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Prototypes Found: Rolling Thunder 3 (arcade) & DC Vs. SNK (arcade)

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Two prototypes for the arcade have been found. The first two Rolling Thunder games did appear in arcades, but not the third. Unless you count a 1993 location test.

Rolling Thunder 3's prototype was about completed and was ready to ship if it had done well at loketest. Namco had some of their System 2 board sets left over when they decided to move the Final Lap series to System R for its next game. Unfortunately, fighting games were stiff competition for most other genres at the time, so this ended up shelved.

As expected, the graphics on this proto are better than the 12 Megabit Genesis version, and even a step up from the arcade Rolling Thunder 2. The two vehicle stages are done in a chase view with good scaling effects. All the side-scroll stages have several more parallax layers- up to 6 at times.

BGM is slightly better than the Genesis version, but not nearly the leap in sound quality that arcade RT2 had over its counterpart. While not done by Aya (Ayako Saso), it's still excellent. The voices are clearer than the Genesis' ones, and between level cutscenes even have voice acting. The game clocks in at 128 Megabits, a bit higher than some Neo-Geo releases at the time. RT2 is around 48 Mb (or 8 Mb on Genesis) for comparison.

RT3 AC has 2-player co-op. Jay is still the player 1 character, while Ellen (unlockable with the code
GREED on Genesis) is player 2. Special weapons are selectable separately for each player. This does have the instant respawn and secret stages from the Genesis. When you prepare to fight Dread, his pre-battle speech is different. He'll say "Welcome to the place where I make your future over" on the first encounter, and "It ends for you right here, right now. Die!" before the final battle.
The ending is a bit different. There still is a bomb rigged to blow if Dread dies, but instead Jay & Ellen make it out. When Dread says that they will die in the explosion, Jay says "Sorry. We have other plans!". Ellen replies "Right. Let's get out of here." The two make it out of Dread's mansion JUST before Dread dies from his injuries, triggering the huge blast that levels the place. Later, they are personally congratulated by Leila & Albatross who have just destroyed Gimdo. The four are then recognized at a WCPO victory ceremony. The Genesis version has a somewhat darker ending.

The board's default play price is 2 coin 1 credit, unlike the first two games. On the Standard difficulty setting, it is somewhat more difficult than the Genesis version's Hard mode, and has a slightly higher enemy count. You have 2 hit points per life instead of three, and you can't regain HP by going in the S doors. The bosses have tougher patterns. An actual timer is shown on screen like RT2. Running out of time will trigger the "This is HQ. Enemy attack increasing. Hurry up!" announcement, and the sniper's crosshair will appear. About 10 seconds after the time runs out, it gets impossible to avoid the sniper taking you down.

Also found is a proto for DC Vs. SNK, which is obviously SNK's (then SNK Playmore) answer to Marvel Vs. Capcom. This one is dated 2006 and was a 2048 Megabit cartridge, even larger than NG Dev Team's Fast Striker (1560 Mb). This one had 48 characters total- 24 from DC & 24 from SNK. DC's side features Superman (his flight is limited to a midair dash), Wonder Woman, Batman, Robin, Lex Luthor, Flash (fast but takes somewhat high damage), Joker, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Two-Face, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze, and Starfire to name several. SNK characters include the '98 Sports Team, Robert, Ryo, Yuri, King, Terry, Andy, Joe, Mai, Bob Wilson, Hon-Fu, Haohmaru, Nakoruru, Carol (Savage Reign), & Maxima. The final boss is Infinite Crisis' Anti-Monitor, the
"Guardian of Fear" who would be Rugal's worst nightmare. He is one huge bastard. Thankfully, he's not as bad as General from Kaiser Knuckle. Still, SNK didn't go easy. He does have an XDM (Xtreme Desperation Move) to watch out for: if it connects, you're eating 75% damage. Watch out.
His Energy Absorption techniques can rob your super meter, and his Energy Projection attacks can shave off 20% in one hit. His battle stage takes place in an altered reality with some wild effects.

Even though SNK had moved on to other hardware for Neo-Geo Battle Coliseum, they thought about giving their venerable "24-bit" NG system one last go, but the management ultimately decided against it. There are only three known copies of DC vs. SNK, as MVS carts only.

Both protos have been dumped already by Ralf Piolo, and the MAME team is currently working on adding them. Special thanks to G. Thurza Mighty from Gulliver, FL for the information.

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Updated 01 Apr 2017 at 03:13 PM by gameoverDude

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Comments

  1. A Robot Bit Me's Avatar
    Is this real? I can't find anything about the DC vs. SNK thing...
  2. gameoverDude's Avatar
    April Fools'.

    That aside, I wish that these were really a thing. First, it would've been cool to have a SNK counterpart to MVC out there.

    An arcade version of Rolling Thunder 3 would've been great... with the Genesis version I missed having the 2 player co-op, which would've been easily done with Namco System 2.

    On Genesis, it seems like they may have tried to keep 2P mode in, since they had Ellen in the game. I guess the enhanced graphics of RT3 (compared to Gen RT2) may have taxed the Genesis enough to forbid 2 player action without major slowdown, leading them to design it as a solo-only game. In a 2 player game of Gen RT2, I once caused a rare case of slowdown by going batshit with the Shot laser.

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