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Sonic the Hedgehog 3 contains six zones, each divided up into two acts. At the end of each act you must fight against a boss.

Angel Island Zone[edit]

The boss of Act 1.

After Sonic arrives he is stopped by Knuckles who steals the seven Chaos Emeralds he is carrying. The zone is green and jungle-like to begin with, but halfway through act 1 it is set ablaze by Dr. Eggman's robots.

  • Act 1
Special Stage rings
  1. Near the start of the zone, just after the first drop, turn left. Do a spin dash to break the rock blocking the entrance to a hidden room containing the special stage ring.
  2. After the zone is set on fire, go down the first drop and break the rock to the left. In the hidden room is a spring. The special stage ring is above the spring.
Boss
Sonic and/or Tails must do battle against one of the hovering flame drones which set the zone ablaze.
The boss of Act 2.
  • Act 2
Special Stage rings
  1. After you go through the narrow shoot at the very start of the stage, just keep pressing right and you should break into the hidden room after you exit the shoot.
  2. When you get to the waterfall with the rocks that appear and disappear, fall down into the pool below. Do a spin dash up the right wall to find the hidden room where the special stage ring is.
Boss
At the waterfall Sonic and/or Tails fight Dr. Eggman's own flame-wielding vehicle. After the player crosses the bridge it is burned by Dr. Eggman. Eggman's vehicle will fade in and out of the waterfall; when he is behind the waterfall he can not be hit but he also can not shoot his fire balls. This is easier if you have the flame shield as Dr. Eggman's fireballs are unable to harm you with this shield.

Hydrocity Zone[edit]

The boss of Act 1.

This zone takes place in a hydroelectric dam. There are a lot of underwater sections to this zone.One danger is drowning,first you hear a beeping sound than jaws music plays finally a timer appears and that means get out of the water.

  • Act 1
Boss
The boss is a machine capable of producing whirlpools. To hit it, one must stand on the tower of water as it rises and then jump.
The boss of Act 2.
  • Act 2
Special Stage rings
  1. Just before you break through the walls that lead to the bridge scene with Knuckles, move left to the rotating cylinders. Jump on and, if possible, get Tails to lift you to the right. Then, jump into the special stage room.
Boss
Dr. Eggman uses a machine which is also capable of producing whirlpools. He also lays down depth charges in the water, both of which can be used to reach him.

Marble Garden Zone[edit]

The boss of Act 1.

The marble ruins of an ancient civilization. This is the only zone without any water to drown Sonic or Tails, though tar pits can still drag the heroes down and kill them.

  • Act 1
Boss
The mini-boss uses a pair of drills to attack Sonic and Tails, both directly and by drilling into the rock above and raining debris on their heads (reminiscent of Dr. Eggman's own vehicle in the Mystic Cave Zone of Sonic 2).
The boss of Act 2, for Tails.
  • Act 2
Boss
Dr. Eggman attempts to crush the pair under the collapsing ruins, and when Tails airlifts Sonic out of danger, charges at them directly with his drill. Sonic must then defeat it by performing Spin Attacks (as usual). Tails fights this boss a little differently, though. Since there is no Sonic, Tails must fly underneath Eggman and hit him with his twin tails.

Carnival Night Zone[edit]

This zone takes place in a carnival at night. It is similar to the Casino Night Zone from Sonic 2.

  • Items
Sonic 3 - Barrel.PNG Barrel When Sonic/Tails stand on these you can make them bounce up and down by pressing up and down while standing on them..
Sonic 3 - Balloon.png Balloon Sonic/Tails can bounce off of these by jumping into them. When underwater they release air when burst.
Sonic 3 - Bouncer.png Bouncer Sonic/Tails bounce off these giving 10 points every time.
Sonic 3 - Wheel.png Wheel Sonic/Tails can run around these when you jump on to them.
The boss of Act 1.
  • Act 1

This can be quite a frustrating level, but not nearly as much so as the second act. There is some purple water here, like that seen in Chemical Plant Zone of Sonic 2.

Boss
A green machine with an electrical charge device on the bottom. It unleashes a bouncing disk that serves as the only way to damage it. Hit it to expose the weak device area, and wait for the disk to strike it. Also, the floor is destroyed from under the player as the fight goes on.
The boss of Act 2.
  • Act 2

Halfway through this Act, Sonic must push a rotating cylinder down through a slot low enough for him to escape through. This is completed by pressing up and down on the D-Pad, without jumping. Alternatively, there is a bubble shield glitch that specifically works for sonic, and often requires a turbo controller. Hold down the turbo button on the cylinder, or press the jump button as fast as you can and the game will send you first into the wall and then down below the Cylinder were you are free to continue.

Boss
Sonic and Tails face Dr. Eggman, who this time drops a large sphere and uses it to create an electric storm that draws the pair towards its discharge.

Icecap Zone[edit]

The boss of Act 1.

The level contains vents that shoot out cold bursts that freeze and harm Sonic.

  • Act 1

Sonic is shot from a cannon and lands on a snowboard in the mountains. The first 20 seconds of this act show Sonic snowboarding down the mountain, during which time you have no control over him except being able to jump. During this Sonic will collect 40 rings. Tails will not be able to collect these rings. The act takes place in the frozen cave Sonic lands in.

Boss
A snow machine that spins snow at Sonic or Tails tries to crush them. A lot like Metropolis Zone's boss in Sonic 2.
The boss of Act 2.
  • Act 2

Act two takes place on the snow covered surface of the mountain.

Boss
Eggman attacks in a machine that that has a spiked platform drop down and fires the freezing bursts in a pattern at Sonic. The only way to hit him is to stand on the platform and jump up. If the player has already acquired Super abilities, then merely stand on the platform to continuously damage him. At the second to last hit, the platform falls off and Eggman comes lower.

Launch Base Zone[edit]

This is where Dr. Eggman is building his Death egg.

  • Items
Sonic 3 - Alarm.png Alarm If you walk through these, you’ll set off an alarm, and an enemy will appear.
Sonic 3 - Flamethrower.png Flamethrower These shoot fireballs out.
Sonic 3 - Transporter.png Transporter These take you to a different part of the level.
The boss of Act 1.
  • Act 1
Special Stage rings
  1. At the very first rotating bridge drop down and go left. When you get to the wall jump up into a secret passage to find the special stage ring.
Boss
The mini-boss uses two flailing arms. Two of them come out at once, when playing as Knuckles. simply hit them when they come close.
The boss of Act 2.
The second part of the boss.
  • Act 2
Special Stage rings
  1. At the start of the level drop down between the pipes, go right and jump into the water. Go through the secret path toward the left just above the red spring.
Boss
Dr. Eggman uses three different weapons to stop Sonic and Tails: first, a static projectile launcher at the foot of the Death Egg. When that fails, Eggman flees to the Death Egg and Sonic chases after, leaving Tails behind. After boarding, Dr. Eggman employs a rocket armed with lasers to fight Sonic, and then finally resorts to a large pair of arms (possibly inspired by his powersuit at the end of Sonic 2) to grab Sonic in a ball and slam him into the floor (as well as the rather impressive ability to damage even Super Sonic, though taking Super Sonic to the final battle is rare).