Oh, it gets dumber. These platforms actually appear in all but the first Techno Tower level, all up in the upper-left "outside" area. In almost every case, you have to take an obscure route to even get out there, and it serves as an alternative route to the top of the tower, with the goalpost standing between the end of this and the normal route in most cases (interestingly, there is exactly one top-solid floor tile in level 1 that lets you out as well, but the area is completely barren despite locking you in, and requires character abilities or rubber band abuse to make it up to the goal). However, if you for some reason decide to run all the way to the left edge out here, you'll meet this crane that isn't carrying a girder: Apparently he isn't happy that his friends are hogging all the girders, because he instead snatches your partner (not unlike the Botanic Base boss), and hauls them... usually not far at all. But hey, that one in level 3 at least deposits you on some floating level tiles with ring monitors. Yippee And, in the spirit of proto research, I narrowed both this, as well as the girder-toting variants, down to 0202 as their first appearance. The girders seem finalized, poorly aligned solidity and all, but the grabber-crane's behavior isn't quite complete yet. It will grab the partner, but it just slowly raises them up a tiny bit before dropping them. It doesn't even pull the primary character off the ground as it does so, which is funny because I'd assume that'd happen based solely on the force of the ringband, and not be a function of the object itself. And then after it's done this once, it stays frozen where it stopped and won't work again, whereas the final one is endlessly reusable if you chase it down again. It seems finalized as of the next build (0208). (Notice Espio's arm is pointed up: He knows Bomb is well above him, but remains planted on the floor.) Also, in the process of looking around here, I also found a mildly amusing difference with Heavy: In the Final, Heavy is invincible (as in his body is a permanent hitbox as if he had the invincibility powerup, which makes it difficult to see him as a "dud" partner, heh), but it turns out this wasn't added until build 0202. In 0119 and prior builds.... (Also, turns out this flying fish shoots at you if sit and wait forever, never knew that.) ... he takes damage like any other character! Though he defaults to his jump sprite, implying he probably wasn't ever intended to be vulnerable. In comparison to other characters' special abilities (because this silliness is the closest thing Heavy has to one), they seem finalized in 0111 apart from Mighty's default wall kick angle being straight and not diagonal-up, but Tails' flight wasn't actually removed until 0119 (so this specific build is the only one with all eight character being unique. Neat!). Then in 0202, Mighty's wall kick is finalized as well as Heavy being made invincible. And a clarification on the flying carpet's palette: A quick look at the final in the old 32X art viewer program reveals that it's part of Speed Slider's MARS palettes. Each level of Speed Slider seems to have its own slightly unique MARS palette, but 1 looks significantly different from the rest and doesn't include those particular shades (the spot it pulls from is a full yellow gradient in 1, rather than the others' yellow to red to black gradient). And also: Nice catch on it printing the MARS palette onscreen. Those blues you see there are part of the global MARS palette that's always in memory, and are used for any global object that's blue, like the shield and other such powerups. However, as I mentioned in my last post, this global palette is practically identical to Sonic/Tails' shades in Crackers, seen below (Crackers on top, Chaotix on bottom; pink is just transparency): Now, what I want to know is why did they choose to make this the global palette when, in the early builds, we can see Tails had his own unique MARS palette, which uses similar/the same shades (so Sonic probably had his own palette as well)? What waste of space, especially when certain global objects end up looking like crap because of this. In particular, the character icons on the partner change monitor have to use these colors, so people's skin is yellow, and Espio has ugly red/blue dithering to make up for the lack of purple (and Knuckles to a lesser extent).