The games that time forgot
This page lists Sinclair ZX Spectrum games which were unpublished or games which only got as far as the prototype stage or storyboard! I'd like to thank Stephen Smith, Stuart Campbell and Alessandro Grussu for some of the information and scans contained in this page. There is also this document which you may find interesting!!
Activision Artic Computing Alternative Atarisoft Atlantis Beyond Bug-Byte Codemasters ClockwiseCRL Design Design Destiny Domark Durell
The Edge Elite Fantasy Firebird Gargoyle / FTL Gremlin Hi-Tec Software Imagine Joffa Smith Melbourne House Mikro-Gen Misc Ocean Outlaw
Parker Piranha Quicksilva Rabbit Software Rainbird Rainbow Arts Reptile Industries Software Projects System 3 Thalamus Ultimate US Gold Virgin
3D Sea 3DC
Mentioned in issue 12 of Your Sinclair, the game was never released by Activision but eventually appeared on Elite's Encore label.
Atomic Robo-Kid Your Sinclair (Issue 64)
A demo appeared in issue 64 of Your Sinclair, but the game was scrapped when Activision wound down their Spectrum game development.
Not much is known about the proposed conversion of the SNK arcade shoot 'em up Beast Busters. It was pitched as being due for release around the summer of 1991 but nothing ever materialized.
Sinclair User previewed Chicago, an illustrated text adventure written by the RamJam Corporation, which was never released.
The game was advertised and previewed by Crash, Your Sinclair and Sinclair User, using what look like to be C64 screenshots. After being released for the C64, the Spectrum version which was expected to be released slightly afterwards never appeared.
Sinclair User previewed Paddywack, an arcade style game written by the RamJam Corporation. The game centered around the antics of a pair of dogs, chasing cats, biting postmen and rummaging around in rubbish bins.
A preview of this puzzle /
board game by Activision appeared in issue 71 of Sinclair User.
Then is issue 73, page 104 the following quote was printed:-
"Apparently it's been shelved, and it'll probably be next
September before we see the blasted thing".
Cats aka Paws
Written and reviewed in Sinclair User, the game was withdrawn due to copyright infringement of the musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. The game was slightly modified to get over this hurdle and was released as Paws.
Alvin And The Chipmunks
According to a note in Your Sinclair issue 90, Alvin and the Chipmunks was completed, however due to poor advance orders the game was shelved.
Pixie And Dixie
A note in Your Sinclair issue 78 states that Alternative acquired the licence for Pixie and Dixie. The game was never mentioned in any of the magazines since and there is no evidence any of the game was developed.
Atarisoft / DJL
Crystal Castles Crystal Castles
Originally planned as a limited edition game, due to very poor sales the game was re-released to try and sell more copies!
Donkey Kong Jr
According to this news snippet from the July 1984 issue of Big K, Donkey Kong Jr was to be the last of the Atarisoft releases for the Spectrum. As with Moon Patrol and Robotron 2084, the game was never published.
Moon Patrol Moon Patrol
After announcing that they were bringing out some of their classic arcade games for the Spectrum, only four Atarisoft games made it to the shops:- Pacman, Pole Position, Ms Pacman and Galaxians. Although completely written, Moon Patrol for some reason was never published!
Pac-Man / Z-Man Pac-Man Z-Man
DJL originally released a Pac-Man clone called Zuckman for the ZX81 in 1982 before porting the game for the ZX Spectrum and releasing it as Z-Man. Atarisoft filed a legal dispute and as part of the settlement, Z-Man was withdrawn, modified and sold officially by Atarisoft as Pac-Man.
Robotron 2084 Robotron 2084
Reviewed in the October 1984 issue of Personal Computer Games, Atarisoft never published this completely finished conversion of the Williams arcade game Robotron.
Escape From Khoshima Escape From Khoshima
Originally planned for publication by Atlantis Software Ltd, this game was never released.
Master And Servant Master And Servant
This is the unpublished sequel to "Jock and the Time Rings" written by Tim Oldham.
Dante's Inferno Dante's Inferno
Advertised for the C64 which quoted the Spectrum and Amstrad versions as "Coming soon", but the Spectrum version never did!
The Eye Of The Moon
In the Lords Of Midnight manual, the sequels Doomdark's Revenge and The Eye Of The Moon are mentioned, see left-hand image. When Doomdark's Revenge was released, The Eye Of The Moon was mentioned again on the first page of the manual. After Beyond were taken over by British Telecom, the third installment of the trilogy was put on the backburner and never saw the light of day although some work towards the game must have been done. A third installment of the saga did eventually arise, in the form of The Lords Of Midnight: The Citadel for the PC.
Crash interview with Mike Singleton #1
Crash interview with Mike Singleton #2
Quake Minus One QuakeMinusOne
The game was released for the C64 only, but a feature in issue 39 of Sinclair User hinted that a Spectrum version was also in production.
Superman Superman - The Game
Beyond Software has first refusal on games developed by First Star Software, with Superman being advertised on their Five Boys advert. The game was originally advertised for the C64, Atari 400/800/XL, Amstrad and Spectrum, however only the C64 version was eventually published by Beyond. It was around this time that Beyond was bought out by British Telecom and after lengthy delays, Superman was eventually published by Prism Leisure.
Star Trek Star Trek - The Rebel Universe
Beyond Software assigned Mike Singleton to development a game based on the Star Trek franchise for the ZX Spectrum and C64 8 bit computers. Regular previews and news items appeared in various Spectrum magazines throughout 1986. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, the ZX Spectrum version was never released. With the demise of the Beyond label, it was left to Firebird to publish the C64 version. Star Trek was the most famous holder of the Scooby award, for games which fall way behind schedule!
Advertised in PCG for C64, a Spectrum version was planned and previewed in issue 9 of Your Spectrum but it never appeared.
Terrorballs Terrorballs Terrorballs
Thanks to Steven Monks, the unpublished sequel to Dogsbody has been recovered for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC.
Rock Star Goes Bizarre Rock Star Goes Bizarre
To promote the launch of Rock Star Ate My Hamster (see below), Code Masters Ltd and the Sun newspaper ran a competition with ten runners up prizes being special edition versions of the game called Rock Star Goes Bizarre. After an initial release on the Code Masters Gold label, the game was subsequently re-released on the Code Masters label.
In June 2010, a copy of Rock Star Goes Bizarre for the ZX Spectrum surfaced after the owner contacted the World of Spectrum MIA mailing list. Although initial contact was made, unfortunately only the photograph below was supplied by the owner "DemonEyeX".
Luckily however, in July 2016 a second copy of Rock Star Goes Bizarre appeared on eBay which was duly secured.
Interestingly, by comparing the data on both tapes, it was discovered that Rock Star Goes Bizarre contains the following additional characters:-
and Koily Mynose (Kylie Minogue) is renamed as Bimbo Baggins:-
The Race Against Time
Although written for charity with the proceeds going to the Sport Aid '88, the first release ran into copyright problems when it used an image on Carl Lewis on the inlay. The game was withdrawn and subsequently re-released with an image of Jesse Owens instead.
Development work on Acolyte is believed to have begun with Video Images before being completed by Clockwize but was never sold. After some initial work and demos, the sequel "The Quest For Madeleine" was shelved.
The Quest For Madeleine
This background is all that is believed to have survived from the sequel to Acolyte. A silhouette of the character "Glut" was to have run across the background.
