Sega

RPG Densetsu Hepoi [Mega Drive (Genesis) – Cancelled]

The 16-bit era brought many new possibilities into design and artistic fields on gaming. Colorful sprites, rich and fluid animation, stereo sound and many new features graced a period that for a long time was considered the most important for the video game industry.

One of the biggest hook for consumers in the 80’s and 90’s was the extensive licensed material. These decades would change video games forever as companies were beginning to understand it as a communication channel, more than just an electronic toy. Soon, adaptations from cartoons, anime, movies, comic books, novels and pretty much everything began to pop through. It was the “make a game of that” philosophy.

This means that game designers worked day and night to figure out how to work with whichever hardware came around, in every way possible to make something popular, playable. Sometimes this meant that something great was coming, sometimes it was just excuse to make more profit with a famous brand.

A video game based on japanese anime RPG Densetsu Hepoi was in the makings for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis System.

The only source available about this unseen game is a scan from a japanese magazine called Beep Mega Drive, dated 1991, which show us two screenshots, revealing the use of top-down perspective. We can also deduce by the menu displacement that it had classic j-rpg gameplay, including text-based actions, dialogues and multiple characters to use.

The game was also being co-produced by Sega.

Unfortunately we don’t know much more about this cancelled Mega Drive RPG: it quietly vanished forever with no official explanation. It remains one of the many lost 16bit games which will forever be forgotten by the majority of gamers all around the world.

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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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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!

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