Follow TV Tropes

Following

Oddball In The Series / Video Games

Go To

  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2 holds this status in the main Super Mario platformer series, since it eliminated the things that made the first game popular and replaced them with new moves, like throwing vegetables at enemies or picking up enemies and hurling them at others. That and you also got to play as all four major Mario characters (Mario himself, his brother Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad) rather than just Mario and usually Luigi. Of course, this was because SMB2 was a Dolled-Up Installment of another game, while the intended sequel fell under the No Export for You status until the remake included as part of Super Mario All-Stars came along (with the name changed to Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels to avoid confusion with the game released as Super Mario Bros. 2 outside of Japan). This game is also living proof that Tropes Are Not Bad, since many of its elements quickly became indispensable parts of the Mario franchise.
    • Advertisement:
    • The "real" sequel, The Lost Levels, also fits this trope to an extent — while it's almost exactly identical to the first game, that itself is a departure for a series that usually tries to introduce new ideas and mechanics with every new installment.note  This is part of the reason why it wasn't originally released outside of Japan, the other being its unusually high level of difficulty (even by that time's standards). This, plus it being made by only half of the developers of the original game, give it the feel of an official Rom Hack more than anything else. It's also the only 2D Mario game to have more than nine worlds (with a total of thirteen), and the only game in the franchise to have regressive warp zones. This installment's infamous Poison Mushrooms would also not reappear for another twenty-five years.
    • Advertisement:
    • Super Mario Sunshine. Following up on the near-universally loved Super Mario 64, it introduced a water pack named FLUDD for Mario to spray enemies with. Also, many common enemies in the series were either replaced or redesigned with a unique look for the game. The game remains the most divisive of the 3D games, with its fans praising its great level design and soundtrack, good level themes (based on touristic locations instead of stock settings like deserts of snowy areas), and incorporation of old mechanics and new ideas; and its detractors deriding FLUDD for being too gimmicky, the sudden difficulty spikes, poor voice acting, as well as replacing the Koopalings with Bowser Jr.
    • Both Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, which were developed by Gunpei Yokoi's R&D1 team rather than by Shigeru Miyamoto and the Super Mario EAD staff.
      • The first game, instead of taking place in the Mushroom Kingdom or some other similar locale, takes place in some real-world lookalike locations, such as Egypt and China. On top of this, all the enemies are new, with returning enemies having odd attributes, such as the Koopa Troopa (although he is called Nokobon) having its shell explode when stomped on. Other differences include the Fire Flower making Mario throw Superballs (which bounce off surfaces at 90 degree angles) instead of fireballs, the invincibility theme taking a nod to the Can-Can, and two stages being Unexpected Shmup Levels. It also features Princess Daisy, who wouldn't be seen or mentioned again for over a decade. Despite the changes, the game still plays as a typical Mario game and it has been well liked by most fans.
      • The second game has Mario as the ruler of a big Mario-themed kingdom, complete with his own castle and a giant toy robot in his image. Instead of Bowser from the more typical games, or even Tatanga from the previous Mario Land (who still returns, albeit as a regular boss), the Big Bad is the newly-introduced Evil Counterpart Wario. It's also one of the only two games, alongside the western Super Mario Bros. 2, where coins don't grant lives directly, but instead through a minigame. It remains as the only Mario game not to utilize any sort of Damsel in Distress plot (instead of rescuing someone, Mario has to take back control of his own land from Wario).
    • Advertisement:
    • While the Paper Mario series got hit with a Retool with the release of Paper Mario: Sticker Star, there's one game that doesn't really fit in with either the first two titles or the later ones: Super Paper Mario, which completely discarded the turn-based RPG formula that both the pre- and post-retool games adhered to. Instead, the game was a 2D sidescrolling platformer where Mario could "flip" into 3D for a limited time to exploit Perspective Magic, although it did still keep a few RPG elements. It was also the only game to have multiple playable characters, as opposed to followers and/or the resident Exposition Fairy. That being said, the story still fits right in with the original games; certain recurring characters show up, albeit with drastically different roles and appearances, and some optional collectibles even portray the partners from the previous games.
    • It's telling of how close to the formula the Mario Kart series has stuck that these two count as "oddball" for its unusual features:
      • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is the most odd game out of the whole sub-series due to the "two characters per kart" concept the game was based on. Each kart has a driver and another person to use items and both characters can swap places on the fly. Each character also has their own unique items that only they can get, a Continuity Nod to Super Mario Kart where the AI has characters with unique items. The item tosser also has the ability to punch other players to knock them out of the way and steal their items, whereas the other games that have item stealing have it regulated to the Boo item. In addition, Double Dash!! is the only Mario Kart game to do away with hopping entirely and has heavier, more realistic steering and drifting compared to the cartoon-like turning physics the other games had. Lastly, it's the only installment where the All-Cup Tour (a marathon that involves all tracks in the game) is disputed.
      • Mario Kart Arcade GP and its sequels take some pretty strong liberties too, thanks to being co-developed with Namco. Among other things, it introduces a number of items not seen in other games (such as the square wheel attack and the "broken steering wheel" attack), excludes many series-traditional items (such as the humiliation-inducing Blue Shell), there are no mini-turbos for powerslides, powersliding grants you a shield for the duration of the slide, there are coins on the track that boost your top speed, and in a single race you only get three different kinds of items — pre-selected in grand prix mode, randomly-selected if you're playing versus on a machine with no card slots, and selected by you if you're playing versus on a machine with card slots.
    • Mario Party 9 was a total game changer compared to the previous eight games in the series. Rather than moving individually on the board, all four players moved together at the same time, but most events only happen to the player who is taking their turn; this creates strategies where sometimes moving a certain amount of spaces can screw over the next player when it's their turn. Collecting stars to become the winner was a staple in the series, but the 9th installment did away with them in exchange for mini-stars, which are quite common and thus result in far less game changing moments. The game divided the fan base predictably, with the series experimenting alongside these lines for the following six years, until returning to the classic formula with the reboot Super Mario Party.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is considered to be the oddball in the Crystal Chronicles subseries. Since it plays more like an action/hack and slash RPG instead of the usual turn based one, many fans either hated it or loved it.
    • Within the main series, there's Final Fantasy II which uses a number of completely different systems (stats and spells leveling with use, for starters) than the rest of the series. Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV also qualify, by being MMORPG. Final Fantasy VIII also replaces the entire magic system with drawing and Junctioning. Not surprisingly, all three or four games tend to be heavily Contested Sequels as a result.
    • Then there is Final Fantasy X-2, which was the first direct sequel, the only game to feature an all-female party, and was a significantly Lighter and Softer game compared to the more drama-heavy entries in the main series (such as Final Fantasy X itself).
    • Final Fantasy Tactics also falls under this to some degree. Mainly focused as a strategy game where you raise up to 16 members in the party, have tons of customizations for abilities, reading the layout of the terrain to plan your attacks, etc. Quite different from your standard Final Fantasy. It got popular enough to spawn two more spin offs of the same style and an enhanced remake.
