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.