Nes / Famicom

Ralphadia (Taito) [NES / Famicom – Cancelled]

Ralphadia is a cancelled JRPG that was planned by Taito for the Nintendo Famicom / NES, around 1992. This is another forgotten NES game with not much information online: Akamid83 found a small preview for the game in an old promotional leaflet for in-development Famicom and shared a photo on Twitter.

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Heimao, who notified us about the photo, wrote “It is said that it was a novel mechanism in which the enemy was placed 360 degrees around the player in the battle”. By looking at these tiny screenshots it seems Ralphadia had a strange overworld map, with a top-down perspective on the bottom of the screen and a side-scrolling scenario at the top.

There are also 2 screenshots showing cities, were the game kept its side-scrolling view. Combat was “first-person turn-based”, similar to Dragon Quest, but you may have been able to rotate the “first person” camera around to see more enemies all around your protagonists.

That’s it all for now: will we ever see something else from this lost Famicom RPG? As it often happens with these obscure, unreleased Japanese games from the ’90s, probably not. If you can read Japanese and see more interesting details written in the leaflet photo, let us know in the comments below! 

Space Opera: Great Gods [NES / Famicom – Cancelled]

Space Opera: Great Gods ( スペースオペラ 大いなる神々, Supesuopera Oinaru Kamigami) is a cancelled JRPG that was in development by Software Industrial (?) for the Famicom (NES). Only a few screenshots are available, showing off a classic RPG similar to Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy, but played in sci-fi settings (similar to Phantasy Star). Some details about this lost game were shared online by a japanese website:

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction movies, where the hero is usually on a high-speed spaceship. Around summer 1990, a certain magazine hosted a game creator contest by Software Industrial. The tournament was set in three categories: fantasy art, scenario, and software. For each category they offered a grand prize of 1 million yen! Their plan was probably to find new ideas to create a new successful Famicom game.

One of these new ideas was announced in 1991: Space Opera, a sci-fi RPG with an automatic combat system. Using artificial intelligence and by gaining experience during battles, players would be able to improve their character’s AI to improve their fighting abilities. It seems you could also befriend monsters after battle, turning them into cards to be carried around and used in battles, just like in Pokemon.”

We don’t know what happened to Space Opera, nor Software Industrial as we cannot find anything about them online. If you know more about this lost Famicom game, please let us know!

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Sea Dog (Mariner’s Run) [NES – Cancelled]

Sea Dog (シードッグ) also known as Mariner’s Run is a cancelled RPG / submarine simulation / Shoot ‘em up game planned to be published for NES / Famicom by Vic Tokai. A couple of screenshots were found in old gaming magazines by japanes fans and shared on Twitter, while some details were published online in a japanese website:

“Although gameplay is not clear on screenshots, it seems Sea Dog was going to be a vertical-scrolling submarine shoot ‘em up with some RPG elements. Between deep-sea exploration and combats you would be able to rise to the sea level and stop at nearby ports. You probably could repair your damaged submarine and buy new weapons.”

We could imagine Sea Dog somehow similar to cult-classic Metal Max, but with real-time underwater shoot ‘em up combat instead than post-apocalypse turn-based combat around desert cities. By looking at the few screenshots available we can assume you would have been able to freely explore the ocean underwater, while fighting enemy submarines and hunting down bosses, then reaching nearby islands to help NPCs and upgrade your submarine. The title of the game was probably inspired by the USS Sea Dog, a Balao-class submarine in the United States Navy.

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Kunio-Kun RPG [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Kunio-kun is a cult-classic series of action adventure games originally conceived by Technos Japan in arcades and for the Nintendo Famicom console. In its main titles you take the role of Kunio, a japanese high-school delinquent (bancho) with a good heart, punching and kicking other gangs to free the streets of your city. 

While in the west the series is mostly known for Renegade and River City Ransom on the NES, in Japan many more Kunio games were developed and published. In 1988 Super Dodge Ball (a sport-based Kunio-Kun spin off) was released on the Famicom. A strategy guide was published by Technos in Japan and as noticed by Arc Hound on Twitter, at the end of the volume there was an announcement for a cancelled, forgotten Kunio-Kun RPG.

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Luckily japanese user 3Ways posted a photo of this page on Twitter. In the same thread we can read that Masaki Wachi wrote the scenario for this lost Kunio RPG: he’s mostly known in the west for his work on such classic games as Shining Force, Time Stalkers and PoPoLoCrois Monogatari.

By looking at the only enemy concept art published in the Super Dodge Ball strategy guide and by thinking of what kind of RPGs were mostly published on the Famicom in those years, we can speculate Kunio-Kun RPG would have been a turn-based RPG very similar to Dragon Quest, but with its usual modern high-school, bancho settings.

Thanks to thingumajig13 who translated the short Kunio-Kun RPG description:

“Nekketsu series – Part 4

RPG Kunio Kun (tentative title)

Wow, an RPG where Kunio-kun plays a big role is in the works! Set in Tokyo, this game features Kunio-kun and his friends battling it out against an army of delinquents. This standard RPG is chock-full of unique characters, puzzle solving, and Nekketsu drama! Kunio-kun and his friends set out on a great adventure filled with laughs and tears! It takes place in Shinjuku and Shibuya, so it’s pretty realistic! Currently, the script is being written with plans to release the game in the summer of next year. We hope you look forward to it!

v Planned enemy character. He looks pretty strong!

^ These kinds of enemy characters are appearing one after the other!”

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Cosmic System [NES / Famicom – Cancelled]

Cosmic System is a cancelled NES / Famicom Disk System sci-fi RPG that was in development sometime in the late 80s by WaveJack / Imagineer / Atlus. Only a single screenshot was published in Famimaga magazine (April issue) when developers made some kind of contest asking to the readers to send character designs that would have been used for their new game.

It seems this contest was quite a success: they received 23.141 drawings of which they selected a bunch of winners that would seen their designs remade in pixel art for the project. Something went wrong during the development and in the end Cosmic System was never released.

There are probably hundreds of lost Famicom games we’ll never seen a single screenshot of, so we can say we were already lucky with Cosmic System.

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