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Beta elements

This article pertains to the beta elements from Sonic Mania.

"Sonic Discovery" title

SMTitleSprites

Unused sprites for the "Sonic Discovery" title screen.

SonicDiscoveryTitle

The original title screen for Sonic Mania.

During the early development of Sonic Mania in 2016, the game was originally known as "Sonic Discovery".[1] In fact, an early title screen from back then still exists in the game's files, which shows the full title of the game was "Sonic the Hedgehog Discovery".

Secret development menu

ManiaDevMenu

The secret development menu.

In the PC version of Sonic Mania lies a secret developer menu that can be accessed by fiddling with the code. This menu was used by the development team to gain straight access to various aspects of the game. This menu includes:

  • Presentation: Developer logos screen, Title Menu, "Thanks for Playing" screen, Level Select menu, Staff Credits, and Continue screens.
  • Mania Demo: Access to the Green Hill Zone and Studiopolis Zone demos playable at the 25th Sonic Anniversary Event.
  • Mania Mode: A separate Level Select screen.
  • Special Stage: A selection of all Special Stages in Sonic Mania.
  • Blue Spheres: Access to any Blue Sphere stage. It also includes the options for "Random" and "Random 2" which chooses a random Bonus Stage from the game's Original mode and Mania mode, respectively.
  • Extras: Allows selection of Mean Bean mode and the D.A. Garden.
  • Cutscenes: A list of the cutscenes in the game, which can be jumped to.
  • Videos: The various ending animations.

"Hyper" sprite

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Sheet with the unused "Hyper" sprite

Buried in the data of the PC version of Sonic Mania, there is a sheet with an unused sprite of the word "Hyper". This might indicate that at one point during the development of Sonic Mania, transformations like Hyper Sonic and Hyper Knuckles were going to appear.

Enemies

Sweep

SMUnusedCPZBadnik

In the game files, there are unused sprites of an unknown Badnik. This Badnik is designated "Sweep" in the files. It is unknown if it is related to the Sweeper Badnik, an enemy that first appeared in Sonic Adventure. Whatever the case, it functions similar to the Amenbo from Tidal Tempest in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.

Sweep can be found in the object list for Chemical Plant Zone in Debug Mode. When placed, its vertical position snaps to the water's surface, and it skates back and forth while occasionally firing a spiked projectile from its nose.

Bosses

Egg Janken

EggJakenScreenshot

The Egg Janken

The Egg Janken is an unused mini-boss found in the data for Studiopolis Zone. Despite being a mini-boss though, the Egg Janken's files are stored in the files for Studiopolis Zone Act 2. According to Sonic Mania developer Stealth, this is because Studiopolis Zone Act 2 was the first Zone created for Sonic Mania before the developers pitched the game to Sega; the Egg Janken was placed into this Act for demonstration purposes, making it the very first boss to be implemented into the game.[2]

This boss is akin to the Gapsule from Sonic & Knuckles, being a boss secretly disguised as a Capsule, only to transform into a robot when the player presses the button on its underside. Once the boss battle with it begins, the Egg Janken will cycle through different Rock-Paper-Scissors combinations on its two screens. Below each screen is a letter; the left one says "S" for "Sonic" and the right one says "E" for "Eggman". During the battle, the Egg Janken will also hover left and right above the arena while protecting the button on its underbelly by swinging its spiked ball arms back and forth. Should the player manage to press the Egg Janken's button, it will result in the robot reacting accordingly to the Rock-Paper-Scissors combination displayed on its screens when its button was pressed:

  • Draw: The Egg Janken displays a bored expression on its screens and will try to strike the player with one of its arms. These arms will damage the player on contact.
  • "E" side wins: A buzzing sound is heard and the Egg Janken displays an angry expression on its screens. It then flips upside down, stretches its arms out to the sides, and proceeds to hovers towards the player before coming crashing down on the ground. Should it hit the player, they will take damage.
  • "S" side wins: A ping sound is heard and the Egg Janken displays a distressed expression on its screens. It then shakes violently and stretches its arms out to the side before pulling them back in at high speed, causing it to damage itself.

