Sonic 2 Recreation is a hack of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit) by redhotsonic. It sports an ASM overhaul, multiple characters, new zones, a new boss, a new DAC driver that supports many different sound features, new zone art, etc.
After a year of not hacking, redhotsonic missed working on Red Hot Sonic 2, and decided to start hacking Sonic 2 again from scratch using ASM. At the time, this hack had a different objective than most others: you must find the emerald in the level before you could finish it. The levels were not of the best quality graphics-wise, though the emerald hunting aspect proved to be a true challenge.
After the second demo release in 2009, the hack sort of went under the radar. On March 28th, 2012, redhotsonic formally announced that the hack was back in the making, citing it as his entry in the 2012 Hacking Contest... this being his first ever entry. In this thread, he showed off some screenshots of some nicer looking zones, this time having their own names and identities, though they were criticized at first for appearing too similar to Advance art, and thus clashing with the Mega Drive Style objects & characters.
It also gave a first look at a brand new boss. He would go on to show video footage of the game, which gave us a listen to the work of ValleyBell's DAC driver imported into the hack, allowing for Sonic CD tracks to play, and underwater effects to be applied to music and sounds.
In early May 2012, it was revealed that StephenUK jumped on board to assist with art, as redhotsonic himself would inform you that he is not a great artist. The result was much nicer looking zones than the initial re-reveal. It would ultimately enter the contest as a partially private entry, and was NOT released publicly.
Fast forward one year, and the hack entered the next Hacking Contest, THIS TIME as a public entry, under the slightly modified title: "Sonic 2 Recreation: Part One".
Sonic 2: Recreation starts off in the Portal Zone which, as those who have played the 2009 release already know, contains portals for 4 different zones. Portals 2, 3 and 4 are blocked until the first zone is completed. After all 4 are completed, all zones are available for free play. To the left, a portal will lead you to the options menu, where you can select your character and utilize the Sound Test. You can also listen to music with the new underwater music effect applied.
The emerald hunting objective in the previous release is no longer present. You may now run through and finish the levels as you desire. In their place are brand new, Sky Chase Zone inspired Special Stages. Obtaining all emeralds will allow the player to exchange their MacGuffins for a ONE TIME ONLY randomly generated cheat code. This code, when used in the Sound Test, will unlock the Level Select.
The hack features Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and redhotsonic as playable characters. Each character can be played as individually, and additionally Tails can pair up with Sonic or Knuckles, acting as a sidekick, and Knuckles can also pair up with Sonic. Cream the Rabbit was originally going to be present in the hack as well, but was soon scrapped due to a bad sprite sheet and people disliking her. Mighty was available in the 2009 release, but is NOT available in the latest release, and it is unknown at this time if/when he will return to the hack. It's also unknown if JetPackTails will be back.
Updates on this hack are posted on the SSRG and Sonic Retro forums. You can find the Sonic Retro topic thread here. .
Demo release features and information
A demo of Sonic 2 Recreation was released on the 19th of April, 2008. Not all planned features were present in this demo, which only features:
- Level select level (replaces Hill Top Zone)
- First emerald finding level (Emerald Hill Zone)
- Sonic and Tails/Sonic Alone/Tails Alone as playable character combinations
- Sonic's air dash (a double-jump action)
- Tails' flying ability (keep pressing or whilst in mid-air)
- Tails' drop ability (while flying, press the button to drop to the ground quickly)
- Tails' carrying ability (while flying, make Sonic jump into Tails' arms and Tails will carry Sonic)
- A sneak-peek at Knuckles with Tails on the second level (which is incomplete, although the emerald is there)
- Knuckles' gliding and climbing ability
- New Eggman explosion art
- Act 1 of each level uses the 2P mode death mechanism (the level scrolls back to the beginning instead of restarting)
- Back logo (to go back to the level select level)
- Warphole (to go back to the beginning of the level if you do not find the emerald)
- Barrier (disappears when emerald is found)
- New art
- Some different music from other Sonic games
- monitor, which gives a variable amount of rings
- Different waiting animations: Sonic blinks and taps his foot, while Knuckles blinks and punches the air
- Knuckles can break monitors by walking into them
- Different title cards for different characters
- If you choose sound 3F in Sound Test, you will be able to hear Space Cadet Pinball 3D theme.