    • There are also games like Final Fantasy Legend and its sequels (actually SaGa games in disguise) and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, a far simpler and much easier exploration-focused game intended for newcomers to the RPG genre. There was also Final Fantasy Adventure (eventually remade into Sword of Mana), which, like Legends, did the same thing, but with the World of Mana series.
    • Final Fantasy XV has a battle system rooted in Kingdom Hearts, with dynamic movement around an open arena and actions performed on the fly as opposed to "the party standing opposite the enemy party and using menus to execute actions in turn-based fashion". Tellingly, the game was originally meant as a loose continuation of the "Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy" Expanded Universe project under the title Versus XIII (with the actual Final Fantasy XIII carrying the torch for the numerical installments, retaining the more familiar JRPG-style of gameplay).
  • Tales Series:
    • In general, what you see as the oddball games depends on which game you played first. If you played a game following the Destiny system (Tales of Destiny, Tales of Destiny 2, Tales of Graces, Tales of Xillia, Tales of Xillia 2), any game without CC/SP/AC points is an oddball. If you didn't, any game with the points (especially those without TP) are the oddballs.
    • Tales of Rebirth does not use either of these systems, instead using four gauges that fill for each attack depending on how charged up your character is (cool, normal, or hot). It is also considerably harder, due to the lack of control over your NPC allies, the Early Game Hell in which you have no reliable sources of healing and no powerful attack skills to compensate, and the battle system in general requiring a lot more thought put into how you wish to approach your battles.
    • Tales of Legendia is often considered odd to many fans of the series due to missing several of the series staples (including a Limit Break system) and calling the Artes "Eres" instead, as well as the lack of distinction between the water and light elements (elements that have never been linked in any previous or subsequent games). It also went back to a 2D battle style similar to Phantasia, when all subsequent games (as well as this game's direct predecessor, Symphonia) had battles in 3D.
    • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World feels more like a spin-off attempting to be a sequel, than a proper sequel. The game changed features that have been staples in the Tales Of games for years, while removing other features. There is no overworld, it's a point-and-click advancement. Cooking is only done for your Monster Allies and serves the sole purpose of getting them to evolve into a certain branch of its species or to devolve. Holy Bottles are non-existent and there are no costume titles. It also features Multiple Endings, which has been done in Symphonia, but to a much smaller extent.
    • Tales of the Tempest is an oddball in terms of almost everything (gameplay, story, and difficulty). It doesn't help that it wasn't made by Namco.
  • Regarding the SaGa games in their own right:
    • The third one is by far the oddest one out. It's the only game in the series to utilize a conventional leveling system, and it does away with many of the unusual game mechanics that made the first two games unique (such as breakable weapons and the ability to carry more of them at the cost of being able to carry less other equipment). It also features a number of rather... weird things that never appeared in any of the other games - even by the standards of Saga's typical medieval/techno settings - the least of which was a sentient time-traveling battleship.
    • The DS remake of SaGa 3 is no longer an oddball; it was changed to use mechanics much more like the first two games. Note that SaGa 3 was developed by the same team as Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is unique among the series for being a side-scrolling Platformer as opposed to having the overhead view used by other 2D games, and replaces the items of the previous game with a magic system. The sword-fighting is also much different from any other game in the series thanks to the side-scrolling style. Adventure of Link is also the only Zelda to have a lives system, 1-Ups and all. There's no rupees in the game and therefore no shops. Finally, its the only Zelda game not to have "The Legend of Zelda" as its prefix. It was an early attempt by the developers to expand upon the concepts and lore of the original game, but it wasn't a total failure: Many features and concepts (towns, magic meter, the Triforce of Courage, the names for the Ocarina of Time Sages, enemies and bosses like Iron Knuckle, Volvagia and Dark Link, etc.) were introduced in the series thanks to this game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is the first Zelda game where the titular princess has no involvement in plot, and one of the only two games in which she doesn't appear at allnote . The game features numerous explicit references to other Nintendo series, from Super Mario to Kirby to even SimCity. Link can steal from shops (albeit at the cost of getting killed if he ever returns and being renamed "THIEF"), most of the bosses are pretty chatty, and there's a special ending scene that only plays if you finish the game with no deaths. Granted, some of these aspects and the generally-surreal tone can be explained by the fact that it was All Just a Dream, but it doesn't explain everything.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask focuses heavily on "Groundhog Day" Loop mechanics, a bigger focus on Link using alternate forms rather than items, and has prominent emphasis on sidequests, with the game only having four main dungeons. Ganondorf, the Triforce, the Master Sword, and Hyrule and its mythology go completely unmentioned and the game instead introduces an entirely new mythology with many of its elements intentionally vague and left up to the interpretation of the player. It is also much Darker and Edgier and more surreal (aliens appear at one point) than most of the other Zelda games to date.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, and The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, multiplayer games with both competitive elements and multiplayer puzzle solving. In the latter two games and the Updated Re-release of the first, a single-player campaign is possible while controlling four Links or switching between two or three Links. All three games also relied on discrete levels rather than the connected worlds of the rest of the series; Four Swords even randomly generated the levels. Link's inventory was significantly more limited than in the rest of the series, only allowing each player to have one equippable item at a time, in addition to the standard sword and shield, and these items would not persist between levels; Tri Force Heroes at least included a separate form of persistent progression by including collectable materials that could be crafted into new outfits with unique effects, but the other two kept their levels self-contained. Tri Force Heroes is also a lot Denser and Wackier than most installments as the plot revolves around saving a princess cursed to wear an unfashionable outfit in a kingdom where fashion is Serious Business. And just like Link's Awakening, Zelda is completely absent.
    • If The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games weren't already completely ignored by Nintendo, they would also be considered this. Two of the games, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon are platformers like Zelda II, and they have (poor) voice acting and animated cutscenes; meanwhile, Zelda's Adventure, despite bringing back the top-down perspective, is also the only game to have live-action cutscenes and digitized sprites. The latter two games also have the player take on the role of Zelda rather than Link.
    • Hyrule Warriors is a Hack and Slash game, and is not considered canon.
    • Link's Crossbow Training is a light gun game that's barely more than a tech demo for the Wii, loosely adapting certain aspects of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
  • The titular character of the Shantae series is a half-genie Dance Battler who has the ability to magically belly-dance into various creatures... except in Pirate's Curse, where she lacks her genie powers due to the events of the previous game. Instead, Pirate's Curse has Shantae in an Enemy Mine situation and borrowing the pirate gear that her Arch-Enemy usually utilizes. Ironically, despite swapping out such a core mechanic, most fans consider this to be the best game in the series.
  • Harvest Moon:
    • Save The Homeland, with its lack of marriage and emphasis on horse breeding.
    • A Wonderful Life, with its ramped-up difficulty, episodic format, and overall emphasis on your child's ultimate fate).
