Evolution of the tree


Jungle Hunt, Arcade, 1982

It’s almost impossible to comprehend a period of gaming when fire was made up of two frames of ‘liney’ animation. We’re seriously spoiled these days. Just look at the state of this. Where’s the sense of blistering heat? A comprehensive fail.

TMNT, Arcade, 1989

“We’ve got to save April!” Of course we do. Because if there’s a burning building, she’s bound to be in it. Jeez… Anyway, it’s sure got Leonardo here worried. Probably because he’s standing right in it. At last, fire that actually looks like it could sear flesh. Bravo.

Soul Blade, PSone, 1996

Fire went 3D with PSone. Looking at Soul Blade, it’s actually incredible how much is going on here. You have 3D backgrounds, transparent flames, but also dynamic lighting that flickered on the castle walls, as well as a day/night cycle.

Soul Calibur III, PS2, 2005

Soul Calibur III just dumps on PSone’s offerings from a great height. Flames lick the paintings that adorn the walls and the whole stage – fighters included – is engulfed in a mesmerisingly distorting heat haze. By far the best stage in the game, too.

Far Cry 2, PC/360/PS3, 2008

Far Cry 2’s fire spreads depending on which direction the wind is blowing. And it’s not even scripted – fire will simply spread to places you would expect a fire to travel. In a way you’ve got to feel sorry for this early victim of the game’s advanced flame physics.