Ardy has a waiting animation in the Japanese version, which was removed in the English release. No idea why. Maybe they didn't like him with his ass in the air.
Don Jacoby has a cigarette in the Japanese version. It's gone in the English game.
The English version got a game over screen that makes sense.
Scene 4 has lumberjack bears tied to the trees at certain points, as well as a crying bear at the end of the level. These were removed fro the English version.
Catry is found as a fleshless skeleton in the Japanese version of Scene 6. The English version, meanwhile, just makes her unconscious, removing the acid drop as well. Considering it's so out of place in the original, what with her being the only character to quite explicitly and gruesomely die, it's quite understandable!
There's a beta of Ardy Lightfoot!
It's in Japanese!
In terms of physics and gameplay, it seems more or less close to being finished, and all of the levels are there, though some are more changed than others. In presentation, however, the sound is buggy and there's no story sequences, despite each stage ending with the parts that normally segue into them. It's likely this beta was more for developing all the gameplay ideas and getting them into finished condition, and then patching up the missing bits later. It's still dated the same year as the Japanese final.
Beta screenshots will go on the left, final release on the right. Since it's in Japanese, I'll be compare it to the finished Japanese version.
There is no intro of any sort; upon booting it just fades straight to the title screen.
The title screen has five seconds of music at the start that the final doesn't have. [IT'S PART OF THE "DANGER!"| THEME, IS IT STILL THERE IN THE BETA
The beta has some codes! In the final to get the first two you need to do some code at the title screen, or so I heard, but the level skip was removed entirely. Bummer.
Hold L and you'll be invincible. Seriously.
Pressing R makes you moon-jump.
Select makes you skip a level. It would've been nice to know this before I'd reached the end of the game.
X restarts the current level.
The password screen replaced the original coloured parcels with fruit tiles. The passwords remain the same between the beta and final, but the more distinctive graphics in the final give it more clarity, I feel.
The beta has a glitch where if a parcel is placed on the middle of the table, it'll warp to the left side and fall onto the stump (unless another parcel is blocking it) and the game won't recognise it as being placed on the table. You've got to put it on the right side for it to stick and register.
Although the beta still says "Scene 14" for the passwords for those stages and beyond, to my knowledge it only takes you to Scene 13; you can reach the rest by playing normally or pressing Select (see above).
Sounds appear to be inconsistent; the skidding sound sometimes plays and sometimes doesn't, and a fair amount of other noises (stomping an enemy, eating an enemy) don't play at all.
Pausing doesn't fade the screen.
There are no movie scenes between levels in the beta - it always skips straight to the "Scene #" screen.
The HUD bears a different mugshot in the beta, a different icon for stars (that looks like two joined rings), and two values above each of them that flicker to different numbers randomly; debug crap, I presume. The beta HUD also loses a few pixels at the left and right sides, for whatever reason.
The checkpoints in the final look like a princess of some description, while in the beta... a dog with a hard hat, maybe? It'd be nice for the game to have identifiable species for a change. They also seem to be inconsistent about actually restarting you at them in the beta.
Ardy's tail doesn't sparkle when revving a tail jump.
Ardy's speech bubbles are differently coloured and Nina has different sprites.
Stars you collect from a stage aren't regenerated when you die; only the ones you missed will still be there.
The beta has two additional blocks, requiring the peak of your jump (or a tail jump) to cross it.
The prologue stage is completely empty of stars, thus making that small pit there rather pointless.
The push block gets a new graphic in the final, presumably to indicate it can be pushed and isn't just scenery.
The beta presents a chest here, while the final does not. Why?
Because they relocated where the bomb goes! The beta chest contains the bomb, while the final merely places it next to the wall and requires being moved closer.
Exciting stuff, let me tell ya.
The pit you've got to make a running leap across needs a tail jump to reach the first stepping stone, and also pinpoint accuracy to when you jump. The final loosens up and adds more steps, while throwing one on the far side to make the leap easier.
The tunnel you fall into requires awkward walking to venture through, while the final makes a little more sense by having you slide through it.
The final throws in a beam of light on the manuscript.
I guess because they didn't want to muck about with code, you celebrate with big hunk of rock in the beta (while the manuscript still floats there). It'd be hard to not fix that glaring mishap for the final.
Ardy expresses concern during the bombing raid in the final, but he's smiling like a goon in the beta.
