Racing

Radikal Bikers [Game Boy Color – Cancelled]

The original Radikal Bikers was a pizza-delivery racing game for Arcades, developed by Gaelco in 1998 and later converted to PlayStation in 1999. A Game Boy Color port was also in development by Bit Managers, but it the end it was never released. Some years ago a prototype of the cancelled GBC port was leaked online, so you can play it on your favorite emulator.

Gameplay is similar to the original arcade version, but using a top-down, isometric view. Players race in different cities trying to avoid cars to delivery pizza to their clients as soon as possible. As we can read from the original press-release:

“Jump on your scooter and take up the challenge. Through the busiest streets in the world you’ve got to avoid trucks, cars, police, obstacles and people in a pizza fuelled dash for glory. Take the challenge and race your way across Paris, London, New York and the true home of Pizza – Italy!

Featuring:

  • Classic Arkade Mode.
  • Radikal Mode.
  • 2 player dash for glory.
  • Numerous Characters and Scooters to suit your personal taste.
  • GET OUTTA MY WAY!
  • No speed limit. No seat belt. No air bag. No rules!”

A sequel to Radical Bikers was also in development by Gaelco, but also canned.

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Ion Runner [Cancelled – GameCube, PS2, Xbox, PC]

Ion Runner is a cancelled racing / on-rail shooter game that was in development around 20022003 by Attention to Detail, the team mostly known for such titles as Rollcage, Lego Racers 2 and Drome Racers. The project was planned to be released for GameCube, Playstation 2, Xbox and PC, but unfortunately the team did not find a publisher interested in supporting it.

Some details about this lost game was shared online by former developers, who started working on Ion Runner after the cancellation of Lego Racer 4:

“A more ambitious project, Lego Racers 4, was canned after substantial development effort. This was technically interesting as the design called for streaming of the entire game world from DVD, allowing much larger and more intricate play area than earlier Lego games, or most console titles at the time. The team involved went on to work on Ion Runner […]

Two complete levels of Ion Runner were programmed and demonstrated to many publishers, but there was no time to sign a deal before venture capitalists 3I pulled the plug on the company in August 2003.

Since then the demos have been seen by many in the industry who were surprised that the project was never finished – but the price, calculated to refloat the group as well as to cover the development costs, meant any deal on this new IP was hard to arrange.”

It seems the game initially started as a classic 3D racing – on rail shooter, in which players would drive their overbike through different levels while shooting down enemies. After a while the team toyed with a more open adventure-alike gameplay, possibly with HUB world to explore, NPCs to talk to and other action-adventure mechanics. As far as we know, not much was done on this version before the cancellation.

In the end with no more funds to keep the studio alive, Attention to Detail had to close down for liquidation:

“UK developer ATD (Attention to Detail) went into liquidation last Thursday, it has been revealed. While most of the country’s attention was directed at the ECTS trade show approximately 50 staff was laid off after a failure to sign the developer’s Ion Runner title.”

If you know someone who worked on the game and may have saved footage or more screenshots, please let us know!

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Stuntpigs [GameCube – Cancelled]

Stuntpigs is a cancelled arcade racing / adventure game that was in development by M4 Ltd (mostly known for Resident Evil Gaiden on GB) for Nintendo GameCube. Players would drive around the city to perform crazy stunts, collect bonuses and find the best way to show-off their stunt-driver skills. While the game was never officially announced, in 2014 some collectors found related documents in a M4 cd / dvd:

“Did you know stunts performed in Hollywood blockbuster movies are actually done by pigs? Of course you’ve never seen any Stuntpigs, but just occasionally if you look really closely you might just see a trotter or a curly tail pop into shot. Join the Stuntpigs and carve a stylish, precision timed path of mayhem and destruction through the most expensive movie sets ever built, establishing your crew as the top hogs of Hollywood. Your movie’s success is determined entirely through the extravagance of its stunts, the more stylish and closer your stunts are to near death experience the better the box office results.”

We can also read some details on Stuntpigs in an old article on the Hardcore Gaming 101 blog and in a page on NowGamer:

“Sadly no original M4 titles made it to the shelves. Bounty Hunter, Space Cadets and Stuntpigs were all games we really wanted to bring to market. The later two are still held by us in Stuntpigs Ltd a dormant company. Who knows maybe one day they will rise.”

“Bounty Hunter was in production when I joined M4 and it really was stunning. As for Stuntpigs – the best game never made. I think it was just ahead of its time… Space Cadets though, that was actually completed and it was a really good game. It was different though and it really worked best multi-player. It’s typical – generally publishers don’t like to risk money on original stuff, especially when there’s cartridges to pay for.”

“Kieron agrees: “Stuntpigs had frantic gameplay, some dark humour and loads of destruction. Way ahead of its time and beyond the scope of publishers  to realise. Shame!” Although the team disbanded it’s clear they had a lot of talent – Gaiden is testament to this – and it’s a shame M4 was never given a fair shot.”

As you can see from the available footage, the game somehow looked like a mix between Crazy Taxi and Simpsons’ Road Rage, with cartoony graphics and fun, arcadey gameplay. It could have been a nice addition to the GameCube library. We hope one day a former M4 developer could find a playable prototype from their lost game and share it online.

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L42 (Blue Planet) [GameCube, PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

L42 is a cancelled cyberpunk mission-based driving game that was in development around 1999 – 2000 by Blue Planet Software (the same company that today act as the exclusive agent for The Tetris Company) for “next gen consoles”: GameCube, Playstation 2 and Xbox. We can speculate it would somehow play as a sci-fi version of Driver, set a cyberpunk “open world”.

From the few images preserved in the gallery below it looks like L42 was still in its early concept phase, as these looks more like target renders than real-time prototype screens. While the game was officially shown in their old website, we cannot find any other detail or announcement about it online: it seems it was soon cancelled and forgotten by everyone. 

As L42 would feature art design by popular American designer and concept artist Syd Mead (Blade Runner, Tron, Short Circuit), it’s strange Blue Planet did not promote their concept in any way, but we can assume they were still pitching it to different publishers before it was finally canned. In the end, the company is more profitable just focusing on their Tetris license.

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Baketsu Daisuken [GBA – Cancelled]

Baketsu Daisakusen is a cancelled horse-racing RPG / simulation in development around 2001 by Nintendo for their Game Boy Advance. As other horse-racing game popular in Japan you could play it as a racing game or as a simulation in which you just bet on the results, while the game internal AI would predict which horse would win the race based on their stats and previous 5 runs. It seems Baketsu Daisakusen would also let you play online against other players, using the GBA’s cell-phone adapter. 

In the end, Nintendo never released the game for unknown reasons. Only a few, tiny screenshots still exist today to remember its existence.

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