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    Action Adventure 
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum is more linear than its sequels or prequel, which are open world and feature plenty of sidequests (whereas the first game relies mostly on the Riddler's Collection Sidequest). It also lacks Batman's ability to slide while running, fire the Batclaw in mid-air and incorporate it during gliding. Nor does the Joker sing during the end credits.
  • Assassin's Creed is one of those success stories that somehow survived an extremely rough start. The gameplay is completely bare-bones; you can't interact with anyone who's not involved in some way with your missions. The only optional tasks are rescuing citizens from abusive guards (pretty easy), finding all the flags (a colossal pain without a guide), and killing the Templar Knights (ditto). Incidentally, there's no reward for the latter two tasks other than the game acknowledging that you did them. Your meager arsenal consists of a Hidden Blade, sword, short sword, and throwing knives. The Hidden Blade is all-or-nothing; if you don't get a kill, it does no damage whatsoever. You have no money or other resources whatsoever. If you land in any kind of water, you die instantly (a real pain when you get to Sibrand). Enemies in the countryside will attack you on sight, and you have to move VERY cautiously to avoid their attention. Oh, and let's not forget the violent derelicts that smack you all over the place, unbelievably irritating beggars, and loudmouth preachers which say the same damn things over and over and over. Just getting rid of that crap made ACII infinitely better.
  • In a fairly subtle example of tonal shift, the original LEGO Star Wars was much more of a straight retelling of the films with the occasional joke slipped in than the outright over-the-top parodic wackiness that would later become the standard for the LEGO Adaptation Game series.
    • In the very first game, only Jedi had the ability to build objects, with the regular build ability that's a hallmark of the series' gameplay being absent until the second Star Wars title. Additionally, in the second Star Wars game characters could take damage while building objects with Lego pieces which would reverse a lot of building progress. In all future Lego titles, characters are invulnerable to damage while they are building objects with Lego pieces.
    • In the first Star Wars game, only Jedi characters had close combat abilities through the use of lightsabers. The second one gave non-Jedi character close combat abilities through punching, likely because of the smaller amount of Jedi characters in the Original Trilogy, however non-combat oriented characters still couldn't fight at all. Beginning with the second Indiana Jones game, all characters had the ability to fight, even if it was just a basic punch.
    • Characters with blasters couldn't dodge in the first Star Wars, making playing as them a lot harder in the original game.
    • In the first two Star Wars games, in levels with multiple characters (in other words, more than just the default two), to switch to any additional ones you had to stand right next to them, and you'd need to do so several times in order to complete the puzzles. Beginning with the first LEGO Indiana Jones game, you could now switch between any character no matter how far away they were.
    • The earlier games simply had small hubs with doors to the different levels. Starting with the experiment of Lego Indiana Jones 2 and really finalized with Lego Harry Potter, the hubs became sprawling open worlds with a ton of content hidden in them.
    • Most of the early titles had no regular voice acting, with the characters speaking in incomprehensible grunts and mumbles. Beginning with Lego Batman 2 in 2012 the video games now featured fully-voiced dialogue.
  • Ratchet & Clank is very different to its sequels. Weapons don't upgrade (bar buying them with Gold Bolts), your health increase is bought only, not from leveling it up, and it starts at four health and only goes up to eight. The game initially has an air meter when you're underwater and no fast swimming (though both of these disappear when you get the appropriate gadgets, and the sequels keep them). Weirdest perhaps of all, the only way to strafe is bought through a hover pack upgrade well into the game (along with a mid air jump not present in the sequels), but makes it impossible to jump and you move very slowly. The later games are practically unwinnable without some quick strafe flipping. Also, Ratchet takes longer to run and swing his wrench, and must remain stationary if he throws it. He has a noticeably different voice actor as well.
    • Ratchet is also noticeably different as a character in the original game. In the first game he was characterized as a streetwise and teasingly sarcastic character out for a good romp who becomes arrogant and sour towards Clank for much of the game after Captain Qwark's betrayal (until he realizes the error of his ways and the two work together on common ground), while from the second game onward he is far more mature, warm-hearted and selfless (well, except for that one time in Tools of Destruction). Notably Ratchet also has strong desires to be a hero, an aspect added into the re-telling of the origin story in Ratchet & Clank (2016).
    • In the second game, Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, a First Person Mode was added, but it was only available in Challenge Mode after beating the game. Oddly, Ratchet could not swing his wrench in this mode (unless he's on a grind rail), only throw it.
    • There's also a noticeable shift in the games' storytelling starting with Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. Whereas the first five games and Secret Agent Clank are whacky episodic adventures, starting with Tools of Destruction (sans All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault) the series begins to take itself (slightly) more seriously and features explorations of the titular characters' origins and even features an overarching plot as opposed to the largely episodic nature of the PS2 and PSP games.
  • Unlike the rest of the Legacy of Kain games which are 3D exploration based genre, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain plays more like a The Legend of Zelda game. The vampires are also treated more like traditional vampires and less like eldritch abominations that we see in later games.
  • Yakuza
    • The first two PS2 games used fixed camera angles when exploring Kamurocho and Sotenbori (enabling free camera only in certain areas), didn't allow you transfer items via telephone, forcing the you to use item boxes in hideouts instead and Premium Adventure didn't allow you to carry save data, forcing you to do all the substories from scratch.
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    Beat 'em Up/Hack 'n Slash 
  • Devil May Cry 1 had several odd things done that would not show up again or behave differently in future installments:
    • There is no Real-Time Weapon Change feature, the game has swimming sections with one of your weapons being dedicated for those portions, there is no level select, and there are a total of 23 missions.note 
    • Once Hard Mode is unlocked, you can't go back and do Normal mode on a New Game+ until after the former has been beaten. After being beaten, then the game will allow to play on a lower or higher difficulty.
    • The Super Dante and the Sparda Costume have to be played in a new game, meaning you have to buy moves all over again.
    • There are no white orbs to regain Devil Trigger, but Dante can get a full a meter of it back after defeating certain mini bosses or sections when Phantom attacks Dante in a hallway. Some doors have to be unlocked by spending red orbs.
    • Even though there are 4 melee weapons, Alastornote , Sparda, and Force Edge all share mostly the same move set, only differing in special abilities, damage, or devil trigger. Or lack thereof.
    • 1 is the only game in the series that have unique fatalities performed on Dante when at critical health.
    • This and 2 are the only ones to have no camera control. 3 & 4 allowed some control of the camera while the reboot allowed full control of it.
    • The face buttons control completely different functions, with Triangle as the jump button being the most infamous (the HD Collections fix this).
    • In addition, there is a timer for some rooms when playing on Dante Must Die to let the player know how long they have before enemies devil trigger.
    • There is a rail shooting section at the end of the game.
    • No Bloody Palace.note 
  • This is played with in the case of the Dynasty Warriors games. The original Sangoku Musou was a straight-up fighting game featuring characters from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Following that, Shin Sangoku Musou was released, introducing the Hack and Slash gameplay that the series is known for. The latter game was localized as simply Dynasty Warriors 2, making it a clear example of this trope outside of Japan, while in Japan, they technically belong to separate series.
    • Dynasty Warriors 2 also had many differences from 3, which would be what the rest of the series would be based off of. First of all, the meatbun in a bamboo steamer upped both your health and musou bar in a stage instead of finding a meatbun filled steamer and a special wine that did the same separately. Another thing is that you could only string together four attacks for a combo. There were no weapons to speak of, which gave you an extra attack up to the third and fourth weapon for each character. There was no voice acting within stages, used exclusively for cutscenes before stages. Meng Huo, Zhu Rong and the Nanman tribe were completely absent. The only female character playable in Musou mode was Sun Shang Xiang. When you knocked down an enemy officer, they had the chance to completely refill their healthbar (Including Lu Bu). The game only had seven stages, with each kingdom having one exclusive stage. There was no Xtreme Legends expansion. Finally, a lot of now distinctive characters like Zhang He and Wei Yan were generic officers. Oh, and the game came on a purple disc instead of a clear DVD disc since it was one of the Playstation 2's launch titles.
    • Despite being a spin-off of Dynasty Warriors the first One Piece: Pirate Warriors game tries to be different from its parent series. Rather than being a hack'n'slash it was an awkward platformer made in the Dynasty Warriors engine, the bosses were puzzle based and as a result prone to being overly long and Dynasty Warriors style gameplay was relegated to multiplayer. The sequels settled into being much more straight forward " Dynasty Warriors with One Piece characters" games.
  • The original God of War lacks a lot of the combos that appear in the sequels, there are only three bosses, the 'Rage' special attack cannot be be interrupted and the gods don't appear physically but as fiery holograms and most of them are redesigned in later games (Hades has a demonic face as opposed to wearing a horned helm, Poseidon's an old bald guy as opposed to appearing young and having long brown hair, etc.). It's also the only game to feature or even mention Artemis. The extra videos include several possible storylines that will be retconned by further installments (Cronos is said to have died in the desert a century after the events of the game, Kratos' brother was originally taken by the Spartan soldiers and starved in the mountains and Kratos knew Zeus was his father much earlier). It's also worth noting that the storyline of the original is a classic Greek tragedy, an element that the sequels forgot.
  • Onechanbara 1 was actually titled "THE Oneechanbara", to keep in name with the budget theme the game was going for. Needless to say, this naming convention has since fallen into disuse. Not only that, but the first two games were also released in Europe only, named Zombie Hunters. When Bikini Zombie Slayers made it to US & EU, the Zombie Hunters name was dropped. Anyone who played Z: Kagura & Z2: Chaos first may find the earlier entries in the franchise like this too:
    • Aya and Saki are the only playable characters in the first game. An Updated Re Release of 1 and the sequels would bring additional unlockable characters. Also, Saki was just a model swap of Aya, with no unique moves of her own, and there being no stance system.
    • Saki is a villain for the first two games of series, and does not join Aya's side until Bikini Samurai Squad.
    • The series itself owed to Dynasty Warriors and Devil May Cry, while appealing more to the former early on. The games were known for having big open environments with additions to locked rooms. By the time of the Z series, the combat and stages became more DMC/Bayonettaesque, had smaller arenas,note  and allowed you to juggle enemies or do air combos.
    • The old entries have no ranking system. They did have a gameplay grading when doing combos similar to DMC, but those did not amount to much. Later games do away with that style of gameplay grading and just go for a standard combo counter and kill combos.
    • With the exception of some bosses, all of the cannon fodder you fight are mainly zombies. It is not until the Z games that the player fights werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was originally designed to be a vague prequel to the original game rather than set in its own continuity. The Prince mentions that his home city is Siraf, when the sequels established it to be Babylon. The game is also set in medieval Islamic Persia due to the Arabic inscriptions everywhere. The other games seem to be set in pre-Islamic Persia, since Babylon is the capital of the empire and The Forgotten Sands takes place in Israel, which was controlled by Achaemenid Persia but no later dynasties. Furthermore, the first game has a series of wall paintings depicting the origins of the Sands of Time, which contradict the backstory given in Warrior Within.
  • Monster Hunter had a lot of strange mechanics and differences in its earliest installments. Whereas most of the later games have a wide variety of weapons to choose from, the earlier games had relatively few weapon types, with the first game only having six types: Great Swords, Swords and Shield, Lances, Hammers, Light Bowguns, and Heavy Bowguns (the Western version had one additional weapon type in Dual Swords). The controls were also very obtuse and took a lot of getting used to, since attacking was done with the right analog stick and the camera was controlled with the D-pad (some later games kept this control scheme as an option while defaulting to the more traditional control scheme of attacking with face buttons and using the right stick to move the camera). In addition, the first games had a grueling Early Game Hell: in the first game alone, you only started out with a Sword and Shield, and no armor, with quests giving out very meager rewards and crafting requirements being very costly.

    Fighting Game 
  • The contrast between the first Super Smash Bros. and its sequels is astounding.
    • While subsequent games, from Melee onward, are notable for detailed environments and characters, as well as epic orchestral music, the original has Floating Continents in front of a simple background, many more sprites for items, Pokémon, and some attacks, darker, low-key original songs and was promoted with cartoony, comic book-style illustrations of the characters.
    • It lacks a lot of moves and abilities that were introduced later, like air-dodging and a side special move for example.note  It also has very few unlockable elements (four characters, one stage, the ability to turn off what items spawn, and the Sound Test), likely due to memory and budget constraints. Lastly, it's the only game that has the platform-boarding minigame, which was scrapped in the later games in favor of Home-Run Contest and the Multi-Man minigames.
    • In the original game, the standard basic stages Battlefield and Final Destination are not available in multiplayer stages. In fact, they're exclusively used in 1P Game as the stages for the Fighting Polygon Team and Master Hand, respectively. It's only possible to fight against other players in these stages if you use cheat devices (and even then, Final Destination requires a few extra codes to make it a truly viable stage to fight in). Melee is the first game in the series to make these two stages available for other players to fight in, though you need to meet certain conditions in order to play them both (Battlefield requires you to complete All-Star mode for the first time, while Final Destination is unlocked by completing Event Match mode). Starting with Brawl, both stages have been made available without prerequisites.
    • Much of this is attributed to the first game having No Budget and being essentially a side project that Nintendo employees worked on in their spare time. After the surprise success of the first game, the series became one of Nintendo's premier franchises and received a much more substantial budget and development effort from Melee onward.
    • Melee was the only time the series experimented with the formula for beginning a Vs. match. It replaced the original's three-second countdown with the announcer saying "Ready..." and introduction-animations were dropped in favor of the characters being brought to life from trophies. Brawl brought both of those pre-match elements back, and every installment since has continued the tradition.
  • Street Fighter:
    • In the very first Street Fighter released in 1987, Ryu and Ken are the only playable characters (with Ryu wearing red slippers for some reason); their special moves, quite overpowered in this game, are almost impossible to pull off consistently (as they were considered more akin to cheat codes rather than mundane gameplay mechanics); other techniques such as combos, dizzies, and grappling moves are all non-existent; and every opponent has the same winning and losing quote (all spoken with the same crudely digitized Engrish voice clip). The game did feature the same six-button configuration used by Street Fighter II and its sequels, but it was actually added to the game as an afterthought, created as a cheaper alternative to arcade operators who couldn't afford the original cabinet which used two hydraulic punching pads that determined the strength of the player's punches and kicks based on hard they were pushed down. Additionally, Ryu and Ken's special move yells were dubbed for the overseas versions of the game, resulting in them yelling "Psycho Fire" and "Dragon Punch" instead of "Hadoken" and "Shoryuken."
    • Even the sequels had this. Combos were actually an Ascended Glitch, and as such there was no combo counter. Street Fighter II was also notably violent, with battered, bloodied, bruised character portraits when somebody lost and in the actual fights you had blood coming out when certain attacks hit (like with Vega's claw or when Blanka bit at somebody's neck) and hits to the stomach actually caused a Vomit Indiscretion Shot sometimes. It was also very toned down compared to the sequels, some characters had energy projectiles and the villain had flame engulfed punches but that was it. Later games in the series would make everyone a Street-Level Super Hero, with everyone essentially having Charles Atlas Superpowers at the very least.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Throughout the series, Raiden has been the protector of the earth and a wise, noble mentor to the heroes...so it can come as a bit of a surprise that, in the first game, he was neutral and destroys the world in his ending. Have a nice day.
    • The original Mortal Kombat only had one fatality for each character, while all future games (except for Deadly Alliance and Armageddon) had at least two for each character. The "Fatality" text was also bland green text, instead of the dripping red text in the later games. Several series mainstays, such as Shao Kahn and the female ninjas, weren't introduced until the second game. The story of the game was far more generic, being a simple tournament based plot instead of the battle between realms plot of the later games. Through the power of Ret-Canon (caused by the first film), the story was later rewritten to fit with the ongoing realm wars of the later installments.
    • It's obvious how little the details of the plot had been worked out if you look at the opening crawl of the second game. It describes Shang Tsung trying to "unbalance the Furies" in favor of Chaos during the Shaolin tournament. Later installments confirm that the Shaolin did not host or arrange the tournament in any way, and rework his motive to be "win control of Earth for Shao Kahn"... and just what are the "Furies", anyway?
    • Reptile in the first Mortal Kombat was just simply a hybrid version of Scorpion and Sub-Zero. He was a last minute addition to the roster and thus, simply used both characters' special moves and fatalities. He didn't even have a unique name tag for his health but used Scorpion's instead (although he did get one for the SNES port). He didn't get his own moves and reptilian characteristics until the second game, when he became a regular character.
  • Tekken:
    • The series begins with the eponymous Tekken which features only two game modes, Arcade and VS, as well as an Options menu. You can't sidestep at all, and the game has no damage scaling whatsoever, which means that you can take out more than half your opponent's health bar with a short juggle. It also features crude graphics (albeit impressive at the time), half the characters that the games would usually have, levels based on world monuments rather than ones which suit the characters, a Galaga opening game, and the bizarre element of having to unlock characters by playing said Galaga game (Heihachi and Devil Kazuya). The music and stages are also very different, the name of the stage appearing on the screen during matches. The boss characters are more powerful clones of the starting characters, albeit with some unique special moves. P. Jack looks far more powerful than some of the later Jack (he has a drill, which he can't use), Yoshimitsu resembles a knight rather than a ninja, Heihachi is the Big Bad, and Kazuya is the lead character despite being pushed into the background in every other appearance he's made. Kunimitsu appears male rather than female (and is not revealed to be female until the next game). It also features the first Jack who, whilst essentially the same as Jack-2, doesn't appear in any other game (it should be noted that none of the Jacks barring P. Jack—who underwent a facelift between the first and second games—reappeared in a subsequent canonical game, instead being replaced by the newest model in their line). Devil Kazuya is essentially Kazuya in a purple suit with wings, but he has all the same moves (meaning he can't fly). Tekken was released at a time when its graphical capabilities and arcade perfect nature was all that was needed to impress people.
    • However, by the time of Tekken 2, things had changed, and so the series started to become what it is today in its sequel, with all the usual modes such as Time Attack, Team Battle, Survival and Practise added. The Japanese version also features a Theatre Mode. All of these would become standard for the series. However, the characters were still quite crudely rendered, and some of the music, boss characters, and stages were a holdover from Tekken. Kazuya, now the Big Bad of the game, is able to sidestep, albeit not as much as characters later can. You can also use cheats like big head mode, wire frame mode, and sky mode (where kicks launch your opponent much higher than normal), things which were never included in later games. By Tekken 3, commonly regarded as the best in the main series (Tekken Tag is considered the best overall), all of the flaws had been addressed and it set the stage for the series as we know it today.
    • From the first to third games, stages were uniform and consisted entirely of a single plane that went on for infinity in all directions with a simple background. Tekken 4 would introduce more varied stages, with walls and other boundaries, although the series would continue to retain the original boundaryless style of arena for some stages.
  • The Soul series of fighting games began with Soul Edge (and its updated revision Soul Blade), which featured the Weapon Break meter (to prevent constant blocking) and a powerful string of attacks called the "Critical Edge" while it also lacked the 8-Way Run of its successors. The fighters also had high, floaty jumps similar to the early installments of Virtua Fighter (something also true of Tekken), players could use pursuit attacks on downed foes (another element taken from VF), the stages were simplistic in design (it wouldn't be until Soulcalibur that they progressed beyond a simple square ring), Guard Impacts could only repel an opponent's attack (Parries weren't introduced until II), Voldo was actually rather tame in terms of playstyle, and Inferno was known as "SoulEdge" (though this is partially because it's Soul Edge using Cervantes' corpse instead of fighting under its own power).
    • The Weapon Break feature was somewhat revisited in Soulcalibur IV with the Soul Gauge, where blocking too much (indicated by a gem embedded in the player's lifebar changing colors before the entire lifebar itself began flashing red at critical levels) would cause your character to enter a state of vulnerability known as Soul Crush, which would also give the opponent the chance to end the round with an instant deathblow, a Critical Finish. Critical Edges returned in SCV, although in name only, as they now functioned like your typical fighting game super, with the enhanced specials (called Brave Edges) more closely (but not entirely) resembling the Critical Edges of the first game.
  • In the original Dead or Alive, fights took place over platforms representing the fighting arena, and if the fighting moved away from them into the hazardous area called "danger zones," a fighter who was knocked down would not only take additional damage than normal but they'd also be sent skyrocketing into the air.
  • Guilty Gear's initial outing had quite a few quirks that were later replaced for the better:
    • Instant Kills in the first game would not only win the current round, but the entire fight and were relatively easy to use. Later games kept the IKs, but they only won the current round, were much harder to pull off and ended up disabling the super meter for the rest of the round if it whiffed.
    • A few characters also changed between the first and second game outside of story reasons:
      • Ky was given a less flashy Instant Kill as Zwei Voltage didn't fit his character.
      • Axl had one of the biggest redesigns — his themes went from "March of the Wicked King" to "Make Oneself" to "A Slow Waker,"note  his costume underwent many significant changes between installments and his fighting style went from revolving around unorthodox move mechanics (such as a standing kick that sends him sliding halfway across the screen) to a more refined ranged zoning style akin to Dhalsim.
    • In the first game, super moves could be performed indefinitely once a character was at 50% life or below, turning characters like Millia or Justice into Game Breakers. This feature was thankfully removed from GGX onward in favor of a meter system that rewarded aggressive play.
    • In the English release of the first game, Justice was referred to with male pronouns (the original Japanese version used Gender-Neutral Writing). Later games would retcon Justice into a female Gear.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom:
    • The first Marvel fighting game from Capcom, X-Men: Children of the Atom, had a much slower and deliberate pace, and generally played more like Street Fighter than later entries. While things like chain combos were still there, they were far more subdued, and the game itself lacked the sheer craziness of its successors. The Mana Meter was also completely different, and aerial characters like Storm and Magneto could still block while flying.
      • Magneto and Juggernaut, being boss characters here, had mechanics very different from their later appearances. Juggernaut not only had an invulnerability mode, but could also grab steel girders from the front of the stage, able to beat his opponents from across the stage. Magneto had a second energy burst attack called "EM Burst", one of his basic attacks allowed him to throw energy waves, making it very spammable and he had two invulnerability modes, one brief, the other longer. Marvel Super Heroes would nerf the hell out of them, Juggernaut losing the girders and Magneto losing his extra long range attacks and relegating their invulnerability modes to the Soul Infinity Gem. As well, their voice actors changed between those two games.
    • The first few games all had at least one multi-leveled stage with breakable floors, which could actually significantly affect the combat at times. By the time of Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, this would be done away with.
    • While X-Men vs. Street Fighter was the first proper crossover of the series, the trademark Assist Character mechanic would not be introduced until Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter.
  • BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger:
    • The game had easy specials, where you could flick the right analog stick if playing on a controller to instantly perform a special, Distortion Drive, or Astral Heat. This was replaced with beginner/Stylish mode starting with Continuum Shift which could be used on an arcade stick.
    • Only Ragna, Rachel and Nu-13 had Astral Heats by default. Other characters' Astrals could be unlocked, but were not usable in ranked online play.
