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Vapor Trails - On Famously Unreleased Videogames

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the virtua-laughing-fit dept.

Classic Games (Games) 64

Thanks to GamePro for its article discussing formerly in-development videogames which never actually got released. Some of the more unconventional include Data East's Tattoo Assassins ("2D video-captured fighters, whose tattoos come to life and whack on other players. Characters included a Nancy Kerrigan clone and a giant running hot dog"), Sega's Virtua Hamster ("...[involving] polygonal rodents with rocket packs and skateboards swooshing through a huge hamster habitrail, collecting popcorn kernels to spit at enemies"), and Runandgun!'s partially resurrected Duelin' Firemen! ("...[an FMV] game about singing, dancing firemen [starring Rudy Ray Moore].")

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Oh 3D Realms (5, Funny)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 10 years ago | (#8199940)

I think anything 3D Realms announces doesn't come out. Duke is an obvious choice but let's not forget Prey [] either...

But once it comes out, rest assured I will be playing it on my Glaze3D [] chip. Maybe they'll even port it to the Phantom!

Tattoo Assassins... (5, Informative)

Lazyhound (542184) | more than 10 years ago | (#8199969) actually available as a MAME ROM now.

Re:Tattoo Assassins... (4, Informative)

Lazyhound (542184) | more than 10 years ago | (#8199985)

Also, holy ****, the GamePro article is a word-for-word reprint of a feature they published in the magazine about four years ago, with one or two games added. How lame is that?

Re:Tattoo Assassins... (3, Funny)

*weasel (174362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200278)

as lame as gamepr....

maybe we shoulda seen that coming

Re:Tattoo Assassins... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8203923)

You'll notice the title of the web artcile is Vapor Trails 2.0 . The article in the current GamePro mag is Vapor Trails 3.0 . So yes, this is reprint of one of their previous articles on the website. If you want the current one, go out and pick up the March ish.

Re:Tattoo Assassins... (1)

Uberwang (745233) | more than 10 years ago | (#8210198)

yeah... in the magazine they didnt put any of those games in. All they had was harry potter, thrill kill, and some girl with a hammer.

Re:Tattoo Assassins... (1)

PeeweeJD (623974) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200737)

I have to play that game... This has to be the "Toxic Avengers" of video games (so bad its good)...

Virtual Hamster?? (5, Funny)

osullish (586626) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200007)

I would love to know what they were smoking when they thought of that!

Stoned Developer 1 : "uugh dude, (takes a deep puff..) do you know what there isn't enough of in games to day?"
Stoned Developer 2 :"uugh I dunno dude"
Stoned Developer 1 :"Hamsters man, just think about it dude.."
Stoned Developer 2 :"crazeeee man"

Re:Virtual Hamster?? (4, Funny)

Yorrike (322502) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200191)

Stoned Developer 2 :"Dude! (takes another puff), you know what else is missing?"
Stoned Developer 1 :"Whassat?"
Stoned Developer 2 :"Fuckin', games, like, where you fire angry lightbulbs at hopped up rainbows while flying backwards through Atlanis on a hunk of cheese!"
Stoned Developer 1 :"Dude!"

Re:Virtual Hamster?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8200217)

Clearly they were mad. What the world obviously needs is more games starring monkeys. Monkeys who jump on hopped-up rainbows to stop them drowning.

Re:Virtual Hamster?? (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#8205823)

Sega is Japanese. They need no crack to think up strange games.

Some of the games that get released over there are CRAZY, but still do well.

Re:Virtual Hamster?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8207027)

Sega, like most Japanese game publishers including Nintendo, Konami, Capcom, and Namco, has American developers under its corporate wing. Pretty much all 32X development was done by American developers (including those ports of AM2 games). Japanese developers waited for Saturn.

Getting the project greenlighted was pretty easy to do. The early 32-bit generation was a time of innovation, both good and bad. Nobody knew what worked yet, so I'm not surprised that something like Virtua Hamster was initially okayed.

Hamsters? (2, Interesting)

neostorm (462848) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200170)

That's such a funny idea. I would have loved to see that.

Reminds me of "Battle Hamster"

hamsters? been done. (4, Funny)

*weasel (174362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200194)

go for the eyes boo, GO FOR THE EYES!

