News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Dracula 3D / Castlevania 64 [N64 – Tech Demo / Beta]

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While in development at Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe (KCEK), Castlevania was originally known as Dracula 3D. United States news media referred to the game by this title as well as Dracula 64. In September of 1997, the game was approximately 10% finished and was 20% complete in February of 1998. In October of 1998 the game was featured at the Tokyo Game Show; several levels were playable and the game was a hit with the crowd. Later that month, it was revealed that KCEK decided to drop two of the planned four characters from the game “in favor of focusing the programming team’s development efforts and moving completion of the game forward”. [info from Wikipedia]

Most of the images preserved in the gallery below are from an early Dracula 3D tech demo, showing the main characters that were planned to be in the game. The graphic of this tech demo is much more detailed and definited than the final version and 2 playable characters were removed.

For more info on the beta: Castlevania 64 Beta Analisys

Most of the features planned for Castlevania 64 were later added to its sequel, Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness, that realizes some of the original game designers’ vision. For example, Cornell was present in early development media and press information for Castlevania 64, but was ultimately removed before the game’s release.

Thanks to Gilgamesh for some of these images!

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Dinosaur Planet [N64 – Cancelled]

Dinosaur Planet was going to be Rare’s swan song on the Nintendo 64. However, the game was finally released in 2002 only on the Gamecube, and the title changed to Star Fox Adventures. According to many, in the porting Rare dropped some of the most interesting features, so we may never know if the Nintendo 64 version was better. Certainly much has been changed in the porting process: the main character, Saber, became Fox Mc Cloud, Crystal’s role was heavily cut (she should have been a fully playable character), and many scenes from the old Dinosaur Planet build are missing. Even more interesting are the pre-production artworks, which shown a more adult version of the characters, maybe because Saber was required to grow up during the adventure, or because there was a time traveling device like in Ocarina of Time.

For more info, check the Starfox Adventure GameCube Beta page too.

[English Translation by yota]

Thanks to Karrunaniara and Ducky Wensel for the contributions! Huge props to IOnEIFalcon for sharing more than an hour of gameplay from Dinosaur Planet’s E3 1999 / 2000 (?) demo!

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Teo 64 (Fin Fin) [N64 – Cancelled]

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Teo 64 was a pet simulation video game, very similar to “Hey You Pikachu!”, the Nintendo title where the player could interact with the pokemon talking to him through a microphone connected to the N64. In this game, however, the protagonist was a strange cross between a dolphin and a bird. Speaking with the animal it was possible to became his friend, feed him and explore the world.
For many it will be a shocking news, but “Teo” is not the name of the dolphin / bird, but of the planet where he is living. Known under the title “FinFin on Teo, the Magic Planet”, the virtual puppy FinFin made his first appearance on a PC game released in 1996. According to the producers, the 64DD version was not a porting, but a completely new game. The development of Teo for 64DD was probably stopped because of the failure of the Disk Drive, and it is likely that we will never know how different the 64DD game was supposed to be.
If you are curious to learn more about the PC version of the Teo or try it for yourself, you can download the iso of FinFin from these sites:

http://www.alassea.net/finfin/
http://home.arcor.de/emge/index_e.htm

[English article by yota]

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]

Teo 64 doveva essere un simulatore di animale virtuale, molto simile a “Hey You Pikachu!”, titolo Nintendo in cui il giocatore può interagire con il pokèmon, parlando con lui attraverso un microfono collegato al N64. In questo gioco invece, il protagonista era uno strano incrocio fra un delfino ed un uccello, dall’aspetto abbastanza inquietante. Parlando con l’animale era possibile fare “amicizia”, accudirlo, offrirgli del cibo ed esplorare il mondo.

Per molti sarà una notizia sconvolgente, ma “Teo” non è il nome del delfino/uccello, ma del pianeta in cui abita. Conosciuto con il titolo di “FinFin on Teo, the Magic Planet”, il cucciolo virtuale FinFin fece la sua prima apparizione su Personal Computer, uscito nel 1996. Stando alle affermazioni dei produttori, la versione per 64DD non era però un port del titolo PC, ma un gioco completamente nuovo. Lo sviluppo di Teo per 64DD è stato probabilmente fermato a causa del fallimento del Disk Drive e non potremo mai sapere quali novità avrebbe portato questo adattamento.[/spoiler]

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Turok: Dinosaur Hunter [N64 – Proto / Beta]

Published in 1997, Turok has been one of the first Ultra 64 titles to be developed for the console. The game is based on the homonymous comic series, about a native american and his fights between evil cyborgs and dinosaurs. Thanks to its famous fog effect, which covered almost every part of the immense game levels, the game became an icon of the “fog problem” but it surely marked the hearts of many Nintendo 64 owners for its fun gameplay.

Proto / beta:

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Final Version:

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Before the release, the game has been shown in magazines with some pics taken from the early prototype. One of the images show a very raw 3D model of a T-REX: this enemy should be the “alpha” version of Thunder, a genetically modified dinosaur, which later has been used as a boss. The proto differs from the final version by the absence of the metallic parts covering the head and the foot of the dinosaur. Also, the polygonal model was less detailed. At any rate is difficult to note any other details, due to the blurryness of the image. The prototype colors are less shiny and “realistic” than the final version. It’s interesting to note how the fog effect was allready present: this makes us to wonder if Acclaim really intended to use that effect in the game and not just to cover eventual pop-up problems.

Surely the images in the gallery below represent an early beta stage of development, in wich they were still creating the 3D models and the scenario with not much gameplay finished. Do you know if some of these models were not in the final game? Acclaim begun to work on Turok in 1995, initially thinking to make a third person shooter, but later they chosed a first person view, in order to make it more involving.

Thanks to Linkx111 for the contribution!

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Turok 2: Seed of Evil [N64 – Beta]

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Turok 2: Seeds of Evil is a FPS developed by Acclaim for the Nintendo 64, released in 1998. It was one of the first Nintendo 64 games to allow use with the RAM Expansion Pak. The game was announced even before Dinosaur Hunter was released, under the title Turok: Dinosaur Hunter 2. The game was completed in 21 months with a team comprising of roughly the same size as that who worked on Dinosaur Hunter, which was composed of 18 people. During development, more staff were brought onboard to assist in completing the game. Reportedly, over 10,000 hours of game testing was conducted during its creation. The game was originally designed with a 12MB cartridge in mind. When cartridges prices fell, the storage was increased to 16MB allowing the team to add a multiplayer mode. Eventually, the cartridge size was increased again, and was finalised at 32MB.

The base idea for the Cerebral Bore weapon was created during a brainstorming session concerning weapon design. The original concept had the weapon “being slow and agonizing”. An artist suggested a Leech gun, which was rejected by project manager, David Dienstbier: however, a “Vampire Gun” was eventually added to the sequel, Turok 3. Iguana, having received Nintendo 64DD development kits which included the 4MB Expansion Pak, added a high-resolution mode to the game early on in the development timeline. This was demonstrated to Nintendo at E3 98, running at a resolution of 640 x 480, a technical accomplishment for the Nintendo 64 at the time.

In the gallery below we can notice some early screens of the game, with some removed areas and beta versions of some levels. The graphic in the first screens released was much more definite than the one in the final game. Some of these images could have been taken from early tech demos and target renders. It seems that there were many concepts for Turok 2 that were scrapped before the final one was chose, but sadly there are not many info about these lost versions, but a single pic of an unknown enemy that was never used anywhere in the game.

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