Garfield: The Lost Levels Sega Channel exclusive

Discussion in 'Unreleased Games Discussion' started by retrovgm, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. retrovgm

    retrovgm Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    2
    There is not a lot of information documented about this game online. To give a brief summary, it is a version of the Sega Genesis game "Garfield: Caught in the act" with 3 extra levels that of course was released exclusively to the Sega Channel. Ever since Sega Channel was closed down it has since faded into obscurity.

    I actually asked Michael Latham (Executive producer) about this mysterious version of the game in the comments section of Continue's Lets Play of Caught in the act and he had this to say

    "The lost levels was as you said a Sega Channel exclusive. During that time Sega Channel would try and find products where they could for a cost effective price ask the development team to make a custom version for the the channel. I believe in this case it cut three levels from the original cart and then added three new ones. The speculation that this was meant to be one game and split into two wasn't true. Maybe one level was based on a discarded level from the original design. My guess on the Brazilian cart is it's the SOA Garfield cart but they used a Sega Channel level picture from the US marketing materials not realizing there were two versions."

    Interestingly, despite many people's assumptions that the Sega Channel version of this game took levels from a work in progress version of the game and made a second version of it, this apparently isn't true.

    My theory was always that they had planned these extra levels for the original release but never had time to finish them (Based on concepts for the game which appeared on a promo t shirt). The Game Gear version of the game actually includes the missing levels and was released only a month apart from the Genesis version but was developed by a different team. Perhaps the Genesis version fell behind schedule and so they had to cut down the amount of planned levels? It was known for going through development hell.

    An interesting thing to note is that by using a Game Genie code you can actually activate the moon gravity that was used in Alien Landscape on the PC. Could this confirm that Alien Landscape was originally intended for the Genesis release and was worked on to an extent? (After searching around the Internet I can't seem to find this code anymore. I remember using the code myself years back and I can confirm it does indeed work. If I come across the code I will update this page)

    I also mentioned the Brazilian box for the game which showed Alien Landscape on the back as well as the missing train section from Catsablanca (Stage 4 of the game). The release date of the Brazilian version of the game seems to be unknown but its possible that the PC version of the game had been released already and the Alien Landscape picture may have originated from that. Where did the image of the Train section of Catsablanca come from though? This would mark the second time an official release of the game has used that image despite never appearing in game. Second to the US genesis release.


    I wanted to share some of the things I have found around the Internet that show remnants from The Lost Levels. If anybody has any lead on a prototype of this game I would really love to hear from you. This is one of my personally most sought after prototypes and I would hate for any of them out there to eventually go bad from age or accidentally get thrown away. If anyone knows somebody that was involved with the game or Sega Channel itself maybe try reaching out to them? They may still have a copy of the game somewhere.


    Video footage recorded from a convention back in the day - (Seen at 0:46 to 0:48 and 6:56 to 6:58)

    Alien Landscape level appeared in PC version of the game -

    Missing Catsablanca Train section shown on back of US genesis box - https://gamefaqs.akamaized.net/box/2/8/0/42280_back.jpg

    Brazilian Megadrive Box shows Alien Landscape and Catsablanca Train section levels - http://segaretro.org/images/3/3e/Garfield_MD_BR_cover.jpg

    Promo T- shirt showing unused variations of Garfield - http://icekimages.homestead.com/files/GCITAtshirt.jpg

    Lost Media Wiki on The Lost Levels - http://lostmediawiki.com/Garfield:_..._Channel_exclusive_levels_of_game;_mid-1990s)
    (Some interesting information to note there. One person says he may know someone who worked with Sega Channel. Another person posted a link to the video footage shown here.)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
    arnoldlayne likes this.
  2. Bramsworth

    Bramsworth Well Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,707
    Likes Received:
    316
    I've done a lot of research on this game to the point where I even had a personal website I made for it. Lost all of that a couple years back due to an HD crash, though. I've kind of held back for the past few years since I wanted to wait until I ever found a proto, but I never have had such luck, so may as well post what I know here.