    • There's also Rune Factory and Innocent Life, the former a fantasy game with monsters and an ongoing plot and the latter taking place in the future with the player character a cyborg. The former was significantly more successful, and has been spun off into its own sub-series.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus plays quite differently from the rest of the games in the side scrolling genre. Instead of progressing from boss to boss, you're tasked with killing all the Metroids in the planet and can only progress by killing all Metroids in an area to unlock the next one. Aside from a mini-boss and the Final Boss, the only source of combat outside of the wildlife are the Metroid themselves. The game is also heavily linear compared to the more Sequence Breaking potential the rest of the games have. It also lacks the Self Destruct Lair Escape that became a mainstay in later games after the Final Boss: instead when you defeat the Queen Metroid you just peacefully return to your ship accompanied by Baby and leave the planet without even encountering any enemies. Metroid Fusion makes up for this by destroying both SR-388 with the BSL Research Station to ensure the complete eradication of the X-Parasites.
    • Among the Metroid Prime Trilogy, there's Metroid Prime: Hunters, a Gaiden Game which eschewed the exploratory single-player nature of the series for a multiplayer-driven fast-paced First-Person Shooter (with a shorter single-player mode). Metroid Prime Pinball, on the other hand, is usually just ignored outright, since, as a Spin-Off, it's expected to be different. Within the Trilogy proper, there's Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, which has an ammo count for beam weapons (it's the first and only Metroid game to do this with Hunters being right behind it) and uses the dark/light world settings like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It's also one of the very few Metroid games where the classic boss Ridley is absent.
    • The fandom still apparently hasn't decided what Metroid: Other M is. One way to look at it is as the long-awaited third-person/2.5D Super Metroid successor, which is more or less what Yoshio Sakamoto intended. And yet its emphasis on intense melee combat, cutscenes, and exposition make it a different beast compared to the more shooting-focused, non-verbally plotted sidescrollers. It's also considerably more linear than the rest of the series, going against the main attribute the Metroid series has been known for since Super Metroid.
  • The Ultima series has had a bunch of black sheeps:
    • Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress is the black sheep of that franchise, being, for reasons poorly explained in the manual, set on several time-shifted versions of Earth instead of in Sosaria/Britannia.
    • Ultima VIII: Pagan is likewise set not in Britannia but on the eponymous alien world and lacks all the mainstays of the series, such as Lord British, the Companions of the Avatar, and the Eight Virtues.
    • Ultima IX: Ascension is set back in Britannia, but is this both due to the heavy liberties it took with Ultima canon and for being an Obvious Beta.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic:
    • The fourth entry has several differences between it and other entries, including heroes that participate in combat, 4 levels of units as opposed to the previous 6-7, a distance-based rather than grid-based combat system, the removal of creature upgrades, and an overhaul of both the attack/defense and hero skill systems. The first game looks like an oddball in retrospect, due to creature upgrades and hero skills not being introduced until the second game.
    • The ninth installment of the main series falls under this trope, and much for the same reason. Both Heroes 4 and M&M 9 were meant to serve as story reboots by moving the series to a new planet, just as Heroes I and M&M 6 had done. Unfortunately, an acute case of Author Existence Failure prevented this from happening. The main series died a sadly unspectacular death before much later receiving an attempted resurrection that looked like a case of this trope by having many of its gameplay mechanics hearken back to Might & Magic IV/V, while the Heroes series attempted to hearken back to the glory days of its third installment.
  • Armored Core: Nine Breaker, the ninth entry in the Armored Core series is particularly odd duck even for an Armored Core game. It has no plot to it — at all — and is simply 250~ tests designed to access how well you understand the game play mechanics of Armored Core. Yes, the ninth iteration of the series is an in-depth tutorial for a game engine that hasn't changed one iota from its very first incarnation. Some of the actual tests are Nintendo Hard, the arena is pathetic, you can buy or earn all the parts introduced in Nine Breaker in Last Raven anyway so there's no need to even play it for that and the mission where you actually fight Nine Ball, the selling point of the game, is only unlocked after you've beaten every other test in the game. Why was it even released?
  • Ecco the Dolphin is famous for bizarre plotlines and Nintendo Hard gameplay, which someone at Novotrade must have noticed was cruel to youngsters who wanted the games but were frustrated by the brutal case of Surprise Difficulty. For them, there was Ecco Jr., an edutainment game centered around exploring the ocean where it's not possible to die.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
  • Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor. It feels more like a mod than an actual game, but it was an actual stand alone product.
    • There's also Command & Conquer: Renegade which took the series into FPS territory.
    • And Command & Conquer: Generals. It didn't play at all like any of the earlier games, did away with the iconic sidebar, removed the pre-mission videos, and was set in an entirely new continuity.
    • Command and Conquer 4: Tiberium Twilight also considerably changed gameplay (this time, to a more "tactical" game a la Dawn of War II) as well as the plot. A fairly restrictive population cap was added, compared to previous games' emphasis on massed combat, and resource generation was eliminated, replaced by a capture point system.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man 8 is this, since it drastically altered several Mega Man gameplay staples. There are no Energy Tanks, Rush Coil is gone and Jet can't be called by the player, stages come in two parts (with Continue only booting you back to the halfway point), all weapons are refilled whenever you die, and Bolts are finite, it all takes getting used to.
    • Mega Man & Bass: it is the only title to recycle two previous Robot Masters from a previous game in its group of 8 (granted with new attacks and weapons to obtain), rather than having all 8 be totally new.
    • Mega Man X7 is the only X (or original-series) game in full 3D. As such, it plays very differently, and sadly not very wellcamera control in particular is a huge problem. X7 also made the bizarre decision to withhold X himself as a playable character until about halfway in; his place in gameplay is taken by a new character, Axl, who plays about the same. While later games made him more distinct and well-rounded, Axl has yet to be forgiven by the fanbase for his debut.
    • Mega Man X: Command Mission is the X series' first and only foray into the RPG genre.
    • Mega Man Network Transmission: the only 3-D Battle Network game, an interquel between 2 & 3, and it plays more like a conventional Mega Man game than the BN virus-busting format.
    • Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun and Blue Moon is completely different in structure from the rest of the series: it's basically one long Tournament Arc consisting of three Inevitable Tournaments, and it requires at least three playthroughs to unlock everything, including the Bonus Dungeon. This isn't quite as tedious as it sounds, given the increasing challenge on each playthrough and the random elements involved, but the main plot is exactly the same each time.note  BN4 also has a really sloppy English translation, which wouldn't stand out in many game series, but does in this one.
    • There is also a uncommonly mentioned Mega Man 4.5 interquel that had actual working Battlechip-loading device to go with it, and a Japan-only release of mobile Battle Network games playable on a phone.
    • The obscure Rockman EXE WS, a Mega Man Battle Network title for the Wonderswan, feeling like a cross between the traditional BN style and Transmission gameplay, and another Wonderswan game, Rockman: Challenger from the Future for the Wonderswan, with exaggerated-Japanese-esque-looking Robot Masters and only seven Robot Master levels because two of the eight Masters are a pair of twins — the Clock Men.
    • Street Fighter X Mega Man is the only official Mega Man fangame, and the only official game (besides Rockman & Forte: Mirai Kara to Chousenshanote  for the Wonderswan) in the Classic series where Dr. Wily isn't The Man Behind the Man.
