Action Adventure

Zelda: Ocarina Of Time [Gameshark Beta Quest]

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The Beta Quests are events and scenarios not seen in the game, but that can be reached with Action replay/Game Shark codes. There is an incredible number of variants in the beta quests, and probably no one has really seen them all, so we can only wonder if there is still more stuff left in the cartridge. Some of these Beta Quest scenes are situations connected with the new features that would have been in Zelda URA, while in others it’s still possible to see some of the items cut in the transposition from disk to cartridge, or particulary situations that were changed a bit in the final version. Certainly a precious source of information of beta Zelda.

As Linkx111 has pointed out, this particular mode simply removes the pointers that would connect an area on the game map to another one. Zelda’s game areas are indeed listed inside a buffer, which contains all the areas inside of blocks. Removing the pointers permits the player to travel randomly from a map to another, eventually landing inside particular blocks which has no pointers and contains traces of old beta items, or permitting to explore the cutscene like we would be normally playing in the game. Many of the items could look like betas but are indeed just a messed up version of the normal game, due to the missing pointers  but other items and scenes, not included in the final game, can be accessed via this method.

Also thanks to ZethN64 for pointing this out recently. To correct the previous statment, the beta quest code loads up specific scenes within a map without the cutscene trigger event activated. These cutscenes load up different object sets(NPC and object placement within a map) depending on the last value you use on the beta quest code.(BETACODE 000X) These scenes also contain old exit data within the map that do not always point correctly to the right exit due to the game being compiled and exit table being shifted so many times. Developers saw no reason to fix these exits since they were meant for cutscenes only and the player wouldn’t walk through these exits. These scene’s objects sets however do contain during the time of their creation object placement, aka beta actor/object placement. It gives us a glimpse of what the prerelease/ura Zelda would of been like with these object set placements and how much it differs from the final game.

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Più che un gioco a sè, le Beta Quest sono delle situazioni e scenari inediti che è possibile sbloccare in Ocarina Of Time grazie a dei codici per Action Replay / Game Shark. Esistono moltissime varianti delle Beta Quest in base al codice inserito e probabilmente ancora nessuno è riuscito ad esplorarle realmente tutte, non possiamo quindi ancora ben sapere quali meraviglie sono nascoste all’interno della rom. Alcune di queste sono riconducibili a collegamenti che si sarebbero sbloccati una volta unito Ocarina a URA tramite 64DD, mentre in altre è possibile vedere oggetti che sono stati tagliati quando fu spostato su cartuccia oppure situazioni non definitive di scene poi cambiate nel gioco completo. Senza dubbio una delle cose più interessanti per cui vale la pena usare un GameShark e preziosa fonte di informazione sui tagli di Ocarina.[/spoiler]

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Desert Island 64 [N64 – Cancelled]

Desert Island 64 (AKA Super Real Island) is an interesting simulation rpg, that was first announced by Imagineer at the Shoshinkai 1996 for Nintendo 64 Disk Drive, but soon cancelled by the developers, perhaps because of the failure of the 64DD. The concept of the game was similar to Survival Kids for the GBC, Lost in Blue for the DS or the Lost TV series, players had to survive in a desert island. According to the few info released, Desert Island 64 was going to be a really complex game, in which to observe and interact with the evolution chain of the island, from plants to the rich fauna. The main gameplay was supposed to be a mix of platform, survival, and life simulation, and we had to cultivate the land and raise animals in order to create a new civilization. Of course, the game would have used all the features of the 64DD. The only screenshots available shows an early proto with almost no scenario. The main character and the animals have a very strange design and we can only speculate that the events were going to be really odd. Unfortunately, the game was never completed. Some rumors even suggested a Dreamcast release, but Desert Island 64 was destined to never see the light of day.

English translation by yota

Concept arts from Nintendo Fun Vision News issue 8, another scan from Nintendo Fun Vision 7+8, both from 1998. Thanks to Mario for the contribution!

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Emperor Of The Jungle – Junguru Taitei (Kimba) [N64 – Cancelled]

Junguru Taitei 64 was to be a tie-in to the famous manga series marketed in the USA as Kimba the Lion, or Jungle Emperor Leo, (Nintendo Power Volume 97, page 104). The game, made with the involvement of both Shigeru Miyamoto and Osamu Tezuka son’s Makoto,was announced at Space World 1996, but it is unknown if the game was going to be released for the Nintendo 64 or for the 64DD (64 Power, Ausgabe 2/98, page 13). Technically breathtaking for the time, Junguru Taitei was going to be a faithful rendition of the show.

In a video presented at Space World 1997, Kimba ran across grasslands and rivers, ending, after meeting with his friends on the way, at the famous rock from the anime. The game was going to be an action adventure like Zelda, where you could explore a vast territory and encounter the various characters of the show. Unfortunately, the game was cancelled, specifically because of issues with Makoto. Miyamoto said in a interview that Nintendo asked Makoto to direct the game, but the son of the great mangaka was too busy with other projects. Makoto was also very inexperienced with videogames. The development may also have run into problems caused by the Nintendo 64 itself. It was quietly cancelled late in the N64’s life.

