Archive entry by Ste Pickford on Tue, 18 Aug 2009
This is another page of concept art from the design for our 1988 NES game, Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors 2, that we developed for Rare.
This is the wind elemental boss, one of four bosses you were supposed to defeat on your way to fighting the big boss at the end of the game, and this time I've also found the in-game graphic in one of my backups!
The middle image shows the pixel version, split into the 4x4 character blocks that we used in the game to build our level maps from. The bottom image shows where I've removed all the repeat characters, leaving only those unique characters I had to fit into the character set for this level (still quite a lot for just a single screen).
The idea, as with all the bosses, was to use a whole screen layer to make an enemy that felt like it was the full size of the screen, or bigger, with only a few moving sprites (in this case, the eyes, and gusts of wind) to fool the player into thinking the whole thing was alive.
I think I did a pretty good job of translating the sketch into NES character graphics. In fact, I think the proportions are slightly more pleasing in the in-game version.