Nomen Quest / Aidyn Chronicles [Beta – N64]


Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage is a video game developed by H2O Interactive and published by THQ. It is one of the few console RPG released for the Nintendo 64. Due to a combination of the poor reviews and even poorer sales, projects for a sequel were dropped.  The game has developed somewhat of a cult following, leading some groups to try to remake the game for Wii or DS homebrew with improved graphics and more rigorous bug testing. [Info from Wikipedia]

In the gallery below you can see some screenshots from a target render that was created in the early days of the project, when it was still know as “Nomen Quest“. In these images the graphic was much more detailed and definited than the one in the final game. Some other screens are from a later beta version, with a different HUD.

Thanks to Myron Mason, we found out more beta differences in these early screens:

The beta for Aidyn Chronicles is indeed very different from the finished game. I have the game and I can already noticed the major differences. The characters are either wearing different clothing or have different colored versions in the beta version and the compass and solar/lunar indicator are different as well. Some of the monsters looked different like the Minotaur as well as the cities. For example, in image 5 it shows the observatory in Gwernia castle, the first city you basically start in. It stands next to the shops and is black in the beta version, but in the finished version it is inside of the castle.

Also, it appears that in the beta version you could pick who you wanted to represent the party when walking around outside of battle. And you could also make that character carrie a weapon around with them. In the realeased version, only Alaron (the main character) represented the party and no weapons could be carried around.

Update: Lisa wrote to us for some corrections:

Although I do realise Myron Mason is only claiming he has the retail game and has spotted some differences in the beta pictures it should not be there as non of it is true. The only true part is that clothing is different on a very few characters.

If you played the game and you can notice some more interesting changes, please let us know!


Killer Instinct [Beta – SNES Arcade]

Killer Instinct is a fighting game developed by RareWare and published by Midway and Nintendo. Initially released in arcades in 1994 it was later ported to the Super Nintendo. In the gallery below you can notice some early character designs for B.Orchid and Glacius. As they wrote at the Killer Instinct Arena, the earliest version of Black Orchid was a blonde amazon, but a later version of her featured a black outfit. In the final game Orchid wears a green and yellow dress.

Also, thanks to Lucazz we found out that a beta Killer Instinct ROM was somehow leaked online, and it contains many differences from the final version:

  • the orchid stage and the cinder stage have the same beta floor
  • glacius and jago have an unused song
  • the gangsta theme is in glacius’ stage
  • the fulgore theme is in cinder’s stage
  • the menu screen is in a different position
  • the orchid stage doesn’t have the rare and nintendo logos in the screens and the stage side is moved to the right
  • the raptor sprites are corrupted
  • the eyedol bridge stage is in the cinder’s stage, similar of the arcade
  • in the continue screen the song is the same as the menu screen

Thanks to Robert Seddon and Lucazz for the contributions!

In a promotional video of Killer Instinct, embedded below, we can see an early version of the coin-op with some differences:

  • Beta character selection screen
  • Cinder’s name was Meltdown and Sabrewolf’s Werewolf.
  • Some of the combo types were removed or changed, like Mondo combo and Elite combo
  • The voice that announces the stage name is different
  • Some stages were slightly different, like the Tower arena and the Sabrewulf livel



Geist [GC – Beta]


Work on Geist (early working title: Fear, changed to avoid legal issues with F.E.A.R., an unrelated video game) officially started in 2002. N-Space learned that Nintendo was interested in backing a first-person shooter/action game with a unique feel to it. N-Space came up with the idea of a game with an invisible man as the protagonist. From there, the concept changed from being an invisible person to being a ghost.

After about eight months of work, n-Space finished the prototype and sent it to Nintendo of America, from which it was sent to NCL. Nintendo latched onto the game, and it was decided n-Space and Nintendo would work closely together on development.

After six months of work, Shigeru Miyamoto suggested the idea of object possession as a game mechanic. Geist was first shown to the public at the E3 2003 and it was later stated that Geist would even be released in that same year. In the months after the E3, both companies realized they “weren’t working on the same game”; N-Space had envisioned Geist to be a first-person shooter while Nintendo (more specifically, Kensuke Tanabe) considered it to be a first-person action-adventure. Geist was present at both E3 2004 and E3 2005 – the separate visions each team had for the game led to many delays until it was finally released in 2005, two years after the initially stated release date.

A lot of gameplay mechanics had changed during development in these two years. From the E3 2003 demo of Geist, it can be concluded that many areas have been redone and placed in a different order. The story also appears to be a bit different. For instance, Bryson is not dying, but simply locked up when you meet him. In an early screenshot we can see a monster that isn’t in the released game. As for gameplay, much more has changed. In the demo, Raimi does not have the violet tinge to his vision when he is not possessing anything, nor does the physical world gets slower. Dispossessed hosts in the demo are unconscious, while in the game they are awake. In the finald game, Raimi looks roughly like an ethereal version of his physical appearance, but in the E3 demo, he’s a far more traditional ghost with a skeletal appearance and no legs.

Also, in the released game, Raimi does not fight other ghosts until the final levels, while they appear to be common enemies in the demo. Two abilities ghost-Raimi possesses in the demo were heavily adjusted. In the demo, Raimi can shoot ethereal blasts in this realm, while he can only do so in the ethereal realm in the released game. The ability to influence objects from a distance through psychokinesis was removed and replaced with the ability to influence objects through possession. [Info from Wikipedia]

There were at least two different HUDs in the beta version.

Thanks to Jay for the english corrections!