This is a comparison page for the Genesis and SNES versions
of Weaponlord. While all of the screenshots were taken through emulation, I
own each of these games in cart form and the systems they were designed to run
on. All written comparisons were made while playing the games on the actual
The SNES game has more colors on screen, though not in the characters, mostly
in the backgrounds. The Genesis game has significantly more character animation,
specifically in the attack animations. Which makes the Genesis game feel more
smooth when playing it, and the SNES game look prettier while watching it. Both
games seem to have the same level of gore in the fights and the kill moves that
eviscerate. The blood animates a little differently in both versions, but there
doesn't appear to be more or less of it in either version.
The Genesis game has a black bar on the top of the screen behind the energy
bars. To make a guess, the Genesis had most of its games running at 320 x 224,
while most SNES games ran at 256x224. So it seems that the developer chose,
instead of taking advantage of the extra resolution for screen details, to take
the menu items off the screen entirely.
None of the on screen detail is missing in the Genesis picture, meaning that
none of the screen is cropped or squished. Both games have the same amount of
background in the scene, and the characters are the same size, but the Genesis
version has enough room to put a black bar behind the energy bars on the top.
This suggests higher resolution in the Genesis version, that was wasted with
a black bar rather than a higher resolution image.
Level design differences:
The SNES version's 1st level has more animation in the background. The light
on the walls from the torches flicks back and forth in a couple of frames of
animation, to simulate the light reflecting better. Also, the pathway in the
background scrolls left and right smoothly, the way the ground under the character's
feet does, all the way up to the castle. The Genesis version doesn't do any
of these things in this level, the ground scrolling ends just after the first
curve on the pathway to the castle, while the SNES version's path scrolls independantly
from the background very dramatically.
No other levels have this kind of significant difference in background animation
however. Level 2 has the same ground scrolling, and the waterfall in the background
animates in the same amount of frames in both games. The far background is seperate
from the trees in the SNES version, and is not seperate from the trees in the
Genesis version. Level 3's smoke moves with the same three frames of animation
in both games and there are no other differences. Level 4 has falling snow in
the far backgrounds and the dogs animate in the same animations in both games.
Level 5's crowd does animates more independantly from each other, and some of
them have three frames instead of just two in the SNES version, while the Genesis
version's crowd animates in two frames all at the same time. Level 6 uses a
warping technique to simulate the heat from the volcano in the background, the
fire in the grate animates, and the skull's have lights pop in and out in their
eyes in the same way on both systems, but the foremost skulls on either side
of the screen are seperate backgrounds from the rest of the background, and
scroll independantly on the SNES game. Finally the final level's demon animates
in the same way on both systems, and both systems have the background fade out
to be replaced by a moon while fighting Zarak as well.
The SNES cartridge has special hardware in it for the voices, according to the
ZSNES FAQ, and no emulator correctly emulates the SNES game's audio without
locking up. Interestingly enough the voice and sound effects have very little
difference between the two games. Unlike MKII, both versions have all the same
amount of voice samples, though this is significantly less than the MK or SF
games have in them. Voice samples in Weaponlord are limited to the announcer,
grunts while fighting, and grunts while dieing, and that's about it.
The music is louder in the Genesis version, with more stereo sorting and bass,
while the SNES music is more subdued and very much in the background. The Genesis
and SNES games also have a different song when the credits scroll but other
than that the songs are the same, but sound completely different because of
the choice of instruments.
Gameplay has some significant differences on both systems. For one, the default
difficulty setting for the SNES game is much harder than the Genesis version's,
though both games have adjustable difficulty. The enemy AI blocks and counters
expertly starting from the first level in the SNES version, while the Genesis
version by default gives the player more openings and gets progressively more
The control scheme also has major differences on the two systems. As can be
seen in the strategy guide intro, the Genesis version has forethrust 1-3 set
to A-B-C, and Backslash 1-3 set to X-Y-Z on the control pad in order of power
to the right, and speed to the left. The SNES pad has Forethrust 1-3 set to
Y-B-A, and Backthrust 1-3 set to Ltrigger - X - Rtrigger.
This makes for a major control scheme change for the two games. The Genesis
game has the attacks lined up from weakest(fastest) to strongest intuitively
set from left to right, while the SNES version has the thrust attacks set to
the left, bottom, and right buttons in the diamond design, and the slash attacks
set to the left trigger, top button in the diamond, and right trigger. To say
the least, the change takes some getting used to.
The only other major gameplay difference is the level right before Zarak. The
SNES version says that you must fight all of the opponents that you spared along
the way, which should mean that if you kill your opponent at the end of the
second match you shouldn't have to fight that opponent in the last fight. The
Genesis versions just says that you must win to proceed, says nothing about
only fighting opponents you spared, and does make you fight opponents you killed
along the way.
Looking at the big picture takes more subjective observations as it always does.
Both games stand alone well for their generation in graphics, gameplay and sound.
The differences noted above gives the SNES the slight edge in the graphics department,
and the Genesis the slight edge in the gameplay and audio department, though
that assertion is still going to depend on your tastes.
If you like the Genesis' chip music with full stereo sorting and diverse analog
instruments, you'll probably like the Genesis game's music better. The SNES
version's music just isn't as loud and, well, barbaric sounding, it is much
more subdued and sounds more synthesized. Of course, if you're one of those
souls who never liked Genesis chip music, then you'll probably like the softer,
easier listening, of the SNES game better than the Genesis game.
The gameplay could be argued in the same way the Genesis/SNES versions of the
Street Figther II games were. It really comes down to which version you played
first, it's not like it's especially difficult to use the triggers for two of
the slash attacks on the SNES game. If you prefer the arcade SFII 6-button configuration,
then you will probably prefer the Genesis version's gameplay, and if you prefered
the SNES pad for SFII at home, then you will likely prefer the SNES version's