MOTHER. This is an RPG series from Ape (later known as Creatures Inc., which helped in the development of Pokémon Red and Blue) which is about a group of kids/teens who defend the earth against aliens (mainly Giygas/Giegue) who are influencing people in bad ways and slowly taking over the planet. Usually, the protagonists are gifted in many ways from having genius IQ, to being sword fighters, or having psychic powers/PSI (which is automatically reserved for the main character of the game/leader of the party). The series has many dark spots, which is unusual for MOTHER games, and has decent plot, especially in the case of MOTHER 3. One of the reasons it needs more love is because Nintendo (originally) only bothered to release one of the games, MOTHER 2, under the title of EarthBound. Due to bad marketing, it flopped at launch in 1995, and Nintendo chose not to release MOTHER 1 or MOTHER 3. However, while the fanbase is small, it's hardcore and dedicated. When it was confirmed that MOTHER 3would not be released in the States, a group of people led by Tomato (Clyde Mandelin) translated the game fully as a patch for emulation. Another group of MOTHER fans has taken it upon themselves to make a Fan Sequel called MOTHER 4 due to the creator saying he will not make any more MOTHER games after MOTHER 3. The fanbase is growing larger (if slowly) now, due to EarthBound's success on the Virtual Console as one of the top ten selling games for Wii U - as well as the 2015 Virtual Console release of the original MOTHER as Earthbound Beginnings!
Elona. A Roguelike on drugs. Schizo Tech, Crap Saccharine World, and a band of Little Girl Dog-CentaurGeneric Experiments... Forming a band. Full of bizarre game mechanics, silly writing, and sheer randomness paired with a persistent life sim. While having fully fleshed out dungeon crawler mechanics with infinite Randomly Generated Dungeons, one could instead choose to be a farmer, a merchant, the most awesome band leader in North Tyris, or an insane doctor making little girl-dog centaurs. It recently got a large fan expansion pack called Elona+, which adds a pet evolution system, and fleshes out some of the more difficult to get into parts of the game. Not to mention doubling the length of the much ignored story. Once you find yourself in Elona, it is hard to get back out.
Empire: Total War. As much as a history lesson as a game, each unit, technology, and upgrade had a detailed history. You could pause a battle and read up on the soldiers slinging lead at one another at any time. And whats a more fun way to learn than spreading your influence across the known world of the 18th century? (cue evil laugh). Few games centering around 1700 to 1799 go in to so much depth about the history and tactics of the era. The gameplay too, while being complicated, is fun and very enjoyable. Despite being considered a huge step for Total War as a series, its often overshadowed by its Roman and Medieval cousin and isn't very well known outside of that circle.
Bungie's Marathon. What did this game bring into video games, specifically first-person shooters? Let's start with vertical aiming, Multiplayer objectives other than just kill everybody, single player objectives other than just kill everything, computer-controlled allies, idle animations for enemies, the ability to swim, dual wield, "Jump," use an in-game Radar and map, and use an alternate fire for some weapons; enemy chatter, humerous in-game dialogue, asymettrical character models, different models for players with different guns (In DOOM, all players appeared to have a gun that wasn't in the game regardless of what weapon they were actually using), vacuum areas, an Oxygen Bar, and not to mention it has an incredibly in-depth plot and was the inspiration for Halo. Despite all of this, people still acclaim Halo for setting the guidelines for First-person shooters, mainly for its regenerating health.
Marathon also had built-in voice communication when played on a network— yes in 1994.
Act of War : Direct Action and its expansion pack High Treason were particularly great RTS games, not just in an extensive campaign, faction diversity, audio and visuals (they still look and sound good by today's standards, and well scaled), but in the fact it was very realistic in terms of gameplay, with units being incapacitated and requiring of repairs or healing before coming back into the fight, also aircraft units come from off the map, terrain and vegetation affects units sight and urban combat interaction feels like you are looking a real S.W.A.T. operation. Unfortunately AoW was released by the same time as Command & Conquer Generals and didn't have too much appretiation from reviews, which said there was no particular innovation for the genre (a rather dull argument considering RTS gamers usually don't appretiate changes to classic gameplay) or simply diminished it, these videosshow a bitof the game.
Battlezone, a RTS-FPS mix featuring a compelling storyline, great graphics and overall high production values was largely overlooked by consumers when it came out in the late 90's even though it was awarded high scores by critics.
Singularity is an oft-forgotten FPS dealing with time travel and alternative histories. Vastly underrated and never promoted much. A really fun way to blow at least 6 hours.
God Hand. Silly, Nintendo Hard, and full of fourth wall breaking fun and shout outs to other games. Also insanely awesome with a very well thought out combo system that allows for fluid movement, allowing Gene to essentially be the Fist of the North Star. The music is beyond awesome, as well, even the fight with the Mad Midget Five has incredible music.
The PSP game Kingdom of Paradise (alternate names: Key of Heaven (EU) and Tenchi no Mon (JAP)) is a fantastic, thorough, highly-rated RPG heavily influenced by the Ssu Ling (Four Symbols, or gods of Chinese mythology). It features gorgeous graphics, well-developed characters, good music, and a wholly gripping storyline complete with dynamic twists and turns. It most certainly qualifies for this trope, not even being popular enough to have any semblance of fandom whatsoever.
And speaking of underrated Sonic Team games... NiGHTS and its sequel (moreso the original) are games often looked over because of their colourful graphics and "weird" protagonist. Give them a go—the original is an incredible time attack, point scoring racing game with an open-ended story, and the sequel has gorgeous music (including remixes of the original's already amazing tunes) and even got me teary at points. Just because it looks "kiddy" doesn't mean it is!
Oh, Ristar. Poor, poor Ristar. A beautiful game with an unique, central, and fun gameplay mechanic of swinging and headbutting everything with your elastic arms, mixed with a ton of personality and charm. But thanks to it being released in 1995 on the Genesis, it was overshadowed by the hype of the next generation, and didn't sell awesomely like Sonic or other platformers. Because of this, it couldn't get the Even Better Sequel it deserved. You have little excuse to not try it out if you come across it on the various platforms it's been re-released for.
Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends. Let me see you have a four way battle involving death spheres, giant tanks, huge dragons, and one very massive cannon, on your games.
Savage Reign may be good, but its sequel, Kizuna Encounter, is much, much cooler. And just as under-appreciated.
In a similar vein, we've all heard about Last Resort the stage, but almost nobody played Last Resortthe game. King of the Monsters goes there also.
Let's just say, the Neo Geo has a sizable games' gallery (mainly SNK games, but also games from second-parties like Data East and ADK), but just a handful of them are in the gamers' memories. The King of Fighters comes to mind first, followed by Metal Slug and Samurai Shodown (at least until the fourth game). There's also Fatal Fury, which remains mostly in the memory of arcade vets. But what about Art of Fighting, NAM-1975, Magician Lord, Sengoku (not the one that has an article here, this is an unrelated Beat 'em Up)...? And even while SNK was "dead", there was Noise Factory's Rage Of The Dragons, an amazing fighter which is also sadly overlooked.
The Way of the Samurai series is a very interesting Widget Series, and one that doesn't get much respect in the west. Each game is very short, clocking in at around a few hours at most, but there are a wide array of choices to make, factions to ally oneself with, endings to view, and stuff to unlock.
Seconded, although in its defense it got great reviews. Still, virtually nobody played it or even heard about it because it looks like your standard FF-fill-in-the-blank turn-based handheld RPG — until you actually play it.
We all know Hideo Kojima and his Metal Gear series, which may go down in history as one of the best series of all time. But, what about his other games that are not about bipedal nuclear tanks and cardboard boxes? Policenauts, Snatcher, Zone of the Enders, Boktai... every last one of the aforementioned games are — despite their inherent flaws — incredibly worthy games in their own right. It really makes one wonder just what Kojima could come up with if only he were given some time off from Metal Gear...
