SRB2 Christmas

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SRB2 Christmas v0.96's title screen.

SRB2 Christmas is a series of outdated versions of SRB2, released between December 1999 and September 2000. Many of the characteristic elements of Sonic games were added over the course of these releases, further transforming SRB2 from a Doom modification to a stand-alone game. Among the features added in these versions are the spindash, Sonic's thok, Tails and his flight ability, monitors, shields, springs and the HUD. While the main purpose of SRB2 Christmas was to showcase the progress on the game engine, it also featured a short campaign of Christmas-themed maps, as well as a few secret levels, such as a level based on Sonic Adventure's Emerald Coast and a beta version of Greenflower Zone Act 1.

SRB2's enemies would be re-introduced to the game in these releases, replacing the ghosts used in SRB2 Halloween. Specifically, the Crawla and Minus (still a basic flying enemy as in SRB2 TGF) frequently appeared in all levels. In v0.96 a third enemy, the Egg Turret, that fired projectiles at the player would appear in the secret level Sonic's Nightmare. Sprites for two unused enemies — Drilla Killa, an enemy featured in SRB2 TGF, and Egg Head, a new flying enemy with an appearance similar to that of Eggman's head — exist in the files for all SRB2 Christmas releases, but the code for both enemies was incomplete and so neither of them appeared in the levels for any release. These two enemies, along with Egg Turret, were removed from the game completely in Demo 1, and would never be used again. Minus was also removed from the game in Demo 1, but would later be re-introduced in v2.0 with entirely new behavior.

The first boss, Egg Mobile, would also be introduced in these releases, and appears in the levels Havin' Fun? (later renamed Egg Arena) and Final Boss (v0.96 only).

In later versions of SRB2, starting from Demo 4, Christmas mode was added as one of the first date-activated secrets for SRB2, which activated during the Christmas season (from December 24th to January 5th) or by using the -xmas command line parameter – this mode featured SRB2 Christmas-themed versions of the levels' textures as well as scenery graphic replacements and music straight from the SRB2 Christmas versions themselves. Christmas mode would feature in all subsequent releases until v2.0, when it was removed along with all other date-activated secrets.

Skill levels

The five skill levels introduced in SRB2 Halloween received further changes in SRB2 Christmas's releases. All five were now referred to by generic names such as Easy, Normal, and Hard. As in Halloween, the skill level selected at the start of a new game determined the number of enemies spawned in any of the levels include – however, from v0.93 onwards, they also determined the number of starting lives given to the player, while Cakewalk and Very Hard in particular received extra changes of their own.

The five skill levels in SRB2 Christmas, along with their effects, are given below:

  • Cakewalk - 9 lives were given in this mode. Relatively few enemies would be spawned. Additionally, players would be bounced out of death pits (only for v0.93 and onwards), which trivialized certain levels such as Snow Mountain.
  • Easy - 6 lives were given in this mode. Relatively few enemies would be spawned.
  • Normal - 5 lives were given in this mode. A moderate amount of enemies would be spawned.
  • Hard - 3 lives were given in this mode. A lot of enemies would be spawned.
  • Very Hard - one life was given in this mode. A lot of enemies would be spawned. Additionally, all rings were removed (only for v0.93 and onwards) and enemies would respawn a short while after being destroyed.

These skill levels would later be revamped in Final Demo 1.01 and were eventually removed in v2.0, with the exception of Very Hard which would eventually become Ultimate mode.

SRB2 Christmas v0.90-94

SRB2 Christmas v0.90 was the first release of SRB2 Christmas, which featured six levels. However, it was released in a rather incomplete state, resulting in many crashes. The programmer Stealth, who was involved with SRB2 development previously (see SRB2 TGF), came back briefly to fix some of v0.90's issues. v0.92 was released shortly afterwards, and each subsequent release bought more stability to the game as well as many new features. These versions of SRB2 Christmas only ran on on MS-DOS and Windows 9x.

