Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Nov 3, 1993 prototype)

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Title Screen
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Nov 3, 1993 prototype)
Build date Nov 3, 1993
Dump status Released
Dumped by drx
Released by drx
File release date November 16, 2019
Origin EPROMs
Lot Sonic Month 2019
Labels Sonic 3 MD 3/11
Dump method True-USB PRO GQ-4X
Ownership drx (2019-Present)
Game Sonic the Hedgehog 3
System Sega Mega Drive
Genre Platform
Final build JP Nov 20, 1993
EU Nov 20, 1993
US Nov 20, 1993
Release date US Feb 2, 1994
EU Feb 24, 1994
JP May 27, 1994
Download Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Nov 3, 1993 prototype) (info, raw dump)

A prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for the Sega Mega Drive.


The Cutting Room Floor research
    • While the EPROMs have a date written on them, the header suggests the ROM might've been built sometime in October of 1993.
    • This build of the game reflects a time during development when the developers were beginning to split the game into two. As such, some of the content in this prototype would be eventually cut from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 but would resurface in Sonic & Knuckles. Programming for objects, stages, and more that would be completely removed from the released Sonic the Hedgehog 3 ROM are still present in this build.
    • The ROM contains two kinds of leftovers. There are various references to source code and assembler linking data for Star Trek: The Next Generation – Future's Past, mainly in the area where the sound driver is located. Toward the end of ROM, there are two large areas containing leftover data from various earlier builds of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The first leftover chunk starts at (1AACAE-1C7FFF) and contains the following
Address Contents
0x1AACAE partial kosinski archive for tiles relating to slots
0x1AAE0E mapping (128x128 for Slots, same as the one used in the prototype)
0x1ADD54 mapping (16x16 mapping for Lava Reef Zone)
0x1AEF34 Lava Reef Zone's Primary KosM archive header.
0x1AEF36 Lava Reef Zone tiles.
0x1AF846 Lava Reef Zone tiles. platforms
0x1B0056 Lava Reef Zone tiles. rocks
0x1B0A86 Lava Reef Zone tiles.
0x1B1446 Lava Reef Zone tiles.
0x1B1E16 Lava Reef Zone tiles.
0x1B27C6 Lava Reef Zone tiles.
0x1B2A86 blank (possibly used for the background in Lava Reef Zone)
0x1B2AC6 collision/solid like tiles, some flower like things. mvz/lrz act 2?
0x1B2D36 collision/solid like tiles
0x1B2ED6 mapping (128x128 mapping for Lava Reef Zone)
0x1B5DB6 mapping (possibly 16x16 mapping for Azure Lake Zone)
0x1B66D8 Azure Lake Zone tiles
0x1B6FE8 Azure Lake Zone tiles
0x1B7958 Azure Lake Zone tiles
0x1B82C8 Azure Lake Zone tiles (bg)
0x1B89D8 Azure Lake Zone tiles (bg)
0x1B8EE8 mapping
0x1B95DA collision/solid like tiles
0x1B987A collision/solid like tiles
0x1B99FA mapping
0x1B9C0C collision/solid like tiles
0x1B9EAC collision/solid like tiles
0x1BA05C mapping
0x1BA29E collision/solid like tiles
0x1BA53E collision/solid like tiles
0x1BA6BE mapping
0x1BA8E0 collision/solid like tiles
0x1BAB80 collision/solid like tiles
0x1BAD00 mapping
0x1BAF10 mapping
0x1BB2D2 gumball tiles
0x1BB7F2 gumball tiles
0x1BBC42 mapping
0x1BC81C Azure Lake Zone bg tiles
0x1BCF2C Azure Lake Zone bg tiles
0x1BD43C mapping
0x1BDABC mapping
0x1BE39E Balloon Park Zone tiles
0x1BEBEE Balloon Park Zone tiles
0x1BF42E Balloon Park Zone tiles (bg)
0x1BFB1E Balloon Park Zone tiles (bg)
0x1C037E mapping
0x1C0A6E mapping
0x1C1430 Desert Palace Zone tiles
0x1C1D30 Desert Palace Zone tiles
0x1C2640 Desert Palace Zone tiles with numbers
0x1C2D60 possible Desert Palace Zone tiles, but its all numbers
0x1C2E20 mapping
0x1C3430 mapping (Levels\CGZ\Blocks\Primary.bin) - partial?
0x1C4000 LBZ/HCZ Waterline scroll?
0x1C5040 Angle Array
0x1C5240 Height maps
0x1C7240 Rotated Height maps (partial)
    • The second chunk (1EAF4A-1F6FFF) contains a few leftover stage layouts and palette data from various builds of the game. This data includes the stage layout data for Lava Reef Zone Acts 1 & 2, and various 2P zones in various states of completion. The stage palette table and the data it points to for one earlier build still exists in its entirety.
  • General Differences
    • The Sega logo screen is the same one used from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. However, the screen adds horizontal lines across the screen as Sonic runs to the right for some reason. The audio quality of the Sega scream is also significantly less in comparison to the final, possibly done to save space on the cartridge.
    • The title screen is different. The logo uses a very basic color palette and is missing the background and lacks copyright information. The title screen only lasts about eight seconds before going into a demo, while the final version lasts throughout the remainder of the title music.
    • Pressing start at the title screen brings you right into a level select instead of the "data select" menu from the final. Unlike the final builds, no music plays on the level select screen.
    • Debug mode can be activated by playing tracks "01, 03, 05, 07" in order and holding down the A button when selecting a level. Night mode can be activated by holding down the C button when selecting a level.
    • Despite being on the level select, Mushroom Valley and Sandopolis cannot be loaded and they unfortunately lack data.
    • You can return to the title screen at any time by pressing the A button while paused.
    • The sound driver in this build of the game is prone to breaking, with some sounds causing the sound driver to crash or play sounds incorrectly.
    • Most of the music in this prototype is either exactly the same, unfinished, or completely different in comparison to the final version.
    • The title card is slightly different in the prototype, using a darker red color for the ribbon.
    • Sonic uses his sprites from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. However, some additional sprites for hanging onto objects have been made.
    • When Sonic completes an act, his animation frame changes to his "fall back" frame. The music doesn't play the "Act Complete" jingle despite being in the game.
    • Getting a 1UP causes the music to stop until the game loads the next music track (either by drowning or dying). Getting an invincibility will cause the invincibility theme to play endlessly.
    • The insta-shield has not been implemented.
    • Instead of the insta-shield, Sonic can perform a drop dash like move that was cut from the final game. Press and hold Up and jump and Sonic will instantly spindash when he lands on the floor. Only Sonic can perform this move.
    • While the shield moves have not been implemented yet, unused code exists for other moves for Sonic:
      • RG6A-A6Z0 // 00B8B6:4E71 - Press the 'A' button while jumping to perform an Air Dash. Sonic can do a quick dash in the air in any direction by holding the directional pad at the same time. This move has bugs however, as the camera doesn't update with Sonic position if he air dashes at an angle.
      • RG5T-A6Z2 // 00B7B8:4E71 & RG5T-A6Z4 // 00B7BA:4E71 - Press the 'B' button while jumping to shoot a single ring in the direction Sonic is facing. Using the move doesn't deplete Sonic's ring count, however the ring that's shot cannot be collected. The ring can't be used on some objects, but can be used on badniks. Shooting a single ring causes Sonic to come out of a ball and recoil in the opposite direction he shoots. Press the 'C' button while jumping to shoot a single ring from both sides of Sonic. Shooting for both directions doesn't cause Sonic to recoil.
    • It's only possible to play as Tails alone through hacking. Knuckles has not been implemented yet.
