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Battle Heat; proof the FMV genre should have died way earlier with the Sega CD

VGEsoterica

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Oct 5, 2019
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I get that back in the day the concept of full motion video playing on your gaming hardware was intriguing. Suddenly the "graphics" weren't just limited to 16 bit sprites and background layers but an entirely NEW way to showcase visuals. For cutscenes this was great. Sega CD had plenty of games that were just ENHANCED by FMV and not beholden to it as a gameplay standard. Yet we did get a lot of junk like Sewer Shark, Crypt Killer, Slam n Jam....the list goes on and on.

All these games were reviewed poorly and Sega moved on from the whole FMV experiment...showing the rest of the gaming world that FMV games were NOT the wave of the future...but the way to fail at market.

So what did NEC and Hudson Soft do when it came time to decide what games to put on their brand new 32 bit 2D powerhouse console and successor to the PC Engine / TurgoGrafx? Well they decided that FMV GAMES WERE THE WAY! Who cares if Sega failed hard with it and suffered financially because of it...clearly SOMEONE at NEC and Hudson though ANIME FMV games were the way to succeed again with their console.

And what happened? the PC-FX failed HARD and it was the last time either company would release a console. The legendary PC Engine was succeeded by a console that released BATTLE HEAT as one of its showcase launch games.

Maybe calling Battle Heat a game is a misnomer...it's more like a very pretty interactive FMV that SOMETIMES accepts your controller presses and does SOMETHING on screen. What that something is feels wholly random and unpredictable. In reality calling Battle Heat a GAME is a bit unfair...it's really a technical showcase of the admittedly impressing 30 frames per second motion JPEG the PC-FX could decompress and display on the fly. Some games even used this to their advantage like Zenki with FMV layers in the background of the 2D sprite action....really nice stuff!

But...FMV gaming should have died with Sega CD and NEC and Hudson 100% blew it with their decision to try to succeed where Sega had so clearly failed.

But that makes me wonder...is there actually a GOOD FMV game? Not modern FMV stuff which can be charming in a way but a FMV game from the 90s. I am all ears lol
 

Kadve

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Jun 5, 2019
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Well, Dragons Lair obviously (though its a bit primitive today tbh). And by the same guys: Space Ace.

On the more obscure side there is always Thayers quest (also known as Kingdom: The Far Reaches) and its sequel Kingdom II: Shadoan (though the later never got the a digital release).

 
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Romulus

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I remember reading about the capabilities of the sega cd FMV games when I was a kid and being excited. I was shocked to finally experience Corpse Killer and Scottie Pippens bball at my uncle's house. Even as a 12 year old, I thought it was god awful. I literally asked to play regular genesis games.
 
May 22, 2018
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I get that back in the day the concept of full motion video playing on your gaming hardware was intriguing. Suddenly the "graphics" weren't just limited to 16 bit sprites and background layers but an entirely NEW way to showcase visuals. For cutscenes this was great. Sega CD had plenty of games that were just ENHANCED by FMV and not beholden to it as a gameplay standard. Yet we did get a lot of junk like Sewer Shark, Crypt Killer, Slam n Jam....the list goes on and on.

All these games were reviewed poorly and Sega moved on from the whole FMV experiment...showing the rest of the gaming world that FMV games were NOT the wave of the future...but the way to fail at market.

So what did NEC and Hudson Soft do when it came time to decide what games to put on their brand new 32 bit 2D powerhouse console and successor to the PC Engine / TurgoGrafx? Well they decided that FMV GAMES WERE THE WAY! Who cares if Sega failed hard with it and suffered financially because of it...clearly SOMEONE at NEC and Hudson though ANIME FMV games were the way to succeed again with their console.

And what happened? the PC-FX failed HARD and it was the last time either company would release a console. The legendary PC Engine was succeeded by a console that released BATTLE HEAT as one of its showcase launch games.

Maybe calling Battle Heat a game is a misnomer...it's more like a very pretty interactive FMV that SOMETIMES accepts your controller presses and does SOMETHING on screen. What that something is feels wholly random and unpredictable. In reality calling Battle Heat a GAME is a bit unfair...it's really a technical showcase of the admittedly impressing 30 frames per second motion JPEG the PC-FX could decompress and display on the fly. Some games even used this to their advantage like Zenki with FMV layers in the background of the 2D sprite action....really nice stuff!

But...FMV gaming should have died with Sega CD and NEC and Hudson 100% blew it with their decision to try to succeed where Sega had so clearly failed.

But that makes me wonder...is there actually a GOOD FMV game? Not modern FMV stuff which can be charming in a way but a FMV game from the 90s. I am all ears lol

You ask if there was a good fmv game in an almost mockingly way, and I get the impression you're asking this from the perspective of someone who has never experienced Make My Video: Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.


