Action Adventure

Freak Boy [N64 – Cancelled]

Officially presented at E3 1996, Freak Boy was certainly one of the most interesting and bizzarre games planned for the Nintendo 64, in development by Zono Incorporated / Burst Studio and to be publishe by Virgin. As a strange protagonist known as “Freak Boy”, players had to save the world Hedron from a horde of strange aliens in what at first glance seemed like a three-dimensional action/adventure with an abstract graphic style. The protagonist was able to interact with the environment in order to modify parts of its body (head, chest and feets) and thus acquire new skills to solve puzzles and to defeat various enemies, somehow like with the different heads in Dynamite headdy (Mega Drive / Genesis).

Unfortunately Freak Boy’s development was troubled and after the game’s publisher asked to remade it from scratch at least two times, they lost interest and the project was  dropped.

Here’s the original press release:

IRVINE, CALIF., May 16, 1996 — Enter the world of FREAK BOY in Virgin Interactive Entertainment’s (VIE) first NINTENDO 64 (N64) game. Three-dimensional graphics, addicting play mechanics and cutting-edge technology that uses morphing special effects define the world in which FREAK BOY lives – an alien world N64 players won’t ever want to leave. Created by Burst, VIE’s in-house development team, FREAK BOY is scheduled to be in stores in early 1997.

Created using SGI workstations, FREAK BOY utilizes the N64’s advanced 3-D technology, allowing all aspects of the game to be experienced in 3-D. Not only are the characters presented in realistic full 3-D, but their worlds and interactions with other beings are amazingly multi-dimensional. The 3-D power of the N64 also gives players the ability to experience gameplay from thousands of different points-of-view.

The result is a unique visual experience that intensifies the gameplay to such a degree that even the most experienced game player will be challenged. Players will be drawn into the intense 3-D action as they assume the role of FREAK BOY, the lone survivor of a massive alien invasion.

On New Year’s Day, when the planets are aligned with the sun, the ZoS, an alien race from a parallel dimension, take over the Hedron Universe, extinguishing the sun and transporting all of the Hedrons to the alien dimension. The only Hedron to evade capture is FREAK BOY, who is destined to become the hero of his people, provided he can rid his universe of the alien threat and return the captive Hedrons to their rightful dimension.

As FREAK BOY, players can absorb remnants of the destruction into their body and utilize them as weapons to destroy the alien invaders. What’s more, the variations

on these weapons are almost endless. Capable of holding three new artifacts at a time, each with a different capability when used as head, chest or feet, FREAK BOY is never the same character twice. FREAK BOY’S body is constantly morphing as new artifacts are assimilated and old ones are discarded. In managing the inventory of weapons as they enter and exit FREAK BOY’s body, the player gains new abilities in his fight to destroy the more than 50 enemies who have set out to conquer the Hedron universe.

On their quest for more powerful weapons and the alien enemy, players will explore more than 25 distinct worlds throughout five levels of difficulty. Each world is radically visual, arid and stark, yet with texture, mystery and entertainment that lure the player further into the world of FREAK BOY.

“FREAK BOY’s out-of-this-world graphics take the N64’s capabilities to the limits,” said Chris Yates, a vice president at Burst. “What is more, play mechanics such as Freak Boy’s have never been used before. When combined with these intense graphics, you have a level of gameplay that is altogether unprecedented.”

Burst, based in Irvine, California, is a division of Virgin Interactive Entertainment. The company is dedicated to high quality entertainment title development

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Eternal Darkness [Nintendo 64 – Cancelled]

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Created by Silicon Knights, Eternal Darkness was an interesting game for the nintendo 64 that seemed to be able to bring new life to the Survival Horror creating the first “psychological thriller”. However, it was later ported to the Gamecube. Was it really never released for the Nintendo 64 or it was just an insanity effect ?

