Sonic 2 [Beta / Proto / Unused Stages – Mega Drive / Genesis]


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.

italian_flag.jpg [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!




Feel (Ristar) [Beta – Genesis / MegaDrive]


Ristar’s origins date back to the brainstorming sessions of Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis. A rabbit that could throw and grab objects was amongst the several ideas for Sonic. Sonic Team settled for a platforming game with an emphasis on speed for their blue hedgehog, but did not discard the rabbit idea from their minds.

The game was named Feel in older builds, and the character had a distinct appearance. The protagonist had shoes similar to Sonic’s, and, although still sporting an orb shape, had two horns that resembled rabbit ears. Oddly enough, an enemy in the final is a rabbit that attacks with its ears, and a valid cheat is “FEEL”. Four prototypes (in the beta phase) were leaked by the Hidden Palace site, but are close to completion.

A specific prototype is named Dexstar, proving that several title changes occurred after the Feel prototypes. The enigmatic “STAR” cheat, exclusive to the Japanese retail copy, makes the game ask about a player’s wish and displays a shooting star. It does not seemingly change the game and is likely an easter egg of sorts. When it is inputted in one prototype it proclaims that “Star Star Mode” has been enabled, but it changes nothing in the game. This means the “STAR” cheat’s effect was eliminated earlier in development (or replaced by another code) and is only referenced as an easter egg.

Some beta differences can be found at Ristar Cluster, take note that it also discusses the Game Gear version of the game when my analysis is focusing on the Genesis/Mega Drive one: http://ristar-cluster.info/php-pages/proto.htm

Localization alterations in both Genesis/Mega Drive games: http://ristar-cluster.info/php-pages/jpn-vs-usa.htm

Dexstar: http://www.x-cult.org/games/117/Ristar/634/Differences/

STAR cheat: http://www.x-cult.org/games/117/Ristar/631/Star_Mode/


Time Diver: Eon Man [NES – Cancelled]

Time Diver: Eon Man is a cancelled beat ’em up developed by A.I for Taito for the NES. The game was finished, receiving a four-page strategy guide and review in issue 45 (February ’93) of Nintendo Power. Despite this, the game eventually disappeared from the Pak Watch section and was silently canceled.

According to game designer Shouichi Yoshikawa, the game was originally being developed as a sequel to Wrath of the Black Manta before being retooled.

Time Diver had 5 levels set at various points in time. These include the opening level Peaceful 1993, the Wild West, 1882, Devastated 2052, Devastated 1993, and a Peaceful Utopia version of 2052. An unusual feature (for the time) was that, with the exception of the first level, the stage order is randomized; allowing for some variation when playing through the game multiple times. [Info from Wikipedia]

A playable ROM of Time Diver was somehow leaked online and you should be able to find it easily with google. You can read more info about the project in this article by Lost Levels’ Frank Cifaldi!




Hit the Ice [NES – Unreleased]

Hit the Ice is a cancelled Taito NES port of the popular 1990 arcade hockey game of the same name. Unlike the completed SNES home console port of Hit the Ice, the cancelled NES version centers around a “Quest Mode” with RPG elements. Much like the Dragon Warrior series, the player walks around an overworld map, exploring houses and stadiums and facing random encounters with rival hockey teams which provide experience and gold.

Shops sell P Drinks, which provide a temporary speed and power boost; hamburgers, which provide experience; and apples, which can be given to an old man somewhere on the world map in exchange for an inner tube, which allows the player to cross bodies of water safely.

Though there is a working prototype with a completable Quest Mode, the game’s RPG elements are very low on content and game balance. As the SNES came out and interest in the NES waned, Taito abandoned this experimental hockey RPG to focus on 16-bit development, without a Quest Mode.

For more info, Frank Cifaldi has a short feature on Hit the Ice here at LostLevels.org where you can also find Hit The Ice’s prototype rom.

Article written by Nate Edwards

Thanks a lot to NES World for these screenshots!



Xybots [NES – Unreleased]

Xybots is an old third person shooter developed by Atari released for the arcades and many home computers in in the 80’s. A porting for the NES by Tengen was supposed to be released in 1990, but it was canceled even if the game was almost completed. The prototype was somehow leaked online and it can be easily found with a Google search.

Thanks a lot to NES World for the scan!