Let’s talk about one of the most incredible revelations I’ve ever experienced while playing a video game: The way Simon Belmont walked in Castlevania.
Look at those amazing three frames!
No, seriously, look at them. They kind of blew my mind at the time. The fact that Simon had an intermediate frame of animation for his walk cycle set Castlevania apart 25 years ago. Other characters were like simple flipbooks — foot forward, foot back, foot forward, etc. — and the seemingly trifling addition of a frame where his legs occupied parallel space added a certain vitality and fluidity to his movement that made him seem more real, somehow. And, probably more importantly, it allowed Simon to move more deliberately than characters in other games without looking awkward in the process, meaning Castlevania’s slower pace than its peers worked where it might otherwise not have.
Of course, my little junior high brain would have exploded if I could have seen the way Alucard would move in Symphony of the Night.