Dean Hickingbottom recalls:- "This Video Images "game that never was", was to take place around a star named Molecale (pronounced 'mollicale'). The star system was divided up into sectors, some of which contained planets.
Getting to the planets would involve fighting your way through waves of various nasties, finally facing a 'big boss nasty' when you reached the planet. It was also intended to be a two player 'buddy game' which would be harder to complete.
All this was conceived at Video Images around 1987/88, probably by all three members but the actual name 'Molecale', was (I think) dreamed up by Wayne Sheardown (who never actually became part of Video Images in the end)"
Ninja Grannies Ninja Grannies Ninja Grannies - Demo
Dean Hickingbottom recalls "A multi-loader-level pensioner fighting game that was never sold". Developed in parallel on the CPC and ZX.
The game was created by Video Images. When the developers parted company, the game was taken to Clockwize which was formed by David Bradley and Dean Hickingbottom. The game was then sold to another company Palmer Acoustics Ltd (Possibly PAL Developments Ltd) but was never released.
"Stormforce", a game based factually on the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute), was in
development (for Alternative) when Clockwize ceased to be and was being programmed by
Jeremy Fowler for the ZX and Amstrad CPC formats
Lots of information was gathered from the local Bridlington RNLI station who were happy to assist and provided real maps, faxes and information which were consulted in designing the game
These screens possibly represent the only graphic work committed to computer and were drawn mostly by Lee Burns. The game code itself did not get very far into development.
Was advertised and previewed in magazines around 1987 but never came to light for the Spectrum. A version for the C64 was released, see above.
Galactic Patrol Galactic Patrol - Build 1 Galactic Patrol - Build 2 Galactic Patrol - Build 3 Galactic Patrol - Build 4
Martin Horsley began coding the
game as a copy of the BBC game Starship Command which both Martin
and fellow Design Design coder Simon Brattel enjoyed playing. Development
stopped as both had other commitments.
The surviving source code was assembled into the four playable demos
The surviving source code was assembled into the four playable demos downloadable above.
To play the game, use the following keys
Z - Rotate left
X - Rotate right
N - Forward thrust
M - Reverse thrust
A - Auto shields
D - Shields on
S - Shields off
1 - Reduces power levels
3 - Scanner off (Crashes demo in build 2)
After Domark's first design-a-game competition produced Kat Trap, the second competition was won by Martin Lee's "The Sewer" design. Tipped to be developed by Graham Stafford of Design Design on the Amstrad first then ZX Spectrum, the game never surfaced.
The Bobby Yazz Show Crash (Issue 92)
The game was completed and
received good reviews but Destiny went bust before the game could be published.
It did eventually appear on the cover-tape of issue 92 of Crash.
Bobs Full House Bobs Full House
Legal issues nearly derailed
the release of Bobs Full House, however once the contractual problems were
ironed out, the game was released on Domark's alternate TV Games label.
Euro Football Champ
Splitting Images Splitting Images
Immediately after Splitting Images was advertised and reviewed by the
magazines, Central Television (the company behind the hit TV show Spitting Image) filed a breach of copyright complaint, as the title and all artwork for the inlay and posters too closely resembled their
The game was repackaged and released as Split Personalities. Interestingly, Domark later released a licensed Spitting Image game.
Split Personalities Split Personalities
Spitting Image Spitting Image
ThunderJaws Crash (Issue 91)
ThunderJaws was previewed in Crash, C&VG and Your Sinclair before it was added to the August 1991 issue of Crash magazine as a demo on the covertape. It is unknown whether the full game was ever released or not as to this day a copy of the game has never surfaced.
The images below are of the C64 version, if Thunderjaws was ever released then the packaging would look exactly like this.
WoS member Ralf has dug around the code in the demo version and discovered that by entering two pokes you can see some extra parts of the level after the first boss:-
Poke 40888,0 to re-enable scrolling and poke 39812,201 to become invincible from the end of level boss.
Durell / Mike Richardson / Clive Townsend
Some test graphics were developed by Mike Richardson for a vertical flick screen pinball game. Two levels recovered are a Volcano and Pyramid.
Although planned to be published by Durell in 1987, this Mike Richardson game was ultimately published in 1989 on the Encore label.
These WIP graphics were recovered from development microdrives supplied by Clive Townsend. Newly discovered graphics include the Saboteur 3 island silhouette, a masked Ninja with different eye graphics, the status screen, misc icons, a lighthouse and enemy spider / robot graphics.
Mike Richardson of Durell created the mockup graphics below to show how Saboteur III would have looked had he made it:-
The following five screens are from an intro that Clive Townend was developing:-
3D Space Ninja 3D Space Ninja
This prototype game appears to employ the same 3D graphics technology that was later used in Skidoo / Critical Mass.
Clive Townsend has also provided further information on the game:- "Solar systems and planets were fractally generated, like they did in Elite" and "the lady on the title screen is called Zola Skidoo".
Ace Triplex Ace Triplex
3D space shooter found on the same development disk as the +3 version of Trojan.
Clive Townsend has described Ace Triplex as an experiment to see if smoothly scaling sprites would be possible on a Spectrum. By tapping space, you fly at normal speed, tapping space again makes you fly too quickly.
The planet is quite small and if you fly over it at full speed, you can almost orbit the planet every frame, which gives the illusion of flying backwards."
Catman Trojan - Cartridge 2
Some mock-up graphics have been found for a possible platform game called Catman. The only code recovered scans the mock screen and converts it to map data. Mount the Trojan - Cartridge 2 image, enter LOAD * "m";1;"catget", once loaded RUN the program.
From Clive Townsend, Catman was :- "Planned to be a platformer where you could run & jump on the walls and ceilings too."
A WIP version of the Critical Mass loading screen has been recovered from a batch of media provided by Clive Townsend.
D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) D&D Character Generator Circuit Designer D&D Map Saver D&D Program
A dungeons and dragons style game (D&D) was in development by Clive Townsend and various programs which had been written to develop the game have been recovered, including a character designer, screen editor (which crashes when RUN), and a map editor.
To run the map editor, mount the D&D Map Saver image, enter LOAD * "m";1;"saver", once loaded RUN the program.
To run the D&D program, mount the D&D Program image, enter LOAD * "m";1;"DDPROG2", once loaded RUN the program.
Dai-Ichi Productions spoof advert Dai-Ichi Productions
A spoof advert demo. I don't know whether it was ever intended to include the demo in a game at a later point.
Clive has provided the following information for Dai-Ichi:-
"This wasn't actually for a game. I was involved in making a Ninjutsu training video (which was never completed) and wanted to make titles for the various sections.
The animations were filmed and spliced into the video. The two fake names in the credits are actually characters from the plot of Saboteur! In the final game the Ninja's name is never revealed, but it's one of those two".
Death Pit Death Pit
Advertised in late 1984 including the December 1984 issue of Personal Computer Games, this game never saw the light of day.
Clive Townsend has also provided the alternate loading screen for Death Pit below
Death Stalker - Space Ninja Death Stalker Death Stalker - Version 2
Two proof of concept demos for a 2D platform type game that was never completed.
Durell Draw Durell Draw
Utility software used to produce the graphics for Durell's games.
Joe & Mac - Caveman Ninja Caveman Ninja Sprite Demos
Numerous mock screens and two playable sprite demos were recovered from Clive Townsend's microdrives for a proposed version of Joe & Mac - Caveman Ninja. Use < and > to move and A to jump.
If the game had been eventually completed, the inlay artwork would have probably looked something like the PC version below:-
Knightforce was the development name for Reaper by Clive Townsend which would eventually be published by Ubi Soft. The two in game mockup screens are slightly corrupted and out of alignment.
The following graphics were used in the menu screens for Knight Force / Reaper.
Lycos Lykos Lykos & Sprite Demos Lykos - Wireframe Ship Demo
Below are some design notes kindly supplied by Clive Townsend
To run the wireframe ship demo, first write enable the disk image. From +3 BASIC load then run "wireship".
Clive Townsend has commented that "The wire-frame escape pod would have been used to generate templates for the intro sequence animation".
Ninja Darkness was the working title for Saboteur, below are some WIP loading screen pictures.
Clive has stated he will use Ninja Darkness as the title for the 4th game in the Saboteur series. The third game will be a spin-off called Saboteur SiO, the fourth game will be a prequel called Saboteur Zero - Ninja Darkness and one day the fifth game in the series will be an official Saboteur III.
Thanks to Clive Townsend, we have also managed to obtain the original concept art for The Reaper
Skidoo was the working title for Critical Mass. To run the game, load the microdrive image then input RUN and press ENTER.
Speed Demon Speed Demon
A small program has been recovered which animates a message above an overhead view of some traffic lanes.... This looks like a mock up for a racer style game.
Clive Townsend has said that this screen came about as he was teaching his friend Lee how to program.
Spot Board SpotBoard
Spot Board appears to be a well polished Othello type board game.
Sprite Demo Sprite Demo
The screen below is from a demo program which Clive Townsend sent to companies to show off his sprite routine.
Tactical Assault Craft (TAC) Tactical Assault Craft - Version 1 Tactical Assault Craft - Version 2 Tactical Assault Craft
Two loading screens were produced, to pitch the game to Ubi Soft and Codemasters. Neither publisher accepted the game, which remained unpublished until discovered on Clive Townsend's development disks. The fourth picture is a work in progress development screen.
Tarot Card Game
It appears that only preliminary coding was done on this game, with programs written to generate the graphics for the cards.
Trojan Trojan +3 Trojan - Cartridge 1 Trojan - Cartridge 2 Trojan - Colour Demo
Developed by Clive Townsend, the game is a flick screen clone of Trojan by Capcom. After being developed, the game was never published and has only surfaced after Clive generously loaned the tzx vault preservation team the only known copies that existed on microdrive and +3 disk.
The two pictures below are of the game in development.
Unfortunately the micro-drive cartridge containing the source code for this helicopter game was partially corrupted, all that could be saved was the loading screen and a BASIC program which produces the second screenshot below.
Zeus - Hex Hex - Version 1 Hex - Version 2
An unpublished shooter, the first disk contains a playable demo of the game. The second disk contains four separate sprite demos for a boat, spaceship, tank and aeroplane as shown below.
Hex would eventually morph into TAC.
Garfield - Winters Tail
Three mock screens were recovered from Clive Townsend's microdrives which show what a colourised version of Garfield - Winters Tail may have looked like. Two additional screens show in game development graphics.
The Punisher The Punisher - Mock Screen
Advertised for various formats
including the Spectrum, it was released on other platforms but the Spectrum
version didn't appear.
The end of game screen displayed in Darius+ mentions both XMen and The Punisher
as being developed by the same team behind Darius+.
The end of game screen displayed in Darius+ mentions both XMen and The Punisher as being developed by the same team behind Darius+.
Some mock screens were recovered from a microdrive cartridge supplied by Clive Townsend in 2007, which you can see below. The only known code for the game, in the tzx file above fills in the walls of the maze.
Clive Townsend has provided a further two mock screenshots which have the Punisher logo ...
... and clarified that the below screen was used purely to ensure that the graphics were neatly displayed.
As an added bonus, Clive has also supplied the finished loading screen for the game
The images below of the Amiga version of the game show what the inlay and game would have looked like had the game been completed.
Warlock All Stars
Warlock was originally advertised between February and May 1987 for the Amstrad with the game "coming soon for C64 and Spectrum". The advert changed in January 1988 with the game listed as "Now out!" for the Spectrum and it was reviewed the next month by Sinclair User.
Unfortunately, as yet a copy of the original release of Warlock has never surfaced. Luckily the game was bundled on the All-Stars compilation a few months later in June 1988.
Along with The Punisher mentioned above, X-Men was advertised for the Spectrum and was also mentioned on the end of game screen for Darius+.
Originally advertised as a full
price game on the Elite label, Battleships was pulled when it was found to be
not up to scratch. The game was subsequently released on the Encore budget
Frank Bruno's Boxing Add-On
On completing the game, the
final screen contains an advert for Scooby Doo and also advertises an add-on
tape with additional boxers.
The Spectrum conversion of Andrew
Spencer’s Commodore 64 game was advertised throughout 1985 and featured in
issue 21 of Crash, where it was
reported as "nearing completion".
Scooby Doo In The Castle Mystery Scooby-Doo
After a few months of advertising during the end of 1985 and some preview screens being published in Crash, it became apparent that the original game design (A Dragon's Lair type game) couldn't be achieved on the ZX Spectrum. In order to get a game in the shops with the Scooby Doo licence, the work was given to Gargoyle and a platform game was subsequently published towards the end of 1986.
Your Spectrum news
Backpackers Guide To The Universe Part 1
Thanks to Robert Hazelby and Steinar Lund, the original artwork for Backpackers Guide to the Universe part 1 has been secured.
Backpackers Guide To The Universe Parts 2 and 3
Originally advertised as a trilogy, part 1 was released and then unfortunately parts 2 and 3 were never written.
Beaky and the Eggsnatchers
In correspondence from Steinar Lund to Fantasy Software, he discusses concept artwork for a Beaky and the Eggsnatchers advert...
Between pages 128 and 130 of issue 14 of Crash, artist Streinar Lund was interviewed about his work and mentioned working on a Fantasy game called Blue Tunnel stating "I haven't seen the game though. The brief was that it was in a blue tunnel, with the red rings which you sort of had to blast away, but I have no clear idea as to what the game is really like". The art was reproduced in Crash, however the original artwork is below in all its glory.
Sinclair Programs ran a feature on Fantasy Software in April 1985 which mentioned that Super Pyramid was planned for release in the summer of 1985, which never came to fruition.
Back in October 2017, Robert Hazelby got in touch with some amazing information about Super Pyramid and Backpackers Guide to the Universe part 2, which suggests that both may have in fact been the same game!! After correspondence between Robert and Steinar Lund (who did the artwork for the Fantasy Software games), the following concept art and note was kindly supplied:-
The note on the concept art reads :-
"Steinar, This is great. We’ve decided to place more emphasis on the Pyramid structure (the game may be called SUPER-PYRAMID!). I thought of the idea of the objective being to discover in the Pyramid a cosmic rosetta stone with which Ziggy can translate the runes on the stones giving the name of the planet and its (???) where the Great Plug lies. Find enclosed my design of the runes I need on the stone. I had to use straight lines to make the computer representation be easier. Just a thought; is is possible to have a sunburst effect with the setting sun".
