First Impressions

I seem to be getting a little bit obsessed with the introduction sequences in N64 games. Example? Well, here's Multi Racing Championship's intro for starters:

I find this one really interesting, as the game came out quite early in the N64's life, and was the first 'serious' racing game we got in the UK. Everyone wanted to see what a real-world racing game would look like on Nintendo's fledgling system, and without the ability (at the time) to put pre-rendered FMV onto a cart, Genki opted to try and wow us all with this sequence using bespoke graphics and car models. I especially like the bit where the garage door rises, and the split second showing the brake disks glowing red with heat. As an early attempt at getting around the lack of space on the cartridge format, the developers of MRC must be applauded for even attempting something like this...but regardless, in the face of the pre-rendered stuff popping up in the Saturn and PSX games, it leaves a lot to be desired. 10/10 for effort though.

Here's another using slightly modified models from those used in the actual game:

Other notable intro sequences (that use a version of the game's actual graphics engine) that I can recall off the top of my head include Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (with it's crazy Japanese theme song) and Hybrid Heaven. Maybe I'll upload those to Youtube too, when I've got a spare century to waste.

On the subject of FMV (full motion video) though, it became apparent as time moved on and compression techniques improved, that the N64 really was capable of pumping out some high quality video - just look at Resident Evil 2 for confirmation of the N64's video capabilities. Another game, less well known for it's use of short video clips is StarCraft 64, and in the the following video I've managed to grab the full (albeit rather short) FMV intro:

All this is little more than a subject of curiosity, but seeing that the N64 could produce video from a cart, it really makes me sad that nintendo didn't just go with CDs in the first place. I know about all the crap they were spouting at the time about loading times etc...but what harm did loading times do to the PSX? Imagine if the N64 had embraced CDs from the beginning. The gaming landscape would be unrecognisable now, without a doubt.


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