The PC-Engine Unrelease List

Here's a short release list that I compiled from several Japanese magazines documenting some PC-Engine games that went unreleased, or went through some sort of change before being released. Since I don't have many PCE magazines after 1992, I've just concentrated on the years of 1990-1991, a very exciting and explosive time in the PC-Engine's life.

The months represent the status of games mentioned in the "release date undecided" sections of the magazines in those respective months. Fate? means the eventual fate of the game, as far as I know. A blank box means the game was not mentioned in that issue, and an equals sign means it had an identical listing to an earlier mention. If there are any errors, please let me know!

Jan-Mar. 1990
Jul. 1990
Jan. 1991
May-Jun. 1991
Oct. 1991
Wardner no Mori (CD) = = = cancelled NEC Avenue
3D Golf         ? NEC Avenue
Rainbow Islands (CD)   = = =  released mid-1993! NEC Avenue
Meikyuu Jima (Kickle Cubicle) = Meikyuu Jima Special "3/'91 Release" =   cancelled IREM
Momotarou Densetsu III         cancelled? released as Momotarou Densetsu Gaiden? Hudson
Yuurei Kimi (The Ghost)         ? Ask Kodansha
Strider Hiryu (SG) = (PC/SG bi-compatible) = = made the transition from SG->PCE Hu->CD. Released on ACD in 1994. NEC Avenue
Omega Fighter =       ? UPL
Blade Land =       ? Nihon Soft Hanbai
Time Cruise [very different from 'II'] = =   cancelled/evolved into Time Cruise II released as Time Cruise II FACE
Space Fantasy Zone (CD) = = = cancelled NEC Avenue
  Forgotten Worlds (Card) = = (CD)2M released on SCD NEC Avenue
  Hellfire (Card, CD) = Hellfire S (CD) (Released 4/12)   released on CD NEC Avenue
  Horror Story (CD) = = = released NEC Avenue
  Doraemon 2 =   Doraemon: Nobita no Dorabian Night (?) released on Card and CD Hudson
  Galaxy Force (Card) = = Galaxy Force II cancelled NEC Avenue
  Splendid Saga = =   cancelled NCS
  Dasshutsu (Escape)       released as Die Hard? Nihon Bussan
    Chameleon Eyes: Mitsubayashi no Meikyuu (Maze of the Secret Grove) Circus Lido (Released 4/6)   released Uni Post
    Meiyaku no Teigi (Definition of a Pledge) = = ? Human
    A game planned by Mr. MTJ (Title TBA) Magical Puzzle Popils = cancelled Tengen
    Marble Madness = = cancelled Tengen
    Peter Pack-Rat = = cancelled Tengen
    Dirty Dirty     ? Hudson
    Survival Runner     cancelled Home Data
    Crying Dragon     cancelled Asmik
    Golf     cancelled Intec
      Dragon Breed = cancelled IREM
      Zero Wing (Card) (CD) released on CD Naxat
      Madou Senshi ("Evil Guide" Fighter) / Seirei Senshi [same surtitle as Spriggan] (Card)   cancelled Naxat
      Chiki Chiki Grand Prix   cancelled Hudson
      TV Sports Baseball = cancelled Victor
      F-1 Circus International (CD)   released as F-1 Circus Special? Nihon Bussan

Bonanza Brothers (Card)

= released on SCD NEC Avenue
      Gain Ground (Card) = released on SCD NEC Avenue
      Super Cluster "10/91 Release"   released as Spiral Wave? Media Rings
        Branders ? IGS
        Hunter ? Intec
        Cocoron cancelled Sur de Wave
        Chuka Taisen 2 released as Gokuraku Chuka Taisen Taito
        Mummy Head Taito
        Laugh of God released as God Panic Teichiku
        Dino Force cancelled Uni Post
                            Title TBA (Shooting)      released as Terraforming?      Right Stuff     

It may be interesting to some that besides the released Darius Plus, three other PCE games had originally been programmed/intended as PC-Engine/SuperGrafx bi-compatible: Daisenpu, Out Run, and Forgotten Worlds (info taken from a Famitsu issue.)

A big scoop on SuperGrafx Strider! Arcade Strider too!

Arcade Final
Arcade Beta

Simply put, photos of SGX Strider never existed!

The pictures above and below come from several sources, including PCE and Famicom magazines. Several of them claimed that the screenshots that went along with the articles for SuperGrafx Strider were from the arcade version, but they seemed too different from the released arcade game to be plausible. Then, while looking through an October 1988 issue of Marukatsu Famicom (see here), I found an article on the (similarly) unreleased Famicom Strider game, and it also had a couple of preview screens of arcade Strider, which would be released the following year. These AC preview screenshots were obviously arcade beta pics because, not least, of the different gradient life bar compared to the flat green life bar of the arcade final.

At least this puts to rest the screenshot debate: If a magazine uses pictures of Strider that mysteriously has an orange gradient lifebar, they are using stock photos from the Beta Arcade Version.

This means that we are quite without photographic proof of a SGX Strider game once again.

I've translated some text and captions from three PC-Engine magazines that did reports on Strider for the SuperGrafx. The articles were posted on this forum page: Lost Levels Online
The pictures below come from this Strider fansite: Thanks!

[From Sept. 90 issue]

"Strider Hiryu"
Daimakaimura was proof of the graphical merits [of the SGX]. Without a doubt, there is nothing left but this (Strider.)

Sale day tentative
Price tentative
8M (only for SG)

Surprising action
Lost World (Forgotten Worlds), Daimakaimura, etc. are high-definition (distinguished?) games by Capcom in the field of action games; they furthered development with this masterpiece [?]. The motion of the hero was frightfully above that of similar action games up till then. The PC Engine version will make an appearance only for SG, and the number of animations of action should be able to be converted satisfactorily. However, I hope that so many animations are preserved without bogging down the speed of the game.

^ Hiryu's motion is the highest selling point of this game. [?]
<- Such diverse action as can be seen in this slope [of the mountain].

The backgrounds cannot be beat, either.
In this game, the beauty of the backgrounds adds charm to the flow of the animation. The exotic backgrounds have enthusiastic fans even now. If it appears on SG, it is possible to carry out the similar transplant of such beautiful backgrounds by taking advantage of the characteristics of BG2 -- the second scrolling layer. However, screens of such high quality surely consume a lot of game memory.

-> He fights under such backgrounds.
-> He can reach the tops of towers...
<- And do battle on these towers. This is such diverse action where the hero grabs, climbs, flies, bounds, and flips.

*The screens on this page are from the Arcade version.

[From Jan. 91 issue]

Are SG games being withdrawn?

"Strider Hiryu", which was announced as exclusive software simultaneously with the announcement of the SuperGrafx, has been changed into a PC-Engine/SG bi-compatible format. This is probably good news for PC-Engine users, but something to stop the hearts of SGX users. With this announcement, the lineup of games developed for the SGX by NEC Avenue has been ended. ['nakunaru' can mean 'lost' or 'died/dead']
But of course, the SuperGrafx will still be supported in a dual-format game, maintaining high-quality play. Incidentally, "Strider Hiryu" is one of the few HuCard games scheduled to have 8 Megabits.

*The screenshot on this page is from the Arcade version of "Strider Hiryu". It has become bi-compatible.

[From Sept. 91 issue]

PC-Engine/SG bi-compatible format (tentative)

"Strider Hiryu" has many fans by virtue of its stylish action and tempo. The charm of this game is in the fine motion of the hero Hiryu. The PC-Engine version will be a full conversion from the arcades, although the characters [have] become somewhat smaller. Moreover, on the SG, flickering decreases compared with the PC-Engine. The demonstration scenes after a stage is cleared are also due to be reproduced as-is. Since development is liable to be delayed, the release will probably be pushed to next year.
Development status is at 20%.

^ Hiryu faces a gorilla robot. [He's not as tough as he looks!] or [He's no pushover!] (Dictionaries are no help.)
^ Stylish action with Hiryu atop various mechanisms. That is the charm of this game.

Here is what I make of it all:
Games magazines can't be trusted to keep their information straight, so let's take it all with a grain of salt.

SG Strider was announced at the same time as the SGX's announcement in 1989. At any rate, NEC Avenue had a license for it and Daimakaimura, and began some sort of development on both titles. I don't think magazines saw SG Strider in action because the writer of the Sept. 1990 article was speculating on how feasible the conversion would be, and wrote his hopes for smooth, fast animation.

In January 1991, the shocking announcement is made that Strider will be a PCE/SG bi-compatible game, like Darius Plus was. This obviously shows NEC Ave's lack of confidence in the SGX, and thus the SGX-only version is killed off.

Then in Sept. 1991, Strider still stands at just 20% completed. The article writer describes how Strider will play differently when on a regular PC-Engine or on a SuperGrafx. This could be speculation (drawing from experience with Darius Plus), a first-hand witness, or (more likely?) quoting from NEC Avenue's press releases.

And here is the original Japanese text:
[From Sept. 90 issue]













[From Jan. 91 issue]




[From Sept. 91 issue]