The Battalion Wars games deserve more love than they get. It has TPS qualities,yet there are some great RTS elements to them to. What could go wrong with games with great level designs, excellent online multiplayer,and The Theme Park Version of both World-Wars with some Cold War elements? Yet the first was a sleeper hit,and the second was passed over.
SkyGunner, a game akin to something like a Steam Punk-styled Ace Combat. It has a charming presentation, and an incredibly deep control system to boot. Unfortunately, it's particularly unknown, even for an Atlus game.
Cryostasis. Seriously, it's one of the few pieces of fiction that made a huge philosophical impact on me, and I hardly ever meet anyone who knows about it. The gameplay and storytelling are slow, the game runs slowly even on high-end computers, the voiceacting is everything from horrible to amazing. And the story is, well, confusing to say at least. But the game is layered with symbolism, the plot is deep, thoughtful, and heavily ambigious, the athmosphere heavy and the gameplay innovative. And if you wait out the ending credits, you get one of the best quotations ever seen in a video game.
Klonoa is in serious need of love. While a nice fanbase exists, many other games would overlook this game due to its "kiddy" aura. Doesn't help that the way the Wii remake was marketed enforces that fallacy. The storyline is in fact quite mature with much Tear Jerking within while being absolutely splendid, and the gameplay is simple yet can be quite challenging to make some very awesome boss battles. You'll also find that the soundtracks for the games contain many of the best songs that you'll ever find.
The Sega CD's library has its fair share of hidden gems, but none shine brighter than Popful Mail, a Nintendo Hard adventure platformer which also had some of the best voice acting of ANY game released for it's time. Dubbed voice acting, at that! It's a damn shame that it came out so late in the Sega CD's life, after it had been established that the system was a gimmicky add-on to the Genesis, because this game truly did make the best use out of the power of CD-based media (even if said power was throttled by the Genesis).
Plok was an SNES platformer from 1993 that's... er, really good. The soundtrack has this sunny, jazzy atmosphere that sounds too good to be coming out of an SNES, the graphics are cartoonishly psychedelic and very unique, and the gameplay is varied and challenging. Oh, and it did Rayman's shtick two years before Rayman came out. Just play it on an emulator that has save states.
Baten Kaitos Origins. Pretty much the epitome of Doing It for the Art, with an utterly insane amount of attention paid to detail. To give an example, every one of the cards used in-game has a description about 4-5 full lines long — all 655 of them. It certainly helps add to the Scenery Porn and Crowning Music of Awesome too. Just about the only thing this game didn't have was good marketing.
Hey, don't forget Eternal Wings! It may not be quite as polished as its prequel, but it's still just as much fun to play.
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. As the title implies, it's a musical RPG. It also happens to take place in the Disgaea-universe, although it doesn't deal with it at all. There's also a refreshing bit of optimism and sweetness that is sadly all-too uncommon in RPGs these days.
Phantasy Star: It had a fully fleshed-out plot years before Final Fantasy II for the Famicom came out, it was one of the first RPGs to feature a female protagonist, it took place in a science-fiction setting (which is rare for RPGs, even today) and it came to the United States a full year before Dragon Warrior. The rest of the series also deserves mention, as they are all great RPGs, comparable to the Final Fantasies of the era.
The Unholy War can only be described as a great fighting game. You've plenty characters to choose from, an strategy mode to make the game more interesting, and it's awesome to play against a friend. Not only that, but it was a full 3D game, with free movement, in 1998! (something weird back then). Even with all that, the game was poorly received , and very few people know about it.
A Witch's Tale is about a young witch-in-training who wants to become the greatest witch in time and space. She releases a Sealed Evil in a Can and must go on a quest to defeat it along with her vampire sidekick, rescuing six princesses along the way. A very excellent game, full of comedic moments and Tear Jerkers alike.
Gearheads: A very obscure Lighter and Softer version of Archon. Two players with a collection of wind-up toys must send as many of those toys to the other side of the screen as possible. Each toy works differently: one serves as a tank to block other toys, a toy chicken hatches windup chicks, and yet another "scares" toys, flipping them around and basically converting them over to your side. There's 12 toys, but players can only use 3 types per game. Making things more challenging is that toys that are too slow eventually slow down and stop moving. This game is so obscure that the only the Mac version can be found online. You can download it here.
The PS2 gameHomura is this in spades. And that despite having some uniquegameplayfeatures and an awesome soundtrack and it does'nt even have a Wiki or TV-tropes page.
The Gargoyle's Quest franchise, particularly Demon's Crest. They were sleeper hits, but nowadays they're almost always overshadowed by the Ghosts 'n Goblins games, with Red Arremers back to being non-controllable Demonic Spiders. Ol' Red popped up in SVC Chaos, but SNK missed a chance to give these games a Shout-Out by naming him "Firebrand."
He's appearing in MvC3 (and he's named Firebrand), and also the first game of the series is now a downloadable title for the Nintendo 3DS, so maybe that will spark some interest in the series.
RosenkreuzStilette. It's a doujin game inspired by several classic games (most notably Mega Man), where you play as a church maiden who has to stop a misguided rebellion led by her own friends and their supervisor. It's got excellent music provided by several Japanese bands, and the visuals simply look stunning. Sadly, it never gets the attention it deserves, and for a couple reasons. Its wiki seems to be in a state of turmoil, the fanbase is broken since the Eastern fans think there are no true Western fansnote They obviously don't know a good chunk of the Touhou fanbase, and that those who are are merely "pretending" (case in point, one of the most prominent fans in the Western base is accused even by the developers themselves as being a complete asshole to the game, even despite his reform). If there's any series that Needs More Love, it's this one.
Lethal Crisis, an action-platforming doujin game in the veins of SUGURI was completely ignored by many people so much to the point of pirating the game is neigh possible (not that it's advised, mind you). The game has some interesting features like having a huge assortment of weapons at your disposal and being able to upgrade them, being able to fly around the area, and try out different combinations of weapons that suits your playing style. It's such a shame people who attended Comiket just outright ignore the game for "not being Touhou". A prime example of needs more love for a doujin game.
Senko no Ronde, a Fighting Game-meets-Shoot 'em Up by G.rev that unfortunately received harsh criticism by critics often citing It's Short, so It Sucks and the lack of "worthwhile" content during it's initial release in North America and Europe, yet this is a game manages to blend two genres that many wouldn't think would be even possible and pulls it off in spades. The game has a lot of things going for it that many people in the West never saw: A unique fighting game unlike any other before it, character art-style and a storyline influenced by Keiko Takemiya's Toward the Terra, a diverse cast of eight characters with two different Cartridge types that technically brings a total of sixteen playable characters, a soundtrack composed by a former ZUNTATA member, and a solid online play with a surprisingly good netcode that was nothing like fighting against the computer... or at least it used to until players stopped playing any online matches in general, making it more depressing and harder to find anyone willing to play online matches.
The Haunted Mansion video game, based on the famous Disney Theme Parks ride. Released the same year as the ill-fated film (though it had nothing to do with it outside its source material), the game was a gem lost under the wave of games. With some solid gameplay, great puzzles, Mythology Gag filled areas, and some Nightmare Fuel added in, it's worth picking up if you have a system it works on.
The Tetris: The Grand Master series. If you've mastered playing the Game Boy or NES iterations at level 19, or think newer Tetris games are too easy while older ones are tooclunky, give this a shot. Most people only know it as "those crazy Japanese Tetris games with the invisible Tetris part", but if you have the curiosity to think of TGM as more than that, and the dedication to explore the seemingly-simple series' depths, the TGM series has some of the best Falling Blocks games you will play, period.
Robotopia for the PC. Shareware game, but, among many sharewares, this one is obscure. Extremely obscure. Basically, you control a battle bot who can do a lot of various stuff, starting with switching between walk and infinite jetpack modes (that automatically means you can fly everywhere) to causing a complete mayhem with Z-Sabre. The location is somewhat O-Ban-ish or even Firebugs-ish (you decide) with same ancient looking exotic paysages with several bits of techno and loads of weird vegetation, but, ironically enough, that's one of the coolest features in the game. Among other ones: four minigames, somewhat deep customization of your robot, crowdy multiplayer and ironically good and catchy DnB soundtrack.