    • Within the Mega Man Legends series, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne is the only one to feature Tron as a playable character, has multiple gameplay types (including a puzzle game, a first-person dungeon crawler, and a casino), a mission-based structure rather than an open world, and is the only game in the series where Mega Man himself does not appear.
    • The obscure DOS versions of Mega Man and Mega Man 3 aren't even ports. The robot masters are different, it features omni-directional scrolling, highly non-linear level design, a complete lack of music...and that's not even the half of it.
  • Many Legacy of Kain fans dislike Blood Omen 2 because it's so different from the Soul Reaver series in terms of gameplay, and because of plot holes (there are no explanations in that game for how Vorador and Janos Audron are alive again, for instancenote ). Then again, the whole Soul Reaver series, in a way, is the Oddball in the Series, considering the original Blood Omen was a Legend of Zelda-style action game with Kain as the main character, not a Tomb Raider-style puzzle game with a different protagonist. Also, contrary to a common misconception, the game wasn't a Dolled-Up Installment developed originally as a sequel to Chakan: The Forever Man; no work had began on the Chakan sequel before it was scrapped and fully converted into a Legacy of Kain project.
  • Phantasy Star III is the black sheep of its series, with an unrelated plotline to the rest of the series, decidedly weak mechanics, and visibly less effort put into it overall.
  • Cyber Troopers Virtual-On MARZ is widely disown by fans of the earlier three entries due to unfortunately stripped down the gameplay even further in several aspects. It also including a Hack and Slash-style story mode which fleshes out the nature of the Virtual-ON universe, making it oddball out from the earlier entries which are Fighting Game-like.
  • Aero Fighters (Known as Sonic Wings in Japan) is a series of wacky arcade Shoot Em Ups... except for Aero Fighters Assault, which is a half-realistic 3D flight simulation.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series is famous for the fact that the main lead is "the fastest thing alive". This is true of the main series platforming games...and then you get to some of the platformer spinoffs. You get games where he is slowed down and forced to go through mazes to collect keys (Sonic Labyrinth) and birds (Sonic 3D Blast), which make perfect sense.
  • The Game Gear/Master System Version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is weird in several ways: there are no special stages whatsoever, with the chaos emeralds being hidden in the regular zones (the game gear version of the original game also had the emeralds placed this way, however it did have special stages as well). The Green Hill Zone is the fourth stage rather than it's usual place as the first zone, which is instead occupied by the Underground Zone, whereas the final zone (Crystal Egg) is a very bright and upbeat level rather than the usual Eternal Engine/space station style final level for a Sonic game.
    • Sonic Spinball is notable for being a pinball game with platforming elements (a complete inverse of the the Genesis Sonic games, which were platformer games with pinball elements) and had cameos by characters from SatAM. Sonic Blast for the Game Gear is also strange as it has only 5 zones (and thus only 5 chaos emeralds) as opposed to the usual number of 6 or 7, as well as being the only Sonic game with pre-rendered graphics. There's also Segasonic The Hedgehog, an arcade game where you used a trackball to navigate Sonic and two friends (Mighty and Ray) through a series of deathtrap levels in Eggman's fortress.
    • Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is unique in that it not only doesn't feature Sonic himself in any capacity, but is also a puzzle game in a series that falls under the aforementioned "pinball-esque platformer" genre featuring many characters from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, including that show's version of Dr. Robotnik. This is mainly due to the game being a reskin of the Sega Genesis port of the original arcade version of Puyo Puyo, which would later get a Call-Back in Sonic Mania in the form of a mandatory boss battle.
    • Sonic R is also unique as it is a racing game that has the characters racing on foot and features platforming elements. All other racing games starring Sonic have had "the world's fastest hedgehog" strictly using vehicles.
    • Sonic the Fighters once again takes the Dolled-Up Installment route by taking a different Sega franchise and replacing the cast with Sonic characters, in this case, the 3D arcade fighting game Fighting Vipers. That's right, what we have here is a slapstick arcade fighter starring Sonic the Hedgehog and company.
    • Out of the 2D Sonic games released in the early 1990s, the least known is Sonic the Hedgehog CD, perhaps because it was originally released for the relatively unpopular Sega CD system. While the game added its share of staples to the franchise (namely Metal Sonic and Amy Rose), it also diverges quite a bit from its Genesis counterparts, both in terms of aesthetics (perhaps being more surreal and colorful than — almost — any other Sonic game to date) and gameplay (in the time-traveling gimmick, slightly altered mechanics, more open and nebulous level design, optional sub-goals within levels, and the implementation of the rarely-seen Super Peel-Out).
    • Even more obscure is the 1995 Sega 32X game Knuckles Chaotix, which focuses on rubber band co-op mechanics and featured even an even more surreal artstyle not unlike Sonic CD. It also featured Knuckles, the Chaotix (prior to their Heroes branding), and Mighty (from the aforementioned SegaSonic) and like Sonic Blast featured five zones, only with five acts each instead of the standard two or three, complete with a menu hub with day/night transitions every time you entered the area.
    • The post-Adventure Sonic games aren't immune to oddballs either. There's Sonic and the Black Knight, which gave Sonic a sword to fit with the medieval setting of the world he was dragged into. There's also Shadow the Hedgehog, a Darker and Edgier Spin-Off where gunplay and vehicles are major elements, and Sonic Heroes to a lesser extent, which had teamwork-based gameplay mechanics and a Lighter and Softer plot compared to Sonic Adventure and its sequel.
    • Sonic Lost World throws out a lot of staples from the previous games in its gameplay and visual aesthetics. The gameplay switches up the game mechanics by having two versions of the homing attack (both of which don't operate like how the older games controlled them) and having enemies that have various ways on how they are supposed to be defeated. The visual aesthetic goes for more stylized and simplistic designs akin to the 16-bit titles, compared to the more photo-surrealistic designs of the recent Unleashed era of games. The game features planetoid levels a la Super Mario Galaxy and features a lot of one-off gimmick levels that contrast with their respective zones they appear in and don't appear elsewhere in the game (a motion-control tilt-based level where you guide Sonic in a snowball and hit billiard balls for starters). The 3DS version in particular also focuses on having Sonic do several tasks to proceed through the level, such as moving objects to certain spots in order to open gates.
    • And then there are the spinoffs starring Tails. Tails Adventure for the Game Gear is a slow-paced Metroidvania with mild RPG elements which, to say the least, is a drastic change of pace for the series. Even weirder is the other Game Gear spinoff Tails' Skypatrol which has absolutely no platforming at all and is a puzzle-like rail shooter with very little elements from the series besides Tails, and the edutainment music game Tails and the Music Maker for the Sega Pico.
  • Ys:
    • Wanderers from Ys is the only side-scrolling game in the series. It also differs from its two predecessors by having a dedicated "attack" button, rather than attacking by ramming.
    • Ys: The Oath in Felghana is a remake of Ys III: Wanderers from Ys built using the Ys Origins engine. It plays much more like a traditional Ys game, but still has a dedicated attack button.
