The interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter Lobo, is one of the more obscure and underused villains within the DC library. In fact, whilst the character was initially introduced in the 1983 Omega Men #3, the character actually remained in in state of limbo until being given his own short lived comic in the early 90s. Although this was once again followed by a few more quiet periods.
So, given the obscure nature of the villain / anti-hero, it may come as a surprise to learn that there was once a planned 16-bit Lobo video game tie-in. This fighting title was being developed by famous British developer and publisher Ocean, and was set to see Lobo stand toe to toe against a variety of enemies straight out of the pages of DC Comics, especially the character’s 90s comic series Lobo: The Last Czarnian. What’s more, it’s also interesting to note that the game was being developed utilising pre-rendered 3D graphics, much like those seen within the Donkey Kong Country trilogy.
Unfortunately Lobo would never actually see the light of day, with the DC fighter’s release being cancelled following the 1996 purchase of Ocean by Infogrames. Nevertheless, the game had been given a significant amount of coverage, including a six page preview within the May 1996 issue of Nintendo Power. A preview which showed that minus a few bugs and a soundtrack, the core game was actually near enough finished.
Nevertheless, thanks to the cancellation, Lobo was condemned to being lost and forgotten. Well, until 2009 that is, when much like with Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors, a copy of the game was discovered. This came thanks to a Spanish Sega community who uncovered a prototype build of the Mega Drive / Genesis version, and subsequently released the ROM for gamers worldwide.
That’s not all though, as now we can also add the Super Nintendo version to the playable list of 16-bit titles. This comes thanks to members of the AssemblerGames messageboard, who have managed to defeat the copy protection put in place by those who sell unofficial reproduction cartridges, and as such release the ROM free for everyone online.
So, no matter which console you prefer, you can now experience this long lost obscure DC fighter. Although once you get into the game, you may start to see it’s similarities to Shaq-Fu, and with it a couple of possible reasons for why it was left unreleased. Nevertheless, it’s always good to see unreleased retro games made available, for better and for worse.
Although, of course, there is an alternative if what you’re craving is a retro inspired DC fighter starring Lobo. That is of course the 2013 game Injustice: Gods Among Us. A game in which Lobo can be found as one of the game’s many fighters. Oh and of course, a game created by NetherRealm Studios, the team behind one of the all time retro greats, Mortal Kombat.