It has its' own problems, though... With first having only 8 missions to play (you'll need to find a version qith Free Roam mode available after that, if you're a big muchkin) and with the remaining being Good Bad Bugs and related.
Grabbed by the Ghoulies comes from the same team that made Banjo-Kazooie. The team put just as much effort into it as the Banjo titles, and did a brilliant job of creating a game accessible to all ages with its incredibly simple (yet very fun/effective) control scheme, and tucked in excellent parodies of nearly every aspect of the horror genre known to humankind. It also features a boatload of Easter Eggs relating to the Banjo games. Yet, it has been thorougly passed by because it's exclusively on the Xbox, rather than a Nintendo console.
Actually that's only part of the Hate Dumb. A lot of the Hate Dumb comes from professional reviewers who mistook it for an attempt at being scary when it was actually a parody.
Aquaria is an indie game made by BitBlot about a Fish Girl with amnesia who simply wants to discover who she is, where she is, and what happened to everyone in all of these ruined civilizations you run across. Along the way, you gain Shapeshifting Powers, get to ride giant turtles and seahorses, enjoy a massive amount of Scenery Porn and Awesome Music, and kill gods.
The Precursors is an obscure Space Sim which actually allows you to land on planets and run around them doing missions on foot. You have a lot of freedom, both the "Space Sim" and "Ground" gameplay are excellent, the annoying bugs and inconvenient mechanics of the developers' previous games have been fixed and this is really the only game of it's kind.
Russian RPG/FPS/ Adventure /Survival Horror game Pathologic has a very intense atmosphere, great soundtrack, fascinating steam/diesel-punk setting, and, above all, completely brilliant plot. There are Loads and Loads of Characters, each of them are belivable and have deep personalities. It also has one of the most shocking Twist Endings ever. There is also an incredibly realistic in-game economy system - NB, not in a tycoon or a strategy game, but in a first-person adventure. Sadly, this game also has loads of bugs(though many of them were fixed later by patches), archaic(even for 2005, when the game was released) graphics, very difficult fight system and very rough gameplay, which many players found boring. Despite all these flaws, the game has a huge cult following in Russia, but what is the saddest, that the English translation was awful, and though the game has some fans among English-speaking people, it is not nearly as popular as it deserves to be. Yes, there is a Fan Translation team, but they have been working for more than a few years, without any results.
Some of the game's flaws may be justified - the first, its purpose is not to give to players a pleasure, but to tell them amazing story, and make 'em live a few days in fictional world. The second - the developers presented their product not as a game, but as a simulator of survival.
Sakura Wars, a pioneer of Dating Sim-type RPGs (it was basically Persona 3 a decade before the actual Persona 3 existed, but with mecha), finally got an American release more than a decade after the first game was released... which ended up revealing that the series will probably never regain its former Cash Cow Franchise status. At least it's still respected enough to be represented on Project X Zone's roster...
Herzog. No, not this Herzog. Just count how many people know Zwei and how many know its' prequel. Considering the original is AS awesome as the sequel, despite different gameplay and storyline. And, what makes it even more undeservedly overlooked... it has the 2-player mode too!
ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal is an old (2002) PC fantasy adventure game of German origin that plays like it's Pokémon if it were a first-person shooter — which isn't a bad thing. While not much can be said for the plot, the gameplay is a different twist on a familiar model, the music is beyond beautiful, and the (numerous) non-human character designs are all interesting and original. And did I mention that ZanZarah's mons are laser-shooting fairies?
Daytona USA 2 is a victim of First Installment Wins. It doesn't have music as awesome as the original's, but the tracks (particularly in the non-Power Edition version) are really nice, and (in my opinion) it's easier and more balanced than the original.
The entire Video Gmae The Tale Of Alltynex trilogy is very fit for this list especially since of those few who have played them consider them (espesially Kamui) to be the best games of the genre the PC has to offer.
And now it's available internationally, for digital purchase and download. Unfortunately, its Steam release is stuck in Greenlight, and the lack of awareness of non-Steam digital purchase sites means it isn't much more popular than it was before.
Donkey Kong Land 2 and III. These are two games that sadly, didn't get as much attention their Super NES counterparts got. Donkey Kong Land 2 is a Game Boy port of Donkey Kong Country 2, with changes to the game from DKC2. A lot of the game has changed to fit to accommodate the Game Boy's limitations. (though Misblamed on Rare). Even for an 8-bit system, the second game's underrated, yet awesome music by Grant Kirkhope is still as awesome as its Super NES counterpart, even if the sound system was limited. Donkey Kong Land III is a different game that's based on DKC3. The entire game is different (with a couple bosses missing; it still somehow keeps the trend of awesome music for an 8-bit system. This time it's Eveline Fischer composing). It also includes a time attack mode as a reward for completely beating the game. The only complaint (to some) is that the game may be too short forsome people. It also received a Video Game Remake for the Game Boy Colour in 2000 that never left Japan.
Hell, how many coolZX Spectrum games, including homebrews get little attention?! You'd never thought that Sturgeon's Law now would apply not only for crud but for overlooked things! ...on one ocassion, I even think it would grow into a separate category. One day.
AWS Mortal Kombat. A mishmash of the original MK and its' sequel which, unlike the other attempts to "create MK on ZX", is fully finished and WORKS. What it seriously suffers from, still, is the lack of Color-Coded Multiplayer.
Kliatba Noci a.k.a. Curse of the Night, a funky horror beat-'em-up platformer, where you guide the protagonist, Loki, through the castle literally filled with mages, skeletons and beasts while you listen to this music.
Wolfenstein. Just Wolfenstein. Of course, you'd expect the protagonist to be Willie Blazkowicz, but no. While he makes his way through a Nazi prison, a Russian scout known as Shtirlitz will help him to finish the WWII. Along with breathtaking speed, visuals, excellent chiptunes and EVEN a level editor, you sure need to take a look at it. One little problem is able to spoil the game completely, though... You can't strafe.
Several Phantomas remakes. Just imagine. One tape contains a lot of understandment of HOW overlooked these and the original game was, plus Nintendo Hardness and a lot of unexpected demo effects which start to show up EVEN at the loading screen.
Rival Schools is a fighting game series that manages to have a plot that isn'tpaper thin yet not overly complex, has arguably Capcom's most varied character designs since Darkstalkers and an accessible fighting engine that still contains a deep metagame for skilled players. Despite this, Capcom has hardly given it a chance to succeed (the original was released during the initial wave of 3D fighters and ended up being overlooked; and the second was released only on the Dreamcast after the console was announced it would be discontinued) and the series toils in obscurity along with the company's otherfightinggamefranchises, even during the current fighting game renaissance.
Star Gladiator is in the same boat as Rival Schools, in which it has a unique yet effective storyline and an interesting diverse cast of characters, complete with great memorable music and fluid fighting gameplay. Just like Rival Schools, Capcom has hardly given Star Gladiator a chance to succeed and that it had faced the same problems that Rival Schools had to endure. It's quite unfortunate that the series shares a spot with Rival Schools from within the world of obscurity.
There's even a fighting game franchise that's already named Street Fighter that never did get enough appreciation: Street Fighter EX. In fairness to Capcom, though, they can't just develop the series if they please, partly due to the fact that they aren't the only owners of the franchise (Arika owns the non-Street Fighter characters: Hokuto, Skullomania, etc.), but still.
Folklore. It's not the most polished game, and it does have its issues, but it's a lovely little action-RPG with a unique art style, a cool game mechanic (one of the few games to use the Sixaxis controller right) and engaging story. It was just one of those games that slipped under the cracks and wasn't good enough to be a cult classic like Psychonauts.
