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Sonic the Hedgehog (Prototype)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by drx, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    I would think the panels from the concept art were just platforms (edit: as shown in the mockup), while the UFOs were just a background detail, likely a reference to real life theories that connect various ancient ruins to aliens. My guess is that they were removed because they figured they would be too distracting with their animations.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  2. RDNexus


    Well... There sure were a bit too many UFOs there xD
    If there had been less of them, maybe they'd made the final version.
    Still, they sure gave Marble a more fantastical feel...
  3. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I don't think they are supposed to be UFOs. My brother saw them and immediately thought they were a planet like Saturn, even though they probably aren't that either.
  4. I remember the first time seeing them in Wayne's World during the Noah's Arcade commercial.

    They very well just might be planets. Looking at the overall surreal style of the game, it does seem pretty fitting.
  5. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    Planets? They're under the clouds. I don't think even the classic games are that surreal =P
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  6. The original concepts for the game were pretty crazy, with weird decorations all around, but they ended up toning down on that stuff. The UFOs were probably one of the last of these crazy elements to be abandoned.
  7. Blugenesi(Jarty)


    Wannabe Youtuber Member
    I said this in my video, but there’s that one piece of Sonic Concept art with the enemy that looks like the one from the TTS demo, bumblebee Robotnik, the big enemy that looks kind of like Sonic Generations’ Time Eater, And all those strange enemys. Maybe originally the enemys in the game were Aliens and the Marble Zone UFOs were a holdover from that?
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  8. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    This actually kind of makes sense, because the UFOs in Marble Zone look hideous and out of place.
  9. SSUK


    I want to be as accurate as possible on this. I took the J2ME graphic from the Retro CDN (it is also mirrored on TCRF) for my previous comparison. So I tried to go straight to the source to ensure that whoever combined the tiles from the JAR tileset didn't introduce the noise by mistake or otherwise. However, I'm having some difficulty doing so. I've found a few distinct versions of the JAR (all 4 from SonAR and a couple more from various, very shady looking websites). Three of the four SonAR JARs had tilesets where each tile had been resized to 12x12px which looks horrendous and also obliterates the accuracy of the UFO graphic, one fared even worse with 8x8px tiles. The Retro CDN file history has a comment that states the graphic replaced a 12x12px tile reconstruction for one from the "full rez" version. I looked deeper and found there was a 240x320 version of the JAR which had 16x16px tiles (same size as actual Sonic 1) thanks to a Sonic 1 JM2E Decompilation project, however the Marble Zone tileset is missing the UFO data, the UFO graphics sit on an extra row at the bottom of the file in the resized tilesets. I found a 240x320 JAR and cracked that open and the tileset matched what was in that git repo, i.e. sans-UFO.

    So does anyone have a 240x320 JAR with that UFO graphic data at all, where all the tiles are 16x16px? I would like to acquire it and just ensure that the UFO graphic on the Retro CDN isn't unfortunately riddled with compression artefacts for some reason (the JARs contain PNGs, not GIFs like I had suspected, so there shouldn't be any weird GIF-related dithering going on like I had suspected earlier). I can also go through and compare other tiles and see if they also have any weird noise added over the Mega Drive version and rule out the noise wasn't just generated when they made the tilesets. If it does have the noise and no other tiles have that noise, that could mean the graphics were worked on after this build.

    Another note, which is already widely known but still relevant to discussion here: The Sonic 1 J2ME port uses the original Zone order in the filenames. Green Hill Zone's stage tiles are Zone1.png, Marble Zone is Zone3.png and Spring Yard is Zone5.png, all of which matches the original ordering of stages as found in the prototype and Rev0 final Stage Select. If they extracted all the assets from a retail build, given the game was split into 2 parts with part 1 containing only 3 stages, why would the files follow such an outmoded zone order numbering? While they may not have had access to the actual program code, it seems really, really likely they had access to something. I wonder if Mr.Whitehead had similar access?

