We especially like stories of game history on the Vortex, and we are still fascinated by what enthusiastic fans can reveal even after many decades. One such story is now being written by the Forest of Illusion group, which specializes in archiving and discovering forgotten games or parts of them, not only the authors’ stories but also, of course, developer consoles and data carriers that were not intended for the public. One of them is a prototype cartridge for the Nintendo 64 from 1997, which the group got to a few days ago and to their surprise they found data from the unfinished version of the game F-Zero X (the final version was released in 1998), which overwhelmed the original sources of assets for the beta version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. However, even these were partially saved, and those interested can see what both titles looked like before they were completed.
We have a prototype Nintendo 64 cartridge of F-Zero X that contained data from an early build of Zelda 64 that used to be on the cartridge. We’re estimating it’s from Spaceworld 1997. We’re going to look into this more. Of course everything will be released. pic.twitter.com/Q5SoAbsdWM
— Forest of Illusion (@forestillusion) January 19, 2021
According to Forest of Illusion, the cartridge was most likely intended for Spaceint in 1997, hosted by Nintendo at various times since 1989. It was to present to the press a demo of both games less than a year before they actually came out, however, their appearance differed from the sales version. Because The Legend of Zelda is incomparably more popular than the F-Zero, most of the details are currently on Link’s adventures, but you can search for anything you want, as the 32MB cartridge was released to the public last night. However, if you do not have the ambition to discuss with source materials, which include graphic assets rather than your own game code, you can at least go through the gallery, or watch a quick tour of the content via video from the Hard4Games YouTube channel.
Specifically, they include data on the level of development of Lens of Truth and Spiritual Stones, but you can also see, for example, unused effects for Link’s bow, note icons, or grass, through which the main character was to summon his horse Epon. In the final version, however, a lot of changes came, including playing Ocarina itself, including a special sequence for calling a horse. Accompanying texts to the medallions that Link could use were also discovered – such as the medallion for flying or the use of a special light attack, which in the final version apparently changed into Light Arrows. However, it is also possible to come across changes in the game data that go against some story and design parts, such as a change in information about entering the Temple of Time, pubs in some locations or Gerud bandits crossing the landscape at night.
As the Video Games Chronicle magazine points out, the data does not come from last year’s big leak, which revealed, for example, details about the never-released periphery of Work Boy, but paradoxically also the prototype The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In the case of the previously leaked version, however, it was almost the final form of the game, and the current discovery thus goes much deeper into history and bears witness to many changes.