Sega

Loose [Saturn – Cancelled]

Loose is a cancelled RPG / roguelike that was in development by Easy Computer System for the Sega Saturn. The game would have been published by Sierra Pioneer, but something went wrong and the project was canned before being finished. There are not more info on Loose, but Yakumo was able to find some screenshot in an old japanese magazine and shared them in the Assembler Forum. From the look of the screens, the gameplay could have been similar to the Fushigi no Dungeon / Mystery Dungeon series.

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Flying Aces [32X/Saturn – Cancelled]

Flying Aces is a cancelled flight simulator / shooter set in the first World War, that was originally in development by Rocket Science Games for the Sega 32 X in 1994 / 1995. As we can read in GamePro #68 (thanks to Celine for the scan!), the gameplay was depicted with live action FMV and included multiple views from both inside and outsite the aircraft.

Only few screenshots remain from the 32X project and when the Sega Add-On was already dead, it seems that RSG tried to port the game to the  Saturn (scan from Cd Consoles #4), without any luck. Neither version of Flying Aces was ever released.

Unfortunately, while some Rocket Science’s games were critically acclaimed, none of them did particularly well financially, and unable to secure additional funding, RSG was forced to close down in 1997. [Info from Wikipedia]

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Tomb Raider 2 Beta [PSX / Saturn / PC]

Overview: The first Tomb Raider game became a success with high ratings and sold well. Core Design of Derbyshire had already planned a sequel, the game underwent big changes through development. According to rumors, due to the original game being such a success, Sony paid for the game to be exclusively made for the PlayStation which in turn resulted in the Sega Saturn version being cancelled. There is no evidence of this happening, if anybody has any official information please do update this. Core Design managed to successfully remaster and implement Lara’s ponytail which was a major issue back in 1995. Tomb Raider 2 was released on the Sony PlayStation and PC early November 1997. In 2004, an external company ported Tomb Raider 2 to the Tapwave Zodiac handheld device which is now defunct. The port was cancelled due to unknown reasons but is available to download from some places on the internet.


Early Alpha Stage – Date, Late 1996
Platform: PC


These screenshots come from an early alpha build of Tomb Raider 2. As you can see, Lara has no braid, her model is exactly the same to the first Lara in Tomb Raider 1. There aren’t supposed to be stairs in Bartoli’s Hideout, the gate where the boat is supposed to drive through is missing. These are most likely the first set of screenshots showing Tomb Raider 2.

Alpha Stage – Date, Early 1997?
Platform: PSX

This build is similar to the one above. However, Core Design began experimenting with Lara Croft having a braid. Some early E3 preview videos show a similar build.

Beta Stage – Date, 16th June 1997 (E3 Build)
Platform: PC

After E3 1997, Tomb Raider 2 E3 build leaked onto the internet. As a result it is now available on many websites. The alpha consists of 3 playable levels in early development

  • Bartoli’s Hideout.
  • The Wreck Of Maria Doria
  • Ice Palace / Catacombs of the Talion

In the first level Bartoli’s Hideout, you can notice that the Pistols’ Sound effects are completely different. The health bar is also different in color, just an early placeholder. In the beginning, you don’t start in the boat, they may not have created it yet. The original gate where you are supposed to go through with the boat is locked and the room in there doesn’t contain the clock tower door, it’s just a white textured room, could this be an early alpha room from the previous level? The sword men have no sound effects whilst their sword goes down. The Debug cheat ‘DOZY’ is available, Lara will swim once the user holds down ‘D-O-Z-Y’. The building shelters are normally textured with a red cloth like surface but in this version they are plain wood. In addition, there are no wired gates which separate areas, they are replaced with wooden slats hammered together unseen in the final version. The first secret is missing, the veranda which leads to the stone dragon is there but the door itself is missing. The positioning of the room under the fireplace was changed slightly in the final release. The inventory is the same to Tomb Raider 1, the guns are also identical: Pistols, Magnums, Shotgun, Uzis. The Magnums were later changed to ‘Automatic Pistols’ in the final build. The compass is still functional but was later changed to statistics watch to give a more modern game play experience. Whilst climbing up walls, there is a glitch which allows Lara to draw her guns, this was a problem back in July 1996 for Tomb Raider 1 which they fixed in the final, but it has re-occurred in this build. Secrets aren’t yet implemented, the locations are there though. The detonation key is different from the final one, it is gold and red where as, the final is grey entitled ‘TNT’. At 08:59, you can see an additional room which was removed from final. It has nothing in it, it may have been a placeholder room for the Stone dragon secret. It isn’t possible to complete the level, the TNT explosive device is not in this version, there are no end triggers so the only way to skip to the next level is to rename the level files.

