Since 1989, Sega was officially represented in Brazil by Tec Toy, which was their only publisher and manufacturer, translated some games and even released special versions of the Master System and some games (like Wonderboy in Monster Land, that became “Monica no Castelo do Dragao”, in reference to Monica from the famous Brazilian comic series by Mauricio de Souza). That said, when Sonic 2 was released, they included promo cartdridges (Cartuchos Promocionais) in some games that were sold at the time. Those carts only had these two screens, which translate as:
DinoBasher was a platform game being developed for the Sega Master System by Optimus Software and was due to be published by Codemasters in 1993. The game was a port of Big Nose the Caveman that had been released on the NES in 1991.
The game had a very cartoon like art style and the aim of the game was to club dinosaurs for Big Noses dinner. There was going to be four large islands for the player to explore and you would navigate between them using your club as a helicopter, to become the “first flying man”. You would also collect bones and rocks that you would be able to trade with the natives of the islands.
DinoBasher differs from most cancelled games though as it was actually completely finished and box art had been completed, the game had also been sent out to publications for review. Sega Power magazine gave it a terrible 42% and called it “Prehistoric Poo Poo” the review also said that it was a very generic platformer and the pacing was very slow.
The poor reviews seem to be one of the main reasons that this game was never actually released, this and the fact that it was due to be released towards the end of the Master Systems lifecycle. It could be that Codemasters wanted to concentrate on other games for the new 16bit platform such as the hugely popular Micro Machines for the Sega Megadrive. Codemasters at this time as well had started to cut down on releasing budget games and wanted to concentrate on full-price titles.
Even though the game was cancelled as it was completely finished DinoBasher can now be played as it was leaked online. There are tons of YouTube videos of the game and a rom can be downloaded and you can even play it in your browser.
Optimus Software was eventually bought out by Iguana UK in 1993, who were then acquired by Acclaim Entertainment and renamed Acclaim Studios Teesside. This studio was then also closed in 2002 and the majority of the staff were relocated to Acclaim Studio Cheltenham whose last game was RC Revenge released in 2013.
Codemasters continues to work on games today and primarily works on the F1 series of games from their Birmingham offices and also the Race Driver Grid games from the Kuala Lumpur office founded in 2006.
In the mid ’90s Shinji Mikami began to work on a new horror game set,just like NES’ Sweet Home, in a large building surrounded by a forest. Maybe influenced by the recent success of Doom, the project was initially conceived as a FPS. We know next to nothing about this first prototype, but it would have surely been one of the most advanced shooter created yet. However at the end Capcom selected another pc game, Alone in the Dark, as a model for their new product, and Resident Evil / Bio Hazard became an action adventure with a strong emphasis on survival.
Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the first draft of the story, but at least we have few artworks about Dewey and Gelzer, two beta characters, later replaced by Rebecca and Barry, that represented respectively the strong guy (in this case a cyborg) and the comic partner. We can only speculate that at the beginning the narrative was less serious, and the graphic style not that realistic (for the standards of the time).
After one year of development, in 1995, previews of the first playable builds of Resident Evil started to appear in gaming magazines.
In these screens we can see that originally the game could have been played in co-op. Jill also had a different costume and the fight with the snake was in the room that connects the house with the garden. We don’t know if in this early beta there were still leftovers of the removed locations in the code (the cementery, the paths in the forest) that were, like Trevor’s letters, later reintroduced in the RE remake for the Gamecube.
Resident Evil 08/04/1995
In 2010, Tyrant of resident-evil-beta.de recovered a beta of Resident Evil that dates back to 08/04/1995. It seems to be similar to the V-Jump ’95 build, so for a list of the main differences see the paragraph below. Unfortunately, in this version the co-op mode was already removed, even if some leftovers can still be found in the folders of the iso. Only Chris is playable, and it is not possible to see the map or access the inventory. Interestingly, you can change weapons in real-time. Also, in this beta Barry can save Chris too, but just because they didn’t make the event exclusive to Jill’s scenario yet. In 2011, Hidden Palace released this particular build to the public.
Notice how Dewey and Gelzer’scharacter portraits are still present in the game’s code.
V-Jump ’95 Presentation
In the video of the V-Jump ’95 Presentation, linked below, we can see an early beta with some differences:
Some different camera angles
Chris polygonal model was less detailed and he began the game armed
Different music and japanese voices
All the zombies had white jackets
The blue gallery had four pillars
Some minor differences in many rooms
Kenneth Sullivan (the corpse in the backroom) is in another location in the final game
Spiders instead of dogs in the corridor (it still happens in the released version when you return in the mansion after the guardhouse)
Hunters at the beginning of the game!
No metal plate for the crests in the outside corridor
The first fight against the snake was moved in a room in the first floor in the final game
The room where chris fights the snake in the video is different in the final version
Probably this build is more recent than the 08/04/1995 one, but not by much.
Maximum console 1996 Preview
A slightly different Tyrant
Wesker in the plant room? Most likely it was just a placeholder, but as we know, in the final version Wesker is in the guardhouse, we meet him after the boss… what if at the beginning we could fight the plant with him?
Also, in the same issue, the article mentions a graveyard among the other locations of the game. This is strange, because if it was still planned to be included we should have at least some screenshots of it. Maybe it got dropped at the end of the development? and if so, why it wasn’t included in the director’s cut ?
More unseen material can be found in a demo called Resident Evil Trial. This version was more or less the same as the final game but there were still some differences: no keyboard in the hall, the plant’s book was in the tiger’s statue, the shield was in the blue hall, many items were in other places, some camera angles were different, etc etc.
Far more interesting are the objects that can be unlocked in the demo with the action replay: a pickaxe (probably used in the caves), Oil (used to burn zombies like in REmake?), beta version of the ink cartridges, the magnum and flamethrower ammo. Also, originally Bio Hazard was meant to have Japanese voices, but they were changed as Shinji Mikami felt that it wasn’t realistic for the characters to speak another language, as they were supposed to be American.
Thanks to KeijiDragon for the video with the original japanese dialogue!
Barb Wire is a cancelled FPS that was in development for the original Playstation, Saturn, PC and Mac. The game was based around a film ( with the same name ) that flopped badly at theaters: the blonde girl in those shots is Pamela Anderson. Thanks to Celine we found some info on the game, that were published in GamePro Magazine issue 92. It seems that in the game we would have been able toplay solo or to compete in a two-player mode that enabled one player to be Barb and the other to play as an evil boss. It included a deathmatch mode with specifically designed multiplayer levels. The game was going to be published by GT Interactive.
In one of the first PSO videos, which showed the forest stage, there were four characters in front of a kind of locomotive on rails. A similar object, activated by using the usual pressure pads, could be found in a PSO Vr2 challenge, but in the PSO beta this was far more interesting, because the characters moved it themselves. It’s a pity that these puzzles were removed from the final version.
You can select the FOmar class from the beginning in PSO Ep. I&II, but with the gameshark you can unlock it in PSO vr2 for the Dreamcast too . Maybe it is just a leftover from the planned unified servers for PSP Ep. I&II and PSO vr2, because they were required to have the same features.
In these screenshots, we can see the beta central zone of the Pioneer 2. On the left we can see some kind of palace, which in the final version became the entering point of the ships and the meeting place for the Quests. There were many advertisement signs, but the holograms with the various sentences were still absent. In one of the screenshots we can see, other than the three main characters, some hunters in the background, gathered at what looks like a fire. In the original design of the Pioneer 2, it seems that there was another path under the city, maybe for other sections of the mothership.
In these screenshots of the beta Forest we can see many features that were removed from the final game, like wood stairs, fences and underpasses. In another video, we can see that the dragon originally made his entering through the rock wall. Another series of screenshots shows the beta version of the ships, even if on the left side of screen it is possible to see, to the contrary of the released version, the other character’s bars. Moreover, some warps are different in the Online Lobby.
In the concept arts of the Book of Hunters : PSO Settei, there are drawings of many classes (HUmarl, HUnewmn..) and mags not found in the final version of game. Some of these later resurfaced in PSO for Xbox and Gamecube, like HUcaseal, FOmar e RAmarl. Also, the beta mags could be equipped even on arms and feets.
386 Wren is a unused character, so described in the Book Of Hunters: “The character called Searren is a battle robot who was introduced in Phantasy Star III: Successors of Time (Megadrive/released 4/21/1990). According to comments made by a member of Sonic Team, “This got drawn for me when I said, ‘What if Searren appeared in PSO?’. We couldn’t use him due to time constraints. It’s a pity for it go to waste, so we’ll publish it.” Searren is a robot, borne of an ancient culture possessing extremely advanced science; as such, he differs from androids in that he lacks emotions. Programmed to obey orders only from Orakio’s people, he assists the human heroes across all three generations.”
Some more details regarding the beta video shown below were noticed by Leonkh:
The title screen of the game indicates “Auto Demo”, which implies that, much like the found Sonic Adventure “Auto Demo”, the game is on auto play with various areas being loaded after a set amount of time.
Also on the title screen, we can see a sort of opening FMV prior to the title screen of which the final game has no such thing. In particular, the final game simply fades from the opening splash screens to the the static image title screen whereas this demo has the FMV’s final shot be that of what the title screen’s static background is (albeit with a strange “water transition” effect from the final shot to the static title screen).
This “Auto Demo” contains the beta town location / hub “Pioneer 2” shown in some of the screenshots in the Unseen64 article.
As the games are Online Multiplayer games, the video shows four screens each showing the game from another players’ perspective. This is a fact that I bring up as this prototype has a completely different loading screen from the final game which also shows the artwork of the character used on that particular screen.
Furthermore a known public beta for PSO named “Network Trial Edition” was released some months before the final game. A forum post detailing some of the differences can be found here.
[Original intro in italian by monokoma, english translation by Yota]
Phantasy Star Online GameplayPhantasy Star Online Gameplay (02)