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Meantime – a top RPG lost game

We’ve seen countless many games disappear into the abyss without a screenshot or even a title left behind. This is not the case of Meantime (you may remember this title from GTW64’s coverage), one of the most popular vapourware (not so whimsical actually) according to gamers expectations.

This Interplay RPG evolved from Wasteland engine while sharing same development team, yet its not a follow-up. It came to a halt when the 8 bit market collapsed, bringing the end to the Apple II and C64 editions. It was then later revived in DOS just to come to the same conclusion. With the debut of advanced engines like Ultima VII , the competition would have been very unfair we guess!



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Westwood Studios GTWs

Along our web travels an interview with Australian Gamer Joseph Hewitt, a man involved in Command & Conquer, Dune II, Kyrandia and Lands of Lore, to name a few classics, was discovered and which informed readers about three Westwood games that got cancelled or unreleased. Here are just a few of those titles:

  • Vindicators (unreleased) PC, Apple IIGS
  • Body Count (cancelled) Genesis
  • Ancient Glory (unreleased) PC





Hopefully more information on these titles soon, but check out the interview via the link above.

Posted in: News, PC | Leave a comment

Starpath Prototypes discovered

Fifteen Starpath cassettes were discovered in Dallas, Texas last week, along with three Supercharger units. The Supercharger was in add-on module that expanded the RAM of the 2600 from 128 bytes to 6,272 bytes. This module, which connected to a cassette player to load games from tape, added high-resolution graphics and larger games for eager players.

Many of the tapes in this discovery have already been dumped. One of them is Excalibur version 36, another is a very early work-in-progress of Labyrinth whose third maze can be completed. Of the others, there is an earlier version of Excalibur with no number. There are also versions of Communist Mutants from Space and Suicide Mission that, so far, appear mostly complete.

The earliest versions of Excalibur and the Labyrinth tapes in this set both have second loads to them, however, it is unknown at this time if those loads are previews or if they contain additional levels from their respective games. All of the games dumped thus far have been NTSC.

Several AtariAge forum members are digging into these prototypes to see whats new (actually, its “whats old” in this case), so stay tuned! You can read about the original discovery of these games here and can download all the binaries and keep up on the latest updates in our Prototypes Forum.

Original source:

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Soccer Kid (Atari Jaguar)

1995 Krisalis

Platform: Atari Jaguar

Soccer Kid is your average platform affair where you control a young lad who plays soccer and uses his football skills to get around various levels. The story is that the World Cup has been destroyed by an asteroid and you have to find all the pieces. Not exactly Lord of the Rings, but there you go.

The game did fairly ok on various platforms, including the Amiga; so well in fact that a Jaguar conversion was produced. However, reviewing this game in this feature can only be for one reason. Sadly the Jaguar never really took off as well as it should have done, and Soccer Kid was one of those conversions done towards the end of its life.

As losses were made, Atari had to cut back releases, and only really 3D titles seemed to be the main priority releases to try and attract one last batch of supporters. Soccer Kid was caught up in the cutbacks and sadly didn’t quite make it before the Jaguar faded into obscurity.

The conversion was essentially forgotten about until one man came across the game, Carl Forhan. Carl was an Atari fanatic since the age of 10, and was a instant fan of the Jaguar platform when it came out. Like many fans, he was disappointed with the amount of games cancelled and the lack of released titles for the Jaguar, so Carl did something incredible and opened up Songbird Productions to save various cancelled and released games and give them a new lease of life by acquiring publishing rights and selling them for people to enjoy.

In 1998, Carl came across the company who had been a candidate for publishing Soccer Kid on the Jaguar, and they still had the ROM of the game. Carl obtained the ROM, and once he realised that this was indeed a complete game (or virtually at least), he contacted Krisalis and negotiated the rights to release the game on the Jaguar as intended.

In 2000, Jaguar fans were treated to the game they should have had back in 1995. Although not fully a commercial release, Carl made sure it looked like one with professional packaging, labels and cart production done for the game. A fantastic effort by Carl was met by support from fellow Jaguar owners purchasing the game, and enjoying the efforts of a programmer who would have wished his work to be enjoyed by others.

A playable rom wasn’t available to comment on the game, though reviews from various sources give a mixed opinion about the game. Many jump to praise the game and its publisher, and talk of fluid game play and graphics throughout which put the Amiga version to shame, where as others feel it is a standard platform affair.

To enjoy Soccer Kid you have to be a fan of platform games, and the game is a great example of how well the Jaguar can handle 2D as well as 3D. Check out the video clip of the Jaguar version, kindly supplied by Carl.

If you want to check out this great finding, then check out and order a copy if you’ve got a jaguar.

