Sonic The Hedgehog 2 - Beta Release

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Sonic 2 Beta Screen Sonic 2 Final Screen. Click here to return to the Sonic 2 page

Sonic 2 Sections
Story And Intro | Zone Menu | The Code Bank | Game Genie Codes | The FAQ File | Special Features And Innovations | Guide And Walkthrough | Badnik Profiles
| Music | Boxes | Screen Shots | Top Scores For Each Act

Sonic 2 Beta And Others
The Hedgehog That Never Was (Sonic 2 Beta) | The Code Bank | Zone Menu And Walkthrough | Knuckles The Echidna In Sonic 2

  • The Hedgehog That Never Was
    The Sonic 2 Beta
  • Welcome to our page on the Sonic 2 beta! Normally sections like this wouldn't get a full page - but the Sonic 2 beta is so big in some cases that it deserves every last dollop it can get. ^_^ The beta can be credited to Sonic fan Simon Wai. It was early 2 years ago when the beta was finally released and hacked by Mr. Wai in ROM format, and available on the net. Before then, pictures existed, but an actual playable beta was unheard of. This area contains information on aspects that never made it into the final phase of release of Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Pictures in this section all come from the beta release or through magazines. Entitled "The Hedgehog that Never Was", here, you can find info on betas, or interesting tidbits not often known. If you are interested in seeing more on other games as well, info found in this area can also be found on the same page in the main Games section with the same name, where we collect it all for view in one spot. ^_^

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    Hidden Palace Zone

    In the summer of 1992, anticipation was growing for the fall release of Sonic 2. Gaming magazines supplied a steady diet of prototype screenshots to eager fans. When Sonic 2's Day finally arrived, gamers who had paid close attention to the previews discovered surprising changes...The Sonic 2 Prototype is the most famous of the unreleased Sonic games. Most of it actually remained intact in the final version, but the zones that were removed have undoubtedly captured the imaginations of gamers around the world. Most games have received greater modifications than Sonic 2, including Sonic games. Zones like the Hidden Palace have become legends because the formidable Sonic 2 prerelease hype made them so visible to so many. The changes that we know about are only a small fraction of the many changes that must have taken place during the development of Sonic games.

    Some information is courtesy of Simon Wai and Micheal G Stearns - owner of the Sonic Conspiracy page. You may download the actual beta for play at Mr. Wai's location. Compiled by Jonathan Gray

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  • The Code Bank

  • Various codes, cheats, tricks and loopholes to get the most out of your game! But remeber - cheating spoils half the fun! ^_^
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  • Level Select And Debugging Mode
  • There are 12 zones in the Sonic 2 Beta. Only 4 of them - Neo Green Hill, Chemical Plant, Hill Top and Green Hill - are present in normal gameplay. This trick MUST be performed in order to access all the zones in the game. Simply hold whatever represents the "A Button" for your emulator and press start.

    To perform the debugging mode (a way to access areas normally closed off) you need to know how to use a Hex Editor. I cannot remember who placed this editor up - but I think I have an idea. If you are that person, email me above so I can credit you correctly. Here are the instructions, it works, but do it at your own risk:

    1. Start Genecyst and load the ROM
    2. Press A+Start and select the level.
    3. When the level starts, press F5 to save a snapfile
    4. Exit to DOS
    5. Using the hex editor, open the file .GS0
    6. Scroll down until the address 0012280 is highlighted in the left panel
    7. Move the highlight until it is under the 1 heading
    8. Type 01
    9. Press ESC to exit (changes will be saved)
    10. Restart Genecyst and load the snap file

    (In other words, change the byte at hex address 0012280, offset 1 to 01)

    You should now be in your level with debug on!!! However, this is a
    'one-time' debug, and once you change back into Sonic you will not be able
    to access it again by pressing B!

