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Sonic 3 without Knuckles

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Tralis, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Tralis

    Tralis

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    So, I'm sure a lot of this could be answered with debug mode but the debug mode cheat for Sonic 3 is F'in hard to do and I'm lazy.

    How much of the extra content from S3K is on S3 cartridge?
    I know that the level select has Mushroom Forest/Hill, Flying Battery, and Sandopolis. How much of these levels are actually on the cartridge?
    Are the alternate paths for Knuckles patched in, or are they present on the S3 cart?

    Little changes in the first six levels like the spike in Act 2 of Hydrocity that becomes a 1UP, these are patched by the S&K cart I'm sure, probably not present on the S3 cart.
    Is the extra area of Mushroom Hills with the first super ring and everything present when playing S&K by itself, or is that only loaded as part of the level when S3&K?


    Were Lava Reef, Sky Sanctuary, and Death Egg zone planned in Sonic 3 and just not present in the level select, or were they added to make S&K a complete game?
    In other words, would a complete Sonic 3 if S&K hadn't been a thing ended with Launch Base zone?
     
  2. Skyler

    Skyler

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    This may be of some help. Also, I'm pretty sure LRZ, SSZ, and DEZ were planned from the beginning.
     
  3. Tanks

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    I once decided to mess around with S3/S&K/S3&K via savestates. One thing I found interesting is when I took a Sonic and Tails/Tails only state from Mushroom Hill S3&K and loaded it in Mushroom Hill S&K, tails was present, but the sprite was fucked. I also noticed that the only time the Tails sprite ever actually appeared was during a gliding sequence ala the hanging mushrooms. Are these findings accurately represented by the S&K rom, or is this some sort of save state trickery due to the similarity of saves between S&K and S3&K?
     
  4. gold lightning

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    The reason why Tails' sprite messes up like that when doing that kind of savestate trickery is because his sprite is not on the S&K rom.

    As for the Knuckles paths? They were actually there in S3. Hell, Knuckles' Launch Base Zone Act 1 boss is present.

    And the removed levels? Flying Battery's bosses are there and can be encountered if you pull off some tricks that I can't remember atm.
     
  5. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    If you just enable debug mode when in that level slot and go to their respective coordinates, if I remember correctly.
     
  6. Josh

    Josh

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    If I remember right, that's pretty accurate. That style of hanging, as well as stuff like the Flying Battery monkey bar sprites never happened in Sonic 3, so it makes sense that that's the one instance where Tails' sprites are on S&K.
     
  7. Dark Sonic

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    You can also see Tails' sprites when running up that collapsing ruin in Sky Sanctuary.
     
  8. SuperSonicRider

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    Knuckles' paths in the Sonic 3 levels, his character slot (kinda), some Flying Battery leftovers, and the music is pretty much the only S&K data accessible on the S3 ROM as far as I know, using codes (or savestates) or not.

    However,

    I think it's preeeeetty safe to say that Sonic 3 ending at Launch Base was only because of the split - the following levels definitely seem to be at least thought of. Main reason being that the music for the later S&K levels is on the S3 ROM in the first place, and if that's not convincing enough, if you use codes to access the S&K level slots in S3, then the music will be correctly assigned to each act up until Doomsday (...or mayyyybe Death Egg. It's been a while since I've messed around with that, but I know for certain that goes up to at least Death Egg).

    Nothing of the S&K levels (except Flying Battery kinda) themselves remains in the S3 ROM though, but that probably also has to do with the split.

    Really the above was just a super-roundabout way of saying that Lava Reef and onwards likely weren't added just to make S&K feel more "complete". The only area that might've been moved for the purpose of S&K "completeness" was Flying Battery, but it's clear that was always planned too.

    Regarding the Super Rings at the start of Sonic's/Tails' & Knuckles' paths in Mushroom Vall--er, Hill, that is only in the S&K ROM - it's just that the game will only bring you there if you're playing in Sonic 3 & Knuckles "mode". You can't get there in S&K alone by normal means, but loading in a savestate from the level select in S3&K and picking Mushroom Hill will take you there with no problems.

    EDIT: (Not really relevant to what you asked or what anyone has said so far, but all the Sonic 3 on the brain from this post got me thinking, haha:) I wonder if the Sonic 3 credits music was just a placeholder for the full zone medley. Considering that the "Sonic 3C" 0517 prototype replaces S3's credits music with a medley (as well as the fact that S3 would've been the only game in the trilogy without a medley), AND that the S3 credits theme is normally unused in S3&K, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. Though, it does kinda make me wonder why they didn't stick with replacing the credits theme in S&K/S3&K final, rather than sending it off to Sound $DC and leaving the S3 Credits music accessible for no real reason...
    Similarly, I'm pretty convinced that the differing S&K themes (save for maybe the miniboss theme) actually are just there to make Sonic & Knuckles feel more "independent"...even though Sonic Team really makes it no secret that S3 and S&K were meant to be one anyway. :v: (S&K Collection, Jam, Mega Collection, the Steam version, Generations and possibly more, all (at the very least) imply this to even someone who might not be familiar with Sonic 3.)
     
