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Sonic Chaos had gone through several changes over its development process. There are several rejected ideas, level designs, and other things that were left on the cutting room floor. The following details several of these things.
Sonic Chaos spent much of its development being known as Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (being a successor to the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2). Being developed again by Aspect, it builds upon what was established in the previous outing, though with the addition of features from the Sega Mega Drive version of Sonic 2 and influence from Sonic the Hedgehog CD. At some point a decision was made to re-brand the game, possibly to avoid confusion with the then-unannounced Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which Chaos shares very little in common with.
The 8-bit Sonic 2 was produced by a different team to its 16-bit counterpart, and while attempts were made towards the end to unify parts of the two games' design (such as putting more of an emphasis on Tails, despite the character not being playable), it is said to be based more off the original Sonic the Hedgehog than its sequel. Chaos aimed to address this, by not only making Tails playable, but by adding the Spin Dash and incorporating design elements such as the corkscrews from Emerald Hill Zone.
The Sega Master System version appears to have been the main platform, with the Game Gear version being worked on simultaneously, but perhaps slightly behind owing to the need to make further adjustments for the system's smaller screen resolution. As evidenced by the prototypes (and indeed the final game), the Game Gear version spent much of its life using ill-fitting Master System assets before Game Gear counterparts were implemented. The Master System version was likely finished first, with more Game Gear tweaks happening afterwards, including late palette changes for Turquoise Hill Zone and Mecha Green Hill Zone, and a new soundtrack for Gigalopolis Zone, among other minor differences.
Prototype North American box art
Early game design