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Conosciuto in italia sotto il nome di “Kimba, Il Leone Bianco”, Jungle Taitei è una famosa serie di manga, disegnati dal maestro Osamu Tezuka (Astroboy, Black Jack), usciti per la prima volta in giappone nel 1965. Da noi Kimba ebbe successo grazie al cartone animato, trasmesso a partire dal 1978, che riusci ad appassionare diverse generazioni di ragazzi, divenendo un vero e proprio cult. E’ facile capire l’importanza di questo Emperor Of The Jungle 64, il videogame tratto dal manga, che fu annunciato allo Shoshinkai del 1996. Non sappiamo se il titolo fosse stato pensato per 64DD o per il semplice N64.

Kimba 64 era uno dei progetti più interessanti in sviluppo per la console Nintendo, seguito direttamente dallo stesso Myamoto, con la collaborazione di Makoto Tezuka, il figlio di Osamu. Graficamente impressionante per l’epoca e l’hardware a 64 bit, in Jungle Taitei sarebbe stato possibile esplorare enormi aree, con foreste tropicali, praterie e zone montuose. In un video del gioco, mostrato allo Space World del 1997, Kimba correva fra prati e fiumi, incontrando altri animali, fino ad arrivare ad una misteriosa roccia, dalla forma simile alla madre del piccolo leone. Il gioco avrebbe dovuto essere un’avventura d’azione in stile Zelda, in cui visitare il mondo ed interagire con tutti i personaggi tratti dal manga.

Purtroppo il gioco fu abbandonato, sopratutto a causa dei problemi nella collaborazione con Makoto Tezuka. Come ammesso da Myamoto durante un’intervista (riferendosi a Jungle Taitei 64 in maniera implicita), Nintendo aveva chiesto a Makoto di dirigere il videogame, ma il figlio di Osamu era troppo impegnato in altri progetti, per riuscire a concentrarsi realmente sul design di questa versione per N64. Makoto inoltre non aveva precedenti esperienze in campo di videogiochi, fatto che non aiutò certo l’organizzazione generale. I lavori sul titolo si prolungarono per troppo tempo ed a causa dell’impossibilità di arrivare ad una sua conclusione, si decise di abbandonare il progetto. Jungle Taitei 64 era potenzialmente un gioco molto interessante e la sua cancellazione non può che lasciarci davvero dispiaciuti.

Intro a cura di monokoma[/spoiler]

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Zelda: Majora’s Mask [Beta – N64]

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask / Gaiden, released for Nintendo 64 as a “sequel” to Ocarina of Time lost some of its original features, including 4 days of the original 7 disappearing from the game, some dungeons, quests and a fishing mini-game (Jabu Jabu fishing) were removed. Yet even so, Majora’s Mask has managed to become one of the best games of the series.

Some more info on the beta development from an interview:

One of the developers for Ocarina of Time, Yoshiaki Koizumi, was not initially involved with the conception of Majora’s Mask, and was working on a different title until he was asked to abandon it. This turn of events resulted in the famous time limit.

Koizumi: That’s what he told us! I remember thinking to myself “That’s not helpful at all!” [Laughs] I’d originally been designing a board game, based around the theme of cops and robbers. I wanted to make it so that you technically had to catch the criminal within a week, but, in reality, you could finish the game in an hour. I figured I’d just throw what I already had into Majora’s Mask.

From Iwata Asks interview for the release of Majora’s Mask 3DS we can read more info on the early differences:

Aonuma: Right. But at first, it was one week.
Iwata: Three days was originally one week?
Aonuma: That’s right. But when you returned to the first day it was like “Do I have to go through an entire week again…”, so we thought three days would be just right.
Iwata: Wait, it got decided just like that? (laughs)
Aonuma: (laughs) In this game the townspeople do different things each day and many different things happen, but when the timespan becomes a week, that’s just too much to remember. You can’t simply remember who’s where doing what on which day.
Iwata: moreover, you probably wouldn’t have been able to make it in a year if you were aiming to make a game filled with so much content for seven days.
Aonuma: right, we never would have been able to do it. We felt it would be best to make it a three-step process, and we compressed all sorts of things we had planned for over a week into three days.

In an interview by Famitsu with Aonuma we can read some more info about the early development of Majora’s Mask:

Because of the tight schedule, the team needed to solve how to deal with the smaller volume. That’s when Yoshiaki Koizumi talked about a popular movie of that time, Run Lola Run, in which a heroine lives the same time periods multiple times. Koizumi suggested using a similar structure for the game. Originally, the cycle was planned to last a full week, but in that way Majora’s Mask couldn’t be finished in a year. The cycle was changed to contain of a start, a middle, and an end as a result.

In the gallery below you can see some beta screenshots released when Majora’s Mask was announced, with some interesting differences: there was an adult Link mask (later changed into Fierce Deity’s Mask), the instruments used by Deku Link, Zora Link and Goron Link were different, in the screenshot with Epona we can see a breakable wall that is not there in the final game, the moon did not have a face yet, some textures were different and we can notice a room full of skeletons that was completely removed.  For more info on the development of Majora’s Mask read this article: Project Zelda 3D – The Development of Zelda 64

Thanks to Nick Bizzozero for the english translation! You can find more info about Zelda: Majora’s Mask in the Zelda Wiki!

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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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