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This page lists Sinclair ZX Spectrum games which were unpublished or games which only got as far as the prototype stage or storyboard!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 Applications Software Artic Computing Atarisoft Beyond Bug-Byte Clive Brooker CRL Destiny Durell
The Edge Elite Fantasy Gargoyle / FTL Gremlin Imagine Konami Melbourne House Mirrorsoft Misc
Ocean Outlaw Parker Piranha Rainbow Arts Reptile Industries Software Projects System 3 Thalamus Ultimate Vincent Vity US Gold
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.
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".
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.
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Written and reviewed in Sinclair User, the game was withdrawn due to copyright infringement of the musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd-Webber.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.
Sinclair User Cats review
Sinclair Programs review
Sinclair User Paws review
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 only recently re-discovered and released by the author Clive Brooker.
Details At Clive Brooker's Web Site
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.
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.
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.
Developed by Clive Townsend
Developed by Clive Townsend, the game is a flick screen clone of the game 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 copy that existed on microdrive cartridge.
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+.
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
Spencerís 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
After a few months of advertising 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 Parts 2 and 3
Originally advertised as a trilogy, part 1 was released and then unfortunately parts 2 and 3 were never written.
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 Novermber 1985 issue of Sinclair User. The story was as described below:-
Marsport: The year: 2494. Earth is under seige 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 civilisation 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.
Heavy On The Magick
Add ons 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
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.
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.
A conversion was planned of the C-64 hit Re-Bounder, but was shelved after months of on-off development.
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 & Psyclapse
Bandersnatch was Imagine's new "mega-game" costing £30 when completed, which was to include a hardware add-on. The game was far from being complete when the company went bust. A new company called Finchspeed was set-up after Imagine folded which sold the rights to the game to Sinclair Research Ltd. A complete working version was then developed for the QL before Finchspeed folded. The directors Dave Lawson and Ian Heatherington then formed Psygnosis and the game was later released for the Amiga/ST as Brataccas.
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.
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.
This is another game in a long list of games which were advertised but subsequently never made it to publication.
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.
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!
Exploits In A Wheelie-Bin Exploits In A Wheelie-Bin
One of three adventures written for the "Mega Points" competition that was held at the annual Adventure Probe convention.
The Long Journey Home The Long Journey Home
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 Josť Luis Soler Hidalgo.
Airwolf 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.
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 honour 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 later, the game remains unpublished.
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.
I recently wrote an email to Jon and 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!
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
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 Judge Death (see below) when Piranha went 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.
The Great Giana Sisters The Great Giana Sisters
This game was reviewed in Crash receiving a Crash Smash award, although it has been reported that the game only made it to beta stage. After Nintendo threatened legal action due to the game being too similar to Super Mario Bros., the game was withdrawn.
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.
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 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.
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.
The Last Ninja The 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.
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!!
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 recently discovered by the Games That Weren't C64 web-site, all the related information can be found here: Solar Jetman C64
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
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."
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 BCís
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: ďIíll always regret not finishing Grogís
for US Gold, because it was looking good.Ē 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 IstvŠn FŠbiŠn 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.