Knuckles' Ringstar (Chaotix) pre-1207 Prototype magazine scans

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Prototype, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. Prototype

    Prototype

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    So, I was searching through some old Spanish gaming magazine scans the other day, looking for prototype screenshots from other games, and purely by chance I came across some previews for the upcoming "Knuckles' Ringstar" game for 32x. Having been an avid reader of the Chaotix prototype threads, I noticed that they were from a pre-1207 version. I hadn't seen this stuff documented anywhere (correct me if I'm wrong), so I thought I'd detail my findings.

    The following were found in "Superjuegos" Issue #33.

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    -As you can see, it's still being called "Knuckles' Ringstar".

    -Unlike the 1207 prototype, Heavy is listed as "Heavy the Mechanic" instead of "Heavy The Eggman's Mechanic". Was there supposed a difference?

    -Also, weirdly, Mighty is listed in the character select screen as "Nat The Armadillo", which is strange given that he was already named in SegaSonic The Hedgehog! Is this a remnant of a character before they settled on Mighty, or did they just forget that he was already named?

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    -They were clearly having fun with the character select, given that they're doubling up on characters.

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    -This page is interesting. Not only was Marina Madness once called Marina Museum (along with Marina Drive from the rudimentary level select the 1207 beta), it shows what appears to be the Title Screen of this prototype.

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    -At first I thought this was just a weird mockup, but then I noticed "Scenario Game 1P", suggesting that for this prototype, it was indeed the title screen. What's with the Crackers team and weird-ass title screens? Also, I feel like I've seen that piece of artwork somewhere before, but I can't quite remember where.

    The following was found in "Hobby Consolas" Issue #45

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    [​IMG]

    -The level card says Ringstar, though it's being called Chaotix officially at this point, and the article itself refers to the game as "Chaotix: Knuckles' Ringstar".

    -Metal Sonic's entrance is that of 1207, although I'd hazard a guess and say that it's a pre-1207 version.

    -The article refers again to Mighty as "Nat the Armadillo", suggesting that they were working with the same build "Superjuegos" were.

    -Some of the screenshots have the characters' arms separate from their bodies, though I'm unsure if this is a glitch or the pause function, given that this doesn't seem to show your X/Y coordinates like later builds.

    I've got a couple more pages from "Todosega" issue #23 with an interesting article (providing my translation is correct), but I'm having some issues with my PC, so I can't upload them at the moment. I'll make an attempt to upload them tomorrow. Sorry if the images are too large. I converted them directly from .pdf scans.

    Hopefully you guys find this as interesting as I do. Enjoy. :)
     
  2. McAleeCh

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    Very interesting scans - thanks for posting! Always good to see more information on prototype builds. Particularly interested in the character select and title screen - until you pointed out the option at the bottom of the latter I'd also assumed it was just a mockup the magazine made to fill in the space! Wonder what the whole deal is with Mighty's name being "NAT" - seems very strange that this would happen to the only previously-established character other than Knuckles*, rather than one of the new ones! = P

    Also of note - from the second set of scans, it appears Amazing Arena's title card may have read "Amazing Area" at one point in development. Annoyingly the official art of Knuckles covers the crucial area of the screenshot, but the left edge of the letter after the last fully-visible one is far too diagonal to be the edge of an "N" and looks much more like an "A", and the text is centred differently as if it's one character shorter than the name we're familiar with. The first article seems to refer to it as "Amazing Arena" though, so unless we're looking at two different builds here it's possible this was just a title card typo similar to the "Heaby" typo in the 1207 prototype. Interestingly Marina Madness is "Marina Museum" in that same article, though - between this and 1207's selection screen it seems the Zone names did change a bit during development!

    *(on-screen, anyway - since from what we know Vector was derived from the old "Sonic Band" concepts and already had his name established back then. Makes me wonder if any of the other Chaotix characters had their origins in unused concepts for other games...?)
     
  3. Holy Crap that title screen is worse than the one on Crackers LOL.
     
  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    This is a wonderful find.


    One thing I was going to mention was that the stars connecting the two players don't seem to be changing colour when stretched. Then I realised this was actually the case until the 1229 prototype... just... nobody had written it down.

    This is what happens when prototype coverage is just a bunch of bullet points. We need screenshots and maps and arg.
     
  5. Blastfrog

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    I'm not sold on that mugshot of Knuckles being the title screen. Why would they go through the effort to put a placeholder graphic in, especially one that bad? It may be that the screen was blank aside from the option and the magazine just superimposed it.

    No way of knowing unless we see more screenshots of it from other magazines, if there are any. That, or getting the actual build.
     
  6. Prototype

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    You may be right, but then, I have memories of people debating for years about the validity of Sonic Crackers' title screen. Either way, the production of Chaotix is weird. It's in this weird limbo of really polished and half-assed.
     
  7. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I was initially sceptical too, but you've got to remember, this was printed in 1995. It's extremely unlikely that a magazine is going to produce what is clearly graphics drawn on a computer, for a tiny little box on a preview page - it would require more knowledge and effort than you could really expect from a publication around that time - I think it's from a built ROM.


    That and it clearly has the symbol for beta, and in 1995 the gaming press had no concept of how prototype software was labeled. It's not something they really thought about and it certainly wasn't something reported on, so why would they bother adding that in?



