Fighting

Sonic Battle [GBA – Beta]

Sonic Battle is a fighting game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Sonic Team and released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003 / 2004. As we can see at Sonic Cult, there are some images of a beta version, even if most of the differences are just an old HP meter.We can only hope that some earlier beta could be leaked in the future, to learn more about Sonic Battle’s development.

Thanks to HydroZor for the contribution!

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Kasumi Ninja [Jaguar – Beta]

As we can read on Wikipedia, Kasumi Ninja is a 1994 one-on-one fighting game developed by Hand Made Software and published by Atari Corporation for the Atari Jaguar. The game went through several changes before it was released to the public. Kasumi Ninja was previewed approximately 8 months before its original release by a virtual game magazine distributed via CD. In this preview, Kasumi Ninja had a very heavy story element to it. Beating the game with each character would produce a specific key which, when combined, would unlock the gates to the final confrontation with Lord Gyaku.

This method of gameplay would have required the player to invest more time in order to complete the story mode. Players would have to navigate the labyrinth to find their opponents, and characters would be unlocked for play only as they were defeated by Senzo and Habaki.

Many of the backgrounds and character designs went through several revisions. For example, Alaric’s default outfit had red trim, as opposed to blue. Habaki was garbed in black, but this was changed to represent Lord Gyaku. A fourth palette-swap ninja, garbed in blue, was seen in previews but apparently never made it to the final game.

The final game became a rush job. Pressuring the development team to get Kasumi Ninja out in a “timely fashion” (holiday season 1994), Kasumi’s story mode was dropped in favor of the fighting concept sans storyline. The labyrinth exploration and key gathering concept was condensed, but the character unlocking system remained intact. Video from viMasterJag’s YouTube Channel!

Thanks to Adam for the contribution!

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Burning Fists [Sega Mega CD – Cancelled]

Burning Fist (also known as Force Striker in its early alpha build) is a cancelled fighting game that was in development in 1994 by Sega of Japan for the Mega CD. As we can read at Sega Base, both the Force Striker alpha and the Burning Fists beta were leaked rom a former SoJ employee and sold on eBay some years ago. Burning Fist was never officially released, but in 2006 those alpha / beta builds were re-sold to Good Deal Games.

GDG worked in collaboration with J2 Games to finish Burning Fist and published it in their online shop. In an interview that Sega 16 had with GDG’s Michael Thomasson we read that

The game was about 80% complete. It was missing the final boss, the full-motion video was running at about four frames per second, had several bugs, the menu system was corrupt, and the one-player computer artificial intelligence was quite, well, stupid. We were able to get the FMV running at a respectable rate […]. We also completely reworked the menu system. We made the artificial intelligence on the one-player game a decent opponent.

In the gallery below you can check some screenshots from the game and a scan that Celine found in EGM #49.

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Melty Blood: Actress Again [Arcade PS2 – Beta / Unused]

Melty Blood is a visual novel and fighting game, co-developed by dōjin circles Type-Moon and French-Bread, originally released at Comiket on December 2002. Melty Blood: Actress Again, is the third game in the Melty Blood series, released in 2008 on Sega Naomi hardware and the year later on the Playstation 2. Megalol found a removed playable character in the PS2 version and some beta differences, as he wrote in our forum:

It’s interesting, I found this character by using “ArtMoney” and “PCSX2 emulator”. Her name is Powered Ciel, unfortunately the game does not start after selecting her (i think that the developers planned to use Powered Ciel as a playable character, but she was removed at the last moment)

also in the characters-select screen, one of the portraits is the icon of Powered Ciel

In the final screen of “nero chaos arcade mode” you can see Powered Ciel

in an old picture from a magazine, we can see the beta “character select screen” from the arcade version, but “akiha” has a different icon, the icon that will be used in “school form akiha” only a year later in the PS2 version.

Powerd Ciel has been confirmed to be a fully-playable character in the newest Melty Blood revision, dubbed Melty Blood Actress Again: Current Code. The video below shows her in action:

If you have more info about this lost character, please let us know!

Thanks to Megalol for the contribution

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Phantom Dust [XBOX – Proto / Beta]

Phantom Dust is a pseudo-card-based fighting / action game developed by Microsoft Game Studios and published for the Xbox in 2005. The game soon became a cult hit among hardcore gamers. Players construct “arsenals” similar to decks of cards and then use them to do battle against other players. The game incorporates strategy and action elements into a game that requires both mental and reflexive skill. [Info from Wikipedia]

In a 1UP article about the game are a couple of images from a Phantom Dust prototype / beta build, in which we can notice the early graphic, different HUD and a removed arena.

From an interview published on Xboxphreaker we can read even more info about those removed areas and other missing content:

If we had more development time, I would have really liked to increase the number of missions in the single-player mode. I also wanted players to be able to move from one underground town to another. (Take a look at the area near the town shop. The driller-like machine is the remnants of this plan.)

We had more than 500 skill ideas. From that large batch we organized them, edited them, and cut them down to the present level. At first, we had intended to create a lot more environments, including:

The Aquarium

This would be the ruins of an aquarium, with only water and fish still remaining. Only in the middle of the fish tanks would be lit up, and that light would be destroyed as players fought and destroyed things around them.

We also envisioned the floor to have leaking water on it.

The Station

The other stage we had in the planning stages was a station. In Tokyo there are a number of different subway lines, and we wanted to isolate one of them and make that into a 3D stage. In that one area there would be a memory train that was still running. Players could ride that train to different platforms. Inside the trains we would place the regenerating capsules. This is one of the very dynamic stages I had wanted to make.

You know, practically speaking it was just too much production work for our time to make these two maps, but I think we could have done it if we were creating the game on Xbox 360…

Lastly, we had also wanted to create maps to be used exclusively for multiplayer, but creating stages took longer than expected. Including normal-mapping took longer than expected, then getting designers to be comfortable with the development took a lot of time, so map creation was quite difficult.

Thanks to Jason for the english corrections!

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Here’s a video from the final version: