StarBlade: Operation Blue Planet (unreleased arcade game; 2002)
In 2001, Namco developed a new arcade cabinet utilizing the Namco System 246 arcade board titled "ORBS" (Over Reality Booster System). The cabinet featured a seat module that would slide into the cabinet, a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital sound system, and a globe-shaped surface for projectors. StarBlade: Operation Blue Planet was the only known game developed for this kind of cabinet. It was intended as a sequel to the 1991 arcade game StarBlade and would have been released sometime in 2002.
Production and Status
The game was presented at the Amusement Machine Show in 2001, and was one of the most popular games at the show, reportedly possessing a 70-minute wait to play the game. Only one level was playable to the public, and a "to be continued" message was displayed upon completion. The game never made it beyond field testing, however, resulting in the game and ORBS cabinet being shelved. It is also believed that the cost of the ORBS cabinet was the result of the game's cancellation.
A gameplay video was uploaded on November 26, 2007, showing a small segment of the game. Namco Bandai themselves uploaded a complete playthrough of the demo, which was uploaded on October 5, 2011. Around that same time, the game was added to the United Galaxy Space Force website in the UGSF timeline.
The game has not been released for any home video game platform and has not been dumped on MAME or any other emulator. Interestingly, pictures of what seem to be a legitimate ORBS cabinet with the game in it have shown up on Twitter between 2013 and 2016.
- Pictures of the cabinet. Retrieved 23 Dec '16.