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The Top 7... Best ports on inferior systems

Perhaps no other entertainment industry contains venomous fans arguing over the content of multiple versions of a solitary product.  And for good reason - games are made to be ported over to multiple consoles in order to recoup staggering losses of cash. Each console has its own strengths and its own failings. That’s why we see a frame rate glitch here or a severely neutered feature there.

And with competing hi-tech, hi-def formats, we’re bound to choose sides based on what we can afford (go recession and limited expendable income!) This isn’t a new phenomenon either. You might remember very important schoolyard arguments about why Sonic is better than Mario or why Halo is better than... well, everything.

But sometimes you’re dead wrong, dear reader. Sometimes your friend with the lackluster console has the better version of the game. And you can’t refute this cheap friend of yours either, because you know he’s right. His game looks and plays better than yours. Now you’re the clown! Don’t cry, just read up on several times you were wrong when discussing a game’s validity to your friends.

Let’s get this out of the way, despite how solid the Genesis platform was and how fast blast-processing made Sonic, the system could not even remotely compare in its color palette against the SNES. Even its audio prowess was severely lacking. So how can the graphically and audibly superior SNES Mortal Kombat be worse than its Genesis competitor?


Above: See that grey matter coming out of Liu Kang’s crotch? That’s the SNES’s version of blood… sweat

The lack of blood. Oh and a neutered combo system, but that wasn’t a big deal. See, back in 1992-1993 everyone was way more of a pussy than they are now. The end of civilization was afoot because rap lyrics were offensive and games contained blood. Politicians whined aloud and parents forgot they had to fake a vented interest in their own children.  For some reason, Nintendo decided to censor all of the blood, fatalities and religious imagery from the SNES version of arguably the most popular game at the time. And Sega followed suit.


Above: Looks terrible, plays great

Well, kind of. See, you had to enter the code ABACABB on the “subtle” code screen to gain access to all of the blood and gore, thus earning the game an MA-13 on Genesis. It may have still looked like ass (from the life bars to the characters, everything screams “barf”), but at least pixelated sweat wasn’t flying off Liu Kang when he was uppercut. The next year, SNES released an arcade-faithful Mortal Kombat II. MK was never censored or dumbed down again… unless you count this.


We’ve already talked about why the SNES topped the Genesis in terms of pure system architecture alone. That’s why this next entry is incredibly strange. How could Aladdin for the Sega Genesis look and play better than Aladdin for the SNES? Here’s a hint: direct involvement from Walt Disney Studios.


Above: The Genesis version looked this good! Well, not really

See, the SNES version was developed at Capcom and not Virgin Interactive (the Genesis dev), because Capcom still held the licensing rights to create Disney games on Nintendo systems. That’s why we got Ducktales and Darkwing Duck among others. Virgin on the other hand, was comprised of people like David Perry and Mike Dietz (who eventually created the stellar Earthworm Jim). These guys worked extensively using sprites from actual cel animations from Walt Disney Feature Animation studios. That can account for why the Genesis version looks like an actual cartoon, while the SNES port looks like every other platformer at the time.


Above: A regular platformer for the SNES

As for how it played? Genesis gave you a sword and let you cut down a guard’s pants, revealing hilarious heart-patterened boxers underneath. Not to mention each level being environmentally specific. SNES just let you run and jump on enemies like some kind of Arabian Mario through same-y environments.


Above: Blast Processing enabled more heart boxers on Genesis

Topics

Top 7

53 comments

  • P3N15 - January 12, 2009 8:53 p.m.

    if u want to "have" the first at LEAST put something relevant to the feature with it
  • CuddlyBomber - January 12, 2009 11:13 p.m.

    Hmm, I think I'm going to have to rub orange box in my friends face. His is a big PS3 famboy...
  • FierceDeity - January 12, 2009 11:15 p.m.

    tbh im suprised you didnt mention okami i know how you lot love that game
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - January 12, 2009 11:35 p.m.

    I still remember how disappointed I was to find out that the SNES Aladdin wasn't the same as the Genesis one I'd seen kids playing at Toys 'R Us. So disappointed, in fact, that I eventually convinced my parents to buy me a Genesis for that reason alone.
  • Tochy - January 13, 2009 12:14 a.m.

    OMG PS3 FTW!!!111 Let teh war begin...
  • GoldenMe - January 13, 2009 12:19 a.m.

    3 reasons why I love GR: 1. They likes the Genesis. 2. All the people in the comments either say "first" or they piss and moan about the person who said "first". 3. This reason. (but we’re willing to say the 360 excels over the PS3 in many key areas) I love you guys. Awesome article. And 360 FTW.
  • Romination - January 13, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    Hm...I didn't know Web of Shadow's was like that for the DS...interesting. What about every Castlevania game is better on the inferior portables? It's more of a series thing than a 'game by game' thing, but it's still valid
  • KREATIVEassassin - January 13, 2009 1:16 a.m.

    Excellent article, Shane!
  • Corsair89 - January 13, 2009 1:49 a.m.

    I played the hell out of Orange Box on my 360. It became so scratched that when I was working my way through Half-Life 2 Episode 2 with that damn, loathable, evil, infuriating, garden gnome and whenever I threw him aside to defense myself, if I stepped on the gnome he would fling me hundreds of feet off in the air and off the level. F***ing gnome.
  • vic88 - January 13, 2009 2:27 a.m.

    its sad to argue with someone you never met over the internet
  • AyJay - January 13, 2009 4:23 a.m.

    what about shaun white snowboarding? that games was shitloads better on the wii.
  • AyJay - January 13, 2009 4:25 a.m.

    what about shaun white snowboarding? that games was shitloads better on the wii.
  • mike1993sp - January 13, 2009 4:32 a.m.

    orange box is shit the online is shit ufn for about 30 min and then had to pop in cod 4 story line was good but at times they did not tell you what the hell you had to do then leading to looking around for ever around with the grave gun hoping to find away out of the cave resitance had that same problem the game was not next gen i have seen better games on the psone anyway the ps3 suck 360 rocks and yes i have both and the online is better on 360 in every way so fan boys stop crying. and about mgs not coming for the xbox 360 well they have made mgs for xbox before so maybe they will. and the 12 year olds shouting out about their d!Ck$ you can stop that they did invent the mute button.
  • curly_jefferson - January 13, 2009 12:27 p.m.

    It's true, i have the ps3 version of the orange box and it's sloooooww and glitchy. mind you i kind of expected that when i noticed ea printed at the bottom in microscopic form. couldn't hide that well enough could ya?
  • duras - January 13, 2009 1:52 p.m.

    This has probably already been said, but Aladdin doesn't belong on this list because the two games are completely different. I'm not sure how this was overlooked. Since they're two completely different games, that's like saying Donkey Kong Country was superior to Vectorman and putting it in this article.
  • it_burns - January 13, 2009 2:07 p.m.

    I had some darn good times with Aladdin and Mortal Kombat on the Genesis/Mega Drive.
  • LongRusty - January 13, 2009 2:14 p.m.

    Duras, comparing vectorman and donkey king is nowhere near comparing two aladin games, for the SIMPLE fact that they both include Aladin, Vectorman and Donkey Kong are not the same person if im correct, no? :P And guys, GROW UP about the 360/PS3 thing, both ahve their +'s and -'s! My friend put the PS3 in the perfect sentance yesturday, "Sony are trying to create a console ahead of its time, console's are not ready to be a multi-media hub where the family use that as a centre of entertainment." And about the reliabilty of an Xbox, well no fanboy'ism here, but you could buy two 360's for less than a PS3, If one broke, just buy another one, get the other repaired. If you had a hard drive, just keep swapping them over. They are covered by a 3 year guarantee on all Red light failures. (and its quick service, with a maximum wait of 3 weeks!)
  • Jbo87 - January 13, 2009 5:22 p.m.

    @homie_cheese. Gex was brilliant. I remember that game with very fond memories. The PS1 answer to Banjo, not as good but still well entertaining. And they had the Cat from Red Dwarf doing the voice of Gex, genius.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - January 13, 2009 10:38 p.m.

    ahhhh.... tetris.... *nostalgia*

Showing 1-20 of 53 comments

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