GameLog #9: Are Palette Swaps a sign of Laziness?
In the days of gaming yore, there wasn't much when it came to unique enemy design. Due to memory limitations, you'd either have a few unique enemy types or new enemies that were simply older ones with a new coat of paint. This worked back then because it allowed developers to add more while keeping within console limitations; nowadays with advanced technology, this practice has mostly died out aside from the RPG scene because consoles now have a lot more memory to work with. This allows developers to do more with their games since memory restrictions aren't such a problem these days.
Palette Swapping in Old Games
Earthbound is one of those games that reuse enemy types but try to variate them. For example all of the Starman enemies are either straight up palette swaps(e.g Starman Super is golden, Ghost of Starman is red and black) or variants (i.e Starman Deluxe has spikes jut out from it's shoulders.) Some of the enemies in the game are palette swaps of bosses, examples include