Aqua (Scavenger) [Saturn, PC – Cancelled]

Aqua is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by Scavenger for the Sega Saturn and PC. Players would have been able to explore a sunken Mayan city under the sea, looking at fishes and other aquatic fauna. The gameplay could have probably been similar to Everblue (PS2) / Endless Ocean (Wii) by Arika or the Aquanaut’s Holiday series by Artdink, but sadly Scavenger’s Aqua was never finished. In 1997 the company had to close down for bankruptcy.

Thanks to Rod_Wod for the scan!


Terminus [Saturn, Playstation, PC – Cancelled]

Terminus is a cancelled action adventure / shooter game that was in development by Scavenger Inc for the Sega Saturn, Playstation and PC in 1996. As they wrote in their press release, the project was meant “to give Tomb Raider a run for it’s money” but sadly it was already too late, as the company ran out of money and Terminus had to be canned.

The few screenshots preserved in the gallery below show a great graphic engine for its time, that used NURBS / voxel-like system, as we can read in an article from Gamasutra (wrote by a former Scavenger developer):

[…] Soon thereafter we were asked to develop our own game. That provided me with the incentive to figure out how to represent characters in a game better. We knew we wanted at least ten or more characters on the screen simultaneously, but all the low-resolution polygonal characters we had seen just didn’t cut it. So I decided to keep pursuing a solution based on what I had been working on for X-Men (32X), hoping that I’d come up with something that would eventually yield better results.

At first I flirted with a voxel-like solution, and developed a character system which was shown at E3 in 1996 in a game called Terminus. This system allowed a player to see characters from any angle rotating around one axis, which solved a basic problem inherent to sprite-based systems. Still, you couldn’t see the character from any angle, and while everybody liked the look of the “sprite from any angle” solution, many people wanted to get a closer look at the characters’ faces. This caused the whole voxel idea to fall apart.

In 1997 / 1998, Scavenger went bankrupt and all their unfinished projects vanished with them. The team behind Terminus (internally known as Team Fetus) was then hired at Shiny Entertainment and their game was resurrected somehow, evolving into Messiah.

Thanks a lot to Mike Damien for its help in preserving some info and concept arts from this lost project!

Thanks to Celine for the contributions! Scans from GameFan 4-2 and EDGE 34


Timmy Time [Sega 32X – Cancelled]

Timmy Time is a cancelled platform game / shooter that was in development by Domark for the 32X add-on for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis (with a rumored Saturn conversion planned too). The main character was able to travel through time, so we can assume that the game had different levels based on various time-periods (as the old west and the space in the future). The game was canned for unknown reasons.

Some images of the project were found by Celine (scan from Supersonic magazine issue #25) and Ryo Suzuki (scan from Mean Machines Sega magazine issue #25).


The Lawnmower Man [SNES GEN MD – Beta]

The Lawnmower Man is a platform / action game based on the 1992 film of the same name, developed by Sales Curve (SCi) and released for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive (with different versions on PC, Sega CD and Gameboy). As we can read from Wikipedia, player takes control of either Dr. Angelo or Carla Parkette (the mother of Jobe’s best friend) in a typical side-scrolling shooting action. A Lawnmower Man beta was somehow leaked online, and you should be able to find it easily with Google.

Some screenshots from a supposed “Lawnmower 2” project were published in Super Pro magazine (scan by Retromags) before “Lawnmower Man 1” was released, but it seems that they are really beta images from the first game. As 90’s Gamer wrote in our Forum:

The Lawnmower Man II is of course the actually released Lawnmower Man for SNES, one of my fav’ titles on it, created by Simon Pick. A beta version of the game is also brought into the open. It contains another soundtrack, different sound effects, other intro sequence, the order of levels was altered, some level designs were changed, and it seems a harder game. Unfortunately i could not find any footage of it. The upper screen however seems a unique one, as i didn’t encounter a gigantic head of the antagonist ‘Jobe’.

Those screens published in Super Pro are probably from an earlier beta version than the leaked one.

Thanks to 90’s Gamer and Celine for the contributions!


Spinny and Spike [GEN MD – Cancelled]

Spinny and Spike was a Genesis game, produced by Sega Technical Institute, that got cancelled relatively early on in development. It was unique in that it was one of the first games to be made up exclusively of boss battles, with no segue levels between them. Two characters (presumably named Spinny and Spike) were to fight through various nightmares.

This would have allowed for a great deal of creative flexibility and extremely varied characters.Two of the known enemies were Snake, a robotic snake with two stages of combat and a fake “natural” snakeskin that had to be blown away by the player, and Junkyard Dog, a vicious canine, the defeat of which required the player to abuse the occasional raising of its metallic head-plate.

Not much more is known about this game, apart from a wealth of old production artwork. However, there is a fair bit of interest surrounding it, and the story of its demise is of particular note.

The story goes that the game was originally conceived and planned by the trio of Steve Woita, Jason Plumb and Tom Payne (two programmers and an artist, respectively). It was soon given the go-ahead by Tom Kalinske (then-CEO and president of Sega of America), along with two other games, Comix Zone and Sonic Spinball. However, not long into its production, the three members of the team were reassigned to the Sonic Spinball project, which needed extra assistance in order to reach completion in time for the holiday rush.

Upon returning to Spinny and Spike, the three were rudely surprised by the apparent instigation of a completely new producer and lead artist, who had been hired to continue work on the game. The new team had sent it off in a completely different direction, and had not stayed faithful to the original design, according to Woita. Both he and Plumb decided to leave Sega in disgust, after receiving offers to work at Ocean of America.

While development of the game was meant to continue in the absence of these two key players, it was soon decided that its completion would be impossible without the input of Woita and Plumb; their code was too individual and unconventional, and its efficient use would have first required a complete rewrite. As this was too costly, Sega simply canned the project.

You can see many pieces of concept art, and read more about Spinny and Spike, in the Select Button Forum!

Article by Franklint