|Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Beta|
Sega Technical Institute
|Console||Sega Mega Drive|
|Date||August 1992 (compile date)|
|Alternate names/hacks||Simon Wai|
Beta 4-8 etc.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Beta (also known as the infamous Simon Wai Prototype) is a widely distributed prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Mega Drive, which features an ton of incomplete zones. It was found by Simon Wai on a Chinese website in 1998.
This particular prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of the most popular examples of a prototype build of a video game making its way to the public through piracy. However, this is official Sega software, albeit with some common pirate modifications (removal of logo/copyright info).
The prototype was pirated onto cartridges after the Super Magic Drive copier came into the market, which was the main device that helped in starting up piracy of Mega Drive/Genesis games in Asia and South America. According to Yuji Naka, the prototype was stolen at a New York toy fair in 1992. It was then pirated and sold several months before the final game was released, making its way onto the market in Asia and even rental shops in Brazil. Another theory claims the build may have originated from a British gaming magazine's preview code cartridge; coincidental to this alternate theory, Sega temporarily tightened its policy regarding review codes in late 1992/early 1993.
Despite its piracy in 1992, it wasn't until May 1998 when Simon Wai found the ROM on a Chinese GeoCities page that the prototype's existence became more widely known, which led to him creating a website documenting the ROM and its differences from the final game. The website, called Simon Wai's Sonic 2 Beta (later The Sonic 2 Beta Page), was closed and merged with the Sonic Retro website on July 19, 2012 due to security issues, having hosted there since 2007.
According to drx, who later dumped later Sonic 2 builds, the prototype was compiled in August 1992.
- A prototype of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 was shown at the Nickelodeon game show Nick Arcade in 1992 (also known as the "Nick Arcade prototype"). This was earlier than the Simon Wai prototype, and was built directly off of the first Sonic The Hedgehog. Both prototypes and several near-final, post-Simon Wai prototypes have been dumped and made available online, each showing different stages of development.
- The ROM Wai found was titled MD8123.smd, the syntax for games dumped by the Super Magic Drive: "MD" for a Mega Drive game, "8" for an 8-megabit cartridge, "123" as the 123rd ROM dumped with that specific copier, and "smd" an acronym for Super Magic Drive.
- The dumped ROM may not have come directly from a pirate (or the original) cartridge, but rather a floppy disk containing a dump from a pirate cartridge (or an altered dump of the original cartridge) made for the Super Magic Drive. Back when the copier was sold, retailers would often sell games along with it in this fashion.
- The pirates removed the SEGA logo that would normally appear at the start of the game, although it still appears after beating Emerald Hill Zone.
- Only four stages can be played normally, but via a hidden level selector, a further nine can be played, in varying state of completeness.
- The popular name ("Sonic 2 Beta"), is inaccurate as "Beta" refers to a near-final build.
- There are general differences between this build and the final game:
- Sonic's and the Title-Screen's graphics look completely different.
- Only Emerald Hill and Hidden Palace (which was later scrapped) contain badniks.
- Only Emerald Hill, Chemical Plant, Aquatic Ruin and Hill Top are beatable.
- There are three additional zones present in this build, Hidden Palace, Wood, and Genocide City (which is empty).
- Some levels have completely different names.
- Many additional bugs not present in the final.
- Remnants of the Chiki Chiki Boys ROM can be found in various areas of the build's ROM.