Thursday, June 22, 2017

Footage of Mega Man 4's Lost Mid-Boss Unearthed


First seen in a 1991 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, actual footage of the unused sphinx mid-boss from Mega Man 4 has been discovered! You can see it rises to the surface at the 4:13 mark in the above video.

Bits and pieces of the sphinx's remains have been found in the retail version of Mega Man 4, but this is our first time seeing the thing in action. It's never been specified why it was cut from the game, though seeing it now I wonder if it was too difficult to beat. Presumably, players were to jump on top of the boulder to shoot the snake on the sphinx's head. However, Mega Man himself has very little room to maneuver. Unused sprite data provides credence to the theory as the boulder was decreased in size later in development. Ultimately the entire boss was cut.

This footage comes to us from Robert Hoskin, who filmed it in May '91 with EGM staffers Ken Williams and Edward Semrad. I suggest you keep watching after the sphinx's appearance; there's lots of other Mega Man 4 beta elements to see!

Thanks to NintenCade360 for the tip!

23 comments:

  1. That boulder sprite looks that has been ripped straight out of Ducktales!

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  2. As always, I absolutely love when missing pieces like this finally come to light. Like the unfinished content from Mega Man Soccer. However, in this case, I can kinda see why this boss was cut. It is a good idea on paper, but the obstacle seems rather hard to surmount for this person. Since the boulder comes out every other opening, it's not immediately clear how to shoot whatever assumed weak point. Not to mention the boulder pushes you under and the space in which to jump onto it isn't that big. The whole cycle runs rather slow as well.

    But...after the first boulder and the fact that you cant jump on the chin as you are, it becomes very clear what the player should do. So...I dunno. I guess a lot of people had trouble like this so they axed it. 2.5D tributed it well though!

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  3. AMAZING!!!! THIS IS HISTORY!!!!! My mind blows.... Sphinx mini-boss from Rockman 4 sample..... YEAH!!!

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  4. Okay. Now, more than ever, I want this prototype. Why did they ever get rid of those groovy backgrounds? Plus, it sounds like Ringman's theme is ever-so-slightly different in this build!
    And of course, it's nice to know exactly how that sphinx mini-boss actually worked (though everyone pretty much got it right).

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    1. Yeah, almost like it's being played on PAL standards lol.

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  5. Good finding. I love this one! Awesome.

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  6. Love seeing this kind of stuff. Also weird seeing Pharaoh Man's stage with bright blue sky in it.

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  7. Hey, there is no Spinhx to be found in any Megaman games such as NES and Game Boy series ? Curiosity.

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    1. Mega Man V (Game Boy) has a giant sphinx sub-boss called T. Khamen.

      And there are also the bosses and minibosses Pharaoh Man (MM and MMBN versions, his transformation from the Rockman EXE Beast anime slightly resembling a sphinx), Isaz and Sowilo (Mega Man Xtreme 2), Anubis Necromances (MM Zero 1 & 3), and Steephinx (MMZX)

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  8. WOW! This is amazing! Did anyone notice how Ring Man's theme has been transposed down for the final release? I never knew that song went through any sort of change. Also, it's difficult to hear it, but is Bright Man's theme any different? I couldn't hear anything that resembled the original, but that could've been me.

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  9. Has this version ever been dumped? I want to fight that mid-boss!

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  10. Ah, I feel like we're back in 2009. Thank you Protodude and everyone involved for this!

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  11. Fantastic find! I think the difficulty with the mid-boss could easily be remedied by simply moving it further to the right... There's no reason to have it take up 80% of the screen. That would give the player more time to jump on the boulder.

    I was wondering why at certain times the game seems to freeze... Is this a mechanism to pause the game so they can take clearer screenshots?

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  12. It's awesome to see such a fascinating piece of history from the game's development period. That mid-boss would definitely have driven many folks insane trying to figure out how to actually damage it. Not only does Mega Man barely have the room to maneuver, he has to deal with trying not to sink all the way into the sand.

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  13. The Return OF Your Friendly Neighborhood MetoolJune 23, 2017 at 12:21 AM

    So hey, I think I actually have some footage of this not shown. (I think it was four anyway, not sure.)

    I once ordered some promo video that talked at length about the new Rockman games to retailers and showed off beta footage of either 4 or 5, Gameboy... 3 I believe?, and Rockboard.

    I'm trying to get all of the videos I have sorted out and transfered to YT. Are you interested in it?

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    1. Yes, please! Keep me posted - rockman20xx@yahoo.com

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    2. Beta footage of Mega Man III? Holy crap, do want!

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    3. I am very interested in this, as well!

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  14. If you look very close in the background of this video you can see more people fighting the sphinx. And for a brief second you can see someone got behind the sphinx on it's back. So I bet you could shoot the snake on it's head from behind. Been rewatching this video trying to see all the differences too.

    Looks like the mini saturn enemys aren't in ring man's stage yet too. They used the guys from dust man's stage in place of them. Looks like all stage layouts changed too. They didn't show enough clear footage of toad man's stage to see any really differences. And so this looks like we can confirm this beta rockman 4 built has playable Bright, Ring, Pharaoh, and Toad Man's stages. And that rockman 3's boss select music was used as a placeholder for the rockman 4 boss select music.

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  15. Thanks for posting this! These videos are full of interesting stuff.

    That miniboss does seem brutal though. The player seems pretty competent at the game overall so I can't really blame them for not figuring it out. They probably could've shoved the boss to the right more so the player has more room to move/react. But I think the levels in MM4 are a bit too miniboss heavy as it is, so I don't necessarily miss it.

    It's super weird to see a blue sky outdoors section in Pharaoh Man's stage, though. Especially considering the stage already started outdoors... at night.

    I also noticed the lightbulb things in Bright Man's stage don't turn the lights off after being shot. Presumably the functionality just wasn't implemented yet since the otherwise-pointless firework enemies are there too.

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  16. With all these discoveries of betas, videos, etc my heart tells me that in a near future info or videos from the White City of the MMX proto will be found. Who knows even a proto might pop somewhere.
    I don't know it's a hunch.

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  17. Even after watching that video, I still think it's a shame that mini-boss had to be cut. The sprite work on that thing was excellent.

    Here's hoping someone manages to find and dump this prototype someday. I'd like to know for myself how damage was actually supposed to be inflicted on that sphinx.

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  18. Even after finally seeing the sphinx mini-boss in action, I still think it's a shame that it had to be cut. After all, that was some top-notch sprite work, and it looked as if a lot of effort was put into it.

    Here's hoping someone will find and dump the ROM of this prototype someday. That way, we can see for ourselves exactly how that mini-boss was meant to be damaged, whether it was by shooting the snake on its forehead, or by shooting the insane of its mouth. I get the feeling that it was the former.

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