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Proto:Gunstar Heroes (Genesis)

From The Cutting Room Floor
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This page details one or more prototype versions of Gunstar Heroes (Genesis).

Interesting history on this prototype: It was officially released by Treasure themselves! It was included in the Sega Ages Vol. 25 disc as a secret feature.

The build date of this ROM is April 1993, two months before the final build. The header name for this ROM is "LUNATIC GUNSTAR", the original name of the game before Sega of America convinced Treasure to change it.

Debug Controls

Several debug commands are enabled by default.

Paused

Press the appropriate button(s) while paused.

  • A + Left / Right: Changes main / secondary weapon. It is possible to change the weapon slots into empty slots. Doing so will cause the character to use melee attacks instead of firing their weapon (When used in levels where you're not supposed to be able to use melee, such as the mine shaft or space, the game will crash.)
  • B: Sets player health to 9999, attempts to advance to the next section of the stage.
  • A + B + C: Resets game.
GunstarCPUMeter.png
  • C: Toggles CPU meter. The closer to the bottom the line is, the more intensive the CPU use.

Stage Select

Hold the appropriate button down while selecting a level.

  • Hold A: Warps to a different level:
    • Pink: Warps to Level 5.
    • Green: Warps to Level 6.
    • Orange / Black: Warps to Level 7.
  • Hold B: Warps to midway point of the level.

Text Differences

Text tweaking takes up a good chunk of the prototype's differences.

Proto Final
General
MOVE SHOT FREE SHOT
FIX SHOT FIXED SHOT
PAUSE PAUSED
BOSS TIME COMING SOON BOSS IS APPROACHING!
WARNING OF THE DANGER WARNING! DANGER AHEAD
LIFE OF ENEMY BOSS'S VITALITY
BREAK DOWN DEFEATED!
Boss Names
SHADER PHANTOM
G.I ORANGE ORANGE
TOY SOLDIER MINION SOLDIER
VOLTEX BASE VORTEX BASE
CURRY RICE CURRY AND RICE
1000MILLIMETER GUN 1000MM GUN
KAIN AND KOTAROU DUCK BATTALION
BLACK BLACK FLY
Boss Actions
ARM VOLTEX ARM VORTEX
SUMMERSOLT TAIL SOMERSAULT TAIL
HELL DANCE DANCE DANCE
LOVE LOVE DANCE LOVE LOVE DANCING
AFTER BURNNER AFTER BURNER
EDDIE WALKING PRESS WALKING PRESS EDDIE
Black Stage
SHOOT DICE THROW THE DIE!
LETS FIGHT!! LET'S FIGHT!!
SHOOT IS HEAD SHOOT HIS HEAD
GET ITEMS COLLECT ITEMS
DASH!! AND RUN!! RUSH AND GO!!!
Highway Stage
I AM NO DEAD!! I NEVER DIE!!
Space Stage
HYPER DRIVE MODE SET
TERGET IN SIGHT
- EMPIRES SPACE CRAFT -
TARGET SIGHTED
- EMPIRE'S SPACE CRAFT -
HYPER DRIVE MODE SET!
PLASMATE ENGINE OK VARIABLE ENGINE OK
CAN YOU BEAR LONG TIME? HOW LONG CAN YOU LAST?
Final Stage
BATTLE IN FINAL STAGE THE FINAL BATTLE

Player Damage

Some weapons had their damage rebalanced for the final version.

Weapons

Weapon Proto Final
Force 6 per hit 5 per hit
Fire (Large) 4 per hit 5 per hit
Lightning 3 (first hit) 5 (first hit)
Chaser 4 per hit 5 per hit
Chaser + Chaser 6 per hit 4 per hit

Throwing

Only relevant to enemies that can be thrown, obviously. Throwing is much more effective in the final version.

Enemy Proto Final
Phantom 30 64
Orange 32 240
Minion Soldier 100 4
Smash Daisaku 180 380
Kotaro 20 294

It is worth noting that the punching animation had not yet been implemented, so the characters use their throwing animations instead.

Enemy Health

More variable tweaks. Many bosses have more health in the final version.

Boss Proto Final
Papaya Dance 1013 1200
Soldier Force 3101 4101
Tails Force 3102 4102
Tiger Force 3103 4038
Urchin Force 3104 4304
Crab Force 3105 4505
Eagle Force 3106 4293
Blaster Force 3107 4007
Orange 1999 2400
Soldier in ship 280 880
Valvalion 1521 2821
Minion Soldier 1993 2010
Vortex Base 1802 2802
Abarenbou Gel 2010 3510
Super Gondola 281 381

General

Title

Proto Final
GunstarTitleSample.png GunstarTitle.png

Right out of the gate, changes are apparent. The options selection is on the right in the prototype; It's on the same line as the rest of the options in the final game. "2 PLAYER" was corrected to "2 PLAYERS". Golden Silver's art was changed in the final version to match its actual design.

