1992 Konami / Hero Software
Platform: PC (DOS), Amiga and Apple Mac
Champions was a RPG table-top title created by Hero Games originally back in 1981. Setting you within a superhero/comic book themed world, it won a legion of fans, who continue to enjoy the game to this day.
Back in the early 90’s, its popularity resulted in the planned creation of a computerized PC edition of the game, and was set to be published by Konami. According to one magazine article, there were plans for Amiga and Mac versions too.
Kicking things off, you would set up your character with an initial allocation of “points” given to you to spend. Along with some basic characteristics, you would pick a mask, colour of outfit, power effects and even dialogue for interactions before jumping into the comic book world.
Within the world, you would have your fair share of super villains and crises to endure – but also more the mundane and less “superhuman” tasks, such as shopping for food or clocking into work. Taking on your obligations will allow you to earn points that you can use to buy further special powers and improve your characteristics to help in future battles.
With great power comes … disadvantages – or something like that.
However, with the new talents and abilities would apparently come “disadvantages” too. Disadvantages including medical and personality disorders that could hinder and make things difficult.
Throughout the game you would encounter a variety of characters, where you’d utilize a menu-driven interface for conversations/interactions. You would be able to choose between emotional states and emotive goals to advance the story in a particular direction overall.
Within the inevitable action sequences, there was to be a large series of impressive cartoon-based animations. The fight sequences would be controlled based on tactical decisions via the interface, rather than arcade action like you’d see in Street Fighter 2 for example.
The graphics were created by comic artists such as Frank Cirocco and Chuck Austen to make the game really feel like an live action comic-book. And there were also plans for future expansion packs/modules containing new scenarios and storylines in conjunction with Marvel and DC.
All sounded fantastic, though the game would slip a few times in the release schedule, not clearing a beta test at one stage according to one press news item.
It was never to surface at all (or at least we haven’t yet been able to find any evidence it did). The question therefore is why, and was there perhaps issues during the beta process which prevented a release? If you know anything more about the game, please do get in touch.
Contributor John Stone (see comments thread below) confirmed that Konami North America had no information or materials about the game. Take-Two Interactive, who acquired assets from GameTek in 1997 gave no response (though its likely if they did have anything, they may have skipped it).
John had managed to contact Frank Cirocco, but he was only able to confirm that he worked on the prototype and did some artwork for the game. It also seems that Chuck Austen (another artist who worked on the game) talks about the prototype on this old archived webpage. Hopefully more people will come forward soon!
With thanks to Karl Kuras for highlighting to GTW to cover, John Stone for additional research and information and Grzegorz Antosiewicz for the additional scans and confirmation of other platforms.