Doctor Robotnik’s Flame Craft (ファイヤーブレス,Faiyā Buresu?, lit. "Fire Breath") is the first sub-boss in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The player encounters it at the end of Angel Island Zone Act 1, and it takes six hits to be destroyed. The boss encounter is different depending which character the player is controlling.
The Flame Craft is a mass-produced dark blue robot created by Dr. Robotnik. It has a bulky design and a small robotic head above the flamethrower, and is able to fly around with four jets on its underside. Additionally, it has three rocket launchers behind its head.
The Flame Craft first appears halfway through Act 1 (along with numerous other Flame Crafts that fly across the background at the same time) and sets fire to the whole jungle, turning it from a beautiful serene haven into a complete inferno. In its first appearance, the Flame Craft can be hit any number of times, but cannot be destroyed, and will depart when the cutscene ends. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, this scene is repeated in Knuckles' story as well.
When Sonic and/or Tails confront the Flame Craft at the end of Angel Island Zone Act 1, the robot descends into the arena and starts its rather simple attack pattern. After firing its flamethrower once, Flame Breath then rises and flies to the other side of the arena to fire its flamethrower once more. The robot repeats this pattern until it is destroyed. The flames coming from the thrower are the only real danger in this battle, although the small fires coming from jets on its underside can hurt the player as well. After landing six hits on the Flame Craft, the robot explodes into pieces. When the signpost falls down, Invincibility, Flame Shield and Water Shieldmonitors are hidden underneath the ground, with all of them having a small gap between each other.
In the Sonic 3 & Knuckles lock-on, while Knuckles is unable to reach the upper section of the level (where Sonic and Tails can fight the Flame Craft), the player instead must go to a lower pathway by destroying huge breakable piles of rocks and face the Flame Craft again. However, the robot's attack pattern is only somewhat challenging, as the Flame Craft is able now to fire three missiles from its launchers, which will fall down to the ground deal damage to the player on contact. Despite that, the robot can still be taken down after six hits. Invincibility, Water Shield and Extra Life monitors are hidden under the bottom of arena, all of which have a small gap between them.
If the player picks up Flame Shield from the monitor to the left of the entrance before entering the boss arena, it can make the battle even easier than it already is, as none of Flame Craft's attacks can hurt the player with their Flame Shield (unless the player touches the boss outside of a Spin Attack).
It is possible that after defeating the Flame Craft, a glitch may happen to where the player can still go through a huge portion of Act 1 of Angel Island Zone instead of going on to Act 2.