R20+5 contains amongst its bounty some Rockman 9 early storyboard concepts for the opening demo scene that show off some of the unused ideas of the Inti Creates development team, along with the unused robot masters and the original subtitle for the game.
This first version begins with Dr. Wily in a familiar pose, offering to help the 8 boss robots. Or maybe asking for their help? I’m pretty sure it’s the first one, but then, these notes are hard to make out. The bosses here include the mostly unused concepts of Cement Man, Weather Man, Ocean Man, Honey Woman, Plasma Man, Space Man, Diamond Man and (a pretty close to the final version of) Magma Man. This scene would have still been in monotone (probably black and white or sepia) similar to the final version.
The scene then switches to Dr. Right’s laboratory–but not the same one we’re used to seeing. Instead of the homestead laboratory used in the final (shown left), we can see they intended to use one of the giant laboratories Dr. Right builds in his ending of the Japan-only game Rockboard (shown below). Since the homestead design is the one that appeared in most of the games already, it would have been nice to be reminded that Dr. Right has more than one laboratory. Besides being a nod to a rather obscure game, this would have been thematically appropriate as well.
Rockboard is all about taking over the world, but through capitalism and land development. Right, Wily and the others compete to gather resources to fulfill their dreams. In Rockman 9, we have this alleged notion of Dr. Right “taking over the world” by force, and Dr. Wily going on TV to gather funds to counter him. (Side note, I like to imagine Wily used whatever money he got in R9 to build that orbital elevator and stockpile all that virus in R10).
In the next panel, we see Rock, Roll, Right and Rightot gathered around a TV, watching news anchor Chun Li reporting on Magma Man’s misdeeds. This scene is very close to the final, only changing the camera angle and dropping Roll and Rightot to streamline the shot. The TV also loses a lot of its former detail, becoming more of a straight boxy tv monitor with more of a retro-future vibe.
Next shot, Wily’s accusal of Right. The pose looks more like an arms outstretched to the viewer plea and less like a shrug as it does in the final, and Wily’s head doesn’t have that goofy sympathy bandage yet. The video “proof” Wily offers is pretty close to the final, save a little less detail and Dr. Right’s right hand disappears. Note the recording date of 20XX 12-27. I think they meant that to be 12-17, Rockman’s “birthday” (the first game’s release) and a joke they recycled into making Dr. Wily’s swiss bank account number in the final version.
In the last image, we see Roll answering angry calls, Right and Rightot looking dismayed and Rock clearly determined to take action to clear Right’s name. This section was planned to be a narration instead of a dialog, leading to the title screen… “ROCKMAN 9 Dr.ライトの世界征服!?” (Dr. Right no Sekai Seifuku!?) which basically means “The World Domination of Dr. Right!?” appearing instead of the final subtitle “野望の復活!!” (Yabou no Fukkatsu!!), commonly translated as “The Revival of Ambition!!” This subtitle is used in both unused drafts of the opening demo. Speaking of which…
The second version of the opening demo begins with a cityscape, though one not nearly as fleshed out and bustling as we see in the game’s opening. The city comes under attack, a classic reference to Rockman 4‘s opening demo. The scene switches once again to Right’s Rockboard style industrial laboratory, where we meet our heroes in a simple 8-bit screen. Seeing Chun Li and Magma Man on the news, Right goes into a “WILEY RAN OFF WITH GAMMA” full-blown panic dance.
Wily unleashes the hounds with his damning evidence and not a moment later, the angry phone calls begin. Poor Roll. Before long the police are at Right’s door, demanding he surrender. They take him in for questioning, but leave all his other supposedly dangerous robots behind to do whatever they like. This part I’ve never really understood, but my best guess is that the law didn’t really believe Right was guilty and just arrested him for the sake of keeping him safe from unruly mobs while Rock goes around stopping all the bad robots like always. Of course, it’s possible it was supposed to be Fake Man putting him under false arrest, but why Fake Man wouldn’t also take the other robots into custody is beyond me. In the end, Right seemed to be in actual prison while the one in Wily’s jail was a fake as well. It would be amusing if Wily sent his Fake Man robots to capture Right, only to have them get too deep into their roles as officers and escort him to a real jail instead of Wily’s castle. Seems like the kind of thing Wily bots would do.
R20+5 also contains storyboards for the finalized cutscenes, which of course contain elements from both these versions. There are even a few changes from the final storyboard to what we see in the game that may have occurred when it came time to dot everything out in NES style. The switching out of Right’s labs is among the late changes, too. Unfortunately, I can’t scan that part right now. Maybe some other time (if somebody else doesn’t beat me to it, and I hope they do. Scanning this book is a pain).