shoot ’em up

Space Fantasy Zone [PC Engine – Cancelled]

Space Fantasy Zone is a cancelled shoot ’em up planned for the PC-Engine, as a weird mix between the original Fantasy Zone and Space Harrier. The game was in development in 1991 by NEC Avenue, but for some reasons it was never released. A playable version was eventually leaked online so if you are interested to know more about the game, you should be able to easily find it with google.

Thanks to Celine and Guilherme Miranda for the contribution!

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Dark Guns [PSX – Cancelled]

Dark Guns is a cancelled shooter / action game that was in development from 1997 to 1999 by a SCEA team (989 Studios?) headed by David Jaffe, planned to be released for the Playstation. The original concept was for a run and gun 3rd person shooter, but it soon evolved into a flying-shooter, in which players would had took the role of a UFO, to destroy real-life cities and abduct humans to use them for alien esperiments. A playable beta was created (as we can see from the photo of the disc, revealed by Jaffe) before they decided to stop the works on the project, because of some development and managment issues.

David Jaffe talked about Dark Guns in various interviews, that we can read on Gamespot and Gamasutra:

“I had come off Twisted Metal 2,” Jaffe said. “They gave me a blank check and said, ‘Do whatever you want.’ Anybody who was looking at $2 million–at the time that was a lot of money–to do an overhead shooter…that should have been a red flag. To have a design document that was 300 pages for anything, let alone an overhead shooter, should have been a red flag. And then being told the producer and the designer was the same person and that person was someone who had never produced a game in his life… All three of these things came up during the pitch. A number of people, including myself, should have said, ‘Let’s rethink this.”

“Everything about that game came from negativity, and after four years they pulled the plug,” he continued. “And I’m glad they did. I remember when that game was cancelled I realized, that was a huge opportunity and I blew it. No one gets that opportunity, and I wasted it. So after I did another Twisted Metal game my boss came to me and asked again, ‘What do you want to make next?’ And it was really for me a chance to do it right.”

We can only hope that in the future some Dark Guns screens or videos could be preserved too.

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Super Star Soldier 3D [PC-FX – Cancelled]

NEC/Hudson unveiled a new hardware board, codenamed IronMan, in mid 1992 that would replace the aging PC-Engine. During the announcement they showed some  tech demos and between them there was a polygonal-based flying shooter game that later was known as Super Star Soldier 3D. However NEC didn’t release the new system that year because the PC-Engine was still quite popular in Japan.

Only with the approaching of new rivals like 3DO, Saturn and Playstation NEC decided to release a successor to its popular platform using as the base the old board showed two years before ( it’s still unknown the difference between the original Iron Man and the final PC-FX ), but Super Star Soldier 3D was never finished. The project is of particular interest because PC-FX never had any polygonal-based game.

Scans from Consoles Plus issue 11 and 19, article by Celine

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Titan Warriors [NES – Unreleased]

Titan Warriors is a cancelled shoot ’em up that was developed by Capcom for the NES / Famicom, in 1988. The game was meant to be a sequel of Vulgus, an arcade shooter developed and published by Capcom in Japan in 1984. An almost complete build (with just some bugs) of Titan Warriors was somehow leaked online, and you can download it at the Lost Levels Forum. For more info about this project, you can read a nice article written by Frank Cifaldi for 1UP’s Retro Gaming Blog.

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NATIVE II [Nuon – Tech Demo / Cancelled]

NATIVE originally started as a “homebrew” shoot ’em up project on the Atari Jaguar platform by German developers Duranik. The project was eventually cancelled after the developers had issues working on the Jaguar platform and they were also concerned about the game being too similar as R-Type. This did not stop them from showing interest in taking the game over to the NUON and they created some mock-up videos of what the game would have looked like running on the platform. Unfortunately VM Labs, the developer behind the NUON technology was short-sighted and was not interested in the game, effectively killing it forever.

Note that while the videos below say that they are from the Atari Jaguar version, these are actually the NUON demos Duranik had made.

Thanks to Adam for the contribution!

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