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  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The original The Legend of Zelda lets you take keys between dungeons, which just feels completely un-Zelda-like, especially since most later games (presumably in response to it being possible in the first) remind you constantly that keys only work in the dungeon you find them in. Because of this, keys can also be bought from shopkeepers to cheat if the player is having trouble clearing a puzzle. There are no towns anywhere, so the only characters besides the main three (Link, Zelda and Ganon) are Old Men and Old Women found in caves. Your bow also uses rupees to make arrows, which is bizarre even without contrast to other Zeldas. The English in-game text also has notoriously erratic spelling.
    • In the first game, Link's sword behaves a bit differently than it would later in the series. Link only stabbed straight ahead rather than swinging his sword, adding difficulty to the game since the player would have to square up to the enemy to damage it. Additionally, shooting sword beams was a power available to all swords as long as Link was at full health, and the sword beams traveled the length of the screen and were as damaging as a sword strike. The sword beam was nerfed in Zelda II, Link started swinging his sword in A Link to the Past, and still later games restricted the beam to only be capable with the Master Sword, if present at all.
    • With regard to bosses, none of the ones in the first Zelda have Battle Theme Music, not even Ganon. And until The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, this was the only game where more than one dungeon had the same boss. The seventh dungeon has the same boss as the first (Aquamentus), and the eighth dungeon has the same boss as the fourth (Gleeok).
    • The first game extensively uses Degraded Boss battles, whereas most games in the series don't reuse bosses or minibosses as common but difficult enemies. Dodongo and Manhandla get this treatment during the First Quest, while all of them get it during the Second Quest.
    • The first and second games also have you find whole heart containers outside of dungeons instead of Pieces of Heart. This mechanic was resurrected in the Nintendo DS installments.
    • The original two games also don't have treasure chests. Important items are simply lying on the ground. In the first game, hidden grottos had an NPC in them who would give Link rupees and items.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link remains the only mainline game not to include The Legend of Zelda in its English title, suggesting that in early planning, the official name of the series could have just been Zelda, with the names of individual games going by The X of Y instead. As a curious side note, the first two Zelda CD-i games, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, follow the naming convention set out by The Adventure of Link.
    • Up until A Link Between Worlds, the open-endedness of the original game was nowhere to be seen. In fact, until the aforementioned 3DS game, it was gradually reduced from The Adventure of Link onward.
    • This trope also applies in terms of aesthetics and plot. The Triforce for one originally had only two parts, with the Triforce of Courage and the appearance as flat, golden Sierpinski triangles not featured until Zelda II; in fact, the artwork, the cartoon, and the CD-i games actually portrayed it as glowing, gem-like tetrahedrons. While the standard look for the Triforce was codified in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, it was portrayed as actually speaking to Link. Link and Zelda had brown hair, the expanded Hyrule in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (which had Death Mountain on the southern part of the Overworld Not to Scale instead of the usual northern location and had eastern and western regions separated by water) is never heard of in any other game, and races that became iconic aspects of the series in later games (i.e. Gorons, friendly Zoras, the Sheikah) are completely absent in early games. And then, of course, the early games had zero hints to the eventual timeline issues that would develop in large part thanks to Ocarina of Time, which would not be settled until Nintendo finally released an official timeline on the game's 25th anniversary. Said timeline relegates the early games to a third timeline in which Ganon won in Ocarina of Time; even the creators seem to argue that the early installments were weird.
    • The three Pendants of Virtue needed to draw the Master Sword in A Link to the Past were the first of the recurring sets of green, blue, and red Plot Coupons symbolizing courage, wisdom, and power; however, the Pendant of Wisdom was red and the Pendant of Power was blue, whereas nowadays the reverse is standard. A Link Between Worlds reverses the colors to fit the current standard.
    • In A Link to the Past, the Big Key opens the Big Chest containing the dungeon's item. It was also used to open Big Key Doors, which saw more varied placement than in later games; not all them led to the boss room and some dungeons had more than one or even none.
    • Both Link and the two Zeldas in the first two games had brown or reddish-brown hair, as depicted in official art. All other incarnations are varying degrees of blond. Link also originally had a long nose (which is used as a joke at least once). After Ocarina of Time, all Links have had smaller noses.
    • Ganon was consistently portrayed as a large blue, evilly-dressed pig-like creature in the early games. His weapon of choice was magic, and eventually a trident, and battles took the form of hit-and-run rather than a direct duel. While Link to the Past established that he was once human, it was never shown, and there were no Morphic Resonance elements that suggested a Dark-Skinned Redhead. Simply put, his human "Ganondorf" form didn't properly exist until Ocarina of Time, and certainly was not expected at the time to be his iconic default form for every subsequent game. A few later games in the franchise similarly only feature his beast form, undoing the tradition of his human form being his "main" one.
    • Ganon's weakness in the first game and A Link to the Past was Silver Arrows, which were replaced with Light Arrows from Ocarina of Time onward. In the first game, that was also his only weakness, as the iconic Master Sword didn't exist yet. Ocarina of Time introduced the idea that the Master Sword must be used to deliver the final blow, an idea that has mostly stuck since.
      • On the topic of the Master Sword, its first appearance in A Link to the Past featured a red and gold hilt instead of the purple hilt with an embedded gold gem that would become standard with Ocarina of Time. In addition, the Master Sword in A Link to the Past was not portrayed as the ultimate sword; it could be upgraded two more times, which would change its appearance quite significantly. If a later game lets you upgrade the Master Sword, it is done via an enchantment that does not make any physical alterations to it.
    • Ganondorf himself was clean-shaven in his first appearance. The Wind Waker gave him a beard, which every incarnation of him since has had.
    • The first two games are Ambiguously Christian rather than subscribing to the Fantasy Pantheon of the three goddesses. As noted on the Creepy Cool Crosses page, Link has a cross on his shield, rather than the Hylian emblem; a cross is a dungeon item in the second game; and headstones in the cemeteries of these two games are adorned with crosses. This suggests that the original plan was to have Christianity as the religion of Hyrule, but starting with the third game they decided to create a unique mythology instead. And interestingly, even though Link to the Past was the first installment that explicitly broke from Christian themes, in the booklet, there's art of Link praying to what's very clearly a crucifix, Jesus and everything. Miyamoto stated in an interview later that he's interested in world religions and uses them as inspiration for his games, but presumably didn't want to upset anyone with any unintentional inaccuracies as the series continued and religion became more important to the setting and plot.
  • 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 force them to start over. In all future Lego titles, characters are invulnerable to damage while they are building objects with Lego pieces.
    • In the first two Star Wars games, only combat appropriate characters such as Jedi or Rebel soldiers could fight in the game, while others such as Jar Jar Binks (who only had the ability to jump high) or young Anakin (who could only crawl through vents) could not fight at all. Beginning with the first 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.
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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 differntly in future installments:
    • There is no Real-Time Weapon Change feature, the game has swimming sections, 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 jump button (X) being switched in the US and EU version of the game (fixed in the HD collection).
    • 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 Palacenote .
  • 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 it's 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.

    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; 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.
  • 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 destroys the world in his ending.
    • 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?
  • Tekken:
    • The series begins with the eponymous Tekken which features only two game modes, Arcade and VS, as well as an Options mode. 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). You also can't sidestep at all. 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.
  • 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 II 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 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.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom:
  • 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 Z 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.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Far Cry:
    • The original Far Cry is a rather different game compared to the sequels. For one, the original game follows a linear level-by-level progression that happens to be set in Wide Open Sandbox-style levels, while the sequels are pure sandbox games with much more action-adventure, open-ended and optional goals, and RPG elements. There are no sidequests to take on, no villages with friendly NPCs, and the last half of the game takes a sudden shift from fighting mercenaries to fighting mutants created by science. It's also the only entry in the franchise to be developed by Crytek rather than in-house at Ubisoft. Even so, it should be noted at least a few select elements from the first game showed up in the sequels, particularly the use of machetes or similar as the various protagonists' Weapon of Choice,note  hang gliders (especially in Far Cry 3 onward), and the tropical island setting, ability to tag enemies on your minimap, and "throwing rocks" stealth mechanic being revisited in 3. Crysis, Crytek's next game after Far Cry, is arguably more of a Spiritual Successor to the original Far Cry than Ubisoft's in-house developed sequels are, themselves being more a Thematic Series.
