Our next entry into the C64 archives was a huge surprise when it was revealed by Ocean’s stalwart – Paul Hughes in February 2021.
When CommodoreBlog posted a tweet showing the title screen from the NES version of Robocop 2, Paul Hughes commented that there was also a version being worked on in-house at the time, but was dropped and taken over with a new development by Painting By Numbers.
After a bit more digging by Paul, he recalled that the developer was none other than Rick Palmer, developer of the C64 version of New Zealand Story. This was confirmed when finding the source code again, which revealed that the graphics were by Steve Wahid and Brian Flanagan. Music hadn’t been decided at this point, but its likely it would have just been the music that Jon Dunn eventually composed.
The date was 1990, and ironically, Paul was working on the NES version originally with Bill Harbison – when the decision was suddenly made to just stop all work and hand everything over to Paint By Numbers. Paul suggests it may have been because it was cheaper to get them to do a bunch of versions together.
It is unknown at this stage just how far the internal developments got, or how different it fared from the eventual released edition. We think it would have been much closer to the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad (+GX4000) editions which were done in house.
Brian Flanagan mentioned in an interview with Retro Gamer that he recalls doing background mock-ups and sprites and was really wanting to work on the game. He did some cool looking sprites, then all of a sudden were asked to stop work. He doesn’t know why either.
The potentially good news is that we may find out exactly how far, as along with the source code – Paul confirmed the graphics files are present too. Hopefully we may get to see something running very soon once Paul has a bit more time to compile up
Watch this space!
Contributions: Paul Hughes, CommodoreBlog