Technically & artistically impressive games

Emulation of old consoles and arcades.

Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby Kerr Avon » 2013-10-05 @ 00:45

m1so wrote:When we're on the subject of N64, it is funny how most of the games have hectolitres of fog and a vaseline coated display. N64 had a CPU 3x faster than the PSX, if the power was used more to improve fludity and draw distance we might have gotten ports of PSX games that had huge draw distances and 60/50 fps framerate. Instead, N64 is virtually unplayable in Europe AFAIK, as most games are 20-25 fps in NTSC already and PAL brings that down to 15-20 fps or worse.


The PAL drop is nowhere near as bad as you make it sound. Yes, some PAL conversions were poor, but most are fine (it's mainly these early four games; Mario 64, Pilot Wings 64, Wave Race 64, and Mario Kart 64 that were poor ports). It's only Mario Kart 64 that (to me) is spoilt by being slow, though all four od the games I name have black borders in their PAL ports. The only other game I can name like this is Beetle Adventure Racing, which runs fine aside from having PAL borders.

Apparently the N64 was very difficult to program, which is why (so I'm led to believe) third party games were mostly technically unimpressive, using fog to (badly) hide the close graphical pop-ups, or un-detailed textures and/or basic environments and room geometry. But look at games like Perfect Dark, or Conker's Bad Fur Day, to see what the N64 was capable of in the hands of people who knew how to program the system. Though games like these are the exception, technical quality-wise, sadly.


d1stortion wrote:I got a N64 some time ago because it was something that I was kinda drooling over at that time. I'm quite disappointed by it. The framerate is indeed bad in most games but that's not the biggest issue. The thing that literally kills it is the analog stick. It's like the worst controller design in history because inevitably the bowl that holds the stick in place will be grinded into white powder and since like 99% of games depend on it you can't play anything. I even got a reproduction controller, but the analog stick on it sucks just as much. Another thing about it is that many games use battery-backed SRAM that will die eventually.

Not sure what to do about it all. I'm thinking I should have gone with a Dreamcast instead :roll:


It's certainly true that official N64 joypads wear away in time (well, everything does, but it's especially true for the official N64 joypads). Personally, I don't much like the official N64 joypad design, it really polarises opinion, with some people loving it, others hating it. I never use one, as by far my favourite joypad for the N64 is the Mako Pad 64 (or Makopad 64), which is simply the transparent version of the Superpad 64, and it's fantastic; due to the redesign (it has two prongs, not three, unlike the official N64 controller) all controls and buttons are accessible without you moving your hand, unlike the official N64 pad.

For a review, see:

http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nintendo_64_Fo ... 7186633/1/

(the review is of the Super Pad 64, the top right hand one in the first photograph, one black one with two prongs - the Makopad 64 is the exactly the same but with AUTO-FIRE and SLOW DOWN buttons, and is transparent instead of black.

I've had mine for more than ten years, and it's still as responsive now as it ever was - I've hammered it with Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, Super Smash Bros., and countless other N64 classics. The analogue stick is made of metal, unlike the official controller, so it has not yet even started to wear away.

http://www.retrogames.co.uk/more/on/details/015814

Or see the video at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1bQfu-HAqc

(and ignore the post in the comments section where it says "There wasn't ever a game where you hade to use the dpad and the? analong stick at the same time" - lots of games used both the analogue stick and the D-Pad, such as Duke Nukem 64, Duke Nukem: Zero Hour, and Jet Force Gemini, all of which used the D-Pad to select weapons).

Sadly, you'll probably have to look through ebay, local newspapers, or local secondhand shops to find a Makopad 64 nowadays, but of course that's true of all N64 stuff. And the Makopad 64 comes in two types, the Makopad 64 which is transparent and has a couple of "cheat" switches (Slowdown and Autofire, I think - I've never used them), and an opaque black version called the Superpad 64, which lacks the cheat switches. The back opaque version of the Makopad 64 is called the Superpad 64, see the review at:

http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nintendo_64_Fo ... 633/1/#new

(it's the top right hand controller on the first photograph).

Beware though, as there is at least one other joypad for the N64 called the Superpad 64, which is *not* what you want.

I cannot recommend this joypad strongly enough.

Also, I use third part controller paks (game save memory packs) that are four in one (four banks of game save space, you choose which bank to use with two switches on the back, so you choose 0-0, 0-1, 1-0, or 1-1) and these are EPROM or whatever, they don't use batteries at all, unlike the official controller paks. Some peope say they've had problems with data loss with third party controller paks, but I've had these for around thirteen years, and they've never let me down once).

