Star Fox 2: The Game We Never Knew

Star Fox 2: The Game We Never Knew

I never realized that a sequel had been made for the SNES until I saw the reproduction cart on gamereproductions.com.

The really cool thing is this isn’t just a couple of levels, this game is totally finished but just unreleased as Shigeru Miyamoto and the guys at Nintendo decided at the last minute they wanted to concentrate more on the N64 system and show what it could do with the Star Fox franchise with the most advanced hardware instead of releasing this title for the Super Nintendo.

Even though this game was complete it was left by the wayside, but once Star Fox 64 was made a lot of elements from Star Fox 2 were reused and integrated into that game, so if you play both you will notice a lot of similarities.

starfox 2 gameplay footages snes

A new improved version of the Super FX chip was used producing an even better looking 3D game.  This game instead of being strictly a flight-based game introduces some real time game play, new types of ships and new Star Fox team members.  When you and your teammate start on the map instead of taking a linear route like in the original game you can freely travel wherever you want, but as you move the enemy will react and also move around the map too.

starfox 2 - snes - gameplay screenshot

Your objective is to destroy all the enemies that are present on the map while trying to defend your home planet Corneria from enemy attacks.  If the planets damage level reaches 100%, you have failed your mission and the game is over.  To protect the planet you will have to destroy the fighters and incoming missiles that are headed toward the planet.  To permanently prevent the attacks you have to deal with the planets with enemy bases that fire the missiles and the battleships that deploy the enemy fighter ships.

starfox 2 - snes - gameplay screenshot

The really cool thing is when you make contact with one of these missiles or planets on the map screen you are taken to an action sequence.  If it’s a missile you came in contact with you will have to shoot down all the missiles on the screen, then if it was a planet you have to open the enemies base entrance by either hitting a switch, defeating a boss or destroying a shield.  Once you get into the base you have to go either fly through or you can transform into a walking tank and destroy the generator at the end.

starfox 2 - snes - gameplay screenshot

Once the generator has been destroyed no more missiles will be fired from that base.  While you are trying to clear out the enemies, more enemies will continue moving on the map and attacking Corneria.  So you may have to leave your battle to quickly intercept the enemies before they inflict massive damage to the planet. So managing your time effectively becomes very important.

starfox 2 - snes - gameplay screenshot

Starfighters from the Star Wolf mercenary team make an appearance, if you played Star Fox on the N64 or the Star Fox game on the DS you will recognize them.  They have captured some planets and if you try to take them back you will have to fight them. After some time passes they may start coming after your Arwings. They aren’t the only ones coming after you though, bosses will also be sent out to chase you down at some point in the game.

If you get a chance to pick this game up I definitely recommend it, but if not at least make sure you play Star Fox 64 on the N64 or 3DS and see how some of the mechanics from this game were incorporated.

Thanks to Yuriofwind for the video breakdown on the cancellation of Starfox 2.

Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry

Do you feel lucky, well do you, punk? The fans waiting for the Dirty Harry videogame to be released for both the Playstation 3 and X-Box 360 don’t because it actually looked like a really good game. Dirty Harry was developed by The Collective Inc and was to be published by Warner Bros Interactive.

Dirty Harry Game

Clint Eastwood himself was set to reprise his role as Harry Callahan giving authentic voiceover work for the game. As for the story, the game would take place between the first and second Dirty Harry movies and would focus on Harry tracking down a serial killer named Scorpio. The game also hoped to bring more depth to the character with side stories and character development.

As for gameplay, think Grand Thief Auto or a spin-off like The Godfather. Harry would have free roam of San Francisco and would take on missions and fight street crime. While there was no gameplay footage ever shown there was to be an AI for the crooks and cops meaning Harry could walk the line between good cop and psychopath and depending on what he did both sides would treat him differently.

Warner Bros did release a trailer and while it looks like there is gameplay within there is not. What WB did was have the character models sent to an animator to simulate what it would look like. Also, Clint never recorded any voices for the game so what you hear is directly from the original movie.

