Video Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Special Edition
If madness were a video game, this would be its title screen.
"Can God create a game so bizarre, that even He could not play it? Y/N"note
— Mystic Cave Zone Boss
Some people remember the only Sonic game
to appear on Sega
's 32X console. Far fewer remember this Sonic
game that almost
appeared on the doomed console.Sonic 2: Special Edition
was originally conceived as an Updated Re-release
of the extremely successful Sonic the Hedgehog 2
, but this was complicated when Sonic Team decided to take advantage of the capabilities of the 32X by adding a ton of new content, to the degree that many of the later levels bore only a passing resemblance to those in the original game. By 1996, the game was a few months away from its release date, and the ballooning project had barely avoided collapsing under its own weight — then Sega's decision to cease supporting the 32X caused the project to be canned altogether
. The legend of this game persisted for years afterwards, as copies of the beta (and a rumored handful of finished games, manufactured but never sold) were highly sought after by hardcore collectors, but none ever turned up...
Then in 2007, on the Something Awful
forum, docfuture (aka Robotnik DDS) revealed that he had a copy of Sonic 2: Special Edition
, given to him as a present by his uncle (a Nintendo employee who pulled a few strings to get the game... or maybe he just bought it from Chinese bootleggers—it's not clear). Further, he decided to start a Let's Play
thread to share this weird piece of Sonic history with the entire world.
From watching the LP, it's clear that
, had Sonic 2: Special Edition
been released, it would've been the greatest game ever made
. While rough at some points, it is clear that if development continued
, it would have been a classic
that would have influenced
games to this day.
What's that? You doubt that this game actually exists? Oh, so you're
the one responsible for the shoddy graphics
As may be gathered from the tropes below
, Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Special Edition
is an elaborate hoax LP
by docfuture, spanning everything from the surreal to the horrific. docfuture's LP can be watched here
on the Let's Play Archive, or here
on the Internet Archive.
This game provides examples of:
- A Cappella: The Mystic Cave Zone, Act 1 music, as well as the end cutscene music.
- All Just a Dream: Several people are shown waking up at the end of some cutscenes, although the game continues as "normal" from there.
- All There in the Manual: Here.
- And I Must Scream: Failure Cresh, a man with a monitor for a head, lives on even when his head is cut off.
- Anticlimax Boss / Zero-Effort Boss: Sonic 2's original endgame is nerfed for some reason. The Wing Fortress boss is the same, but you fight it as Super Sonic. In Death Egg Zone, Silver Sonic doesn't fight at all, and just directs you to the location of the final boss...who goes down after a single hit.
- Anti Poopsocking:
Tails: Protip — Why don't you go out and meet some girls instead of staying shut in all day?
- Artificial Brilliance: Tails' AI in this game is much smarter than in the original, and he alters his behavior based on how you treat him.
- Art Shift: Halfway through Act 1 of Aquatic Ruin Zone, the level turns into Aquatic Relix with an act clear screen from Sonic Blast. In Mystic Cave Zone, the graphics switch to hand-drawn art. Cutscenes feature a random mix of in-game sprites, anime FMVs, computer-animated FMVs, live-action FMVs, and puppetry.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: The Casino Night Zone boss fight. Robotnik's in Jim's mind, acting as his self-doubt, and you must force him out.
- Bonus Boss: Knuckles in Aquatic Ruin Zone Act 1. Losing to him lets you play as him in the next act.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Tails.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: According to the manual, to play the game, you need to attach "a Sega Menacer Xtreme, Phillips Scuba VR Visor, Mattel Power Glove, 32X Keyboard, Genesis TV Tuner, and Vibra-Luxe Dildonics Ultra-Rod.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: If you mistreat Tails, he will resent you. Not the in-game character, you the player.
Tails: ...Because if you fuck with Sega, then Sega fucks with you.
- Brick Joke: In Sky Chase, Tails sarcastically mentions the following:
Tails: Everyone knows how a beating can beat hard feelings out of someone.
- Guess how the Mystic Caves boss "cures" his brainwashing?
Mystic Caves Boss: I am restoring him using my hidden third boxing glove as we speak.
- Captain Obvious: The in-game hint messages contain very important information. Such as "To collect rings, simply touch them," or "Each directional pad button corresponds with movement for your character."
