Flood 2 (Bullfrog) – so close, yet so far

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1992 Bullfrog

ST, Amiga, PC, SNES, Mega Drive

  • Code – Paul (Paulie) Hughes
  • Graphics – Mark R Jones
  • Music – N/A

Ah “Flood”, the memories had with this awesome Amiga game back in the day. With its groundbreaking speech effects throughout, Flood proved to be a huge hit on the ST/Amiga back in 1990, and so it was inevitable that a sequel would follow. This time the main character, Quiffy, would also look to make an appearance on 16-bit consoles which were starting to take a hold on the gaming public alongside home computers.

The game was being developed by non other than ex-Ocean coder Paul Hughes with graphics by Mark R Jones (Who also worked at Ocean).

Flood 2 promised more of the same of the first game, with a multitude of additional features and bits to improve further on the original (Which sadly and undeservidly never had the full spotlight treatment on its original release).

Paul and Mark wanted to recreate the feel and playability of classic games they loved as teenagers. Their idea was to mix “great graphics” with “old school” playability. Games such as Starquake, Dynamite Dan and Wizards Lair were just some more their many inspirations for the sequel.

One of many map designs by Mark, see the full gallery of items below!

Designs emerged featuring various pick-ups and intriguing ideas such as The Vacuum Cleaner of Ole Ole Kumquat, brought on by two cherubs who would then suck you up and deposit you on a higher level. There was also a pumpkin mask that Quiffy would pick up and use as a smart bomb, shouting “Boo!” at baddies and scaring them to death. Even a bar of soap was to act as an invincibility pick-up covering Quiffy in soap bubbles to make him unreocnizable to enemies. These were just a few of the many crazy ideas that were planned.

Flood 2 originally started life on the ST, showing off a decent pre-shift scroll and loads of sprites running around. However, due to “wondering wisdom of marketing”, it was decided that the ST marked was dying, so the game was moved to the Amiga and PC platforms and scrapped for the poor ST.

Development had been ongoing for a full six months and yet the plug was pulled just days before the contract was to be signed. Development of all versions basically ceased when Paul and Mark were told they had to move in-house to continue the project. They refused and so the game was canned as a result with no-one else taking over.

Before this tragic end, Paul created a few early test demos which showed lots of promise, and described the game by saying: “It was as playable as any collect-em-up scrolling platform game of the early 90s!”. ST and Amiga versions were fully playable, PC almost playable and console versions were only in the planning stages. So a huge shame that things fell a little sour. Could this have been another Superfrog or better? We may never know

Fortunately, all of Marks design sketches survived, and can be found here with the review (Thanks Mark!). Mark and Paul also found a few screenshots and sprite shots of the game, but the hunt is still on for a running version of the game, which continues to elude us after quite a few years now of the search beginning.

Paul Hughes still has disks of the game, but sadly the disks (typically the case with 3 1/2″ disks) have gone to the disk heavens in the sky. Mark had similiar issues with a few of his disks, which may just have something playable on them but Mark refuses to give up and at present there is a possibility of someone else taking a look at trying to salvage/scrape what they can of the game for preservation.

And so the hunt goes on for playable remains of this intriguing game. Can anything be found, or has the quality of 3 1/2″ disks let us down yet again?

Also in April 2010, Jim Bagley rescued all of Mark Jones Flood 2 materials, and produced the YouTube video of things below (Sadly no demos, but animations at the very least! )

Also, see below in the source materials for the actual animation and map files and the in-house Ocean sprite and map editor (written by John Brandwood and used for all of the in-house animations and maps on the ST and Amiga). The editor is known as Fudd-Ed (Fudd as in Elmer Fudd with was Brandwoods nickname at Ocean!) It can be run on an St Emulator. EdSpr is for sprites and EdMap for maps. Its pretty easy to use according to Mark. You load WORKSPACES in EdSpr for animations. For maps you load the BLOCKS then the MAP in EdMap. Enjoy!, and thanks to Mark and Jim for digging all of this material out!!

Materials

Gallery of designs and mockups

Creator speaks

Mark Jones spoke to Retro Gamer’s David Crookes about Flood 2

“In 1992 I got together with Paul Hughes, who I knew from my Ocean days where he was a Commodore 64 coder, to concoct what we had planned to be the platform game to out do all other platform games.

Planned originally for the Amiga and Atari ST machines we put together a design that, for reasons lost is the mists of time, turned into a follow up to Bullfrog’s successful ‘Flood’ game. We did a lot of work on the design, most of it being “let’s nick all the best ideas from all the old platform games we played on the Speccy and Commodore and put them all in to our game while also thinking up all sorts of silly but do-able ideas”. A handful of characters were animated, a rough Level 1 map produced, and a semi-playable demo was up and running before we submitted our ideas to ‘Bullfrog’.

When we did we didn’t have to wait long for a reply. Dated 12th May 1992, from Les Edgar, the managing director of ‘Bullfrog’, confirming that “Bullfrog is very interested in the above project and would consider publishing the game”. Les asked for the principal designer (me!) to visit the ‘Bullfrog’ offices to discuss the design aspects of the project. So a few days later I went down to Surrey and met everyone at ‘Bullfrog’. I spent my time there with Les, who introduced me to his ‘Bullfrog’ partner Pete Molyneux ,who then disappeared to deal with more pressing matters. I don’t actually remember that much now about my visit there other than I met Sean Cooper and sitting out on a lawn with the sun beating down. It was here Les told me that everyone had loved the games design and it had actually made some of the staff team laugh with our silly ideas and speech bubbles. He also told me that people from ‘Nintendo’ had recently visited and he had shown them some of the animations I had already produced and they had loved it. I was so chuffed! I’d loved ‘Populous’ and ‘Powermonger’ and here I was about to work one of the most respected 16-bit companies in the business. The meeting went well and things progressed.

Schedules were drawn up, a contract was drafted then re-drafted and we were just about to sign on the dotted line and actually get some money and go full-time on the project when it all fell through. About 6 months planning had been done and that was it. Game over.

The reasons for the game not coming to fruition seems to have wiped from my mind. I just can’t recall the exact circumstances of why the game didn’t progress any further. But it was enough to make me decide to throw in the towel after a few years of struggling to get by doing bits of freelance work. Not long after it all went kaput I went to Israel for an adventure. I got a normal job in a record shop upon my return and I didn’t work on any games until 19 years later when I participated in the making of the lost ‘Ultimate’ game ‘Dingo, for the ZX Spectrum. All the design elements and the graphics made still exist, for what is, as it was accepted by the company, an unrealized ‘Bullfrog’ game. Who knows, one day we might get it finished!”

2 Responses to Flood 2 (Bullfrog) – so close, yet so far

  1. James says:

    Ooo. Bullfrog! You got anything on Creation? I believe it was the game the Magic Carpet engine was created for, and I remember being so excited about it back in the day. I bought a fair few editions of PC Gamer for the developer diaries before it eventually got cancelled.

    • fgasking says:

      Sadly not, though you never know what could turn up in the future. We’ll make a note to see if we can get hold of anything of it. I think the game was mentioned in an interview with the team, but when asked about recovering any of their unreleased games, it all went quiet.

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