Wood Zone

From Sonic Retro

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit)
Scrapped Levels
Wood Zone
Wood Zone
Beta Zone, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit)
Number of Acts: 1 (incomplete)
Level theme: jungle

Wood Zone is a wood-themed Zone planned for the Sega Mega Drive version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It was designed primarily by Brenda Ross but was never finished, ultimately being pulled from the game before release. It hosts masses of flora in its backdrop, and an elaborate maze of trees in the foreground.


Wood Zone is thought to be Brenda Ross' third Sonic 2 level, after the equally scrapped Sand Shower Zone as well as a winter level that shared some of its graphics[1]. According to Ross, the zone was around 50% finished before being scrapped[1]. No boss was ever created for the level.

Unlike several scrapped stages, Wood Zone was at one point partially playable within Sonic 2, being present in the "Simon Wai" prototype and the August 21st "Alpha" prototype. Both prototypes show a very unfinished Act 1 which ends rather quickly, while the second Act is little more than an empty level slot with a palette. The music of Metropolis Zone plays in the stage.

Due to some wonky collision implementation, it is impossible to go up the ramp near the beginning. There are some other ledges that seem to involve falling in and out of trees, and a U-shaped platform at the top left. Set near the end are wooden versions of the Metropolis Zone conveyor belts, though they don't function as they have no conveyor belt object in place for them, and one of them is partially broken.

Past the point where the level design cuts off is a large empty space. If the player uses edit mode to go far enough the level ends with a very short loopback of the end of the Act. Act 2 is completely empty, lacking level design or a background, so the player falls to their death.

Wood Zone was removed by the September 14th "Pre-Beta" prototype and may have been scrapped before Hidden Palace Zone, which had more leftovers. This indicates that Wood Zone was likely scrapped around late August.

In finished releases of Sonic the Hedgehog 2

What remains of Wood Zone in the final game

In the final version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Wood Zone retains a Zone ID known as 02 from the prototypes it was present in and is accessible by going to Death Egg Zone on the Level Select using Pro Action Replay code FFFE10:0300. Alternatively, the Game Genie code ACLA-AECY (AB6X-AEBR in Knuckles in Sonic 2) can be used - go to the stage select menu and select Emerald Hill Zone (Special Stage in Knuckles in Sonic 2). Either way, Wood Zone will be accessed.

Here, Wood Zone is nothing more than a broken stage with Emerald Hill Zone graphics and layout combined with Wood Zone's palette which remains left over from prototype builds. The Zone seems to have been worked on after the Simon Wai prototype, as new background scrolling data is present in revision 00 of the final game and is used here. The life icon at the bottom left of the screen shows Tails' icon and name regardless of the character chosen. The music selection remains Metropolis Zone, as assigned in the earlier prototypes.

With Sand Shower Zone unlikely to have been added to the game at any point and Wood Zone being removed almost completely, no artwork created by Brenda Ross is thought to have made it into the final release of Sonic 2.


While the Time Travel concept was still being considered for the game, Wood Zone was originally going to be the present version of Casino Night Zone, which was in turn set to take place in the future. Whether or not this means that the two Zones were initially meant to share graphical assets, like the present's Metropolis Zone and the future's Genocide City Zone were, is left uncertain. However, a similar concept of a forest being related to a casino appears in Sonic Forces with Casino Forest.

"This is the stage that Brenda was in charge of, and it was at the same time that Ishiwatari was making Emerald Hill and Craig was making Oil Ocean in the early stages. This stage is widely known among enthusiasts because it was created halfway and a temporary map was included in the beta version. The reason for the cancellation was that when we created a temporary map midway through and verified the quality of the graphics and gameplay, it was difficult to express trees in a natural way due to the graphic capacity, and the three-dimensional effect could not be achieved. However, I couldn't help but feel like the blocks had been cut off in the middle, and the joints between the blocks in the leaves were also noticeable. Also, due to the layout of the map, vertical movement is the main axis, so even though it was a stage for the early stages, it was canceled because Sonic's sense of speed could not be expressed."

Yasushi Yamaguchi[2]

Craig Stitt was also working on a forest level that was initially set to be green and healthy, but burning in a later time period due to Robotnik's actions[3], much like Angel Island Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. However, it is unknown if this was set to be Wood Zone or a completely separate level.

Concept art

Concept art for "Secret Jungle"
Wood Zone mock-up animated image

Some early concept art shows an idea for this level under the name "Secret Jungle" (showing Sonic bouncing off from a spring-like plank on a tree and going upwards, which could imply the level would involve a lot of vertical scrolling); the timeline map however calls the level by the more familiar "Woods Zone". The rather more fleshed-out title "Secret Jungle", paired with the aforementioned concept art's suggestion of vertical scrolling (as well as the few implemented graphics and palette in-game) could suggest the layout would have been reminiscent of Jungle Zone from the Master System and Game Gear versions of Sonic the Hedgehog.

An animated mockup of Sonic running through Wood Zone was also produced and included on Brenda Ross' portfolio VHS, showing retracting spikes as well as a more finished-looking version of the conveyor belt seen in the prototypes. The background's trees are also more brownish in color, whereas they appear lilac in the prototypes.


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