Nes / Famicom

Dai Mao ZARK Densetsu [NES / Famicom – Cancelled]

Dai Mao ZARK Densetsu (大魔王ZARK伝説 – Legend of the Great Demon King ZARK) is a cancelled side scrolling action RPG that was in development by J & U for Famicom (NES) around 1990. Previews and screenshots of the game were published in Japanese magazines at the time, but it quietly vanished and today not much info remains about this game. By looking at the few screenshots available it seems you could use your horse to move through different levels in an overworld map similar to the one seen in Super Mario Bros 3, and each stage had some fantasy enemies to fight.

As noted by Chris Covell, this may have been somehow related to another cancelled Famicom RPG titled “Off Zarken”: if you can read Japanese and would like to translate the main details found in these photos, please leave a comment below!

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Monster City Naga (Irem) [NES / Famicom – Cancelled]

Monster City Naga (魔獣都市ナーガ – Maju Toshi Naga) is a cancelled JRPG that was in development by Compile and it would have been published by Irem for Nintendo Famicom (NES). It was quite an ambitious project for its time: it would feature an internal clock to track real-life hours (similar to Animal Crossing), so NPCs could move and act according to the time of day.

Japanese websites seem to indicate the game was completed, but never released for unknown reasons. In november 2020 some screenshots were found and shared on Twitter (thanks to Heimao!). By looking at these images the main protagonist looks a bit like the one from the manga “Bio Booster Armor Guyver”, but as far as we know they are unrelated.

Apart from its interesting real-time mechanic, gameplay seen in these images seem on par with classic 8-Bit JRPGs: world and city exploration, talking to NPCs and turn-based battles against monsters.

If you find more images or details about Monster City Naga in old gaming magazines, please let us know!

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A Nightmare on Elm Street [NES – Beta]

In 1989 Rare and LJN released A Nightmare on Elm Street tie-in video game on the NES, but it was quite different from what it was originally announced. The main difference in this prototype / concept version of A Nightmare on Elm Street is that you could play as the iconic 80’s slasher icon. Screenshots of the game appeared in a few issues of Nintendo Power and other magazines, sharing some details on the gameplay:

“It’s your greatest dream and your worst nightmare. You are Freddy Krueger… the gruesome star of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies. Use all of your evil powers and special abilities to track down and destroy your pursuers before they bury your bones.” – Nintendo Power.

“You are Freddy Krueger. A horde of obnoxious teenagers are trying to get rid of you by finding your bones and burning them. Killing them is the only way to stop them. You can travel along elm street through various lines (electrical and plumbing) or by stepping into a mirror and entering another room. The kids have weapons and some of them possess “Dream Alter Egos”.. If you strike them before they wake up, they’ll trouble you no more. Sharpen up those finger razors and get ready to slash, ’cause Freddy’s here!”

In one of these screenshots you can see the dream killer as a snake and in another Freddy is normal but going after some random kids, not a character from the film. In 1989, another issue of Nintendo Power addressed the game in an article about the Nintendo Satellite. This one had two different screenshots, one where Freddy is seen with two enemies and a cool title card. The description was different and it described what we got in the final game:

“You may never go to sleep again once you enter the nightmare world. You and your crew, the elm street neighborhood gang, have the power of the satellite to get you through in this LJN horror PAK.”

Thanks to Roxas for the contribution!

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Pyross (American Sammy) [NES – Cancelled]

Pyross is a cancelled action platformer based on the original Wardner / Pyros arcade game, which would have been published by American Sammy Corporation for the NES. While a 8-Bit version of Wardner was released for the Famicom Disk System in Japan, it was a different game from this canned one. Pyross was shown a few times in gaming magazines previews (such as in EGM 13), its american box-art was already designed and they even had an advertisement flyer ready, but in the end the game just vanished forever:

Princess Pudding has been captured, and it’s up to the dashing prince to rescue her. But this is no mere walk in the woods! He must challenge hordes of vile creatures, avoid deadly traps, and master the weapons of fire before time runs out! Shall the beloved princess be crystalized by the forces of darkness, or will Ala Mode make things too hot for evil to handle?”

We can only hope one day a prototype of this canned NES version of Pyross could be found by someone and preserved online.

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Battle Choice (Konami) [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Battle Choice is a cancelled fantasy style chess – beat ‘em up that was in development by Konami for the NES / Famicom, around 1988. It was based on the Japanese game of chess, Shogi, but mergeing simulation and action gameplay. In addition to fantasy knights, it seems there would have been even high school girls as playable characters in the game. We can assume it would have been a fun, comical take on classic Shogi.

The gameplay would have been the same as in the original shogi, up to the point where players take turns. When the pieces come into contact with each other, action-battles begin. The combat gameplay was basically a beat ‘em up.

Unfortunately the game was never seen in screenshots from magazines of its time and little is known about it. Music tracks from Battle Choice were included in the soundtrack album “Konami Famicom Chronicle Vol.3 ROM Cassette”, released in August 2015.

Thanks to Heimao for the contribution!

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