Re:hamsters? been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8200674)


Re:hamsters? been done. (2, Funny)

Engdy (124179) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200824)

Butt kicking for goodness!

Let me be the first to mention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8200412)


It is about this dude who kills aliens and is in search for the perfect boobs.

Dueling Firemen (2, Insightful)

hrieke (126185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200477)

What sick twisted mind came up with this?
Just watch the video...

Re:Dueling Firemen (3, Insightful)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200811)

seriously! i watched the trailer for this and my jaw just went slack. timothy leary, mark mothersbaugh, steve albini, and the guy that created Dolemite are in it. the other actors, though, are kinda weird. it's really hard to discern any details from that website, but apparently this was going to be a 3DO title?!?! seriously wacked. the trailer opens (i THINK) with 2 airplanes crashing into downtown Chicago, and lots of high-rises bursting into flames ... oddly prescient for 1996. apparently the citizenry of chicago reacts by doing 500 hits of acid each and throwing a big party. aliens(?) arrive. firemen breakdance. timothy leary turns into Max Headroom. what the fuck?

Re:Dueling Firemen (1)

FatalTourist (633757) | more than 10 years ago | (#8201612)

It was an airplane AND the Columbia crashing into a sky scraper! What the?!?!
For fans of 70's camp, Japanese game shows, and drugs.

Re:Dueling Firemen (2, Funny)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8201762)

I believe that is an airplane and a space shuttle crashing into the Sears Tower. Everyone left alive runs to the Hancock building to boogie down. As for actual gameplay... Who knows?

I also believe that this is the first videogame that Tony Hawk has appeared in, either by image or by proxy. Also the presence of the Reverend Ivan Stang and Timothy Leary means that the game was made in connection with The Church of the Subgenius [] .

Personally I hope they make this into a full-length movie. With primary filming already in the can, it could probably go down as one of the best terrible movies in history. Pull a Rocky Horror and only show it late on Friday Nights and you could have a winner.

Re:Dueling Firemen (2, Interesting)

Allison Geode (598914) | more than 10 years ago | (#8209443)

see, I thought the same thing: this would make an AWESOME screwball midnight movie. they seriously should dust off the non-interactive segments (what am I talking about? its an fmv game, there ARE no interactive segments.) and sell it to some cable network. I mean, hey, I saw a movie where aliens implant people with alien dna via easy listening music and graham crackers, and the aliens only weakeness was polka late at night on cable. it was the stupidest thing I've ever seen, and if I knew the title of it, I'd look for a dvd of it. (hint hint: cookie for anyone who knows the title.) Duelin' firemen looks at least twice as screwed up, and twice as awesome. truly a travesty it never got released: would have been the best game on the 3do, except for Gex. but that got ported, so it doesn't count.

Re:Dueling Firemen (1)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8209863)

Ivan Stang! Fuck, that game is a geek's wet dream! Why, oh why, did they cancel it?!

Re:Dueling Firemen (1)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8209878)

Holy motherfucking motherfucker!! Ivan Stang AND the Boredoms ?!?! This is my wet dream. I cannot wait until this download finishes!!

Why not games that would've (could've) been good? (2, Interesting)

wheresdrew (735202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200484)

Why most the ones in the article look like there was a good reason they got shelved.

Why not list Half-Life for Dreamcast or Macintosh? What about Thrill Kill for PS1?

(Okay, Thrill Kill made it out in various forms - I still have my copy - but it wasn't ever "officially" released.)

Re:Why not games that would've (could've) been goo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8201160)

Actually those two were mentioned in the print version of this article in their latest issue.

Re:Why not games that would've (could've) been goo (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8202024)

Most games were shelved for a good reason. I would consider the terrible lateness of the Mac version and the low US sales of the Dreamcast a good reason to shelve Half-Life. Thrill Kill, while fun for about 5 minutes, was a hollow, repetitive game that despite its legendary status wasn't up to snuff (no pun intended). Plus with only 8 characters, you were guaranteed repeats by the 3rd level. Doing a wu-tang sellout was a good use of the engine.

Most game projects get shelved... The reaches development vs released ratio is something between two to one and four to one. Nearly all of those are for quality reasons. Why would someone shelve a game that is going to be good, disheartening your employees and wasting your investment?

