So much to do with video games needs shotguns. It’s a fact that every game would be improved with the inclusion of a meaty double-barrelled shotgun. My lot would be much improved by a shotgun wedding to any one of various former members of LucasArts. A good few designers could use a bellyful of shot to improve the general wellbeing of the industry, and if you recoil against that as an unnecessary use of force, do allow me to at least get in a few sharp jabs with the buttstock.

First up for the treatment would be Backbone Entertainment, who can probably best be categorized as a parasite, sucking away at the neck of grandfatherly games consoles, extracting precious properties from the blood and excreting some sort of slightly bitter goo. To hell with the metaphor; all I know is their company’s logo has front-ended a surprisingly high number of old games from the Mega Drive and Super Nintendo generation that have wriggled their way onto my 360’s hard drive, from Ecco the Dolphin through to Golden Axe.


Next-gen technology doesn’t seem capable of running them in their full glory, unfortunately. 64 colours and sprites on-screen all at the same time is really pushing it, because in order to keep the frame-rate smooth Backbone have had to rein in the mind-blowing pixel graphics. Or they just applied Photoshop’s smudge tool to every sprite with the same subtlety as someone applying lipstick in the middle of a seizure.

Roll-over sourcery!
Sonic, what's wrong with your face?

Are modern gamers who can’t remember A Time Before 3D unable to handle pixels? Backbone seemingly thinks so, because the revolting feature insultingly masquerading as a graphical upgrade termed ‘smoothing’ is all over their catalogue like faecal matter smeared over padded cell walls. I’m genuinely concerned for anyone who thinks this dribbling mess of a filter an improvement over the crisp, vibrant visuals of the original games.

Roll-over saucery!
What's wrong with your FAAAACE?

If the gamers that frequent the XBLA are so eager for graphical customisation, why don’t they just buy mid-range PCs and install Crysis? There’s a more absorbing time-sink in tweaking settings there than there is actual gameplay.

Can't-find-my-glasses enhancement
So realistic.
Vaseline-on-television enhancement
It's as if there's actually vaseline on my television!
Driving-past-screen-at-40mph enhancement
Hey, Backbone, I have Photoshop filters too!

Fortunately, most titles (including all of Backbone’s) come with an option to turn the ‘smoothing’ off, but just because I can circumvent it doesn't mean I can stop complaining about it. Not only that, but it's a precedent that worries me. For instance, I can’t find the magic button anywhere in the recently-released Metal Slug XX. Just as well, then, that Metal Slug XX is a pathetic has-been joke compared to SNK’s previous efforts and probably not worth getting agitated over.

0 Responses so far.

Post a Comment