, 0, 0
From a post made by the game's original programmer, on the SMS Power forums:
Yes, I can provide a few more details but I don't want to go into too much detail due to a conflict of interest. I do want to see this title recorded amongst the history of Sonic though, so sooner or later I will tell all.
Yes, I have a ROM. No, I don't (think) I have the source code. I can take some more screenshots at some point. In fact, if I can find them I know I have a number of screenshots already...somewhere.
The game was developed at Tiertex. When I started there Sonic was all the rage. As I recall it, it had been released earlier the same year. I am not sure where the concept of it came from, it was either one of two people but Sega knew of the existance of the title there was no doubt about that. They were interested in the title but I can't be sure what their motives were. It may have been related to the pico machine that came out.
The title is likely to have been the third title using Sonic to have been in development, not the second as people have claimed. Why do I say this? I do not know this for certain but it is very likely that Sega were working on Sonic 2 almost as soon as finishing the first, given the property they had on their hands. Development of this title would have started after that. It is possibly also very interesting that this was the first Sonic title developed outside of the Sonic team and Japan. That speaks volumes about the relationship between Sega and US Gold and US Gold and Tiertex which was very strong
The title is...an educational game aimed at five year olds. It is of absolutely no interest to anyone older than that in fact if you looked at it and didn't understand the target audience you would quite rightly question it. It is simple. The isometric level is almost like a frontend and other than telling Sonic where you want him to run by pressing a direction he moves automatically. The mini-games were single button press affairs...really designed for kids. In fact, the game was focus tested at a primary school in Didsbury, Manchester. It was quite well recieved, but then again if I was five years old I'd probably enjoy playing with Sonic more than anything else.
I say it is of no interest but of course it does have its place in the history of Sonic. It is an unofficial or unlicensed game? It's hard to say. It's not a fan game definately but it was officially allowed to be developed just not approved for publishing. The usage of Sonic was never licensed, not that it may have needed to be if Sega published it. As far as being a licensed Master System game goes...if it wasn't approved, it was never a licensed ROM. You could say it was the first unnofficially, unlicensed game.
It is largely considered a hoax it seems. I actually sent a small amount of information to a Japanese Sonic fan site about 10 years ago but they ignored it, probably because they thought it was a hoax. I understand that. To some extent it is amusing to read the various opinions on why it might be a hoax and possibly to respond to them. Well, this is the first time I have written anything about the game so you pretty much have an excluside.
- Yes the sprites between the helicopter and Sonic did flicker. We got around this by positioning the helicopter in places where horizontally there would be less going on at once. We shrunk Sonic a little bit too. I don't think these solutions solved it in 100% of cases, so as I recall it I actually baked the helicopter into the map when it was static so it wasn't a sprite. When Sonic flew in the chopper the whole thing was one sprite.
- Accusations about the sprite being ripped and that being a reason it was a hoax. The sprite was ripped, in fact most of the graphics were ripped and then modified in some way. Of course, this shouldn't certify it as a hoax.
Alternative frames for him, including movement that was not horizontal was drawn and animated by hand however.
The colors being off (the comment about the purple)...in the conversion from Genesis to MS you would lose colour accuracy of course. Given that the game was never approved by Sega it is not possible to determine whether they would have accepted the palette...but it did look okay on the real hardware. We might have been able to do better but it didn't look like it needed it at the time. I would put it down to the way the screenshot you are looking at was taken.
In the near future I will likely put up a web page about this title, giving the full story but presently I cannot do it for reasons I cannot explain.