Re:Why not games that would've (could've) been goo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8202390)

Half Life for the Dreamcast was released - well, okay, leaked. It is fully playable - but the controls are a bit wonky. It's posted from time to time in alt.binaries.dreamcast

They did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8203579)

This month's GamePro has this article with different games including Half-Life and Thrill Kill, who's engine was later used for the Wu-Tang fighter.

Dueling Fireman ... (1)

Pyrometer (106089) | more than 10 years ago | (#8200970)

Honestly instead of those stupid this is your brain on drugs commericials with eggs being scrambled, for drug education kids should be shown that trailer!

... see kids, drugs are bad mmmkay.

I would think Malice for tXBox deserves a mention. (5, Interesting)

freidog (706941) | more than 10 years ago | (#8201314)

Malice [] was one of the titles used to show of the power of the XBox before it was released . If you paid attention to the XBox hype, chances are you saw some Malic screenshots.
It was widely expected to be a release title in fact. But here 3+ years latter, no release date ia availibe, the Official [] webpage no longer exists, and we've heard nothing from Argonaut Games in the last year or so.

Re:I would think Malice for tXBox deserves a menti (1)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8202463)

Malice did look cool. And being supposedly voice by Gwen Stefani also seemed cool.

Unfortunately, it was delayed one too many times and then thrown into the scrap-heap. []

Argonaut Games made I-ninja, so they're still around.

Re:I would think Malice for tXBox deserves a menti (1)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8204521)

...and we've heard nothing from Argonaut Games in the last year or so.

I am not so sure [] about [] that... []

(The new screenshots show off the game looking much better than it has otherwise recently looked. I make no claims whether the game will actually not suck, though. :D)

Great timing! (1)

Phil Wilkins (5921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8205422)

It was dropped by the orignal publisher, but was picked up earlier this year. Todays Eurogamer says March. []

Re:Great timing! (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8207195)

That's good to hear. I liked Malice's design, myself, and was looking forward to it for a while now. I think Play had it as a cover story some year and a half ago... Anyway, I'm curious as to if or when it'll get a U.S. release (call me cynical, but knowing what Eurogamer says doesn't help me much in Buffalo, New York).

Warcraft Adventures (3, Insightful)

Clomer (644284) | more than 10 years ago | (#8201967)

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned WarCraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans [] . It was to be Blizzard's first adventure game, but was cancelled as a nearly complete game. Oh well, at least the story is now available as a novel. And it is part of WarCraft official cannon, as it plays into the setup of WarCraft III.

Re:Warcraft Adventures (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8204234)

Yeah, that's true...I bet a lot more people had heard of that than any of the games they actually put on the list.

Plus, like all the others on the list...I'm kinda glad it never came out.

Fallout 3 & Xcom (3, Interesting)

samsmithnz (702471) | more than 10 years ago | (#8202146)

Don't forget about the ill-fated Fallout 3... ml [] 20.html []

and XCom, I don't know how many times this project has been canned and then resurected again 2 years later... [] []

These are the two biggies for me...

Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors (3, Interesting)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#8202547)

If I had to pick one piece of vaporware I'd want to be able to play, this [] would be it. It was a bunch of screwed-up mini-games, including this one where you have to drive from somewhere to Las Vegas in a tour bus. I remember reading a preview for it in Video Games (aka the best gaming mag ever); a couple of the staff members actually took turns playing the tour bus game for like eight hours before they accidentally wrecked and ruined all their "progress."


Re:Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors (1)

Thedalek (473015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8204466)

Here's the thing that gets me about it: The article you link to reads like an ISO of the game is floating around somewhere "out there." Thing is, an awful lot is known about this unreleased game for it to be completely unavailable to the public somehow.

I still remember my first exposure to the game, though: Penn and Teller on the Boston Pops, performing the song "The Typewriter" with that game instead of a typewriter.

Re:Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors (1)

Black Hitler (687112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8210029)

Thing is, an awful lot is known about this unreleased game for it to be completely unavailable to the public somehow.
Not really. I have an old back issue of Sega Visions (the crappy free magazine Sega sent you if you bothered registering one of their products) with a two-page spread that goes into pretty good detail on every single mini-game. I haven't found anyone who actually claims to have played it.