Proto Final
GunstarFlipSample.png GunstarFlipFinal.png

Sega and Treasure share this side of the logo in the prototype, but Treasure stands alone in the final version. Sega's copyright info appears in plain text in the retail game.

Other Differences

  • The title graphic flips 16 times(!) in the prototype, but only once in the final version. In the sample version, it also flips whenever the cursor moves.
  • There is no intro in the sample version.
  • The entire title track plays before loading the next demo.
  • Music plays during game demos in the prototype. There's no music in the final demos.

Options

Proto Final
GunstarOptionsSample.png GunstarOptionsFinal.png

"OPTION MODE" was changed to "OPTIONS", and the color of highlighted option changed from cyan to yellow. Other text changes: The difficulty "MANIAX" is "EXPERT" in the final game, and "KEY CONFIG" was changed to "CONFIG."

GunstarConfigSample.png


Speaking of which, the configuration screen is barren in the prototype. The game controls are completely locked.

Other Differences

  • The prototype's sound test goes up to 9F (99 in the final game) and the S.E. Test goes up to FF (F1 in the final).

Level Select

GunstarExtraDialogue.png


Dr. Brown has an extra line of dialogue in the prototype. It translates as "GO! GO! To the stage select!"

(Translation: xdaniel)
Proto Final
GunstarStageSelectSample.png GunstarStageSelectFinal.png

The doctor's text is positioned higher in the final version.

Other Differences

  • The transition from the weapon select to the stage select is twice as fast in the final version. This causes one of the border tiles to be stretched (this can be seen above).
  • The music played is Track 98 (Used on the Options screen) instead of Track 95.
  • None of the gems move or sparkle in the sample version.
  • While explaining the controls of the Gunpod Unit, Dr. Brown says to use the "C Button" to dash in the prototype. In the final game, this was generalized to the "Jump Button".

Stage 1 - Pink

Proto Final
GunstarStage1SkySample.png GunstarStage1SkyFinal.png

This stage's sky has a faint purple tint in the retail game.

GunstarStage1Bonus1.pngGunstarStage1Bonus2.png


In the pyramid segment, there are four waves of butterfly/leaf/tilde things. Each one gives an increasing number of points: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800. Whatever these things were, they're not in the final game.

Proto Final
GunstarStage1BirdSample.png GunstarStage1BirdFinal.png

An extra weapon-dropping bird was added in the retail game.

Proto Final
GunstarStage1ClawSample.png GunstarStage1ClawFinal.png

The claws have coloring errors in the sample version.

Stage 2 - Green

Proto Final
GunstarStage2BirdSample.png GunstarStage2BirdFinal.png

The prototype has an extra weapon bird before the final train.

Other Changes

  • It's possible to shoot downwards in the prototype, even when using Free Shot. This was fixed in the final version.

Stage 3 - Orange

  • The flying bombs in the first part of the stage are not present in the prototype.
  • Orange's boss music starts as soon as he appears in the final version, but starts when the WARNING message appears in the prototype.
  • By choosing two empty weapon slots, hanging from the helicopter and pressing attack while holding Up, the player will be suspended in their throwing animation until either input is released.
  • The infamous Orange boss softlock can still happen in the prototype, the main difference being the gem: in the prototype, it will continuously loop its landing sound effect, in the final release, it will play it correctly.

Stage 4 - Black

Proto Final
GunstarItemRoomSample.png GunstarItemRoomFinal.png

The item rooms in the prototype have an odd extra door, apparently leading to Heaven! These doors don't actually work, and were likely put in as a joke. They're gone in the final version.

Proto Final
GunstarRaceRoomSample.png GunstarRaceRoomFinal.png

The first race room is missing the GOAL graphics. The bottommost yellow pillar was changed to be solid in the final version to fix an exploit. If the player falls down that hall, they'll be tossed up and land right in the goal area.

Proto Final
GunstarPhantomSample.png GunstarPhantomFinal.png

Phantom's room has a black and brown sky in the prototype, but a red sky in the final game. The original background can still be seen in the retail game when entering and exiting the room.

Proto Final
GunstarGondolaSample.png GunstarGondolaFinal.png

All of the Super Gondola objects use an incorrect palette in the sample game.

Proto Final
GunstarDiceClearSample.png GunstarDiceClearJP.png

In addition to correcting some odd English, the final version also removes the giant "GOAL IN" text.

