Action Adventure

For the Frog the Bell Tolls Remake [GBC – Cancelled]

Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (For the Frog the Bell Tolls) was an Adventure / Action RPG developed by  Nintendo and Intelligent Systems, released  (only in Japan) in 1992 for the original Gameboy. In 2002 a Game boy Color remake was announced by Nintendo, but it was soon cancelled, probably because of the release of the new Gameboy Advanced, that killed the final batch of GBC games. Thanks to Robert Seddon that has found some screens from this vanished GBC remake on GamesTM magazine #54, we can finally see the game in all its (cancelled) glory.

Update: It seems that these screens were just mockups made by fans of the original game and not from the remake. A GBC remake was really announced, but at this time there are still not any “official” screens from the project.

Thanks to Ita for the direct-feed screens and the informations!

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Super Paper Mario [Wii – Beta]

This game was originally intended as a Nintendo GameCube game. By summer of 2007, Super Paper Mario was moved to Wii. An early version of the game had a different looking version of the Whoa Zone from Chapter 4. Also, an early screenshot shows Mario under the effects of the Mega Star, but is colored very differently (giving his current colors rather than the initial ones seen in Super Mario Bros.). Oddly, he is shown in his proper colors in the official trailer that was released at the same time, which may imply that the screenshot’s release way simply delayed.

In a screenshot featuring Big Blooper, there’s an odd Pixl that is shaped like a ladder. It never actually appears in the final game. This could be an early version of Carrie. Also, in the same screenshot, Tippi is present, but she was kidnapped by Francis at this point in the game, and by the time she is rescued, also Big Blooper cannot be fought again. Finally, the scene depicting Bowser and Peach’s wedding at the beginning of the game was also slightly different in beta versions; the ceremony would appear to have once taken place in more of a room than an open area, there were no flowers decorating the columns, the rising of the Chaos Heart was surprisingly light, and Count Bleck raised his cloak up earlier than he did in the final version. Plus, in the screenshot, Peach is standing instead of having been knocked over, and Bowser looks normal than shocked. [Info from Mariowiki]

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Mega Man Legends [PSX – Beta]

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Mellahan has sent us a mail to make us to notice that Protodude’s Rockman Corner blog has just gotten a hold of a beta build of Mega Man Legends (Rockman DASH) for PSX. The first link contains info over the beta build, while the second link contains the files to download the beta. From the blog we can read that “the (Rockman Dash) beta contains a vast amount of differences from the final retail version, specifically in the graphics and audio department.” It seems that this is considered to be one of the rarest betas around with only ten to fifteen copies in existence! Huge props to Protodude for the sharing!

You can find an interesting list of screens and informations from this beta at MegaMan Legends Station’s. About the differences in this version, another post from Protodude’s blog has a collection of videos from the beta demo and he tell us that there are “different title screen, differend Rock’s character model (smaller, different hair style/color), weird Special Weapon gauge, different Data’s boots, different Buster animation, different Roll’s eyebrows.. and oh so much more!”

Thanks a lot to Mellahan for these links!

Some more differences from Ian & Makubeku:

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  • Megaman looks different.
  • Data dosent offer to save your game(I think)
  • I think Megaman has much more health that he starts out with
  • The trash cans lids don’t rattle when kicked
  • Different NPC layout in Apple Market
  • Diferent buildings
  • I don’t think Roll runs after the Bone ship in real times
  • 1:46 4:03 – theres no car
  • houses textures look different

OKeijiDragon has even found some unused dialogues hidden in the XA directory in the final disc! Those unused voices include alternate lines for MegaMan on unlocking the portals to the living quarters, unheard cheering from the TV Reporter after presumably clearing the Bonnes’ robots in City Hall, and more intended dialogue from the Inspector after foiling the “bank robbery”. You can check one of the videos below to hear those dialogues.

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Sabreman Stampede [XBOX / X 360 – Cancelled]

Do you remember Donkey Kong Racing for the GameCube? When Rare was sold to Microsoft in 2002, they also announced a racing title. As they could no longer use the Donkey Kong characters, rumours appeared saying that the game was being reworked into a racer starring Rare’s own Sabreman.

In 2003, Microsoft trademarked the title “Sabreman Stampede“, it appeared as if there was the final confirmation. In March 2004, Rare answered the following in their Scribes when asked whether Donkey Kong Racing was still alive:

“Well, yes and no. It’s not called Donkey Kong Racing any more, it’s not for the GameCube any more and by this point I’d imagine so little of the original art and code remains that it’s barely even the same game any more, but yes, it’s still coming out. In some form. Wait and see, if you haven’t already picked up on the new title that’s been unofficially floating around the electrical interweb for months now.”

It was not until 2008 that we saw how much the game had changed as an unanonymous poster leaked a video on Youtube (you can find it in our gallery beneath). Developed by a team of which many worked on Starfox Adventures or Jet Force Gemini, Sabreman Stampede had evolved from a racer into a full adventure. One could hardly notice that it had started out as Donkey Kong Racing.

In late 2004 it was decided to port both Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero from Xbox to Xbox 360. As the Kameo team did not have enough resources,  members of the  “Sabreman Team“, as such they were later credited, were asked to help out. However, this also meant that Sabreman Stampede had to be put on hold, even though porting and reworking it for a Xbox 360 release had already begun. After six years Sabreman Stampede was cancelled. Having started out as a Diddy Kong Racing successor, evolving into a title in which you were riding herds and then becoming an adventure game, its development was stopped due to a lack of focus in design.

As we can read in an  interview with Lee Musgrave:

Donkey Kong Racing was obviously pretty heavily tied to Nintendo as a franchise, and as Rare approached the finalization of a buyout deal with Microsoft it was clear that the game had no future, at least with the ape’s as characters. We switched it around to be a Sabreman game, and there was a great early Xbox prototype – but someone, somewhere decreed that it was a little too old-school for the kind of ‘revolutionary gaming experiences’ that the Xbox was capable of delivering, and so it started down a path of meandering changes, updates and ‘evolution’ that finally saw it run out of steam and fall over. There were some great ideas in the game as it developed though, and I still look back to the early racing game design and think we could have done something great with that.

This was all vaporware until July 2008, when Transparentjinjo added a video of the Xbox 360 prototype on his YouTube channel.  It seems that Stampede had a long and interesting development history, that sadly ended in a cancellation. Even if we will never be able to play the game, we are happy that some proof of Sabreman Stampede’s existence can be preserved!

Special thanks to Transparentjinjo.

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Lunar Knights [DS – Beta / Concept]

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Lunar Knights, known in Japan as “Bokura no Taiyō: Django & Sabata” and abbreviated Boktai DS, is the fourth title in the Boktai series of games developed by Kojima Productions. The ultimate goal in Lunar Knights is to destroy a number of boss vampire enemies, in which the basic mission is to defeat each of them in their respective dungeons. [Info from Wikipedia]

In some of the old screens, we can see a couple differences in the beta-HUD: the feather and the energy bar (for Lucian) had a different color than the final version. In the original artwork, we can even see some unused or different character design. In the video, there are some odd parts: the sword of Lucian looks smaller than usual and the transformations dont have a time limit (probably it’s just not showed on-screen).

Beta HUD:

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Final HUD

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