Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Flying Battery Zone was originally Zone 5

While developing, we went snowboarding a lot at a nearby resort. People kept getting injured, though... Originally, this stage was planned to begin after Zone 8 (Flying Battery Zone). Sonic was going to break down the door from the airship and make a snowboard out of it on the way down. The other characters can fly, so they wouldn't appear in that event.
We're going to have to take Naka's word about the snowboarding bit. However, one look at standalone Sonic 3's level select and Flying Battery Zone's original place in the level order becomes evident:

There it is, smack dab between Carnival Night Zone and Icecap Zone. If you go and check the sound test, FBZ's music occupies slots $09 and $0A, right between CNZ and ICZ's music. In fact, Flying Battery Zone is the only level which appears out of turn in the game's internal level order. This suggests it was a relatively late change, a notion supported by the presence of fully-functional bosses in standalone Sonic 3.

If you have a Pro Action Replay or PAR-compatible emulator or flash cart, you can use the code FFE6CF:0004 to set the first Data Select slot to Zone 5. No, not Icecap Zone, the real Zone 5. It even comes with its own, otherwise unused preview icon, which is different to the one in Sonic & Knuckles.

The stage itself has been completely removed though, so if you try to play it, the game just freezes.

Shoot, so close!


  1. Flying Battery actually was not completely removed in Sonic 3, TCRF has a section on the remnants.

  2. Here's something interesting I noticed. When combining this code with all the Flying Battery codes for Acts 1 and 2, Flying Battery's level design becomes altered if selected from the data select screen. I turned on the Flying Battery codes and the Data Select Icon for Flying Battery. I pressed a on my "Flying Battery" save file and strangely enough, it actually worked and sent me to Flying Battery (I just expected it to do nothing and just be purely decorative) but the level's garbage data was completely different than normal. I even checked Flying Battery in the sound test to make sure I wasn't just making a mistake or anything and surely enough in the Sound Test variant, it loaded up like usual. Try it for yourself. It is an entirely different zone (I know it's all garbage data but it is still interesting that it does this and I wonder why it isn't the same zone when selected from the data select compared to the sound test). And which one is the actual Flying Battery Zone level layout (or maybe both are)? What in the game's coding tells it to alter FBZ depending on what menu you select it from? Thanks for reading.

    1. "this code" being FFE6CF:0004

    2. Okay so false alarm. I don't think it's an entirely different level BUT the starting array is different and the garbage data around the starting area is also different. And the data around the starting area only changes when you've selected it from the data select screen (if you select it from the data select screen and then hold start+a when paused to go to the sound test and select it from there, it still loads the data select variant.)

  3. Have you noticed that in sonic & knuckles has two different object list for on sonic 3 and other for s&k, but flying battery is only level in s&k that uses s3 objects so through hacking you can put sonic 3 alone objects in there, pretty neat.