The first 64-bit version of Zelda, was originally conceived as a way designed to use the features of 64DD. Internal Clock, rewritable discs with a size double what had ever been used on the cartridge, internet connection and tools for editing images, Zelda 64 was presented by Nintendo itself as a title so huge that it would be impossible to implement on a normal N64.
All this because of the possibility of 64 Disc Drive. But there was only one small problem: the 64DD was not greeted with much interest from professionals, remembering the bad purpose made by all previous add-on for console, the DD was growing slowly postponed, Nintendo itself lost confidence in the project and it was not clear if it ever really left. At this point, Nintendo had no other choice, because of low sales of the N64, they announced that Zelda 64 would have been ported to normal cartridges, so hoping to renew interest in the console market. But this change meant they had to remove all those interesting features that would have been only possible thanks to 64DD and part of the game and history had to undergo an extream cut.
From an interview with N-ZONE magazine (translated with google and reported by GoNintendo) we can read that Aonuma admits that Ocarina of Time originally had more temples and magic abilities that were cut.
Eiji Aonuma: Yes, you may be absolutely right, although I can not remember exactly all the details. There really is a difference between the temples, which we wanted to integrate and those that exist in the final game. And that had something to do with magic. We thought of integrating some actions, some plot threads, and some puzzles that have something to do with magic abilities.
We have come to the conclusion that other, already existing, just regular items to be a worthy replacement. So we had originally three temples, which would capture the young Link, three temples for the adult Link and three in which he was to learn each spell – but instead we have eliminated a temple of it. In the final game is now so 3 plus 3 plus 2, or 8 temples to find.
Also, some more interesting info from the early beta / prototype version of Zelda 64 were shared in the Iwata Asks dedicated to the Ocarina of Time 3D remake:
Iwata: Oh, he wanted to make an FPS (first-person shooter). Koizumi: Right. In the beginning, he had the image that you are at first walking around in first-person, and when an enemy appeared, the screen would switch, Link would appear, and the battle would unfold from a side perspective.
Iwawaki: But…I do think we tried out a first-person perspective a little. Osawa: I think we made something to try it out, but decided it wasn’t interesting visually and abandoned it right away.
Iwata: You were originally developing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64DD.13 Koizuma: Yes. Miyamoto-san said he had some ideas, like leaving behind all of Link’s footprints. Iwata: Yeah. (laughs)
Koizuma: That’s why he started saying that if Link was going to ride a horse, he wanted to include mounted archery and one-on-one battle. (laughs) We were able to include the mounted archery, but not the one-on-one battle. Iwata: But later you included it in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
Robotech is an old sci-fi anime mash-up created by Carl Macek after fusing 3 different animes (4 if you count the movie) originally released in Japan twenty-two years ago. It was a huge success at home, and it was successfully exported around the world. More interesting for our site, it is probably the anime mash-up with more unseen material, with various series originally planned and never released. Maybe it was just destiny, but Gametek, a software house at the time well-known for her console versions of many famous american shows, bought the rights of the anime in 1994 and began working on a title for the Nintendo 64.
This title was officially announced in may 1995 as Robotech Academy, and it was essentially a battle simulator for the cadets of Robotech. However, at the beginning of 1996, Doug Lanford, a new entry of the small development team and a big fan of the series, dropped this concept, probably intended to be just a cheap rendition of the anime, and created a much more ambitious game that was going to be the first real space combat simulator for console: Robotech Crystal Dreams. First of all, it would have featured the entire solar system, in order to create a big environment for the free structure of the game. In fact, even if it was mission based, the player could directly affect the events of the game, simply choosing for example to avoid the current objective and answer a call for help on another planet, without the need to complete the previous mission.
Also, it would have included many of the weapons, characters,combat mecha, enemies, places of the series, as well as a complex story related to the events narrated in Robotech. Unfortunately, several issues slowed down the developement of the game, like the technical limitations of the Nintendo 64, the small financial resources of the developer, the closing down of Philips Media, the publisher of the game, and it was finally cancelled, even if finished at 90%, in 1998, after the complete bankrupt of Gametek. Eventually an early demo was released on internet, but it was a complete letdown, showing a game largely incomplete,bug-filled, slow-paced, and without the most interesting features announced by the developers.
