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My theory on Sonic 2

#1 User is offline Pumster 

Posted 13 May 2003 - 08:29 PM

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Hey.
I was looking over the different courses for Sonic 2 and the beta, and I think that Sega had some big plans for this sequel. (Even though most of them probably got scrapped due to time restraints and put into Sonic 3.)
Anyway, I think that Sonic 2 was originally planned to have time travel in a linear order. (Not like Sonic CD, where you could go to any time period while going through a given course. In other words, you beat the level, you see that same world in a different time period, probably the past, in the second Act.) These are a few examples. Just keep an open mind while you read them.
1. Green Hill and Neo Green Hill. Neo Green Hill (Aquatic Ruin) clearly has the qualities of the first Green Hill, but with an "ancient" theme.
2. Chemical Plant and Oil Ocean. One thing to note about those extremely gloomy Sonic cartoons is that Robotnik built tons of factories, ruining all evidence that nature once existed. This is Sonic's reality and his group of "freedom fighters" are trying desperately to kill Robotnik (A goal they never accomplish, if you think about it.) and destroy the countless factories he has made. The whole theme for the Sonic cartoons was "technology over nature" and what it leads to. Oil Ocean and Chemical Plant are definitely evidence that Robotnik ruined something important in the present. (It's important to note that the water in these two stages were replaced with Oil or Chemicals. Obviously, there were Oil and Chemical Spills that Robotnik doesn't address despite the damage to Sonic's world.) There's also the question of how this time traveling would even aid Sonic in the first place. Maybe Sonic learns about an ancient Chaos Emerald, (The one we find in the Hidden Palace.) and plans to find it and use it against Robotnik and his factories. (The little dino robots are evidence that it could take place in the past. But then again, they're still ROBOTS, aren't they?)

My head hurts. What does everyone think?

#2 User is offline Rob Jinnai 

Posted 13 May 2003 - 10:52 PM

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Well, again I note, the emerald of Hidden Palace was pretty much debunked by an official that it was merely a "Breakable block". Despite the many fantasies, there's supposedly not one thing special about it. :P

#3 User is offline Mach Sonic 

Posted 14 May 2003 - 12:36 PM

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I heard originally, if you play as Knux in Hidden Palace and you reach the Master Emerald, something was supposed to happen. But what?

#4 User is offline Rob Jinnai 

Posted 14 May 2003 - 03:01 PM

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A long time ago when I forcefully put Knux in via savestate hacking on S2&K... the game most definitely DID reset spontaneously once the screen scrolls past the emerald.

Here's a somewhat dirty savestate for usage in Genecyst or Gens to get you into HPZ with debug:

http://www.el-hazardonline.net/El-Hazard/t...p/rob/son2k.gs1

#5 User is offline Mach Sonic 

Posted 15 May 2003 - 07:58 AM

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(Shall download once I get home. Using Internet @ school on Lap Top. =P)

#6 User is offline Rob Jinnai 

Posted 15 May 2003 - 01:08 PM

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I'm not really sure if there's any significance to the reset action. Most obviously this can be attributed to a code pointer that's pointing to information that's no longer present (I.e. effectively random data that when executed initiates a processor reset) This happens on multiple emulators, so it's not just a fluke in any particular one. I think I even tried this on the real hardware once, but I forget...

I remember asking whoever was the top hacker of the time about it, and his only response was a confused one saying something like "It's resetting on the frame..." [whatever that means] "... but I have no idea why."

You probably know that if you activate debug after dying and before the level restarts, you can move about in a "stilled" world. Once you "release" from the debug movement, the world (and yourself) is back to life.
An interesting point is that if you debug move past the emerald while "dead" and the world is stilled, the game will NOT reset unless you release debug at any point beyond the emerald. (I.E. Come "back to life" beyond the emerald which, as I previously defined, is what causes the reset in the first place.)

Obviously, something is activated inside the game memory either by the screen coordinate in that level or by the emerald itself. (Which it is remains unknown to me.) An interesting extension to this experiment would be to see if it happens at the same coordinate in another of the "lost levels". Or, if you're an expert hacker, hack the ROM to remove the emerald altogether (note that this requires hacking the S&K ROM which holds a copy of the levels for Sonic 2 & Knuckles, possibly so they could be modified for Knux-ian operation.) If the strange reset stops, you know it's the emerald doing it. Then the question would be "why".

I'm not sure how much of the S&K ROM actually does engine processing; I know that the mysterious 256KB block that was required for operation seems to contain a lot of Sonic 2 code (I.e. it's a patch program, not unlike a Game Genie / Pro Action Replay.) But I don't know if the actual object programming resides in the memory block or if it still uses Sonic 2 engine code. In either case it may just be something anti-climatic like the emerald, since it wasn't something Sonic Team had to worry about, has been pointered to just plain bad memory space.

For the record, it is NOT a bad reaction from the savestate. If you die and restart the level (I.e. let the ROM do the level loading), you'll find this event STILL occurs. (My savestate is bad because it starts you with only 1 life; you need to get 100 rings or the Tails box so you can try any of these aforementioned experiments :P)

Ah, the Tails box... I'm sure that still holds some significance to the whole existence of HPZ.

