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Sonic the Hedgehog (Prototype)

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

  1. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

    Tech Member
    Don't know if it's been mentioned but the MZ boss area doesn't have lava damage objects placed in the lava pools .
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  2. Bryn2k


    Still a thing. Oldbie
    Super-realistic drowning timers... was this intended as FU to the Mario crowd? Doesn't explain why fireballs also work underwater in Sonic-land though.
  3. Diablohead


    Indie dev Oldbie
    Near London
    The shorter underwater time alongside no air bubbles in earlier builds sounds like a nightmare lol and I like labyrinth zone.
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  4. Brainulator


    Regular garden-variety member Member
    At the same time, the whole rental thing may be moot, depending on if you got Sonic 1 as a Genesis/Mega Drive pack-in title.
  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    shaving is boring Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    hey wiki you're so fine
    Sega didn't get on board with video game renting in North America and Europe until about 1993. Similarly to Nintendo, they wanted you to buy full priced copies of games because that's where the money was, although I've not read into it very closely. I don't think it would have been factored into the design, not just because of this, but because the project was Japanese-led, and as pointed out, renting games in Japan wasn't really a thing (and also said, even less of one if they had decided to make it a console pack-in by this point).

    In contrast, The Lion King is on record as having made its second stage unusally difficult for the rental market. But that's a US-led project from 1994. So it does happen, just maybe not here.

    It's a shame we don't have a prototype with the old Labyrinth water rules - I suspect they wouldn't work with the longer route for Scrap Brain Zone Act 3. The timing is quite tight in the final game - I'm not sure how the inexperienced would manage.
  6. ComPro


    Just hangin' around. Member
    Wow. Just wow. I never thought I'd see the day. This gives me hope that perhaps one day we might find an even earlier build!
  7. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    Regardless of renting, games were typically made to be hard back then. It was just how it was done on the whole, with some exceptions like Kirby.
  8. Bryn2k


    Still a thing. Oldbie
    With Scrap Brain Zone Act 3 missing from this proto, and the Sonic Jam quote Naka gave ("Instead of going straight to the boss in the end, you get dropped down a level, and we wanted that feeling of fighting your way back up. It would have been nice to draw a specific background just for the final stage, but due to space and time constraints we just changed the background color and made the basement level the same as Labyrinth Zone."), it does lend credence to the theory that "Labyrinth Act 4" would only work once the decision to implement air bubbles and 30 second countdowns was made. I wonder how such a 'dungeon' level could have worked though, a palette swap using existing artwork seems the easier path to take. Presumably if we take the view there's a load of continuity adherence then the purple water in SBZ3 is actually mega mack, which would explain the relative lack of bubbles.

    It also provides some continuity with the 8-bit zone progression, as you force your way through Labyrinth to get to Scrap Brain.
  9. Knucklez


    I love 2B 'n' ass. Member

    This is what you do and I guess live for, so I can't even fathom how you must have felt initially and how you still feel right now, to have this land on your lap.

    Patience is a virtue... and good things come to those who wait. Well, you've waited (and searched hard along the way) and you've been rewarded. I know that this means more to you than any one of us here, because this has been your work and passion for a very long time.

    So, Congratulations drx, you've found the Holy Grail buddy. You deserve this. And again, thank you.
  10. Epsilonsama


    All this years, all this time. I was doing holiday stuff and never in a Million years would I expected the Holy Grail of prototypes to be released yet I feel that there's not that many new things under the surface that we did not know about. Many of those things were known from old videos and magazines yet is cool to be able to see it and confirmed what we known for years.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
  11. Gryson


    RE: Game difficulty and regions

    We know that Sega of America was at least sometimes requesting Japanese developers to increase difficulty levels for the NA localization because of rentals - Treasure's Masato Maegawa has confirmed this for Dynamite Headdy (and also probably McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure, though the changes were more subtle there). We don't know the scale of this, though (was it just the whim of the SOA producer in charge of the project, or was it policy?). But clearly the same happened with Streets of Rage 3 and others.