Back in September 2010, Steinar commented to Rob that "If memory serves correct, I was wanting to create a mystical landscape inspired by Glastonbury, Avebury and Stonehenge".
We've gone one step further though and commissioned the fantastic loading screen below by Andy Green based on the concept artwork supplied by Steinar.
Temple of Illusion
In earlier correspondence from Steinar, he discusses concept artwork for a Beaky and the Eggsnatchers advert which ends with the line "The rough for Temple of Illusion will follow shortly".
In what was probably one of the worlds first computer game easter eggs, if the game is loaded with a Currah µSpeech connected, a hidden game is activated. You need to collect 20 goldfish
Flying Shark v1
Thanks to Frank Gasking at http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/, this unused side panel from the original version of Flying Shark has been recovered. The original coder for the game walked out on the project, with the reigns being handed over to Dominic Robinson and John Cummings of Graftgold Ltd to finish the project off.
Tyger! Tyger! Tyger! Tyger!
Issue 89 of C&VG had a news item on page 9 stating that Gary Liddon was joining forces with Paul Docherty to create a four level medieval game with a "Sumo-type" main character. Apparently Firebird baulked at the idea of publishing the game after finding out it was too similar to Capcom's Black Tiger so the game was shelved.
Thanks again to the sterling efforts of our sister site http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/, the 50% complete C64 version of Tyger! Tyger! has been salvaged. You can read all about the recovery here:- http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/tyger-tyger/
Gargoyle / FTL
Fornax / Gath
The entire trilogy "The Siege Of Earth" was advertised in the advert below, but only Marsport was ever released. A feature on Fornax appeared on page 112 of the November 1985 issue of Sinclair User.
The story was as described below:-
Marsport: The year: 2494. Earth is under siege by the ant-like Sept. The huge force-field protecting Earth is beginning to fade, and the original plans must be retrieved from the great city of Marsport, now occupied by the alien Sept... Commander John Marsh of the Terran Liberation Forces battles against the Sept Warlords and the robotic defences of M-Central in one last effort to reach the plans inside the Marsport City Computers.
Fornax: Fornax, the fire planet, is a world populated by Sept of the scientific caste, who are studying the ancient Star Lord civilization with the help of mutated humans. The Terran Resistance must outwit the Sept brains and solve the enigma of the Star Lords in order to uncover the greatest secret of all - the location of the Sept Imperial planet, Gath.
Gath: The story was never written as far as I know.
The artwork from the advert also featured in the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128 software and peripherals brochure.
Heavy On The Magick
Add on packs for Heavy On The Magick were planned and mentioned on a 128k Spectrum flyer, but never materialised. The two follow-ups which were to be called "Trials Of Thenon" and "Tombs Of Taro" were mentioned in the April 87 issue of Crash.
News of this game was printed in the September 1986 issue of ZX Computing and the October 1986 issue of Your Sinclair but is currently MIA as originally intended.
Gaming journalist Larry Bundy Jr and Frank Gasking from www.gamesthatwerent.com have a theory that Samurai Dawn was never released because it actually morphed into Thundercats! The thinking behind the theory is that Elite approached Gargoyle Games to help produce a game for their Thundercats licence as their in-house efforts were running behind schedule for a Christmas release. This has a ring of truth about it as Gargoyle had assisted Elite the previous year in similar circumstances to rescue Elite's now infamous Scooby-Doo licence.
As you can see in the Thundercats preview screenshots below, the main character sprite differs from the sprite in the final game and bears an uncanny resemblance to Cuchulainn from the Gargoyle games Tir Na Nog and Dun Darach.
The ending screen of Hydrofool suggests that the next game in the series was to be called Wunderland. It is unknown whether any work on this prospective game was ever done or not.
Beaver Bob - In Dam Trouble
The game was advertised in Crash and was even featured in a Crash competition for the design of a loading screen, but it was never released.
The game was advertised in Crash and was even featured in a Crash competition for the design of a loading screen, but it was never released.
After the success of Punch-Out in the arcades, Dinamic Software wrote Rocky which was subsequently withdrawn and re-released as Rocco for copyright reasons.
A conversion was planned of the C-64 hit Re-Bounder, but was shelved after months of on-off development.
Augie Doggy And Doggie Daddy
The game was advertised throughout December 1990 and January 1991 but was never released.
Bugs Bunny - Private Eye
Despite Hi-Tec obtaining the licence for Bugs Bunny, it's unclear whether any development work was completed as no screenshots appeared in any of the mainstream magazines.
Thanks to the efforts of our sister site http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/, the C64 version of Bugs Bunny has been saved. You can read all about the recovery here:- http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/bugs-bunny/
Unlike Bugs Bunny above, the Daffy Duck preview in Crash Magazine suggests that the game was probably completed. Hi-Tec reportedly went into liquidation before the game could be released.
Thanks to the efforts of our sister site http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/, the C64 version of Daffy Duck has been saved. You can read all about the recovery here:- http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/daffy-duck/
Wacky Races - colour version
The first stab at developing Wacky Races was handled by Mick Hanrahan and Robin Holman of Enigma Variations Ltd. Although reported to have been completed, the colour version was scrapped and a monochrome version commissioned by PAL Developments.
Athena Athena Athena Graphics
Mark Jones began working on Athena after finishing Wizball. Shortly after, Mark was transferred onto Gryzor and Athena was completed by Ivan Horn and Andy Deakin. The mockups and partial loading screen can be downloaded using the link above.
Bandersnatch was Imagine's new "mega-game" costing £30 when completed, which was to include a hardware add-on, t-shirt and a game map. The game was far from being complete when the company went bust. The rights themselves were sold to Sinclair Research and development continued on a QL version. One of the Bandersnatch clones utilising the same game engine was Gift from the Gods published by Ocean.
According to John Gisbon in an interview at the Ocean Experience:- "When Imagine went pear-shaped, it split into two factions: one centred around Dave and Ian and the other around Mark and Bruce Everiss. Dave and Ian had managed to do a deal with Atari wherein they and the core development staff were to go off to the US to work for the aforementioned company. This new grouping was to be called Fire Iron. At the last minute though there was a change in senior management at Atari and all new contracts were cancelled. There then began the acrimonious battle between Dave/Ian and Mark/Bruce to keep the Bandersnatch dream alive with myself and the rest of the team playing piggy-in-the-middle. Eventually, Dave and Ian won the day, mainly because Dave was so good at selling a dream. Off we all went then to Dave's house in Caldy, Wirral to write some Bandersnatch clones. (We couldn't finish Bandersnatch itself because as an intellectual property it belonged to the Official Receiver appointed to wind up Imagine Ltd). It didn't take long for some of us to realise that the whole thing was going nowhere and we soon left to do our own thing. Those left behind (including Eugene) went on to form a company called...Psygnosis. But that's another story."
Fire Iron morphed into Psygnosis who went on to publish Bratticus on the Amiga, which was another clone of Bandersnatch using the same game engine.
In September 2014, Retro-J from the World of Spectrum forums won a Sinclair QL microdrive cartridge auction containing the cartridge below. It was sent to RAWP for preservation but sadly the cartridge was corrupted and the game unrecoverable.
In July 2015, a batch of concept artwork was auctioned on eBay, the artwork being part of a funding proposal from Imagine to Sinclair Research Ltd. The concept artwork includes a mockup of the Bandersnatch box art and game booklet.
