Sonic Rush is a platform game developed by Sonic Team and Dimps, published in 2005 for the Nintendo DS. Various screenshots from pre-release versions of the game show slightly different areas, different HUD, slightly different gameplay and the first screenshot of Blaze the Cat shows a Sonic life icon while, in the final version, Blaze has her own life icon. We can also notice a different main menu screen.
The Beta version had a totally different soundtrack for the main menu, for the Leaf Forest, for the boss stages and the end of an act. Also, some FX sounds are different from the final version (Sonic’s voice is different too).
In January 2007 DRX from the Hidden Palace released a prototype version of the game, that was shown at E3 2005. In the E3 version you were meant to play only one level, but Tanks from Sonic Retro has found out that there are 7 zones listed in the proto, and 3 are playable via hacking. He also found an unused set of sprites from Sonic Advance 3, but we don’t know how they were used in the development of Sonic Rush.
Sonic 2, like the other installments of the series for the Genesis ,doesn’t need any presentation. Released in November 1992, after the great success of the first episode, the new Sega title become promptly the best selling game for the 16 bit console. More interesting for our site, the beta of Sonic 2 is currently the most important beta document of the series, and one of the most intriguing ever.
The prototype was initially rediscovered in December 1998, when Simon Wai released on a newsgroup a beta version of Sonic 2 previously found on a Chinese website. We say rediscovered because the existence of the proto was already known, and Simon Wai himself played it in 1992. Yuji Naka said in a interview that it is probably the same prototype stolen in New York in 1992. The beta was then illegally released in the Asian videogame market.
Anyway, the prototype was finally in the hands of the Sonic community and it immediately revealed all its wonders, notably two levels not included in the final version and many beta leftovers.
[Article by Yota]
Green Hill zone
As you can seen from the screenshots, this is the first level of the final game, Emerald Hill. It is the most finished zone of the beta, and the only one with a boss, even if with some differences (there is no sound from the paddles when Robotnik enters, and no explosion when it is defeated) . The badnick in the screenshot was removed from the final game. The music is the same as the released version.
This is the first zone removed from the final game. Already well known from magazines pics, the Wood zone was a level set in a forest. Not much work was done on this stage, and it is fully playable only with the debug mode. The music is the same as the metropolis zone.
Metropolis Zone it is the only level in Sonic 2 with three acts, and the same can be said about this beta, even through they are all still incomplete and without enemies and rings. Early in the development, the third act was supposed to be a completely different stage. The most interesting beta feature of this zone is a strange lift (pictured in the screenshot) that is was totally removed from the released game. The music is slightly different from the final version.
Hidden Palace Zone
Those who played Sonic & Knuckles will certainly remember a level called Hidden Palace Zone. The zone from Sonic 2 is however a completely different stage, set in an underground cave. The Hidden palace was never completed, although his presence in an even early version of Sonic 2 suggest that it was one of the first level developed. Anyway, it is one of the most interesting zones of the beta due to the presence of the big green emerald , similar (but not connected) to the master emeralds, of the Tails 1-up (which it was really just a ten-ring monitor) and of the badnicks removed from the final game. The Hidden Palace is still accessible in the released version of Sonic 2 with the action replay, but the graphic is completely messed-up.
Hill Top Zone
It is one of the most completed zone, and the main differences, aside from the layout, are the lack of the sound effect of the earthquakes and the absence of the rolling animations in the tunnels. The music is the same as the released version.
Oil Ocean Zone
Not much to say about this zone. The most interesting beta feature is a strange ball that is activated by a button. The music is still the same as the casino zone.
Dust hill Zone
This stage is just the mystic cave zone with a different name. The zone is still in the testing phases, and it is fully playable only with the debug.
Casino night Zone
The Casino Night zone was still early in development, and because of the lack of the slot machines and the springs the level is fully playable only with the debug. The background of the act 2 is different from the original. The music is slightly different from the released version.
Chemical Plant Zone
Aside from the first level, this is the most complete zone of the beta. Even the general layout of the stage is very similar to the final version. There are however still some interesting changes, like the different conformation of the circular structures (pictured in the screenshot) and the strange sound effects of the blue fluids from the tubes. The music is the same as the final version.
This zone it is empy, and maybe its development was never really began, because all that exist from this zone it is an early black & white concept art (that later inspired a stage from Sonic Spinball) . The music is the same as the Chemical Zone.
