This is a bit of an obscure title which was never really mentioned in any magazines, that is apart from Games X magazine in 1991.
This game was a Wonderboy 3/Alex Kidd clone done by the team behind Escape From Colditz. Sadly, the game was never properly taken on by Digital Magic, as they went under before it could be released on the Amiga, though here is a video of it running. Instead, the game later surfaced as Kid Gloves 2 for Millenium in 1992. As with Colditz, Little Beau was also planned for the C64 and was put into development.
Not much else was known about the C64 conversion, until a little discussion with Jason (TMR) Kelk. After a visit back to his home city, Jason spilled the beans about various GTW titles, and mentioned a particular cutesy platformer he had a sprite demo of. It was being developed for Digital Magic, it was a conversion of an Amiga title, which was a rip off of Wonderboy 3…. But Jason could not remember the name. It struck a chord with me though, and instantly I offered the name “Little Beau”, to which Jason instantly recognised.
Miles Barry was behind the game and wrote the scroller, multiplex routines and simple sprite handling. Jason was given a preview which had multi-directional scrolling under joystick control and a few sprites sitting around the map to prove they knew where they were supposed to be.
The graphics were started, and the demo had background graphics, which according to Jason, may have been cleaned up wires from the 16bit versions, but with no sprite definitions. It apparently looked ok, but wasn’t anywhere near ready. Overall it was little more code wise than a technology demo of the plex and scroll code to prove that it was a viable port for the C64.
Really as the tech demo was being written, there was already a playable preview of the ST and Amiga versions on the cover disks for the popular magazines. So you can see how far behind it really was. Maybe 10% complete, if that.
Now Jason has kindly uncovered a very early demo of the game which demonstrates the game’s first level map. It is not playable, and you simply move the map around to get an idea of how things would have looked. Jon Law (artist from Escape From Colditz) has done a great job so far, and it certainly looks good, although it is too early to say how the game itself would have been. Unfortunately things didn’t move too quickly with the game, and this didn’t help at all for getting anything near completion by the time DM went under.
According to Jason, more does exist of the game, with sprites apparently created and more level graphics complete (According to Jason, all the graphics were ported across and so were the sprites – suggesting that only sound and the game engine were required really). The chances of finding the other remains are slightly slim, though there are some exciting developments regarding Miles’ old work.. so who knows what might be uncovered.
Sadly we will never see anything playable, but we are pleased to have something salvaged at long last for this game which was only briefly mentioned in Games X magazine. We hope that soon we will hear from Miles himself about the game, and maybe
even Jon Law too. For now the search is on for more remains.. but nice find Jason! :).
More soon on this interesting title…
Contributions: Jason Kelk, Jules Bert, Ross Sillifant