- Chekhov's Gunman: The Mystic Caves boss, who shows up near the end of the game to release Tails from his brainwashing.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe / Your Mind Makes It Real: The game itself begins to degrade if there aren't enough people who believe in it. This is even accompanied by an excerpt from Peter Pan.
docfuture: Okay guys, well, truthfully that was pretty fucking weak. I should have really told you guys — this game runs on a belief-based engine. And apparently not enough of you watching this video actually believe that this game could exist.
- Clone Degeneration: After Amy is cloned back to life, she suddenly talks like a Sassy Black Woman. "Can a sista get some child support?"
- Colony Drop: The Casino's "self-destruct".
- Cooking Duel: Or rather, a dancing duel at the end of Casino Night Zone 2B.
Knuckles: I won't let you have the unlimited power of the Stamford branch!
Robotnik: There's only one way to settle this!
Super Sonic Dance Attack!
- Covert Pervert: Knuckles' apparent lust for Amy Rose's booty.
- Cryptic Conversation: Robotnik and Silver Sonic hold a conversation midway through Chemicals Zone Act 2. Although the music drowns some of its volume out, they were actually just speaking backwards and saying inane things.
- Dummied Out / Easter Egg:
Anonymous Sonic Team Member
: We added a sh*tload of secrets into this thing. Seriously. You thought Hidden Palace
was bad? This thing is gonna be like g
- Embedded Precursor: The entirety of Sonic 1: Special Edition can be unlocked with a cheat code.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Subverted.
Mystic Cave Zone Boss: You may have received messages about the universe being destroyed or some nonsense. These are lies of a bored child. They are meant to amuse you.
- Evolutionary Levels: "What? Your AMY ROSE is evolving! Congratulations! Your AMY ROSE evolved into KIRBY!"
- Exposition Fairy: Years before Tikal, Omochao, Chip, and Shahra, there was the Hint Mode in this game. It varies between a setup that's oddly similar to Metal Gear's radio conversations, and one where Tails gives you hints via real-time voiceovers. Both tend to be more irritating than helpful.
- Fail O'Suckyname: Failure Cresh.
- Fetish: Failure Cresh was lucky that Pepper Irish had a fetish for men with monitors for heads.
- Fission Mailed:
- When you beat Hilltop Zone, you get a Game Over screen anyway and get sent back to the pre-level cutscene. After the third fakeout Game Over, the game sends you back to the pre-title screen credits — and then proclaims "You've Unlocked Your Fate", indicating that you beat the level after all. (These may, however, be caused by Tails getting back at the player.)
- In the particularly Mind Screwy final levels, a fake ending cutscene is followed by another level... underwater, with no air bubbles. Sonic drowns. Then the credits start rolling, and get interrupted by a Record Needle Scratch and another cutscene. Then the real final levels happen.
- Foreshadowing: During Metropolis Zone, there is a split second shot of the text "You cannot trust Tails to take you to the Wing Fortress!"
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Try pausing while docfuture fast forwards through a cutscene he's already watched to see various curiosities.
- Some of the protips aren't spoken and don't appear on-screen for long, and furthermore aren't written in the white text. The last one says "You are all guilty and will face my wrath."
- Funny Background Event: The background is frequently replaced with various FM Vs.
- According to the manual, the game also requires a TV Tuner to function...
- Fun with Subtitles: The Toe Jam And Earl: Panic on Funkotron commercial in the middle of Aquatic Ruin Zone.
"Sometimes I wonder if it's possible for a black man to have a fetish for black chicks."
- Game-Breaking Bug: A fair number, all justified due to the game being unfinished. The most showstopping bug freezes the game when you try to play Carnival Night Zone, a bug that docfuture only got past by merging the level file and opening cutscene.
- Genre Deconstruction: Basically takes apart the very concept of Let's Play.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Robotnik as the final boss? Nah, the final boss is logic.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Used during the ending, when Tails comments on how Sonic shouldn't be floating in the sky.
- Guide Dang It: You must perform a complicated series of button combinations to beat Robotnik in "Super Sonic Dance Attack" in Carnival Night Zone 2B.
- Giving Up On Logic: You, the player, are forced to do this by defeating logic in the final fight.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Failure Cresh.
- Inherently Funny Words; 'Dildonics' and 'Reginald'.
- In-Series Nickname: 'Uncle Chuck' for Silver Sonic.
