Created by Silicon Knights, Eternal Darkness was an interesting game for the nintendo 64 that seemed to be able to bring new life to the Survival Horror creating the first “psychological thriller”. However, it was later ported to the Gamecube. Was it really never released for the Nintendo 64 or it was just an insanity effect ?
Carnivale is an animated film which because of its particular style and its lack of success, had only a limited release in certain European countries in 2000. A game based on this film was in development by Vatical Entertainment for the Nintendo 64 and it was even shown with an incomplete build at E3 1999, but the project was later cancelled.
The game plot would have follow the story of the film: a group of kids stuck in an amusement park in another dimension, along with a strange woman that never ages. The graphic had the same style of the film, a simplified design that was well suited for the limited 3D capacity of the N64.
The 128-megabit Carnivale 64 was supposed to have 3 modes of play. The first option included a classic Adventure Mode, with 5 scenarios available (or at least that was the number of the areas completed before the cancellation), including a ghost train and a rat-infested sewer trip. The player was able to explore the weird amusement park with the help of many available power-ups, playing several mini-games with platform / shooter sections – among them “test your strength” machines, a duck shooting gallery with ascending and descending obstacles, and a Punch & Judy show. The player would have to collect a certain amount of coins to access new locations and mini-games.
For those looking for a more immediate fun, in the second mode we would have been able to directly play all the mini-games, probably after unlocking them in the adventure mode. A “Racing Mode” was planned too, in which to race against the computer or in 2-player mode with a friend, complete with Mario Kart-style weapons.
Sadly Carnivale’s development team, Terraglyph, was being reorganized at that time and many employees were fired and the game vanished without traces until May 2009, when a playable prototype was found by NesWorld. You can read an interesting article on the game in here!
Caesar Palace 64 is a cancelled “casino simulator” that was meant to be released for the Nintendo 64. Play slot machines and card games could not seem an interesting concept for a 1999 game, but Crave Entertainment and Lobotomy Studios though to create an adventure mode that was set in a Casino, where the player would have been able to explore the 3D scenario to interact with NPC as in a RPG, to win games and complete the final mission (to own the casino?). Caesar Palace 64 could have been an interesting project, but it was never released, maybe because it was economically a risk to release it when the N64 was almost dead.
Dragon Sword, officially announced in early 1998, is another cancelled game for the Nintendo 64. More precisely, it was a coop action-adventure / hack & slash developed by Interactive Studios / Blitzgames (the creators of Glover) and set in a fantasy world called Avantaria, where a group of four heroes had to stop the evil plans of Xyrus the mage.
It seems that originally Dragon Sword had a strong emphasis on exploration and adventure elements, but in the latest builds (shown in the screenshots below) it became a frenetic action game, similar to many memorable arcades of the past, as Gauntlet or Golden Axe. In fact Dragon Sword was supposed to play a lot like Gauntlet Legends 64, with generators that must be destroyed in order to avoid the respawn of the enemies.
One or two players were able to play together and to chose from 4 different characters (Cutter, Kailan, Gouranga and Aisha)with which fight hundreds of soldiers. Each character had its own set of attacks and abilities.
Some features betrayed clearly a greater ambition than the usual hack & slash, such as the presence of different weather conditions, large and varied enviroments, a rpg-like experience system and many different magical weapons.
Other than the 2 players coop in the story mode, there was a fun 4 players deathmatch mode, that was more enjoyable than many of the standard fighting games released for the Nintendo 64. A “Time Trial” mode was also available!
Dragon Sword was basically finished, but unfortunately, like many other N64 titles, it was destined to never see the light of day: it seems that the game was cancelled because MGM Interactive (the publisher) though that it would have not sell enough to gain profit.
Supposedly the english 64 Magazine was able to play an almost-final build of Dragon Sword, which got 93% in their review. They liked the game so much that they tried to organize a petition in order to convince the MGM to release it, but sadly their effort didn’t work.
In the gallery below you can see many screens from the latest Dragon Sword build and some early target renders that look very different from the “final” game.
In April 2010, thanks to an anonymous collector, a playable beta of Dragon Sword was shared online: there are 7 levels available and even the deathmatch multiplayer mode is working! There are some bugs, but for an unfinished N64 game that was in development more than 12 years ago, the game is fun enough, especially if you can play it in coop mode with a friend.
From the internal HEX code, it seems that they planned to have 9 levels for Dragon Sword, but after you finish the 7th level in the beta, the game crashes. We still dont know how to load the 8th level or if it’s in the game at all. It’s possible that only level 1 to 7 are playable. A test-level could be hidden in the beta too.
You can see a lot of concept arts created for Dragon Sword in Ohnhai’s DA Gallery. In there, you can notice many scenes that were never developed into the “final” game, as a town filled with people, magic system and the possibility to ride a dragon to explore the world.
Edward Kirk was able to find some codes to access to all the playable levels and some test-areas, you can find more info at his website!
I looked at complete levels and found the following Gameshark code (after checking some fifty or so addresses): 801249B3 000X. X denotes the different level value. The Level Section Select code has been found. Gameshark code 801249B7 000X, where X is usually a value from 0 to 3, but this may depend upon the level. As you cannot progress beyond the first part of Level 8 if you use just the Level Select code, use this code to see the other parts of the level
Tonic Trouble (also know as ED or HED during the early development) is a 3D platform game created by Ubisoft for the Nintendo 64 and PC. As you can see from the beta images in the gallery below, the developers tried to create a character design similar to Rayman for the main hero. Rather than rely on exploration as in Mario 64, Tonic Trouble proposed a rather linear gameplay, which was a direct translation into three dimensions of the traditional two-dimensional platform concept.
In the early beta images released on various magazines and websites, we can notice a graphic much more detailed than the final one on the Nintendo 64, as probably these screens were taken from various target renders and tech demos. We dont remember the game very well, but it’s also possible that some of the places seen in the beta screens were not in the final game.
The N64 version had many noticeable differences from the PC version, like a substantially different opening due to the lack of processing power needed to render cutscenes and different music in certain places. The game was going to be released before Rayman 2: The Great Escape but eventually was released months after. [Info from Wikipedia]