Donkey Kong 64 (also known with the work in progress title of Ultra Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong World or Donkey Kong Universe) is a platform developed by RareWare and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 in 1999. The game is a follow up to the Donkey Kong Country trilogy on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. There were some rumors about the original release of the game for the 64DD, but in the end DK64 was released on the normal N64, using the 4MB expansion pack.
In the beta version of the game, the characters used “real” weapons models. In the final version they have “fruit” weapons, like coconut gun and peanut shooters. Also, various unused rooms and models were found in the game’s code thanks to hackers! You can see these in the gallery and videos below.
Also Mad Jack, the insane Jack in the Box that Tiny Kong fights in Frantic Factory in the beta was actually going to be called Junk-in-the-box and have the appearance of an old decrepit clown. The area he’s fought in isn’t Mad Jack’s either (info from Mario Wiki). It seems that that when they took him out, the toy box mini boss that Chunky Kong fights was put in instead. It does look like they are fought in the same room though. It also seems that Junk in the box would have shot fire balls (as Mad Jack does now) and would eventually become vulnerable to a TNT barrel instead of being electrocuted.
The Nintendo 64 was the culmination of work by Nintendo, Silicon Graphics, and MIPS Technologies. The SGI-based system design that ended up in the Nintendo 64 was originally offered to Tom Kalinske, then CEO of Sega of America by James H. Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics. SGI had recently bought out MIPS Technologies and the two companies had worked together to create a low-cost CPU/3D GPU combo that they thought would be ideal for the console market. A hardware team from Sega of Japan was sent to evaluate the chip’s capabilities and they found some faults which MIPS subsequently solved. However, Sega of Japan ultimately decided against SGI’s design. In the early stages of development, the Nintendo 64 was referred to by the code name “Project Reality”. This moniker came from the speculation within Nintendo that the console could produce CGI on par with then-current supercomputers. In 1994, the console was given the name Nintendo Ultra 64 in the West. – [Info from wikipedia]
Super Mario 64 was probably one of the first titles developed for Nintendo’s 64 bit console. There are rumors of a 3D prototype existing on the SNES using the systems Super FX chip, but this prototype was kept behind closed doors, so no images of it exist. It’s safe to assume that this would have been an isometric platforming adventure, and played similarly to the older games of the Mario name.
With Nintendo’s prototype next-generation console, “Project Reality”, the game went from a FX chip prototype to a 3D beta on the 64-bit new hardware. The SNES prototype was never seen or heard about again. Even with this project on the Nintendo 64, original designs still stuck to the isometric viewpoint. Like with the older games, this one had players taking their chances jumping form platform to platform to reach the end of a level. As the game went on, this concept was kept intact for the game’s boss stages were the player would fight bowser.
This game was officially presented to the public in November of 1995. During its development Nintendo released a lot of images, some of which were from a playable demo. This was very important since it allowed people to take photos, and record videos which we can look back at to see how much the game has changed from the beta to now.
The beta version of Mario 64 appeared to be very similar to the final: Many of the levels were similar seeing only minor changes. Some of the biggest changes were made to the hub world which didn’t seem very much like a castle to begin with. Changes can also be seen in the lives – stars – coin counter in the HUD, as well as Mario’s health bar which is an image of his head in the final version. Some changes are noticeable like different textures, and colors. Bowser also sports some different textures. We can also see the castle interior is dark blue with some moons on the columns.
The inside of the castle was very different in the beta. We do not know if the doors here are different than the ones in the final, or if they lead to the same places, or if they were simply place holder images. One of the more interesting images had Mario in a snowy level with penguins, and a different background that isn’t found anywhere in the final game. It is also noted that the stars used to be 2D in design. In conclusion, the face texture for the yellow desert enemy was really scary.
As we can read from the NSMB Wii Iwata Ask article, one of the early Mario 64 prototypes had a coop multiplayer mode, but it was never used in the final game and it’s not clear if they could have confused it with Mario 64 II (as M64II was rumored to have that same Mario – Luigi coop).
Iwata: Ever since Mario Bros., you’ve had your heart set on making a multiplayer Mario game. You’ve tried each time, but it’s never quite come together… Even with Mario 6423, it started with Mario and Luigi running around together, didn’t it?
Miyamoto: That’s right. The screen was split and they went into the castle separately. When they meet in the corridor, I was incredibly happy! (laughs) Then there was also the mode where the camera is fixed and we see Mario running away, steadily getting smaller and smaller.
Iwata: Yes, that’s right.
