Unreal [PC – Beta / Tech Demo]

Unreal is a FPS developed by Epic Games and Digital Extremes and published by GT Interactive in 1998. Originally, Unreal was going to be a Quake-style shooter: earlier screens showed a large status bar and centered weapons, similar to Doom and Quake. The main character was also going to be a woman, however in the final version the main character’s gender is selectable in the game’s “player setup” screen, though the default is a female character named Gina. One of the weapons shown in early screenshots was the “Quadshot”, a four-barreled shotgun. The model remains in-game, while there is no code for the weapon to function. Another weapon shown was a different pistol, however this may have just been an early version of the Automag. At one point the rifle could fire three shots at once, which is wrongly stated as the alternate fire in the Unreal manual that comes with the Unreal Anthology.

As development progressed, various levels were cut from development. A few of these levels reappeared in the Return to Na Pali expansion pack. A number of enemies from early versions are present in the released software but with variations and improvements to their look. One monster that didn’t make the cut was a dragon. [Info from Wikipedia]

Various Unreal beta builds were leaked online and thanks to Leo some of those files were fixed to play them better. You can download these files in here.  Some other early demos can be find at Unreal Services:

Unreal TechDemo 1995 (Size: 2.27 MB)
A unique piece of Unreal’s history: A playable technology demo from 1995. The demo contains 5 never seen before maps with textures and music that did not make it into the final game.

Unreal Beta 1997/98 (Size: 141 MB)
Big Unreal demo from 1997, leaked in 1998. An entire beta Unreal version including UnrealED. With many working levels and some levels that are not working or not completed yet. It’s really nice to see how some levels have been improved from this beta on and sad to see that some very good levels have been scrapped later. It also included levels of Return to NaPali, but at that time it was still one game.

Also, if you have some free time you can check this long thread at the Beyond Unreal Forum, in which there are many info on the various beta versions.

Thanks to Leo for the contribution!




Agent 9 / Prime 8 [PS2 – Cancelled]

Agent 9 is a character from the Spyro The Dragon game series, a space monkey that first appeared in Spyro: Year of the Dragon for the original Playstation. Sometimes in 2003 / 2004, Vivendi Universal wanted to use Agent 9 to be the protagonist of his own platform adventure game, out from the Spyro world.

Vivendi asked to Blue Tongue Entertainment to create the initial concept for this new project, in which Agent 9 became a James-Bond-alike spy, but after a series of focus group with kids, they had to redesign the character to make him more “cool” to appeal more to the right audience. Agent 9 became Prime 8, with a more “hip” look and a gameplay that should have been similar to the Ratchet & Clank series. Sadly, even after this redesign, something went wrong during the development and Prime 8 was never released.

The Blue Tongue project was not the only Agent 9 in development: another pitch was asked to Backbone Entertainment. Backbone created a series of concept designs  more true to the original character (as seen in Spyro the Dragon). In the end there were at least 2 different “Agent 9” projects, but we can speculate that Vivendi Universal did not like any of them and these games were never finished.

Clarity Jones from Backbone Entertainment wrote:

Prime 8, which was a game we were developing as a spinoff of Spyro The Dragon, actually eventually became Death JR for the PSP. When Prime 8 was cancelled, we still kept messing around with the engine and eventually Death Jr was conceived.

Thanks a lot to Peter Overstreet for donating his artworks, created for “Agent9 Backbone”!

Images (Agent 9):

Images (Prime 8):

Images (Agent 9 Backbone Version):

Video (Agent 9):


Sonic CD [Beta / Unused Stuff – Mega CD]

Sonic the Hedgehog CD, or simply Sonic CD, is a platform game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, released for the Sega Mega-CD in Japan on September 23, 1993, in Europe in October 1993, and finally for the Sega CD in North America on November 19, 1993. After the release of Sonic the Hedgehog, Lead Programmer Yuji Naka had grown dissatisfied with the rigid corporate policies at Sega, so he moved to the United States to work with the Sega Technical Institute. Incidentally, a large number of the original design team of Sonic also left for the U.S., to help instruct the American developers. With half of Sonic Team and two of its most important creators present, the Sega Technical Institute eventually got the job to develop Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Meanwhile in Japan, Sonic CD (or at this point, “CD Sonic” as it was first known) was handled by a separate development team, headed by Sonic creator Naoto Ohshima. Initially, as revealed in interviews and magazine clippings, Sonic CD, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System and Game Gear were supposed to be the same game. However, during development, Sonic CD evolved into a vastly different type of game. [Info from Wikipedia]

An early version of one of the bosses in the game had pinchers instead of bumpers on its hands. In the beta version of the Special Stages, the background had a large mountainside and planet instead of the usual dark space. The UFO was originally a baloon which Sonic would have to pop.Various unused sprites can also be found in the game’s code. Rumors also had it that Tails was going to be in the game but it was later removed. A couple of removed Levels were know as R2 and Final Fever.