    • Big rings do not appear in any stage, but areas have been carved out in the level layouts for them.
    • While star posts sparkle if you have 50 rings, jumping into them doesn't warp you to a bonus stage.
    • None of the special properties of the item boxes have been implemented. Each shield acts like a normal shield.
    • None of the special/bonus stages are functional. The special stages are simple screens meant to test the sprite scaling routines.
    • Knuckles' theme is the one used from the PC port.
    • The Competition Menu BGM is the one used from the PC port.
    • The unknown/unused track from the PC port also exists.
    • The Staff Credits theme from the PC port exists. The theme has a different drum track when it loops a second time, which is not present in the PC release. This track's arrangement and instrument programming has some similarity with Diamond Dust Zone from Sonic 3D Blast, so it is possible that it was composed by Tatsuyuki Maeda. His tracks often have echoed instruments along with heavy PSG use.
  • Angel Island Zone Differences
    • The music is slightly different, containing some different instrument programming.
    • Both acts contain significant layout differences.
    • The title card loads when the level begins regardless if the opening cinematic plays, causing the tiles to change prematurely.
    • The opening cinematic is different. In the prototype, Sonic surfs on a surf board towards the island. In the final, Sonic flies onboard the Tornado with Tails.
    • Knuckles' sprite is completely different. Instead of jumping up from the ground, he stands in place taunting Sonic before running away.
    • The cut helper mechanic has been implemented in only one area on the map. After the first monkey near the highest ledge you can find Tails flying independently from Sonic. If you jump up and catch Tails, he'll fly you up to an unreachable cliff.
    • The cutscene with the Flame Craft is a bit different. In the prototype, the scene lasts longer. The Flame Craft can shoot fire at you during the cutscene. The music transitions properly to the Act 2 variant as soon as the cutscene is over.
    • Knuckles' route exists but it's much more simplistic in comparison to the final.
    • Some of the sound IDs used by objects are incorrect and play the wrong sound.
    • The sound effect of Robotnik flying away after the bombing cutscene is different.
    • An object to test the game's software scaling routines exists in the level's object list. However, the sprite used for the test doesn't load and messes up the contents of VRAM.
  • Hydrocity Zone Differences
    • The music is almost complete, with act 2 sounding somewhat incomplete.
    • The background layer is completely different in act 1 and is somewhat unfinished.
    • This level is missing the swinging ball pillars in the foreground in both acts.
    • Sonic starts in his normal standing frame as he falls from the sky in the beginning of act 1.
    • The level layout in act 1 is the same as the final (with act 2 having slight changes), but the object layout has many differences.
    • The underwater palette is different in the starting area of act 1.
    • The Bugernaut badnik uses a different sprite.
    • Sonic recoils when he hits a Blastoid at any angle.
    • The level doesn't transition to act 2 when you defeat the miniboss.
    • The wall tiles of the foreground are slightly different in the starting area of Act 2 for some reason.
    • Knuckles' starting position is too close to the edge of the entrance of his appearance so he ends up running off the cliff when he approaches the switch.
    • The level doesn't transition to Marble Garden Zone after defeating the boss.
  • Marble Garden Zone Differences
    • The music is identical to the final release.
    • The act 1 layout is slightly different in comparison to the final release, but the object layout has many differences. The act 2 layout is almost the same as the one in the final release, but the object layout only has small changes in comparison.
    • Sonic starts near the hill with his standing frame. In the final version, the developers added an area on the map that takes advantage of the vertical loopback to give the illusion of Sonic falling from the sky.
    • The spintop objects don't despawn when you jump off them.
    • It's impossible to defeat the main boss of this zone without debug mode, as Sonic instantly dies and doesn't fly with Tails when Robotnik takes off.
    • The level transition to Carnival Night Zone hasn't been implemented yet.
  • Carnival Night Zone Differences
    • The music is completely different and uses the tracks from the PC version.
    • The level layout is mostly the same but with different object placement.
    • The act 1 miniboss spawns above the arena. The level transition doesn't occur when you defeat it.
    • The first encounter with Knuckles halfway through the level hasn't been implemented yet, so the rest of the level is played with the lights on.
    • The second encounter with Knuckles is also not implemented, so debug mode has be used to fight the main boss.
    • The main boss has been implemented, but the level doesn't transition to the next zone upon defeating it.
  • Flying Battery Zone Differences
    • This level was almost completely cut from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and would appear in Sonic & Knuckles.
    • The instruments used in the songs for this zone are slightly different.
    • The background used in the zone is completely different.
    • The layout for both acts are similar to the one used for the final version, but end up looking different.
    • The level lacks any objects aside from the miniboss and main level boss. The debug object list contains a few badniks, but no stage specific objects.
    • The level lacks any level transitions.
  • Ice Cap Zone Differences
    • The music is completely different and uses the tracks from the PC version. Both have similarities to Crystal Egg Zone from the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, so they were possibly composed by Tomonori Sawada. Act 1's music also lacks a snare unlike the PC version, so it is possible that the version in this prototype is unfinished.
    • The level layout is almost identical to the final version, but with object layout differences.
    • Sonic runs down the side of the hill at the start of Act 1 in the prototype. The snowboard used in the final has not been implemented yet.
    • There is no falling snow near the end of Act 1.
    • While the area for the transition to Launch Base Zone has been implemented, it doesn't take you to the next zone.
  • Launch Base Zone Differences
    • The music is completely different and uses the tracks from the PC version.
    • This stage uses a different palette in comparison to the final.
    • The level layout has a few differences in comparison to the final. The object layout is different as well.
    • The encounter with Knuckles near the end of the stage doesn't load the next area with the mini boss. However, controlling Tails after jumping out of the building will allow you to advance to the mini boss for the stage. The area the mini boss is in also contains a gimmick that was cut from the final that allows the players to transport to the top of the area to hit the boss.
    • The boss at the end of the second act is defeated with one hit.
    • The platform Knuckles stands on near the end level cutscene is different.
    • The player comes to a halt sometime after the end level encounter with Knuckles.
    • While the first of the final bosses has been programmed and can be loaded in game through hacking, the Big Arms final boss is no where to be found.