Neo Green hill Zone
This zone is just the Acquatic Ruin Zone with a different name. The layout is similar to the original, but the level is still incomplete and without enemies. The music is already the same as the final version.
Death Egg Zone
This is the final level of Sonic 2, but it is still empy. More interesting, in this beta the zone has two acts. It is the only level in this beta without music.
Sonic The Betahog
Aside from the layouts of the levels, some animations were also different from the released version, like the spin-dash.After eight years of the original release of Simon Wai, in December 2006 a new prototype was found with even earlier version of Emerald Hill, Hill Top, Hidden Palace and Chemical Plant. This beta featured the Green Zone and other leftovers from Sonic 1. But the story doesn’t end there. In fact, in February 2008 many betas from various Sonic games, including Sonic 2, were leaked and released to the community.
You can find more informations about the beta of Sonic 2 on Sonic Retro.
In the beta screenshots of Sonic there are some differences: title screen, the mispelled word “RING” instead of “RINGS”, Sonic that loses rings in a strange way, Sonic punching the air at the end of the level, strange things in Starlight Zone in the background and UFOs in Marble Zone. Sonic Team originally planned 5 acts a stage..with 15 stages.
Development for Sonic the Hedgehog began in April 1990, after Sega ordered its AM-8 team to develop a game featuring a mascot for the company. After choosing a hedgehog as the main character, the 15-man group changed its name to Sonic Team and started working on Sonic the Hedgehog. The main minds behind the game were character designer Naoto Ohshima, game programmer Yuji Naka and designer Hirokazu Yasuhara.
The game was originally intended to feature a sound test menu, with animated graphics based around Sonic break-dancing to the music of a “Sonic Band” consisting of Sharps Chicken (guitar), Max Monkey, (guitar), Mach Rabbit (drums), and Vector the Crocodile (keyboard/synth); Vector was later re-designed and re-used for the games Knuckles’ Chaotix and Sonic Heroes. The development schedule meant that the feature had to be scrapped, and Yuji Naka decided to replace the test with the “SEGA!” chant used in TV advertisements, which took up 1/8 of the 4-megabit cartridge. A text-only sound test option remained in the final game’s level select cheat menu.
[Some info from Wikipedia]
Also, Kondensaattori100 noticed some beta differences in the video below:
1.Green Hill Zone boss weapon 2.Spring.
Thanks to Zero 7, FullMetalMC, Assjerk, Parker Verboom, Youlute and Rod_Wod for the contributions!
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.
Sonic Adventure was developed by Sonic Team and released in 1998 in Japan by Sega for the Dreamcast and is the first game in the Sonic Adventure series. One of its development titles was Sonic RPG, (although the final game was an adventure game, not a standard RPG).
Originally, Sonic was supposed to be able to engage his Super Sonic form at any time during gameplay, once he had gained all seven chaos emeralds during story mode. The proof of this comes in the form of an unused voice clip in the game, in which Tikal teaches the player how to become Super Sonic. The character reveals that Sonic must gain 50 rings before he can transform and warns the player to monitor their ring consumption closely, otherwise Sonic will lose a life when he runs out.
By hacking the 2004 US PC version version of Sonic Adventure DX, it is possible to access a number of unused assets from the Tokyo Game Show 2003 build of the game. One of the most notable of these is an early version of the character selection screen. The omitted menu section is fully functional if modded correctly and is labelled with the text, ‘Choose your buddy!’. Interestingly, this title is also the name of the background music composed by Jun Senoue for the finished character screen on Sonic Adventure’s official soundtrack, ‘Sonic Adventure Digi-LOG Conversation Original Sound Track’.
A two-headed mecha dragon boss was removed from the game before the final version, but it can still be found in the prototype / beta of Sonic Adventure DX that was leaked online. It was a part of the Sky Chase level, during Sonic and Tails’ approach to the Egg Carrier in Tails’ story section. It pursues the player up until the Egg Carrier fires its laser beam at the Tornado. You can find more info on Sonic Cult!
In addition, an unused animation for Tails has been unearthed in Sonic Adventure DX via modding. By replacing Knuckles with Tails in his story mode, players can activate a glitch in Casinopolis to trigger said animation. It is noticeably very similar to Tails’ swimming animation from Sonic The Hedgehog 3; suggesting there could have at one stage been bodies of water to swim in during one of his stages, or possibly even an entirely new water-themed level, a la Hydrocity Zone.
Thanks to FullMetalMC & BowserEnemy for some of these images!