Impressive SNES Graphics

It’s just a bunch of cool examples of the stock SNES doing some rather impressive stuff graphically, be it purely visual/aesthetic or maybe how much it’s pushing around onscreen without slowdown, and so on.

So, here we go. . . .

A great use of SNES’ background Mode 3 for 8bpp, 256-colour, palette cycled visuals, which would be perfect in some kind of Choose Your Own Adventure graphic novel type of game experience.
One of the background layers is used to great effect here for lots of animation frames on the very large Tom character.
Someone hacked Final Fight 2 to allow up to five enemies onscreen at once, and, while there’s a bit of obvious flicker now, which is a limitation of the method used here, it’s still impressive to see in a SNES beat ’em up.
The “scrolling” might move at a snail’s pace (not necessarily because it absolutely had to), but this is pushing 8bpp 256-colour visuals in-game using Mode 3, and I don’t think you’d be able to achieve the amount of detail and unique tiles outside of this particular background mode, which means it’s also doing something that likely couldn’t be achieved on systems like the Genesis and PC Engine as a result, so it’s just impressive to see.
This boss battle from Trials of Mana on SNES is impressive just because of how good it all looks (and sounds), taking advantage of many of the SNES’ cool graphical features such as lots of colours, proper transparency, window/shape masking, etc.
Here’s a nice demo by psycopathicteen throwing a whole load of sprites onscreen at once, with no slowdown.
Eh, at 2:46 and for the next level or two in Melfand Stories, how many enemies onscreen you say!
Here’s one of my own attempts and showing what’s possible with the four fully-overlapping full backgrounds layers that are available in SNES’ Mode 0
And another example of Mode 0’s four background layers in action
This demo by 93143 has all 128 of the SNES’ 16×16 sprites onscreen at once, bouncing around with collisions that light up the objects when they touch another one, and all running at a rock-solid 60fps.
Watch at timestamps 31:09, 52:30 and 53:10 to see some really nice use of the SNES’ many colours and multiple layers for lots of impressive visuals and tricks.
It’s an ugly game, but it’s the only title on SNES that uses the 512×448 high resolution mode during actual gameplay, although it really could have looked much better.
Here’s a tiny sample of 512×448 mode, done by Kulor, with much nicer visuals and even some parallax, as well as lots of sprites being thrown around.
Another gif of Kulor’s shmup, showing off some very cool Mode 7 pseudo-3D effects and loads of stuff onscreen. It almost looks like early Saturn or PlayStation texture-mapped polygons.
And here’s a good example of the pseudo high-res mode being used for a simple faux transparency effect, which you can see at 4:30 and 19:22 respectively. Because of the way this works, it’s more effective than the typical dithering approach you tended to see on Genesis when trying to fake transparency.
Now, this is a very average game, but the fact the Mode 7 race track not only rotates and scales as per the norm, but also has undulation as seen at 1:25 and 48:22, is extremely impressive. And, I expect with modern optimization it could run even smoother. I just wish a better game had been attached to it.
Consider, when using Mode 7, as on the background in this video, you can only have a single background layer in the level, and what you are seeing here, with apparently a whole foreground layer of scenery and platforms in front of the rather impressive-looking Mode 7 background effect (done via sprite trickery), is suddenly very cool.
That’s a lot of enemies onscreen for a SNES beat ’em up.
Here’s a homebrew game demo with software-based sprite rotation in multiple places, and lots of them onscreen too.
Here’s another really nice example of undulating Mode 7 tracks, which actually wouldn’t look out of place on a first-gen Saturn or PS1 game imo.
It might be running in lower resolution and suffers from Nintendo’s annoying censorship, but this is a legit fps game on SNES, and it’s running at a very respectable frame rate too.
Check out the really cool overall visual effect in this level from Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt at 29:00
Look how much stuff Super Aleste in throwing around onscreen here with no slowdown, 0:44. And that’s running on the SNES’ SlowROM too, so only at around 75% of its full CPU power/speed.
Another SNES game that appears to have a fully rotating maze layer done via Mode 7 alongside another full background layer too–magic!
Putting this one here because it’s a stock SNES pushing around three fully-polygonal Klingon ships plus some laser fire all at once at 3:36, along with the nice 2D art as well, which, for a system that was never meant to do 3D, is all rather impressive. Yeah, the frame rate isn’t stunning, but it’s still just cool to see what the stock SNES can do. And it runs pretty well when it’s just one enemy ship, which is more often than not the case.
Well, it looks like the SNES can indeed do “Blast Processing”. . . .
How about some more “Blast Processing” as seen at 2:42
It’s like Sonic’s “Blast Processing” plus SNES’ Mode 7 all in one. 24:26 is a good reference point. Also, every enemy is a multi-jointed sprite too, i.e. made from many connected but individually moving sprites, for all the people who think SNES can’t really do that.
Who says the [stock] SNES can’t throw around a crap-load of sprites onscreen in intense action games with no slowdown–Super Smash T V begs to differ (see 2:53 Tank Trouble and 21:01). And it’s all running in SlowROM no less.
You know, I just think this is a really high quality and very polished arcade-style game with great presentation, graphics, audio and gameplay throughout, and I wish more SNES games were made with this level of all-round love.
Every flying section in this game is just dang impressive, 2:38, 4:21, 5:55, 10:03, 12:45, 16:59, 18:05, 29:00, 32:05, 36:10, 37:46, and all running on a stock SNES. It uses the oft-ignored Mode 0 by the way.
Rare really knew how to get the best out of SNES, as seen in these example scenes: 13:32, 15:31, 1:04:03, 1:34:03, 3:02:56, 3:27:05
Honestly, these two scenes at 59:30 and 1:01:48 are like something from frikin’ Finding Nemo imo (if it were running in SD).
And I’ve saved one of the best examples for last, because everything you see here is running on a stock SNES in SlowROM mode at 2.68MHz, so around 75% of its full CPU speed, yet there’s a crap-load of ships and explosions and stuff onscreen, multiple layers of parallax, lots of cool visual effects and tricks, a pumping soundtrack, intense fast-paced action, and all with just no slowdown at all: 12:14, 19:40, 22:47 and 47:13.

PS. Credit goes to all the people who created any of the videos I linked. I just lumped them in one place, really for my own convenience.


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