Stackers / Stackpack is an unreleased platform / puzzle game that was in development by Santa Cruz Games for the GameCube and PC. This project was probably an evolution of their Pickles prototype, in which the player had to stack various characters on each other, to resolve the levels. The Pickles demo was shown at the Game Connection 2006 as wrote in an article published on Gamasutra by Lost Level’s Frank Cifaldi, but sadly Stackers and Pickles remained only tech demos, as Santa Cruz Games was not able to put more time and money into them.
Pulseman is a side-scrolling action platform game developed by Game Freak and published by Sega for the Mega Drive / Genesis in 1994. The game was released in cartridge format only in Japan, with the North American version being released via the Sega Channel as an “exclusive”. When first announced, Pulseman was originally named Spark.
Derboo found a screen of the beta Spark from the Korean gaming magazine, Game World #5 (1994). The on-screen display changed, and the screenshot shows a boss from the game with a slightly different sprite in a totally different situation.
The palette is also different, but the article also shows artworks with the characters colored just like in the final game, so it was probably just the prototype palette for the underwater effect.
Smaartvark (also know as “Arnie the Aardvark” and “Miniature Aardvark TV Repairmen”) is a cancelled platform / action game that was in development by Codemasters for the Genesis / Mega Drive. The title is a wordplay between “aardwark”, a medium-sized mammal native to Africa, and “smart”: infact the main protagonist of the game was an aardwark TV technician, as we can see from its sprite in the screens below.
There are not much info about this project and we dont know why it was never released. It seems that the player had to repair a TV by entering in its channels and defeating the bugs that cause the problem.
Metamor Kid Goomin (Goromin) is a cancelled platform / action adventure game that was in development for the Super Famicom / Super Nintendo by BPS (Bullet Proof Software?). There are not many info on the project, but from the title and the few scans preserved in the gallery below, it seems that the main protagonist was able to morph into different forms (the italian magazine wrote about 8 different forms, as a dragon and a mole) to resolve puzzles and to reach new areas.
Celine was able to find some Metamor Kid Goomin screens in SuperPower issue #19, Console Mania #28 and EGM #59, while a couple of screens were posted by Moosmann in the Assembler Forum.
Malice is a platform game developed by Argonaut Games, that was originally meant to be released for the Playstation 1, using their Croc 2 engine. For some technical issues and (mainly) for marketing decisions, Malice PSX was cancelled and Argonaut though to port the game for the “next generation” consoles. It was 1999 and the PS2 was almost out in the market, with the new Microsoft’s XBOX soon to arrive too.
Argonaut wanted to be one of first Xbox’s developers and to showcase their new 3D engine to attract publishers and funds, so they created a Malice Xbox tech demo that looked really good for its time. Microsoft was really impressed by their work and used the Malice tech demo to show the power of the Xbox.
Argonaut aimed to release the new Malice in late 2001 as an Xbox launch title, but because of many problems in porting their project from the PSX to the XBOX, Malice was postponed too many times, was almost cancelled again and changed publishers before being finally released in 2004, with mediocre reviews.
In March 2010, the Playstation Museumpublished a deep article on the original Playstation version of Malice, sharing lots of screens and videos. As we can read on their site:
The bottom line is Malice PS1 combines the action of Croc 2 with the exploration and depth of a Mario 64 and is presented with a sense of unique style and graphic beauty and detail that would have become the new technological standard for the PlayStation.
Although Malice was released for the PS2 in 2004, the PS1 version differs greatly in storyline, graphics, design, and gameplay. Any of the former Malice designers will tell you that Malice PS2 was only a shell of its original design. Unfortunately many of the designs that made this PS1 version so enjoyable were removed in the PS2 version.
It’s interesting to note that in the video from the Playstation 1 version and in the early Xbox trailers, it was shown that the player could control a cat, but this never happens in the final game. [Info from Wikipedia]
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