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S2Beta:Main Page

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Welcome! If you came here expecting The Sonic 2 Beta Page, we regret to inform you that due to a combination of security holes and really the site hasn't been maintained for years, we've pulled the plug on the old standalone site. The content was already being taken from here, the Sonic Retro wiki, so those who are looking for the old content can still find it below. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, but don't fret: the legacy has been living on here and will continue to do so for years to come. Trust us. We do our best, and many great things have happened as a result. We'll be there for the next Hidden Palace! - The Sonic Retro Staff


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Introduction

Welcome to The Sonic 2 Beta Wiki. This project is the updatable version of The Sonic 2 Beta Page, the site dedicated to the archival and research of prototype versions of SEGA's video game Sonic the Hedgehog 2 made for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Much like a movie, a video game undergoes heavy "editing" before shipping, and significant amount of data is stripped due to time or space constraints. In the case of Sonic 2, several zones were completely cut from the final version. For years, questions have been asked regarding the staggering discrepancies between Sonic 2 and old magazine preview screenshots. Gamers could only dream of being able to play the lost levels first-hand ― until the binary image of Sonic 2 Beta surfaced on the Internet in late 1998...

What is Sonic 2 Beta?

Sonic 2 Beta is an unfinished, prototype version of Sonic 2. Sega sent these out to magazine companies for preview before the final version was out.

What's the big deal about an unfinished prototype version?

Some "lost" levels can be found in the beta version. Lost levels are zones that were originally planned to be included in the final release of Sonic 2, but were missing in the final version. The lost levels include a desert level, Wood Zone, Hidden Palace Zone and Genocide City Zone. Some existing zones have special features that are not available in the final version, such as the wooden balls in Oil Ocean Zone.

Why were some levels canned?

Although there's a general "consensus" that time seemed to be the largest limiting factor into why levels were canned, the precise reasons behind many of the levels are still unknown, and are therefore open questions in the Sonic Retro community for further refinement.
However, as alluded to earlier, general factors exist which prevented many of the levels from being playable. Time, although one of them, was not necessarily the only reason. Technical limitations at the time and even company politics could have played a large role in the cancellation of many levels. Regardless, detailed explanations for cancellations aren't known.

The following are all downloads of the various beta versions of the games presented in chronological order with the dates of discovery:

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Simon Wai Prototype (info) (December 1998)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 drx Prototype (info) (November 2006)
Beta 4 (info) (February 2008)
Beta 5 (info) (February 2008)
Beta 6-1 (info) (February 2008)
Beta 6-2 (info) (February 2008)
Beta 7 (info) (February 2008)
Beta 8 (info) (February 2008)

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Respective Prototype Levels

Media and Research