Double the stars in the beta. The scene afterwards with an enemy bouncing on a woman's head has two extra stars in the beta, plus six after the barrel.
A treasure chest was added.
More beta stars. That's as far as this'll go, because really, it's kind of vaguely interesting when you're playing the game, but not something that makes for good writing.
Another added chest.
Similar to the star predicament in the beta, if you die after the enemy crashes his gyrocopter into the water tower, its bombing raid and subsequent crash won't be seen again when you respawn. The final remedies this.
Grounder has a dodgy palette. Also, the fires were repositioned because when he leaps away, the fire appears on top of his sprite, so if you pause at the right time it allows me to take part in an internet meme.
Hoo boy. The beta version is very unfinished - the camera frequents leaves what would normally be the boundaries of the level - and it has the most changes so far. The order of everything has been tampered with, so I'm going to have to mix things up a bit in presentation. With maps and videos!
Here's the beta map - at least, it covers all that I had the patience to cover. Ripped with vSNES and some screenshots. It's pretty inconsistent and I only included items when I was using screenshots. Also, beta video and final video. They're both very sloppy, but save me having to paste together tons of screenshots from really, really huge rooms. You get the picture, right?
You begin the beta stage in a rotating bucket thing. The final has the more understandable opening of falling down the well.
Both paths in the wall are dead ends, and going the bottom way has a flying enemy and a lifting bucket. There's a chest with an extra life in it on a ledge, which is similarly early on in the final.
After that, it's an all new section with lower paths with conveyor belts, a chest with an extra life, and blocks suspended by chains that drop when you're underneath them. The part immediately following the spikes (like, the two blocks after that) is a bit iffy; if you don't go the bottom route to make the crate drop, it remains suspended in midair yet with a collision box that blocks your path, despite plenty of space. Subsequently, when you do make it drop, you can't even see the fallen block yet you don't go down the hole.
The buckets work differently - in the final they stop when they reach the top until you get off, at a distance easy to reach the platform. In the beta they right up to the chains and then back down again without pausing.
After the checkpoint, it goes into a large room filled with conveyor belts and rotating bucket cycle things. It bears similarity to the final part of the finished Scene 2, where you use conveyor belts and rotating buckets to go up and across to reach a platform with a box on it. The beta version has that very same ledge, but it leads nowhere. The goal is to drop down to the bottom right area to advance.
Amusingly, it then moves onto the real final part of the finished stage, with two bucket lifts with an enemy in one, more rotating buckets that have a broken one to throw you off, and the very same ledge with a box on it.
It's barely a level at all, so there wasn't much changed. In the beta the mine cart is merely a moving platform with no boundaries, so Ardy can very easily just walk off it to his demise. The final adds walls to it, so he has to jump to commit suicide.
Most of the stars in the final requiring jumping out of the cart to get them, while the beta has them on the track itself, requiring no effort.
Grounder's helmet floats on the left side of the screen momentarily after being thrown before returning, while the beta merely bounces right back, reducing both the amount of time to hit him and also making getting back on the ground more hazardous. In the final you can bounce off his head, land, then jump the helmet returning, whereas in the beta I found it best to bounce off his head twice and then land.
I'm not very good at taking screenshots.
Grounder's sprites are ever so slightly different in the beta, but his death animation is the only major difference, going from lying on his back to lying on his belly.
The beta features a ludicrously strong trampoline here that can bounce you to the third platform in the spike pit up ahead; it was removed.
The beta features an amusing glitch; if you're missing Pec and get an inflation chest, press Y before Pec has a chance to begin following you, and you'll hop onto an invisible balloon. Pec will be following you, hence removing the whole deflating problem, and you can float around to your heart's content. Pressing Y stops it and doing it again does it normally, which eventually runs out, sadly.
There's probably also less platforms on this spike pit area in the beta, but I was too distracted going AWESOOOOME with the glitch to notice.
The beta then pulls a switcheroo on us by having a lumberjack where the final has a trampoline. Interestingly, the stars you would normally access with that trampoline are still there, but can only be gotten with balloon Pec.
The beta features a second platform, but it does nothing but get in the way of your bouncing path, plus it's not like there's danger below, so its removal was a good call.
The trampoline positioning and strength has been tweaked; the beta has the final trampoline accessed by the one on the left, while the final gives that role to the right one.
The stars are discoloured as solid cyan in the beta version. Just an error, I imagine. Move along, folks.