  • The King of Fighters '94 did not allow players to assemble customized teams (despite this having always been a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation); instead, they had to pick a country and fight throughout the game with the three characters representing them (even though some of them, such as the Women Fighters Team and the Art of Fighting Team, didn't actually have any members from the country they were supposed to be representing). There were no Super Gauge stocks (which were introduced in '96 and became the norm in '99), roll evasion, or running; instead, the game's system relied on a chargeable Super Gauge, sidestepping and forward dash (the system was used until '97 and '98, where it was dubbed Extra Mode, in contrast with the new Advanced system). Also, performing SDMs was dependent on two consitions: either with a full Super Gauge, or when your character's health is running low, like in the Fatal Fury series at the time. And there was no Iori Yagami.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Budokai had a massive case of this, as it was the first Dragon Ball game since Dragon Ball GT Final Bout. There was no actual flight mechanic, but characters could gently glide down when knocked airborne. Some characters would have transformations that wouldn't be seen in other games, like Krillin would have an "Unlock Potential" transformation and Piccolo had a "Fused with Kami" transformation. Many characters would have original alternate costumes that hadn't been seen in the actual series. One that would stick out through many games is that, despite having transformations, it was quite common to hear Imperfect Cell's voice even as Semi-Perfect and Perfect Cell. This goes the same for Goku and the Super Saiyan 4 transformation. This was due to the fact that, unlike the English version of the anime, Cell and Goku were voiced by the same actor/actress throughout all variations, thus the files couldn't be altered for the various actors playing their forms in English. Another interesting aspect is that Frieza could not use his second and third forms (outside of cutscenes), and if Final Form Frieza was defeated while holding the "Frieza's Spaceship" capsule, he would return as Mecha Frieza. Cell's final transformation skill was for his angry "Power-Weighted" form instead of his ressurectted "Super Perfect" form.
    • In Budokai 2, the game introduced fusions. As the game series set up attacks via Capsules, fusions were accessible through those capsules. Fusion Dance fusions ran the risk of failure, creating weak fighters while Vegito ran the risk of being intercepted and prevented. Fusion Dance fighters had a time limit that couldn't be extended and, if a player was knocked down once the timer runs out, they would defuse. It also had a few oddball fusions other games wouldn't use, such as Kibito Kai, Gokule (Goku and Hercule/Mr. Satan Potara'd) and Tiencha (Tien and Yamcha doing a fusion dance). As well, Super Buu had a number of original absorptions that he never did in-series (such as absorbing Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, and Tien & Yamcha together), and missed one absorption he did use in-series until the third game (Piccolo).
    • In Budokai 3, as Super Saiyan 4 Goku, Vegeta, Gogeta and Omega Shenron were the only representatives from GT, the Super Saiyan 4 transformations were rolled into Z Goku and Vegeta, with alternate storylines even explaining how they attained them. It was also the first game that included all of Frieza's transformations, as the first game only included his first, final, and 100% forms, while the second game only used his final form (also applies to Cell with his Perfect Form).
  • Naruto: Ultimate Ninja has various differences from Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 and the other games:
    • The story mode consists of short Sagas involving most of the playable characters. The Sagas are non-canon and some feature alternate endings (such as Haku surviving or Neji beating Naruto). The cutscenes aren't animated, instead using portraits.
    • The English translation and voice acting is rockier than in future games (for example, the Byakugan is translated as the "Piercing Eye" in one line). Itachi also uses his original voice and Naruto overuses his catchphrase "Believe It" (which became an Abandoned Catchphrase by the second arc).
    • Naruto doesn't use his Signature Move Rasengan.
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse is such an oddball compared to Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
    • TokiToki City is vastly smaller than Conton City with three hub worlds. Players couldn't fly or even run, so getting to where you needed to go was tedious as all hell.
    • Mentors could only be used one at a time, thus if you wanted to train with another mentor, you'd needed to leave that mentor and go train with the other. As well, some mentors forced players to find items to continue training and sometimes that involved finding a rare item that is hard to drop or make.
    • The Create-A-Characters were very limited in super abilities. Saiyans had four Super Saiyan versions - Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 2, Super Vegeta and Super Vegeta 2. Humans, Majins, Namekians and Frieza Races had to do with either Kaioken/4/20 or hope they could unlock "Potential Unleashed".
    • Obtaining the Dragonballs was equally maddening as you had to hope that a Parallel Quest you participate in had extra Time Patrollers, that they drop a Key Item when you beat them and that you can defeat the Parallel Quest before you died or time ran out.
    • The character list is much smaller: there are no movie characters outside of Broly, Beerus, Whis and Super Saiyan God Goku (you can only get Super Saiyan Blue Goku/Vegeta and Golden Frieza via DLC).
  • Gundam Battle Assault is such an odd duck compared to its later installments.
    • The game's story is an oddball fusion of After Colony and Universal Century, and acts as some sort of strange sequel to Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz where Heero boards a Mobile Suit to get rid of other suits while dealing with a mysterious figure spying on him.
    • The Wing Gundam in this game, compared to the Wing Zeroes used in later games, is just a reskinned Zeta Gundam. This is a little awkward skin-wise and makes the Wing Gundam an even worse Adaptational Wimp.
    • This game, being the first Gundam game in America, was heavy on characters whose shows hadn't gotten (and often wouldn't get) an American debut, and some character and unit spellings were different as a result. Of note was Kamille Bidan, whose first name was rendered "Kamiru", and Ple-2, which used her official spelling but later games would revert to "Puru".
  • The first Samurai Shodown game had an interesting aspect that not only could you disarm an opponent, but you could also destroy their weapon with a strong attack.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Far Cry:
    • The original Far Cry 1 is a rather different game compared to the sequels. The original game follows a linear level-by-level progression, although individual levels are often quite open ended. There are no sidequests, no villages, no friendly NPC characters except for Val, no collecting or upgrading required, and in the 2nd half of the game it shifts from human enemies to mutated genetic freak monsters. It is also the only game to use classic FPS style health bars & medkit pickups, place a heavier emphasis on the weight of your currently-equipped weapon to determine your maximum speed (later games focused more on the Sprint Meter, with sprinting letting you move at max speed regardless of weapon and games from Far Cry 3 on even removing it and letting you sprint forever) and use generic zooming rather than having the player aim with ironsights, and, although it includes the series' now-iconic machete, no special consideration is given for it, letting you drop it for another gun at any time (it's not even the first weapon the game gives you and lets you keep, like in the later games before Far Cry 5 - here that honor goes to the series' other constant, the Desert Eagle, which is itself in its higher-capacity .357 version rather than the .50 one used in all later games). 4 years later, starting with Far Cry 2 - which wasn't developed by Crytek, but instead by Ubisoft - the sequels are full open world games.
      • Crysis, Crytek's next game after Far Cry is as much of a Spiritual Successor to the original Far Cry as Ubisoft's in-house developed sequels are. The first Far Cry game isn't generally considered part of the Thematic Series of "humans descending into savagery when placed in a dangerous wild environment" that starts from Far Cry 2 onward. Crysis retains a similar island setting, and shares a similar change to non-human antagonists in the 2nd half of the game that Far Cry 1 did.
      • The first game's console spin-offs are another example - for one, simply being console-centric spinoffs (the original game was PC-only until Far Cry Classic came out ten years later in 2014; every main game in the series after the first would come out in the same form on both PC and consoles), and also not being too different from their parent game, simply being retellings or immediate continuations of Far Cry starring the same protagonist rather than things like the '80s fever dream of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon or post-apocalypse romp of Far Cry: New Dawn. Moreover, while they're the games that introduced the above theme to the series, they took it much more literally, with the protagonist turning into an outright superhuman capable of far more ridiculous feats than any later protagonist in the series, barring the complete science-fiction cyborg action hero Rex "Power" Colt of Blood Dragon.
    • Far Cry 2 is another case specific to Ubisoft's in-house sequels, thanks in part to the developers wanting to make an incredibly immersive game first and foremost. Elements that are missing from Far Cry 3 and beyond include:
      • Weapons degrade and jam with use, some visibly corroding with each shot, requiring you to buy and pick up fresh weapons from the Arms Dealer or risk one that will jam at a critical point in a fight.
      • There are multiple choices for who you play as, which wouldn't technically show up again until Far Cry 5 included a customizable character, and uniquely to this game those you didn't pick show up as AI companions who help you in combat and/or offer extra missions.
      • Your character is a Heroic Mime (something that again wouldn't show up again until 5), even though they speak if they're an NPC.
      • Your character also contracts malaria very early on, requiring you to stop and take medication to stave off the symptoms and regularly detour to get more when you run out.
      • There are multiple NPC factions with no clear good guys, the player is able to work for either of them, and the Big Bad isn't particularly affiliated with anyone.
      • Checkpoints don't stay dead for long after you clear them, repopulating after passing a specific distance away from them.
      • Radio towers just offer bonus missions, as the map is completely revealed to you from the beginning rather than needing to be cleared piece by piece, and the only way to unlock new things like access to better weapons is by doing missions for the Arms Dealer.
      • There's a complete lack of predatory fauna or any need to hunt, with you at best being able to find the occasional zebra that runs away when you get close and confers no benefit for killing them.
      • There's no bow and arrow, which became a major component of stealth gameplay in the later games, although the DLC does add a crossbow that launches explosive bolts.
      • The stealth system is more transparent and difficult to work with than even the first game's, with no ability to tag enemies and no detection meter giving a visible indicator on who has or is about to spot you.
      • The RPG Elements are also nowhere to be found, with no experience points gained by killing enemies and no inherent attributes to upgrade through skill points - at best, you can buy equipment upgrades to carry more stuff or technical manuals to make weapons degrade more slowly.
      • It's also the only game in the series to not have some sort of companion release, such as the aforementioned console spinoffs of the first game or the stand-alone expansions and DLC packs following from the later ones.
      • Finally, it's the only game to not include some sort of radar or mini-map on your HUD - instead, you have an actual, physical map you have to put away your weapon to look at.
  • Call of Duty:
    • The first game is noticeably different compared to later games. There's no Regenerating Health; Universal Ammunition is averted to the extreme, as even weapons that did take the same ammo in reality, like the Sten vs MP40 sharing 9mm bullets from similar magazines, or the normal and scoped versions of any given rifle, couldn't share ammo, forcing the use of German weapons for 95% of the game; enemies were slightly more sporadic in their use of grenades; the player can't toss enemy grenades back, even though NPCs can; you can select the rate of fire between semi-auto and full-auto for several weapons; Quick Melee takes the form of bashing the enemy with your gun instead of pulling out a knife, and is noticeably weaker than melee in later games as a result (frequently requiring two or three hits to kill a single enemy); your Limited Loadout includes a third slot dedicated to pistols, which was restricted to the M1911 for the American campaign and then the Luger for basically everybody else, and frag grenades in a fourth slot rather than bound to a quick-use key; your selection of weapons in multiplayer is dependent on your faction, thus unbalancing the American team because they had two semi-auto rifles to everybody else's none; no sprinting, going for a Counter-Strike-like system where your movement speed is entirely dependent on your currently-equipped weapon, which interestingly makes a character holding a pistol in this game faster than a sprinting character in CoD4; and Captain Price looking and sounding different from his more famous Modern Warfare depiction (not even a hint of stubble under his Porn Stache like the CoD4 Price has, his Cool Hat is a bright red beret rather than a boonie hat, and he's voiced by an American actor who sounds slightly different between the two games) and dying unceremoniously partway through the game, only becoming a staple of the franchise because Anachronic Order meant the second game could have him show up in missions that took place before the one he died in. Its expansion (another example in itself; none of the later games in the series have had singleplayer-only content added after release, nor has post-release content been distributed on its own in any manner except digitally) added sprinting, which cannot be used for nearly as long as it can in later games and defaults to an entirely different key, but is otherwise identical, differing mainly in rebalancing weapons by adding semi-auto rifles to the German and Russian inventories (without balancing them differently for singleplayer, thus making the campaign much more difficult) and nerfing machine guns by eschewing pre-placed MG42s in favor of giving every side a portable machine gun that has to be set up where the player wants. Moreover is the game's use of of the Quake III engine with few major modifications, compared to later games using iterations of a game engine still derived from Quake III's but noticeably different from it. Call of Duty: Finest Hour was much the same as the first game, but with no Gameplay Ally Immortality and a reworked medkit system to accommodate this (only two types of medkit now, small ones that healed you on contact and large ones you could carry around to Heal Thyself or an ally with). It was also the only game with a female player character (Tanya Pavelovna, a Russian sniper) and the only one where a player character at least becomes an NPC who can talk, until the Black Ops games (females are playable in some Zombies maps and an optional mission in Black Ops II, culminating in being able to play Black Ops III as a female in its entirety, and the first Black Ops sold itself somewhat heavily on the fact that the player character speaks all the time, even in gameplay).
    • Finest Hour is another example in itself in the way the series handled console releases. At the very beginning of the franchise, it was a PC series first and foremost, so the original game and its expansion came only on PC, while console releases were third-party spinoffs. Starting with the seventh generation, things shifted as the original developers made an actual sequel for the Xbox 360 as well as PC, with the third-party spinoff for it, Big Red One, instead being shunted off to previous-gen consoles; the series would continue in this manner, with mainline releases on PC and current-gen consoles and the spinoffs on previous-gen ones until World at War, though it did briefly come back with Ghosts, Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III releasing on both seventh- and eighth-gen consoles, with BO3 coming closest to the old model (the full game on PC and eight-gen consoles, while seventh-gen ones could only fit the multiplayer and Zombies).
    • Call of Duty 2 is overall much closer to the now-more-familiar style of Call of Duty 4, but there are still some oddities, the major one being that you still can't sprint. It also brings some game mechanics that are now standard to the series, such as grenades bound to quick-use keys, letting you carry more than one kind of grenade at a time (in this case, frags and smoke grenades), and regenerating health, but it has some rather odd ideas on how it's supposed to work with those; in particular, the devs seemed to have trouble dealing with the fact that the player has theoretically infinite health, and decided to make the smoke grenades the Next Big Feature of the game by requiring you to use them every fifteen seconds to sneak past machine guns and tanks that will chew you up if you try to actually take them on. It would also be the last mainline game in the series to heavily avert Bag of Spilling and No Cutscene Inventory Inertia, allowing you to take enemy weapons and hang onto them for the entirety of a campaign even as the individual levels in it take place days and weeks apart from each other, after the heavier focus on scripted sequences in the game allowed for game-ending conflicts with that freedom (such as allowing players to make a kill in an early mission with a sniper rifle taken from the previous one, rather than grabbing the one the game expects them to do it with, and bringing the game to a halt).
    • The first Modern Warfare is noticeably different from its later two installments. Most obviously, it was sold under the title Call of Duty 4, which was later mostly phased out due to the franchise's split between Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and later Sledgehammer. Its campaign switches between little more than the Russian countryside and a hostile, unnamed Islamic country (the latter of which you stop playing in as little as a third of the way through the game), as opposed to the more varied settings of the series' later two installments; there was also only one set of missions in a recognizably-specific real-world location (and that one being set in the real-world Ghost Town that is Chernobyl), as opposed to every other mission in the later games taking place in Washington, D.C. or Rio de Janeiro or Paris. This, combined with the second and third installments' heavy use of Rule of Cool, is why some of the first installment's gritty realism feels lost in its sequels. It also featured an unlockable "Arcade Mode" to add a score counter over the whole game when replaying it and campaign cheats unlocked for collecting the intelligence, which were nowhere to be found in later installments. The game's multiplayer experience is also heavily modified in its sequels. The first installment featured three fixed killstreaks (UAV, airstrike, and helicopter), equippable night vision goggles, several pre-set voice messages, and an equipment/perk system that was heavily reworked in sequels. The first-tier perks were all for extra equipment such as an RPG, claymore mines or extra ammo, for instance, and you were forced to go without one if you attached a grenade launcher or, strangely, an underbarrel grip to your weapon. The system for attachments was also slightly different: a maximum of one attachment at a time for any weapon, with the only options being two types of sights, a suppressor, a foregrip or a grenade launcher, and some weapon types were noticeably restricted in what was available, like sniper rifles only getting the ACOG and foregrips being restricted to shotguns and machine guns. The AK-47 was the first alternate assault rifle available upon unlocking the ability to create your own classes - the next two Modern Warfare games made it the final unlock (here that honor goes to the Golden Desert Eagle). The PC version also had some noticeable differences from the console versions - there was no Prestige system, it used PunkBuster as its anti-cheat system (making things difficult to set up properly when Even Balance eventually dropped official support for the game), and all of the post-release content console players had to purchase as DLC was made available for free in patches for the PC version, including a Christmas-themed variation of one map that the consoles never got except when it actually was Christmas. By Modern Warfare 2 the publisher and developers realized the implications of selling the games over Steam, and were able to implement Prestiging, use Valve's anti-cheat system, and sell DLC map packs.
    • World at War, in addition to many of the oddities from the first Modern Warfare above, featured fully usable tanks in multiplayer, complete with players gaining a fourth perk that only affects some aspect of using a tank. It also introduced co-op modes, but campaign co-op has so far only returned for Black Ops III - Modern Warfare instead had the Spec Ops mode that repurposes singleplayer levels for contextless co-op (Word of God says that they wanted straight-up campaign co-op like in World at War, but couldn't balance the story levels for more than one player), while Call of Duty: Black Ops has kept the four-player Zombies mode (which is likely why campaign co-op didn't return except for Black Ops III — given the choice between that or Zombies, everyone always picks Zombies).
  • Call of Duty: Zombies:
    • The first map, "Nacht Der Untoten", plays very differently from every other Zombies map owing to the mode's humble origins as a Secret Level at the end of World at War. There is no Perk-a-Cola or Pack-a-Punch, no traps (unless you count the Exploding Barrels scattered around the map's exterior, itself an odd feature), no power that needs to be turned on, the Mystery Box is always fixed in one location, you play as a silent squad of generic Marines, and the map's "Wonder Weapon", the Ray Gun, functions simply as a powerful gun without any fancy effects, and is also a reused Easter Egg from the campaign. The map does have a musical easter egg, but it takes the form of a radio that plays random songs from the campaign alongside a bizarre genre mashup appropriately named "WTF", far from the vocal metal tracks that would become standard. The building the map takes place in is also unusual for being reused from both the campaign ("Little Resistance") and a multiplayer map ("Airfield"). Finally, it doesn't have any additional enemy types beyond the zombies, who themselves are a bit less agile in this map. It would take until "Der Riese" until all elements of the Zombies formula would be together for the first time.
    • The mode's Myth Arc was also non-existent in the beginning, beyond a few environmental clues and interactive easter egg that were mostly specific to the map itself. It would take until "Ascension" in Black Ops for the storyline to be tied into gameplay with the introduction of a sequential set of optional objectives for the player to complete.
    • The most obvious difference between earlier and later maps is that the early ones make much greater use of Survival Horror tropes. Look at the second map, "Verrükt", for example. That map plays its Bedlam House setting completely straight, makes good use of Ominous Fog, contains plenty of tight corridors designed to limit the player's ability to simply outrun zombies, and the map's central gimmick (your team is split up and can only reunite once the power is switched on) is designed to introduce a feeling of isolation. Each newer map marks a gradual but constant shift towards Denser and Wackier content and layouts designed to encourage movement and completing objectives together over camping and just shooting zombies.
    • In World at War, the Quick Revive Perk-a-Cola's ability was to speed up the rate at which you can revive your teammates. This ability is obviously useless when playing solo, but it would take until Black Ops for Quick Revive to have the alternate ability of having its user self-revive once in that circumstance.
  • The first TimeSplitters is significantly different from the rest of the series:
    • The game's story mode simply placed you in a time period with no cutscenes and barely any story, and all levels simply required you to find an item and bring it to a specific point. Compare this to the decent story of the second and complex, brilliant and humour-filled time-travel epic of the third. The first TimeSplitters does make sense as part of the series plotline in retrospect, but at the time it was a series of disconnected gauntlets at various points in time with only the barest story connected to each one, and no over-arching plot. The only unifying factor was things getting really weird partway through each stage. In retrospect, it chronicles the initial emergence of the Time Splitters as they strike throughout human history and the people who managed to survive and even thwart them, but at the time it just seemed strange.
    • As a side-effect of the above, the first game had all campaign maps available in arcade mode, although a few had some areas locked off. Later games would have separate map selections for campaign and arcade modes due to the objective-based level design being incompatible with the fast-paced multiplayer action, although a few maps are available in both modes (the arcade mode version being shrunken down significantly) and others are clear analogues to campaign levels.
    • The first game only had Challenge mode as extra single-player content, and it had to be unlocked by finishing all campaign levels. Later games would split things between Arcade League and Challenge, both available from the start, with the former consisting of standard matches against the AI with specific rules and the latter having unusual goals such as shooting cardboard cut-outs or destroying windows.
    • The first game lacked character stats, so all characters had the same health, speed, and accuracy. The only difference between characters was size, so there was no reason to not pick a smaller and harder to shoot character.
    • The characters of the series tended to change a fair bit from game-to-game, owing to how each game in the series has differing philosophies over how to handle their narrative. Harry Tipper for example went from being a Cowboy Cop in the first game to a James Bond parody in the other two. Sergeant Cortez (who wasn't even in the first game, despite being the main character of the other two) similarly went from being a rather generic Hollywood Action Hero in 2 to a dorky Idiot Hero in Future Perfect.
    • In terms of setting, the first game was happy to indulge in an exaggerated case of I Want My Jetpack when it came to levels set in the future. The game was released in 2000, but "Cyberden" was set in 2005, and the golden age sci-fi inspired "Planet X" and "Spaceways" took place in 2020 and 2035 respectively. By TimeSplitters 2, the "cyberpunk era" had been pushed back to 2019 (and unlike "Cyberden", featured no sign of killer robots), while "Return to Planet X" now takes place in 2280.
    • Worst of all, there are no monkeys in the game whatsoever, when the next games are firm believers that Everything's Better with Monkeys.
  • Team Fortress 2 has, over its update history, changed a lot from its release in August 2007:
    • The original version lacked custom loadouts completely: you only had access to each class's standard weapons. The version of TF2 included in the console versions of The Orange Box was never patched past this point.
    • Major updates in the beginning of the game's life were very small, often focusing on one class (the "Classless Update" heavily advertised itself on the fact that it was the first to not focus on a single class) and including about three items for that class that had basic properties, with a map or two, a couple hats after their introduction, and maybe a new game mode thrown in for good measure. Fast-forward to the present, and major updates will include dozens of cosmetic items and, at least until recent years, a couple of new weapons with wild properties for several classes.
    • For the class-specific updates, the new weapons given to the class in question were locked behind achievements, and gaining certain numbers of the achievements granted milestone achievements that would unlock one of the new weapons in a specific order. This is weird enough on its own simply because, save for the occasional holiday-themed hat, the system was abandoned entirely after each class got an update in this manner by July 2010, but the first such update for the Medic was particularly odd for two reasons: one, you originally had to get all of the new achievements to get all three of his new weapons; and two, in spite of the strict completion requirements, a lot of the achievements were designed under the mindset of what a medic, or other classes while under the effects of a medic's UberCharge, could theoretically do in a game, when the stars were aligned just right and a sacrifice to the deity of your choice was made before you started the game, rather than what the class was actually designed to be doing 99% of the time - a lot of them even encouraged the exact opposite mindset any Team Fortress player, much less a Medic, should have by requiring you to focus on personal goals over helping the teamnote  even to the point of sabotaging the team's effortsnote  and cooperating with members of the opposing teamnote . Also, while it was a Medic-themed update, it wasn't actually named in reference to anything about the Medic, like most later updates - officially it was the "Gold Rush Update". Every other class-specific update was named after the class(es) in question except for the "WAR!" update for the Demoman and Soldier, which was instead named in reference to its backstory of pitting the two classes against one another in its lead-up.