  9. Tiddles

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    It's actually Sky Sanctuary where the music playlist starts to go wrong IIRC - it doesn't have two slots allocated, with either DEZ1 or DEZ2 getting an extra slot it shouldn't have. But it's still there in the right order otherwise. If your question is really about how much of the rest of the game was already planned, this is the strongest evidence that pretty much all of it was, and since the level order, sound test and playlist all match each other in very nearly exact game order, the vast majority of the game's progression seems to have been planned from a very early stage and barely altered during development (compare to the internal zone order in S1 and S2).

    Where does the level order differ? Flying Battery is the one everyone knows, which was fairly obviously designed to sit between Carnival Night and Icecap (the idea that both it and Icecap were meant to appear later in the game seems come from some overly generous implication). The other named zone is Hidden Palace, which doesn't seem to have been planned at all, as evidenced by being the only distinct act in the game not to have its own music (even as "Sky Sanctuary act 1" in the 3C protos there was music reuse afoot, suggesting to me that the concept wasn't even planned, let alone the name). Its level slot is $1601, at the back end of the list, beyond the main single player levels, competition levels and bonus stages. The other levels surrounding it are the LRZ/DEZ boss acts, which were probably not planned as far as being separate levels at least, and the "fake" HPZ you go to from a flashing ring to choose a special stage, so you can probably be confident that none of these ideas were well developed by the time S3 was finalised, if they had been considered at all.

    But in terms of whether a "complete" S3 would have ended at Launch Base, I think it really depends what you mean by "complete". The whole thing as conceived would not have ended with Launch Base (nor Sandopolis) but it also seems highly likely that Launch Base was always going to be the split point once a split was confirmed - there's plenty of remnants of FBZ as something that should have happened before Launch Base, but very little suggesting anything afterwards was meant to be in the first half. All you really have is the level select, and given its general brokenness, Sonic 2 icons, immediate enablement of debug, almost impossible cheat and the availability of a level select on a complete save anyway, I doubt much effort had really gone into making it ready for public consumption. That's just my conjecture, really, but it fits - Launch Base is a very logical point to split the story and gameplay, and splits the zone numbers more or less evenly.

    Just for the sake of it, some other leftovers that haven't been mentioned in the topic or have only been tangentially referenced: Flying Battery has a save icon that differs from S3&Ks, which also shows a different palette that we turned into an actual level palette in Sonic 3 Complete. I'm not aware of any genuine FBZ palette data still being present in S3, so I don't know if this is still how things would have been when S3 was released or if it's an artifact of something much earlier like the background in the HCZ save icon. The S3 save data format still recognises zone $04 as FBZ, in contrast to S3&K where the save data is reshuffled into gameplay order; the level picker on a clear save skips over $04, but you can happily create a savegame at zone $04 and get as far as seeing FBZ's title card before everything locks up. That savegame can quite reasonably be a Knuckles save too, giving you the well-documented behaviour of Sonic with Knuckles' signposts, level clear text and so on.

    Some of the boss behaviour for Knuckles' versions of the bosses is present but incomplete. At some point I posted a PAR code to enable it, but I don't have it to hand. Off the top of my head, it's AIZ1, HCZ2 and LBZ2 that have been done. HCZ2 is correct; AIZ1 is almost correct, apart from fired bombs hanging around after the boss dies and turning into monitor graphics. LBZ2 is the interesting one - in a complete reversal of S3&K, Big Arm doesn't appear in Knuckles' version of events. When you defeat the laser boss, EggRobo flies upwards as in S3&K, but has some garbage graphics attached to the base of his machine, which seem to be his bomb. He then flies in from the left and drops it as in S3&K (no egg prison in between) except that it creates a single crappy explosion and nothing else happens.

    On a more minor note, if you force yourself into Lava Reef's zone slot and watch a palette viewer, you can briefly see a lava palette start rotating before everything seizes up. This proves that at least some work was done on the other levels, though it may have been no more than that. Mushroom Valley has some object layout, too, but it's only springs/spikes/monitors, and they don't correspond to sensible positions on the final plane layout (I never bothered to check if they match the earlier MHZ layouts from the 3C protos, but it would be interesting to know). Other than that, there seems to be nothing of the other levels present, so while we can be pretty sure they were planned, we can't know what work was done on them, if any.

    Some mechanical facts surrounding some of the observations here: in S3&K, the object layouts are always read from the S&K side, which is how the obvious HCZ/LBZ changes are implemented. There are small differences throughout all layouts, the most notable ones being that Knuckles' paths are in a highly variable state of completeness, with CNZ2 being the least and probably AIZ2 or LBZ2 being the most well polished. The exit to Knuckles' segment of LBZ2 flows way better in S3, by the way - it was probably changed so you couldn't outpace the rising water, but you can see that the plane layout was made for the original S3 flow. S&K's object list for Sonic 3 levels is wildly different from the original Sonic 3 object list, so you can't just point it at the other side of the ROM.