#7 User is offline Pumster 

Posted 18 May 2003 - 11:38 PM

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shit, that's a lot of stuff to take in. But, there are some big issues in there.
First off, it's important to note that Knuckles wasn't even concieved at the time of Sonic 2. Therefore, Sega would not bother playing around with the now "non-existant" (And surely forgotten) Hidden Palace Zone. If anything weird was going to happen, it probably would have happened to Tails in a "Tails Alone" game. (Since it's speculated that Tails was the original guardian of the Big Chaos Emerald, and that he probably was supposed to go through the stage by himself.) Also, the chances of Sega putting in the plans to re-do/finish the Sonic 2 Hidden Palace Zone would be a stupid idea since Sonic 3 houses the "Hidden Palace with Big Emerald" story. (There were waaaay too many emeralds in the S&K Sonic 3, don't you think? lol)
But this reset thing is still very interesting. Maybe Sega had started working on a "cut-scene" (Or whatever it's called in the 16-Bit world.) that was never finished, and Knuckles' appearance in that particular area causes some sort of reaction with that coding. Because of this interaction, (Which wasn't planned for.) the game doesn't know what to do and simply resets itself. Don't go by me, though - I don't know the first thing about game programming.

B.T.W: That save state you gave us is extremely weird, but look - some of the graphics have been restored to the stage!! Maybe I was wrong about Sega not planning to revive the Hidden Palace Zone. =P

#8 User is offline Rob Jinnai 

Posted 19 May 2003 - 01:38 AM

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Speaking of which, if I remember correctly (it's been a while), I also believe that sending Knuckles to any of the other lost Sonic 2 zones will put him, as usual, into a "fake" Emerald Hill Zone. However, the difference is, the "fake" EHZ will be palettized correctly (as opposed to retaining the colors of a lost level.) I could be wrong, this needs to be verified first...

:shock:

I just found an ancient program I wrote in QuickBasic. (FYI, I'm now fluent in C and advanced in C++ under DOS32, Win32, and some other platforms.)

http://www.el-hazardonline.net/El-Hazard/t...ob/savpatch.zip

This program was my first collective effort of my own personal research way back when. I always thought I was the first person to figure out debug mode in the Sonic 2 prototype, but I never made much publicity back then, and it was only a matter of time before it came into light by the "super hackers" of the time. =/ FYI, if you want to use it, you have to edit the savpatch.ini to point to file paths that exist on your system, and it does NOT support long file names (8.3 format only.)

All the files (except the savpatch.ini I recently edited to make it work again) are dated 01/22/1998. Anyone know the status of stuff back then?

Anyway, I know I discovered a lot of stuff with this thing, mainly by deliberately messing with the game. I know there are much better savestate editors out there now, but do they let you set custom Act / Zone numbers? :P

Click here to see SAVPATCH in action; note I'm about to take Sonic in Sonic 3 to Zone 50 Act 25. (;D)

Posted Image
The land of 50/25 is a desolate one...



Most of the time such rediculous values just freeze it solid. However on a few occasions, you can tweak out interesting results... for example, long before your modern day hackers pulled out Sonic 1 Zone intros in the Sonic 2 Prototype, my little brother accidently caused "Star Light Zone" to suddenly appear after dying in something like Oil Ocean Zone Act 192 (that's probably not the number, but something like that.) Again, I never went public with any of my results, so I eventually drove myself out of the hacking business. :cry: Actually, this was enforced because I was blown off by someone important early on since I was a no-namer...

#9 User is offline Mach Sonic 

Posted 20 May 2003 - 09:09 AM

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Hey Rob, next time try Zone 75, Act 40. See what happens. lol

#10 User is offline Rob Jinnai 

Posted 20 May 2003 - 12:58 PM

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Well, THAT just froze the game on a black screen. :P

However, taking your loose "Act 40" to Metropolis Zone (Act 3 Zone position) in the Sonic 2 Prototype responds with the simple message:

Posted Image


... and then dropping off into Wood Zone Act 40 gives you...

Posted Image

#11 User is offline Neko Kit Su 

Posted 25 May 2003 - 07:17 PM

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I had my own theory similar to the ones you all ready mentioned....

But.... those final pics might have somethin

Cuz I know that those are SUPPOSED to say Zone after them, and they ARE the Sonic 1 title cards....

More or less Sonic 1 level names, too....

Maybe Sonic 2 was based off Sonic 1 :(

I wish I knew more about hackin games usin a GameGenie/Shark/Action Replay

I would use ROMs, but I eventually felt so guilty for havin those, I deleted em ;)

Anyways, back on subject,

Suppose Scrap Brain was what Metropolis was based off, or even Wood Zone(they both share similarities to Scrap Brain in a weird way ;) )?

And, EHZ DID have SLZ's music in the Nick Arcade demo....

Then again, I'm just mindlessly babbling....

#12 User is offline Rob Jinnai 

Posted 26 May 2003 - 09:01 AM

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Quote

Cuz I know that those are SUPPOSED to say Zone after them, and they ARE the Sonic 1 title cards....

More or less Sonic 1 level names, too....

