Sonic 3 Prototype With Lost Content Discovered

Sonic 3 Prototype With Lost Content Discovered

Sonic 3 Prototype With Lost Content Discovered

Date added: 2019-11-27


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A prototype version of Sonic 3, containing features that would never make it into the final build, has been discovered.

Video game preservation communities Hidden Place and The Cutting Room Floor have been able to unearth a prototype of Sonic 3 that contains a variety of elements that were reported in a 1993 magazine preview, but never seen in the retail release. These include the Flying Battery zone and bosses (which were moved across to Sonic & Knuckles), and Lava Reef. Also found in the ROM are three unfinished bonus stages, and object, badniks, and boss data for cut zones.

Sonic 3



Autoplay setting: On


The prototype also includes a drop-dash style ability for Sonic that was not implemented in the final game. Interestingly, the music featured in the later stages is similar to the tracks seen in the 1997 PC port, and not the tracks famously made for the game by Michael Jackson and his team. This suggests Sonic 3 already had the PC soundtrack before the Jackson tracks were implemented, and the tunes for the 1997 release were not newly created as replacements.

The Hidden Place blog post detailing the find also discusses the events leading up to Sonic 3’s release, explaining why this prototype is such an interesting find. Press access to Sonic 3 was extremely limited, and almost no outlets were able to run previews of the game ahead of launch. One of the only exceptions is UK’s Sega Magazine issue 1, which featured a variety of screenshots of elements that would never make it into the final game. The prototype that Hidden Place and The Cutting Room Floor have discovered contains all those elements, and the blog post includes side-by-side recreations of those images.

Sonic the Hedgehog: A Visual History of SEGA's Mascot






Sonic 3 was originally planned as an isometric game, but due to technological restraints, it was rethought as a 2D platformer akin to Sonic and Sonic 2. A marketing deal was preemptively struck with McDonalds, placing a strict time constraint on Sega to finish the game. This restriction is partially responsible for causing Sega to split the game into two parts - Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles - and zones like Flying Battery were clearly cut from this Sonic 3 prototype and moved across to Sonic & Knuckles. Despite this behind-the-scenes shakeup, Sonic 3 still released to strong reviews.

Other recent Sonic news naturally relates to the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, which recently re-revealed its central character with a brand new design that looks closer to the original game Sonic than the more human-ish creature shown in the original trailer. The new design was led by Sonic Mania’s artist.


Source: IGN

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