Games With Pre-Rendered Graphics – Game Sack

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Episode 239 – Beginning in the late 16-bit era and even into the 32-bit era game studios often felt the need to render their characters and whatnot on fancy Silicon Graphics workstations and whatnot, and then digitize the result into the game. The thought was that this made the graphics look better. Do you agree? Join us as we take a look at a few different examples of this technique.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. What do you think of pre-rendered graphics? Did you like them when they were new? Do you like them now? Should more games be made in this fashion? Or would that be redundant since systems like the PS4 have the UNLIMITED POWER of the future? Is chocolate better than vanilla? Is pie better than cake?

  2. Killer Instinct for the SNES is an awesome home translation. While the graphics and audio suffer a bit, the gameplay remains intact and I still find it both a great-looking SNES game and a fun fighting game. KI Gold was one of the first N64 titles I owned (and the only one I've ever owned that does NOT work with the RAM Pak installed) and while I think it's good for what it is, I can't deny that it was a bit of a disappointment for me.

    I'll have to go back and check some old gaming magazines but I swear I recall KI Gold being touted as a sort of combination of KI and KI2 while it was in development, and that's obviously not what we got. That was my biggest problem as I never liked KI2 as much as KI. I didn't care much for the new characters and really disliked the omission of the 3 original ones. Gameplay-wise, I don't see a ton of difference between the two games. Being promised the opportunity to play the arcade game at home (by the KI arcade machines themselves), the lack of an N64 port of the original Killer Instinct really soured me.

    It's worth noting that the KI and KI2 arcade games run on boards loosely based off N64 hardware but very different due to the fact that the N64 hardware wasn't even finalized when KI came out in 1994, and the game's backgrounds are all done using FMV. It's essentially a very cleverly done FMV game. KI2 runs on the same hardware and works the same way. While KI Gold on the N64 uses 3D rendered backgrounds, the limitations of 3D on the N64 makes them both better and worse in my opinion. Some background pieces are destructible, which is nice, but I just like the graphics and animation of the FMV backgrounds in the arcade games better. I rarely ever make that statement about FMV graphics, but in this case it's true. The additional audio of the arcade games is icing on the cake.

    I would really love to see the SNES version of KI2 be released. I'd love to see what Rare managed to pull off on the SNES hardware.

    Pre-rendered and digitized graphics are kind of in the same boat for me. If they're done well, they fit the art style of the game, and don't hinder gameplay, then I love them. The best example I can think of is Donkey Kong Country. Mortal Kombat 2 is also a good example of digitized graphics done right. Both techniques may look dated over time, but I think both DKC and MK2 are still great looking games that I love to play even today. DKC still blows me away sometimes.

  3. Gundam Battle Assault 2 has pre-rendered sprites for some of the gundams.
    Megaman X4-X6 has pre-rendered graphics too in the background.

  4. It is insane seeing all of these games, looking at these pre-rendered graphics, then seeing something like 'Senuas Saga' and knowing ALL OF IT is done in engine..I know people say it often, but damn, we have come a long way!

  5. I thought the johnny bazookatone game looked decent, actually. Can't vouch for how good or bad it is but I didn't think it was bad looking. I also think DK Country still looks good. Hmm…Same with Sonic 3D Blast.

  6. some of the best visuals are still in Pre Rendered graphics. So much illustrative creativity. REmake, FF9, Chrono Cross, Baten Kaitos, Blade Runner, Parasite Eve…

  7. vector man 2 have ugly title screen and uglier graphics compared to the firs game – I think it is just a cash grab sequel

  8. Two of those bad games had character designs made by awesome artists I like.
    The one with the flying swordsmen has concepts by Katsuya Terada and the action one, based on game cards has character drawn by Paul Bonner.

  9. Age of Empires I & II, Batman Forever: The Arcade Game, Clockwork Knight 1 & 2, Bug! and its sequel, Gex, Myth II, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee & Abe's Exoddus, Ragnagard, Rampage World Tour, the first half of the Resident Evil series, Sonic Blast and 3D Blast, Tomba! and Yoshi's Story, to name a few.

  10. It was what it was at the time. In fact, I think they did exactly the job they needed to do at the time. Are we really complaining about it?

  11. It's more like pre-rendered Graphics make a game look amazing, but it really isn't, but it really does. It's more like a pixel art cheat, because they didn't have to build it by hand from scratch, but nevertheless still build something beautiful!

  12. I rented a game once (don't remember what, it was GameCube I think) and the rental box still had the game descriptor inside it for Doom Troopers, they didn't even bother to take it out. I couldn't find any info on the game for years because I kept leaving out the Mutant Chronicles part.

  13. That one Saturn game with the Elvis guy with the gun. It almost looks like if Ralph Bakshi made Cuphead.

  14. It honestly comes down to how they were handled for me.
    Blazing Star for the NeoGeo and Iridion II for the GBA still look awesome today imo.

  15. Skullmonkeys is a good one. I think Gex might be prerendered to and those are good games. The MK series is good to. I like it overall. Dont know if Id liel a game to be made that way now but it adds to the feel and experience in the older games.

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