Is The Cursed Knight possible on SNES?

I’ve heard a lot of people claim in recent times that the SNES couldn’t run this Genesis game or that Genesis game because it’s too complex for the system or it would just suffer slowdown on SNES because of its “slow” CPU, etc, which simply isn’t true in 99% of cases. And, not only are these assertions coming from hadcore Genesis fans, they’re even coming from SNES fans at times too, which is just very disappointing.

So, here’s an idea for a series of articles looking at both old and new Sega Genesis games and analysing whether they could run on SNES or not–I’m here to prove they can–by providing examples of similar feats being achieved in actual SNES games, both old and new titles, plus any modern demos and the like where necessary.

The first game I want to try this with is The Cursed Knight, just because I was watching a playthrough of it when this idea popped into my head.

So, here we go, staring with footage of the game running on Genesis:

And now I will timestamp moments in the video and post some examples of SNES games doing basically the same thing to show that, yes, of course it could run on SNES:

In The Cursed Knight from 3:37 there’s some nice parallax in the clouds plus the front layer of buildings, along with a little faux 3D on some of them.

So, using Scrambled Valkyrie on SNES and starting at 6:31, there’s lots of parallax in those clouds along with a mid layer of mountains and the foreground land layer plus lots of rain falling too, and at 19:09 the background here has a full layer of stars scrolling horizontally at many different speeds, a middle layer of buildings, and a foreground layer of buildings.
And you can see lots of that faux 3D on the furniture in the foreground in the levels at 21:47 and 48:24 in Toy Story.

Next we can look at the rather cool boss at 12:27 in The Cursed Knight, with its neat tilting body effect.

Can the SNES do such an effect:

Well, here’s an early boss in Contra III using the same method to tilt its body.
The helicopter in this game uses the same method to tilt up and down too.
And the rocking platforms during this boss battle use the same method also.

Not only can the SNES do this effect, but it can do it with a higher fidelity too, being able to vertically scroll columns every 8 pixels wide vs the Genesis that can only do it every 16 pixels.

Here’s an interesting one in The Cursed Knight at 15:24, which uses the Genesis’ highlight/shadow mode to make it look like the flying creatures are glowing and lighting up the background behind them.

OK, I think we all know the SNES has proper colour math for vastly superior lighting and transparency effects, but let’s just make sure there’s no doubt about it and show some examples of basically the same “shadow/highlight” effect to create simple light and dark areas on the background ground, overlaid transparent objects that are a different colour from the background, and multi-coloured transparent objects too:

Check the video at 1:16:42 and 2:20:12
Both the flickering flames and the magic beam of light here.
The whole level background and the final boss here show some great uses of the SNES semi-transparency.
Some nice semi-transparent bubbles at 2:07, lovely semi-transparent beakers at 19:20, and a nice glowing light effect at 34:43

The level falling away effect in The Cursed Knight at 19:30 looks pretty neat, and surely the SNES can’t do something like this, right:

Of course it can. And, as I mentioned earlier, with higher fidelity than on Genesis.

There’s a nice parallax effect on the floor in The Cursed Knight at 22:47, which is the same thing as seen on the floor in Time Trax on SNES below:

Here’s a nice parallax space background in The Cursed Knight at 25:58, with other level stuff in the foreground too, which we can see the SNES doing similarly below, but actually with twice as many fully-overlapping layers in total:

Another similar example.

How about a huge boss with a bit of faux 3D rotation, as seen in The Cursed Knight at 32:40. Can the SNES pull that off?

Well, here’s SNES doing something pretty similar:

And this guy in Super Turrican 2 also:

There’s a rather cool-looking 3D parallax effect on the level at 34:46 in The Cursed Knight, and I can’t recall an example of something specifically like this in any SNES game just not, but it’s ultimately just two background layers and some line scrolling that’s used to achieve this effect, so it’s nothing that that SNES couldn’t do. And, again, the SNES could also still have more colours, proper transparency and more background layers at the same time too.

This effect in R-type III is similar but just not using lots of line-scrolling at the same time to convey a more convincing illusion of 3D parallax:

And, as you can see, the SNES has no problem changing the line-scroll speed every scanline:

It can just as easily change the line-scrolling every scanline on two layers at once too, with both the wavy background layers here using the same technique but just with a different visual effect/pattern ultimately:

The rotating boss at 42:24 in The Cursed Knight is just a bunch of animation frames, which can just as easily be replicated on SNES either the same way:

Or it could be done a slightly different way on SNES using a scrolling background strip and window/shape mask, as I have done for the rotating Earth in my own Mode 0 test:

What about that little spotlight effect at 50:21 in The Last Knight. Can the SNES do that:

At 8:53, and also a 2:44:18 for a lovely rainbow version of the same effect.

There’s a rather large boss chasing the player up the screen at 53:49 in The Last Knight. How about something similar on SNES, is that possible:

What about a large boss with a big fist attacking the player as seen at 55:06 in The Last Knight (and even the effect where he stretches vertically there too):

And 12:58 and 17:03

And what about a boss that’s twice the height of the screen like at 57: 20 in The Last Knight. Would this be possible on SNES:

Also, just in case there’s any moment where you think the SNES wouldn’t be able to put as much stuff on-screen without slowdown, here’s the SNES showcase Rendering Ranger R2 demonstrating just what the stock system is capable of, and all while running in SlowROM at 2.68 MHz, which is only 75% of its full CPU speed:

Any moment in the game is technically impressive, but I think 12:14 and 19:40 and 22:47 and 47:13 are standouts.

So, not only could this game run on SNES, but it could do so with far more colours throughout, more impressive transparency, more parallax layers in the background, more advanced audio, and additional controls [if necessary] to boot.

I think the thing that stands out the most in The Cursed Knight is simply the fact the developer has consciously tried to use some kind of neat graphical/visual trick in almost every level and on almost every boss.

So, just imagine what could be achieved on SNES if some modern-day indie/homebrew developer tried to create a new graphical showcase game for it in current times and approached it similarly. . . .


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