Saturday, May 26, 2007

Halloween Harry/Alien Carnage - what might have been!

I've had a great response from fans of Halloween Harry/Alien Carnage over its re-release as freeware.

So, while people are excited about Harry I thought I'd talk a bit about some other Harry games that never made it to market.

Of course there was a direct sequel called Zombie Wars released in 1996, but before that we kicked around a number of other ideas for games to put Harry in. Often times we mocked up prototypes to test out ideas - from Sidewinder Sally (a Harry spin off) to Halloween Harry: Undead (a 3D multi-player game) to the potentially very cool Lunch Break Commandos.

Lunch Break Commandos
Now, I forget if this was inspired by the LucasArts Indiana Jones Desktop adventures, or whether it was inspired by the same thing that inspired LucasArts - but the game was designed as a "casual" game you could play during your lunch break. Either way, I think it would have been a fun little game as this Windows 95 screen shot shows:

Here's an extract from the design doc dated June 1995:

Game Overview
Lunch Break Commandos is a top down view action/adventure game similar to Zelda.

You take control of a hard as nails mercenary, either Agent Halloween Harry or the equally lethal Agent Diane, Beagle or Doc as you embark on a number of small but challenging missions that can be completed within half an hour to 45 minutes.

Having been assigned by the United Planetary Alliance (UPA) to patrol a number of small planets on the outer rim, it is your job to keep intergalactic peace. Your tasks range from protecting villagers from the evil non-humanoid aliens (NHA) to rescuing downed UPA pilots from behind enemy lines.

There are twenty missions to choose from covering a number of different scenarios on four different worlds. Players can explore and blast their way through each level as they try to achieve their objectives.

New missions with different graphics can be loaded by a special Load Missions facility on the Options screen from separately sold mission disks.

I designed a system to allow the creation of a variety of missions, including the ability to load new tilesets and item types. This was going to used to create new IP and adapt existing IP, such as the Amazon Queen characters.

Again, here's some example game scenarios from the design doc:

Game Examples
The first two examples use the hero morph feature differently but to the same affect.

1) Player has to rescue a downed pilot from across enemy lines. Arriving at the POW camp he comes across a barbed wire fence that blocks further progress. An enemy squadron is based on your side of the fence. There are ten of them and they have a tank. Attack the squadron, avoiding the tank’s shells. After wiping out the squadron hop in the tank and drive over the barbed wire. Get out of the tank and blow the door off the munitions building. Stock up on some grenades and make your way into the camp building, etc.

2) Player has to destroy the evil dragon Grizzlebludde. The only way to it’s Castle lair is via the lake that surrounds it. Unable to swim across without drowning, the player must visit the local Wizard. He will give you a Duck Transformation potion if you deliver a Scroll to the village elves. After delivering the Scroll you get the Duck Potion. Drink it and turn into a duck. Paddle across the lake. On the shore of the Castle grounds drink the potion to turn back into a human, etc.

3) It’s the wild west and legend has it that Old Man Slade stashed a fortune in gold somewhere near Tumbleweed Gulch before he died. With Old Man Slades treasure map, you must brave wild animals, fight off bandits and help a tribe of Indians before entering the dangerous Dead Man Mines to claim the gold. However, you’re not the first... the evil Wooden Teeth Pete and his men are one step ahead of you! Armed with dynamite and the only map of the mines, you must outwit Pete and his men and return with the treasure. Alive.

4) It’s Ancient Greece and the life of your loved one is at stake. As a noble warrior you must brave the fearsome Minotaurs Maze to rescue your girlfriend/boyfriend. But this time things are in your favour. Armed with your trusty M-16 and a heavy duty grenade launcher you’re ready to kick the Minotaurs sorry ass.

As you can tell the game was far from serious. It would have been interesting to see if the idea would have worked back in the mid nineties, but given the warm reception that LucasArts got with their Desktop Adventures I'm guessing it would have struggled to sell.


Anonymous said...

Cool stuff, John. And thanks again for allowing the freeware release. I remember the game from back when. Never got around to play the full game then (something called DOOM got in the way). Fun stuff!

Anonymous said...

Halloween Harry was my favorite game until duke3d, but damn, wish you had of kept it going. Its a name that could of gone places. Especialy if it was turned into a mmo ;) (hint hint)

J.Ho said...

i remember playing halloween harry/alien carnage back in the day--i'm glad to hear that it's getting a freeware release.

the lunchbreak commandoes screenshot looks great! maybe you could resurrect it as an online 4-player co-op game? or maybe a DS wifi co-op game? keep the graphics 2-dimensional though. :D

Passfield Games said...

It's cool that people are getting to experience Harry all over again after all these years. I hope it lives up to the memories!

Yeah, Lunchbreak Commandos would make a cool DS game. Hmmm....

Steven said...

I really love your style of 2D graphics. I only wish I could be that talented - I'm trying to make my own freeware 2D game, and I've got the programming, music, etc. down, but graphics are always the hardest part!

Thanks again for releasing HH/AC as freeware. I did buy the full version back in the day (well, my parents did), but I don't even have a computer with a 3.5" drive anymore.