- Involuntary Shapeshifter: Sonic randomly transforms into several Platform Game protagonists, such as Aladdin and Earthworm Jim, in Metropolis Zone.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The biggest offender in the franchise. Notable for featuring characters from the ABC cartoon along with characters and character designs that were recycled in future games after this one was shelved.
Commercial announcer: With the most playable characters of any videogame created throughout the history of mankind!
- Mac Guffin Boy: Inside Failure Cresh's head were ten golden rings, which when absorbed had the ability to protect against harm. The military was willing to take advantage of this.
- Made of Explodium: In the submarine level, depleting Sonic's Oxygen Meter inexplicably causes Sonic to explode.
- Metafiction: Due to the copious use of All Just a Dream and Show Within a Show.
docfuture: For some reason, this game is really big on metacommentary.
- Mind Screw: The whole game is so illogical that "the last piece of logic" is literally the final boss.
- Military Mashup Machine: The boss of the
Mystic Cave This Thing Zone is a robot. His head is the Boxer, his hands are Amy Rose and the Vectorman box art, and he attacks by asking you questions.
- Mission Control Is Tripping Balls
- Mr. Seahorse: Maybe. In the end, Sonic and Tails are married with five daughters. It's not explained whether this tropes is in effect, or if they just adopted.
- Mood Whiplash: The viewer witnesses the death of Failure Cresh, a man they've spent the last five minutes getting to know rather well... and then the LP continues right along as if nothing ever happened.
- More Than Mind Control: Your mistreatment of Tails causes him to resent you, then unexplained brainwashing turns this resentment into outright attempts on your life.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Non-Standard Game Over: Just try to kill Silver Sonic in Hill Top Zone.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: Knuckles, who explicitly can't jump as high as Sonic in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, can jump high enough to leave the atmosphere from Aquatic Ruin Zone in this game.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The game uses a lot of music from OverClocked ReMix, particularly their Sonic 2 album Hedgehog Heaven.
Tails: Protip — Memorize Silver Sonic's attack patterns, because he is one sexy robot.
- Serial Escalation: It gets weirder and weirder and weirder.
- Shoot the Money:
Anonymous Sonic Team Member: Problem is, we had like 500,000 yen left over. So we decided to add in these cool 3D effects for no reason at all.
- Shout-Out: The level select code in this game is 4-8-15-16-23-42. Entering it lets you go to stages with names such as Chemical X and Gotham City.
- Show Within a Show: Multiple layers, to the extent that it becomes impossible to tell what within the game is "real" and what's "fictional".
- The Stinger: If you beat Sonic 1: Special Edition without collecting all the Chaos Emeralds, then after the credits roll, there's a shot of Robotnik juggling the Chaos Emeralds over text reading TUPAC LIVES
- Take a Third Option: The proper answer to the Mystic Cave Zone boss' question is neither yes nor no, but "It depends on whether you need to specifically believe in a classical Judeo-Christian ideal of omnipotence for this corny paradox to even work. Don't waste my time with this Philosophy 101 crap."
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Normal Sonic-style platforming, Chaotix-style two-character platforming, Beat 'em Up action, logic puzzles, Marble Madness, Fighting Game-style special stages, a side-scrolling Shoot 'em Up finale, and even dance competitions.
- Updated Re-release
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: See Artificial Brilliance and Breaking the Fourth Wall, above. If you mistreat Tails (by, say, abandoning him in Casino Night Zone), his "hints" are replaced by passive-aggressive mockery, and he eventually tries to kill you in Wing Fortress Zone.
- Vaporware: Technically finished, but never actually sold. The blurb on the Let's Play Archive for docfuture's run even says "it was a game so rare, only one man has ever been publicly known to have a copy."
- Visual Pun: Sky Chase Zone's background is initially sprites of clouds. By the end of the level, it's sprites of Cloud.
- We Can Rebuild Him: In the Casino Night Zone opening cutscene, Amy is accidentally killed, so Knuckles and Tails have her cloned back to life, and older to boot... which handily explains her change in appearance between Sonic CD and Sonic Adventure.
- What Measure Is A Power-Up: Poor 10-Ring monitor Failure Cresh.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Modeled after the one from Animal House.
- Knuckles the Echidna became a professional beekeeper.
- Mikhail Gorbachev became the mascot of Fruity Pebbles.
- Silver Sonic is a judge with attitude who don't take no crap.
