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Late Sonic 3 prototype footage and early Feel (Ristar) footage

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by evilhamwizard, Nov 24, 2022.

  1. evilhamwizard


    A few years ago, we purchased a few PAL SECAM VHS tapes intending to accurately transfer them to a digital format using the best, professional methods available to us. The tapes themselves were in decent condition considering that they haven’t been viewed in almost 30 years, around the time they would’ve also been recorded and viewed. When we received these tapes, we had every intention to transfer them as accurately as possible with any means available to us at the time. The transfers were done by our good friends at Kineko Video.

    First up, we have a rare, internal-use-only tape showing off various early production design options for the main character in Ristar back when the game was originally called Feel. We displayed this tape in its entirety almost two years ago during our Sonic Month 2020 stream showcasing Sonic Adventure 2 as a small bonus. The footage at the time was based on the original transfer that was done by the local video production company, so we didn’t want to fully release the video on its own without at least giving it another go. In late 1993, shortly after the game had started development, a demo reel showing off color choices, designs, and some animation work was produced by Sega of Japan and shown to executives and producers within each branch of the company to vote on. The design of Ristar in this early preproduction tape was shown in brief prerelease screenshots of the game when the game was still titled “Feel” across all territories. The design for Ristar would continue to be refined even after the game was released, making many of the character designs a little tougher to appeal to the Western market.

    Lastly, we have a rare, almost complete look at an extremely late prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The tape consists of two almost complete playthroughs of Sonic 3 spliced together to represent each zone right up until the end credits. The purpose of the tape itself is unknown. The owner of the tape said that the tape was meant for progress reports for those living outside of the West during the original development of the game. However, we think that the tape served a different purpose instead. Sega possibly offered journalists a temporary VHS tape that contained footage of a playthrough of Sonic 3 that journalists could use to grab frames and write coverage on instead. This way, the game can receive mostly complete coverage without having to risk the ROM being spread all over the internet days before the release date. The prototype featured on the tape is extremely late, possibly just a few days before release. Despite this, we can determine quite a several differences that were changed or fixed at the last moment before the game was finished. Be sure to check out the article for more information! The write-up was done by our good friend fredbonze, who is known for his excellent Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Unlocked blog which details the inner workings and oversights in the original game. Be sure to check it out!

    Until next time, see you tomorrow!

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  2. Oh nice, this looks really cool!
  3. Yuzu


    now on steam deck Member
    This is really cool! Thank you so much to everyone involved for transferring these tapes and for the excellent writeup and comparisons.
  4. JaxTH


    Pudding Deity Oldbie
    Los Angeles
    Jack shit.
    I've been waiting for the Feel footage for quite some time. :thumbsup:
  5. Felik


    What is the story behind this?
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  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    often the real thing™ Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    it wasn't a good sprite to begin with
    Wiki it up, buds.

    Takahiro Hamano's credited in Sonic & Knuckles - perhaps it was Flying Battery content or something.
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  7. Londinium


    People actually read these? Member
    Feel #8 looks funny to me
  8. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    Looks like the plane in the AIZ1 intro isn't lowering at all like it does in the final.

    Edit: Really hard to tell for sure. Watching on a phone, and I don't notice it on final footage either.
  9. RetroJordan91


    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
    This is a really cool find, especially the late Sonic 3 footage.. the more we learn about that game’s troubled development the better.. it’s amazing how close to final this footage is and yet there’s still changes being made
  10. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

    Sonic 2: Archives
    What's differences in this Sonic 3 footage?
  11. RetroJordan91


    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
  12. Mastered Realm

    Mastered Realm

    Hey, what's my cousin doing there?
  13. Brainulator


    Regular garden-variety member Member
    Shouldn't this be fredbronze?

    What I find interesting is the timer disabling during Launch Base Zone - Act 2, after the Ball Shooter boss:
    • November 3, 1993 prototype: timer is paused, no final bosses exist
    • Video: timer is paused during cutscene and final bosses
    • Sonic 3 final: timer is not paused
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles: timer is paused during cutscene and resumes for final bosses
    • Sonic & Knuckles Collection: timer is paused during cutscene and final bosses (cf. video)
    • Sonic Origins: timer is not paused (cf. Sonic 3 final)
    Weird how they were trying to work all this out.
  14. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    Sounds like left hand didn't understand what right hand was trying to do.
  15. Chimes


    The One SSG-EG Maniac Member
    The audio fluctuating on the Sonic 3 tape does make me think if some volume limiter can be applied to the audio to make it even with the quieter sections...
  16. Chimes


    The One SSG-EG Maniac Member
    Aaaaaaaahhhhhh!!! Noooooo! The HP site crashed as I was about to start editing!
    I'll put this here until the site's back up:

    1. The tape seems to have a Genesis Model 1 running: if you listen very carefully to Angel Island Act 1's intro, you can hear LVD manifesting as a faint high pitched arpeggio.
    2. The special stage actually reveals a bug that didn't get fixed in the final game: if you get snagged inbetween two bumpers and jump out of them, you will not go faster with the music. This breaks Sonic's jump as he gets lower and lower the more the music goes faster, and in the tape the player stays at the normal speed as the music increases in speed. You can press up on the D-Button to go faster in the final game to get out of this bug, but the player doesn't do that in the first special stage for whatever reason.
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