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Beta Version 0.5

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Beta Version 0.5 is much more complete than Version 0.1, yes, but it's still far from close to the finished product. Below is information pertaining to differences between Beta Version 0.5 and both the previous beta version and the final version.


General Differences

The title screen has no background graphics. Rather, there is only solid black.
The title-screen animation is different. The game's logo forms via a much more complex-looking distortion effect.
The beta contains only 5 of the 6 stages (though, the final two are largely incomplete).
The beta provides you four continues whereas the final version only provides you two of them.
There are some noticeable palette differences.



The map design is different as are the icons that represent each stage.
There's no standing-in-front-of-the-castle intro leading into Stage 1. Rather, the action commences immediately after the map screen fades.
Character movement is a bit more stiff. This is exacerbated by landing lag: In the final version, you experience landing lag only if you strike right as you're about to land; here, though, you experience landing lag no matter how soon you strike.
You can't jump off of stairs.
The heroes won't walk down hanging staircases automatically. To get a hero to descend, you have to hold downward as you approach a staircase's top step. If you don't do this, the hero will talk right off the platform's edge.
The heroes' third- and fourth-level striking weapons inflict more damage whereas their second-level striking weapons inflict less damage.
You can actually hurt and kill enemies by making contact with them. The damage inflicted by contaxt is roughly equivalent to damage inflicted by a second-level weapon.
Beta Version 0.5's sound effects, much like Beta Version 0.1's, are squeakier- and more-primitive-sounding. Also, some sound effects are completely missing.
There's more in the way of glitching, random flashing, and slowdown. There's also some very noticeable artifacting.
The "Stage Start" and "Pause" title cards are missing.
Some enemies' death animations are slightly different, and it's often the case that they're glitchy-looking.
There's no jingle attached to the Invincibility Crystal. Rather, the stage music continues on interrupted.
You can take damage from minor enemies' death animations.
Where the hero takes a hit, the damage doesn't register until he lands. In the finalized version, the energy reduction is instant.
You can despawn enemies by scrolling them off the screen.
The beta's checkpoints are less-generous. It's often the case that death results in your being sent back to a previous section.
The Game Over jingle has a slower tempo.
When you defeat a boss, the boss music fades out rather than stopping instantly.
The action freezes immediately upon the obtention of a stage-ending crystal, and no text displays--no "Stage X Cleared," "Life Bonus" or "Jewel Bonus."
The password screen doesn't appear between stages. It only appears if you select "End" after you Game Over (this doesn't happen in the final version).
You can't jump up through a platform if it's just overhead, at a four-tile-high height.
When you obtain a third coat-of-arms symbol, the music will change to one of the "classic tracks" (Beginning, Bloody Tears or Vampire Killer). The classic tune will end when you suffer damage, complete a stage, or travel to a stage area that introduces its own unique background music.
Sometimes you'll keep your special sub-weapon after taking damage. Other times you'll fail to receive a special sub-weapon after picking up a third coat-of-arms symbol; rather, you'll retain your current sub-weapon. I don't know why either of these instances occur.
In the final version, you can replace your special sub-weapon with a normal one, and if you then obtain a second of that same sub-weapon, you'll reclaim the special sub-weapon. That doesn't happen in the beta; rather, you simply keep the normal sub-weapon.

There's some different candelabra-placement. Most notably, there's one hovering near a ceiling in Stage 1-7.
You can obtin coat-of-arms symbols from item candelabras.
A third coat-of-arms symbol will drop when your gem-total reaches 13, whereas in the final version, you need to reach 30.


When John dies, he doesn't fade away. Rather, he flies into the air, turns half-skeletal (while remaining clothed), and then falls to the ground, at which point he turns into a glitchy-looking skeleton.

While walking, Eric rests his spear on his shoulder, whereas in the final version, he carries it at his side.
Eric's spear handle has no hitbox, so he's unable to strike candelabras and smaller enemies when they're a few pixels in front of him.
Eric's super-jump carries him forward a bit after it hits its apex. The move has no attached sound effect. Also, it has a one-second rev-up time.

Eric's spear-twirl move isn't yet implemented. When you press left or right while holding down the attack button, he instead executes a more simplistic spear-swing move.
Eric's stair-climbing animation is jittery.
Both heroes hold their extension attacks (the ones executed by holding down the attack button after it's pressed) for an extra second. When Eric does this with the trident, it results in the weapon's disjoining animation becoming more pronounced.
The top and bottom heads of a three-headed bone pillar stack never turn around to face you. Also, bone pillars only spew two fireballs (as opposed to the three they spew in the final version).
The beta accepts final-version passwords, though they don't take you to the expecred places. Rather, they take you to random stage sections. In some instances, stages sections accessed in this manner are affected by heavy glitching (barely visibile enemies float in the air, for instance).