    • 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 - weapon degradation requiring you to regularly grab weapons off of bad guys or detour to the nearest gun store to pick up your own weapon; having multiple choices for protagonists, with the other choices showing up as friendly NPCs who had unique personalities and side-missions for you; your character being a Heroic Mime; him contracting malaria, requiring regular detours to get more medication; multiple NPC factions with no clear good guys, where the player is able to work for either of them, and the Big Bad not being particularly affiliated with anyone; checkpoints that don't stay dead for long after you clear them; the Limited Loadout being further limited by tying weapons to specific slots; fast travel being limited to specific bus stops; radio towers offering bonus missions, with the map being completely revealed to you from the beginning, rather than needing to be cleared piece by piece; a complete lack of predatory fauna or any need to hunt; no bow and arrow (although DLC did add an explosive crossbow); and a more transparent and difficult stealth system with no ability to tag enemies (something even Far Cry 1 had, though not quite the same as 3 and later) and no detection meter giving a visible indicator on who has or is about to spot you. It's also the only game in the series to not have some sort of companion release, such as the console spinoffs of the first game or the stand-alone expansions following from the later ones. Note though that Far Cry 4 made a lot of effort to bring back some of these after 3 abandoned most of them - limiting one of your weapon slots to weapons the game classifies as "sidearms" (even throwing a lot of the same distinctly-not-sidearm weapons 2 had but which 3 didn't into the slot, like a sawed-down Grenade Launcher and shotgun), having the faction you work for be split between two leaders who don't agree on anything, requiring you to choose who to perform missions for at several points, and splitting the difference between the "checkpoints repopulate after five minutes" of 2 and the "checkpoints are yours forevermore" of 3 by having the enemy launch occasional counterattacks against checkpoints you've already cleared until you take over a much larger stronghold.
  • 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 even three hits to kill a single enemy); your Limited Loadout included 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 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 (particularly, he's voiced by an American actor) 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 (you could carry large medkits around with you and Heal Thyself or an ally with them). 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 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.
    • 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 setings 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 Paris or Moscow. 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 "Arcade Mode" and unlockable campaign cheats 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, equippable night vision goggles, 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 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 available 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), and 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, and a single-player co-op mode — two things that have never been seen again. Co-op did return in a different format for later games, however — Modern Warfare includes Spec Ops mode that can be played with two players (Word of God says that they wanted straight-up campaign co-op like in World at War, but couldn't balance the levels for more than one player and so went for remixed levels more suited for instant two-player action instead), while Call of Duty: Black Ops has kept the four-player Zombies mode (which is likely why singleplayer co-op didn't return except for a brief revisit with Black Ops III seven years later — 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 a Cut-and-Paste Environment that also appears in 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 Eggs 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.
  • 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 Desert Eagle (a slightly faster and higher-capacity Python), M40 (hitscan Crossbow with even better damage), and M249 (MP5 with 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.
    • 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, rather than continuing to port the code from the then-most-recent version of the game to consoles, the ports are almost all derived from code for the Atari Jaguar port, which was compiled from v1.2. This leaves several mechanics noticeably dated since none of the console ports of either game were released until two months after Doom II, 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, 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.
    • 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 later CTUs like JTF2 or the SAT get one Attacker and one Defender (though exceptions have come about, like "Operation Outbreak's" CRBN getting two Attackers with no Defenders, and vice versa for "Operation Para Bellum's" GIS). 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.

    Platform Game 
  • 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 Voiced.
  • 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/Predator), 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).
  • 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 Game Gear 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.
  • 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.
    • For some reason, King Dedede was evil 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 and you're guided through the level by the dragons you have to rescue, which also function as save points (you can't save via the pause menu). The second introduces goofy cartoon characters who talk to you throughout the levels and the levels mostly consist of helping people out and getting orbs in return.
    • The first game is pretty significantly different. 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 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 cutaway clips explaining and advancing the plot as you moved through the game. Beyond an introductory opening clip, the first game has none of these.
    • 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.
  • Metroid:
    • The first Metroid 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 Metroid 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.
    • Super Metroid is about as close as you can get to the 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!
    • The manual for the first game describes the setting as Monsteropolis, a land of robot-like Humanoids that are human-like robots, created by Dr. Wright and his assistant Dr. Wily. The Humanoids become the leaders of seven separate empires or sovereignties of Monsteropolis. Mega Man is chosen as the defender of the universe.
    • 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 Flying 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.
    • In Mega Man 3, Dr. Wily is spelled Wiley, and Dr. Light is Dr. Right, the spelling used from Japan.
    • 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.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Granblue Fantasy:
    • The first batch of characters the game had would actually meet/join you because of the weapon that unlocked them (the Thunder Rapier was stolen from Rosamia, the Draph Hammer is an old work of Galadar's, the Mandau is able to seal Zehek's power, etc.). Later characters have more varied motivations, probably because there's only so many spins you can put on "you have this thing I will now join you" before it gets stale.
    • Early events and story showed that their bond gave Lyria the ability to disappear into the main character's body at will. That was very quickly slipped under the rug, and now they are two separate existences even though they effectively share one life. Also, in an example of Characterization Marches On, Pommern was once way more of an asshole compared to later chapters, where he acts as the more reasonable foil to Furias's status as a complete maniac.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The original game had platformer elements that would force Sora to do a lot more exploring and jumping to discover all the hidden items. This was dropped most all future installments.
    • The first game also featured a context sensitive menu item at the bottom of the command menu, which would be used for interacting with the environment out of battle and using Sora's limits in battle. This made for some slightly awkward gameplay for three reasons. One, it was impossible to interact with the environment while a battle was taking place. Two, it was impossible to really choose which limit you were going to use, with the game deciding which one was available based on the context of the battle. And Three, the follow up attacks for the limits could be easily missed due to how small the menu item was. This was changed in future games with the reaction command and similar concepts. The HD port of the first game did away with the menu item, replacing its function with a reaction command. The fourth slot is now used for summons, whereas earlier the player had to navigate through the magic menu in order to summon.
    • Another instance is the Scan ability, which shows how much health the currently targeted enemy has. In the first game, it's unlocked at level 9, 12, or 15 (depending on what you chose in Dive to the Heart). In the rest, it's one of the starting abilities. Additionally, in the first game, Scan indicated the remaining bars of health with different colors instead of the green squares used later. This became problematic when a boss had more health than there were colors (5 bars), as it would appear the player was dealing no damage until the boss's HP dropped low enough for hits to "register" on the fifth bar.
    • The original Kingdom Hearts had the camera controlled with the L2 and R2 shoulder buttons instead of the right analog stick. Said analog stick instead was used to navigate the context sensitive menu as an alternative to using the D-pad. Later games in the series, along with the HD port, changed the camera control to the right analog stick (though naturally the handheld entries, all of which being be on systems that lack a second stick, revert back to using the shoulder buttons for camera control; that is unless you use the optional Circle Pad Pro add-on for the 3DS in Dream Drop Distance, which gives players the PS2 control scheme).
    • The original version of Kingdom Hearts I did not have an option to skip cutscenes outside of specific circumstances, just the ability to pause them. The Final Mix version added the ability to skip cutscenes, and it became a standard feature from then on.
    • The "Trinity" signs of the first Kingdom Hearts allow Sora, Donald, and Goofy (and only those three party members) to interact with the environment in some way to reveal a hidden treasure. The Trinity marks are absent from Chain of Memories onward.
    • It also took until Kingdom Hearts II for the name Organization XIII to be decided on. Both Chain of Memories and the Deep Dive cinematic alternate between the 13th Ordernote  and just the Organization.