Proto Final
GunstarStage4ClearSample.png GunstarStage4ClearFinal.png

The stage ends differently in each version. The prototype ends right before Black throws the fake gem, and the final version ends just before he lands.

Other Differences

  • Entering the Dice Palace for the first time mutes the music track. The proper track is played after returning to the maze.
  • There's a palette error after arriving at the Dice Palace that persists until the end of the stage. The player's palette and GUI palette are dimmed.
  • The prototype does not display the 1P/2P graphics above each player's sprite in the Dice Palace map.

Stage 5 - Highway

Proto Final
GunstarSignsSample.png GunstarSignsFinal.png

"GUNSTAR LIGHT" was changed to "GUNSTAR GUM", and the Outrun billboard is...something else in the prototype.

Proto Final
GunstarSmashLegSample.png GunstarSmashLegFinal.png

The individual segments that make up Smash Daisaku's leg aren't assembled properly in the sample version.

Other Differences

  • The end-of-level cutscene isn't programmed in the sample game. To end the level, the Start+B debug command must be entered in.

Stage 6 - Space

Proto Final
GunstarLastMissileSample.png GunstarLastMissileFinal.png

The last missile in this level fires many more bullets in the final version. It's not clear whether there's sprite overload in the sample or if that's just how the missile is programmed.

Other Differences

  • There's no animation of the ship jettisoning its launch parts in the sample version.
  • The ship's Gunpod Unit doesn't move at all in the sample version.
  • The ship has no invincibility frames in the sample. This means that certain enemies can kill the player in a matter of seconds.

Final Stage

Proto Final
GunstarCratesSample.png GunstarCratesFinal.png

The final stage is in a very rough state. Though the layout is more or less complete, there is only one object in the stage: The Duck Battalion. The crates in the stage haven't even been drawn yet! Gray is missing his cape, and Orange only has two frames of animation.

The only way to progress through the stage is through Start+B, making sure to keep the Duck Battalion alive. If the Duck Battalion has been defeated, the game will crash after attempting to load Orange's boss battle.

Proto Final
GunstarGreenArenaSample.png GunstarGreenArenaFinal.png

Green's arena uses a different design in the final version.

Other Differences

  • The music played is Track 8F (Used when Yellow is kidnapped) instead of Track 98.

Graphical Differences

Explosions

Proto Final
GunstarExplosionSample.png GunstarExplosionFinal.png

The last four frames of the explosion object were changed in the final version. The prototype uses an additional black color for the explosions that does not translate well to the blue palette. This color error was fixed by removing the black coloring.

Pinky Roader

Proto Final
GunstarMechSample.png GunstarMechFinal.png

The grey palette used for the Pinky Roader's rim and gadgets were changed from gray to blue-green.

Proto Final
GunstarMechBustedSample.png GunstarMechBustedFinal.png

When the Pinky Roader is destroyed, its screen is dimmed in the final version.

Green

Proto Final
GunstarGreenSample.png GunstarGreenFinal.png

Green is using a very different, shorter design in the prototype. Note that this design is only used in Stage 2 -- every other appearance uses the final design.

Eagle Force

Proto Final
GunstarEagleHeadSample.png GunstarEagleHeadFinal.png

The Eagle Force's head has an oddly-colored ball segment on its beak. This isn't present in the final game.

Gray

Proto Final
GunstarGraySample.png GunstarGrayFinal.png

Gray is using the wrong palette here (reds instead of blues). This was fixed in the final version.

Duck Battalion

Proto Final
GunstarDuckSample.png GunstarDuckFinal.png

The Duck Battalion's odd legs look a lot better in the final version.

Musical Differences

Golden Silver's track is present in the Prototype with some preliminary instrument choices:

Track 94: Proto Track 94: Final

There's also this track (#9A) that seems to be a test for the sound engine. It was removed in the final version.

Sound Differences

Shortened Sounds

Sounds that were trimmed for the final version.

Sound ID Proto Final
A2
A6
A7
AD
B2
B4
B8
BC
C4
D3

Changed Sounds

Sounds that were fundamentally changed.

Sound ID Proto Final
B7
C2
D4
D5
D6
D7
D8
DA
DE
E7

Unique Sounds

These don't have any equivalent in the final version.

Voices

This seems to indicate that Blue and Red would each have their own set of voice samples. Whether these unused samples were meant to be Blue or Red is a mystery.

Sound ID Sound
F1
F2
F3
F4

Miscellaneous

Sound ID Sound
A1
A3
A5
AA
DD
E4
F5
(Source: Original TCRF research)