Community, Game News

Sonic 2 HD Alpha Release Now Available, Continues Development As Closed Project

You waited for nearly two years. You questioned whether this project was still alive and kicking.  But with time comes development, and to show you that things ARE getting done, the Sonic 2 HD team has released a new playable demo.

Being an alpha release, it’s understandable that not everything is perfect and things can (and likely will) go wrong. But what we do have is an impressive feat of love and creativity from a group of fans with a passion to give Sonic the Hedgehog 2 a visual spit shine and touched up music.

However, a small bit of controversy around the project is the nature of it being listed as a Sonic Retro Community Project, despite being a rather closed operation. Project Manager Canned Karma addressed this further by confirming the project will continue a closed development cycle.

“With the game’s Alpha Release, this means our involvement with Sonic Retro’s Community Projects also comes to an end as, in all honesty, S2HD hasn’t been a community game for a long time,” Canned Karma said. “In line with this, we’ve now closed out the topics in the Community Project sub-forum in favor of a single discussion thread here.”

Currently, the demo only supports Windows operating systems from Windows XP through Windows 7.

Updates and downloads on the project will continue to be posted on the team’s official website. For now though, big props go out to the team for all their work so far and we look forward to seeing the project grow and mature even more. Let them know what you think of the game so far in the comments down below.

Here’s a video of the game in motion for those who can’t run it or don’t feel like downloading it.

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79 Comments

  • Reply

    Fair warning to anyone who wants to try it out: The current version of S2HD is an obfuscated executable (which triggers false positive warnings on some antivirus scanners), and it contains DRM. Modifications to game files will trigger an “anti-hacking” screen, and who knows if it does anything else. (Ironic, considering that S2HD is based on the reverse-engineering of another game.)

    • Reply

      S2HD artist here. You can thank our “all knowing” programmer LOst for all the issues you’re having. Just know the rest of the team was against all of this DRM and anit hacking measures. He originally had “security” trying to prevent people from taking screenshots and video, the current DRM was actually a compromise, believe it or not. It’s a little sad to see our hard work overshadowed by an absurd attempt at protecting the game. Everyone else on staff simply want the game available to as many people as possible, for them to see the hard work that went into it. I hope you are able to see how much care went into everything else at the very least.

  • Reply

    video embedment fail

    • Reply

      WordPress is silly sometimes when you try to embed videos. Should be fixed now!

  • Reply

    Hoping for AT LEAST a Summer 2015 release for the full game.

    :3

  • Reply

    Cannot get past the title screen (which in itself is awesome), just shows a black screen.

    Running on Windows 7 Ultimate, 4 GB of RAM, dual core AMD processor at 3.2 GHZ, AMD Radeon HD 6700 graphics card.

  • Reply

    The only problem I find with it is the straight up yellow springs don’t seem to shoot you has high as the original.

  • Reply

    If you encounter a black screen… wait… it will load… eventually….

  • Reply

    I hate all you complainers! This game is simply beautiful! I can’t wait til its done!

    • Reply

      Who’s complaining but you whining about complainers? Complaining makes the games better. Why do you think there are game critics?

  • Reply

    Fantastic job Team S2HD!!! You really captured that Sonic 2 feel very well. I continue to hope the best from you in the future considering how well of a job you’ve already done remastering my favorite Sonic game of all time.

  • Reply

    I KNOW HOW TO GET SONIC BACK ON TOP AGAIN! Replace all the workers at sonic team with fan hackers and fan game designers and there ya go! Seriously Sega! Look at this? Generations doesn’t have crud on this. Who knows when Fan remix will be finished?

    • Reply

      Yeah big flaw in that plan, these guys who made this “hack” are just hackers, not people who have spent their whole lives actually studying game production from the ground up.
      No doubt you’re one of them “Sonic Fan Boys” who only wants Genesis Sonic and has to nit pick at the smallest details. correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Reply

    Ignore my previous statement, I had to change the render settings, that fixed the issue. Then there was slight control delay, so I changed the input method. It’s fantastic. :)

  • Reply

    Doesnt look that good… I laugh at the use of the Japanese Sonic at the title screen, and the way the people drew over the American sprite in the game

    • Reply

      Right I’m not really sure what you’re talking about here since you’re not exactly making sense but hey that’s ok I mean

      American sprite? There was only one sprite. He looks like Sonic I am confused.

  • Reply

    The Demo is great! I haven’t found anything wrong… except the fact it passes far too quickly… Tails and Sonic both look sweet! if only Sega would take a leaf from these guys’ books! not that HD remakes would solve everything, but it’d put more out there on Digital Download and I can promise they’d have at least 1 happy shopper!

  • Reply

    Brava! That was really awesome….I’m gonna pull a Sonic 4 here and say the physics seemed off to me, or the level designs are a bit different…I’ve been playing a lot of Sonic 2 recently and some things didnt launch me quote the same…
    But that’s just a teeny tiny minor nitpick. Wow… You people seriously are awesome.
    I also really loved the pink hedgehog that showed up after you beat the levels/idled at the beginning….Classic Amy in HD perhaps? Sonic CD HD? XD

  • Reply

    LOvely! ABsolutely lovely! And I can’t say how much I love how Tails came out! The physics, the music, the sexy sexy level transition! I love everything about this, and I’ll be continuing to follow this project till it finishes, even if it takes 20 years xD

    Great Job everyone! You dun the franchise good, and portrayed my childhood favorite characters amazingly. You dun damn good!

  • Reply

    Worked perfectly!! Great job guys, and thanks for making fans’ dreams become true.
    After finishing Emerald Hill, I wanted even more. I hope “Top Hill” is not far from being finished, I’d like to see how it looks. If you made Emerald Hill impressive, how will be the rest?
    Keep working please!!

  • Reply

    Looks pretty good, there some glitches over there, but its ok, is an Alpha.

  • Reply

    “It’s shiny and lemony fresh!”
    That’s the power of Pine-Sol, baby.

  • Reply

    *tears* it just feels so right!

    my god!! just. AAAUGH 😀

    IM TINGLING ALL OVER

  • Reply

    I’m sorry for my impatience. I played this game, and it’s rocks! I like everything about it, and I can’t wait for the Tails remaster sprites!

    The Yellow Spring that propels sonic to the triangle-shaped rings and the shield doesn’t always reach the correct height to go there. I don’t know if in the original it’s more momentum based than its prequel, just a minor nit-pick.

    Pretty impressive for a team of a dozen people :) Only thing that bothers me is the over-use of fonts. The HUD seems abit annoying, but the falling sprite feels like something I need to get use to. It’s abit slow, but then again, this is ALPHA. When BF3 was Alpha, people complained. It’s before Beta, and it’s the 2nd stage of testing.

  • Reply

    Given the community nature of this project, I’m somewhat disappointed that A: it doesn’t come with source code and B: it is exclusive to Windows.

    Are there any plans to release sources and/or port to other platforms?

    Fantastic game anyhow, the artwork in particular is utterly superb :-)

  • Reply

    […] [Source: Sonic Retro] […]

  • Reply

    […] As of now, the demo can only run on Windows operating systems ranging between Windows XP and Windows 7. Download links are available on the Sonic 2 HD homepage, as well as 1080p screenshots and beautiful desktop wallpapers. Further project details are available on Sonic Retro. […]

  • Reply

    Loved the Alpha release of this game, can’t wait until the finished product.

  • Reply

    I think we can all agree that the wait was definitely worth it. I hope Sega pay attention to this because without a doubt I would pay for a finished version. Very impressive stuff guys.

  • Reply

    Congratulations, S2HD Team! You guys did great on this! I can’t wait to see more from you guys in the future! You’ve come a long way from where you were last year, and you’ve got a long way still yet to go. It’s so great to see the games I grew up on getting so much love from such talented people. Stay classy guys, you all rock!

  • Reply

    Wow! HD by name, HD by nature. The artwork is beautiful and the music is fantasic. The invincibility theme has a nice “Sonic CD” sound to it, doesn’t it? Great work!

  • Reply

    Err, it’s says it’s missing the s2hd.dll file, when it’s right there.

    Going try DLing from another of the sources. :\

  • Reply

    Well, it looks alright, I suppose. Sonic shaking his two fingers at the title screen is extremely weirdly animated, but it’s not like you look at the title screen all that often.

    I’ll download the thing and give it a shot when I’ve got some free time, I suppose.

  • Reply

    My computer keeps deleting the actual application file, claiming it’s a Trojan. What’s the deal, here? Is there anyway around it?

    • Reply

      Try to put it on your antivirus’ whitelist. It’s likely your antivirus software is flagging it as a false positive.