For more information check our article about eternal darkness

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Shadowgate Rising [N64 – Cancelled]

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Shadowgate Rising was an adventure game game developed by Infinite Ventures for the Nintendo 64 but was never released. Originally intended to be a sequel to the 1999 title Shadowgate 64: Trials of the Four Towers and the latest entry to the franchise which began in 1987 with the original Shadowgate for the Mac. The project was abandoned because the Nintendo 64 was soon to be replaced by the GameCube. [Info from Wikipedia]

Screens & more info: Nintendo Fanatical – Original Article Written by Dave R. T. Allwein | December 9, 2003 (Archive.org Backup)

Nintendo’s official website had a bit of information on Rising’s storyline. “Shadowgate Rising-which is still only a tentative title-takes place centuries after Shadowgate 64. The belief of magic has faded, but now the unspeakable evil of Kal Torlin has slowly begun to reawaken. The fate of the land lies in the hands of a young woman who gradually discovers strange powers within herself and the ability to control magical artifacts within the alls of Shadowgate.”

Gjon Camaj, president of Image Space, had once stated that Shadowgate Rising made it into development. According to Image Space’s website, “In a short amount of time, ISI was able to create a development environment that allowed the artists to create assets on their PCs and then emulate them on the same machine, as it would appear on a Nintendo 64 game console. This ability saved time and the need to “burn” cartridges every time work needed to be reviewed.” This made it easier to test Shadowgate Rising. On the downside, the chances of this game surfacing are rather slim. A few months after the Nintendo 64 version had been officially canned, Image Space considered finishing up Rising and pushing a PC release. This never happed and the game was left totally unreleased.

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Shadowman [Beta – N64/PSX/DC/PC]

ShadowMan is an action adventure game developed by Acclaim Studios Teesside and published by Acclaim Entertainment. It was designed by Guy Miller and Simon Phipps. It is loosely based on the Shadowman comic book series published by Valiant Comics and was released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast and PC. [Info from Wikipedia]

In the gallery below you can see a series of beta screenshots from a very early version of the game: the 3D model of the main character was still incomplete and different from its final one, the tree looked nothing like the final ones and even the scenario shown in these images seems to have been removed or changed in the released game. Probably Acclaim worked a lot on the game, to create a title that was really good for its time.

Below you can also see a video from a leaked early beta demo of  ShadowMan:

For anyone interested here’s a very early shadowman demo from 1997, its really basic, has differerent models/ sounds to the game. If you burn it to a disc and run it you get to here the ingame audio,
* To start press space on title page
* space to jump cursers to move
* W – wireframe on/off
* H – get lighter
* Y – get darker
* R – respawn
* F6 – free cam on
* F5 – Free cam off
* esc – to quit

 for best results burn it to a CD and run it from there

Credit to the following pages:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/15818496890/
There you can find some of the original developers of the pc game, as Tim Haywood (composer of the awesome music of the game) and Trevor Storey (game designer)

http://shadowman.freeforums.org/index.php
It´s a forum create by Tim Haywood, good things in there.

As BO3000B wrote as a comment to the beta video on Youtube:

I just recently played through it and don’t really recognize anything in this video. Louisiana is the only part that looks vaguely like the final game. This must’ve been really early in development.

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Dead Ahead [N64 – Cancelled]

“The Dead Ahead project was a very unsual one. The game was being funded by Tomei, but there was also a middle company; Optical Entertainment who was also involved. Optical were designing the game for Tomei and Software Creations were chosen by Tomei (Tomy) to develop it. It was a very ambitious design which included free roaming in large environments, fighting, vehicle use and puzzle solving. One of the intentions of the game was to, at some point, create Toys based on the main characters. I was responsible for managing the team developing the game. Even before production started, this was already known as the “hot-potatoe” project that nobody wanted to do. Myself and the team made a good account of ourselves, but the game was never finished.” – Haydn

Thanks to Haydn Dalton for the great contribution!

Thanks a lot to Gilgalegrouik for some of these images!

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