    • Ys IV is also unique in that it wasn't created by Falcom. Instead, you have Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys by Hudson and Ys IV: Mask of the Sun by Tonkin House. In the mid 2000s, Falcom finally made their own version of Ys IV named Ys: Memories of Celceta.
  • Castlevania:
    • Castlevania: Judgment, the series' first (and, given its limited success, possibly only) Fighting Game.
    • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. Back before The Angry Video Game Nerd told everyone they weren't supposed to like it (he was kidding, by the way), there actually were quite a few fans who preferred its open-ended gameplay model over the more linear parts I and III back when Metroidvania was just an itch in Konami's pants. It still stands out for the confusing, misspelled, or just plain lying hints, overabundance of instant-death pools of water and unexpectedly easy Boss Battles. The day/night cycle would return in later games, but much less annoyingly.
    • Vampire Killer on the MSX2 is a similar case, using nonlinear stages that require you to find keys to progress from one stage to the next. And like Simon's Quest, Simon can buy upgrades with hearts.
    • Castlevania: the Arcade presents the typical quest to destroy Dracula and his minions as a Rail Shooter.
  • XCOM was reimagined as a city sim for Apocalypse, a corridor shooter for 2001's Enforcer, then as a space battle game for X-Com: Interceptor, and finally an FPS with The Bureau. The last is definitely one that splits the fanbase.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • Silent Hill:
    • Silent Hill: The Arcade is an arcade rail shooter in a series comprised only of Survival Horror entries on non-arcade platforms.
    • In the regular series, Silent Hill 4 sticks out. It features a much heavier emphasis on melee weapons as opposed to guns, first-person segments, almost no boss battles or puzzles, and unkillable ghost enemies that attacked you through the levels. It's so different from what came before (and in some ways, what came after) that a long-standing rumor in the fandom is that this title was meant to be completely unrelated to Silent Hill at first, being changed part way in development. This rumor has since been debunked, but that it still has its believers stands to prove how odd it is in comparison.
    • Though the gameplay is strictly standard for early survival horror games, the story for Silent Hill 2 stood alone for years as the sole game in the franchise that completely ignored the cult and its related elements, central to the plots of most of the other games, in favor of a highly personal story of love and loss.
    • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is different from the other games in the series in that you have pretty much no offense. There's only one type of monster that you can't defeat and can only throw off of yourself and ward off with inexplicable flares. The characters are all different. Michael Kauffman, who you may know from the other games to be an evil psychiatrist and Dahlia, who is a creepy old woman, are a normal shrink and a slutty young girl respectively.
    • Taking the crown, though, is the upcoming pachinko machine based on the series.
  • The original Thunder Force is a retroactive example (to the few people who have heard of it and even fewer people who have played it), being entirely an overhead shooter, while Thunder Force II alternates between this format and side-scrolling, and the rest of the series is entirely side-scrolling.
    • Thunder Spirits is the only game in the series to appear on a Nintendo system. However, it's not an original game; it's a port of Thunder Force AC (the only arcade release), which in turn is a port of Thunder Force III on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive.
  • Tetris: The Grand Master ACE pretty much takes "The Grand Master" out of Tetris: The Grand Master courtesy of Executive Meddling, being more in line with traditional Tetris. To its credit, it does retain a variant of TGM's signature rotation system.
  • The arcade game DJMAX Technika, unlike other DJMAX games that follow the beatmania formula, plays more like a cross between Elite Beat Agents and Lumines. It's very popular in areas where arcades have it, in some cases even being more popular than DJMAX Portable.
  • Puzzle of the Pyramid is Lighter and Softer than the rest of the The ClueFinders series, is the only game to engage in Breaking the Fourth Wall, is the only game to give Socrates any prominence, puts the characters in different clothes than any other game sans Math, is the only game not to have The Reveal or utilize Let's Split Up, Gang, and parodies everything from God's Hands Are Tied to the Evil Laugh. Even the art style is different!
    • Gameplay-wise, Math Adventures is this. Even Puzzle of the Pyramid features the ClueFinders traveling to multiple worlds. In Math Adventures they stay in the same village the entire game.
  • Zork:
    • The original trilogy was a series of interactive fiction adventures by Infocom. Beyond Zork was an interactive fiction/RPG hybrid that let you roll stats for your character, with a higher emphasis on combat.
    • Zork Nemesis was a serious, Darker and Edgier, Myst-style puzzler. And pretty damn creepy. That was followed by Zork: Grand Inquisitor, which went back to the comedy of the earlier games but stuck with the Myst-style gameplay.
  • Backyard Skateboarding, unlike the rest of the Backyard Sports series, is an adventure game with tons of Fetch Quests. It also has bosses, which the main games lack.
  • The Halo Wars sub-series, which are Real-Time Strategy games amongst a family of first person shooters. Also made by different developers. Its oddball nature is ironic, because Halo was originally conceived as an RTS.
  • Paro Wars, a Turn-Based Strategy Game amongst a family of completely silly shmups. Yes, it is a fairly serious and difficult military strategy game not unlike the Nintendo Wars series, with all the goofy Parodius characters such as Moai heads, penguins, octopi and dogs in business suits! What were they thinking?
  • Touhou:
    • Anything with a decimal point in its number is a spinoff that plays unlike the main games.
    • Within the main series there's the Phantasmagoria games, which are versus shooters.
    • Highly Responsive to Prayers, the very first game in the series, isn't a danmaku game. It's an Arkanoid-like game with some danmaku boss fights.
    • While well received, Imperishable Night has a number of odd mechanics that hadn't been seen before or since— 'familiars' that can only be damaged unfocused, a heavy focus on bullet cancellation, stage quotas for the multiplier, the ability to gain continues, scoring based on a gauge that is altered by being focused/unfocused, alternate stages...
    • In a sub-series example, there's the first of ZUN's music CDs (or, rather, the story attached to said CD), Dolls in Pseudo-Paradise. Completely disconnected from the setting and cast of the rest of the sub-series, and just plain weird.
  • Most Lemmings games have the same general gameplay, except for two — Lemmings Paintball is an isometric Third-Person Shooter, while The Adventures of Lomax is a platformer.
  • Resident Evil:
    • There's the Gun Survivor spinoffs, which play like first-person light gun games yet rarely have light gun support in all territories.
    • Resident Evil Gaiden is the only 2D game in the franchise. It's played more like a turn-based RPG (or as one Youtube commenter described it, a "mad man's golf game") than anything resembling a Resident Evil game, though it's fun in it's own weird way and good luck getting that battle theme out of your head.
  • Parasol Stars is the oddball in the Bubble Bobble series; it lacks either of the two iconic weapons of the series (bubbles or rainbows) and instead has Bub and Bob beating up enemies with parasols, a mechanic that has yet to appear in any other game in the series. (Parasols themselves have been in the Bubble Bobble games from the beginning, but as a special item, not a weapon.) It is also the only installment in the main series that was not released in the Arcades, but for the PC-Engine and a couple of ports on less powerful platforms.
