Video Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Special Edition aka: Sonic 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 Answer: 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.''
— 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 greatestgame 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.
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: invokedSonic 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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!
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.
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."
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." invoked
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.
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: invoked 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.
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.
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.'"
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 aside from misspelling the zone name at the start of act 2, using music from OverClocked ReMix and Machinae Supremacy, and a brief Big Lipped Alligator Moment as Sonic approaches the boss...oh, and the opening screen has the game copyright 1991, the year the first Sonic game came out, 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.
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.
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?