The game never made the light of day and it is not clear exactly why. We do know there were issues between The Collective and Warner and the ship was sunk. There was word a new Dirty Harry game was to be released, but no word as of yet. However, you can check out the classic Dirty Harry game if you need a fix.

 

 

The Shadow

 

The Shadow

Fans of the Sega Genesis beat-em up game, Streets of Rage almost got a similar style fighting game for the Super Nintendo. Developed by Ocean Software, the game was set to be released alongside the film of the same name.

The Shadow - Super Nintendo - Gameplay Screenshot

What we know is the game had at least eight levels where you would control The Shadow as he took down mobs of enemies Double Dragon style. As seen in the screenshot, The Shadow had two bars, one that showed his life and the other that showed what would be consider a “power bar.” The second bar showed the power The Shadow had to preform special movies like invisibility, gun abilities, speed boost and a special shield that would knock out anyone who came in contact with it.

As for stages The Shadow was to battle is why through, Times Square, the Empire State Building, an Amusement Park, a Museum, The War Department, Chinatown and finally Hotel Monolith for the big showdown. In addition to side-scrolling fighting stages, The Shadow video game also contained a driving stage where you battled Mongoles on bikes.

It is not clear exactly why the game was not made. Perhaps The Shadow was cancelled because the movie only made 30 million dollars and cost 40 to make. We do know the game was set to be released in fall of 1994. For those of you who would like to try the game you can find The Shadow as a ROM for many SNES emulators.

 

Tyrannosaurus Tex

Tyrannosaurus Tex - Gameboy Color - Gameplay Screenshot

Tyrannosaurus Tex

Back in the year 2000, Slitherine Software announced the release of what was to be the first first-person shooter for a handheld. Tyrannosaurus Tex followed the story of a maverick cowboy through 28 levels with six different types of guns and ten different types of enemies. While the game was actually 2D, because of the first-person perspective, it would have played and looked a bit like a 3D game.

The game was to come out in late 2000 and then late 2001. Originally, Eidos was to publish the game, but they dropped out and when TT missed showing up at E3 the rumors were that the game was dead before arrival. However, IGN was able to take a look at the game and stated that it had fast paced action and a smooth animation to it.

Tyrannosaurus Tex - Gameboy Color Box

The game itself was to start off with a training level where you were taught how to play the game and blue text would appear on screen to give you hints and tips on what to do. Since we are talking the early Gameboy color here it is no surprise the world of Tyrannosaurus Tex was mainly halls and corridors kind of like the first Wolfenstein. All the object in the game are drawn spites and the enemies were drawn at different sizes to emulate the close and far effect.

The enemies themselves also looked a bit plain with not much detail. Most enemies only had a few colors at most and when you killed them, they exploded into tiles. From what we can gather, the idea was to have violence without making it to gory or maybe it was just the system limitations. You could pick up different weapons and hit the select button to choose one and by hitting start, you could view the world map.

In the end, the game was never released and sources claim Slitherine wanted to release a ROM of the game, but the rights went back to Eidos. Personally, I would not have played this game, but the reviews did claim it was a pretty good game considering. Unfortunately, we will never know.

UPDATE 2016: The rights to the game were acquired by Piko Interactive and the game was finally released. To find out more visit here: https://pikointeractive.com/blog/its-official-tyrannosaur-tex-gbc-is-ours/

 

Unreleased: Tattoo Assassins

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Tattoo Assassins

Sometimes you might turn on the television or read something on the internet and say; “I can make something better than that.” Most of the time once you say that you realize you can’t and it ends there. In the video game world and Hollywood for that matter, that voice is almost never there telling you to stop before you make a fool of yourself and because of that we have games like Tattoo Assassins.

To be released in 1994, Tattoo Assassins was to be the answer to the arcade hit, Mortal Kombat. Developed by Data East the game featured real life actors fighting each other and using digitized graphics, the same as the original Mortal Kombat. The game was to feature over 2196 finishing moves and that included animal-based finishers like what you may have seen in Mortal Kombat 3 and some nudity-based finishers, which were rumored to be in Mortal Kombat but were never there.

Tattoo Assassins featured Joe Kaminkow of Data East Pinball and Bob Gale, screenwriter for Back to the Future.  Each character had magical tattoos that came to life when you preformed a special move or finishing maneuver. One of the finishers was dropping a DeLorean on an opponent and another was turning your opponent into a hamburger, a reference to Back to the Future and Burger Time respectfully. What was not respectful but funny was a finishing move that gave your opponent massive diarrhea.

So what happened with the game? While internal development issues, management problems and deadline woes were blamed for the demise of Tattoo Assassins it was the negative feedback from testers that lead to the shutdown of production. In addition, new games like Killer Instinct and Primal Rage were already in the arcades and doing very well.

In the end, two dozen arcade machines were produced, but most of them were destroyed. I am sure you can find someone that owns one, but if you really want to play Tattoo Assassins you can find a ROM version of the game for M.A.M.E. Perhaps it is worth checking out just for the nudalities.

 

Æon Flux

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Æon Flux

For those that may not know Æon Flux started out as an animated series on MTV. During its run, Æon Flux gaming popularity and in 1996 a video game was announced. The game was loosely based on the television episode titled “The Demiurge.” Æon Flux was to be developed by Cryo Interactive and was to be published by Viacom New Media.

Unreleased - Æon Flux - In Game Screenshot

 

The game did show up at the 96 E3 and a commercial for the game was added to the series release for that years Æon Flux. Viacom and Virgin Interactive merged about halfway through the game development. The merger led to the cancellation of Viacom’s development, which subsequently led to Cyro losing the rights to Æon Flux.

aeon flux game

In the end, Cyro still had access to the games assets and so the game was reworked into the 1997 title Pax Corpus. The game still played and even had the plot elements from Æon Flux, but was just different enough to avoid copyright issues.

Star Fox 2

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Star Fox 2

After the success of Star Fox on the Super Nintendo both Argonaut Games and Nintendo were excited to get to work on the direct sequel. As development began, the buzz was spread to a number of media outlets and everyone was waiting for its release in 1995. The Japanese version of the game was finished and was in the debugging and final beta stage when it was decided to hold the game back because of the upcoming release of the Nintendo 64 and their wish to release a updated version of the game which we all know become Star Fox 64.

Star Fox 2 - Screenshot 3

The story goes that after Andross’s defeat at the hands of the Star Fox team he returns to the Lylat system, home to Star Fox and his team members for revenge. Andross has his sights once again set on Corneria and brought along new battleships and bad guys to help him. This time around, Fox’s team has new Arwings to fight against the Andross forces and a new Mothership as a home base. One of the coolest things about Star Fox 2 was that you could play as six different characters.

Star Fox 2 - Screenshot 1

There was to be as playable characters, Fox McCloud, leader of the Star Fox team. Falco Lombardi, the loud mouth pilot who is a hotdog and does not like Fox very much. Peppy Hare, mentor to Fox. Slippy Toad, childhood friend of Fox and two brand new recruits, Fay, a white poodle with a pink hair bow and Miyu, a tomboyish lynx.

The gameplay was to be different as well and was to work a lot like a real-time strategy game. You start off with your overview map which shows Corneria on one end and the Andross base on the other. In-between is a series of planets. The overall goal was to protect Corneria, liberate captured planets, defeat all enemy forces then enter the Andross base and defeat Andross.

Star Fox 2 - Screenshot 4

How this worked was Corneria itself had a life bar and enemy fighters would attack the planet as well as missiles fired at the planet from captured planets in the system and you directed teams of two fighters to intercept both the enemy forces and the missiles. During these fights the game played much like the original Star Fox. In those battles, you could fight normal fighters, bosses and the Wolf Squadron (Andross “Fox” team).

When you went to liberate planets you would transport down and your goal was to destroy the generator in the Andross base which prevented them from firing missiles at Corneria. Overall, it sounded pretty cool because you had to think about your actions and who to and no to attack.

