Saturday, March 5, 2011
This is the kind of entry I'd usually submit to Unseen64.net, but that site continues to be available only spontaneously at best, so I fleshed it out a bit and I'd like you to be my audience today.
Werner: Asphaltbrenner (Werner: Asphalt Burner) was a motor bike racing game based on one of Germany's most popular comic book series, about a good-for-nothing biker, hobby mechanic and (when not unemployed) plumber, always feuding with the police and roadster drivers. The character also spawned four feature length animated films and a number of casual games, starting with the (illegitimate, I believe?) C64 Boulder Dash clone "FlaschBier" in 1985.
WernerSoft, 1985 (unofficial?!)
Werner: Mach hin (Werner: Get on with it!)
Werner: 100% Schwarzarbeit (Werner: 100% Illegal Employment)
Paraworld, 2001 (free download)
Werner: Flitzekacke Alarm!!! (Werner: Diarrhea Alert!!!)
Originally announced by United Software as "Werner: Fun Racer in early 2000 for PC and PSX, Asphaltbrenner was meant to become the first modern full-priced game with the license. The game was developed by Exortus (Tunguska: Legend of Faith) and Phenomedia (Crazy Chicken series), and would have featured six (plus 2 bonus) courses where the titular hero or his brother Andi could fight it out with other bikers and cops. Players would have chosen from several crazy bikes the brothers built in the comics - and the author of the comics also built for real and conducted real races with (check out the official franchise homepage), including the famous-infamous Satte Liter Schüssel (full liter bowl), which in the real life implementation actually had 1440 ccm capacity.
The game's most advertised feature were 25 special tasks that had to be completed during the races, like messing with the police or spraying dirt over hated characters from the comics with your bike.
Werner: Asphaltbrenner was originally planned for a November 2000 release with 120.000 copies, to be released simultaneously with a guide book, which was already listed for preorder and remains listed on several online book stores even today (source).
The unfinished game was demoed publically in 8 cities in Germany (source) and presented to several gaming magazines (see snippets below). At least five of the six tracks were playable, although many of the special tasks were missing and the game was reported to seem unfinished (the lack of shadows and motor sounds was mentioned in particular, as well as analog controls).
However, the release was delayed, first to early 2001 (the announced PSX version had already disappeared by then) and then further. But in May the same year Achterbahn AG, the puplisher of the comic books, took the license away from United Software, because they "weren't capable to deliver an appropriate game quality needed for Werner," and declared furthermore that the game would be developed at Paraworld AG, who already made the casual mini game Werner: 100% Schwarzarbeit. (source) The game never resurfaced.
Scanned magazine articles: