The game was announced back in October 2004, and some hideously early screenshots accompanied it.
Here we see Peach, in a horrendous baby-like style, in what appears to be a forest with lava. Peach's sprite is drastically different, the HUD is simplified, and the gameplay is taking place on the bottom screen while it's usually on top. There are no vibe icons, but there's an empty gauge in the middle, so they must have had it planned. Perry (known back then as Kasaan) is visible, so he was ready.
Amusingly, what you see here is exactly the same as the beginning of Fury Volcano 1, only with some changed mushrooms, that rock platform to the far right slightly different, and the Podoboo switched to the right lava pool.
The same world, only this time there's a single heart in the gauge, a Bob-Omb is visible, and the door is heart-shaped.
Still the same world, only there are two hearts, and fish?
Running. With an ELEVATION. With such a bland picture, I'll get around to the visual comparison, where everything actually looks good.
And the map screen. While highly different cosmetically, it's still the same, and most of what's shown there made it into the final's equivalent, Gleam Glacier. More of the reversed screen position, Perry takes up half of his screen, and the coins aren't shown.
That goody bag looks different.
Peach's tears are shown as large spheres here, but in the game lack detail and stick closer together so they look like a continuous stream. Peach is also using a different animation, holding her arms out while running; in the game, she has her hands stuck firmly to her cheeks and rubbing away the tears. Aw.
So what have we learnt? That the year it took from announcing to release was for the best, as it's the prettiest Mario game I've seen. :]
To my knowledge, there exists only one piece of video footage displaying this early version of the game, or at least a later development of it, swiped from IGN. Do we learn much from it?
Well, not really. It moves like the final, and although barely animated, the giant HUD Peach is styled like the final, but the graphics are all early style.
Summary? It sure is early footage.
Inside the game are seven unused bosses. Not just regular old unused bosses, but these are the Koopa Kids! Last seen in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga! With full animation and proper colours and everything!
Note that everything I say her about the attacks and stuff is just guessing, so grains of salt for everyone.
Iggy Koopa, judging by the file I found his graphics in (p_boss_stage01_D08_ncg_datablock), was the original boss of World 1, Ladida Plains. He apparently could breathe fire, use his hair as a horn and charge at you, and one of his animations looks like he's balancing on a ball, despite the fact it was Lemmy who used that tactic in Super Mario Bros. 3.
He also has an animation where he grabs his buttocks in pain and collapses on the ground. Erm.
Morton Jr. Koopa was the original boss of World 2, Hoo's Woods. He has the most animation of the Koopalings, almost reaching 200 frames of animation due to the graphic designers thoughtfully giving him different frames for both directions, what with star-shaped birthmark. His attacks include jumping, spitting fire, charging at you, and strangely enough, inflating himself. The inflation dominates most of his animation, and not only allows him to float, but presumably lets him spit fire at greater power.
Morton really has a lot going for him, as he's special for four reasons. The first is the aforementioned tons of animation. The second is is the fact he has two files that store his graphics; one is named and laid out like the rest of the Koopa Kids, while the other has his name and "test" in the filename, and his animation is laid out neatly in 64x64 boxes. The third is the fact he was the first to be found and ripped, by Raccoon Sam, who gave him a custom palette (the lower one) which, in my opinion, is much more fitting because of reason four: His shell is green. He is one of the only two whose shells aren't the colours they usually are; in this case, grey.
Lemmy Koopa is the only other Koopaling who has his name in the filename, and was the original boss of World 3. His attacks include crying, jumping, spinning and spraying fire; judging simply by the crying and the spinning, his attacks seem most related to the whole vibe thing that effects stage enemies, if spinning is compared to Peach's Joy mood, what with the spinning up a whirlwind and all. His animations seem to be mildly unfinished; not because they're choppy or anything, but because the green part of his head isn't shaded when he is spinning or breathing fire. Or it could simply have been intentional.
Or, of course, I could simply be talking a load of rubbish.
Ludwig von Koopa was the original boss of World 4, and is the largest of the Koopalings, therefore automatically making him the muscle house, with the ability to grab something (either Peach or a boulder to throw or slam or something among those lines), retreat into his shell and spin around, and get dizzy.
There are two frames after his dizzy animation that are either simply him shaking his head to regain awareness, or some kind of bizarre, awkwardly animated attack signal. It's pretty weird.
And yes, he does have a standing pose, but it was too hard to animate so I went with the funnier butt-grasping pain animation.
Roy Koopa is the former boss of World 5, and was a royal pain in the ass to rip. Not only did he have a lot of animation, but for whatever reason his sweat, breath and a spiked ball were included, and there was no palette for everything; there was one for his body, one for shell when he crawled into it, and another for the spiked ball. Not pleasant.
His attacks include jumping, breathing fire, charging at you, throwing a spiked ball, and retreating into his shell to spin about. He also has an animation after his fire breathing ones where he pants exaggeratedly and wipes a disgusting amount of sweat off his brow and flings it to the ground. No idea what it's for, but it makes me barf.
Roy is the second Koopa Kid, alongside Morton, who has a green shell despite not owning one; Roy is usually seen with a pink or purple shell.
Wendy O' Koopa was the original boss of World 6, and the only obvious attacks I can see from her animation are a jump and her ability to throw one of her bracelets at Peach. She also has an animation where she points upwards and strikes a pose, and another where she faces the screen and stands with her arms in the air; presumably both were for summoning an attack from something else.