    • Hats and other cosmetic items did not exist until the Sniper vs. Spy update in May 2009. It's hard to believe that "America's #1 War-Themed Hat Simulator" did not have hats to simulate for a year and a half.
    • The first few unlockable weapons and hats were simply reskins of existing weapons or hats, though the weapons had unique but still downplayed stats. For weapon examples, there's Natasha (default minigun, colored black and with an ammo belt on its side), Scottish Resistance (default stickybomb launcher, yellow-and-black paint on the ammo drum and a device on its barrel), and the Cloak & Dagger (default Invisi-Watch, yellow instead of silver). Many of the early cosmetic items were the default characters' hats with some extra additions, or simply removing their existing hat. Future items became much more diverse, including particularly-spooky top hats, lawyer friendly versions of Futurama's brain slugs, multiple varieties of Cool Shades, Bill's beret and Ellis's trucker cap, and more, to say nothing of entirely new weapon sets that completely change how the class in question plays, including Sniper's focus on shorter-ranged bows or Demoman's Cool Swords and shields.
    • The first set of "Meet the Team" videos were basically animation tests, to the point that the first three (Heavy, Soldier, and Engineer) are included in the public release of Source Filmmaker. They focused on one class, were relatively short, and didn't have too much of a storyline other than "class in the spotlight kills the other team." Skip to later videos like "Meet the Medic," "Meet the Pyro," and "Expiration Date," and you'll find minutes-long videos with high-quality animation, focus on many different classes, epic storylines, and more development and expression of the classes' characters.
    • The First Annual Saxxy Awards was limited to using the Replay Tool, so most winners of that contest were basically gameplay videos. If you wanted additional special effects other than slowdown, you had to add them with external video editing software. Future Saxxy Awards allowed the use of Source Filmmaker, which resulted in videos of amazing quality, effects, story, and animation. Compare 2011's Best Overall winner "El Muchacho" to 2017's Best Overall winner "Agent Gunn: Vulkanite".
    • The game itself, when first released, lacked a lot of features and gamemodes that were later added and have since become more iconic of the game. There was no Payload, King of the Hill, or Arena at first, nor was there a Halloween event, or any kind of event, during the game's first couple of years. You also had to pay for the game; it was not free-to-play until three and a half years after release. Mann Vs. Machine was not added until almost five years after. Considering how much all of these things dominate the metagame and culture these days, it can be pretty jarring to think that there was ever a period, much less a pretty significant one, where these did not exist at all.
    • Some abilities that are vital to classes today weren't around for a while. The Pyro didn't have the projectile-reflecting, foe-pushing, and ally-extinguishing airblast, today seen as the most valuable ability of the Pyro, for close to a year. The Engineer couldn't carry buildings, which greatly limited his range and usefulness, until his update in July 2010, almost three years after release.
    • The first Halloween event was considerably different than later ones. The Halloween map, Harvest Event, featured very little Halloween-themed items and decor aside from its purple-and-orange color scheme, cobwebs, dark areas, pumpkin bombs, Halloween pumpkin pickups, and the ghost. Subsequent Halloween event maps amp up the Halloween themes and designs much more, and tend to focus on green-and-blue color schemes. This map doesn't have any type of boss; those wouldn't start until the next year. Merasmus, who stars in or narrates most of the Halloween events, didn't debut until the fourth event. Finally, subsequent events introduced a deluge of Halloween cosmetics. How many did the first one have? Two.
    • Official Fan-Submitted Content was originally submitted through an official site instead of the Steam Workshop.
  • Half-Life:
    • Half-Life lets the player kill allied NPCs with little reprisal, whereas Half-Life 2 makes all your allies Friendly Fireproof. Word of God states that this was due to different priorities between the two games. In 1, the developers wanted to give the player the freedom to do what they want in a world filled with Black Comedy, while in 2 they realised that it wouldn't make much sense for Gordon to become The Paragon of a bleak world if he could casually murder his friends.
    • Half-Life: Opposing Force was developed by Gearbox Software without any strict oversight from Valve, and as a consequence features several oddities not present in the rest of the series. The most memorable of these is the existence of "Race X", an alien army of Planet Looters unrelated to Xen that arrive in Black Mesa to take advantage of the chaos. Race X is never mentioned again outside Opposing Force. Aside from that, Opposing Force is also the only game where the G-Man takes an active role in the player's journey (see below). Finally, the weapon selection includes a much larger range of creative and unusual choices, including a Barnacle Grappling Hook, the Spore Launcher (a Cool Pet that you feed fruit, giving it a Super Spit attack), and the Displacer Cannon (a Teleport Gun that has the potential to give you a Non Standard Game Over), to say nothing of several more conventional options that act as almost-direct upgrades to existing weapons, such as the wrench (a slower but more powerful crowbar), Desert Eagle (a slightly faster and higher-capacity Python), M40 (hitscan Crossbow with even better damage), and M249 (MP5 without the Grenade Launcher in return for more bullets). The original Half-Life had a few unique weapons as well, but not as many as Opposing Force does, and Half-Life 2, with the exception of the Gravity Gun and Pheropods, almost exclusively sticks with your Standard FPS Guns, not bringing back any of the Opposing Force-exclusive weapons.
    • Comparing Half-Life and its sequel reveals a number of differences in how it treats the G-Man:
      • The G-Man in the first game was explicitly shown to use a teleportation ability in one of his appearances; the fact that it was also his final appearance before the ending seems to imply this was meant as a minor Reveal. He is shown doing this again in Opposing Force, but in Half-Life 2 he is never seen doing anything implausible in the physical world, with implied Offscreen Teleportation being the furthest he'll go.
      • The G-Man’s signature briefcase in Half-Life prominently displays the Black Mesa logo, implying that he directly worked for the company in some capacity. Not only is this absent from Half-Life 2, but his background is implied to be far more incomprehensible in nature.
      • Opposing Force portrays the G-Man as being far more involved in the player's journey; he opens a door to save Shephard from rising toxic waste, locks another door to prevent him from escaping Black Mesa when the rest of the HECU begins pulling out, and rearms a nuclear bomb after Shephard defuses it. This stands in stark contrast to his far more passive role in both Half-Life and Half-Life 2, where even if he is implied to be assisting Gordon, exactly how he does so is never directly shown and the most direct thing he does is having someone deliver a message.
      • When he finally speaks to you at the end of the first game, the G-Man speaks fluid English, with the only oddity being his tendency to draw out S sounds and a single instance of taking in a loud breath between sentences. Come Half-Life 2, his more alien manner of speaking is introduced, with heavy AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle, frequent Vader Breaths, and drawing out several consonants to give the impression that communicating by way of speech itself is a foreign concept to him, and glossed over to act like that was always how he talked.
  • Doom:
    • The original game was divided into three episodes, with a fourth being added in the Updated Re-release Ultimate Doom. The player cannot take weapons and powerups from one episode to the next, making each episode's gameplay self-contained. This system is a relic of the game's Shareware origins; the first chapter, Knee-Deep in the Dead, was available for free, and players had to mail-order the other two, also leaving them to have to deal with that existing framework when they added a fourth for the retail release. Notably, this only actually gets directly explained in the transition to the second episode, where the protagonist is ambushed at the end of the first episode and dies, waking up in Hell. Doom II: Hell on Earth dropped this system as part of the shift to becoming a retail game from the start, with distinct "episodes" being an afterthought at best, only really differentiated by text dumps between them and a different sky texture.
    • The Super Shotgun wasn't introduced until Doom II, after which it would become the franchise's most iconic weapon, second only to the BFG 9000, and a staple of FPS arsenals even well after they stopped straight-copying the game. Several of the franchise's more iconic (or at least infamous) enemies were also not introduced until the second game, including the Chaingun Zombie, Arch-Vile, and Revenant.
    • The console ports have some noticeable differences from the PC games in part because, while the Atari Jaguar port was compiled directly from the v1.2 codebase by id Software themselves, all other ports - including those of Doom II - were third-party affairs simply borrowing the Jaguar port's code, with the ports of Doom II simply adding the new maps and enemies of Doom II to the Doom 1 v1.2 code rather than recompiling anything. This leaves several mechanics noticeably dated, since none of the console ports of either game were released until two months after Doom II came out on PC, such as Lost Souls still counting towards the player's kill percentage (changed with the release of Doom II and the concurrent v1.666 for the first game to account for the Pain Elemental attacking by spawning Lost Souls).
  • Halo:
    • The first game had a static lifebar separate from the regenerating shield, indestructible human vehicles, less-avian-looking Jackals, no Brutes or Dronesnote , Hunters who went down with one pistol shot to the meaty bits because of relatively simple coding that treated shots to those meaty bits the same as shots to other enemies' heads, the overshield and cloaking powerups from multiplayer showing up in campaign levels, and other minor quirks not kept in the sequels. It also lacked quite a few features that are now considered staples of the series, such as having a fairly long-ranged punch as opposed to the mini-leap melees present in the rest of the series, no dual-wieldingnote , several enemy weapons that you can't use, an absence of most utility "precision" weapons (Battle Rifle, Carbine, etc.) other than the pistol, no skulls, and almost every vehicle handles completely differently in this than it does from the rest of the games (most notably the Scorpion, which drives similarly to the Warthog). Almost all of these features are roughly in their present form from Halo 2 onward.
    • Combat Evolved features the Energy Sword and Fuel Rod Gun as Unusable Enemy Equipment, despite both weapons going on to become both useable and staples of the franchise's arsenal; the former collapses after the death of its user, while the latter explodes. The two also have different appearances than would later be known, with the Energy Sword being much brighter and less translucent, while the Fuel Rod Gun is purple instead of gold. The same game also features Wraiths as enemy vehicles, but they cannot be piloted.
    • Non-recharging health, absent in the rest of the mainline games, made a return in Gaiden Games ODST and Reach, plus the remake of Combat Evolved. The canonical explanation for this feature disappearing in the main games is because of the new armor Master Chief recieved at the start of Halo 2 including "automated biofoam injectors" that immediately heal him of any and all injuries sustained while the shield is out, which remains in chronologically later games because it became a common feature. It returned in Reach because it's a prequel set before the armor's introduction, and in ODST because it focused on an ODST squad who wear cheaper armor that simply doesn't have that feature.
    • Halo 2 marks the first appearance of the Brutes. There, they are portrayed as gorilla-like with primitive armour, their only unique weapons are the Brute Shot and a reskinned Plasma Rifle that fires but also overheats faster, and they possess high health with no shields. Halo 3 completely revamps them; they have shaven and groomed their fur, possess a range of weaponry and vehicles with an aesthetic distinct from the rest of the Covenant, and now wear full power armour that makes them function more like Elites. Word of God says that this was due to dissatisfaction with 2's bullet sponges, and a realisation that they would not work as the primary enemy in 3.
    • On a narrative note, early entries in the franchise made a fairly big deal out of the Master Chief being the last living Spartan-II after the Fall of Reach, being the main reason he is Famed in Story. Starting around Halo: First Strike however, this idea was downplayed and then dropped, with other surviving Spartan-IIs taking center stage with him and especially with the later introduction of third and then fourth generations of Spartans.
  • Most of the base game operators in Rainbow Six Siege are The Faceless or otherwise have their face heavily obscured, and their armor is almost identical among their special forces branch. This design philosophy feels a little odd compared to the operators added over the years, which feature far more varied and expressive designs. Another oddity is that the base game's CTUs like the SAS or GSG9 have, technically, three Attackers and Defenders each (two unique Operators and a generic "Recruit"), whereas most later CTUs like JTF2 or the SAT only get two Operators each, generally one Attacker and one Defender or two of one and none of the other, with a rare few much later in the game only getting one Operator period. The base game's Operators also have a slightly wider selection of weapons, including those shared between roles, than later Operators, such as all four SAS Operators getting to use the M590 shotgun, while post-release CTUs restrict shotguns to Defenders; or handgun choice being between a smaller, weaker but faster and higher-capacity gun and a larger, stronger but lower-capacity one for the base CTUs and, for the most part, a single pistol per post-release CTU.
  • PAYDAY 2 in its infancy was quite weird since it tried to be more like a Hollywood styled action game. The game was fairly grounded by having the players rob sensible locations like jewelry stores, small banks, nightclubs, and so on. The game also had a web series that were small live action sequences made to generate hyper for the game. Compare this to the game's later patch updates that introduced far crazier things - the crew now includes several Guest Fighters to let, say, John Wick and Tony Montana heist together with Ethan and Hila from H3h 3 Productions; the heists have far sillier and less sensical objectives, like rescuing goats that are packed with cocaine, and several bank jobs that have required larger and larger drills; and the weapon and mask selection has grown to the point where it's possible to complete a heist while wearing a mask that is literally on fire and mowing down the police with an honest-to-God minigun.

    Platform Game 
  • Comparing the first game in the I Wanna Kill the Kamilia series with the third, the first barely has any sound effects, has odd and patchworkey backgrounds, weird and out-of-place boss music, bad graphics and music looping, and so on.
  • The first Ape Escape, though still being a game about a kid catching monkeys with a butterfly net, had a story that took itself very seriously compared to later titles. Specter in particular is devoid of any comic relief antics. Story aside, the player's jump is much higher than later games, and there are some places where the game gets unfairly hard. For one thing, all hits take one whole cookie as opposed to the broken cookie system in 2 and 3. Black pants monkeys, who in later titles would shoot a spread of slow moving bullets, instead shoot ultra-fast bullets directly at you; almost impossible to dodge. Green pants monkeys have rocket launchers whose rockets can't be destroyed; also hard to dodge, but the worst are red pants monkeys. In later titles they had boxing gloves, but in this one, they have both machine guns and rocket launchers and they also carry bombs.
  • Jak and Daxter: The first game is very different in tone from the later games in the series, although it was more in line with Naughty Dog's earlier Crash Bandicoot titles. The second game replaces Eco with a BFG, the series becomes more Sandbox/GTA orientated, and Jak is Suddenly Speaking.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
    • The eponymous character had a girlfriend named Tawna in the first game who was the Distressed Damsel. She was written out of the series starting with the second game, with Word of God stating that she had dumped Crash for Pinstripe Potoroo. The actual reason was that Moral Guardians found her design too overly sexual, and Naughty Dog wanted to have a more positive female lead, which lead to the creation of Crash's much more helpful and action-geared sister Coco for the second game. Tawna appears in a few later cameos and in a Japanese only party game though, showing that she wasn't completely scrapped, though it wouldn't be until Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled's Nitro Tour update when she'd become more prominent.
    • The first game also had a world map consisting of three islands instead of the warp rooms that would become a staple of the franchise starting with the second game, and bosses were scattered throughout and not always the last obstacle. Crystals, the main Macguffins starting from the second game onward, were also completely absent. And the game was Nintendo Hard: in order to get the box gem for a level, you had to break all the boxes without dying. Later games had checkpoints save your box count and no-death runs were confined to special routes.
  • Castlevania:
    • The first game ends with a Monster Mash Credits Gag instead of the more serious tone of later games.
    • Like several other Konami games of the era, the first game was based specifically on a movie, or in this case a whole genre, i.e. classic monster movies. Other examples included Contra (Rambo: First Blood Part II/Aliens), The Final Round (the Rocky series), The Adventures of Bayou Billy (Crocodile Dundee), and Almana No Kiseki (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).
    • The early games were mostly straightforward platformers with levels, as opposed to the more open-world games that began with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and didn't include anything beyond the six basic weapons to fight with.
    • Most of the titles also had yet to follow the "X of Y" formula used today, including the un-subtitled first and fourth games and their re-reboot Castlevania Chronicles, Bloodlines, the first N64 game (also unsubtitled in the west), Simon's Quest, Dracula's Curse, Dracula X/Vampire Kiss, The Adventure, Castlevania Legends, and Belmont's Revenge.
    • Dracula resembled his stereotypical theater counterpart, rather than the more original form he assumes today (although he did briefly retake a Bela Lugosi-like form for Portrait of Ruin).
  • Sly Cooper:
    • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus:
      • The game plays much more of a standard platformer of just getting to the end of the level while collecting clue bottles that help you unlock the safe code, unlike the later games where you do missions around the hub to set up a big heist at the climax of the episode.
      • The game's plot is very simple, light hearted and has only one big plot twist near the end. The sequels have a more serious tone, a bigger story and lots of plot twists.
      • You only play as Sly for most of the game. Bentley only has a single hacking mission and Murray is only playable in the two racing levels. You also near the end play as Carmelita in a shooting range like level. Unlike the sequels where you mostly play as Sly, Bentley and Murray.
      • Murray is not the Large Ham Blood Knight "The Murray" character he would be in the sequels and was a Cowardly Sidekick who was there to drive the gang around, and had he a much smaller role.
      • The game has a One-Hit Point Wonder with extra lives while the rest of the games have a health bar.
      • The game's soundtrack has a techno vibe to it instead of mostly consisting of smooth jazz.
      • New moves are found by reclaiming pages of the title book instead of being brought of Thiefnet with coins.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog:
      • The game has no spin dashing, no characters other than Sonic and Doctor Eggman, fairly trippy and abstract graphics (particularly in the Special Stages and Spring Yard Zone), fairly slow and mellow music, levels of very varying difficulty and length (seriously, play Labyrinth and then continue on to Star Light), and a relatively slow, platform-based gameplay style. Other oddities include only six Chaos Emeralds instead of the standard seven, the Emeralds only changing the ending instead of granting Super Sonic mode, and three Acts per Zone instead of two (though most modern games have 3 Acts, the third is usually relegated to the boss).
      • The fights against Dr. Eggman in the first game seem incredibly tame compared to the later installments. In the first game, all of the boss fights against Eggman had him just use the Eggmobile with a simple weapon or tool. Nowadays, the mad doctor uses much larger machines with hilariously outlandish weapons.
      • Some of the zone names in the first game were shorter than usual and less creative (e.g. Marble Zone in the original Mega Drive/Genesis release, Bridge Zone in the 8-bit version). Starting with the next game, almost all of the zones have had either two-word names or one long word for a name.
    • In Tails' first appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the CPU could make Tails fly, but a player couldn't; it was just used to get the computer to catch back up with Sonic. Sonic 3 & Knuckles would change that. Outside of the Sonic Advance Trilogy, that game would be the only one where Tails could also swim until Sonic Mania over 20 years later.
    • It wasn't until Sonic 3 & Knuckles that Sonic could run along the surface of the water at a high enough speed. Prior to that, he simply skimmed along the surface like a stone or immediately sank into the water at the same rate as usual.
    • The original Mega Drive era games were low on lore and plot. This led Sega of America and Sega of Europe to create their own distinctive backstory from the Japanese continuity of the games, as presented in the Sonic the Hedgehog Promo Comic, which the original Sonic Bible did consider to be the series canon backstory by Sega of America of the time. This included differences like there being seven Chaos Emeralds from the beginning, the series taking place on a planet called "Mobius" with no humans (other than Robotnik) in sight, Sonic initially being brown and having regular quills until he ran so fast one day that the heat fused his quills together and changed his color to cobalt blue, Dr. Robotnik starting off as a good man named Ovi Kintobor (who was even a friend to Sonic and built him specialized shoes to protect himself from the heat of the high friction speed he could achieve), until he unwittingly turned himself into the evil Ivo Robotnik via a malfunctioning invention of his. This was eventually nullified once Sega of Japan decided that the US branch of Sonic should share the same canon as the Japanese games, starting with Sonic Adventure and on.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog CD's North American instruction booklet, Amy Rose is referred to here as "Princess Sally", evidently trying to pass her off as a completely different character from Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM). All other entries and all re-releases of Sonic CD would revert Amy to being just Amy Rose, though they would make a note of her "original" name. She also lacks her trademark squeaky hammer.
    • Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island is the first game to introduce the Homing Attack know in the game as The Dash Attack, It's a power-up you get from a golden shield instead of a natural ability you get starting out. It's not used for jumping over bottomless pits with a line of enemies but to attack enemies easier and quicker.
    • The first few 3D-era games were heavy on this trope:
      • Sonic Adventure was heavily multi-genred as while it was still a platformer, each character played differently (Sonic was a standard platformer, Tails was racing, Knuckles was treasure hunting, Amy was a chased racer, Big was fishing and Gamma was shoot-em-up). The game heavily relied on Once More, with Clarity! to understand how one character arrived at a place or even the motivations for an encounter. It was also the first appearance of the Light Speed Dash, which would stay an item until Sonic Heroes, where it would become a standard power set. This would also be the first game where Super Sonic was relegated to an 11th-Hour Superpower.
      • Sonic Adventure 2 would introduce the grinding system, whose movement would be determined by how a character moved. As well, only Sonic and Shadow had the ability to grind. The game would be the last one to involve a Chao Garden
      • Sonic Heroes had numerous oddities to it. As the play controlled a three-man team, they were able to switch between a running type, a flight type and a "strength" type. This game would codify Team Sonic, Dark and Chaotix, but Team Rose would always be in flux. This is also the only entry in the 3D console era to have a Special Stages as well as the only one with hit points for both Eggman and the badniks.
    • Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric started development as an unrelated Sonic title that was shoehorned into the Sonic Boom IP at the last moment, so there are some bits and pieces that may seem odd to people more familiar with the cartoon. The tone is far more serious and plot-driven than the Gag Series it supposedly is based on, but perhaps more noticeable is the near complete absence of Sticks the Badger, whose only ingame appearance is as a minor NPC in one of the hub worlds.
  • Kirby:
    • In Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby doesn't absorb the powers of enemies; this was introduced in the second game and became the series' trademark. He couldn't slide, dash, or spit a more powerful star by inhaling multiple enemies at once, either. The only games after the first that don't contain Copy Abilities are spinoffs and other oddballs in the series.
    • Also in the first game, while there were boss rematches in the final stage, there was no dedicated Boss Rush mode separate from the main game like in Kirby's Adventure onward.
    • Kirby was also white on the box art instead of his trademark pink, at least in the American version. This was because Shigeru Miyamoto envisioned the character as yellow, while series creator Masahiro Sakurai was the one who wanted him to be pink, causing Nintendo of America to be unsure of what color Kirby was really supposed to be (since the Game Boy did not have a color display, white was, of course, the safest choice).
    • Kirby's Adventure was the first game to have Copy Abilities; however each ability only had one way to use them (though it made sense, there was only one other button) and there were some redundant Copy Abilities, specifically the Ice/Freeze and Fire/Burning abilities, mostly because a lot of them were very limited and only allowed one attack per ability. Kirby Super Star added multiple moves for Copy Abilities and merged these abilities as a result. The Fire/Burning and Ice/Freeze abilities are usually merged in later games, although the Freeze and Burning abilities sometimes appear in later games as well.
