|BIONICLE: The Legend of Mata Nui|
BIONICLE: The Legend of Mata Nui was a cancelled video game developed by Saffire Corporation that was planned to be released in the Fall of 2001. The game was meant to be canon and cover the 2001 BIONICLE storyline, featuring the Toa Mata on their quest to gather the Kanohi Masks of Power and defeat Makuta after facing his Infected Rahi.
Since this game was never released, all information that is available comes from official press releases or from leaked prototype builds of the game.
The game starts with an introductory movie of the six Toa Canisters falling into the ocean and sailing towards the island of Mata Nui. Afterwards, there is a clip of one Toa Canister washing up on the shores near the Papa Nihu Reef, where it opens after a small bird lands on it. Toa Onua emerges from the canister and proceeds to reassemble himself. Onua then heads toward Onu-Wahi.
Throughout the game, the player takes control of each of the Toa Mata as the player explores the regions of the island. Their task is to discover the Kanohi masks and use them in the appropriate situations. Along the way, each Toa meets Kapura, who is traveling the island of Mata Nui. The Toa are also challenged by various Rahi beasts, including small Rahi that were previously introduced in BIONICLE: Quest for the Toa as well as several new exclusive Rahi, including the Fikou-Nui. The Toa must fight the Rahi by channeling their elemental energies into shooting Energy Spheres (also called Power Spheres or Energy Balls), which heal the infected Rahi. To fully navigate each level, each Toa finds a Grappling Hook in the shape of their respective Toa Tools. Each Toa also must find a glyph, which unlocks an elemental power that may be used to solve puzzles or stun enemies: Onua's Earthquake, Gali's Tsunami, Pohatu's Stone Rain, Kopaka's Hail Storm, Lewa's Hurricane, and Tahu's Volcano.
To collect a Makoki Stone and access the next playable level, each Toa faces off against a respective elemental monster. With the exception of the Earth Elemental Vatuka-Nui, none of these elementals are named as of the October 23 beta build. Upon completing the level, an in-engine cutscene plays, depicting each Toa meets the next Toa and passes on their collected Kanohi masks; while it does not play in any known build, the cutscene of Pohatu meeting Kopaka is adapted from their meeting in Comic 1: The Coming of the Toa according to the alpha v0.006 game data.
BIONICLE: The Legend of Mata Nui has a third-person view. The left hand controls the Toa's movements with the keyboard and the right hand controls the camera with the mouse. In addition to their basic tasks, the player is able to collect small tokens in the shape of the Three Virtues. The amount they have collected is displayed on the top right corner of the screen, and a certain number of these tokens must be collected in order to access certain areas. On the top left corner is the player's health and energy. On the bottom left corner is their current mask, which spins when in use. The bottom right corner displays the current amount of Energy Spheres.
They also have to collect several special items throughout the levels, which are displayed in the inventory. Each Toa collects a lost Bamboo Disk to be returned to its Matoran owner, as well as a Makoki Stone. In addition, Onua collects a pet small blue bug named Thali-Whali (alternatively spelled Thalli-Walli) and a Miner's Pick; Gali collects a Gear and a Ga-Koro Gate Stone; Pohatu collects a Stone Hammer and a Kolhii Ball; Kopaka collects Huai Ice Skates and the Element of Melting; Lewa collects a blue Fikou and a Volo Lutu Launcher; and Tahu collects a Winch Lever and a Lava Board.
Once all six Toa Mata have completed their respective levels, a lengthy prerendered cutscene plays depicting their arrival at Kini-Nui, where they obtain the Golden Kanohi, use the Makoki stones to access the Mangaia, merge into the Toa Kaita, and battle the Manas and Mana Ko, only to be split apart once again. Each Toa is forced to complete a short platforming challenge under a time limit; according to game data in the October 23 beta, Makuta claims that completing these challenges will defeat him. Upon Makuta's defeat, another prerendered cutscene plays showing the Toa lighting a beacon, the Turaga and Matoran celebrating in each village, and a lone Bohrok sleeping in its nest.
