Let’s talk about another cancelled PC-FX game today, Kuma Soldier.
The more I dig into the PC-FX history, the more idiotic the decisions NEC made about the system in terms of content seem to be. It’s one thing not to update your console architecture to compete with the likes of the PSX and Saturn. But at least give the system a chance to compete with a good set of AAA games, however 2D they are.
Every platform has its own set of franchises Sega has Sonic, Nintendo Mario and the list go on. The PC Engine was home to some great series as well, PC Denjin, Bomberman (although multi-platform), the Soldier series, the Thunder series, Tengai Makyo… Not a lot of these made it to Nec’s 32-bit offspring.
In a previous post we looked at Lords of Thunder FX and while there is little evidence to support its existence. Kuma Soldier on the other hand has been documented several times in the press from the announcement of the Tetsujin board and into the early life of the PC-FX. Even a video popped up on YouTube a few years ago showing it in action along with many other unreleased titles…
Legend has it (see article from Nekofan) that NEC rejected the Kuma Soldier project for the PC-FX, preferring to focus FX content on other things… Not letting go, Hudson Soft instead decided to give the beloved PC Engine a final send off and morphed Kuma Soldier into what we know as GINGA FUKEI DENSETSU SAPPHIRE on the PC Engine. Crazy right? Well if you know Sapphire you will see some similarities when you compare screenshots.
Truth to be told while I would have loved Kuma Soldier to come out on the PC-FX, apart from the cut scenes, it doesn’t look overly impressive graphically, compared to say Zeroigar or Zenki.
While the legend of Kuma Soldier lives on in the above video. I’d like to think that it inspired another game that was released back in May 2008 on the Wii, Star Soldier R. I actually played SSR to death for a long time, the online scoreboard made it quite addictive…
The similarities between both games, on the face of it are probably far fetched but Kuma Soldier is the first thing that came to my mind when I first played SSR, shiny cutscenes, fast paced… It also felt like this game should have come out in the 90s, instead of 2008. The PC-FX would have easily handled a 2D rendition of SSR.
So there you go, another missed opportunity for the poor PC-FX. Hopefully one day a prototype will surface somehow….one can hope.