- Melissa Joan Hart became the first woman to walk on the moon.
- Disney's Aladdin is currently serving time in Guantanamo Bay.
- Dr. Robotnik is so fat that he stepped on a rainbow and made Skittles.
- Amy Rose built the world's first solar-powered buffalo.
- Sonic and Tails are married with five daughters.
- Ray the Squirrel holds the world record for least employed squirrel.
- Failure Cresh was reincarnated as John Belushi.
docfuture's Let's Play provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Both of the entire Sonic franchise, and of the Let's Play phenomenon.
- Alternate Universe: "I'm still quite high from that Firefly season opener, man. Season 5, it's gonna be the last one."
- Back to Front: The Metropolis Zone video is chopped into segments and in reverse order, Memento-style, for no reason whatsoever.
- Bilingual Bonus: The first half-minute or so of the Mystic Cave video is done in Spanish, and the title and description are also written in Spanish in order to sell it.
- Bowdlerise: Sort of? The rap song that plays during the Clap Your Hands If You Believe segment has a few completely uncensored profanities, but the subtitles during the song employ some very Unusual Euphemisms.
- Game Breaker: Docfuture complains that Knuckles is cheap, and that his ability to glide, climb walls, jump high enough to bypass large portions of the levels, and call in artillery support against the bosses, makes the game too easy.
- Gratuitous Spanish: docfuture's Once an Episode prayer in the Mystic Cave episode is entirely in Spanish.
- Kissing Cousins: Implied. During the Aquatic Ruin Zone video, docfuture starts reminiscing about the time he and his cousin played the game together. He says it was very hot in the room and she was wearing overalls. She leaned toward him... then docfuture cuts the story short because Sonic starts drowning.
- MST3K Mantra:
docfuture: Weren't you just up in the air a bit ago?
Tails: You're thinking too hard, that's your problem.
- Once per Episode: Every gameplay video starts with a prayer, which may or may not be spoken by docfuture. Except for the Metropolis Zone video, which is shown Back To Front, so it ends with a prayer instead.
- Orphaned Punchline: "...so he says to his wife, 'What's with all the dollar bills?' and she says, 'Not everyone's as cheap as you are.'"
- Perverse Sexual Lust: Discussed by docfuture and Tails, who suspect this of Robotnik.
- Running the Asylum: Commented on.
: I know this game was half made by Sega, half made by weird bootleggers, but these days, Sega pretty much is a fanfic
- Serial Escalation: The game just keeps getting weirder the further you get.
- Shown Their Work: There's a surprising amount of obscure Sonic trivia hidden in the LP, including footage from the cancelled Sonic Sat Am game, as well as from the (equally cancelled) Sonic Ride.
- Stealth Parody: If you haven't figured it out yet, Sonic 2: Special Edition doesn't exist and docfuture's LP is a joke. The Emerald Hill Zone video is actually a pretty convincing hoaxnote , but every subsequent video adds increasing amounts of random crap to clue in the viewers that it's a joke... and to hurt the brain of anyone who doesn't get the joke. He was inspired by the development secrets of Sonic 2.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Likely caused by a Curse Cut Short after the first fake game-over in Hilltop Zone.
docfuture: (referring to Silver Sonic) Uncle Chuck- (GAME OVER) What the-?!
- Take That: In episode 1.
docfuture: If you're used to new Sonic games, you might notice a few differences, as in, this doesn't suck.
- The Stinger: "Hey! I just noticed! I'm a girl!"
- Thing-O-Meter: While calling upon his viewers to clap their hands and will the game back into existence, he uses a Clap-o-Meter to measure how much they're clapping.
- Unreliable Narrator: At times, what docfuture is saying doesn't match up with what's happening on screen.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Your first clue that this whole thing's a joke is the way docfuture treats the random changes in gameplay or graphics like they're perfectly normal, in some cases not even commenting on them at all. By the final level, docfuture acknowledges that the game has gone completely bonkers, but he'd rather just take Evil Crazy Tails' advice and just not worry about it.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: According to docfuture, No Blood For Oil Zone is supposed to be an allegory for the first Gulf War.
- What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?:
docfuture: Seriously, when you think about what's going on here, it's like a hedgehog running around an oil refinery, fighting robots. Pretty damn crazy. And you gotta wonder sometimes, where does the crazy start and stop?