The earliest known prototype of Sonic CD has been discovered and shared with the public, nearly 27 years after it was first displayed in early 90s game magazines.
The discovery comes from game hacking and prototype archival enthusiast site Hidden Palace, which is also dedicating the next month of cutting room floor curios to Sonic the Hedgehog games. They have also unearthed a cool SEGA Multimedia disc which includes an animated Sonic holding a compact disc, and have shared that too. How nice of them!
But let’s get to the meat of the story first. Sonic CD (or should we say, ‘CD Sonic’) version 0.02, which has been dated December 4, 1992! Now, a number of prototypes have already been unearthed for this game (owing to the fact that SEGA was pretty liberal with its sharing of early code to business partners and media in the early 1990s) but this appears to be a bona-fide copy of the earliest known version of the game, with title screen and various gimmicks that match up with initial gaming magazine screenshots that were later altered or cut from the final release.
It’s better if we just show you the differences rather than explain it, so check out the video below! The good stuff starts at 23:30, and ends at 41:00 (the rest of the video focuses on later prototype versions of Sonic CD which, while still interesting, we’ve all already seen a number of times before).
Honestly, we love Sonic CD and these discoveries are always fascinating, but every time we see one of these early builds of the game we’re thankful that the final version’s level design is only a little bit non-sensical and the not balls-to-the-wall ‘let’s just slap platforms wherever and see what works’ mentality that shines in these prototypes. We got a good chuckle out of ‘YOU SAY’ on the first stage’s end marker there.
Additionally, Hidden Palace also shared some footage (seen from the 7-minute mark on the video above) from a separate SEGA-branded Multimedia disc made in 1992, that aimed to showcase the power of the new and exciting Compact Disc media format. Clips from Cool World and Batman are included, as well as animations of random sports guys and ToeJam and Earl. But the interesting thing for us Sonic fans? A huge Sonic sprite, spinning a CD, which explains the origin of initial ‘Sonic 2 CD’ screenshots in several gaming magazines at the time.
Even has Robotnik spinning the disc with a giant hand, like the cheeky little imp that he is. Not entirely sure why Robotnik is proportionally much smaller than Sonic (maybe he’s just very far away and he’s using a giant mechanical hand seven times his scale?), but it’s a cool little discovery nonetheless.
Hidden Palace says that is has more cool Sonic-related things to reveal over the next couple of weeks, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the site to see what happens. Of course, we’ll report on any major developments as they come.