Part-time bilinear

Ah, bilinear filtering. Love it or hate it, it was a big part of the 90’s search for better graphics. By 1998, however, pretty much any game that wasn’t a 32-bit console title (or that wasn’t still made on the Build engine, *cough* WW2 GI) supported bilinear filtering. Or so it seemed. For some reason, a few Dreamcast titles still relied on nearest neighboring… at least on some textures.

Goldman's dastardly plan probably involved mixing together filtered and unfiltered textures.
Goldman’s dastardly plan probably involved mixing together filtered and unfiltered textures.

The result is a little jarring in The House of the Dead 2, especially when in comparison, the Nintendo 64 filtered literally everything it could have filtered and then some. What’s more surprising, though, is that the effect was left intact in the PC release by Empire as well. There are no graphical options to speak of, so it can’t be changed. And not unexpectedly, tinkering with the GPU control panel does nothing. This could probably be put aside as a lazy port (including the seemingly 30fps), which is a bit sad considering The House of the Dead 1 on PC added Direct3D support with options for filtering, Z-sorting and transparencies, and ran like a dream.

Curien was more ambitious: he wanted everyone to play the unfiltered version on their Saturn. But the PC foiled him.
Curien was more ambitious: he wanted everyone to play the unfiltered version on their Saturn. But the PC version foiled him.

This version was made by AM1, so perhaps that’s why it’s better. Too bad they didn’t port the vastly superior-looking arcade version, which already had all those features and also much better models. But anyway, these Dreamcast woes don’t end there.

Graphics are the last of Sega GT's problems, although I assume at least some of the issues here are exclusive to the PC version
Graphics were the last of Sega GT’s problems, but at least don’t play it on PC.

Sega GT is what happens when you take Gran Turismo and give it a driving model lifted straight from Screamers. It’s not exactly fun to play, and it’s not pretty to look at, either. To be fair, I must assume that at least some of the problems here are due to a bad PC port, because the videos and screenshots for the Dreamcast version don’t look nearly as bad. Still, that someone thought this was okay, is already amazing enough.

Of course all these Dreamcast ports also run at 640×480 with no graphical options. Talk about lazy. Maybe at some point we’ll see a console re-release for at least some of them, since Sega seems fond of old remasters. You know what they say, give a man Sega Rally Championship and he’ll be a happy man.

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