For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

When it comes to the cinema, for every movie that's released and goes on to be a box-office smash, there's a film that gets canned after shooting, or fails to secure a distributor so never makes it to audiences across the world, despite its potential.

Sadly the same is true for games. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises some games just never see the light of day. We've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

20. Primal Rage 2 (Arcade)

This prehistoric fighter was set to feature a new system which would allow the player to switch between a character's human form and their prehistoric form. Although this game had quite a lot of hype behind it, Atari cancelled it when Primal Rage's popularity began to die down.

Although never released, test builds can still be found on some emulation sites.

19. Star Fox 2 (SNES)

Star Fox 2 was meant to introduce real-time strategy elements and new characters like Star Wolf.

One of the most disappointing game cancellations, Star Fox 2 aimed to one-up the first release in many ways, and was completely finished before it was canned.

Some of the gameplay features translated to Star Fox 64, but many a gamer is left wondering what could have been.

Games reviews

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

18. Aeon Flux (PlayStation)

The movie tie-in game was horribly sub-par, leaving gamers to wonder what the original game would have looked like.

Viacom New Media was set to publish Cryo Interactive's take on the deranged MTV cartoon, but as a result of a merger the title was canned.

17. Sonic Crackers (Sega Genesis)

Sonic Crackers had many stages that used a '2.5D' perspective with multiple layers of platforms.

Some believe that Sonic Crackers eventually turned into Knuckles Chaotix for the 32X, but when looking at early screens of the game, there are many recognisable differences.

The sprites shown in early tests were taken from Sonic 2, and the two-player system (each character was bound to the other by a bungie-type cord with a ring on either end) allowed players to volley the other at high speeds to reach certain locations. In the end, Sonic Crackers would've been a nice addition to the Sonic oeuvre, save for the awkward title.

Games reviews


NEXT PAGE: Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

16. Tattoo Assassins (Arcade)

It looked pretty similar to Mortal Kombat, but Tattoo Assassins ultimately didn't make the cut.

An exercise in bad timing, Tattoo Assassins was to be Mortal Kombat's fighting rival. Early shots show similar digitally pseudo-realistic character models, and it was also planned to have over 200 fatalities.

Aside from the internal strife that riddled the development of the game, the market at the time was so saturated with new fighters like Killer Instinct and Primal Rage that Tattoo Assassins wouldn't have had a fighting chance, really.

15. Tyrannosaurus Tex (Game Boy Colour)

Hyped as the first (and only) full colour FPS on the Game Boy Colour, Tyrannosaurus Tex had some cool things going for it. The premise however, was a little random: the gamer took on the role of Tex, an alien and dinosaur-hunting cowboy.

Although the idea of an FPS on the GBA was ambitious, the game was cancelled fairly far into development due to lack of publisher interest.

Games reviews

NEXT PAGE: Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

14. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds (Philips CD-i)

As if Mario games weren't strange enough, there was a time when Philips was set to release a Mario game where you would lead the mustachioed plumber through many different areas of the world (Egypt, Greece, etc) and was developed by NovaLogic, using many of the same sprites created for Super Mario World.

Unfortunately the CD-i didn't have the same graphical prowess of the SNES, and the idea was eventually canned. Images and even videos of gameplay can still be found online.

13. Air NiGHTS (Sega Saturn)

What was to become a blueprint for NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams for the Wii was first envisioned as a sequel to the well-received Saturn title. While in development it was overheard that it would take advantage of the analogue Saturn controller's tilt sensor, though the game was scrapped before it was too far into development.

At least we eventually had the Wii title to revive the series.

Games reviews

NEXT PAGE: Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

12. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space (also Explores Uranus) (PC)

Who doesn't get a little excited about new Leisure Suit Larry games?

Okay, so they aren't the best games, but they're still funny as all hell. The game was planned to sport full 3D graphics... that is until Sierra's adventure game department closed down and funding was completely cut for the title.

11. Ultima X: Odyssey (PC)

Following an avalanche of MMORPG cancellations, Ultima X: Odyssey was set to be a pretty slick game. Development hinted that the story would be a continuation of sorts to Ultima IX, and feature a Virtue System similar to really early Ultima titles like Ultima IV.

Lead producer David Yee wrote a letter to supporters in 2004 stating that they would be giving up on Ultima X: Odyssey to bring the focus back to Ultima Online. Oh well.

Games reviews

NEXT PAGE: The Shadow and Dirty Harry

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

10. The Shadow (SNES)

Sadly, this game was too early to have the technology for including Alec Baldwin's in-movie quotes.

The Shadow was set to be a beat-em-up similar to Streets of Rage and coincide with the release of the movie. The game also boasted sweet Shadow special moves such as invisibility and speed running... sorry Shadow-philes, you'll never play it.

9. Dirty Harry (Xbox 360, PS3)

Let's hope that Dirty Harry finds future life on consoles, since we'd kill for a chance to dish out some justice.