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity. Ditched the interactive narrative formula, and went for action/adventure instead. Like other entries on this list, some prefer to think it never happened.
  • Quest for Glory V played like an RPG with Adventure elements, rather than vice-versa as the other four games in the series. It also ran smack into the Polygon Ceiling and didn't have as much input from the series' creators.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden holds this distinction. While the others are completely linear games where you go from one chapter to another, this one has a map you move around on, which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't because of the Forced Level-Grinding you need to do every often in a while (On a series that usually has no Level Grinding at all). Furthermore, Unbreakable Weapons is NOT averted (When the series does) and magic is Cast from Hit Points (Instead of being regular weapons that hit another defense stat). Furthermore, you face off monsters often, instead of just humans aside from some bosses/Elite Mooks. And there's a weak "Villager" class that can promote to one of the "normal" base classes. Most of these ideas were recycled for The Sacred Stones.
    • While generally much better received than Gaiden and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, the Jugdral games both had a number of unique features. The first, Genealogy of the Holy War, had ridiculously large and sprawling levels in which multiple castles had to be captured and there were at least as many bosses in each level as there were castles, the arena was a function in your castle in which there were a given set of enemies for each level (instead of being infinite and random), each character had their own supply of money and items couldn't be traded; also, you paired up your units in the first half of the game and played as their children in the second half. Many of these units also had "Holy Blood." While Holy Blood was naturally still present in Thracia 776 (as it was set in the same world and had some of the same characters), everything else introduced in the previous game was scrapped and never came back. However, a bunch of other new features were added. The Build stat, determining the size of a unit, was introduced, and both Build and Movement had growth rates and could potentially increase when leveling up. Large enough units could rescue smaller allied units and could capture enemy units after defeating them, and a captured enemy could be "traded" with (read: stripped of its items) before being released (at which point they'd die)...or not released, as many recruitable enemies had to be captured and kept in order to get them to join. It also was the first game to have gaiden chapters that could be unlocked by fulfilling certain requirements, and most of these chapters were full of darkness, as was one regular chapter. Also, some units had "movement stars," which gave them a random chance of being able to act twice in one turn, and all units except the main character had a fatigue meter that went up every time they engaged in combat or used a staff, which could only be reset by sitting out a chapter or having a certain item in their inventory, and if their fatigue exceeded their max HP, they'd be forced to sit out a chapter. Rescuing allies, fog of war, and gaiden chapters all became staples of the series. Capturing enemies, growth rates for Build and Move, Movement Stars and fatigue meters didn't, and none of these were ever seen again in this form.
    • Nine entries later, in Fire Emblem Fates, capturing enemies finally returned, albeit with drastically altered mechanics. While the capturing unit still takes a penalty to hit chance when trying to capture, the units are immediately sent to a prison back in the base when captured, where they can be recruited via negotiation or bribery, and only certain units have the ability to capture enemies. The shipping aspects of Genealogy of the Holy War also returned in Fire Emblem Awakening, though the parents remain present throughout the story, and Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia brought back Fatigue, though in a heavily nerfed form.
  • Pac-Man World 3, which was developed by Blitz Games rather than Namco, is often seen as this by fans compared to the previous two games due to the increased emphasis on combat over platforming.
    • The Pac-Man franchise also had Baby Pac-Man, which was notably odd due to being a stand-up arcade machine which was half-video game, half-pinball game. Players were required to steer Baby Pac down one of two openings at the bottom of the maze to "enter" the pinball playfield, and you had to play the pinball part in order to get any energizers in the video maze or move up to the next higher "fruit" levels. The machine became an expensive lesson to Bally/Midway in what happens when you try to please everybody, and end up pleasing nobody—the video game players found the pinball part too hard, and the pinball players found the video game part too hard, and nearly everybody who played it wound up frustrated as a result. (The fact that the video game portion had simplistic graphics that smacked of the infamous done-on-the-cheap Atari 2600 Pac-Man port didn't help matters either.)
  • Amongst the three home console Crash Bandicoot racing titles, Crash Tag Team Racing notably sticks out like a sore thumb. Whereas Crash Team Racing and Crash Nitro Kart were standard Mario Kart-influenced kart racers, Tag Team Racing opts for a "vehicular combat" approach to its gameplay, with added emphasis on the slapstick violence the series was known for. It's also the only Crash Racing game to have the player exploring the Adventure Mode overworld on foot and not in their kart, and even has bowling and shooting minigames available to boot. In a series that's known for its Denser and Wackier tone compared to other platformers, that's saying a lot!
  • Lode Runner's Rescue was an isometric game akin to Crystal Castles, starring the lode runner's daughter. Unlike her father, she could jump and swim, but not dig.
  • The Star Fox series has two oddballs, both released for the Nintendo GameCube:
    • Star Fox Adventures is an Action-Adventure fantasy game in the Zelda mold. The reason is because it started life as a totally unrelated game from Rare, an N64 game known as Dinosaur Planet which was to star two Funny Animals named Sabre and Krystal. After Shigeru Miyamoto saw footage of the game in action and compared Sabre's appearance to Fox McCloud's, it was taken back to be retooled into a Star Fox title, now with Fox replacing Sabre but retaining Krystal in a less important role.
    • Star Fox: Assault introduced Third-Person Shooter elements, with so many missions based around them that there were only a small handful of the on-rails segments that the series is known for.
  • The Monster Rancher series of monster-raising simulation games has Monster Rancher EVO, a traditional RPG with dungeons and a party-based battle style that happens to use the Monster Rancher series monsters. Oh, and stat-raising and money-gaining are now based on your performance in a rhythm mini-game. While not necessarily a bad game, the fact that so little of it is traditionally Monster Rancher makes it very divisive for fans.
  • Devil May Cry:
  • Lunar: Dragon Song is, like the rest of the Lunar series, an Eastern RPG...but it adds a bunch of experimental (i.e. annoying) gameplay mechanics paired with a rudimentary plot and shallow characters. The other games in the series are known for old-school gameplay with well developed stories and characters.
  • The Jak and Daxter series has Jak X: Combat Racing, which turns the emphasis to Vehicular Combat in what is normally a platformer series with a large collection of other elements — it was present in the other games, but to nowhere near the same degree.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is considered to be this because it combines the gameplay of the first three games with the goal system that would later appear in Tony Hawk's Underground, but doesn't allow you to get off your board to talk to people, so you have to slow down and brake, which can often be difficult. Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, Ride and Shred are also considered to be the series oddballs mainly because they are considered terrible (in the case of the latter two, rely on a peripheral that rarely works and makes them nearly impossible to play).
  • Pokémon:
    • Several manga come off as this, such as How I Became a Pokémon Card or Magical Pokémon Journey as they don't focus on the same dynamics as most titles in the series but are, respectively, a Slice of Life and Shojo set in the Pokémon world. From the games themselves, the Game Boy Color adaptations of the Trading Card Game come off as odd as they apparently take place in a world apart from the Pokéverse; it's not exactly our world, but it's a Pokémon-less place where the series is at least a trading card game.
