Game Boy Advance (GBA)

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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Banjo Pilot [GBA – Beta]

Banjo-Pilot is a handheld racer developed by Rare Ltd. and published by THQ in 2005. Originally, Nintendo announced it as Diddy Kong Pilot in 2001. When they sold their share of Rare Ltd. to Microsoft (2002), they opted out of their publishing contract. As the Donkey Kong IP is a property of Nintendo, they could no longer release the game in this state.

In late 2003, THQ decided to publish the four Rare GBA titles, including Diddy Kong Pilot – now reskinned with Banjo characters. By this time, most members of the original team had either left the company or been moved onto Xbox titles. Reskinning Diddy Kong Pilot was now the task for the remaining members of the handheld team who thought it would be easier to make a game from scratch. A voxel based racing title was  developed, which can be seen in our gallery. After five months (mid 2004), however, the team was asked to stop working on this version. Instead, they were meant to revive and finish the previous team’s Mode 7 game for Q3 2004, but without the tilt sensor which was announced for Diddy Kong Plot. In 2005, Banjo-Pilot finally saw a release.

Special thanks for the information and videos to transparentjinjo!

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Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge [GBA – Beta]

Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge is the third instalment in the Banjo-Kazooie series, and the second in chronological order (in terms of the point of the beginning and end of the game – in fact, as time travel plays a significant part in the plot, most of the action takes place decades before Banjo-Kazooie). Developed by Rareware and published by THQ, it was the first Rare game released after being purchased by Microsoft from Nintendo. [info from Wikipedia]

Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge was originally announced at E3 2001. Initially, it was conceived to be a “What If?” story, taking place in an alternate timeline where Grunty’s sisters do not come to rescue her and thus Banjo-Tooie does not happen, with Grunty’s Revenge taking place instead. This idea was dropped some time before the game was released, and it was instead placed as a side-story in the Banjo timeline, between Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie.

Grunty’s Revenge is notable in that it is the only of Rare’s initially-announced Game Boy Advance titles to be released without any major changes due to the buyout of Rare by Microsoft, unlike Diddy Kong Pilot, which became Banjo-Pilot and Donkey Kong: Coconut Crackers, which became It’s Mr. Pants. [info from The Rare Witch Project Wiki]

Thanks to YouTube user transparentjinjo, that uploaded 7 videos from the Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge beta, we can see a few differences to the final version of the game. For one, the textures and graphics are significantly less-developed in the beta footage. In addition, the layout of the worlds appears different, with several areas sporting different names to those in the released version (for example, Freezing Furnace is split into two separate worlds, Freezing Fjord and Fiery Furnace).

The introductory sequence is missing in the beta version, which also uses the “down” arrow to advance in-game text, as well as a few other small changes. You can view the videos, and other interesting development footage, at transparentjinjo’s YouTube channel.

Also, some concept arts and a couple of screenshots from the “3D collision preview tool” are preserved in the gallery below. Quite a lot changed through the development of Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge. The game was reduced from 8-10 levels down to 6, and the story was cut down too.

  • The mad cow was the original boss on the farm level
  • The large mountain on the Fjord was removed when flying was removed from the game, and the remaining Fjord & Furnace sections were combined into one large level
  • The machine seen in “FURNACE_scene” was also lost when the 2 levels were combined
  • As can be seen from the Mecha Grunty pics, she was to have many transformations (tank, bazooka, drill etc) which were removed to save cartridge space
  • “Monster Kazooie” was a concept, but a decision was made to not implement it in the game
  • Swamp monsters (scorpion & spider) were not in the final game, the main swamp monsters were Bogfoot (Bigfoot with a different colour palette)
  • Klungo’s UFO was also too big to fit on cartridge, and replaced with Gruntilda’s ghost floating out of the rock & into the Mecha suit

As we can read from The Rare Witch Project Forum, you went to fight grunty through the lair entrance in the beta, there was a Baby Boggy.

Article by Franklint

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Sword of Sia: Lady Sia 2 [GBA – Cancelled]

Sword of Sia: Lady Sia 2 (aka Lady Sia II) is a cancelled action adventure / platform game that was in development in 2002 / 2003 for the Gameboy Advance by RFX Interactive and it would have been published by TDK Mediactive (as was the first game). It seems that Lady Sia 2 was almost complete (it was even rated by ESRB), but in 2003 RFX had to close down and TDK Mediactive was acquired by Take-Two Interactive. Lady Sia 2 vanished with the closure of its development studio and publisher.

The original Lady Sia was released in 2001 and it was one of the first titles published for the new at the time Game Boy Advance. The game was received well by the press and gamers; this cancelled sequel could have improved the formula its predecessor established and it’s a shame that we’ll never be able to enjoy it. We can only hope that a playable prototype will be leaked in the future.

A Lady Sia 3D prototype was also in development for the Playstation 2 and GameCube, but it was canned too.

Thanks to ReyVGM and Celine for the scan (from an old Nintendo Power magazine)! Thanks to Jason for the english corrections!

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