A Guide to the Graphics of the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis

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Multi-Jointed Characters

Multi-jointed, or multi-segmented, characters and objects are composed of a series of sprites linked together that move semi-independently. An example of such a character is this boss from Gaiares:

A serpentine multi-jointed boss in Gaiares.

This was a common technique in arcade shoot-‘em-ups dating back to the 1980s and was typically used to create serpentine bosses. There is nothing particularly special in terms of the graphics of such characters—they are just a series of sprites whose relative positioning is determined by calculations or by look-up tables stored in the ROM.

Treasure developer Hideyuki Suganami gained a lot of attention for his multi-jointed boss designs, which were more complex than the typical serpentine shapes. Here is Bravoo Man from the first stage of Gunstar Heroes:

The multi-jointed boss Bravoo Man from Gunstar Heroes.

One appealing point of such characters is that they can be easily animated at 60 fps. The relative positioning of each sprite can be shifted each frame to create smooth animation, which typically wouldn’t be possible for large boss graphics.

Next: Tilting / Rotation

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List of Effects:
  1. Introduction
  2. Full-Screen Scrolling
  3. Row / Column Scrolling
  4. Line Scrolling
  5. Animation
  6. Multi-Jointed Characters
  7. Tilting / Rotation
  8. Scaling
  9. Shadow and Highlight
  10. Transparency
  11. Silhouette
  12. Palette Swapping
  13. Vertical Scaling
  14. Sprite Raster Effects

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