Re:Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors (1)

Mighty Eris (729051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8208912)

I remember that review. It was the first time I'd heard of Penn & Teller, and it made me a fan.

If I remember, the only thing in the bus tour game that ever happens (aside from the bus constantly pulling to the right, requiring you to actually steer it), is that four hours in, a bug gets squashed on your windshield, and you have to stare at it the whole time afterwards.

It seems like the most accurate simulation of road madness ever.

Marble Man? (1)

Xenolith (538304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8203645)

I am surprised that no one has mentioned Marble Man yet... []

The ROMs are out there, it's just a matter of getting them leaked.

Re:Marble Man? (1)

hords (619030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8204196)

Heh, I was just about to mention Marble Man myself. I so wish a Mame ROM was available.

Re:Marble Man? (2, Interesting)

Thedalek (473015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8204556)

The ROMs are out there, it's just a matter of getting them leaked.

Don't you mean a matter of getting them dumped?

I recall a few years back (before CPS2 encryption was cracked) someone started posting to some Mame dev boards saying that he owned a MarbleMan cabinet. Once someone asked him how much he would want for such a thing, he quoted some absurd figure.

That didn't discourage the Mame fans, though. They started a collection to reach the mark (I think it was $10,000), and were making serious progress before he decided he wouldn't sell.

Re:Marble Man? (1)

Mighty Eris (729051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8208945)

That reminds me of a similar situation that Mother for the NES went through. An unreleased English version was finished, and the only owner of a copy ended up selling it to a group of dumpers who released it.

Future Vaporware?? (1)

lake2112 (748837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8204411)

Wheres Duke Nukem Forever?

Oh , no game about Bender? (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 10 years ago | (#8205317)

Yeah well, I'm gonna make my own video game.....
with blackjack, and hookers! In fact, forget the video game.

Vapor Trails? (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8205728)

Damn Rush fans always getting into everything!

Re:Vapor Trails? (1)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8208084)

Totally. Wouldn't have even clicked on the article, 'cept I half-expected to see a Rush reference in there somewhere.


When my car was stolen Nov 2002 about the only thing the thieves DIDN'T take was my "Vapor Trails" CD. Not only were they criminals, they had bad taste in music, too.

They even took the chrome Bevo I had off the back of my car. Are you kidding me? What kind of sick fuck steals a man's Bevo?

[Bevo = logo for the University of Texas, a silhouette of a longhorn cow head]

Polybius! (2, Interesting)

Man In Black (11263) | more than 10 years ago | (#8205832)

Polybius [] is one game that I've always wanted to see surface some day... any game that was written by the military/CIA/(insert conspiracy theory here) and can give people amnesia and horrible nightmares has got to be one hell of a game!!

Sadly, I think it's actually been proven to be a hoax.

Re:Polybius! (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 10 years ago | (#8210718)

From what was there it sounds like there was such a game, but that it was more mundane than some people would like to think. Apparently the mazes made some people dizzy and the strobe effect it used could induce epileptic seizures. These effects are entirely possible and it sounds like they were exaggerated badly.

How About Nintendo? (2, Funny)

aceadean (675107) | more than 10 years ago | (#8207341)

I seem to remember reading about this great game for the NES called Doki Doki Panic... Man I wonder whatever happend to that game?

Re:How About Nintendo? (0)

wanderers_id (682230) | more than 10 years ago | (#8209282)

For those of you who don't know...

Doki Doki Panic was released in the US as none other than Super Mario Bros. 2 for NES.

Why on earth didn't N give us the "real" Mario 2??? (Untill Mario All-Stars)

Re:How About Nintendo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8209938)

It was considered "more of the same," other than being much more difficult. Of course, that's exactly what it was.

I'm not happy that the Western series differed from the Japanese one, but I'm happy to see that so many of the concepts and characters born from Doki^2 Panic (a great game) were incorporated into so many future Mario games. Thanks to that game, the Mario world is much more varied than it might have been otherwise.

Ben, we hardly knew ye (3, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 10 years ago | (#8207426)

Too bad the world will never see Full Throttle 2. Lucasarts [] axed it because it did not meet their high quality standards. Also, the actor who voiced the protagonist Ben passed away a year or two ago. Shame. The original was a cool, cool game.

