The Spriters Resource/Hard to Rip Games

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There are some games out there that are hard to rip from whether it is unknown compression, stored in a nightmare fashion in the ROM, the tile viewer does not show the sprites/show them correctly, hard to capture from or even the emulator does not boot up the game. As for why hard to rip than impossible to rip? It is due to that there might be a passionate ripper somewhere who is knowledgeable or even a programmer who figured out how to rip the sprites.

Please note do not request these games to be ripped, the chances of these getting ripped are low and it would not help anyone.

General

Human Developed Games

Human is a developer known for the Fire Pro Wrestling, Formation Soccer and Human Grand Prix/F1 Pole Position series. Unlike many developers on the SNES, their games use an unknown compression format that no tile viewer can rip from. It depends on the game on how much appears in a tile viewer like Fire Pro displaying more of the sprites compared to Super Formation Soccer/Human Grand Prix where even the font is compressed. Their games can also dynamically change the sprites so savestate ripping isn't much use for animations or changing characters/teams/drivers. Only the first F1 Pole Position game can rip all the portraits in a savestate as an example. Some like the sample version of Human Grand Prix 2 will require disassembling/hacking to rip things that are not in the rolling demo or any unused stuff that isn't documented.

This also applies to their PC Engine and Genesis games as well.

Arcade

There are many games that do not work with the MAME tile viewer. Various examples include Incredible Technologies hardware (e.g. Golden Tee Golf series), IGS, Nichibutsu Mahjong 91-95, Hard/Race Drivin' and very early arcade games such as Space Firebird. Some can be ripped via other ripping tools however not all can be ripped this way. Very few may also require palette hacking such as Heavy Barrel and in newer versions Super Off Road, the latter case all the colors are set to the same color per palette.

Mad Alien

Mad Alien/Highway Chase is a game by Data East where it started as a racing themed shooting game that changed into a shoot em up by its final revision. While most versions of the game are possible to rip via the MAME Tile Viewer, the latest version of the game changes the poses within a frame and this also affects the tile viewer as well.

Many Sega Games

Sega liked to do things differently than many companies of the time when it comes to storing sprites. They spread the sprites onto various files with bytes at a time, usually one but sometimes 2 bytes at a time (the term is interleaving). Very few of their games work with MAME's tile viewer and if they do, they are a pre-1985 game.

Thankfully thanks to Ragey some of these games are ripped such as SegaSonic the Hedgehog, Power Drift and Bonanza Bros. however he has only selectively ripped those games and has not shared much information on how. There is a sprite viewer for Out Run and some of the arcade games (e.g. Super Hang-On, After Burner) made by the person who did CannonBall that is an Out Run based engine. Apart from Out Run, there are no palettes to the sprites, it is command-line based and requires knowing which sprite banks are used so not easy to use.

Note that this excludes System E games as they ran on Master System hardware and the sprites can be viewed via Tile Molester but may have compression. Also the Fantasy Zone games were ported to or were originally on the Master System and would be easier to rip those versions.

Professor Pac-Man

This game uses an odd graphics engine that has peculiarly sized sprites (not perfectly square pixels). Screenshotting using MAME will distort the screencap PNGs. Configuring MAME's ini file will get rid of the blur but still stretch out the sprites in the screenshot. The only true way to capture the sprites as they were originally intended is to set MAME's video settings to pixel perfect and manually printscreen the game. It is an overall difficult process given that the game has fairly large sprites and a complete sprite sheet would ultimately end up being heftily large.

Amstrad CPC

By the nature of the home computer, there are bound to be some games that use impressive programming skills or really badly programmed games that makes ripping some games really tricky. Some of these also happen to be highly regarded games that are well liked and some of the best on the system. Since many of the games have the same issues, it is categoried by issue than what game has the issue unless it is unique.

This excludes games that have the wrong palette in the tile viewer as they can be corrected (e.g. most games programmed by DJL Software) unless they have an extra issue included.

Asterix et la potion magique (Asterix and the Magic Potion)

Not to be confused with Asterix and the Magic Cauldron that itself is one of more easier to rip games. It is unique as the game uses a framebuffer only displaying one sprite at a time so every time a sprite changes, the old one gets dropped making it annoying to rip.

