Previously-unseen gameplay from the Nintendo64 game Dinosaur Planet has been released, giving fans an unprecedented look at the title which eventually became Star Fox Adventures on the GameCube.
Game preservationists, Forest of Illusion, released the build after purchasing an original copy on CD-R from a private collector in Sweden. However, anyone hoping to play it on emulators will experience slowdown and graphical issues. Nonetheless, it’s a very exciting release.
Why should you be excited about Dinosaur Planet? Because the success of Star Fox Adventures owes everything to Dinosaur Planet! It was actually intended as a stand-alone game, developed as an open-world title immediately after developer, Rare Limited, finished work on the acclaimed Diddy Kong Racing. But Nintendo legend, Shigeru Miyamoto, was so impressed by its gameplay, he apparently suggested not only that it should be a launch title for the upcoming GameCube system, but also that it be integrated into the already-popular Star Fox brand. Sure enough, this build, with a 1st December 2000 file date, incorporates Fox McCloud but there remains references to Sabre, the original Dinosaur Planet lead character that was changed after Miyamoto’s suggestion.
Rare had obviously put a lot of thought and passion into the game, so there was reportedly some resistance to the idea that the narrative and graphics had to change to accommodate its integration into a different franchise. Still, everyone seemed to recognise the increased exposure Dinosaur Planet would get for including Fox and the gamble paid off: Star Fox Adventures gained critical and commercial success upon its release in late 2002 and had sold 800,000 units in the United States, raking in $30 million, by July 2006.
Of course, it’s wonderful to see the title in its development stage. However, you can’t help but wonder if, somewhere out there, something survives featuring its original characters, Sabre and Krystal…
Philip Bates is the co-founder and editor of The Doctor Who Companion. His most recent books are 100 Objects of Dr Who, and The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang. His first console was the SNES and he’s been an avid fan of Nintendo ever since (with brief sojourns into the realms of the PlayStation).