Beat ’em up

Battle Choice (Konami) [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Battle Choice is a cancelled fantasy style chess – beat ‘em up that was in development by Konami for the NES / Famicom, around 1988. It was based on the Japanese game of chess, Shogi, but mergeing simulation and action gameplay. In addition to fantasy knights, it seems there would have been even high school girls as playable characters in the game. We can assume it would have been a fun, comical take on classic Shogi.

The gameplay would have been the same as in the original shogi, up to the point where players take turns. When the pieces come into contact with each other, action-battles begin. The combat gameplay was basically a beat ‘em up.

Unfortunately the game was never seen in screenshots from magazines of its time and little is known about it. Music tracks from Battle Choice were included in the soundtrack album “Konami Famicom Chronicle Vol.3 ROM Cassette”, released in August 2015.

Thanks to Heimao for the contribution!

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Evil Spell [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Evil Spell is a cancelled beat ‘em up / hack & slash that was in development by Dark Ride Studios for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The team was established in 2010 by ex Grin developers after their former company closed down. They wanted to create simple, low-budget projects to pitch to publishers to receive funds and support, then release them on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network.

In Evil Spel you would have been able to choose between 12 different characters, each one with their one combat style, weapons and skills. For example there was a medieval knight, some kind of WW1 soldier, an evil alchemist and a modern-age street-gangster.

As you can imagine the game was set in different time periods, so they could offer a good variety of levels, enemies and weapons. For example in the early prototype shown by the team at the Game’s Developers Conference 2011 we can see a medieval area mixed with a modern-day street.

In the end we can speculate Dark Ride Studios never found a publisher interested in their projects and were not able to complete Evil Spell. Only a few images and prototype footage are preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost game.

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Mean Arenas [Playstation – Cancelled]

Mean Arenas is a cancelled multiplayer game that was in development for Playstation by SCE Studios Team Soho (the same team behind Porsche Challenge and The Getaway) around 1996 / 1997. Unfortunately the project was never officially announced and it was soon forgotten when the team decided to focus on other games.

It was conceived as a 4-player beat ‘em up, to take advantage of Playstation’s multitap peripheral. Not much is known about Mean Arenas and as far as we know only 1 image remains today, preserved below to remember this lost Playstation project.

If you know someone who worked on Mean Arenas and could help to save more details and media, please let us know! 

Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2 (River City Ransom 2) [Wii, PC – Cancelled]

As we can read in the Kunio-Kun Wiki, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari for the NES / Famicom is the third entry in the Kunio-kun series, published in the west as River City Ransom / Street Gangs. The game is more RPGish and open-ended than other beat ’em ups, with a non-linear city to freely explore while fighting against enemies to level-up your characters. In the main Kunio series you take the role of Kunio, a japanese high-school delinquent (bancho) with a good heart, punching and kicking other gangs to free the streets of your city.

Downtown-Nekketsu-Monogatari-2-River-City-Ransom-Cancelled

The game was released for the Wii Virtual Console in 2007 and a sequel titled “Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2” was announced in 2011 by Miracle Kidz (a team of former Technos developers), planned to be released for Wii and PC. Unfortunately the team decided to officially cancel the project in 2012, to switch resources on different projects.

As noticed by Arc Hound on Twitter:

“Miracle Kidz’s teaser site for Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2 (the canceled Wiiware sequel to River City Ransom) is still up after all these years, although it only contains character bios and a link to purchase the planning document from their site.

Sueshiro and Okita, the two planned protagonists from DNM2, actually appeared in a fan-video from 2008 by AC-Promenade supporting the launch of Miracle Kidz’s website. Shame that the game become vaporware and Miracle Kidz has since been disbanded.”

If you can do a translation / summary of the details found in those japanese Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2 design doc pages (saved in the gallery below), please leave a message below!

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Death Monsters [PS3, Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

Death Monsters is a cancelled horror beat ’em up in development by french studio Birdies Road (formerly Punchers Impact) around 2010 / 2011 for Xbox 360 and PS3. Not many details are available on this lost project: it was quietly announced in early 2011 on some French websites but was soon canned after a playable prototype was completed. The main protagonist could transform himself into a werewolf and levels would have been played as in a side-scrolling game, fighting enemies (zombies, monsters), resolving simple puzzles and jumping around to avoid  traps.

Unfortunately it seems their publishers (Mindscape) did not pay the team for a few months, and without money Birdies Road had to close down for bankruptcy in July 2011. Death Monsters was then cancelled and lost forever. Only a few screenshots, artworks and videos from the prototype are preserved below, to remember its existence.

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