shoot ’em up

Robotech Crystal Dreams [Tech Demo / Proto / Cancelled]

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Robotech is an old sci-fi anime mash-up created by Carl Macek after fusing 3 different animes (4 if you count the movie) originally released in Japan twenty-two years ago. It was a huge success at home, and it was successfully exported around the world. More interesting for our site, it is probably the anime mash-up with more unseen material, with various series originally planned and never released. Maybe it was just destiny, but Gametek, a software house at the time well-known for her console versions of many famous american shows, bought the rights of the anime in 1994 and began working on a title for the Nintendo 64.

This title was officially announced in may 1995 as Robotech Academy, and it was essentially a battle simulator for the cadets of Robotech. However, at the beginning of 1996, Doug Lanford, a new entry of the small development team and a big fan of the series, dropped this concept, probably intended to be just a cheap rendition of the anime, and created a much more ambitious game that was going to be the first real space combat simulator for console: Robotech Crystal Dreams. First of all, it would have featured the entire solar system, in order to create a big environment for the free structure of the game. In fact, even if it was mission based, the player could directly affect the events of the game, simply choosing for example to avoid the current objective and answer a call for help on another planet, without the need to complete the previous mission.

Also, it would have included many of the weapons, characters,combat mecha, enemies, places of the series, as well as a complex story related to the events narrated in Robotech. Unfortunately, several issues slowed down the developement of the game, like the technical limitations of the Nintendo 64, the small financial resources of the developer, the closing down of Philips Media, the publisher of the game, and it was finally cancelled, even if finished at 90%, in 1998, after the complete bankrupt of Gametek. Eventually an early demo was released on internet, but it was a complete letdown, showing a game largely incomplete,bug-filled, slow-paced, and without the most interesting features announced by the developers.

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Viewpoint 2064 [N64 – Cancelled]

Viewpoint 2064 is a cancelled shoot ‘em up that was in development for the Nintendo 64. The original Viewpoint was also an isometric shmup with an incredible difficulty released in 1992 by SNK for the Neo-Geo arcade platform. After Sammy published a port of the original game for the Playstation and Saturn, in 1998 they started to work on a true sequel for the Nintendo 64, that looked somehow similar to StarFox 64 (Lylat Wars).

True to its title, Viewpoint 2064 was going to have multiple points of view, with the classic isometric view and a “behind the spaceship” view. The game had a really good graphic for its time and it had a lot of potential to be a fun shooter, but sadly Sammy had some development problems and Viewpoint 64 was cancelled only a year after his presentation at the Space World 1999.

A playable prototype was found and sold on ebay in September 2015, you can see a video below that shows about 7 minutes from the game. It seems that this version of Viewpoint 2064 was almost finished as you can play all the level trough the end. There are multiple secret paths to discover that unlock different levels: there is a total of 15 areas but to finish the game you have play trough 5 of them, somehow similar to StarFox 64.

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StarFox 64 – Lylat Wars [N64 – Beta]

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During the early stages of development, Starfox 64 (Lylat Wars in Europe) looked very different from the final version. The level design was much more meager, lots of details, from the textures to the polygonal backgrounds, were much simpler and more blurred. Some enemies were slightly different, the HUB on the screen (energy, radar, maps etc..) was changed  various times before reaching the final version.

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Durante le prime fasi di sviluppo, StarFox 64 (Lylat Wars in Europa) appariva molto diverso dalla versione finale. Il level design era molto più scarno, tantissimi particolari, dalle textures alla costruzione poligonale, erano molto più semplici e approssimativi. Inizialmente gli sfondi erano inesistenti e come in diversi titoli dei primi anni del N64, una strana nebbia riempiva le zone più lontane. Anche alcuni nemici erano leggermente diversi, le icone a schermo (come quella dell’ energia dell’ accelerazione, il radar, le mappe ecc.) sono evolute in diverse fasi, prima di arrivare quella definitiva. [/spoiler]

[Thanks to D-vide for some of the images!]

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