Bounty Arms: The Famitsu Spread

Let’s take yet another look at Bounty Arms. We here at the Bounty Arms Preservation Society (tax-exempt status pending) are dedicated to researching, archiving, and presenting all known information about this canceled PlayStation game from 1995. That may seem oddly narrow and of potential interest to very few, but we’re all busy and can’t very well devote ourselves to cataloging every unreleased game that ever got past a napkin doodle.

Our most recent discovery is a preview of Bounty Arms from the February 10, 1995 issue of Famitsu. This is likely all the magazine ever ran about Bounty Arms; the game disappeared after missing its April release date in Japan and for months afterward persisted only in those nebulous TBA sections of release schedules. Moreover, 1995 was a remarkably busy year, and Famitsu covered every video-game platform. Bounty Arms merited a few pages in early PlayStation-centric publications simply for existing, but in Famitsu it had to fight for space in between Virtua Fighter 2 comics, lengthy Chrono Trigger features, and 3DO ads with Albert Einstein.

It’s no surprise, then, that Famitsu’s preview is a mere quarter-page. It offers the barest introduction to Bounty Arms; we’re told that it’s an overhead-view action game, it’s developed and published by Data West, and its heroines use extending mechanized Relic Arms as grappling hooks, whips, and huge flamethrowers. The preview doesn’t mention the main characters by name, nor are there any screenshots showing Rei Misazaki and Chris, whose last name we still haven’t properly translated. Here it is if you care to try.

The screenshots show little that we at the Bounty Arms Preservation Society have not uncovered previously. Every image we have of the game shows one of two stages: the initial jungle level (available entirely in the demo) and an industrial factory of some kind. We see both in the Famitsu preview. Composer Yasuhito Saito estimates that Bounty Arms was 60 percent complete when it was canceled, which may well mean that game had four or five stages.

One thing stands out, though. The factory stage has large metal frames appearing over the characters, as shown in the screenshot above. The tiny startburst in the Famitsu preview appears to show Chris standing ON the metal frame. Was the entire stage multi-layered, like…uh, Vertical Force for the Virtual Boy? That would add a lot to Bounty Arms’ otherwise straightforward arcade formula and compensate for it being only a few levels long.

Perhaps we’ve made too much of this single image, but these are the discussions that keep the Bounty Arms Preservation Society going. They’re also the reason why the Bounty Arms Preservation Society has exactly one member.