Racing

Carnivale [N64 – Cancelled]

Carnivale is an animated film which because of its particular style and its lack of success, had only a limited release in certain European countries in 2000. A game based on this film was in development by Vatical Entertainment for the Nintendo 64 and it was even shown with an incomplete build at E3 1999, but the project was later cancelled.

The game plot would have follow the story of the film: a group of kids stuck in an amusement park in another dimension, along with a strange woman that never ages. The graphic had the same style of the film, a simplified design that was well suited for the limited 3D capacity of the N64.

The 128-megabit Carnivale 64 was supposed to have 3 modes of play. The first option included a classic Adventure Mode, with 5 scenarios available (or at least that was the number of the areas completed before the cancellation), including a ghost train and a rat-infested sewer trip. The player was able to explore the weird amusement park with the help of many available power-ups, playing several mini-games with platform / shooter sections – among them “test your strength” machines, a duck shooting gallery with ascending and descending obstacles, and a Punch & Judy show. The player would have to collect a certain amount of coins to access new locations and mini-games.

For those looking for a more immediate fun, in the second mode we would have been able to directly play all the mini-games, probably after unlocking them in the adventure mode. A “Racing Mode” was planned too, in which to race against the computer or in 2-player mode with a friend, complete with Mario Kart-style weapons.

Sadly Carnivale’s development team, Terraglyph, was being reorganized at that time and many employees were fired and the game vanished without traces until May 2009, when a playable prototype was found by NesWorld. You can read an interesting article on the game in here!

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MRC – Multi Racing Championship [N64 – Beta]

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MRC was one of the first racing games to be published for the Nintendo 64. It was developed by Genki and released in 1997: the quality of MRC left a lot to be desired, but with the shortage of games on the Nintendo consoles, it was able to interest the lovers of the genre. From some screenshots released before Genki finished the game, we can notice a much cleaner and defined graphics  than the ones in the final game.  Probably these were just target renders that were not actually running in real time on the N64. The HUD of the game was still not finalized: the rank and the total time were initially on the right, while the Lap Time was on the left of the screen.

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]MRC fu uno dei primissimi giochi di corse ad arrivare sul Nintendo 64. Uscito nel 1997, la qualità del titolo di casa Genki lasciava parecchio a desiderare, ma vista la scarsità di racing games sulla console Nintendo, riuscì comunque ad interessare gli appassionati di macchine.

Le immagini beta rilasciate prima dell’uscita, mostravano una grafica molto più pulita e definita di quanto si può osservare nella versione completa; probabilmente Genki diffuse dei semplici concept screens di MRC, che non giravano realmente in tempo reale sull’hardware N64. Anche l’HUB del gioco non era quello definitivo, le info su schermo erano invertite: la posizione in classifica ed il tempo totale della gara erano inizialmente a destra, mentre il Lap Time era segnalato a sinistra (come potete notare dal confronto con lo screen finale sulla destra).[/spoiler]

Beta Version:

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Final Version:

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See also this French excerpt from an old Nintendo-related newspaper. It’s notably touting the presence of real-world cars (Renault, Ford and Alfa Romeo) even if some screenshots on the same page shows the “Imagineer” car from the final product.

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Top Gear Rally [N64 – Beta / Target Render / Proto]

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During the early days of the Nintendo Ultra 64, many racing games were announced for the console, including this Top Gear Rally, sequel of Top Gear for the Super Nintendo. The early images released showed a stunning graphics for its time, with wonderful light effects, high definition and good polygonal models: obviously, all these screens were taken from a target render, as the Nintendo 64 was never able to do such kind of graphic detail. The real Top Gear Rally is actually very different what they wanted us to believe, with more rough graphic, blurred out scenario and without all the lighting effects that made the tech demo so impressive. Some of the cars that we can see in the early screens seem almost cut and pasted in there with Photoshop.

We can also notice a different HUD and a smaller map. Probably these screenshots were created with the sole purpose of giving an idea of the look of the project, but without taking into account the actual technical features of the N64, not powerful enough to run a 3D engine too much complex for its time.