  • Zone Menu
  • Listed below is the zone menu for the Sonic 2 Beta. It is incomplete for a reason - we left out zones that weren't really significant in changes like Wing Fortress, Hill Top, and Sky Chase since both are relatively moot, even though they are on the beta. Click on the name of the corresponding zone to be taken to the respective area of our thorough walkthroughs area for any information that we have on it, from stats, to bosses, to descriptions. Also - keep in mind that clicking on the name of a zone will take you to its final page in our Sonic 2 section. Thanks! ^_^

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  • Green Hill Zone - Final Name: Emerald Hill Zone
  • Chemical Plant Zone
  • Neo Green Hill Zone - Final Name: Aquatic Ruin Zone
  • Casino Night Zone
  • Wood Zone (Left Out)
  • Dust Hill Zone - Final Name: Mystic Cave Zone
  • Hidden Palace Zone (Left Out)
  • Death Egg Zone
  • Genocide City Zone (Left Out)
  • Green Hill Zone
    Finished Name - Emerald Hill Zone

    The first zone of the game, yet the last zone of the beta, Emerald Hill was first known as Green Hill (shades of Sonic 1 ^_^). In fact there were TWO Green Hills in the beta - Emerald Hill and what was to become the Aquatic Ruins. This magazine scan above was one of the first found on originally on the old Megacosm web page. Notice the clouds and thier reflections above the water.

  • Another noteable quip of the beta were the badniks you found in it - enemies such as this one are nowhere in the game. The only badniks this one closely resembles are Spike tops. Perhaps, its possible that Sonic Team and STI felt parts of the beta were too much like STH 1 (hence the inclusion of the GHZ and NGHZ as an actual zone). In any event - these mentions noted are nowhere in the final version. Also noteable is that this is the only zone in the beta with a playable boss. Beat it without having accessed the selection menu and you'll get the Sonic 1 "SEGA" screen.

    The Chemical Plant Zone is pretty much the same - BUT there are two noteable things. Remember the toxic liquid balls that pop out of pipes? Well this time they have a different sound effect. Also, the moving platforms across the giant lakes of Mega Mack are much smaller, thus making it harder. Keep this in mind as we go along. One of the rumors floating around hacking communities is that one of the reasons why Sonic 2 changed so much was the difficulty level of it. It makes sense considering certain things in certain areas of the game that were taken out.

  • Chemical Plant Zone

  • Neo Green Hill Zone
    Finished Name - Aquatic Ruin Zone

  • The picture to the left is from the final version of the game. REMEMBER - there IS NO BOSS IN THE BETA! Other than overall water depth and the fact that there are no underwater ruins (so beware falling into the water here!) there really wasnt much of any differences here at all. However - what is noticeable is the name. What was to become the Aquatic Ruin Zone was now called the "Neo Green Hill". Neo meaning new. Could it be possible that Sonic Team was trying to begin a trend of having a GHZ in every Sonic game? At the time there was one for them all. There is a GHZ in Sonic 1 and Sonic 1 GG, as well as Green Hills in Sonic 2 GG and Mecha Green Hill in Sonic Chaos, Green Hill and Neo Green Hill in the current beta, and on down the line there has been a "hill" or "Green" reference in other places i.e. Mushroom Hill, Green Grove. Pointless - but noteable ^_^

  • Casino Night Zone
    Completely redecorated
  • Brother - this one is a doozy. If the Hidden Palace and Wood Zone caused a furor of questions, this was the zone that was the biggest shocker in terms of "What Happened" value. Its the one zone many people remember from Sonic 2, due to its its flashy background, Las Vegas theme, catchy music, and the fact that its very popularity cemented the "pinball-themed boards" in future Sonic games as well as being primary focal for Sonic Spinball due to this level themes "popularity". To this day, there has been a "pinball" board in all the major Sonic games because of this. But the beta Casino Night is far different from the other. Gone is the flashiness and rotating Sonic and Tails tiles. Gone is the Las Vegas type, cityscape casino background. Infact - gone is the entire golden color palette to be replaced by variations of pink, blue, and green.

    Look at the two pictures on the right - there are new backgrounds (includding a colored starry night), and the elevators are nonexistant here. Just holes where they should be. You get the idea that at the release of the beta, this zone was completely revamped. Even the music goes at a different pitch and level than its final counterpart. Conveyor belts are also out of whack here - much like the Wood Zone, which will be discussed later.