The position of the checkpoint and the switch were switched. Ha ha!
Catry has all new sprites, but they're pretty bad in comparison to the final ones. The graphical style of the game is already a bit wonky, but she barely even attempts to have an outline or shading on her fur. Additionally, the boss music doesn't play at all during the fight, and no matter who presses the switch, every boxing glove will hurt you; the final quite generously only has the ones Catry triggered harm you.
Grounder's palette was also a touch different, but Catry's is more explicit, turning purple after several hits rather than red. After being defeated, she pulls the same begging - barging - fleeing tactic in the movie scene, except the final has her stealing a gem in the process.
Since she never stole a gem in the beta, there isn't one there when you find Catry's remains. The beta sprite is... something nasty, I guess. I heard someone say it's meant to be like in the midst of decomposing, like her face melting or something, but... yeah, it's not a very good graphic. Not to mention her head seems to have grown in size. The final is much less ambiguous and just makes her a skeleton next to a gem, with Ardy expressing alarm before entering the room.
Following that, the beta requires you scale platforms with skulls and acid dripping near the edges, while the final is just crossing ropes and avoiding acid and spikes. The beta version is pretty tough for cheap reasons, so once more I'm rather glad it was changed.
The final begins safely. The beta, meanwhile, throws a block of moving spikes towards you, prompting immediate running.
The beta has a relatively mundane opening segment, with nothing more than climbing down stairs with torch guys on them. There's also a mysterious floating block that appears to slightly push you in midair, but can't be stood upon or have any other obvious collision detection. There's ropes that lead to a small alcove with nothing in it. The first rope's a bit wonky.
The final, meanwhile, is a path of spikes with moving blocks to carry you across. Dangerous stuff.
They reunite at a long fall with a conveyor belt at the bottom, as well as bomb dropping bad guys and platforms with spikes. The beta is just a regular fall, while the final throws in a burning rope.
Another removed chest.
The light-activated switch sequence is a bit different. The beta has three beams of light; the first two are traps, the last one is for the door, and the block is found on the second beam. The final only has two beams and the block is found before you see any of them.
The beta has eight spikes all bunched together as the trap, and each time you go through the beam a new set falls. The final has them more spaced out (all the way from the first beam to the second one) and they'll just keep on falling the moment you step through it - which is a bazillion times more threatening than the beta trap, which can just be run through without hassle.
The final changed some blocks to grey, for whatever reason. Since grey blocks can be pushed, yet this one (and the one on the platform above, not pictured) can't, it's an insulting red herring.
Another palette glitch. Ardy turns this colour when he dies in this level in the beta, but was obviously fixed for the final.
More palette shenanigans, this time with the spikes.
This chamber was expanded a bit to actually make the chest accessible. I'm not even sure how you push those stacked blocks without getting crushed, so it seems a bit pointless anyway.
More bloody palette issues! The beta also requires you to walk back to the spike pit and to the chest again before it spawns another bomb, while in the final the chest closes automatically, so you can just open it again without that mucking about.
The key you get from the genie appears to be transparent in the beta, or maybe just darker. It was fixed for the final.
The mouse is more grey in the beta.
It makes you wonder why they bothered. It's like they knew that in sixteen years someone would think writing something about the beta would be a great idea, and just dicked about with everything to take advantage of that person's obsessive nature.
The scene where the pathway collapses afterwards has "panic" music in the final, but remains in silence during the beta.
The part before you reach the dinghies has no stars in the beta. This is notable because it makes the wait entirely pointless.
In the beta, the water doesn't kill you instantly, but instead if you've got Pec then you'll be hurt once, have the invincibility time, and then die, with Ardy appearing above the water. While down there you can still move and jump, but it doesn't achieve anything. The final just kills you instantly.
See, the death water is registered by these planks that are normally obscured by the water layer! In the beta they're registered to the equivalent of spikes, hence why he's still alive and all for a while. The final just goes straight to the death part, fading to black without the death animation or anything like that. And now you know!
Like every other boss, Gilson has different sprites, with a rather coarse outline.
In the movie scene afterwards, Gilson gives Ardy... nothing. But he still celebrates. Also, those little bandana birds are different, made noticeable here by having tails.
The beta has two treasure chests; in both versions the right one has an extra life, but the beta has the cannon as a one-off power-up to get out of there. Considering you're more likely to land on that chest after the arrow stops when aiming to get the right chest and promptly waste it, making a new cannon object for that purpose was a better idea.
