The first “discovery” of this prototype was in December 1998, after a discussion in a newsgroup, Simon Wai released, with great surprise of fans, a beta version of Sonic 2, which had easily been found on a chinese website. We say “rediscovered” because in reality the cartridge already existed for some time, and the same Wai had already played it in 1992.
Yuji Naka, questioned on the issue, said that possibly the beta was stolen in 1992 in New York, ending then in clandestine Asian markets. However, the community had finally got a prototype of Sonic 2, which would make things possible to show different versions, which appeared in magazines, TV programs, commercials publications, and events of various kinds.
The early prototypes of Sonic 2 were vastly different. The Simon Wai prototype in particular
featured 2 Cut Zones, Hidden Palace and Wood Zone. Wood Zone is incomplete, and ends very shortly into the level, due to a platform that you can’t pass by. It also has only 1 act that’s actually playable, while Hidden Palace Zone is pretty complete, though you still can’t complete this stage. Hidden Palace is a underground Ruby cave type stage, featuring bright gemstones and jewels. Hidden Palace is the most complete of all the cut levels. Early on, it was suggested that sonic would warp here after collected all 7 chaos emeralds, but that idea was shot down. it was also thought that Hidden Palace was going to be Exclusive to Tails, as his 1-UP Monitor Sprite was used, but this was later revealed to be just a Tile Mix-up. Other Scraped Zones included Dust Hill Zone, a Desert Zone, Genocide/Cyber City, removed possibly due to the mis-translation of Cyber. Cyber City’s stage layout was re-used as Metropolis’s Act 3. We also have Rock Zone, which was a past version of Dust Hill Zone, created during Sonic 2’s period of development where a Time Traveling Feature was in place. The Time Traveling Feature would ultimately end up as Sonic CD, which was released a year later.
[spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]La prima “riscoperta” del prototipo avvenne nel dicembre 1998, quando in seguito ad una discussione in un newsgroup Simon Wai rilasciò, con grande sorpresa degli appassionati, una versione beta di sonic 2, che aveva appena trovato facilmente in un sito cinese. Diciamo “riscoperta” perchè in realtà la cartuccia esisteva già da parecchio tempo, e lo stesso Wai ci aveva già giocato nel 1992.
Yuji Naka, interrogato sulla questione, ha affermato che probabilmente la beta è stata rubata nel 92 a New York, finendo poi nei mercati clandestini asiatici. Ad ogni modo, finalmente la comunità aveva a disposizione un prototipo di Sonic 2 che avrebbe permesso di fare un po’ di ordine nelle diverse versioni dimostrative, apparse in riviste, programmi tv, spot pubblicatori, eventi di vario genere.[/spoiler]
For more info: Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Beta Analysis
Per maggiori informazioni: Analisi di Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Beta
Thanks to Ryan Jacques for the conribution and to SuperFun64 for the english translation!