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Author Topic: List of Famicom/NES Action games with background bosses  (Read 697 times)
satoshi_matrix
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« on: April 14, 2019, 11:58:06 PM »

Reading the excellent book I Am Error, I've recently become interested in the technical aspect of how many Famicom games used backgrounds to create the illusion of screen-filling bosses.

You know the ones - the Mecha Dragon in Megaman 2 or the Stage 1 Helicopter boss in Journey to Silius.  



I'd like to compile a list of all the games to feature bosses that use the background to create much larger enemies than typical sprites would allow.

I'll start with the examples I can think of. Please add your own so I can hopefully create a somewhat complete list.


Master list thus far:

Astyanax
Batman Retorn of the Joker
Blaster Master
Bucky O'Hare
Castlevania 3/Akumajou Densetsu
Double Dragon 2
Fantasy Zone
Fantasy Zone 2
Germlins 2
Gradius 2
Gun-Nac
Isolated Warrior
Joe & Mac
Journey to Silius/RAF World
Kickmaster
Life Force/Salamander
Little Mermaid
Little Nemo
Little Samson/Lickle
Mega Man
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 3
Mega Man 4
Mega Man 5
Mega Man 6
Mitsume Ga Tooru
Ninja Gaiden
Ninja Gaiden 2
Ninja Gaiden 3
Parodius Da
Robocco Wars
Silk Worm
Shadow of the Ninja/Kage
Stinger
Super C
TwinBee
TwinBee 3
Wrath of the Black Manta/Ninja Cop Saizou
Xexyz
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 12:05:06 AM by satoshi_matrix » Logged
Ghegs
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 06:45:03 AM »

Ninja Cop Saizou/Wrath of the Black Manta AFAIK?
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 08:22:00 AM »

Silk Worm
Twin bee 1 2 and 3 may be
Fantasy zone both versions I think
Gun Nac
Basicly near all shooters do that
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2019, 09:28:04 AM »

 
 
 
 
Joe 'N' Mac caveman Ninja is another one I think. 
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2019, 08:49:13 PM »

Lickle
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UglyJoe
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 11:18:50 PM »

Double Dragon II
Robocco Wars

Really, the list of games that *don't* use this technique might be shorter...
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2019, 06:45:55 AM »

Yeah screen-filling bosses are popular and, due to the 8-sprites-per-scanline limit, about any large object that is more than 8 sprites wide (each sprite is 8x8 PPU pixels, Rockman is 3 sprites wide) and isn't flickering, probably consists at least partly of BG tiles. Especially in horizontally scrolling games where the player sprites (and possibly bullets) will be on the same scanlines as the object, reducing the amount of possible sprites even further.
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satoshi_matrix
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2019, 12:26:12 PM »

Yeah, I know this would be huge and near endless if it included all genres.

I'm mostly talking about action games, not any turn based RPGs or the like. Obviously almost all of them use the background for bosses and enemies. I'm strictly talking platformers, shooters, puzzlers etc.

The typical "the background turns pitch black and here comes a foe" kind of NES games.
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 04:23:18 PM »

 
 
 
 
Some others:

- Kage
- RAF World (you mentioned Journey to Silius but hadn't added it to the list)
- Mitsume Ga Tooru
- Kickmaster
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satoshi_matrix
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2019, 12:05:57 AM »

I've added each game mentioned to the first post master list. Titles are listed by their NES titles where applicable.
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2019, 08:42:47 AM »

 
 
 
 
Some more examples:

- Recca
- Super Spy Hunter / Battle Formula
- Transformers: Mystery of Comvoy (as unenjoyable as it is)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Gekikame Ninja Den
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2019, 05:34:53 PM »

B-wings
Bionic Commando
Chip and Dale 1 and 2
Super Spy Hunter
Tom & Jerry ( I think that the Tom is part of the background)



 
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2019, 11:29:32 AM »

 
 
 
 
Further examples:

- Metroid
- Punch Out!!
- Dragon Fighter
- Kid Icarus / Hikari Shinwa: Palutena no Kagami
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MaarioS
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2019, 04:21:56 PM »


 
 
 
Further examples:

- Punch Out!!


This is actually not true as the bosses are sprite layers but the little player is actually on the background layer, so it is kinda reversed. The same thing is in Kung Fu (Spartan X)

You can literally expand the list to no end and the reality is that almost all NES games have bosses technically on the background layer and this is no surprise, even games like Contra use it. The bosses that are actually on sprite layer are usually small due to technical limitations and the majority of NES games had huge bosses (obviously 99% of those are in the background). If you personally want to check every game for bosses in "the background", just run FCEUX emulator with any game, go to Debug->Name table Viewer and if you see the boss in there then this is the background layer
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2019, 06:37:28 PM »

I remember reading about Punch Out and the MMC2 mapper in the Swedish Nintendo magazine. They designed the MMC2 chip for their own port of Punch Out to Famicom since it needed large moving objects. The mapper allows switching two pairs of 4 kB CHR-ROM banks very fast so that it's easier to handle large animated metasprites (or animated background tiles like Little Mac). And Punch Out ended up being the only game using it.

Quote
If you personally want to check every game for bosses in "the background", just run FCEUX emulator with any game, go to Debug->Name table Viewer and if you see the boss in there then this is the background layer
Mesen now also has a PPU viewer where you can see background nametables, sprites and palettes. It is quickly becoming the best emulator, although it's much heavier than FCEUX and is slow on a little older computers.
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