STUPID FUN FACT!! Unless they fiddled with the organisation of worlds during production, Wendy reigns over Gleam Glacier. However, in the non-canon Super Mario World cartoon, Wendy is shown to utterly despise the cold in the episode "Fire Sale", and goes about kidnapping Mama Fireplant to heat up her ice lair, ultimately leading to the place melting.
In other news, I remember too much pointless information about old cartoons.
And finally, there's Larry Koopa, the boss of World 7. His attacks include spinning at ultra fast speeds, spitting fire, retreating into his shell and spinning around, and body slamming the ground. He also has a frame that may just be him being hit, but it also looks like he's chomping down on something.
There are a couple of odd animations that I can't quite decipher their real purpose. One involves him raising his arms and then aiming them at the ground, palms open and closing his eyes; it could be summoning or signalling something, but no idea for certain. Another is after his body slam attack, where he apparently collapses on the ground in a heap and cries. All kinds of weird.
Although I wish they had kept the Koopa Kids in (as they're honestly so much better looking than the crappy Wiggler and giant Magikoopa and what not), I imagine their removal was because they were all kind of samey. With the exception of Morton, all of them were ground-bound, and a number of them shared the same jumping and shell attacks. I suppose if the game's intention was to be easy, at least have some variety to keep you going. Or something.
These graphics were found in "ss_sm_st02_ob_D00.NCBR", and feature some very Yoshi's Island styled flowers and butterflies; but most importantly, the sprite of Peach is in the same style as the early footage!
I've nailed the palettes of Peach, Perry and the light, but everything else could be wrong.
Found in "sss_common_clr_win.NCBR", these show sprites that would be reused often for bosses, such as the rewards for beating the boss and such. Most notably, the sprites of Toad and Luigi are slightly different from their final sprites.
The original graphics show Luigi with brighter colours, an anti-aliased outline and with two less frames of animation, but the addition of a pose he never does in the final. Toad shares the same styled outline and brighter colours, as well as showing his waving-for-help animation in proper colours. The game has those sprites changed in hue to look like he's inside the bubble with accompanying shine. More boring differences include the level select icon for the boss stage having a different animation, the jigsaw piece having a glow, and the fact that the jigsaw piece is simply there. You never get those for beating a boss.
I'm diabolically lazy and didn't even rearrange this for this section. Or even split them up, since they all came from separate files.
The various Peaches came from "peach_test_1_ncg.bin" and "sample_peach_ncg.bin" showing what appears to be four different styles, presumably for when they were deciding on the graphics style. I'm very glad they chose what they did in the final, because honestly, ugh. Also of note is Perry, whose sprites are so bland I can't tell if they're different. You may notice that there are black spots on him; his palette lacked a colour for that slot, so I just left it, even though it's barbarically ugly.
The first Goomba was stored inside "peach_kuribo_r_ncg.bin". I have no real comments, aside from saying how they'rethe best looking things in the whole assortment.
The second Goomba originated from "kuribo_D08_ki_ncg.bin", and I seriously doubt it would be for gameplay, as not only is it giant compared to Peach (unless the proportions were a lot bigger earlier in production), but, well, it's horrendous. And the third, from "kuribo_D08_ra_ncg.bin" is the same style except it's green. Green Goombas don't exist in the game, which is fairly wacky.
I'm not too sure what's worse; not reformatting graphics to fit this page more, or not bothering with transparency.
But yes, in "tp_gc_st05_ball_ncg.bin" there lies a Chomp Rock, an obstacle fromYoshi's Island. Combine that with the early flowers, the general graphic style and the brief cameo of a Ukiki in World 2's before-boss segment, and yeah, it's pretty obvious of the influences.
Of course, there's a chance this and the following are in the game. I didn't even notice the Ukiki until several months after I completed the game, and I can barely remember a thing from it, so there you go.
Heck, there's even one of those seagulls, found inside "tp_gc_st05_ahodori_ncg.bin"! It has full animation for a flying animation, but I'm lazy and didn't bother.
Decompiling the Japanese ROM, one can see that there are nineteen folders. In the US version, there are eighteen.
A folder called "G3D" was the omitted one.
Quite simply, I've no idea what the hell it's doing there. The only files it contains are .nsbtx and .nsbmd, which are used for textures and 3D models, respectively; two things that are nowhere to be seen in the game. Several files state that they are related to Densetsu no Stafi, another series of cutesy platformers developed by Tose, the same guys who made this very game.
However, why there is horrifying shit like this stored in there with them is beyond me. They were kind enough to have three versions of it as well!
There are also various other textures, mostly of water, bubbles and cliffs, and aren't really all that interesting. There is a "stafy_fieldtest.nsbmd," which could be of interest, but until there's a way of opening those 3D model files, all there is to do is look at textures already kept in other files. Whoo.
My attempt of explaining all this? Either it's a demo exclusive to the Japanese version (anyone willing to debunk this?), or Tose were pulling a Metal Slug X by working on another game at the same time, keeping their progress inside this. Considering the huge amount of unused stuff left in it, I wouldn't be surprised.
There's a whole page on this thing! Check it out. It has test stages!
Nothing exciting, I'm afraid. I did a quick shimmy through, but it looks like they did a good job of removing any unneeded text. It's basic ASCII, though, so you can easily find it with Hex Workshop, or even Notepad. There is this, however.
Looks like someone forgot to remove a bit of the graphic conversion! Oh, how amusing.