With today (October 18) marking the 20th anniversary of Sega’s Sonic 3 & Knuckles for the Mega Drive, fans of the seminal platform series have been treated to a special proof of concept prototype video, showcasing the game in remastered form.
Created by developers Christian “Taxman” Whitehead and Simon “Stealth” Thomley – both of whom are two prominent figures in the Sonic modding community and were hired in an official capacity by Sega to recreate Sonic 1, 2 and CD for mobile platforms using the former’s proprietary Retro Engine – the video showcases Sonic 3 & Knuckles’ opening level, Angel Island Zone, in a remastered, widescreen format. The video also shows off the game’s bonus and special stages.
Despite calls from Sega fans over the past year for the official release of a Sonic 3 & Knuckles remaster following the success of the other entries in the series, Whitehead was quick to stress the creation of the proof of concept was purely for fun, stating on Sonic Retro that: “This isn’t an official announcement of any Sega project, nor do we intend to work on this as a fan-project. It’s simply a proof of concept from our vaults that has been kept to our chests for some time.”
In a blog post, Thomley detailed the technical aspects of the project, including several improvements made to the original game:
- Similarly to Rexon in the Sonic 2 remake, the “Monkey Dude” enemy has been rebuilt “from scratch” to smooth out its animation without compromising its actual movement.
- Vines take advantage of real-time rotation, smoothing out the animation and camera movement.
- Tails as Player 2 has been made to keep up with Sonic during the bombing cutscene so that he doesn’t constantly fall into range of the explosions.
- Super Sonic actually leaves a spark trail in the intro sequence.
- Knuckles has an Angel Island equivalent of his Mushroom Hill Zone intro sequence from Sonic & Knuckles.
The developer re-iterated his colleague’s earlier message by concluding that, “Enough of this project has been completed to prove a point. The only way that it can be continued is with both legal and financial backing from SEGA.”
From a massive Sonic and Sega Genesis fanboy’s perspective – here’s to hoping!