Amazing Unreleased Video Games You Can Play Right Now
In the age of the internet nothing disappears for good, and many copies of officially unreleased video games (often referred to as ROMs) can be found online—assuming you know where to look.
Star Fox 2
According to Dylan Cuthbert, the former wiz kid who programmed the bulk of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System classic Star Fox, there’s one big reason why you never got to play Star Fox 2, and it’s called the Sony PlayStation. Oh, sure, you’ve played parts of the game—Shigeru Miyamoto borrowed some of its early 3D platforming ideas for Super Mario 64, and Star Fox 2’s strategy elements resurfaced in the Nintendo DS’ Star Fox Command. Star Fox 64, which (plot-wise) is a remake of the first game, takes a number of ideas from the original sequel, including nonlinear “All-Range Mode” battles, multiplayer dogfights, and Star Wolf, a team of recurring villains.
But Star Fox 2 itself never made it to market, and for that we have Sony to thank. While the first Star Fox blew fans away with its 3D graphics—which required a special piece of hardware, called the SuperFX chip, to execute on the relatively low-powered Super Nintendo—by the time Star Fox 2 was ready to hit the market, the PlayStation was transforming fully-fledged 3D from a novelty into the industry standard. Afraid Star Fox 2’s rudimentary 3D graphics wouldn’t stand up to the competition, Nintendo’s higher-ups decided to shelve the game at the last minute and focus their energies on a Star Fox game for their next console, the Nintendo 64.
Yet a few copies of the game survived, and thanks to some fellow Star Fox aficionados, you can finally see what all the fuss is about. A fan-made patch translates the game’s menus into English and fixes a number of lingering bugs, giving players an excellent idea as to how Star Fox 2 would’ve functioned as a real release (just make sure you’re using one of the later, feature-complete ROM files, and not one of the earlier versions).
Resident Evil 1.5
Like Resident Evil’s zombies, some games just won’t stay dead. Take the game that’s come to be known as Resident Evil 1.5, for example. As the first stab at a Resident Evil sequel, Resident Evil 1.5 has some things in common with the game that’d ultimately take its place. Like Resident Evil 2, the game has a branching narrative that changes based on which character you choose to play. Characters show injuries through animations, staggering when they’re hurt, or running faster when they feel fine. Leon Kennedy, one of Resident Evil 2’s heroes, even makes his first appearance in the abandoned title.
But there were many differences, too. Instead of STARS officer Claire Redfield, the game’s female protagonist is a college student named Elza Walker. Enemies include baboons and literal spider-men. The levels and puzzles were completely different. Unfortunately, while Resident Evil 1.5 was almost finished, Capcom and the Resident Evil team decided that the game just wasn’t up to snuff and decided to start over.
That’s not exactly a great endorsement, but it didn’t stop fans from wanting to see what Resident Evil 1.5 was all about. Now they can. A few years back, a team of hobbyists and amateur game designers called Team IGAS set out to use old prototypes to restore Resident Evil 1.5 to a playable state. Using a leaked prototype, some stray bits of Resident Evil 2’s source code, and previews and screenshots from old gaming magazines, IGNAS has been able to piece together a relatively faithful recreation of the original game. In 2013, IGNAS released an early version of the restoration after someone stole a copy and tried to sell it, while an official demo, Resident Evil 2: Battle Coliseum, arrived in 2016.
You don’t have to understand Warcraft’s massive backstory to enjoy Warcraft games, but it’s there if you want it, and boy, is there a lot of it. Currently, Blizzard and its various partners have published over 23 tie-in novels, a number of comic books, and a complete feature film—and that’s not even counting all of the lore revealed in the games themselves.
And, unbelievably, there was almost more. In the mid-’90s, years before World of Warcraft took the game industry by storm, Blizzard started work on a point-and-click adventure game called Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans. According to former Blizzard producer Bill Roper, Warcraft Adventures was going to tell the story of Thrall, an orc adopted by a human who would ultimately unite Azeroth’s orc tribes and lead a rebellion against their human oppressors. However, the game took longer than expected to make, and by the time Warcraft Adventures was nearing completion, the market had changed. Blizzard told the story in a novel called Lord of the Clans, canceled the game, and moved on to the next project.
And that’s all there was to say about Warcraft Adventures for about 18 years, until a Russian fan posted a copy of the game on a Warcraft fansite. If you’re willing to dredge through pop-up laden piracy sites, you can probably find a copy, which gives a peek into a very different world of Warcraft—one that’s less epic fantasy, and more just an excuse to make lame dirty jokes. Seriously. We’re not kidding.
The Dreamcast’s Sonic Adventure might be the first 3D Sonic game, but it wasn’t Sega’s first attempt to bring its furry blue mascot into the third dimension. During the Sega Genesis’ reign, the company started working on a Sonic & Knuckles follow-up called Sonic X-Treme. Originally, the game was going to be a traditional 2D side-scroller, but over time it took on an isometric viewpoint, then was reimagined as a “2.5D” platformer, and then finally transformed into a fully-fledged 3D title designed for Sony’s upcoming console, the Sega Saturn.
As you can tell, Sega had a lot of trouble deciding where to take Sonic X-Treme, and that indecision wasn’t exclusive to the game. Sega’s Japanese and United States branches had two very different ideas as to the direction of the company, and Sonic X-Treme, which was being developed in the U.S., was caught in the middle. When the American developers asked to use the technology powering Sonic creator Yuji Naka’s newest game, Nights into Dreams, to fuel Sonic X-Treme, Naka threatened to leave the company. Meanwhile, Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama asked the team to make substantial changes just a few months before Sonic X-Treme’s release. Key members of the development team fell ill during the resulting crunch, and finally, Sonic X-Treme was canceled.
All that remains of Sonic X-Treme are various pieces of the game’s source code, which were discovered in 2014 by a fan who goes by Jollyroger. The recovered code isn’t a complete game, but it’s enough to get a rudimentary version of Sonic X-Treme running, and the current build includes over 150 test levels created by the original development team as well as the original level editor, giving fans the ability to create Sonic X-Treme adventures of their very own.
Sunsoft Super Nintendo games
In the ’80s, Sunsoft established a reputation as a purveyor of innovative, high-quality games like Blaster Master, Kangaroo, and a number of titles based on properties like Batman, The Addams Family, and Gremlins. And then the ’90s happened. While Sunsoft continued to crank out games, including a number of titles based on Warner Bros.’ classic animated properties, the company’s parent organization made an ill-advised investment in a Palm Springs golf course, and Sunsoft of America went under, taking a number of in-development games with it.
Some of those titles survive, however, in the form of leaked prototypes. Of these, the most complete is Batman: Revenge of the Joker, but the most interesting is probably Wile E.’s Revenge, the sequel to Sunsoft’s Road Runner’s Death Valley Rally. According to Wile E. producer Rene Boutin, every part of the game was split into two levels. In the first half, players would control Wile E. Coyote as he scrambled to collect parts for his latest Road Runner-hunting gadget; in the second half, the Coyote had his invention, and used it to hunt down the Road Runner, who—as in the cartoons—he’d never quite catch.
That sounds like an interesting premise, but Boutin admits that it was a half-baked idea, and says the game wasn’t really coming together when it was canceled (in the leaked prototype, only the first half of the first level—the collecting portion—works). There are also a few copies of a Sylvester and Tweety game out there, although it’s hard to tell exactly what Sunsoft was aiming for—players (controlling Sylvester) can’t do much more than meander around the house while Tweety and Granny wander around in the background.
Source – Looper
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