Perspective woes

The age-old question: how do you make 3D when you can’t make 3D? Often it’s a matter of just making a side-scroller, which negates the problem entirely. Some other games were a bit more eager to try, and used an isometric view a la Syndicate. A Link to the Past, on the other hand, had a weird top-down perspective which has become accepted as normal over time, but it doesn’t mean it makes sense.

Some other games took the last formula and brought it to its extreme. Blood Omen takes a little while to get used to.

Much like Zelda, but the houses and trees are leaning even more. If they lean any more than this, they'll crumble.
Much like Zelda, but the houses and trees are leaning even more. If they lean any more than this, they’ll crumble.

And even that is nothing compared to Swagman, a semi-obscure Saturn/PS1 game by Core Design which will make your eyes bleed with its arcane representation of 3D space.

It almost looks normal from here (almost). Then you try moving, and...
It almost looks normal from here (almost – take a glance at that wardrobe on the right). Then you try moving, and…

To its credit, Swagman was pretty good, if brutally hard. But the really weird perspective has screwed me up more than once. It was, however, one of those nifty 32-bit 2D games that still attempted to put polygons to use for extra amazement.

The billiard sticks are actual polygons. This scene could be impressive in 3D. Not that anyone will ever port this game to the 3DS.
The billiard sticks that try to take you down are actual polygons. This scene could be impressive in 3D. Not that anyone will ever port this game to the 3DS.

Well, at least the music and character design was really good. Did I say character design? I meant in-game character design. Because I can’t get out of my head just how the kids look in cutscenes compared to the in-game sprites.

These are grade school kids, right? Right?
These are grade school kids, right? Right?

One day someone will rediscover this hidden gem. I can’t live in a world where Nintendo re-releases Urban Champion and games like this get ignored forever.

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