SONIC CRACKERS
MEGA DRIVE
1994 (SOME TIME IN)

Sonic Crackers is another lost Sonic game for the Mega Drive. It's existence was discovered around 1999 when dumps of the ROM appeared on the net.

It's time of development coincides with the rumoured development of Sonic The Hedgehog 4 on the 32X.

Sonic Crackers is an odd affair. It's origins are for the most part unknown except for the clues within the ROM itself. It is considered to be a submission game a pre-alpha to test a games concept before approval of development.

The subtle hints in the game are the name "Sonic Stadium" and the date being 19940401. This could be April 1st or January 4th.

What is known is that ultimately elements of this game went into Knuckles: Chaotix on the 32X. Some of the music is almost identical and it's possible to tell that most of Sonic's sprite animation became that of Mighty the Armadillo.

It's reasonable to assume that this idea was canned for the Mega Drive and development moved to 32X as a result of this submission.


OVERVIEW

The title screen is simply white text on black background making the crackers name.

Sonic Crackers

There is some options available to the would-be player.

To begin a game select 1 Player. The stage intro will roll and remain in the screen until you press start.

The gameplay is Sonic and Tails linked together with an bungee energy chain and a ring. The implementation is even more irritating than Chaotix. This is used to drag and snap the characters against each other.

When a character holds still the bungee cord with stretch to a point as the other character moves away. Releasing yanks the character behind at speed. Both characters can pick each other up and throw them.

Bungee Sonic Crackers

There are no items or enemies in any of the playable stages. Floors and other physics are not programmed. For example Sonic or Tails can walk up loops to a degree as if they were vertical platforms. You can stop and there is no gravity programmed to pull you down. You can jump from them though.

On some sections it's noticeable that Sonic and Tails are on separate layers of graphics though this does not alter the ability to interact.

This game also has an initial debug mode activated by pausing the game. You can move around each stage though your arms become detached from your body.

There are 2 limited stages in the game that demonstrate the basic gameplay. There are similarities in these stages and the Techno Tower and Speed Slider stages of Chaotix.


Stage 1 : Construction Stage

Sonic Crackers Construction Sonic Crackers Construction

The first Construction stage is dubbed as because of it's appearance. More work has been done on the background on this stage.

The stage basically is an upward pursuit. There is a time limit of 3 minutes.

Only with the debug can you get to the top but if the characters are not positioned correctly the stage will finish. The stage will lock and the Game Over music will play.

It contains twists, bounces and half complete loops.

This stage has several appearances using different colour palettes. These range from lighter to darker to simulate different times of day. The music of the stage also changes. This system was used in Chaotix also.

The background music is basically the same as the Knuckles' Chaotix World Entrance stage.


Stage 2 : Carnival Stage

Sonic Crackers Carnival Sonic Crackers Carnival

This stage is basically long construction ramps similar to those in Chemical Plant Zone where Sonic and Tails can run along at speed. The stage will loop over and over and the time limit is only 1 minute.

In the stage are some long double loops, long upward ramps and a floating speaker with Sonic's name on it.

In some places Sonic the character suddenly stops running presumable for some invisible object in the way.

This stage is far less complete than the Construction Stage.


Special Stages

As well as 2 stages there is also 2 special stages. These are isometric top-view similar in style to Sonic 3D.

Nothing has been programmed and Sonic and Tails are free to roam around. There is no interactivity with any objects either.

The background music to these stages is an early work of Techno Tower from Chaotix.

There is no way to tell what the aim to these stages were. Its possible they were not special stages and were actually to be ordinary stages that get played in a different perspective.

Special Stage 1 Special Stage 1

Stage 1 - The first is grouped with the construction stage and is primarily chequered pink and yellow with some green sections. The background is that from stage 2. There are some water puddles and a fully animated waterfall is at the top of the stage.

Special Stage 2 Special Stage 2

Stage 2 - Grouped with Stage 2 this has a distinctly different design being mechanical in theme with gears and lights.

The background for this stage is some mechanical plant that pulses with flowing energy.

Selecting Option at the title screen simply displays the number 0080 (HEX) and can be changed up or down in multiples of 10.

Choosing Select on the title screen shows a very basic level select. It's possible to choose between the playable sections.

GamesTM published an articlle about Sonic Crackers. Click the image for the larger version.

Sonic Crackers Article from GamesTM
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