    Oh wait, never mind because the Sonic 1 mobile remake has a UFO object that can be put back in. What about those UFO graphics? Well... They're not the same. They appear to have been remade or purposefully modified? The bands on the first frame of the animation, where the ring is flat, are not consistent when compared to the J2ME graphic and the prototype graphic (note: The remake graphic has a transparent background, whereas the prototype and J2ME tile have the background baked-in, so I've overlayed the ramake UFO over the prototype tile, hence the background consistency):


    The prototype has the thinner bands, remake has the larger bands. None of the animation frames match either, they're all different and noticeably different. There's also a few more frames of animation in the remake compared to the prototype. Though the size of the ball and the shine are pretty much spot-on. I doubt the developers, given other prototype assets being used, would remake something they could dig out of source files. So just where did that UFO come from in the J2ME port? Is the Sonic 1 remake UFO also genuine?

    And no, I don't know why I've become fascinated with the UFO.
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  10. Violet CLM

    Violet CLM

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  11. Only for viewing

    Only for viewing

    aka Superstarxalien Member
    Also worth noting is that the J2ME port of Sonic 1 has the purple sunflowers in GHZ.
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  12. DeltaW


    Originally a Wooloo Member
    As I said before, the prototype of Sonic 1 uses a modified Golden Axe 2 sound driver. So what did I do? Tested it's functionality. Play sound $84 to take a listen.

    Clue: Music from a prototype Mega Drive game in a prototype of a Mega Drive game.

    Attached Files:

      File size:
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  13. T.Q.


    The Sims 2, Tim Drake [Robin] Member
    So loading up that file into a Genesis ROM emulator, and playing sound test #84 plays music from a prototype of Moonwalker, huh! Wow, interesting.

    EDIT: I just played a Youtube video of a Moonwalker playthrough. Some of the sound effects were used in the Sonic 1 game. Like this explosion sound. But then again, it was probably common for those games to reuse SFX.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  14. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    Had a closer look - Marble Zone has the most bugs:
    Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit) (prototype)/Comparisons/Marble Zone

    Amusingly in the final game, you can duck through solid walls when riding those grey blocks over lava. Doesn't work in the prototype!

    Also it's by far the worst stage in the game. Not in the sense that it's particularly difficult (though it's a big jump from Green Hill and Spring Yard is easier), but in the sense that this slow and relentless stage... is even slower and more relentless in this prototype. Both Acts 2 and 3 are longer and you must ride the grey blocks to progress - it doesn't make as many consessions for those who would rather run through the lava like a mad person. You're constantly being forced to stop and wait, and I had both the prototype and final game side-by-side and the music and doodoodoo do doo dodo doo dodo doo arghh

    The biggest issue though? The lack of checkpoints. Were Marble Zone not in this prototype, I would assume the lampposts just weren't done, but the way this level is designed suggests checkpoints were not originally a feature of the game. There are more extra life and shield monitors, very much suggesting that Sonic Team wanted you to complete these stages in one go. It's not a fan of invincibility either - it wants you to slow and and do methodical platforming, to the point where even the most experienced players are taking 4+ minutes to get through it.

    How late were the checkpoints? Maybe very late:

    In this Japanese flyer (p.s. points for better scans), a later prototype shows Sonic standing and tapping his foot where a lamppost should be. We've got green sunflowers and RINGS, but no possibly no checkpoint system. One of the defining traits of a Sonic game... was a last minute addition.
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  15. JaxTH


    Pudding Deity Oldbie
    Los Angeles
    Jack shit.
    I mean, Streets of Rage 2 and Ristar also share some sounds.
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  16. Sonic CD special stages? :V
  17. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    oh hey, those light edges are unused in 2x2 tiles in the final game
  18. You-Are-Pwned


    I think the Marble Zone UFOs are related to the Sonic CD UFOs in the Special Stages.
  19. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    Would it be possible to ask Naka/Yasuhara/Ohshima what some of the more mysterious aspects of the prototype were meant to be?
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  20. Pakodim


    Hello everybody ! First of all, many thanks for this prototype !!!! (yes, I'm a big fan of beta versions, I think it's a screen of Hidden Palace that one day aroused this passion!) and for this great forum that I've been following for years (Ha yes, I'm French So sorry for my mistakes!) Anyway for my first message I wanted to know, these flying platforms, they are not part of this prototype? An older version ? (at the sight of the lava I think so ...) From memory, this screenshot appeared on a poster it seems ...

    Thank you for your answers !