I can't advise you on the N64 vs Dreamcast situtaion, I suppose it comes down to which genres of games you prefer. The N64 is (to me) the best machine ever for my favourite genre, first person shooter, simply because of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. Plus I really like 3D platformers, which is another genre the N64 is very good in. But for many other genres, the N64 doesn't do as well as other consoles (maybe for all genres other than FPS and 3D platformer), and the Dreamcast is an excellent machine. But why not keep the N64 and get a Dreamcast too? But try to track down a Makopad 64 or Superpad 64 (make sure it's the right Superpad 64!) as they are very well designed and extremely sturdy.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby Kerr Avon » 2013-10-05 @ 00:48

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:Currently playing GTA 5 on my PS3 and the graphics are simply amazing for such an old console.


Same with the XBox 360 version. To me it looks amazing, yet some players are saying it shows how much we need the next generation of hardware. Makes me wonder if we're looking at the same game...

Anyway, GTA V is a great game, but I think I still prefer GTA 3 San Andreas overall, and radio/music-wise I definitely still prefer Vice City. They got so much right in GTA V, then cursed it with (to me) the worst soundtrack of any GTA game :angry:
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby d1stortion » 2013-10-05 @ 10:30

Thanks for the detailed pad information! I will look out for one of those controllers :) about the Controller Paks, I have a third party one with battery backed SRAM, but you can actually swap the battery and if you do it in less than a minute or so it will keep all the data, so certainly better than what Nintendo offered...

Another aspect that I really dislike is the inexplicable lack of RGB (without modding, that is). I'm currently playing a lot of PSX through RGB and it looks excellent on a professional grade CRT; would probably still look very good on a consumer grade one. It just reinforces my opinion about this being my favorite console ever. But certainly there are at least a few great games to find on any console :) I'm also interested in GE007/PD since I like the Timesplitters series and want to play the "precursor" games. Also, Doom 64.

By the way, not all PAL conversions were bad. Chances were that if the game developer was based in a PAL region country the PAL work would have been impeccable. Psygnosis was one such example.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby leileilol » 2013-10-06 @ 17:33

I gave up GTA for Saints Row years ago :|
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby Kerr Avon » 2013-10-06 @ 23:29

d1stortion wrote:Another aspect that I really dislike is the inexplicable lack of RGB (without modding, that is). I'm currently playing a lot of PSX through RGB and it looks excellent on a professional grade CRT; would probably still look very good on a consumer grade one.


It's ironic, isn't it, the way technology is so often two steps forward but half a step back. My own TV is by far the best I've ever owned (a not very expensive Samsung with all of the ports and features I could ever need) and it's great for the PS3/XBox 360/PC but the N64 looks, well, not exactly great on it. Worse, I can now play NTSC/JAP games on the N64 since I have an Everdrive backup device, but some games just give a black screen, since the TV can't handle some N64 NTSC/JAP resolutions (at least all the PAL ones work fine, thankfully.

Yes, I would prefer a CRT for my older consoles, but until I get a decent sized place to stay (which won't happen until I get a job where I don't have to move periodically for work) it's not too practical, I've too little room here as it is. :depressed:



For some reason, according to what I've read online, most PAL N64s can't be easily modded to support RGB, (some) French N64's being the only easily moddable PAL N64s.

http://www.assemblergames.com/forums/sh ... ed-PAL-N64

http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/ntsc-nintendo-64-rgb/




There's a project to give HDMI output to the N64;

http://www.reddit.com/r/n64/comments/1g ... mi_output/
http://forums.benheck.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=43034




It just reinforces my opinion about this being my favorite console ever. But certainly there are at least a few great games to find on any console :) I'm also interested in GE007/PD since I like the Timesplitters series and want to play the "precursor" games. Also, Doom 64.


PD and GE are fantastic, but you might struggle to get used to their very low framerates. If you do, though, you'll find them very rewarding indeed.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby d1stortion » 2013-10-06 @ 23:47

Yeah those old consoles look terrible on an HDTV set. There are external scalers which can produce a nice image with emulated scanlines but they are expensive as hell and it's a very complex topic in itself. But if you can't have a CRT and often play old consoles you should maybe look into it.

From what I've heard the N64 always outputs a fuzzy signal, probably thanks to its anti-aliasing or some hardware flaw. So even with RGB the picture wouldn't be nearly as nice as with other consoles. Also, from comparisons I've seen the dithering algorithm on N64 doesn't seem the best. See here. But I don't know if that video is fitting for comparison purposes as composite normally introduces dot crawl to the image, which I can't spot at all there.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby mr_bigmouth_502 » 2013-10-07 @ 03:19

I wonder, has anyone ever tried hacking the n64's RCP to disable the built-in filtering? I can imagine that would actually make certain games look better.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby d1stortion » 2013-10-14 @ 22:21

Anyone ever played the Quake II console ports? The PSX one was the version of the game that I actually played back in the day and I still like it a lot. A herculean technical feat cramming this game into a console that was certainly not meant for this genre. Also great soundtrack.

