We all know about the Sonic 2 Beta, the pre-release version of the 1992 classic that never saw public release, that contains a whole bunch of cancelled or prototype elements and stages. But what if there were some remnants of that prototype within the cartridge that ended up on store shelves? Well, we did some digging using Game Genie codes and found some interesting things…
Using a final release Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cartridge and a Game Genie cheat cart, we trialled a number of codes to see what we could find. We started with a code that was provided to us by SSMB user Ultimate VG: 9CLA – 9TA1. From there, we changed various digits – 0CLA – 9TA1, and so on – and did a painstaking trial-and-error process to see if we could discover anything via the Sound Test screen.
Seems like we found something, although it’s open to interpretation as to what it actually is. Thanks to the efforts of Roareye Black, it’s possible that what we’re hearing whenever we go into specific tunes on the Sound Test or enter stages like Casino Night Zone are either Beta versions of the level themes or unused tracks for canned stages like Wood Zone.
Using Ultimate VG’s code and playing the Sound Test gave us one strange music track, but using the slightly tweaked code (0CLA – 9TA1) and taking the same steps seemed to play the same strange music track… just with a different arrangement. With VG’s code, there was a loud ‘screwy’ sound before things go quiet, but with the second code that ‘intro’ sounded much cleaner and many of the effects were replaced with a ‘fire’ sound effect.
After altering the code for an hour or so, we found out that the same two types of quality versions of the tune were playing, in a pattern. Use 7 at the start for example, and it would have the same effect as the code VG gave us. Replace it with an 8, and what we experienced was there instead. Replace it with a 9 and it was back to VG’s. Put 0 and it was back to our one. The thing is, with the more refined intro tune, after the fire sound effect, the middle of the tune (the bit after it) had a lower quality than VG’s, but the reverse was true for the intro.
If you’ve not been confused yet, I’ll continue. We decided to mix the best, most finished of the two versions together in two lines of Game Genie code. We ended up using this:
CCLA – 9TA1
DDLA – 9TA1
As I expected, the result was both tunes mixed together, with the better intro and the better middle together. One reason I was led to believe it was Casino Night Beta was merely because it was playing off of Song #9 in Sound Test (a poor excuse, admittedly). I tried doing the Level Select, and going into Casino Night Act 1. Sure enough, the weird music played in the level, which raised my belief even more. Also, if you listen closely, you can hear parts of Casino Night Zone similarities, with the tune even trying to break its way through the weird tune if you listen for long enough.
Despite all that though, it still sounded jungle-y, like VG said. So, a few radical fantasy suggestions this time – either it is Casino Night Beta, or it would have been Wood Zone, but at the last minute it was replaced by Casino Night Zone. That was my radical suggestion.
Another theory we came up with involved the weird ‘fire’ sound effect at the start. Since Hidden Palace was locked away in the cart, and was going to be in Sonic 2, maybe Angel Island was to be included too? As you know, Angel Island had a ton of fire near the end of Act 1, but… this sounds a bit far fetched because even in Angel Island there weren’t any fire sound effects in the actual soundtrack. Unless Sonic Team decided to put it in the soundtrack while making Sonic 2, who knows?
But this does sound a bit likely, as Knuckles’ colour palette happens to be in Sonic 2 (which is why he is playable when you connect Sonic 2 with Sonic & Knuckles). Therefore, Knuckles COULD have been playable as early as Sonic 2, along with Hidden Palace Zone and the Master Emerald’s existence.
All very interesting. Any ideas? Share them with us! In the meantime, if we get any closer to an answer, we’ll update you all.
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