Steven Seagal Is The Final Option is an unreleased beta of a game that was mostly complete. Even after reading about the planned story I'm still fuzzy on the details, but the gist is that Seagal infiltrates the secret base of an evil tech company that is creating mind control chips and weapons of mass destruction. The mission: basically chop everyone in sight and blow the place up. So if you ever wanted to see Seagal vs. Cyberdyne Systems, this is about as close as we'll probably ever get.

Aside from the title character, the other big draw of the game was going to be the use of Mortal Kombat-esque digitized motion capture graphics and a similar battle system within the framework of a side-scrolling beat-em-up. The funny thing is, Seagal didn't want to do motion capture for his own game. So reportedly they got some local karate teacher with a similar ponytail to do it instead! It actually came off decently, however. He does moves that look reminiscent of the stuff you would see Seagal do in his movies (heavy and kinda slow overhand chops, groin kicks, casually tossing a dude who is running at you, etc.).

As far as the battle system goes, it's centered around the Mortal Kombat style. You have a discrete block button, and punches and kicks can go either high or low (depending on whether you hold the directional button toward the enemy or not). Enemies can do high and low blocks, so you have to vary up your attacks. Or you can just bust out unlimited pistol shots or throwing knives with the shoulder buttons, since the ROM is still in beta test state. Seagal's basic arsenal is rounded out by an odd short jump to get over pits that seems inspired by Flashback. There are also a few special moves by mashing certain buttons together - for example, press A+X to do one of those casual Seagal tosses (you can amusingly toss foes over the ample ledges strewn about).

As mentioned, this was a beta prototype and still in testing mode when it was abandoned, so in addition to unlimited ranged weapons you also get unlimited lives. It is possible to die by having your health chipped away or falling down one of the many pits around, When that happens, you can choose where to place Seagal back on the screen when he respawns. As a side note, I'm wondering if the fact that you can die was the dealbreaker for Seagal actually participating in the game. As you may know from his movies, Seagal is like Hulk Hogan / John Cena, he always goes over brother. It was extremely rare to see a foe land a hit on him let alone beat his ass.

Anyway, there are six levels in total, but each one abruptly ends with some unfinished chunk at some point or another. Only the first two are anywhere near a complete state. To play the different levels, you have to use a level select by pressing "select" just before the first level starts.

The gameplay looks like it might have actually been decent with some refinement, and I'm curious as to whether they would have gone for boss battles of some sort in the completed levels. What we have is only worth playing if you're a huge Seagal fan, though. Or I should say, a fan of his 80s-90s cinematic output, as I can't imagine anyone but those salty old guys who wear "Better Russian Than Democrat" shirts are fans of his monkeyshines these days. And I'm fairly certain those guys don't play SNES roms.

Links :

* Thorough history of the game's development
* A good summary of the stuff Seagal has been up to to pay the bills since even the DTV money dried up for him

Videos :

* Gameplay Video