Although no ROM exists for it, there are several screenshots which show the original Bare Knuckle in an early BETA stage of development. This BETA version was circulated among the gaming press before the final release of the game, possibly as far back as 1989. Among other things, the most notable difference is the enemy characters that went unused in the final game.


Gameplay Screens

Here Axel battles with a muscular punk that looks like a precursor to the final game's Garcia enemies.
Blaze does a somersault over a long-haired enemy that looks like an early version of the Signal punk.

Axel and Adam battle with more of those strange early Garcias, plus ninjas.


Police backup arrives for Axel. Notice the word 'DRUG' on the wall in the background, apparently a reference to some kind of drug store.
Here we see an early version of the fire-juggling enemy.
Perhaps a slightly later version of the BETA, here we see more early Signals.
Blaze fights those early punks through an unused back alley area. Thanks to Criss for this one.
This screenshot shows a bizarre-looking enemy wearing a hockey mask, similar to the figure seen on the US/EURO SOR1 Boxart. Are those long socks?!

Credit to Black Squirrel for the original scan and Glisp for pointing it out.

Here are some unused, scantily-clad female sprites. Thanks to Black Squirrel and Glisp.
Thanks again to Black Squirrel and Glisp, this image shows a different style of window pane than was featured in the final version of the Syndicate Headquarters.

Presentation Screens

This Brazilian magazine scan shows the early character select screen from the BETA, confirming the long-circulated rumour that Adam and Axel were at one point called 'Wolf' and 'Hawk' respectively...



The same character select screen, shown more clearly in the June 1991 issue of 'Supergame'.

That infamous character select screen again, with another screenshot showing an unused shop front

sign reading "TIME OUT.". Thanks to Criss for this scan.

Digital Reconstructions

The muscular punk is faithfully reproduced, courtesy of JoyJoyfulRabbit.



Thanks to JoyJoyfulRabbit (again) we see these BETA thugs as they may have looked in the final version.


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