) [-0:12]
The hardest part of this stage is making sure Tails catches Sonic. This is surprisingly difficult, as even lining Sonic and Tails up doesn't work all the time!
[0:35] If you catch this cycle with the spike blocks earlier in the stage, at this checkpoint you can simply hold right and jump, and the platform will always be at the far right.
[0:40] And here's the first big flight mistake. I ended up just dropping down and resetting this because I was too high up. Remember, Tails can only fly for 8 seconds consecutively before falling to the ground.
[2:15] Either character can do this last hit, but in the interest of playing it safe I did it. Once the golem lands from the previous jump, wait two and a half seconds (use the timer!) and then take the hit. This means you'll both be invincible and have enough time to get into position for the final hit.

Sandopolis 2 (2:46) [+0:01]
[0:04] This is a tricky jump for Tails, but you want to jump underneath the light switch so that he starts pushing the door open while Sonic turns the lights on.
[0:26] Sometimes Tails will spawn up here, and in those cases he would push the door open while Sonic continued ahead.
[0:55] Take great care not to get left behind here as Tails! If Sonic is stuck here alone, Tails will -never respawn-, and Sonic will have to either go backwards or hit the sandfall, the latter of which is an awful result because of a glitch coming up.
[1:14] Complete and utter fail for about 15 seconds here, couldn't make a catch to save our lives, and what's more Sonic lost the lightning shield. This doesn't make the next trick impossible, but it makes it much harder, and Tails has to play his part.
[1:41] Basically, Sonic and Tails both have to be pushed into the wall by the door, followed by Tails catching Sonic completely blind. The zip that immediately follows is why hitting the sandfall is awful: hitting either of them will cause this zip to stop working, and Sonic will die instead. Why? We have no idea. Just don't hit the sandfalls. EVER.
[1:54] Normally Sonic will have a lightning shield here, so as Tails you want to be flying straight up so Sonic doesn't pick up the water shield accidentally.

Lava Reef 1 (1:53) [-0:18]
[0:34] If Sonic and Tails are both on one of these elevators, their speed stacks.
[0:50] This one's virtually the same as Launch Base 1: just carry Sonic over to where the blocks are and he'll fall through them. Amusingly, Sonic will stay in position like that until Tails hits the ground.
[0:56] Sonic can get up here by himself with a ramp jump, but the ramps on this stage are really hard to see so Tails normally flies up here as cover.
[1:25] You want to make sure that Tails follows Sonic through this last section at least this far so that Tails is immediately brought to the boss room. This makes the first phase of the boss significantly faster/easier.

Lava Reef 2 (1:35) [-0:40]
For this level and this level only, we switch controllers, so I'm Sonic here. The main reason for it is to do the tube skip at the end of the stage (I'm much more consistent at it, unlike every single other trick in the game).
[0:15] The upcoming section is really slow with Sonic alone, so stopping to let Tails land here saves time overall.
[1:23] Time for the boss skip! Second attempt on this part, which is pretty good. The method I use is to spindash from the second X in the floor and jump from the last one, but on top of that you also have to hold jump for a precise amount of frames (I don't know exactly what this number is, but it's slightly more than a tap). It's something you get a feel for over time.
[1:32] Now I have to do two consecutive spindashes to escape the tube. This also has quite a small window, and in that small window you have to do the awkward press down -> A -> release -> press down -> A -> release movement. I don't think you have any more than two tenths of a second to do all of that, either. Third try isn't too bad here (extra attempts aren't incredibly costly) but I was getting it first time every time a couple of months ago, so I was kind of upset how my consistency slipped over time.

Hidden Palace (0:39) [+0:10]
We missed the quick kill! :(
If this was done correctly, instead of Knuckles punching Tails at 0:23, I would have entered Knuckles's sprite while he was being knocked back. From there Knuckles goes into his usual pattern so we just had to beat him normally, which is a real shame as it's undoubtedly one of the cooler tricks in the run.

Sky Sanctuary (1:08) [0:00]
[0:24] Pretty much all Tails does in this level is help Sonic skip that first moving bar.

Death Egg 1 (1:37) [-0:10]
[0:34] By keeping up all the way through this chamber, I was able to make this flight earlier and save a couple of seconds otherwise spent waiting for Tails to reappear.
[1:13] The boss basically goes like this: Usual Sonic strategy until Sonic gets hit, at which point the two characters just tank hits and get hits in while invincible. Second phase is very similar, but you need a good deal of luck. It's also worth noting (particularly as Tails) that the laser's hitbox extends a LOT higher than you think it should (see my attempt at hit 5).

