Before there were polygons, there were sprites. tiny, but loveable pixellated heros that done just a good a job of slaying dragons as their modern-day counter part. But in-between the sprites and the polygons there was Mode 7, a cheeky trick that used scaling to give the appearance of perspective. Made famous by the greatest console ever constructed, The Super Nintendo.
Mode 7 for the uninitiated was a technique that allows a background layer to be scaled on a scalene basis, this created many different effects for developers to mess around with, but the most famous was he perspective effect. You must have seen this in action if you have played Mario Kart or FZero on the SNES. Not only could it give the appearance of depth, the background could also hold a rudimentary texture. Making the SNES the home for some of the most visually stunning game at the time.
Over time, developers got to thinking and managed to use Mode 7 in other areas, such as boss battles, and special levels for 2D platform games. So, with that in mind I thought I would compose a list of the best uses of Mode 7. unfortunately its tricky to find videos of the exact moments, so I have put in the videos and the time you need to skip to see all the goodies.
7.Super Mario World Skip to 1:35
I’m not entirely sure if this one is Mode 7, but it sure looked like it. If you find a key in Super Mario World, you took it to the tiny keyhole hidden away, and then BOOM it just enlarged and swallowed Mario up. Was also the home to the greatest sound effect ever made.
6. Super Empre Strikes Back
Sure, it’s not much to look at, at first glance it looks like a Tauntaun has razzed on the screen but this was quite clever as the developers had managed to put some bumps in the level. Mode 7 could only handle flat 2D scaling so having bumps must have been some kind of witchcraft, or a Jedi mind trick.
5.Run Saber Skip tp 2:15 (although you can watch it all, it’s all Mode 7)
Look, it’s a jet, I think I’ll just jump on top of it. Whats the worst that can happen? ARRGGHHH its taking off, at a gravity defying angle too. What should I do?, Jump around it of course, outwitting the pilots best attempts to chuck me off. Up hear, Oxygen is for wimps.
4. Super Contra Skip to1:00
So there you are walking casually amongst the ruins. you’ve just defeated a great big tank with a gun that fires nothing more than glowing balls, when all of a sudden you here a noise, out of the distance comes a bloody great big B17 Bomber to rain down fiery death upon you. My jaw dropped when I first saw this.
Great game, perhaps used Mode 7 too much, but you can’t deny the flying over a globe effect was great. I even thing the worms in this particulars level were Mode 7 too. I chose this level in particular thanks to the awesome boss at the end. The fact he looked like the honey monster was neither here nor there.
2. Pilot Wings
No greater sight in gaming than seeing the world fall away as you ascended to dizzy heights. once you let go of the ladder, you felt the world was yours for the taking. Shame all you had to do was fly through some rings and land on a target. But for the time, This was simply stunning.
Super Castlevania Skip to 3:12 then 4:22
One of the greatest levels known to man. What appears to be a normal boring looking room suddenly turns in to a WTF moment as the room rotates and you have to whip your way to safely.Probably looks naff now but for sheer unexpected jaw droppage, this was the best. Keep watching to for a bonus head screw level where the whole background makes you think you’re in a rotating tube. Konami were the best at getting the most out of Mode 7.
There you have it. I think Mode 7 rules. Did I miss anything out? let us know your thoughts below.