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Sonic 2 Secret Stuff

This game is full of secrets that have never been known when the game was first released!  But now they're all here!

Missing Levels
Hidden Palace | Wood Zone | Genocide City | Dust Hill | Other

Missing Acts

Sonic 2 Time Travel

Missing Levels

Case 1: Hidden Palace

Hidden Palace Zone (this is NOTa hoax!)

The most famous lost zone of all.  The full version is only playable with Sonic 2 Beta, but the hangovers remain in the final version.  You can only access them with hex editing, emulation, or a Pro Action Replay/Game Genie code.  The Game Genie code is shown below.

After entering the code, enter the Level Select and Debug codes, then highlight Death Egg, hold down A, and press start.  It's important to have debug on when entering Hidden Palace in the final version, as there is almost no ground to stand on.

Let's look at some screenshots.

The Master Emerald?Hidden Palace picture from a magazine

The one on top was taken with an emulator.  As you can see, Sonic appears to be in a dinosaur cave, but look at his sprites; they're from Sonic 1.  Also notice that he's balancing on the ledge of what appears to be the Master Emerald, but he's basically standing on nothing! 

The one on the bottom, according to STH Area 51, is what you get with Action Replay.  Some of the floor is missing, and you can only play act 1(act 2 is also playable but it's less complete).   There's no badniks, Star Posts, or ending.  There are rings, and the only way to get out of it is with debug mode, where you can place one of those "Egg - O - Matic" machines and stand on it.  After completing the level, you'll go to Oil Ocean.

For more info on Hidden Palace, go to my Sonic 2 Beta page.

Case 2: Wood Zone

Another lost zone is the Wood Zone, which takes place in a forest.  This level has been completely deleted from final Sonic 2, but it's palette remains.  It's also still has the number 02 in the level select.  If you don't know what I mean, here's the order the levels in the level select go in S2 Beta: Green Hill, Wood Zone, Metropolis, Hill Top, Hidden Palace, Oil Ocean, Dust Hill, Casino Night, Chemical Plant, Genocide City, Neo Green Hill, Death Egg.

As you can see, Wood is the second level.  By changing palette 00(Emerald/Green Hill) with palette 02 in a hex editor, you get a strange-looking Emerald Hill with Wood's palette.  You can hardly play it, but it looks pretty cool.  Check it out:

Emerald Wood Zone? It's possible...

You can also do the same thing with Sonic 2 & Knuckles, but it's even more messed up.  Take a look.

Knuckles is in a tight spot

Case 3: Genocide City

Genocide City is a rather confusing mystery.  It's accessable in Sonic 2 Beta, but there's no implanted floors, so you just fall to the bottom and die.  Jan Abaza, owner of StH Area 51, thought to have discovered Genocide City in final S2 as palette 09, but was wrong.  In Sonic 2 Beta, it had the palette number 0E, but in the final, 0E is owned by...DEATH EGG?!  WHAT?!  So it seems that Genocide City could have become Death Egg.  Or did it...

Continuing on, this mystery may be close to being solved.  Someone named Sonic Jedi on Simon Wai's Sonic 2 Beta board claimed to have found Genocide City.  Here's what he said:

"I may have found a major lead as to what Genocide city was supposed to look like. And from what I've found that it is NOT an inferno-plagued Chemical Plant Zone. In case nobody noticed, Sonic & Knuckles is realy a "lost levels" game contaning levels that were cut from other Sonic games. However the Sonic 2 Levels were evolved and most names were changed:

Sonic 2---Wood Zone--->Mushroom Hill Zone
Sonic 3---Flying Battery--->Flying Battery
Sonic 2/CD---Dust Hill(Desert)--->Sandopolis
Sonic 3---Lava Reef--->Lava Reef
Sonic 2---Hidden Palace--->Hidden Palace
Sonic 2---Death Egg--->Death Egg
Sonic 3---Doomsday--->Doomsday

That accounts for all levels...except one-Genocide City. Could Sky Sanctuary be Genocide City? I knew it was possible, but I wasn't sure until I found something very interesting. The GENECYST ROM EMULATOR features many debugging tools including layer toggles, pallets, and paterns. And then it hit me. I loaded Sonic 2 Beta, picked Genocide City, paused the game and looked at the patterns. The patterns were there. They were almost all of Aquatic Ruin except for some patterns which look like clouds. Furthermore Aquatic Ruin resembles Sky Sanctuary by a large ammount. It's very likely that Gennocide Was supposed to resemble Aquatic Ruin or be a time counterpart the way Hill Top and Green Hill do each other. The mystery may be very close to being solved!!!"