    • In Kirby's Adventure none of Kirby's Copy Abilities gave him a distinctive hat. Kirby Super Star gave Kirby distinctive hats for each form, but this wouldn't become a solid part of the series until the Game Boy Advance remake of Kirby's Adventure (Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land) retconned it into the Copy Abilities first appearance. Additionally, Adventure and Super Star had Copy Abilities like Beam and Ice that change Kirby's color; colors other than pink have since been tied to the Color-Coded Multiplayer and irrespective of the current ability.
    • Kirby's Dream Land 2 and 3 add ridable animal helpers for Kirby to use that have their own abilities (Rick can Goomba Stomp and later climb walls, Coo can fly freely, Kine can swim freely, Pitch can glide and fly, Nago can jump multiple times, and Chuchu can walk on ceilings). They also provide alternate uses for Kirby's Copy Abilities. They were largely rendered obsolete by Kirby being more versatile with the uses of his abilities (including being able to transform into stone carvings of them in 64, giving Kirby the trademark abilities of a few of them), and haven't made much more than cameos until their return in Kirby Star Allies. A case of Tropes Are Not Good, however, as many fans clamored for their return.
    • Kirby Super Star introduced a two-player mode, which would become standard for the series. Kirby could use his abilities to create helpers with the ability he sacrificed, allowing a second player to jump in, though they didn't have as much control over the abilities they had, which necessitated an enemy that when copied allowed Kirby to... copy abilities. Just so the second player could use it. Dream Land 3 instead had a different character, Gooey, who was Kirby's match and could do everything he could do, but looked quite different. Every game since that had a multiplayer option, was content with just having multiple differently colored Kirbys without any explanation why there's more than one of him (save Amazing Mirror, where they're present in the single-player as well). Return to Dream Land also lets the second (and third, and fourth) player control the already existing Dedede, Meta Knight, and Waddle Dee, and Kirby Star Allies brings back the Helper system albeit having Helpers created by throwing hearts at enemies while keeping the Copy Ability.
    • King Dedede was a straight villain in the first game, stealing food from people and keeping it for himself. He also lacked his own flight ability in the game, not gaining it until Adventure. Every other game in the series has the main villain be a terrible Eldritch Abomination who either possessed Dedede or had Kirby believe he was the source of his troubles, turning every game except the first into a Vile Villain, Saccharine Show. Also extends to Meta Knight's portrayal in Super Star (which gave him significantly more characterization than his one-off appearance as a boss in Adventure), though that's a Dub-Induced Plot Hole (in the original Japanese, he was a Well-Intentioned Extremist).
    • In the first three traditional 8-bit Kirby games you couldn't press the jump button to puff up; you had to press up to puff and then you can press the jump button to continue jumping. This can be rather irritating for players that played anything from the SNES on beforehand.
    • In earlier games, Scarfies would explode upon defeat even if they weren't in their mutated state caused by trying to suck them up, and the explosion damages Kirby upon contact, which can mess up players used to the later games.
  • The Legendary Starfy:
    • The first game in the series has no shops or costumes, and the Duck, Double Jump, and Shooting Star moves are all missing.
    • There are several other differences, too: there's only one stage per area, you start with the Glide instead of unlocking it, all of the transformations and the Ultra Star Spin are optional to beat the game, the combo system gives Big Pearls sooner (and never gives two Peals at once), and the sound effects for dizziness and low health are different.
  • LittleBigPlanet:
    • The general look of the original game was a much more literal rendition of the arts and crafts aesthetic compared to later entries, especially in the Story levels as they weren't affected by the post-Launch additions of being able to hide bolts, connectors and sensors. This results in many levels "showing their work" by having pistons, winches and bolts clearly visible with no attempt being made to hide how contraptions work, unlike the later games which do and overall feel much less like a puppet show. This was likely intentional for a "use your imagination" approach, and so that Media Molecule could show players how they achieved their contraptions. Not coincidentally LBP1 is also the only entry where you collect Story level contraptions to use in your own levels.
    • Level creators who started with the second game or onward may be given a shock when coming to the original game and seeing how crude certain level creation techniques are, due the absence of almost all of the familiar cursor and Logic tools that makes seemingly simple tasks more difficult to accomplish. Multi-stage bosses in particular are a much more complex nightmare to get working, especially without Microchips to help compress the logic down and save on Thermometer use. Common gadgets from later titles like the Grappling Hook are also absent; you only have the Jetpack, Scuba Gear and the Paintinator from the Metal Gear Solid DLC to play with.
    • The crude aesthetic also applies to NPCs. It's quite jarring to go from fully voiced cutscene characters like da Vinci and Newton to Magic Mouth contraptions that only appear at the start and end of a level, and are replete with obvious stickers, visible connectors, and voices you couldn't even call Simlish!
    • With the third game's introduction of sixteen layers, going back to the older games that use only three can be rather odd, especially since all the previous DLC for the first and second games are (almost) fully compatible with the third game. LittleBigPlanet 3's vast amount of depth does a lot for level immersion, so going back to the first game and seeing it trying to squeeze every inch of depth out of only three layers is a special kind of awkward.
    • The opening of the first game depicts people sleeping as their creative subconcious energy is channeled into the titlar game world, leading Earth to be known as "the Orb of Dreamers" to the rest of the universe. This conceit was dropped in the later games' intros, which depict the people being awake instead.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • The 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 a new protagonist named Stanley, who was never heard from again. None of the enemies were stompable. These games also had a modern day setting, which (alongside older comics, the TV show and the movie - even Miyamoto stated that the 1983 arcade game takes place in the New York sewer system) is a big part of the reason why fanon has Mario and Luigi as refugees from the real world.
    • Also, Mario was a carpenter, not a plumber. This characterization carried over into Wrecking Crew, where he wears a hard hat—and, unlike almost every other Mario game, he can't jump.
    • Unlike in Mario Bros. and subsequent Mario games, in Donkey Kong, falling from a tall enough height killed you.
    • Donkey Kong Country feels very basic compared to its sequels. Unlike the sequels, the first game has very few gimmicks so platforming is more straightforward. The player also cannot become one of the animal buddies (unless it was a specific bonus level) instead of riding them. Bonus areas are simply there to grant the player bonus bananas, animal Bonus Stage tokens, and extra lives, among other goodies, and doesn't use the "do this objective to get a bonus coin" format. The first game also uses the Palette Swap trope a lot more for enemies and bosses, and the music is somewhat more "ambient", for lack of a better word, compared to the sequels'.
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • If not for the common title and character design, you'd hardly believe that the games of the three continuities were from the same series. This even happened within the original series. While the engine was mostly the same, in Spyro the Dragon (1998) there were no sidequests to collect the Plot Coupons, no Hunter, and the story felt like an Excuse Plot in comparison to the deeper Ripto's Rage! and Year of the Dragon. Oh, and Spyro can't swim, not even on the surface.
    • The first game plays with a somewhat melancholic 'Last man alive' feel. You're guided through the levels by the dragons you have to rescue, which also function as save points (you can't save via the pause menu). Some of the enemies were scarier and more aggressive as well, making Spyro's world feel particular dangerous and threatening. The second game introduces goofy cartoon characters who talk to you throughout the levels with the levels mostly consisting of helping these people out and getting orbs in return; the enemies also tend to be goofier from the second game onwards.
    • Spyro is voiced by Carlos Alazraqui in the first game, and he is characterised as a cheeky little rascal and rather cocky. From the second game onwards he is voiced by Tom Kenny, and he is portrayed as older and more mature, albeit still fond of mocking his adversaries.
    • Bosses did not have to be defeated to progress through the game, Gnasty's minions are other Gnorcs he made out of gems where Ripto and the Sorceress just had an army of mooks that inexplicably followed them, obviously there are other dragons besides Spyro, and though a few powerups appear, they're very different than the standard versions in later games.
    • Even the music of the first game is unusual, being more raw, intense and 1970s progressive rock-themed. The music of the later games comprises of multiple, often contrasting genres instead.
    • From the second game on, there are regular cutscenes explaining and advancing the plot as you progress through the game. The first game, on the other hand, has only has three cutscenes: One that opens the game, one after Gnasty Gnorc is defeated, and one after the game is fully completed.
    • In the first game, enemy minions appear in the homeworld hubs as well as the standard level worlds (though in the first homeworld, the minions are merely thieves who don't actually attack Spyro, just run away). Later games turn the homeworlds into safe havens with no enemies.
    • The bosses in the first game (which, as noted above, did not need to be defeated to progress), including even Gnasty Gnorc himself to an extent, took place in the context of levels in their own right, with gems and dragons to be collected - bosses would often run away to a point further on in the level after being wounded, and Spyro would have to follow. From the second game on, boss battles moved to small circular arenas in which fighting the boss was the only thing to do.
    • Even within the first game, there are some oddities early on. In the first three Dragon Realms, there are thieves carrying eggs who must be caught to win back the eggs. They are relatively easy to catch and, in comparison to every other collectible in the original trilogy, relatively few in number - only 12 (by comparison, there are 80 dragons in total). They are only once needed to progress the game (five are required to move on to the fourth Realm from the third), and there are none past that point.
      • The first homeworld boss, Toasty, cannot be fought until at least one other level in that homeworld has been completed. All other homeworlds (except the sixth and final one, which requires the levels to be completed in a specific order) drop this requirement and allow you to play the boss level immediately if you wish.
    • The first game had some assets that were later discarded, such as clams containing extra lives (represented as little silver dragon statues), silver beads which add up to new lives over time and more different types of gem containers.
    • The flying challenges in the first game are called "flights". They would be renamed "speedways" starting with the second game.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid
      • The first game is frustrating in comparison to later ones due to its lack of a map display and Denial of Diagonal Attack. It's also the only Metroid game where you can save your progress anywhere (the Save Point wasn't introduced until Metroid II) and the game used a Password Save system in the international releases (the Japanese release, which was on the Famicom Disk System, had a save system similar to that of the 8-bit Zelda games). It also had Ambidextrous Spritesnote , something that even Metroid II averts despite being an early Game Boy game, and had no visual differences in the different suit power ups bar Palette Swaps and beam upgrades were mutually exclusive. The designs of Ridley and Kraid were also rather different: Ridley was a completely stationary winged thing of some kind who was fairly easy to defeat, and Kraid was tiny, barely larger than Samus. Super Metroid codified their current designs: Ridley as a fiendlishly tough and agile Space Dragon and Kraid as a gigantic lizard monster.
      • The first title also started Samus out with just 30 energy points, even though the maximum she can hold is 99 before she finds Energy Tanks. This also meant that every time you died or picked up from where you left off via password, you'll start off with 30 energy points, forcing you grind for more energy every time. All games past the first installment will always start off Samus with 99 energy points on every new file you load and all energy you collected is retained when you save. The Prime series and Metroid: Other M take it a step further by fully healing you when you save.
      • Also, Samus's shots can't even reach the full length of the screen until you pick up the Long Beam, an item that accomplishes next to nothing other than this (it's stated to power up the basic beam slightly, but the damage increase is negligible) and as a result only showed up twice more: hidden in the code of Super Metroid (after its effects had already been made an inherent property of Samus' starting power beam in Metroid II) and as the first beam upgrade in Zero Mission, which only featured it because it was a remake. Interestingly, the other property of the Long Beam - the fact that it stacked with the other beam upgrades, which otherwise overrode one another - would later become standard for the platformers starting with Super Metroid, where only two of the five beams were mutually-exclusive, before later games simply had every possible beam upgrade stack with each other with no option or need to turn any of them off.note 
      • It's not entirely clear if the discrepancies between the first game's supplementary materials and general franchise lore are a result of this or poor communication between the manual writers and the game makers. For one thing, the artwork of the Space Pirates don't portray them as humanoid arthropods, but as stock "shiver me timbers!" pirates complete with colonial era hats and peg-legs, while Kraid is portrayed with fur. Also, the back of the box says that "left alone the Metroid[s] are harmless." Later games make it clear that Metroids are always dangerous; it's just that the Pirates' efforts to artificially multiply them and use them as bioweapons make them even more dangerous.
      • The intro refers to Zebes as Zebeth. Mother Brain is described as the "mechanical life vein", a term not used again.
      • The manual refers to Samus as a cyborg. Nowadays, it's clear Samus wears the Power Suit and Power Beam, as the equipment is not part of her body.
      • Samus appears in-game without her armor, in a pink leotard and pink boots, with free-flowing brown hairnote . The ponytail she's now known for with the Zero Suit design would be settled on as early as Metroid II (albeit with her undoing the ponytail at the end of the game to reveal shoulder-length hair), though her hair remained brown up until Fusion and Prime changed it to blonde.
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus: Being only the second game in the franchise, Metroid II has some oddities that would be rectified by the time its remake, Metroid: Samus Returns, was released:
      • Samus's ship doesn't save the game. Refilling missiles or energy requires Samus to manually access the respective recharge station on either side of her ship's cockpit, while later games automatically refill both missiles and energy as soon as she enters her ship.
      • You have to be on the ground to initiate morph ball and space jump. If you switch back to biped mode in air you'll stay that way until Samus's feet touch the ground.
      • You're still one installment away from that precious diagonal aim, the ability to carry multiple beam types at once, or an in-game map feature.
      • This is the only game in the entire franchise that does not feature the series's six-note main theme nor the iconic Samus introduction fanfare. Both of these were added in Samus Returns.
      • In this game, all Metroids past the larval stage are immune to the Ice Beam. In Metroid Fusion, the Omega Metroid is weak to the Ice Beam, and Samus Returns extends this weakness to the Alpha, Gamma, and Zeta stages as well.
      • Speaking of the Omega Metroid, here it is only slightly taller than Samus, able to fly, and depicted with a hairy mane in official artwork. In Fusion and Samus Returns, the Omega Metroid is giant, unable to fly, and completely hairless.
      • In this game, the Queen Metroid can extend her neck, and she spits out undefined projectiles that can be rendered harmless with the Screw Attack. In Other M and Samus Returns, the Queen Metroid's neck is a fixed length, and she breathes fire that is dangerous even while using the Screw Attack. She is also vulnerable to standard Morph Bombs in this game, but that is because the Power Bomb was not yet introduced in the series.
      • Unlike in all other games, where its function is purely defensive, this game's Varia Suit also doubles Samus's running speed.
      • This is the only Metroid game where Samus is shown in regular underwear at the end rather than in a practical form-fitting outfit (though one ending for the first game does show her in a bikini.)
      • The English manual translates the name "Chozo Statue" as "Artifactor Statue", uniquely among Metroid games.
    • Super Metroid is about as close as you can get to the gameplay properly codified in Fusion, though there are still a few strange additions that didn't make their way to later games. Beyond the ability to turn upgrades on and off, there's also a sprint button separate from the Speed Booster powerup, shinesparking gradually draining health, the Crystal Flash move to convert ammo into health in an emergency, and diagonal aiming is set to both shoulder buttons (diagonally upwards with the left shoulder and diagonally downwards with the right), with switching between your beam and missile types still entirely set on the Select button. Fusion would remove sprinting and the health-drain from shinesparking, and set priming missiles to holding the right shoulder while making the left shoulder work for firing in any diagonal direction.
    • The first Metroid Prime has three major oddities in relation to its sequels:
      • Scans work much differently from later games, as scannable objects are denoted by floating icons rather than highlighting their models, and with different coloration: Normal icons are orange, important ones are red, and already-scanned objects have faded icons. Compare to the later two's blue for unscanned, red for important, and green for scanned. There is also a much lower quantity of scannable objects and the game doesn't log the long descriptions, letting you read the whole entry in the scan window. The game also doesn't retain what objects you've scanned since your last save if you die, so be sure to rescan everything again upon dying, or you might just lock yourself out of a complete logbook if you forget to scan a boss again or something and then save afterwards (and make no mistake: It's happened). Thankfully, that's also fixed in later games.
      • The game is known for the lack of concrete missions (e.g., collecting the keys to open a temple, as in Echoes), making it less linear than its sequels, so the overworld areas are more natural and organic in this sense, and are thematically closer to the areas found in the 2D games. Samus does not get to interact with any non-playable characters either.
      • Most importantly, several important abilities are absent — namely the Seeker Missile, the Screw Attack, the ability to use the Boost Ball to launch from a Spider Rail, or being able to shoot while grappling. In addition, the maximum possible amount of missiles is 250 and not 255.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man was built on a very small amount of ROM, so the game seems clipped down compared to its sequels: there are only six robot masters instead of the usual eight, all of whose stages were very small; a score display was present at the top of the screen (a leftover from when the game was originally designed to be in arcades); E-Tanks are non-existent; the Life and Weapon Energy items look different from all other games; Mercy Invincibility does not protect you from Spikes of Doom; the corridors before boss rooms contain enemies; Wily's Fortress does not have a map; the Robot Master rematches are sprinkled throughout the fortress stages instead of being collected in a teleporter room; the Wily Machine was the Final Boss rather than being a penultimate boss like in the other games; Fire Man's weakness was the ice weapon (later games usually had the ice boss weak to the fire weapon instead of the other way around); three of the weapons were thrown rather than being shot out of the Mega Buster (Bomb Man's, Cut Man's and Guts Man's weapons); the end-of-stage jingle is different; and most importantly, there was no password system (the entire game must be played in one sitting). Good Luck!
      • When the game got remade as Mega Man Powered Up, several of these differences were addressed. The stages are now longer, the robot masters now have two more in their ranks to bump the total up to the correct eight, the pickups look like how they should, you’re now protected from spikes when you take damage, the corridors don’t have enemies, and the final fortress stage now has a teleporter for the rematches.
    • The final boss fights for the mainline Classic series from Mega Man 4 onward are a case of Grandfather Clause. They consist of fighting Dr. Wily in the Wily Machine, which is always a large weaponized vehicle. After that has been destroyed, the fight will continue with Wily piloting a teleporting escape pod known as the Wily Capsule. However, this isn't the case for the first three games, which each have a Wily Machine, but the Wily Capsule was absent. As mentioned above in the entry for 1, the Wily Machine was the final boss. After defeating the Wily Machine in 2, the final battle is against Wily as an alien (which turns out to be a hologram projection). As for 3, defeating the Wily Machine leads to a final battle with Wily piloting a Humongous Mecha named Gamma.
    • The American manual for the first game made up several details that were not present in the original, like the setting being named "Monsteropolis." Those details were left out of later games.
    • Mets/Metools, the iconic enemy of the series, are not generalized Dr. Wily enemies, but theme baddies for Guts Man's stage. They are meant to look like Hard Hats that someone left laying aroundnote , only for there to turn out to be a little guy underneath, who shoots at you when you get close. The way they fit the theme is that Guts Man's stage is a mine, which naturally involves Hard Hats.
    • Special assist items in the NES Mega Man games varied before really settling on just Rush.
      • In the first game, Mega Man had the Magnetic Beam, which was just a blue laser that doubled as platforms for Mega Man to jump on.
      • 2 replaced them with Items 1, 2 and 3 - a hovering platform, a jet sled, and a wall-hugging platform respectively. These are pretty much Proto-Rush items.
      • 3 gave us the Rush and his three forms: Coil, Jet and Marine. Jet differed here from other versions as Mega Man could avert Video Game Flight by being allowed to fly wherever he wanted to. Marine was the most useless as it only stuck around until 4 since there were very little water stages and what stages there were could be traversed easily.
      • 4 gave us the Balloon and Wire Adapters. Balloon functioned the same as Item-1 from 2 while Wire was a grappling hook weapon. Rush Jet was altered to function like Item-2.
      • 5 saw one last item addition, Super Arrow, which was an arrow weapon that also doubled as a platform when it hit a wall. This most likely was a leftover from the NES Darkwing Duck video game.
    • Mega Man 2 was the first of two games (the other being 3) where players couldn't return to defeated stages. This makes E-Tanks, which make their first appearance here, an Too Awesome to Use commodity here as you couldn't easy stock up on them and, even if you could, you could only hold 4.
    • Mega Man 3 had a load of things that would never be seen again in other entries.
      • Dr. Wily is spelled Wiley, and Dr. Light is Dr. Right, the spelling used from Japan.
      • The password system could be used to manipulate how many Energy Tanks a player could start with. One could start the game with nine Energy Tanks and keep manipulating it to get that same number.
      • After beating the first eight Robot Masters, players would have to traverse four harder versions of those stages to battle Doc Robots, who used the powers of the Robot Masters of Mega Man 2.
      • Battling Proto Man/Break Man forced players to only use their Mega Buster to harm him. Later games would give his Proto Shield a much better defense.
    • Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge is the only game where Mega Man doesn't fight the second set of four Robot Masters in their own stages.
    • Mega Man II is the only game where Mega Man actually acts on an attempt to murder Dr. Wily!
    • Mega Man Battle Network 1 and 2 both lacked the Navi Customizer the later games have. Battle Network 1 also lacks any transformations (2 and 3 have elemental style change, and 4, 5 and 6 allow you to take on the abilities of another Navi). Mega Man Star Force 1 lacks the Link Power abilities (the Navi Customizer replacement) present in the two sequels. It also has a different art style, which is very noticeable in Echo Ridge. Battle Network 1 and 2 were also much slower. In 1, the custom screen does not show the chip's code below the icon, you have to hover over it. Furthermore, instead of throwing away chips to add, the add command just added 5 more chips on the next screen, but instead of that being it, there are actually 15 slots instead of 10 or 8 like the later games have, meaning you have half your folder available in just two turns.
    • Mega Man X had the first two games, where you could NOT play as Zero, the intentional Ensemble Dark Horse who is not only the most popular character out of the entire Mega Man series, but who was also supposed to be the main character. For the first game specifically, the head armor is used to break certain blocks with your head Mario-style, and dashing is not an initial part of X's repertoire, but rather the ability of his his Leg armor upgrade, which unlike all the other armors in the series, is mandatory and unavoidable. The Buster upgrade on its own was simply a 4th level charge shot and not getting it lets you take Zero's buster when he inevitably dies later in the game, which was identical to it anyway. Also, the boss rematches, like the Mega Man 1 example above, aren't in teleporter rooms but interspersed throughout the levels.
    • The second game had the Ride Chaser as a Power Up Mount like the Ride Armors that you can find in a level and use; later games would have dedicated Ride Chaser levels.
    • Mega Man X3 had a very odd set of additions that are never seen again, including a double air dash, healing (both of those were special items that you could only get one of or find the super special item in the final parts of the game) and the ability to choose different Ride Armors for certain purposes. Even playing as Zero was different as you could only use him once per stage, would disappear when you reached the boss and if he died in any stage, you lost him for good. Unless you reached a miniboss in the second stage of Doppler's fortress: Zero could fight that one. He'd be unplayable when the boss kamikazes itself, but Zero would pass his saber to X as an additional Buster power-up.
    • Also, the first three games contained secret armor power-ups that could only be reached if were at full health and had all the powerups from the initial stages. The first two games featured Street Fighter moves—Hadoken in X1 and Shoryuken in X2—that could only be used at full health. X3 didn't go this route, instead providing an enhancement part that powered up your armor's abilities and turned it gold. Also, Zero's beam was a Buster upgrade, so there wasn't a health requirement to use it.
