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Proto:Sonic the Hedgehog 3/Sound Differences

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This is a sub-page of Proto:Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Hmmm...
To do:
  • Re-document the music ala Sonic 2's Simon Wai prototype.
  • A copy of an older universal voice bank exists inside of the competition menu theme, apply it to all other tracks.
  • Document the sound effect changes.

Between Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, the sound driver was completely replaced. In this prototype, the replacement driver is in an early state where it hasn't had features from the previous driver re-implemented yet, and it seems to suffer from some glaring bugs. There are also some other general differences:

  • Sounds often bug out and sustain until either the game is paused or something else plays on that sound channel.
  • Various objects don't play the correct sound effect:
    • The underwater "alarm" sound uses a completely different sound; likely just an incorrect ID assignment.
    • Many bosses don't play sounds. This includes explosions, zooming, etc. They play one sound when being defeated.
    • Oddly the correct sound effects are present in the sound test, but most instances have their assigned sound effects based on Sonic 2.
  • Collecting a ring only plays the sound for the right speaker, and doesn't alternate between the ones for the right and left (despite both sounds being present).
  • The Spin Dash plays the rolling sound, much like Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis as well as some of the Sonic 2 prototypes.
  • Playing a theme that would interrupt the stage theme prevents it from reloading.
  • Beating an Act doesn't play the Act-clear jingle, instead continuing to play the stage theme.
  • The Speed Shoes play the invincibility theme rather than speeding up the music, and do not cut back to the level music when the effect ends.
  • The Sonic 3 mini-boss theme doesn't exist (read below), which means all mini-bosses play the Sonic & Knuckles variation. A remnant of this exists in the final where jumping before drowning during the Hydrocity bosses causes the game to play the Sonic & Knuckles theme.
  • If you leave the water before you drown in Hydrocity as Super Sonic, the game will play an early version of Mushroom Hill Act 2, the song that's in slot $10.
  • The song used for the Level Select ($2F) does not glitch after listening to it for an extended amount of time, unlike in the final version of Sonic 3.
  • The themes for Carnival Night, Ice Cap, Launch Base, Knuckles, and the Competition menu are completely different.
    • Interestingly, MIDI versions of these were later used in Sonic & Knuckles Collection. The music in this build generally matches up closer to the MIDI soundtrack, suggesting that all of the music in Collection is based on an earlier version of Sonic 3.
    • Some of these unused tracks, most notably the ones used for Carnival Night Zone, Ice Cap Zone, and Launch Base Zone, would later receive different (controversial) renditions to be used in the Sonic Origins version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. These are said to be courtesy of none other than Jun Senoue.[1] However, there is evidence that they are instead taken from an earlier build than this prototype.[2] In the table below, they are accordingly placed between the prototype and the final, for easier comparison.
Sound ID Name Proto Sonic Origins Final Sonic & Knuckles Collection (General MIDI) Sonic & Knuckles Collection (FM Synthesis) Notes
$01 Angel Island Zone Act 1
Slightly slower than the final. Uses a synth guitar lead in various sections, unlike the final. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$02 Angel Island Zone Act 2
One of the most different-sounding tracks outside of the ones that were replaced entirely. Like Act 1, it is slightly slower than the final. The brass notes in the intro are much quieter and have way less sustain, which makes them difficult to hear. The intro also features a unique distressing square wave flourish that was removed in the final version. Many instruments are different, and it sounds less tropical than the final. There are some melodic differences here and there as well. The PSG is also more basic sounding. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$03 Hydrocity Zone Act 1
One of the backing instruments is a brass instrument different from the final. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$04 Hydrocity Zone Act 2
The proto has two lead channels that each pan to the left and right, while the final has a single lead channel with the second acting as reverb. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$05 Marble Garden Zone Act 1
Different channel volumes.
$06 Marble Garden Zone Act 2
Different channel volumes.
$07 Carnival Night Zone Act 1
A completely different track from the final.
The Collection version plays in a slightly lower key, and at a much faster tempo. The prototype track is programmed to play in the same key as the MIDI version, but the header was edited to play the music at a higher key. The Origins plays in the original lower key. One of the channels doesn't loop properly, as it keeps the same instrument that it had before.
$08 Carnival Night Zone Act 2
A completely different track.
$09 Flying Battery Zone Act 1
The intro synth is different, sounding less like a square wave. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final. Like the final version of Sonic 3, it does not loop correctly.
$0A Flying Battery Zone Act 2
The bell synth is different. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final. Oddly, the Collection MIDI version is closer to the prototype than the final.
$0B Ice Cap Zone Act 1
A completely different track.
May be unfinished, due to missing drums in certain sections and a general lack of polish.
$0C Ice Cap Zone Act 2
A completely different track.
The Collection version uses crash cymbals at the end of certain parts' unique drum samples.
$0D Launch Base Zone Act 1
A completely different track.
