Created By: KI Simpson on October 11, 2009
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Early Installment Weirdness

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Long running series often have to experiment a little before they find their niche, and sometimes there are concepts abandoned early on that are fascinating because they were potentially good ideas, or just clash so much with the later tone of the series. The only ones I can think of off the top of my head are from video games, but feel free to add ones from other media.

  • The original Zelda lets you take keys between dungeons, which just feels completely un-Zelda like, especially since most later games (presumably in response to it being possible in the first) remind you constantly that keys only work in the dungeon you find them in. Your bow also uses rupees to make arrows, which is bizarre even without contrast to other Zeldas.
  • The original Metal Gear had hostages that worked like powerups, and a rank system that increased your stats based on rescuing enough hostages (and made the game unwinnable if you killed any).
  • The first Dynasty Warriors game was a completely different genre from the sequels, a one on one fighter instead of the overwhelming enemy hordes you faced in the later games.
  • The first Jak and Daxter game is very different in tone from the later games in the series, although for its time it was more conventional.
  • The first couple (one is usually forgotten since it was on the doomed Virtual Boy) Wario Land games played much more like Mario games, with coin blocks, powerups, a time limit, and a lesser emphasis on puzzles/exploration.
  • The first Kirby game doesn't let you absorb the powers of enemies, which was introduced in the second and became the series' trademark.
  • The Donkey Kong arcade games are very different from both the Mario and Donkey Kong platformers that came later, the first portraying Donkey Kong as a villain, the second being the only game ever to have Mario as a villain, and the third introducing Mario's cousin Stanley, who was never heard from again. They also had a modern day setting.
  • The original Pokemon games implied the setting was much closer to reality than the later ones, mentioning non-Pokemon animals and South America.
  • The second games of both the Zelda and Metroid series played around with gameplay elements in their second installments. The former became a side-scrolling action-adventure-platformer with RPG Elements, and the latter became... more linear. Neither of which are necessarily bad, but certainly weird in retrospect. Both were followed by a spectacular return to form in the third installments.
  • If not for the common title and character design, you'd hardly believe that the pre- and post-reboot Spyro The Dragon games were from the same series.
  • Star Trek The Next Generation had a lot of weirdness in early episodes that often had to do with recycled plots from the original series. This was, of course, before it Grew The Beard
  • Dune 1 is an RPG, Dune2 is the first Real Time Strategy Game.
  • Originally, Mario was unable to survive falling his own height. He was not tall.
    • If we treat Super Mario RPG as the first game in the Paper Mario series - which makes sense because Paper Mario was originally going to be Super Mario RPG 2, and just had its title changed for copyright reasons - then there is a lot of weirdness there. In particular: equips instead of badges, very different graphics, a different combat system using much larger numbers and more complicated stats, and a Bonus Boss that looked like it was pulled from a Final Fantasy game.
  • The entire video game industry could be seen as an example of this. Remember when you had to read the manual just to know the story or even how to PLAY the game? Yeah.
  • The first game (Mean Streets) in the Tex Murphy series had flight sim and run & gun sequences in addition to the adventure gameplay. All of it's sequel (including it's remake) are FMV point & click adventures.
  • The first Thunder Force was an overheard shooter, the sequel had an equal share of top-down and sidescrolling levels, and the rest of the series only kept the sidescrolling levels.
  • The original Grand Theft Auto, and the London Expansion pack. All the excitement of a fully realised living city in glorious, er, two dimensional blocky graphics that look like something on an Amiga.
  • Non-video game example: both South Park and The Simpsons were very different in tone and humor style in their very early seasons.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • October 1, 2009
    BlackDragon
    The original Street Fighter was a side-scrolling brawler, starring Ryu and Ken as pallette-swaps for players 1 and 2. It didn't become the Street Fighter we know and love 'till Street Fighter 2: World Warrior.
  • October 1, 2009
    iwintheinternets?
    The first Jak And Daxter game is quite a shock to players only familiar with the later games in the series.
  • October 1, 2009
    arromdee
    Street Fighter was not a side scrolling brawler.

    See also Characterization Marches On for a non-game version.

  • October 1, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    The first Kirby game didn't have his ability to eat enemies and take their attacks/abilities.