In the leaked alpha build v0.006, there are a few notable differences from the later October 23 beta build.
The first noteworthy change is seen in the prerendered introductory movie, where the Rahi bird is depicted as organic. This organic bird has been accepted in canon as a depiction of a native species to Aqua Magna.
In alpha v0.006, there are several more in-engine cutscenes that play through each level. These include Onua meeting an Onu-Matoran named Nobua[note 1] near the Papa Nihu Reef; Onua and Nobua arriving in Onu-Koro for the first time; and each Toa performing the Takara dance with their Matoran and Turaga.. These cutscenes were removed by the October 23 beta build, while some cutscenes that were left in the game, such as Lewa riding a Nui-Rama to Le-Kini, were significantly shortened.
In alpha v0.006, each Toa's Energy Sphere elemental power had to be obtained through a glyph. These Energy Spheres were infinite in number, so Toa did not have to collect them as pickups. Each Toa could also find two more glyphs: a Shielding Glyph, and an upgrade to the Energy Sphere. The player could switch between the Energy Sphere, Shielding, and each Toa's unique power, and the bottom right hand corner displayed the currently-selected elemental power.
Some sections of levels were reordered (for example, in alpha v0.006, Onua battles the Nui-Jaga before the Fikou-Nui), while the layout of other areas received significant redesigns (such as Ko-Koro). Nearly the entirety of Gali's level was apparently overhauled during development, with the version seen in alpha v0.006 sharing very little with the version seen in the October 23 beta; the Shore Turtle, Ruki, and hook-finned fish appear only in the alpha v0.006 version of the level.
The Toa Kaita were fully playable in alpha v0.006, with the player controlling them as they navigate platforming challenges and puzzles in the depths of the Mangaia. By the time of the October 23 beta, the Toa Kaita's role was relegated to a prerendered cutscene, with their playable areas of the Mangaia completely cut from the game.
Initially, the game was planned for release on PC in Fall 2001 and Nintendo GameCube in Spring 2002. The PC release date was later pushed back to December 2001. It may have also possibly been planned for release on PlayStation game consoles. By October 2001, development of the game was ceased, with an official statement by the LEGO Company citing "chip compatibility and timing" among the issues that led to its cancellation.
Shortly after the game's cancellation, senior staff members at Saffire Corporation copied the game's most recent build onto CDs, which were given out privately to members of the development team. Because the game was never officially released, the only way one could play it is to find one of these development CDs. Most of these CDs are currently property of the LEGO Company.
One anonymous source known as Deep Brick is known to possess a development CD of the game in beta. On May 29, 2004, Deep Brick shared screenshots and a summary of Onua's level on the BIONICLE fan website Mask Of Destiny. Throughout 2010, Deep Brick recorded video footage of the game and its cinematic cutscenes, which were uploaded onto YouTube by MarkOfMoD.
On February 10, 2018, version 0.006 (dated July 21, 2001) of the alpha build was streamed on YouTube, and subsequently leaked. In April 2018, the most recent known beta build (dated October 23, 2001) was obtained by Liam Robertson of Game History Secrets, and then made available for download on the BioMedia Project website on May 12, 2018.
- The Kanohi Vahi was planned to be distributed with the game. With the cancellation, the Vahi was later released as part of store promotions and other giveaways.
- According to Greg Farshtey, the Shadow Toa were originally intended to appear in the game. However, they do not appear in any known build of the game.
- A glitch in the October 23 beta build prevents players from advancing past Onua's level. This was fixed in a patch when the build was made available for download on the BioMedia Project.
- The LEGO Hidden Side set 70423 Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000 contains a computer screen decal that references The Legend of Mata Nui. The screen displays the silhouette of Toa Mata Onua and a graphical user interface that shows the player's health, energy, and tokens.
- This is the only appearance of the name and character Nobua, who was ultimately removed from the game during development; he is therefore considered non-canonical. The character, designed like other Matoran of the era, was black with purple feet and a purple Hau.
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