Based on the Capcom coin-op. It featured two brothers who carry swords and had to cross various platform levels to kill the dragon which killed their Father. The C64 conversion was temptingly to feature the original two player mode of the arcade, so most was seemly going to be retained of the original to make a fantastic conversion.
A preview in Commodore Format showed us some promising looking images of the game taking shape and talked of how good the main sprite animates and the game looks like a winner. But with confirmation from Games X that Tiertex were behind the conversion, were we doomed and would we see a pretty crap result as usual?
Well, we never did anyway…US Gold however seemed to pull the plug on the game after around 6/7 months work (approximately).
The 16-bit versions did apparently make it out, but the 8-bit versions were all scrapped (Including the Amstrad version.. which looked gorgeous!). It seems likely, because all the 8-bit versions were scrapped, that US Gold at that point pulled out of the full price market and milked what was left with their KIXX label.
An Amstrad review (of an unreleased game, and unfinished!) also included a C64 screenshot for some strange reason, but it happens to be a very high quality one for you to see most of the game’s detail. So we’ve added it.
After 6 years of research trying to find out who in Tiertex was behind the game, we weren’t getting very far. But that all changed in May 2005…. Games TM magazine published a small write up on Armalyte 2, and featured GTW’s web address. A Wayne Billingham saw the article, and checked the site out… It was here he then discovered the game he did the artwork for…. Mega Twins!
Wayne then provided the other key detail we were missing as well as the artist… The Coder…. which was none other than Mike Ager, the developer of Orcusand many other classic C64 titles. Both Wayne and Mike previously worked together by porting the great Alien Storm game to the C64, which they did a superb job for Tiertex… a first decent game by the company!
Right after Alien Storm, both guys were assigned to the creation of Mega Twins on the C64, and progress was very good. Everything was looking to be retained, and with both guys being fans of Capcom’s work, they were enjoying working on this title.
What is quite shocking is that Wayne confirms that the game was fully completed before he left Tiertex.. or at least the graphics were!…. US Gold decided to leave the scene and milk the KIXX label it seems, not even deciding to release the full game on the KIXX label straight away. Strange!
In issue 21 of Commodore Format (June 1992), Mark Wyatt from Colchester asked the question we were all asking… just where the heck was the game? (And not surprisingly as CF were promising a review every month for a few months on their back pages). Well, interestingly Commodore Format responded and gave a bit of an insight with US Gold which sounds a few alarms:
“Every month we ring US Gold and they tell us that the game is in final testing. So we put it on the innermost ring of the scanner. Then it doesn’t show for review and we ring the Goldies and they say that it is still in final testing. The result of this is that the game has been virtually ready for review for three months, a position the scanner has mirrored.
This is in no way a criticism of the Goldies though. They want to make sure that Mega Twins is as good as possible and won’t release the title for review or sale until it meets their high quality standards. It’s annoying to have to wait for so long, but when the wait is for the sake of improved quality, it can only be for the best in the long run. So we’ll review it when USG are happy with it” … It obviously never appeared and US Gold were pulling the wool over CF’s eyes.
In June 1992, it was clear that US Gold were beginning to wind down their C64 operations. Indy and the Fate of Atlantis had just been released, and all that was remaining was the release of Street Fighter 2 in a few months time. This was it though.
Maybe US Gold decided that they were not making enough on the platform and just to make one final bit of cash on two big licences they had already spent the money on and that was that. Certainly the Spectrum and Amstrad versions never made it either and only the 16-bit versions surfaced – so this seems to be the case. Crazy though to ditch a game which was apparently complete and not even try and get *something* back from it via a budget release (Which US Gold continued to do for at least a year after they ceased their full releases).
Very unfortunate, as from the sounds of things and following on from the success of Alien Storm, Mike and Wayne had a conversion which could have stunned people… Wayne offered a glimmer of hope for GTW though back around 2008…
Wayne dug out his Mega Twins disks and passed them onto GTW and although sadly no executable was found, we *DID* find a load of graphics which covers the scans which we have! No maps, but I will be reconstructing all the scans with the data I have.
6r6 has also very kindly produced a special sprite demo to demonstrate all the sprites which were found. There are loads of other bits not fully reconstructed yet, such as the Mega Twins logo (Which has a sprite overlay according to Wayne) and some other graphic bits. You can see that Wayne’s graphics were fantastic!, this would have been a great little conversion!
Unfortunately Mike Ager has never responded to any of our messages regarding the game, so we are left to just leave this message to Mike (incase he ever comes across these pages):
“Dear Mike – it would be an honour to preserve your work as part of our preserving our UK games history. Already we have gone to great lengths to try and preserve your work, by recovering all of the demos of Orcus and the graphical assets for Mega Twins – but we’ve hit a point where we have found as much as we possibly can.
