In 2003, U.K.-based Rage Software announced it had entered into a three-year licensing agreement with Lamborghini to produce a series of racing games based around the Italian automaker’s many sports cars. The first entry — titled simply Lamborghini — was to be released on Xbox and PlayStation 2 in spring of that year; GameCube was to follow in the fall. It carried plenty of promise, with full damage modeling and a roster touting every Lamborghini ever made up to that point.
If you don’t recall Lamborghini, though, there’s a good reason: Rage went belly-up before releasing any of the three versions of the game. Still, development was reportedly finished and an Xbox build has been floating around for years. If you have the right equipment, you can even link up for network play, as we see in the video below.
There’s something special about seeing an unreleased game in action, especially one that seems as though it would have made for a fine addition to the pantheon of great racers on Microsoft’s first console. Here we see a player steering a Jalpa — one of the strangest bulls out of Sant’Agata, I reckon — on a fictional Hong Kong track that looks like an absolute dream to drive. The course starts on a cliffside overlooking the city and snakes through a mountain, with gratuitous tunnels and a bridge for good measure, in that classic arcade racing tradition.
Rage later reformed as Juice Games, which likely salvaged some of the technology behind Lamborghini to make Juiced, a title focused around the street racing culture of the aughts. Juiced very nearly didn’t make it out either, as its original publisher, Acclaim Entertainment, went bankrupt in 2004. These devs just couldn’t catch a break, could they? Thankfully, THQ swooped in to save the day. Care to hazard a guess what happened to them?
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It’s rare we get this good a look at any video game that never officially saw the light of day. So let’s appreciate Lamborghini and wonder what could have been. I’ve never played it myself, but those of you with modded Xboxes should be able to get it up and running without too much trouble and relive this hidden gem of the racing genre’s golden era.