How can you guys not talk about Boktai?! For shame, people. This is one of the most ingenious games for the GBA, as it uses actual sunlight to influence gameplay via a solar sensor, so it makes you want to play outside. Not only that, it's just plain awesome and a genuinely amazing game. It has a capturing plot, vicious vampire baddies trying to turn the whole world into undead (Which they probably already had), wonderfully-composed 8-bit sounding music and memorable characters. However, it didn't sell well, making it obscure. Which is a shame, because everyone needs to play this while under the sun.
Gradius Gaiden. Thought Gradius III and V were good? Gaiden, a game made seven years before V on a 32-bit system, blows these two games out of the water. What other title takes you through a junkyard of old bosses or a stage that looks like any other Gradius volcano stage...for a few seconds, before getting sucked into a black hole? The ships have some great weapons too. Vic Viper's Double has undergone some un-sucking, Lord British's Disruptor pierces enemy armor, making it ideal for bosses who guard their cores heavily, Jade Knight has splitting Spread Bombs, and Falchion Beta has the forward-firing equivalent of a Spread Bomb. And you can rearrange your power meter, which adds another strategic element to the game; with a well-arranged power meter, you can make recovering out of a death (and by extension, "Gradius Syndrome") much more manageable. It will be a while before we get a Gradius Gaiden 2 or something that will top Gaiden...assuming of course, the series hasn't died yet.
Pop'n Music is an example of why people who judge a game by its kiddiness can suck it. There's music in almost every genre you can imagine, the larger button setup ensures that you won't get wrist or hand cramps from having your fingers so contorted (at least if you're big-handed, like this troper) like in other Rhythm Games, the characters are beautifully drawn and animated, and it both for casual and hardcore players—the former have Enjoy Mode, and the latter have loads and loads of options for Self Imposed Challenges.
Silent Hill 1 and its sequels remain the only games that have forced me to stop playing due to something other than frustration or biological necessities, as it's rather difficult to operate a controller when one is shaking like a leaf in a gale. The most bizarre, unique monster designs in the medium, puzzles that only obey the logic of the warped reality into which you've stumbled, and the fact that the entire town wants to rape you to death, eat your flesh and wear your face as a hat (hopefully in that order) combine to create the most terrifying interactive experience ever. Rather unfortunate that there's only two sequels.
Hell yeah! No other game has a plot and scenario that engrossing and (on at least two occasions a game) emotionally devastating. The wacky-but-effin'-badass characters, the overarching narrative that encompasses cloning, vampires, enormous mecha, ridiculous XanatosRoulettes, malevolent AIs, ghosts, psychic arms, international assassins, love, loss and battlefield philosophy while handling eternal themes like political corruption, the passage of time, war, the nature of death etc. etc...
And it cannot be touched for epic moments - each game in the series culminates in several hours of distilled awesomeness, but once you're about 1/5th of the way through Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots Kojima pulls out all the stops in order to best conclude his epic. The nostalgic battle atop Outer Haven has GOT to be the greatest setpiece in gaming ever.
The music! Themes like Encounter, Old Snake, Mantis' Hymn, Debriefing, the Main Theme from MGS 1,2 & 3, and the new one for MGS 4... They're all unbelievably exciting and moving.
I think Metal Gear Solid 2 was ludicrously ahead of its time, and ten years from now people will be looking back at it and realising it was incredibly underrated. Mind you, I also admit my favourite character in the game is Snake's butt, so who am I to judge?
Hell, I loved MGS2 as soon as I played it (Granted, I played the game years after Raiden and the nutty ending became sled-worthy. I thought the over-the-top wangst, the increasingly insane plot and the utterly fucked up final cutscene were all done on purpose. And it was hilarious and awesome. And yes, underrated.
Even if you don't love the spy based gameplay (which is WICKED, BTW), you will LOVE the highly complex story told over all six games. Honestly, it has some of the best, most complex and sympathetic villains I've ever seen - many a gamer has shed tears at the Alas, Poor Villain moments given to Sniper Wolf, Psycho Mantis and the rest, and that's not getting into the Woobies, who you just want to hug. The fact that there isn't even a truly evil enemy at the end was pulled off SO well it didn't feel like a rip=off - it ties in well with the themes. IT's amazing that such a highly complex story can be made with so few jerkass individuals involved (and the several present were hardly in their depth). Some of the battles are the most beautifully imaginative, scripted and choreographed ever - Psycho Mantis totally OBLITERATED the Fourth Wall, and The End is so unbelievably original. Of course, I also love the themes of war and peace, of tragedy and hope, and most importantly, of that little yet wonderful thing we like to call life.
Oh yes, yes, yes. This troper absolutely LOVES Metal Gear Solid. Ever since she first played MGS3 (that was her first in the series), she has been in love. She has finished the games multiple times. MGS2 and 3 are her favorites. (and MGS1, too) No other story in gaming history can ever come close to topping the MGS series.
This page needs more Castlevania! Especially, Symphony of the night.
The freeware fangame Castlevanie II: Dracula's Shadow is a strong candidate for most underrated game of all time. The author spent 5 YEARS on this remake, keeping all the good things about Simon's Quest, removing all the bad, and then adding so very very much more. Item crashes, 3 playable characters, a boss-fight at every levelup, and on and on. It's everything you ever loved about the NES castlevanias. If Dracula's Shadow had come out on the NES in the early 90s it would have been an instant classic, but released in 2005 for dos and windows it hardly made a ripple. Even after 5 years it's still obscure beyong all reckoning. A youtube search will turn up only a single Let's Play and a parody/review both of which were posted within the last 4 months.
Dance Dance Revolution. Even though Konami made quite a few mistakes with this series, the older games are still fun, addictive, and good exercise on higher levels.