Death Egg 2 (1:50 +33) [-0:55]
[0:02] Much like in Hydrocity 2, the death here is entirely intentional.
[0:15] Another similar one to Launch Base 1, Sonic looks up, and by lifting him upwards here Sonic is pushed into the wall. The trick coming up for Sonic here requires a frame-perfect lightning jump to get the best result; and if your luck is not in you don't even get a chance at said jump. That's what happened on the first attempt, costing us 29 seconds and the sub-30. :(
Thankfully, the second attempt was perfect and enabled the level wrap straight to the boss room. It has to be at a very specific height: too far up and you'll just be stuck in the wall, too far down and you'll appear on the right hand side of the tube, and be unable to get any hits. Even Tails can't get any hits because he will respawn at Sonic's horizontal position...
[1:20] At the beginning of this fight I always call out "2 and 5" - because Sonic and Tails stand on the 2nd and 5th tiles from the left of screen. This will line them up between two of the three fingers on each side and allow 10 hits total. Then it's just a matter of picking off the rest so that it only takes three rounds. Theoretically two rounds is possible but we've never managed to do it.
[1:46] Sonic and Tails combined can finish the laser boss in a single round. Basically Sonic gets two hits, then Tails two, then Sonic, then Tails. Whoever gets the first hit hits the nose from the left and reverses back into the laser like this, then just as the second hit is being delivered the person on the ground jumps. After that, both characters just hold left and jump as soon as they land back on the ground.
[1:50] The Trihex!! The least relevant strat for time, but the most relevant for style points. Would've liked to end the run with a one round kill, but not to be.

TOTAL TIME: 30:05 [-6:59]

I know sub-30 looks so close, and so appealing, from there, but it's rather simplistic to say we should have gone for six more seconds' improvement. For starters, this run is fucking -hard-. We probably completed 15-20 out of 600 attempts, and a good deal of them were ruined well before the end of the game. Secondly, the Death Egg 2 level wrap, which is one of the biggest time savers in the game, is both frame-perfect and luck-dependent, and it's the very last stage. There's also another one in Launch Base 2 which would save around a minute, but you can only attempt that once (unless you die, which just looks ugly).

Of course the biggest factor in not being able to improve the run is that now Mark and I not only don't live under the same roof, we don't live in the same state any more. Time together to grind and practice is pivotal to this run, and we simply don't have that any more. So the answer to "will this run ever be improved?" is likely to be "only if two other people do it".

Enjoy the run!

werster's Comments:

Hey guys, werster here, the guy that does all the skillful things in this run!!

(and all the dumb things)

This time honestly isn't quite as good as my expectations, however, this run has a lot to it. However, there are a bunch of ridiculous tricks in this run that make beating this time very difficult.

As with all co-op runs, both people have to be in the same space of mind (and earth) as well, so this time will take a lot of things to go right to be beaten.

Few terms to make understanding this run a bit possible:

Zip: In this game, a zip involves placing yourself inside a solid wall, and pressing a direction to move at high speeds in the opposite direction.

Level wrap: Underflowing your horizontal co-ordinate on the left most part of the stage to be placed at the rightmost part of the stage. This is used several times in the run, usually via a zip, as when vertically aligned with the boss room, the game is tricked into thinking that is where you are, and loads you straight to the boss.

Screen wrap: In certain levels, the stage is too large vertically, and in some cases, is forced to "wrap" upon itself vertically. In these stages, by scrolling the camera down and jumping, you can cause a "screen wrap" where the game tries to find the character. In this instance, you can pass through sprites and objects as they are not triggered when off screen.

Slope glitch: The instance of "no gravity" where you will stay on the same slope no with no tranistion to any other slope. This is usually triggered by standing on an object, and then having it broken by something other than you. This can be cancelled by touching another sprite.

Wheel Glitch: Exclusive to Carnvial Night, this glitch involves walking off ring boxes just below a wheel, which allows you to have the properties of the wheel in other parts of the level. That is; gravity is enhanced greatly and can be applied in any direction. This mode is cancelled by jumping under basic conditions; that is it will not be broken jumping off objects and out of Tails' hands.

Frame: In this game, it means 1/60th of a second

Sub-pixel: You should know what a pixel is. A sub-pixel is something smaller that...yeah. Dumbass rubbish gay shit that is generally not even in your control.

