Why is it that Shadow Dancer (and Altered Beast etc.) does flicker so much, while a game like Golden Axe does not? As far as I know, flicker comes from many sprites on the same horizontal line or something...?
I don't have a technical answer for you, but my first impression is that Shadow Dancer has more frames of animation and perhaps a faster overall framerate than Golden Axe, so maybe the tradeoff was to have more flickering.
Post by playgeneration on Mar 7, 2013 21:09:57 GMT
Altered Beat and Golden Axe use tiles for not just the backgrounds but the characters too. This means there can be more larger characters on screen at the same time, but it has the negative side effect of choppy scrolling as things move in 8 pixel moves which isn't very smooth. Why Altered Beast suffers more is because the game has constant forced scrolling, so the choppiness is apparent at all times. Whereas Golden Axe usually just scrolls the screen when you have killed all the enemies on it, so you don't notice as much.
Shadow Dancer uses sprites for its characters (player and enemys), and tiles for the background. This means that the characters can move more smoothly, instead of having 8 pixel at a time movement. The downside is that the Master System can only display 8 8x8 pixel sprites on a horizontal line at the same time. Since the characters in the game are large, this means that many of the sprites flicker on and off. The game is pretty fast moving, especially in 60hz, and its really this combined with the one hit kills that make the game frustrating. I think it plays better for using sprites and tiles rather than tiles for everything, its just that it should have been better balanced, two hits before death would have been fairer (or a life bar and longer levels), its too accurate of an arcade conversion in that sense.
Thank you for the comprehensive answer! As a kid I never thought about the choppy movement in Golden Axe, by recently I noticed it. So they are all background tiles... I see. Some day I really want to learn to program a SEGA 8-bit game.