    • Mega Man Zero 1 did things a little differently compared to the later games. One particularly big difference was the use of a single hub-style world for the majority of the game, where everything except the opening Underground Laboratory and the endgame Neo Arcadia stages could be revisited simply by walking to them; this also meant that most stages made heavy reuse of previous stages, with both the desert to the left and the city to the right of the Resistance base getting not only two stages set in them, but also two stages set in the respective hidden base and subway underneath them. There was also a complete lack of subtanks that could be acquired through exploration - rather, you had to sacrifice a Cyber-Elf to turn it into a subtank (thus taking a permanent hit to your end-of-mission score) whereas later games split the difference between two subtank Elves and two subtanks that could be found in the stages. The game was also stingy on giving you your weapons, requiring going through most of the opening stage with just the Buster Shot before handing you the Z-Saber and then requiring completion of specific missions afterwards to get the Triple Rod and Shield Boomerang - and also blocking off access to the Underground Laboratory after the mission there that unlocks the Triple Rod - whereas later games, at most stringent, still let you use the Z-Saber for the opening and then immediately gave you the boomerang and whatever replaced the Triple Rod for that game. Bosses had their EX Skills that they use if the player comes at them with an A or S rank, but Zero couldn't copy them for defeating said bosses at those ranks. There were no alternate forms for Zero to unlock through specific actions during a mission. Finally, it and Zero 2 had minor RPG Elements with your weapons, where you started off with only basic abilities with them (e.g. a single slash with the Z-Saber and only being able to fire basic energy pellets with the Buster Shot) and had to grind out kills across the game to increase your combo length, gain the ability to charge your weapon, and getting a second charge level and/or faster charging.
  • The first Jumper game was very linear and had a very crude physics engine, what with Ogmo moving at a fixed speed and lacking wall jumps and skid jumps. The sequels all feature revisitable levels, collectible items and, indeed, wall jumps, skid jumps and slippery surfaces.
  • The Prehistorik series: the first game was a slow-paced platformer with the caveman having to fill a hunger bar by eating fallen enemies and food items scattered everywhere. All subsequent games retained the basic gameplay but got rid of the hunger bar, got rid of the Wonder Boy-esque secret wizard character and made the caveman much more agile (e.g. being able to run on all fours and jump higher) plus the special ability to kill everything on-screen with his screams. Also, he looks more unhinged, having replaced his neatly-trimmed hairdo and beard from the first game with a wild mane of hair and a lolling tongue.

    Other 
  • The first two seasons of Criminal Case, Grimsborough and Pacific Bay, lack many of the elements that would become staples to the series from World Edition onward, and even have things exclusive to them as well.
    • Grimsborough only has Jones as your partner for the entire season, with three sole exceptions where he gets replaced by another member of the team due certain circumstances. From Pacific Bay onward, there are two or even three partners.
    • Characters in Grimsborough tend to swear several times, although usually censored, which would eventually become non-existent starting from Pacific Bay.
    • Up until the Airport district in Grimsborough, none of the Additional Investigations seem to have much bearing on the plot; they mostly revolve around checking up on the other suspects, usually to help them find an item they are missing or catch them doing something shady. Even plot-lines such as Alden Greene's activity and the Rorschach test murders are relegated to the main case rather than the AI; the same goes for the three first districts of Pacific Bay, with Jazz Town marking the point where the AI start having an overarching theme across the district/season. From World Edition onward, every AI in the season tends to focus on either the underlying plot of the game or on the villains of the district.
      • Adding to this, AI in Grimsborough and Pacific Bay lack the specific artwork that would characterize them from the third region of World Edition onward, instead showing the pictures of the suspects interrogated in them. They also lack a title, being plainly called "Additional Investigation" up to Ivywood Hills, the sixth district of Pacific Bay, where each district-specific AI starts having its own name.
    • Suspect interrogations in Grimsborough are generally much shorter and nowhere near as detailed as later seasons, with Jones often judging the suspects' characters after grilling them.
    • In stark contrast to later seasons, there are very little LGBT characters in Grimsborough beyond minor suspects, with same-sex relationships being shown in a negative light. This becomes even more jarring in The Conspiracy, where the player returns to the city five years later and there are a lot of characters pertaining to the LGBT community shown in a positive light, including a member of their own team.
    • A few of the earlier cases of Grimsborough have a suspect's profile clues being found out in Chapter 1. This was later changed so profile clues are relegated to Chapters 2 and 3.
    • Pacific Bay has the members of the team receiving their own "character arc" in different districts (which also happen to be their hometowns), with the Story Arc of that certain district mainly focusing on them and their own problems, such as Hannah in Inner City, Yann in Jazz Town, Amy in White Peaks, and so on. None of this would reprise in any subsequent seasons, where characters only receive a case focused on them at most for some relevance. There are certain exceptions, such as Marina on Eurasia or Penelope in the Renaissance, where they get storylines across the district, though none of them as plot-heavy as the ones found in Pacific Bay.
    • The number of cases in each district of Pacific Bay is a lot less consistent than Grimsborough or subsequent seasons, with districts having between five and eight cases at random. In comparison, every district except for the final one in Grimsborough has ten cases (if one discounts the tutorial in the first district), World Edition (with the exception of the final region), Mysteries of the Past and The Conspiracy have six, and Travel in Time and Supernatural Investigations have five.
  • Minecraft's early builds hardly resemble the later versions from 2011 onward.
    • Pre-classic is the most glaring case of all. Only a few blocks in the game existed, many of which had completely different textures: Grass blocks were green all over and wooden planks looked like this. Some versions had maps that lacked any sort of grass, looking like superflat with stone blocks in its place. Human mobs (which had the same skin as Steve) could be spawned by pressing G, and jumped around the map while flailing their arms and legs.
    • Classic looked more like the Minecraft we know today than Pre-classic, but still fits. It had the same bright green foliage (which continued to be used until Alpha 1.2), and introduced Survival mode. Killing hostile mobs awarded points, depending on how dangerous the mob was (creepers yielded the most points, while zombies yielded the least). Furthermore, creepers had melee attacks (only exploding when killed by the player) and mushrooms were the only source of food, dropped by pigs; red mushrooms were poisonous and brown mushrooms healed the player. The player's fist also dealt four points of damage.
      • Even Creative Classic was different from today's Creative Mode in one small but significant way: the player could not fly.
      • Sponges could also absorb water because there weren't finite water sources yet. Once finite water was added, sponges became non-functional (though they regained their old absorption properties in 1.8)
    • In earlier versions of Indev, the player would start near a house made of moss stone filled with chests containing every item in the game. Once the survival aspects of the game were emphasized, the chests were removed and the house became wooden. The items also stacked to 99; today, items stack to 64.
    • Early versions of Infdev (not to be confused with Indev, its immediate predecessor) gave the player 999 wooden planks and glass. Similarly with the item chests, these were removed in later versions.
    • As a more general example, food originally did not stack, so it quickly filled up the player's inventory. This was fixed in Beta 1.8 (which also added hunger). Meat also used to have thick outlines which were removed in 1.4.2.
    • In older versions of the game, sheep would drop multiple blocks of wool if punched by the player. Beta 1.7 added shears.
      • Also, sheep did not drop mutton until 1.8.
  • Nintendo games weren't consistently localised into French, German, Spanish and Italian until the Gamecube era, with the latter two not getting localisations at all until the mid-late Nintendo 64 era.
  • Nintendo Wars
    • The very first game in the series only had two armies (Red Star and Blue Moon) and featured a simple "one army versus another" Excuse Plot. It also lacked proper COs, meaning that the two armies were nothing more than Palette Swaps of each other. There was also no campaign, instead featuring a simple list of maps to complete. In addition, several units functioned very differently from their later incarnations (for example, while Advance Wars and beyond have the APC, which can carry footsoldiers and supply adjacent units with fuel and ammo, the APC in the original Famicom Wars could only do the former, with the latter function being delegated to a separate unit, the Supply Truck). Finally, damage and counterattack damage were calculated simultaneously during fights, meaning that two identical units on identical terrain would come out of a battle with exactly the same amount of damage inflicted on each other (in later games, the attacker would have the advantage as counterattack damage was based on the attacked unit's strength after the initial attack).
    • Super Famicom Wars, in addition to introducing Yellow Comet and Green Earth (and, thus, four-faction maps), would feature distinct COs. However, of the seven in that game, only three had any gameplay differences, all of which were severe Game Breakers as they typically gave that CO's army a massive advantage with absolutely no downside (COs in the Advance series usually have weaknesses to offset any strengths they may have). There were still no CO Powers, though, and all of the other weirdness of the original Famicom Wars remained.
    • The first Advance Wars is vastly different from later games in the series in several respects:
      • Every CO has only one CO Power, and there's a severe imbalance between each one, with weaker ones like Olaf's Blizzard and massive Game-Breaker like Eagle's Lightning Strike. Powers don't cause a BGM Override either.
      • The tutorial is separate from the main Campaign rather than integrated into it.
      • Most missions in Campaign mode are pre-deploy, and you don't get to see the map before you choose COs.
      • Only Orange Star is playable in Campaign, and all other nations are enemies.
      • There are several places where the campaign splits into two distinct paths, as well as certain missions where the entire map changes depending on the chosen CO (particularly the missions against Drake), rendering it impossible to play every single mission in one go. In addition, certain bonus missions can only be opened up by completing specific in-game tasks, such as completing certain missions within a specified number of turns or choosing a specific CO for a certain string of missions (none of which is ever conveyed to the player).
      • There are no ranking points at the end of each mission, with Speed, Power, and Technique scores represented by vague bars instead. As a result of this, maps and additional COs are not purchased with ranking points but instead using coins earned based on your letter grade.
      • The player is prompted to enter their name and takes a direct role in the campaign as Orange Star's "strategic advisor" (similar to the Tactician in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade). This was dropped from all future games.
      • The overall art style is much more cartoonish than in later games. In particular, Olaf and Kanbei in this game bear only a scant resemblance to their Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike counterparts.
      • The Black Hole army uses Palette Swaps of Orange Star troops as opposed to their own sprites. (There is an in-story reason for this, though.)
  • Metal Gear:
    • The first game for the MSX2 and NES had no crawling, no radar, a transceiver that was completely room oriented and a simple straightforward plot. Guards could only see in straight lines and the stages were screen-based (think the original Zelda), allowing players to escape detection by simply moving to the next screen (at least in the NES version, which lacked the higher alert phase). It also featured a leveling system that increases your maximum health and carrying capacity for every five hostages you rescued (and demotes you if you killed one) and multiple cardkeys were needed to open different doors.
    • Character designer Yoji Shinkawa was not involved with the series until the first Metal Gear Solid, resulting in an inconsistent art style for the series in the 8-bit games. The first Metal Gear featured a cover art that was blatantly traced over from a publicity still for The Terminator, making Solid Snake resembled Kyle Reese. For Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, the in-game portraits themselves were also traced from various actors and other real life individuals, with Snake himself being modeled after Mel Gibson, while other characters such as Big Boss and Roy Campbell were modeled after actors such as Sean Connery and Richard Crenna (best known for the role of Colonel Sam Trautman from First Blood respectively. When Metal Gear 2 was ported to later platforms, starting with the 2004 Japanese mobile phone version, these portaits were redone not just to be more in-line with Shinkawa's designs from the later games, but also to avoid any potential likeness infringement that the original portraits might cause.
    • Although it was a non-canon sequel made by a different team, Snake's Revenge played like the first game, only with the addition of side-scrolling segments and a focus on knives that the canon Snake would outright deny until Metal Gear Solid 3 and 4.
    • While Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake is much closer to Metal Gear Solid than the previous installments, it is still limited by the same technical constraints as the original Metal Gear. It also had some of the oddest items and puzzles in the series, such as hideable buckets in addition to the box, poisonous hamsters that kill you just from a touch (having to be lead into an area where they can easily be killed by equipping a specific type of ration), and egg hatching to trick a guard into thinking it's nighttime.
    • In the first Metal Gear Solid, Snake's maximum health and item/ammo capacity increases after every boss battle (a play mechanic carried over from Metal Gear 2), he would regain some health after every boss battle by taking a puff from a cigarette (later games would eliminate this and just bring you back to full health without explanation when it felt the need), and there were two endings based on one specific choice halfway through (all the other games in the series only had single endings), with unlockables that were available for New Game+ based on which ending you got (other games make them rewards for a Collection Sidequest, for completing a Pacifist Run, and/or just for completing the game on high difficulties). Also, there were no tranquilizers, relative lack of sound-based stealth (only running over specific loud floors or tapping on a wall would garner a reaction), there was no way to aim a gun in first person view or perform a roll, and the plot, while still intricate, is not nearly as insane as later games.
    • Up until Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the bodies of dead soldiers would simply disappear once they hit the ground. Killing an enemy grunt in front of one of his buddies doesn't cause as much of a reaction as it does in later games. This is also the reason why the tranquilizer gun was introduced in Metal Gear Solid 2, as there wasn't much need for one in previous games.
  • The first game based on Dune is an Adventure/Strategy game; its sequel is the Trope Codifier for the Real-Time Strategy genre. The major differences between them are because the games are actually completely unrelated to one another in every way bar publisher (Virgin Games) and the Dune license; Westwood Studios's game was numbered as a sequel simply because Cryo Interactive's one came out earlier in the same year.
  • Tex Murphy: The first game (Mean Streets) in the series had flight sim and run & gun sequences in addition to the adventure gameplay. The second game drops the flight sim/run and gun gameplay, and the other games from there on (including the Mean Streets remake) are FMV point & click adventures.
  • Thunder Force: The first game was a free-roaming overhead-view shooter, the sequel had an equal share of top-down and sidescrolling levels, and the rest of the series only kept the sidescrolling levels. Also in the first two games, you lost all weapons except Twin and Back upon death, whereas in newer games you only lose your current weapon.
  • Grand Theft Auto: The original game, and the London 1969 expansion pack. All the excitement of a fully realized living city in glorious, er, two dimensional blocky graphics that look like something on an Amiga. In 1997. Your character was a One-Hit Point Wonder, and the body armor only protects you from three bullets. Lives and scoring multipliers were in both the first and second games. They would be done away with in III. There also was no saving during levels either, meaning quitting the mission early or Game Over cancels a few hours of work the player did. This was essentially bad in the two Vice City levels, where it would take a few hours to complete the levels. Players had only four weapons to choose from: a Handgun, Machine Gun, Flamethrower or Rocket Launcher. Wanted levels were also different from other games: Even a one-level wanted level would not dissipate on its own, unlike other games.
    • Grand Theft Auto 2, even more so than the first game. The use of codenames for the player, the strange neo-noir setting, the sound effects, and so on make GTA 2 difficult to consider it part of the same series that later went hyper realistic in IV and V. Also, along with its predecessor, this game has limited continues, unlike later games' infinite continues; the player would get a literal Game Over text after wasting all continues.
    • The third game had the option of changing the camera view to an overhead state so you could play it similar to the previous titles in the series. This was notably missing from Vice City onward. Also missing from III was the in-game map in the pause menu, which forced you to use the map included with the game manual if you wanted to navigate the streets well. An in-game full map was included starting with Vice City. An in-game map for III would only appear on the Android/iOS version, released 10 years after the original was released.
  • Red Dead Revolver is quite different from its successors, the Red Dead Redemption games. For one thing, it's a linear Third-Person Shooter instead of a Wide Open Sandbox, though it does have an explorable hub level. Its story and tone are also a lot Denser and Wackier than the Redemption games.
  • The first Touhou Project game for the PC-98, Touhou Reiiden ~ Highly Responsive to Prayers was a strange sort of Breakout/Arkanoid game with gravity and lots of bullet dodging; from the second game onward the series was firmly in the Shoot 'em Up genre, but the Bullet Hell formula prevalent in the Windows series was not established until the fourth PC-98 game (out of five), and the makings of the "spell card" system that would dominate the Windows Touhou games wasn't present until the fifth game. The overall tone and character designs are still fairly different.
    • While most characters in the Windows games have last names, most PC-98-era characters don't.
    • Most enemies in Windows games are either fairies or balls of energy; in the PC-98 games, various other entities such as ghosts and fairies on the ground join the fray.
    • In Touhou Gensokyo ~ Lotus Land Story and Touhou Kaikidan ~ Mystic Square, you get a bomb back after each stage. Not in the Windows games, unless you play as a specific character pair in Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night.
    • Characters who would go on to appear in the Windows games look dramatically different. Reimu has a more traditional-looking miko outfit (no armpit jokes for you) and boasts purple hair. Marisa, in her first incarnation, has a purple outfit and red hair; her signature blond hair doesn't show up until a few games later. Yuuka's hair is longer, curlier, and she wears pants instead of a skirt, and that's only in her second form; when you encounter her initially she's wearing pink pajamas of all things. Alice is a young child, and her outfit is really only similar in that it's heavy on blue.
    • The early Windows games have some oddness of their own:
      • In the sixth and seventh games, nonspells were treated like traditional shmup boss patterns, cycling through a few different attacks that could overlap rather than the highly structured patterns the series is known for, leaving that to the spellcards. By the time the eighth game came out, nonspells followed the same basic design philosphy as spellcards.
      • The setting was initially portrayed as large and full of mystery and danger. There was no indication there's only one human village, travel seems to take a while, and the concept of lost village makes sense. Around the time of Touhou Kaeidzuka ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View the setting got hammered down fairly well as being small and mostly documented.
      • Youkai tended to have Western names unless they had a good reason not to, the exact opposite of the situation from the 9th game on. Similarly, several were given a generic species of 'youkai' instead of something specific.
    • The sixth game in particular, (Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil) being the first Windows game, can seem very odd compared to the later entries:
      • You can't see your hitbox when focused. Focusing itself simply moves the option closer to the center, with none of the major changes to shot common in later games.
      • No boss markers at the bottom of the screen. Particularly nasty with the high mobility and randomness of boss movement carried over from the PC-98 games (there it was less of an issue with smaller screens and more shot spread).
      • On Easy Mode, you couldn't play the final stage at all; the game simply ended after Stage 5 with no ending (not even the bad one). Later installments would not do this and would let you fight the final boss on any difficulty.
      • It's the only main-series danmaku game to not have a score/power-up gimmick of some sort. Even the PC-98 games had some unique way to increase score (albeit not terribly thematic ones), but here you're stuck with collecting point items and speedkilling bosses.
      • It is remarkably ugly. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but the difference between it and the next is far larger than any of the others.
      • According to the dialogue between Reimu and Remilia, Reimu actually killed Sakuya in their last battle. She's mysteriously okay in the ending.
  • In the original Glider, you couldn't go back a screen, and you kept drifting left or right if you released the keys, making it difficult to hover over vents. Electrical outlets also worked differently: they didn't give out zappy surges continually like in 4.0 and PRO, but set you on fire if you passed over them, like candles always did. There were elaborate paper folding and paper crumpling/falling animations for starting a life and losing it from Collision Damage; subsequent games handled glider spawning and despawning less realistically and more directly. There was also an option to play as a dart; darts only turned up in the later games as enemies.
  • In the Space Quest series, Roger's hair is initially brown instead of blonde. In Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter, Roger obtains a gun to kill enemy guards, and later a gas grenade to get the one who can't be shot; when he foils the Sarien plot, he's hailed as the hero of the galaxy. The other games have Roger never using a weapon and hardly being recognized as a hero.
  • Before the SWAT series became Tactical First Person Shooters "rivaling" with Rainbow Six series by its third installment, we had a Real-Time Strategy Game in the vein of XCOM Apocalypse's real-time mode. And before that, we had a FMV Game, which was a sequel/spin-off of an adventure game series, Police Quest.
  • The original Silent Hill is the only installment of the franchise on the original PlayStation (many of them are for the PlayStation 2). There are also a few oddities here and there, including:
    • Not a lot of puzzles; most of the gameplay is based on survival and combat
    • Harry, the player character, is by far the worst gun user out of any of the game's protagonists. This was because the game actually factored in external elements (perception and distance affected gun accuracy). While each is justified — they're all civilians — the player for the second game is far better.
    • This is the only game where the nurses act the way they do because of an external parasite, plus the only entry in the series to feature a male variation of the nurse/doctor enemy type. From the second game onward it would be female-looking nurse monsters only, with the design from the second game becoming the most iconic and reused (though the third game did use a less sexual design, and those nurses had actual faces like the ones in the first game).
    • The Multiple Endings are based on two decisions only; there's no Karma Meter or mixture of both involved. The endings change whether you have saved or killed your partner, Cybil, from a parasite, and if you were able to find an important item or not in Michael Kaufmann's apartment; naturally, the best ending requires you save Cybil and get the item.
    • The monsters were not representations of any facet of Harry's psyche, but Alessa's likes and dislikes. In fact, much of the plot doesn't focus on Harry at all: he doesn't have any connection or deep-seated flaws, he's just a guy looking for his daughter.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The original Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney used a penalty system with a fixed number of allowed "strikes" instead of the lifebar system of most later games. In later games, a mistake can cost you as little as 10% of your life bar or as much as 95%, if it doesn't result in you immediately losing the case.
    • The first case in the series, "The First Turnabout," stands out from other first cases in a few ways.
      • Pressing is not required at any point in the case, and is only introduced in the first game's second case.
      • The first case is much shorter than any other case in the series, including other first cases, only having one witness, while most first cases in the series, except for Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, have at least two witnesses to cross examine.
      • "The First Turnabout" is one of the few first cases that is not at all connected to the overarching plot, save for introducing Larry, who becomes relevant in "Turnabout Goodbyes."
    • The first game is the only one to have three-day trials, with later games limiting it to one or two days for better pacing.
    • Among the Phoenix trilogy, the first game lacks the Magatama and profile presenting. The fourth and later games removed the latter except for certain scripted sections and greatly reduced the presence of the former.
    • Early on in the series, he guilty suspects were also more basic in terms of motive and their plans were also basic in the beginning of the series. As the games grew and evolved, the motives and planning from the villains grew more elaborate, complex, and sometimes just plain convoluted and crazy, but making it complex to figure out for the sake of challenging the player and Rule of Cool both excuses it and makes it entertaining.
    • A lot of the weirdness of the first game in comparison to later entries becomes obvious in the fifth case, which was made for the Updated Re Release on the DS after the third game had already been released. The tone is very different compared to the rest of the game, and the pacing is much tighter, with longer trials allowing for more to happen within a single day. However, the new pacing is combined with the weirdness of a three-day trial, resulting in one of the longest cases in the series, making it more obvious why these were dropped.
    • The first game also featured a setting that was far more culturally vague, at least in the English version. While things like a Toku show being extremely popular among children or the general outline of the court system point to the setting being based on Japan, they were small enough details that the localisation could reasonably change the setting to a slightly stranger version of the United States. Later games feature far more overtly unique Japanese themes, causing headaches for the localisers and leading to the infamous Americasia aesthetic.
    • Both Ace Attorney and Justice For All feature four cases each (the former having a fifth case added in the Nintendo DS version released after the original trilogy was completed). From Trials And Tribulations onwards, five cases would become standard for the series.
  • The original Resident Evil featured live-action scenes for its opening and ending sequences, whereas every subsequent installment in the series (including the 2002 remake) used CGI cutscenes instead.
