Nintendo

Spy Hunter Returns / Millennium [N64 – Cancelled]

Spy Hunter Returns (AKA Spy Hunter Millennium) is a cancelled 3D racing game / adventure that was planned by Midway for Nintendo 64. It’s not clear which team was working on this project, as a new Spy Hunter for Nintendo 64 was listed by different magazines / websites with different names and developers, sometimes confusing it with the “next-gen” (PS2, GameCube) Spy Hunter developed by Paradigm. In Electronic Gaming Monthly (Issue 102, January 1998) the N64 game was titled “Spy Hunter Returns”, in development by Midway:

“With games like GoldenEye 007, Mission: Impossible and the jaw-dropping Metal Gear Solid making headlines recently, it’s no surprise that espionage games are suddenly en vogue. Spy Hunter Returns is one driving game Midway is said to be bringing to the N64 somewhere around 1998 or 1999. As one could expect of a N64 racer, SPR will be in 3D, but the game will also feature adventure elements, fast action and, of course, gadgets galore. […] On a related note, Midway is looking to support the 64DD in a big way, and Spy Hunter Returns is thought to be one of their key games to utilize Nintendo’s add-on.”

In Magazine 64 (Issue 13, 1999) and N64 Il Magazine (Issue 01, January 1999) the project was titled “Spy Hunter Millennium”, in development by Digital Eclipse, the same developers of Midway’s Greatest Arcade Hits 1 for Nintendo 64 (which included the original Spy Hunter):

“Digital Eclipse is finalizing Spy Hunter Millennium for N64. […] Details on this remake are not clear, but the game will have a polygonal 3D engine. Many different vehicles will be playable, such as cars, boats and planes. Millenium should be released in late 1999.”

While it’s unclear what really happened with this project, we assume Midway was really working on a new Spy Hunter for Nintendo 64, but we may never know nor see more about this lost game

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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Robosaurus (thq) [SNES – Cancelled]

Robosaurus is a cancelled action game that was in development around 1992 by Adrenalin Entertainment and THQ (at the time known as “Toy Headquarters”) for Super Nintendo. Players would take the role of a mechanical T-Rex to destroy cities and fight against aliens, tanks, helicopters and other military enemies. While there are not many more details about this lost game, it was mentioned in Nintendo Power Magazine issue 36, from May 1992:

“Speaking of HQs, thq (Toy Headquarters) has a line-up that  includes Swamp Thing (for all three Nintendo systems). Where’s Waldo?, Family  Dog, Robosaurus, James Bond Jr. and this Pak Watchers favorite moose, Bullwinkle,  all for the Super NES. One-time Power editor and game guru, Howard Phillips, now  directs the creative projects for T.HQ. Will Waldo be wearing a bow tie? NOT!”

As noticed by Nintendo Metro and GDRI on Twitter, a single screenshot from Robosaurus was published in japanese magazine MicomBASIC, in August 1992:

“ROBOSAURUS: 巨大なロボットほがが,巧が軍め戦車  やお關おをけちらしていく巧快なダー  ム。 巧がの動きはノロイ〇”

We can assume the game was based off the real-life Robosaurus, a transforming dinosaur robot created by inventor Doug Malewicki in 1989. As written by SNES Central, the game was possibly shown at the Winter and Summer 1992 CES shows:

“Aliens want to take over the world, and they’re starting with Los Angeles. The one thing they didn’t count on was Robosaur! Use Robo’s giant metal jaws to munch enemies and fry the outposts with Robo’s flame breath.”

 

American Pool Deluxe (Blade Interactive) [Wii – Cancelled]

American Pool Deluxe is a cancelled pool simulation game that was in development by Blade Interactive in 2008 and would have been published by Gamecock Media / Navarre / Upshot Games on Nintendo Wii. The game was planned during the “casual games” Wii craze, but possibly canned when even publishers understood it was not going to sell enough on the market.

Some details on the game can still be found on Amazon even if it was never released:

  • Authentic Billiard Games-Variety of game modes including 8 Ball, 9 Ball, Rotation, 3 Ball, Billiards and even Bar Billiards. Polish your skills and impress opponents with Trickshot Challenge mode
  • Precision Motion Controls – Use the precise motion controls to line up the perfect shot every time. Tap in a bank shot with a gentle push or scatter the break with a powerful move
  • Career Mode – Create your own pro and work your way up from humble beginnings in local pool halls and become a global billiards icon
  • Tournament Style Presentation – Experience a life-like pool tournament setting, including professional commentators and audience interaction
  • Multiplayer 1 – 4 players

Also on IGN we can find the original press release hyping up the game:

“With superior graphics and incomparable gameplay, American Pool Deluxe is as authentic as they come,” said Eric ‘The Preacher’ Yow, World Pool-Billiard Association Masse World Champion. “For years the gaming industry has attempted to duplicate the complex physics and geometry of cue sports into a lifelike rendition for families to enjoy. Finally, a game captures the beauty of the sport and allows you to perfect your skills! Run a rack without ever leaving your chair!”