The Origins and Collection versions play in a slightly lower key, and the latter starts with a crash cymbal. The brass lead used here was shared amongst the other tracks, which were replaced with a more synthesized instrument in the final. This means that that change likely would have been applied to this song, had it been kept.
$0E Launch Base Zone Act 2
A completely different track.
There are some minor differences in the melody between the prototype and Collection versions, most notable in the intro. The lead channels of the prototype track are programmed to use a different instrument during the section at 0:30-0:41, like in the MIDI version, but the instrument they change to is the same one they were already using, causing no difference to occur. The version in Origins uses a different instrument for the lead channels at said section of the track.
$0F Mushroom Valley Zone Act 1
Much different bass, which made this song earn the nickname "Seinfeld Valley Zone" due to its similarities with the Seinfeld theme. The final version adds a short intro. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final. The Collection MIDI version lacks the intro that was added to the final version, while it's present in the FM version.
$10 Mushroom Valley Zone Act 2
Different bass again. A drum fill was added to the intro for the final. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$11 Sandopolis Zone Act 1
Different channel volumes.
$12 Sandopolis Zone Act 2
Different channel volumes. Has some leftover data for non-existent PSG.
$13 Lava Reef Zone Act 1
Uses the same bass instrument as Angel Island Zone. Lacks guitar synth before the loop and uses a bell instrument instead. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$14 Lava Reef Zone Act 2
The lead synths are lowered an octave, which makes the song sound more mystic. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$15 Sky Sanctuary Zone
Very different. Has a much heavier bass that occupies two channels, heavier brass, different percussion, and more basic PSG. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final. The rendition included in the Sonic & Knuckles Sonic the Hedgehog 3 album is more similar to the prototype track than the final track.
$16 Death Egg Zone Act 1
Different channel volumes.
$17 Death Egg Zone Act 2
Different channel volumes.
$18 Miniboss
Was later used in Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but as a duplicate in slot $2E. The final version of Sonic 3 uses a different track in slot $2E. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$19 Robotnik
Different channel volumes.
$1A The Doomsday Zone
Has a rather unpleasant (and loud) synth instrument instead of a star sound.
$1B Glowing Orbs Bonus Stage
The prototype version is slightly faster. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$1C Special Stage
Uses the usual snare drum instead of the unique snare drum heard in the final.
$1D Slot Machine Bonus Stage
Two of the lead instruments are swapped in the prototype. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$1E Gumball Machine Bonus Stage
Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final. The PSG is much more audible.
$1F Knuckles' Theme
A completely different track.
Collection uses a unique drum sample for this track. Of all the prototype tracks that were included in Origins, this is the only one that was omitted altogether.
$20 Azure Lake
Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final. The instrument error that causes an invalid instrument to play near the end is present here and would go on to appear in the final game as well.
$21 Balloon Park
The 4-note "twinkle" is played an octave lower and is much softer. Uses a lighter bass instrument, has simpler percussion without any crash cymbals, and lacks PSG entirely. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$22 Desert Palace Zone
Uses a square wave synth in the intro. The lead melody and backing brass are an octave lower. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$23 Chrome Gadget Zone
The backing brass is different. The PSG is also louder, making its part of the melody more audible. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$24 Endless Mine
Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$25 Title
Different channel volumes.
$26 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Credits
A completely different track.
The loop features a different percussion section not present in Collection, the removal might be due to problems with the MIDI porting process; it's believed that this song was composed by Tatsuyuki Maeda since he's known for his PSG-heavy Genesis songs (like Diamond Dust Zone in Sonic 3D). If all the emeralds are collected, this song is used, unaltered, in the Origins version of the Sonic 3 & Knuckles ending, in place of the original game reusing the music for Sky Sanctuary.
$27 Game Over
Different channel volumes.
$28 Results
Faster than the version found in Sonic & Knuckles, perhaps the same tempo as the final version in Sonic 3.
$29 Act Clear
Rougher instrumentation. Channel balancing and volumes are different than the final.
$2A 1-Up
Louder and faster than the final.
$2B Chaos Emerald
Same as the final.
$2C Invincibility
Different channel volumes.
$2D Competition Menu
A completely different track.
$2E Unused
Unused.
The Sonic 3 mini-boss theme is in this slot in the final release. In Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, this slot contains a duplicate of the Sonic & Knuckles miniboss theme, which is used instead of slot $18 to play music for the mini-bosses. This renders slot $18 unused in all final retail releases of Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles except for Sonic & Knuckles Collection, where this track was still unused.

This track was later reused for the difficulty rating screen in the New Blue Spheres mode of Origins.

$2F Data Select
Like Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the track doesn't glitch out after an extended period of time, unlike in the final version of Sonic 3.
$30 Final Boss
Different channel volumes. The Collection and Sonic & Knuckles Sonic the Hedgehog 3 album versions have a flourish at the end of the loop that's absent from the Genesis version.