Best-looking NES games?

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Best-looking NES games?

Post by DaMadFiddler » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:24 pm

I was at a Protomen concert last night with my wife and a few friends, and we saw that one of the opening acts (Curious Quail) had set up an NES at the merchandise booth for people to play during the show.

One of the games they had available for people to play was Battletoads.

I'm well aware of the NES' fairly severe technical limitations, and I'd forgotten how (comparatively) good this game looks. It combines carefully designed art with a number of tricks to make it look almost more like a SNES game than an NES game.

That got me thinking about other particularly impressive-looking NES games, like Batman: Return of the Joker and Mega Man 6.

What other games have particularly good graphics, and/or use some technical wizardry to pull off surprising effects on the system?
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by not just souLLy now » Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:00 am

Kirby's Adventure looks pretty great still, but that's more down to good art direction as much as anything technical
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by DaMadFiddler » Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:10 am

Castlevania 3, Ninja Gaiden 3, Mario 2 and 3, and the Ninja Turtles beat'em'ups all made pretty good use of the system, though--like Kirby--that was mostly a matter of the art. They still hold up pretty well, but I certainly wouldn't have mistaken any of them for SNES or Genesis games.

Ah, the good/bad old days when "good graphics" mostly just meant "good art," with an occasional hint of "we figured out how to fake something the hardware can't do."
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by Lartrak » Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:07 pm

I'd say there is actually a lot of trickery and careful art in most NES games (the palette is super limited, for example), it just is so almost required nearly every game has it some extent.

I think Batman: Return of the Joker is probably the most impressive technically though.

Other ones that stick out for me...

Super Mario Bros 3. Obvious, but true.

Dragon's Lair - awful game, but the huge sprites and animation are both quite good. I have the PAL cart, and it plays much better than the NTSC release.

Gremlins 2 - pretty stunning sprite and animation work. They handle the limited colors very well, great atmosphere.

Gradius 2 - Famicom only, but looks even better than Gradius 1.
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by Eviltaco64X » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:07 pm

3D World Runner, Darkwing Duck (late-gen Capcom), and the G.I. Joe games stand out (particularly the first one of the two)

Fester's Quest also deserves an honorable mention for the psuedo-3D rooms
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by DaMadFiddler » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:37 pm

Man, Sunsoft really knew how to work magic with that system... even if they were stuck doing licensed games most of the time.

Whatever happened to them?
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by Eviltaco64X » Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:59 pm

They still exist in semi-zombie form.

The original company went bankrupt in 95 after being slow to move away from the NES, then releasing a string of several mediocre games in the 16-bit era (Panorama Cotton being an exception) and losing millions on a golf club in Palm Springs (of all things). They sold many of their assets to Acclaim and underwent a heavy restructure.

Sunsoft of America cranked out a few obscure PS1/N64/GB titles into the late 90s. Eventually, the US/EU offices were shut down in a cost-cutting maneuver and retreated back to Japan. They developed a Blaster Master remake on WiiWare in 2010.

Looking at their Japanese site, it looks like they still have some life left in them (though they develop mostly for mobile)

http://www.sun-denshi.co.jp/gsec/nmp/game/oz/
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by |darc| » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:18 am

That makes me sad, because they made some really great NES titles. Gimmick! has one of my favorite soundtracks from the platform:

It's thinking...
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by I.M. Weasel » Sun Sep 06, 2015 2:09 pm

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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by DaMadFiddler » Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:29 pm

A few others I've come across:

Recca


Metal Storm


Sword Master


Zen: Intergalactic Ninja


Vice: Project Doom


Still, it appears that Battletoads and Return of the Joker are the winners for sheer technical wizardry.
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by DaMadFiddler » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:59 pm

Vice is very much worthwhile. It feels a lot like a more polished version of Ninja Gaiden, though the plot is absolute 80s cheese. I wouldn't mind finding more games like this.
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by Eviltaco64X » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:27 pm

I want to give Lagrange Point a shot at some point.

It's not too graphically impressive, but it's of a notable interest for using the Konami VRC7 (FM sfx). The track sounds like a sophisticated Mk-III/early Genesis game, which is cool yet a bit odd to hear coming from a Famicom.

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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by |darc| » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:53 pm

I made an English translation copy of it (purchased original Famicom cart, removed ROM and replaced with an English-patched EPROM). Haven't yet gotten to play it though. Going through Final Fantasy VIII on PSX first before I get to it.
It's thinking...
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by DaMadFiddler » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:33 am

|darc| wrote:I made an English translation copy of it (purchased original Famicom cart, removed ROM and replaced with an English-patched EPROM). Haven't yet gotten to play it though. Going through Final Fantasy VIII on PSX first before I get to it.
Have something on hand to keep you occupied during those long-ass summons cutscenes.
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by |darc| » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:29 pm

DaMadFiddler wrote:
|darc| wrote:I made an English translation copy of it (purchased original Famicom cart, removed ROM and replaced with an English-patched EPROM). Haven't yet gotten to play it though. Going through Final Fantasy VIII on PSX first before I get to it.
Have something on hand to keep you occupied during those long-ass summons cutscenes.

Haha. I used to love the summons cutscenes when I was a kid, but now that I'm playing through 8 over a dozen years later, I'm just like "Yeah, yeah, come on, let's see the damage and get it over with...."
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Re: Best-looking NES games?

Post by Eviltaco64X » Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:55 pm

DaMadFiddler wrote:
|darc| wrote:I made an English translation copy of it (purchased original Famicom cart, removed ROM and replaced with an English-patched EPROM). Haven't yet gotten to play it though. Going through Final Fantasy VIII on PSX first before I get to it.
Have something on hand to keep you occupied during those long-ass summons cutscenes.
Using GF Boost helps (at least for the first half//various fragments of the cutscene).

Eden's summon in particular seems to drag on forever, but the Boost damage it brings (60000 max?) can be worth it depending on your tactic for fighting an enemy like Omega Weapon.
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