N64 version looks fine and seems to have decent framerate but the weapon animations might be just the poorest in any 3d shooter out there. Of course it has filtering but with textures this small I don't feel like it adds that much to image quality. I guess in the end it depends whether one is more into the vibrant, but more grainy and pixelated look or the smooth and blurry style.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby ratfink » 2013-10-15 @ 21:11

d1stortion wrote:Anyone ever played the Quake II console ports? The PSX one was the version of the game that I actually played back in the day and I still like it a lot. A herculean technical feat cramming this game into a console that was certainly not meant for this genre. Also great soundtrack.

N64 version looks fine and seems to have decent framerate but the weapon animations might be just the poorest in any 3d shooter out there. Of course it has filtering but with textures this small I don't feel like it adds that much to image quality. I guess in the end it depends whether one is more into the vibrant, but more grainy and pixelated look or the smooth and blurry style.


Yeah we played the Playstation One version of quake ii alot, multiplayer was great fun.

I never got on with the n64 controller so couldn't get the hang of quake i/ii on them :pppt:.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby Kerr Avon » 2013-10-16 @ 18:11

I didn't play the N64 version of Quake 2, as I didn't like the (original) PC game. From what I've read the levels (areas) in the N64 version are different from the PC and Playststation versions, and the N64 version doesn't have bots in it's multiplayer, but I think the PSX version does?
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby d1stortion » 2013-10-17 @ 01:19

Nah no bots. Was more of an N64 thing really. Not surprising if you compare the CPUs.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby dosquest » 2014-2-04 @ 09:28

NASCAR 2009, in my opinion, next to Everything or Nothing, which is THE best looking ps2 game out there, is pretty good. I mean even NASCAR '10 (which ruined the game for me, stuck with '09 because it was the best looking and most fun NASCAR game on PS2.) looked good.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby ElectricMonk » 2014-7-07 @ 19:01

Odin Sphere, Okami, Muramasa, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Both Otogi games, Killer 7, MadWorld, Asura's Wrath, Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari, and El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron were pretty amazing, visually.

Obviously, I omitted a lot more, but you gotta start somewhere. :P
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby mr_bigmouth_502 » 2014-7-11 @ 21:28

I know it gets a lot of flak, but I thought StarFox Adventures looked really nice for a Gamecube title. I heard the developers put a lot of work into this fur shading technology for it.

Metroid Prime was another really impressive looking title for the system, especially with all the small details they put in, like the facial reflections and water droplets you occasionally see on Samus's visor.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby Holering » 2014-7-12 @ 09:26

Wasn't Panzer Dragoon Orta a technical marvel? I seem to recall it ran at 60fps and was visually impressive (bump mapping, shaders, huge textures, etc). I've never played it, but I really want to (here's hoping I can fix my RROD 360). Played the Saturn games and thought Saga was the best one.

Speaking of Saga, that game really isn't worth the $100.00+ dollars it goes for IMO. It's a great game, but there's nothing extraordinarly note worthy or technically impressive about it on the Saturn unlike what most say. The water you see the first time for example, uses fake mesh transparency, as does all the other 3d transparent stuff; only 2d sprites feature transparency. It certainly didn't give me the wow factor those 4mb ram expansion games did (I was stunned the first time I saw Xmen vs Street Fighter; even Cyclops had his backwards animation which was taken out in the later vs series arcade cabs. Vs series on Saturn are literally accurate to the arcade machines). Die Hard Arcade is still the only Saturn game I recall having real 3D transparent polygons.

Speaking of PS2, that had to be the worst console built by Sony. Had disc read errors, and the hardware design was awful. I mean 4mb of video ram without compressed texture support is like, wtf. Should've had at least 12mb of vram or 16mb. I think the PS2 is one of the best game systems to have (if not, thee best), but when it comes to development it looks like a car with plastic tires.

Mr_bigmouth_502:
I agree with you about Starfox Adventures. Those GameCube games from Rare were impressive IMO. What struck me was the 60fps throughout the game with huge environments and textures, and lots of special effects. Resident Evil 4 impressed me too (no 2d backgrounds but it still looked like Resident Evil 1 remake). Heck, a lot of GameCube games impressed me.