    • In Kingdom Hearts I, the Disney villains act as the main antagonists driving the plot before it's revealed near the end that an Original Generation character is manipulating them. In all subsequent games, the Disney villains are downplayed while the Original Generation ones take prominence.
    • Related to the prominence of the Original Generation, the first game's Disney worlds all featured original stories—and for the most part, this still holds true when a world from the first game returns in another. Later-introduced Disney worlds, however, follow the plots of their movies very closely, with entire cutscenes consisting of verbatim reenactments of scenes from the film being commonplace. This is generally regarded as a negative, as the reenactments are less impressive than the films and Disney-themed bosses are becoming increasingly rare.
    • In terms of voice acting, the first game was the only one made before Haley Joel Osment's voice changed. If you're accustomed to later games, it can be very jarring for Sora to sound so childlike—though more people find it jarring when later games feature 14-year-old Sora speaking in adult Osment's voice.
    • In the first game, Mickey appears only once, at the very end of the game. He's also obscured by shadows and is wearing his "classic" outfit. Disney likely put limitations on Mickey's appearance, as they've always been protective of the character. Stating with Chain of Memories, Mickey's role was expanded, he received a costume change in line with Donald and Goofy's. Each subsequent game expanded his role further and further, establishing him as one of the main characters alongside the Original Generation. He was also absent from the cover of the first game, but every game thereafter features him on the cover, regardless of how large a role he plays in a given game.
    • Characters from Final Fantasy were quite prominent in Kingdom Hearts I and Kingdom Hearts II, with the plot frequently requiring you to revisit the world they're hanging out in to interact with them, epecially in II. Since then, the games have had maybe one FF character appear in a small role barely more prominent than a cameo until they eventually just stopped appearing altogether, leaving the Hollow Bastion restoration, the ongoing conflict between Cloud and Sephiroth, and whatever happened to Zack to become Aborted Arcs, with Kingdom Hearts III even breaking the series tradition of always having an FF character be involved in the story in Hercules's world. This is especially jarring because the Weird Crossover that is Final Fantasy plus Disney had been a big part of the franchise's identity and what brought many people to it in the first place. Word of God says that Final Fantasy characters being in the games at all was just a case of Wolverine Publicity that is "no longer necessary". Fans who enjoyed the Weird Crossover nature of the series and enjoyed seeing the FF characters and wanted a continuation or conclucion of their various subplots were not happy about this.
  • Mass Effect has several crucial differences from the sequels:
    • The characters had a much larger roster of combat and defensive abilities. Additionally, Shepard and their squad could use each of their abilities (such as biotic and tech) one at a time, meaning you could used one ability, then another, and then another, and so on until you had to wait for them all to recharge. In both sequels, when Shepard or a squadmate used an ability this temporarily kept them locked out for all respective available abilities for them at the time until it recharged after a few seconds.
    • The combat was quite different, as the weapons didn't actually use ammo and had an "overheating" meter that would keep Shepard from temporarily using the weapon for a few seconds until it filled up. The sequels discarded this mechanic in favor of clip-based weapons that could be refilled from enemy drops and crates. Dummied Out code shows that it was partially implemented in Mass Effect 2, and a few weapons, either of Prothean origin or updated versions of weapons from the first game's era, bring this mechanic back in Mass Effect 3.
    • In a case where the series moved away from a standard gameplay mechanic used in previous Bioware games, not only did Shepard have a standard RPG equipment system, but it also applied to all members of the party. In the sequel, the companions didn't have any customizable armor (instead having just a couple of outfits to pick before a mission, and no customization), and the third one did a hybrid system (where certain outfits gave armor/combat bonuses). Likewise, the original game had several different classes of armor, including light, medium and heavy variants.
    • The item system resulted in the player being able to pick up large amounts of useless items, which could either be sold for Vendor Trash or converted into omnigel. This was later done away with altogether — in the sequels, crates and item boxes give credits, ammo or a single armor piece/weapon/item that often only can be utilized by Shepard and can't be sold. This was later lampshaded in the Mass Effect 2 DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker by Liara.
    • There are also dialogue spots in the first game that imply that the Terminus Systems have a unified government and/or other alien species who are dominant forces, as well as implying that there are a lot of species we just don't see within the course of the first game who are members of the Council-aligned races. In the second game, the Terminus Systems were established as merely being the area of space outside of Council jurisdiction, dominated by lawless pirate gangs, as well as a handful of free colonies looking to get away from "oppressive" Council control, and only two or three alien species were introduced, only one of them even loosely affiliated with the Council.
    • Character wise, you could play Shepard as a huge speciesist in the first installment. Especially with turians. However, starting in two that trait is gone, even for renegade Shepard. You could also be a total jackass to your teammates, to the point that they'd avoid talking with you. Starting with 2, you rarely can be anything less than completely professional with your crew.
    • Conversations are very samey-looking in the first game, with the difference between dialogue and cutscenes being very obvious in quality. Characters are constantly Going Through the Motions, and the camera always show characters standing rather stiffly while facing each other. A conversations with a squad member on the Normandy is never going to look any different from the next. It wasn't until the second game that Bioware started experimenting with more dynamic camera shots and poses that gives every conversation the quality of a cutscene.
  • Since developers didn't expect the success it would have got, Baldur's Gate doesn't have particularly developed characters, while its sequel makes them more deep and characterized. One example is Jaheira, who in the first game is introduced as the stereotype of a moaning wife with a subservient husband, while in the sequel she's way more wise, emotional and talkative. Imoen in the first game is a naive young girl who seeks adventure like it was a childgame, despite the monsters, the deaths and the ultimate danger represented by the villain, but in the sequel she's more gloomy and aware of the perils and the dark nature of the setting (this also due to plot advancement involving her status).
  • Breath of Fire I lacked the hidden HP bars of first-time enemy encounters that became a staple of the next several installments; instead, bosses would enter a "berserk" phase after losing their initial HP bar. Also, many of the series' signature monsters, such as Eye Goos and Goblins, weren't introduced until Breath of Fire II.
  • Dragon Age
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, Sten and the other Qunari were all but human in appearance—very tall black men with white hair and purple eyes. Dragon Age II onward gave them grey skin and horns, as well as their war paint (the vitaar). Having the Qunari be horned was intended from the beginning, but was unfeasible due to game engine limitations. Qunari were programmed to use human armor and the helmets wouldn't work with the horns. This is evident when you note that ogres, Qunari darkspawn, are horned even in the first game.
    • Class design in Origins is more fluid; there are few restrictions on what class could wield what weapons. Rogues can, in theory, equip two-handed weapons, for instance, while warriors were able to pursue Dual Wielding and archery. The devs, however, felt that this made rogues and warriors feel too indistinct from each other, so from Dragon Age II onward, dual-wielding and archery becomes rogue-only, while warriors are restricted to two-handers and weapon/shield. This also means that dual wielding full-size weapons (swords, axes, and maces, as opposed to daggers) is removed after Origins, as is the ability to equip two sets of weapons (usually one ranged and one melee) and swap between them.
    • The attitude towards female warriors change in subtle but notable ways in the series, making Origins stand out a bit. A female Warden’s gender is constantly brought up as odd and unusual, with many expressing surprise and the occasional sexist remark upon meeting them.note  This is dialed down in the second game and, by the time of Inquisition, the player’s gender is almost completely unremarked upon in dialogue almost to the point of Purely Aesthetic Gender. Female warriors are also a lot less common in Origins compared to the rest of the series; female templars and female warriors as party members do not appear until Awakening. Inquisition has a lot more - if not just as many - plot-important female warriors as men.
    • Grey Wardens do not wear any particular uniform in Origins (or Awakening), while in the sequels they all wear blue and white checkered outfits with double-headed griffon emblems. This comes across as a bit strange in retrospect, since nobody tries to recognize a Warden by sight. People don't ask the player why they are not in uniform, nor can you wear one to prove your identity.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest I was the only game where you had just one character, and could only battle a single enemy at once. It was also the only game where keys were expendable, and it forced the player to either use a spell or buy a torch to see in the game's several dark dungeons (which have been used much more sparingly since then).