    The first Wario Land game was very obviously inspired by Super Mario Bros, with the same ? blocks, similar items, a time limit and Mario like enemies and bosses.
  • October 1, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Does Mega Man's slide count?
  • October 1, 2009
    Stormtroper
    The original World Of Mana game, Final Fantasy Adventure, was a Final Fantasy spinoff, sharing about as much with its predecessors as with its successors.

    Donkey Kong, the jungle dweller hero, debutted as a construction-site dweller villian.
  • October 1, 2009
    batfan
    Star Trek The Next Generation had a lot of weirdness in early episodes that often had to do with recycled plots from the original series. This was, of course, before it Grew The Beard
  • October 1, 2009
    FreezairForALimitedTime
    In early Pokemon games, you were more or less implied to be in the "real world," with references to both animals that actually exist and places such as South America. Also, the damage calculation was quite different, such as Special being one stat (making some Psychic types a Game Breaker) and Speed factoring into critical hits.
  • October 2, 2009
    EricDVH
  • October 2, 2009
    Tzintzuntzan
    Characterization Marches On is the TV equivalent. EDIT: Dumb me, someone already said that.
  • October 2, 2009
    Lee M
    The first couple of novels in Sheri S Tepper's True Game cycle had magic using up heat, so that a room where lots of magic was used would become bitterly cold. That idea got completely forgotten about in the remaining books.
  • October 2, 2009
    KI Simpson
    Eric DVH: This isn't really about continuity, most of the examples are about gameplay features that don't really affect the story.
  • October 4, 2009
    Majutsukai
    • The second games of both the Zelda and Metroid series played around with gameplay elements in their second installments. The former became a side-scrolling action-adventure-platformer with RPG Elements, and the latter became... more linear. Neither of which are necessarily bad, but certainly weird in retrospect. Both were followed by a spectacular return to form in the third installments.
    • If not for the common title and character design, you'd hardly believe that the pre- and post-reboot Spyro The Dragon games were from the same series.
  • October 5, 2009
    Arilou
    Dune 1 is an RPG, Dune2 is the first Real Time Strategy Game.
  • October 5, 2009
    Iron Salticus
    • Originally, Mario was unable to survive falling his own height. He was not tall.
      • If we treat Super Mario RPG as the first game in the Paper Mario series - which makes sense because Paper Mario was originally going to be Super Mario RPG 2, and just had its title changed for copyright reasons - then there is a lot of weirdness there. In particular: equips instead of badges, very different graphics, a different combat system using much larger numbers and more complicated stats, and a Bonus Boss that looked like it was pulled from a Final Fantasy game.
  • October 5, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    The Bonus Boss was pulled from a Final Fantasy game if I recall correctly. After all, Square was involved in making the game.
  • October 5, 2009
    Iron Salticus
    My impression was that it was done in generic Final Fantasy style while not being any specific boss from any specific game, but I could be wrong.
  • October 5, 2009
    Majutsukai
    You're right, Culex doesn't exist in any Final Fantasy game, but he was drawn in the art style of the 16-bit Final Fantasy games.
  • October 9, 2009
    Dick Richardson
    Daxter returns to the first game's goofy roots.

  • October 9, 2009
    KI Simpson
    Added all the examples except the Final Fantasy Adventure one, I think the FF theme name was only in North America, don't know that much about the game though. Plenty of examples, any objection to me launching it?
  • October 9, 2009
    Majutsukai
    One more example from me:

  • October 9, 2009
    Glowsquid
    • The first game (Mean Streets) in the Tex Murphy series had flight sim and run & gun sequences in addition to the adventure gameplay. All of it's sequel (including it's remake) are FMV point & click adventures.

    • The first Thunder Force was an overheard shooter, the sequel had an equal share of top-down and sidescrolling levels, and the rest of the series only kept the sidescrolling levels.
  • October 9, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    The original Grand Theft Auto, and the London Expansion pack. All the excitement of a fully realised living city in glorious, er, two dimensional blocky graphics that look like something on an Amiga.
  • October 9, 2009
    random surfer
    Both South Park and The Simpsons are very different in the first season.
  • October 14, 2009
    Glowsquid
    Edit: Nevermind.

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