[Article written by Torentsu]
In 1998 Psyiko’s “Steel Hearts” team released the highly obscure fighter Daraku Tenshi: The Fallen Angels. The game saw limited release in Japan, and even slimmer distribution in America and other places outside the land of the rising sun. Despite this the game was at least “semi” translated and there is a dip-switch option allowing you to change the after battle quotes into English. Perhaps the thing that makes Daraku Tenshi so interesting is the air of mystery that surrounds its development, and the finished product that we got. Thanks to the rise of the internet however, a few more scraps of info are starting to turn up. The general consensus is that Daraku Tenshi was released unfinished (or in the very least rushed). After being lucky enough to play this game a few years ago I created my first character modifier (and my first code for a video game at that). I wanted to check out claims of lost characters in the game, and hopefully play as them. Unfortunately I didn’t find any of the lost characters in the character array, but I did manage to make the bosses playable. You can see videos of this on my old youtube account:
Both bosses have full move sets , with the only missing elements being a missing or misplaced sprite. Trigger and Carlos will disappear and load a dot when you try to activate an alternate stance with them. While it would seem this might be a sign that they weren’t ever intended to be made playable in some form it is interesting to note that when Carlos grabs Trigger your sprite changes to a red Haiji. My guess is that this was a placeholder and they were going to work on making Trigger and Carlos selectable somehow.
One casualty of the game’s rushed development was its story. In the attract mode we are told that the city the game takes place in has drifted away from the mainland and become cut off from society. The city becomes infested with crime, and corruption. Despite this the inhabitants rename the city Eden. Besides this tiny bit of info that’s about all we have to go on. There are two cut scenes (one before each boss) , and individualized text that tells what the winner of a fight says to the loser. Through these end of match quotes we can infer a tiny bit of what is going on. Many of the characters seem to know each other and all of them seem to have some reason to get rid of Carlos and his henchman Trigger. Since this game is pretty obscure I’ll tell a bit about each of the bizarre cast.
Cool: A gothic character who fights in a jail level. Most of the characters don’t seem to like him too much. Cool’s moves and design obviously influenced the creation of KOF fighter K’ ( part of the team that did Daraku Tenshi went on to help with KOF)
Harry Ness: US Marine who is possibly a cyborg. One of only 3 characters in the game with a projectile, and it has limited ammo. His design most likely attributed to Maxima’s look in KOF.
Taro: A frankeinstein character who seems to be on friendly terms with Yurien and Yurian. Dialog after fights also suggest he is the result of or is what he is as a result of an experiment by Carlos.
Yurien: Looks quite feminine, but it actually a man who cross-dresses and sings in the bar his sister and he own.
Yurian: Yurien’s sister. Although she doesn’t cross-dress like her brother she doesn’t dress very feminine either.
Ruccio Roche: A 16 year old assassin/raver combo. Never speaks to any characters after the battle. When Trigger beats him he says he is glad to “cut down on the competition.”
Torao Onigawara: A washed up martial arts master. Probably just fighting to win his honor back.
Haiji Mibu: A bouncer who seems to have been created by Carlos, and from the shots shown during the credits it seems as though he was the one to finally bring Carlos and Trigger down.
Trigger: The sub boss of the game. The cut scene before fighting him suggest he is Carlos’s body guard or Carlos hired him to kill the player.
Carlos: Final boss of the game, and probably a crime boss controlling the city. All the characters want him dead for various reasons.
Lost story images that can be seen during the credits depict Haiji beating Trigger to a pulp and escorting Carlos from his office at gun point.
Now with all that boring final version content out of the way let’s talk beta. Several of Psyiko’s games have an extra operator menu option that you can enable by holding down the first button and hitting the test switch, and Daraku is no exception. If you check this menu a multitude of character and bitmap dumps are open for you to view. It’s in these menus we start to uncover beta material. First off here’s some lost characters that can be found In dumps.
The unofficial Daraku Tenshi homepage has the girl listed as Lapis, a treasure hunter , and the male as an unknown character. I was unable to find the other character they mention, Snake, in the memory dump but you can see him at www.darakutenshi.4t.com/1.html . The next uncut character is unusual in that he lacks any clothes whatsoever. He has no “equipment” so to speak but still I’ve blacked the picture for decency reasons.
It looks as though Jimmy was going to be an experiment Carlos was working on. You can see an unedited picture, and a bonus image of him with Carlos at www.darakutenshi.4t.com/2.html
The picture of Carlos with Jimmy says in Japanese: This is Carlos and Jimmy and I’m Otani*. If I had a little bit more power Jimmy would still be in the game, I’m sorry Jimmy.
Here’s what was probably another lost character found in the bitmap dumps
And here’s some lost storyline segment footage with unknown characters that you can see without credits in front of it in the bitmap dump.
Yep looks like some criminals-controlling-the-big-city- kinda stuff going on. Want more proof Carlos is in control and everyone wants him dead? Take a look at this- beta title screens containing beta game names.
A BLOW for freedom huh? Interesting stuff, but it doesn’t end there. Here’s another alternate title and name.
Rubbin’ Out must have been a very early concept name, as the screen is very plain compared to the others. The next concept name is the most interesting of all…to me anyway. Take a look.
Gut Reaction – just another beta tile right? Wrong! Look at THIS
Most of the time we are lucky to find one beta object, but I’ll be darned if Psyiko didn’t leave in a beta of a beta concept. I’m guessing Gut Reaction was the last name considered before they settled on Daraku Tenshi. The two gut reactions titles look much more complete than the other two, although they really don’t seem to fit the other effects and graphics in the opening.
Daraku Tenshi is not only a fun game to play, but fun to speculate over as well. I hope the information found in this article will help the game to reach more people and result in the finding of more beta for this great, but often overlooked game.
[Article written by Torentsu]