The world of Sonic the Hedgehog has had some odd ups and downs over the years—from music rumors to missed deadlines and runs in development hell. Here are seven of the biggest Sonic mysteries to plague the Genesis, Sega CD, Sega 32X, and Saturn.
7 – Mystery: What’s up with Sonic 1 and COPE?
Unsolved!: As Sonic debuted as a pinball in Spring Yard Zone, players noticed something interesting scrawled across the sky—“COPE”. Easter eggs in video games aren’t unheard of, but what was the story behind this one? Was Sonic trying to give his audience some life advice? Like, “Sonic 1-3 are going to be pretty decent games, but then Sonic Adventure comes along and it’s just downhill from there. Guess you’ll have to learn to COPE with it.”
6 – Mystery: Is there really a hidden player named Ashura in Sonic 2?
Solved!: Kind of! Well, maybe not so much a hidden player than a glitch. In Debug Mode, the green and black hedgehog Ashura (as named by fans) can be activated by placing waterfalls in a certain pattern. If you’re really interested in unlocking him, visit The Sonic News Network.
5 – Mystery: Sonic 2, Y U have so many prototypes?
Solved!: In a way. Because Sonic 2 went through so many changes, there are a couple prototypes floating around (and thanks to the Internet, now in ROM form waiting to be played on an emulator near you) including two very notable ones—the Nick Arcade prototype and the Simon Wai prototype. These prototypes include additional levels and badniks that do not appear in the official release. Through the Debug Mode, players can unlock quite a few zones—Wood Zone, Dust Hill Zone, Genocide City Zone, and Hidden Palace Zone, the latter of which was the most complete and playable.
4 – Mystery: What happened to Right Said Fred?
3 – Mystery: What is up with Sonic Crackers?
Unsolved!: From the best that we (the Internet) can gather, Sonic Crackers is a ROM of an early version of Knuckles’ Chaotix, except for the Genesis instead of the Sega 32X. If you thought Knuckles’ Chaotix sucked, wait until you play Sonic Crackers—the same great chain of rings element with even less cohesive gameplay! The jury is still out on if this was going to be released or if it was a test engine for the 32X game.
2 – Mystery: Why does Sonic 3D Blast Exist?
Solved!: Because Sega fucked up Sonic X-Treme for the Saturn. When it was found that there was no way Sonic X-Treme, the Saturn’s big title, would be ready on time, Sega scrapped the project and instead copied and pasted Sonic 3D Blast together from strings of code found around the office, making it the ET of the Saturn and rushing it out the door for the holiday season.
1 – Mystery: I heard Sonic X-Treme was coming out for the PC?
Solved!: Sort of. The sad legacy of Sonic X-Treme for the Saturn is all out there, and if you’re bothering to read an article about Sonic Mysteries, you’re likely well aware of the game’s plight. What you may not be aware of is that one of the programmers, Chris Senn, had been trying to round people up online to work on the title with the goal of releasing a finished X-Treme game for the PC, but that was officially cancelled in January 2010. As an X-Treme enthusiast, I’d like to see the game picked back up and released. Playing X-Treme would be like having Christmas every day.
Curious about other Sonic mysteries? Leave a comment below!