Steambot Chronicles for the PS2 may not be on the same level as Mass Effect or Fable, but it makes up for it's lack of diverse story branches with a great music, a simple sandbox set up, and a cast of quirky characters that seemed to have stepped right out of a Miyazaki-Ghibli feature film.
Wild9 was a great game for the PS1, that played rather similar to Earthworm Jim. Had great graphics, and a funny gameplay. Almost nobody knows about it.
Gex. The first game is often cited to be one of the best games on the 3DO, enough to warrant a PlayStation port and two sequels. The first game, a side-scrolling 2D platformer with pre-rendered sprites, was about a gecko named Gex who was Trapped In Tv Land by an evil (alien?) overlord named Rez who wanted to make Gex the new mascot. It was an excellent, addictive game that was Nintendo Hard but not unfair, with hilarious one-liners from Gex, voiced by Dana Gould. The sequel, Gex: Enter The Gecko for the PlayStation and Nintendo 64, featured Gex being bribed by a Government Agency of Fiction to go back into the Media Dimension to make Rez 'dissappear'. The game had a Super Mario 64 style 'pointless item collecting' vibe. While it wasn't exactly as good as it's predecessor, it was still an enjoyable experience (despite occasional bouts of Camera Screw). Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko featured Agent Xtra, a fellow secret agent, being kidnapped by Rez to get to Gex. Gex rescues Xtra with the help of his butler, Alfred the Turtle, his cousin, Cuz the Platipus, and Rex the Dinosaur. The gameplay is similar to the last game, except with the other characters, bonus stages, and a Debug Room. Unfortunately, Eidos apparently was too busy milking Lara Croft to continue with the series, despite many believing that it would make the leap to the Sixth Generation of Consoles.
There's also Moonbase Commander, which was obscure to the point that it was responsible for killing Humongous. It was a unique strategy game that was easy to pick up and play, and was very addictive. It actually won IGN's "Best Game No-One Played of 2002" award, and is considered a great game that deserves a lot more attention.
Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure, one of EA's unappreciated masterpieces. A critical darling but commercial flop, it combines hack and slash combat, Panel de Pon and the closest a professionally-made game will ever come to Platform Hell. It's got a charming, original presentation, memorable characters, incredibly smooth gameplay, you transform into a Steampunk Mecha by DRINKING TEA, and it's one of the hardest games for the DS not made by Atlus. Oh, and it was developed by the same guys who make Madden.
From the same creators you have Monster Tale. It's the perfect mix of Metroidvania and Mon training. Just like Henry Hatsworth the music and graphics are good and effective, the story is silly but cute in it's own way. So why doesn't this game get any love? Because people look at the cover and think "Hey, the protagonist is a girl and she isn't hot? Logically, this is a game for girls! I bet it's super easy!". First of all, you'll probably forget Ellie is a girl since you'll be too busy blasting mooks with your braceletbuster and doing violent combos with your satchel, health is almost impossible to find and enemies get more cheap near the end, if you don't upgrade Ellie and learn to use Chompyou'll die soon. The worst part is, the creators were very aware of this, they were pressured to make either a male progonist or sexy female since that would increase sales. In the end, just like Henry Hatsworth, they picked the unconventional protagonist, the courage alone deserves respect.
The Legend of Dragoon is a Final Fantasy VII-esque game that came out two years after the aforementioned game and was published by Sony itself. The game featured the usual JRPG Turn-Based Combat, but occasionally you could turn into a Dragoon, a Dragon Knight, for a few turns and unleash your true power. Possibly the reason it's been underrated and somewhat unknown is because of its similarities to FFVII and the subsequent sequels.
And the music, more specifically the games main theme/credits song "If You Still Believe...". It's bound to send chills down your spine, especially when you know the context of the ending.
The Whispered World could use more love. It's a cute 2D quest/adventure game with memorable characters (sorrowful clown, nigh invincible caterpillar and a cowardly secret agent, just to name a few), surprisingly noob-friendly but challenging puzzles and artwork so beautiful you could hang each frame on the wall.
BUG!. A fun and comical platformer featuring a bug who has to travel six different worlds to save his family from an evil spider, it was also one of the first 3D platformers. Gameplay was fun- your character had a regular Goomba Stomp, but gained powerups too, while each set of levels had unique and different types of insectoid enemies. The bosses were quite entertaining- whether it be fending off a swamp worm, defeating a yeti, or playing fish tennis with an octopus. Level designs were great- there were many paths for the player to take in each level, including multiple secret paths. Despite all these lovely aspects, it's unfortunately become more of a Love It or Hate It these days.
Gubble is an extremely obscure yet fun puzzle maze game in the style of Pac-Man, except that more strategy is involved as the player needs to use different tools to extract the different objects throughout the level. With pseudo-3D graphics, good and entertaining gameplay, quirky characters and enemies as well as some of the best musicnever heard, it's a pity that hardly anybody knows about this gem of a game.
Krypton Egg is an excellent breakout clone with a cool powerup mechanic.
Tornado Outbreak, a surprisingly well-done clone of Katamari Damacy made by former Sucker Punch and Naughty Dog members that focuses on flinging things away instead of attaching them, with a nice co-op mode, an actual plot and unique powerups. See here.
While Touhou has a huge fandom, attention towards the predecessor PC-98 games seems to be small. While the graphics may not be as advanced, and an emulator is required to run them on a modern computer, they are extremely good. The music is just as good as the music from the newer games, the characters just as frilly and interesting, and the gameplay is actually a bit easier than the Windows games — perfect if you're looking to get into Touhou but suck at Bullet Hell.
Touhou Danmakufu has a surprisingly small fandom compared to Touhou, even though some of the scripts are on par with, or even better than, the official games. And, unlike the official games, Danmakufu itself and many of the scripts can be downloaded legally for free. If you fear Sturgeon's Law, just check out the reviews before you download scripts.
Star Soldier is a odd case. You've probably heard of it, but have you ever played it? Shame, because it's an excellent shooter.
The Kirby series is well known and already popular, but one game in the series that was vastly ignored (mostly due to F-Zero and Mario Kart: Double Dash) was Kirby Air Ride. With unique controls, interesting gameplay, an amazing orchestrated soundtrack, and the adventurous City Trial mode, this game could have been more innovative had people not been so harsh on it.
Abuse, a PC side scrolling platformer from the early '90s. Had a great atmosphere, mutants that closely resembled Alien, and was incredibly fun!
Po Po Lo Crois is a Japanese RPG series for the PlayStation which was almost released over here, but wasn't. No fan translations exist, but if you understand Japanese, check it out. Even if you don't, an English version was released on the PSP which combined the plots of the first and third game. Apparently it's vastly inferior to the originals, but still fun. Two anime series were also created, both of which have been subbed by some awesome guy named Wyrdwad (who incidentally is Tom Lipschultz, a localization manager at XSEED Games).
Noitu Love, especially the sequel. It is a brilliantly fun game, a 2D side-scrolling beat 'em up with great boss battles, a sense of humour, and a whole pile of fun. The definitely as much love as it can get, as the creator, Joakim 'Konjak' Sandberg is in dire monetary straits, and had a kind of crisis of confidence. Check out his website: he's also released a game called Chalk which is fun on a bun, and there's a whole bunch of unfinished and/or abandoned projects that show he has real game-making chops. Here's a few game trailers you should check out.
The Escape Velocity series by Mac-based shareware developers Ambrosia are great. They're basically Elite from a 2D, top-down perspective. Become a trader, a pirate, hero of United Earth, fly off into the unknown to meet new alien races, whatever. The first two, Escape Velocity and Override were originally only released on pre-X version of Mac OS, but the newest, Escape Velocity Nova, was released for Mac OS X and Windows, and total conversions of Nova to the previous two are available.
