The scene is Christmas 1991, and your humble narrator is ten years old. The only packages under the tree we have any interest in are two oddly light square boxes. Money had been tight for many years, and we knew our parents didn't have $200 to drop on the new Super Nintendo, but we just hoped and hope and hoped. Well, mom and dad came through and the 16-bit console with Super Castlevania remains the best Christmas gift we've ever gotten. No system before or since has had such an awesome library of games.
It's been 15 years since Nintendo retired the old girl, but she's about to make a comeback. No, we don't mean a complete library of downloadable games. A company called Super Fighter Team is taking pre-orders for an all-new actual console game called Nightmare Busters, due out in 2013. The cancelled run-and-gun game had a small bootleg release, as well as a stint on cell phones as Flynn's Adventure, but is now aiming for a full-on run complete with cartridges and instruction manuals.
Super Fighter Team has purchased all the necessary rights, and the buzz has been so positive that they've expanded their planned production to 600 copies. They aren't cheap. Without a massive manufacturing infrastructure to cut costs, each game will retail at $68. Still, enthusiasm for the project is high.
"Exciting people are still developing for the platform," said a spokesperson for Game Over Games, a store that specializes in retro systems like the SNES. "I'll be keeping an eye on it for sure."
Pre-orders can be placed here.
This is invigorating. It makes us wonder what other canceled games from the 16-bit era might be able to finally see the light of day from Super Fight Team's awesome retro-releasing powers. Maybe we'll finally get to play...
Accolade was aiming to release this incredibly ambitious action-adventure game with a planned 100 hours of game play sometime in '94 or '95. It was to combine aspects of Metroid, Final Fantasy and Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge. The design team got in over their heads and ultimately the project was canceled. You can find ROMs of the Alpha version of it, and it's clearly still in need of a lot of work. The game is something of a morality tale in game design circles on how not to let the marketing team write checks your codes can't cash.
Psygnosis was known more for puzzle games like Lemmings than space shooters, but Apocalypse II wasn't a bad shot. The game was licensed and almost completed when it was canceled. Similar to Asteroids, you fly around destroying moons. It's a simple and elegant outing that wouldn't have changed anyone's world but would've been good for an hour to kill.
One of the world's most famously bad ideas based on the racist premise that A) Most rappers are black, B) Most good basketball players are black, so C) Most rappers must be good at basketball. LL Cool J and Ice-T were two of the names that were allegedly licensed, so there's that. Enough time has passed that a game starring '90s rap stars involved in an old school game outing would probably sell pretty well.
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Road Runner's Death Valley Rally was an insanely hard platform game that took us years to finally beat. Nonetheless, we loved it for its perfect translation of Looney Tunes humor into game form. The problem was that the game didn't really take into account the whole Road Runner-is-supposed-to-be-fast thing and instead spent most of its time in jumping puzzles. The sequel would've put you in control of Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner, which makes us wonder how it would've ended. Unfortunately, the game was only half-done when Sunsoft went bankrupt.
We never got a sequel to Chrono Trigger on the SNES, but a few fans did put together the next best thing. By hacking a ROM they created a pure, not-for-profit sequel that bridged the original Chrono Trigger and the PlayStation's Chrono Cross (meh). The project took four years, and when it was 98 percent completed with 35 hours of gameplay and ten alternate endings ready to go, Square-Enix sent them a cease-and-desist letter. This was seen as a tremendous dick move, and considering modern companies like Valve are more than happy to reward good fan-generated work with licenses and official status, it's a remarkably outdated point of view. If any game deserves its time to finally shine, it's Crimson Echoes.