Imagineer

Seisho 1999 (Bible 1999) [NES – Cancelled]

Seisho 1999 (Bible 1999) is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by Imagineer / Wavejack for the Famicom / NES. There are not many info about this game, but a scan and a couple of screens uploaded in a japanese website. The characters and the scenario seem inspired by the Fist of the North Star manga / anime series, with a post-apocalyptic world and powerful fighters. Something went wrong during the development and Seisho 1999 / Bible 1999 was never released.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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Dota-kun no Bouken Roman [NES – Cancelled]

Dota-kun no Bouken Roman is a cancelled side scrolling platform / action game that was in development for the Famicom / NES that was produced by Atlus and was going to be published by Imagineer. There are basically no info about Dota Kun’s gameplay, but we can look at some scans that were uploaded on a japanese website. On GDRI we can read some more info on the development:

Dota-kun no Bouken Roman (“Dota’s Romantic Adventure”) is some sort of side-scrolling action game that was to be published under Imagineer’s WaveJack Jr. label. It was based on an MSX game by SystemSoft. You can see ads and screenshots here. The point is, I asked Esaki if it was developed by Atlus (because I suspected it was). He said it was produced by Atlus, but it was programmed outside the company. That seems to have been a common practice for Atlus, especially in the early days.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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Quest 64 II (2) [N64 – Cancelled]

Quest 2 is the unreleased sequel of one of the few Nintendo 64 RPGs, that was in development at Imagineer in 1998 / 1999. The game was going to be set 100 years after the original Quest 64 and this time the player would have been able to choose between 2 different characters: Leohn, a magician, and Sophia, a swordswoman. Both characters would also had a sidekick known as “the Guardian” to use it as a vehicle or to help in battle (we can speculate that it was going to be something like a Chocobo from the Final Fantasy series). Sadly Imagineer went into financial troubles and they had to cancel Quest 2 and another project that they had in the works for the 64DD,  Desert Island 64. Only a few artworks remains from this game.

quest-64-2-artwork-cancelled

Thanks to Pantalytron we have a translation of the Nintendo Fun Vision article:

SOME LINES OF TEXT ARE MISSING FROM THE JPEG, marked with […]. Guess it can’t be that much, maybe one or two lines of each stanza.
This translation tries to be as literal as possible, so some formulations are clumsy – but I can tell you that the German original text isn’t that skillful in telling the story in a pseudo-medieval style to begin with. Translated on 10.01.2017
Swift Follow-up
Imagineer is already working on Holy Magic Century 2
IMAGINEER. Holy Magic Century isn’t out yet in Germany and already there is information about the follow-up! Imagineer bets on a big success of the first part of its role playing game – and it can’t be bad to start the development of the follow-up! In our newsletter you exclusively find out about the story of (and interesting details about) Holy Magic Century 2. [It is] likely that you can put this game in 1999 on your Christmas wish list.
Everything goes back to the grim and distant past, when people depended on the mercy of nature and forces of nature and wild animals still were impregnable foes. But […] were responsible and learned to benefit from the goods of nature. Many centuries live went by this way. Then appeared creatures that were able to control the magic powers of nature. The greatest and most important of these “spirit slayers” was Brian.
The story begins one hundred years after the legendary Brian has lived… spirits only exist in uncharted forests, on secluded lakes, atop high mountains or in desolate deserts. The legends of spirit slayers that ignated torches or made it rain with their magic spells are considered as fairy tales. In a big kingdom in the west of the island Celtland reigned a ruler called Tibelius who was very popular amongst his subjects. But after his death the realm was threatened to be overrun by barbarians – if there had not been Julius, who knew how to prevent that.
The people thanked him by crowning him as their ruler and transferred the reign over the realm. But the celebrated hero turned into a tyrant, let people be incarcerated who opposed obeying him and even did not shy away from murder. After a while the despot began to build the “black temple“. The people suffered but had no other choice than obey Julius. That is the situation in which the two heroes of the story, Leohn and Sophia, grow up!
Leohn is a ten year old boy who lives with his stepfather on the island Lodeal. The islanders consider him as a bit strange, but he is popular [nonetheless] because of his innocence and his good nature. One day his stepfather Shmeon disappears who belongt to the spirit slayers. According to a legend the boy, who has the ability to speak with spirits, departs on a quest for an almighty spirit. He finds Brian and receives […] Julius receives information about […]-abilites and he commands to bring the boy and other spirit slayers to him by ship.
Upon exactly this ship Leohn meets Sophia, a twelve-year old girl. Her big, magical-appearing talent in wielding the sword lead her to be in Julius’s services; her stepfather Patricius, too, works as a custodian of the city Larwena for the king. In [her] fight with an hermit who incites the people she comes in contact with Brian and receives magical powers from him; the girl receives the ordert to go on board of the ship where Leohn is.
The adventure begins when the ship overturns in a storm. The two heroes are separated, but their goal will be the same soon [after]: To stop Julius! The city prospers by the power of the captured spirit slayers, but in the countryside the people suffer more than ever. In the black temple Leohn and Sophia meet […] So much for the [story] of the role playing game which will be designed for one play and shall offer fun for at least thirty hours. The first part already gets praised for it’s graphic, [but] the follow-up shall be even better. Furthermore [is it planned] in the second part to choose between two characters, namely Leohn and Sophia. Each of the two has his own abilities, of course – but not exactly in the “classical” [way of] type casting!
Leohn uses mainly his magical power to reach his goals. Tactical considerations are more his deal than physical fight, magic spells are more his weapon than swords. Things are different considering Sophia: She is a duel ace and does not shy away from confrontations. With her enormous power she can knock out multiple enemies in one blow.
Both heroes have a patron who follows them through the whole world of the game. He guides them, gives them advice when they enter battle and (from a certain point in the game on) he can carry the hero on his back! Money will play an important role: Who slays monsters can collect their belongings and fill his purse. That way, nothing stands in the way of a bulk purchase.
The world of the game was inspired by the Byzantine empire of the early middle ages, it is residing around the Mediterran Sea and the Aegean, Greece, Turkey, Rome and Egypt up to North Europe. The clothing of the citizens comes from another peroid of time; it approximately matches the style of the eleventh to 14th century.

Well, did you become curious? Then play the first part at first and keep Holy Magic Century 2 in mind for the long winterdays of […]

Thanks to Celine for the contribution! Thanks to Mario for Nintendo Fun Vision News scans (issue 8 1998)!

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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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Quest 64 (Holy Magic Century Eltale) [N64 – Beta]

Quest 64 (aka Holy Magic Century in PAL regions and Eltale Monsters in Japan) is an RPG developed by the Japanese company Imagineer. It was originally published in 1998, while the Japanese version was released in 1999 and features an extended ending cutscene.

Quest 64 was announced under the title “Crystal Stories” in June 1997. Screenshots of this early beta build feature a capeless, knight-like version of the final protagonist Brian. In August 1997, the game reached the second stage of development and was renamed “Holy Magic Century Eltale” (or simply “Eltale” in Japan). This version was meant to be released on a 96Mbit cartridge (the final game had 128Mbit of data) in December 1997.

The graphics of this second build resembled the released game, but its story was different: As in the final game, it revolved around Spirit Handlers, which are magicians with the ability to control the elements. Unlike Quest 64, however, there were five elements and not four. Half a century before the events of the game, there was an evil Spirits Handler named Larva. He was a priest who served the pope of the Highland, but his spirit-handling skills became too strong and he was excommunicated. Larva then traveled through the world as the Black Spirits Handler and found accounts of the Evils, three kinds of sinister powers which were accidentally created during the first spirit handling experiments. They fed off the Seven Deadly Sins committed by humans, made them do more evil deeds and could even create monsters. Larva eventually freed the Evils and a fierce war ensued. It lasted until the Zeek crystal appeared and equipped three heroes with holy swords, giving the forces of good a deciding advantage. Although peace was restored, Larva managed to escape.

The second build featured three playable protagonists, each with their individual strengths and weaknesses:

quest-64-beta-nina-cozi-characters

Magician (named by the player)
Description: A descendant of an ancient dynasty of sorcerers
Age: 12
Height: 1,50m
Weight: 42kg
Skills/weapons: Magic, staff

Nina
Description: A princess, also a descendant of the Spirit Handlers
Age: 13
Height: 1,55m
Weight: 38kg
Skills/weapons: Defensive and healing magic, bow and arrows

Cozi
Description: A strong and ruthless pirate
Age: 15
Height: 1,70m
Weight: 70kg
Skills/weapons: Fists, sword

The unnamed magician was a descendant of one of the heroes who originally fought against Larva. Together with Nina and Cozi, he was to search for the three holy swords and stop the reemergence of evil. The final build omits most of these plot points and the magician Brian is the only protagonist. Nina probably turned into Princess Flora of Dondoran and Cozi might have become the pirate Kiliac on the Isle of Skye.

As the screenshots show, the early builds had a traditional level-up system as seen in other RPGs. The menu screen had additional options for the cursor, spells, sound effects and a help option. None of the images from the early builds indicate the “elementals” collected, which is otherwise shown in the bottom left corner in the final version. In one of the screens in the gallery below we can even see a removed bubble attack: its graphics were used for King Beigis’ “Large Cutter” look-alike, though no official attack name is known.

This information was taken from previews found in english N64 Magazine (issue 4, 1997), german Nintendo Fun Vision (issue August/September 1997) and german N64 Magazin (issue September 1997). Thanks to Hydrozor and Mario for the contributions!

First beta  build:

imaginerpg6.jpg

Early second beta build:

questa-64-beta-n64-magazin-german-9-1997

Late second build:

quest61.jpg


Other images (first and second builds):