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Lisa: The Painful RPG [Beta – PC]

Lisa: The Painful is an indie role-playing game developed by Dingaling Productions (now known as LoveBrad Games). The game was designed and programmed by Austin Jorgensen using RPG Maker VX Ace and released for PC, Mac and Linux in December 2014.

The games is a successor to Lisa: The First, a  freeware game made by Jorgensen in 2012. Lisa: The Painful was funded thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that started in November 2013: in the Kickstarter’s public feed of the game we can take a look on different phases of game development, Lisa beta versions and how the game changed over time.

Lisa Kickstarter Trailer

This trailer is our first glimpse of the game, and we can already notice some interesting “beta” elements. The trailer is basically cycling through two different animations, one showing Brad (the protagonist of LISA: The Painful) and his party, and the other one showing him ambushed by Buzzo and Columbo (two of the main antagonists), with text cards hinting at tough choices players will face through the game.


In this image we can clearly recognize some of the characters: Brad is the bald guy, Olan Hoyt is the one with a hat and the wrestler’s one is Rage Ironhead. The last one playing the guitar is a deleted character called Hawk, an early version of Rando.

Beta version of Rando, courtesy of Lisa RPG Wiki

Lisa Pre-Alpha Gameplay Footage

This video was uploaded on Austin Jorgensen’s Youtube account  and it represents a pre-alpha stage of the final game. Still, many of the locations that made into the final game are clearly recognizable, albeit with some differences (Devil’s Bathhouse, Snow Mountain, Bob’s Dojo). The bike and motorbike are already present and tested a this point in development.

A look on the pre-alpha battle screen: two of Brad’s initial friends, Cheeks Gaywood and Richard Weeks (along with Sticky Angoneli), were once playable (there is also another shot of the cut character Hawk). Other cut features are a team attack (shown in the picture) and a sneaking mechanic, possibly used to ambush enemies.

Lisa Kickstarter Demo

On November 20th 2013, Jorgensen uploaded a demo of LISA on Gamefront, the original file has since been deleted, but a backup version is available in here. This demo features various locations, characters and enemies (like the Men’s Hair Club, then called the Magnificent Manes Men’s Club), alongside different graphics for in-game dialogues and text.

During Lisa development many different characters were either dropped or their role in the story changed: our friends at The Cutting Room Floor have a nice page about them.

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She Queen Death Machine (Psygnosis) [PC – Cancelled]

She Queen Death Machine is a cancelled side-scrolling action game which was in development by Psygnosis in 1995, to be released for PC MS-DOS. No more details remain from this lost game and it was mostly unknown to the public until Grzegorz found a few images hidden in old gaming magazines: Generation 4 (issue 76), Top Secret (issue 37), and Secret Service (May 1995).

In these magazines She Queen Death Machine was described as an exciting action platformer with lots of shooting, punching and explosions. Because of the game’s title and by looking at the characters sprites, it seems the main protagonist was meant to be a female soldier. Other features listed in these short previews were multi-directional screen scrolling, parallax effects, many different weapons to use and bosses at end of levels. One of these levels was described as a military camp with hangars and towers with enemy guards lurking everywhere.

After a few previews in gaming magazines, She Queen Death Machine vanished forever. After Sony acquired Psygnosis in 1993 and released their Playstation in 1995, their resources were switched from PC to the more profitable Playstation market. She Queen Death Machine may be one of the games cancelled because of this.

Thanks to Grzegorz for the contribution!

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Fate of the Dragon 2 [PC – Cancelled]

Three Kingdoms: Fate of the Dragon (or simply Fate of the Dragon for short in the U.S. version) is a RTS developed by Overmax Studios, (Now known as Object Software) and published in 2001 for PC. It is based on the historical background of the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

In 2002, the game originally saw an expansion pack/sequel in the form of Dragon Throne: Battle of Red Cliffs, and was set to get a true successor the following year titled, “Fate of the Dragon II“. While a number of screenshots were released, very little about the game was known outside of China, and little to no official announcement or press coverage was given.

According to recent research, and a post on Chinese forum hupu.com, the sequel never saw the light of day, and was indeed cancelled around 80% development. In 2004, the game’s engine and graphics were reused for the still ongoing Chinese exclusive MMO: Fate Online, also known as Fate of the Dragon Online, and Dragon Throne Online. Currently the game has no localization outside of mainland China.

Thanks to Liam Scott for the contribution!

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Dark Matter: The Baryon Project [PC, Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

Dark Matter: The Baryon Project is a cancelled sci-fi shooter RPG that was in development by Pixelcage, planned to be released for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. The project was quite ambitious for a rather small and obscure team, promising to offer both on-foot first-person shooting and third person spacecraft combat.

In their old – now closed – website, we can read they wanted to create a vast universe in which to freely fly around, inspired by such games as “TIE-Fighter” and “Freespace”. You would fight in space against huge spacecrafts planned to be up to 100 km (62 miles) in size – something that would be considered a massive open-world even by today’s standards (SKYRIM’s world is about 5 km wide), gigantic spaceships-worlds in which you could also break-in to continue attacking your enemies on foot.

