shmup

Zodiac (Ubisoft) [Sega Mega Drive – Cancelled]

Zodiac is a cancelled shoot ‘em up in development at Ubisoft around 1992 – 1993, by a team composed of  Frederic Houde (one of the designers behind the original Rayman and Tonic Trouble) and Laurent Cluzel (who worked on Starush, a 1992 Amiga shmup, and later on The City of Lost Children). Frederic talked about the game in an interview by Arcade Attack:

“How did you get the opportunity to work for Ubisoft?

My best friend Frederic Markus worked on a game called Starush for Amiga, Atari ST & PC while I was finishing my military obligation. Then, I tried an approach to join the team.  We had a strategy to show something big to Ubisoft to be able to make another (console) version, me as the main programmer. We decided to show a huge boss on the Amiga platform, something the current programmer for this game was not capable of… Ubisoft had no more than 50 employees at this time. I remember showing my Game Boss Demo to Yves (best Big Boss on earth), he told me “ok, I don’t know the project you will work on but here’s some money, consider yourself working for Ubisoft. It was the beginning of my career.

Tell us a bit more about the first game you worked on:

I ended up making ZODIAC (Starush inspired) on the Sega Mega Drive. It took me a year and a half, with Laurent Cluzel as graphic artist, making the engine, coding the tools, alone in my apartment… No internet at this time… The game was 100% finished, but Sega Mega Drive began to slow down at that time and unfortunately Ubisoft decided not to release the game. Only 2 roms exist at this time, Laurent’s and mine. Maybe someday I will give to the Mega Drive Emulator Scene a copy”

As posted by VGDensetsu on Twitter, a Zodiac prototype was shown by the Conservatoire National du Jeu Video (CNJV) at the Bibilothèque National de France (BNF). In there we can read Ubisoft decided to cancel the game because of the competition from Thunder Force IV and the high cost of cartridges, that would make hard to profit from its release. 

As far as we know, the game ROM is still not released to the public, but we hope Frederic could share it in the future.

Thanks to Dylan for the contribution!

Images:

 

Dennin Aleste 2 [Cancelled – Mega Drive Sega CD]

Dennin Aleste 2 is the cancelled Sega Mega CD sequel to the cult shump developed by Compile also known in the west as Robo Aleste, the title they gave to the first game when it was published in USA and Europe in 1993. A few characters artwork was found by VGDensetsu in old japanese magazines Beep! Mega Drive (January and February 1993) and Mega Drive Fan (February 1993).

It seems Robo Aleste was poorly received by reviews and some fans, receiving a mid-low score of 24 / 40 by Famitsu. This could be the reason why Compile decided to cancel the sequel.

If you can read the details found in the japanese scans preserved in this page, please let us know if there’s some interesting info about the game!

Images:

 

Reactor [SNES – Cancelled]

Reactor is a cancelled project in development by Argonaut Software for SNES in 1991. Contrary to other 3D productions Argonaut got famous for on SNES and GB (think Star Fox on SNES or Hard Drivin on Game Boy)  this game was an isometric 2D shooter with a futuristic setting. Reactor was never released for unknown reason however Howard Phillips found a prototype of it in his archive and shared some photos with the community.

Images:
 

Zzyorxx II [Jaguar – Cancelled]

Zzyorxx II is a cancelled shoot ’em up that was in development by Virtual Xperience for Jaguar.
The game run at 60 fps and had planned 5 different ages to go through from Prehistory to Star Wars ( passing through Middle Ages and First World War ).
As Rodolphe Czuba , programmer at Virtual Xperience, recalled over at MyAtari.net

Two more games were in development:

  • Zzyorxx, a great shoot-’em-up!
  • Indy Jag, a platform game.

The first was stopped two months before the end of the development by my managing associate at VX! A real shame. Only some graphics were done for Indy Jag, a concept like a humorous Indiana Jones with a jaguar figure.

Scans from Cd Consoles issue 5 and 13.

Images: 

Bit.Trip Series [WiiWare – Unused Stuff]

Bit.Trip is a series of action / music games that has been released on Wiiware download service for the Nintendo Wii. The series has been started in 2009 and finished in 2011. It was developed by Gaijin Games and published by Aksys Games. Each game revolves around the adventures of a character named “Commander Video”, and features “a crazy mix of 80s aesthetics and modern game design”. (Info from Wikipedia)

Six games have been released for Bit.Trip:

  • Bit.Trip Beat, first one of the series, which introduces a style of pong;
  • Bit.Trip Core, second one of the series, which introduces a style of more peculiar rhythm, similar of Dance Machines;
  • Bit.Trip Void, third one of the series, which introduces a different rhythm;
  • Bit.Trip Runner, fourth one of the series, introduces a new style, with 2D Platformer with rhythm;
  • Bit.Trip Fate, fifth one of the series, introduces a new style of side scroller shooting with rhythm;
  • Bit.Trip Flux, sixty one of the series, Gaijin games have returned the Bit.Trip Beat style.

Some of those games have unused stuff hidden in their code, such as animations and sound effects.

Bit.Trip Beat

There is a different game over screen in the first game of the serie. Later, it’s never have been used:
Video:

Bit.Trip Core

In Bit.Trip Core, there are still sprites for WiiRemote that appears in Bit.Trip Beat, probably the game could be different.

ControllerSideArrow

Bit.Trip Void

There is some testing stuff into the title screen folder. It’s really unknown about it:

BendIndirect BendTest

Bit.Trip Runner

There is a unused idle animation, which probably would be used if the player left controller. Maybe, just discovering this animation, the game could be a lot of different, it could probably a sidescroller which you could move manually, and if stops, it could appear this animation rarely. However, Bit.Trip series have the main goal of rhythm, so they retired the animation and did as automatic sidescroller game (probably).

Video:

Bit.Trip Fate
Originally planned to be a more traditional shooter where CommanderVideo was in a ship and he had free movement around the screen. The game also did not use pointer controls or the “fate line” until a later date.

Bit.Trip Flux
Started off using Breakout style gameplay during the normal course of the levels, but was cut because it simply wasn’t that fun. Bosses also used to be at the beginning of each level, reinforcing the reverse nature of the game, but that upset the pacing right away.

The whole serie:There is a sprite which appear in all the games, into the game files. Probably, it’s only used in Japanese Version:
arclogo
Those sprites only appears on the Japanese version of the game:
ware01_void
Translation: BIT.TRIP VOID’s sytem file is corrupt.
After erasing BIT.TRIP VOID from the Channel Management Screen, please redownload BIT.TRIP VOID from the Wii Shopping Channel.
If you still get the same message afterwards, please contact the Nintendo Service Center.

ware01_core
Translation:
BIT.TRIP CORE’s sytem file is corrupt.
After erasing BIT.TRIP CORE from the Channel Management Screen, please redownload BIT.TRIP CORE from the Wii Shopping Channel.
If you still get the same message afterwards, please contact the Nintendo Service Center.

ware01_runner
Translation: BIT.TRIP RUNNER’s sytem file is corrupt.
After erasing BIT.TRIP RUNNER from the Channel Management Screen, please redownload BIT.TRIP RUNNER from the Wii Shopping Channel.
If you still get the same message afterwards, please contact the Nintendo Service Center.

Thanks to Gabrielwoj and Susumu (translation) for the contributors.