Akira has gone down as one of the most beloved anime films of all time, but surprisingly, unlike many successful films from that era, it has a shaky history of being adapted to a tie-in video game. A text-heavy "visual novel" game was released in 1998 on the Famicom, Nintendo's Japanese equivalent of the Nintendo Entertainment System," and while titles for the SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, Game Gear, and Game Boy were reportedly under development, those never saw the light of day... at least until now, for the latter (via Engadget).
Patrick Scott Patterson, a YouTube user who hunts down obscure unreleased video games for the sake of preservation, recently came across four different copies of an Akira Game Boy cartridge, each in various stages of completion. It has previously been reported that the Game Boy Akira game was going to be an adaptation of an existing game from its developer, meaning that the character sprites and names and other defining elements would be re-skinned from an already-existing title.
Regardless of how this unfinished artifact came to be, even Patterson's least-finished version of the game is borderline unplayable. It features an opening series of cinematic cut-screens that summarize the movie's plot, then launches into a side-scrolling biking level that is the only complete-able one on the cart. Beyond that, there are also platforming levels, sewer levels, and other stages that can't be beaten in their unfinished state.
Patterson also reports that the control scheme seems to be unfinished—for example, the Down button makes the player kick, and the Up button punches—so it doesn't appear that this game was ever all that close to coming to market, which means the video above is probably the best look we'll ever get at it. Breathe it in, Akira obsessives.
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