3D 2D games
February 26, 2006 10:12 PM   Subscribe

"2D", side-scrolling platform games (Sonic / Mario style) that make full use of 3D accelerated graphics? Are there any?

I've always been a big fan of platform games, and there are still some people out there producing them. However, it occurs to me, that you could make a really beautiful 2D platform style game, rendered with OpenGL 3D accelerated graphics - ie. 3D models not "sprites", the camera moves horizontally to follow the action occurring on the 3D "stage", actual 3D background instead of parralax scrolling, all those fancy reflection / transperancy effects. Has this been done, particularly on the PC?
posted by Jimbob to Computers & Internet (21 answers total)
Viewtiful Joe (and the sequel) does some pretty amazing things with cel shading - it seems to be what you're looking for, though it's console only.
posted by borkingchikapa at 10:14 PM on February 26, 2006

Duke Nukem: Manhatten Project comes to mind. Here's the site from the manuafacturer. You'd be hard-pressed to find it in any stores, since its from 2002, but I got a copy on Amazon.com for around $5.
posted by fvox13 at 10:20 PM on February 26, 2006

Yeah, that Duke Nukem one looks pretty close to what I have in mind, and it looks cool. I'm really looking more towards the "cute" platformer style, though - lots of objects, platforms, nasty critters to jump on.
posted by Jimbob at 10:24 PM on February 26, 2006

the most obvious of which are the various Mario games for Nintendo's 3D consoles.

I thought they were mostly first-person perspective?
posted by Jimbob at 10:33 PM on February 26, 2006

Have you tried emulation? Many PC rigs can handle older systems such as the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast and Playstation pretty easily. I know paper mario is a good 2d-3d rpg game with platforming elements, and yoshi's story, also came out for the N64.
posted by i8ny3x at 10:46 PM on February 26, 2006

Jimbob: "I thought they were mostly first-person perspective?"

I think they're third person, from what I've seen </has never played one> — but the question wasn't about 3D platformers (of which there are hundreds), but 2D platformers rendered in 3D (or, 3D platformers with only two dimensions of movement, if that makes more sense).

Oddworld was my first thought as well — but were those real-time 3D or just sprites based on 3D renderings?
posted by rafter at 11:07 PM on February 26, 2006

If I understand the question the word I we're looking for is sidescroller — there have been a few sidescrolling mods: here's a primitive one for the super-fancy HL2 Source engine and one for the Quake 3 engine that I think is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by rafter at 11:13 PM on February 26, 2006


Which you said, of course, in the question. Whoops.
posted by rafter at 11:16 PM on February 26, 2006

forgot to add:
Contra: Shattered Soldier
Ultimate Ghouls and Ghosts for the PSP
Can't think of the rest, but they're there.
posted by i8ny3x at 11:27 PM on February 26, 2006

Its been a while, but I'm 97.63% sure that most of Yoshi's Story for the N64 was rendered out.
posted by a. at 12:15 AM on February 27, 2006

Games made in this style are not uncommon on the DS and PSP handhelds, as they can take advantage of the systems' graphical power while still maintaining the accessibility of 2D gaming.

A few examples:
- Activision's Spider-Man DS titles, Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2.
- Capcom's Mega Man PSP titles, Powered Up and Maverick Hunter X.
- Taito's Exit for PSP.
- Nintendo's upcoming New Super Mario Bros. DS
posted by Fourmyle at 12:28 AM on February 27, 2006

There've been plenty of 2D platform games with 3D graphics over the years (and side-scrolling games that take place on a 2D plane with elements other than pure platforming) but sadly, you'll be incredibly hard-pressed to find any for the PC. The PC games market tends to be incredibly hostile to anything perceived as 'childish', which means it misses out on whole genres. It's a shame.

The 2D-sidescroller-with-3D-graphics subgenre started with Pandemonium on the Playstation, as far as I'm aware. More (good) modern console examples, off the top of my head: Klonoa 2, Viewtiful Joe (which is at least as much sidescrolling fighter as platformer, but is seminal and shows how artistically coherent a 2D/3D sidescroller can be). Looking to the future, the handheld PSP and DS are pretty fertile ground for this sort of game - the aforementioned Ultimate Ghosts & Goblins is one of the prettiest games I've seen lately. Then there's New Super Mario Bros. on the DS. There's no need to look at the 3D Mario platformers to see what a 2D/3D Mario would look like - there's one out in May, and judging by the amount of time and care Nintendo have given it, it's likely to be exceptional.

By the way, the first two Oddworld games are fantastic, but they're not 3D - all the graphics are pre-rendered 2D sprites, and the occasional camera movements are done by compositing said sprites on top of a pre-rendered movie of the background. The same applies to Yoshi's Story, except for the 'fantastic' bit.
posted by terpsichoria at 12:42 AM on February 27, 2006

Definitely definitely definitely look at Oddworld.
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:43 AM on February 27, 2006

dont forget Gish!

With his gelatinous structure as his only means of defense Gish must follow the echoing cries of his damsel in distress deep into the earth below. What freakish creatures dwell in this subterranean land? Who is Brea's captor? And just how far down does the rabbit hole go?

Life isn't easy when you're a 12 pound ball of tar...

posted by Satapher at 12:51 AM on February 27, 2006

Too bad the Sega Saturn never caught on, cuz it was all about these kinds of games. The first thing I thought of when I read your question was "Nights: Into Dreams" where you fly around as some anime interpretation of a jester who tries to fly through hoops and collect power ups. Totally 3d stages, though all you control is the Y-axis.

Also "Bug" had 3d stages, and I think the majority of it was spent in a 2d manner, but certain things you would do would involve the 3d aspect of the stage (90 degree turn, for one).

There was a Streets of Rage type game called "3 Dirty Dwarves." Actually I can't remember if that was just totally 2d side-scroller or had some 3d, but I felt like it was worth mentioning just cuz it was so awesome.

"Panzer Dragoon" also had 3d stages, but I think all you did was aim a gun. The dragon just flew the stages for you.

Hopefully you can find some PC examples from this era as well, but outside of it I think you're chances are pretty slim. This is the period where graphics cards and processors were being dated fast, so it was all the console developers could do to get polygonal animations, but PCs were never hindered by such fixed hardware.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 2:26 AM on February 27, 2006

A second vote for Gish. It's pretty great.

N is amusing as well, it's not exactly hardware accelerated but it is reasonably pretty in a minimalist way.
posted by public at 2:42 AM on February 27, 2006

the most obvious of which are the various Mario games for Nintendo's 3D consoles.

I thought they were mostly first-person perspective?

To my knowledge there has never been a 1st-person Mario game. It would be pretty crazy, though.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:53 AM on February 27, 2006

Although not a side-scroller Super Smash Brothers Melee uses 3d models in a 2d perspective to great effect.
Also, to help you search on your own, this technique is sometimes called 2.5d .
posted by grex at 5:12 AM on February 27, 2006

More big ups to Viewtiful Joe. If you want to see 2.5d done with true pizazz, you have to check it out.
posted by blueshammer at 7:49 AM on February 27, 2006

Second vote for Klonoa 2 (and the original Klonoa as well, though that one's pretty hard to find) - don't let the childlike graphics put you off, these games require some pretty intense acrobatics in the later stages. I'm also a little surprised nobody's mentioned Sonic Rush for the DS.
posted by wanderingmind at 11:35 AM on February 27, 2006

To my knowledge there has never been a 1st-person Mario game.

Yeah, I meant 3rd person perspective. Not side-scrolling, anyway ;)
posted by Jimbob at 2:21 PM on February 27, 2006

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