Up, Down, Left, Right, A+Start.
09, 65, 09, 17.
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Left, Right, Right.
Those three cheats all enabled the ‘Level Select’ cheat in Sonic 1, 2 and 3 respectively.
Alongside Debug Mode, the cheats were as fun to me as the standard play through of the games were, or still are for that matter.
With Sonic 1, you could go to any zone you wanted to, but if you wanted to to back to the level select, you could pause the game, press A to restart, and go back in from the title screen.
You could also enable Debug Mode with the following:
Up, C, Down, C, Left C, Right, C.
By holding A + Start when selecting a level, you would be able to transform into an object that is featured in that stage.
Very fun, as you could place any enemy you wanted, but at the expense of the memory the game had, otherwise it would slow down to a crawl.
This also granted you with permanent invincibility, so you could easily bounce between spikes and attacks. Only bottomless pits would result in a life lost.
With Sonic 2, you would use the ‘Sound Test’ to play certain tracks to enable Level Select. Once you were there by pressing A+Start at the title screen again, you were brought to a slightly different screen.
Here, you could go to the special stages, of which you could play through all seven and enable Super Sonic, but with the sound test, you could do this by playing other tracks in a certain order:
4, 1, 2, 6.
With this and debug mode enabled, you could do a couple of strange things.
One was to have Super Tails as your partner.
You would come across a monitor that would only show in 2 player mode; this would switch positions, giving one player the lead when racing. But here in single player, it could transfer Super Sonic’s invincibility and super speed to Tails. You would still be Super Sonic in appearance, but none of the powers that you’re granted with in this form.
You can see stars around Tails, while Super Sonic gets hit by an enemy. But this monitor doesn’t just affect Sonic and Tails. For whatever reason, it messes with the background, and can take away it, leaving just the main colour scheme used in that particular stage.
You can only use it one time, so the best thing is to spawn as many monitors as you can.
Using this in Death Egg Zone especially, you can spawn multiple Mecha Sonic and Egg Robots, making the level just that bit more challenging.
I remember spending countless hours with this, seeing what else could occur in each stage.
There was also an ‘egg prison’. As certain colours and items show in certain points, such as when Robotnik appears the graphics for this always looks incorrect.
Once you use this at any point in the level, it shows the results screen, as it does when you complete a stage, and you go onto the next level. You can spawn multiple ones, as I did above, and have the screen show three times over, so the level never ends until you stop breaking open the prisons.
Sonic 3 had a different method of enabling Level Select.
As soon as Sonic appears after the SEGA logo at the beginning, you have to press:
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Left, Right, Right.
These have to be pressed before the title screen appears, otherwise ‘Sound Test’ won’t show.
But if you time it right, you’re brought to the above screen. It does look as though this was quickly coded in, as it gives different names for stages, different placements, while some zones aren’t even in Sonic 3.
Flying Battery was meant to be in-between of Carnival Night and Ice Cap. One random fact; the snowboard that Sonic uses at the start of Ice Cap, was meant to be used from the door he broke out of, at the end of Flying Battery.
But because the zone hadn’t been finished in time, it was moved to be implemented in Sonic & Knuckles.
It even shows the level picture for the discarded Hidden Palace Zone meant for Sonic 2. This was used again in the remastered Sonic 2 released for iOS, Android and etc, where the zone had been fully restored.
With Sonic 3 & Knuckles, it showed each zone as they were meant to be, while in Debug Mode, which was only a matter of pressing A+Start on a level now, pressing A would switch the gravity. Very fun and unpredictable, especially as I was using that on Ice Cap Zone on the snowboard section.
For me, the cheats extended the longevity of the games. Once you were finished collecting all the Chaos Emeralds and exploring what each level had to offer, you could then go to your favourite levels, enable Debug Mode, and in a way, make your own traps and pitfalls.
This is again why these games are so much fun to me still. You could even involve a second player, and just give them a hundred fish badniks and see how they’d do, just for the hell of it.
The fun of this was brought to the remastered versions, and even Sonic CD. With no slowdown either, you could spawn as many as you dedited, with no flashing items and no danger of the game crashing.
Cheats are a dying breed in today’s games, where some of the abilities are given as paid DLC, or the only way is to ‘mod’ the game on PC, to implement features that the developers had once hoped to program in.
But with the first three Sonic games especially, you can enjoy some great, classic cheats that you could easily lose an afternoon to.