When it comes to finding lost or cancelled video games, there are usually a few places where you’d normally look. On the internet in some obscure archive site. In a box of CDs auctioned from an old warehouse or ex developer’s office. Maybe on eBay or some other auction site if you’re lucky.
Either way, it’s usually not in a charity shop. You’re not normally gonna the likes of URA Zelda lying around in Cancer Research or Barnardo’s.
But it seems there are always exceptions to that rule. Indeed, a pre alpha of the unfinished ‘Explosion Royale’ game was found by popular YouTube user Stuart Ashen. And oh boy, there’s one heck of a weird story behind this one:
Namely, he found the game in a local charity shop. It didn’t look like anything interesting (just a counterfeit game based on the poor quality of the box), but he felt like trying it out anyway and hence decided to purchase it.
After which, he basically stuffed it in a cupboard for a good few years, before somehow bumping into the folk behind Did You Know Gaming in Tesco and mentioning it as an unfinished game he had in his collection. And so after a bit of discussion, we got these videos of the game:
Pretty neat story, isn’t it?
But what about the game itself? What’s that like anyway?
Well… It’s very unfinished, that’s what. When Ashens said this was a pre alpha, he was not joking in the slightest.
Because dear god, this game was clearly just starting development when it was canned.
For example, none of the items (apart from the gold) can seemingly be picked up in game. Which means destroying the cannon and finishing the first mission is impossible.
And that the collision detection is quite literally near non existent. The enemies and main character can’t hurt each other (the bullets go right through), the player cannot die in any circumstances (even if he falls off the edge of the map or gets blown up), the walls near the waterfall can be passed straight through into the void and well, some items act more like brick walls than collectables.
It’s a shame really, given how good the game could have been had it ever been finished. I mean, it looks and feels like Battalion Wars on the Gamecube. And the pre alpha is already better than a lot of finished games (like Big Rigs). So the full game could have been really good if it’d gotten the chance.
But that’s life. Companies struggle, games get cancelled. At least Explosion Royale got ‘released’ in some format so future generations could experience it and archive the game in a convenient way. At least the folk on Unseen64 and The Cutting Room Floor can document everything about it. It’s cancelled, but it’s not forgotten.
So what do you think? Would you have played Explosion Royale had it been released as a full game? And how does the pre alpha look, given its early status?