Nintendo

Kirby Air Ride [N64 – Unreleased]

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Kirby Air Ride (known as Kirby’s Air Ride at the time) was originally in development during the early days of the Nintendo 64. It went through many changes during its elongated development period (it looked like a snowboard game for some time and rumors say that this proto could have somehow evolved into 1080°) before eventually being canceled and then resurfacing on the GameCube in the form of a short video preview in March 2003 at the annual DICE summit in Las Vegas. We’ll never know how the various N64 versions could have been played, but the GameCube version is probably similar to the latest concept that Nintendo created for the N64.

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Lui è kirby, è una cosa rotonda e rosa, vola e mangia i nemici, è il protagonista di platform, picchiaduro, flipper e probabilmente altro ancora, ed allora perchè non farlo diventare una star delle corse? è questo probabilmente quello che i ragazzi della HAL hanno pensato mentre ideavano questo Kirby Air Ride. Probabilmente, cosi come l’idea era arrivata, è stata cancellata per N64, per poi venire riesumata su GameCube. Voci dicono che le basi del gioco furono in seguito riprese per costruire 1080° Snowboarding.[/spoiler]

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Project Dream / Banjo Kazooie [N64 – Beta / Proto / Test Level]

Banjo-Kazooie was originally known by the project name Dream for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The project starred a boy named Edison, who owned a wooden sword and got into trouble with a group of pirates lead by Captain Blackeye. Dream was also scheduled to include a rabbit that looked like a man, a dopey dog and a bear that became Banjo. A screenshot from the Project Dream phase, shows Edison in a pirate town, but we do not know if it is a concept art or a Nintendo 64 tech demo. Finally, Project Dream was shown at the 1997 E3 as Banjo-Kazooie. [info from wikipedia]

From Grant Kirkhope’s website we can read many interesting facts about Dream’s development and download some unused / beta songs:

I started at Rare in October 1995 and when I got there “Dream” was already going. The core team from “Donkey Kong Country” had given DK to another team to carry on with and was working on this game which was going to be Rare’s greatest SNES title. It was very secret and Tim Stamper was leading the team, nobody outside the team knew anything about it. […]

I was shown the demo of the game running on the SNES and was blown away; it looked beautiful and was obviously going to be a big step up from “Donkey Kong Country”. […]

Pretty soon after I joined the game it was decided that it was too big for the SNES and was converted over to the N64, plus we were going to be using the extra “bulky drive” add on, that Nintendo told us they had in development. […]

The game was a huge RPG, which I loved as I was a huge “Zelda” fan, and I tried to write some really strong themes for all the characters. The demos that I’ve put on the site are all using proper samples as opposed to the N64 versions which were obviously not as good quality due to memory restrictions.[…]

I think the final nail in the coffin for “Dream” came from another one of Rare’s teams. The “Killer Instinct” team had started “Conker” and it looked and played fantastically. In “Dream” we had this elaborate floor system that meant we could stretch the polygons into any shape to create some really great looking landscapes that really hadn’t been tried before, unfortunately the N64 just didn’t have the power to run it at a decent frame rate and we were struggling to make it work. The “Conker” team had gone more the tried and trusted route as used in “Mario 64” and had left us behind. I remember Tim trooping us all across the courtyard to look at “Conker” and our hearts all sank as “Conker” was really good.[…]

So we went back to our barn and tried their method, “Dream” started to run great. Then Tim was unhappy with the whole boy/hero thing and said we should change it to an animal. A bear was our first creature and “Banjo” the bear was born. So now we had “Banjo” running around in an RPG, I really can’t remember when we added the back pack and “Kazooie” but it was around this time. Again Tim still didn’t think it was all good enough and after seeing how good “Mario 64” was and with Rare’s platforming heritage it was decided to scrap “Dream” and do a platformer with ” Banjo” as the main character.[…]

Check our interview with Grant Kirkhope! Also, Coolboyman is helping Grant to restore the beta BK tunes to their former glory. Check the videos below, to find some of these beta songs!

In the gallery below you can see various screens and videos from the beta version of the game, with removed enemies and levels. One of the most famous beta areas is the “Giant’s Lair”, that should have been the world’s HUB before Gruntilda’s Lair. The “Mount Fire Eyes” is instead a beta level, that is talked about in the final game, as an easter egg. You can check the video below created by VIDEOmakerNezuke to read more info on the Banjo beta.