    • In Japan, the first versions of Dragon Quest I lacked sprites to indicate what direction the Player Character was facing. PC and NPC character sprites were more generic and did not become chibified until the North American release, which also added border graphics between the land and water.
    • Japanese players had to suffer through a password system with the first two games, while the American releases thankfully got a battery backup system. On the bright side, the password system is probably why Dragon Quest II got its catchy 85-second menu theme, which seems out of place on the American release since it only takes about five seconds to continue an old save, making it a case of Long Song, Short Scene in the North American release and the game's various remakes.
    • The inn music was different in the first game. The series' standard save file menu music wasn't introduced until IV.note 
    • In the first game, the mechanics of Random Encounters meant that you could wander near-endlessly without encountering a monster, then fight several of them in close succession. Later RPGs got smoother mechanics regarding this.
    • In the English localizations, the first two games featured copious use of Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe. This disappeared as early as the NES Dragon Warrior III — it was still there a bit for when you visited Alefgard in order to give it a different feel from the Overworld, but even then it was far less prominent and most of the game doesn't use it at all.
    • In the second game, the hero is a purely physical fighter; in any other game in the series the hero fits the role of the Jack-of-All-Stats.
    • You weren't allowed to choose a destination for the Return spell (Zoom in post-merger localizations) until III. In the first game, it always returned you to Tantegel, and in the second, the last castle you visited.
    • The menus were quite clunky early on: In all of the NES DQ games, you had to go into your menu to do something as simple as talk to someone or open a door. It wasn't until Dragon Quest V that much of this became more streamlined with an "action" button that had multiple features like in most other Role Playing Games.
    • In Dragon Quest I, you had to go into the menu to climb stairs. This one was corrected in later NES installments.
    • The bag feature was not introduced until Dragon Quest VI. This meant that your characters had to share their inventories with their equipment, key items, and any restorative items. The only way to store any items was with the item vault, which was introduced in Dragon Quest III, but remakes of the first two games added it, as well. Each character still has their own inventory for their equipment and usable items, but everything else can be put in the bag. Thankfully the bag has been added to remakes of III through V.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
    • First, it had something called "Promotion Exams." Since Cursed Memories, the bills you were allowed to submit to the Dark Assembly were mostly dependent on where you were in the story and which side-quests you had completed. In Hour of Darkness, on the other hand, your characters had to take these Promotion Exams, which were solo fights against increasingly strong groups of monsters, to be able to submit better bills. If you lost, it was a Game Over. Notably, reincarnating a character (referred to "transmigration" originally) required you to take at least 3 exams for that character, and reincarnating also set that character's Senate level back to 0.
    • Secondly, the way new classes unlocked was very different. Since Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, it's worked like this: unlocking the first tier of a class requires either having a certain combination of other classes at certain levels, then passing a bill in the Dark Assembly (humanoid-type classes) or defeating a monster of that type (monster-type classes). To unlock higher tiers of a given class, you had to have the previous tier of that class leveled up to a certain point. In Hour of Darkness, humanoid classes unlock immediately upon fulfilling the requisite class-and-level combinations, and you can unlock a higher tier by having any tier of that class leveled up to a certain point. And monster tiers didn't unlock on leveling at all–unlocking a higher level monster tier required defeating a monster of that specific tier.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In-universe, this is the case for the land of Cyrodiil itself. It was said to originally be a Mayincatec-esque setting, with jungles, rivers, rice fields, tattoos, and stone cities. Later depictions transform it instead as a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of ancient Rome. This is justified as Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Cyrodiilic Empire, would use his powers post-apotheosis as the deity Talos to perform a Cosmic Retcon, transforming Cyrodiil into a temperate forest as a thanks to the Imperial Legions who served him so well in life. As shown in the prequel The Elder Scrolls Online, this change was retroactive, making it so Cyrodiil had always been a temperate forest.
    • Arena, the first game in the series, is almost unrecognizable as an Elder Scrolls game. It is a simple hack-and-slash Dungeon Crawler filled with frenetic, almost constant combat. The side quests are extremely simple and only there to help you acquire gold and experience. There are also none of the series' staples like joinable factions, Daedric Princes, and slower-paced RPG elements. Even the very land of Tamriel is extremely different from what it would be in later appearances, with tiny villages later appearing as major cities and major cities being dropped completely. Emperor Uriel Septim VII speaks in really cheesy Ye Olde Butchered English that future appearances would drop.
    • "The Arena" was regarded as a nickname for Tamriel, due to its violent reputation, but other games never refer to Tamriel as such.note 
    • Daggerfall:
      • The Daedric Princes make their first appearance in Daggerfall, and they are quite different in appearance and personality than they would be later in the series. For example, Azura is much more malevolent and petty than in later appearances. She demands that you kill a priest who has spoken ill of her, and gets extremely upset if you refuse her request. She is also mentioned to be an ally of Molag Bal, something which has never been brought up in any work since then.
      • Daggerfall makes for an odd case of weirdness in that it adds in quite a bit of elements that are almost, but not quite, like they would settle down from Redguard/Morrowind onward — there are joinable guilds, but they exist only for services and a source of random quests without any plots of their own; the Daedra are called the Daedra and the Princes are there, but as mentioned are quite different; the Eight Divines are there and have recognizable domains, but Talos is nowhere to be seennote ; the Orcs aren't playable but one of the thrusts of the main quest involves an Orcish push for legitimacy and recognition; the Khajiit are more physically cat-like than in Arena but not as catlike as in later games; the Elves get distinct names for their subraces but those aren't Altmer, Bosmer or Dunmer; and the Dark Brotherhood were professional assassins but lacked the religious aspects they had had in Arena and would be merged with their profession in Oblivion.
    • Morrowind:
    • The Redguard spin-off Action-Adventure game has Nafaalilargus, a dragon in the service of Tiber Septim and the Imperial Legions. In appearance, abilities, and even naming conventions, he doesn't fit what would be established for the series' dragons later in Skyrim.
  • EarthBound Beginnings, unlike either of its sequels, was designed after the Dragon Quest series. Enemies were generally more straightforward in both name and form, could not be seen on the field, and were encountered randomly. Your HP goes straight to the difference when you take a hit instead of "rolling", which makes enemies that explode when defeated more dangerous to fight. Battles take place in front of a pitch-black background, as opposed to the psychedelic patterns that EarthBound and MOTHER 3 would showcase note , battle messages are shorter and more simplistic, and there are only three battle themes throughout the game (four if you count Giegue's, which is really just a never-ending screech). Ninten doesn't even have a PK/PSI power equivalent to Ness' PSI Rockin' or Lucas' PK Love, not even PK Beam (which Ana has instead, along with the three elemental spells). Not such a variety either of any kind of items, be they weapons, food, or what-have-you. And, you recover PP with multi-use PSI Stones, rather than with certain kinds of confectionary. And don't expect to meet any Mr. Saturns either.
  • The first Diablo was markedly different from its sequel and Diablo III. Aside from the expected differences in scope, lore, balance and gameplay features, the first game was much more survival-oriented and featured several instances of Nethack-style permanent character damage. Shrine effects were irreversible and not all were positive, and there was a monster that would permanently reduce your maximum life. When you died in multiplayer mode, all your gear would end up on the ground and would be lost if you were unable to recover it. This would be unthinkable in the sequels which revolve around Min-Maxing character builds and Item Farming.
  • The original Guild Wars Prophecies is almost unrecognizable from what later releases would make it. There was none of the dry, Shout-Out heavy humor that would later become a trademark, most of the game was designed for players below max level (reaching max level less than a quarter of the way through the game would later become a selling-point), and you got an over-all feeling that everything except PvP was a lead-up to PvP.
