"Bio Force Ape" Meets "Bean Ball Benny"
May 27, 2010 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Sure, you've played Final Fantasy VII, but what about Final Fantasy Extreme? You've played EarthBound, but what about Earth Bound (two words). You know all about Dragon Quest VIII, but are you familiar with Dragon Quest: Young Yangus and the Mystery Dungeon? There's a whole world of forgotten, canceled games out there just waiting to be discovered. Let 1UP's Jeremy Parish and Frank Cifaldi be your guides in an exploration of The Best Games That Never Were. (Previously)
posted by Servo5678 (30 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
At what point do they stop calling it "Final" Fantasy? Surely after 13 iterations Square Enix has to admit they really don't have an ending figured out.

And there needs to be a Bio Force Ape movie. Somebody get Robert Vince on the horn.
posted by total warfare frown at 8:28 AM on May 27, 2010

Nice bit on Earthbound / Mother, but doesn't mention the official English release of Mother 3, which apparently is never going to happen. But no problem, because there's the most amazing fan translation ever, including a fantastic handbook. Serious dedication to the game.
posted by Nelson at 8:33 AM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

I have an Earth Bound repro cart in my NES right now. I kind of refused to play it until I could play it the way it was intended. It's good. good. good. stuff. I buy every one of Nintendo's new consoles because somewhere in the back of my head there's hope for more Earthbound to show up.
posted by bookwo3107 at 8:41 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Some mother fucker out there has my $50 for a version of Black Tiger for the NES. Fuck you, buddy.
posted by boo_radley at 8:50 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Chrono Break. :(
posted by adamdschneider at 8:54 AM on May 27, 2010

Oh, I can name one! Diablo III!
posted by contessa at 8:57 AM on May 27, 2010

Daikatana! Duke Nukem Forever!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:59 AM on May 27, 2010

Feh. Most of these games were released, just not in English. That hardly counts as "A Game That Never Was".

Typical Parish.
posted by kafziel at 9:01 AM on May 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

great, now I'm pricing out Black Dragon cabinets. Thanks, metafilter. HOW WILL I EXPLAIN THIS TO MY WIFE?
posted by boo_radley at 9:12 AM on May 27, 2010

Oh, I can name one! Diablo III!

oh don't worry. Diablo III is well on its way to release. it is apparently a pile of awesome sauce on a plate made of hotness.
posted by shmegegge at 9:39 AM on May 27, 2010

At what point do they stop calling it "Final" Fantasy?

I always assumed it was a translation issue, where the word they wanted to use was probably "ultimate" (where "ultimate" means "most awesomest evah!") but the intern rocking the thesaurus was in a hurry, or something.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:41 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mister Moofoo: "At what point do they stop calling it "Final" Fantasy?

I always assumed it was a translation issue, where the word they wanted to use was probably "ultimate" (where "ultimate" means "most awesomest evah!") but the intern rocking the thesaurus was in a hurry, or something.

Nope. It was called Final fantasy because Squaresoft was pinning all its hopes on the RPG-- it was make or break for the company.

Also, the Butter Bio Force Ape hoax was one of the greatest "take that!"s again prototype game hoarders EVER.
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:45 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Well, that's why I shouldn't assume: It makes donkeys of us both.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:47 AM on May 27, 2010

I did play Final Fantasy V back then. I ordered a FFV Super Famicom cart, sawed notches into the bottom with a steak knife to let it slot into an SNES (take that, region protection), and played through it with only enough Japanese to sound out katakana. I'm still pretty sure it was the best FF game of them all. Being simply unable to read the story may have been a part of that.

I also played Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana 2) this way too, though it was less rewarding.
posted by fleacircus at 10:19 AM on May 27, 2010

man, what did I miss about Final Fantasy V? I couldn't finish it, I thought it was so awful. The hero was cardboard, the bad guy was named "X Death" which is the lamest name of all time, the job system is great and all, but it originated in III anyway. what is the appeal of that game? I'm asking honestly. also, I only ever played the psx release.
posted by shmegegge at 10:23 AM on May 27, 2010

For anyone who missed it, the Bio Force Ape Hoax really is amazing.

I played the fan-translated rom of FFV and it was easily the best of the series. (Also, the bad guy was Exdeath which is much less lame.)
posted by Jairus at 10:26 AM on May 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

what did I miss about Final Fantasy V?

It had a cross-dressing purple-haired pirate princess? Faris and the job system give it a special place in my heart. But all non-Faris related portions of the story were horrible, yeah.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Meh. Needs more Ultima IX (which went through at least 4 complete redesigns before ending up as a franchise-ending POS) and Warcraft Adventures (mostly complete, somewhere in Blizzard's vault).
posted by Wossname at 10:54 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ah, man, Lord of the Clans! I remember watching that trailer on, what, the Starcraft disc? Diablo? I was bummed when it got cancelled. TONIGHT YOU SLEEP IN HELL!
posted by adamdschneider at 11:11 AM on May 27, 2010

No idea how this article missed the actual unreleased Earthbound, Earthbound 64. (Note even then, the plot was later used to make the GBA game Mother 3.)
posted by mek at 11:32 AM on May 27, 2010

And on the topic of undead Blizzard games, Starcraft: Ghost.
posted by mek at 11:35 AM on May 27, 2010

Seriously, no love for Starfox 2? The fan-translated/bugfix-patched version remains pretty much my favorite Star Fox game of all time. Props to Dylan Cuthbert for giving it a fair few nods with Command, though.
posted by NMcCoy at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

the job system is great and all, but it originated in III anyway. what is the appeal of that game? I'm asking honestly. also, I only ever played the psx release.