I checked this out for myself, and it is indeed true.  HyperSonic started a new thread confirming it, and Cracked Knuckle responded saying it's possibly a glitch; here's what he said:

"If you DO look at the screenshot at that website(MSM's Note: He's referring to the screenshots HyperSonic took here.), it appears that Genocide city would have had red leaves. I always thought leaves were green most of the time. However, if it IS in fact another version of Aquatic Ruin, it would make sense to make the scenery a little different. But, another possibility is that strangely colored ARZ patterns are loaded because of a simple glitch. I can't really say much though, because I haven't actually seen this for myself yet. If you do think that GCZ was another version of ARZ, and NOT CPZ, post your theories now."

Compie responded with this:

"Well since how the tile-system for genesis works (i think) those tiles aren't propperly colored.. since each seems to have just a number of possible colors and you switch wich it use.. if you click on the area you'll switch color in a cycle.. so no.. they aren't red.. but there's no color mode that looks like Aquatic ruin though..

And glitch and glitch.. Genocide might've used the same memory address for tiles as Aquatic ruin now uses.. just they moved AQZ's one to save space.. something like that.."

I then came up with a really believeable theory.  I responded to the original message thread with this:

"We know that Sonic 2 was supposed to deal with time travel, right? Well, if Genocide City has ARZ's patterns, could it be a BAD FUTURE of ARZ?

It could be possible, because Aquatic Ruins has the word 'ruins' in it, which would be a perfect way to describe Genocide City. But how did ARZ's patterns end up there? Maybe SEGA put them there themselves and were going to change the colors some so they match the theme of the zone, with all the darkness and pollution in it.

Here's an example: look at Palmtree Panic GF and BF in Sonic CD. They look almost alike except GF has bright, cheerful colors and plants and BF has dark, evil colors and dead leaves and badniks."

I got three responsesCracked Knuckle repeated his 'glitch' theory, Compie said to check his response to Cracked Knuckle's theory, as seen above, and then there was an interesting one from Sonique, the owner of the now defunct Shadow of Light.  Read on:

"I think Emerald Hill and Neo Green Hill would be past and future together. I mean their old names are Green Hill and Neo Green Hill.  It also makes sence that Green Hill has a few water falls where as Neo Green Hill is completely under water like before erosion or something.

Another thing to note which I think MSM pointed out was Ruins means like an old city.. like.. know what i mean?
I also heard somewhere, I don't remember where, but I heard Genocide city was just the alpha/beta name of good ol' Chemical Plant. They probably added it into the beta as a mistake. It was a beta, why would they care if they made a mistake?"

See how big this mystery is?  And yet there's more to do...

Case 4: Dust Hill

The last lost level to be discussed is Dust Hill, a desert-like level.  In Sonic 2 Beta, it's Mystic Cave.   But that's not the point; let's take a look.

The mysterious Dust Hill

This is the only known Dust Hill picture known.  Rumored to be a hoax by SEGA themselves, you can see many strange things within this single picture.  First off, you can clearly see that Sonic's sprites are his sprites from Sonic 1.  The clouds in the sky are from Sonic 1 too.  If you look in the top-left corner behind the counters, you can see the Buzzers from Emerald Hill.  Sonic 2 badniks never repeat themselves in any other zone of the game.  Speaking of badniks, there's an alligator there that can't be seen anywhere else.

By further examning the pic, you can see Sonic is really off-centered, and he's in the air without doing the jumping animation.  He could only do this if he walked off a ledge, but the steps are too far away to make it where Sonic could land where the aliigator was.  One last thing to note is the counter; it's font is from Sonic 1.  And look at the rings counter; it says '08'.  Which made me think of the Game Gear version of this game.  In the Game Gear version, if you get 100 rings in a zone, not only will you get an extra life, but the ring counter will reset to 0.  Maybe this was supposed to happen the Genesis version, but Sega removed it so the two games wouldn't be alike.  Or was Dust Hill going to be in Sonic 2 GG?  No, it couldn't; graphics as detailed as that can only be on the Genesis...