Some more info on Banjo Kazooie Beta listed by Mew Mew:

  • there were originally 16 levels planned for the game
  • some of the cut levels were reused in banjo tooie (as witchy world, glitter gulch mine and mount fire eyes)
  • it seems that mount fire eyes turned into the lava side in hailfire peaks
  • clankers cavern also went through a few changes in its devlopment for example there is a video which shows clanker the whale as a real whale not made of metal with the fungi forest music from donkey kong 64
  • clankers cavern is rumoured to have been a part of fungus forest (similar too donkey kong 64), as the level is very close to the underwater entrance to the click clock woods puzzle podium, which is covered in moss or fungus (this was believed to be where the orginal entrance or puzzle was for fungus forest)
  • This description of the game is still a work in progress, if you would like to write a better article on the development of the game, let us know!

Thanks to Princess Toadstol, Saga Darvulia, cheat-master30 Anon and BM for the contributions!

[Italian] Per maggiori informazioni: Banjo Kazooie – analisi Stop ’n’ Swop

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Below are some beta songs that the composer, Grant Kirk Hope, kindly uploaded.
http://www.grantkirkhope.com/betabanjokazooie.html 

CatRoots [N64 – Proto / Tech Demo]

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Catroots is perhaps one of the most mysterious projects ever created for the N64. The first (and only) video, a tech demo from which the pictures that you see in this page were taken, was shown at the E3 2000, but no informations were released at the time, and even the Nintendo employees at the stand didn’t knew anything about it.

Later, IGN was able to interview Miyamoto about the game. Mario’s creator revealed that Catroots was being developed at Marigul but an official announcement had yet to be made. Marigul (now known as Noise)was a second party created in 1996 to make games for the Nintendo 64 . In all these years, Marigul worked on very interesting projects, including Hey You! Pikachu, Doshin The Giant, Echo Delta (unreleased), Cubivore (Animal Leader) and Custom Robo. With such a curriculum, isn’t hard to image that Catroots was going to be very original, but after E3 the game got quietly cancelled.

From the video it seems that Marigul tried to recreate an episode of Tom & Jerry or Itchy & Scratchy: we see a rat that is trying in every possible way to eliminate a cat using hammers, ninja stars and a flamethrower. We do not know exactly what kind of game Catroots was supposed to be, although we can make some quick hypothesis.The eternal struggle between cats and mice might have led Marigul to develop an action game with strange weapons like Custom Robo, or an innovative simulation (see Cubivore) where the player,impersonating the cat, had to escape from a completely mad mouse.Unfortunately we can only guess. It is likely that Catroots will remain a mystery forever. The game was at end cancelled probably because of the forthcoming release of the Gamecube.

[English translation by Yota]

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Silicon Valley [N64 – Concept / Beta]

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In this video linked to us by Longuist, we can see an old music clip by Mouse on Mars, that uses scenes from what it looks like a beta version of the game. The major differences in this video should be:

  • power gems & flowers look different
  • no hud
  • trees now have a texture?
  • unknow level the video starts with?
  • the “green” levels have now much more steel plates (remember: its a space station) (see level 7 for instance)
  • and… no juggling disco bear ^^

Maybe some of these look different just because of the video montage, but its definitely earlier than the e3 1997 version.

Sven Bergmann, one of the producers of Mouse On Mars Twift video clip, has sent to us an email with some interesting informations about their collaboration with DMA: My friend MARKUS POPP (from “OVAL” music project) and I produced the promo in late summer 1997 in Berlin. Markus and JAN WERNER from “MOUSE ON MARS” are also working together as “MICROSOTRIA”. At some point in early summer 1997 Jan had been in Berlin and asked Markus and me if we would like to produce a video clip for MOUSE ON MARS’ new single “TWIFT”. Well, hell we would like to… and so we somehow agreed on a general plan but had only the idea of using video game footage. Jan liked that idea.

Later that summer Markus and I went to London to visit the ESTS 97 game show to shoot some video interviews with game designers and developers for a German/French TV art special on virtual designs. At that show we met the guys from DMA and interviewed their CEO/game designer/programmer Dave Jones. We also spoke to a very nice DMA PR gentleman, Brian Baglow and he granted us a first look at Silicon Valley, that wasn’t shown on the public floor but in a back room for VIPs only (haha, I guess everybody could sneak in there and glimpse at this game, since DMA took security kind of easy).

The great thing was that Markus managed to convince Brian to send us a beta cartridge to Berlin so that we could capture endless footage to use for the Mouse on Mars promo video (I still don’t know how he did it, truly amazing and very cool of Brian, too). The N64 beta cartridge was twice as large than the regular ones and the ROM and circuit board was sticking out of the gray plastic shell.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when the package first arrived in Berlin. Whoooo.

