Saturday, 17 January 2009

Has the Green Hill ball finally been explained?

The ball in the prototype version of Sonic the Hedgehog has always been a mystery. Magazine screenshots show Sonic in Green Hill Zone, standing atop a large chequered ball that later appeared on the boss of the same zone. However, its use has long been debated.

Over on the Sonic Retro forums, ex-Sega employee Dean Sitton (who localised the games and came up with many well-known character names) has been talking about Sonic's past and has mentioned what the Green Hill ball may have been used for.

When asked whether he recognised any of the prototype Sonic screenshots, he said "the large rolling ball was placeholder for the first area that Sonic must smash through - using the ball came before his ability to smash through on his own... I think". It seems that originally Sonic could not destroy walls simply by rolling, and needed the ball to do it for him.

It is not known whether the destructible walls in other zones were added after Sonic gained the ability to smash them himself, otherwise screenshots may have shown other levels with a similar ball.

Much of this will remain unexplained until a prototype copy of the game is recovered, something which has been sought after for years in the Sonic community. Hopefully Sitton will continue to give us interesting snippets of information like this in the meantime!

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