Software preservation can be incredibly tricky, as is the case for Hidden Palace’s recent discovery of an prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 that was recently discovered from an old dumping group named CENSOR. Despite being made available to the public once before, it was not until recently that this version of Sonic 2 was not made available to a society dedicated to software preservation.
If you’re reading this expecting some significant new information about Sonic 2’s development history, you’re out of luck. However this build is actually older than the Beta 4, previously relesed by drx in 2008. This has led to speculation that this version is the Beta 3 build that was not included in SEGA’s QA archives. In fact this version is so close to the release of the final game from a matter of weeks, meaning the differences between this prototype and the Beta 4 prototype are not as drastic. However there are some notable differences, such as object layout changes in Wing Fortress, known as Sky Fortress in this version, slanted edges on the loops in Chemical Plant as well as longer load times when entering special stages due to how art was compressed in the Nemesis format.
Hidden Palace has provided a video playthrough showcasing differences, a brief history on dumping groups and the indirect role of software preservation (piracy!) as well as a page dedicated to the prototype detailing differences as well as links to download the prototype. The downloads include versions with CENSOR’s intro and copy protection bypass along with a proper dump of the ROM by itself.
Be sure to keep an eye on Hidden Palace as they have been on a roll putting out pre-release and prototype versions of games consistently. Aside from Sonic 2, they also rediscovered another CENSOR release of Gauntlet IV which predates the official Japanese release. One of the more interesting recent releases includes the 32X version of Pinocchio which, despite being ultimately cancelled, features increased color depth and parallax scrolling over the Mega Drive and Genesis versions. They also noted they will continue to put out more releases by CENSOR in the near future.
Thanks goes to GerbilSoft for pointing out the release in the Sonic Retro Discord.
[Source: Hidden Palace]
Good on Udon. Outside of the select music tracks featured in the Humble Music Bundle a couple of months back, they’re set on releasing the corresponding artbook for Valkyria Chronicles 3 in the US and is now taking pre-orders on Amazon.com. Despite the fact that, well, we never got the game it represents. While it may seem rather ridiculous to see this artbook for sale, it is a possibility for Sega to try and test the waters for a US release of the game. Furthermore, it may see a new light yet through digital distribution on the Playstation Network for Playstation Portable or Playstation Vita owners due to Sega’s revised business strategy.
Or we could just be getting the artbook and piracy is still rampant on Sony devices. Such a harsh reality. On the plus side, there’ll be plenty of character biographies and story summaries to avoid all that pesky gameplay. The book’s release is set for December 2012.
UPDATE! Udon Entertainment’s front page has nine images to showcase the English version of the artbook.You can also see them in the gallery below.
I completely, honestly, unironically love Mercado Livre so much. The site, which is Latin and South America’s answer to eBay, is available in several countries, but let’s be honest: when it comes to awesome merchandise, no one can top Brazil, the home of pão de queijo, Tec Toy and wonderful pirated things. This isn’t to say that we condone piracy, but really:
Who wouldn’t want to buy “Super 12 in 1”? I mean, c’mon! There’s Battletoads, Duck Tales, Pikachu and Sonic all on one Game Boy (surprisingly not “Game”) cart! In fact, most of the golden pirated Sonic games from Brazil aren’t from modern games (where the pirated material look s mostly identical to the real games) but from the Mega Drive era, where things just get downright silly.