The scan was uploaded to fansite SEGA-16 and discovered by Retro members, and quickly identified as the alpha due to their extreme visual similarities to previously discovered media shown at the 1990 Tokyo Game Show, where the title was first revealed to the public.
The screenshots are some of the highest quality available of the alpha, giving us better look at some development designs and alterations the launch title for the SEGA Mega Drive went through.
Aside from the instantly recognisable differences – such as the majorly differing mountain range background art and a completely different badnik design never seen in the final game, there are other small changes to be seen. These include Sonic’s sprite design, the palmtrees and the title screen logo.
You can also spot what could be various gameplay differences too, as Sonic (seen in the screenshot above) is not in his iconic spin jump form while coming in to seemingly aerial attack the badnik. It could be a possibility that the pinball nature of Sonic had not been established yet.
You can take a look at the screenshots in our gallery below, including cropped, blown up and touched up images thanks to Retro user cornholio857. Credit to the original scan goes to JumpingRyle of SEGA-16!