If you enter the Konami code (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B then A) on the title screen, you'll unlock a level-select option. It appears on the title screen's top portion. You can manipulate the number by pressing the A, B and C buttons. A increases the number by one, B increases or decreases it by a random amount, and C decreases it by one. Only selections 0-63 load stage sections; if you select anything beyond, the game will crash after the character-select screen fades out.


Stage 1

There's no screen-clearing Mirror of Truth in Stage 1-2's final candelabras.

This beta, like the one before it, contains the skull-adorned book whose procurement produces a random effect. It will do any of the following: cause the music to switch to one of the three aforementioned classic tracks; fully replenish your health; render you invincible; provide you five gems; or even punish you with one level of whip regression! It was probably intended to be a "Wild Card"-type item.


The fishmen and the hellhound sport their 0.1-beta sprite designs.
There's no ghost in Stage 1-4.

Stage 1-7's spiked gears have a red hue.


Stage 2


The platform-circling balls of destruction animate differently. This version of the enemy bears spikes.
Stage 2-2's 1up candelbra is missing.
The Water Magician fight has no boss-music accompaniment and doesn't utilize the Enemy meter. Also, the Water Magician dies in three hits.
There are no crows in Stage 2-3.


The Armor Lord fights, too, lack boss-music accompaniment and utilization of the Enemy meter. Due to an oversight, things can get weird here: If you obtain a third coat-of-arms symbol during this battle, the screen will unlock, and you'll be able to scroll the screen left or right and effectively expand the battlefield. You can thus drag the Armor Lord to either side of Stage 2-3 and even bait in into diving off the stage. In some instances, for reasons I can't explain, the dragged-over Armor Lord will split into two! Under these conditions, the Red Armor Lord will not appear. Strangely, you can retrigger the battle by returning to the original boss area; the screen will relock, and the battle will begin anew; and this time, both the normal and Red Armor Lords will appear and function as intended. Though, still, some weirdness can occur during a retriggered battle: In some instances, the normal and Red Armor Lords will appear together! And for whatever reason, the normal one will turn red seconds after sauntering in! Note that you can continue to retrigger this fight as many times as you want.


You enter into Stage 2-4 via stairs, whereas in the final version, you simply drop into it. If you remain planted on the stairs, something strange will happen: When the screen begins to scroll downward, the hero will scroll down with it, as if he were floating; the whole time, he'll remain stuck in his climbing pose. While in this state, the hero will clip through every surface. Contact with Medusa heads will not knock him out of this state, though he will take damage. He's not defenseless, though, as he's still able to strike.
If you fall into head-high water in Stage 2-4, you won't take drowning damage; rather, you'll die instantly.


The Medusa head's sprite design is close to the final version's, though it has one noticeable phsycial difference: its neck is bloody. It makes sense. I mean, you'd expect that a severed head would have a bloody neck!


There are two skeledragons in Stage 2-5. Both of them are gold-colored.
The bone dragon located at the end of Stage 2-5 functions differently: None of its heads will turn to face you no matter what you do to them.


Stage 2-6's design features are completely different. It encompasses two sections, both of which are made to look like sewers (in the final version, Stage 2-6 only has one section: a standard exterior segment whose background gives view to a crashed cruise ship). Both feature green-colored brick walls and leaky crevices. Both are comprised of two levels. And both contain two charging minotaurs.

Stage 2-7's foreground and background imagery have different color-schemes; they feature light-green and dark-blue shades (compared to the final version's dark-yellow and red shades).


At the start of the Golem battle, you can see its head (in the final version, it's offscreen), which has a unique animation: The upper part of its scalp lowers and raises, creating something of a "slow blink." This battle doesn't utilize the Enemy meter. At no point does the stony shell of the Golem's head shatter; it always retains its original form. And the Golem's death animation lasts much longer.


Stage 3

The pillar-swining minotaurs' hitboxes are placed a few pixels lower, so you can't damage them while kneeling on and attacking from an adjacent two-tile-high platform.

Stage 3-2's second-highest bone pillar is placed on the left side of the two-tile-long platform, so you won't be able to ascend this section unimpeded. You'll necessarily have to take out the bone pillar if you want to advance without taking damage.