    Similarly, Japanese localizations of SOA games were made easier (e.g., Ecco the Dolphin) as confirmed by the Japanese producers.

    It is NOT the case, generally, that the Japanese audience prefers harder games. It's the opposite - if a game was reported to be too difficult, it would develop a negative reputation and wouldn't sell as well. That's true for games directed towards a general audience. There are, of course, more hardcore games targeting a niche audience that prefer higher difficulty levels.
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  12. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Classic Eggman art Member
    While I'm not as enthusiastic with these things as I was at my 20s, the feat of finding and bringing this kind of stuff to the general public still feels like a miracle. I can't even fathom how do you get these things but, when it happens, with a key element of videogame history like this proto, you really deserve everyone's thanks.

    I want to bring to attention something that, while kind of obvious, needs to be pointed out anyway: from all these protos of classic Sonic games we ever had at hand, this is the first one that pre-dates any full game. All those Sonic 2 protos started from the source code of the final Sonic 1, all that was made for Sonic CD, even the Salad Plains demo, was based on Sonic 1, but Sonic 1, the full game, is based on this instead; it's the earliest Sonic "game" we ever have tried, at least until lightning strikes twice and an older build appears. And it's not just in terms of gameplay, it's from before Sega was really relevant in our lives (well, I always wondered why people still wanted the shitty NES when the Megadrive came out, but that's a personal case), it's when "Sonic Team" was just a bunch of unknown people developing a first class game with the mindset of an indie group. I know, they were no newbies, Sega was already somewhat strong in this industry, but "Sega" ("SeeeeGaaaa"), "Yu2", "Carol Yas" and "Big Island" got printed in our minds later and for a good reason that was still in development; a franchise not growing and evolving, just sprouting.

    Now, about the UFOs or Saturns, I think they're just cool surreal 3D shapes that substituted the floating tiles from the mockup and concept art some people has recently mentioned. Those wannabe platforms didn't look very good, making them actual platforms could probably interfered gameplay, and looking like platforms if they weren't could have been misleading, so circular stuff imitating 3D graphics feels better to fill that gap and is still in line with the strong fantasy tone the concept art had.

    One more thing about those screenshot comparisons with the 8-bit game: am I the only one not satisfied with the star light zone comparison? I've always seen the special stage of that game taking inspiration from the concep art of SLZ, and Sky Base 1 may share that unfinished structure look but most of it is quite different from concept art or the 16-bit game in every aspect. Speaking of which, at first sight, seeing only the provided screenshot and not the final graphics of SLZ, I have serious problems to see the differences between the proto and the final game save for the previously pointed out flashlights in the loops. What am I missing?
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  13. Malchik


    Nice to finally see a Sonic 1 proto finally dumped. I don't have the same kind of passion for this as I once did fifteen or so years ago but it is nice to see interest in preserving the history of the Blue Blur remain.
  14. There are extra "construction beams" hanging under all the chunks. In the final game, they're just flat boxes. I know, it took me a while to notice it too ;)
  15. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    Working on my art!
    Ngl I really think the construction beam style of the beta looks better. I really wish they kept it like that.
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  16. SonicGenesis89


    Cool! Sweet! And Catchy! Member
    Green Hill Zone
    Collecting Sonic Manga
    I just want to say thank you to Drx, Buckaroo, and everyone else involved for making this incredible release possible! I am so happy that this prototype has been found and preserved and it gives me more hope that other prototypes maybe even the Tokyo Toy Show prototype are still out there somewhere just waiting to be found!

    I really love the prototype cavern background for Labyrinth Zone and I kind of wish it stayed for the final version of the game. I also love the UFOs. I don't know why they removed them. They look really cool and it really adds to the level in my opinion. It looks like Splats was originally planned for Marble Zone and perhaps Caterkiller didn't exist yet. Marble seemed to have a spring type theme going on for it originally; Splats and the spring attachment Eggman boss. I find this interesting because some of these ideas were carried over during the development with Sonic CD as R2 was planned to have a spring themed Eggman boss as well.

