Animated NES CHR Banks
To create animated background elements in late-era NES games, developers used a technique called "bank switching". By rapidly swapping certain chunks of graphics data in and out of memory, while the coordinates of said graphics elements are rendered on-screen, it creates a convincing animation effect. Here I've assembled those graphics banks into singular images, colorized them, and animated them into GIFs.
The Batmobile bank on the right is only two frames, but uses palette switching to create the smooth scrolling background effect.
According to a leaked prototype, the Joker wasn't originally intended to be the final boss. But they added him in the last minute, and really had to squeeze him into every bit of free space they could.
THE KING. Arguably the most visually impressive game on the NES. The water and moving chains on the bottom-right are unused, along with some of the flashing lights on the left.
My personal favorite NES game. :)
The game also uses 16 frames to render a single block tile, which is used to create the impression of multiple background layers in a couple levels (like the Red Planet). This is stored basically wherever they could fit it. The final level also does something, but it's weird and I dunno what.
A true cult classic. Had a special chip on the cartidge to produce some bumpin' music.
Maybe has the most animated background graphics of any NES game? The bubbling lava tiles on the left are unused.
The moon tiles aren't consistent, but the graphics don't animate in the part of the level where it appears, so it wouldn't be noticeable anyway.
One of the more famous examples of "multi layer" background scrolling on the NES.
There are a surprising amound of unused background chunks here -- significantly, the bottom-right corner. A couple tiny 8x8 tiles next to it are also unused.
Note the drastic change in the bottom tile, 2nd from left. I believe this is a leftover from an earlier build of the game. The art would have been overwritten with the "final" animation loop, which only used 16 frames instead of 32, leaving the last 16 frames of the old design leftover.
All unused tiles left grayscale... the brick tile is supposed to be gray, though.
Gives Ninja Gaiden a run for its money. And it has co-op.
The Japanese verion, Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain, has a different level (Area C, specifically). Its unique tiles are stagnant, whereas they're animated in Shatterhand.
(The Japanese game is based on a television series. Fun fact.)
This game is perhaps most notable for its super elaborate parallax scrolling effects. The above animation consists of a whopping 32 frames, which is used to give these background elements the impression that they're scrolling behind trees and pillars and whatnot. These four graphics alone make up 1/4th of the graphics data in the ROM. That's a little absurd.
(There's also another bank used to render the end boss, but I opted not to bother with that one. It's only two frames anyway.)
The two filler blocks (one in top-left corner, the other filled with X's) were left grayscale. The jutting pointy platform on the right is unused.
This game desperately wants to be Bill & Ted. It's actually a spicy reskin of the (much more ordinary) Japanese game Magic John.
The thing at the bottom-center is unused. I don't know what it is or where it would belong so I left it grayscale.
Super badass game. Sega technically owns the rights to it nowadays. How about that?
A Zelda-like based on that one movie no one remembers.
I believe the treasure chest is unused, and I didn't see a suitable palette, so I left it grayscale.