Well, this is my first attempt to try and make a Video Game Pasta, and I kinda hope I avoided the obvious cliches.
Feel free to tell me what to tweak.
This is based on the commercial failure "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG" (the 2006 game) and it's true ending that's inaccessible due to the game being an obvious beta.
Once this is acceptable, I'll remove this heading.
The Pasta Edit
It was strange. I had never seen the clip before, and had assumed that such a thing could not exist, but it does.
See, you might remember Sonic 06, and how there's a rumored "True Ending", that's only been hinted through the game achievement:
"Knights of Chronos" or something similar to that name.
"Unlock the True Ending", it says in the description. I can't quite recall the gamerscore points you get on the Xbox 360 for it, maybe it's 100 points or something big like that.
But anyway, it's almost near impossible to obtain. Many have tried, and assumed that you need to obtain all S Ranks in the final story to get it, but you don't. It's well hidden within the disc. You need a really good program on your computer to rip it from the data. At least, I think so. My disc, at least, was like that.
It's not much different than the other releases... It simply has a Platinum Family Hits edition box and label, but I always thought the data was the same on the inside as the rest.This was my second copy. The first was maimed in a freak accident with prior 360 we had, in which the cats knocked the console off the table while running, with the disc still inside. The second copy was picked up at GameStop a few months later, new in box, still plastic wrapped and for $13 plus tax. That was about four years ago, the day I got the replacement.
That's right. No mysterious seller from eBay. No strange email addresses and disconnected phone numbers. No burned to a CD . EXE file, marked up with a sharpie, peeling decals on the top of the disc. No. This was a normal purchase like any other time.
After years of exploiting every bug I could find, and trying to find ways to extend game time with certain characters for certain segments... I decided I wanted to try something new with my disc: ripping the cutscenes from it.
I had already had downloaded a standard TV quality collection of the clips before, but this time, I wanted the raw files, all in HD, and perhaps without subtitles... Since I enjoy making AMVs often. It's a hobby I've had since I was 14...
I didn't exactly know how to rip files from an Xbox disc, as it seemed that every time you stuck the disc into a computer, it spat out a short video saying that you should put the thing back into the Xbox if you want to use it.
I knew how to rip DVDs of mine, even if I sometimes goofed and got the Spanish audio and Portuguese subtitles from improperly stating what channels to rip from. Game discs were completely foreign to me.
But, I was lucky to have family who could direct me in the way I needed for a task like this, and eventually, I ended up with the set of files to use.
Finding them to be all a bit of a clutter for over one hundred individual video clips to be just sitting in a folder, I set to work creating subfolders, labeling them, renaming and numbering each clip properly, and sorting them by what "Episode" each one belonged in... Shadow's went with the Shadow folder, Silver with Silver, Sonic in the Sonic one, and Last Story had it's own as well. It was nice to be organized.
Finding my eyes to be a bit crossed from staring at all the files and renaming them, I decided to take a quick break and watch a few of my favorite moments for a while, until my eyes stopped feeling weird.
My favorite moments tended to be short bits of action that just caught my eye:
Mephiles twirling off screen after telling Silver to continue after Sonic.
Knuckles fumbling trying to catch a video card thing, only to let it drop and promptly stomp on it.
Tails sliding into view when Sonic saves Elise in Dusty Desert, waving both hands as if to say "Look at me! I'm here too!"
Amy, being embarrassed that she mistook Silver for Sonic, shoves him back and almost off the roof as she apologizes repeatedly... Silver flailing his arms to not fall as part of the joke.
That sort of stuff.
While not the best game by any stretch of the imagination, it's still a good one if you have time and patience.
So, as I'm sorting the clips, I notice one of the thumbnails with a strange preview image, as I could not place where in the game it was from. I had played this game back and forth for almost six years now, and was absolutely certain I had never seen that preview image before.
Being that I have Windows 7, I grab the slider on the icon size thing and drag it up to enlarge the icon, just to be sure it wasn't just a coding error that messed up the thumbnail.
Nope. Clear as day.
The thumbnail showed what appeared to be an earlier model for Mephiles the Dark's Shadow form, something like the polygon ratio, or whatever that's called, being lower than the released version of his model. This looked like something blockier than the Next Gen style of character models, but more detailed than Shadow's solo game, which was the game released before Next Gen.
What was even weirder was that it appeared that Mephiles was hunched over, hands held to his head, and the most distinctly scared face that was possible on him. Not hyper-realistically scared, but in the way that Sega often managed to bring out a great deal of emotion in a cartoonish way.
Mephiles eyes were wide and scared looking, his body was doubled over, he was clutching his head in both hands, and his knees looked bent in such a way to suggest that he was too scared to stand up properly. The only background was black, and something blue seemed to be just off the edge of the preview image.The file was labeled something like "END_TRUTH" or something similar, with the file format suffix at the end. Honestly, I have a bad memory with names. It's the visuals I remember more.
Remembering about the rumored final ending and having been driven nearly mad at seeing that it was near impossible to get too, I wondered if this was the true ending.
Being that I also have a soft spot for Mephiles, finding him to be quite an interesting little spiky quilled nutjob, and that I saw that the thumbnail showed him in it in such a way that it indicated to me that maybe this could answer my question of "What happened to him after time was set back?"
Yes, those of you who haven't played: the plot has time travel, plenty of it.