Opoona, dubbed a "Lifestyle RPG", was largely ignored by the gaming community (despite favorable reviews) due to it looking like an rpg for kids, being hard to classify into a simple genre, and for being able to be played with just the nunchuck for some reason (it's way better to use the classic controller). The game, worldwide, sold about 75000 units. But the game had a fun new battle system based on trying to arc your attacks to hit the most enemies, large assortment of mini-games in the form of regular jobs, a story with some interesting plot twists, a monumental amount of people who change what they say often, and a world so fully realized that towns had waste treatment facilities and each region had a selection of television shows, as well as entire museums full of art with different artistic periods. Add onto that an amazing soundtrack produced by Hitoshi Sakimoto. The sheer amount of work gone into making this title makes it a case study in world exploration. Deserves as much love as EarthBound.
The Reconstruction has incredibly detailed wordbuilding, interesting characters and plot, and an inspired take on the Eastern RPG formula that makes it an incredibly fun and interesting game. Unfortunately, despite being nominated as a featured game on RMN, it has low publicity even by RPG Maker game standards, barely seeming to have caused a blip on the radar.
Surprisingly, its prequel, I Miss the Sunrise, is actually getting significantly more publicity, though it's still pretty obscure. With any luck, by the time it's finished, it will have at least risen to Cult Classic levels.
Noctis is a galaxy generator exploration game yet look at how little is on its page.
Robopon wasn't the most fast game ever, but it and its sequel did a good job of distinguishing itself from Pokemon as well as having an interesting, quirky story.
The Ys series. With a decent sized fanbase in Japan, but a minuscule one in the rest of the world, it's a great series with great characters, and pretty fun gameplay. The PSP remakes and Ys Seven from the same system are definitely worth your time if you're an RPG fan.
The Meteos series. It got a quick burst of popularity for being an early-release DS game and sunk quickly into obscurity afterwards, despite being the game that allowed Q? Entertainment to be taken seriously as a game company. It takes the Falling Blocks and Match Three Game concepts for puzzle games and turns it on its head: Instead of them disappearing, they launch upwards, sending every block above them upwards too, which is how you actually clear the field. Also unique to puzzle games is a large set of playable characters (actually civilizations, but they function as characters) who have their own traits, such as field size, color composition and frequency, how quickly the blocks move, and so forth, requiring different strategies. It doesn't look bright for the Meteos series, however, as Q? Entertainment seems to prefer its little brother Lumines and has struck it big with Child of Eden.
Monkey Hero: AND HOW! It was an action RPG released in 1999 for the PlayStation. Although the game was pretty much a Zelda clone it was actually pretty good. It had a strong sense of atmosphere , good graphics and a kick ass soundtrack to boot! In the game you play as a monkey named monkey and travel a wide spacious world exploring dungeons and defeating bosses to collect all of the magic storybook pages to defeat the nightmare king. You even get to use a wide inventory of unique items and weaponry. The game is sadly virtually unknown .
Black for the PlayStation 2 might be a bit of tech demo game and quite short, but it's also a load of fun to play. Lot's of explosions, gun porn and destructible environments makes for some memorable moments, not to mention a difficulty level rarely seen in FPSs.
NieR is a flawed game that seemed to created a strong divide between critics, and at first glance could be mistaken as just a Zelda clone. But it has an interesting mix of varied gameplay mechanics and an equally beautiful and heartbreaking story. And it has one of the most memorable New Game plus modes due to the different perspective it provides on some of the events in the game.
Darkwatch is an arcadey fps set in a Wild West/Horror/Steam Punk universe, and at times feels a bit similar to Painkiller. Even though it's repetitive at times it's still a lot of fun throughout.
Might and Magic:Dark Messiah is a very immersive action-RPG that eventually gained itself a bit of a cult following. It has some cool spells and environmental kills, and the few cutscenes that there are very interesting. Despite numerous glitches and some dodgy level design it's really a great experience overall.
The Deep Cave is a challenging side-scrolling platformer on Xbox Live Indie. It has an incredible 8-bit soundtrack and for is unmissable at the price of one dollar.
Sam & Max Season 1 and 2 is a fantastic entry into the adventure genre. The puzzles generally tend to work on absurd logic, but the hints in the dialogue and small level sizes never makes them frustrating. The writing is incredible witty and has all sorts of pop culture references and dark humor.
and now with season 3 which was still a great game. it has one of the most depressing endings of the series.
Alpha Protocol doesn't have quite as polished gameplay as one might hope, but it's still a great sucessor to Deus Ex and Vampires: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. There's an unbelievable level of freedom when it comes to making choices that effect the character and plot development, and the writing is top notch also.
The Granstream Saga, a game that seamlessly blends fighting and JRPG style. Yes, that's right, the combat mechanics are a fighting game, but with leveling up, equipping armor and three different types of weapons, magic spells, and a truly unique story, complete with gorgeous anime cutscenes and excellent voice acting. Flaws: blocky graphics, especially on faces, and having to compete with Final Fantasy VII.
Last Scenario, a game that was made in RPG Maker, yet rivals or exceeds any iteration of Final Fantasy in the quality of its writing and gameplay. The plot is deliberately initially set up as a Cliché Storm, but everything is eventually subverted Tales Series-style. It has well-written Character Development, interesting plot twists and awesome pacing and reveals. Sadly, many people are put off by the simple, mediocre art, lame beginning and stock tiles and music.
The Chaos Rings series, especially Chaos Rings II. A gem of an Eastern RPG with great characters, fun gameplay, and an engrossing plot by the same studio that made the cult classic Wild ARMs series. Sadly, they are for IOS devices, which has not yet gotten a reputation as a "serious" gaming platform. As a result, hardly anyone has played them.
Neo Tokyo. You'll be surprised in how detailed this Half-Life 2 mod is. It is based on multiplayer with focus on teamwork as there is no damage direction indicator. Every engagement is always fast and fatal. Couple this with commercial-quality maps and in-game models and you get one of the most hailed upcoming mod in it's time. Too bad to developers seems to abandon it and not much of it's player base are left.
The Space Bar: Thanks to a bad combination of epic bad luck with choice of producers, lousy marketing and a short print run, and having both turn limits and deaths in an era when adventure gaming was changing to become more and more forgiving instead, the game ended up being mostly relegated to the obscurity bin. However, the game is full of clever writing and dialogue (unsurprising, since it was written by Steve Meretzky of A Mind Forever Voyaging and Leather Goddesses of Phobos fame), manages to be both genuinely funny and genuinely creepy in places, uses all wonderfully creative and strange ideas for aliens, and has some excellent voice acting (including Alan Rickman (!)). Oh, and the character designs were done by Ron Cobb. Yes, that one and also that one.
ATV Offroad Fury definitely counts. With fun controls, Good Bad Bugs (this troper has a lot of fun running over a tiny bush and watching his ATV literally fly in the air) and an excellent soundtrack (who can say know to a game with music from Soundgarden, Bender [no, not that one] and Sevendust?), it really Needs More Love.
Drill Dozer takes a single gameplay mechanic, drilling, and manages to make a great game out of it. Made by Game Freak, known for Pokémon, Drill Dozer has beautiful graphics, awesome music, some really epic boss fights and just a flat-out cool design for the dozer and main character. It just had the misfortune of being released in the Game Boy Advance's last days.
Universe at War: Earth Assault was a (unusually enough) good RTS for the Xbox 360 with a good story, decent gameplay, a soundtrack by Frank Klepacki (the guy who composed for Command And Conquer) and proof that just because a trope is old does not mean it is bad. However, it just never caught on and the planned sequel was canceled. Darn shame, if you ask me.
You may have played Puzzle League before, at some point in your life. You probably have not, however, played - or even heard of - or even played - Panel de Pon, outside of Super Smash Bros.. While the gameplay is more or less the same as later incarnations of the series, the character designs are what earns it a spot on this page. The game, and its Nintendo Puzzle Collection pseudo-sequel, has some of the most adorable characters you're ever going to see (I daresay it's more adorable than Kirby, a difficult feat to accomplish!). Unfortunately for us, Nintendo of America seems hell-bent on making sure we never get a chance to play the game in its original incarnation — hence the two Dolled Up Installments and removal of Lip's stage from Planet Puzzle League.