    The whole of Mushroom Hill is always loaded whether you're playing S3&K or S&K, but the game sets a flag on startup to tell it which version is running, and this is checked in the level events code to seal off the first section, skip the flying/falling intros and start somewhere else (in a cutscene in Knuckles' case). The same flag is used for pretty much everything that should differ between the games, from locking the relevant zones/characters on the level select to stopping the giant rings from ever flashing. Loading up an S3&K level select savestate on S&K is probably the easiest way to bypass it and lets you get debug enabled too, but you'll have to be careful of going back to the title screen or trying to load one of the S3 zones, as they all fairly obviously depend on S3 data and will hang you up good.

    Tails' sprites are indeed read from the S3 section apart from the additional sprites needed for S&K, which are stored separately. Interestingly, Sonic has a similar setup code-wise, retaining an identical copy of his Sonic 3 art in the S&K side and shifting to a different art offset for the extra poses (albeit one that sits immediately after his main sprites). Knuckles is not separated in the same way.

    The FBZ boss coordinates are mildly interesting - act 1's boss is indeed in the exact position you'd expect to see it, but if you dump the S3 layout into S3&K, you'll hit act 2's boss too early, during the rising platform section. But if that platform never moved, and you judge the coordinates relative to the platform (which is pretty much how it works out anyway IIRC) the coordinates are indeed correct. S&K just doesn't have the boss in the object layout - the rising platform event spawns it once complete.
     
  10. Blastfrog

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    I get the impression that the S&K zones were only at preproduction or very early production at the time of finalizing S3. S3C isn't exactly finished in many ways, but seeing FBZ in the state its in 6 months after S3 (given that its ROM was built in Nov. 93), I would think that they moved it not only to even out the two halves, but also that it might not have been in a very fit state for public consumption. Kind of redundant to what Tiddles just said above me, but still.

    I do think though that it makes sense that they barely touched the S&K half during the S3 half's development cycle. Since it's alleged that the split was made very early on, you'd probably want most of your workforce toiling away at making the initial release as good as possible before the deadline while saving the other release for later. I can easily picture the S&K zones in the state they're in in S3C being done in 6 months, working only from a preliminary basis like an implemented layout draft, concept art, design docs and the like.
     
  11. I explored what exists in Sonic 3's Knuckles Routes with Debug:



    The layouts are indeed finished but in many cases the objects are not there, especially in the later zones.
     
  12. Tralis

    Tralis

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    Thanks everyone, this answers a lot of my questions :-)
     
  13. Tralis

    Tralis

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    Two more questions:

    A: So, all of the level music of S&K is present on the S3 cartridge, including levels like Sky Sanctuary and Death Egg?

    B: Why was S3 so rushed if it was release in February. I always assumed it was rushed for a Christmas release, but that doesn't seem to be the case. So what was the rush?
     
  14. Clownacy

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    Yeah, the music's in there. One of FBZ's songs is bugged, though.
     
  15. Tiddles

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    Specifically, and at the risk of being a talking wiki again, both FBZ tracks have a net drag on one of the echo tracks, so it gets further and further behind the primary version, which sounds like a disaster before too long. This gets fixed between a couple of 3C protos IIRC.

    Also possibly worth noting that the entire SFX library is present too, a bunch of which isn't used until S&K (although some of it remains unused even then). A few of the SFX have very minor tweaks between S3 and S&K though - just channel assignment I think, so they don't murder whatever music they're supposed to be heard with. The DEZ final boss and SSZ opening are worst affected (that I noticed) if you restore S3 SFX.

    As for the latter, I can't comment technically, but I'd guess they rushed it for Christmas and pretty much just missed horribly. You could argue that they should have stepped back and ironed some more stuff out if they knew it was going to ship late anyway, and I sort of find it hard to come up to counterpoints to that idea - but then I haven't the first clue what other factors might have been involved, and at least with hindsight, Sega's general strategies around this time don't seem to have been brilliant. Doesn't seem like anyone had budgeted more than 10p for marketing either way, which seems like as much of an issue as the release date.
     
  16. big smile

    big smile

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    In that Pix'n Love Sonic history book, Iizuka explained that Sonic 3 had to be released in February because of the McDonalds deal.
     
  17. Flygon

    Flygon

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    Mind if I ask, what McDonalds deal? I'm not too privy on the history of that.
     
  18. Skyler

    Skyler

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    Happy Meals had Sonic 3-themed toys around late-93/early-94.
     
  19. Tiddles

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    Ah, did that start in late '93? That could be an easy answer - they planned the Happy Meal campaign expecting a Christmas release, but with that not having happened, it still made sense (ish) to release the game soon after to tie in?

    Always found it mildly interesting that some of the early promo stuff - I think from the Happy Meal toy promotion - has the correct shape of the Sonic 3 logo, but using a Sonic 2-style colour scheme (blue with orange or yellow borders rather than yellow with blue borders), so I wonder if there was a late change there. That poor logo does seem to get messed up even still - Jam had the colours wrong too as I recall, and possibly Sonic Classic Collection.
     
  20. Ashura96

    Ashura96

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    From what I recall I think the toys came out in the US the same time as the game did.