The normal ending simply moves everything back to the first clip, with some differences, as Sonic and Elise meet one more time, with distant memories of the story that never was. It's bittersweet, and touching if you like cute endings.The game was also known for having varying levels of rendered completion in each scene (this game was unfinished before it was put on shelves.), ranging from barebones with minimal shading and a dead plastic look, to a more realistic texturing, with each hair visible on the fluffiest of surfaces, the slight redness of the eyes with the veins off to the side... The completely rendered clips are stunning to say the least.
But this clip I found was clearly bare bones in rendering, so I got excited, thinking this was a stray clip from production that had been cut during development. It was already confirmed that the original drafts had some different text in them. And it was no secret among the fan community that the game discs held all sorts of data inaccessible by normal playing means...
Hovering my cursor with my tablet pen over the icon, I pressed down twice to open it up in Window Media Player to check it out.
The clip was about two and half minutes long, with a great deal of it seeming like a simple loop over of several seconds worth of footage before it finally moved on.
As explained before, the background was nothing but black, as if someone didn't bother to create one, or it was to represent some void or something... The series itself has used white voids and dark simple colored backdrops before, with character floating in some kind of limbo, to represent a fracture in time or something... It makes more sense if you actually have seen it before. It's not a common feature, but it's been dabbled in a few times in the series run.Mephiles, as explained before, was hunched over, hands gripping his head, face set in a distressed expression, and crouched as if having trouble standing upright. His fingers seemed to be curling as if trying to grab the fur that is implied to be on Sonic characters' heads, then straightening before repeating the action. His body was bobbing up and down the way characters did when breathing heavily. He was set in the center of the screen, and the "camera" appeared to pivot and rotate around him, as if the viewer is meant to circle him.
The blue thing I mentioned earlier in the preview image turned out to be none other than Sonic himself. His arms were folded as he tended to do when acting cocky, and as the camera rotated, he ran back and forth around Mephiles, pausing to either nod or breathe... It's hard to tell sometimes.
His face held an expression that wasn't particularly unusual, but still seemed off, considering Sonic was well known as being a rather optimistic and rarely grudge holding type of fellow. The expression was simply his eyes being less rounded than usual, which was indicative of glare he occasionally had when either bested or suspicious of someone, and his mouth seemed to be set at simply an at rest position, as if he wasn't sure whether to grin or frown.
The audio was somewhat jarring. It was hard to understand, but it sounded as if someone had taken some laughter clip and slowed down the tempo and lowered the pitched, and accompanied it with what could have either been gasps or moans of a higher tone.
This repeated for at least two minutes before fading to black, then swiftly bringing up another clip entirely.This time, it was a fixed view of Mephiles, sitting on the black "floor", large hands either folded or wrapped around himself. At first glance, I mistook it for a straightjacket before I realized his hands are just big, much like any other character in the series. His expression is now set in his more well known mildly peeved glare, staring ahead as he rocked himself back and forth, wiggling his feet as some sort of tic and allowing himself to be rather limp as he rocked forward and backwards.
Now, the audio has changed as this point, and in the same tone and style, I can hear a deep and dragged out "You're too slow!" in the garbled mess, repeating for the next half a minute as Mephiles continued his action.
Realizing that the words come from Sonic's taunt in his appearance in Super Smash Brothers Brawl, I wondered if the laughter was also an altered version of Sonic's voice.
Then I started to really think about the clip once it ended. Of all the people to be featured with Mephiles, why Sonic, who never met him face to face, despite having been killed once before by Mephiles?
If this is the true ending, where is this taking place? Is Mephiles imagining all this, maybe really is insane, and an apparition of Sonic is haunting him? Did Sonic take a moment before time was reset to do this? Is Mephiles stuck in some sort of void from now on, haunted by his own broken mind?
So many questions, a lot I can't completely transcribe for the simple reasoning that I have not formed them to words yet.
Maybe it's because my sister enjoys Silent Hill, and has shown me the franchise in such a way that what is usually considered scary invokes not even a twinge of unease sometimes that I find myself not particularly unnerved by this clip.
Yes, I realize it's simply a game, and the characters are nothing more than data and coding to simulate the visual of a living creature, but all of us have moments where we find ourselves feeling pity, joy, sorrow, fear, and other emotions for those digital creations at one time or another.
As part of a headcanon, I have always kinda imagined the one shot and dead characters in the series as simply "retired" in an area that they all just chill, regardless of character alignment or game they appeared in.
Sometimes, I like to think of the characters as actors for the series, and that crossover games and non cannon cameos are merely the cast taking a day off and attending a special event... Such as a racing game, the Olympics, or even meeting characters from other franchises (Sonic having appeared in a few official games with Mario now, and even one with Solid Snake, and Banjo and Kazooie). Those games further fuel that silly idea just to keep things interesting.
With that being said, I often have the mental image of Mephiles either hanging around the old retired characters from the earlier days, or as the guy who waits after each "work day" for the active cast, just to hang around for a while, in contrast to his actual sour and manipulative game demeanor.
Seeing this clip really jarred that out of my mind. I now can only imagine him being trapped in a dark place, constantly laughed at, being tormented as he scratches at his ears futilely to block it out... And sometimes even just sitting there, rocking himself for no real apparent reason...
I should have just downloaded the clips from some torrent or something.