Comic Bakery Comic Bakery
Another game in the long list of games which were advertised and never released for the Spectrum, although a C64 version was released, see above.
Not much is known about this prospective game other than it was in the design stage around 1984. The two slides below were posted on twitter by Adam Buchanan "@Cauterize" which his dad Avram Buchanan created on a 480x320 pixel computer graphic system.
Hypersports - Alternate
Back in 2006, legendary programmer "Joffa" Smith documented anecdotal stories on his CV website http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/frobush/ which thankfully has been preserved by the Wayback Machine. One of the stories featured an alternate version of Hypersports which had been commissioned out of house, Smith wrote:-
"I'd almost finished (the pole vault event was coded but had to removed because of lack of memory)
when a freelance programmer appeared out of the blue with another completed Spectrum version.
Apparently one of the Ocean's directors had commissioned the project out of house.
This guy was 'paid off' and his version shelved. Now THAT would be something for the WOS archive!"
The C64 mega-game Psyclapse suffered a similar fate to Bandersnatch with the collapse of Imagine. Games that weren't has a page dedicated to artwork and the main sprite artwork that has been recovered here:- http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/psyclapse/
Vindicator The Vindicator - 128k
Although the game was released under the name Vindicator, the original artwork had the game billed as the sequel to the arcade hit Green Beret.
Back in 2006, legendary programmer "Joffa" Smith documented anecdotal stories on his CV website http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/frobush/ which thankfully has been preserved by the Wayback Machine. In a WoS posting dated September 2006, Joffa stated he'd lost ALL of his code over the years, so sadly it doesn't look likely that any of these WIP games will ever see the light of day :-
"Some of the program code was originally developed for a project I had been writing called "Angel".
This was for the ZX Spectrum 128 and featured very large animated characters and had a similar status display,
though it was placed at the top of the screen instead of the bottom. "Angel" was shelved in order for me to convert the almost completed HYSTERIA from the Commodore 64 to the Spectrum."
"The company's (Special FX) first two products were to be "Hysteria" and "Angel",
for the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum 128, respectively. "Angel", my multi directional scrolling adventure game, was shelved after a month,
but would later become the basis for FIREFLY. We felt it would make more sense to concentrate on a single project over two formats, and increase our chances of selling the package to a publishing company."
"After FIREFLY, myself and Tony Pomfret began work on an original game call "Dual".
This was a side scrolling platform game (what a surprise) that had the user 'changing' between
two main characters in order to make progress.
Work on this was postponed in order for me to produce a cover mounted game called "Hyper Active" to be released with issue 75 of Sinclair User magazine.
"Dual" was abandoned sometime later and never saw the light of day."
"I'd been writing the game (Pud Pud) in the evenings during my first year at 6th form College.
It was the summer holiday break and I had decided to ignore my studying and try for a job in the computer games industry.
I contacted Dave Ward, Ocean Software's head honcho, and arranged a visit to the Manchester based company. I showecased a partly finished 'Pud Pud' and a Donkey Kong clone called 'The Thing' and they seemed impressed."
After reportedly finishing the game but being unhappy with it, Joffa Smith started again and got as far as releasing v1.0 and v1.17 demo versions before sadly passing away. A more recent (still incomplete) version of the game does exist which was recovered from Joffa's computer.
Although offers to complete the game were made by other programmers, at the request of Joffa's family the game wasn't completed.
Komplex City Komplex City
After the success of Valhalla, Legend released the Great Space Race which was universally panned. In an attempt to appease gamers and distributors, Legend recalled the unsold copies of the Great Space Race at a reported cost of £200,000 to the company. Their next release, Komplex was planned to be the first of a trilogy of games and was sold at a discounted rate. It appears that even this gesture wasn't enough to save the company as the completed sequel Komplex City was never released.
Luckily, a sample copy of the game has been acquired and preserved thanks to Gary McGeechan.
Horace To The Rescue
The 4th installment of the Horace series was mentioned briefly in the July 1985 edition of Sinclair Programs magazine.
Inspector Gadget And The Circus Of Fear Inspector Gadget And The Circus Of Fear
Inspector Gadget and the Circus of Fear from Melbourne House was completed but was not judged good enough for release by Mastertronic when they bought Melbourne House in 1987, see The Games Time Forgot in the November 1987 issue of Sinclair User.
The game was released fortunately on the Spanish Erbe label.
Bomber Bomber (Mikro-Gen)
The book Astounding Arcade Games for your Spectrum+ & Spectrum consists of programs exclusively written by David Perry. Bomber is copyrighted to Mikro-Gen 1984 in the BASIC listing, however it was never advertised or sold on cassette.
Mikro-Gen had previously released a version of Bomber on the ZX81, so if the game had been published, the inlay artwork may have looked like the ZX81 inlay below.
Bounty Hunter / Digital Graffiti
Both Bounty Hunter and Digital Graffiti were scheduled to be released after Strike Force SAS, however Strike Force SAS turned out to be the last game published by Mikro-Gen.
City Defence Cruise Attack
"City Defence" was advertised in the November 1983 issue of Sinclair User. For whatever reason, the game was subsequently renamed and released as Cruise Attack.
Drakmaze (also mistakenly advertised as Drax Maze) was originally written with the intention of having it publishing by Mikro-Gen. The game featured in some of their early adverts and a sales brochure, however the deal fell through and the game was never published on cassette.
Mikro-Gen however allowed David Perry to have the game published by Tim Hartnell in the book "Astounding Arcade Games for your Spectrum+ & Spectrum" which consisted entirely of David's work.
Gnasher appears in the software listing on the World of Spectrum as being MIA, however this is based purely on a single reference on page 70 of issue 3 of Crash in the Crash Spectrum Guide.
The game was never advertised and quite possibly never released, however Pac-Man clones were published by Mikro-Gen for the ZX81 and Vic-20 computers as Paint-Maze and Puckman respectively:-
Skyway was written by Chris Smith of Visual Concepts in 1987 for Mikro-Gen, the game was never completed as Mikro-Gen went out of business. The game was finally released as freeware in 2008.
Starship / Meteor Storm Star-Ship
The game was originally advertised as Meteor Storm in a sales brochure, however it was never subsequently published on cassette.
The game was eventually published as Star-Ship in the book "Astounding Arcade Games for your Spectrum+ & Spectrum" by Tim Hartnell.
This was an spoof adventure game based on The Hobbit from Melbourne House and British politics, taking it's name from Norman Tebbit. Adverts for the game appeared in various computer magazines in early 1984 until the game was cancelled.
One Man And His Droid II One Man And His Droid II
Unpublished sequel to the 1985 arcade hit "One Man And His Droid", this game was re-discovered and released by the author Clive Brooker.
Details At Clive Brooker's Web Site
This is another game in a long list of games which were advertised but subsequently never made it to publication.
Dynamite Dan 2 - 128k
A special 128k version of Dynamite Dan 2 was planned and got a mention on a Spectrum 128k promotional brochure.
Adventure In Bristol Adventure In Bristol
This is one of possibly hundreds of games which were sent to John Wilson of Zenobi for evaluation. Unfortunately, for whatever reason this game as with many others was rejected and was never published. Thanks to John however, the tape was passed on and has now been preserved for all to see.
Slack Bladder Slack Bladder
As with Adventure In Bristol above, Slack Bladder was completed, sent to Zenobi for evaluation but ultimately rejected!