Swan Song is a rather unnoticed Visual Novel. It deals with a group of six survivors of an earthquake that destroys an entire town surrounded by mountains and their struggle to survive. Although it is not exceptional, it is an enjoyable read for those who enjoy post-apocalyptic stories.
Conquest Frontier Wars has all the elements of a great game, good gameplay, decent storyline, good quality cutscenes ,and well balance factions. There was suppose to be a sequel, but the developers went bankrupt, leaving its fate unknown.
Getter Love!!, one of the few dating sims both for the Nintendo 64 and without any explicit content whatsoever, as well as the Spiritual Successor to the Mario Party series. Released only in Japan on December 4, 1998, all kinds of wacky hijinx ensue as you challenge three other guys to build as much of a relationship as possible with one of seven girls while hindering said rivals with theirs, and eventually confess your love to her.
Robotrek, a SNES robotic mon RPG that predates Pokemon by 2 years, you even start each battle throwing a suspiciously Pokeball-like capsule to summon your robot! Robotrek has a intriging story that is neither too dark nor too childish, an massive amount of customization (for the time) exists for your 3 robots weapons, color, and statistics, and you'll invent new objects by mixing various items together. I have yet to see even a spiritual sequel not to mention a true one.
Kya: Dark Lineage is a PS2 platformer starring a big city girl who goes to a fantasy world to save her half-brother. Despite getting positive reviews across the board, the game was mostly over-looked by gamers. This was mainly because the game came out the same time more anticipated titles were also being released.
The First-Person-Shooter, XIII was a big anticipated game about the classic french comic book series. It was even developed by the french branch of Ubisoft. The game was suppose to be the beginning of a trilogy. However, when the game came out, it was panned by most of the mainstream reviewers, resulting in low sales. However, word-of-mouth has vindicated the game as being one of the best story-based shooters you can play, with great cell-shaded graphics and a bombastic jazz soundtrack.
FromSoftwares Otogi: Myth of Demons is one of the most unknown original Xbox games, which is a shame because it combines Everything Breaks, Scenery Porn, Soundtrack Dissonance, and a simple yet effective combat system to make one of, if not the best games, then at least one of the most interesting games around…And then there’s the Sequel, which is so unknown that even people who have played the first one often don’t know about it. Otogi 2 Immortal Warriors was a near total improvement over the first game, better graphics, better music, better stages, and SIX playable characters to Otogi’s one. It is easily one of the best games on the Xbox, and the fans that do know about it would probably give anything for a next-gen sequel or an HD re-release, and the original Xbox copies are not Xbox 360 compatible.
Time Hollow by Konami. It is fairly easy but the characters and the story make it an enjoyable gaming experience.
Gradius Gaiden. Although Gradius itself is a pretty well-known series, Gaiden, at least in the West, just hasn't gotten the attention it deserves, thanks to an unexported PS1 release and an overshadowed rerelease on Gradius Collection for PSP. It boasts some very pretty stage variety, fun gimmicks like a black hole sucking up the stage and a crystal stage that refracts laser shots, excellent ship selection that makes it hard to decide which ship is the most option, and most importantly, especially for beginners, the option to rearrange your power meter; a very practical use for this is to put Option and/or Shield in the fornt slots so that you can very quickly get shields and options, instead of having to wait for five or six power capsules. Finally the length is just right at about 30 minutes, and it's also one of the easier titles in the series. Of course, if you don't like easy games, you can always start on the second loop of the game instead of the first, which throws some new obstacles at you, including a totally new boss.
Dark Cloud, Good gameplay, great story,a good, if flawed, party system and an amazing soundtrack. Most who have played agree it is great and that the sequel (DarkChronicle) is even better.
The 2001 PC Game Hostile Waters. Awesome Premise, setting and internal Mythology (look it up on the TV Tropes page), still holds up both in graphics (except when it comes to animation of humans but it's only used in cinematics) and the gameplay uniquely merges Real Time action and strategy with resource management. You control a carrier that can, provided with enough energy create Tanks, hovercrafts, Helicopters and other stuff out of dirt and thin air. Awesome Vehicle design. Great Story. Nice Characters. Nanobots. Aliens. Fridge Brilliance. Actual Challenge (later on more so).
Vectorman for the Sega Genesis. Developed by Blue Sky Software, it was most well known for its graphics (near PSX quality on the Genesis) but even beyond that it was a great game that was extremely fun and had a lot of charm, thanks in part to the mini-game rounds between levels. The sequel was just as enjoyable and great in its own right as well.
Bloody Roar by Hudson Soft. While most fighting games (besides Virtua Fighter and Tekken) need a gimmick to make it anywhere, Bloody Roar had one that worked; namely, the Beast Gauge. The ability to turn into an anthropomorphic animal during battle opened up all kinds of crazy possibilities for combat, and was an interesting premise on its own. The fighting is fluid, and the controls are often solid (save for the fourth game). Each game sports crisp, well-detailed graphics that fit their generation, and even have well-done soundtracks (2 in particular was cited as "the long-lost cousin of Guilty Gear").
This is to say nothing of the plot, which had a surprisingly intricate narrative for a fighting game of the time. With tense relations between humans and Zoanthropes as a shady corporation reminiscent of Umbrella sought to manipulate the Zoanthropes to their own end, the series was essentially Japan's first answer to X-Men. Sadly, this premise was slowly phased out for more mythical (and some would say mundane) plotlines after Bloody Roar 2, which coincidentally(?) hit full tilt with the fourth game.
TRON 2.0. Hoo boy, where to begin? THIS was the original sequel to TRON before TRON: Legacy deposed it. Created by Monolith Studios, you played as Alan Bradley's son who gets digitized by someone it is implied to be his mother to stop the viral invasion of ENCOM. Barely anyone in the TRON fandom seems to know about this game and Buena Vista Entertainment seemed to screw over the game when they could, including releasing two different versions of one patch, making it so that players could not play with others who had the other version of the patch. This was never officially fixed. Even though it got an Xbox port (which is not backwards compatable with the Xbox 360), BVE refused to patch in the new weapons introduced in the Xbox version.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is a spin off game of the Call of Juarez series. It's a small, stand alone little downloadable title that didn't get much in the way of marketing, but packs a lot of fun, creativity, and wonderful writing in the short run time it has. Remember the famous narration gimmick Bastion had that everyone loved? Apparently Gunslinger liked it too and decided to take the concept and run away with it; the entire game is the result of an old Bounty Hunter relating his tales of adventure to some bar patrons, and as the tales go on and get more and more outlandish the patrons interupt his story and point out contradictions and inconsistencies all over the place, which is actually reflected in gameplay when set dressings or vistas will suddenly appear or disappear because it was revealed to have all been a lie, or simply not how the story teller was remembering it happening. The Gameplay and Story Integration is so superb that, at a $15 asking price, it deserves to hold a place in everyone's hard drive based library.
Iggy's Reckin' Balls is a quirky and very underrated Nintendo 64 game that combines racing and platforming in a unique manner, all of it done with spherical, comical characters that just have a grappling hook, their jumping abilities, and a selection of random items picked up from the course to use as they try to get to the top of the towers they're trying to wreck.
Mario Kart Arcade GP and its sequel. Sure it's not the same Mario Kart we all know and love due to being co-developed by Namco, but the new items are pretty neat, the powersliding mechanic is heaps of fun, and in versus races, you can choose what items to randomly select when you get item boxes, adding an element of strategy when using items. The items are also more balanced; you won't find any lightning bolts or blue shells here! Sadly, the card system, which allows you to save stats and items won from races, is virtually nonexistant in the United States, forcing players into a nerfed experience.
