SNES

Zorro [SNES – Cancelled]

In the mid ’90s US Gold was developing a SNES action game in which you would play as Zorro, the popular hero created in 1919 by writer Johnston McCulley. Some screenshots were published in gaming magazines at the time, but in the end Zorro for the Super Nintendo was never released. As it often happens with these cancelled 16-bit tie-in projects, we can speculate its gameplay was not much fun or changed idea on the profitability of the Zorro IP.  US Gold halted development on the game and switched resources to something else.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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Ochanoma Densetsu [SNES – Cancelled]

Ochanoma Densetsu (お茶の間伝説) is a cancelled RPG / board game hybrid that was in development for the Super Famicom (SNES) and would have been published by Information Global Service. There are basically no details about what the game was going to be like, but an advertisement announcing the game was published in an old IGS catalog.

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By looking at the two, tiny screenshots featured in this scan it seems it could have been a multiplayer board-RPG, somehow similar to the Dokapon series. Japanese translation says it supported multiplayer mode up to 4 players at the same time, using a SNES multitap.

Maybe one day we could find more images or information still hidden away in other forgotten japanese magazines. Fingers crossed!

Thanks to Celine for the contribution! 

Oh My Goddess! (Aa! Megami-sama) [Super Famicom – Cancelled]

Oh My Goddess! (Aa! Megami-sama) is a manga and anime series by Kosuke Fujishima, serialized since September 1988 in Japan. It was quite popular at the time and it even got a few tie-in games for NEC PC-98, Sega Dreamcast and Playstation 2.

In the late ’90s a Super Famicom (SNES) Oh My Goddess! game was also announced in Japanese gaming magazines, as reported at the time by some english fansites. It would have been an arcade racing game similar to Mario Kart, set in the series’ NIT’s festival (?). It also seems each kart would have been driven by 2 characters at the same time (?):

  • Belldandy & Keiichi
  • Urd & Peorth
  • Skuld and Banpei-kun RX.
  • Megumi & Sora
  • Tamiya & Ootaki

Unfortunately it seems they never shown any actual screenshots from the game, only promotional artworks for the characters. Maybe something more is still hidden away in old japanese magazines?

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Satellite Man [SNES – Cancelled]

Satellite Man was a scrapped, albeit completely finished, game for the SNES by Japanese developer T&E Soft. The game was a comedic side-scrolling brawler akin to Final Fight that featured Satellite Man, a superhero who could harness the power of satellites, as he attempted to make his way to the moon to save it from an evil mastermind who claimed it for himself.

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Details of the game are scarce as few people have seen it and it is unlikely that any of it remains to this day, but descriptions of the game by its developers reveal that the game had an absurd sense of humor, such as the fact that the titular hero is broke and has to hitch a ride to the moon on a NASA rocket ship.

The game’s bosses reflected this comedic style as well with “Baron Engine”, a man with a v8 engine for a body who chased the player around in a child’s toy car, a bee who carried explosives appropriately named “Dynamite Bee” and “Captain Go”, an Apollo Lunar Module with a dangling body and a face of a man from T&E’s sales department.

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Unlike some of the other side-scrolling fighters at the time Satellite Man was single player only and had a button for punches, kicks, grabs and special attacks.  There were three special attacks, two of which were the ability to shoot down a damaging beam from a satellite and the ability to create two shadow versions of yourself to help fight.  These special moves were unlocked by filling a recharging “satellite bar” and the player could use three special attacks in a row if the bar was fully charged. In an attempt to make the game seem more like an American comic book the developers added text bubbles like “BOOM” and “POW” that would pop up when enemies were hit.

Despite being 100% finished after half a year of development the game never saw the light of day.  This was mostly due to the fact that one of the developers handed a copy of the game to company co-founder Eiji Yokoyama and promised him he would laugh every 30 seconds, to which Yokoyama responded by not laughing once throughout the entire game.

The developers also chalk it up to the fact that T&E had recently worked on the SNES version of Rise of the Robots, a critical and financial failure that is lauded as one of the worst fighting games of all time, and didn’t think they could sell another fighting game so soon afterwards. As many other lost SNES games, not much remains from Satellite Man: a single screenshot was found by Arc Hound in the Mar. ’93 issue of Micom BASIC Magazine, while a sketch and few memories from former T&E Soft developers were published by John Szczepaniak on the “The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volume 2”.

Article by Tristan Avery, thanks to John for the contribution! 

Dwagons [SNES, Mega Drive – Cancelled]

The 16-bit era is often mentioned as the Golden Age of Gaming. A graced period that gave us hundreds of awesome classic games. It was a time when 2D game development was maturing and lots of ideas from the 8-bit generation would be revamped with new technology and graphics. Some old concepts and gameplay would still do pretty well in 16-bit, others had to be reworked and adapted, while still using similar and already successful mechanics. The latter is the case for Dwagons, our featured game.

Dwagons is a cancelled maze-puzzle game planned to be released on the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive (Genesis). It was in development by UK based company Imagitec Design. As noted in a magazine preview found by the spanish board SEGASaturno, Dwagons shared similar ideas with Pengo (a 1982 arcade game by Sega) and Sokoban (a japanese puzzle game from the same time).

In Pengo the player must navigate through a maze and push ice blocks to defeat every enemy on screen in the shortest time possible. In Sokoban a more strategic approach is needed: the player have to move and fit blocks into specific areas to open the next level. Both had very simple but very successful formula for the 1980’s gaming market.

Dwagons would add a little more depth into the “static-screen block pushing” type of game in “a combination of adventure, strategy and arcade“.  It would feature multiple-themed levels, co-operative multiplayer, multi-layered puzzles and a lot of secrets to uncover, everything wrapped in a cartoon-like medieval fantasy theme.

Developers even thought about other gameplay elements like magic spells, teleporting blocks, rafts to move through water places and trap doors that could make the player backtrack. By that time, gameplay variety was a central idea among gamers and developers and core mechanics for puzzle games were evolving (see Capcom’s Goof Troop for the SNES for example).

We don’t know how close Dwagons was from completion or how much of the game had actually been made, but judging from screenshots and detailed previews it seems it was already in a pretty advanced stage. It even had a whole scenario and a plot of its own. Two dragons (Dwagons) named Snort and Snail set on a quest to retrieve the Magic Talisman of Power and rescue their brother, Snarf, captured by the evil Lord Flame.

Imagitec was responsible for a variety of  arcade game ports released mostly on Atari and Amiga platforms. They worked with other companies such as Atari Corporation, Gremlin Graphics, and Electronic Arts until early 1997 when Imagitec was purchased by Gremlin and renamed Gremlin Interactive Studios.”

Thanks to Marçal Mora Cantallops and Grzegorz for the scans!

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