1992 - Exploits In A Wheelie-Bin Exploits In A Wheelie-Bin
One of four adventures written for the "Mega Points" competition that was held at the annual Adventure Probe convention. The special version written specifically for Larry Horsfield, which does not award points is still MIA.
1994 - The Long Journey Home The Long Journey Home
1995 - Tattoo Tattoo
1996 - Fortress Of Fear Fortress Of Fear
Fortress of Fear was a planned three part adventure that was never completed. Part 1 was used for the 1996 Adventure Probe Convention Mega Points competition.
Marie Celeste Adventure Marie Celeste Adventure
Written by Bob Lock (Walrus Computing) and advertised in the small ads sections of Sinclair User and other magazines, the game was produced privately and sold in small numbers.
Nemo's Island Nemo's Island
Nemo's Island is the little known sequel to Marie Celeste Adventure, and also sold in very small numbers due to only being advertised in the small ads section of Sinclair User and other magazines.
Masterspy was a game developed by Albert Ball of Jumping Jack and Rapscallion fame. Due to delays in completing Masterspy, Albert thought it wasn't worth releasing due to more sophisticated games becoming available. Luckily Albert kept a copy of Masterspy on tape, which has been successfully preserved with the assistance of José Luis Soler Hidalgo.
Action Farce II Crash (Issue 70)
A demo "Crash" edition of the game was released on the Crash Issue 70 covertape, but the final game was never released.
Ardonicus III The Raven
A demo version of Ardonicus 3 by 8th Day Software was released on the A side of "The Raven", the full game however was never released.
Deception Of The Mind's Eye Deception Of The Mind's Eye (Tape) Deception Of The Mind's Eye (Disk)
Gareth Pitchford, the author of the game said: This adventure was designed and programmed in 1992/93 but never released. Originally envisioned as a two-part 128k adventure, part one was completed and playtested to a stage ready for release in 1992. Part two was designed but never finished. The incomplete, but fully playable "demo version" of part two including 70+ locations can be downloaded above.
Night Of The Demons
Advertised in one of the indie adventure magazines, Night Of The Demon by Compass Software was never released.
Tim Loves Cricket
The inlay for Tim Loves Cricket by Peaksoft was created in advance, although the game was never completed.
Rupert The Bear And Jack Frost Rupert The Bear And Jack Frost
A Quill/ GAC adventure written by Richard Paddler in 2011 which was never published.
Stephen Preston is best remembered for his Prisoner inspired adventures that were released through Flame Software. With respect to his Arrival, Stephen said:-
"This Screen$ is virtually my final contribution to the ZX world. I put it together using Art Studio, The (Rainbird I think was the company) and put it together pretty much freehand.
I had been using Art Studio for my previous games The Prisoner, and The Girl Who Was Death, and often to create the right proportions, I would take photographs of VHS freeze frames of Prisoner episodes, then place an acetate grid over the photo.
I would then use this to transfer the image to the Spectrum graphics. I produced some pretty good results if you had the whole screen to play with, and to this day the McGoohan portrait on the Girl Who Was Death Screen$ (the one with the lighthouse) is still probably my finest effort.
As for Arrival, it never got made - I had tired of writing Spectrum games by this point - the computer was beginning to lose its pole position and the interest was wearing off. New horizons beckoned!"
Block Wars 3000 AD
This quote, direct from the author explains why the game was never released:- "Just to keep your records straight I'm sad to say Block War 3000 AD never made it to the public, it was proving too much for the memory available as it was supposed to be an 8 player game! Shame because it looked brilliant and I had lots and lots of pre orders for it, I think it would have been a big seller as it was set around Judge Dread etc."
Automonopoli Automonopoli Go To Jail
Shortly after being released in June 1983, Automonopoli was withdrawn from sale after Waddingtons complained that consumers would confuse their board game Monopoly with the ZX Spectrum game. Automata re-packaged the game as Go To Jail (although the game itself remained identical) and continued selling it via mail order. The incident was even parodied by Automata in an advert placed in a July 1983 issue of Popular Computing Weekly.
This still didn't placate the copyright lawyers and legal action continued whereby Automata were forced to stop selling Go To Jail in January 1984. Automata launched a campaign with the support of the Computer Trade Association to raise funds to defend the legal action from Waddingtons.
It appears that the appeal was successful as adverts for Go To Jail appeared again in April 1984 inviting customers to buy the game and "see what all the fuss was about".
Paranoid Pete Paranoid Pete
Ubik and Weetabix crossed swords over the game Paranoid Pete after Weetabix complained the main character resembled their own characters too closely. Ubik claimed the game had been developed with Weetabix's knowledge, however the game was subsequently withdrawn. An official Weetabix game was eventually released after being developed by Romik.
Pimania II - Pimans Progress Blitz (Issue 9)
David Ledbury was working on issue 9 of his SAM disk based magazine Blitz, which was to include Pimania II when his friend Malcolm Mackenzie died suddenly. David has since stated that he didn't have the heart to continue with the magazine and he gave up everything SAM related. Luckily, David passed on a disk image of the unfinished issue 9 which runs on a SAM Coupe emulator. The instructions to run the game from David are :-
"Type BOOT 1, then "escape"
after it hangs (it's looking for an internal hard drive which my machine had) .
DIR 1 "p*" to list the Pi-parts.
"PI1FIN A" and "PI1FIN B" code files are the first game PAW data files - which should work on the Spectrum if we can get the files moved over to the right location etc
"PRT2COMP A" and "PRT2COMP B" are the files for the second part of the game.
LOAD 37 to load in the main menu for the game
Then you can select either part 1 or 2 if you really want to play.
Part 2 will ask for a password at some point - which if I remember is the weather in Dudley: "HAZY MISTY FOGGY AND WET"
Hunchy Hunchy Punchy
After Mr. Micro advertised their Hunchback clone Hunchy, Century Electronics placed an injunction on the firm. The injunction stopped Mr. Micro from further advertising the game and ordered that all artwork and copies of the game were destroyed. The game was reworked into a game based on Punch and Judy. Luckily a copy of the game survived the injunction which has duly been preserved.
Airwolf Super Chopper Airwolf (Elite version)
An advert appeared in the December 1984 issue of Personal Computer Games for an Airwolf game by Ocean. After some legal wrangling, Elite came out as the winners of the official licence and the Ocean game was never seen again......
..... until, after a bit of tweaking by the author Dan Hartley, it was published by Software Super Savers as "Super Chopper".
Batman - The Caped Crusader Crash (Issue 60)
Back in 2006, legendary programmer "Joffa" Smith documented anecdotal stories on his CV website http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/frobush/ which thankfully has been preserved by the Wayback Machine.
Joffa wrote:- "Also, a cut down version of 'A Bird In The Hand' was released on a 'cover tape' by Sinclair User magazine, if I'm not mistaken (apologies if I am)."
Entitled 'Idiots Play To Win' this had a number of different graphics, including Catwoman, that we were unable to use in the released version for one reason or another."
Beach Volley BeachVolley(Erbe)
Beach Volley was advertised for the Spectrum throughout later 1989 and early 1990 in all the gaming magazines at the time and as confirmed by Mark Jones never released by Ocean.
Thanks to Erbe, the game was published in Spain and not lost to time.
