News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan (熱血くにおくん図鑑, translated by Google as “Enthusiastic Kunio-Kun Encyclopedia”) is a cancelled game / software in the Kunio-kun series by Technos Japan, planned for the Nintendo NES / Famicom console. In the main games of the series you take the role of Kunio, a japanese high-school delinquent (bancho) with a good heart, punching and kicking other gangs to free the streets of your city.

While in the west the series is mostly known for Renegade and River City Ransom on the NES, in Japan many more Kunio games were developed and published. In 1988 Super Dodge Ball (a sport-based Kunio-Kun spin off) was released on the Famicom and in 1993 this “Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan” seems to have been in the works too, but never officially announced.

Some footage from this cancelled Kunio-Kun “game” was shared on Twitter in March 2020 by Former Technos programmer Otake, as noticed by Heimao. By looking at it, Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan seems like some kind of “school simulation” or as suggested by its translated title, an “Encyclopedia” to show off all the characters from the series and their bio, by moving around the school. A couple of weeks later Otake deleted the footage from Twitter, apparently because someone else from Technos asked to remove it. A copy of the footage is saved below, to preserve the existence of this lost project.

Thanks to Heimao for the contribution!

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The Unit: Operation Acid Gambit [PC – Cancelled]

The Unit: Operation Acid Gambit is a cancelled FPS based on the american TV series that was in development for PC by Novalogic around 2006 – 2007. Just like with previous Novalogic series “Delta Force”, Operation Acid Gambit would have probably offered the same gameplay of strategy-focused FPS, but this time following the U.S. Army special operations unit from the TV series.

Trademarks for the game’s title were filled by Novalogic in 2006, but the project was never officially announced. We found out about the existence of this lost game thanks to Novalogic fans on the Action Inside Forum, who in 2007 were able to save some screenshots from Novalogic’s FTP. Some more details on the project were later leaked online:

“From an anonymous source, within the NovaLogic developing staff we have received the following information regarding their new game(series).”

  • New game series name: The Unit
  • First game: The Unit; Operation Acid Gambit
  • Totally new engine
  • Game will be developed with new animation software
  • Games will be based of the TV show “The Unit”
  • Based on all the mistakes that the DF team has had and you are supposed to change history
  • News release to the public is right now scheduled for Sept. of this year

As far as we know, The Unit was a different project from Delta Force: Angel Falls, another cancelled game by Novalogic (but they may have shared the same 3D engine. We can assume that something went wrong between Novalogic and the owners of The Unit TV series IP, leading to the cancellation of Operation Acid Gambit.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Miina in Wonderland [Mega Drive, Genesis – Cancelled]

Miina in Wonderland (AKA ミーナ ワンダーランド) is a cancelled mini-games collection planned by Micronet for the Sega Mega Drive. There are not many details about this lost project, but from the few screenshots shared on Twitter by japanese fans, it seems players would have been able to move around a city map with many different buildings, and in each one there would have been a mini game to play. Some of these games were quite strange, such as a chicken race against a masked man.

It seems Miina in Wonderland also had some kind of story-mode, following the adventure of Miina and her fluffy animal friend. A playable prototype was found sometime ago and sold on Yahoo Auction, so we can hope one day a ROM of the game could be uploaded online to be preserved.

If you can read Japanese and see some more interesting details in the scans below, please let us know!

Thanks to GDRI for the contribution!

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Gruesome Castle: Gee Whiz! Mystery Club [PC – Cancelled]

Gruesome Castle: Gee Whiz! Mystery Club is a cancelled adventure game that was in development by Gee Whiz! Entertainment for PC around 1998. It was announced as a ground-breaking project, the “first true 3D graphic adventure”, planning to “combining the 3D freedom of Nintendo’s Mario 64 with the classic adventure game play of LucasArts’ Monkey Island series” with cartoon horror setting and multiple protagonists, somehow similar to the Scooby-Doo cartoon.

As we can read on the old Gee Whiz! website:

“Gruesome Castle follows the exploits of Jake and Anna King and their pals Skip, Wendy, Brad and Jeepers the dino-monkey. Together they form the Gee Whiz! Mystery Club – an adventurous gang of teens who travel the world solving mysteries.

Their latest adventure brings them to England where they are to visit their cousin Edward at Gruesome Castle. Upon arriving they quickly discover that Edward has gone missing and that the castle is haunted. It’s up to our intrepid team to solve the riddle of the ghost and uncover the dark mystery of Gruesome Castle.

Game play features:

1) Taking control of Jake, players can explore a large castle with scores of rooms, including a Dungeon, Hedge Maze, Vast Underground Catacombs and a Spooky graveyard

2) Each location is very large with dozens of characters and objects to interact with

3) Witty dialog via a conversation system that allows you to talk to all the game characters

4) Inventory system lets you examine and manipulate all of the items that you find during your adventure

5) Ability to read books allows you to read from the extensive library and uncover the dark secrets of Gruesome Castle

6) Dynamic cameras in every room give a cinematic feel to game play with pans, tilts and dollies. Players can change from the default mode to any of the many alternative viewing modes allowing them to place the camera where they want it.

7) Includes a Bonus Mystery Quest mode where you seek out the Mystery Club Bonus Items that are hidden throughout the locations. Recovering all the Bonus Items reveals a secret room

8) Look around mode allows you to look at the 3D location from any angle”

A playable prototype was uploaded online some years ago, so you can take a look to see what the team had in mind for this lost project.

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Mars Adventure (Sony Imagesoft) [Playstation – Cancelled]

Mars Adventure (AKA “Saturn3054: The Titan Rescue”) is a cancelled action game that was in development around 1994 – 1995 by Sony Imagesoft, planned to be one of their first in-house projects for the original PlayStation. In 1994 Playstation hardware was still a prototype: all of the documentation was in Japanese and 3D console games were something new and hard to develop. Mars Adventure was an eleven-person team project and their first 3D game: unfortunately they were not able to complete it.

Gameplay was inspired by classic Choplifter and it would have been a first / third person, 360° flying game: you can imagine it somehow similar to Descent or G-Police, but its main mission was saving people from aliens. As we can read on Kyle Rode’s website:

“Since I was the only actual game player on the team, I quickly took control of the game design task, and I started to write up the game design document.  At this point, the original Doom was the only game on the market that had any similarity to a 3D game, and it was actually a 2-1/2 D game, at that.  Later, during development, Descent came out, and it was  similar to what we were trying to accomplish.

The basic premise of “Mars…” was “Choplifter/(Fort Apocalypse)” on Mars or Titan or whatever.  The player flew a spaceship around a space colony on Mars, and would rescue the people from the alien invaders.  The spaceship would have a close proximity teleporter, which would suck them up into the ship’s cargo hold.  The close proximity was the reason why the space marines couldn’t just do it from the mothership ala Star Trek.

I liked the idea of rescuing people as the main focus of the game play, instead of shooting up baddies. The act of rescuing would require that the ship stay motionless for a short period of time, while the transport occurred.  This would open the player up to danger from the aliens.  Also, when shooting up an environment, if you weren’t careful, there was always the chance that you might kill some good guys in addition to the aliens.

Unfortunately, the Playstation development kits that we received from Sony corporate in Japan, were a couple of months late, and the documentation was in Japanese.  We even received the dev kits after third-party developers outside of Sony.  Also, the Japanese documentation made them pretty worthless.”

By looking at prototype footage from the game it would have been quite amazing for its time, with huge levels where you could fly in every direction and fluid 3D graphics.

Thanks to RareAlone for the contribution!

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