Dwagons [SNES, Mega Drive – Cancelled]

Dwagons [SNES, Mega Drive – Cancelled]

The 16-bit era is often mentioned as the Golden Age of Gaming. A graced period that gave us hundreds of awesome classic games. It was a time when 2D game development was maturing and lots of ideas from the 8-bit generation would be revamped with new technology and graphics. Some old concepts and gameplay would still do pretty well in 16-bit, others had to be reworked and adapted, while still using similar and already successful mechanics. The latter is the case for Dwagons, our featured game.

Dwagons is a cancelled maze-puzzle game planned to be released on the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive (Genesis). It was in development by UK based company Imagitec Design. As noted in a magazine preview found by the spanish board SEGASaturno, Dwagons shared similar ideas with Pengo (a 1982 arcade game by Sega) and Sokoban (a japanese puzzle game from the same time).

In Pengo the player must navigate through a maze and push ice blocks to defeat every enemy on screen in the shortest time possible. In Sokoban a more strategic approach is needed: the player have to move and fit blocks into specific areas to open the next level. Both had very simple but very successful formula for the 1980’s gaming market.

Dwagons would add a little more depth into the “static-screen block pushing” type of game in “a combination of adventure, strategy and arcade“.  It would feature multiple-themed levels, co-operative multiplayer, multi-layered puzzles and a lot of secrets to uncover, everything wrapped in a cartoon-like medieval fantasy theme.

Developers even thought about other gameplay elements like magic spells, teleporting blocks, rafts to move through water places and trap doors that could make the player backtrack. By that time, gameplay variety was a central idea among gamers and developers and core mechanics for puzzle games were evolving (see Capcom’s Goof Troop for the SNES for example).

We don’t know how close Dwagons was from completion or how much of the game had actually been made, but judging from screenshots and detailed previews it seems it was already in a pretty advanced stage. It even had a whole scenario and a plot of its own. Two dragons (Dwagons) named Snort and Snail set on a quest to retrieve the Magic Talisman of Power and rescue their brother, Snarf, captured by the evil Lord Flame.

Imagitec was responsible for a variety of  arcade game ports released mostly on Atari and Amiga platforms. They worked with other companies such as Atari Corporation, Gremlin Graphics, and Electronic Arts until early 1997 when Imagitec was purchased by Gremlin and renamed Gremlin Interactive Studios.”

Thanks to Marçal Mora Cantallops and Grzegorz for the scans!


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16 thoughts on “Dwagons [SNES, Mega Drive – Cancelled]

    1. monokoma

      We should add an amiga section ASAP! There are probably better sites for cancelled Amiga games, but we could categorize the few ones we already have on Unseen64 :O

      1. Grzegorz

        Yes, there are other sites with knowledge about unreleased amiga games, but I would not say they are better.
        http://eab.abime.net/index.php – English Amiga Board (EAB) got nice subsection in their forum for games that weren’t. It’s one of the biggest forums for amiga fans and users so there is big chance somebody who was in development in old days will pop up there with stuff he was working on, sometimes also some people share their knowledge there.
        http://hol.abime.net/ – Hall of Light (HOL) is EAB database about amiga games released and canceled, it have some basic information and links to previews and reviews in scanned magazines (but not actualized for long time so many magazines are only mentioned to exist with no scans available).
        http://www.abime.net/agtw/ – Amiga Games that weren’t is extension of HOL database dedicated to unreleased games. It was not updated for a very long time. There is download for each game demo/prototype they have found and interview if they found author, but they lacks other materials.

        I would say that it is hard to find one best place for that kind of information. Lot of cool stuff is well hidden in blogs, developers webpages, not categorized scans of magazines etc. It all depends of people how much they are going to dig and search for interesting content.

        1. monokoma

          Interesting, I thought that “Amiga Games That Weren’t” would have been more updated! I did not know it was not updated for a long time, I wonder why :O Anyway I plan to add the Amiga section on Unseen64, as always it’s in queue in my super long “to do list” :D

          1. Grzegorz

            Last update was about 5 years ago. Well, EAB got lot of different projects (some are not updated for a longer time), I believe it’s because authors who created that page got different stuff to do now and community of EAB is more focused on more actual topics and projects than unreleased games (and digging into those games to know as much as possible). It’s good place to be and to know what’s going on, but there were few moments when developers share their old games and let’s say that they do not receive many positive comments for that.

            I think it is common behavior of people in net. Place is as good to be as people who visit it and want to contribute by sharing their positive comments, opinions and knowledge. Lot of them join forums, browse pages and download stuff for free, but avoiding contributing even in simplest form.

  1. Ross Sillifant

    And we add yet another title to the long,long list of canned titles by Imagitec Design :-))

    They really should of stuck to converting other peoples games.

    So many projects annouced across multiple formats, never to see the light of day.

    Huge thanks for sharing this.

      1. Ross Sillifant

        You can also add them claiming Space Junk would be converted to the SNES CD, so that would of been versions on:

        Falcon (then moved to Jaguar CD)
        MEGA CD
        SNES CD

        Martin Hooley made all these announcements when all he had to show the Press were the storyboards, Masks and PC dev screens…

  2. Grzegorz

    It is sad to see all those nice graphics not put together in final working game.
    Somebody put his time and skill into working on that game just for nothing.
    In those early days people who made games were passionate and it was very personal for them to put as much as possible of their work into games.

      1. Grzegorz

        As I write to You in my last mail I think that this game was in early prototype state, each preview use same few screens, like it was just a mockup of stuff that graphic artist was working on. I do not see much progress in between previews. But who knows maybe someone got working prototype on his hard disk/floppy/cartridge deep under the dust somewhere :)

  3. Ross Sillifant

    I’d be wary of Imagitec Design press screens.

    Jaguar CD preview of Freelancer 2120 most likely used screens from the PC CD version as that was furthest along and fact it ran slowly would of made no difference for still shots.

    Mega CD screens of Space Junk look far too colourful for the format, most likely taken from the Atari Falcon version.

    Martin Hooley claimed Mega CD Humans was nearly finished…

    That the MD would receive Humans II:The Holy Grail and Humans III Humans In Space

    Humans 2 arrived on other formats as Insult To Injury and Humans III again on other formats as Evolution..lost in time.

  4. MRoss Sillifant

    And we can add the NEC 9801 version of Humans to the above, annouced but never released?

    If so it simply amazes me Pinochio Hooley would annouce the game and sequels on so many formats, but just miss out the Atari Panther version which he now apparently claims was being worked on, though nobody can say who was doing the coding, Art,music or producer of it :-))

  5. Ross Sillifant

    From an Ex-Imagitec Design employee when asked why Martin Hooley would claim Imagitec Design had 3 Panther games in development #they understandably wish to remain anonymous #

    Martin was certainly a ‘cowboy’ in the best possible sense. He’s either bullshitting still to this day or just plain can’t remember anything.

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