Stage 3-3's mummy man placement is different. Its lone mummy man is placed further in and on a lower platform, which works to render the initial swinging segment a total non-obstacle.
Stage 3-4 is missing, which means that there's no Bone Dragon King midboss. After you exit the mummy man room, you head directly to the teetering-tower section, which takes the label of "Stage 3-4." Eric's exclusive upper path in Stage 3-2 also leads directly to the teetering tower.
In the teetering tower, there's no delay for the Medusa head spawning; the next one emerges onto the sceen the moment the preceding one leaves it. There are no candelabras in this section, so, of course, there's no 1up to be found here.

The following section (which takes the label of "Stage 3-5) has some different structuring and enemy-placement.

Stage 3-6's floating platforms are much narrower.
The transitional Stage 3-8 (which would have been called Stage 3-7 here) is missing.


The Gargoyle Bat is either glitched to hell or constructed of placeholder assets. It appears as a fuzzy demon with a "tail" that's constructed of chained axe sub-weapons. Its hitbox is smaller, and it's much shorter on health--so much so that the battle jumps to the third phase begins immediately after John delivers two whip-strikes; it's a different case with Eric, whose spear is slightly weaker, which means that he's likely to experience the second phase. There are no attached sound effects to the bat's whirlwind motion and death animation. Strangely, the bat dies with one health unit remaining.

Because the tower's roof is not as solid as it looks, the stage-clear crystal will fall right through it. If you fail to catch it as it drops, the stage won't end, and you'll have no choice but to kill yourself. If you do, the game will send you all the way back to Stage 3-5.


Stage 4


In Stage 4-1, the background-lurking bone-throwing skeletons are colored blue. When they jump over the fence, into the sprite layer, they turn red.
There are no barrel-inhabiting skeletons in Stage 4-1.



Stage 4-2's design and structuring is completely different, and it features unique texturing (for everything including the conveyor belts). Its more-metallic looking background forms what looks to be a train station. In its opening portion, you encounter three crows (which take the form of blue gems when they're in their charging animation), though there are otherwise no enemies in this section. Advancing through it requires the use of special moves (swinging and super-jumping). There's no pot roast found in its upper-right wall.


The following section is more straightforward but otherwise has similar qualities (a metallic look and a lack of enemies).


Stage 4-4 (the giant-piston room) is vertical-based, as expected, though it has you descending down narrow passages rather ascending up through them. It's longer than the one traversed in the final version, and it has more in the way of pistons. It has some unique piston configurations, including a type that's designed to sandwich you. Still, because this version of the room isn't particularly-well-developed, there's little chance that you'll ever be crushed. You'll immediately understand why it was redesigned.


In the final version, the piston rooms leads into the clock tower. Here, though, it leads into steel factory within which you have to ride on series of moving platforms while avoiding pipe-spewed lava. That's in theory. In reality, the lava streams aren't coded with hitboxes, so you're able to pass right through them. Though, the streams do function to destroy the moving platforms, so you still have to wait for them to cease spewing. Because of apparent graphical overload, this area is highly unstable, and if there are too many objects onscreen at one time, there's a strong chance that the beta will crash. Sadly, you can't advance past this area under normal conditions (the exit is a solid wall); to see what lies beyond, you have to use a specific stage-select code.
Use stage-select code 41 to reach the clock tower (Stage 4-6). There are no enemies present in the tower.



The scale-platform section doesn't exist in this beta. In its place is the "zeppelin"/mooring mast section we've seen in all of those screenshots. It's a large open area through which you can proceed by riding on a swinging platform. Still, this section does have one familiar feature: You force open its exit by standing on the scale platform to which its pulleyed.


The Frankenstein room (the original Stage 4-7) is missing, as is the Frankenstein boss battle. So the zeppelin area takes you right to the spinning-bladed-gear room. The spinning blades are differently colored (mahogany shaded, I'd say), and, for some reason, spotlights travel along with and encompass their semicircular indents. The blades don't kill instantly; rather, they only cause a certain amount of damage. This version of the room is much shorter, and there are only two blades, both of which move slowly and counterclockwise. It has no enemies. Also, its background is messily textured, and it doesn't animate.


Stage 4-8, the outside section, has an unfinished look; its surfaces are formed from garbled placeholder tiles. Also, its background and sprite-layer objects have different color-schemes. It's structurally different, too: In place of the expected gear-mounted platforms are series of small, glitchy-looking gears across which you must traverse using well-timed jumps.

The stage's penultimate room has different structuring, and it lacks the small gear creatures.


During its entry, the Gear Steamer has a pinkish-looking color-scheme. If you strike it during its charge attack, it will fly upward, off the screen, and then drop back down. None of its attacks or motions have attached sound effects. It dies with one health bar remaining, but because the death doesn't actually register, the stage-clear crystal never appears. So the beta basically softlocks. Because this happens, you have to use a code to access the next stage.