In the second level, there appears to be a huge difference visually and with sound. The sound effects are from Tomb Raider 1, the first level contains early/final sound effects for Tomb Raider 2. The level is so early, it starts right at the end. In the beginning, there are no textures. The costume itself is completely different from final, it’s striped with orange whereas, in the final it’s white,blue,grey and black. There is a glitch with the lever at 1:53, you must rush to get to the other lever before the door itself closes, DOZY is a quick way of doing this. This area of the level is pretty much final, there aren’t many noticeable changes but the glitch at 3:59, the texture underneath the water is a rock texture. The inventory noise is exactly the same as Tomb Raider 1, in the first level it’s just a high pitched noise, the key has placeholder textures which aren’t final. The ending of the level is yet again untextured with no option to proceed to the next level.

Beta Stage – Date, 16th June 1997
Platform: PSX

PSX E3 Demo, it is identical to the PC E3 Demo.

Beta Stage – Date, Early September 1997 (Demo)
Platform: PSX

Coming Soon!

This is a playable beta demo of the first level, there are several differences such as the title screen picture. It’s completely different, shows a picture of early Xian in china. At the beginning of the level, you can jump forward and grab the top ledge which you shouldn’t be able to do, it was fixed in the final build. Also, the helicopter doesn’t exist, it’s supposed to fly by at the top of the Great Wall, she seems to look though. Halfway through, in the room with the flying discs just before the boulders are introduced, the flying discs have the sound of darts from Tomb Raider 1, the sound was later changed in the late September build below. The level ends right after the spike crushers because it’s incomplete. If you bypass the ending, there is no way of proceeding since it’s nothing but a dead end. In the inventory, statistics has the extra feature ‘Hit/Miss Ratio’ this isn’t available in the final version. It may be because in the 30th September build, it is non-functional due to a glitch in the code which they didn’t have time to fix for final release.

Beta Stage – Date, 30th September 1997
Platform: PSX


This particular version was burnt to many pirated Tomb Raider 2 discs. Though close to the final game, the last levels are slightly unfinished with Temple of Xian and Lara’s Home being impossible to complete without glitching. The DOZY cheat can be accessed which turns Lara Gold, allowing her to swim in mid-air most likely used to help the developers navigate to specific rooms more quickly.

Beta Stage – Date, 17th October 1997
Platform: PSX

Pretty much the final game with dozy.

Editors:
1. Gh0stblade

Change Log
Gh0stBlade – Added September/October 1997 videos. 16/03/16
Gh0stblade – Added E3 June 1997 info, Added September 1997 Demo info, Early Alpha Info. 03/12/11
Gh0stblade – Added June 1997 Footage, September 1997 Footage, Early 1997 magazine scans. 05/12/11 

Dragonflight: Chronicles of Pern [PC PSX Dreamcast – Beta]

Dragonflight: Chronicles of Pern is an action adventure based on the Dragonriders of Pern book series by Anne McCaffrey, that was in development in 1998 / 1999 by Grolier Interactive for PC and Playstation. Initially the game was going to have a style similar to Diablo, but after a couple of years of development, Dragonflight became an action game with a 3rd person view camera. In june 2000, Grolier Interactive stopped releasing videogames when they were bought by Scholastic.

Grolier Interactive’s game could have been doomed, but it seems that Ubisoft bought their assets, cancelled the Playstation version and moved the Dragonflight to Dreamcast and PC.  In 2001, they finally released this project as Dragon Riders: Chronicles of Pern.

An old interview with Grolier Interactive can still be read at RPG Vault:

Can you provide some details on development progress that has been made over this time?

Oliver Sykes: What people may remember from the previous incarnation of the game is a very isometric viewpoint, a bit like Diablo. One of the major changes in the game is the camera system. We can now script the camera to act very cinematically. It can track with the player, spin round him, drop from above to below. Any number of camera shots can linked to describe a location and the characters in it as well as adding a great deal of fluidity.

Could you explain the level of depth and interaction we can expect from NPCs? What kind of a conversation system is there?

Oliver Sykes: The conversation system is fairly linear in most places. This choice was employed as we have such a vast number of characters to converse with, the conversation choices would have gave our scripters headaches. However, at key moments during the game you can make choices and these choices will effect the outcome of events. One choice could give you bonuses and unlock new locations and characters, whereas another may lead you down an entirely different path with different consequences.

Thanks to Celine for the scans!

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Videos:

Videos from the final version: