We all just about lose our heads when we receive bits of ‘next generation’ console news towards the end of a current console cycle. And for good reason, at that stage the previous generation strains under the pressure to keep up with the PC format (yes, I know), as that gradually grows and improves when it comes to hardware. Question is: What game pushed the various consoles to their limits over the years? What game nearly had to make the jump to the next generation?
I’m looking at the main entries, so don’t expect to see the 3DO, SEGA MEGA CD or Ouya making an appearance. I’m also skipping the Atari 2600, because let’s be honest – ET won it hands down… #nonotreally
This week we’re moving on to the 16-Bit era:
SEGA Mega Drive
When you hear the words SEGA Mega Drive, what’s the first game that comes to mind? It’s very likely Mortal Kombat. In South Africa it was the console you owned for that specific game. At the time it resembled ‘real life’ and we were all in awe, but it’s not the game that pushed this 16-Bit console to its limits.
The fact that Vectorman even made it to the SEGA Mega Drive is quite remarkable. The pre-rendered 3D models and multi-layered backdrops should just simply not have been possible on the system, but in ’95 they somehow managed it. The lighting effects were extraordinary with animation we only expected on the next generation of consoles. Each limb of Vectorman animated independently with flags and the like fluttering in the wind. Considering that there were massive explosions and enormous boss fight it’s quite surprising that everything ran smoothly without a bit of lag.
Honourable Mentions: Gunstar Heroes, Rocket Knight Adventures
Again it’s another console that never REALLY launched on our shores. I believe there was a showing towards the end of its life, but by then the SEGA Megadrive and PlayStation had all but secured any chance of it making a show locally. It goes without saying that it’s a well-known fact that this was indeed the best 16-Bit console when it came to pure power.
Game: Star Fox
Nintendo have always been keen on innovation when it comes to their hardware and when it comes to software they’ve shown the competition how it’s done. Star Fox launched in 1993 as a complete three-dimensional on-rail shooter. There were no sprites to be seen anywhere as it was pushing out polygons using an onboard Super FX Chip. By today’s standards the 3D looks primitive but back then everything else was played from left to right or top-down. It might not be the best game we’ve ever played on the SNES, but it’s the game that paved the path for future consoles and exceeded the original strength of the SNES.
Honourable Mentions: Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario RPG
Do you agree? What game do you think pushed the 16-Bit era?
If you missed Part 1, where we focus on the 8-Bit era, you can see it here.