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 (カーニバルナイト Kānibarunaito?, lit. "Carnival Night") is the fourth Zone of 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.


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, though it does raise the Zone's water level). 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 can take a shortcut to a capsule, bypassing the boss completely. Knuckles will then use a teleporter to get to Ice Cap Zone.


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. The D-Struct Machine is still fought at the end of Act 1.

One element of the Zone 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 and/or Tails is trapped in a vertical shaft, and must push one of these cylinders down a slot low enough for them 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.

The Thunder Shield protects from Blastoids, and all shields protect from Clamer's projectiles, but in Act 2, the Aqua Shield is best in the water areas. Flame Shields are easiest to come by, but are not useful due to lack of fire.

Giant Ring locations

Act 1

  • At the start of the level, take the lower path. At the first spinning tube, jump off of it right at the top to land on a platform with a wall with large yellow segments on it. Walking through them will reveal Ring #1. There is also an entrance from the bottom of this area under the tube, which is in fact meant to be an exit. Going in there and using Tails can get the Ring too.
  • Straight after Ring #1, take the upper-right path on the massive spinning black and white tube. Follow that path until you go through a magnetic lift. Go to the left after this, and follow that path until you reach the second red and white lift. Go through the wall next to it for Ring #2. Tails can also get this Ring by taking the upper-left path after Ring #1. At the Fire Shield, fly up and to the left to find a platform with three Super Ring Monitors. Carry on flying up and to the left to discover a vertical area. Scale it, and pass a line of spikes at the top to see a door. Running through this door leads to Ring #2.
  • Instead of taking the left path for Ring #2, jump on the wheel, and jump off at the very top to go up a shaft. Once up this shaft, do an uncharged spindash up and through the wall for Ring #3.
  • On the upper route, there will eventually be two spinning black and white tubes and a yellow tube machine which leads out of the area. If coming from Ring #3, go to the left until you see two wheels near a Clamer. Use them to get up onto a higher path. If coming from any other side in the upper path, you will see the wheels or the Clamer. It is recommended to approach this area from the higher path to not fall into the funnel and miss this Ring. Follow the path until the two tubes are reached. Jump onto the rightmost tube. Make your way up the tube. There will be a section with three yellow markings on the wall. Jump in between the markings which are less close to find the Ring's room. If you do not find the markings, repeatedly move down and up the tube until they are found.
  • At the very end of Knuckles' route, there will be a red and white platform with a Star Post and a large shaft nearby. Walk through the wall to the right of the Star Post to get the Ring.

Act 2

  • There are three ways (or two ways if you are playing as Knuckles) to get the first Ring. If you can get on the very large red and white tube at the start, jumping off it near the top will reveal a platform to land on. Very carefully drop down to the lower platform so that the funnel does not pull you in. Then make a tiny hop over the spikes and go through the door to get to a room with powerups. Pop the Bubble Shield Monitor then let yourself drop to the Ring through the passage under said monitor. The second way is to go a bit lower down the same tube and jump off there, onto a single platform with a door that leads straight to the Ring. The third way cannot be done as Knuckles. Carry on following the normal path until the cannon which is next to a Super Ring Monitor. Jumping up and through the wall next to the monitor leads to the aforementioned room with a Bubble Shield. Popping this monitor then standing where it was will lead to the Ring.
  • After Ring #1's cannon entrance, take the right-lower path. After a trio of Blasters, there will be a pair of barrels which must be moved by using the D-pad. Move them upwards to a platform with a Flame Shield and Super Ring Monitor. From this platform, jump into the left wall to get to Ring #2.
  • Take either right path after Ring #1's cannon entrance. After going up one or two magnetic lifts, there will be a barrel to the left which is spinning by two yellow markings. Spindash under the barrel into the markings to get into the Ring room.
  • On Sonic and Tails' route, there will be a room with two tubes in the shape of an "X" near the end of the level. Ride the tube that you should emerge on all the way down to the bottom-right of this room, then follow that path until a lift shaft takes you to an area with bumpers and balloons. Make your way up the shaft by using the balloons or Tails' ability. At the top is a wall with three yellow markings on it. Jump in between the top and middle ones for this Ring.
  • On Knuckles' route, there will be a long tunnel of boosters at the end. When you come out of it, jump and hold the button as soon as it is exited to get high up on the slope, as normally Knuckles will run through it. Once on the slope, use the glide to climb the slope. A second tunnel of boosters will be found. Go through these and do not jump. Hold right so that Knuckles runs through the slope and hugs the right wall. The Ring will appear. Jump into it as soon as it is full size so that there is no risk of falling out of the room.


Act 1

Main article: Self D-Struct Machine

The Self D-Struct Machine is the boss of Act 1. A part of it spins and levitates in a constant diagonal motion throughout the battle, bouncing around the corners of the screen and destroying foothold blocks. The main piece electrifies itself every so often. The player must be sure to defeat it before the footing is lost.

Act 2

Dr. Robotnik appears in an Energy Ship 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


The Carnival Night Zone in Sonic the Comic.

In the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions, the Carnival Night Zone was a theme park that had been built on the Floating Island by the Marxio Brothers as a money-maker for Dr. 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. However, when the truth of Robotnik's involvement was revealed, Knuckles broke the Zone off from the rest of the Floating Island, making it plummet into 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 Zone'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.
Rage of you childhood

The barrel.

  • 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 the Energy Ship 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.
  • Carnival Night Zone appears as a Battle Arena in LEGO Dimensions, as well as a part of the Sonic the Hedgehog Adventure World. The infamous barrel appears as part of a puzzle in the Marble Zone portion of Sonic's level pack, and he may mention it when encountering a puzzle.


Sonic 3 Music Carnival Night Zone Act 1

Sonic 3 Music Carnival Night Zone Act 1

Sonic 3 Music Carnival Night Zone Act 2

Sonic 3 Music Carnival Night Zone Act 2

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