Sonic Crackers [MD/G – Proto]


Sonic Crackers, also known by the name in the ROM header, Sonic Studium, is an early Sonic the Hedgehog prototype game for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. It is believed to have been an engine test, containing essentially multiple different game engines, swapped out in realtime using code written into RAM. The game has Sonic and Tails joined together by a band of rings. This would later become the idea for Knuckles’ Chaotix for the Sega 32X.

The ROM has two “adventure” levels, one of which appears multiple times with a different palette each time, and two “field” levels. One is highly reminiscent of the Techno Tower Zone level in Knuckles’ Chaotix, the objective being to make it to the top of the screen; if this is done or three full minutes elapses on the clock, the Sonic 1 “game over” music plays and the player is brought to the first field level, featuring a clouded background and a waterfall.

The “field” levels are only half-complete; there is no collision set, and Sonic can walk anywhere on the field with impunity. If the player pauses and hits a button, the game goes to a carnival-like level reminiscent of Chaotix’ Speed Slider Zone that goes around in an infinite loop. After one minute has elapsed, the circus level ends and another “field” level begins. After the player pauses and hits another button, he or she is brought back to the Techno Tower Zone level with a different palette, four in all. – [info from Wikipedia]

Thanks to Shockingace for the video!




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:

Localization alterations in both Genesis/Mega Drive games:


STAR cheat:


Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill [SNES/MD/G – Cancelled]


Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill is an unreleased video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis. It stars Socks, the pet cat of 42nd US President Bill Clinton and his family, in a platforming adventure in which he has to make his way past spies, crooked politicians and the media to warn the White House of a stolen nuclear missile. Scheduled for a release in the Fall of 1993, the game was complete and ready to be shipped to retailers, but was suddenly cancelled following the closing of publisher Kaneko’s US branch.

It has been speculated that its subliminal political themes may have also had a hand in its demise. The game’s bosses were made out to be caricatures of former Republican leaders such as Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush. Also, Nintendo’s own censorship policies during the late 1980s and early 1990s condemned games that had “subliminal political messages” or “overt political statements”. As well, it is assumed that it is unlikely that Sega would had allowed such content into the game.

In a pre-release review of the game, Nintendo Power openly questioned the reason that such figures were in the game, and deemed the title as politically controversial. This, coupled with the fact that Kaneko’s US branch was closing down, prevented Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill from ever being shipped, and no known ROM has been found on the Internet. – [info from Wikipedia]

Thanks to MathUser and DDobson from for some of these scans!



Super Mario Bros 3 [NES – Beta / Concept / Unused]

There were going to be two new enemies called Gold Cheep Cheep (a golden version of a Cheep-Cheep), and Green Parabeetles (green colored Parabeetles). The Gold Cheep Cheeps would come in groups and swim faster than regular Cheep-Cheeps and the Green Parabeetle is a green Parabeetle that flies faster than normal ones. The game coding reveals an item-sized Toad icon among some of the game’s suits; this is interpreted by several as a sort of “Toad Suit”, although it makes no changes to gameplay when granted to Mario. This is likely due to it being scrapped early and never given any purpose. Designers also considered a power-up to turn Mario into a Centaur (half-man, half-horse), although this was rejected (Tilden 1990, 21).

Koopa Troopas and and Hammer Bros. were going to host the mini-games. They were replaced by Toad. However, it could also be possible that they were all around at the same time, but all got scrapped except for one due to memory size. There were also different kinds of mini-games, similar to the ones in New Super Mario Bros..

Finally, fifteen extra levels exist within the coding of Super Mario Bros. 3. Some of these are strange and unique, while others bear much resemblance to levels in the final version and were very likely redone as those. Also, the back of the box of some copies of Super Mario Bros. 3 depicts Mario traversing a hilly grassland stage with tons of Parabeetles and two Note Blocks about. This particular stage is not any of the lost ones present on the cartridge, nor is it in the final game. It could even be a press mock-up from Nintendo. Reports say it might be in the Japanese version either hidden ingame or in code, but there is no proof of it’s existance on the American Version. The “special” boxes also feature a beta map of Grass Land. [Info from Mariowiki]

In december 2008, Linkin800 found some unused sprites in the game code and posted them in the Mushroom Kingdom Forum:

I found some unused Mario overworld sprites.

It seems like Nintendo was originaly going to have it so that mario could walk in all derictions instead of just facing the screen all the time.

some beta buildings I found. (palletes could be wrong): the first one looks like some kind of wooden toy block fortress thing, the second im not sure what it is and the last one looks like a factory to me, or it could be a beta fortress, the thing underneath the 3rd building is it crushed after you beat the level.

I also found something small but intresting. (palletes are also wrong) its the mario that appears in mini games, but there are 2 bodys found in the game, one is fatter then the other, the fat body is used in the game but the skinny one isn’t, I think originaly Nintendo was going to make a diffrent sprite for luigi but never did, not sure.


Thanks to Linkin800, Keith Sass, Inferno and Luiszena for some of these images!



This Famimaga video shows the various differences of this early version to the final that the annotations go over. For one, none of the levels are recognizable (except perhaps one particular part), and the HUD is different.