Sega: July-Sept. 1990

VASUM, an unreleased Mega Drive game:

This one was announced as "Dando" at the Tokyo Toy Show of 1990. It's a hack-and-slash action game verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry reminiscent of Legendary Axe on the PCE/TG-16. It's no surprise, as this game was developed by the same company as Legendary Axe (and Astyanax, another Axe clone):Aicom*. Both Axe and Astyanax were directed and designed by Tokuhiro Takemori, and I suspect Vasum was too.

Anyway, the scanned article above doesn't say anything interesting. You have your usual medieval action-RPG, allowing you to level-up your character, use magic, etc. The player walks around an overhead map, and when he enters a town or an action scene, the game changes to a side-view.

Above is a beautiful canvas-style advertisement for Vasum. It's a real shame this one didn't come out, as it looks like the producers infused the game with atmosphere.

GAIARES, looking slightly different:

This preview of GAIARES says that it had been previously announced under the title "AZTION", proving that Telenet were consistently terrible at naming their games. Anyway, these pictures look very close to the final game, except that I could not find the structure in picture #5 in the final game. Perhaps it was removed? Other small differences (background type & position) can be seen in pictures 2, 6, and in the top-right of the article scan. (3 screenshots of the final game are on the right for you to compare.)

Finally, the prototype Game Gear hardware (left) compared to the final hardware (right):
Obvious differences include a different logo, "pause" rather than "start" button, and convex Skittle-shaped buttons rather than the concave ones of the final. Hrm.