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Turbo Toons

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Turbo Tunes was an overhead racing game planned for release in the US late in the life cycle of the SNES.

Thanks to Retromags for the magazine scans and the Video Game History Foundation.

By: Evan G
Last updated: July 28, 2018


This article is dedicated to the memory of Don Russell. He was a prolific collector who recently passed away after a lengthy illness. He was responsible for the preservation of many games, including this prototype of Turbo Toons. His illness left a burden to his family, please consider donating to this Gofundme page if you can.


Turbo Toons was supposed to be released late in the life cycle of the SNES, in mid-1995. It was presumably close to release, and was even rated by the ESRB. It was released in Europe in 1994, in presumably low quantities.

Even playing the European version of this game, it feels incomplete. If you are just picking it up blindly, it looks like there is only one track, and it resets after you beat it. In order to change tracks and modes, you have to press select, not at the select characters screen, but at the demo scroll screen. It is a strange design choice, and I am curious as to how this got past quality control. When you play the game, it is a single screen overhead racer, very similar to Off-Road. With only six tracks, it gets old pretty quick. The game can be played in a five-player mode, so maybe it could be a good party game.

This prototype is near final, with some changes on a few tracks. The game has no sound, and at the start is addressed to Atlas (a possible publisher?). The box art found on half.com shows the publisher as Allan, meaning that they shopped this game around before finding a publisher. One of the courses (Jellystone Park) is quite a bit different from the final game, but the rest only have minor graphical changes.

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Box art, found on Half.com
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Prototype - Sent to AtlasEurope
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Prototype - Note space in "Mc Graw"Europe - new font used for character names, also different background colour, and changes to the portrait.
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Prototype - Options screenEurope - Only major change is the Wally Gator's portrait
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PrototypeEurope - The Wally Gator graphics are also changed in the race intro screen
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Prototype - Wally Gator's stage. Note that in the prototype, the race starts instantly, there is no Captain Caveman countdown.Europe - some small graphical changes.
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Prototype - Jellystone Park stage.Europe - This stage was completely overhauled.
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Prototype - North Pole stage.Europe - This stage is unchanged. Note the "pause" graphics were not in the prototype
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Prototype - Sea Bed stage.Europe - Claws added in the top right corner
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Prototype - Alleyway stage. Note the middle garbage can on the bottom right is using the box graphic by mistake.Europe

Being a low key release, this game did not get extensive coverage in magazines. I found a review in the July 1995 issue of Nintendo Power, which was pretty lukewarm. The review claims there are 30 courses. If that is true, it is possible that they were heavily revising the game for the US release. The screen in the preview shows the Wally Gator stage, which is different than either the prototype or the European version of the game, indicating that the copy used Nintendo's may have been a revamped game (as it seems implausible they would have been sent an early prototype when the game was released in 1994). The prototype presented above definitely precedes the European release, so if the US version was revamped, it is a lost game.

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Review in the July 1995 issue of Nintendo Power

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