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Carnival Night Zone

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Not to be confused with Night Carnival or Casino Night Zone.

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Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Carnival Night Zone

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Quotation1 Night life on the Floating Island is exciting. Bounce and flip your way across this colorful Zone which is filled with anti-gravity platforms. Quotation2
Instruction manual
Carnival Night Zone
Appearances and overview
First appearance

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Other appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles


A carnival full of contraptions


Floating Island

Stage theme(s)
Previous stage

Marble Garden Zone

Next stage

IceCap Zone

Playable characters
(story mode)
Level number


Number of acts



Bowling Spin

Boss fight

Graviton Mobile (Sonic and/or Tails only)

Carnival Night Zone is the fourth Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (or Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles). It is very similar to Casino Night Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but with a carnival theme. The Zone is a playful carnival filled with balloons, pinball bumpers and cannons to launch from, although unlike Casino Night Zone, there are no slot machines. Coincidentally, Casino Night Zone is also the fourth zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.


Playing as Sonic and/or Tails, Carnival Night Zone is one of the longest Zones available in the game, but as Knuckles in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, it changes from being one of the longest Zones to one of the shortest. In this case, each act takes roughly just one-and-a-half minutes to complete and there is not even a boss fight at the end of the Zone. Bowling Spin is still fought at the end of Act 1.

One element of the stage is a series of hovering, rotating cylinders, which either move in a set pattern by themselves or can be moved up and down manually by pressing up and down on the D-Pad, though this is not obvious.

Halfway through Act 2, there is an infamous area where Sonic is trapped in a vertical shaft, and must push one of these cylinders down a slot low enough for him to escape through. This area is unavoidable; the player will encounter this no matter which route is taken. While it appears to be a traditional jumping puzzle, it is not meant to be bypassed this way. It is massively difficult to get by like this, so it is much preferable to use the up and down method. This frustrated many players who didn't figure out the technique at first.

There is also a notable cylinder at the beginning of Act 1, which cannot be moved any further down than its own height, even though there appears to be another passage beneath it. This is, in fact, Knuckles' route, as can be revealed with Debug Mode.


After defeating Dr. Robotnik in Marble Garden Zone, Tails airlifts Sonic to the Zone. Knuckles runs there from the last Zone. Partway through the Zone, Knuckles appears and turns off all of the lights (this has no effect on the game play of the Zone). Later a switch will be pressed to reactivate the lights. After defeating Dr. Robotnik, Sonic and Tails will be shot out of a cannon to the next Zone. Knuckles will use a teleporter to get there instead.


Main article: Graviton Mobile

Dr. Robotnik appears in a hovercraft that is unreachable by normal jumps (Unless playing as Tails, who can hover into Robotnik). Robotnik will drop some type of orb onto the ground. Upon this, he will approach directly above and create an rotating electric shock with parts of the machine, which will attempt to draw in the player. After that, Robotnik will lower down to retrieve the orb, which is the best chance to attack

In other media

Sonic the Comic

Split It has been suggested that this article or section be separated into Carnival Night Zone (Sonic the Comic). Split

The Carnival Night Zone appeared in Sonic the Comic, in the Knuckles story "Carnival Night Conspiracy" from Sonic the Comic #39 to #44. In this continuity, the Carnival Night Zone (also occasionally referred to as the Carnival Night City) was a theme park that had been built on the Floating Island by the Marxio Brothers as a money-maker for Doctor Robotnik. They briefly tricked Knuckles the Echidna into thinking that Robotnik was not involved and, promising to give him revenue from the park to fix up the Floating Island's monuments, they made him the Zone's "marketing consultant". However, when the truth of Robotnik's involvement was revealed, Knuckles literally excised the Zone from the rest of the Floating Island: he struck a fault-line with his fist, breaking the Zone off from the larger landmass. The Zone then plummeted down to Mobius, where it crashed in the middle of the Emerald Hill Zone.

Archie Comics


  • Carnival Night Zone's music is famous for having similarities with Michael Jackson's Jam, and in fact shares several samples used and composed by Michael. The most notable sample is that the player can hear the word "Jam" from Jam in Carnival Night's music.
  • This is the Zone which fits Angel Island the least, as it has a carnival-like theme and is placed on an island which is mostly covered by forests. However, it may have been built by Dr. Robotnik.
  • The barrels are probably by far the most infamous part of this Zone. The player must press up and down repeatedly, and many players were stuck for a long time, either not knowing what to do, or trying to jump on it to get it to go down.
  • When going through the tail end of Act 2 playing as Knuckles, if the player stops after falling through the vertical shaft en route to the exit and climbs up it, and the one above it (see: the route Sonic and Tails take after Knuckles reverses the direction of both), it is possible for him/her to initiate the battle with Graviton Mobile with Eggrobo in place of Dr. Robotnik. The player can then fight it like normal with no changes to the attack patterns (a change of pace regarding cover-all boss battles that occur with all three characters) and, upon being defeated, Knuckles can unlock the trapped animals and use the cannon to depart the stage like normal.  This will then segue into IceCap Zone with Knuckles teleporting to the beginning of the first act like he usually would.


Sonic 3 Music Carnival Night Zone Act 102:32

Sonic 3 Music Carnival Night Zone Act 1

Sonic 3 Music Carnival Night Zone Act 202:32

Sonic 3 Music Carnival Night Zone Act 2

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