Unseen Features

Zelda: Twilight Princess Beta Analysis

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[Warning: this article is just a translation from the original one in italian, there are some “lost in translation” parts, so the original version was more complete, but at least now we have an english version too. If you find some errors or some weird use of the english language, please send us a mail so we can fix them, thanks!]

[Thanks to Evan & Sba sb3002 for the english corrections!]

The second Zelda for the GameCube (and the first for the Wii) had a long development of nearly 4 years, and the final game turned out to be a lot different from what originally appeared in 2004. Some areas and dungeons were removed, while the surviving sections were heavily modified. In this article we will try to analyze the history of the development of TP with the screenshots and the videos available.

This article has been subdivided in three sections (Overworld – Towns & Dungeons – Characters & Items), because of the enormous amount of beta material. Nintendo has worked on Zelda for many years, continuously adding and removing entire sections, of which many are unfortunately lost, and so it is impossible to recreate faithfully the original project. This is therefore an incomplete analysis, made using only the beta screenshots that Nintendo released in the magazines and the websites.

We however think that the online community will still find beta material hidden the code of the game, as it happened with Ocarina Of Time. This article will be therefore updated every time that new discoveries will be made . For every contribution, information or theory not included here, you can simply contact us with an email or you can post on our forum! Will we succeed discovering together all that Nintendo has removed?

Warning: It possible that there are spoilers in this article, and, because Twilight Princess is a very long game, it is possible that some areas, which i considered beta, are in the game.

[original article in italian by monokoma, english translation by Yota]

Overworld – Towns & DungeonsCharacters & Items

Beta Overworld


The screenshot above is from the build of TP showed at E3 2004. This zone is the first version of the Bridge Of Eldin. We notice the presence of some fire torches in front of the arc and the structure still intact, when in the released version the bridge is in ruins. We can even see a castle in the background… do you recognize it ? It is the Hyrule Castle. The Bridge of Eldin was thus originally located in the Castle Town, but Nintendo later decided to move it to the province of Eldin.


Another photo from the E3 2004 of the beta bridge of Eldin.


This is instead from the E3 2005, and, as you can see, the Hyrule Castle is still beyond the Bridge of Eldin.



The Hyrule Field has changed many times in the course of the development. In these two screenshots, we can see in the background the beta version of Hyrule Castle. The graphics was improved compared to this 2004 screenshot, but the field is just as big as the released version.



This forest it is not present in the final game, but it was probably an area of the beta Faron/Ordon Woods. It is worth noting that this forest is similar to the beta Lost Woods of Ocarina of Time.


It is really strange that Nintendo created and removed two times a very similar forest area. It almost seems like that the programmers use this wood to test the first builds of Zelda. But why it is always left out? Maybe it is too boring and confusing to explore, or there are developement issues.


In another screenshot of the beta wood, we see Epona and Link with two dogs. As we will see in the next paragraph, originally the player was required to interact more with animals, maybe in order to complete some quests.



In this screenshots of a 2005 video, Link finds a group of cats under an ancient tree. In the released game, animals have little importance, and thus it is strange that they showed this scene in a trailer.


This statue, much similar to Doshin the Giant, is yet again from the 2005 video of the beta Faron Woods. We now know that in the Sacred Grove there are some similar statues that protect the place, so we can assume that this was the beta entrance to the Sacred Grove.


This strange, small lake, shown in this 2005 image, is not present in the final version of the game. It could have been a beta version of the Lanayru Spring or one of the several fairies fountains.


This pond is also absent from Twilight Princes. The background seems to suggest that it was connected yet again to the beta Forest. The water is full of fish, so it is likely that it was also a beta fishing zone.



Others screenshots from the beta swamp. Link still has his old dress (that , by the way, it is a little different from the released game) thus suggesting that this fishing zone was near the Ordon Village, also because in the first playable demo of Twilight Princess Link can use the canoe to explore the village. Probably in the beta the Ordon river was much bigger, connecting the village with the beta woods.


The old, black and white, Twilight World. In the final build Nintendo however, as we well know, opted for a world with a strong bloom effect and saturated colors.



Yet another area removed from the beta Faron/Ordon Woods: The cementery. However the “secret” cementery in the last dungeon is very much the same as this one, apart from the trees.


