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Dust Hill Zone (fan game)

From Sonic Retro

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Fast Facts on Dust Hill Zone

Latest Version: Area 51 Demo
Latest Release Date: 1999 May 18
Engine: The Games Factory
Credits: Jan Abaza

Dust Hill Zone is a fan game demo created by Jan Abaza, the founder of Area 51. Based on the infamous mock-up of the Dust Hill Zone (often thought to be an in-game screenshot at the time), this game is an attempt by Jan to what he thought the Dust Hill Zone would have been like. Only a demo version from 1999 is known to exist, for Windows.

Gameplay

The game uses a very simple platforming engine. Sonic has rather high acceleration, so he reaches top speed quickly. Upon pressing the Ctrl key, Sonic will jump. If the Ctrl key is held down, Sonic will continue to hop the moment he hits the ground, however he will not remain in his spin attack form the entire time, and will be vulnerable to enemies. Sonic's movement speed resets whenever he lands on the ground, which slows him severely. Sonic is also able to do a peel out movement similar to the one in Sonic CD by holding the down arrow key and pressing the left or right arrow key.

Act 1. And yes, the rock is part of the alligator sprite. Oh how we've learned!

The game itself consists of a single zone with 2 acts, in which Sonic travels through sand dunes and rock caves, as gathered from that Dust Hill Zone mock-up. The first slope of sand is a conveyor belt, most likely used to provide an explanation as to why Sonic is so out of place in the mock-up. The end of act 1 has a level sign, as does the end of act 2. There is no boss. Upon completion of act 2, the game resets to the title screen.

The boxes blink rather fast in-game.

There is a single type of enemy in the stage, and that is the alligator badnik that appeared in the mock-up. This was long before the full alligator badnik sprite ripped from the Simon Wai Sonic 2 prototype was available, and as such, Jan merely copied what was seen in the mock-up, an alligator head, and added a rock. If Sonic collides with this badnik while not spinning, he will lose his rings but not be thrown backwards, and the enemy will be destroyed regardless. Sonic is unable to recollect lost rings.

At the end of act 1, and the start of act 2, the background is that of an mock-up of the Hidden Palace Zone, simulating a deep cave environment. Music throughout the game is that of Quartz Quadrant present, from the Japanese and European Sonic CD soundtrack, albeit low quality. This may be due to a now defunct theory from Area 51 that Dust Hill Zone was related to Quartz Quadrant.

Act 1. Saguaro taken from Sonic CD's Quartz Quadrant (past).

The numbers in the upper left-hand corner of the screen contain debug information. The top number is Sonic's distance from the left edge of the map. The second number is Sonic's distance from the top of the map. The third number is how many rings Sonic currently possesses.

Bugs

The engine utilized is extremely primitive and limited, to the point where some would call this game almost unplayable. There are several floating platforms in the game, however Sonic does not move with them, and can only land on them; he must continually jump to be able to utilize them. Likewise, Sonic is unable to run up curved slopes; he must jump over them.

Act 2 does not have a proper boundary. Thus, if Sonic walks off the left edge of the screen in Act 2, he will fall off the stage.

The shield monitor in the game has no function.

Sonic can also go into a strange permanent rolling spin by colliding with a wall the moment he jumps. He cannot be damaged during this period, and will remain in this state until he collides with another wall or jumps.

Download.svg Download Dust Hill Zone
File: dhilldem.zip (1.25 MB) (info)