    • The first Resident Evil game also feels very basic compared to the later sequels. The original lacked an auto-aiming function (unless you were playing the Japanese version) and the weapons came as they appeared without any chance to enhance them. The original game had Multiple Endings while the sequels only have a single ending each (except for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil 5, although one could argue the alternate scenarios in Resident Evil 2 serve a similar purpose). The first game also lacked the limping animation that the player character could suffer if they were hurt, which meant even if your health was in the red, you could run at a brisk pace just fine. There was also 3D object scanning if you chose to inspect an item (which is only used to reveal two Plot Coupons hidden inside of books), something that the later games dropped, but was brought back in Code: Veronica and the remake to use for a few more puzzles. A common reoccurrence established since Resident Evil 2 is having the Big Bads and other characters go One-Winged Angel, mutating in varying, grotesque ways. Quite a number of them also become towering monstrosities. It could be a bit strange looking back at the first game, realizing this never happens at all.
    • The entire series has made a big Genre Shift from claustrophobic, escape-oriented survival horror to an adrenaline-fueled action series where the protagonists, while still under extreme duress, have more control over the situation; to wit, the first game has a S.W.A.T.-based team trapped in a horror-filled mansion, while Resident Evil 5 is set in Africa with two soldiers freely going gung-ho on infested civilians. With it, a lot of the "survival" aspects have been lost, but even during the early years of the franchise, the second game deviates heavily from the first by giving Claire and Leon far more than enough gun ammo to make it through the game. In the first game, ammo was highly limited, and running out of a particular ammo made certain boss fights near impossible to beat.
    • Another difference that gaps the first few games from later ones is that the undead creatures and monsters are far more resilient and aggressive than they were later on. It can take as many as 9 shots from a hand gun to take down a zombie in the first three games.
  • The first game of the Nancy Drew series, Secrets Can Kill, bears almost no resemblance to the later installments. Its characters are hand-drawn cartoons, dialogue exchanges are rudimentary and not always in-character, and plot-essential clues crop up on bulletin boards for no reason. Plus, the fact that Nancy's investigating a cold-blooded murder and has to point a handgun at someone to win pushes its storyline into What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids? territory by comparison with subsequent games.
    • Secrets Can Kill has since been re-released, in an updated version that sheds most of the original's Early Installment Weirdness. The fact that Nancy's investigating a murder instead of a robbery, haunting, or other non-lethal mystery is still rather jarring, but that probably couldn't be changed considering the game's title.
      • Averted now, at least in part, due to the release of The Deadly Device. Now Nancy has another murder case on her resumé... it just took her 27 games to get there
  • The first Wipeout: A different, less minimalistic style for both the GUI and the vehicles, the vehicle is invincible and so weapons only slow you down, and the abillity to select between two pilots for each teams, a feature which would only reappear in Wipeout Fusion, itself an oddball.
  • Early Tetris games:
    • No hold, no lock delay (pieces lock into place as soon as they hit the floor or the top of another piece) unless it's a game made by Sega, slower sideways movement (again unless it's by Sega), a completely random randomizer notorious for I-piece droughts and consecutive S- and Z-pieces, and only counterclockwise rotation (in pre-Nintendo versions). So you've cleared 200 lines in Tetris DS, and gotten GM rank in Tetris: The Grand Master; NES and Game Boy Tetris's Level 19 should feel like nothing... right?
    • In the Atari arcade version: separated levels with an end-of-level bonus based on the height of your field, line-raising as a level feature instead of a multiplayer punishment, and having to play on levels whose designs were based on the initials of the top three high-score entries.
    • Sega's 1988 arcade version of Tetris supports up to three buttons...that all rotate counterclockwise.
  • DJMAX Online (which most newer fans don't know about): No Fever, hold notes only raise your combo by 1, equipment is very expensive, and currency earned per song is very little.
  • The original Twisted Metal was much different from the games that followed it. The setting was confined to Los Angeles instead of being all over the world (and began with a glorified tutorial level that had players going one-on-one with another competitor in a small arena, unlike later games), live-action photos were used for the characters profiles, the endings consisted of scrolling text over a still picture of Calypso (a remnant of the deleted live-action endings that went unused), there were no special moves, special attacks were collectable items (instead of regenerating after a set amount of time), Needles Kane lacked his trademark Flaming Hair, the weapon pickups all have the same icon, Calypso is not such a Jackass Genie, Minion is the final boss (unlike TM2, where he's a midgame boss and had a Retcon to his origin story) and the tone is a lot more down-to-earth and less humorous.
  • The first Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune game only lets you drive in the Tokyo area and a small subset of the Wangan Expressway. Furthermore, to change your car's tuning, you don't do so before a race; you can only do so via a menu you can access only after inserting your card, versus races as well as stages 41-60 (the latter 2/3 of the Story Mode) have you race one lap around the course, and after the initial 20 tuning blocks, it takes five stages to get a new tuning block, while in later games the next 10 blocks appear every two stages. It also only takes 8 blocks to go from 600 to 800 HP, as opposed to 10 in later games.
  • The original DonPachi has faster but less numerous bullets compared to its successors. It also lacks the crazy numbers of later games in the series: you're lucky to get more than a 20-hit combo, and you can only achieve scores as long as 8 digits, and that's if you're very good at the game; contrast Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu where a 200-hit combo is trivial and, on a decent run, you have a nine-digit score by the end of the first stage. Notably and entirely absent from DonPachi (as well as its sequel Dodonpachi) are the Robot Girls that have become a staple of the series.
  • The first Dragon Ball videogame for the NES, Dragon Ball: Shenlong no Nazo, was neither a Fighting Game nor a RPG Card Battle Game, like almost every subsequent game, but a poorly done action game with long overhead phases (a la Zelda) and short sideview platform phases and boss battles, with an extremely limited moveset. Justified in that it was based on the first series, less action-packed and more focused on exploration and adventure, but still...
  • The first Worms game doesn't have the more cartoony style that every game in the series after it has.
  • The Warcraft series has some of this, especially if you go back and play the first and second games in the series. Humans talk about God (instead of The Light), and the lore mentions summoning demons from Hell (instead of the Twisting Nether). Orcs are Always Chaotic Evil because the humans are the Good Guys.
    • Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, the first of the series, had a much grittier, more realistic art style, that definitely had color, but seemed more to help distinguish the low resolution sprites. Warcraft II started laying down the foundation for the future art style, but it wasn't until Warcraft III that the style fully embraced cartoony proportions and exaggerated animations. It should be noted that the cinematic trailers lean toward the photo-realistic to this day.
    • The first game allows you to build roads and walls, and buildings must be built next to roads. And the gameplay is downright abusive for experienced RTS players: once an unit is selected every single action it will perform has to be chosen from a menu, including walking; all units need to be sent individually (or at maximum four at once) for a group action; and clicking on your own unit while a soldier is selected leads to Friendly Fire which only stops upon the player's order (similarly, clicking "Heal" on an enemy unit does that).
    • Warcraft started out as a fairly Low Fantasy, with a vaguely medieval human kingdom being invaded by orcs, ogres, and other monsters that either came with them or were summoned by them, all of which were treated as essentially demonic. Warcraft II expanded the world by revealing that standard fantasy races such as elves and dwarves simply lived north of the previous lands and the new races took sides with either the humans or orcs to form the now famous Alliance and Horde. The goblins and off-screen gnomes would provide a bit of Schizo Tech, but it was limited to them, canonically unreliable, and rarely acknowledged by the rest of the world in-universe. This remained more or less the status quo all the way through World of Warcraft, until The Burning Crusade.
    • World Of Warcraft initially started with undead basically being Always Chaotic Evil (something the Tabletop Game, which was written inbetween Warcraft III and World Of Warcraft, stated outright) as implied by them having the biggest number of evil-themed quests (such as killing farmers or torturing prisoners). This was gradually phased out over the various expansions, until there was eventually an undead paladin added (granted, he didn't choose undeath, but still remains a good guy despite being so.)
    • At the time, The Burning Crusade's introduction of heavy sci-fi elements was quite controversial. The demons were no longer simply magical monsters from a hellish realm, but a coalition of races collected from various worlds that heavily employed technology. Meanwhile, the Light further changed into a power related in some way to a strange alien race known as the naaru that builds spaceships. Even so, the introduction of a craftable motorcycle in the following expansion was still seen as quite out of place. Regardless, The Burning Crusade marked a turning point from what had become a High Fantasy, into a setting where anything goes and nothing raises an eyebrow anymore. Word of God has gone on record saying that the tech level is still around flintlock level, and the really crazy things aren't entirely canon and are mostly for Rule of Fun and Rule of Cool.
    • On a more low-key note, when Malfurion Stormrage was introduced in the original Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, he was called simply Furion, but then his name was changed to Malfurion in the expansion The Frozen Throne and remained that way ever since.
    • Another low key example is that prior to Wrath of the Lich King, racial leaders only used unique variants of their race's standard appearance. Starting with Wrath, Blizzard began rolling out custom models for the leaders. While some leaders changed little, many are unrecognizable compared to their early designs.
    • Sylvanas Windrunner had the biggest change in appearance. In the original release she used a reskinned Night Elf model, as Blood and High Elves only used simply placeholder models at the time. In the Wrath beta she was given a reskinned Blood Elf model before that was replaced with the first version of her current unique model.
    • When the Achievement System debuted in Wrath, some bosses had multiple achievements associated with them, some mutually exclusive, although only one achievement per boss(usually the hardest one) counted toward the meta achievements for raids.
    • Difficulty modes for raids were also different. 25-man raids generally required better gear than their 10-man counterparts, hence the existence of one achievement that was awarded for completing 10-man Ulduar without outgearing it. Some of the "hard modes" for Ulduar had to be activated manually, and Heroic raids didn't debut until Trial of the Crusader. Naturally, this seems quite strange to those who are more familiar with flexible raids and fixed 20-man Mythic raids.
    • A few quests in vanilla-era WoW could be failed, thus forcing players to cancel them and get the quests again. While similar results can happen with some Escort Mission quests, you only need to talk to the NPC in question to try again.
    • The whole Genre Shift of the franchise in general counts: the first two games were pure Real-Time Strategy. Warcraft 3 was the first to add RPG Elements, but it wasn't until World of Warcraft that the game made the shift into a pure RPG.
  • The very first Monster Rancher game does a number of strange things in comparison to other games in the series, such as having your monster's weight be visible in their model, having you earn money from basic training, and having death be a much more frequent occurrence if you play your cards wrong. To say nothing of the lack of Mocchis, one of the series' Mascot Mooks.
  • Many elements of the Total War series such as dynasties being more important and a more fluid take on the "Risk"-Style Map were introduced in Rome; the first two installments (Shogun and Medieval) had stricter Risk Style Maps, less application of dynastic mechanics, and the overpowered "jedi general" mechanic. Both of these have been remade now in the style established by Rome. Shogun II also has naval combat, albeit markedly different from the Age Of Sail fights in Empire and Napoleon in focusing more on boarding actions than cannon volleys. Also, the dynasty mechanic was abandoned in Empire and Napoleon, the former actually allowing you to switch governments types through revolution, and brought back in Shogun II.
  • The first Deception game was a first-person RPG which included typical item usage, merchants to buy/sell from, Summon Magic, as many traps in each room as you could fit and have MP to fund, and the ability to redecorate your castle. From Kagero on, they shifted to third-person, removed almost all RPG elements except for Hit Points, and you were limited to one ceiling, wall, and floor trap at a time, but you also received bonus points for Combos. However, the connection was far more tenuous between games in the original Japanese; the later titles are Dolled Up Installments in the US.
  • The pre-NES Bomber Man was a fairly primitive single-player Maze Game where both the clearly non-robotic player character and the enemies could move right through bombs. There weren't any multiplayer options in the Bomberman games until the TurboGrafx-16 version.
    • The games were also very slow paced and lacked a lot of power-ups like the rollerblades or bomb kicking. It wasn't until the Super NES era that the series found its place.
  • Shadowverse might have taken this trend from another Cygames title Granblue Fantasy: All chapters from the Morning Star arc will always put the character against enemies popping out of nowhere, even in the midst of dialogue. This causes even the shortest conversations to be interrupted by monster attacks. By the second half of the arc, we get to know more of the original characters' backstories as they are trapped in the dream world. The second arc named Guild Wars actually has a better plot, leaves equal opportunities for introducing new characters as well as expanding the Character Development of the originals. Some chapters are no longer interrupted by unnecessary monster attacks. That being said, the Guild Wars chapters of each leader are actually longer than their Morning Star chapters.
  • The Sims is very different from its descendants. It's more like a typical life simulator (many which started out as, or were, clones of said game) than the goofy Sims. Unlike the more recent games, there was no aging other than from baby to child, and the Create-A-Sim page was extremely limited. Simlish was also less expansive and thus more repetitive than in future games.
  • When Puyo Puyo was first released for the MSX and Famicom, it was a simple Falling Blocks game with a single field and the top of the screen as the only opponent; Madou Monogatari characters were limited to the Puyos and token appearances by Arle and Carbuncle. It was the arcade version released a year later that would start the focus on the multiplayer and cast of characters the series is known for.
    • SEGA's first original Puyo Puyo game, Puyo Pop (aka Minna de Puyo), was basically SEGA trying to copy Compile's older games. This includes recycling voice clips from Puyo Puyo SUN, strictly using the rules from Puyo Puyo Tsu, and exclusively using the former Madou Monogatari characters. This is very different from Puyo Puyo Fever and every game since, due to the series going through a Soft Reboot with a new cast of characters and setting, a far more saccharine art style, becoming even Lighter and Softer, and the larger emphasis on Comeback Mechanics.
  • Eggerland Mystery required you to collect Diamond Framers to open a door, while all other games in the Eggerland series have you collect Heart Framers to open a chest. Mystery was also the only game to include a "Type B" mode, in which each level has a time limit, or points.
  • The first Wonder Boy game is nothing like the rest of the series. Whereas all the games from Wonder Boy in Monster Land and onward are side-scrolling action RPGs (except for Monster Lair, which was an auto-scrolling platformer with shoot'em up segments), the original Wonder Boy was a stage-based platformer similar to Super Mario Bros.. NES players will most likely recognize the game under the title of Adventure Island, a modified port by Hudson Soft that replaced the original main character with Hudson's gaming expert Takahashi-Meijin (aka Master Higgins), which is part of the reason why developer Westone took the Wonder Boy series into a different direction for its sequels.
  • The first Age of Empires might be difficult for fans of the sequels: units can only be created one at a time (fixed with the expansion pack Rise of Rome), only by going through the entire map you can find out idle units, farms are perishable buildings... and of course there are oddities such as killing the birds that fly over the screen and the War/Archer Elephant having as many hitpoints as buildings!
  • Rhythm Heaven for the GBA is pretty different than its two sequels. For starters, the mini-games are arranged in eight columns of six instead of ten columns of five, and the Final Exam Remix is Remix 6 instead of Remix 10. Also, the music for the sequels' mini-games are tailor-made for them while some of the GBA mini-games just have accompanying BGM with the same tempo. Not to mention the Unexpected Gameplay Change that Quiz brought, while the other games never radically change the rules. The Remixes of the GBA version also doesn't change the artistic theme of the mini-games and one stage actually remixes previous remixes, two things that the sequels don't dabble in. Lastly, some first-time stages have no practice sessions.
  • Pac-Man's design on the original arcade cabinets is a bald, bipedal, shoeless, floppy footed non-spherical being with bulging red eyes and a crooked smile, appearing quite different from the more established design.
  • Pac-Man Championship Edition DX invokes this with Championship I, a Nostalgia Level based almost exactly on the Championship maze from the original PMCE. No sleeping ghosts, let alone 30-ghost trains, and the dots are not laid out in an easy-to-follow path.
  • Harvest Moon:
    • The first two handheld games had no marriage in it and very little socialization, while the third game had marriage but only to your Distaff Counterpart. The first two games in the series to have a female protagonist had the game end after marriage.
    • As a whole the first few titles were considerably darker than what we're used to now, with the series getting increasingly Lighter and Softer from Harvest Moon: Magical Melody onward.
    • Compare the cast of games like Harvest Moon 64 to games like Story of Seasons. Overall the character designs have become less like realistic people living in a small town and more like a dating sim. Cast Full of Pretty Boys is in full effect, as is the female equivalent.
    • Any fan who picks up the SNES series on Virtual Console will be surely shocked by the difference from what they know. There's no rucksack, there are no hearts besides the names (instead being in a diary much like in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life'), there are no no character portraits, you can't befriend non-bachelorette villagers, there are no heart events, and there are no real Harvest Godesss interactions. The English translation was censored, thus getting you drunk on "juice", when almost all games in the series feature alcohol heavily. There are references to other gods besides the Harvest Goddess as well. The game is surprisingly difficult as there is no clock, you cannot ship at night, you can't ship perishables, and the days go by quickly. You often have no time to woo women and get your work done in the same day. Luckily there is no proper day-night system so you can work all night.
  • The original Rayman game featured almost an entirely different setting from the later games, with a different cast of characters, a more Wacky Land-style world as opposed to the more dreamlike one of the later games, a different mythos, and even different collectables. It wasn't until the second game that the modern cast of the Rayman series were introduced (most of them being old friends of Rayman's we'd never met before), along with the current version of its backstory. A subtle difference is that many characters are limbless like Rayman himself. This would not be the case in later installments. Rayman Origins tries to fuse the two conflicting storylines, but still skews a bit more heavily towards the Rayman 2: The Great Escape version of things. It does manage to explain the Electoons and Rayman's origin at the hands of Betilla the Fairy. Rayman 1 is also the only game where finding all the cages is required to reach the final boss as opposed to optional 100% completion.
  • Command & Conquer series:
    • The first game had several oddities that were removed from later games. Some particular ones were the lack of production queues (even training multiple infantry units or building several tanks required you to click the icon for them once, wait for it to finish, then click again) and the inability to place buildings with any sort of space between them unless you abused the also-unique-to-this-game ability to place buildings next to sandbags (later games don't let walls or other defensive structures increase your build area). The sidebar could also be pushed away at will at the click of a button, which made sense for missions where you never get to build and train anything, but nevertheless was removed in later games since even when they had infantry/tank-only missions, they'd at least give you free radar. There's no skirmish mode, either, so the only way to play the game against the AI is the campaign. Finally, both sides have the same voice for their advisor/computer character, even if it's explained that Nod is using a stolen one because they don't have anything equivalent; Tiberian Sun onward gave separate advisors for each side. And said advisor, in the first game, says "building" even when you're training infantry. It also stands as the only game in the series with no expansion packs that actually expand on the story in any meaningful way.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 1 actually tried to play the series premise (a battered alliance fighting the onslaught of an invading, tyrannical empire led by an Ax-Crazy dictator) entirely straight, with subtle performances and writing. The rest of the series devolved into high Camp immediately. In other words, Early Installment Lack of Weirdness. The first Red Alert game also apparently takes place in the same universe as the Tiberian-series games, as Kane appears as a Soviet advisor and the Soviet ending even has explicit references to the Brotherhood of Nod. The second game obviously doesn't fit into the timeline of the Tiberian games, so at some point after the first one, the timeline must have split. It's also the last game in the series to continue heavily dabbling in Cosmetically Different Sides - some of their buildings look different, and it was the first game to dabble in the idea of separate countries within the two major factions with slight differencesnote  but for the most part it's a lot of the same tech doing the same stuff between both sides, before later games gave the individual sides even different generic infantry.
    • Up through Tiberian Sun, there were only two columns in the sidebar, one for buildings of any kind and one for infantry and vehicles, with other stuff shoved into one of the two at random when applicable. Red Alert 2 added separate tabs for all the different types of stuff you could make, with that game in particular having four, two each for buildings (one "production" and one "defensive", the latter also housing support powers) and two each for units (one for infantry and one for vehicles).
  • The first Summon Night has four possible protagonists with similar stat growth to choose from, sort of averts Schrödinger's Player Character, its stat point system resembling that of the first Black/Matrix game, and starts in a world outside Lyndbaum. Later games would have two protagonists with different stat growth to choose from, follow Schrödinger's Player Character, a stat point system similar yet distinct from the Black/Matrix series, and stays in Lyndbaum.
  • Artix Entertainment, big time. For starters, AdventureQuest started out as a very stripped-down and basic version of itself called Land of Rising Evil, where the only actual area was, apparently, Yulgar's inn (and even that wasn't originally there); DragonFable and MechQuest both feature much improved art at the current expense of a lot of the content already available in AdventureQuest, with some fuzzy and ill-defined interaction between the three games' plots. Justified, in that the resources put into the games literally started with about two, maybe three guys working on code from scratch. In a living room, mind you.
  • When you compare the first Animal Crossing games to the future ones you'll notice several differences.
    • Kapp'n, Blathers, and the Able sisters (and their respective services) didn't exist in the original N64 version. The Able Sisters' absence also meant that shirts and umbrellas were sold in Tom Nook's shop (which also extends to the Gamecube version, even though the Able Sisters were introduced in that game).
    • Eavesdropping on your neighbors' conversations was implemented in Dobutsu No Mori e+
    • Players couldn't use emotions until Wild World
    • Blathers couldn't identify fossils before Wild World. Fossil identification was instead done by mailing fossils to another museum.
    • Character customization was more limited: your character always wore a horned (for boys) or pointed (for girls) hat with the same pattern as your shirt. Said hats returns in later games, but only if you wear a custom pattern on your head.
    • Watering Cans didn't exist before Wild World. In older games, flowers didn't wither. Flowers also couldn't be picked up after being planted, and Hybrid flowers didn't exist.
    • Celeste, Brewster, and Harriet made their first appearances in Wild World
    • You wouldn't get friends' pictures as a reward for being good friends.
    • The villagers were less interactive. For example, in the first games, you had a menu option to do favors for them, Wild World onward, the villagers will automatically run to you if they want you to do a favor.
    • You can only get NES games in the original games
    • Acres are less fluid in the original compared to its sequels. They are explicitly marked on your map, and the screen won't scroll past their edges.
    • Each player's house in the first game has a Gyroid outside that serves as a Save Point, meaning that you must walk back to your house if you want to stop playing without angering Mr. Resetti. Wild World introduced the ability to save by pressing Start anywhere (it also had beds in your house's attic that you could use to save your game). Speaking of saving, a random villager would guide you through the process instead of a fixed NPC.
    • The first game has balls you can kick around, which are absent in later installments.
    • In the first game, there was a dump where you would drop items, and they would disappear later. Other games have a recycling bin where you drag and drop items through a menu.
  • The original Gauntlet Arcade Game, while it did say such things as "Elf needs food badly," didn't say "Elf shot the food"; instead, it had a generic line for when food is destroyed: "Remember, don't shoot food." Gauntlet II (at least for the NES) and later do mention who shot the food. In addition, the first game's cast was well-defined by color; Warrior was red, Valkyrie was blue, Wizard was yellow, and Elf was green. The sequel allowed for players to select what class they played as regardless of their player color.
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is also different from future Sly Cooper installments. Barring a few brief moments where you control the team's van Sly is the only real playable character in the game, and the level design is quite different: In the original, you had to progress to the hub of the level's villain which had the remaining stages. You then needed to pass through each one and collect keys in to gain access to the boss, unlike the following games which had more Sandbox/Grand Theft Auto feeling where you'd complete a certain number of missions before the next area was available. The character designs were noticeably different, Murray's voice was more high-pitched, and the cutscenes had very crude-looking artwork and animation, compared to the "cleaner"-looking cutscenes from the later games. And in the original game Sly was a One-Hit Point Wonder who had to collect coins to earn lucky horseshoes so he could take extra hits (and even then, it could only go up to two), a far cry from all sequels where he and the other characters all had a health meter.