In this old screenshot, we can instead see a different Bridge of Eldin fight scene, where the fire is missing near the exit and the sky has a different color than the final version.



In some other beta screens, we can even see an unused version of the Bridge Of Eldin, where it is more destroyed than the final version and the “secret room” is missing from the bridge. The strange fact is that the original version of the Bridge Of Eldin was not destroyed, because it was the entrance to the Hyrule Castle. It looks like that Nintendo had made a complete version of the bridge (when it was the castle entrance), then destroyed it (as we can see from the screens abobe) and later built it a bit more, to insert the “secret room”. What a weird development.


In the first video of Twilight Princess , the overworld of the game was a very barren and stormy land, full of dead trees. Unfortunately we can’t know if this reflects some changes in the original story of the game.


Another place shown in the 2004 trailer, probably a beta of the Gerudo Desert, where we can see a group of little ogres at twilight. Certainly it was created for the trailer, but it is interesting to see how much it is different from the atmosphere of the final Gerudo Desert.


In this 2005 screenshot we see Wolf Link in a strange snow zone, most probably a beta section of Snowpeak. No more sent us an email saying that this zone maybe was where there is now the snowboard minigame.

Next Chapter >> Beta Towns & Dungeons

OverworldTowns & DungeonsCharacters & Items

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Unseen Changes: Team Fortress 2

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Team Fortress 2 is a team-based FPS multiplayer video game, developed by Valve Corporation. In Germany the game was censored, but in a funny / interesting way: the blood and gore were replaced with random objects and plastic-alike characters.

Original Version:


German Version: 


Original Version:


German Version:


Original Version:


German Version:


Original Version:


German Version:sniper01x.jpg

Original Version:


German Version:fisch.jpg

You can read more info and see more screenshots at www.schnittberichte.com (German)

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Tomb Raider Beta [PSX / Saturn / PC]

Overview: Tomb raider was not only one of the best selling, early 3D games, but it was the most recognizable icon of the PlayStation brand. Tomb Raider’s design and concept started in 1994, Core Design, of Derby decided that they wanted to make a video game based on ‘Tomb Raiding’. Subsequently the game was released early October 1996 on several platforms such as: PC, Sega Saturn and PlayStation. Tomb Raider was then re-released on the N-Gage Nokia phone to promote the franchise further. The original concept showed early drawings of a male character which they changed to a female named Lara Cruz then to the heroine we know as Lara Croft.

It is *rumored* that early revisions of Tomb Raider were to be planned be released on:

  • 3DO
  • Atari Jaguar

It has been confirmed that there was an N64 port in progress but this got cancelled due to “contractual agreements” presumably with Sony.

As Tomb Raider was in development through 1995. The expected release date had been targeted for 1st QTR 1996. It has been confirmed that this revision was cancelled. This led to Tomb Raider being rescheduled for QTR 4 1996 after Eidos acquired U.S Gold.

As noted in an interview by Ross Sillifant with Mike Fulton:

Mike:This is the first time I’ve ever heard anything about Tomb Raider and Jaguar in the same paragraph. It seems very unlikely to me… the first released version of Tomb Raider was late 96, even later than Quake’s release.

Tomb Raider, in anything like the form we know, would have been very difficult to do on Jaguar.  It used OpenGL for 3D and there was nothing like Open-GL for the Jaguar, and few games had made any sort of attempt at texture-mapping the entire display. I’m not saying it would have been impossible but it would have taken a pretty good development team to pul it off.

Also Core in early interview with Edge talk of Tomb Raider starting out on MCD, 12 months BEFORE BC Racers was finished, but could’nt get camera system working. Interview with Core Design in EDGE issue 41 (Jan’97) Has Jeremy Smith talking of concept of character in a cinematic enviroment, being inital concept for T.R, but they had immense issues designing a system around the character that would let them move within a camera system and  Artist, animator and designer at Core, Stuart Atkinson said: ‘We already had the sketches and ideas for the game for about a year before we even finished BC Racers (on MCD).   So any claims Tomb Raider was ORIGINALLY designed for Jaguar CD is not true, it was designed during MCD era, Core just waited for tech to reach point concept/ideas could be turned into full blown game.

