Sonic 3 + Sonic & Knuckles "Boss Guide"

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Things heat up in Lava Reef...

Dunno what to call 'em, but they pop up and fire three round 'shots' when they reach the top and the slide back down.  Each one takes 4 hits to eliminate.  After they pop down, a giant robotic hand pops up, follows you around, and trys to smash you.  I recommend moving side-to-side & then attacking the middle finger after the hand lands a smashing blow (hopefully -not- on top of you).  The "hand" takes 6 hits.

Act 2 Boss:

Getting there is half the "fun".   The Fire Shield that you can grab on the way helps a -lot-.  Robotnik shoots spiked bombs out of the top of his fireproof creation; avoid them--and then let them do your dirty work for you.  After getting hit by 3 or 4 bombs, Robotnik will submerge and later surface on the opposite side.  Jump from platform to platform to stay out of the lava if you don't have the fireshield and let the bombs smack Robotnik's machine.  It takes nearly 2 minutes (and 6 passes) to finish him off.  If you look the times on these screenshots, you can see how close I was cutting it on this Act.