Sonic 3 + Sonic & Knuckles "Boss Guide"

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 Plenty of assault and battery here...Flying Battery, that is.

See the yellow button on top of this machine?  Stand on it and wait for the eyes to flash--then walk/drop off.  One of the mace-like balls should strike the button.  Jump back up on the button;  rinse and repeat 7 more times for a total of 8 hits to finish this boss.

Note: There is a Bonus Level ring-gate, in the left wall, just before you reach the boss area in Act 2.  You'll need help from Tails to reach it if you're playing as Sonic.

The first part involves a pair of forcefields and a honkin' big laser.  Don't bother attacking the laser when it isn't firing.  All you need to do is avoid getting killed 8 times and the laser will do the dirty work for you.  (The laser will flash light blue and make noises a few times before firing.) Then you get to chase Robotnik past a starpost.  Keep running to avoid getting squished until you reach stage 2 of this encounter.

Round 2...
This machine will "crawl" toward you, then the center part will rotate around the platform.  Target the top part or the upper part of the sides on this one.
Don't let him corner you, and be careful while jumping between the two spiked 'clamps'--sometimes he'll fire the flamethrower on top while he's lurking below the platform.

KNUCKLES: The flamethrower will also fire sometimes while that central part is rotating.  Thus, you need to attack more carefully.

TAILS: Seems like he doesn't fire the flamethrower or try to trap you in the corner as much if you're using Tails.