Release history and features

Some of the most significant features and changes in these versions were as follows:

Version Release date Features/Changes
v0.90 December 24th, 1999
  • The player now could now jump over enemies and land on top of them, destroying them and bouncing off.
  • A very early version of the thok was implemented, where just holding down the spin button while jumping would constantly propel the player forward.
v0.92 February 24th, 2000
  • The ability to spindash was added.
  • The ring counter on the HUD, which previously displayed in the bottom left corner of the screen, now displayed in the correct location.
  • Monitors were added. At this point, the following monitor types existed:
    • Two ring monitor types: Super Ring and Silver Ring, which gave 10 and 25 rings, respectively.
    • The Invincibility and Super Sneakers power-ups. At this point, Invincibility had its own music but Super Sneakers did not.
    • The first shields: a basic shield (colored blue), and the Attraction Shield (colored yellow).
  • Sonic's ability was replaced with the homing attack (which was removed in the following version), which was activated by pressing the jump button in mid-air.
v0.93 March 24th, 2000
  • Temporary invincibility after getting hit was introduced. This removed problems in earlier versions where players would die immediately after coming in contact with an enemy, even while holding rings.
  • Score, lives and a time counter were implemented, and a full Sonic 2-like HUD was added. Initially, the time counter displayed the time only in seconds instead of minutes and seconds. At the score tally screen, the player would now receive bonuses for time and collected rings, just like in the original Sonic games. The Extra Life Monitor was added, which awards the player an extra life when destroyed.
  • Drowning was added – if the player stayed underwater for more than 12 seconds they would lose a life. The Air Bubble Patch was also added, allowing the player to stay underwater for longer when they breathe in a large bubble from it.
  • A 10-minute time limit was added; once the timer reached 9:59 in any level, the player would instantly die and lose a life.
  • The most extreme difficulty modes received some extra changes to further differentiate them from the others: in Cakewalk mode players would now be bounced out of death pits, while Very Hard would now remove all rings from levels.
  • Tails and his ability to fly were added. Only Tails' standing sprites and some walking sprites had been completed at this stage. Sprites from Sonic 3 were used as placeholders for his flying animation, while the other frames used a mix of Sonic's completed sprites and his placeholder Sonic Xtreme sprites.
  • Sonic's homing attack was replaced by the thok. At this point, Sonic could thok an unlimited number of times per jump.
  • A beta version of Greenflower Zone Act 1 was added as a hidden map. The first half of the map is similar to how it is today, but everything after where the first Star Post is now is missing. In its place is a largely empty section that was later removed.
v0.94 April 24th, 2000
  • Analog control was added as an option, though in an unfinished state. Unlike in later versions of SRB2, the player still faced away from the camera instead of facing the direction they were moving in, and the turn left/right controls still turned the player around but also moved them sideways. It was automatically disabled in multiplayer. This option was later removed in Demo 1, but then re-added in Demo 3 in a more complete state.
  • Enemies could now be hit from underneath, and by Tails while flying.
  • The Armageddon Shield and the Elemental Shield were added. At this point, the Elemental Shield only protected from drowning. The Armageddon Shield was originally activated by double-jumping as opposed to pressing the separate spin button.
  • Sonic 2's system font was implemented as the console's font, which would still be used to this day.

Levels

The levels included in these versions were:

Map number Name Author(s)
MAP01 Springin' Around SSNTails
MAP02 Blustery Day SSNTails
MAP03 Snow Mountain Sonikku
MAP04 Gleaming Glacier Sonikku
MAP05 Egg Base SSNTails, Sonikku
MAP06 Havin' Fun? Sonikku
MAP13 Green Flower (v0.93 only)

SRB2 Christmas v0.96

Front and back CD covers for SRB2 Christmas v0.96

SRB2 Christmas v0.96 (or v0.96CD) was a special, limited edition CD version of the game, given to contest winners in September 2000, that contained a series of extra levels, CD music and bonus artwork. It was released to the public approximately a year later, and was ported to Win32 allowing modern computers to be able to run it. Note that the CD music originally included with v0.96 is not present in the srb2.org download for this version.