And into the run...

Angel Island 1: And the glitches start before the timer does. Doesn't take long to see how useful 2 players is. 48 is very standard here

~By breaking the water shield while the game is changing audio tracks, the track for Angel Island 2 never plays~

Angel Island 2: Another classical level, rounding off a solid start.

Hydrocity 1: Top route looks real nice with Sonic, but dumbass bullshit boss dick here, went very well considering.

Hydrocity 2: And now we start breaking shit. First level wrap of the game here, dying is intentional as underflowing is not possible in this level without first unloading Hydrocity 1 behind this level. Perfect run.

Marble Garden 1: And this is one of the levels you can Screen Wrap in. Really annoying level to co-ordinate between both characters. Payed for it on the boss, rest of level was pretty good.

Marble Garden 2: Fuck the fly at the start of the level dude, getting it first go is an instant win in my opinion. That gets missed like 90% of the time and that costs a whole lot more time than Mike derping at the start. Another level wrap here makes this level nice and short.

Carnival Night 1: Favourite glitch in the game here, and that's saying something. Wheel glitch can be really inconsistent, but this is nice. Gravity is reversed, and applied back to the start of the stage to force a level wrap.

Carnival Night 2: And then the application through this level, just awesome. Love the way this level goes with wheel glitch <3

Ice Cap: And now for some Slope Glitch action! In this case, it's done by Tails breaking ice that Sonic is standing on. I like how when Mike messes up and I have to wait for him to activate Slope Glitch he says "hang on" like I have anywhere to go. Sweet shit other than that.

Launch Base 1: In the case, by locking the screen upwards, and then having Tails carry sonic, sprites stay off screen. And once again, that means they won't trigger. You know how it goes from there by now. Very standard, hard to fuck up here

Launch Base 2: Dumbass bullshit glitch here that saves a full minute that I don't of the main reasons I'm not completely happy with this run. It needs a perfect spindash (rev before release) and then a frame perfect jump to activate, so it's pretty hard. The back-up "actually playing the game" strat went alright though

Mushroom Hill 1: Most bullshit shit in all of shit. Sub-pixel bullshit going on here with no control at all complete random 50/50 chance between getting a level wrap and getting fucked and stuck in Knux's path...and that's once you get into the floor, which is so hard it's the only trick in the game I pause abuse! And it goes...awesome

~Getting that lightning shield is balls stupid cause it's right up against the wall...real annoying~

Mushroom Hill 2: Another rare glitchless level...goes pretty smooth, with a few minor errors

Flying Battery 1: Sonic dances...a bit too long for my taste. This glitch is weird, but Sonic is stuck in a "dance state" where he's confused between whether he is on a pulley, Tails' hands, or on the ground. By inserting Sonic into a wall and zipping out however, you get Slope Glitch of course! Wouldn't get his ass in the wall, couldn't tell you why.

Flying Battery 2: This is a really risky strat, mess this up and stuck forever, and that very nearly happened. Activate slope glitch in exactly the same way here, missed the roof clip a few times, but alright otherwise.

Sandopolis 1: Another level where co-ordination between the characters is very tricky...especially when your partner flies into spikes all the time. This goes pretty well though.

Sandopolis 2: This is another level where Screen Wrapping is possible. It's also probably the level that's mostly to go wrong, in that it'll never go perfectly. Bullshit fly dicks in the middle here, manage to clutch out some shit without the lightning shield, still wasted a huge bunch of time.

Lava Reef 1: This level sucks so much ass, uneven floors are stupid as hell.

Lava Reef 2: Switch! This is the one level where I play Tails, and it's all because of that wall skip at the end which I can not do on console.

Hidden Palace: Probably the worst level of the run hahahaha, this boss fight was absolutely dreadful.

Sky Sanctuary: Skip a huge bunch of the level, then fuck up the easy ass shit at the end.

Death Egg 1: Really intense level, Mike killed an even better run in this level by forgetting how to fly after going Tails' path. Level went really well here though...boss is always dicks but this time is pretty good.

Death Egg 2: And of course the last level in the game has a sub-pixel frame perfect jump that saves a full minute. First death is intentional to unload Death Egg 1, first time I get bodied by sub-pixels, got a second chance, and then my sub-pixels were wrong again, so I got an instant death that I had no control over. The second time, I got the frame-perfect trick and the level wrap to finish off the run.

Final Boss goes alright too.

Thanks for watching this really cool game!!

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