Do you have any early screenshots that I haven't posted here? If so, please email them to me (see the bottom of the main page) and I'll add them here.
It's always interesting to see how a game changed during development. With The Wing of Madoola, we don't have any prototype builds to play, but there's still some early screenshots to scrutinize. These come from an advertisement and a preview article printed in the December 5, 1986 issue of Famicom Magazine (scans courtesy of Hubz). Note that the image quality will be pretty bad for these, as the images were like an inch wide on the real magazine, and also they printed some of them at an angle for some reason.
This first screen doesn't appear anywhere in the final game. In the final, the columns in this image don't appear anywhere outside of the weird empty rooms with no enemies. The palette looks different from those, and there's a Nomaji below Lucia. Also, the HUD is colored differently (blue border instead of yellow). Lucia has a different sprite in the screenshot:
Her hair looks different, there's no line thing on her hair, and her right hand is in front of her instead of behind her back.
This area looks like part of Stage 9:
The palette was changed, the columns in the picture got moved over a screen, and Lucia's sprite again looks different from both the final game and the above screenshot:
I think it's safe to say that this shot was from an earlier build than the first shot, because Lucia's hair looks pretty goofy here. I'm glad that they fixed the sprite up for the final game.
Again, this screen is from Stage 9. I would guess that it was taken from the same build as the previous image. Here's what the area looks like in the final game:
The palette and enemies are different and the blocks to the left of Lucia are removed. It looks like the blue border around the HP display is blending into the blue sky. I wonder if that's why they changed the border to yellow in the final game. We also get to look at another Lucia sprite at this point in development:
This one isn't as dramatically different. They made Lucia's hair more fluffy (everybody liked poofy hair in the 1980s), and removed the protrusion from the front of her head (maybe that was meant to be the snake thing from the promo art?).
This screen is from Stage 2. Nothing is different besides Lucia's sprite and the enemies. There aren't any Nyurus here at this point in development. I wonder when they were added. Here's the same area from the final game:
I can definitely see why they used this shot for previews, it looks really good for a 1986 NES game. Another new sprite means another sprite comparison:
Again, the main changes here are Lucia's hair and the position of her right arm.
We've just seen this one on the advertisement. This, along with the banal commentary provided by the magazine (the caption for Screen 1 says something like, "What will Lucia do next to the waterfall?") makes me think that Sunsoft had a set of screenshots they used for promotional purposes instead of sending out early builds of the game. Also, Famimaga not only decided to print the screen at an angle, but also didn't crop it perpendicularly to the sides of the image, meaning that I can't straighten it. Sorry about that...
This is yet another promotional screen from Stage 9. Here's what the same area looks like in the final game:
Once again, the main changes here are the different enemies, different palette, and tweaked layout. The prototype image has a platform that is only used for the stage starting point in the final game. We also have yet another unique Lucia sprite, meaning yet another sprite comparison:
The differences here are the different arm position, and yet another different hairstyle.
I'm pretty sure this is a shot from the same scrapped area as Screen 1 from the advertisement. It has the same palette, but some of the tiles in it were cut from the final game. The brick background and "blobby background wall" tiles got used for the fountain areas in the final game. Both the dragon statue and the "man holding an upside down table" statue aren't in the CHR ROM.
The main differences here are the colors on the sword (perhaps changed due to palette restrictions) and Lucia's hairstyle. It's a different hairstyle than the shot from Screen 1 in the advertisement. How many hairstyles did the developers try to give Lucia?
Again, likely the same area as Screen 4 and Advertisement Screen 1. The brick tiles and torches were reused for the fountain areas in the final, but you can't walk on the bricks like in this shot. The jazzy warp door tile got cut.
Same hairstyle as the last shot because it's likely the same build. This is the same animation frame as Advertisement Screen 3, except mirrored, so look there if you're curious how Lucia's hair evolved during the game's development.
Yes, the back of the game box has screenshots from multiple unfinished versions of the game. This seems to be a reoccuring theme at Sunsoft (Ufouria features screenshots from a build that was nearly a year old by the time the game came out on the back of its box, and there's probably other examples that I don't know about too). These same screens were used on promotional flyers that Sunsoft printed when the game came out, but I don't have a flyer and all the scans on the internet are really low-res, so you're going to have to deal with my box scans.
This screen looks like the starting area from Stage 5:
The palette was changed on both the stage itself and the Bound Ball graphic, and the enemies are different.
Yes, once again Sunsoft's PR department decides to use Stage 9 for their screenshots. They've used one from a build where the stage palette has been changed to match the final game (mostly, the warp door is colored differently), but the border around the HP display is still blue, not yellow. Here's what the same area looks like in the final game:
The enemy selection seems different, some of the colors have been changed, and the palette on the Kikura enemies is different.
Here's another shot of the lake area in Stage 1. Like I said before, it's pretty nice looking so it makes sense for Sunsoft to keep using it. Here's what the same area looks like in the final game:
Everything's the same except for the enemy selection. Honestly, it kinda feels like false advertising that Sunsoft didn't include at least one screenshot of Lucia getting harassed by a bunch of Nyurus.