You can thank me later, or now if you so desire.
 
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Scotty W

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Sep 29, 2019
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I remember reading about this gamefan. Never could work put how they controlled it.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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You know, this FMV approach could have worked for an RPG. Have the action of each turn be a short clip, just like in that Battle Heat video. Would require a shitload of animation though, and would likely get very stale after hundreds of battles, but at least would add FMV to a game without changing the normal mechanics.
 

JCK75

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Apr 19, 2018
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I mean when they were a big thing graphics were horrendous, they had their place..
I personally really enjoyed Phantasmagoria.
 
Aug 5, 2009
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Plenty of good FMV games out there and no the Mega CD wasn't all about FMV either. Some of my fav games that used a lot of FMV

7th Guest
Road Adv
Prize Fighter
Night Trap
Sliphheed
Dracula Unleashed (the best FMV game ever)
Ripper
The Beast Within
Revenge of the Ninja

 

RAIDEN1

Member
Aug 2, 2013
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What I can't get my head around to this day is, who on earth at Sega circa 1990/1991 thought the Sega CD's video playback quality was any good? The FMV was of a lower quality than watching a programme on your T.V! The grainy footage, washed out colours hard to make out what was what...god-awful....It took the 32x to rectify things on that front...if the video quality was that bad then just do not implement it..

On the flip side to say the Sega/Mega CD was an abject failure is a bit harsh....it did well to last as long as it did, and sold relatively well for an add-on..it is the best Sega could have hoped for under the circumstances, there seem to be more unity when putting that unit together than there was with its successors, (32x and Saturn..)

When it comes to good FMV games, one title comes to mind:


Had the below come out for the Super Nintendo (possibly the CD unit..) it would have wiped the floor with Sega's add-on and then some:


The above video demonstrates what the Sega CD capabilities SHOULD have been....
 
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Oct 26, 2018
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Only time FMV/photo-capped visuals worked was if it was a canned kind of game to begin with (like a Sierra adventure game where photo quality assets replaced sprite cut scenes.

Other than that, who would play this over NBA Live at the time.

 

VGEsoterica

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Oct 5, 2019
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What I can't get my head around to this day is, who on earth at Sega circa 1990/1991 thought the Sega CD's video playback quality was any good? The FMV was of a lower quality than watching a programme on your T.V! The grainy footage, washed out colours hard to make out what was what...god-awful....It took the 32x to rectify things on that front...if the video quality was that bad then just do not implement it..

On the flip side to say the Sega/Mega CD was an abject failure is a bit harsh....it did well to last as long as it did, and sold relatively well for an add-on..it is the best Sega could have hoped for under the circumstances, there seem to be more unity when putting that unit together than there was with its successors, (32x and Saturn..)

When it comes to good FMV games, one title comes to mind:


Had the below come out for the Super Nintendo (possibly the CD unit..) it would have wiped the floor with Sega's add-on and then some:


The above video demonstrates what the Sega CD capabilities SHOULD have been....
I still can't believe they managed to get this running on SNES
 
Oct 5, 2013
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Kind of a cautionary tale really... FMV in some ways is the best graphics possible but at the complete cost of interactivity.

Not exactly an FMV game, but the backgrounds were FMV and I thought it was a good use of the Sega CD's capabilities at the time:
 
Jan 5, 2021
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FMVs should only be used in cutscenes (e.g. resident evil) or as a background asset (e.g. arcade killer instinct).

interactive FMV games are trash.
 

RoboFu

One of the green rats
Oct 10, 2017
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dracula unleashed and shrelock holmes on segacd where awesome though.
 

RAIDEN1

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Aug 2, 2013
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Kind of a cautionary tale really... FMV in some ways is the best graphics possible but at the complete cost of interactivity.

Not exactly an FMV game, but the backgrounds were FMV and I thought it was a good use of the Sega CD's capabilities at the time:
They had no other choice...that or wait to port it to the Saturn and then see how that fares...
 

tommib

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Dec 7, 2020
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What is this nonsense? If it wasn't for FMV I wouldn't have played one of my favourite games ever and one that changed my perception of what videogames could be:

 
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VGEsoterica

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What is this nonsense? If it wasn't for FMV I wouldn't have played one of my favourite games ever and one that changed my perception of what videogames could be:

I don’t know if I’d could D as an FMV game in the same way other games are “fmv games” as it’s point and click adventure. Those get to be their own sub genre IMO.

Also D is legit amazing. Love that game
 
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VGEsoterica

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Oct 5, 2019
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Kind of a cautionary tale really... FMV in some ways is the best graphics possible but at the complete cost of interactivity.

