The zone that never came to be.....
This is one of the most unpopular ideas ever, but it needs to be said. Ever since January of 1999, when Simon Wai posted a ROM he discovered on a Chinese page found on Geocities, there has been a nonstop lust to find Dust Hill Zone. Why? Because if you open the level select in Sonic 2 Beta, you see the name Dust hill Zone:
So, after a while, Simon Wai released his find on USEnet, and then finally designed a webpage to show his findings about the ROM, and provide information. After a while, old magazine pictures like this started to show up:
It began to be quite obvious with time and research that these were fake pictures, used for press and magazines. But there was a problem... The Hidden Palace Zone was about 1/4 completed, but the desert zone pictured wasn't to be found. It assumed the name "Dust Hill" and then became the topic of a hundred different ideas. But the main idea was: somewhere, somehow, some way the desert level known as dust hill was made. It's a good idea, and I hope it's true, and someday they find it. But until then, I have to stick with my belief that this level was cut from production before it was even constructed.
We'll start with this. Buzzers from Sonic 1, Sonic 1 Sonic sprites, offcentered, wrong type of HUD. (The score/rings/etc.) This picture is fake. But then comes the argument that this picture was found in most of the magazines with the dust hill picture:
That's fine and dandy, but this screen is a fake too. Take a look, the exact same sonic sprites, and sonic somehow lost his ability to hug flooring while running. This is how he hugs the same lip while running in the beta:
That's right, Sonic runs down, instead of off. Now, there is a enemy seen in the dust hill picture. It is commonly referred to as the "Crocobot" Through hacking, it was found that this robot DOES exist, and is in the game, however, no where to be found. This is what it looks like.
What does this prove? Nothing, really. It proves they had the art done for this badnik by the time they made the desert level picture. The picture also shows Sonic 1 buzzers, which aren't found in the game. This doesn't mean they were going to use the Crocobot for this level. It also doesn't prove the level was made. It only proves the Crocobot was thought of and created.
Next comes the Sonic CD argument. Some people believe that Dust hill was to be found in Sonic CD. This is VERY doubtful. Dust hill was a Sonic 2 idea, and the people working on Sonic CD were a completely different team. They didn't even work together. They were simply told what they wanted in the game, and they both made games in their own way. That's how they both ended up with the spin dash move, but both spin dashes are completely different. It was a shared idea, but it is evidence that they had no real communication between the 2 teams.
So comes the Sonic CD Desert level theory. Observe:
There is a small cactus area on the planet. What does it prove? Nothing, other then they drew cacti on the image. It's a possibility that they had an idea for a desert level, but there is no proof that it's nothing more then a little drawing they put on the larger drawing to take up blank space.
Also there is the idea that Dust Hill is Quartz Quadrant's past in Sonic CD. This is the picture that started that idea:
Now according to theory, it's similar to the mockup picture of the desert zone pictured above. However, just by looking at it, I see no similarities between the two of them. Also, the name "Dust hill doesn't fit, because every level in Sonic CD has the same beginning letters for each word. Quartz Quadrant, Collision Chaos, Wacky Workbench, etc. Currently, there are VERY little HINTS that Dust Hill ever left Sonic 2 for Sonic CD. And it's only in theories, nothing more. And currently, no theories have been proven to be anything more then just ideas. So I can say without a shadow of a doubt that dust hill was most likely not even thought of for Sonic CD.
ALPHA BETA DELTA GAMMA
This theory is wrong. There are only sonic alpha, sonic beta, gamma and delta are terms they do not use in development. So if dust hill was a crated level, it would have to be found in alpha, or late beta. Because it isn't found in the currently known sonic 2 beta ROM.
Pyramid bosses, people who have claimed to see things:
There are currently a ton of people who have claimed to have seen a lot of things. I will discredit ALL OF THEM unless they have some form of tangible proof that they aren't lying. For more bogus ideas and fraud filled theories, check SOSTH.
Sonic 2 Beta pirate
A reasonable theory of the origins of sonic 2 beta are piracy. Either a Sega employee (most likely) or a Magazine employee used a cart coping device to Steal sonic 2. Since Sonic 2 was set up to be a blockbuster game, they wasted little time coping it. Now, My theory is, if they were pirating this game, and selling the beta version as an early version, wouldn't they have copied other betas they received as well?
Now this to me seems like hard evidence that sonic 2 beta was a pirated cart. Why? Because I beta test for a living. Game companies do not put fancy labels on carts, even ones they send to the press. I have a stack of 25-30 different prototype carts for the genesis, and the most labeling they receive is a white label with the game info on it. So this to me seems like a bit of evidence that very little copies ever made it outside Sega, supporting my idea that if Dust Hill was going to be created, it would have been found. Because those screen shots found in magazines would have boosted piracy sales by displaying pictures all ready familiar to awaiting consumers.
Back to the ROM itself. When you play "dust hill" in the game, you are transported to Mystic Cave Zone.
Why is this dust hill? To me this seems just like a mistake. I think they already had a level list template ready, and they just assigned mystic cave to dust hill zones' spot in the level list. When coding a game, all you have to do is link text to the level you want it to bring up, so it wasn't too hard for them to just link dust hill to mystic cave. It doesn't have to make sense, the game was in mid production.
Brenda Ross interview.
Here's my favorite. People trust completely and blindly without thinking. Here are my thoughts:
Q: Was Dust Hill Zone ever completed? If not, at least how far was it?
A: I think it was completed. I couldnít have gone on to create the woods zone if it hadnít been. They just didnít have time to add it to the game.
Q: Why would there be a crocodile in a desert?
A: I donít think there was one. Itís been 9 years, so I might not remember.
First thing first. Working in a game company, I've learned there are many parts to a game team. I've also learned that artists are not included in inside information. Considering Sonic 2 was a huge project that could make or break the Sega market lead, I doubt they told her anything more then "Make this, please." and "Thank you.". If she drew it up, that's fine. If they turned it into a level, that remains to be seen. And I wouldn't accept a "I think" answer from someone who admittedly can't remember details from a game that is now 10 years old, let alone the fact that she was not involved with the development team as substantial proof that the level was made. She could also mean she finished the art for the level, so she could continue on to the wood zone level. But a faded memory and a "I think" are not proof of anything.
So we have a hundred different theories, a few scraps of evidence, and no proof of it ever being made or being made. But I personally think it was never made, simply because something would have been found by now....