Savage Heroes was a fighting game, produced by Electronic Arts, planned for the Genesis / Mega Drive, that was originally conceived as a hybrid between brawler Streets of Rage and 1-on-1 fighting game Street Fighter II. The game would have handled this fusion by utilising two similar, but different, control schemes: for the multiple-enemy-based combat, the controls would have mimicked Street Fighter II’s control scheme, but been more efficient and general to allow for quick disposal of multiple opponents.
During boss fights, however, the controls tightened up so as to increase precision, and the view changed to a smaller arena, resembling a typical 1-on-1 fighter game. The game included two-player support, and also would have contained an exclusively 1-on-1 mode to provide a more traditional experience if players required it.
The game’s original designer, Scott Berfield, outlined, in an interview with Sega-16, some of the reasons he believes the game was eventually canned. As well as the project being too ambitious and advanced for the Genesis (and better-suited to a more powerful console), the developer responsible for creating the prototype game was not of a high quality and, as a result, enthusiasm and, therefore, sales forecasts, decreased. EA finally pulled the plug, sending the Savage Heroes finances over to a different game (Shaq-Fu).
This game is interesting not only because of its unique style, but also because of its setting. Savage Heroes would have been set on another world, populated entirely by intelligent, humanoid animals. A crime-fighting team of four heroes would match wits with the crime lord Teeg, a Bengal Tiger. Of the four protagonists, different ones would be controlled by the player at different places in the game. The four members of the team were:
- Bruno, a bear and kung-fu master, the group’s leader
- Lucy, a wolf and kick-boxer
- Reno, a rhinoceros and brawler
- Leon, a lion and karate expert, who was very street-smart.
In order to make the game properly, the Savage Heroes team planned to use stop-motion animation in order to get the characters to look as lifelike as possible, and about a dozen 12-16” figures are, according to Berfield, probably still sitting in storage at EA. These figures were made by a Texas special effects business exclusively for the game.
Berfield also notes that the levels in the game were planned to be entirely seamless: each one led directly into the next one, separated by a level result screen superimposed over the transition sequence. Berfield says that he is very interested in eventually getting Savage Heroes finished, because he still has a personal connection to the created characters. You can find pictures of the characters, and other production material at Sega16.
Article By Franklint