Multi-jointed Enemies in SNES Games

Because it’s often been asserted by certain people that the SNES can’t really handle multi-jointed enemies, I figured I post a few examples of the SNES doing just fine in this department.

Here’s a couple from Turrican 2:

At 1:06 and 24:04

There’s many multi-jointed bosses in Sparkster:

And a few good ones in Pop’n Twinbee:

At 14:43, 23:56 and 39:50

Super Smash TV has a nice example:

The snake boss at 11:38

Contra III has a couple too:

At 15:03, and the final boss has a few multi-jointed forms at all stages from 13:30
And Run Saber has a cool multi-stage multi-jointed boss at 25:20

There’s a few decent examples of multi-jointed characters on SNES right there, some of which are actually pretty impressive imo.

Note: I’ll add to this list if I find any more good examples.

Edit: And a couple more that other people have pointed out:

Here’s many examples in Axelay at 5:58, 9:34, 10:59 (this cool ED-209-like boss actually combines both Mode 7 and multi-jointed sprites), 26:57, 30:43, 33:03, and 34:05. Note: Any slowdown seen here is because the game’s running on SlowROM, and has since been removed with a FastROM patch)
Mother Brain at 2:43:07 is a cool multi-sprite boss too. Slower-paced but just as impressive and threatening. The music and sound fx here really sell the whole setup here too and give every a sense of gravitas.

Now, sure, I think it’s obvious the Genesis is a little better suited to this kind of thing than the SNES, if we’re just being honest here, but then I’d have to question who’s deciding the measure of a “good” or “impressive” enemy and asserting that being multi-jointed is better than looking really pretty, being large on-screen, or having lots of overlapping layers and cool visual tricks and such, and whether there’s some one-sided manipulation of the narrative going on there.

I mean, here are some impressive enemies and bosses and the like on SNES as far as I’m concerned, which actually play to its particular strengths, and that the likes of Genesis and PC Engine would strain to replicate fully because there’s tricks with full-screen rotation and semi-transparency and window/shape masks and such going on that the Genesis and PC Engine either struggle with or simply can’t do on a technical level:

At 5:55, are we really trying to pretend this isn’t visually impressive.
At 7:05, the entire level is basically the boss slowly scaling and rotating up into full scale in the background, while the rest of the normal shmup action takes place, and then finally becoming a large floating base for the player to attack and defend against, which is just impressive.
Are we really going to act like this multi-joined mini-boss at 1:02:58, the rest of the level, and then especially the final boss at 1:05:33 aren’t graphically impressive, especially with all the cool transparency and wavy effects in the backgrounds.
I personally think this boss at 3:39 could be mistaken for something from a 2D game on PlayStation, both in terms of visuals and audio. Same goes for most of this bosses in this game, and indeed the whole game honestly.
At 28:32, is this whole level inside a magic globe being held by the character in the background effect not visually impressive.
Do we not find this boss battle at 2:22:28 impressive, with the large snake-thing’s smoothly rotating head, the subtle lighting effect on the level when it fires its laser, and then the giant version of it as it dies?

And, anyway, isn’t this whole game just gorgeous and impressive across the board on SNES, both visuals and audio, be it the level backgrounds, enemies, bosses, music, whatever, even without lots of multi-jointed characters:

This game too:

Does it not impress you that a stock SNES can do simple 3D polygons like this:

Or that it can do undulating 3D and basically textured road effects like this:

And 3D undulating and basically textured scenes like this, along with loads of enemies on-screen, and all running at a solid 60fps:

What about the fact it can do some half-decent fps visuals:

At 5:39

Do nigh-Pixar-like visuals and animation not impress you:

At 59:30

Anyway, I think I’ve covered what I wanted to say here: Multi-jointed characters are cool and all, but they’re not something exclusive to the Genesis, and they’re certainly not all that makes a game graphically impressive and visually beautiful. Plus, it’s pretty easy to manipulate the narrative if that’s your goal, like if I started saying all that matters is loads of colours, large rotating and scaling enemies, lots of overlapping layers, lovely transparency effects everywhere, realistic-sounding audio, and more complex/sophisticated controls, etc. . . .

Note: Also, just to point out, every single one of these examples above is running on a stock SNES, and many of them even in SlowROM 2.68 MHz at 75% of the system’s full capacity/speed, so not even pushing it to its limits.


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