“When playing such games in the past, I always wondered how it would be to just ram one of that bigger vessels and just “clear the bridge manually”. With today’s hardware capabilities, we now do a swing on it. – Marco Sobol, former Pixelcage developer”

If this was not enough to hype up the project, they also wrote about “graphic details up to a grade of millimeters!”, “experience speeds of up to 3000 km/h!”, “have a million polygons on your screen – in realtime!” and “can you handle hundreds of enemies?”. For sure the team had big dreams for their first project.

Thanks to an old interview with Pixelcage by Gengamers, we can read that work for the game began in 2003 with a core team of only 7 people, with plans to expand the studio to more than 40 people when they would finally find a publisher.

“Dark Matter is a first person shooter/ space shooter with some RPG elements, such as an inventory and improving skills, but without the flaws of pondering about tables and character sheets. It will feel much like a common FPS when it comes to game controls and speed, but comes with hours of dynamic scripted scenes, a non-linear storyline and state-of-the-art sound effects and music.”

Not only gameplay and huge environments would have been quite ambitious for its time, Dark Matter: The Baryon Project was also planned to have a open-ended storyline with different endings. Pixelcage wanted to have several playable characters appearing in the game and time travelling would have played an important role, featuring morphing aliens and fierce “time warriors”.

If such an immense game like this was not complex enough to develop, the team also wanted to add online multiplayer:

“We will put much efforts in the multiplayer part. There will be several deathmatch and teamplay modes, we even plan to include a mode in which you can play the single player campaign together with your friends. This is generally possible because there is more than one prime character in the game.”

It’s easy to see how Pixelcage were a passionate team with many ambitious ideas for their project, but unfortunately it seems they never found a publisher interested in funding it. In the end they had to abandon Dark Matter: The Baryon Project to work on other, simpler games such as Switchfire (published in 2006) and Jekyll & Hyde (2010), before to close down the studio.

If you know someone who worked on this game and could help us to preserve more screens, videos and details, please let us know!

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Shantae 32 bit [Playstation 1, PC – Cancelled]

After being one of the most forgotten hidden gems for Game Boy Color in 2002, in the last few years Shantae became a cult-series, with 4 main games developed by WayForward Technologies for PC, Wii U, DS, Playstation 4, 3DS, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. While Shantae games are quite popular today, most fans still don’t know that the first, original Shantae project for Playstation 1 and PC was never released.

shantae playstation 1 pc cancelled 32 bit game

Thanks to mpx and Youloute we know that this cancelled 32 bit version of Shantae was in development around 1997 and it was even shown on the official WayForward Technologies website in the late ‘90s:

“It is a time of magic and majesty, where strange beasts roam the land and beautiful creatures wield powerful magic. In this world lives a young girl named Shantae… a troubled genie, born without magic, yet the only individual capable of saving the realm from disaster. Following a century of imprisonment underground, three powerful Jins have broken the seal that restrained them, and now seek to drain the world of the magic it needs to survive. As the magic is stolen, the peaceful creatures that once harbored it are left weak and helpless. Shantae, unaffected by the magic drain, is the only hope for peace. But can she possibly battle the Jins and their legion of monsters relying only on the magic she reclaims along the way? It’s up to you to guide Shantae through perilous traps and dangers beyond your wildest imaginings!”

 

“Shantae is designed for the PC or comparable game system (such as the Sony Playstation). The gameplay is full 3-D, with traditionally (2D) animated characters that move in and out of the rendered backgrounds. With this advantage, players can travel down streets, enter tunnels or battle monsters several times the size of the normal viewing area! Perhaps the best feature of this 3-D system is the totally hands-free camera movement. The view automatically zooms in or out, up or down depending on the proximity of Shantae to other important elements. In addition, the paths Shantae can take often split into different layers of depth, allowing the player to walk on near or far surfaces in order to get around obstructions, crevices, or buildings. Also, enemies can attack from any direction in three-dimensional space in order to hunt Shantae down. It’s the long awaited blend of 2-D’s fluid animation and 3-D’s next generation gameplay rolled into one!”

During an interview with Siliconera, Shantae series director Matt Bozon said:

“We had a polygonal Shantae that could be run around in three distinct gameplay ‘gyms’. […] One was a spline-scroller (like Namco’s Klonoa), one was a free-range 3D like Mario 64, and the last was an isometric 3D platformer. We’ve done a lot of exploration in this area… Shantae was a sprite/3D hybrid for PlayStation and PC, and was free-roaming on the PlayStation 2.”

Shantae’s character design was a bit different in this lost game, compared to her current design:

In 2013 during a live streaming the WayForward team played the cancelled Shantae 2: Risky Revolution for GBA, so we can only hope that one day they could also find a playable version of this cancelled Playstation / PC version to show it to the world. Only a few, small screenshots are currently saved in the gallery below.

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