    Now take a look at the two pictures on the left. One comes from the old Megacosm page, the other from an actual screenshot. You would think that the they are the same, but they are entirely different. Picture quality maybe? At any rate - backgrounds are totally different. Colors are also "duller" (once again, probably attributed to picture quality). And in the playable beta we have - unlike in the final version, you have to walk up these ramps or spin dash. The springboards placed in the final version are not there.

    And as for this pic below Quoting from Mr. Wai, the beta's releaser: I have no earthly idea whats up with the pink hearts and flowers. ^_^

    Welcome to the Wood Zone! Never heard of it? Neither did anyone else until the beta came out. Experienced hackers had probably unlocked this secret a long time ago, but had no idea just what it was. There was rumors that there was one "lost zone" besides the Hidden Palace. But no one expected an entirely new zone hidden among the game betas - let alone two (this one and Genocide City). However, lo and behold here it is. Of the two, the Wood Zone is the most complete. The Wood Zone has that "unfinished look" about it. Take a look at the two pictures here. Sonic Team was VERY pressed for time at the making of Sonic 2. Sega NEEDED this game - you could call it a saving grace of some sort. With some areas being dubbed "a bit too hard" i.e. the Chemical Plant Zone, one must also wonder if Sega thought it was "too long" as well. With time already not on thier side - it was probably decided at the last minute to leave this zone and Hidden Palace out. Both could be considered "halfway deleted" instead of halfway finished. Heck - the second act isnt even playable. But its debateable at any rate.

  • Wood Zone
    Left Out In Final Version

    At any rate - the Wood Zone is just that - a deeply forested area, with conveyor belts, treetop houses and an array of greenery. Unfortunately, when you play the beta you cannot get any further from the first area, due to it being completely blocked off thanks to a branched area that looks suspiciously like a door - shown above. So unless the debugging code is activated, you can't get through it to see what else is out there. And theres not much other than a gaping pit, a few trees, and malfunctioning conveyor belts ala Casino Night. Its a shame this was left out. It could have made an interesting board to play as finished product, but alas - such are deadlines.

  • Sonic CD Beta and Sonic 2 Beta
    Dust Hill Zone

    Left Out In Final Version of Sonic 2 and Sonic CD
    Finished Name - Mystic Caves Zone

  • There are 4 big mysteries of the Sonic 2 Beta - Hidden Palace, Wood, Genocide City, and last but not least Dust Hill. And Dust Hill dares to crossover into Sonic CD territory. Just what the heck is the history behind the Dust Hill Zone? We think we finally figured it out. At first - the magazine pictures you see here were released on Megacosm. These pictures were associated with Sonic 2. So for the longest time, people thought that this was the previously mentioned "lost zone", which ended up being the Wood Zone. BUT - thats not the case. At the time the Sonic 2 beta was found, in place of the Mystic Caves name was the name "Dust Hill Zone". Of course - click to play Dust Hill - and you get the Mystic Caves. So just what are the pictures above then? Sonic CD was being worked on at the same time of Sonic 2. Tails was not in Sonic CD, but then again neither was this zone. It is possible that Dust Hill was originally tried on Sonic CD as a zone. If Sonic Team didnt like it or Sega didnt like it, perhaps it may have been ported to Sonic 2. That seems the best idea, but where did the Mystic Caves come from? Sonic 2 was long enough already - adding ANOTHER zone could lengthen it even more, thus the big todo by Sega about the actual length of Sonic 2. It was boasted at the time as one of the longest games ever.