Flashpoint Your Sinclair (Issue 47) Sinclair User (Issue 100)
Flashpoint was advertised with the intention of being published as a full price game, but ended up being shelved. It was subsequently released as a cover game by Your Sinclair and then Sinclair User.
High Noon High Noon
Advertised in 1984, the C64 version which is available above was released but the Spectrum version never saw the light of day.
"Ice Hockey" Ice Hockey Graphics
More work in progress Sprites from Mark Jones for an unnamed Ice Hockey game that was never written.
Iron Sword Iron Sword Graphics
A few mock-ups were created by Mark Jones while waiting between projects, no further work was done beyond these graphics.
Mailstrom Mailstrom Development Graphics
WIP graphics recovered from the Anaconda development microdrive cartidges.
Street Hawk Street Hawk - Crash Subscribers Edition Street Hawk
Advertised around mid 1985, a quick game had to be cobbled together to honor a contract signed with Crash for one of their subscriber offers. The game was a defender clone which was never released in the shops. The game continued to be advertised and a totally different game was eventually "officially" released around the end of '86.
Tibet aka Where Time Stood Still
A preview appeared in an issue of Sinclair User covering 128k games after the launch of the +3. A small part of the feature covered a game called Tibet which was billed as the sequel to "The Great Escape". Tibet was later released as Where Time Stood Still.
After being previewed in the July 1991 issue of Crash and several other magazines, the game remains unpublished.
In the Crash and Your Sinclair previews, all four screenshots show the timer as 234 and the score as 001234. Based on this, it's highly likely that the screenshots are mockups and not actual gameplay.
Total Recall Total Recall Total Recall Graphics
Mark Jones completed some sprites and mockup screens for version 1 of Total Recall which was eventually scrapped. The mockups and partial loading screen can be downloaded using the link above.
Troll Troll (Kixx) Troll
Previewed in the February 1988 (#72) issue of Sinclair User and then advertised in the March 1988 (#73) issue of Sinclair User was all we ever saw of this game which was being developed by Denton Design until it was released on the budget Kixx label. The game was published by Outlaw for the C64, see the inlay scan below.
After writing an email to Jon Ritman, this is the reply I got:- "No, I'm afraid the early stages of Starship were on microdrive but when I tried to look at it a couple of years later I found they couldn't be read". Shame! In the August 1988 issue of Your Sinclair, the following article was published about Starship just after it had been abandoned. I have also found this scan of an announcement of the formation of Outlaw, with Starship being their first game!
Death Star Battle Return Of The Jedi - Death Star Battle - Prototype
Gyruss Gyruss - Prototype
Back in 1984, Parker Brothers announced that they were going to release conversions of several arcade games including Gyruss and Star Wars as interface 2 cartridges priced at £19.95. The releases were shelved however, when the interface 2 sold in poor numbers.
Loco Motion Loco Motion - Prototype
Montezum'a Revenge Montezuma's Revenge - Prototype 1 Montezuma's Revenge - Prototype 2
Popeye Popeye - Prototype
Q*Bert Q*Bert - Prototype
Star Wars Star Wars - Prototype 1 Star Wars - Prototype 2
A feature appeared in issue 71 of Sinclair User which reported that the game was being programmed by Imagitec for Piranha. The project was probably shelved along with Halo Jones and Judge Death (see below) when Piranha went bust.
Gunboat Gunboat (System 4)
Although advertised with the ill-fated Judge Death, Gunboat survived after being published in the UK by the budget label Alternative and by the Spanish publisher System 4. The artwork on the System 4 inlay below retains the Piranha logo and is probably what the original Piranha release would have looked like had they survived.
Halo Jones was more than likely completed judging by the screenshots that appeared in the published previews. As with Coven and Judge Death, the game was a victim of Piranha going bust.
Judge Death was first previewed in the November 1987 issue of Crash plus a few spots in Sinclair User. Then in the December issue it was advertised along with a special edition of the Judge Anderson comic. The game was due to be completed ready for a review in the January issue, but the game was never completed because the publisher Piranha went bust.
Luckily after some diligent research by the team at http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/, it appears that the C64 version of Judge Death was indeed published, under the name of Horror City.
Roy Of The Rovers Roy Of The Rovers
Roy of the Rovers appeared in the same advert as Gunboat and when Piranha were closed down around June 1988, Gremlin Graphics swooped in to acquire the game.
Fantastic Voyage Fantastic Voyage Blood 'n' Guts
Quicksilva were another company to fall foul of the copyright lawyers after they released Fantastic Voyage without securing a tie in license with the 1966 film. The game was hastily renamed and released as Blood 'n' Guts.
Jolly Roger aka Booty
In the August 1984 issue of Your Spectrum, Jolly Roger was described as undergoing manufacture by Rabbit Software. The company went into liquidation around this time and the game was never published. Two months later however, it is believed that the game was published under the new name of Booty. It is interesting to note that prior to Booty being published by Firebird Software, all of John F Cain's previous games had been published by Rabbit Software.
While on the subject of Booty, if the game is loaded with a Currah µSpeech connected, then a hidden game is activated.
The Pit aka Exodus
In the June 1984 issue of Your Spectrum, Rabbit were reported as planning a game called The Pit which was to be set in a cavern full of monsters such as "witches, bunnies, ghosts, televisions and funny white blobs". As with Jolly Roger, the company went into liquidation and the game was never published. It is believed that again as with Jolly Roger, John F Cain renamed his game as Exodus which was subsequently published by Firebird.
The game was advertised in the March 1984 edition of C&VG, but ultimately was only ever published for the Commodore C64.
Advertised in late 1989 and early 1990, it doesn't appear that the Spectrum version of Betrayal (also known as Epoch) was ever released.
An extremely rare game released for the Spectrum on +3 disk as part of an introductory offer to the Official Secrets adventure club. As yet, no copies of the game has not been found. Copies for other formats such as the Amiga (disk image shown below) have shown up previously on eBay.
Fast forward to August 2017 and once again luck shines on the ZX Spectrum community. Thanks to Thomas Kolbeck Kjæ, the only known copy of this extremely rare game was secured and preserved. To play the game, use the login ID of REINERT13350 and the password DYHYVS.
The Great Giana Sisters
This game was initially previewed by Crash and the Games Machine in June and July 1988. Adverts followed in August and September with the game being reviewed by Crash, Sinclair User and Your Sinclair with Crash issuing the game a "Crash Smash" award. Nintendo threatened legal action due to the game being too similar to Super Mario Bros. and the game was withdrawn. Some copies of the game survived for the C64, Amiga and Atari ST, however as yet no copies for the ZX Spectrum have surfaced.
The Great Giana Sisters (C64)
Your Sinclair review
Three mock screens for a proposed game called Fast Lane were recovered from a development microdrive that was part of the Anaconda batch of development media.
A mock screen for a shoot 'em up called Krutons was recovered from a development microdrive that was part of the Anaconda batch of development media.
Various graphics recovered from Reptile Industries development microdrives.
Bored of the Rings 128k
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128 software and peripherals brochure listed numerous games which would go on to be released in 128k form, however some such as Bored of the Rings were not.
Psychedlic Warp was also pitched as due to be released by Silversoft in the same software and peripherals brochure and was even reviewed in the April 1986 edition of C&VG. As yet, a copy of this game has yet to be located and preserved.
