This is probably an old news for hardcore Sonic fans, but everyone else will be happy to know that at the Sonic Retro website they are working on a playable remake of the Sonic 1 beta! As they write on the project page: “Sonic 1 Beta Remake is a Sonic 1 hack created by Mistergambit, first released on September 14th, 2006. This hack has all of the Sonic 1 levels redesigned to look like their prototype counterparts as seen in various magazine screen shots. This hack also has new objects, such as a functioning Splats, The Checkered Ball that was scrapped from GHZ, and more. To make it seem more like a genuine prototype, Some levels are made to look unfinished.“
You can read more info and download the beta remake at Sonic Retro! Props to them :)
Here’s a video from the remake of the beta Marble Zone:
Link from the X-Cult hack forum, has found some unused characters in the code of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for the Wii: Birdo, Donkey Kong, Jet & Silver. Other “hidden” characters like Shy Guy, Goomba or the Monkey, are normally used only in the background of the game, but thanks to the WiiRD they became playable and some of them have even animations for the various olympic games.
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!
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]