Mighty on the OLD Lightning level from the 2009 release. This barrier would block the end-of-act sign and remain until the emerald was found. The warp would take you back to the start of the level, to search the entire level again to find the emerald. This aspect has since been removed.
Level one is completable, level 2 is not: although the emerald is present, the end-of-act sign is inaccessible. In addition, level 2 can also only be played with Knuckles as a main character and Tails as his sidekick.
The second demo was released about a year later. It was more "complete", and had the following:
- Level select level (replaces Hill Top Zone. The unerased parts of Hill Top Zone can be found to the right, in very garbled form.)
- The first four emerald finding levels (In order of Emerald Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, Casino Night Zone and Metropolis Zone.)
- A ton of different character combinations, including redhotsonic and Cream alone (which is garbled Shadow and Cream.)
- All the moves and features in the last demo.
- Knuckles has gliding and climbing ability.
- Mighty has a sort of "Wall Stick" move (Mighty sticks onto the wall when you press jump near one, but you can't leave the wall without waiting for Mighty to drop off.)
- Glitches and hidden things:
- The Casino Night and Emerald Hill Zone's new tiles aren't made for getting compressed in 2P mode. They look weird.
- Selecting the Hill Top Zone Act 2 will bring the player to A very garbled form of Hill Top Zone.
- Aquatic Ruin Zone is accessible via level select and it might be based on a zone like Sunset Hill Zone because that those tiles are found there and the very start of the level is complete (but the rest isn't).
2013 Hacking Contest Release - Part One
The third release has undergone a complete overhaul in the past year+. It has the following:
redhotsonic facing the brand new Gem Runway Zone boss. This boss drops red balls that must be spun into to turn yellow. Yellow balls damage the boss. Watch out for spikeballs!
ON THE SURFACE
- A new original SEGA screen, modded SSRG screen AND Sonic Retro Splash screen with redhotsonic featured.
- A new title screen with the "PRESS START BUTTON" from Sonic 1, that will take you right into the game
- A brand new title card, with matching colours and names for characters
- Play as Sonic (with/without Tails), Tails, Knuckles (with/without Tails), redhotsonic, OR Sonic & Knuckles!
- Sonic has an air-dash ability (press the button in mid-air to air-dash). He can also "burst" and gain faster speeds (run fast for a long time without slowing down and Sonic will enter burst mode; similar to the Advance series).
- Tails retains his S3K moveset, and can instantly descend from flight in the case of wanting to drop to the ground quickly (while flying, press the button to drop to the ground quickly)
- Knuckles plays as he does in S3K, though he doesn't retain his abilities as a sidekick at this moment in time
- redhotsonic has no abilities at the moment, though in the future there may be a lava level that sees him invulnerable to the lava...
- A cleaned up, bug free Portal Zone is your home. Here you can enter options to change character, switch time-over on or off, or use the sound test. Portal Zone is also responsible for getting you to new levels. At first, only one level is available. After completing one, the next one is available. After you've completed all 4, all portals become available, and the cheat is enabled (press start then A to exit game, and then at title screen, press start whilst holding A, and you're at the level select. Picking a level, hold A to enable debug)
- So far, there are 4 new, completed levels; West Bay Zone, Great Gate Zone, Gem Runway Zone and Chaos Angel Zone. Each level contains two main acts, and a boss act. Gem Runway contains the brand new boss. Chaos Angel has 3 main acts but no boss as yet. The emerald hunting aspect has been removed as well, allowing one to run through the zone as they wish
- Each boss, old or new, has a new Pinch Mode twist to add to the difficulty, and to freshen things up a bit
- Each main level and act will have a "B" portal right at the start. This will take you back to Portal Zone. This means you can go back to Portal at any time.
