Game Boy Advance (GBA)

GP Advance [GBA – Cancelled]

GP Advance was a Formula 1 game built by Prograph Research around their 3d engine called DR Advance in 2003. As you can see from the video the italian developer coded an impressive engine capable of features more inline with a PS1 than a GBA (Over 2.296 texture mapped polygons on screen at 20fps , more than 45.920 polygons per second, with 100% screen coverage). Sadly the promising DR Advance was never fully utilized in a commercial product.

Here what Massimiliano Calamai, Prograph Research developer at the time,  recalls about the project:

GP Advance was born thanks to an idea developed by staff through an engine coded by Stefano Dragovina, exceptional low-level programmer.
The really interesting aspect of the game and in particular technology was really the power of Engine, in practice Stefano had coded at very low level only the processor as if it really does not care to be part of a Game Boy Advance … so much that while we were running our engine, we could stick on what we wanted in 2D!
The game was in very good progress, the video we proposed is actually taken out of gameplay in real time (in the office we had fun beating the record between us on the Sepang circuit).

Our idea was to generate interest in the engine and in case propose a formula-like without a license.

Unfortunately, though the interest was high, the profit margin offered was too low, as the GBA market become saturated very quickly and third-party products usually sold very few copies. So much so that EA, very interested in the project was reducing the number of their productions releasing titles ever more small and low quality.
Once the demo program was complete, after several months of negotiations with potential publishers, we had to give up the idea of completing the project, giving priority to other products under contract. Really a pity!

Watch for yourself how good the game looked:

 

Dark Empire [GBA – Cancelled]

Dark Empire is an unreleased RPG that was in development by Marvelous Entertainment for the GameBoy Advance. This project was previusly unknown, untill an auction for its prototype was posted by Sample_Seller on Ebay in June 2009. As we can read from the item description:

DARK EMPIRE for the Gameboy Advance !!

RARE ORIGINAL SAMPLE/PROMO VERSION !!

FIRST ONE EVER FOUND !!

Will run on any US Gameboy Adance system. Original promo/sample game was never released or completed, game is playable but only around 30% complete. Very good graphics for Gameboy Advance, you have a world map, a castle you can go to and a village. Ingame text is Japanese, developer most probably Marvelous Entertainment.

It’s fun to notice how the developers used some real photos (as one of Mel Gibson from the Braveheart film) as placeholders for the characters avatars in the game, before the final ones were finished. The gameplay would have probably been like a traditional RPG / SRPG, and looking at one of the photos added in the auction it seems that there were some 3D scenes too (maybe for the combats?).

Images:
 

Pokemon Emerald [GBA – Beta / Unused]

Pokémon Emerald is an updated version of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, that was released in Japan in September 2004 and in America and Europe in 2005. Even if the game is just an “add-on” to Ruby and Sapphire, it’s possible to find some beta and unused content still hidden in its code. As noted by Bulbapedia:

  • There’s an unused map header into the ROM called “SPECIAL AREA”.It was probably used for the battle frontier back then.
  • All the music tracks found in FireRed and LeafGreen are present in Emerald too, but only few of them are used for special events.

Also, from an early Pokèmon Emerald screenshot by IGN you can clearly see that ROUTE 109 had glitched up tiles!)

In the ROM LucaPM found an unused Prof.B irch sprite, that was probably used for the beta intro sequence. HEX Offset : 557AF0 (varies between ROMS)

Unused sprite:

Final sprite:

Things to notice between the unused and the final sprite:

  • Different stance (of course)
  • Less outlined sprite
  • Shorter shirt
  • Different,bigger belt
  • Different designed and coloured pants
  • Different right leg
  • Slightly different haircut

As noted by Zero7, it’s possible that he was suppose to have his hands in his pockets, go into the now final sprite for throwing out the pokemon, then either stay in the final sprite or back to the unused sprite for the rest of the intro. 

Sonic Battle [GBA – Beta]

Sonic Battle is a fighting game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Sonic Team and released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003 / 2004. As we can see at Sonic Cult, there are some images of a beta version, even if most of the differences are just an old HP meter.We can only hope that some earlier beta could be leaked in the future, to learn more about Sonic Battle’s development.

Thanks to HydroZor for the contribution!

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