Maybe Sonic 2 was based off Sonic 1 :(

Anyways, back on subject,

Suppose Scrap Brain was what Metropolis was based off, or even Wood Zone(they both share similarities to Scrap Brain in a weird way ;) )?

And, EHZ DID have SLZ's music in the Nick Arcade demo....

Then again, I'm just mindlessly babbling....


No no, actually you're right. As most of the "top minds" (of which I am not one of but I figured out myself anyway) already know, Sonic 2 is very much designed off Sonic 1. It's the best way to make a sequel that's going to play similarly after all. Use the same basic engine and add/change features where improvements can be made. No reason to reinvent the wheel unless the whole system is going to chance (like going to 3D, etc.)

To further the point, here's numerical Zone matching between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2P:

Posted Image

As you can see, the Sonic 1 zone names that showed up are indeed logical. FYI, in the later zones that go beyond Sonic 1's last zone index (FINAL ZONE), you start getting other pieces of the intro, including the aforementioned missing "ZONE" word, the blue circuit, "Act 1", "Act 2", etc. (This probably has to do with a simple sprite indexing system being in place.) Now, exactly why they only show up under these extreme (and otherwise impossible) conditions I'm not sure... that would be something only someone totally familiar with the engine could tell you.


Now, the levels themselves probably were not used as a basis for Sonic 2 ones. At least, not definitely. (Although obviously what became Emerald Hill was a base on Green Hill and even named as such originally.)

Quote

I would use ROMs, but I eventually felt so guilty for havin those, I deleted em ;)


Heh. ROMs are a strange thing to concider. In legal sense, probably even ones back to at least Nintendo and possibly Atari still have copyrights owned by somebody who could sue you for infringement. Yet I'd look at it this way -- Sega's not making money off these games anymore. At best, some used games reseller is making anything, and that's not going to Sega. You won't harm them from using these ROM dumps now. However, those use dumped ROMs/ISOs from recently released games are causing problems, yes. :P

#13 User is offline Neko Kit Su 

Posted 26 May 2003 - 04:14 PM

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*sighs of relief*

I didnt make myself look like an idiot again ^.^;

#14 User is offline LocalH 

Posted 07 June 2003 - 12:18 PM

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Quote

Quote

Cuz I know that those are SUPPOSED to say Zone after them, and they ARE the Sonic 1 title cards....

More or less Sonic 1 level names, too....

Maybe Sonic 2 was based off Sonic 1 ;)

Anyways, back on subject,

Suppose Scrap Brain was what Metropolis was based off, or even Wood Zone(they both share similarities to Scrap Brain in a weird way ;) )?

And, EHZ DID have SLZ's music in the Nick Arcade demo....

Then again, I'm just mindlessly babbling....


No no, actually you're right. As most of the "top minds" (of which I am not one of but I figured out myself anyway) already know, Sonic 2 is very much designed off Sonic 1. It's the best way to make a sequel that's going to play similarly after all. Use the same basic engine and add/change features where improvements can be made. No reason to reinvent the wheel unless the whole system is going to chance (like going to 3D, etc.)

To further the point, here's numerical Zone matching between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2P:

Posted Image

As you can see, the Sonic 1 zone names that showed up are indeed logical. FYI, in the later zones that go beyond Sonic 1's last zone index (FINAL ZONE), you start getting other pieces of the intro, including the aforementioned missing "ZONE" word, the blue circuit, "Act 1", "Act 2", etc. (This probably has to do with a simple sprite indexing system being in place.) Now, exactly why they only show up under these extreme (and otherwise impossible) conditions I'm not sure... that would be something only someone totally familiar with the engine could tell you.


Now, the levels themselves probably were not used as a basis for Sonic 2 ones. At least, not definitely. (Although obviously what became Emerald Hill was a base on Green Hill and even named as such originally.)

Quote

I would use ROMs, but I eventually felt so guilty for havin those, I deleted em :(


Heh. ROMs are a strange thing to concider. In legal sense, probably even ones back to at least Nintendo and possibly Atari still have copyrights owned by somebody who could sue you for infringement. Yet I'd look at it this way -- Sega's not making money off these games anymore. At best, some used games reseller is making anything, and that's not going to Sega. You won't harm them from using these ROM dumps now. However, those use dumped ROMs/ISOs from recently released games are causing problems, yes. :P

I remember that if you can get Sonic to 'pit-die' while his sprite is located under another layer, you'd get one of those on game over, instead of the normal game over sprites. My technique was to place Sonic at the very bottom of the stage, ensure that there was a layer above him that goes across the whole screen (this is easiest to do in GHZ), place a midpost, and hope you trigger it before you die. If so, your lives will deplete and you will see the zone title that corresponds to the zone number.

#15 User is offline Rob Jinnai 

Posted 07 June 2003 - 09:16 PM

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Actually, that's more or less what happens here. An artifact of going way beyond into rediculously false act numbers often produces empty levels with no backgrounds. (Only the palette is active.)

It also often places Sonic and Tails both into a very deep coordinate to "pit-die".

So I suppose since you mentioned it, it's not a strict requirement to do it my way then.

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