    • Out of the other spin-offs, Colosseum and XD might qualify. While they play the most like the main games compared to Mystery Dungeon, Ranger, and the various other spin-offs, unlike the main games, all battles are Double Battles (with the exception of a very early battle in XD, solely because you only have one Pokémon, an Eevee, to begin with during it). Also, while they're Spiritual Successors to the Stadium games, they actually have a story mode along with tournament modes and lack a few things that Stadium had (the Gym Leader Tower, minigames, etc.).
    • The Pikachu-centric spinoffs such as Hey You, Pikachu!, Pokémon Channel, and Pokepark Wii Pikachus Adventure definitely qualify as this, as all three of these games involve the player interacting with Pikachu in a semi-virtual pet simulator while talking casually with other Pokemon and playing fun minigames. Hey You, Pikachu! is also the only game in the entire series to not have the "Poke" prefix in its name at all.
    • As far as the main series goes, Pokémon Black and White stand out in a number of ways. The region is based on New York rather than Japan, no Pokemon from previous generations appear at all in the main game, the game is much more story and character-driven than previous entries and the final battle is against the Big Bad rather than the Pokémon League Champion. By contrast Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are much closer to the rest of the series.
    • Also from the main series is Pokémon Sun and Moon. It completely removes Gym based gameplay and replaces it with an Island Challenge where the player fights a Pokémon with a boost in stats (called Totem Pokémon) after a puzzle that is drastically different from the gym puzzles of the past. The closest to a Gym Leader is the Island Kahuna fought after completing all Trials on an island. The game is also more story and character driven than even Black and White.
  • Falcom's Dragon Slayer games are mostly various types of Action RPGs, with The Legend of Heroes being a more typical Eastern RPG. Then there's Lord Monarch, which is a (rather simple) Real-Time Strategy game.
  • R-Type Leo has no Force pod and no charge shot. Its plot and art style are also significantly Lighter and Softer; instead of fighting the Bydo, you're trying to save a planetary climate control system gone wrong.
  • Monty is Innocent is an isometric 3D adventure game, rather than a platformer like the other Monty Mole games.
  • In the Fallout franchise there was a drastic change in gameplay when the series changed hands from Black Isle Studios to Bethesda. Despite this the oddball in the family is Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, a top-down, 3D action game with almost no RPG Elements, and some big continuity issues which was created by Interplay Entertainment.
  • Donkey Kong 3 is more or less a Shoot 'em Up. Neither of the previous two Donkey Kong games featured shooting, and scarcely any of the later ones do. Moreover, you control an exterminator named Stanley, who never appears again in the franchise.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby & the Amazing Mirror is the only Kirby game to be a full Metroidvania instead of a straightforward Platform Game the series' main games are known for. It's also the first game in the entire series where King Dedede does not make an appearance.
    • Kirby's Epic Yarn is one of these as well. Replacing the traditional "eat > gain abilities" power set with yarn-based transformations. Amongst other things. It helps that this wasn't originally intended as a Kirby game.
  • Blaster Master: Blasting Again is the only 3D game in the series, as well as the only one where you fight the bosses inside of your vehicle, rather than outside of it.
  • Had they ever finished it, StarCraft: Ghost would have been a stealth-based third-person shooter in an RTS series.
  • World of Warcraft was originally an MMORPG in, of all things, an RTS franchise. Then, it proceeded to sell millions of copies, became the template for a new generation of MMOs, spawned a number of expansion packs, and generally displaced the original games.
  • Also cancelled by Blizzard, Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans was a comic-art point-and-click adventure game following two RTS games.
  • Front Mission Evolved is a third person mech shooter with some poorly executed concepts such as on foot segments which breaks sequence and storytelling that leaves VERY much to be desired.
  • DoDonPachi II: Bee Storm was licensed and developed by completely different company, so the end result was significantly different from the other games in the DonPachi series.
  • Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is a fighter in the vein of Super Smash Bros. instead of a Beat 'em Up platformer like the rest of the series.
  • Double Dragon had two fighting games based off of adaptations. The first is Double Dragon V, based on the animated series, and the second is a Neo Geo fighter based on the live-action movie.
  • Street Fighter also had two games (fortunately, it's already a Fighting Game series) based on its live-action movie, with Mortal Kombat-style live-action sprites. There's also Street Fighter 2010, a sci-fi action game, and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Probably the oddest of all was Street Fighter Online: Mouse Generation which was played on a PC using a mouse as a controller and served more as a Crossover than an actual Street Fighter game.
  • Final Fight had three games of being straight beat 'em ups, then Final Fight Revenge was a fighting game based on characters from the first game, including a zombie Belger. A couple of years later, Final Fight Streetwise came out, which tried to go back to its roots but with RPG elements and GTA influences. It bombed, hard.
  • Guilty Gear is no stranger to introducing strange and experimental gameplay aspects (Isuka note , Dust Strikers) or undergoing a minor Genre Shift from Fighting Game to Beat 'em Up (Isuka again, Judgment) The biggest offender, though, is Guilty Gear 2: Overture, a Real-Time Strategy game.
  • Super Columns allowed you to rotate the jewels to form rows as well as columns, instead of only being able to adjust the order of the gems in the column like every other game. The A.I. wasn't programmed to do this, giving you a nice advantage when fighting them.
  • The unfinished Brave Arms would have been an Ace Combat title that, despite taking place back in its fictional world, would have been more of a Ninja Gaiden/Metal Gear Solid hybrid clone than a flight simulation game.
  • The last Dizzy adventure, Crystal Kingdom Dizzy, was the only one with a sequence of separate levels. On the Amstrad CPC, it was also the only Dizzy game, not counting the two Maze Game spin=offs, to use the low-resolution 16-color graphics mode. The Commodore 64 version also ran in a more colorful low resolution than the earlier Dizzy games on that system.
  • Although it's usually rated highly among the fanbase, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is this for the Monkey Island series. Usually the games will limit each chapter to a specific island, but the second chapter of 2 allows you to travel between three islands instead. The next two games would also continue some form of insult fighting, which is absent in the second game. There's also a story gap between both the game and its predecessor and sequel which is never fully explored, which leaves the plot feeling a little odd too.
  • Absolute Despair Girls: Danganronpa Another Episode is a third-person shooter in a series of Closed Circle murder mystery visual novels. Its status as the oddball is only cemented by how much darker, edgier, bloodier, and gorier it is from the main series Danganronpa games.
  • Endless Frontier and its sequel, part of Super Robot Wars, is not a crossover-heavy turn-based Strategy Game, but rather an RPG with fighting game leanings featuring a mostly original cast of characters. The focus on robots is also noticeably reduced, with only a few Mini-Mecha showing up.
  • Tekken 4 odd compared to the rest of the series. The game attempted to introduced "realistic" elements, such as the removal of almost every non-human character save Kuma/Panda. Its setting was much more urban compared to the variety of locations found in other games. The story featured plenty of Doing In the Wizard with the Deal with the Devil being retconned as a mutation. It's also the only game in the series to feature different ground levels, such as stairs. All games afterwards did away with the realism, brought back all the 'wacky' characters, and retconned the Doing In the Wizard. 4 is often noted for being a black sheep.
