Famicom: Jan.-Mar. 1988

Famitsu did a report in their March 4, 1988 issue on the Winter CES held in Las Vegas that January. Of course, they concentrated on US-made or US-exclusive games, some of which were altered or went unreleased.
This page shows off a different title for Dragon Warrior, as well as Nintendo's hands-free controller for disabled people.
Nothing unusual here, but check out Tengen's weird old logo!
Here's a rare picture of a greased-up Mike Tyson playing NES.
Mindscape and Capcom had a lot to pique our interest, including changed title screens, and the unreleased Neo Vulgus (later Titan Warriors)!

final (left), proto (right)

Top Secret: Hitler no Fukkatsu proto screenshots!

I found the pics below in the March 18, 1988 issues of Famicom Tsushin and Family Computer Magazine. The game was slated for a release at the end of June that year, and the write-up in the magazine has nothing out of the ordinary at all. It's the usual plot we know about Super Joe, Ladd Spencer, Albatross, etc.

What were interesting were the screenshots which had many differences to the final game (pics on the right). In most pictures, the levels are structured differently. The map view has different connections and a different look for the area numbers. Also, both on the map and in the neutral area, every character (neutral or enemy) is in red. The final version of the game shows white suits for neutral forces, and green convoys on the map.

The overhead stage has completely different-coloured terrain and enemies, and a road; and the "energy dots" for your lifebar are square instead of rounded as in the final version. Finally, the room details and portrait for the boss of Area 4 are vastly different!

That's about all there is to talk about, but these differences are cool nonetheless.







As a bonus, here are some scans of the game box, cartridge, and manual for Top Secret

The instruction manual even has some screenshots, seen above and to the right, that show a different map layout and text from the final game.

One very interesting picture shows an area that doesn't appear in the game at all. My best guess is that it changed into the spot seen in the pic to the far right in the final.

Ninja Gaiden Early Screenshots

To the right you can see some of the earliest screenshots of Ninja Gaiden. (No, not Ninja Ryukenden, but "Gaiden", as printed in the January 15, 1988 issue of Famicom Magazine. I guess it went through a name change as development progressed, but North America got it under its original title.)

As the writers in the magazine point out, the streets look completely devoid of enemies, putting these shots in an early stage of the game's development.

Compared to the first stage in the released Ninja Ryukenden (far right), the background graphics and especially platform layout are completely different. Half-open and open windows are already there, but in the prototype they're orange, not grey. Hanging platforms are all-grey in the proto, whereas they contain orange in the final. Not to mention the seeming barenness of the street.

Here is the introduction from a slightly later version of the prototype. Now, it may just be a colour balancing issue, but in the proto shots taken from a magazine, the moon appears white, not yellow, and Ryu's father is battling a blue ninja, not a grey one. (There are also 2 extra clouds in the final version; can you see them?)

(I did try radically decreasing the blue content of the image to see if the above colour differences were due to a blue bias, but even with a massive decrease (making the blue sky almost black), the ninja remained blue-hued.)

Here's a more developed version of the prototype (from the August 5 Famimaga). The status bar is now there, but it's filled with dummy information. The font is also a different one.

While Ryu is still red/orange in this proto, the streets look a little more recognizable, although the layout still doesn't match up to anything in the final version.

This image is from the June 17, 1988 Famicom Tsushin magazine. While it has the status bar and a power-up, the "Ninpo" icon is different from the final version.

And what a strange boss screen this is, too! The boss is different, as is the layout of the background. Two of the barstools are still magenta, rather than being recoloured to orange.

And here's one more picture that just doesn't belong. It's of the same bar scene, but it's chock full of enemies!

(Taken from the same August Famimaga.)


Meta Fight Preview

Nothing too special in this March, 1988 preview of Meta Fight (NES Blaster Master), which would see release the following June.

All the gameplay looks intact and similar to the released game, except for the Metal Attacker's gauges and other things being moved around.  For example, the main screen has "POW" and "DMG" gauges, while the final version had a "HOV" gauge for hovering, and combined gauges for your personal damage and that of your craft.

As seen below, the number of sub-weapons you had got cut from 5 to 3 in the release version.  Who knows what the other two would have been like.  Subtle layout and graphical changes are also visible in the subscreen.