In the August issues of British publications Sega Power and Mean Machines Sega, three different prototype versions of Earthworm Jim 2 for the Mega Drive were previewed. Each of them have some minor yet interesting changes compared to the final product, including a lot of material cut from the game.
HMS Carnage (later renamed to Dreadnought / Dreadnoughts and internally know as Dread0) is a cancelled Victorian steam-punk shooter (with strategy elements) set on the red planet of Mars, that was in development for almost 3 years by the Tribe team at Ocean Software. It was an ambitious project, but only a small playable demo and detailed FMV were finished before Infogrames acquired Ocean in 1998 and decided to kill it some months later.
It seems that the game concept was somehow similar to Warhawk, released in 2007 for the Playstation 3, in which the player is able to use ground and air vehicles, turrets and on-foot weapons to kill their enemies and complete the mission objectives.
HMS Carnage was mainly a PC-CDROM game and the PSX / Saturn ports were an afterthought: the console versions would have been very different with more action and less strategy.
At the time Ocean had a reputation for producing low quality movie tie-ins but with the much-hyped arrival of CDROM as a gaming format they wanted to develop some really ground breaking games. Ocean rebranded their internal development department as “Tribe”, invested a lot of money, hired a lot of new talent and asked everyone to come up with amazing original concepts huge enough to fill a CDROM.
HMS Carnage was one of the winning concepts, Silver was another (released 4 years later) and the third was a point ‘n click adventure with Hanna-Barbera characters, called “Zoiks” which was also cancelled.
The game kept its “HMS Carnage” title throughout most of the development, while “Dreadnought” was a name thought up by the marketing department towards the end (the development team didn’t much like it). Probably they though it was a more sellable title for a shooter.
Sadly the name-change was not enough to save the game. When Infogrames bought Ocean and review Dreadnought, too much work and money were still needed to complete the project: they thought that it could have been an economic failure and decided to cancel the development. After the cancellation, part of the Tribe team went to work at Psygnosis.
A preview for HMS Carnage was published in Edge magazine issue 32 (1996), if you are able to scan those pages, please let us know!
Thanks a lot to Maria Ingold, Matt Wood, Julian Holtom for their help in preserving media and info from their lost project!
Thanks to Robert Seddon and Celine for the magazines scans!
Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole is an action rpg that was developed by Climax Entertainment originally for the Mega Drive/Genesis. The player, as Nigel the treasure hunter, is tasked with searching for clues that lead to the treasure of King Nole. This is accomplished primarily by travelling through both outdoor areas and dungeons. All gameplay takes place in an isometric view, including plot-advancing scenes. [Info from Wikipedia]
With the help of a tool created by Lord_Mir, we can extract all the sprites in the game’s rom, to find a couple of enemies and an item that were not used in the game! Ryu-Ya, webmaster of Landsavior, has send to us a mail with some more info and screens: “In the game we can found these two sprites (enemies it seems), some platforms and fireballs totally unused in the final version. There’s a sprite of a weapon, the “boomerang axe”, which belongs to Zak, an opponent of the Landstalker’s hero, who hold it on the official artworks but is unused in the game. Obviously the developers wanted him to fight with that weapon but later they changed their mind.”
Update: thanks to Ryu-Ya we have the confirmation that the bath scene is indeed in the Japanese version of the game. Another candidate for the Unseen Changes!
As Robert Seddon / VanishedOne has make us notice in a topic on the U64 forum and as other gamers have already found out at the Sega16 Forum, it seems that in the memory of the game still exist an hidden “bath scene, that is accessible only thanks to a PAR code. A YouTube video from ryuya5 shows us this removed cutscene: “thanks to a gameshark/Action Replay code (FF542 08000) that allows you to levitate you can now meet Kayla in her bathroom during your stay at Mercator Castle”. We are still not 100% sure if it is unused altogether, or it was just censored for the Western versions, so if you have more informations about this, please send us an email o leave a comment!
Some months ago saturn_worship on the Assembler forum shared a series of scan from an old japanese Saturn Magazine, with lots of screens of Monster Maker: Holy Dagger, a Sega Saturn Strategy RPG developed by Nec Interchannel that was never released. This project could have been a sequel to the original “Monster Maker” also developed by Nec Interchannel and released for the PC Engine. This Saturn sequel looked really good, so it’s a real shame that we’ll never be able to play it.
If you have some more informations about this game, please let us know!
Sega, flush with funds from the Sega Mega Drive (released as the Sega Genesis in North America), announced the Sega VR add-on in 1991. It was based around an IDEO virtual reality headset (HMD) with LCD screens in the visor and stereo headphones. Inertial sensors in the headset allowed the system to track and react to the movements of the user’s head. Because of development difficulties the Sega VR remained only a prototype, it was last seen at computer shows in 1993 and vanished from the release schedules in 1994. Four games were apparently developed for the system, each using 16 Mb cartridges that were to be bundled with the headset. [Info from Wikipedia]
One of these Sega VR games was Iron Hammer, a first person shooter with futuristic aircraft. A prototype of this game was somehow saved from the limbo and thanks to Nicola from Gamescollection.it, we had a brief chance to play it at the VGH 2008, a little videogames expo that took place in Monza (Italy) the last May. You can check the video below to see Iron Hammer in motion.