Unfortunately many games are being lost all the time, due to there being no concern over this aspect of history in comparison to the film and music industry – and all of what we do now to preserve the history of gaming is in our limited spare time. Already we’ve started having trouble preserving particular tapes or disks as they start to decay, so try as much as we can to ensure as much of our gaming history will be available to future generations.
We can’t save everything, but your C64 work is highly regarded by many and it would be brilliant to see what remains of Orcus and Mega Twins that you were developing at the time – maybe even see them finished off! Certainly what with the Amstrad and Spectrum Mega Twins being recovered in recent years, it seems a shame the C64 version can’t be found as well, especially before the media it sits on deteriorates for good.”
Lets just hope that this is another Solar Jetman case… Could we now find an executable preview?… or even a full game? … It might sadly be down to Wayne or someone completely random to come forward with the goods…
Is it nearly the end for finding Mega Twins?….
Contributions: Patrick Furlong, Wayne Billingham, Haydn Dalton, 6r6, Marco, Nemo, AtariMania
Wayne Billingham speaks to GTW about work on Mega Twins…
“I saw your website mentioned in Games TM magazine today, so i had a quick look…and WWOWOOOWWW….you’ve got Mega Twins…. I didnt think anyone would ever see that..I finished it just before I left Tiertex.
Graphics – Wayne Billingham
Code – Mike Ager
Tiertex did the spectrum,amstrad and c64 versions, Twilight did amiga and st. I ended up leaving Tiertex and working at Twilight after that…they were a really good bunch of blokes too…Tiertex had an
amazing ability to do shit games, the only things they did that were good was due to a few induviduals who wanted to do something good.
I dont think i have any other graphics/screens for it, but it was pretty much finished when i left.
I got loads of stuff looking really good in that game…Myself and Mike had done Alien Storm before that, I’ve since gone on to be lead artist on some huge titles (including harry potter on ps1,I-ninja on ps2/xbox ), I think Mike is still in manchester somewhere..
Music wise, it was probably the inhouse musician called Mike ????? , I cant remember his name, but he was a bit mad..before him it was Mark Tait i think..i have some old game boxes n stuff at my mums.
I remember we did the vertical scrolling bit that ends up in a big circular castle bit in the sky.. I liked doing Capcom conversions, I loved their style, and many of the little creatures were
ideal for the c64, but I wasnt happy with the main character..a lot of the screen shots have the wrong colour palette on the screen too, so theres a colour missing on the rocks/background gfx..it should be
orange,not black… :)
I used to draw all my gfx on the amiga and squirt them into the c64 using a serial cable … Wow..all these memories..over 10 years ago…
Next time i go home, i’ll dig out some old c64/amiga disks, I might be able to find some gfx somewhere. If I find any disks with anything on, i’ll send em over, it might be a few months though, as they’re at my mums. Stuff is likely to be on amiga disks/pc disks or ST. I might have a few older games like cj and dynamo on c64 disk, and hopefully zrenite..I’d really like to see that again.”
Simon Street speaks to GTW about work on Mega Twins…
“I had absolutely no connection with Mike Agar or Wayne Billingham on the project, I don’t recall them being in house, but, obviously did know Mike from my time at Creations. (Apologies to both if they were, in particullar, Wayne, who I do not remember at all!)
I was in the front art room at Pallatine road, in a room with Ste Harding, Dave Price and Ste Watson (he moved next door at some point, and was replaced in the room by Phil Chin)
I was working on the sprites for the Amstrad version of MT, Ste Watson was working on sprites for the 64 version.
I couldn’t tell you a lot more about the art, I never saw a running version of MT on the 64 (but, it may have been a freelance thing, with us in house giving additional help)…I did have the 1st level of the Amstrad version though, however, I dunno if the Amstrad version was being done after the 64 one, we didn’t have a great deal of interaction with the coders (that’s Tiertex for ya)
Not entirely sure why the game was canned, I imagine US Gold thought that the 8 bit market was dead (to be fair, it was!), so, they more than likely paid Tiertex for the work and moved on.
It was an interesting time I had there, I was only with the company for 8 months, max, but worked on loads of stuff, made a few friends, who are still friends to this day, I left when Creations came calling again. I don’t know who was working on the sound, as I said, I had very little connection, other than a few sprites on the game.
Sorry I can’t help out more, it was a loooooong time ago, so a lot of details are forgotten.”
04/12/14 – New rare screenshot found on Amiga/ST box cover back.