Sega

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 for the scans!

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Morphs: Flashback 2 [Sega Mega CD – Cancelled]

Morphs: Flashback 2 is the cancelled sequel to the original game developed in 1992 by Delphine Software. As the first game Flashback 2 would have been a 2D sci-fi cinematic platformer and this new chapter was planned for the ill-fated Genesis / Mega Drive’s Sega Mega CD add-on. For some reasons Delphine were huge fans of the Sega Mega Drive, and as told by Paul Cussiet (Flashback’s creator) to Retro Gamer magazine (#118): “The best version for me is the Mega Drive version. The game was created for this platform“.

Flashback 2 was never officially announced by Delphine, but we were able to gather a few details about this lost sequel thanks to Thierry Levastre, a french developer who worked at Delphine as a 2D / 3D artist for many years. Thierry told us that the Flashback team did start working on Flashback 2 after the first one was released, but only an early draft of its story, game intro and a short animation of a mech were done before the project was cancelled.

Initially it seems Delphine decided to move away from sci-fi games and instead started working on a new medieval fantasy adventure titled “Dragon Blade” and a new racing game titled “Enduro Rider”, which later were picked up by BMG Interactive to be published for PC and Playstation in USA. After many years of development Dragon Blade evolved into Darkstone: Evil Reigns (finally published in 1999) and Enduro Rider probably became  Moto Racer (finally published in 1997).

We can speculate Delphine had some internal development problems with Dragon Blade and Enduro Rider, as they soon resurrected their Flashback sequel to work again on this idea. They scrapped their classic 2D graphic and rotoscoped animations, to invest their efforts in creating a fully 3D world. In the end the project evolved into “Fade to Black”, the official 3D sequel to Flashback released in 1995 for PC and Playstation. As far as we know, the initial story planned for Flashback 2 was adapted and reused for Fade to Black.

The short Flashback 2 mech animation created by Thierry was running on the Dpoly Editor on Amiga and presumably unreadable, but many years later Gregory Montoir was able to create some kind of web-player which reads DPoly files and this animation can now be seen again in motion (even if a little bugged – choose “mecha”).

It’s interesting to notice that Delphine also worked on the cancelled third chapter of Flashback, titled “Flashback Legends”, in development for GBA in early ‘00s. Unfortunately Delphine had to close down in 2002 for bankruptcy.

Thanks to Thierry for the contribution!

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Cho Hamaru Golf (Net de Golf ) [Dreamcast – Beta]

Update: thanks to Mark we found out that this game is an early version of the released Net de Golf! Some details such as the HUD look a bit different in Cho Hamaru Golf, but the rest is identical.

Cho Hamaru Golf is a cancelled arcade sport game that was in development by Sega for their Dreamcast since 1998, as it was listed during their second “New Challenge Conference” in october 98 – with a planned release date of March 1999. A couple of tiny screenshots were published online by IGN, but thanks to Isatis_Angel we were able to save better images, found in “Playmag” magazine issue 30 (novembre 1998).

As far as we know from the short previews and news available at the time, Cho Hamaru Golf was planned to be a fun arcade experience like Everybody’s Golf and Mario Golf. Sega also wanted to let players to trade special golf clubs (and custom characters?) using their VMUs.

By looking at the only screenshots available, we can imagine this would have been a great multiplayer game for our beloved Dreamcast, so it’s really a shame it was never released.

Thanks to Isatis_Angel for the contribution!

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Rock Climbing Simulator [Sega Saturn – Cancelled]

This untitled rock climbing game was once in development or to be published for the Sega Saturn by a rather obscure company named Netyou. The image you see in this page is the only remaining proof of its existence, it seems impossible to find any more details about the game or its developers. The screenshot was found by Yakumo in a japanese gaming magazine and posted in 2010 on the Assembler Games Forum. If you’ll ever find something more about this cancelled Saturn game, please let us know!

rock-climbing-sega-saturn-game-cancelled 

Kyskrew (Call Of Destiny) [Dreamcast, PC – Cancelled]

Kyskrew (also known as “Call Of Destiny“) is a cancelled RPG for Dreamcast and PC, originally meant to be released sometime in fall / winter of 2001. Even if the game seems to have been mostly a fan-project in early concept stage, it’s quite interesting to learn about it because before this article there were not many evidences about its existence online: for sure it’s one of the most forgotten unseen games planned for Sega Dreamcast.

The graphic shown in these early screenshots (published in various French magazines such as “Gameplay RPG” #31 in july/august 2001, “Dreamzone” #25 in June/July 2001 and “Joypad” #113 in November 2001) was good for its time, but most of the models and environments were  pre-rendered and it’s currently unknown how much of the game was really in a playable state.

Kyskrew was in development by Dragonhydre (later renamed Crystal Dream), a small independent French team that was disbanded just after the cancellation of their project in mid 2002. It seems that Dragonhydre was composed of 12 members (with age ranging from 16 to 23 years-old) who meet in various French gaming forums and decided to organize a development team to create their own game.

In an interview published on Dream-Emu a former member of Dragonhydre said that their plan was to release the game for free on their website, to let people to download the ISO and play it on their Dreamcast and PC.

The plot of Kyskrew involved the Goddess of Love and Creation – Eloina – who imprisoned her arch-enemy, the God of Hate – Gainer. Unfortunately a fragment of Gainer’s tainted soul would escape from his prison and reincarnate in a human being to take revenge and destroy the world.

It seems Kyskrew would have featured different combat mechanics, they wanted to use real-time combat system to fight normal enemies through levels but then combat would became turn-based during boss fights. Several character classes were planned to play the game with, including knights, magicians, and thieves. There was also an internal clock system that alternated the game time between night and day, a feature that have since become a standard in many modern RPGs including Elder Scrolls and Fable.

The world of Kyskrew also appears to have been particularly large, with 5 continents that included a good number of cities and dungeons. It was reported by the project’s director that the game would have had over 40 hours of gameplay.

As the Dreamcast was near the end of its life-cycle, in late 2001 Dragonhydre decided to move the game to Playstation 2, plus adding a GBA version too. It’s hard to say how much work was really put into these consoles, as the team was soon disbanded.

In 2004 another former member of Dragonhydre wrote a few pots on the Yaronet forums, revealing that they had many internal problems: work done on the game was not very good, team members keep changing during development and even early deadlines continued to be postponed, until the cancellation of the project.

A few tech-demo videos were once available on their official website, but unfortunately it seems Archive.org doesn’t have the files anymore. If you know someone who worked on this game who could still have some footage saved, please let us know!

Article by Blake Lynch & monokoma, thanks to Isatis_Angel for the scans and contribution!

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