After hitting itself three times, the Egg Janken will explode, ending the fight. Compared to other bosses in the final version of Sonic Mania, the Egg Janken has the lowest hit-count of them all.

Although not included in the final version of the game, the Egg Janken is fully functional and will operate correctly if put into the final version of Studiopolis Zone. However, no Goal Plate will appear once the Egg Janken has been defeated.

Heavy Mystic

In the game files in the PC version of Sonic Mania, the Heavy Magician is designated as the "Heavy Mystic". This hints that the Heavy Magician may have had another name during the early development of Sonic Mania.

Early Drillerdroid

There is an earlier version of the Drillerdroid boss that exists in the game data and is designed for an earlier level layout for Lava Reef Zone Act 1. This version differs in that the drills are not plated in armor and do not have an active hitbox. When the boss drops in, it will drill in its position and cause an eruption that will not damage its armor, but will cause it to open to allow its systems to cool, exposing its weak point. It will then make the rock platforms collapse, causing the player to drop downwards.

The player will then have to goad the boss into landing in the approximate center of the lava pools to cause another eruption and expose its weak point. If it misses, it'll continuously drill on the spot before attempting to jump on the player again. The player must also watch out for the constant stream of fireballs that jump out of the pools. It takes six hits to defeat this version of the boss.

Zones

Studiopolis Zone

Unused Love Tester

Lovetester

The unused sprites for a love tester.

In the PC game files for Sonic Mania lies the sprites for what appears to be an unused Love Tester gimmick. While it is unclear from the sprites as to how the machine was actually to function, it can actually be placed in Debug Mode. When a playable character jumps in, they are displayed on the top, and the slots cycle between the other four characters. After the slot stops cycling, every playable character has two results that give 100 points, one that gives 400, and one that gives none.

Lava Reef Zone

Act 1 prototype layout

In the PC version of Sonic Mania, there lies an unused layout for Lava Reef Zone Act 1. This layout deviates greatly from the final layout for this Act 1.

Special Stages

Unused objective line

Timetoescape

The sprites for the Special Stage.

In the game files on the PC version of Sonic Mania lies the sprites for the Special Stages' HUD. Nested among the graphics is an unused headline saying “Time to escape!”. This might indicate that in the early builds of the Special Stage, the player's objective was to escape the Special Stages or some kind of pursuer.

Unused animation

Chemical Plant Zone cutscene

UnusedTailsChemicalPlantcutscene
Both Sonic and Knuckles have special intros when entering this zone, where a drop of purple water falls on their heads and they react to it. However, in Tails's case, he does not react to it when it falls on him despite having an animation for this event in the game files where he blows off the Mega Mack with his twin-tails.

"I'm outta here"

In the source code of Sonic Mania, there are the unused animation and sound clips of Sonic yelling "I'm outta here" before he unceremoniously jumps off the screen, resulting in a Game Over. This is a callback to Sonic the Hedgehog CD, where Sonic does that exact thing if player hang around too long idling.

Unused audio

SMania Egg Reverie Pinch Mode DA Garden

"Egg Reverie Pinch Mode" listed in the DA Garden track list.

Sonic Mania OST Egg Reverie Pinch

The DA Garden features an unused BGM track named "Egg Reverie Pinch Mode" (listed as #42), suggesting that it would have played if the player is either running low on Rings or is very close to beating the Phantom King and Klepto Mobile boss fight in Egg Reverie Zone. It is also featured in the game's Sound Test in Level Select as "2A".

Prototype image differences

Green Hill Zone

  • Tails' early expression when lifting Sonic.
  • Sonic riding a old version of the Zip Line.
  • The Zip Line and log clipping through objects.
  • In one of the early screenshots, there is a shot of a prototype sprite for Tails airlifting Sonic. This sprite featured Tails showing a much more exaggerated facial expression, with cheek puffed out in exertion. In the final version of the game, Tails' face was redrawn with a much less exaggerated expression.
  • In some of the pre-release screenshots, Sonic is shown riding a Zip Line. This Zip Line appears to comprised of a loop of vines with a wooden handle. In the final version of the game, the Zip Line was recolored so that the loop is metal and the handle purple. This change in color scheme also occurred to the circular connectors at each end of the line - the earlier version is metal with a green outer rim, but in the final version of the game, it is purple with a metal outer rim. The Zip Lines are also depicted with their early coloring on the promotional artwork produced for the game's vinyl sountrack.
  • In one of the early screenshots, Sonic is shown riding a Zip Line that clip through the wall above it. The same screenshot also depicted a palm tree with a gab in its trunk where a spiked log crosses it. Both of these errors can be contributed to rough tile layouts. Those were fixed in the final version of the game.

