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Video Game / The California Raisins: The Grape Escape

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The California Raisins: The Grape Escape is an unreleased video game based on The California Raisins property developed by Radiance and to be published by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System, set for release in 1990.

It's a platformer in which you control a member of the California Raisins trying to save the other Raisins who were kidnapped by the Wild Bunch. This is accomplished by getting four golden music notes from four stages, then clearing the fifth stage.

The game was effectively finished and was ready to ship, even receiving previews on gaming magazines at the time, but it was unexpectedly cancelled. While the common belief is that it was due to waning interest in the California Raisins brand, the actual reason for the cancellation was scuffles between branches of Capcom — the game was privately commissioned by Capcom USA for a small team in America as part of an attempt to become more independent from Capcom Japan, but once the project was emblazoned on the front page of Game Players Magazine #19, the Japanese branch learned of the game's existence and cancelled it on sight, refusing to publish any project that wasn't developed in Japan (fortunately, the developers were still paid and maintained their careers). A prototype cartridge was discovered in late 2002, and its ROM became available online and playable via emulation.

This game provides examples of:

  • Anthropomorphic Food: Plenty of it. The protagonists are humanised raisins, some enemies are grapes with faces, and Maize Maze features a boss which is corn with a face.
  • Big "YES!": The Raisin always says "YEAHHH" when he finishes a stage.
  • Cool Shades: The Raisin you control wears late-80s style shades.
  • Distressed Dude: The four members of the California Raisins (who all happen to be male) have been kidnapped and its up to your Raisin to rescue them.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Power-ups that turn the Raisin invincible are plentiful, though they last too short to be useful.
  • Judicial Wig: The three Raisins at Calrab wear curly white wigs, which combined with the stands make them look like judges.
  • Level in the Clouds: The final level is Sky High Records which features solid clouds the Raisin walks on.
  • Musical Assassin: The Raisin kills enemies by firing music notes at them.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Grape" is used instead of "Great" for a food pun.
  • Temporary Platform: Maize Maze features stone platforms which drop into the water very quickly after standing on them.
  • A Winner Is You: The ending is very mediocre, all you get is a picture of the Raisins and the words "CONGRATURAISINS", as well as some credits.