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Ways to get Sonic 3 & Knuckles ROM - A Forum Thread for Sonic 3 A.I.R.

How to obtain a Sonic 3 ROM Legally

One thing that people often discuss is, piracy in gaming that is to say when games should be pirated and if there's a way to eliminate it altogether.

If you've used an emulator and Downloaded a Rom of say Sonic 1, 2 or KiS2 you have pirated the game, piracy is Illegal.

The reason this is an issue is due to Game Preservation, in Sonic 3 & Knuckles case due to Michael Jacksons Music and Brad Buxer threatening lawsuits to SEGA it's puting a heavy weight on Sonic 3's preservation.

While projects like Sonic 3 Complete, try not only to preserve Sonic 3 but improve the original which is great, but there's just one problem in Sonic 3 Complete's Case it's a ROM Hack which means its Illegal to Play.

This is because it comes from a disassembly which doesn't build a 1:1 S3K rom by default as it expands the ROM's file size plus even if it did it edits the files which means it edits the code SEGA made, then puts the edited data into 1 file along with unmodified code. 

Angel Island Revisited is unique as it is technically legal since it draws from the Sonic 3 & Knuckles Steam ROM then puts it in the Oxygen Engine for the 16:9 support and features such as Prototype tracks.

But it also supports Modding, which isn't illegal since it only edits and provides the files that need to be edited and adds them to the game to achieve the desired effect. 

Even S3C features can be restored into this legal copy through Angel Island Complete/Plus, however Angel Island Revisited requires one thing to even get to play it or it's mods/modpacks - A Sonic 3 & Knuckles ROM.

This Forum is intended to detail legal ways of obtaining the ROM If anyone has any suggestions/ ways to contribute tell me and I will add them here, but without further ado here's the legal ways I know of: 

1. Purchase it off Steam. (Recommended)

This one is simple and it's to buy it off Steam, It can be bought standalone for only 5 bucks in the US, and can be bought in multiple ways such as the Sonic Humble Bundle Pack or Sega Classics Collection.

2. Rip the ROM from your Cartridge. (MAY DAMAGE CARTS)

Before I go about this option let me preface this and say I am not responsible if you break your old cart in doing this, I recommend you watch tutorials on how to rip ROMs from your Video Game cartridges before attempting, even then be careful you never know what may happen.

However, let's say you still have your original cart from 1994 in working condition and you recently bought a rom ripper, like say a retrode pictured below:
If so you can rip the Sonic 3 & Knuckles rom straight from your physical cartridge but at one risk - potentially breaking your cart if you don't know what exactly you're doing. 

This is why I recommend just buying it from SEGA it supports them during these hard times and nets you the game you paid for. 

However if you really can't get the money from point A to B this is an alternative I'd recommend doing research on how to rip your ROM. 

However once you Rip your rom it should be on your computer where you saved it, and once Angel Island Revisited is downloaded open it up and it will ask you to open a rom open your ripped ROM and it should boot.