It seems that various Sonic CD Betas were leaked online, as the ones labeled 510, 712 and 920. The Sonic CD 510 Beta has many differences that were seen in early screens, with changes in the graphic details, removed level sections and unused monitors (S and Gem monitors that transform Sonic into Super Sonic and a Timer monitor that would have stopped or slow down the time). As we can read at Sonic Retro:

Sonic the Hedgehog CD prototype 510, referred to as CD Sonic the Hedgehog on the title screen, is among the first prototypes of the game Sonic the Hedgehog CD for Sega CD. This prototype was discovered by a group of fans called Sega Extreme in the summer of 2000. The game contains all the stages of the final game, but at first sight the player can only highlight the first three: Palmtree Panic, Collision Chaos and Tidal Tempest. The rest can be viewed through the Level Select. Secrets also are in the game. Using the Sound Test menu and entering a Specific Code for each one will reveal some secret artwork. One is a cute Sonic with Japanese text that reads “You are cool”. Another one is a Scene where Sonic and Metal Sonic rap and Robotnik as the DJ. Another one is a epic tribute to badman. The last one is so creepy im not even posting. It appears both by using the sound test AND running a pirated version of Sonic CD. Its Sonic with a scary face with no pupils and looking mad with Japanese text that reads something like “Fun is never ending with Sega – Manjan (which can be translated to Devil or Demon” So you probably know why now.

For more info you can check the SoST archive and X-Cult!




Soul Reaver (Shifter) [ PSX / PC / DC ] Beta / Debug / Unused Stuff]

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is a third-person adventure game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos. It was released for the PlayStation and PC in 1999 and for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000. Soul Reaver entered development alongside Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain in 1997 and focused on puzzle solving instead of Blood Omen 2’s action.

Initially, the game was set to be released October 1998. The secondary release date was then made January 1999. Due to the game still remaining unfinished. It was granted a final delay of approximately 7 months which then, the game went gold in July 1999 and subsequently got released August 1999.

Unfortunately, these delays occurred because the game wasn’t progressing quickly enough in terms of asset creation to fulfill their original vision for Soul Reaver. Several interviews suggested the designers noticed they had an overly designed game thus had no option but to remove certain areas of the game.

Some removed areas are known as:

  • Under City
  • “Turel’s Territory”(Must confirm the exact name)
  • Mountain Retreat

Amy Hennig stated that the development team split the original, much larger plans in two after realizing that they had “over-designed the game”. This decision explains Soul Reaver’s cliffhanger ending and the appearance of originally planned material in later games. Despite the split, Hennig explained that the team left unused components in Soul Reaver’s game engine to avoid unforeseen glitches that might have arisen from their removal. [Infos from Wikipedia] This is why certain reavers are accessible even though they are not actually obtainable on the retail version.

As we can read in this interesting article from The Lost Worlds, many items, weapons and areas were removed / not used in the final game, as the Amplified Force Projectile & Possession abilities, The Amplified Reaver and The Ariel Reaver weapons, Five additional Reaver upgrades and the The Mountain Retreat area. You should check the Lost Worlds article for more informations, it’s really well done!

Thanks to John Doom for the contribution!



Alpha: July 1998

Alpha: January 1999

Beta: 12th May 1999

Beta: 28th June 1999


Blood Bowl [PSX/PC – Cancelled]

Blood Bowl is a cancelled sport / action game that was in development by Psygnosis for the original Playstation and PC in 1998. The gameplay could have been something like Speedball or Mutant League Football. The project was stopped when the company went into financial troubles, before being bought out by Sony. It’s interesting to notice that Psygnosis’ Blood Bowl was probably based on the board game of the same name and two other Blood Bowl games were released by other companies in 1995 and 2009.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!