We then took my German N64 with a US converter game to a video production studio and capture a couple of hours of game footage on Beta SP tape and then imported it into an AVID editing system. I think it took us about three to four days for the whole clip including that half day game recording.

If I remember correctly there was no real shell design within the game but you could select two or three different stages directly. Just booting up the N64 and then go for the selection was the simple thing to do. And then there was the special button combo so you could change the animals moves (like the juggling bear) and also with another combination you could move the camera completely freely within the level.

We had lots of fun and very still amazed that DMA send us a beta cartridge.

After we finished the job, we sent the game back to DMA with a tape of that promo. I don’t know if Mouse on Mars and DMA did a deal so that DMA could use the music for promo and parties, but I assume so.”

Thanks a lot to Sven for these infos! :)

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64 Wars (Advanced Wars) [N64 – Cancelled]

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64 Wars is the cancelled “Wars” sequel that was planned for the Nintendo 64. The “Advance Wars” series became famous in USA and Europe thanks to the GBA games, but it was know to the Japanese audience since the NES, with the name of FAMICOM Wars, originally published on the Famicom back in 1988. The game is a strategic turn based RPG, where you’ll be fighting with your army against the enemy’s one, planning carefully your strategy moves.

Hudson started working on the Nintendo 64 version even if the rights of the “wars” series were always been a property of Intelligent System, but Nintendo decided to let Hudson to work on the game for this particular occasion. Unfortunately, little is known about the project: the images in the gallery below are taken from various japanese magazines and the game was shown in non-playable form at the Nintendo Spaceworld 1999.

The style of 64 Wars seems to have been a lot like the previous episodes: a 2D map was used for the troop movement, while the battles were shown with a 3d engine. The most interesting part of the 64 version would have been the possibility to connect the N64 game to the GameBoy game.

GameBoy Wars 2 was developed by Hudson’s team too and it was published only in Japan. The GB title was able to connect to the N64 version with the GB Transfer Pack (a peripheral originally used with Pokemon Stadium) that could attach a GC cart to the N64 pad memory card port. With this expedient, people could have been able to begin a match of Wars on the N64, then continuing it on the GB and finish it back on the home console.

In the end 64 Wars has been cancelled without any official explanation, but it’s intriguing to think that inside the GB cartridge is still possible to access to the N64 Linking options, which was never used. Maybe the passage of rights between Intelligent System and Hudson caused some kind of problems, or maybe the N64 game didn’t match Nintendo’s quality standards.

Thanks to Linkx111 for the contribution!

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]La serie Advanced Wars, divenuta famosa in occidente grazie alle versioni per GBA e DS, è invece nota al pubblico giapponese fin dai tempi del NES, con il nome di Famicom Wars, uscito nel 1988. Il gioco è un classico rpg strategico a turni, in cui far combattere le proprie armate contro numerosi nemici, studiando attentamente le mosse da compiere. Con l’uscita del Nintendo 64, Hudson ha cominciato i lavori su di una versione a 64 bit di Wars, chiamata con molta originalità “64 Wars”. La saga è sempre stata sviluppata dagli Intelligent Systems, ma in quel periodo Nintendo passò i diritti ad Hudson. Purtroppo non si hanno molte notizie a riguardo: le foto che trovate qui sotto sono state recuperate da alcune riviste Giapponesi dell’epoca ed il gioco è stato presentato in video allo Space World 1999.

Lo stile di 64 Wars sembra molto simile agli altri capitoli: una mappa in 2D per lo spostamento delle truppe, con l’unica differenza dei modelli 3D per i filmati degli scontri. La caratteristica più interessante della versione Nintendo 64, sarebbe stata la possibilità di collegare il gioco con l’episodio per GameBoy.

GameBoy Wars 2 è stato sviluppato anchesso da Hudson, ma al contrario di 64 Wars, è uscito realmente nel 1998. Il titolo per GB poteva essere collegato con i salvataggi della versione N64, grazie all’utilizzo del Transfer Pack (un aggeggio che si collega alla porta Memory Card dei Pad N64). Sarebbe stato così possibile iniziare una partita sul Nintendo 64, trasferirla su GameBoy per giocarla in giro ed in seguito finirla di nuovo sulla console da casa.

64 Wars è stato però cancellato senza dare spiegazioni, ma è affascinante pensare che nella cartuccia di GB Wars 2 esistano ancora le opzioni per il collegamento al Nintendo 64, ormai impossibile. Forse il passaggio dello sviluppo da Intelligent Systems a Hudson è stato la causa di qualche problema di organizzazione, oppure i lavori svolti dal team non raggiungevano lo standard sperato da Nintendo. [/spoiler]

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