A playable prototype for a planned Super Nintendo game called Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle has been unearthed by Gaming Alexandria and a collection of assets and documents have also been made available on the site alongside an article detailing the game's history.
The side-scrolling platformer was originally scheduled for release in 1994 and was previously known to exist through various screenshots, but now the game (or what was made of it) is available for all to play. The prototype ROM has been in the possession of the project's programmer Jim Grundell for over 25 years.
Eurocom developed two GameTek published versions for the Game Boy and Game Gear that did make it to market but according to the article the SNES version was contracted out to Manley & Associates, now known as Electronic Arts Seattle. As you can see from the video above, the game looked to be in a decent state, although Grundell believes it was missing a lot of levels, as he told Gaming Alexandria:
“The game was playable, it didn’t have any bugs, but I don’t think it had a lot of content. I can only remember 2 or 3 distinct levels and a few cutscenes, but there may have been more. I’m not sure the design was complete and we just had a few levels to work with.”
Unrelated to the Disney interpretation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' character (that wouldn't appear until 1999, a little late for a Super NES game), the reasons for the game's cancellation are numerous and intriguing. As you might have surmised if you watched the video above, while the sprite work looks pretty good, character movement wasn't very smooth.
Another reason for the game never seeing the light of day had to do with The Lord of the Jungle's wilful slaughter of every last creature - often endangered species - that he comes across. The developer reportedly attempted to paper over this issue by making the poor animals 'magic' and disappear in puffs of smoke, but that didn't address the poor gameplay and the game was canned.
The article goes more in-depth and features animated frames of Tarzan taking lions down with his knife alongside a collection of other sprite work and assorted documentation. It's a fascinating look at an unreleased Super NES game and well worth a read.
Would you have enjoyed the chance to rescue Jane on SNES? Did you play either of the handheld games (or any other Tarzan title, for that matter)? Swing in below and leave a comment.