Also Ross Sillifant wrote us that: “The Jag Tomb Raider claim?  Comes from a SUPPLEMENT MAG, EDGE supplied in a 1-off, back in it’s early days, paid for by ATARI to promote up coming Jaguar games. I’ve never seen said supplement itself, despite owning complete eDge collection, and no-one that continues the claim seems to have copy either, lol.   Basically in it were up coming Jaguar games from Core Design, Soulstar (which we know was being worked on) but claim has Swagman down for Jaguar as well (only early confirmed version i know of, was 32X) and very early Tomb Raider, with character known as Laura Cruz or something similar.   Myth made ‘worse’ by a PHOTOSHOPPED image from sister mag Next Gen (i think) from USA where SAME screen shot, but in box out detailing system info someones (crudely) photo-shopped Jag CD logo over where it originally said Next-Gen systems.


Prototype Concept & Game Design – Date, 20th March 1995


Scans of a game design booklet from early 1995 arrived on the internet a few years ago. This booklet shows a similar story line, featuring a character named ‘Lara Cruz’, she was supposed to activate the Pyramid using the Scion supposed to be found within the first 3 levels of the game. This variant of the storyline also suggests that Natla used to be a male character named Hamilton who sent Lara Cruz on this path to retrieve the artifact. The original games design document currently resides within a museum.


Prototype Stage – Date, October/November 1995
Platform: Sega Saturn

The screenshots come from a Sega Saturn preview magazine which also claims the game was supposed to be released ‘1st QTR 1996’ it seems that CORE must’ve scrapped this nearly complete version of the game and remastered it ready for the year after! The levels look early, huge and the models all seem to be different, Lara, bear, wolves etc. The simplicity of the levels may have a negative impact in comparison to the final release. But I find it quite intriguing and it’d be great to see more of this prototype! Magazine scans are from both an October/November issue.


Pre-alpha Stage- Date, Early 1996
Platform: PC


The first video on this page, is one of the earliest known builds of Tomb Raider. It was compiled some time late 1995, apparently used to show U.S Gold the progress of what Core Design had made with the game. The video, shows early footage of the first installment of Tomb Raider, it seems that she has a braid. There are also rumors that the braid was removed because it caused frame rate drops in-game. It was then remastered for the next game Tomb Raider: II. Also, her main weapon is the ‘Magnums’, Core Design originally planned for Lara’s main weapon to be the Magnums, rather than the pistols. In this build, Lara’s model is very reminiscent of what is seen in the final. All that was changed was the head mesh and removal of the braid. There are also various animations which are significantly different from the final. It appears, that Lara Croft has the Sunglasses on her face which was removed from the final version but she has them in FMVs. The levels are currently unknown, the textures resemble the second level (City Of Vilcabamba), it looks more like a test level. The build comes with a debug feature, it allows you to pause, change the camera angle and even zoom to take a look around in other places. The enemies are barely different from the final version, it seems that the AI is less challenging. The locations, while only early placeholders, already display complex and haunting environments.

Early Prototyping Stage FMVs – Date ???? 1995
Platform: Sega Saturn / PC

These videos apparently come from a similar or possibly the same prototype or press-kit as the one above. They show a completely different intro to the game with a brand new ambiguous storyline. The Scion also looks different and it appears that she already has all the pieces.


Alpha Stage – Date, Early March 1996
Platform: PSX/SATURN


In this version you can see the deleted jump animation is present, there is no water in this version so we know it’s before the alpha shown below where Lara cannot swim. Some of the screenshots of the third level show how different is was, it’s just not recognisable anymore.


Alpha Stage – Date, Late March 1996?
Platform: PC


This alpha version of Tomb Raider was compiled before May 1996, the May 1996 version has the ability to swim. Therefore, I can tell this was compiled before May 1996, the Diary, Dynamite and placeholder inventory items are included in this build, just as seen in later builds such as the May 1996 version.

It’s the first level, ‘The Caves’, but it seems that Lara spawns later in the level, Lara’s model is final, the animations are still different in some cases such as climbing up and jumping. She also has the ability to aim on 2 targets also shown in Tomb Raider Anniversary Edition (CORE) trailer. The skulls in the pit, are not present in the final version. The gun fire effects are simple sprites which resemble stars, Similar to the ones on the July 1996 PC Demo and May 1996 Alpha. Although Lara cannot swim the room flags can be set to water so the effect can be seen.