  • Reply

    this is one of the best sonic games that i ever played is like the dreamed sonic game keep up the fantastic work

  • Reply

    gorgoeus i really liked it thats the way to make a HD version of a classic i love all the little details like the flutter mustache of dr robotnik when ya fight him fantastic 😀 i would say i enjoyed it more than segas HD versions

  • Reply

    this game is so great i love it good work

  • Reply

    Holy smokes. I’ve been waiting SO LONG for this. I remember checking up on the sonic 2 HD site in high school. And now its finally… out! Kind of. I legit teared up a bit at the title screen. The music is so perfect. I’ve never played such a perfect sonic game in such a long time. Thank you so much. I’m totally wearing my sonic hoodie today to celebrate, I’ve never been this excited/happy in a LONG time

  • Reply

    Tip for avast! users who are getting false positive popups, just make sure that when the bottom right alerts of the fake positive, that you click the box that says Open in sandbox mode to Open normally

  • Reply

    The Readme mentions secrets, has anyone found any besides the one that’s pointed out?

    I’ve tried to see if speed is a factor, but I cleared Act 1 in :29 and Act 2 in :59, and nothing happened there, so that’s out.

  • Reply

    It’s very beautiful. The HD artwork is what I expected for a Sonic 4.

  • Reply

    My God, it’s full of shines!

    This is amazing, I will follow this project till it ends, and even if all the level layouts are the same, I WILL PLAY IT ALL THE TIME. MAYBE!

    But seriously, great job guys! I hope to see more of this in the future.

  • Reply

    The only problem I see is that it’s Windows only. Other than that, it seems better than what I’d expect from an alpha.

    “Opinions can change” –Anonymous

  • Reply

    Beautiful. Just… beautiful. One thing though, is the jump a tad short? I always make that initial hill, but I couldn’t this time.
    My favorite part was when I was all confused about why Sonic wasn’t going off-screen after Act 1, and then Bam! Seamless editing for the win!

  • Reply

    HOLY CRAP! This is amazing! No, wait…that’s a total understatement! It’s all done so beautifully……..

  • Reply

    What the heck is wrong with the art I’m seeing in the article’s video? It looks like a really shitty flash game with all the excessive gradient abuse. Whatever happened to the beautiful, shiny, and detailed artwork you guys had when the project was a community-based one? At least that more closely matched the original game’s artwork, not this first-grade shaded shit I’m seeing in every second of that video; it is barf-inducing to stare at for something that’s supposed to look like something I’d pay for if SEGA actually hired you guys to do so! Clearly your artists are better animators than colorists, of which they did a great job on with the smoothness, I will say that.

    And holy shit that download scared the hell out of me! I actually thought MS Security essentials saved me from an actual trojan; and once again all I ever get are false alarms. If it weren’t for the posts on the message boards, I would have assumed you guys were incompetent enough to not scan your own PCs before uploading something with this level of importance to fans everywhere.

    I understand it’s just an alpha, but it’s not even so much as booting on most computers that should be capable of running it; something’s clearly not right! I would have preferred you guys waited a little bit longer until you had a stable build. This is such a tragically broken example of what you’re really capable of; it nearly killed me when the demo spat out an endless blank screen past the title on my system.

    There is no damned excuse for the reported physics problems either. The Retro wiki advertised the original base engine’s physics, YEARS ago now, to be dead-on, perfect, scary close with Sonic 3’s physics and then some. I knew this was never going to be 1/1 with the original game, but come on, that is just nonsense!

    You guys seriously would have been better off with Taxman’s engine at this point. All of the hard work would have already been done and you could focus solely on redrawing the original game’s art assets in high-definition; which was the original goal, am I right? You could already be done with this fan game, ported it to multiple platforms, and moved on to something else more original!

    I find it really damn funny that SEGA actually used it for a professional reconstruction of Sonic CD while you were over here refusing for it for not being “perfect”, and still not even close to a truly stable and playable demonstration of all your years of long, hard work. Maybe your quality bar is just too damn high for a non-profit project.

    I do want to apologize if the above came across as bashing and not constructive criticism, but you guys shoved this out the door way too early for public consumption. While you might be getting the reaction you want from newbies and kids in this release, in the long run some of us older fans with significantly higher quality bars than the average twelve-year old are not impressed, by the engine itself at least. Whether or not the art is likable is up to taste, of which the Sonic fan community has always been horribly torn apart when it comes to that subject.

    I was deeply disappointed by this release, after waiting literally for years to be able to play at least a demo of this outstanding concept in action. The art and music might be great, but your engine that I always had my doubts about, unfortunately proved my long-standing gut feeling right.

