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Mushroom Hill Zone
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is quite a standout among Sonic & Knuckles
zones in that the overall level layout has a lot of differences compared to later prototypes and the final.
At the beginning of Act 1, Sonic and Tails fall from high up in the sky instead of flying in.
On the other hand, Knuckles gets dumped in a completely different part of the zone than he does in the final. His starting point here is (0x0440, 0x033C), while in S3&K final it's (0x0080, 0x096D)—a point which doesn't even exist in 0408's version of the zone.
If Knuckles climbs the wall on the left, he will find a Fire Shield. When he makes his way to the right, he will find himself at one of the higher routes of the act due to his much higher starting position.
The first Giant Ring is not a Super Giant Ring. Entering it will attempt to send the player to the Hidden Palace emerald chamber with Death Egg Act 2 music playing, then immediately load a Special Stage.
Knuckles, on the other hand, does not encounter any Giant Rings at his starting point.
The section of the zone that follows the first Giant Ring is noticeably different.
In lieu of a giant ring, there is a diamond pattern of regular rings here instead. (Act 1; screen coordinates 25D1:068C)
However, there is a giant ring seemingly randomly placed elsewhere in the level.
The spring you must hit to get to the ledge to use the pulley machine isn't very reactive.
There is no sound effect on the Pulley machine.
Knuckles can grab a lot more than he should be able to. It is possible to grab the other side as well, but he will be obscured by it.
Touching Hey Ho's axe will hurt you in this prototype, but not in the final. It also doesn't make any sound effects when chopping.
|Sonic 3C 0408
|Sonic 3 & Knuckles final
Knuckles' switch at the beginning of Act 2 is blue, not red. When Knuckles pulls the lever, it does not move down with his hand and doesn't make a sound effect.
There should be an Invincibility monitor here. Also, the layout is slightly different.
This Giant Ring is missing. Instead, there is...a pair of monitors stuck in the ceiling? Knocking them down reveals...
...a little Russian Roulette action? The layout in this area is different, too. Both MHZ1 and MHZ2 received a lot of changes before the final, it seems.
The ring placement in this descent is different.
In the final, these breakable walls were shifted to the left. Interestingly, Knuckles cannot break them while gliding, but they break when he lands.
After that segment, the level layout is different.
In this prototype, there is a Water Shield monitor at this location. In the final, it's a Lightning Shield monitor.
There's no entry to the giant ring here.
There is a lack of weighted mushroom devices - but there is one on the bottom of the level, not right after the change.
There is no gust of air that raises Sonic during the mushroom flight, instead, there seems to be a similar air to Sky Sanctuary Zone that mucks up Sonic.
After the palette change, the level layout is different again.
When Dr. Eggman is embedded in the ground transmitting his satellite signal, he's closer to the ledge in 0408 whereas he's farther back in the final, and doesn't make any sound effects. You can jump over the satellite dish and repeatedly hit the backside of the boss vehicle. This continues until you hit the satellite dish. This difference would persist in later Sonic 3C and Sonic & Knuckles prototypes as far as the 0606 prototype.
He stays in place a lot longer after he comes out of the ground. As for the boss itself, it always takes 7 hits to destroy, regardless of how many times you hit it before the autoscrolling sequence. Once you're in the battle, when you hit him, you'll fly back much farther than the final.
Defeating Eggman doesn't cause his ship to explode until he hits the tree at the end of the level. The spikeballs also disappear and do not burn.
When busting open the capsule at the end of Act 2, blue smoke comes out instead of grey. (Oddly-colored smoke seems to be plaguing these protos.)
The MHZ->FBZ cutscene has missing sound effects with the Flying Battery. When Sonic is about to board the ship, Tails continues to run and kills himself in the pit rather than stopping and taking flight.
|Sonic 3C 0408
|Sonic 3 & Knuckles final