Special Stage 2 – Hacks.

Something of a lesser known world to those who have just bought a Sonic game and that’s it for them.
Some have actually had the idea to go back into the first three games, and modify them.
Levels that had been scrapped during development, were now restored, as if they had never left, while characters you never thought were possible, could now be played with no issues.
There’s so many, but here’s some that I come back to, which can enhance the games in very innovative ways.

Knuckles in Sonic 1.

Essentially, when you would put Sonic 1 onto the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge, you would be brought with ‘No Way’, with many special stages to play instead. But with this hack made over ten years ago, playing as Knuckles in Sonic 1 is real. There’s not much else to say, other than it’s Knuckles in Sonic 1, but fun all the same.

Sonic Retro Page.

Super Sonic and Hyper Sonic in Sonic 1.

One that was only released this year, but one of those ‘what ifs’.

With Super Sonic being introduced in Sonic 2, followed by Hyper Sonic in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, there’s always a curiosity to see what it would be like to play as them in the original. With this hack, you can. The title screen gives you the option of not only choosing one of the forms, but which ‘Super’ music you’d like from Sonic 2, 3, or Knuckles, alongside the choice of being given 50 rings straight away.

Very fun, very fast.

Forum Link.

Sonic goes Back to the Future.

One of the most random but innovative hacks I’ve played. You start in Green Hill Zone as normal, but you come across two monitors; one for the Past, one for the Future. Once one of these is broken, the Delorean from Back to the Future appears, and takes you to the past of the Master System, while the future takes you to the Game Boy Advance era.

Each comes with their own music and design respective to their times, while the ‘Sonic Advance’ comes with the spindash.

Very random, but I’m hoping for more of this from the creator. Many possibilities can be made from this hack. Imagine if you could use this feature during a boss, switching between three Robotniks at once.

Play Link.

Sonic 2 Delta.

One of the ‘ultimate’ hacks that you could play. It’s a mix of all three Sonic games, which brings the save function from Sonic 3, with all of the levels from 1 and 2, while bringing in restored zones that were cut from Sonic 2’s original release.

You could also play as Knuckles and Tails, with the following cut zones, albeit with recycled Robotnik bosses:

  • Winter Hill Zone.
  • Dust Hill Zone.
  • Hidden Palace Zone.
  • Genocide City Zone.

Death Egg Zone also has a slightly different layout, with three rings available from the start as well. There’s even a health bar for Robotnik, so you know how much health he has left.

An incredible amount of features in one hack, you could easily spend a day with this one alone.

Sonic Retro Page.

Sonic 2 Heroes.

A hack where the features from one later Sonic game collides with another. Sonic Heroes was a game in 2003 that enabled the player to choose different teams that had three characters in. You would switch between them when their skill was needed to clear past a certain point in the stage.

Here, nothing in the stages are different in Sonic 2, apart from being able to control Sonic, Tails and Knuckles at once. You can switch between them by pressing A, but while flying as Tails, you can have all three grab and fly across the stage. It’s incredible how there’s no slowdown at all as I played through this, as a system controlling Tails was enough for it I had thought. There’s a lot of potential here still, especially for Sonic 3.

Sonic Retro Page.

ColinC10’s Hacks.

Every year, a contest launches on the Sonic Retro site, where anyone can submit their own hack, and have it judged, with the results given a few months later.

In 2008, a guy who had the name ‘ColinC10’, appeared and submitted ‘Robotnik’s Revenge’, a completely different hack that had a boss attack of all of Robotnik’s machines from the first two games. He then followed these up in subsequent years, with a merge of Sonic 1 & 2, a challenge mode in Sonic 3, and a two player challenge race in Sonic 2. Each one gives the games a completely different feel and challenge than before, but there’s been no mention of him in four years. Hopefully he comes back.

Sonic Retro Link.


There are still many in the making, such as a project that is bringing stages from Sonic Unleashed, and the two Sonic Adventure games to Sonic Generations.

With the release of the ‘Sega Hub‘ in Steam last month, it’s now much more easier to find your favourite mod and apply it to your Steam library.

As I’ve said, there’s so much more than I’ve listed here, but the best places to find them would be on Sonic Retro’s Engineering forum, from small hacks to large overhauls, or their wiki of hacks.