  • Reply

    They should have dropped LOst a while ago and gone open source. It’s pretty clear the artwork has been done for a long while and the engine has been the only thing holding the alpha release back.

    Now with this DRM and antivirus false positives, and the Windows exclusivity we all knew about, it’s even more clear.

    I hope the rest of the game can be implemented in short order, but if it’s going to take another couple years I think the team should consider moving in a different direction with the engine.

  • Reply

    this might just be the video, but when Sonic rolls it doesn’t look like he spins. He just sorta… “ball-ifies” It was identical to his Spin Attack animation on the Genesis. The only other thing I noticed is that when he jumps it doesn’t look like he has that little frame of “ball” that gave him that look of being fast instead of just curling up. Music and art design are simply perfect though. 
    On a very minor note, I never did learn the reason behind using the 8-bit Sonic 2 title screen poses. Can anyone fill me in?

  • Reply

    Goddamnit. Can’t run.

  • Reply

    you know what would be REEAAALLLLY cool? if you guys somehow incorporated hidden palace.

  • Reply

    This is… AWESOME!! the colors, sprites, and graphics are all so very detailed and precise. It really is a WORK OF ART. Keep up the amazing work. I am looking forward to see how Chemical Plant looks.

  • Reply

    I know the secrets, they are ‘Perfect’.

  • Reply

    And with this Demo, I’m off to make the Green-Eyes Edition.

    In all seriousness though, props to the S2HD team. This is a feat that truly stands out among the sea of fangames and the Sonic community itself. I’ll admit that these guys have my respect.

    But really guys, I’m making that Green-Eyes version.

  • Reply

    @Omabroodje
    Dang, really? That was the second thing I tested, but it didn’t trigger so I thought it just wasn’t implemented. I guess I missed a few.

  • Reply

    LOst. I am at a loss for words other than two. EPIC FAIL. How could you jeopordize this project like you did? For people wondering, some of the Sonic 2 HD team have stated that LOst is the direct cause of many problems with the project including hold the alpha release “hostage” until things were to go the way he wanted(jan 15th release date fail was directly his fault) as well as working on completely separate things from what he had told the team he would be doing. To top it off adding DRM to a FAN MADE REMAKE of Sonic 2?!?! Mabey the DRM creation time could have been better spent on something that actually affected the game in a good way rather than locking down your engine code. I can not imagine what your reasoning for the DRM was. The only outcome of your code being more accessable is bug fixes and increased popularity due to portability. I repeat: EPIC FAIL

  • Reply

    Dear Artists and Musicians: Awesome work!! Very amazing!
    Dear Coder: Please burn and rot in hell.
    Dear Artists and Musicians again: You should put all the assets for public access so a truly open source implementation can arise. Thanks.

  • Reply

    There are also missing dll when there is 1. I think the DRM code has messed it up!

    Well, I suggest adding Hidden Palace to the game. This level would look cool in HD.

  • Reply

    I wasn’t nearly as impressed as I thought I would be. Sure, it’s prettier, but the physics seemed too slow and heavy, like the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic 2 put more emphasis on Sonic’s speed, but judging from what I’ve seen, Sonic accelerates too slowly. In addition, his running animations seems quite a bit slower than in the “vanilla” Sonic 2. And DRM in a fan game? Really?

    While I understand this is an alpha release, it seems to me that there is much work to be done, particularly with the physics and pointless DRM.

  • Reply

    Way to go LOst, it’s nearly impossible to play the demo. And what’s this I hear? YOU’RE the reason that “big announcement” that was supposed to happen at the beginning of last year never actually happened? For shame. Look, I’m gonna have to agree with everyone here, S2HD Team. You gotta kick out LOst. Why should he be worrying about people modifying the game? It’s a fan game for Peter Puppy’s sake. Get with the program, man, and quit being such a tightwad.

  • Reply

    Now i can no longer play the game, its popping up as Malware now, didnt do this yesterday.

  • Reply

    The Alpha is awesome. My only problem it´s that it takes AGES to load the level… Is it normal? Is there any workaround for this. Ingame it works perfectly…

    Otherwise, great work on everything 😀 You should put a loading screen though…

  • Reply

    What’s good about it?Looks nicer,more animation,music is fantastic and running with different colored Sonics is awesome.
    What is bad?Who the hell puts DRM in a Demo?Thankfully I took out those and played it on a netbook and it ran fine,but really,remove those shit out and add a deleted stage like Hidden Palace or Wood Zone and you’re in forever.