Studiopolis Zone

  • A shot of the early Heavy Gunner sprite.
  • A shot of the early Heavy Gunner sprite.
  • The early background in Studiopolis Zone Act 2.
  • The early background and lotto machine.
  • The early background and foreground monitors.
  • In early screenshots of the Heavy Gunner boss fight, it is shown that the Heavy Gunner was missing the golden "HBH" star badge in the centre of his chest. However, the badge is present on the Heavy Gunner's sprite in the final version of the game.
  • A screenshot of Studiopolis Zone Act 2 shows an earlier version of the background. The middle section has the most differences, featuring more rows of monitors as well as pink and blue lights and columns which are absent from the background in the final version of the game. In the final version of the game, much of this is has been replaced with curtains and a window through which a single row of monitors are shown, and some sort of large reflective surface. The giant mixing desk in the lower background is also arranged differently, with only a single row of dials etc. before the giant knobs and buttons begin, rather than three more spaced-out rows as in the background in the final version. Finally, no area matching the one seen here exists in the finished Zone.
    • This area is briefly seen in motion in the initial announcement trailer for Sonic Mania.
  • A screenshot of Studiopolis Zone Act 2 shows an earlier version of both the background and the Act's lotto machine gimmick. The lotto machine lacks the "Gallop Lotto" logo and rainbow surrounding it in the final version of the game. This image also shows two spinning bars in a "+" shape that shows the central ball's movement; in the final version of the game, there is only a single horizontal bar. The area surrounding the lotto machine also does not appear in the final version of the game.
    • This area is briefly seen in motion in the initial announcement trailer for Sonic Mania.
  • A screenshot of Studiopolis Zone Act 2 shows an earlier version of both the background and the foreground monitors. In this shot, the monitors' screens are completely white; in the final version of the game, these monitors show the "EGG TV" logo animation on a loop, which has a scanline effect even on the blank white frames. An area similar to this in the screenshot, though not identical, appears near the end of the finished Zone.
    • This area is briefly seen in motion in the initial announcement trailer for Sonic Mania.

Flying Battery Zone

Stage ss 09

The pipework beneath the ground.

  • In an early screenshot, the pipework beneath the ground is shown having been laid out in a broken manner just like in the original Flying Battery Zone from Sonic & Knuckles. This was eventually fixed in the final version of the game.


Press Garden Zone

PressGardenProto

A shot of the early Press Garden Zone.

  • At the licensing expo held in Las Vegas on 22 May 2017, a prototype screenshot of Press Garden Zone Act 1 was shown. This shot depicts the level vastly different from its final version: the large ramps in the Act are in different colors with the ramp being colored grey and the connectors at the end being colored copper; in the final version of the game, the colors of these two elements were swapped. The background appears to be much brighter and more summer-like than the final. The foliage on the ramps is also red rather than green as in the final version of the Act. The highest background layer featuring the printing presses also appears to be missing. Finally, the white column in the flooring to the left extends right up to the white floor tiles; in the final version of the Zone, these columns are rarely placed directly beneath the floor. Even in the instances where they are, a band of ornate green under-floor tiles always separates them from the floor itself.
    • It is speculated that this is an early version of Press Garden when it was known as Pulp Solstice (found from the game's music files). However this has neither been confirmed or denied.

References

  1. Sonic Stadium on Twitter (22 July 2017). Retrieved on 23 July 2017.
  2. Headcannon (10 September 2017). Back In Action. Tumblr. Retrieved on 7 October 2017.

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