A subgenre of platform games
One main way in which cinematic platformers are distinguished from other platform games is that their game mechanics and visual style have a greater degree of realism, closer to that of Beat 'em Up
games than other platform games
. Some examples of this:
- Human characters will have realistic proportions, unlike the Super-Deformed characters in (for example) Super Mario Bros..
- Many such games had their character animation made by Rotoscoping.
- Characters cannot instantly stop moving or instantly accelerate to their maximum walking/running speed; it takes time for them to decelerate or accelerate. Nor can they make an Instant 180 Degree Turn.
- Characters have a maximum jump height that is about the same as that of real people, unlike in (again) Super Mario Bros. where characters can jump higher than they are tall. This means that the way to get to higher places might involve walking up steps, climbing up ropes, or mantling ledges, since simply jumping up there is not an option.
- A sufficiently long fall will kill a character.
- Characters cannot change their direction of motion while they are in midair.
- In combat, both the player and enemies will use weapons or punches/kicks, rather than game mechanics like Goomba Stomp or Collision Damage.
- When the player character collects an item, the game will show the character reaching for it and picking it up with their hand. By contrast, items in other platform games tend to just disappear when collided with by the player character.
Other typical characterstics of the genre include:
- The gameplay screen will have few or no user interface elements, such as points, time counters, level numbers, character stats, etc.
- Gameplay is usually linear, especially compared to that of Metroidvanias.
- Usually screen-flipping is used, instead of scrolling.
- Although such games usually include action sequences, most commonly involving one-on-one combat, their gameplay also includes level-exploration and puzzle-solving.
- Generally use Le Parkour.
- Characters have to draw their sword or gun before attacking, and then their movement is limited until they sheath it again.
- Trope Maker: the original Prince of Persia.
- Another World was particularly notable for its complete lack of on-screen user interface elements during gameplay, and for its use of 2D vector graphics to achieve a much more detailed / less repetitive level design than its contemporaries.
- Heart of Darkness, by the same developer.
- Heart of the Alien, a sequel to Another World that wasn't by the original developer. Many fans of the original treat it as Fanon Discontinuity.
- Flashback, frequently considered a Spiritual Successor to Another World.
- Fade to Black, a 3D sequel to Flashback
- Blackthorne, which also includes some elements of graphical adventure games, such as an item inventory system.
- onEscapee, which also includes point-and-click puzzles similar to those in first-person graphical adventure games.
- The first two Oddworld games. Your main character can't even directly harm anything.
- The Tomb Raider series, although it uses a 3D third-person perspective, has similar gameplay.
- Mirror's Edge, one of the biggest games to try this in a first-person viewpoint.
- WET combines cinematic platforming with Third-Person Shooter action.
- Uncharted. Maybe the most "cinematic" game series ever made.
- Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
- Tintin in Tibet was Infogrames' attempt at this. It didn't go as well as their more classic platformers like The Smurfs.
- Nosferatu on the SNES fits the majority of the criteria of this.
- Dark Castle features a realistically animated protagonist who gains very little height from jumping.
- Lester The Unlikely
- The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, a 3D parkour game from the same time as the first Tomb Raider. Its authors call the original Prince of Persia their guiding line. The models look ugly by today's standards, though.
- Technocop features this style of platforming in the second half of each stage, though the protagonist can still jump his own height despite being realistically animated.