It would seem that Sega has a preliminary version of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 circulating in that online testing netherworld, as someone out there is leaking its assets. Last week the game's entire soundtrack escaped into the wild, and this week we have a video of Splash Hill Zone, Act 1 in its entirety. Sega has been removing YouTube clips of the footage, so you'll have to head over to TSSZ|News to check it out. Go watch and then come back here. I'll wait.
The video is a mostly clear (but not direct) and complete view of Splash Hill Zone, Act 1, and we can only assume it’s another PartnerNET leak.
I really like what I see here. Brown checkerboard ground? Check. Classic badniks from the early Sega Genesis days? Double-check. Springs? You know it. The only thing that caught my eye in a less than positive way is that when hit, Sonic's collected rings do not fly outward from him. Instead they just seem to drop to the ground and bounce a few times. That makes them easier to recollect, yes, but I always liked how stray rings rocketed away violently whenever Sonic took damage. This is not a Sonic 4 dealbreaker nor do I intend to start a petition, but it is something that I noticed. If you're still hungry for new Sonic media, there are also a few alleged screenshots of the Lost Labyrinth Zone floating around.