    • It's worth noting that the the original PvE actually was a prelude to PvP. The focus changed somewhere between Factions and Eye of the North.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The first game, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, had odd quirks, such as Weapon Rank being a regular stat that went up with levels (instead of depending of weapon usage), healers gaining no experience from healing and instead from getting hit (It's as counter-productive as it sounds, but abusable), all playable characters as well as enemies having no Resistance and no growths in it either, the Magic stat not existing at all (combined with the lack of resistance, magic damage was completely dependent on the magic tome), and many well-known trademarks of the series such as the Weapon Triangle or Support System hadn't been included by then. Oh, and classes' names were in Japanese instead of Gratuitous English. The Updated Re-release for the DS modernized most of those things, but without changing the core game, which for some felt awkward.
    • Final Death was still part of the series from the beginning, but characters didn't say anything when they died. Later games would give every character unique Famous Last Words which made deaths far more emotional. This also meant that several characters in the first game never said anything at all, something that seems very strange compared to the fleshed-out characterizations in later games. Character portraits were far less unique, with most being Palette Swaps or worse, the exact same portraits as other characters. Very few enemy bosses had unique portraits either, and even significant opponents like Michalis and Gharnef were palette swaps of playable characters.
    • The fifth game, Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, also introduced a bunch of new game mechanics. A few of them, such as Fog of War and the ability to rescue allied units, became staples of the series. The majority of them, however, were never seen again. This included fatigue meters, movement stars that randomly allowed units to get a second action in a turn, capturing enemies, and movement rate and build having growth rates just like all of the other stats.note  Even some of the mechanics introduced in this game worked differently than future iterations. Rescue cuts all of the unit's stats (save HP and Constitution) by half rather than just skill and speed and any unit can rescue anybody but the penalty of halved movement if the rescuer's constitution is lower than the other unit. Also, Fog of War covers both the enemy and terrain, meaning that inexperienced players are more crippled with lack of terrain vision. Also, all units have 3 vision, including thieves.
    • The NES games also had the odd trait of not showing where your characters can move. You had to memorize, or check every time, each characters movement rate and use that to count where they should be able to go in a turn. Plot-wise, Marth was a very naive Kid Hero, later games had much more mature protagonists, which resulted in a retcon of his personality in the Video Game Remake.
    • The class system still hadn't been refined in the first game, which resulted in a few oddities to players of later games. Some classes lacked class changing entirely (Fighters, Thieves, and, most notably, Marth's Lord class, which made him comparatively weak) and some couldn't class change despite its advance class existing (Armor Knights and Hunters). Pegasus Knights class change to Dracoknights, while later games would make both separate class families, and Clerics and Mages promoted to the same class; also, Clerics suffered a movement penalty on desert tiles, while future games make them unencumbered. There was also a "Balistician" class that could only equip Siege Engines, which never made playable in future games apart from remakes, and a character who could transform into other members of your army. The Myrmidon and Swordmaster class didn't exist yet, which meant that Nabarl/Navarre, who started a Fountain of Expies who were all Myrmidons, was actually originally of the Mercenary class.
    • The games before Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War also did not use some of the more familiar fanfares that that have become staples of the series. For instance, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, the game before Genealogy, uses a fanfare that uses a bit of the "Near Victory" theme from the first game for its promotion theme, while all subsequent titles started using this theme, which uses a bit of Genealogy's prologue theme, afterwards. Likewise, the level up theme has consistently started with the first two seconds of this theme, followed by the common motif for the game it's in, while the previous games used the theme from the first two seconds of this video for their level up themes.
    • The first few games also didn't readily reveal how much damage you'd give and receive against an enemy before entering battle meaning things were a lot less calculated. Or a lot more calculated if you were willing to look at your opponent's stats and compare it to your own units. Later games showed your stats and your opponents when choosing to launch an attack but you had to subtract their defense/resistance from yourself to figure out how much damage would be done. It wasn't until Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade that you were told outright how much damage you would inflict and take. Critical hits also used to triple base attack instead of damage dealt meaning they were a lot more powerful.
    • Plot-wise, the biggest example is the Falchion of the original Gaiden. The creator had intended all divine swords to be called "Falchion," but scrapped that idea when he introduced a whopping 3 legendary swords in Genealogy. So that leaves two completely unrelated swords called "Falchion," one of which is literally just a regular steel sword with a Goddess trapped inside giving it her powers, the other forged from a divine dragon fang. The remake Echoes rectifies it by explaining that it is another Falchion much like the one in the Archanean games, forged by the same dragon.
    • Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem was the first Fire Emblem game to have a dedicated character designer in Katsuyoshi Koya. By current standards, the art and sprite work in the first two games frequently fall into the bizarre, with possibly the most infamous example being the first iteration of Marth. Comparing that to his far more familiar Mystery depiction just four years later shows how much the series' artwork was improving; comparing it to remakes, Heroes or Cipher only makes the classic art seem even more antiquated.
  • Tales Series early games were particularly unusual:
    • Tales of Phantasia (SFC version) and Tales of Destiny (PSX) lacked many of the things that became trademarks of the series — for example: cooking, the Dark Wings and especially the skits.
    • The battle system of early 2D entries also comes as a little odd for modern Tales players — Chibisized sprites, a slightly slower-paced battle system, a lack of primary attack combos, and a few other things.
    • From a story perspective, Tales of Phantasia also lacks several of the character tropes almost always found in later games, like a Guest-Star Party Member or a Lovable Traitor. There is also no real Chosen One until Tales of Eternia, and even in that game that aspect was minimal, while in later games the party often revolves around the chosen character. The popularity of many of those character tropes started with Tales Of Destiny. Incidentally, most of those tropes were inserted in the GBA and PSX's Updated Re-release.
    • The art style of first two entries were musty, muted and more realistic. Tales of Destiny even included digitized photographs in some of the picture frames decorating castles and mansions. Tales of Eternia led the series toward more cartoony artwork and Tales of Symphonia solidified this shift.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • The first and second Persona games have almost no resemblance whatsoever to the far better known later games. Besides certain very broad ideas (teenagers fight monsters with Anthropomorphic Personifications of their psyches, Carl Jung thematics, etc.) and a certain character and his home base (Igor and the Velvet Room), they might as well be two different series:
      • The lead artist for 1 and 2 was Kazuma Kaneko, who was also the head artist for the mainline SMT games from Shin Megami Tensei I to Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey; as such, P1 and P2's art styles have striking similarities to that of their parent franchise (with 2's official character art even sharing the "porcelain doll" look of later Kaneko-designed games). From Persona 3 onward, the lead Persona artist has been Shigenori Soejima (who did the in-game portraits for 2), whose art style is more "anime" and has a much brighter color palette.
      • The first two are far more combat-focused, revolving around the sophisticated "speak to demons while fighting them" system, while subsequent games are hybrid social sim/dungeon-crawling JRPGs with a far greater emphasis on the tarot card theme than the previous games (though Persona 5 brought back the negotiation system).
      • Unlike in subsequent games, Persona and Persona 2 portrayed the ability to summon Personas as a widely held trait and generally accepted as real, if slightly disregarded regardless. You could actually interact with NPC shop and restaurant patrons that would discuss Personas openly, and one of your team members would actually grouse that she was disappointed to find the power less unique than she imagined. Party members started out with a Persona of a specific Arcana related to their personality and worked best with that one or one of a few "related Arcanas"; while the "Persona related to personality" part still applies in later games, most party members can no longer switch their Personas, with the main character being the only one capable of doing so. Dungeons were actual places in the world, rather than pan-dimensional televisions, schools, etc.
      • The first game plays far more like the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series, with first-person dungeon exploration and the series staple attack Megido having an element that isn't Almighty-type (which at that point had only previously appeared in one other SMT game). It's also the only Persona game to have a grid-based battle system.
      • The battle music in the earlier games are far more standard for what you'd expect from the genre, whereas Genre Mashup pop songs such as "Mass Destruction", "Reach Out To The Truth" and "Last Surprise" would become iconic for their respective games.
      • In general, Persona 1 and 2 have much stronger story connections to non-Persona SMT games than their successors; the female protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei if... is a recurring NPC in 1 and 2, and Kyouji Kuzunoha from Devil Summoner makes an implied appearance in Persona 2.