File Type Date Size SHA-1
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Nov 3, 1993 prototype).md File 2019-09-07 08:54:27 2 MB fc87a7b411302a576028b7ccd5911b1f266b59b3


00000100 53 45 47 41 20 47 45 4e 45 53 49 53 20 20 20 20 SEGA GENESIS 00000110 28 43 29 53 45 47 41 20 31 39 39 33 2e 4f 43 54 (C)SEGA 1993.OCT 00000120 53 4f 4e 49 43 20 54 48 45 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 SONIC THE 00000130 20 20 20 20 20 20 48 45 44 47 45 48 4f 47 20 33 HEDGEHOG 3 00000140 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 00000150 53 4f 4e 49 43 20 54 48 45 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 SONIC THE 00000160 20 20 20 20 20 20 48 45 44 47 45 48 4f 47 20 33 HEDGEHOG 3 00000170 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 00000180 47 4d 20 30 30 30 30 31 30 37 39 2d 30 30 10 19 GM 00001079-00.. 00000190 4a 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 J 000001a0 00 00 00 00 00 1f ff ff 00 ff 00 00 00 ff ff ff ................ 000001b0 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 000001c0 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0a 0b 0c 0d 0e 0f ................ 000001d0 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 000001e0 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 000001f0 4a 55 45 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 JUE


See also