Time for round three of Perler Armageddon! That's...not what I'm actually calling it, but whatever.
Today we're gonna focus on what was once one of my most favorite developers ever (and sadly is not really anymore) that made some absolutely gorgeous and fantastic video games back in the NES and SNES era. I'm, of course, talking about LJN.
|Ah, nothing but quality games out of these guys.|
Wait...my mistake, they were the exact opposite of what I just said! Ha ha ha, how did I mess that up? No, I was talking actually about Square (or Square-Enix now).
|Or Squaresoft...you know what? Whatever.|
Anyway, Square(soft) was pretty freaking great back in the day. Aside from making 3D World Runner, which I love, they also made tons of RPGs on the side I guess? And now you know I'm just messin' with ya. Let's get on with the sprites.FINAL FANTASY
|Suck it, Garland!|
The first picture is a bit zoomed out, but you get the point. Garland is the first boss in FF1, and thus I figured we'd have our team fight against him. It's worth noting that this ISN'T the team I usually pick; I'd have a fighter in there and probably no thief.
|A wizard did it!|
Fighter and Black Mage are instead confronting Sarda in a tribute to 8-bit theater. Seriously, that comic is hilarious (and actually ended, which is amazing).Next up...FINAL FANTASY 4!
Uh, ok, so I actually haven't done these yet. I've been meaning to make a full party and a Fat Chocobo (and maybe a Garland once I have enough beads...) but I just haven't had the time. Maybe they'll be next on the roster? I did make Tellah but I don't have a picture yet...so let's move on.
On to my favorite game ever...FINAL FANTASY 6!
|I have a lot of pictures of these, so bear with me.|
I LOVE Final Fantasy 6's sprite work. From the characters that convey so much emotion despite being so small to the absolutely gorgeous enemies, this is probably my favorite game in terms of pixel art. While I'll admit it isn't as straight up artistic as games like Chrono Trigger or the later Secret of Mana games, it has a style I just love, and making the sprites was fun.What's tricky with perlers is having to modify sprites based on the colors available. For example, there are very few shades of dark gray, meaning making Shadow was almost impossible. Also Kefka, Banon, Celes, and Gau's hair is technically a sort of gray-blonde in the game, but since there was no way to properly do that we had to variate with different shades of brown.
Let's take a look at them closer up.
|Emperor, Kefka, and Magitech armor.|
The Magitech armor was tricky because, again, we didn't have the proper colors. I ended up ditching the original brown/tan scheme for a sort of gray/cream variant. This was because if I didn't there wouldn't be any contrast between the soldier and the armor he was in. Kefka's hair was also tricky (I switched out the colors probably six or seven times before finally coming to that conclusion) but it boiled down to the gray/blonde colors available didn't blend well and thus made the sprite look bad, so I ended up with a darker brown. Took ten years off Kefka, let me tell ya.And I want to make another with his fists up going "IDIOTS!" but I had to do the iconic laugh pose first.
|Esper Terra, Cid, Leo, and Banon.|
This is sort of the "Misc" group (and will be with the Chocobo when I finally get around to doing it). Esper Terra is probably my favorite sprite out of the bunch, despite being the simplest. She just looks...badass. I never really cared for Cid so I made him dull, and Leo didn't really have a lot of poses. Banon, again, should probably have grayer hair but whatever...blame Perler.
|Terra, Locke, Edgar, Sabin, Celes, Interceptor and Shadow, Cyan, Gau, Setzer, Strago, Relm, Mog, Umaro, Gogo.|
Nerd test! I put the playable characters in a certain order. Can you figure out what that order is?
If you guessed "order they were acquired" you would be correct! You win...points? I don't know. I was going to put them in order of my personal favorites, but scrapped the idea after it didn't look very good.
Regardless, I tried to find a varied mix of poses for them all. Edgar is suave, Terra is distant, Locke is freaking out, Sabin is ready to go, etc. I really wish I'd done a better pose for Mog, but he was the one I did first so...it happens. Maybe I'll gift him to somebody and make another one...