Fake beta Nina shimmers away, while final Nina is a more basic fade.
When you see this thing in the final, it's motionless, and when it pops up later in this tunnel it's relatively tame in its movements. The beta has it much more animated, and it's first seen rocking back and forth violently, usually scoring a cheap hit, and is astoundingly fast later. It's kind of hard to portray in images, see.
Another chest added for the final.
More palette issues! There aren't even any stars here in the final.
Boy, I wonder why they redesigned Beecroft's sprites for the final release!
(hint: they're hilarious)
Don Jacoby does his motions of placing a bomb and slinking away, destroying the wall and all, but he doesn't actually lay a bomb while doing so in the beta.
The extra life was placed more dangerously in the final. See, that pool is actually an invisible pit to a lower chamber! Can't get the life without going down there in the final, but since it's just as easy to get out as it is to get in, it's barely a big deal.
In a change I have nothing but praise for, to break all the brown walls in this stage, you need to pull back blocks to create an awkward staircase to reach a power-up for Pec. In the final, they only go back as far as Ardy can stand, and stop once they reach that point.
The beta? They've got no boundaries, You can pull them back until you fall off and render yourself unable to get back onto the ledge. You can neglect to pull them back far enough, but then makes them unable to be pushed or pulled anymore, meaning you lose.
The blocks also appear to lag the game in the beta. Not cool!
The water pouring into the chamber has a respective sound in the final, but is silent in the beta.
Also, for whatever reason, I can't seem to the end the level in the beta. I just run in front of the exit with an invisible wall in my path.
The beta throws in a checkpoint for no reason, even though it's only when you go to the next screen that it officially declares itself as Scene 13.
The collision detection for the arrows appears much more lenient in the final; in thebeta there's a lot of danger just trying to land on the first one.
In the final, the platforms at the top can be jumped through and landed on without hassle. In the beta, they decided to dick around with you and make them solid, forcing usage of the holes to land on them.
Aside from the inflation glitch we saw earlier, the beta bears no obvious changes.
Ardy does his leaping-into-the-air death animation when he falls here, but the final, much like the pirate ship level, replaces it with a simple fade-out.
The tridents nudge Ardy around when he has the mirror up, which has a habit of interrupting his mirror holding when he lands, causing unnecessary deaths.. The final has them pass straight through, as they should.
The mirrored Ardy also has a habit of staying motionless when he dies.
The beta obviously foregoes the "running through the chamber while everyone's all hoping wistfully for their hero" moment, and starts straight at Nina being zapped.
For once, a boss isn't redrawn! In fact, the only difference in these shots is the discoloured gem. Visconti does, however, use the old lightning trick six times before Don Jacoby shows up, whereas the final uses it a mere three, as well as using a totally pointless trident attack.
After Don Jacoby is thrown through a wall and you have to make use of his balloon bike thing to stomp on Visconti's noggin... I think that's where the game ends. The final version makes it clear each bounce hurts him, eventually changing colour and tactics before destroying the bike, but the beta one appears to lose no health at all. Yes, he kind of looks hurt, but there's no big flash or anything to indicate he's being moved a step closer towards dying. And if my terrible Cheat Engine skills mean something for once, there's only a value that goes up by one when you hit him, but when I first noticed it it was like 70 or something, and I hit him until it was 243 and got no change at all.
Pressing Select takes you to - of all places - the bit where the old man translates the manuscript. The screen isn't darkened and the text doesn't shimmer in and out at the top and bottom of the screen. You're free to walk around as you please, though outside of the house it turns into one of those freefall glitch areas you always hear about. The text is a bit shorter than what the final offers. If someone could translate then that'd be super.
The following two screens are the Game Over and password screens. After that, it moves onto what we haven't seen at all in the beta - the map! It's very simple and abrupt, cutting quickly to the next scene, and it feels kinda unfinished, though you can move away it at will with just the D-Pad. The game freezes once the scene with Catry fleeing to the tree plays, who's in a grey colour scheme. It has no difference compared to the final map, though.
You can press Select before that scene to skip to the second map: Visconti's castle. It's... even more glitched up, because it doesn't take long before garbage takes up a majority of the screen and it starts replaying the old map's sequences on this screen. It also freezes after Catry's escape.
It comes in various colours!
After that, it loops back to the title screen.