April 4, 2011 10:39 PM   Subscribe

Join the hunt for the prototype Akira games on the SNES and Sega Genesis. Hardcore Gaming 101 is searching for Larry Siegel, a developer they are convinced holds more information on the legendary unreleased games. Though the legendary anime and manga has spawned a 1988 graphic adventure and PS2 pinball game none do the movie proper justice.

A report posted on NeoGAF suggests the lost game may be much more expansive:

I was actually able to play THQ's Genesis Akira game back at a CES show ages ago (this, of course, pre-dated E3). Somewhere at my parent's house, I still have a sales flyer for the game with info and screens on it. I'll have to try to dig it up next time I'm there and get that puppy scanned.

If I remember correctly, it was announced for Genesis, SNES, Sega CD, Game Boy, and Game Gear, although I believe that the Genesis version was the only one on display on the show floor.

The main gimmick of the game was that each stage played differently. Lemme see how many I can recall...

- A motorcycle racing stage that was a lot like Super Hang-On. As you would imagine, you were Kaneda racing against the Clowns.

- A FPS stage where you were Tetsuo wandering though the lab where he was being experimented on. Instead of a gun at the bottom of the screen, you just saw Tetsuo's hand, and when you fired at guards, he shot out a blast of psychic energy. This stage was about as impressive looking as a FPS could look on the Genesis.

- A side scrolling stage where you were Kaneda and Kei piloting that hover vehicle through the sewers. These stages weren't strictly side scrolling, though, as they were quite large and maze-like. You could fly quite a ways up and down as well as left and right. You used the gun on the vehicle to shoot down the guards' crafts.

- An isometric stage (think Viewpoint) where you were Tetsuo walking across the bridge (the one he would eventually destroy). Pressing the attack button caused him to swing his arm out in front of him, sending a wave of psychic energy out in front on him. The main enemy that I recall in this stage were rows of soldiers armed with the laser cannons from the movie. I remember being really impressed with the look of the Tetsuo sprite on this stage (complete with his tattered red cape).

- The last stage that I remember was a 2D beat-em-up (or was it a one-on-one fight?). Either way, you were a surprisingly large mutated Tetsuo attacking, well, whoever it was attacking you (Kaneda? Soldiers? I don't remember).

Seeing as how I was a big fan of the movie at the time, I talked to one of the head PR people at length about the game. She even gave me an animation cel from the movie (of the giant teddy bear and rabbit that attacked Tetsuo), which they were probably giving out to the press.

Even though I was just a scrub working at Babbage's at the time (yes, I was one of those retail kids who snuck into the show), she gave me her business card and I kept in contact with her for a while getting updates on the game. Until, of course, she gave me the sad news one day that they had cancelled it.

This is unconnected to the upcoming Akira live action movie.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (12 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:47 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The differences of levels sounds a lot like Vice - Project Doom for NES.
posted by Arthur Phillips Jones Jr at 11:16 PM on April 4, 2011

It feels like the giant elevator from Akira has shown up in every other action game, from Metal Slug to Half-Life to Gungrave Overdose. I couldn't find it on TV Tropes though.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:24 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Turns out the author also worked on a homebrew Akira game
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:30 PM on April 4, 2011

No mention of the appalling, utterly appalling, Amiga version of AKIRA?
posted by threeze at 4:28 AM on April 5, 2011

I've honestly never seen Akira. I think at this point it's one of those things where the mystique is so built up that the image of the movie I have in my head will be incredibly different from what the movie is actually like, and I don't know if it's better or worse.

However, this game sounds pretty great. Hopefully they find this developer. I love a good game history scavenger hunt.
posted by HostBryan at 6:40 AM on April 5, 2011

Off-topic: Why is it that late night posts never get a lot of comments? I thought MeFi was a pretty international lot.

@HostBryan, seriously just watch it. Don't deprive yourself of art just because you think it won't meet your expectations.

Anyway, yea this is interesting. Do they say why developement was cancelled? As I was reading it, I couldn't help but speculate that it was some kind of last minute licensing issue. Like, maybe development began without the 100% approval of the movie studio and then the studio pulled their support.
posted by d1rge at 7:22 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'd second that. For whatever reason, I missed out on Akira first time round, and I ended up only watching on in DVD a couple of years ago. I was concerned that there'd be some kind of disconnect between my expectations/preconceptions and the film itself, but within a couple of minutes that was all completely forgotten. It was just awesome.
posted by hydatius at 7:33 AM on April 5, 2011

Yeah, just watch the movie. People may tell you to get the old dub (my favorite) or the new dub (a lot of people like it) or even Japanese with subtitles or whatever... but to some extent, the point of Akira is the hand-drawn animation with amazing backgrounds and stunning details and hand-done "special effects" like you've never seen in animation before. Definitely worth watching.
posted by hippybear at 7:55 AM on April 5, 2011

the point of Akira is the hand-drawn animation with amazing backgrounds and stunning details and hand-done "special effects" like you've never seen in animation before.

Also, some mind-bendingly fucked-up shit happens.
posted by basicchannel at 8:09 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Fourthing "just watch it." Brilliant movie. A lot happens, but they're condensing a jillion graphic novels into 2-ish hours. However, the author and artist of the graphic novels is doing the condensing... and doing it well - so you're in good hands.

It's worth it for the music alone. (Geinoh Yamashirogumi - amazing stuff. It's fun watching these various video game attempts try to emulate gamelan "timing" into their sequencers)

Also, the graphic novels are masterpieces of hand drawn kinetic storytelling.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:11 AM on April 5, 2011

By several accounts, the upcoming live action Akira film will be atrocious, another Hollywood violation of anime. So here's an excellent fake movie trailer from excellent YouTube fake movie trailer maker Bloodrunsclear.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:10 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

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