  • Tomb Raider needs time to get used to if you played the other games in the series. Lara Croft doesn't have flares in the first game, nor does she have the ability to duck and crawl, sprint, monkey swing, or even flip herself in a 180 degree turn when she jumps forward or back. Saving was also regulated to checkpoint style save crystals whereas all other games after the first one allowed you to save at any time. Lara also has very few guns compared to her arsenal in the later installments. The Anniversary remake keeps the paltry amount of guns. In the original game, Lara Croft notably lacks her trademark ponytail in gameplay (it's present in FMV cutscenes), due to graphical limitations of the time. Likewise, Lara's breasts in the first game were rendered as triangles/cones (except in the FMVs).
  • The first MechWarrior game was hit by this. While it featured the expected first-person Humongous Mecha combat (like the later games), it had an extremely simple graphics engine (it came out in 1989, after all), and had role-playing elements. It was also the only singleplayer mech game to take place before the Clan Invasion, and the last official single-player game to feature the Unseen 'Mechs (Mechwarrior Online and its Project Phoenix releases are multiplayer-only). It also did not feature the ability to customize your 'Mech, a staple of every Mechwarrior game since Mechwarrior 2. It also did not feature a third-person perspective option, something that was available in most of the subsequent games.
  • The first two Bloody Roar games, the second in particular, have in-depth story modes that are absent in the later titles. They — once again 2 in particular — are also generally considered vastly superior to the later titles by fans, in part because of this. The first game also doesn't have Beast Drives or secret characters (at least not one that can be unlocked and played as), and features a few characters who didn't reappear in later games (although most were replaced by characters with similar movesets).
  • Postal 2 and 3 are darkly comedic games that revel in Crossing The Line Twice... and then maybe 3 or 4 more times after that just for safe measure. And then repainting the line in blood and urine. Postal 1, however, is about the player character going on a horrific rampage in order to "cleanse" the Earth of what he perceives as the corruption, i.e. human beings. None of it is played for comedy at all — the menu screen, dark music, violence, and sounds are all meant to be 100% disturbing. If that doesn't rub it in, the pile of decaying corpses at the quit screen should hammer that home.
    • Even then, there was no confirmed plot connection between Postal and Postal 2, until Postal 3 finally confirmed that it was the same character. But Postal 3 has since been disowned by the developer, with a promise to make a new game in its place.
    • Also: Postal is an isometric game, while Postal 2 and 3 are respectively first- and third-person shooters.
  • In retrospect, X: Beyond the Frontier was rather obviously an immature game. You could only pilot the one ship you started with, the interface was slow and unintuitive and its learning curve was more of a learning mountain of doom, the ships didn't have defenses beyond shields, trade and station building was limited and combat was extremely simplistic. The X-Tension, uh, extension was widely considered "what Beyond the Frontier was meant to be" — and even that was still somewhat unripe, especially concerning combat — which, if anything, was even more simplistic due to the tendency of the AI to fly in a straight line while under attack. It took four years after Beyond the Frontier for X2: the Threat to come out, and that finally gave the game the features and gameplay mechanics it's maintained since then and that we know from X3: Terran Conflict.
  • The first Freddi Fish game, the very first Humongous game to stray from pixel art and use hand-drawn cartoony graphics, has many glaring differences from its sequels, as well as all later hand-drawn Humongous Entertainment games. For one, the animation is much looser and characters tend to go Off-Model rather often. Freddi also has a different design, where she is much rounder and has a tall upper fin. Perhaps the biggest difference though is its plot; it's much Darker and Edgier and even violates Never Say "Die", a trope all the successors made a point to play straight. Also, on the earliest print runs of the game, the cursors that are made to look as if they're pointing into the distance rather than to the sides have a different design than other Humongous games — they are long and thin rather than short and thick, though this was corrected on later prints.
    • Putt-Putt Joins the Parade also has very little resemblance to any later HE game. The game is much smaller and the puzzles are very simplistic; also, you are sent down one of three streets to mow lawns in order to make money, and solving the puzzles to make it across the other two streets will be entirely unnecessary unless you also decide to deliver groceries, not to mention only one of the three requires an item to solve it (another one also can be solved with an item, but you can also solve it by honking your horn). The mini-games are much more like toys rather than arcade styled, as they have no objective (one of them is a cube where you just mix everything up to make crazy pictures, for instance). The characters are usually one-off characters created for small scenes, and are not given much development. It's also the only game in the entire series that actually makes use of the gas gauge, as it slowly drains while you play, although Take Your Time is in full effect as you cannot actually run out; later games would simply make the gas gauge a decoration. Finally, bar Putt-Putt Travels Through Time, this is the only game that doesn't give you a checklist of the items that you need to finish the game.
  • Most games in the Edutainment Game series Jump Start have a toolbar constantly at the bottom of the screen with options such as Go Back/Exit, Help, Progress Report, and Difficulty Levels, but the earliest installments (the original versions of JumpStart Preschool, JumpStart Kindergarten, JumpStart 1st Grade, and JumpStart 2nd Grade) don't (though most of the options can be accessed other ways). Also, the original JumpStart Preschool and Kindergarten don't contain any sort of goals, progression, prizes, anything. Perhaps most importantly, all the characters' (except Edison's) designs in all of those games were different than their designs in all later games except JumpStart Pre-K (i.e. Frankie and CJ had no clothes other than their collar and hat, respectively).
  • The original Game Boy started out with just a light gray edition in 1989. Then came the Play It Loud! series in 1995, in which it was released in five more colors (along with white in Japan and blue in Europe), and that sets the standard for all subsequent handhelds by Nintendo (starting with the Game Boy Pocket in '97) to be released in all different colors upon launch.
  • The first Ace Combat game (Air Combat in the west) had a world map that allowed the player to play missions in any order once they'd been unlocked and planes had only guns and standard missiles (weapon changing first appeared in the third game). Losing a plane was permanent, and crashing every plane led to a game over. Finally, there were no fictional "super planes" until the second game (although the final boss was similar to the sorts of aerial fortresses that became common in later games).
    • In Ace Combat 2, the playable "superfighter" (a fictional plane that generally outperforms everything else in the game) set itself apart by way of being able to launch four standard missiles at a time. Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere allowed a lot of the mid- to late-game planes do this with the standard missiles as well; on top of this, the weapon changing system in this game consisted of you replacing the standard guns-and-missiles with different variations, and the closest you got to the current system was if you took some form of bomb, which the game would automatically switch you to whenever targeting something on the ground. It wasn't until Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies that the current weapon system (guns alongside standard missiles launched two at a time and a special weapon you could switch between at the press of a button) was set in stone. 2 also had an "Extra" mode available after completing the game once, where most planes that weren't made available sooner than normal were replaced with completely different aircraft - later games did away with this, save for locking the fictional superfighter away until after beating the game once, in favor of a more standard New Game+.
    • 04 introduced alternate paint schemes for planes that the player could choose themselvesnote , but had some weirdness regarding them. There were three different paint schemes available for every plane - one normal, one used by enemy Red Shirts unlocked by getting an A or S rank on a specific mission, and one used by unique enemy aces that would be unlocked by shooting them down. However, those aces wouldn't appear unless you were playing New Game+ above Normal difficulty. On top of that, the alternate paint schemes were treated as entirely separate craft (only special weapons were shared between the different paint schemes of a plane) and had to be purchased individually, with the ace ones costing a little bit extra. Later games changed it so aces could appear in a new game, with only a few restricted by difficulty, and paint schemes could be changed out on a single aircraft without having to shell out for themnote .
  • Earlier beatmania games can seem odd to someone who plays more modern entries. In the first few versions, there are only four timing judgements (the flashing Great / Just Great was not introduced until beatmania 4th MIX), Goods will break your combo instead of incrementing it, and the game has more of a "street" theme compared to modern titles.
  • In the original jubeat, your exact post-song bonus is displayed. Additionally, there is no "EXCELLENT" ranking—you can get a perfect score of 1 million, but the highest grade is SS, which is awarded at 950,000 points.
  • The original Reflec Beat only has two Top markers, even on Hard, and focuses particularly on battle—winning will allow you to clear the song even if you have <70% Achievment Rate, said Achievement Rate is not shown during stages, and the announcer declares "You win!" and "You lose!" rather than "Clear!" and "Failed!". Finally, the menu interface is much darker than its successors and the song selection screen shows two scrollable columns of songs represented by album art rather than grids of album art.
  • Dance Dance Revolution:
    • The very first release of the first game (commonly called "DDR 1.0" by the fanbase) doesn't have Versus Style. There is a two-player mode called Couple Style, but rather than two players dancing separately, they work together to complete a unified stepchart based on the Single charts (it's not Double Style since there are times when more than two arrows appear), so they have to play on the same difficulty. Additionally, the game makes no distinction between passed or missed steps; regardless of how close or far your timing is, the arrows will pass through the Step Zone. Finally, the Maniac/Heavy/Expert difficulty is absent. These oddities are addressed in the Internet Ranking Version (AKA "DDR 1.5"), but Couple and Versus Styles still have to be played on the same difficulty. The choice to select different difficulties for two-player modes is introduced in the second game.
    • Vivid arrow skin, which distinguishes the beat of the arrows, is introduced in the third game. For perfectionist players, the first two games are effectively a Luck-Based Mission, since you have no way to ascertain the exact timing of the stepcharts outside memorization.
    • The classic song wheel interface for music selection used until X2 is introduced in 5thMix. The first three games' music selection is modeled after a jukebox, which songs represented by CDs. The fourth game uses a weird interface in which songs are represented by diagonal banners at the bottom half of the screen. Other than that, the first four games also restrict the number of available songs based on the modes you select (though all of them except for 1stMix are rereleased with the option to access the entire song list) and do not allow you to choose the same song more than once within the same playthrough.
    • All mainline games up to 4thMix run at only 30 FPS, which can come off as an eyesore for those accustomed to newer games.
    • Freeze arrows, speed modifiers, and a dedicated options menu do not exist until DDRMAX. Other modifiers must be inputted with codes.
  • The original F-Zero has a number of differences that make it stand out from its successors:
    • There are only four unique machines in the game. The rest of the competition is comprised of generic brown machines that try to get in your way, generic purple machines that you start to see if you fall below 5th place, and exploding stalled flashing machines.
    • Scoring Points for clearing laps, with more points rewarded the higher-ranked you are. You get an extra life Every 10,000 Points.
    • The game does not keep track of individual opponents, other than the one in 1st place, or 2nd if you're 1st. The way opponents are implemented are such that you can't lap purple machines or named opponents no matter what.
    • Also, while a non-fatal crash will cause the entire crowd of opponents to easily surpass you in a few seconds in later games, here it takes a while to fall down several places.
    • The rank requirement system, which requires that you be a particular place or higher to go to the next lap or else you lose one life. In later games other than Maximum Velocity, you can come in 30th place in Grand Prix mode and you'll still be allowed to go to the next stage.
  • The Wolfenstein games are one of the most influential first person shooters of all time, creating the genre. Starting with the third game, that is — the first two games were overhead stealth titles. Interestingly, until Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus in 2017, Castle Wolfenstein was also the only game in the series to get a sequel from the same developers - every other dev to get their hands on the property would put out a single game and, at best, one expansion for it before it switched hands again.
  • Darius:
    • Though the original game does have branching paths, it doesn't use a stage select screen. Instead, the levels split into divergent courses after the Boss Battle. Darius R, released about a decade and a half later, uses this same style of stage select.
    • The first two games, released in 1986 and 1988, have multi-monitor setups that would not be seen again until Dariusburst Another Chronicle in 2010. Even then, DBAC only uses two 16:9 monitors for a 32:9 setup, as opposed to the 4:1 setup of three 4:3 monitors used in the first two games (although Darius II does come in a two-monitor, 8:3 setup).
  • Saints Row was originally a much more down to earth sandbox action game based on gang violence. Fans of the later entries' over the top, irreverent humor might be shocked to see that the original was playing it much straighter. It also didn't let you select the main character's gender, and - as endlessly lampshaded across the second game - he didn't speak all that much either.
  • Nintendo's recurring game setting, Wuhu Island, made its first appearance in Wii Fit- but there, it was called "Wii Fit Island" and looked somewhat different, lacking certain landmarks and having different names for others. It wasn't until Wii Sports Resort that the island got its standard appearance, which was then used for later versions of Wii Fit.
  • The original Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan lacks a lot of the features from its successors, Elite Beat Agents and Osu Tatakae Ouendan 2. There's no bonus stages, which means that levelling up has no purpose, the final stage is just one song instead of two, the art style is a lot cruder than the later games in the series, the records menu is just a scrolling list of your score and rank rather than allowing you to see the rank of any stage you want, it's also the only way to view your rankings, as they don't appear on the song selection screen, the song's difficulty also doesn't appear on that screen, and you are unable to skip the intros to levels, only able to skip the Manga part of the intro.
  • The first Professor Layton game, The Curious Village, is a bit different from other games. The characters aren't as zoomed in during dialogue exchanges, the red exclamation mark symbol appears when you do any examination instead of just appearing when you've activated a puzzle, and there's very little voice acting outside of the Anime cutscenes and the victory/failure quotes after puzzles. There was also no Memo function at this point (though a handful of puzzles did let you draw directly on them), meaning that any note-taking and calculating had to be done on a separate sheet of paper. Furthermore, the optional side puzzles are much simpler than they'd be in later games (one consists entirely of clicking parts to assemble a robot dog - there isn't even the challenge of figuring out where the parts go - while another is little more than a jigsaw puzzle). Finally, in terms of characterization, Layton is unusually baffled at people's obsession with puzzles, when in later games (even those placed chronologically before this one) he's not only okay with it, he himself is a veritable puzzle chewer.
  • The first Cho Aniki was considerably less homoerotic than every game that came after it, though still pretty weird on its own. Unbelievably, this is actually an inversion— the series only got wierder with each installment after Ai Cho Aniki turned the camp Up to Eleven.
  • The first game in the Shantae series is the only one where Shantae has multiple lives (later games give her just one, with each heart on her health bar accounting for four hits instead of just two), and interaction in towns is limited to Shantae rotating until she finds the building she wants to enter, similarly to Shining in the Darkness. It's also the only one with an active day/night cycle, with tougher monsters coming out at night, and one building in towns only accessible at night. The original also lacks the "skull = death" pits, causing the need for many blind jumps.
  • Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards is rather different from the rest of the series: there's an overall time limit, you have a specific amount of money that you can spend on things and replenish by gambling (rather than just having a "money" item that is exactly enough for whatever you need to buy), the game world is divided into smaller areas that you can only get between by taxi (which costs money), and one of the women (the prostitute) is completely optional to interact with to beat the game. Later games play more like traditional adventure games, and every girl somehow brings you closer to the "final girl".
  • Leisure Suit Larry 3 has a realistic art style that clashes with the more cartoony depictions of characters in other installments.
  • Danganronpa: From the viewpoint of the entire franchise, there has much some notable differences between the early installments and the later installments.
    • The first couple major installments usually tends to have a few main/playable characters being responsible for the events that went on in the story. Starting around Danganronpa 3, there has multiple main/playable characters with DR3 having Makoto, Kyoko, Chisa, Ryota, Munakuta, Chiaki, Junko, and Hajime/Izuru and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony having Kaede, Shuichi, Himiko, Maki, Kiibo, Kaito, and Kokichi.
    • The first couple of installments lack of any direct romance and they mostly rely on Ship Tease. Starting around DR3, a lot of characters ended up being involved in an Official Couple and were involved in a direct romance.
    • The executions in later installments were much more brutal in comparison to the executions in the first two major installments.
    • The nature of Junko and Mukuro's relationship is a lot more vague than in later installments, outside of then-headscratcher-worthy number of rooms. While Junko being abusive and exploitative of her sister is retroactively obvious by the end of the first game, it's not until the light novel Danganronpa IF that it would be explicitly confirmed, also establishing Mukuro's subservient nature towards Junko, with subtext of the full nature of the relationship being introduced. Then in Danganronpa 3, Junko knocks Mukuro to the ground by slapping her on the butt before shoving her boot directly up against Mukuro's crotch and rubbing back and forth, leaving no other possible interpretation, this coming after several episodes of Mukuro blushing heavily and smiling whenever Junko would insult her. Suddenly the room count in the first game makes perfect sense.
    • The original Danganronpa:
      • Portrayed Hope's Peak Academy as a Good All Along institution that had nothing to do with advancing the Big Bad's scheme, since it was intended to shelter the students, and the Headmaster (a suspect for the mastermind) had been killed before the start of the game. This can come off as very jarring considering how later works in the franchise portray the Academy as heavily corrupt and indirectly aiding the Big Bad in the process.
      • Numerous tropes the franchise is known for deconstructing are played straight.
      • Compared to the executions afterwards, the execution of Leon Kuwata is incredibly violent. This is largely due to it being lifted from the considerably darker early build of the game.
      • All versions of the game lack a light novel readable after the main game is complete, something that is in every game starting with the Updated Re-release of Danganronpa 2
      • The Re:Act feature (which itself was used with decreasing frequency in the game), a form of Dialogue Tree where progressing in the dialogue requires you to click on specific purple-colored phrases in the other characters' statements.
      • The game has less "sci-fi and unrealistic" elements in comparison to other installments. For example, in one of Chihirio's free time intros, it was stated that they don't have the technology for a robot with an AI installed inside it yet. Given how the future installments ended up having a virtual world simulator, medicine that can change the size of somebody, anime programs that can brainwash people, and actual robots with actual AI installed inside them, that comment can be a bit jarring.
      • The number of Free Time Events each classmate had generally depended on when they died. For example, Sayaka, the first to die, only had two events, whereas Toko, who survives, has eight counting Genocide Jack's three. Later installments gave each character five events, even if they died too early to see them all in a normal playthrough, although in V3, each character has two events with Kaede in addition to the standard five with Shuichi.
  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune has some noticeable changes in the gameplay compared to the sequels in the Uncharted series. There are a few quick time events, Drake must manually switch to grenades from his current weapon in order to throw them, there is no zoom in feature for automatic weapons, machine gun turrets Drake can commandeer have unlimited ammo as opposed to the sequels where the ammo is limited, and the melee combat system is much more simplistic. And though enemies do improve in gear as the game goes on, the Heavily Armored Mook enemies that otherwise take heavy fire or headshots to finish off are absent. Story-wise, the plot is a bit more simple as well, with the action taking place almost entirely on an island; only 3 out of 22 chapters take place outside the island, as opposed to the vast number of locations and settings the sequels visit. The relationships between some of the characters also hadn’t been nailed down yet and are much different than in the sequels. Nathan and Sully’s relationship being the one that’s the most different. In this one it’s more like a somewhat cold business partnership instead of the father/son one of the rest of the franchise. Compare Nate’s pretty non-plussed reaction to Sully’s alleged death in this game to him losing it over the same alleged death in the third game.
  • Unlike its sequels, the original Time Crisis is single-player only with a Heroic Mime protagonist and doesn't have two protagonists with a dual screen, Wild Dog is the Final Boss and the Big Bad is the second-to-last boss, there's no warning when the enemies' bullets will hit you, the timer doesn't reset to 40 seconds during gameplay transitions, the timer will keep counting down even during action sequences, and this is the only game in the series where you will lose all of your lives if you run out of time. As for playing for score: There's no score at all, you're ranked strictly on time; in fact, there's even a Timed Mode where you can time-attack any of the three stages with infinite lives, a feature not seen in any game since.
  • Game demos often include content that is Dummied Out or removed in retail versions, including different maps, interfaces, and character graphics than the final product. Plot, character abilities and characterizations may be different. Locations, boss battles, and items are typically moved around due to the shorter length of the demo.
  • The first two installments of the Dark Parables series, and the first one in particular, are very different from the rest of the franchise. These two take place solely in real countries (Scotland and Germany, respectively), while the later games spend at least part of the time in a Fictional Country. Completing the main games of the later installments immediately unlocks bonus chapters which expand on the story of the main game, as well as other Bonus Material; Curse of Briar Rose and The Exiled Prince, however, have New Game+, requiring the player to play the games a second time on a higher difficulty level in order to unlock their bonus chapters, and it's only upon finishing the bonus chapters that the player gains access to the rest of the Bonus Material. And as the series has progressed, more and more features have been added to the games to flesh out the stories and their interconnected nature, leaving the first two games looking very uncomplicated and straightforward by comparison.
  • The first two Dark Tales adventures, particularly the first one, are very different from those which followed. The art style is different, and they're the only two games in the series which don't have voice acting. The first one is also the only installment in which the bonus chapter doesn't in some way continue or supplement the main game's story; it's a completely unrelated little challenge. It also follows the Poe story on which it's based (Murders in the Rue Morgue) more closely than any other installment.
  • The first Need for Speed game was the only game in that series to have an endorsement from Road & Track Magazine. Furthermore, the first five games were the only games to have detailed showrooms of the cars featured in-game.
  • Roblox was quite a bit different in the early days:
    • Character models did not have animation; they simply slid around without moving their limbs.
    • Explosions were first rendered as red spheres that flashed for an instant.
    • Robucks were once given out daily, like Tickets are now, without needing to be active in Builder's Club.
    • Blocks lacked bevels in the early days, which made things look much more rigid and connected.
    • The default place was either a simple destructible house with a few extra blocks or a flat featureless 252 square-stud plane.
    • After Builder's Club expired, players could keep the extra place slots provided. Today, they are removed once any form of Builder's Club expires, unless the user had Builder's Club before a certain time.
  • Star Fox:
    • The low framerate and polygon count are obviously a result of hardware limitations, but the lack of a targeting reticule is a less excusable omission to players who grew up on games like Star Fox 64.
    • In the original game, your wingmates die if their shield gauges are depleted. By comparison, if that happens in 64, they're forced to withdraw for the rest of that mission and all of the next.
  • Cube Escape: The first created game of the series, The Lake, is a relatively simplistic game with a Featureless Protagonist and no specified time period, as well as no Sequel Hook or obvious connection to a larger plot. In contrast, later games have clearly defined characters, time periods, and gradually-accumulating pieces of a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot. Even with a later update to tie it a bit to Seasons, you could basically skip it entirely and not miss anything about the series' overarching plot. It also remains the only game in the series to have Multiple Endings. Additionally, Dale Vandermeer, Mr. Crow, and Mr. Owl - characters who all turn out to be extremely important to the larger plot and make frequent appearances in later games - aren't introduced until Case 23, the fifth game of the series.
  • Duke Nukem is a rare case in that early games don't differ only in tone, but in genre. Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II are somewhat obscure family-friendly bloodless slow-paced platformers, when Duke had only a ray rifle and behaved at most like a teen Mascot with Attitude. Duke Nukem 3D, the first breakout title, changed perspective of Duke's series to the much Bloodier and Gorier First-Person Shooter full of adult content that we know today.
  • Kerbal Space Program was in beta/early-access for a few years, and went through many dramatic changes. The farther back you go in its version history, the weirder it gets.