    First, I've actually reached out to a lot of the people in the game's credits. Only a couple gave extensive interviews, but what I did get gave an interesting background to the game's development, including a different version of the game that had a 3D special stage that was scrapped. I put the only three good interviews I got up on Hidden Palace a couple months back since they were just sitting in my emails and I'm not finding any prototypes anytime soon to make putting up a fanpage worth it at this rate. You can view these interviews here:

    http://hiddenpalace.org/Category:Garfield:_Caught_in_the_Act_interviews

    For what it's worth, I've asked all of them if they have any remaining materials, such as documents or proto builds. Sadly nothing. But I'm in contact with another person who worked on the game that is going through their archives seeing if they potentially kept something. They already agreed with me they'll let me share if they do. Can't say if it will ever happen, though. I've also tried reaching out to Sega Channel people in the past but I've yet to get any of them to reply back.

    The Lost Levels were in fact levels cut from the final. Michael Latham isn't remembering correctly. I think the fact there's video of the viking (snow) level before the game's release as well as shots of the train and space levels before hand proves this. Magazines also got prototype builds of the game that had the cut levels. Europe in particular apparently got early copies for review that had the missing levels. You can see a couple scans of these magazines here:

    https://www.ninretro.de/game-4-236.html

    What I'm still not clear on and no one has answered is exactly how many stages were cut. Going by the interviews and all screenshots available out there through previews and reviews. it looks like the three lost levels were the viking (snow) level, the space level (which we got in the PC port), and the train section of Catsablanca. But as anyone who has looked into this game knows, this shirt exists.

    [​IMG]

    The only outfits never confirmed for the Genesis version are the Greek and Robin Hood ones. They were in the Game Gear version, though. It feels like it's likely they were never planned for the Genesis game and the shirt really was meant to be inclusive of both versions of the game, but I've always wondered...

    I'll post again someday if I have more news. This game has been one of my holy grails and is arguably the one I've put the most amount of research into. I get the feeling the only way we're going to see the Lost Levels is if another archival Sega Channel CD shows up in the future, but I sure would like to see an early proto of the full game before they cut back the lost levels.

    If anyone else has even more info, definitely let us know. I've spent more hours than I care to admit digging up contacts and trying to find things. Really don't want to see this lost to time.
     
  3. Bramsworth

    Bramsworth Well Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,707
    Likes Received:
    316
    Here's several (big) images from magazine scans I've found. It was primarily overseas magazines that got copies for review that had the three lost levels. The different lives graphic is also a sign of magazines having an early copy. If you ever see a proto with the final lives graphic, which is a spinning flat Garfield head then that's a sign it's a final. If you look closely you'll also notice some magazines sharing the same preview shots, like how most of them have the same pics of that one part of the snow level.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
    _XBOX_ likes this.
  4. retrovgm

    retrovgm Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    2
    Amazing research here! I just got done reading the interviews you did with the developers of the game too and that was a really interesting read. Funnily enough a few of my theories about the game turned out to be true such as the levels being cut due to time constraints and the Train level for Catsablanca not being finished enough to include in the final game. Although I was kind of convinced the game wasn't cut down early in development after talking with Michael Latham, I think my mind has been changed. Those screenshots you posted pretty much prove the levels were indeed playable before the Sega channel release.

    Pravin Wagh actually mentioned the Robin Hood level being worked on "Didn't Robin Hood ship in the game? I remember working on lighting and particle effects, and Garfield running through a forest canopy."
    There was a jungle stage used in the game for the second act of Orangebeard. Could he be mistaking it for that? It seems to fit his description pretty well since it also has the lighting and particle effects he mentioned.

    With that level out of the picture it would probably be likely the 3 missing levels would be the viking, alien and train stage as they seem to be the only ones with screenshots floating around. I'm wondering also if the shirt depicts early concepts drafted by Sega Interactive or PAWS early in development or if the Game Gear developers had more free rein in their games design and came up with some new levels on their own. Then the shirt was made with both games in mind. Hmm... could possibly explain the absence of any screenshots and information regarding those extra stages.

    The game in the video footage I linked is actually running on a Sega channel device. If you look below the TV at 0:46 you can see the device hooked up. I was quite disappointed to see that actually as I was hoping to see a prototype board for the game that would have been a great lead.

    Anyways thanks again for your work to document and hopefully find a working prototype of this game! Its great to finally meet someone who is as interested in it as me.
     
  5. retrovgm

    retrovgm Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    2
    Also about your webpage. Would it maybe be stored on the Wayback Machine on archive.org?
    Would be awesome to see a successor to it in the future if a prototype of the game does turn up.
     
  6. Bramsworth

    Bramsworth Well Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,707
    Likes Received:
    316
    Nah, the website was only on temporary storage on a host and wasn't made public, so it wouldn't have been picked up. My post above arguably covers everything I had on there anyway, plus more since I didn't have the Pravin interview or all of those magazine shots back then.

