Space Harrier
Image: Sega

Sega's iconic 1985 arcade rail shooter Space Harrier is known today for its science-fiction and fantasy-like elements, including flying dragons, one-eyed mammoths, and giant robots, but that wasn't always the plan for the title during its development.

As some of you might well know, the game was originally a much more traditional shooter lacking many of its most recognizable enemies and featuring a jet fighter as its lead as opposed to a human protagonist. This is something that the game's designer Yu Suzuki has previously talked about in the past, including in a 2011 interview with the publication 1-UP, and a 2013 interview with the Russian video game magazine Strana Igr (translated and republished on Shenmue Dojo).

In these interviews, he revealed that another designer at Sega named Ida had originally proposed the game, submitting a 100-page design document featuring the jet. However, this idea was then ultimately abandoned due to memory issues and was later replaced with elements inspired by Space Cobra, The Neverending Story, and the work of Roger Dean.

Over the last few days, a video of this early version of the game posted by the Japanese user NAOENAMIPCB has been making the rounds again on social media, despite originally being published back in 2020. This has led to a whole new group of people claiming that they weren't aware that any footage of this version ever existed online, so we thought we'd do you all a favour and try to spread the word just in case you missed it.

Interestingly, as an aside, it should be noted that the Sega Master System version of the game does contain a way to turn back into the jet. To access this cheat, players need to press Right, Left, Down, Up at the title screen to access the sound test and then play the sounds 7, 4, 3, 7, 4, 8, 1. An additional screen should then pop up, letting you change the character from a human to a jet.

Have you seen this footage before? Or is this brand-new news to you? Let us know in the comments!