Miyamoto: That was a remnant of an experiment we did where Mario and Luigi would run away from each other but you could still see them both. But we were unable to pull it off…
Some unused red shells were also found in the game’s code:
Those beta red shells models were found a long time ago both by rstewart215804 and VL-Tone.
In this video, I show a complex hack written by me in C which gives them a similar behavior as the red shells from the Mario Kart series. They will protect Mario and if you press D-Pad Up they will go after the nearest enemy (actually, the nearest animated object).
Many other unused models (as a trampoline, a Boo Key and a Blaarg) are hidden in the game.
Blargg— An eyeless, largely untextured model for Blargg, an enemy from Super Mario World, exists in the game. It has an animation which shows it jumping out of the lava, but there doesn’t seem to be any functionality left. It was definitely planned for the lava levels, and possibly replaced by the very similar flame enemy.
Water mine— Found in the water object set, but never used in the game, is an object very similar to the bombs that appear in the Bowser levels, but a bit smaller. How it would have been used is fairly obvious. It’s possible to see it in major part of SM64 beta videos, in Dire, Dire Docks.
Yoshi egg— The Yoshi egg has a model, textures, and a bouncing animation. It’s likely that Yoshi was planned to have a larger role in the game than he actually does, and he would have appeared out of these eggs, just as he does in Super Mario World, and as he would later do in Super Mario Sunshine . This egg loads to memory in Whomp’s Fortress and Wet Dry World
Small chill bully— A smaller version of the Chill Bully. There are large and small normal Bullies in Lethal Lava Land, but the only Chill Bully in the game is a large-sized one in Snowman’s Land. They have they own behavior and 3D model, but sometimes when trying to put it in the game, it crashes.
Beta trampoline— The most known unused object in the whole game. Some sort of trampoline. It has no model in-game, and its behavior was never created. Fairly obvious how they’d have been used, however. Anyway, some hackers tried to recreate its behavior, which can be seen in the video made by messiaen, one of the best hackers (yeah, thas one who wrote M64 Level Importer!)
Beta green & red shells— A pair of small Koopa shells, these have been found as only data (though clever hackers can get them to work in-game). They are about the size as spiny shells, and have unusual blue bottoms. Their use is currently unknown, but there’s a behavior code that could fit them. Them can be picked up and throwed, but the stick to wall when they hit it.
Yellow switch & Yellow transparent box— The yellow switch and the yellow box are quite similar to their red, blue, and green-colored brethren. This suggests there was another type of box (not necessarily the one in the final game) that needed to be activated with a switch. The yellow switch is always in its pressed state when spawned. It’s possible that there was another powerup inside the yellow box, and that the switch was activated in Peach’s secret slide, because the swicthes load to the memory, when you enter that level, exactly as happens for Wing Tower, Metal Cavern and Vanish Sewer.
Early Solid Red Box— An early solid red box can only be found in the Wing Cap area, and probably served as a test for item boxes. The color changes depending on the angle viewed from.
Boo Key— The boo key was likely intended to be collected from a Big Boo upon defeat, as is shown in an early screenshot. As a leftover, the Japanese version actually has a key symbol for use in the HUD which has been replaced in the other versions with a German character (a U with two pints on its top). Also we know that you was able to collect at max 6 keys, to use only in that level.
Cactus texture— A texture which resembles a small, round cactus. It was most likely intended as scenery in Shifting Sand Land.
Cracked ice— A texture depicting cracked ice. Possibly a leftover from one of the ice worlds.
Metal wings— There’s a unique “metal wings” texture the game uses when Mario wears the Wing Cap and the Metal Cap at the same time. However, there’s no level in the game which has both of these caps, so the only way to see the texture in the game is using a GameShark or replacind objects with ToadTool64 or a HEX editor
Pink flowers— Discovered by Mr. Game during the exploration of game’s textures. This environmental effect causes flowers to appear. Where it may have been used, and what purpose it may have served, is still unknown. When activated, it appears only on perfectly horizontal walls.
Blizzard— This effect creates a blizzard. It is still under investigation, but was likely meant for use in the snow-based levels. It works same as snow effect, but it’s fastest. It was also used in SM64DS, in the battle with Chief Bully (the one you needed to beat to unlock Wario).
Chain Chomp— In the beta v3 in Bob-Omb Battlefield, you’ll notice that the Chain Chomp’s growling sound is different than the final version, and about similar to the sound of the Chomp in Japan.
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