Wasn't 3's job system pretty narrow? Like when you were a Thief, you were pretty much just a Thief? The giant difference in 5 is that you had that slot where you could equip exported abilities that made combos and customization possible.

For example I liked to put someone on Knight for awhile until they learned the "double damage with swords, if you're not using a shield" exportable ability, which is awesome but not so good on Knights because shields are pretty great too. So I'd switch that character to Red Mage (who can use swords, but not shields), so suddenly I have this sort of custom badass. While as a Red Mage they could cast both black and white magic, and learn that as an exportable ability, so after awhile I could move the character back to make a Knight who could cast B/W magic, or I could stick with Red Mage to the bitter end to get the double-cast ability and move on to a pure spellcasting class.

A big combo was to master Archer to get quadruple attack (aka X-Fight I guess), and put that with Ninja the two-knife wielding to get 8x attack. Though I tended to just grind for double-knives for my Ninjas, dawg, and save the x-fight for the Magic Knight.

Anyway so you had these guys moving in and out of the classes that you were trying to coordinate for the whole party, and as you discovered more and more classes you'd be trying to find the good combinations or thinking how you might do it next time. Unlike some of the other games, you couldn't just move materia or relics or cards around to make just whomever your party build's black mage, nor was it too far towards the other end where there just wasn't a fuck of a lot you could do with Setzer or Lulu (from X). It was right at a good spot in the middle where you had flexibility and tons of options, but also had to commit, plan, and build.

Beyond the job system, the game had lots of nooks and crannies and possible tricks, and there's lots of fucked up challenges (ala NetHack's conducts), like people finishing the game without having gained a single AP, or only ever being white mages, or with the lowest character level possible (5? 3?). All this is the usual hilarious FF fun that I think they tended to clamp down on in later versions.

So I'm saying there was some emergent fun combination stuff in the gameplay.

I even liked the story, or what I knew of it. The death of Syldra (above all), the library dungeon, Lena's disappearance, Cid and Mid, Exodus/Exdeath putting void balls around the hometowns, dumbass Gilgamesh and his badass music, the whole ending.... Preening and molding the characters more (and there were never more than would fit in your party, so it was never pointless upkeep of dudes you didn't use) made me buy into their stories, and there weren't any giant-tongued frog chefs, or obese moogle robots with cats on their heads to make me cringe. Though the Faris/Ferris thing was a little weird.

Anyway I don't know if I would have bought into the English language game on the PS1, and in full disclosure at that point in my life I had a lot of free time, a like minded friend (you could play it two-controller, yay), and good access to drug of choice... But anyway, I rate 6 and 7 just below 5, and the rest way down from there.
posted by fleacircus at 12:14 PM on May 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

Starcraft: Ghost was probably the most annoying example of vaporware for me. At least I quit expecting anything when they gave the project to a different development studio.
posted by ersatz at 1:12 PM on May 27, 2010

This seems an appropriate place to remind fans of Japanese games on Nintendo consoles that don't make it to the West for reasons mostly to do with Nintendo's desire to act as inexplicably as possible at all times that you can play Fatal Frame 4 now, with a little mucking about.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:29 PM on May 27, 2010

Final Fantasy is called so because each one is a Final battle for some world or another.

But they have been awful since IX.
posted by Sukiari at 2:52 PM on May 27, 2010

I've been a huge fan of the Final Fantasy games ever since the first release. I can't recall how many hours I spent absorbed into FFI, FFIV, and FFVI. FF II, III and V at the time was never released in the States. There is a little confusion with the names because the American release of FFIV was actually called FFII and the American release of FFVI was called FFIII. Anyway, I still love all of those games (never got into anything after FFVI though).

I remember receiving FFVI (called FFIII at the time) for Christmas the year it came out and it has remained my favorite after all these years. I have never played a single game more than that one. That summer, I would play that game every single night and all night until my dad would get up for work at 6 a.m at which point I would go to bed. As soon as I would wake up, it was back to playing the game. I ate, drank, and lived that game for the entire summer. I was so absorbed into the story line that I remember crying at the sad parts and rejoicing in the triumphant ones. It sounds kind of sad to outsiders, but looking back, I still wouldn't have wanted my summer any other way. That game pretty much defines my mid adolescence.

They rereleased FFI, II, IV, V and VI for the Gameboy Advance. Coincidentally, I have been playing FFIV for the last few days after a long streak of playing FFI. I like the Gameboy Advance releases because they still adhere to the original graphics of the game and don't add in stupid high quality video scenes. I want my 8bit and 16bit looking games to stay that way, dammit.

I could really sit here and talk all day about Final Fantasy but I'd be boring most people to bits. The other day in hopes of fishing out another FF nerd, I posted a quote to my Facebook status. It said, "You spoony bard!" But sadly, I received no responses.

And for the record, my favorite character out of all the series is Shadow.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:02 PM on May 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

I forget the studio, one of them that went bankrupt a few years ago. But they had a game that was a co-op shooter set in a zombie apocalypse. Why was it cancelled? "Because we figured no one would want to play something like that"
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 6:13 PM on May 27, 2010

It was Division 9 by Irrational
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 6:19 PM on May 27, 2010

The original ToeJam & Earl II. And the original ToeJam & Earl III. Both games were basically mandated by Sega to become something fairly distant from an already-nearly-completed version. (II I judge from something I read somewhere, III I judge from exchanging email with Greg Johnson himself.)

Also, Starflight III and Star Control III made by the original guys (no they weren't in production, just dreaming).
posted by JHarris at 2:19 AM on May 28, 2010

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