Another thing, I don't understand why a better Mortal Kombat port didn't exist in PAL territory. The arcade machines were close to PAL standards and it would've looked great in the higher resolution. The Saturn could've pulled it off with a ram cart. Could've been exclusive to PAL territory, and given NTSC users a reason to import.
Last edited by Holering on 2014-7-12 @ 12:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby ElectricMonk » 2014-7-12 @ 10:48

mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:I know it gets a lot of flak, but I thought StarFox Adventures looked really nice for a Gamecube title. I heard the developers put a lot of work into this fur shading technology for it.

Metroid Prime was another really impressive looking title for the system, especially with all the small details they put in, like the facial reflections and water droplets you occasionally see on Samus's visor.



You're right on all counts. The main problem people has with Starfox Adventures was that they wanted a new Starfox 64. I personally enjoyed the game for what it was. I think my ex-wife played it more than I did, but I'd watch her play.

Capcom did make a Star Fox that the fans wanted, but I've yet to try it in dolphin (long story short, my *ENTIRE* console collection got stolen, yada yada).

And BOTH Metroid Primes were amazing. Graphically, and Gameplay-wise.

Hell, I'm a sucker for Chibi Robo. I played the &#$% out of that game. :lol:
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby ElectricMonk » 2014-7-12 @ 10:58

Holering wrote:Wasn't Panzer Dragoon Orta a technical marvel? I seem to recall it ran at 60fps and was visually impressive (bump mapping, shaders, huge textures, etc). I've never played it, but I really want to (here's hoping I can fix my RROD 360). Played the Saturn games and thought Saga was the best one.


At the time, it was a killer app for the Xbox. I *LOVE* that game! If Sega would release an XBOX Collection for the PC (like their Dreamcast Collection), and included Jet Set Radio Future, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Ninja Gaiden, Breakdown, and both Otogi games, I'd pay $100 for that.

Holering wrote:Speaking of Saga, that game really isn't worth the $100.00+ dollars it goes for IMO. It's a great game, but there's nothing technically extraordinary about it on the Saturn unlike what most say. The water you see the first time for example, uses fake mesh transparency, as does all the other 3d transparent stuff; only 2d sprites feature transparency. It certainly didn't give me the wow factor those 4mb ram expansion games did (I was stunned the first time I saw Xmen vs Street Fighter; even Cyclops had his backwards animation which was taken out in the later vs series arcade cabs. Vs series on Saturn are literally accurate to the arcade machines). Die Hard Arcade is still the only Saturn game I recall having real 3D transparent polygons.


The Saturn had one insane design, and it was really hard for devs to take full advantage of it. Even AM2 had to make compromises. And the Saturn arcade board is the STV-Titan, and it was NOT popular. The Model and Naomi series were better, and far more popular to develop for.

Holering wrote:Speaking of PS2, that had to be the worst console built by Sony. Had disc read errors, and the hardware design was awful. I mean 4mb of video ram without compressed texture support is like, wtf. Should've had at least 12mb of vram or 16mb. I think the PS2 is one of the best game systems to have (if not, thee best), but when it comes to development it looks like a car with plastic tires.


Maybe so, but I've read port-mortems and dev interviews, and they *liked* the architecture. Personally, I wish the Dreamcast would've done better, but I only had 30 games for it, compared to 120 for the PS2...
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby Holering » 2014-7-12 @ 12:26

Wanted to mention Heart of the Alien on Sega CD. The game features real 3d polygon transparency. You can witness this during the title screen (transparent letters), and on flying creature's wings during Heart of the Alien intro. They really did a heck of a job improving Out of This World on this game too (when buddy escapes broken cage he sounds like a large humanoid instead of a baby). Great special effects, everything rendered in polygons (even the backgrounds and cut scenes; yup, no cheap prerendered videos here), tons of details, HiFi sound, and a really good story. Heart of the Alien is full of traps and you actually have to use your head and creativity quite a bit. I think this game is extremely underrated (probably because it's Sega CD exclusive). Interplay deserved a lot more than they got for this.

It's a real pity when you look at Flashback Sega CD and the awfulness it became (they literally replaced realtime polygon cut scenes with horrid prerendered videos; there's also a glitch that randomly mutes the SFX). Its only saving grace is the fact Flashback was a good game. The 16-bit cartridge ports of Flashback are much better (and they really do feel like a CD game on a cartridge; and they have the realtime polygon cut scenes intact).
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Re: Technically & artistically impressive games

Postby leileilol » 2014-7-12 @ 21:07

Another World had a few bits of polygon translucency as well which is quite impressive for the time when almost no home computer game was pulling any sort of lookup effect off.
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