The PC version of Sonic Mania hit Steam last week, and it didn’t take long for the Sonic hacking community to construct tools to unpack, data mine and mod the game. We’ve assembled a list of the seven most interesting things the community have found lurking inside the game’s source code!
1. Jan-Ken-Pon! An Alex Kidd-themed boss
Tracker_TD has found some interesting sprites that appear to point to a boss that indicate that at some point in the development of Sonic Mania, the Studiopolis boss was originally going to be a Rock-Paper-Scissors battle between Sonic and Eggman! This was likely going to be a nod to yet another classic SEGA title, Alex Kidd, before it was scrapped for the Weather vane boss.
2. Re-Discovering Sonic Mania’s past
Back before Sonic Mania got it’s name (Takashi Iizuka explains the origin of the name at the SDCC Panel), the working title was Sonic Discovery. It appears that the old title card still exists in the data!
3. I’m just a Love Machine
Amy fans might have been disappointed at her omission from Sonic Mania (besides a self-destructing Amy doll in the incredibly cute gachapon boss in Metallic Madness), but seems she was also to be used in this love tester machine, again in Studiopolis. While it is unclear from the sprite artwork as to how the machine was actually to function, it appears that there may have been three results possible, producing one of the three protagonist images. And what about that Eggman Icon?
While not a Sonic reference, we can’t help but be reminded of a classic Simpsons episode…
4. Where you going, You big drip! Unused Tails animation
The Sonic the Hedgeblog Twitter account has produced this neat comparison gif of Sonic Mania sprites, showing the animation from the opening cut scene in Chemical Plant Zone, alongside an unused animation. Rather than utilising the “look up” animation when a drop of the Mega Mac lands on Tails’ head, Tails instead uses his propeller action to dry himself off! It’s unclear why this animation was cut, as it is blatantly the cuter of the two!
5. Escape From The UFO!
Another discovery by Tracker adds intrigue to the UFO Special stage! The graphic below shows the text implemented in the game – and nestled between them is the phrase “Time to escape!”. Does this hint that in early builds of the special stage, the player possibly had to escape either the stage or the UFO itself once the Chaos Emerald had been grabbed?
6. Were Hyper forms once planned for?
Similar to 5., BlueParadox has uncovered text that appears to hint at a feature that either went unused or never made it off the drawing board. Many fans asked if the Hyper forms (as seen in Sonic 3 & Knuckles) would return in Mania, however Iizuka-san has on more than one occasion stated the Super Emeralds are non-canon. It seems strange however that the Super Emeralds appear to be present in the Heavy King fight, and that buried in the data, the text for “Hyper” exists. Perhaps Iizuka-san had a change of heart at one point…maybe we will never know!
7. “I’m outta here!”
If you hang around too long in Sonic CD idling, Sonic unceremoniously jumps off the screen resulting in a Game Over. While not featuring in the final build, all the animation and sound clips are present in Mania’s source code, which has allowed those with savvy enough skills to re-implement the feature in mods (as shown in the video below).
Have you found anything interesting hiding in Sonic Mania’s data files that went unused and that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!