Stage 5



You can access this stage with stage-select code 54. Stage 5 is largely incomplete. This becomes clear when you look upon its opening section, whose textures are garbled messes of random tiles. Stage 5-1 has some slight structural differences--mainly some low-lying platforms that don't appear in the final version; it's hard to make them out because they, too, are garbled and thus blend into the background. Only one enemy appears here: circle weed. It shows up three times in the first few screens.
Stage 5-2, the hallway, is identically structured, but it doesn't contain objects (chandeliers or candelabras) or enemies.
Stage 5-3 is identically structured, but it doesn't contain objects (save for the wall-held pot roast) or enemies.


Stage 5-4, the roof--which only Eric can access--has the same structuring, but it's a bit incomplete. Most concerning is that it contains fall-through floors. Likewise, though, it doesn't contain objects or enemies.

Stage 5-5 is identically structured, but it doesn't contain enemies or objects, including the spiraling platforms; the absence of these platforms makes it impossible to advance no matter your entry point. You have to use a stage-select code to access the next section. There's one exception: You can use stage-select code 57 to access Stage 5-4 with John; this allows you enter Stage 5-5 from its top entrance with the whip-wielder, who can then use some crafty whip-swinging to reach the exit! This is of course impossible under normal conditions.
The Blue Armor Lord room (Stage 5-6) is missing, as is the Blue Armor Lord boss battle.
Stage 5-7 is identically structured, but it doesn't contain objects or enemies. When you reach its endpoint, the screen locks in place for what's supposed to be the tower guardian midboss battle. The boss music plays, but, strangely, the guardians never appear. Thus you're softlocked. The only way to access the stage's final section is to use a stage-select code.

Stage-select code 63 can take you to Stage 5's final section. It has the same type of structuring, though its (graphically incomplete) stairway is comprised of descending platforms (which I suppose are meant to simulate stairs) rather than a slope.




Both Princess of Moss forms sport different sprite designs. The moth's pollen attack functions differently; each piece of pollen drifts in a certain direction, which makes the attack more unpredictable and more difficult to work around. The little moths and the eggs from which they emerge also sport different sprite designs. Neither form has sound effects attached to its attacks and motions.
After you procure the stage-clearing and complete the stage, you're sent back to Stage 1. That's the end of the beta; there's nothing beyond Stage 5.






Well, actually, there is one thing: an interesting little extra. If you use stage-select code 48, you can access a glitched-out alternate version of the Gear Steamer boss room. This one, though, is home not to the Gear Steamer but instead to Count Dracula! His stage might not have made the cut, reader, but his boss battle certainly did! Sadly, though, it's a truncated version of the fight. Dracula's final form--the bone-spewing white demon--doesn't appear, and the forms that do appear are very light on health. His initial form dies in three hits, and his Drolta-esque second form dies in five. The final phase plays out differently; Dracula only takes two forms during it: a blue demon that flies around and throws boomerang-like scythes (the same type Death uses in the final version), and then a pink demon that spews arcing flames. For whatever reason, both forms have a large block affixed to their legs (though, it has no hitbox; it's merely a visual glitch. They die in two and four hits, respectively. None of them make any kind of sound. After you defeat them and procure the stage-clear crystal, you're taken to Stage 1.

Special note from contributor Termie Gen, who explains how this demo got leaked: "The person who bought this cart (a former prototype collector had over 1,000 prototypes) from Tara200 was paid $2,500 by Jayfenwick to dump the ROM. Jayfenwick tried to make back some of what he paid through selling repro carts on eBay and fundraising on a forum. Both were shot down. As far as I can recall, he never made back what he paid, and then, after so many years, he agreed to have it released (in 2021)."


Older Beta Version 0.5 Media

The following represents information was that attained in the years prior to Beta Version 0.5's leak.

The first imagery came to us via a person called TARA200, who somehow came to possess the beta. Unfortunately, because this guy isn't the subtle sort, we can see his name plastered over the images in giant letters; its presence only serves to obscure parts of the images and otherwise distract from their content.

Some notes from the sender, Carlos "The Gargoyle": "This was a beta version of the game. It was the preview version made for gaming magazines (so that they could review the game early), and one such reviewer apparently took screenshots and a photo of the cart."

Most notably, these images informed us that Bloodlines at one point contained two interesting-looking stage areas: a zeppelin mooring mast and a steel factory. Unfortunately, both were cut from the final game.


The auction was apparently never won, so the owner, TARA200, simply kept it for personal use.

The images below were posted to Internet forums by the demo's owner, who snapped them using an emulator. The screenshots were sent in by Phil.