Now while the game was never officially released there were emulated versions made from the Japanese version. There were rumors that Star Fox 2 may be released for the Wii Virtual Console, but so far that is where it stands.

Primal Rage 2

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Primal Rage 2

The original Primal Rage was an arcade hit that pits prehistoric animals (mostly dinosaurs) against one another. The gameplay was fun and it had that Claymation type animation that was new and unique at the time, plus you could sometimes throw and eat the humans that hung around the battle field, how cool was that?

Primal Rage 2 Title Screen

Primal Rage 2 was to be released primarily based on the success from the first game and Atari was ready to capitalize. In PR2, you discover that the meteor the crashed on plant Urth was really an egg that held a monster that would become known as Necrosan. Necrosan was a living dragon skeleton that was originally planned to be the boss monster in the original Primal Rage. However, they decided to use him in the sequel as the end game boss.

The story goes that Necrosan traps the gods who were warring for land on Urth and decided to take over himself. Unable to escape the gods selected human Avatars to fight for them. All the original characters are there including, Xiao Ming, avatar of Slashfang, Malyssa, avatar of Vertigo, Arik, avatar of Sauron, Keena, avatar of Talon, Shank, avatar of Chaos, Sinjin, avatar of Diablo, Kaze, avatar of Blizzard, and Tor, avatar. Your goal was to fight Necrosan’s minions and each other until the final showdown with the big boss himself.

primal_rage_2

There was a lot of hype over the game. Unfortunately, the game did not get very far in terms of production. In the end, the popularity for Primal Rage meant it just was not worth it to continue and the game became one of the many unreleased games.

There was word that a finished arcade cabinet was shown off at a trade show and you can find some early builds on the game for emulators. Finally, there was a book written about the world of Primal Rage called Primal Rage: The Avatars, written by John Vornholt and was published by Boulevard Books in 1997.

Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds

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Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds

Remember the Philips CD-I, well most people don’t because it was a failure, but it did become known for releasing popular game titles from other systems and ruining them. This game was originally in development by NovaLogic and attempted to duplicate the popularity and gameplay of Super Mario World on the SNES.

Super Mario's Wacky Worlds ScreenShot 1

While the game looks and even sounds a lot like Super Mario World the level design was changed to be based on Earth locations rather than the world of the Mushroom Kingdom. Some of the levels included locations such as, Greece, Egypt, and Aztec. However, there were also original zones such as Pipeworks and Land ‘n’ Plaid.

Super Mario's Wacky Worlds ScreenShot 3

So how did this come about? Originally, Nintendo planned to create a CD-ROM unit for the Super Nintendo during this time Philips was given licensing rights too many Nintendo titles including Mario and The Legend of Zelda. When the plan fell through, well, if you think about it I would say Philips got pay back by making crap versions of their games.

Super Mario's Wacky Worlds ScreenShot 2

In the end, Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds was not released and it was a good thing too. Due to the limitations of the CD-i, several features could not be included in the game, such as large numbers of sprites on the screen, Mode 7, and many visual effects. The nature of the pointing device controller provides difficult controls for Mario, as the game has the default controls of running and jumping.

In addition, the level design was not that good and many of the sprits were just copies from Super Mario World, it looked like a fan made game and not a very good one.

Sonic Crackers

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Sonic Crackers

Was this to be Sonic 4, an extension of Sonic 3 or a mash up of various Sonic games into one? There are still some who debate what this game was to be but the common wisdom is that Sonic Crackers was an early prototype for the game that would come to be known as Knuckles Chaotix for the Sega 32x system.

Sonic Crackers

This uncompleted game features Sonic and Tails who are tethered together by rings, which also appears in Knuckles Chaotix. Sonic can pick up tales and throw him to higher areas and use “bungie-like” physics to pull him up to platforms.

There were two main uncompleted levels in Sonic Crackers that had music, but no sound effect as well as bonus areas (which you entered when you died or completed the first level). There are no enemies anywhere within the zones and you cannot collect any rings but lose a large amount when you die. Also when paused you can float around the world and un-pause to get to new areas.