Alpha Stage – Date, March 1996
Platform: PC

Here is a video similar to the alpha above this, it could be the same. However, it was shown at an E3 expo video and looks like it’s for the PlayStation 1. It ends with and unused intro/cut scene deleted sometime in August to make way for the final cut scenes/FMVs

Alpha Stage – Date, 9th May 1996 (E3 Build)
Platform: PSX

This is the build shown at E3 1996 and is similar to the build shown above. It contains deleted diary and dynamite, it seems that dual aiming has been removed. There is still no sound in this version and a lot of the swimming animations are different, exiting water is different. Items on the floor are way larger than the final version. Dynamite icons are only seen in this version of the game so far. It is barely functional and has many minor bugs. There are different animations like the vaulting and land from jump animations. Lara cannot dive or roll, the circle button is used to swim. Lara cannot shoot without being locked onto an enemy, the controls are slightly different since circle button is walk rather than R1.

Video 2 also shows footage of the ending of the level which required Lara to be ‘moved to the next room’ in order to get there since the trap door causes a crash. They must’ve been out of time and hadn’t finished the trap door features.

Video 3 shows the early ‘prototype’ jump in action, it was activated by manipulating the E3 version. It also features a new animation where Lara crosses her arms. The jump animation is exactly the same as the ones shown in the first two videos, but was removed later in the June/July versions.

Video 4 shows a series of animations, there are several unused animations, it’s fun to watch.

Video 5 shows the unused sprites.

Video 6 shows the unused in-game models.

Video 7 shows an unused Lara croft model found in-game with no braid unfortunately. Must’ve been used for testing at one point in time and is most likely a very early revision of the Doppelganger.


Alpha Stage – Date, 7th May 1996
Platform: PC


This build is very similar to the PSX E3 demo. Containing differences to LEVEL2 in particular. It contains the first 3 levels of Tomb Raider. The third which is in very early stages. All the sound effects in this build are placeholder and were not present in the final game. The first level shows some significant differences in some rooms.


Beta Stage – Date, Late May/June 1996?
Platform: PC

This beta shows Larson in the second level of the game. He normally appears in the fifth level of the game, Tomb Of Qualopec. You can see his gun is untextured, the star sprites are still present when Lara Croft shoots. They must’ve been experimenting with Lara competing against Larson in the first level so that Lara would get the scion before Larson, ordered by Natla would. You may have had to kill Larson before he kills Lara of course.

Also, in the Lost Valley, you can see that there are crocodiles which were deleted form the final. There are some minor level differences like the bridge debris, waterfalls in different places and missing dinosaurs.


Beta Stage – Date, 2nd July 1996
Platform: PC

This build, is similar to the one above in some aspects, it still contains the star gunfire. There are several texture issues which can be seen throughout the demo. In this build, the Diary was replaced with the Passport, the fonts are different, and the Golden Idol is positioned above the collapsible ledges where a health kit is in place in the final version. It also contains a debug option, the map allows the user to explore a birds eye, view of the entire level. It is currently unknown if it features anything else since it’s a self playing demo. Similarly, in the inventory, the Grenade is present, Core design decided they’d like to replace the Dynamite with a more modern explosive device, ‘The Grenade’. Also, the doors which open to the Caves aren’t actually there.

There are various texture bugs and pressing E/F will change some texture rendering options. Pressing Z will also initiate “DOZY” where Lara can swim throughout the level and it also replenishes health. The map feature is handy as it allows viewing of all rooms which have been visited dynamically.


Beta Stage – Date, 22nd July 1996
Platform: Sega Saturn

In the first video, there are several differences. Lara has her original costume (not gym), she has the ability to shoot. The level is called ‘Gym’, rather than Lara’s home, there is no voice overs, several collision issues (Lara can walk into objects), and there is no end trigger so the level cannot end. There is a bear in the gym room which isn’t there in the final version. In addition, it features a record demo option, this option isn’t functional like some of the other place holder options in the inventory screen. Level select is automatically unlocked like most other Tomb Raider Betas, however, this is only a 2-Level build. Notably, her footstep sounds are different, when she draws guns, multiple annoying sounds are played which is a glitch and was only fixed Late August 1996.