Popn Music, while a mainstay in Japanese arcades, is quite obscure and underappreciated outside of Asia thanks to a combination of No Export for You, proper console setups* that is, with an arcade-size controller being prohibitively expensive (not to mention the console games having fairly limited songlists and being out of print), and viral "crazy Japanese speed game" videos effectively ruining first impressions for those not familiar with rhythm games. The visuals are cute and colorful, song variety is immense, including electronic music, rock, jazz, and various anime themes, and slapping nine big buttons to music is fun as hell. The series also has a Battle Mode where two players can duke it out in three-button matches. If you happen to encounter a pop'n cabinet in a public setting, and are into rhythm games, it's definitely worth a try, if you can understand the mostly-in-Japanese interface.
Project Gotham Racing is a very underrated racing game series developed exclusively for Xbox and Xbox 360. It has everything for being one of the foremost racing games, but their developer, Bizarre Creations, has been closed, and the series has languished in the shadow. The last game of the series exited in 2007, so no one really cares about this series anymore, but it's definitely worth a shot. It heavily emphasizes in stunt driving, which earn you Kudos, basically the EXP system of the game. The more Kudos you gain, the wider the selection of championships is given to you. The game modes range from the self-explanatory race against other rivals, to the last-man-standing race, and even style challenges emphasizing stunts. You race in various huge cities around the world such as London, New York, Tokyo and Las Vegas, and the car roster is pretty darn big, with many legendary vehicles such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, and even Rare Vehicles such as the Caparo T1 (a road-legal Formula One car) and the Callaway Sledgehammer Twin Turbo (a souped-up Corvette).
Shadow the Hedgehog: While the title character himself gets his fair share of love from the fans, his game doesn't. SDTH has excellent music, good graphics (for the time), a moral choice branching storyline that actually is different depending on the choices, almost two dozen levels, a gripping plot, and significantly less corny dialog than most Sonic games. However, despite being one of the most innovative games in the entire Sonic franchise, Shadow the Hedgehog was critically panned and is the victim of much undeserved Hatedom.
Give Groove Heaven some try, it's really catchy, music was great, and the character designs looks cute. It never had its page on here yet, but there must be plans for it. You can download the game for 4 dollars.
Not to be confused with Rhythm Heaven.
Vietcong, developed by the same people who made the Mafia games, is arguably one of the best tactical shooters about The Vietnam War. Sadly, it didn't get much of the attention it deserves.
Okage: Shadow King is a wonderful RPG with some great visuals and humorous writing and interesting characters. It's for the PS2 so it comes recommended for retro gamers or just fans of JRP Gs in general.
Gruntz is a very nice mix of a puzzle game and an RTS, with various funny elements and a very enjoyable atmosphere. It used to have a semi-active community which managed to create over 500 custom levels over the span of 14 years after its premiere. Sadly, now the main source of fan activity, the GooRoo's Gruntz Forum, is rarely ever seeing any kind of activity nowadays.
Crazy Market was a great casual game for PlayStation Vita and on Android, due to the anime-styled arts. It just had it's page on here, so you would like to help editing them.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories integrated player interaction with narrative in some truly innovative and clever ways that pushed the boundaries of interactive storytelling and featured complex, interesting characters and a neat Mind Screw at the end. It was also a late entry in a series widely considered to have Jumped the Shark years before, released on a console not widely favored by fans of its genre (survival horror), and the genre itself is ultra-niche in the best of circumstances, leading it to be largely overlooked.
Vexx: A videogame so obscure, that hardly anyone in the world seems to have even heard of its existence. Granted it wasn't the best game in the world, it included nearly every classic platforming trick in the book for platformer fans. Although it was technically a complete game, it could have been better had more time for its development been allotted.
Hexyz Force, a fantasy RPG made by Sting Entertainment, of Dept.Heaven fame. It has likable characters with funny interactions, a pretty good story with some unexpected plot twists, and an awesome weapon management system. It's also chock full of sidequests and the two scenarios allow for two almost completely different stories. It's not perfect, but a good game for those who like the classic RPG formula.
It made a grim sort of sense at the time with their lack of publisher, but it's baffling that Square Enix is not showing their opus Terranigma due to its poor Japanese sales. It's gotten a cult following in Germany, but it has never been given a proper market in The United States, and is sitting there fully translated in English, yearning for a Virtual Console release.
Shadows of the Damned, is a fun and funny Resident Evil 4 ish horror fest. It was created by Shinji Mikami, written by Suda 51, and had music composed by Akira Yamaoka, three big named people in the gaming industry. It got great reviews, but unfortunately it sold like crap due to its poor marketing and has sadly gone unnoticed. If you have the chance, buy it. It's short, but you'll have a Hell of a time playing it.
The Wario series (AKA Wario Land, WarioWare, Wario World, and Wario: Master of Disguise). Best described as a series of cult classics which somehow seems to lack the "cult" aspect (they somehow don't have any forums about them, any blogs about them or any organised fandom at all on the internet), the series consists of a mix of extremely good 2D puzzle / combat platformers and mini game compilations filled with crazy humour and some real good music. It's just that somehow, they've both got stuck in phase 1 / early phase 2 of the Fandom Life Cycle trope and haven't managed to break out yet. And that Nintendo doesn't seem to like marketing any of the games. Definitely a couple of series that need more love (and arguably some semblance of a fanbase in general).
Though the one game in the series that gets this the worst has to be Virtual Boy Wario Land. The combination of it being on a system that had a short shelf life, the said system being Nintendo's most famous failed platform, and the lack of any kind of re-release from Nintendo means not many people have played it, which is really a shame as it's considered not only one of the best Wario games by some but also the best game for the Virtual Boy by those who did get to play it. There is fan demand for a re-release both by people who did and even didn't play it. Most want it on the 3DS due to the obvious 3D capabilities of the system in order to re-create the 3D effects the game had on the Virtual Boy.
Aidyn Chronicles, an N64 game from THQ. Despite its (extremely) small following and lukewarm reception, the game was noted as having a deep gameplay system, a relatively large cast of characters with their own personality and stories, an intriguing world, and a story that compelled you enough to want to finish. Unfortunately, the combat system tended to be rather clunky and left the title mostly ignored.
The Oddworld series. While they were moderately popular when they came out, they've pretty much been forgotten in this day and age. The Scenery Porn is amazing, the comedy is legitimately funny, and the stories cover dark themes without getting too preachy.
Eternal Darkness. While it is really well known to survival horror fans, if you try talking about it to someone, chances are they're not gonna know what your talking about. Which is sad because Eternal Darkness is amazing. It has great atmosphere, gameplay, story, and most importantly the infamous sanity meter, which when empty will cause the game to scare the player by either messing with your t.v. volume, erase your memory card, or give you the Blue Screen of Death. It got great reviews, but it sadly bombed in terms of sales probably because it was a Lovecraftian horror game released for the Nintendo GameCube. It's also really rare too, so if you're interested in this game, you'll just have to look hard for a copy. But if you do find one, be prepared for the insanity that is Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.
Slap Happy Rhythm Busters is a little-known fighting game for the PlayStation 1 which despite being mostly in English never saw a release outside of Japan. This ridiculously named fighter has an art style which can be closesly related to that of the Jet Set Radio series, although not a rip-off by any means as they came out at roughly the same time. The game play can be described as a sort of mix between The King of Fighters and Marvel vs Capcom, and features a unique twist in how it handles finishing moves - landing the first hit of the finisher will open up a beatmania-esque mini-game that both players perform in, where the attacker attempts to deal more damage and the defender attempts to sabotage. Truly an overlooked gem hidden deep in the PSX's back catalog.
Skullgirls is a well-polished game with an interesting universe, great fighting mechanics, and a good art-style... that is sadly overlooked by some of the more heavyhitters in the genre. Despite having a devoted fanbase, said fanbase is small. Being a downloadable only, fanservice-laden game with an Improbably Female Cast certainly doesn't help matters.