Overall a great finding for the Jaguar community, which is now being enjoyed by those as intended.

Posted in: Atari Jaguar, Reviews | Tagged: | 2 Comments

Rick Dangerous

2000 Thalamus Interactive

Platform: Gameboy Colour

With the amount of sequels emerging today after many years of the original being in the wilderness, its a wonder why no one has touched this classic Core title from the days long before the money spinning Lara Croft came onto the scene.

With its humorous and tricky Indiana Jones style traps and puzzles, the game was an early hit for Core, and even spawned a popular sequel a year later.

One company did however see the potential in Rick Dangerous, and attempted to bring him out of retirement and give him a new lease of life on the buzzing Colour Game Boy platform None other than Thalamus Interactive, the guys behind the also doomed Putty and Sanxion conversions.

However, even though named Rick Dangerous, the game was essentially the sequel. It seems that Thalamus favoured the improved sequel with its UFO landings and multilevel scenarios. It would have been odd to release the game as Rick Dangerous 2 on the CGB when the first one would never see the light of day. Maybe both games could have been combined on a compilation, but the thought never passed Thalamus minds.

Thalamus Interactive programmer Jon Wells was assigned to produce a working demo of the game, and set to work porting a good deal of the graphics down from the Amiga version.

The end result of several weeks work was a half playable demo, with an excellent Rick that ran, jumped, ducked and climbed his way around a small limited part of Level 1.

Although robots move around in the game, Rick cannot shoot or drop bombs in the demo, as it merely demonstrates that the game would have worked. To fit the large screens onto the small Colour Game Boy screen, the demo used slight scrolling (like Super Mario Bros did on the Colour Game Boy) to view all of a particular screen. Essentially it was still a flip screen effort.

So with a strong pitch effort, Thalamus Interactive approached Eidos/Core with the view of producing a conversion, and were quietly confident for a successful licence deal. Unfortunately there was to be no interest from the company, and Thalamus Interactive received no reply from the games giant at all.

As a result, the game was put on hold until they heard more but they never did, and as Thalamus died out again, so did any chances of Rick making his comeback. All that was ever to exist was a very brief technical demo, and that was it.

It is easy to see that the game would have worked well on the CGB. Possibly the game would lack a bit of depth compared to other games on the machine, but its very likely new features would have been added to take advantage of the technology.

No doubt Rick will make an appearance back on the Mobile platform one day, but we wont sadly be seeing him on the Game Boy it seems. A classic game missed out on by a new generation of gamers (for now) A huge shame.

Posted in: Game Boy Color, Reviews | Tagged: , | Leave a comment


1992 Atari

Platform: Atari 7800

Klax never quite reached the heights of Tetris in popularity stakes, but it did entertain for a good few years for many. Think Columns, mix a bit of Tetris and out pops Klax! (who thought up that name??)

Coloured tiles scroll down a slant view conveyer belt, and you must catch them before dropping them into a container below. You must line up tiles of the same colour to score what is known as a “Klax”. Diagonal, horizontal and vertical based klaxes give varying amounts of points, and more advanced klax patterns dish out extra bonus points.

Almost all the home systems had a conversion of this game at the time, including even the Atari 2600! With support still running for the Atari 7800, a port was inevitable. Continue reading

Posted in: Atari, Atari 7800, Reviews | Tagged: , | Leave a comment


1984 Ultimate Play The Game

Platform: BBC Micro

Generally if we talk of unreleased games and Ultimate, instantly we think back to the infamous “Mire Mare” which has haunted us for many years. Instead we have had to make do with discoveries such as Solar Jetman and Lunar Jetman on the C64.

However, adding to the list is Cookie on the BBC Micro, which would shock fans of the platform way back in 2002.

Continue reading

Posted in: BBC Micro, Reviews | Tagged: | 1 Comment

Robocop Vs Terminator (NES)

1993 Virgin Games

Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System

Well, if you’ve been following the GTW Youtube channel we have, you probably have seen the clips to this already. You’ve probably even already got the roms (you naughty people!) and played it yourself. Its about time we said a little something therefore on the game.

You think these days that it is bad with sequel after sequel and various bits of recycling going on in films and games. Well, the early signs of ideas running out became apparent when someone came up with the idea of taking the two big film characters and merging them into one game, which would be quite naff for a film (Though don’t doubt for a second that a film wont eventually appear!), but would probably be excusable enough for a game – Robocop VS Terminator was born.

The game is typical of the past Robocop games, with a controllable Robocop that shoots in all directions, and who runs and jumps their way through various levels, climbing ladders and along pipes while avoiding sewer sludge and destroying force fields. At the end of levels you’ll find bosses from the Terminator range of games. Its a tried and tested formula, and not a game which is gonna grab you for too long.