  • Reply

    Lovely, amazing and beautiful BUT one problem, the shitty DRM crap put into the game in not required and ridiculous.

    I mean , if i had power just like you guys to remake/make a fangame/game of my own , i wouldn’t even think of adding DRM because its the reason why nobody wants to download/buy a game with DRM shit.

  • Reply

    Mac version isn’t on anyones priorities list I guess?

  • Reply

    I love the work! Sonic 2 HD is really HD! Only downside from me is that my freakin’ Windows 7 can’t handle this much awesomeness…

  • Reply

    Same fucking game. Gradient overload.

    Waste of effort!

  • Reply

    Well, I have been lurking here for over 12 years, and I will say this: S2 HD team, if you want a crappy product, keep LOst on as your programmer. An immature NDAA-loving anti-social halfwit hack with no actual skill, but an ego that more than makes up for it.

    This project is doomed to fail with that tard on your team.

  • Reply

    So, let me get this straight. You nix community support for a lead programmer with his head stuck so far up his ass that he would delay a fan project for paranoia protection DRM, and a “music composer” who thought that using shitty midi for part of their soundtrack replacement/update was a most excellent idea. Tell me again, who is this fan game really for? Because as far as I can tell, this whole embarassing production is nothing more then a fanwank of the highest order.

  • Reply

    Stop making me want a pc and spending money! You and your amazing game that looks as beautiful as the sun rise and 2d gameplay that I miss so much! Awwww now I gotta get someone to let me play it on theirs lol. Please make a mac version please?

    Great looking game though.

  • Reply

    Just tried the 32-bit executable a while ago to see if my odds were better than with the 64-bit one, nadda zip! Five minutes of a hot CPU fan later and it still sat there with a blank screen. Do I have to wait five more minutes for Emerald Hill Zone to load, or does it take the full five hours? =P Either way my CPU would have blown before that was done!

    And megas88, don’t be too disappointed there isn’t a MAC version, the alpha build is too broken to run on most rigs as it is. Besides, the programmer has taken a nap and probably won’t be writing a OpenGL renderer (DirectX? WTF LOst!) to make that possible anytime soon, wake up programmer!

  • Reply

    This is wonderful. It’s massively exceeded my expectations. All you moaners, you couldn’t hope to ever achieve such a feat.

    PS it ran like silk on my macbook pro.

  • Reply

    Wow, just wow !!! I am amazed by the level of quality you’ve reached with this demo. Sonic 2 is my all time favorite game and seriously I was waiting for Sega with the latest titles to bring back the magic… They didn’t… but you did!!!! I am in love with the graphics, the animations, the physics…. It’s definitely the Sonic 2 HD remake done right!!.
    Now, I have one enooormous fear… That the adventure ends here, because I really can’t wait to play the whole game (and as a game developper myself, I know there is a lot of work to achieve that). You have all my support and I wish you all the best so you can finish this amazing project (fingers crossed for Sega leaving you do that until the end)

    You have a new fan! Btw, is there a way to contribute, send you money, whatever to help???

  • Reply

    I have to say that for the past few of hours i have been hooked by the amazing posts on this site. Keep up the wonderful work.

  • Reply

    1) The game looks awesome, the amount of small details here and there make it even more awesome.

    2)Is it just me or Sonic is a little slower than in the original?

    3)And gamepad support (at least for Xbox 360 ones) will be really great addition.

    P.S. This scene with many Sonic pallete swaps reminds me of uninspired fan characters around the net. Lol.

    P.P.S. Thank you guys.

  • Reply

    I just get a green screen when I open the executable. Any suggestions?

  • Reply

    1. The demo has stopped working on my laptop (Win 7)
    2. I have a Win 7 Ultimate desktop and it gives me the error that I don’t have a compatible version of Windows…
    And the game stopped working on my laptop ever since I beat Robotnik with Tails….sneaky fox

  • Reply

    […] PC my anti-virus software knocked the program from being opened. Looks like the issue’s been raised by others on Sonic Retro too. Related […]

  • Reply

    Damn, as a long time sonic fan I hope you get these issues sorted out, while I might not be as dedicated as alot of people you guys have likely encountered I have been playing sonic 2 for going on 20 years now and would love to get my hands on this version, I hope down the road I hear about this project being done and this LOst guy has been dropped like a bad habit. Good luck with the project, I have heard of rumors of a keylogger sadly being slipped in the game as well, is this true? I am not trying to drag your guys name through the mud, I know if one is present it’s the result of 1 person I just wanna get a say from those who know the project best.

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