Sonic Adventure 2: The Trial is a prototype version of Sonic Adventure 2 for the Dreamcast. It was released with Phantasy Star Online as a bonus disc.The Japanese and American versions have a build date of 15 November 2000, but the European version features a build date of 8 December 2000. The only playable stage is City Escape, and it features a slightly different, instrumental version of the background music. In this version Sonic wears his traditional shoes instead of his 2G Hi-Speed Shoes, and his shade of blue is lighter than in the final version of the game. The cutscene's subtitles and some of the sound effects are different as well. Some of the posters in City Escape are different and are promoting Phantasy Star Online. After finishing the stage, a trailer is played for the full game, though it does not feature Tails and Rouge.
During the early stages of Sonic Adventure 2, it was rumored that only Sonic, Knuckles, and Dr. Eggman would be playable characters. This is supported by the video that plays in the demo if the title screen is left idle for long enough, which features gameplay of only those three. Whether the rumor is true or not, the other characters had already been implemented into the game at the time of this demo's release, as icons for their 1-Up Item Boxes appear in the game files.
The first cutscene is the only part of the story found in Sonic Adventure 2: The Trial. It is somewhat different from the final release, like the fact that it is only in Japanese. The English subtitles read as follows:
- GUN Pilot: Sigma-Alpha 2 heading due south over the city. We're en route, everything's a go.
- Tower Control: This is tower control. We have you on radar. Report cargo status of captured hedgehog aboard, over!
- GUN Pilot: That's a 10-4. Cargo secured on board and.... What the hell...!
- Tower Control: Didn't copy that, over!
- GUN Pilot: The hedgehog is gone, he's taken out everyone aboard and....
- Tower Control: What's wrong! Come in, over!
[Sonic bursts out of the helicopter]
- GUN Pilot: Freeze! What do you think you're doing! Get that hedgehog!
- Sonic: Talk about low-budget flights, no food or movies....I'm outta here! I'd feel better running !!!
- Chaos Drive
- Dash Panel
- Goal Ring
- Item Box
Gimmicks and obstacles
- The total number of Rings in City Escape is set at 467, this was lowered to 436 in the final release.
- The mission is simply "Find the Goal Ring," and is labelled as the first mission even though there are no other missions available.
- There is no police call about Sonic at the beginning of the stage.
- Shortly after the snowboarding segment, there is an area where Sonic is led straight up a ramp and onto a platform. From this platform, a 10 Rings Item Box can be hit with the Homing Attack. In Sonic Adventure 2: The Trial, this Item Box is a bit further away, and while it can still be reached, it was moved closer to be slightly easier to get. There are also more platforms underneath this Item Box that were reorganized in the final release.
- When Sonic is being chased by the GUN Military Truck, the 20 Rings Item Box at the end of the first ramp is absent.
- The Magic Gloves area has a different crate layout and camera angle, while also lacking the enemies and the Level Up Item itself.
- When Sonic pulls off a "Nice!" trick in City Escape, he does a front flip as opposed to a regular turn of the board.
- When an "Awesome!" trick in executed, he essentially does a version of the "Cool!" trick that includes more turns. In the final version, this became a rotating, high-speed turning trick.
- Many posters in City Escape are Phantasy Star Online themed.
- Point Markers will sometimes give the player an item, with the best being a regular shield. Because of this, it is possible to get a Magnetic Shield in the stage, then have it replaced with a regular shield at a Point Marker.
- If the player attempts to load the other stages, a placeholder title card displaying the name of the level will appear.
A stripped-down version of the 2P Battle mode is present in the demo, but it cannot be activated through normal means and will crash after completing the stage due to there not being anything else to play on. It lacks certain features, such as a functioning split-screen, but plays as a best of three matches, as opposed to the final option of playing a best of three or a best of one.
The Sonic Wind special ability has a different name and animation. It is called "Long Range Homing" and contains a swirl of bright colors, in comparison to the rough blue swirl in the final version of the game.
- Sonic never wears his 2G Hi-Speed Shoes in the cutscenes.
- In the first cutscene in the Hero story, no music plays until Sonic busts out of the helicopter.
- In this same cutscene, the GUN pilot's "What?!" has been translated as "What the hell?"
- The font used for the subtitles is the same one used in Sonic Adventure, and it is used in the mission statements, button prompts, and the pause menu as well. In the final, the font used for all the text is Comic Sans.
- The pause menu also has a slightly different design.
- The background of the title screen features Sonic without his 2G Hi-Speed Shoes, of course.
|"Escape from the City" (early)|
- "Escape from the City", the background music for City Escape, features an instrumental version instead.
- The whistle used to call out Animals, as well as the sound an Animal makes when the player get it, is erroneously played at a lower sample rate and are, as a result, significantly shorter in length and higher in pitch.
- There is a small click noise when Sonic gets on a Grind Rail.
- When the player's Rank hits the screen, it makes the emblem jingle.
All of the Level Up Items for Sonic are present in the game files, and are accessible through hacks. The Light Speed Shoes are fully functional, but Sonic only wears them in the gameplay demo. Like his regular shoes, these also have a different design. The Bounce Attack can cause Sonic to clip through objects such as Steel Containers, along with just having strange collisions in general. The Fire Somersault has a simpler effect, lacking the fire in front of Sonic, and the Magic Gloves have no upgrade model.
The Bomb and the Health power-ups were unused in this version, along with the Random Ring Bonuses that were left out of the final release as well. The graphics that display on the bottom of each player's screen during two-player mode are featured on the right, with a black background added for visibility as they are slightly transparent.
There are more textures used on objects outside City Escape, including the Mystic Melody door, textures for Sonic's Level Up Items, the Hint Box for Knuckles and Rouge's stages, and the textures for an uncollectable Level Up Item, despite the other stages not being available yet.
- Upon booting up the game the following is displayed on screen:
"This software represents a work in progress. Please understand that this title is still in development and that you may find some unexpected problems that have not been corrected at the time of release."
- PHANTASY STAR ONLINE (Japanese). Sega. Archived from the original on 20 April 2009. Retrieved on 20 February 2022. "The first press version includes the trial version of "SONIC ADVENTURE 2"."
- Phantasy Star Online. Sega. Archived from the original on 3 February 2003. Retrieved on 20 February 2022.
- A Phantastic line-up!. Sega-Europe (22 February 2001). Archived from the original on 11 May 2001. Retrieved on 20 February 2022.
- "Access All Games: Sonic Adventure 2". Computer and Video Games (232): 8. March 2001. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 21 February 2022.
- "Forecast: Sonic Adventure 2". Dreamcast Magazine (23): 26-29. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 21 February 2022. "Unless you've abstained from buying Sonic Team's immensely popular Phantasy Star Online (and therefore not played the Sonic Adventure 2 demo...shame on you!)"