While many remember Doom, Doom II, and Doom 3, very few has ever played or heard of Doom 64. The game is essentially "the Doom 3 of the classic series".note Doom 64 uses a modified version of the Doom engine and followed up on the storyline of the first two games It took the old Doom games and give it a much darker atmosphere, redrawn enemies, and on top of solid gameplay, it has an incredibly ominous and creepy soundtrack that made it feel like a horror game. Unfortunately it sold poorly due to being up against the likes of GoldenEye 007 and Turok, which stole all of the attention at the time. The title itself also mislead people into thinking it was another port of Doom despite being an original game. Thankfully The Happy Video Game Nerd's review of the game has helped spread the word and a Doom modder has recreated the game for PC.
The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night for the Game Boy Advance. While the PlayStation 2}} / Wii version has a lot of cheap difficulty and no particularly good sequences, and the Nintendo DS version feels very slow and clunky, the Game Boy Advance version is a horribly under-appreciated Metroidvania. Even within the Spyro fandom, this game is hardly mentioned. The graphics are gorgeously detailed, the combat mechanics work smoothly, and skillful playing is rewarded (maintaining an attack combo rewards you with experience, which you can spend to upgrade elemental breaths, giving them additional effects and strength). There are also a decent amount of collectables and several difficulty options- including a bonus difficulty option, Dark Mode, which you unlock by beating the game on hard difficulty.
This isn't surprising, however. The other games in the trilogy had mixed reaction, its predecessor The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning for the GBA was received badly, and (according to The Other Wiki) this was the last GBA game released in Europe.
Freedom Planet can best be described as "What if Treasure made a Sonic the Hedgehog game?" Many consider the game's quality on par or even higher than that of the original 2D Sonic games, noting the improvements in the core formula (ditching Collision Damage, adding a proper health bar and combat moves), great level design, stellar presentation and interesting influences from other genre classics like Mega Man X and Rocket Knight Adventures. More toned and less enthusiastic reception can also be found, but even the most critical voices (reporting problems with the plot and unbalanced difficulty curve) still admit that a lot of heart was put into the title. While it has gained a small but loyal fanbase, many gamers have quickly and wrongfully dismissed it as a shameless Sonic the Hedgehog rip-off with DeviantArt character design. In the eyes of people who played the game, it hasn't gotten as much attention as it deserves. The developer admitted near the time the game was released that he was more focused on delivering a polished product than marketing it properly.
Castlevania: Bloodlines certainly needs more love. During the 16-bit generation it was hard to measure up to both Super Castlevania IV and Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (both of which are often held up by different fans as the best "old school" Castlevania title). It also suffers from the Genesis's sprite limitations, forcing the player-characters to be the size of their NES counterparts. It also has extremely odd artwork for the sub-weapons (the boomerang actually looks like a boomerang and not a cross); the main villain is not Dracula, and the plot doesn't make sense unless you've actually read Dracula. The creative decisions are an acquired taste, but the gameplay is excellent, with some of the best level designs in series history (and a LOT of them, the game is almost as long as Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.) The game also has an alternate protagonist and item crash just like Rondo of Blood. Irritatingly, it's the only non-remake Castlevania game prior to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that has yet to see a rerelease on current platforms.
Dynamite Headdy. An incredibly fun and challenging platformer for the Sega Genesis, featuring one of gaming's best soundtracks, with uniqueness and personality oozing from every pore...and yet it seems barely anyone has heard of it.
The 2013 Killer Instinct reboot is an incredibly fun fighting game. Every character feels unique in how they play, the mechanics are all solid, and in true Killer Instinct fashion the cast is incredibly varied (it is, after all, the only fighting game series where a raptor can fight a skeleton and it makes sense), not to mention it's being updated with new content on a monthly basis at the time of this writing. Sadly, it's exclusivity to the Xbox One and the upcoming releases of more high-profile fighting games (namely Mortal Kombat X and Street Fighter V) have left it largely ignored, in spite of Microsoft pushing it as a flagship Xbox One title and being free-to-play.
Eternal Champions and its Sega CD sequel, Challenge from the Dark Side are two awesome fighting games from Sega Interactive that will make you come back for more! The story to these games is pretty cool and detailed (for fighting game standards anyway). Nine (thirteen in the sequel) fighters throughout time were destined to do great things, but they all died before they could fulfill their destinies and the Eternal Champion has set up a contest to determine the strongest fighter to revive with the knowledge that will help them avoid their death. The gameplay is pretty good, too and it will make you think of a good strategy to defeat the CPU opponents, but the Story Mode in the first game is EXTREMELY hard and if you lose a match, you will be sent back to the previous match. Thankfully, the sequel's story mode is easier and more manageable and you can even use some continues if you have to. The characters are cool and interesting, the music in both games is awesome and fitting and the first game has a training mode where you can hone your chosen character's skills. Even though the first game sold over 2 million copies in it's heyday, no one seems to know about it. It's a shame. Thankfully the original Eternal Champions on the Sega Genesis got re-released on Steam and the original Wii's Virtual Console.
Battle Garegga. Released in 1996 by 8ing/Raizing and the game that put Shinobu Yagawa on the map, Battle Garegga has a surprising amount of depth for a Shoot 'em Up. There are many Difficult but Awesome scoring tricks to learn (often involving shooting difficult-to-reach targets...without an Armor-Piercing Attack, or using the Smart Bomb on certain targets), and the game's complex Dynamic Difficulty system encourages the player to be strategic with their shots and to think wisely before picking up powerups. In addition, there are eight different ships (including the Mahou DaisakusenGuest Fighters) with four different types each, and each ship/character changes how the game is played. Though it has been eclipsed by the proliferation of Bullet Hell games in the 2000's and 2010's, there are players who still love the game and strive for the "letter" scoresnote when the score exceeds 9,999,999 points, the game starts using letters for the millions digit, or even just simply plan out ways to make the endgame possible, which shows just how much staying power the game has on the genre and its fans. As icing on the cake, its killer soundtrack is one of Manabu Namiki's earliest works.
Tone Sphere. Take osu, add charts designed for a multi-touch screen and an on-rails camera that makes you feel like you're playing a Light Gun Game, put in a diverse soundtrack (some of which you may recognize from the BMS of Fighters series) of about 35 tracks with four different charts each, make the scoring system fair and based on hit timing, and throw in all manners of funky "art major graphics". All for only 1.99 USD with free updates. Though best played on a tablet, it's surprisingly playable on smartphones too.
Two words: Point Blank. It's a series of addicting arcade shooting gallery games that unfortunately never made it past the 5th generation.
The Desolate Hope is a hybrid of genres, being an action RPG, platformer, and overhead roguelike all in one. Unfortunately, it's overshadowed by its creator's other work. The game looks pretty good, and is all the more impressive when you consider the fact that it was all made by one person. The music is catchy, and gets you pumped up for the extremely fast-paced boss battles, which will definitely give you a challenge if you're not prepared. It can get a bit grindy and repetitive at times, but the rest of the game is enjoyable. As if the deal needed to be sweetened any more, the game is free on Steam.
Dungeon Fighter Online. A nod to old school beat-em-up games to the likes of Street Fighter, Dungeon Fighter Online features heavy combo based gameplay, allowing you to choose to bind skills to hotkeys are manually performing commands for them. The music spawns a variety of genres, from rock, to heavy metal. It's retro graphics evoke the feelings of 90s era fighting games.
Tales of the Drunken Paladin. A game where your save point is a magical hobo, Tales of A Drunken Paladin doesn't take itself too seriously. It features hilarious writing, with surprisingly three dimensional characters underneath one-dimensional facades. The game parodies many RPG tropes while having genuinely heartwarming moments in between.
Whiplash is a PS2 platformer essentially about going around various parts of an enormous office complex and smashing everything you can with an indestructible rabbit on a chain. Aside from the fun of going around breaking things, the game is a nicely snarky, absurdist sense of humor, with immensely quotable dialogue. The game would have been a Fountain of Memes if it was more popular.