Proto:Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Master System, Game Gear)
This page details one or more prototype versions of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Master System, Game Gear).
The Sonic the Hedgehog 2 AutoDemo is a Game Gear EPROM cartridge demonstrating the then-upcoming release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, sent to several magazines worldwide for preview purposes. On July 14, 2014, Orengefox from Sonic Retro obtained a copy of the AutoDemo, and the ROM was released to the public in August.
As the name may suggest, the AutoDemo is not playable – instead, the demo plays itself, starting with a simplified introduction sequence and title screen (much like the final game), before continuing with Sonic running through an early version of Green Hills Zone (complete with loop), gliding through a largely empty Sky High Zone, and briefly riding one of Under Ground Zone's mine carts. Following this, a static "Coming Soon" screen appears, and the demo loops from the beginning.
With a special Zone/Act editor and a modified ROM, though, there are more levels than the demo shows!
Much is different from the retail release of Sonic 2, most notably the introduction and title screens and the Green Hills Zone tileset. Tails is also completely missing.
Many early screenshots of the game shown during development are thought to originate from this demo, the primary giveaway being that as gameplay is always the same, the ring and time counts at specific points never change. Furthermore, as the HUD resets at the start of each of the three sections, Sonic is seen using a hang glider mere seconds into play – in the final game, there are no opportunities to use one this early.
The AutoDemo has a build date of December 5, 1991, well before the final's September 5, 1992 build date.
|Download Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Game Gear, AutoDemo)
File: GG_Sonic_2_Auto_Demo_Prototype_(1991-12-05)_Tmr_Sega_CB06_FFFF_v0.00_(JUE)_(!)_(Orengefox).7z (54.3 KB) (info)
Disabling the AutoDemo
To disable the runtime of the AutoDemo, at offset 0x57E replace 0B 78 with 00 00. To play the AutoDemo, at offset 0x705 replace AF 32 3C with C3 09 19.
To select a level, at offset 0x550 replace 00 with the desired value below:
- 00 - Green Hills Zone Act 1
- 01 - Green Hills Zone Act 2
- 02 - Green Hills Zone Act 3
- 03 - Sky High Zone Act 1
- 04 - Sky High Zone Act 2
- 05 - Sky High Zone Act 3
- 06 - Unknown Zone Act 1?
- 07 - Unknown Zone Act 2?
- 08 - Unknown Zone Act 3?
- 09 - Under Ground Zone Act 1
- 0A - Under Ground Zone Act 2
- 0B - Under Ground Zone Act 3 (empty)
- 0C - Intro
- 0D and 0E - Title Screen
- The SEGA screen is different, with no chant.
- The title screen only features Sonic, who has no animation (but rises from behind the ribbon). Similarly, the opening cutscene merely shows Sonic running.
- Badniks, bosses, end-of-Act panels, Chaos Emeralds, and monitors are all entirely absent.
- Only Green Hills, Sky High, and Under Ground have artwork at this point; all other Zones are either not present at this point, or don't have any associated tiles yet.
- The Zone order is noticeably different from the final: Green Hills and Sky High are the first two, followed by several Acts with no data (trying to load any of these results in a blank screen). Under Ground is played next. Aqua Lake, Gimmick Mountain, Scrambled Egg, and Crystal Egg are not present in this build, but would most likely have been the third, fifth, sixth, and seventh Zones respectively.
- Sonic has the idling animation from the Master System version of Sonic 1.
- A debug camera can be enabled: at offset 0x0064, replace 00 with 02. Press 1, after which you'll be able to move the camera with the D-Pad.
- A single music track plays throughout the demo. There's no track like it in the final game.
- The introductory cutscene and the title screen are completely silent.
- The "rolling down a hill" sound is slightly different, with a cartoonish pitch shift in the end.
- The sound Sonic makes when falling does not exist in the prototype.
- The sound of jumping on a spring is the same as the "rolling down a hill" sound.
Green Hills Zone
- The art is completely different, being more similar to the credits sequence of the final version.
- Layouts for all three Acts are present, though they only vaguely resemble the final versions.
Sky High Zone
- The Zone seems to be an earlier version than the one featured in various magazines, and contains no trees or flowers at this point.
- The lightning flashes are different. Both the rain and the lightning flashes have priority, placing them in front of Sonic and the HUD.
- The raining Act has a deep pool of opaque water at the bottom that is not present in the final.
Under Ground Zone
- Contains many tiles that didn't make the cut, including gray bricks and curvy stone pathways.
- Most of the Zone appears to be made of layered minecart rails. It's likely that the tile definitions were changed to accommodate the minecart rails seen in the demo, and the existing Act layouts were not updated.
- Act 3 uses alternate and shorter 16x16 block data in which neither the background nor the minecart rails are defined. The way tile definitions are laid out matches perfectly with the layout of the two other Acts (minus the lack of a background). However, since Act 3 is empty, this difference can't be normally seen.
- A large stone building and what appear to be non-functional horizontal crushers can be seen at the top right of Act 1. Neither of these elements made it into the final version.
- The minecart wheel sits above the rail, rather than inside.
Early Level Card
Setting ROM address 0x2BA to 03 will cause an early version of a Level Card to sometimes appear on resets. It crashes to a black screen after two seconds.
|Download Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Early Level Card)
File: Sonic_2_Prototype_(Early_Level Card).zip (62.4 KB) (info)
Present at 0x000C0:
MS SONIC.THE.HEDGEHOG.2 Ver0.00 1991/12/05 Aspect Co.,Ltd