Also, ezri85 noticed some beta differences in the second video below:

The differences between it and the final version are subtle, but they are there. Not to mention the unused musical score that plays over it. From what I can see, the differences between this beta, and the release game are: some unfinalised vehicle textures, physics appear to be different/incomplete, track map is visible and some minor HUD differences.

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Durante i primi mesi di vita del Nintendo 64 furono molti i giochi di corse annunciati per la console, fra cui questo Top Gear Rally, seguito dell’omonimo Top Gear per Super Nintendo. Le immagini precedenti all’uscita mostravano una grafica davvero straordinaria per l’epoca, con effetti luce e modelli poligonali che lasciavano a bocca aperta, promettendo qualità estetiche davvero realistiche.

Come ben sanno tutti i giocatori che hanno potuto provare la versione finale, l’aspetto di Top Gear Rally è in realtà molto diverso da come volevano farci credere queste foto del suo prototipo. Il gioco completo presenta una grafica decisamente più approssimativa, sfuocata e poco definita, senza tutti quegli effetti luce che rendevano impressionanti le foto beta. Osservando meglio il prototipo, è facile capire come questa versione di Top Gear Rally non girasse in tempo reale sul Nintendo 64, ma fosse solamente un concept in computer grafica, tanto che molte delle auto sembrano addirittura ritagliate ed incollate con Photoshop sui disegni poligonali delle piste.

Confrontandolo con le immagini della versione finale (a destra), possiamo notare anche la differente disposizione degli HUB con le informazioni della gara ed una mappa più piccola. Probabilmente questi screenshots erano stati creati con il solo scopo di dare un idea del proggetto futuro, ma senza tenere conto delle reali caratteristiche tecniche del Nintendo 64, non abbastanza potente per far girare un motore 3D di questa portata.[/spoiler]

Target Render:

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Final Version:

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Wild Water World Championships [N64 – Cancelled]

The Nintendo 64 has a good number of racing game, with the most various set of environments. However, from Wave Race 64 to Hydro Thunder, fans of the genre certainly felt the lack of more boat-racing game. In 1999 Promethean Designs and Interplay finally decided to satisfy all those requests and started to work on Wild Water World Championships. It was meant to be an arcade racing game similar to Mario Kart, with emphasis on the multiplayer mode.

There are just few tiny screens available and we don’t know how much work went into this game: Wild Water World Championships was soon cancelled for the Nintendo 64, but Promethean Designs continued the development  for the Playstation, Dreamcast and PC, chancing the name into “Renegade Racers”.

Sadly, even the Dreamcast version was cancelled shortly after. In 2000, Renegade Racers for the PC and PSX was released: the game received low ratings and it was soon forgotten … we can just wonder if the original Nintendo 64 project could have been better.

There was another cancelled water racing game titled “Wildwaters” that was planned for the Nintendo 64, but it should not be confused with this one as Wildwaters was developed by Looking Glass Studios.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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Looney Tunes Space Race [N64 – Cancelled]

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Looney Tunes: Space Race is a 2000 racing game that was originally announced as a Nintendo 64 title in 1998, but it was later moved to the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. The N64 version was so cancelled. The project was initialy developed by New Wave USA but when it was ported to the Dreamcast, it was completed by Infogrames Melbourne House,  therefore, is not really the same game that was going to be released on the Nintendo64.

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Le prime immagini di questo racing game della Infogrames cominciarono a circolare nel Marzo del 1998. Il progetto non sembrava all’insegna dell’innovazione, visto il concept abusato introdotto da Mario Kart, ma aveva comunque delle possibilità di successo grazie alla notorietà del brand e alla particolarità delle vetture, dei razzi.

Inizialmente previsto come gioco per Nintendo 64, venne dirottato durante l’estate del 1999 su Dreamcast, dove ottenne delle ottime valutazioni da parte della critica. Per i possessori della console Nintendo il rimpianto fu comunque limitato, visto che Infogrames oltre che cambiare destinatario cambiò anche mittente: non più New Wave USA (della quale fra l’altro non si hanno più tracce), ma Infogrames Melbourne House; quello che è stato distribuito per Dremcast, quindi, non è lo stesso gioco che sarebbe uscito su Nintendo64.[/spoiler]

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