Who am I?

One of the first things you will notice if you get your hands on a copy of the ROM is that Sonic Crackers is named Sonic Studium. This alone has caused some to believe it was to be a completely new chapter for the series. What we have learned about ROM’s is that they don’t always contain the correct or real name of a game.

Sonic Crackers

Also the name “Studium” is not a misspelling (at least not by us) it is how it is spelled on the code. As we all know “Studium” is not a real word. Now they could have meant Stadium, but even so it is not the name of the game.

4/1/94

Another theory about Sonic Crackers is that it was a hoax by Sega.  The reasoning behind this is the date of release was April 1st 1994. While in the planning stages for Sonic 4 a new technology was announced called Lock-On, no one knew what Lock-On technology was.

Sonic Crackers

In the Sonic Crackers game Sonic and Tales are linked together by rings and a tether and the idea was that people would believe (mistakenly) that this was the Lock-On technology.

The Sound of Music

One of the reasons it was believed Sonic Crackers was its own game at one time was the music. In the end, when Chaotix was released you could hear some similar sounds between its music and the one from Sonic Crackers. However, some believe the music sounds as if beats and tones where taken away.

Sonic Crackers field zone

The idea is if Sonic Crackers was either a fake or a very early build the music would sound less complex on Crackers and more complex on Chaotix.

Industrial Zone

The first level has an industrial theme which looks a lot like the Techno Tower level from Chaotix that fuels the fire that this was just an early prototype of that game. In the ROM you can move freely through the level and as stated before you can pause the game and “float” to wherever you want.When you reach the top of the level the “Game Over” music activates and that leads you into the first “Field” or bonus level.

Sonic Crackers

The music and palettes within the game changes each time you enter which shows that a time of day features was already being tested. While you cannot conventionally die on this or any of the other levels once the times reaches three minutes you get the “Game Over” music.

Field Level A

This bonus level has a pink and yellow tile on the floor as well as rainbows and waterfalls. It appears to be in the sky as there looks to be clouds in the open areas of the level. However, despite the different sections you cannot interact or fall through anywhere within this zone.

Sonic Crackers

You can exit this stage by hitting any button.

Circus Zone

The second level in the game has a carnival/circus theme which resembles the Speed Slider Zone from Knuckles Chaotix. You cannot beat this level as it just loops around, but after one minute of play time the game over music activates.

Sonic Crackers

The overall level design looks fun with tons of loops and spins however the prototype was buggy making it had to walk on the “floor”

Field Level B

The second field is much darker and has more of a technical feel to it. It appears you are high above a futuristic city, but once again you cannot interact or fall through the level.

Sonic Crackers

In this video, made by PaxPredicate, you can see all the zones and bonus levels for Sonic Crackers. In addition, he points out many of the bugs in the game including the physics issues with the connecting rings, the lack of rings even though when you hit spikes you lose a ton of them and the level instability.

Field Testing

Now you can get your hand on this game. Pretty much it is a simple Google search and you can find a ROM for it. I used the GENS win-32 emulator to try the game out, but I have confirmed it works with many of the other popular Sega Genesis emulators. Keep in mind the game will be buggy and there are no bad guys or sound effects and you cant really finish the final level. However, it was still fun to try if nothing else than for research purposes. There are two flavors of Sonic Crackers. They are the 1MB dump and the 2MB over-dump. The 2MB over-dump contains about half of a prototype Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. The precise game that the prototype is for has not been determined.

CSI Sonic Crackers

During my research I found a few emulation sites that have people decompiling Sonic Crackers in order to learn more about the game and try to either complete it, fix the current prototype to become stable or incorporate it with an existing Sonic game. Now, I don’t know if these guys want the press so I won’t mention who they are, but the good news is many of them plan to release a copy you can play on an emulator pretty soon. If this happens and it’s safe and stable and they allow it I will follow-up and bring it to you.