Oh man, this game could've been amazing. The game was planned to take place in a sandbox-style San Francisco, and the storyline was to fit between the first and second films. Warner Bros even released a trailer for the game that ended with the famous line, "You've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky?"

Unfortunately, there were some problems between Warner and developer The Collective. There are rumours that Warner may have another developer work on it, but so far the plans seem doubtful.

Games reviews

NEXT PAGE: Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

8. Earthworm Jim (PSP)

Earthworm Jim's reworked PSP graphics looked really impressive, so we're sad that there's been no news of this title ever seeing the light of day.

Everyone's favourite invertebrate will not be making its way onto the PSP system, though the initial screens looked extremely promising. The game was supposed to be a reworking of the original game, and the first screens showed off some really crisp graphics. Atari put the game on hold indefinitely, so we're left with some cool screens but nothing else.

7. Sonic X-treme (Saturn)

Sonic X-treme was to be the first fully 3D Sonic game, but after the idea fumbled its way through three different systems (Genesis, 32X and Saturn) and caused a whole lot of development problems, the game was finally canned many years after the initial gameplay concepts were built.

A test build has apparently been auctioned off, and is rumoured to actually play fairly well. Surprising for a 3D Sonic game, eh?

Games reviews

NEXT PAGE: Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

6. Project H.A.M.M.E.R. (Wii)

Aw, they stopped Hammer Time.

For a game with such a great premise, it's a shame this title was cancelled. The gamer would take on the role of a half-human, half-cyborg killing machine armed with a gigantic hammer with which you would wreak destruction against an army of robots who invaded the planet.

The idea of swinging a hammer with the Wii remote, crushing robot skulls, is just too cool of an idea to give up on. Come on Nintendo, get with the program and finish this game!

5. Engalus (PC)

Ever heard of Far Cry? I thought so. Well, thank Crytek for Engalus, or else Far Cry may never have come to be. What little is known about Engalus is that it was developed as a sci-fi shooter where the gamer took on the role of a government assassin investigating the goings on of a rebel group known as The Invisibles.

Crytek was also quoted saying that they wanted each scene in the game to feel like it was straight out of a movie. Fortunately they eventually released Far Cry, but part of me still wonders what could've been with Engalus.

Games reviews

NEXT PAGE: Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

4. Halo DS (DS)

Much speculation had been tossed around regarding whether or not there existed a Halo title for the DS, and it wasn't until editor-in-chief Matt Casamassina of IGN showed the demo being played that the unfinished game was shoved into the limelight.

The controls seem to be similar to Metroid Prime: Hunters, with the stylus controlling the direction of fire. It's too bad though, Bungie has no plans on continuing development for the DS version.

3. Thrill Kill (PlayStation)

Arguably one of the most anticipated fighters for the PlayStation ended up as one of the most disappointing game cancellations of all time.

Though bootleg copies can be found out there (and in all honesty, the game doesn't play terribly well), it's still unfortunate that the game was never released.

EA acquired the original publisher, Virgin Interactive and, due to extremely high levels of violence, simply refused to release the game, leaving it forever shelved. The game used an innovative system where the character had no life bar, and instead implemented a 'kill meter' which when full would allow the player to activate a 'thrill kill'.

The game allowed for up to four players at once, and the engine was used in a few games later on before vanishing into the long list of vaporware titles.

Games reviews

NEXT PAGE: Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever

For every game that becomes a must-have title, there are hundreds that never see the light of day. From obscure titles to black sheep in well-established franchises, we've rounded up the 20 most famous games that were never made publicly available.

2. Resident Evil 1.5 (PlayStation)

The number two game on this list deserves the spot not just based on the fact that the entire game (which looked potentially better than the final product) was scrapped and redone as Resident Evil 2, but also for the fact that it has gained such a cult status in the world of vaporware that it has spawned multiple websites, image dumps and even videos of the original game.

Capcom canned the original game because they weren't happy with the end result, even though it was extremely close to its scheduled release. If you've played Resident Evil 2, you will see the differences right away.

1. Duke Nukem Forever (PC)

Duke Nukem Forever is real, but it's doomed to be incomplete, thanks to the closure of developer 3D Realms.

Various screenshots and story elements from DNF have since been released to the general public by 3D Realms, showing off incomplete gameplay footage and other assets that had been created in the game's long development period.

Right now, there's very little hope of this 12-year project ever seeing the light of day under a new development team, since an ongoing lawsuit has Take-Two Interactive seeking to regain their lost investment. Ouch.

Who knows if Duke Nukem will ever make a successful return to video game consoles, but this project is probably going to stay buried forever.

Games reviews

Gamepro.com

  1. These titles would have been legendary
  2. Aeon Flux and Sonic Crackers
  3. Tattoo Assassins and Tyrannosaurus Tex
  4. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Air NiGHTS
  5. Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space and Ultima X: Odyssey
  6. The Shadow and Dirty Harry
  7. Earthworm Jim and Sonic X-treme
  8. Project H.A.M.M.E.R and Engalus
  9. Project Halo DS and Thrill Kill
  10. Resident Evil 1.5 and Duke Nukem Forever