    • The last version before 1.0 had no female Kerbals and no reentry heating; the latter is especially bizarre because sophisticated animations for reentry heating were added very early on, but they couldn't damage your spacecraft or astronauts.
    • All the Kerbal Space Center buildings used to be indestructible. Blowing them up is now a favorite pastime of combat-mod players, and the launch pad is infamous for exploding when you launch an overly-heavy rocket.
    • Biomes were added to the Kerbin system in 0.22, but the rest of the planets and moons didn't have any biomes until more than a year later. This discouraged running interplanetary missions, because you could get far more science points closer to home.
    • If you go all the way back to the first public release, things get really weird. There's a grand total of eleven types of rocket parts (the current game has so many that digging through them all to find what you want can get tedious). Your home planet Kerbin is the only celestial body, and reaching orbit is insanely difficult due to the soupy aerodynamics and wobbly, flimsy rockets. The launch site has a purely decorative launch tower, and palm trees (these were later removed, and generic sphere-of-leaves-on-a-stick trees appeared all over the planet but not at the launch site). If you kill your astronauts they're labeled as "K.I.A.;" explosions look like sooty fireworks. The ocean is solid, but you can't Walk on Water because your Kerbals can't get out of the capsule. The devs re-released some of the ancient versions as freeware so you can experience the strangeness for yourself.
  • The original Five Nights at Freddy's lacks the retraux minigames featured in every other game in the series, and is the only one where the threat of losing power is a constant gameplay element. Also, Freddy has a higher level of importance over the other animatronics (undergoing Villain Decay in the sequels), and the backstory is much more well-hidden; what later games bring front and center are instead hard to find Easter eggs which the main narrative never mentions.
  • In Warlight, an Indie, free-to-play Risk-like that allows players to generate content, most early-made maps lack elements such as bonus links or connection lines. That does not make them unplayable but it is notable and confusing to the inexperienced player.
  • Early Nintendo 3DS and Wii U games came with full-fledged physical manuals. Eventually these were watered down into single paper pamphlets and eventually even that was just replaced with a generic paper telling you how to view the digital manual. Some games still come with manuals however they're very rare and mostly limited to indie games.
  • Aside from some oddities in the game engine and features, the original Metal Slug is weird for its lack of weirdness. The relative cuteness and humor in its animations notwithstanding, it's a straight up battle between soldiers. The second game added armed camels, mummies, player transformations, a battleship with tank treads, a lightning submarine in the sewer, and martians, and the series has never looked back.
  • The first Oddworld game, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, has a few quirks compared to the later games and its remake. You could only have one Mudokon following you at a time (meaning, if there were multiple Mudokons in an area, you would have to keep going back and forth in order to rescue them all), there was no Quicksave option (instead the game had checkpoints that Abe would return to upon dying), Mudokons didn't have emotions, and Paramites and Scrabs couldn't be possessed. Also, all the cutscenes were narrated by Abe (in rhyme, no less) and, with the exception of the endings, featured no dialogue other than Abe's narration. The remaster, Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!, added the Quicksave option and the ability to have multiple Mudokons following you at once.
  • Both sibling series of the Forza franchise have noticeable differences between their first installment and later ones:
    • The first Motorsport game has oddities such as point-to-point races that would never reappear down the line. It also had more original tracks, including 'Blue Mountains' which is a generic recreation of the real world Mount Panorama Circuit. Finally, the way the game handled the Performance Index was completely different: Each tier of PI had its own sub-tiers, and it was not possible to see the exact value of a car.
    • The first Horizon game was significantly more linear in both gameplay and structure compared to its sequels. Cars were limited to travelling along roads with only a few open arenas for off-roading action. As for structure, compared to the 'do anything you want' attitude of the sequels, Horizon limits you to races with strict entry requirements, and has a clear line of progression between races.
  • Every dragon in Dragonvale has completely unique art and a design that is separate from every other dragon in the game- with the exception of the Leap Year Dragon, the Clover Dragon, the Solstice Dragon, and the Blue Moon Dragon, which are some of the first limited-release dragons and vary from using the same base as another dragon to being a direct Palette Swap.
  • Pretty Cure video games on handhelds started out as normal video games. While the Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star was initially the Early Installment Weirdness as it did just a plethora of cutesy mini-games, when Fresh Pretty Cure! got its game would be when the franchise would go full mini-game.
  • The original Portal has a drastically different tone than it sequel and subsequent spinoffs:
    • The test chambers themselves are far bleaker, with sterile concrete and metal walls making up the vast majority of the scenery. The rest of the games have a much more dynamic atmosphere with a distinctly futuristic look.
    • Similarly, the "behind the scenes" areas in the original games were claustrophobic, labyrinthine, rusting, and quite literally falling apart. Contrast this to later installments, where these areas mostly consist of vast, sprawling chasms filled with intricate mechanisms powering everything in the facility.
    • The soundtrack of the original game consisted mostly of brooding, ambient tracks that were designed to evoke a feeling of tension and isolation. The sequel is positively upbeat in comparison, with light synthesizers and orchestral instruments forming the backbone of the soundtrack.
    • The original game relied heavily on subtle Black Comedy, to drive the point home further that all was not what it seemed at Aperture. While there's still plenty of Black Comedy to go around in the sequels/spinoffs, their overall sense of humor is far more overt.
    • GLaDOS originally had a much rounder, more static design, only moving to dodge attacks during her boss fight. The sequel (and, by extension, every spinoff that's since followed) gave her a more squared and much more expressive design.
    • The original game had a much tighter storyline: it basically amounted to you solving a bunch of tests put forth by a noticeably malfunctioning AI and then escaping the facility when said AI tries to kill you. Later games would go much deeper into Aperture Science's history, as well as take a much closer look at the inner machinations of the company itself.
  • In North America, the first year or so of PlayStation titles were packaged in oversized longboxes (similar to the elongated cases used for the Sega CD and US/EU Sega Saturn games), which had multiple variants. These would eventually be replaced by the more economical jewel case, with many of the popular longbox games being reprinted in this format.
  • The Star Control series is famous these days for its engaging adventures filled with unique aliens and cleverly-written storylines. If you're tempted to try the "campaign mode" of the original game though, you'll find yourself playing a very rudimentary strategy game that only serves to tie ship-to-ship melee matches together.
  • Neopets:
    • The drawing used to be in a much cruder art style.
    • A number of species were different: Acaras used to have tails, Bruces used to be called Bruce-Forsyths and look like humans, Buzz used to be called Fleyes and look like eyes with wings, Elephantes walked on all fours and didn't wear hats, Eyries used to be dragon-like creatures called Cerpulls and then equally dragon-like creatures called Tatsus, Flotsams used to be round and had crests instead of horns, Gelerts were called Polypups and looked "pointy", Grarrls had no teeth (which is odd as they are now famous for their teeth), Jetsams used to look more fish-like, Kacheeks were called Badeeks and wore sunglasses, Kaus used to look like parodies of Macy Gray, Koi had arms and big noses, Kyrii were called Fuzzios and looked more like Jubjubs, Lupes were cross-eyed with purple whiskers, Myncis looked like humans and were called Mellishes, Quiggles were called Frogstomps, Scorchios were thin and had hair, and Zafaras were thin, spiky and walked on all fours.
    • Wockies instead of Lupes were the ones who had a history of (but are implied to no longer do it) eating Chias.
    • Some petpet species, too many to list, were different too, some even appeared to be a completely different species.
    • The Birthday Bowla and Filamens used to sit on cupcakes.
    • Neopets didn't used to cry or scowl when they were in a bad mood.
    • Aquatic petpets' fishbowls could be seen.
    • Edna the witch was a human.
  • Gears of War:
    • The first game, which took place during a Forever War that saw frequent use of superweapons, is perhaps most infamous for its extremely desaturated and monochrome color palette. Subsequent games in the franchise would inject far more color into its world, including the Ultimate Edition remake that brings the first game up to the graphical style of the rest of the series.
    • The first game is also the only one in the series with Squad Controls, allowing you to order squad members to either advance to a certain spot or hold back. Future games just have your squad act mostly independent from you, with only a basic 'prioritise this enemy' command available.
    • The first game didn't have Horde mode, a notable exclusion considering how popular and series-defining that mode would become.
    • The first game had collectables in the form of COG Tags, which were only useful for unlocking achievements. Later games feature a much wider range of things to collect, most of which give some details on the setting's lore. Ultimate Edition, meanwhile, keeps the COG Tags but gives them an additional use as a way of unlocking tie-in comics to read.
    • The first game released on PC a year after its 360 debut, clearly as an afterthought,note  as later games would remain exclusive to Xbox until the property switched developers with Gears 4.
  • The first Myst game has a number of distinctions from the rest of the series. In particular, it's clear that the creators hadn't quite figured out how the Art (the act of creating Linking Books) was supposed to work yet; this leads to such things as the Prison Books (which rather infamously had to be retconned come the fourth game), the Selenetic Book somehow being stored in a computer, and Atrus being able to talk to the player through the panel of the D'ni Linking Book. There's also an unexpectedly fantastical moment when the Myst Linking Book on Stoneship somehow materializes out of a table when discovered; while fantasy elements are very much present in the series, they tend to be examples of Magic A Is Magic A and this particular moment never really gets explained (especially given that Atrus, who presumably put the book there, tends to lean more heavily on the technology side of the lore).
  • Watch_Dogs:
    • DedSec did appear in the first game, but as a morally ambiguous third party faction with He Who Fights Monsters tendencies. Both 2 and Legion not only have their protagonists work directly for DedSec, but the group is also depicted in a far more positive light; less Well Intentioned Extremists and more La Résistance.
    • Many gameplay elements of the first game are generally less polished than in future installments. To unlock side content, Aiden must infiltrate and tamper with ctOS Towers (the game's version of the then-ubiquitous "Ubisoft Towers"), which 2 would drop. Aiden's movement is much more limited, and he lacks any non-lethal options beyond his baton. The game's story missions are played out in a linear order, and split into multiple acts that gradually escalate the strength of enemies upon completion; later games are much less linear and drop the act structure. Police rarely patrol the streets, and upon gaining a wanted level they will first scan the area before sending backup. Aiden's clothing customisation options mostly amount to reskins of his default outfit, a far cry from Marcus' impressive and varied range of clothing options. Aiden can steal money via hacking in the same way Marcus can, but he must go through the additional step of visiting an ATM to take out the money.
    • Combat itself would be heavily downplayed as the series went on. Aiden had a Hyperspace Arsenal, while Marcus is limited to two weapons alongside his Stun Gun, and the cast of Legion are limited to two weapons which are strictly character-specific. Aiden also had access to an Item Crafting mechanic, were he could find or buy items scattered around the game world, and choose to turn them into consumables such as grenades and powerful hacks in the midst of battle. 2 abandons this system, and instead turns items into abilities on a cooldown.
    • The first game is also much darker in both narrative and aesthetics than the Lighter and Softer sequels. Even the gloomy London of Legion makes up for the dour tone by invoking more Denser and Wackier gameplay.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic
    • The first game lacked the series staple of hero skills — leveling up only meant an increase in a randomly chosen statistic, and there were no choices to be made or specializations, that only came in with II — instead, each type of hero had some advantage, like Sorceresses being better at sailing. It also lacked pretty much any story in the game itself — the four campaigns were the same except for different starting towns and each lacking the map about attacking the lord you picked, the map descriptions were bare bones and there was no new story in the maps, far from the voiced briefings and in-map events of II onward.
      • One result is that since there is no "Wisdom" skill that caps the level of magic a hero can learn, any hero with a spellbook can learn any spell, including the incredibly broken Dimension Door
    • The battlefield in the first game is much smaller than in other games. While units range from flying units that can zip across the battlefield to Mighty Glacier types like Ogres and Hydrae, the battlefield is generally somewhat more densely packed than in later games.
    • Unit stacks could not be split in the first game, so tactics familiar to veterans of later games (such as splitting off stacks consisting of a singular "fodder" unit) are impossible.
    • The first game did not allow players to upgrade units. The second game, which introduced the feature, only allowed some units to be upgraded. In a rare exception, the Dragons, the ultimate unit of the Warlock town, could be upgraded twice.
    • The first and second games had each town offer six different types of units, but heroes only had five slots in their army, meaning that they'd have to forgo at least one type of their town's units. Starting in III, it was possible to include one of each type of a town's units into a hero's army.
    • In the first game, scenarios randomly selected your town type and in some cases, your starting location. Players could also set the intelligence level for the computer players in addition to choosing the difficulty.
  • The original Trauma Center game, Trauma Center: Under the Knife, has a number of quirks that were never repeated in the remainder of the series:
    • Organs and bodies were rendered to look more realistic, rather than bright and colorful like in later installments. On the other side of the spectrum, character artwork was noticeably more shonen-esque, whereas Second Opinion onward would go for a more realistic look provided by Masayuki Doi (an Atlus regular who would go on to be the lead artist for Shin Megami Tensei IV).
    • The game uses a different set of sound effects compared to the standard set used throughout the rest of the series. GUILT also had completely different designs across the board.
    • There were many gameplay mechanics that stand out. You had a "Miss Limit" of 20; if you miss enough times the operation will end in failure. Future games drop the Miss Limit, making losing vitals, running out of time or the occasional Non Standard Game Over the only ways to fail an operation. Several ailments were also dealt with differently. Triti had to be cut out with the scalpel after removing its pins, while gauze had to be massaged down after applying the gel. Most notable is that you have both the Hand and the Bandage as tools you can select at anytime; the former used for the aforementioned massaging as well as for CPR, while the bandage was used to close up patients. Due to their extremely limited uses, they were removed from the tool selection in future games, only becoming selectable when relevant.
    • The sixth and final story chapter of Under the Knife took the form of a Boss Rush, in which you would deal with each GUILT strain one-by-one. The final chapters of future games tend to feature far more diverse objectives, including Second Opinion, which remade Under the Knife's sixth chapter from scratch. This was likely because the Brutal Bonus Level of each game is also a Boss Rush; finishing Under the Knife only to discover that the bonus chapter was a harder version of what you just accomplished was a bit of a pacing oddity.
  • Pikmin:
    • The original Pikmin featured three Pikmin types: Red, Blue and Yellow. Red and Blue Pikmin work pretty much the same as they do throughout the series, but Yellow Pikmin function completely differently: they lack their trademark electricity immunity (there were no electrical hazards in the first game), and their unique traits were being lightweight and thus able to be thrown higher than the other types, as well as being able to handle Bomb Rocks. The lightness was kept for subsequent games, but when Bomb Rocks returned in Pikmin 3, they were now able to be handled by any Pikmin type.
    • Idle Pikmin in the first game turned pale, a trait not seen in any of the other games.
  • Hitman: Codename 47 was more of a shooter with heavy stealth elements than an actual Stealth-Based Game, including a few areas where your cover was automatically broken and 47 was forced into an open gunfight. It wasn't until the sequel Hitman 2: Silent Assassin that the series embraced the idea of small, elaborate, non-linear levels that could be completed multiple ways without ever being detected.
  • The first two Burnout games are fairly straight street-racing games, with the only the gimmick of rewarding risky driving with Nitro Boost to make them stand out. Burnout 3: Takedown was the first to actually reward players for crashing their rivals, along with the much-beloved puzzle-game-in-disguise Crash Mode, and the series has been a celebration of aggressive vehicular mayhem ever since.
  • The Pilot Episode of Farnham Fables, "The Three Princes", has a lower-fidelity art style and a different interface compared to the rest of the episodes. The actual first episode, "The King's Medicine", is pretty much a retelling of the pilot with most of the early-installment weirdness removed, though there are still minor differences such as characters not opening their mouth when speaking.
  • Early Atari 2600 games used game select and difficulty switches to select game parameters rather than menus due to the low amount of memory and cartridge storage. Games released later in the system lifespan did use menus as cartridge storage increased and the switches were less frequently used. Early models also had the difficulty switches up front, known to fans as "six-switchers." Later models moved the switches to the back, known as "fours-switchers," even though both models had six switches. The game reset switch also starts games.
  • One of the earliest games for Nintendo 3DS, Super Mario 3D Land, had two "modes" of stereoscopic 3D that could be freely swapped between: one where the graphics "pop out" of the screen, and one where they "sink into" the screen. Because of how disorienting the former effect is, no future game included this feature, and the vast majority went with the "sink in" style.
  • In Cytus II, charts made prior to version 2.0 lack tap-drag notes, while nearly every Chaos-difficulty chart released afterwards has them.
  • The Getaway could be considered Early-Installment Weirdness for the 3D Open-World Crime Sandbox genre as a whole, which was still in its infancy back in 2002 - while GTA III was released the previous year, it had yet to fully exert its influence. It exists in a very distinct grey area between GTA and earlier open-world driving games like Driver - the story is a series of missions performed in a strict linear order, and said missions alternate between driving and shooting with only minor variations. Furthermore, the action takes place in a real city instead of a No Communities Were Harmed counterpart, it averts Fauxrrari by using real vehicles (which even get name-dropped by the police), and the villains throw racial slurs left and right - something that even early GTA tended to avoid; not to mention experimental features like Regenerating Health and the total absence of a HUD (instead, your health is measured by how bad the wounds on your body are, and you're directed around the map by your car's indicators). Most glaringly, however, there's no free roam, at least not at first - you have to unlock it by beating the story. For this reason it only really qualifies as a 'Sandbox' by the loosest possible definition, and it's often classified instead as an Action-Adventure game in light of this - regardless, it still serves as a snapshot in the transition period between simple open-world driving games and modern crime sandboxes, not really fitting neatly into either genre.
  • Grow series:
    • Grow Ver.3 doesn't really have any objective beside putting every items to Level Max, nothing special even happen if you win the game beside the "CONGRATULATION !!" message that appears. Future games gives the player a motive to grow all objects to Level Max.
    • Grow Ver.3 is the only game with a score system.
    • Grow Ver.3 and Grow RPG are the only grow games where you need to drag items on a GROW logo instead of simply clicking on it.
    • Grow RPG have faceless humans instead of the Onkies, a common humanoid creature that appears for the first time in Grow Cube.
  • The first game in the Henry Stickmin Series, Breaking the Bank, is noticeably different from later games in the series. While the series is known for Story Branching with multiple endings and hilarious fails, Breaking the Bank only gives you one choice (of how to break into the bank) and only one of the options leads into the game's sole ending. The animation is also much more stiff and primitive when compared to later games in the series. It isn't until the second game, Escaping the Prison, where many of the things which make the series what it is can be seen. The Compilation Re-release completely reanimates Breaking the Bank, and frames it as being a prologue, making Escaping the Prison the canonical first game in the series.
    • Before Breaking the Bank was the prototype Crossing the Gap. Unlike all of the other entries, there was no right answer — it was just a stick figure attempting and failing to cross a gap while using various means. It would be brought back as a Mythology Gag in the Completing the Mission episode with an actual correct choice.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Most video games in the franchise are based on the Duel Monsters anime or the manga and focus on the card game rules, making Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule Breed and Battle's Toei anime and Capsule Monsters basis stand out.
    • The first "true" Yu-Gi-Oh! game, Duel Monsters for the Game Boy, preceded the actual card game. Consequently, it is very strange to play it in light of what came later, and many of its idiosyncrasies carried over into future titles. Trap Cards do not exist and Spell Cards are much less common, you can only play one card per turn, only one obtainable monster possesses an effect (Petit Moth), attack point gains are percentage-based rather than static values and go by "levels", Levels, Tributes, and Rituals aren't a thing at all, Fusions are accomplished without Polymerization, Burn cards are vastly more powerful (Tremendous Fire did 5000 damage), and a monster left in Attack Position must attack. Also, instead of opponents having preset Decks, their decks were semi-randomized.
    • In general, early Yu-Gi-Oh games tended to bear little resemblance to the card game, and often had their own interpretations of rules from the manga or anime. Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories had an Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors system that carried into several later games, as well as Deck Cost and Duelist Level placing an artificial cap on the power of your deck. In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards, all Effect Monsters barring Petit Moth are Flip Monsters, and Fusions do not exist. It wasn't until The Eternal Duelist's Soul that they started to actually try to recreate the game's rules.
    • Since the games came out contemporaneously with the manga and anime, quite a bit of lore and characterization established in them is unusual in light of what would come later. Siamun Muran is a major recurring figure and mentor character in many games who shows up as early as Duelist Kingdom, when in the series he's a relatively minor character who doesn't show up until the very last arc, and it doesn't seem like the writers were aware he's a preincarnation of Yugi's grandfather. Ishizu's personality in Forbidden Memories and Duel Monsters II casts her as a menacing villain, when in the series, she's depicted as one of the most moral characters around, suggesting the writers were working off Takahashi's early concepts.
  • City-Building Series: The most remembered games start at Caesar 3 and follow a generally similar style. However, Caesar 1 and 2 had a number of differences from this style.
    • Separate city and province levels. The city level had you build buildings, entertainment, police equivalents, final goods industries, etc. The province level had you building ports, military units, raw material industries, and other structures that fed or defended the central city. Road and basic infrastructre at this level were more expensive as well. Caesar 3 style games effectively combined these into a single map, with farms, mines, ports, and such built within the city.
    • Industry was taxed rather than directly generating income from exports, with taxes based on productivity. Industrial productivity required both enough raw materials/labor/market access to operate, plus demand for its products from city population, connections to provincial towns, or connections to ports/trading posts. Unlike Caesar 3 where only industrial exports directly brought in money, industrial demand by a city's population would also earn city income.
    • Goods were not specifically required to do anything (no specific weapons needed for soldiers, no goods needed to grow housing, etc.) All industry functioned the same, consuming raw materials and selling to someone to generate taxes while employing people, and that was it.
    • Empire rating, equivalent to kingdom rating on pharaoh, could be improved by building up a province, instead of relying on gifts and trbute.
    • Few buildings used the walker system. Most used an area system, where houses in an area got the benefit, some were citywide, where buildings placed anywhere benefited a city.
    • Mission order could be chosen more freely. Any province next to a completed one could be played, allowing a more freeform mission order, unlike Caesar 3 and pharaoh's "1 or 2 choices available" or Zeus and Emperor's fixed cities/campaigns.
  • Bloons Tower Defense 4 introduces camo bloons. However, in this game, the camo bloon is a specific type of bloon, rather than a property that any bloon can have. Additionally, camo bloons can be affected by collateral or splash damage from any tower, while in other games, they completely ignore attacks from towers that don't have camo detection.
  • LISA: LISA: The First, the original installment of the series, functions very similarly to Yume Nikki, in that the only true "objective" of the game is to simply explore surreal locations, rather than being a side-scrolling RPG like its successors. It's also the only game in the series to not take place in post-apocalyptic Olathe.
  • The Make My Video series officially began life with Power Factory Featuring C+C Music Factory, even though the introductory video still flashes the "Make My Video" branding on the Digital Pictures logo. It's also the only entry to have any sort of fantastic plot, with the player presented as physically working in a factory to make videos rather than just make the videos to impress random people.
  • Playing Progressbar 95 v0.21 and other early versions can feel surreal. Segments are shorter, windows look differently, there's only a "Like game" button when it comes to social media integration, and perhaps the weirdest of all, progress isn't given in increments of 5%.
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