The relevance of this particular title is its history. The game was produced across a wide range of platforms, which included the NES system, which was just about surviving in the world of 16-bits. Creator of Mc Kids on the NES, Gregg Tavaress was assigned to the conversion over the space of a few months. However, once the game was pretty much complete, baring testing and some fixing, it was 1993, and most people had begun to leave the NES behind as they moved onto the 16-bit platforms. For these reasons, Virgin dropped the NES before Robocop VS Terminator ever made the shelves.

But no-one even knew that the game was in production, with no press on the conversion. It was in 1998 when Gregg Tavaress spoke about the game in an interview. Gregg was told that the game would most likely only make a European release, though this was never to happen. Although Gregg didn’t have the game, it mysteriously turned up not long after the interview and it was exclusively ported for TSRs NES Archive (

Few have labelled it as the first ever unreleased NES game to be released to the public via emulation. Quite possibly Gregg put the site in touch with someone who probably did have a prototype cartridge, or the source code, though it isn’t confirmed.

In his interview, Gregg commented

“It was a very bad game. The artists couldn’t deal well with the limits of the NES so it looks very bad and the designer was a recently promoted play-tester and he didn’t really know what he was doing.”

Gregg was certainly right, it wasn’t the hottest NES game ever seen and certainly wouldn’t have lived up to his previous Mc Kids effort. Graphics were particularly poor, and music was not as good as it maybe could have been. Gameplay was not too bad, but there were already hundreds of better games from this genre on the NES.

Although looking to be the complete game, there are many glitches in places for graphics and sprites, but these are luckily not fatal. Although not the best game ever, its finding is of large importance for preservation and is a particularly good finding for the NES community.

Posted in: NES, Nintendo, Reviews | Tagged: , | Leave a comment

Bubble Bobble

2004 Pieland / Taito

Platform: Mobile

Just a brief review to show you an unseen glimpse of a rather nifty Bubble Bobble conversion which never was on the Mobile platform. Mobile gaming became big business during the turn of the millennium, and just as with old consoles and computers, the platform also sees its fair share of scrapped titles.

Bubble Bobble was very ironically being developed by Ste Ruddy, the very same developer who did the fantastic C64 conversion 20 years or so before. In fact, a fair bit of the games code has actually been borrowed from the C64 source code, including the airflow and baddie data from the game.

This particular development for Ste was done shortly after the bankruptcy of Acclaim to strengthen up his CV:

“I was looking around and educating myself in Java and mobile gaming to see if it was a viable option. There’s a lot of development in it and yeah, it is a bit like the old days tight memory constraints and one person doing everything.

Working on a version of Bubble Bobble for mobiles was very interesting. It was a demo to show what was possible on a low spec phone, which made it feel similar in terms of development – at least the memory squeeze – and strangely familiar considering it was almost 20 years since I last worked on the C64 version.

The game actually turned out very similar, probably due to the fact I extracted the airflow data and baddie data from the Commodore game. And I did include all 100 screens! There are no plans to release it, although I play it on my phone whenever I’m waiting for owt!”

Sadly the excellent conversion was not to be finished or picked up by any developers, which is a huge shame. It seems the game is pretty much there, but just lacks some sound. Paul Drury discovered Ste’s conversion when talking to Ste for an instalment of Desert Island Disks for Retro Gamer magazine many years ago. Its thanks to Paul that we are able to show you the video clips you can see of the game running.

So for now we can at least take a glimpse of a great little conversion, but it seems that no-one will be playing this anytime soon apart from Ste himself.

Thanks to Paul Drury and Ste Ruddy for the information and video clips.

Posted in: Mobile, Reviews | Tagged: , | Leave a comment

Gamma Strike salvaged!

Gamma boxGreat news, but thanks to the games author Simon Phillips, we have managed to preserve possibly one of the only copies and packages of the obscure Gamma Strike game set on the Commodore 64.

What is particularly interesting about this finding is the use of the two guns which shoot plastic pellets, and of which probably caused the downfall of the package and its very limited release.

Now, it is pretty hard to fully preserve this title because of the hardware packaged with it, but by time of the Christmas update we should have a semi-playable download version of the 3 games that you can check out. Also with this will be various high quality photos/scans of the hardware, box and technical details of how the target and gun worked (So maybe you could rebuild the thing! ) to completely preserve this wonderful obscurity.

Look out for the Christmas update of GTW64 for the full story and all the findings, but for now check out the current entry in GTW 64.

Posted in: Commodore 64, News | Leave a comment