Re:Ben, we hardly knew ye (2, Interesting)

Black Hitler (687112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8210044)

The original was a cool, cool game.
And the new one looked terrible. Seriously, the screenshots they released were sub-Grim Fandango in terms of graphics quality and they were describing it as an "action-adventure" instead of pure adventure, complete with lots of fistfights (in fact, most of the released screenshots were of action scenes). Can't say I'm terribly crushed they canned it.

Thrill Kill (1)

CandyMan (15493) | more than 10 years ago | (#8208234)

Thrill Kill was not waporware proper. It was finished modulo some touch-up, but it seems it was a bit too much for Virgin (IIRC), who buried it rather than release it. Some copies had gotten to journalists, however, and I got to play it with my friends.

It was a S&M-themed fighter for the Playstation, with funny characters like a madman in a straitjacket, a midget on stilts, a surgeon with scalpels and a nurse with a stungun. The fighting bodies locked quite nicely, and fatalities usually involved beheading. Nothing too bad, really, maybe 18-rated but more funny than disturbing.

Of course, funny is in the eye of the beholder.

Re:Thrill Kill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8212691)

Actually, it was Electronic Arts that killed it. They bought Virgin Interactive, which included the rights to Thrill Kill. EA deemed the game not appropriate for release (by anyone - they wouldn't even sell it to another publisher) and axed it. Read more [] .

Chrono Break (1, Interesting)

wanderers_id (682230) | more than 10 years ago | (#8209355)

Relativly new vaporware. Square Enix had trademark registration for the title, but that registration has recently expired. I read an article at RPGamer that stated Square Enix staff said that the company is no longer persuing the title.

They probably never started development. Too bad, I'd have liked to see it.

When Squaresoft trademarked the name Chrono Break in December of 2001, many Chrono Trigger fans became hopeful for the release of a third game in the beloved series. For the past two years, rumors and speculation have run rampant across the internet, raising hopes and creating dreams. This optimism persisted in spite of the fact that Unlimited SaGa, a name that was trademarked at the same time, became an actual game, while Chrono Break remained nothing more than a mysterious moniker.

That has come to an end. Various sources report that Square Enix abandoned its trademark on the Chrono Break name as early as last November. Furthermore, sources at Square Enix assert that the company has never begun work on a third installment of the Chrono series.

Super Turrican 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8212546)

Now wait a minute. I live in the US, I own this game (cart, box, and manual), and I certainly didn't import it from Columbia. It most definitely did get some form of release. Too bad I forget where I got it. Hmm...rental release sold by Blockbuster perhaps?

Babylon 5: Into the Fire (1)

motown (178312) | more than 10 years ago | (#8217681)

This space flight combat sim set in the B5-universe was cancelled by Sierra. The company (once again) chickened out, fearing that both the genre and the franchise would be catering to too limited an audience.

Reportedly, the game was in very advanced stages of development when it was axed.

Fortunately, fans of both Babylon 5 and the space flight combat sim genre have received quite a treat last Christmas, when an indepedent group released the prequel campaign of the B5 space flight combat sim "I've Found Her" as freeware (as in Beer) for everyone to download.

A bittorrent link can be found somewhere on the official site:

I don't know about the others here, but everything about the game (gameplay, atmosphere, graphics, sound, music, detailed trueness to the B5-universe) blows me away. What particularly amazes me is the fact that the game seems so polished that it is hard to believe that this game was the fruit of an (initially) grass-roots effort. Even if Sierra had released ITF, it would be highly doubtful if the quality would be even equal to IFH.

Therefore, it might even be somewhat comforting that Sierra's game was never released: after all, its cancellation was apparently the driving force behind this IFH project initiative.

However, I can't stand the fact that the filming of the cutscenes for Sierra's ITF (involving quite a few actors from the original B5 cast) was all wrapped up when Sierra axed the official game, meaning that unused B5 footage must still be gathering dust somewhere within Sierra's archives unused, and that it will probably never be seen by anyone outside Sierra.

Oops, wrong URL! (1)

motown (178312) | more than 10 years ago | (#8217690)

It should be:

Sorry. ;)
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