    • Persona 3, with its drastic changes to the formulas of 1 and 2, can be viewed as a reboot to the series. While it laid the Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World groundwork that Persona 4 and Persona 5 would follow, it still has a number of design elements that 4 and 5 don't. The PSP remake of 3, released after 4 and before 5, changes a number of these elements to make them more consistent with later games.
      • The most drastic difference is that 3 lacks full party control - the player can only control the protagonist and give general orders for the AI teammates to follow. 4 and 5 keep the tactics system, but also allow the player to take manual, direct control. The PSP version of 3 added full party control, but as the game was never properly balanced around this, it becomes significantly easier.
      • There's no guard command in battle, unlike 4 and 5. The PSP version adds it.
      • Going out dungeon crawling in 3 is a nighttime activity - the player can do something after school, head back to the dorm, and then head out. In 4 and 5, choosing to visit dungeons is an all-day affair - the player has to go immediately after school, and won't get a chance to perform any other activities that day.
      • Dungeon progress in 3 is gated by a fatigue system, wherein exploring too much in one sitting will tire characters out and make them practically useless in combat. The only way to quell this fatigue is by leaving the dungeon. Tiredness can persist for a few days, preventing the player from making any meaningful dungeon progress while it lingers. In 4 and 5, progress is instead indirectly gated by the party's Spirit Points - Magic Is Rare, Health Is Cheap is in full effect here, and the easiest way to restore party health is by spending SP to cast healing spells. SP is extremely important for defeating enemies, especially bosses, but there are very few ways to easily restore it besides packing up and leaving the dungeon for the day. By contrast, restoring both SP and HP in 3 is very easy - the player simply has to head back to the dungeon's hub area for a free refill. Changed in the PSP version - restoring HP and SP in the hub area now costs money, just like 4, and the fatigue system has been changed so that it no longer immediately gates off progress.
      • 3 has no Social Links for the party aside from the romanceable girls, and the girls are treated the same as every other Social Link. In 4 and 5, the entire party has Social Links, and following these specific Social Links will grant the party unique bonuses when dungeon crawling. The female route in the PSP version adds Social Links for the entire party.
      • In 3, the growth and development of the party members is closely connected to the main plot and thus happens over a long period of time, with the cast receiving their second Personas as part of the main storyline. In 4 and 5, the main cast's plot-related character development mostly happens in their introductory arcs that lead to them obtaining their initial Personas in the first place, while their optional Social Links (or Confidants), unlocked after they receive their Persona, is where most of their growth and development happens, with the pace of such determined by how quickly the player can progress through their Social Links. Secondary Personas are obtained only on completing a character's Social Link, and are not part of the main story.
      • The protagonist of 3 isn't the head honcho of the party. While his unique Wild Card power leads to him becoming the group's "field leader" (which serves an in-game justification for why the player can give the rest of the party fighting orders), the actual logistics and mission planning are handled mostly by Mitsuru and Ikutsuki. He also joins the party after it's already been formed, and there are already a few members before him. The 4 and 5 protagonists are both one of the founders of their respective groups in the first place and the leaders from the get-go.
      • In 3 and FES, the protagonist can use almost every weapon type the other party members can, and has no unique weapon type just for himself, while party members are locked into their own single type. In 4 and 5, the protagonist is locked into a single weapon type like the rest of the party. The PSP remake changed this - the protagonist can now only use their designated weapon type.
      • With the exception of Aigis, who instead has some extremely heavy romance subtext, all of the female Social Links in 3 that are around the protagonist's age will eventually culminate in a romance. In 4 and 5, romances are optional. Changed in the female protagonist route of the PSP remake - the newly-added romances with male party members are optional, although the subtext of the Aigis Social Link remains, with some additional Gayngst from Aigis.
      • In 3, neglecting Social Links, reneging on plans with them, or making bad dialogue choices can lead to them becoming reversed or even broken, preventing you from progressing in said Social Link. In 4, reversing and breaking are restricted to a couple of bad dialogue choices for two specific links (Ai and Naoto), and in 5 said system is removed entirely.
    • The spin-off Devil Summoner is like this. The first two Devil Summoner titles are basically just like the main Shin Megami Tensei series except more straightforward and having no Karma Meter. The two Raidou Kuzunoha prequels might as well be a separate series since they are Action RPGs. The only things they have in common is that they both involve a detective agency and a demon summoner from a Kuzunoha clan. Perhaps in part to rectify this, the remake of Soul Hackers has Raidou as a bonus boss.
    • The mainline Shin Megami Tensei series itself has undergone several changes since it started out. The first game in the series was an adaptation of Aya Nishitani's Digital Devil Story novels, featuring none of the alignment choices or Multiple Endings that would be characteristic of the series later on. The connection with the Digital Devil Story series was drastically toned down in the sequel, and the Continuity Reboot Shin Megami Tensei I dropped the novel series' plotline entirely. Also, many earlier Megaten games had first-person dungeon crawling as a key mechanic. This has been phased out from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne onward, though you could enter a first-person view in New Game+, and limitations with the DS saw the old style updated and temporarily revived with Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey.
    • The early NES, SNES, and PS1 SMT games let you have a whopping six people in your main party, reduced to four with the introduction of the Turn Press system for balancing purposes. Among other things, the older games had the protagonist not be able to use magic at all (he doesn't even get any MP), you had a controllable second human with you who could use magic but not summon (while Shin Megami Tensei IV brought back human partners, they are completely AI-controlled and not part of your main party), and the games in general were a lot more obtuse.
    • Early games in the series also had a far more complex elemental system. From Nocturne on, there tends to be six or seven main elements with the possibility for more in spinoffs, along with ailments and Almighty. In addition, with the exception of a few bosses, resistances and weaknesses cut damage by roughly the same percentage. In older games, due to the separation of demons' skills and magic, there were a boatload of extra elements, mostly physical, that were distinct from the modern elements typically seen in the franchise. Later games would largely merge these into the Physical element and only keep Gun as an alternative. In addition, enemies could resist some elements more than others, with 8/8 being standard resistance and the numerator going lower the more resistance the enemy has.
    • The Compendium, a key franchise-wide mechanic that lets the player register and resummon demons or Personas, was introduced in Nocturne. In older games, once you fused or released one, it was gone, though most of these games didn't have demons level up and had heavy restrictions on inheritance, if it was in the game at all.
    • Shin Megami Tensei I and II included sci-fi elements unrelated to demons, such as robots, mutants, and psychic powers.
  • The Ultima series had some bizarre quirks throughout.
    • The first two games had only a single player character, customizable to some degree; the third game included a party of up to four, all intimately customizable; every game after that allows only small adjustments to the main character (the Avatar) during character creation.
    • The first three games include fantastic races as playable characters and friendly NPCs; from the fourth game onward, no non-human good characters can be found save the occasional monstrous defector in a town or castle. What happened to them during the unification of Britannia?
    • The first two games include space exploration and Schizo Tech. Both also involve Time Travel, although in the first game it's just to get to the end boss, where in the second it's a necessary mechanic.
    • The first game hasn't got magical, mysteriously appearing and disappearing long-distance travel gates; the second has "time gates" which show up at specific places ever X number of steps to travel between different time zones; from the third on these became the Moongates.
    • Ultima I also includes quests to defeat specific monsters found only in the dungeon in order to obtain benefits from various kings.
    • Ultima I and Ultima III take place in "Sosaria"; Ultima II is on Earth (in various times in history). Between the third and fourth installments, Sosaria is united under the rule of Lord British and takes its new name (Britannia) from him.
    • Ultima II is the only game with dungeon-like "Towers" as well as dungeons — and the only installment in the series where the dungeons play no useful part in furthering your quest.
    • Ultima III introduced a starvation mechanic, where characters suffer damage over time if they run out of food. Ultima II just kills you off if the food counter hits zero. This mechanic held on for two more games, until it was retired in Ultima VI, which merely didn't allow you to recover hitpoints or magic while resting if you had no food. The starvation mechanic was omitted from the NES version of Ultima IV.