American Pool Deluxe is the first game to come out of Upshot Games, the casual games division of Gone Off Deep Inc., whose other brands include video game publishing company Gamecock Media Group. “

Upshot Games even announced a “professional cue peripheral” that would have been launch with the game, as we can read on IGN:

“Upshot Games announced today an elegant, yet ruggedly built, “RealMotion Pool Cue” companion accessory for their upcoming professional pool game for Wii, American Pool Deluxe. This is not your average controller peripheral – it is a meticulously crafted cue built specifically to take advantage of the Wii remote’s accelerometer technology for real precision and fun.

“It is the dedication to realism that led to the development of the RealMotion Pool Cue for American Pool Deluxe,” said Eric ‘The Preacher’ Yow, World Pool-Billiard Association Masse World Champion. “Tested extensively by real billiards pros like me, you can be assured this is the only real pool game for Wii.”

A prototype of American Pool Deluxe is in the hands of game collectors.

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PoPoLoCrois [SNES, Super Famicom CD – Cancelled]

PoPoLoCrois is a cult-following series of RPGs based on a ‘70s manga by Tamori Yohsuke, of which just a few games were translated and published outside of Japan. The first game was developed by Epics (G-Artists) in collaboration with Sugar & Rockets and released in 1996 in Japan for the original Playstation, but it was initially conceived as a SNES / Super Famicom CD System project. This 16-bit PoPoLoCrois game was cancelled when the console add-on was canned by Sony and Nintendo.

A few photos from the design document for this SNES version were found and shared online by fans of the series and former developers, so we can preserve some proof of the existence of this lost RPG. As far as we know only this design doc was completed for the SNES CD version of PoPoLoCrois before being cancelled, but it would be nice to know if a 16-bit prototype was already in the works. Afterall, even the released Playstation game had a graphic style very reminiscent of old-school SNES RPGs, more than its 32-bit contemporaries.

Some details and theories about this unreleased 16-bit PoPoLoCrois were shared by Japanese website popolo-crois.com, “translated” by Google translate:

“The plan for the Super Nintendo Popolo shown on the left side of this photo is drawn by Mr. Fukushima in 1989 for Popolo’s animation project, so naturally this plan was created. It was after that. And the notation “EPIC/SONY RECORDS” (all caps) in the lower right of the proposal came to be used after its predecessor EPIC/Sony was absorbed and merged with CBS/Sony in March 1988. However, since CBS Sony changed its trademark to Sony Music Entertainment (SME) in April 1991, it has been mixed with lower case letters such as “Epic/Sony Records”. Therefore, the use of all capital letters in this plan suggests that the plan was created before April 1991 when the notation changed, so that period from 1989 to 1991 I’m guessing it will be until the end of March.

*As far as the date drawn on the setting data of 2 is concerned, it is from September to November 1992. The date of the monster design drawn by Mr. Tamori was also in October 1992, so I wonder if it was probably in the process of becoming a game by this time. In this material, not only Popolo 1’s enemies such as the Ice Demon King and Shitenno, but also Barbara, Myra (also transformed into Sanya!), Zilva, Leona, and other characters that appear in Popolo 2 as well as pilot films will appear. The tango and the figure of Paul the Lion are very widespread, so I have no idea how much story was planned at this stage. However, in July 1992, Sony decided to enter the home-use game console, and since the production of the Playstation version Popolo started in January 1993, as described below, all of this material is for the Super Famicom version. It is unknown whether or not the PS version was also in view (some people say that Pietro’s hairstyle is shaved due to the memory of Super Famicom).

*3 The reason why the PS version of Popolo started to be produced around January 1993 was that Tetsuji Yamamoto said in a magazine interview (CONTINUE Vol.52) that it was three years from the start of Popolo’s production until release. It is said that it took a month, so I calculated backwards from the release date of Popolo. Also, Mr. Yamamoto seems to have been in charge of the PS business preparation room 10 months before the establishment of SCE, so it means that the production of PS version Popolo started at about the same time when the project of this PlayStation unit started. Right. If so, it is considered that Popolo’s production platform moved from Super NES to PlayStation between July 1992 and January 1993.

As I arranged the flow of production of the PS version of Popolo as described above, it is a question about “the circumstances have changed considerably since the pilot film and the design of the scenario and characters have changed”, but the circumstances have changed significantly Rather, it was before the pilot film was produced, and since then, I have not seen so much movement, including changes in the character design. As for the scenario, the essence of PS version Popolo is concentrated in the pilot film. By the way, what is the story behind the pilot film? At the stage of the pilot film, there was already a design image of the Ice Demon King, so was there any reason why I dared to bring in a Skinnag?”

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Popil (Sunsoft) [SNES – Cancelled]

Popil is an obscure platform game that was in development by Sunsoft for the Super Nintendo / Super Famicom. This lost project is practically forgotten today and there was no proof of its existence online until Dosunceste found a couple images in Console Plus magazine (issue 1). While the game looks a bit like Twinbee: Rainbow Bell, we don’t have any more details about its gameplay. Maybe there are more screenshots and information in other gaming magazines from the ‘90s? If you find something more about Popil (or recognize it among other Sunsoft released titles) please let us know!