Batman: The Caped Crusader

The game is using two layers for the sprites and they are mixed into the same layer. Meaning that it has information of both left and right directions but neither show the complete sprite. The correct size for the sprites is Width 8, when set to Width 16 while it fixes the layer issue the sprites are squashed with some detail lost. It sounds like a bitplane issue. Nothing can be done at present...

Ghosts 'n Goblins

Unlike most in the list, the sprites can be ripped however it is hard work because Ste Pickford did the sprites in an unusual way. Originally thought to be messed up in the tile viewer until more research was done. While the game runs on Mode 0, the sprites are stored in Mode 1. The correct size is Width 8 but the sprites are split into two with each scanline being the complete sprite. Also for sprites on the left, they are stored backwards as in right to left but not flipped. Basically sprite 1 has the first line while sprite 2 has the second line and so on or vice versa depending on the sprite.

As for resizing, again unlike most Mode 0/1 games where it is doubled, they are like Mode 2 where horizontal is correct but vertical is doubled size.

Same Colour Background as the sprites

Many games use the same colours for their background as their sprites, usually black but green and others have been used. This is very similar to Genesis sprite ripping. This is mainly a Mode 0 issue however a few Mode 1 games suffer from this too such as Match Point.

750cc Grand Prix (not only this affects the grey background affecting the bike sprites but also a black on the tires where it should be purple that the tile viewer does not pick up on, Caprice Forever can't rip this as it doesn't support reverse endian)
Alien Syndrome (see Match Point for more info, also has layers too)
Auf Wiedersehen Monty (some sprites also have the wrong palette however the sprites are stored in a tidy fashion)
Kwik Snax
Match Point (this also uses Mode 1 that uses 4 colours so the black background mixes with the sprite making it almost impossible to rip via tiles)
Professional BMX Simulator (Has been ripped however bike sprites look doubtful with their accuracy)
Psycho Soldier
Return of the Jedi

Compressed in the tile viewer

These games are either completely or partly compressed meaning that ripping these games can not be done via the tile viewer at all or almost useless to rip from since only a segment is uncompressed. Also in the case of By Fair Means or Foul because it uses overlapping sprites meaning that the game is almost impossible to rip from unless someone figures out the compression routine.

Adidas Championship Football
After Burner
Alien Storm (also suffers from black background)
Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja(also suffers from black background)
By Fair Means... or Foul
California Games
Double Dragon (Richard Aplin version)
Double Dragon II: The Revenge (Richard Aplin version)
Prehistorik
Pro Tennis Tour
Professional Tennis Simulator (Codemasters)
RBI Baseball 2
RoboCop
Thing on a Spring (Only Thing itself is compressed, the enemies are not compressed and are rippable)
Turbo Out Run

Footballer of the Year

Similar to but not quite the same issue as Asterix. This game uses a framebuffer to display whatever is on screen and changes sprites dropping the old ones. What makes this slightly different is that more than 1 pose is stored due to the player and the goalkeeper plus it is in Mode 1 rather than Mode 0.

Grange Hill

This game uses 2 layers for the sprites and since it is a Mode 1 game with its limited 4 colour palette meaning that not only that it needs extra assembly but the layer information is gone since one layer with the detail is black and the other is just white. While Buggy Boy and 1942 have a second layer, they are Mode 0 games and not needed for ripping.

Italy 90

Just looking at the tile viewer makes you groan... The sprites use a combination of layers (head + arms on one with the body on another) and messed up in the tile viewer on the body sprites all at the same time. Maybe also a touch of compression as well?

To make matters worse, the game crashes when the ball is off the pitch and reboots back to the Amstrad CPC boot up screen. It is unknown whether this happens on real hardware.

Interleaving sprites

It might not be correct terminology however this affects a few games. Basically there is a checkered background on the sprites and the characters have lines through them.

Glider Rider

John Brandwood Games

Both Gryzor (aka Contra) and Renegade when released were considered games that pushed the system with its impressive graphics due to the work of Mark Jones and the programmer John Brandwood. The tile viewer does not work on these games and capturing might be difficult due to using the same colours for the background since the system had a 16 colour palette. With Renegade even when capturing, you get a high chance of overlapping sprites because of the nature of beat em ups and because of the palette limitations. The backgrounds however are easier to rip from.

