NiGHTS into Dreams [Saturn – Beta]

Thanks to the Nights Into Dreams website we are able to see an early video of the game, when the beta had different graphic details and different level layout in Spring Valley. A more recent beta was shown at E3 1996 with some  different sound effects and item placement. In january 2009 the E3 beta version (that is the same build of the Japanese NiGHTS Special Sample disc) was somehow leaked online and you can donwload it from the X-Cult mirror! Thanks to MalanTp that has created some videos to compare the beta to the final game, we are able to check all those differences. You can download some hi-quality videos from the beta disc from Segagaga Domain.

Also, OKeijiDragon found some more beta videos from an episode of Sega Video Magazine and it features the initial unveiling of NiGHTS at the Japanese Tokyo Prince Hotel way back in March 26, 1996; followed by an old, rare interview with Yuji Naka, Naoto Oshima, and Takashi Iizuka:

Included in the segment are footage of the game’s early stages of development, including a different stage layout for Spring Valley. Many of the sound effects heard are also very different, and even the music sounds unrefined! Such elements are highlighted in the video though annotations. There has been no translation for the interview, yet.

Thanks to Yakumo for the contribution!



Sonic Saturn [Cancelled Prototype]

Known simply as “Sonic Saturn“, it was another project that was in development in 1995 / 1996 by Sega Technical Institute (STI) along with Sonic X-treme. This prototype was created by Peter Morawiec, the coder of the Sonic 2 special stages, with an interesting 3D Engine that was more “realistic” than the ones used in X-Treme. It seems that Yuji Naka did not like this proto and so the Sonic Saturn Engine was never used to develope a full Sonic game. STI tried to use the engine to create some Bonus Stages to add in the Saturn version of “Sonic 3D”, but for the lack of time they abandoned them in favour of a 3D version of Sonic 2’s special stage.

More infos on Sonic Saturn can be found on Sonic Retro and Sonic-Cult.

Thanks to Matt3 for the contribution!


Panzer Dragoon Zwei [Beta / Proto – Saturn]

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei is a shoot ’em up released for the Sega Saturn in 1996, it was the second Panzer Dragoon game released but it is a prequel of the series. It was developed by Team Andromeda, one of Sega’s internal development studios. [Infos from Wikipedia]

In the bonus section of the game,  the “pandora’s box”, you can find an interesting beta video that shows gameplay from its own prototype (from the Episode 2 mission, mostly from the easy path, with a couple clips from the hard path.). The beta graphic and the details of the level and the dragon / enemies are differend from the final game and you can notice that the music is completely different as well.

Thanks to Mozgus that has ripped this video from the Panzer Dragoon Zwei disc we can take a good look at the beta / proto and compare it to the final version below!

A Panzer Dragoon Zwei proto (45% complete – Feb 02, 1996) was leaked in 2008 thanks to Hidden Palace and The Will Of The Ancients community, a build that is visually nearly identical to the final. It just has a variety of small differences like font and gui colors, different prologue music, and a lot of minor gameplay adjustments. You can see in the third video below a list of those differences.

Thanks a lot to Mozgus for the contribution!

Prototype Video:

Final version (Episode 2, Route 1) Video:

Video from the Prototype 45% Completed:


Panzer Dragoon Saga [Saturn – Beta / Unused Texts]

Panzer Dragoon Saga is a RPG released for the Sega Saturn in 1998. It was the third Panzer Dragoon game to be released and so far it remains the only game in the series that is not a rail shooter. Like the other Panzer Dragoon games on the Saturn, it was developed by Sega’s internal Team Andromeda development studio. The team disbanded after Saga’s release. [Infos from Wikipedia]

As we can read in an interesting article from The Will of the Ancients, in the early screenshots of the game we can see a beta HUD, unfinished environments, changes in the character placements and other minor differences. Also, in this other article we can read that some unused text is still hidden in the code: “If you put one of the Panzer Dragoon Saga game discs into your PC and open certain files in a text editor, you’ll be able to read the script for the game, which is all stored as normal text. […] However, virtually every section of text contains some lines of script that don’t appear in the finished game; there are bits of conversations that don’t take place, descriptions of items that don’t exist, and other odd things besides.”

In May 2008 Hidden Palace, thanks to donations from The Will of the Ancients community, released various beta versions of the game (from 1996 and 1997) with some differences like a removed Dermot’s Ranch camp area, missing Village of Cainus, different controls & english translation.

Also, Evilhamwizard was able to find a debug menu in the Panzer Dragoon Saga beta (Sept 16 1997 build):

Now, this appears to be the only debug that’s activated for the moment. For some reason, the battle system, the world map (I guess) system, and the menu/title screens don’t have debugs. I went though many of the PRG files, and it appears that some boss battles have special debugs enabled. But I’m not sure. The game DOES have a map select, battle select, and a sound test that’s all on the title screen (the files for the sound test still exist in this build as well as the final, I believe).[…]

Now onto the debug itself. Like I said, this debug in particular can only be loaded on a FIELD map. To get the debug to show up, however, is easy and only requires a second controller (you could probably use one controller and just switch ports). To enable it, you have to press START first to get it to show up on the second controller. Then you have to move the dpad a little to highlight what you want. After pressing start for the first time, you can then use the R button to call up the debug screen with the second controller as well. To select anything from the list, I believe I used the A button. To mess with the variables, ABC on the second controller decrease the values while XYZ increase them.



Mortal Kombat Trilogy [Beta]

Wikipedia has some information about the beta version of MKT:

Top left: An UMK3-style menu.

Top right: An early version of the character selection screen. The screen used the UMK3 character selection screen as base, and Rain’s and Noob Saibot’s portraits are replaced by a pallete swapped version of Sub-Zero’s MKII portrait (Rain), and Reptile’s MKII portrait (Noob). Johnny Cage is not present.

Bottom left: Scorpion beats Smoke in the Portal arena. Note that Scorpion’s life bar text is different to Smoke’s life bar text (UMK3 Saturn, and later, MKT N64 didn’t remove this.) Also, the lightning all the way in the back of the Portal is viewed, but the PSX, PC, and Saturn version scrapped that. Only the N64 used it. And, the floor of the stage is crooked.

Bottom right: Baraka beats Raiden.

Originally there was another Logo they used but then replaced it with the current one. It had pieces of all the mortal kombat games before MKT.

More on Johnny Cage: He was the only character that wasn’t going to appear in MKT. The actor that did his MOCAP in MK2 was fired for advertising with another company, using his role as Johnny Cage. Midway then decided to use another actor for Johnny Cage, which would make him the only character in MKT to use new sprites.

At first there were only to be 29 characters and 26 backgrounds. In the end there were 30 characters and 29 backgrounds for the N64. More for the other systems, however.

Also, Rain was originally supposed to be a character called Tremor. In earlier versions of the game, Tremors bio would show from some sort of glitch only with Rains name.

His bio was:

Rain is an assassin working freelance. He was once a member of the Lin Kuei along with Sub-Zero, but left the clan under mysterious circumstances. Years later, Rain is found working for Shao Kahn as an assassin in the Outworld. Born a human, he finds himself questioning his loyalty towards Kahn after watching the invasion of Earth.

Thanks to Zero7 and Sir_Brando for the contributions!