That isn't it from FF6, because about half way through I lost my mind. I realized I wanted to do my favorite enemy from the game (aside from Kefka's final boss sprite) so I got on it...and this is what happened. We'll give you the step by step of...ULTROS!
|A "dud" version that I eventually recolored.|
First off, that's SIX perler trays, so you get a sense of size here. Second, he is VERY tricky to do. Remember when I said I do outlines first and then go from there? Look at the black beads on this guy. There's no rhyme or reason behind it. It's super tricky!The biggest issue, though, is the fact that there are only TWO actual purple shades in all of perler-dom. Because of that on my original run I tried shaded in too soon, meaning I ran out of colors that worked well together. I did an experiment on that colored-in tentacle to try and find a color scheme that worked, but it just looked awful. So what did I do? I went insane.
|After I fixed him.|
I took out all the dark purples and replaced them with dark grays. Every. Single. One. With tweezers, one at a time, while staying true to the original sprite. I then replaced all the light purples with dark purples. I also experimented on the tentacle to try and find a better color mix and it ended up being much better. Just to point out: Ultros has something like six shades of purple, and I have only two shades of beads (and only three that really work well together). Because of that, some colors had to do double duty, so the sprite isn't as color detailed. It basically boils down to what shades best and still looks like the original sprite, which I'd like to say my background in actual pixel art helps in deciding.
|I love his teeth. Sorry this one is blurry.|
So you can see I used considerably less purples here. I also had to compensate for lack of teeth colors as well, as there's really only two shades of yellow and an off-color "creme" that I never use for anything.
I ended up shading the purple into a purple-pink and then to a pink and to a white because it seemed to blend best. The pink still "pops" a little much, but it's the best you can get. The dark grays were actually dark purples in the sprite, but they really just make the shadows a little deeper when I'm fine with. I think he ended up looking really good, and an accurate representation of the original sprite.
|The famous opera scene.|
And this is him finished on the wall, with Maria/Celes. I really like the Celes sprite too. Ultros is pretty dang big, about as long as my forearm, and I had to use some clear on the curving back tentacle. He was also a mess to try to iron but my wife managed to pull it off. From a distance, he looks fantastic!
|View of the wall leading to the video game room pt 1...|
|And from a slightly different angle.|
Alright, enough Final Fantasy 6. Let's quickly run through some other Square SNES games...like SECRET OF MANA!
|By "quickly" I mean "one picture"|
It's a well known fact based on my review that I don't think Secret of Mana has aged very well. However, I still think it's a pretty game, and I have nostalgia for it. My wife actually made most of these sprites (I just did the princess/girl), but I really like the hero's hair and headband. I think the shading on that is just awesome.Next up, what might be the best RPG ever made, CHRONO TRIGGER!
|Some ironed ones, some in progress.|
These are also some tricky ones due to color schemes. Ayla ended up with some interesting hair shading (I wanted her to be blonde but didn't have enough yellows so some brown gets in there), Magus' cape and pants are actually a pretty lazy bit of pixel art (though I love his hair), and making Chrono's sword stand out when it's sheen is basically the same shade as his clothes was tricky. However, I think we ended up making it work out!
|The finished circle of destruction.|
I love Ozzie from Chrono Trigger, if only because he's so absurd. I also love the cat sprite (as you can see we made one looking on) so we had to throw him in too. I figured we'd have everybody attacking poor Ozzie (who is in a jam) and that would be perfect. I really like Marle and Frog's sprites especially.
Now I just need a Gato...who has metal joints...beat him up...you know where I'm going with this.
That's currently it for Square RPGs! Hopefully I'll be back in the future with some Final Fantasy IV and maybe a few other games along the way (though I'm not sure which...) but for now, that's all I've got! So tune in next time for the penultimate reveal: Castlevania, Pokemon, and...some other stuff!