Anaconda Anaconda-128k Anaconda-48k Anaconda Development Graphics
After the release of Star Paws, this game was previewed in the April 1988 (#73) issue of Sinclair User as Software Project's next game. The game eventually surfaced on eBay amongst a batch of other development tapes, microdrive cartridges and TR-DOS disks back in March 2010.
Attack Of The Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens From Mars aka Zappo The Dog aka Star Paws
This game was advertised for several months stating that it was the new game from Mathew Smith. After Mathew Smith dropped out of the Spectrum games scene, the game was finally written and published under a new name:- Star Paws.
It appears though that production of the game went further than previously thought. An Amstrad version of Dragon's Lair has been seen with a sticker placed on top of a Spectrum sticker for "Zappo The Dog", the hero in the original planned version of the game!!!
Hunchback At The Olympics Hunchback At The Olympics
The first two adverts appeared in Personal Computer Games but the game may have been shelved when Ocean acquired the Hunchback licence for their arcade game conversion. The third advert appeared in the July 1985 issue of Computer & Video Games.
The Master The Master (Software Projects) The Master (Bug-Byte) The Master (Mastertronic) The Master
Advertised for the Spectrum in an issue of Personal Computer Games, the screenshots look like they are from a C-64 version. I've been informed that the game was completed but never published by Software Projects, the rights were acquired by Artic who did later publish the game.
Miner Willy Meets The Taxman aka The Megatree
In an interview in the March 1984 issue of Personal Computer Games, it was reported that "After another skiing trip Matthew expects to start thinking about a follow-up to Jet Set Willy - perhaps to be called Willy Meets the Taxman.". This may have been a joke on the spur of the moment, but nothing was ever seen of this proposed follow up to Jet Set Willy. A sequel was later released which was a souped up version of the original with extra rooms, but this was not written by the man himself!
The development disks for The Megatree were recently won by Retro Gamer magazine, a feature covering the contents of the disk appeared in issue 5 of Retro Gamer.
Crash and C&VG published adverts for Bangkok Knights and Sinclair User published the preview picture below, but the game never surfaced for the ZX Spectrum.
Despite being advertised as a stand alone release, it appears that delays destined Flimbo's Quest to a compilation only release, with the Apr 1991 issue of Your Sinclair predicting it's release presumably on the System 3 compilation. As it turned out, Flimbo's Quest never made it out at all.
Last Ninja Last Ninja
Previewed in the November 1987 (#68) issue of Sinclair User, it seems that due to development difficulties the sequel was finished first so the original game was shelved!! The C64 version is available above.
Last Ninja 3
Although the advert below makes no mention of a version for the ZX Spectrum, Your Sinclair published two notes stating a version for the ZX Spectrum was planned!
Armalyte Your Sinclair (Issue 65)
Armalyte was a hit game on the C64 and was advertised in the August 1991 issue of Crash. A demo of the game would later feature on the covertape of issue 65 of Your Sinclair.
The Search For Sharla
This game was advertised in several issues of Crash magazine around 1990 and even sported artwork from Oliver Frey. It was reported as using landscaping techniques similar to The Lords Of Midnight but unfortunately, the game never appeared. The three images below are courtesy of the C64 site Games That Weren't.
The Search For Sharla Story
Vigilante Demos Vigilante Demo 121288 Vigilante Demo 090189
These demo's were unearthed amongst a number of Tiertex development disks. Thanks go to David Powell, who rescued them from a local car car boot sale in Sheffield!!
The published version of Ultimate - The Collected Works comes on two disks with the games split up as shown below.
An unpublished version of the compilation called "The Complete Works" was discovered amongst a batch of disks including Mega Twins and Vigilante by Tiertex. As you can see, the unreleased version includes Underwurlde, Pentagram, Cyberun, Bubbler and Martianoids!!
Underwurlde, the second game in the Sabreman series had three seperate exits from the castle. Each exit had a different congratulations screen naming another adventure in the Sabreman saga. Exit one named Knight Lore which was released at the same time as Underwurlde. Exit two named Pentagram which was released in June 1986. The third exit named Mire Mare which was never published. The reasons for this have only just been made public, see the interview at the Ultimate Appreciation website, linked below. The game was previewed on page 108 of the June 1987 issue of Sinclair User and was also featured on page 69 of the November 1987 issue of Sinclair user.
Ultimate appreciation site interview with details on Solar Jetman and Mire Mare
Perhaps the closest we'll ever come to playing Mire Mare now is the excellent Land of Mire Mare by Luca Bordoni.
Land Of Mire Mare v1.06 Land Of Mire Mare v1.06 - Special Edition
Solar Jetman Solar Jetman
Solar Jetman was the third game featuring Jetman, the character who starred in many cartoon adventures in Crash magazine. The first two games were Jetpac released in August 1983 and Lunar Jetman which was released in February 1984. The game was being written by STORM who developed Rod-Land, St. Dragon and SWIV. The game was previewed in issue 86 of Crash but was never released for the ZX Spectrum.
The game was released for the NES and Playchoice 10 arcade system, a fully completed version of the game for the C64 was discovered by the Games That Weren't C64 web-site, all the related information can be found here: Solar Jetman C64
Australian Games Australian Games (Erbe)
It is unknown why an original UK copy of Australian Games has not surfaced before now, unless it was never actually released in the UK. The game only survives due to it being published on the Spanish Erbe label.
Conan The Barbarian
The loading screen was recovered from some recently discovered Microdrives belonging to Mark Jones. The game was completed for the C64, it looks like only the loading screen was completed for the Spectrum.
Congo Bongo Congo Bongo
A conversion of the Sega coin-op, it was advertised for the C64 and Spectrum alongside Up 'n Down, but only the C64 version surfaced.
Grog's Revenge Grog's Revenge
This was the sequel to BC’s
Quest For Tires
which was released by Software Projects for the Spectrum. In an interview on ZX
Specticle, Dougie Burns mentions that he was working on the Spectrum version
of the game but was taken off the project by Jon Woods.
He says: “I’ll always regret not finishing Grog’s
for US Gold, because it was looking good.” The C64 version is available above.
Mega Twins for the Spectrum Mega Twins and for the Amstrad Mega Twins Demo Mega Twins 12 Aug 91
A conversion of the Capcom coin-op, it was advertised for both 8 and 16 bit platforms, sadly none of the 8 bit versions were published. Once again, thanks go to David Powell for supplying the development disks, which were in terrible condition incidentally. After three intensive weeks of preservation work in conjunction with István Fábián and Richard Rayner from the Software Preservation Society and Simon Owen, both the Spectrum and Amstrad versions of Mega Twins have been saved.
Up 'n Down Up 'n Down
A conversion of the Sega coin-op, it was advertised for the C64 and Spectrum, but only the C64 version surfaced.
World Cup Carnival World Cup Football World Cup Carnival
Quite a stir was caused when US Gold released the old
Artic game World Cup Football under the new name of World Cup Carnival at twice
the price of the original. The explanation given at the time was that the game
developed to coincide with the World Cup was so bad it couldn't be released.
Since there was not enough time to develop a new game, the old Artic game was
re-released under the new name. If this is the case, then there is a completed
unreleased version of World Cup Carnival out there somewhere.
For years, no one was sure whether Judge Dredd by Virgin had actually been released as a copy had never turned up. Luckily, a copy turned up on eBay and Gorski (a member of the preservation team) acquired and dumped it. Finds like this renew our hope that games such as Thunderjaws will also surface one day.