Not exactly an FMV game, but the backgrounds were FMV and I thought it was a good use of the Sega CD's capabilities at the time:
Fmv for background layers is great. Does what it needs to without sacrificing gameplay
 

nush

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Oct 16, 2017
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A long haul flight from wherever you are.
FMV gaming should have waited and been part of the feature set of DVD players. It would have worked out much better with a casual audience and better quality video. Actual FMV games, not stuff like Nuon with a games console packed inside.
 

VGEsoterica

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Oct 5, 2019
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FMV gaming should have waited and been part of the feature set of DVD players. It would have worked out much better with a casual audience and better quality video. Actual FMV games, not stuff like Nuon with a games console packed inside.
It’s too bad Nuon never really got a chance to do much. I mean I doubt it would have ever succeeded but it barely got off the ground
 

tygertrip

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Oct 26, 2010
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I get that back in the day the concept of full motion video playing on your gaming hardware was intriguing. Suddenly the "graphics" weren't just limited to 16 bit sprites and background layers but an entirely NEW way to showcase visuals. For cutscenes this was great. Sega CD had plenty of games that were just ENHANCED by FMV and not beholden to it as a gameplay standard. Yet we did get a lot of junk like Sewer Shark, Crypt Killer, Slam n Jam....the list goes on and on.

All these games were reviewed poorly and Sega moved on from the whole FMV experiment...showing the rest of the gaming world that FMV games were NOT the wave of the future...but the way to fail at market.

So what did NEC and Hudson Soft do when it came time to decide what games to put on their brand new 32 bit 2D powerhouse console and successor to the PC Engine / TurgoGrafx? Well they decided that FMV GAMES WERE THE WAY! Who cares if Sega failed hard with it and suffered financially because of it...clearly SOMEONE at NEC and Hudson though ANIME FMV games were the way to succeed again with their console.

And what happened? the PC-FX failed HARD and it was the last time either company would release a console. The legendary PC Engine was succeeded by a console that released BATTLE HEAT as one of its showcase launch games.

Maybe calling Battle Heat a game is a misnomer...it's more like a very pretty interactive FMV that SOMETIMES accepts your controller presses and does SOMETHING on screen. What that something is feels wholly random and unpredictable. In reality calling Battle Heat a GAME is a bit unfair...it's really a technical showcase of the admittedly impressing 30 frames per second motion JPEG the PC-FX could decompress and display on the fly. Some games even used this to their advantage like Zenki with FMV layers in the background of the 2D sprite action....really nice stuff!

But...FMV gaming should have died with Sega CD and NEC and Hudson 100% blew it with their decision to try to succeed where Sega had so clearly failed.

But that makes me wonder...is there actually a GOOD FMV game? Not modern FMV stuff which can be charming in a way but a FMV game from the 90s. I am all ears lol
Dragons Lair 1 and 2 are the only ones I consider actually great. Although 1 is from the 80s. Space Ace is good, but I like Dragons Lair better. Might just be nostalgia from lining up to play the first one in the 80s… it was HUGE! But I still play them occasionally and have fun with them. Edit: at the time I really liked Rebel Assault, it basically used FMV for backgrounds. It doesn’t hold up well. I also liked 7th guest a lot, but the FMV wasn’t really integral to the gameplay, that I remember, just the icing.
 
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Danknugz

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Dec 7, 2020
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until something like AI can solve the uncanny valley of robotic rendered characters then FMV will always have its place.

FMV faves for me are those in the sierra library, under a killing moon, 7th guest, myst, night trap, etc. There was a recent new tex murphy game that i bought but haven't played it yet. looks like that new poisoned pawn game got shelved unfortunately.
 
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stranno

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Dec 7, 2016
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My favorite FMV game was Surgical Strike for Sega CD and Sega CD 32X. The last one was a Brazilian exclusive and there were only two known copies in the world. One of them was re-printed and published again in 2017, along with the image of the disc. When The Code Monkeys released it, there were only two Sega CD AND 32X emulators, Picodrive and Kega Fusion (there are some more Sega CD OR 32X emulators, like Gens and MAME), neither of both ran the game. I had to contact with Notaz (Picodrive) and he basically patched the game the same day.

It is a pretty complex FMV game with some sort of freedom. The production is what would you expect from this kind of games, but I liked it. It is very hard tho, since it is as not repetitive/memorizable as other FMV games.


Final boss death is one of the weirdest deaths I have ever seen in a videogame. Chroma key at its peak.

 
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nkarafo

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The only FMV games i ever liked were the 7th Guest/Myst type.

This one was my favorite though