    Crackers shows us the team had form in throwing placeholder screens together without much thought regarding quality. We also know the title screen wasn't finished in the earlier prototypes we have, so having a placeholder is well within the realms of possibility for a prototype of that age.
     
  8. LordOfSquad

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  9. null1024

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    Could have just been a test they threw in there.
    Maybe they just needed a high-color graphic to put on screen while they were getting ready to do the actual title screen.
     
  10. SystemsReady

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    "Hey, we're getting sick of this ASCII title screen, is the art done yet?"
    "No"
    "Can you seriously just throw something together"
    "Fine, have a Knuckles on a black background"

    Or

    "We finally have a somewhat final name: Knuckles Ringstar. But it can't fit as ASCII art. Is the art done yet?"
    "No"
    "Can you just give us something"
    "It's called Knuckles Ringstar, so here is Knuckles in a ring"

    ...alternatively, maybe the ASCII title screen for Crackers had a different loading process than an actual graphic, so they made the lame Knuckles one to make sure the routine loaded correctly?
     
  11. null1024

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    Yeah, that's more of what I was getting at. Instead of being just plain tiles with an ASCII tileset drawn on the Genesis, it'd be an actual high-color graphic drawn on the 32X, and they'd need something to test that with.
    It's in this weird "more time than it should have taken" position, since even if it's slapped together, it clearly took more than sixty seconds to make.

    maybe they put some kind of vague level of effort into it expecting it to be seen by people outside of the team, so even if it's ugly, it looked like something other than "Knuckles Ringstar" scrawled with the paintbrush tool in Photoshop (which is what I'd have done) :v:/>/>
     
  12. LordOfSquad

    LordOfSquad

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    Hmmm. Anyone else catch the β for beta on there? And the "in" in Ringstar is underlined too. Knuckles' Ringstar IN Beta. Hilarious. Hard to tell if the β was actually a component of the title screen or just some weird fuckery on behalf of the magazine though.

    Is the Knuckles graphic from one of those old style guides, maybe? Whatever the era-equivalent of this was.

    God I want to know everything about Chaotix's development period, even more than I want more dirt on the Sonic 1 alpha. Seeing what they were originally planning for Sonic Stadium on the Saturn would be a dream come true.
     
  13. Shoemanbundy

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    That dash after β is likely just to accompany the symbol and not meant to underline the word "in" in particular.

    β-
     
  14. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    This was also probably a period in the life of Sega where they'd moved away from those clunky digitisers in favour of PC graphics programs. So drawing something quickly in DeluxePaint and getting it onto a 32X screen is a test in itself.
     
  15. big smile

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    Awesome find Prototype! This has to be one of the best Mega Drive era prototype finds in a long time.
     
  16. Prototype

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    I'm glad that you're all finding this as fascinating as I am. It makes me wonder what else is hidden away in old gaming mags. Does anybody know why a lot of this prototype stuff ends up in Spanish gaming magazines? Like, why Spain in particular? I've found prototype stuff from a few games (which I won't post in this thread, obviously, but I've started to document my non-Sonic findings elsewhere) in those mags, and I'm convinced that if I go through them all I could probably find something else.

    I interviewed John Pedigo once, showing him prototype screenshots from the first Power Rangers game that surfaced in a Spanish print ad, and he claimed that it could have been a case of Spain getting marketing materials and using them too early. Could this be a common occurrence? Was there just little oversight back then about what got published and what didn't? Was Spanish gamer enthusiasm simply outperforming the marketing machine? Either way, the same builds seemed to end up with various magazines of the time, showing that it was at least an industry-wide thing, not just one magazine jumping the gun.

    Anyway, while the title screen is cool, especially since it's the first beta I've seen that actually specifies it's a beta, the part that continues to catch my eye is the whole "Nat The Armadillo" thing. Where the heck did that come from? Did they just hastily pull Mighty's design from internal SEGA stuff to replace Sonic without realising that he actually had a name until later revisions?

    Now, I said in the initial post that I'd upload another scan I found from "Todosega" Issue #23, but my PC is still having issues whenever I try to split the .pdf file into individual pages. I don't know why. But I did the next best thing and take screenshots. There's not much to say about these scans, I can't see any noticeable differences between this and the 1207 proto, but I found the article text fascinating. If Google Translate is accurate, it seems to suggest a playable Tails, despite Tails not being in any of the screenshots. Given that we know "Wechnia" was Tails, could the article have been written when they played a previous build?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

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  17. JaxTH

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  18. Prototype

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    I suppose I could do that, yeah. I wasn't aware of Retro CDN until just now. These magazine scans were easily found online, but I guess backing them up to another place would be worth it if the site I got them from ever went down. I'll see what I can do.
     
  19. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    In the grand scheme of things, it's probably no more or less lucky than other Western countries when it came to pre-release material, though I would suspect Sega Espana would have been a bit more... lenient than, say, Sega of America. There's not much point in trying to lock down information for a specific market when there's traffic flowing into and out of the rest of Europe.


    One thing worth noting though is we don't have many scans from UK magazines from around this period, so the info is skewed in the mainland's favour.
     
  20. HedgeHayes

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    I'm just wondering why the writer of this article thought Sonic was a weak game series. I mean, Sonic was strong here, it had quite an amount of fans, and the main games themselves don't leave very much space to say that, given the physics and aesthetics of the games. If they were not fans, ok, but saying the series was weak is a step beyond.