In the second video, there is pistol ammo. Core Design, planned for the Pistols not to be unlimited, there is ammo placed in various places of the level. The health bars are also different, the level is pretty much the same, just that the Golden Idol is placed elsewhere and that there is no end trigger. This version, also has the Grenade feature, once selected, it does not work since it’s a place holder option. Core Design, decided to scrap it, it is no longer present in builds after July 1996, removed possibly due to time running out.

In the third video i show you some unused models from the game including the doppelganger which shouldn’t even be in this level. She’s quite different as she moves a few seconds after Lara Croft.


Beta Stage – 2nd August 1996
Platform: Sega Saturn


Tomb raider development continues, this build still contains no Cut scenes, no FMVs. The grenade is also removed from this version, Pistol ammo is still present, they scrapped the Pistol ammo late August 1996. Again, the first video, is very similar to final, there is a missing slope, missing darts, and the buggy weapon draw issue is still present. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same as the final build. It is only a 4 level build.

Very similar to the final version, the doors have finally been added, where the Golden idol should be, the items from late July 1996, have been removed. It’s just an empty room.

In the third video, there is no entrance to where Lara comes from in the FMV, Pierre is missing from the game, Lara doesn’t have the ability to jump off slopes, the first secret at the top is missing. Some of the rooms such are very unfinished. Thor doesn’t have lightning, nor does the hammer appear to be there. In addition, the Damocles room has no swords which are supposed to drop then kill Lara.

In the fourth video, this level is also very similar to the final build, but it is also very buggy. Accessing certain parts of the level will result in a crash, some of the objects are texture less especially doors. Pierre still isn’t on this level either. When you complete any of the levels, it shows a deleted stats screen which shows how many rooms have been explored.

In the fifth video, I demonstrate the debug option camera freeze. It allows you to change from an automated camera to a frozen camera to check out Lara or play with a fixed camera etc.

In the sixth video, I show another hidden debug option which allows you to place the camera where ever you like.


Beta Stage – 16th August 1996
Platform: Sega Saturn

This is a demo, from the Sega Saturn preview vol, series. It is similar to the August build above, some bugs have been fixed, the weapon draw issue is no longer present, health bar colour is now final. All pistol ammo has been removed from the stage. The level ends after pulling one of the blocks. This is actually identical to the final version now. Just the ammo display text is different.


Beta Stage – 4th September 1996
Platform: PSX

This rare beta version of Tomb Raider for the PlayStation has different sound effects, those of which are exactly the same as the ones in the August, July beta versions for the Sega Saturn. There is also an ammo count at the top right of the screen which counts differently compared to the final. In addition to this, another difference is that the Golden Idol is in a different place. The save crystals are Gold but in the final they are purple. If you try to use one of them the game will freeze as the feature was not implemented yet. The title screen picture is also different.


Beta Stage – 4th September 1996
Platform: PC

Lost Valley
Tomb Of Qualopec
St Francis’ Folly
Palace Midas
Tomb Of Tiohocan
City Of Khamoon
Obelisk of Khamoon
Sanctuary of the Scion
Natla’s Mines

An amazing FULL beta version located on a magazine disc. There are several differences but it’s very close to the final game.


Beta Stage – 26th September 1996
Platform: PSX

This is a video of a PS1 beta which is close to final. There are several differences such as names, inventory items missing etc. The controls are also similar to the Saturn version for some reason.

1. SquarePulse
2. Gh0stblade

Change Log:

Gh0stBlade – Added very HQ 1995 screenshots.