- Dying results in a quick scroll-back to the previous checkpoint, OR the start of the level... no more constant fade outs OR music restarting
- 2 Player no longer exists. All code has been taken out. This includes all checks, which can help improve the speed of the game (barely)
- Special Stages are now back... with a new twist. Play as Sonic and Tails on the Tornado and defeat enemies, and gather rings, en route to the Chaos Emerald.
- Unlocking a randomly generated Level Select cheat code upon obtaining all 7 Chaos Emeralds. This will sacrifice all 7 of your emeralds in exchange for this ONE TIME code! (WRITE IT DOWN!) The Level Select will allow you to take a sneak peek at future levels coming in Part Two
- If you select sound 3F in Sound Test, the "3D Pinball Space Cadet" theme will start to play.
UNDER THE HOOD
- Many Sonic 2 bugs and inferior design choices are gone, and replaced with better coding
- S3K-RM Object Manager. Described as "The S3K Object manager with more oomph." The "RM" stand for redhotsonic-Module
- S3K Touch Response
- S3K Priority Manager
- Improved S3K Rings manager
- S3K ObjectMove (and Fall) routines
- Improved layer deformation code
- A huge improvement to the Sonic 2 Clone Driver, and optimized greatly
- Uneditable SRAM - Saves your progress after each level or character selection. Loads up your progress when you next play the game. The SRAM in S2R is jumbled and data gets shifted and changed all the time. A lot of the data is dud. If you make an edit yourself to the SRAM, when you next load the game, the SRAM may delete your progress without warning, and you'll have to start again.
- Extra security to the game on top of that, so you can't cheat your way through! (RAM changes, code changes, conversion, etc)
- Many more miscellaneous optimizations here and there (too many to list)
- Underwater mode. When the main character goes underwater, the sound driver changes its properties to make the music and SFX/DAC's sound like you're underwater
- Improved screen fading routines
- Improved music fading. Music/PSGs/FMs/DACs are now more balanced when fading in and out. Also, can change the speed of the fade in/out to really fast to really slow
- SFXs are no longer affected by the fading in/out of music or by the 1-up jingle
- NTSC initially, but compatible with PAL. Music will be the same speed in PAL mode as it was in NTSC mode. Timer is still synced with the game in either mode
- Main level music will NOT restart after invincibility music or drowning music, instead, it will resume from where it left off
On August 12th 2012, the "Sonic Hacking Contest 2012" revealed the results, and Sonic 2 Recreation took 5 trophies altogether; more than anyone else in that year. Trophies won were:
- Lava Reef Trophy – Best Level Layouts
- Carnival Night Trophy – Most Innovative Feature
- Crystal Meth Trophy – Most Replayable Hack
- Casinopolis Trophy – Most Entertaining/Fun Hack
And then 20 minutes later, it was also revealed that Sonic 2 Recreation won:
- Dust Hill Trophy – 3rd Place
Planned features in the future
- More new levels
- More new bosses
- New badniks
- Time-attack mode. Show us your fastest times in S2R.
- More cut-scenes!
- More thrills that other Sonic hacks can't bring to you.
- A proper story line, as there isn't one at the moment.
- redhotsonic - creator, programmer, designer, beginner-artist
- ValleyBell - musician, sound programmer
- StephenUK - artist
- ValleyBell and StephenUK, for helping to take this game to the next level
- All the creators of programs that were used in the creation of S2R
- SMTP, this hack wouldn't have gotten far without him
- MoDule, for the guidance he gave
- Flamewing, for his advice and tips
- Zana, for creating Gem Runway's background art
- Jamie Bailey and Dragon XVI, for permission to use the MIDI for Gem Runway act 1 (act 2 remixed by ValleyBell)
- Sonica and jasonchrist, for permission to use their monitor art
- MarkeyJester, PsychoSk8r, KingofHarts, Spanner, and anyone else that have may have been forgotten
- OrdosAlpha and the other SSRG admins; for giving redhotsonic webspace so he can show S2R to the world
- And at last, but certainly not least, the members of SSRG and Sonic Retro, for their support