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CREATED DEC.16.2001
UPDATED SEP.05.2010
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TEXT WRITTEN BY
MARTIN NIELSEN
MIDAS ATTEMPT TO ENTER THE GAMEBOY MARKET
THE LOW BUDGET GAMES THAT WENT MISSING...
Midas Interactive Entertainment, also known as Midas Games, is a UK based publisher known for their budget PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PC titles, and probably mostly known through out Europe for their wide range "Pocket Price - Value Series" of horrible PSX titles such as StarSweep, Street Soccer and Ski Air Mix. Their PS2 range though included a bit better games such as Winback, developed by Koei.

Well on my trips to the ECTS trade event in London, England, back in the days, I stumbled upon Midas for the first time in year 2000. Back then they were yanking out PSC and PC games in large quantities, but a small note on their release list, mentioned "Pocket Price Double Packs" for the Gameboy Color, to be released 1st December 2000, retailing at £24.99.

No specific details were given out at the show, which was held early September, about the GBC releases planned for release the following December. The only aditional information was that there would be released a total of 3 gamepaks, each containing 2 titles. Aditionally 5 single game carts were announced, priced £14.99 each, being...

Bounced
G-Loop
Section 7
Turbo Racing Callenge
Z-Quence

December came, but no GBC games were released that year by Midas. Instead they announced a total of 10 GBC titles at ECTS in 2001, being...

Absolute X (Arcade)
Bounced (Arcade)
VTR (Racing)
Chris Kamara's Street Soccer (Sport)
Equestriad 2001 (Sport)
Mary King's Riding Star (Girls)
Section 7 (Arcade)
Silkolene Honda Motocross GP (Racing)
Super1 Karting Simulation (Racing)
Turbo Racing Challenge (Racing)

And on their website another 2 titles were announced:

Pet Shop
Z-Quence

All of these titles would be sold for £12.99 each, and the first 6 titles would be available in June 200 and another 6 due in September of 2001. Again. But again nothing happened happened and no games were on display at ECTS either.

In 2002 Midas announced that the first batch of 6 would be out early 2002, with another 6 titles due later in the year. Again nothing happened and in 2003, the games dissapeared from the face of the earth, that is if they ever existed. My guess is that because the releases were so heavily delayed and the Gameboy Advance was already taking over the handheld market, there really wasn't a demand for Midas' Gameboy games.

One of the developers of Midas' budget GBC titles was Graphic State, based in Warwickshire - Endland. Graphic State later went to release GBA titles such as Star X (BAM Entertainment), Cruis'n Velocity (Midway) and Dark Arena (Majesco). The latest life of sign from Graphic State was in 2003 where they were working on a game called Urban Reflex for the GBA, a game sort of like Dark Arena.

The game was never released and Graphic State later vanished from the game industry. Graphic State worked on the following games to be published by Midas.

ABSOLUTE X

Of all the games that were produced in the eighties (a period now labelled as retro), the top-down perspective shoot-em-ups were among the most popular. From Galaga to 1942, their popularity was astounding. Even today, these games are being created and re-released. Absolute X, produced by Graphic State, is one such title developed for the old-style platform, GameBoy Color.

Graphic State has really pushed the capabilities of the Game Boy Color with Absolute X. And considering the age of the platform the game looks stunning. Absolute X offers a variety of environments that are themed in accordance with the game’s typically weak story. Levels take place across bustling urban cities, rocky mountains, and even space. The backdrops are naturally pre-rendered, with all the action positioning itself above the scrolling environment.

The gameplay itself is pretty well structured; northbound space antics and end-of-level bosses. The most welcomed classic element of Absolute X is the weapons power ups. You will often find yourself striving for power ups in an attempt to make upcoming bosses easier to defeat.

Absolute X offers a classic retro experience and nothing more. It’s just pure gameplay, and that’s great!

Another developer hired by Midas was Karma Studios based in Arnhem, The Netherlands. Karma was responsible for most of the Midas releases that never happened and besides those they only managed to ship a few GBA games, Downforce and Radium. The Dutch development studio isn't in business anymore either.

BOUNCED

Massive 32 stages, split into 4 worlds, "California" (Beach), "Egypt" (Pyramids), "Holland" (Roses and Windmills) and "Polar" (Snow), has to be completed by you, in the shape of a spheroid named Dito. The story goes something like this. One day the entire population of Dito's planet was hit by an evil forcefield, reversing all the creature's energy patterns. To defeat evil, Dito has to bounce on his buddies to reach platforms above him.

Originally the game was planned to be released in Europe by "Project 2 Interactive", but in March 2000 the company went bankrupt, and I'm guessing that's when Midas Interactive decided to pick up the title.

G-LOOP

IGN: Like Marble Madness, G-Loop puts you in control of a ball, and it's up to you to maneuver it through the many different levels in the game before time runs out. But you have to be careful ¿ the path you need to follow is filled with pits, holes, hills, and other obstacles to make your rolling a bit more hectic.

The path will take you under and over bridges, taking advantage of Karma Studios multi-scrolling parallax engine that gives the Game Boy Color an illusion of depth. The levels will cut across such surrounding areas as the beach, the garden, the house, and a playground, with obstacles from each locale getting in your way. What's more, the game will feature digitized samples during the action, something that's not commonplace in Game Boy Color development.

Karma Studios is wrapping up development on G-Loop for release sometime next year ¿ they just need a publisher to pick up the reins and get it to stores so we can play it. Interested?

SECTION-7

IGN: The game really doesn't promise to be much more than a version of Space Invaders or Galaga ¿ you know, a lone ship going up against wave after wave of alien creatures, blasting away at the grouping until they are no more.

Each wave has different patterns of alien groupings to shake up the action, as well as larger, more powerful missiles and obstacles to avoid as you nail the swarm. The game features multiple layers of backgrounds to give the illusion of depth, but Section-7 is specifically a 2D game.

Karma Studios has wrapped up development on this game ¿ it's now up to a lucky publisher to grab onto this game for release sometime next year. Will it happen? Stay tuned

TURBO RACING CHALLENGE

IGN: In Turbo Racing Challenge, you can play in either Single Race or Championship Race mode. Single Race mode is a simple, quick-play mode where you can challenge any of the tracks in the game ¿ but only if you've completed that track in Championship Mode. Championship Mode is a ladder-style competition against the computer opponents that traverses each of the game's six circuits.

The game's tracks traverse six different locations, at daytime and darkness: Woods, Beach, City, Hills, Desert, and Mountains ¿ each with its own trackside obstacles to avoid.

Check out the images below and hope that a publisher will pick up Turbo Racing Challenge for release in the US.

Z-QUENCE

The game was supposedly also planned to be release by Interplay, probably before Midas picked it up.

I have yet to find details for the rest of the supposed Midas GBC releases so stay tuned! :-)

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