Sega 16-bit hidden gem discovered: Sonic the Hedgehog Prototype | Sega Genesis | Sega Mega Drive

“Gotta speed, keed….”, “Let’s juice….”, “It’s juice and jam time…”, “Up over and gone!”, “I’m waaiiiittttiiiiinnnngggg”, “Let’s do it to it”, “Way past cool!” – that’s what Sonic says.

  • Discover the almost missing piece of artwork in gaming history – Sonic the Hedgehog prototype.
  • Official download link and recommendation on how to play the prototype given on the section at the bottom.
  • Don’t forget to leave your comment below – which one do you like better – the stages on the prototype or on the actual game?
  • For other interesting articles like this, head to SegaGames and GamingTechFREE Games and Stuffs and more on JILAXZONE.

Sonic & SEGA fans rejoice! The (almost) long lost Sonic The Hedgehog game prototype has now been found – or should I say, recently discovered. Depends on when you read this article but this discovery time couldn’t be better, as Sonic The Hedgehog is approaching his 30th birthday on 23rd June. This game prototype is a nice present for all of Sega and especially Sonic fans.

Sonic The Hedgehog game – or also referred nowadays as Sonic 1 game – prototype was recovered by someone with nickname Buckaroo, and released on 1st Jan 2021 by another guy with nickname drx. For the record, Sonic 1 game was released back on 23rd Jan 1991 (US released date) – while this prototype, based on the data recorded on the ROM header, was dated back in 1989.

On the discovery, it’s known that the prototype was an early build of the game, there are many missing components, such as no Bosses at the end of the stage, so you can’t really complete the game on the prototype.

Have a look here on the Sonic The Hedgehog Prototype gameplay, video by Hidden Palace:

Sonic The Hedgehog Prototype: The differences

The most notable difference is when you start the game, on the actual released Sonic The Hedgehog, you would hear “SE…..GA…..!” being screamed. Where as in the prototype, you will just see the opening “SEGA” logo but without the scream.

Another differences are these – as mentioned by Reddit user u/sixteenbitify:

Spring Yard Zone (Actual game) vs Sparkling Zone (Prototype)

Sonic the Hedgehog prototype sparkling zone
Spring Yard Zone was called Sparkling Zone in the Sonic The Hedgehog Prototype. Image courtesy of Reddit user u/sixteenbitify.
Sonic the Hedgehog prototype clock work zone
Scrap Brain Zone was called Clock Work Zone (missing ‘W’ from ‘Work’) in the Sonic The Hedgehog Prototype. Image courtesy of Reddit user u/sixteenbitify.

For other differences, you can check on the Reddit post here: Sonic The Hedgehog Actual Game and Prototype Differences on Reddit.

Sonic The Hedgehog Prototype: Link to get the game

Lucky enough, Buckaroo and drx were willing to share their finding with all of us. So if you want to give the game prototype a try, here you go.

Download linkSonic The Hedgehog (Prototype) on Hidden Palace

Here’s how to play Sonic The Hedgehog Prototype game today

These are options available today to play Sonic The Hedgehog Prototype game today. While it’s fully recommended to play the game using the original hardware and original controller, but there are other options available. Check them out.

For your information: as mentioned, the prototype game is an early build where so many components were missing, hence you can’t really complete the game nor proceed to the next level.

In that case, use the level select feature. On the prototype, activate by pressing A+START on the title screen. On the actual game, activate by pressing UP, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, A+START on the title screen. 

1) Using Original Sega Genesis / Mega Drive hardware and cartridge

Nothing beats the experience of playing the game on the original hardware, using original controllers and accessories. Here are the links where you can get them today – in case you are interested to get one.

Sega Genesis / Mega Drive console on Amazon:

Check it out here: Sega Genesis / Mega Drive console on Amazon

Sega Mega Drive / Genesis console on AliExpress:

Sega Mega Drive / Genesis

Check it out here: Sega Mega Drive / Genesis on AliExpress

Sega Genesis / Mega Drive controller (by Retro-bit) on Amazon:

Check it out here: Sega Genesis / Mega Drive controller on Amazon

Sega Mega Drive / Genesis controller (by 8bitdo) on AliExpress:

8Bitdo M30 Gamepad for Sega Genesis MD Mega Drive Controller

Check it out here: Sega Mega Drive / Genesis controller on AliExpress

Mega Everdrive X7 on Amazon:

This is where you can put and load the prototype ROM inside the actual Sega Genesis cartridge, so you can play it on the real Sega Genesis / Mega Drive hardware.

Check it out here: Mega Everdrive X7 on Amazon

Note: If you buy anything from Amazon / AliExpress using links above, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost charged on your purchases. Thanks for your support!

2) Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Emulators (with download links)

There are various Sega Genesis / Mega Drive emulators across many platforms, you just have to try them out yourself and see what’s best for yours. I’m, myself, using RetroArch on Windows and on Android and Provenance on iOS.

On AndroidMD.Emu
On iOSProvenance (link for steps to install)
On LinuxKega Fusion
On MacKega Fusion
On PC (Windows)Kega Fusion

Sonic The Hedgehog Prototype: References

For more info and references, you can check out these links.

Sonic The Hedgehog (Prototype), Hidden Palace:

u/sixteenbitify, Sonic 1 Prototype Played on Real Hardware with Final Copy Side-by-Side Comparison,

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