    My guess is this - take a look at the map during Sonic CD's loading period. You can pinpoint all the areas - Wacky Workbench, Metallic Madness, Quartz Quadrant. But what is that darn cactus area? My guess - is THAT is the original missing Dust Hill Zone, taken off of Sonic CD. It makes sense according to the pictures. Its possible it was then maybe tried and ported on Sonic 2. So when this did not work, it was scrapped altogether with just a name left, and thus began the creation of the Mystic Caves Zone, with the name "Dust Hill Zone" as it stands on the Sonic 2 Beta. In fact - you could further support this by looking at the caves of the two backgrounds. Dust Hills insides are cavernous. So are the Mystic Caves. Coincidence - MAYBE. But not very likely. Sonic Team probably concentrated more on the cavern aspect and more and more it became obvious that the caved area looked nothing like a Dust Hill, so the name was ditched into limbo and thus began the official title of "Mystic Caves". Which fits the mood of that zone much better. In the Sonic 2 Beta, you could tell the zone was just being built. The Dust Hill name had not been ditched yet. Placement was insane - take a look at the box picture below. Its next to impossible to get through. Instead of two swinging branches in the beginning, there are 3. There are 4 rotating spiked balls, and graphics are messed up on some things like switches and bridges. Overall - this zone holds the biggest story behind it minus the Hidden Palace. The original Dust Hill would have fit the theme of Sonic CD. Heck - even the Sonic sprites are similar, but not in respect to Sonic 2. A very interesting story with an even more interesting conclusion. ^_^

  • Hidden Palace Zone

    Left Out In Final Version
    Continued in Sonic 3

  • The Master Emerald?!? In Sonic 2!?! Welcome to the Hidden Palace - the most famous of all zones in the Sonic 2 Beta and for very good reason. Of all the zones talked about by magazines and others - this was the one shown a lot. But for some reason it never made it into the final version of Sonic 2. However - there are remnants of it in the final version. Perform the Sonic 2 sound test code and look for the music that is playing on this very page. Thats the Hidden Palace. Unlike the Hidden Palace Zone in Sonic 3 - this Hidden Palace is HUGE. Its quite possible that in the original Sonic 2, either Tails was the guardian of the Master Emerald, or there was a chance of the two coming across it in the Robotnik's plot to launch the Death Egg. Either of these theories could work, but the second one works better in accordance to the storyline. At any rate - the Hidden Palace is a bright, glistening cavern, filled with mystery, chutes, water, and a master emerald! Dinobots and Batbots - badniks never seen anywhere else populate the zone.

    There is also a Tails monitor in the Hidden Palace at well, that disperses an extra man. Its possible that Tails could have played this stage by himself, but highly unlikely. Bridges light up as you walk over them. A giant waterslide populates the zone as well. You can play the zone to your hearts content - but unfortunately you end up blocked thanks to a steep slope that was probably meant as an escalator ramp. The only way to get past it is the Debugging method.

    Collect 100 rings in the Hidden Palace - and instead of the normal music, you end up getting that horribly ugly Death Egg Zone music. Go fig. At any rate - the reason this zone was taken out once again probably attributes to length. Its a shame too as playing this, you really see that it is a beautiful zone. Quite possibly one with the best graphics in the entire game. The idea of a master emerald most likely intrigued Sonic Team so much, that it was kept and then redone on Sonic 3, and later to Sonic And Knuckles as Knuckles' home, and the resting place of the Master Emerald. While the final version is not as elaborate as the other it is something to note nonetheless. And such is the Hidden Palace.
  • Death Egg Zone And Genocide City Zone

    Unfinished and Left Out In Final Version

  • The final two zones of the Sonic 2 beta are the Death Egg Zone and Genocide City zones. As you can see - both are completely unfinished. Enter the stage select, start the level and you fall to your death and die. Plain as that. But while Death Egg is no real biggie, the question is raised as to just what the Genocide City Zone is. There are a number of reasons that could be attributed to it: Length, unfinished, or maybe the name itself. Genocide does mean "death of an entire race". But at any rate - the mystery of the Genocide City Zone is just that. Nobody knows what it is, and its too undeciphearble to probably ever figure it out. Rumor has it that the beta of the Japanese Sonic 2 has a playable version of the zone - but no one outside the US has ever seen it. And thus closes the Sonic 2 Beta. Perhaps we'll find out more one day. But until then - its at least nice to have some insight on the making of a videogame.