With thanks to contributor Deniz Turkmen, who commented on Spy vs Spy 4 that he had once seen an earlier version of Spy vs Spy 3 from a BBS.
Sure enough, within Gamebase64 was an early preview which was seemingly coded by the original developer Michael Riedel, who had done the first two games of the series.
This particular preview seems to have been built quickly upon the 2nd game’s codebase, including the original music and some very early snow based graphics, and slight changes in the panel. The right part of the panel is fairly close to the sequel.
The final release was developed by Jim Nangano in comparison and had a whole new interface produced, and better quality background graphics and new music.
It seems that development was handed over at some stage. Vinny Mainolfi of FREEZE64 got in touch to let us know that he had spoken to Michael Riedel recently and asked him about his version of the 3rd game.
Michael revealed that he had taken on too much work with multiple publishers, and was falling behind on commitments. It got to a point where the project was handed over to Jim Nagano to do.
So there we have it. No idea how the preview come to sneak out, but its great to see that it did and show a glimpse of what an alternate Spy vs Spy 3 could have been like.
Contributions: Deniz Turkmen, Vinny Mainolfi