Nintendo

Top Gear Rally [N64 – Beta / Target Render / Proto]

topgearrally64logo.jpg

During the early days of the Nintendo Ultra 64, many racing games were announced for the console, including this Top Gear Rally, sequel of Top Gear for the Super Nintendo. The early images released showed a stunning graphics for its time, with wonderful light effects, high definition and good polygonal models: obviously, all these screens were taken from a target render, as the Nintendo 64 was never able to do such kind of graphic detail. The real Top Gear Rally is actually very different what they wanted us to believe, with more rough graphic, blurred out scenario and without all the lighting effects that made the tech demo so impressive. Some of the cars that we can see in the early screens seem almost cut and pasted in there with Photoshop.

We can also notice a different HUD and a smaller map. Probably these screenshots were created with the sole purpose of giving an idea of the look of the project, but without taking into account the actual technical features of the N64, not powerful enough to run a 3D engine too much complex for its time.

Also, ezri85 noticed some beta differences in the second video below:

The differences between it and the final version are subtle, but they are there. Not to mention the unused musical score that plays over it. From what I can see, the differences between this beta, and the release game are: some unfinalised vehicle textures, physics appear to be different/incomplete, track map is visible and some minor HUD differences.

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Durante i primi mesi di vita del Nintendo 64 furono molti i giochi di corse annunciati per la console, fra cui questo Top Gear Rally, seguito dell’omonimo Top Gear per Super Nintendo. Le immagini precedenti all’uscita mostravano una grafica davvero straordinaria per l’epoca, con effetti luce e modelli poligonali che lasciavano a bocca aperta, promettendo qualità estetiche davvero realistiche.

Come ben sanno tutti i giocatori che hanno potuto provare la versione finale, l’aspetto di Top Gear Rally è in realtà molto diverso da come volevano farci credere queste foto del suo prototipo. Il gioco completo presenta una grafica decisamente più approssimativa, sfuocata e poco definita, senza tutti quegli effetti luce che rendevano impressionanti le foto beta. Osservando meglio il prototipo, è facile capire come questa versione di Top Gear Rally non girasse in tempo reale sul Nintendo 64, ma fosse solamente un concept in computer grafica, tanto che molte delle auto sembrano addirittura ritagliate ed incollate con Photoshop sui disegni poligonali delle piste.

Confrontandolo con le immagini della versione finale (a destra), possiamo notare anche la differente disposizione degli HUB con le informazioni della gara ed una mappa più piccola. Probabilmente questi screenshots erano stati creati con il solo scopo di dare un idea del proggetto futuro, ma senza tenere conto delle reali caratteristiche tecniche del Nintendo 64, non abbastanza potente per far girare un motore 3D di questa portata.[/spoiler]

Target Render:

top8.jpg

Final Version:

topgea2.jpg

Images:

Video:


 

Wild Water World Championships [N64 – Cancelled]

The Nintendo 64 has a good number of racing game, with the most various set of environments. However, from Wave Race 64 to Hydro Thunder, fans of the genre certainly felt the lack of more boat-racing game. In 1999 Promethean Designs and Interplay finally decided to satisfy all those requests and started to work on Wild Water World Championships. It was meant to be an arcade racing game similar to Mario Kart, with emphasis on the multiplayer mode.

There are just few tiny screens available and we don’t know how much work went into this game: Wild Water World Championships was soon cancelled for the Nintendo 64, but Promethean Designs continued the development  for the Playstation, Dreamcast and PC, chancing the name into “Renegade Racers”.

Sadly, even the Dreamcast version was cancelled shortly after. In 2000, Renegade Racers for the PC and PSX was released: the game received low ratings and it was soon forgotten … we can just wonder if the original Nintendo 64 project could have been better.

There was another cancelled water racing game titled “Wildwaters” that was planned for the Nintendo 64, but it should not be confused with this one as Wildwaters was developed by Looking Glass Studios.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

Images:

 

Shadowman [Beta – N64/PSX/DC/PC]

ShadowMan is an action adventure game developed by Acclaim Studios Teesside and published by Acclaim Entertainment. It was designed by Guy Miller and Simon Phipps. It is loosely based on the Shadowman comic book series published by Valiant Comics and was released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast and PC. [Info from Wikipedia]

In the gallery below you can see a series of beta screenshots from a very early version of the game: the 3D model of the main character was still incomplete and different from its final one, the tree looked nothing like the final ones and even the scenario shown in these images seems to have been removed or changed in the released game. Probably Acclaim worked a lot on the game, to create a title that was really good for its time.

Below you can also see a video from a leaked early beta demo of  ShadowMan:

For anyone interested here’s a very early shadowman demo from 1997, its really basic, has differerent models/ sounds to the game. If you burn it to a disc and run it you get to here the ingame audio,
* To start press space on title page
* space to jump cursers to move
* W – wireframe on/off
* H – get lighter
* Y – get darker
* R – respawn
* F6 – free cam on
* F5 – Free cam off
* esc – to quit

 for best results burn it to a CD and run it from there

Credit to the following pages:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/15818496890/
There you can find some of the original developers of the pc game, as Tim Haywood (composer of the awesome music of the game) and Trevor Storey (game designer)

http://shadowman.freeforums.org/index.php
It´s a forum create by Tim Haywood, good things in there.

As BO3000B wrote as a comment to the beta video on Youtube:

I just recently played through it and don’t really recognize anything in this video. Louisiana is the only part that looks vaguely like the final game. This must’ve been really early in development.

Images:

Videos:
 

Dead Ahead [N64 – Cancelled]

“The Dead Ahead project was a very unsual one. The game was being funded by Tomei, but there was also a middle company; Optical Entertainment who was also involved. Optical were designing the game for Tomei and Software Creations were chosen by Tomei (Tomy) to develop it. It was a very ambitious design which included free roaming in large environments, fighting, vehicle use and puzzle solving. One of the intentions of the game was to, at some point, create Toys based on the main characters. I was responsible for managing the team developing the game. Even before production started, this was already known as the “hot-potatoe” project that nobody wanted to do. Myself and the team made a good account of ourselves, but the game was never finished.” – Haydn

Thanks to Haydn Dalton for the great contribution!

Thanks a lot to Gilgalegrouik for some of these images!

Images:

Videos:
 

Attack! (DMA Design) [PC, N64 – Cancelled]

Attack! was an action game developed by DMA Design (the same software house responsible for Body Harvest and Silicon Valley) that was officially announced in april 1999.  It was described as a Spiritual successor to Lemmings and gaming magazine at the time wrote that it was planned for PC, Playstation and N64. Edge saw design sketches littering walls of DMA HQ during a visit. Game was described as “Millwall supporters let loose in Jurassic Park’ and set to feature a range of diminutive dino’s.” It seems, however, that the game was going to be released only for the pc.

Mike Dailly that worked at DMA, wrote:

“Well, Attack was never for the N64, it was a PC only (at the time) title and was canned well before other ports were started or even considered.”

There is virtually no information about it, and the only images that we have are some artworks. Judging from these few pics that we managed to recover, Attack was set in the prehistory, and the protagonist was going to be a caveman. According to some rumors, the main character was able to tame the various creatures and use them to advance in the game. The project was potentially very interesting: the titles that DMA developed for the nintendo 64 had many innovative features that were later used as the foundations for some successiful titles. In the autumn of 1999, DMA Design was acquired by Rockstar and renamed Rockstar North, the team that two years later created GTA III.

[English translation by yota]

Thanks a lot to Gilgalegrouik for some of these images and to Ross Sillifant for the contribution!

Some images from www.flickr.com/photos/mikedailly/sets/

Images: