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Proto:Sonic R (Sega Saturn)

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Sonic R (Sega Saturn).

Hiddenpalace.org logo.png  This prototype is documented on Hidden Palace.

SonicRProto Title.png

Sonic R (Preview) is an early version of Sonic R that was released by drx in 2008. It's dated 10th September 1997, two months before the release date of the final game.

Only three courses are in this version, lacking Regal Ruin and Radiant Emerald. This version is also missing a lot of features present in the final game, such as the hidden characters and Time Attack modes.

(Source: Sonic Retro)


Proto Final
SonicRProto TravellersTalesLogo.png SonicRSaturn TravellersTalesLogo.png

The Traveller's Tales logo is much simpler than the one used in the final game - it's 2D on a plain white background, rather than 3D over a body of water.

Proto Final
SonicRProto Title.png SonicRSaturn Title.png
  • Title screen uses a different image than the one used in the final game. The image used for the prototype's title screen would still make it into the final game, but instead it would be used to display "The End" after the credits.
  • The version of "Super Sonic Racing" used here has vocals from the start, unlike the one used in the final game which doesn't use them until a few seconds have passed.
Proto Final
SonicRProto Menu1.png SonicRSaturn Menu1.png
  • No menu music.
  • Menus are very basic compared to the ones seen in the final game. Whereas the final game uses a cursor to navigate menu objects, navigating menus in this version is done entirely through pressing different buttons.
  • The game does not return to the title screen if the menu is left idle for 15 seconds.
  • The game has no save system, so course records are not kept.
  • Options menu is absent, with the only possible selections being Grand Prix, 2 Player mode and Time Attack.
Proto Final
SonicRProto Menu2.png SonicRSaturn Menu2.png
  • The character select only has 5 characters - Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Eggman.
  • Eggman is unlocked from the start. In the final, he's only unlocked after completing the game.
  • The way you select characters is different, This was scrapped and now you can just select them easily.
Proto Final
SonicRProto Menu3.png SonicRSaturn Menu3.png

Only three courses can be selected - "Island", "City" and "Factory". These were renamed in the final game to Resort Island, Radical City and Reactive Factory respectively.

Proto Final
SonicRProto Loading.png SonicRSaturn Loading.png

The loading screen was changed from a disc saying “LOADING” to a Sonic head in the final.


The fanfares for starting and ending a race are slower:

Name Proto Final
Race Start
Race Finish
  • Replays use the title screen theme instead of an instrumental of the current course.
  • No pause sound.
  • No sound effects navigating menus.
  • Background sounds persist when the game is paused.
  • A lot of sound effects are quieter than they are in the final, making some (footstep sounds) near impossible to hear.
  • Sonic's double jump makes the same sound as the first jump, whereas in the final it has a higher pitch.
  • The jump sound is higher quality than the one used in the final game.
  • If both 1P and 2P jump at the same time, the jump sound does not play.
  • A buzzer sound is used instead of a voice for the countdown at the start of a race.
  • Sonic's Spin Dash has no sound effect.
  • No unique sound for collecting all Sonic coins.
  • No narrator during replays.
  • No spring sound.


  • No "Reverse" alert for going the wrong way in a course.
  • Objects such as coins, item emblems and rings have smaller hitboxes, making them much harder to collect.
  • The countdown at the start of a course uses "3, 2, 1, GO" instead of "READY, SET, GO".
Proto Final
SonicRProto Pause.png SonicRSaturn Pause.png
  • The pause menu has no options to retry or quit - it just pauses the game.
  • The HUD is slightly transparent in this version. In the final, it's opaque.
  • The course timer and character icons are slightly closer to the center of the screen than they are in the final.
  • Course map is barely functional - it has no character icons and always displays Resort Island's layout.
  • The map of Resort Island used by the course map is different to the one used in the final game. It has no outlines and some paths are drawn differently.
  • The only way to return to the menu is to press A+B+C+Start.
  • The lightning shield looks different to the one that appears in the final game. Due to its red look, this older version is often confused with Sonic 3's fire shield.

Grand Prix

  • The HUD lists 9 coins to collect instead of 5. Aside from being nearly impossible to collect all 9 coins and win the race, Resort Island is the only course where all 9 can be collected.
  • Collected Chaos Emeralds and coins do not count towards anything. Both are reset at the end of a race.
  • Chaos Emeralds are a different shape than the ones in the final game.
  • The icons for each character on the left side of the screen are different to the ones used in the final game.
  • Character icons are aligned differently in this version, so the larger icon pushes its text to the right. In the final, the list is aligned so character icons don't affect the text.
  • A large character icon is used for whoever is in 1st place. The larger icon in the final is always used for the player, regardless of their position in the current race.
  • Opponent AI is very basic compared to the final game. They follow a fixed path that roughly follows the course, but aren't able to interact with anything. This causes them to run over water and inside certain floors.
  • Once an opponent finishes 3 laps, it waits at the finish line. In the final game, they continue to run around the course regardless of how many laps they've completed.
Proto Final
SonicRProto RaceWin.png SonicRSaturn RaceWin.png
SonicRProto RaceLoss.png SonicRSaturn RaceLoss.png
  • The graphics at the end of a race are the same style as the text at the start of the race. The text used in the final game is red.
  • The list of racers and each position they finished the race in is not listed.
  • If the player finishes in 4th or 5th, "GAME OVER" is displayed instead.
Proto Final
SonicRProto Replay.png SonicRSaturn Replay.png
  • After a race, the player has the option to replay the race.
  • Selecting "Yes" starts a (broken) replay. Selecting "No" restarts the race.

