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]
MRC was one of the first racing games to be published for the Nintendo 64. It was developed by Genki and released in 1997: the quality of MRC left a lot to be desired, but with the shortage of games on the Nintendo consoles, it was able to interest the lovers of the genre. From some screenshots released before Genki finished the game, we can notice a much cleaner and defined graphics than the ones in the final game. Probably these were just target renders that were not actually running in real time on the N64. The HUD of the game was still not finalized: the rank and the total time were initially on the right, while the Lap Time was on the left of the screen.
[spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]MRC fu uno dei primissimi giochi di corse ad arrivare sul Nintendo 64. Uscito nel 1997, la qualità del titolo di casa Genki lasciava parecchio a desiderare, ma vista la scarsità di racing games sulla console Nintendo, riuscì comunque ad interessare gli appassionati di macchine.
Le immagini beta rilasciate prima dell’uscita, mostravano una grafica molto più pulita e definita di quanto si può osservare nella versione completa; probabilmente Genki diffuse dei semplici concept screens di MRC, che non giravano realmente in tempo reale sull’hardware N64. Anche l’HUB del gioco non era quello definitivo, le info su schermo erano invertite: la posizione in classifica ed il tempo totale della gara erano inizialmente a destra, mentre il Lap Time era segnalato a sinistra (come potete notare dal confronto con lo screen finale sulla destra).[/spoiler]
See also this French excerpt from an old Nintendo-related newspaper. It’s notably touting the presence of real-world cars (Renault, Ford and Alfa Romeo) even if some screenshots on the same page shows the “Imagineer” car from the final product.
Shadowgate Rising was an adventure game game developed by Infinite Ventures for the Nintendo 64 but was never released. Originally intended to be a sequel to the 1999 title Shadowgate 64: Trials of the Four Towers and the latest entry to the franchise which began in 1987 with the original Shadowgate for the Mac. The project was abandoned because the Nintendo 64 was soon to be replaced by the GameCube. [Info from Wikipedia]
Screens & more info: Nintendo Fanatical – Original Article Written by Dave R. T. Allwein | December 9, 2003 (Archive.org Backup)
Nintendo’s official website had a bit of information on Rising’s storyline. “Shadowgate Rising-which is still only a tentative title-takes place centuries after Shadowgate 64. The belief of magic has faded, but now the unspeakable evil of Kal Torlin has slowly begun to reawaken. The fate of the land lies in the hands of a young woman who gradually discovers strange powers within herself and the ability to control magical artifacts within the alls of Shadowgate.”
Gjon Camaj, president of Image Space, had once stated that Shadowgate Rising made it into development. According to Image Space’s website, “In a short amount of time, ISI was able to create a development environment that allowed the artists to create assets on their PCs and then emulate them on the same machine, as it would appear on a Nintendo 64 game console. This ability saved time and the need to “burn” cartridges every time work needed to be reviewed.” This made it easier to test Shadowgate Rising. On the downside, the chances of this game surfacing are rather slim. A few months after the Nintendo 64 version had been officially canned, Image Space considered finishing up Rising and pushing a PC release. This never happed and the game was left totally unreleased.