Sonic 3 Prototype & others – But does it work on Real Hardware?

Sonic CD, Sonic Chaos, Sonic 2 and Sonic 3. I think we can all agree that these were some great Sonic games for their respective consoles. But have you ever thought what they would look like during development? Well, back in November 2019, Hidden Palace revealed a plentiful amount of Sonic prototypes out to the public. Some of them really exciting, others were bit, “Yeah, it’s alright.” But they’re all interesting. Now you can go all over YouTube and you’ll see people doing gameplays or like hacking into it blah blah blah. But, do they work on real hardware? Well, I’m sure someone’s already tested these but here we go. I want to find out for myself and I want to share it with you guys. Let’s go with the Sonic 2019 November prototypes. I’m losing my words here. Let’s just do this. Okay, so back in November, DRX streamed these prototypes himself once every week. The very first one he showed off was Sonic CD version 0.02. Now with this prototype, it actually took me a while to get this working. It just wouldn’t start. It just kept going to this SEGA chant at the beginning and then it just hung there. But then I realised I was using ImgBurn incorrectly. I should have done that at 2x, not 1x. My fault, but we should see that it’s actually starting up now. So good news there. And then we go over to the title screen and you got ‘New game’, ‘Time attack’. Can I just quickly go there, that, if we go on to time attack because I actually played this earlier, it actually remembers your times. Now for a prototype, I didn’t think it would actually save, so that’s actually quite impressive. Playing the game, you can see that it works perfectly fine. You’ve got a few glitches here and there like in Sonic sprites and you have to go into the past twice to actually get into the past, but that only happens in the first time round, but all these problems happen in the emulator as well, so, it’s not exactly a hardware fault. To be perfectly honest, it’s actually relatively easy to get this game working. You just need a CD-R not a CD-RW. And use ImgBurn and load up the cue file, write it at 2x. And Bob’s your uncle, it will work. Well on a Japanese Mega CD anyway. OK, so the question is, does this work on real hardware? Well, obviously. Yeah, no problems here. I think we can move on. There was another Sonic CD prototype that he released and I’m not gonna bother showing it here. But I can confirm that does work on real hardware as well. Next up is Sonic Chaos on the Game Gear. Yes! The actual Game Gear. I’ve got a Mega Drive… Mega Drive? I’ve got a Game Gear here that’s been modelled with VGA output and it’s got a new screen that I can actually see what I’m doing and I’ve got an EverDrive cart here. It’s the EverDrive-GG by Krikzz, and seeing this load up the game, and yes it starts up perfectly fine. No problems. There is no sound to this game, which again that happens on emulation as well. There’s no sound on that, so its not a technical fault with the hardware. So it’s not the Game Gear that’s struggling with it. It’s the actual prototype with no sound in it. I played this all the way from the beginning to end and to be honest, there was nothing that, you know, caught me off-guard. Nothing different from emulation. It always seems to work pretty perfectly. Anything that you see wrong here, like with colours and such that actually happens on KEGA. Which is my emulator of choice. And I find it hilarious that the ‘Sonic Has Past Results’ is way too big for the Game Gear screen. But again, that’s not exclusive to the hardware, that happens on emulation. And yeah, it works really well. So does this work on real hardware? Again, yes. So, we’re back to Sonic Chaos, but this time on the Master System and we got two prototypes. We’ve got the July 30 prototype and a slightly earlier June 30th prototype. Let’s start off with the earlier one. Shall we? Okay, so we go into prototypes and there’s June 30th and we’ll select that and start it. Sonic Chaos or Sonic And Tails version 0.20. So we press the start button. I don’t know what you want me to say? Oh, dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. It looks like it’s not going anywhere. I try to re-flashing it on to it and again, no dice. It doesn’t seem to work but hang on let’s just not panic. Let’s just try something else a moment. Now I’ve got an EverDrive MD here which works for the Mega Drive and as we know that Mega Drive is actually backwards compatible with the Master System. When I load this up with the Mega Drive. It actually works perfectly. No problems whatsoever. Pressing start at the title screen actually takes us to the level select, then were able to pick a character and away you go. And it’s quite a lot of interesting things here. It seems to be no different from emulation again. It works perfectly… On the Mega Drive. It doesn’t seem to work on the real deal. And that’s kind of a bummer. I know that this has backwards compatibility. It has all the hardware of the Master System, inside of the Mega Drive, but does that really count? You know what? I think we might be in luck because this is the American Master System that I have. Maybe, just maybe there’s some sort of region lock on it. Let me just go and find out. What I have here is the PAL Master System, the European version, the 50Hz, the… …rubbish one to be honest! But it does have a region switch on there which changes the frequency, and the language to Japanese. So, let’s give this a shot. Okay, so I’ve got it loaded up, but my capture card is just being slow. I thought we’d try 50Hz first for laughs. Let’s grab that controller, go into prototypes, load up June the 30th, Select and Start. Okay, so there’s the title screen, let’s press a button. No, didn’t think that would work. But will the Japanese version work? Well Japanese region, that’s what I mean, let’s give that shot. Okay, prototypes June 30th. Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed. Come on. Come on! No. No dice. I don’t know what the problem is. And funny enough if I actually press the reset button nothing still happens. Is it the EverDrive? It could be the cart itself. What I really need to do is get the ROM and just put on a cart that’s it and nothing in front of it and behind it. Nothing like that. But it works on the Mega Drive and the EverDrive, so why not the Master System? Why not the real thing? It bugs me. This hasn’t been nearly everyone’s protocol to load up Master System games on that console using an Ever Drive or an equivalent. If this ain’t gonna work, then I don’t think their solutions gonna work either. So does it work on real hardware? No That’s my findings. If anyone is able to confirm that it does work on real hardware and I mean the actual Master System. Not the Mega Drive. I do not count that, the actual Master System, please, please let me know. Let’s just, put that over there. Okay, so I got my American one back in. And let’s load up the July 13th prototype. And here we got a different title screen, you press the start button and no problems. We are actually into the zone select this time. Already we got further than the previous prototype. Yet again, I played this from A to Z and I saw no issues. Nothing different compared to emulation. Everything seems to work really really well. So that’s a shame. It just seems to be the previous prototype that’s not having none of it. But this one, we all good. So does this one work on real hardware? Absolutely. Next on the list is the Sonic 2 prototype. Now there was two that was released and I’m gonna be showcasing Sundays one because that was a little bit more interesting to me. And I’m just going to assume if this one works then the next one will. If this one doesn’t work again, I’ll move on to the next one and see how that is. As previously mentioned, I’m using EverDrive MD version 3 for this. Well, we’re at the title screen, so that’s great. And I’m done already. It just amazes me like how the game came to be and I just always want to check out what was so different. What was going to be presented? Why did they change this and that? You know, it brings out so many theories and so much discussion around the community, it’s actually quite a nice feeling. Not gonna lie with this one, I didn’t actually go from beginning to end. I just kept going into level select and trying out some different levels and saw that the majority work. Nothing disimilar to playing this game on an emulator. But does it work on real hardware? Yes. Alright, the big one. This is why you’re all here. You want to see if the Sonic 3 prototype works on real hardware? Well, I’m not gonna bother, we’re just going to end the video there and goodbye. I’m kidding. I’m kidding! You can undislike the video now…. Please. Right. So far, so good. And now that is actually usual. That happens on KEGA. And so this is title screen that’s what it actually looks like in this prototype. It takes you straight to the level select and let’s just for now, load up a random level and yes so far, so good. No bugs to report. I tried everything from start to finish. I even gave the special stages a go and wow; I just can’t get my head round how they managed to pull that off. Yes, this is on the actual Mega Drive. The new, I mean, old music sounds great. Some of the new boss gimmicks are perfectly functional. Yeah. I think it’s obviously going to pass here. So, does it work on real hardware? Of course it does. To be honest, it’s not a bad run. Oh God, no. That’s going to give you a headache. Yeah, there we go. Oh Lord. Oh God. Stop stop stop. Ah, there we go. So, that’s all with the prototypes that I’m showcasing today and it looks like most of them work. It’s just the one on the Master System, for the life of me I could not get it to go past the title screen. But otherwise if you want a try Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic CD or Sonic Chaos on the actual Game Gear. It works on the Game Gear. Feel free here. It will work on your consoles. As long as you have a flash cart of some sort And I think I’ll take this opportunity to say that a big massive thanks needs to go out to drx and all of their supporters. All the people that helped contribute to getting these prototypes out in the open, so then guys like me and you and the whole world can experience this for ourselves. And that’s the end of the video, guys. I really hope you enjoyed that; make sure to leave a like and to subscribe if you want to see more videos to the series. A massive shout out to all of my sponsors who are on screen right now and I’ll see you again real soon, guys. Take care. Have a good one.

100 Replies to “Sonic 3 Prototype & others – But does it work on Real Hardware?”

  1. Do you know that all of the genesis and master system very first prototype versions up until the later builds, The European versions (50hz) have the same music speed as Sonic 1? Please do a comparison to these when you test them!!! Sorry this was long, I'm excited for you to do it!

    Other friend:cool! But…

    does it work on real hardware?

  3. A bunch of Sonic prototype tests in one, nice.
    I was surprised to see Sonic Chaos working using the Everdrive MD on the Mega Drive instead of on the Game Gear or Master System. Was really helpful to see various methods.
    10:34 bouncing in style!

  4. I think I actually prefer the beta Hydrocity background to the release version. Would have been nice to see it in act 2 of Mania

  5. Hey 50hz SMS isn't bad. You have more time to react compared to ntsc, and the slower BPM for the music of scrap brain and sky base sounds better!

  6. Should have tried the june master system sonic chaos on the game gear, the game gear basically being a handheld master system

  7. 3:36 That's interesting. Perhaps it could be a sign that the game was made for the Master System first and then ported to the Game Gear.

  8. Kinda wish the sonic 3 & knuckles pc version was ported to consoles with their menu intact, just adjusted for the system.
    Those who aren't aware, loading the pc version (which many know has midi versions of the prototype songs in an official release) will bring up a window to select the game you want.

    Sonic 3, sonic & knuckles and sonic 3 & knuckles. Meaning you got pretty much 3 versions of the original game in one pack; but it gets better! It also comes with a wallpaper and a cool animated screensaver (it was cool for the time okay!) so imagine say, releasing this on the 3ds or switch with the choice of 3 games + a new theme for sonic 3!

  9. Does the June Sonic Chaos build work if you put it on a Master System Everdrive and put that in a Power Base Converter? That seems like a useful data point for tracking down the problem.


    by the time this Sonic Chaos was being programmed Aspect was using Mega Drive hardware to test the game, so they didn't bother testing it on original hardware so early. You should try it in a master-gear converter!

  11. I figured out why the Jun 30th prototype doesn't work on actual hardware. The game is looking for a I/O port that may have been used for music development, because it looks for port $06 right before loading in the PSG port. Port $06 doesn't seemed to be referenced over at SMS Power, which is where the assumption dev port came from. Since that port doesn't exist, the game just hangs. I posted a fix on Sonic Retro's thread, note I don't actually have a real master system to test it on but the game hangs while trying to play it on Emulicious, but my fixed hack boots up fine.

  12. Technically, these games work cause it's the ORIGINAL EPROM with all hardware pass, but for someway, can't pass the blackscreen (maybe model/region/lock)?

  13. The sonic chaos Maybe it was programed in the mega drive and then ported into the mastersistem like that sonic x treme was made in PC and then partially ported into the saturn

  14. Awesome review redhotsonic! 

    Loved every minute of it.

    Aside from the world wide Game Gear version in 60Hz, it's funny you call the PAL Master System the (rubbish one) because Sonic Chaos if purchased for the SMS was intended to be played in 50Hz back in 1993 and it was only released in PAL regions.

    Would love for you to do a quick review of these hacks on real hardware:

    1. Sonic Redemption
    2. Sonic 1 The Blue Blurr
    3. Sonic 1 & 2

    Three of my all time favourite (broken Sonic hacks).

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