Gh0stblade – Updated some small things 23/11/14
Gh0stblade – Added new videos PC Sept 4th footage 12/08/14
Gh0stblade – Added new footage and updated some areas 20/01/14
Gh0stblade – Added more info and fixed errors. 08/12/12
Gh0stblade – Added PSX Early September 1996. 08/07/12
Gh0stblade – Fixed mistake, added Early September 1996. 02/04/12
Gh0stblade – Added new footage, layout changed. 19/08/11
Gh0stblade – Added E3, August video footage + descriptions. 23/10/11
Gh0stblade – Added 12 videos, edited spelling errors and mistakes. 21/11/11
Gh0stblade – Added 2 new videos, screenshots. 24/11/11
Gh0stblade – Added 1995 images, Merged October/November, Fixed mistakes. 05/12/11
Gh0stblade – Added new alpha magazine scans (before May), changed date 08/12/11
Gh0stblade – Added Concept & Design 20/3/95, changed May/June 10/12/11


Star Fox 2 Beta Analysis

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After the great success of the first episode, Argonaut began working on Star Fox 2. According to various previews of the magazines at the time , it would have featured many interesting innovations. First of all, it would have been the first SuperFx 2 game, which would have permitted a far better graphics and frame rate than the original. The result was a more complex game , with a battle mode for two players, all-range mode levels, Vortex-like trasformations for the spaceships. But Nintendo decided to cancel the game at the end of its development,because of the (not-so) imminent release of the Nintendo 64. Some years passed, and two betas of the game were leaked on internet. But it was only later that a third and final build of the game was dumped. The rom was even translated in English by the fans of Star Fox, and many bugs still in the code and the debug interface were removed.

[Article by Yota]

Star Fox Beta 01

This is more precisely an alpha build of the game, and it is essentially unplayable. Probably it was used just to test the new features of the graphic engine.

Star Fox Beta 02

In this build, instead, the game they were already testing the gameplay and the new game modes, but, as we can see, the graphic of the menu was still missing.


With Config you could choose Stereo or Mono, and try the sound test (that works only with the sounds effects).

Training Mode

With Training,instead, you could learn the controls of the airwing in one of the two areas available.



Test Mode

As the name suggests, the Test mode was used by the developers to test the scenarios currently created (ground, space, marine, desert, plus battle mode maps) with one of the many pilots available (Fox, Falco, Peppy, Slippy, Saru, Lady). Also, it was possible to choose a co-pilot, one of the new features of the game that were later used in Star Fox Command for DS.


Battle Mode

The battle mode was essentially identical to the competitive multiplayer of Star Fox 64, althrough limited to two players. It is worth noting that the frame rate is already pretty good for a beta of a 3d Snes game. There are still many bugs through.





Missions Mode

Mission Mode was at this point of the development the main mode of the game, but only the rings and some enemies were already implemented.





Star Fox Beta 03

The third build of the game it is essentially a pre-release version of the game, even if there are still the debug interface and the test mode.

There is even the Nintendo Logo…


And a short introdution..




Unfortunately, the Battle Mode is missing, maybe because of the deadline. The Config still has the Sound Test and the Mono-Stereo option.


Test Mode

Test is still the same as the second beta, and Records just shows the scores.


Missions Mode

The Mission Mode is the most important mode of Star Fox 2, and it is essentially a 16-bit version of Star Fox Command for DS. We can also choose the difficulty level (normal,hard, expert).


After a little introduction, we have to choose our pilot and our co-pilot from those available (Falco, Peppy,Fox,Slippy, and the new entries Miyu e Fay). There are only three airwings, so half of the characters use the same spaceship but with a different color.


After another introduction, we will see this map:


This is the planetary map of Star Fox 2. Our main objective is to protect the blue planet with our little airwings. When our spaceship will encounter an enemy ship, the game will change to the battle mode, just like a rpg.


The battle mode is just an all-range level where we have to beat the enemy ships. It is worth nothing that there is now a lock-on system and the mini-map is different.



We can look at the main map with the start button. The game is in real-time, so even when we are in the battle mode, the enemy will try to attack our planet. If we win, the enemy ship will vanish from the main map, but if we lose too much time the enemy will go out of range, and we will have to approach it again in the planetary map.


After some time, we can finally approach one of the enemy planets, where we will fight a boss. If we win, the planet will became one of our bases. Of course, the main goal of the game is to conquest many bases as possible, until the final battle with Andross.


Besides the space missions, in some locations, like inside an enemy mothership, we can use the trasformations of the airwings, like this mech-like vehicle.


It is worth noting that this was maybe the best part of the game, with even little puzzles in some rooms.

We are the Star Fox!


In conclusion, we can say that Star Fox 2 was essentially completed, and it is a pity that the game was never released.

[Article by Yota]

More Screenshots: StarFox 2 Beta Pics


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