Sonic the Hedgehog for the Megadrive; the first game in the series that started a
large franchise. However, there were many scrapped concepts and ideas. So, I will be
talking about the beta of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Before we talk about the game beta, we need to talk about the creation of Sonic the
Hedgehog. Originally, they wanted to create a character that would be the mascot for
SEGA. They went and asked all employees to create mascot designs. (And entered them into a competition).
There were many ideas thrown around. This includes a rabbit, Mighty the Armadillo,
and Mr Needlemouse. It eventually came down to a hedgehog and Mighty. However (as we
all know), Mr Needlemouse won. His name was changed to Sonic later after this competition.
Other scrapped concepts include: him being in a rock and roll band, having a “girlfriend” named Madonna, and him being a lighter shade of blue.
Now that we’ve got the character development out of the way, we can talk about the
actual game. The levels include Green Hill, Labyrinth, Marble, Star Light, Sparkling
Zone and Clock Work Zone.
What’s that? You don’t remember Sparkling Zone and Clock Work Zone? This is because
they were renamed. Sparkling Zone was actually Spring Yard Zone, with a different
color palate. Clock Work (or Clock Ork Zone, as it said in all screenshots) was a
differently designed Scrap Brain Zone. The designs are actually quite interesting,
though they look similar.
Now, lets talk about Green Hill. The palate is slightly different, and there is a
rolling ball in the middle of the zone. The was a ball that you could run around on,
but you also had to dodge it. It would have controlled similarly to how the same
concept controlled in Pana Der Hejhog; it would roll the opposite direction to the key
you pressed, and had ice physics.
Green Hill also had many level design changes. These were mainly just objects, but
some major changes occurred. Flowers used to have a pink center. At the start of Green
Hill, there was a sign that says “Welcome”.
Labyrinth Zone was originally the second level. This was changed as it was too big a
difficulty spike, thus it was swapped with Marble Zone. Not much changed with this
zone, except a few color palates. However, the beta did not have the water. This is
because they hadn’t implemented it. It was planned to have water, though.
Marble Zone was very similar. But it had a few color palate changes. However, a
major change was that it had strange planets/UFOs in the sky. It also had different
lava textures, and there were weird platforms in the air (similar to the ones in Wing
Fortress Zone, in Sonic 2). There were also other small level design changes.
In Star Light, there were a few level changes. For instance, the first level didn’t
have the 3 rings above the “Light” text. Also, there was an unused section in the level
design. Some springs were moved, and some were removed.
Sparkling Zone (Spring Yard) had no background in the beta. When it was added, all it
was, was a black background with pink stars. Signs were also redesigned in the final.
Objects were also changed in the final.
Clock Ork (Scrap Brain) was changed a lot during development. The background of this
stage was a similar style to the platforms. From the looks of the screenshots, it
would have been very disorienting. The conveyor belts were rotated in this version.
Level design was also majorly different in the beta.
Other cosmetic changes include the HUD saying “RING” instead of “RINGS”. At the end
of each level, Sonic would jump in the air. This was similar to Sonic 3 & Knuckles,
where he stands still (the same concept, though different sprites). Some sprite
changes also occurred.
So, that was the beta of Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis/Megadrive. Sadly, no
builds of the beta have surfaced. But, my hopes are high, as someone has got a beta
of Sonic Xtreme. So, hopefully, if fans can find Sonic Xtreme, we can find the Sonic 1 Beta.
If you want to check out more beta screenshots, here is a cool link to check out: http://sost.emulationzone.org/sonic_1/index.htm