Levels

In addition to the six main levels from the previous versions, v0.96 added a further four as well as two secret levels:

  • Emerald Coast, a level based on Sonic Adventure's own level with the same name. This level is accessible through a hidden exit next to the starting area of Snow Valley, marked by grass walls and floor clashing with Snow Valley's texture theme. Unique to this level are floor surfaces that have an effect when walked on: A sound plays whenever the player steps on the wooden bridges, and sand particles appear when walking or running in the sand.
  • Sonic's Nightmare, a relatively high difficulty level compared to the rest of the levels included in SRB2 Christmas. This level is accessible through a hidden exit located in Emerald Coast, marked by a floor covered in snow clashing with Emerald Coast's own texture theme.

Both secret levels will warp to MAP10 (Final Boss) after being completed.

The existing levels from the previous versions, except for most of Egg Base, were modified to have a thok barrier to work around Sonic's high speed, which allowed him to go outside the level. In contrast however, most of v0.96's new levels did not have a thok barrier, with the exception of Final Boss and Emerald Coast.

The levels included in this version were:

Map number Name Author(s)
MAP01 Springin' Around SSNTails
MAP02 Blustery Day SSNTails
MAP03 Snow Mountain Sonikku
MAP04 Gleaming Glacier Sonikku
MAP05 Egg Base Sonikku, SSNTails
MAP06 Egg Arena Sonikku
MAP07 Close Corners KinkaJoy
MAP08 Christmas Factory Sonikku
MAP09 Snow Valley Sonikku, SSNTails
MAP10 Final Boss SSNTails
MAP15 Emerald Coast (Secret level 1)
MAP16 Sonic's Nightmare (Secret level 2)

Other features

Both blue and red Crawlas were given new sprites in this version, replacing the old ones which were based on the original Crawla sprites from SRB2 TGF (although the original sprites could still be seen in the screenshots viewed after finishing levels). The new sprites would later be replaced again in v2.0.

The diagonal yellow spring was added in this version, and was used in some of the included levels. Some additional items and enemies were coded into the game by this version, but were not used in SRB2 until later releases: the SDURF and Skim enemies, water ambiences and the gargoyle scenery object for Deep Sea Zone.

Super Sonic

Super Sonic, as he appears in SRB2 Christmas v0.96

Super Sonic was added in this version at the latest, although he might have existed in previous versions as well. When equipped with all seven Chaos Emeralds, Sonic could transform into Super Sonic by collecting 50 rings and double jumping, just like today. Back then, the player could transform even while wearing a shield. The player would keep the shield, but just as with any other shield, it would remain invisible while the player was Super Sonic.

This early incarnation of Super Sonic was already invincible, extremely fast and could run on water, but he did not yet have a higher jump height and could not thok. Instead he had a double jump ability that was similar to his current floating ability: Pressing the jump button repeatedly would slightly increase his vertical momentum. This could be used to gain more height than with a normal jump and to float down slowly after jumping. The height that could be gained with this ability varied from version to version until it was replaced with the thok in v1.08.

Since only one the front standing sprite for Super Sonic had been completed at this point, this sprite was displayed in all frames and at all angles. This sprite was removed in Demo 4, where Sonic was instead equipped with a Superman cape when transformed into Super Sonic. Proper Super Sonic sprites were finally introduced in v1.09.

SRB2 Christmas v0.96 was also the first version with collectible Chaos Emeralds: a hidden area on top of the vine-textured mountain near the end of Emerald Coast provides all seven Chaos Emeralds (which at the time were identical in appearance) as well as many rings, allowing the player to easily transform into Super Sonic there. Alternatively, players could type the cheat code IDKFA on the screen (without opening the console) to be given an emerald.

Gallery

External links

  Versions [view]
Pre-demo SRB2 TGFSRB2 HalloweenSRB2 Christmas
Demo Demo 1Demo 2Demo 3Demo 4Demo 4.32-4.35SRB2 2k3
Final Demo Final Demo 1.01-1.04Final Demo 1.08Final Demo 1.09-1.09.2Final Demo 1.09.3-1.09.4
Post-demo Match betaVersion 2.0Version 2.1In development