    • Ultima IV requires the character to not just be virtuous, but to be virtuous in eight specific ways. In Sosaria, the player character(s) were expected to lie, cheat, steal and murder their way to the final showdown; after the fourth installment, the Avatar is just expected to be good, not to be specifically good.
  • RuneScape Classic, the game's original incarnation, is massively different from its current version. The player characters and NPCs are low-res sprites; the game lacked dialogue boxes, meaning all dialogue is displayed above characters' heads; there was no indication on your progress in a quest, or if you've even started it in the first place; the camera is more restricted; there is no barrier dividing the Wilderness from the rest of the map; there was no members game in its earliest years (meaning that all skills, features, and areas were open to all players). Jagex has opened this game to members twice, and it can still be played if you logged in during those periods.
  • The differences between Koudelka and the "core" Shadow Hearts franchise are like night and day, with Koudelka playing as a strange hybrid of RPG and Survival Horror (which it was), and the SH games being straight-up RPGs with a heavy comedic bent.
    • For that matter, the original Shadow Hearts is significantly heavier on the horror and lighter on the comedy than the later games.
  • Super Robot Wars. The first game (on the Game Boy) features an incredibly simple plot (unlike the greatly complex and interwoven stories of later games), only features the "Holy Trinity" of Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, and Gundam; all robots are intelligent beings (not largely non-sentient constructs piloted by humans), and health is in the double digits (while later games give robots thousands of HP). If it weren't for the title, you'd never know it was part of the series.
    • Super Robot Wars 2 had an interesting case of giving characters upgrades - while Amuro Ray would go from the RX-78-2 Gundam to the RX-93 Nu Gundam, Kouji Kabuto would jump from Mazinger Z to Great Mazinger and the original Getter Team (Ryouma Nagare, Hayato Jin, Musashi Tomoe) would go from the classic Getter Robo to Getter Robo G. Super Robot Wars 4 would end up putting the Getter G Team (Ryouma, Hayato and Benkei Kuruma) in the original Getter Robo.
    • In Super Robot Wars 3, despite having a much more robust Gundam line up, all characters use "Gallant Char" as their theme, no matter what era they're from. Similarly, Tetsuya Tsurugi and the Great Mazinger use "Mazinger Z" for their theme, not "Ore wa Great Mazinger". There's a unique villainous unit — the Mass Produced Jagd Doga, which physically resembles Quess Paraya's Jagd Doga, but uses Gyunei Guss' Jagd Doga colors.
    • For the more modern weirdness, the first installments for Super Robot Wars Alpha and Super Robot Wars Original Generation are pretty bizzare compared to their sequels.
      • Alpha and Alpha Gaiden had a strange mechanic that allowed players to have certain units disengage from their mecha and fly around in component craft, allowing players to fly around in Core Fighters, Jet Pilders and Getter Machines
    • Shin Super Robot Wars's engine occupies an evolutionary slot somewhere between the original Famicom mechanics and the "modern" 2-D engine used in the Complete Box and turbocharged for F/F Final. Its "classic" features include:
      • Individually upgradable weapons, which is annoying for a series that encourages the player to see as many combat animations as possible. This quickly degenerates into using one (hopefully free) regular-duty P weapon, and one "big gun" for dispatching bosses or other heavies.
      • Single-instance transformable mecha during Intermission. This is a very strange arrangement where you must explicitly "transform" or "combine" units to see what their different capabilities are. This is more than a mere annoyance when you see that it impacts how units sortie — if a unit is transformed to flying mode on a map precluding flying-only vehicles, it will be unsortiable. Moreover, combinable units have a separate set of equipment slots from their constituent units, so beware!
      • Old-school magical mechanics. While the spell list is considerable expanded over most of the "original" chronology games, spells like "Encourage" only work on adjacent units instead of allowing arbitrary selection. The most telltale sign is that "Luck" confers both double money and double experience.
      • Shin also has hidden items, which can be missed if you don't use a guide.
    • Super Robot Wars Advance was much different compared to its Game Boy Advance sequels — most of its graphics were just yanked from SRW F/F Final, the upgrading system from Shin was in place here, there were a bunch of Guide Dang It! secrets and the final stage was a Nintendo Hard countdown mission that forced you to complete it in X amount of time before everything went up. It was also the only game in the set without a New Game+.
    • Super Robot Wars Reversal had two oddities for series that don't show up in later games. The first is that the Moon mechanic first introduced in Alpha Gaiden is replaced with a turn counter. This meant that the Gundam X and the Double X could use its Satellite Cannons whenever and whereever it wanted to. The other is that the Shin Getter Robo of Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo has the Stoner Sunshine, which it never used in the anime and is never used in subsequent appearances.
    • In many of the original games, whenever Gundam and Mazinger was used, it always seemed to start out with the One Year War and Doctor Hell's attacks. Most entries nowadays jump ahead to either the Gryps Conflict at the very earliest as well as the Mycene Empire's assault.
  • The first two Fallout games might qualify to people more familiar with the latest games, as 1 and 2 were top-down third-person RPGs with turn-based combat as opposed to using a first-person perspective and real-time, FPS-style combat.
    • Fallout is the only game with a strict time limit. Though the player is pressured to finish the main quest as quickly as possible in Fallout 2, there is no actual time limit and the player can finish at their leisure, and future games did away with even the pretense of urgency in the main questline.
  • In Suikoden, characters could only use a single Rune at a time, and there were no skills to customize character stats. Suikoden II let characters use up to three Runes (depending on their Magic stats), and Suikoden III introduced skills.
    • Zig-zagged with the army battles. In the original, they were just rock-paper-scissors choices, while most of the later games had war strategy game style battles.
      • Suikoden III used a modification of the regular battling.
      • II, IV, and V all use strategy-type battles, but each are different. II and IV use strategy RPG-style battles, one on foot and one in boats. V uses real-time strategy.
  • Dark Cloud is this to Level-5 in general — if you play it now, you'd be surprised at how toned down, plot-light, and lack of quirkiness (though it's still there) it has compared to their more recent games like Ni no Kuni or Jeanne d'Arc.
  • The very first The Denpa Men game has no overworld of any kind—your Player Headquarters consists entirely of you choosing between options on a menu, and you simply travel to dungeons by selecting them. The dungeons are the only locations you can actually walk around in. The game also has only two equipment slots ("Clothing" and "Accessory"), and of the two, only clothing is visible on your character. It's also lacking a number of secondary gameplay features that the second game introduced (such as gardening, fishing, and the ability to change your color with paint), but the lack of equipment slots and overworld is the most glaringly odd.
  • The original Hyperdimension Neptunia used a lot of elements that were either improved upon or discarded entirely in later iterations of the series:
    • All NPCs other than Neptune's gang and the Big Bad are represented by silhouettes in conversation. In later games, NPCs who aren't important to the plot are hidden from view.
    • Characters can't sell or otherwise discard unwanted items, which left most inventories cluttered with useless weaponry later in the game.
    • Consumable items were absent; each character had to rely on "Item Skills," which gave them a chance to use specific items by combining four different alchemical components under certain conditions, and even then they were only usable during battle.
    • The Share system isn't introduced until you get a specific character in your party, and how it works isn't explained at all in the game. Neptunia mk2 does a better job of integrating the Share system into the story from the start.
    • Rather than having a single regular battle theme, the battle music is simply a slightly sped-up version of the dungeon theme your characters are in at the moment.
    • Players were graded based on how quickly they could complete each sidequest dungeon, and faster times rewarded the player with more Credits.
    • Instead of a single, overarching plotline, each of the four different worlds had its own story running almost simultaneously. Events in one world wouldn't start until you'd completed events in another world, leaving your party vastly overleveled for a few long stretches of the game.
    • The first game only had six playable characters (DLC added four more), with three of these only joining the party near the end of the game. Later games would add Loads and Loads of Characters.
    • The first game opens with the goddesses being in open conflict with each other, only becoming allies at the end to combat a common enemy. The other games have them be friends from the start.