    Pravin most likely is remembering the Orangebeard area as you guessed. One reason I'm hoping it will be possible to find an early proto of the game with all of the lost levels is since unlike the Sega Channel ROM it might be more likely to include data for other things hidden in there, like levels that were dumped more early on. FWIW, I used to own a "proto" of Garfield that appeared to just be the final. The stickers on it said 95-09-B or something like that, indicating that it was already completed in September of 1995. One common theme with the above magazine review scans is that they all were in November 1995. So if the final proto I had was dated September 95 yet they're reviewing clearly earlier copies in November, did they even have new copies sent in from Sega or were they all just reviewing old copies they had for some reason? Don't think I'll ever know the answer to that.

    Almost forgot to post this. It's a small sketch for the Catsablanca stage that used to be on Eric Quakenbush's website but I think is no longer there.

    [​IMG]

    Also did a quick search and it looks like it was IceKnight on the Sonic Retro forums who found that moon physics code. The code is FFEE21:20.
     
  7. Bramsworth

    Bramsworth Well Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,707
    Likes Received:
    316
    Here's a list of others I've contacted but barely said much, just to save anyone the effort.

    Michael Latham - He didn't get back through email, but going by the above it sounds like his Youtube comment encompasses anything he'd have to say anyway
    Jeffrey Glenn Tveraas - Said he may have old MIDI files but ultimately couldn't find any.
    Eric Quakenbush - Gave me the above sketch but didn't have much to say.
    Steve Lashower - Pravin mentions he worked on the game early on before leaving. The guy didn't have much to say and seemed very uninterested unfortunately.

    I've sort of given up because it gets exhausting getting no results, besides just waiting for my friend who may have something in his archives. There's a couple people in the game's credits I've found emails and social media profiles for in the past, but I never get a response, so they seem pretty unapproachable (Frank Hsu, for example).
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  8. CrAzY

    CrAzY SNES4LIFE

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,737
    Likes Received:
    48
    Even when I was a young child, I loved beta related pictures I saw in magazines or the rare times they would use pre-release screens on the actual box art. I loved Garfield back then, and that shot of him on the train always stuck in my mind as a kid, but back then I just assumed it was something they cut, not that they most likely purposely cut it for some Sega Channel release! Never even knew of the space themed level or the viking one. Very interesting stuff. While I don't consider it a gem of the Genesis library by any stretch, it does have its charm. Would love to see those extra levels surface someday!
     
    _XBOX_ likes this.
  9. darkspire17

    darkspire17 None

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2014
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    112
    ik their is a SEGAPC version that has a new level, i think it was renamed to TV LAND
     
  10. Bramsworth

    Bramsworth Well Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,707
    Likes Received:
    316
    Yeah, as shown in the video in the OP, the Space level was added into the PC port. Garfield in TV Land was an earlier title for the game that was never used anywhere afaik, the PC port is still just Caught in the Act.
     
  11. Youloute

    Youloute Robust Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    19
    Still available through Archive.org
    http://web.archive.org/web/20160619152829/http://action-packed.net:80/wp/

     
  12. KGRAMR

    KGRAMR Gaming aficionado raised by family & friends.

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    484
    Likes Received:
    190
    Now that i think about it, Garfield for the Genesis might be the most ambitious title SOA ever did. Too bad they cut corners here and there :(
     
  13. retrovgm

    retrovgm Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    2
    The standalone PC version of the game strangely seems to use both names. On the front it says TV land and on the back it says caught in the act. I always preferred caught in the act personally. TV land sounds like a budget electronics store to me.
    https://www.catawiki.com/catalog/video-games/platforms/pc/1471339-garfield-caught-in-tv-land


    It seems with a lot of really ambitious games that they never seem to be able to fully realize their vision due to a large number of issues. Its a shame really. I've always appreciated this game despite its minor problems and kind of felt sorry for the developers after pouring so much work into it and seeing the slightly average reviews for it. Honestly some of the best animation I've seen on the system. After reading the interview with Pravin Wagh he mentions that Aladdin pretty much set a new standard in animation and they tried their best to match that. To great success I'd say. I found it really hilarious that if you run too much Garfield will actually get out of breath.
     
    KGRAMR likes this.
  14. retrovgm

    retrovgm Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    2
    Here's hoping he manages to find something! Keep us posted.
     

Share This Page