2P V.S.

Proto Final
SonicRProto 2PRace.png SonicRSaturn 2PRace.png
  • Normal race is the only available 2P mode.
  • The course map is in the same place as 1P mode, overlapping part of 2P's HUD.
  • Character icons are displayed on the left side of the screen. This was changed to the right side in the final game in order to accommodate the course map.
  • The game resets upon the end of the match.
  • 2P is always Tails unless 1P is already Tails, in which case 2P is Sonic.
  • Resort Island is the only course that can be played in this mode. Forcing the game to load the other two courses reveals that 2P doesn't have a starting position in either.
  • Coins and Emeralds can appear in this mode, whereas in the final they're limited to Grand Prix only.
Proto Final
SonicRProto 2PRaceEnd.png SonicRSaturn 2PRaceEnd.png
  • At the end of the race, 1st and 2nd graphics are used rather than "WIN" and "LOSE".

Time Attack

Proto Final
SonicRProto TimeAttack.png SonicRSaturn TimeAttack.png
  • Normal mode is the only available type of Time Attack.
  • Ghosts are not implemented.
  • The game resets after finishing the course.


  • Sonic's shoes have gray soles. In the final, they're red.
  • Sonic, Tails and Knuckles can't Spin Dash during the countdown at the starting line.
  • Characters can't collide with each other, both in the case of AI and 2P V.S. mode.
  • Characters accelerate when turning left or right. The only way to turn while stationary is to duck first.
  • Amy has no boost mechanic.
  • Eggman has a missile attached to his vehicle. Despite this, he can't drop bombs or target opponents.
  • Sonic, Tails and Knuckles don't have a proper springing animation.
  • It's much harder to stop rolling than in the final game.
  • Turning left and right is quicker than in the final game.
  • Knuckles has a different victory animation.


  • Fewer rings in each course than the final game.
  • No arrow signs.

Resort Island

Proto Final
SonicRProto ResortIsland.png SonicRSaturn ResortIsland.png
  • Listed as "Island".
  • By far the most complete of all the available courses.
  • Ring layout on the loop in Resort Island is different, forming a line instead of a block.
  • The ring doors require 40 rings and 80 rings respectively. In the final, they require 20 and 50 rings.

There are more hidden coins to fit with the increased coin count. The coins used in the final game are in the same positions, but in this version there's four more:

Radical City

Proto Final
SonicRProto RadicalCity1.png SonicRSaturn RadicalCity1.png
  • Listed as "City."
  • No visible race line.
  • The location of the starting line in this version of the game is closer to the small tunnel than it is in the final.
  • Characters line up diagonally at the start of a race, whereas in the final they're horizontal.
Proto Final
SonicRProto RadicalCity2.png SonicRSaturn RadicalCity2.png
  • The lighting for this course is darker and less colorful. (Also shown: Early Lightning shield)
  • The ring doors require 50 rings (although it says 80), 60 rings and 40 rings respectively. In the final, they require 20, 50 and 20 rings.
  • None of the textures are animated.
  • Bumpers have different textures.
  • Open ledges do not have barriers.

3 coins are in the same positions as those in the final game (Top of construction site, bottom of construction site, behind last ring door), 2 are in different spots and 3 extras are present. One of the coins is missing, so it's impossible to get all 9 coins in this course. Two of the course's item emblems are in different places to the final game:

  • Next to the missing road segment at the start (Moved back in the final).
  • In the center of the Sonic table (It's just after the large spring in the final).

Reactive Factory

Proto Final
SonicRProto ReactiveFactory1.png SonicRSaturn ReactiveFactory1.png
  • Listed as "Factory".
  • This stage uses the music from Resort Island (Can You Feel the Sunshine).
  • Overall, this stage is very incomplete compared to the other two.
  • Player starts at a point slightly ahead of the race line. AI starts at the normal spot.
  • There is no defined race line, so neither the player or the AI can complete a lap - the race goes on forever.
  • The background is floor instead of water.
  • The Booster, Emblems and Coins are not animated and can't be collected. They also don't disappear in Time Attack mode.
  • Boost panel has a different design.
  • Fewer decorations around the stage.
  • A lot of rings are either buried in the floor or floating, implying layout changes were made.
  • The only ring doors in this course can't be opened and are the ones used for the Emeralds. They both cost 80 rings to open. (50 in the final.)
  • There is no ring dispenser.
Proto Final
SonicRProto ReactiveFactory2.png SonicRSaturn ReactiveFactory2.png
  • Area after the pool is drastically different to what's in the final game.
  • Interior sections haven't been implemented yet, all use placeholders that can't be entered.
Proto Final
SonicRProto ReactiveFactory3.png SonicRSaturn ReactiveFactory3.png
  • Missing fence near the end of the course, along with an extra body of water.

The location of two item emblems in this course are different:

There are only 4 coins in this course. Two of them match up to locations of coins in the final game (Near race line, pool area), but the other two are in different spots.