    • The first game has a more basic plot that focuses on the Muggles of the world and their trials and tribulations with the various political factions vying for power in the world. The plot also included "heretics", Muggles who didn't believe in the goddess of the land they lived on and were shunned as a result. Heretics were a major plot point, especially since one of the main characters was one. Later games would have more outlandish plots featuring powerful villains trying to bring about The End of the World as We Know It and Alternate Universes. Heretics and the politics of Muggles were never mentioned again, since later games show the goddesses to be the supreme authority of their nations.
    • The first game doesn't imply that the goddesses are much stronger than Muggles when outside Celestia, with several scenes showing Muggle weapons and regular monsters being a credible threat to them. Later games would elevate the goddesses to One-Man Army status.
    • Characters Breaking the Fourth Wall was rare, and reserved for comedic scenes. Later games simply have No Fourth Wall.
    • The tone was noticably more grim and somber, with characters casually discussing topics like war and death. As such, it was rare for characters to even smile. Later games would go for a considerably Lighter and Softer tone, prioritizing comedy over drama.
      • This was also reflected in the music, even during casual dialogue scenes. Compare this, from the first game, to this, from the second.
    • The characters had far less fleshed out personalities:
  • As the title suggests, Final Fantasy Adventure the first game of the World of Mana series was a spin off of Final Fantasy and thus featured several elements such as the Chocobos that were removed in the remake Sword of Mana.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy:
    • The first two games lacked an overworld and simply consisted of one battle after another, with shop breaks at given intervals. There was also no leveling up — the stats remained static, if starting off very high, in the first two games while all spells were unlocked from the beginning. The second one, however, did have bonuses after every checkpoint. The series overall cut the RPG genre down straight to battling. At some point, the creator opted against this and went for a more traditional route, with overworld areas, leveling up, sidequests, unlockable spells, and upgradable equipment.
    • The first game used characters from other franchises as part of the boss and summon roster, and had music taken from other video games. Later installments not only near-exclusively use original or borrowed content, but actively try to scrub most mentions of copyrighted characters. (The second game's recap does not mention that the first game's final boss was a zombified Goku, even though his death-explosion plays a role in the plot. Goku does however get a small nod in a tombstone in 4.) Especially as of the fourth game, when the creator started including paid DLC and thus the series was no longer completely non-profit, and had the game censor copyrighted names by replacing one letter with an asterisk.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • The DS games have a fee for renaming your characters. The 3DS games remove this (for reference, there are 3 DS games and 5 3DS games, not counting the Mystery Dungeon spinoffs).
    • The DS games have a steeper level penalty for using Rest (resetting a character's skill points): 10 in the first game, and 5 in II and III. All of the 3DS games only take away two levels.
    • The DS games run at 60 frames per second, while all of the 3DS games run at 30.
    • The first two games don't have subclasses, nor any sort of Limit Break mechanic.
    • In the first game, the level cap is 70 with no way to raise it in the postgame (or ever). In the second game, it's possible to raise it by exploiting the Retire mechanic (though it's a very long process, as the level is only raised by one at a time), and all subsequent games (including the remake of the first game, Millennium Girl) allow the player to raise the party characters' cap by defeating certain Bonus Bosses.
  • Might and Magic VI is this for the trilogy it started as something of a reboot of the series. It established much that would last for the next three or even four gamesnote , but its magic system let you learn every spell if you knew the skill and could find its spell book and was closer to D&D's, with more but non-scaling spells, its aesthetics were oddly realistic, even photo-realistic when it comes to characters, and its skill system, while establishing the system of being able to invest points to increase scaling benefits or find trainers to upgrade skills to higher tiers for special advantages or faster scaling, had only three tiers (basic->Expert->Master, later games adding Grandmaster) and allowed every class that could learn a skill to upgrade the skill to its highest tier (from VII onward, upgraded tiers could be locked behind class promotions — which already existed in VI — or simply unavailable to some classes).
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  • 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 Nintendo 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 Nintendo Wars, in addition to introducing Yellow Comet and Green Earth (and, thus, three- and 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 Nintendo 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.
      • Many characterizations are radically different. Olaf is an incompetent Starter Villain rather than a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and is said to be a former CO of Orange Star who was hired by Blue Moon (later games make it clear Blue Moon is his homeland). Andy takes Naïve Newcomer so Up to Eleven he borders on Too Dumb to Live, and Kanbei is also depicted as a massive idiot. All three of them underwent an inverted Took a Level in Dumbass in later 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.
    • Snake in the first game lacks his bandana, and the cover of the game portrays him as a thinly disguised Kyle Reese. Metal Gear 2 similarly traced its character artwork from various recogniseable actors; Snake is now a thinly disguised Mel Gibson from Lethal Weapon, Big Boss is Sean Connery, and Roy Campbell is Richard Crenna from First Blood. Metal Gear Solid would finally give each of these characters unique designs, and the version of Metal Gear 2 found in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence features new character sprites that better reflect how those characters look in the remainder of the series.
    • 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 the MSX games), 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 obscure 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.
  • The first Touhou 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.
  • 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. The tone of the game was slightly less comical. Pressing isn't properly introduced until the second case, while all future games introduce it in the first 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 game is the only one to have three-day trials, with later games limiting it to one or two days for better pacing. Also, if you only count the Phoenix Wright games (the first three), the first one 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. In the first two games, the first case is mostly unconnected to the overarching plot of the rest of the game, while later first cases are much more important. The 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 original Resident Evil featured live-action scenes for its opening and ending sequences, whereas every subsequent installment in the series (including the GameCube version) were entirely computer generated.
    • 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 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.
    • 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 resume...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.
  • Wangan Midnight 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. Later games change/correct these issues.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 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, despite pre-built bases, both allied and enemy, having a noticeable amount of space between them. 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 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, 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") 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 hat with the same pattern as your shirt. Said horned hat 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. Hybrid flowers also 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.
  • 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; for instance, there could only be one wizard and he was always the yellow player.
  • 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 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 and two standard missiles at a time, on top of a separate special weapon you could switch to at any time) 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.
    • 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.
  • The oldest two Dance Dance Revolution games only let you pick from a subset of stage-specific songs on each stage, unless you activate a hidden "All Music" mode in 2nd Mix. Additionally, mainline games up to 4th Mix run at only 30 FPS, which can come off as an eyesore for those accustomed to newer games, do not have speed modifiers, and finally, do not have the options menu—modifiers have to be entered via secret codes on the dance pad.
  • 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 literally Every 10000 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
    • Also, while a non-fatal crash will cause the entire crowd of opponents to easily surpass you in a few seconds, 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 original Naruto Ultimate Ninja came didn't attempt to accurately adapt the anime, instead having character endings that outright contradict the series. It also lacked a world to walk around in.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Also, the original is the only one to feature multiple towns, and it 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 in the story with being responsible for the events that went on in the story. Starting around Danganronpa 3, there has multiple main/playable characters with Dangan Ronpa 3 having Makoto, Kyoko, Chisa, Ryota, Munakuta, Chiaki, Junko, and Hajime/Izuru and New Danganronpa V3 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 Dangan Ronpa 3, a lot of characters ended up being involved in an Official Couple and they actually 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 Hopes 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 Super 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 ends up surviving, had five events plus three more for her Genocide Jack persona. Later installments gave each character five events, even if they died too early to see them all in a normal playthrough, although Kaede only has two events each with her classmates.
  • 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, while the later games spend at least part of the time in a Fictional Country. Instead of offering bonus chapters which expand on the story of the main game, Curse of Briar Rose and The Exiled Prince instead have New Game+, requiring the player to play the games a second time on a higher difficulty level in order to unlock 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.
  • 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 ay 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 bonuslinks 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 it's 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.
  • The first Gears of War, 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 on 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 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 instalments. To unlock side content, Aiden must infiltrate and tamper with ctOS Towers (the game's version of "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 drops 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.
    • 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 I lacked the series staple of hero skills — leveling up only meant an increase of statistics, there were no choices to be made or specializations to take, 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.
  • 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 of Persona and Shin Megami Tensei fame.
    • 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 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 visible 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.
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