According to information on the CPCWiki, the sprites are also stored upside down that is a common trait with some developers and apparently the graphics technique also used in the ZX Spectrum.

Messed up on the tile viewer

At first glance, they might look rippable but then you notice that the character does not resemble what is on screen having lines that face the other direction in the tile viewer and changing it to reverse doesn't fix the sprites. Looking at Crystal Kingdom Dizzy, it might be either an endian issue or slightly compressed. Match Day and Track and Field have the same issue since they are done by the same developers.

Arkanoid 2: Revenge of Doh (The Vanus Spaceship and some of the sprites are messed up however the blocks and powerups aren't)
Commando
Crystal Kingdom Dizzy
Dynamite Dux
Match Day
Track and Field

No sprites in the tile viewer

Some games just do not use sprites at all so they don't appear in the tile viewer. This also makes Target Renegade hard to rip because of overlapping characters of the nature of the beat em up genre. These exclude games that use vector graphics, raycasting, text based adventure games or other non-raster graphics games e.g. Star Wars or Hard Drivin'.

Football Manager
International Karate + (IK+)
Rally 2/Grand Prix Rally
Saboteur
Target Renegade
Wonder Boy

Genesis

While a lot of the Genesis library have already been ripped excluding many of the sports games, there are some high profile games that have problems ripping. A few of these are on the site but not all.

Adventures of Batman & Robin

Being a late Genesis game, it uses various programming tricks and is considered one of the most technically impressive games on the console. The ROM is compressed. All of these makes it a challenge to rip the game and it does not help that the game is hard too.

Comix Zone

A Sega 1st party game done by Sega Technical Institute and is a late Genesis game pushing some limits. What makes this hard to rip is that the ROM is completely compressed and ripping from the game is hard. Why? The characters have many poses, some that are situational and timing on certain poses is also tricky to trigger. When captured via screenshots, the sprites leave a shadow that is not part of the sprite and may have another sprite overlapping. When tile ripped using a tile viewer in an emulator, they are not easy to assemble either and only load one pose at a time. A few have tried to rip from this game however the sheets are either incomplete or just stopped progress.

The game apparently uses a form of LZSS compression however this is undocumented and no one so far as figured it out.

Virgin/Shiny Games

The games in question are Mick and Mack: Global Gladiators, Aladdin, Earthworm Jim 1 and 2, RoboCop vs The Terminator and The Jungle Book. Due to Dave Perry's programming, the sprites are stored in a nightmare fashion in the ROM with pieces being all over the place and also hard to assemble so you would have to capture them via an emulator. Some of these games also have a lot of poses depending on which character you are ripping.

Some of these have been ripped though mainly because of dedication of the rippers and ripping projects.

Desert Strike/Jungle Strike/Urban Strike

These are all grouped together as they are part of the same series and all 3 games use a similar engine. The ROM is even worse than the Dave Perry games since at least you can make out something that resembles a character rather than a complete mess so tile ripping is almost impossible. There are also a lot of poses for the helicopter and the enemies due to the various directions that you can go.

Please note that these affect the original versions done by EA (as well as High Score Productions and Foley Hi-Tech) and not the other versions of the game that are on other consoles that might have different art styles. There is also the Super Strike Trilogy on the Sega CD that might have extra sprites however chances are that it has the same problems as the cartridge version.

SNES

Clay Fighter and Clay Fighter 2

While many SNES games aren't compressed or if they are they use a known format, these two games are one of the few exceptions so a tile viewer can't be used for this game. It uses an unknown compression format. The game is also a fighter, a genre known for many animations to be used. Some emulators also have problems displaying the game too. It might be possible with vSNES using savestates however it would require patience.

Unstable Games

Sometimes even capturing sprites can be problematic if the game is known to be crash prone. While it is common for 6/7th generation games onwards to crash due to various factors, older games are more stable even though sometimes bad/rushed programming can affect the stability of the game. Please note that this references gameplay rather than doing tricks to purposely crash the game and also does not list games that can crash on some emulators (e.g. Thunder Force IV crashing at the end of Stage 1 Boss).

Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (32X)

Pop & Chips (Super Cassette Vision)

The game was not dumped properly and will crash if the player does not collect the little character that comes out of the fruit.