Jan Abaza said that he had a strange feeling Dust Hill was originally Quartz Quadrant from Sonic CD.  He also said that some time ago, someone posted a list of beta levels in Sonic CD.  These are the names(along with what I think they became):

Palmtree Hill Zone(Palmtree Panic)
Chaos Collision Zone(same name, but 'chaos' and 'collision' are switched around)
Dust Hill Zone(Quartz Quadrant?)
Star Dust Zone(Stardust Speedway)
Metallic Workbench(Wacky Workbench/Metallic Madness)
End Zone - Final Boss(Metallic Madness)

If you think it's not enough, look at this picture of the Little Planet from Sonic CD:

The Little Planet.  What's that desert area on there?

Each little area represents a zone, but what about that big desert-cacti area on the top?  There's not a zone like that in the game at all.  Dust Hill!  Here's a prime example:

Look at the pictures below.   One is of an area in QQ Past in Sonic CD, the other is the Dust Hill pic.   Take QQ Past gems, replace it with cacti. Then you take QQ Past "outside" background and replace it with desert.  Volia!  Dust Hill!

Quartz Quadrant Past Dust Hill...notice any similarities?

A few more things to prove this theory right:

- YarHarHar has pointed out that "Dust Hill" and Quartz Quadrant have the same ground patterns. Quartz Quadrant's is just doubled!

- Quartz Quadrant's Japanese music fits perfectly for that "Dust Hill" picture.

- How can you be sure that "Dust Hill" zone on the screenshot is realy called Dust Hill? Of course, we have Dust Hill in Sonic 2 Beta, but who says that the picture is from Sonic 2 at all???

- When trying debug in QQ Past (update: it works in Present and Future too), you can see that there is an 'invisible' object. If you try to place it, nothing happens. Maybe it was a thing used in "Dust Hill". An aligator?

- Remember the sand in Sandopolis Zone? It has pretty much the same function conveyor belts in Quartz Quadrant have.

More screenshots with saguaro-looking things in them:

This is getting weird...Is that a cactus in the background?

More Missing Level Stuff

The zone below is palette 01.  I think this was supposed to be Dust Hill or Emerald Hill Good Future(see Time Travel theory below).  As you can see, it's Emerald Hill with only floors(no loops) implented.  Also note the background and the Tails life icon, but it says "Miles".  And no, the "Miles/Tails" trick was not done before these screenshots were taken.

It says Miles down there, but that trick wasn't done.  How is it possible? Will we ever know the truth behind this zone?

Missing Acts

Jan found a Wing Fortress Gamma a while back, and discovered it to be Wing Fortress Act 2.  It was also discovered that Sky Chase and Death Egg had two acts!  Jan didn't spoil it and say what happens, but he gave these steps to get the trick to work:

1) Open a Genecyst savestate in a hexeditor.
2) Find location 12280 and change a byte at 9 to 01.
3) Let yourself be killed. Sonic will warp to act 2 of any zone- even SC, WF and DE.

Saxman sent an e-mail with this fragment:

"This is wrong. Well, not exactly, but I know what you are thinking. These are NOT real levels, they weren't made nor deleted. Act 1 and 2 on ALL zones is kept in memory. It automatically says act 2 because programmers never set a startup string (act 2 is set in the game as a default)."

Okay, that's out of the way, and so is the missing levels section!  Let's get to the next big stop:

Sonic 2 = Time Travel?

Yes, we all know Sonic CD has time travel, but Sonic Team was also going to put it in Sonic 2!  Sources say each level was designed to take place somewhere in time.  This can be easily seen.

Let's make up a time travel thing for each level, shall we?  Let's take Hill Top, Emerald Hill, Aquatic Ruins, and Genocide City.  There's supposed to be a Past, Present, Good Future, and Bad Future for each zone.  Hill Top looks sort of like Emerald Hill, but with brighter colors, so it would be a 'Past' zone.  Emerald Hill would be present, Aquatic Ruins would be Good Future, and Genocide City is Bad Future.  So it's like this:

Past: Hill Top
Present: Emerald Hill
Good Future: Aquatic Ruins
Bad Future: Genocide City

I'm not saying this is what it was going to be like in the final.  This is just a guess.

Another Time Travel thing I made up was thanks to Simon Wai.  He came up with an theory about Hidden Palace being a 'Past' Mystic Cave, which lead me to my own theory.  You can read it on my S2 Beta page, in the Hidden Palace section.  Once again, like so:

Past: Hidden Palace
Present: Mystic Cave
Good Future: ???
Bad Future: ???

There are many other time travel levels that can be discovered, but we may never know them all.  Only one company probably knows them, and that company is SEGA.