    Sparkling Zone has really nice visuals but it can be a tad bit hard on the eyes and tends to look a little too "busy" so I can understand why they changed it in the final release. Sparkling Zone also shares some resemblances with Sonic CD's Collision Chaos Zone. Spring Yard and Collision Chaos were always very similar but I find the earlier version of the stage to be even more in common. For example the gibberish neon signs in Sparkling Zone's background are very reminiscent to the gibberish neon signs found in Collision Chaos Zone.

    I honestly kind of like the idea of the "air rooms" for Labyrinth Zone. I think it can totally still work alongside the air bubbles. It may have made the stage a bit more easier but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing as a lot of people complain about Labyrinth's difficulty. Personally, I think it's fine as it is in the final release but I find the "air room" idea very interesting. What's interesting too is if that concept had stuck how it would have impacted other water themed stages in the future. Imagine stages like Aquatic Ruin Zone, Tidal Tempest, and Hydro City Zone using the "air rooms" concept instead of the traditional air bubbles. How much would that have changed the level design and gameplay?

    In the Livestream they showed restored data features such as "Night Mode", "Ballhog in Green Hill Zone", "Entering the Special Stage Big Ring", "An early level layout most likely intended for Green Hill Zone", and "Early Debug Modes". Does anyone know how it's possible to get these features to work on the rom? I'm not really knowledgeable on hacking roms and using editors and stuff like that. I'd really like to check out and investigate these neat features but I am unsure as to how. If anyone can help me out with that, that would be great! :) I wonder if the "Night Mode" has anything to do with the fact that Green Hill Zone in the Tokyo Toy Show Build originally took place during the evening? Or perhaps they wanted to implement a "Day / Night" system. What's really interesting to me is the way Sonic was originally supposed to enter the Special Stage Big Ring. It uses unique sound effects not found in the final and shows animations and graphics similar to what was shown in early Sonic CD prototypes.

    For example, this early prototype screenshot here of Collision Chaos shows Sonic about to travel through time using graphics that look really close to what was seen here in the Sonic 1 prototype!


    I'm curious if it's exactly the same or not. I wonder if they still had the code for this when they began working on Sonic CD and originally intended to use some cut elements from Sonic 1 to use for Sonic CD. In the end, the time travel graphics ended up being changed and the way you travel through time was simplified but that would have been pretty amazing if they took something that was originally intended for Sonic 1 and repurposed it to work in Sonic CD!
  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    shaving is boring Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    hey wiki you're so fine
    This prototype isn't dated, and perhaps never will be, but I think I can give a rough estimate:

    Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Drive)/Magazine articles

    Two Japanese magazines, Beep MegaDrive and Mega Drive Fan, handily printed on the same day, cover the "yellow Special Stage" build of Sonic 1. This is the 8th March - I think it's reasonable to think that build stems from late February or early March 1991, given time is needed to both ship the ROM and write the coverage.
    Mean Machines is the first magazine (that we know of) to print what looks like our build on the 1st May.
    But Mega Drive Fan has a later build by the 8th May. I don't think it's final code - Sonic hanging around the capsule is a giveaway (as are the prototype special stages, assuming the screenshots weren't from earlier material).

    I would estimate therefore that our prototype was probably built mid-to-late April 1991. Also it was only when trying to confirm this that I noticed we'd missed a lot of screenshots from this prototype printed in magazines. Doesn't matter now, but... oops.
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  18. Travelsonic


    I do wonder what a disassembly of this proto can or will reveal in terms of unused code, and other goodies.
  19. This image looks like a mockup tbh
  20. XCubed


    Will Someday Own a Rent-A-Center Oldbie
    Wow. Thank you.

    Funny to see why the big balls rolling around Green Hill were cut. It was a neat little foreshadowing element for the boss that went unused due to a nasty bug breaking collision by pushing Sonic right through the floor. They could have just blamed it on being one of Robotnik’s “traps.” :V