  • Soulcalibur V was the first game to take place after a 17-year Time Skip meant to create a Soft Reboot for the franchise and introduce a new generation of fighters in the place of the old, with the intention that this would be the launch point for a new Soulcalibur series. It ended up being the only game set in this era, since the series subsequently returned to the previous setting with a Continuity Reboot starting from Soulcalibur VI. This makes V, with its emphasis on the "new generation of fighters", seem odd compared to everything else surrounding it.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a Hack and Slash game in a stealth series. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a Wide Open Sandbox after all the other games that were completely linear.
  • Within the Nancy Drew series of adventure-mystery games, The Secret of the Old Clock stands out as a bit of an oddball. Not really in terms of gameplay, but in aesthetics; while all the other games are contemporary to the modern day, Clock is a 1930s period piece paying tribute to the character's origin (it also doubles as a Milestone Celebration for the character's 75th anniversary.)
  • MechAssault to the MechWarrior franchise, being a primarily a third-person action game with on-foot sections where prior Mechwarrior games were predominantly first-person cockpit view mech simulators with no infantry gameplay. It also utilized a very different combat system compared to Mechwarrior and omitted the popular customization function. The first Mech Commander was considered the Oddball for a while, being a real-time tactics game in a primarily action/simulation franchise, but after both games fans have come to accept it due to its broad similarities to the tabletop game.
  • The Hebereke games already only have a tenuous connection between one another, but Hebereke no Oishii Puzzle wa Irimasen ka is the only one that is set in real-life Japan rather than the usual alien world and features human characters. That's because it was a remake of a previous arcade puzzle game by Sunsoft and Atlus, with the Hebereke characters pasted on to gain a little bit more appeal, but otherwise left completely identical.
  • The eighth installment, The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide, is this for the Dark Parables. The game mechanics are, in several respects, different from the previous games; the basic gameplay remains the same, but certain things about it are just different enough to catch the notice of longtime fans. This is because it's the only collaboration in the series - all previous games were done solely by Blue Tea Games, and all subsequent games were/are done solely by Eipix.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • Ratchet: Deadlocked scraps the platforming elements to be entirely focused on combat and vehicles, and divides planets into missions rather than each planet being continuous. It's also one of the two games in the series without a version of the RYNO, which is replaced by the Harbinger, its Vox Industries equivalent.
    • Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One retains the platforming, but goes from a single-player experience to a 2-4 player co-op adventure. Instead of a BFG, this game's RYNO is a suit of Powered Armor.
    • Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault is a 1-2 player Tower Defense game. Like Deadlocked, it also lacks a version of the RYNO.
  • Mortal Kombat has had a few of these. Most notably there is Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero and Special Forces. Both of these are action/adventure games, Sub-Zero in particular being a platform game, whereas this is a series known for its brutal one-on-one fighting mechanics. Their reception among critics and fans was subpar due to their flawed gameplay. The series later branched back out into action/adventure with the better-received Shaolin Monks.
  • Yoshi's Story mostly plays like Yoshi's Island and its sequels in the basic mechanics, but with significant differences. For starters, there is no "end of level" target; you keep playing a level until Yoshi eats enough fruit. The game has a hard set number of lives, as each Yoshi would be captured if you ran out of health or fell into a pit, and could only be rescued through the use of a White Shy Guy. While other Yoshi games would rate you by how much "health" you had at the end of the level and how many of the level's limited number of major collectibles you found, Yoshi's Story had a more complex scoring system involving things like the colors of the fruits and monsters Yoshi ate (compared to Yoshi's own color) and how many Yoshis were still available, with no set "max score". Eggs traveled only a limited distance and could not ricochet off walls. Bosses were, by and large, unique creatures instead of mooks grown under the effects of Kamek's magic. You only needed to complete a quarter of the game's stages to reach the final boss. And it is the only major Yoshi platformer besides Yoshi's Woolly World (which is otherwise much more like Island) where Yoshi has a standard health meter, instead of a timer that ticks down whenever baby Mario is off Yoshi's back.
  • SNK's Beast Busters series is composed of three horror/sci-fi lightgun games (the first one predating The House of the Dead) and Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999, which is a top-down action RPG with guns and a monster collecting mechanic; it also is more markedly dark gothic fantasy a la Castlevania.
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is usually seen as the black sheep of the series due to its status as a half-finished Obvious Beta. It has many mechanics and design choices that are never seen anywhere else in the series such as dialogue options, a second playable protagonist and a lack of Lara Croft’s iconic dual pistols. The setup is very different from early titles, starting with Lara as a wanted woman trying to clear her name by hunting down a murderer rather than a thrill-seeking Adventure Archaeologist. Only two different countries are visited (although at least two more were planned) and there are very few actual tombs - the first few levels include the streets of Paris, an abandoned nightclub and a heist in the Louvre. Even the graphics stand out, as it was the first game made for the PS2 before the series was rebooted.
  • The Aquatic Games is the only sports games in the James Pond series.
  • Darius Force stands out from the rest of the series with its comparatively darker, brooding art direction, its more subdued pace, an odd grid-based version of the branching path system, and it having the biggest proportion of bosses that aren't fish or marine life.
  • Prince of Persia is a well known platformer series. Battles of Prince of Persia on Nintendo DS is a turned based strategy game. Even the narrative is unusual because you switch from the perspective of other factions instead of staying with the Prince.
  • Grand Theft Auto 2. While the first two Grand Theft Auto games in general have some Early Installment Weirdness compared to what the series would later become (most notably with their top-down 2D gameplay and limited number of extra lives), this game goes above and beyond its predecessor and its successors alike. For one thing, it's the only GTA game set in the future, specifically in a Retro Universe 2013 inspired by a mix of '70s/'80s dystopian sci-fi, cyberpunk, and postwar-era aesthetics, the latter most visible in the vehicle designs. Furthermore, gameplay is built around a mechanic that no subsequent GTA game has used since. Rather than following a linear story path, the "respect" system allows players to take missions from different gangs and kill gang members in the streets (in or out of missions) in order to play them off of one another, building or hurting their reputation with one at the expense or benefit of their rivals.
  • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan has a large number of deviations from the usual Etrian Odyssey formula:
    • It's the only game to have overworld exploration as part of the main story. Sure, Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City has seafaring, but it's not strictly required to complete the game.
    • Instead of a 30-floor dungeon divided into six strata, you instead have six "Mazes" spread across the lands. Furthermore, none of the Mazes in this game have more than 3 floors, when each stratum in other games is usually 5 floors high.
    • It's the only game not to have you traverse up or down Yggdrasil. Instead, Yggdrasil itself becomes the Final Boss.
    • It's the only game to have "Caves", one-floor mini-dungeons that each have less floor space than traditional labyrinth floors. This may be why this game's equivalent of strata are surprisingly short.
    • It's the only game that doesn't have an FM synth version of its soundtrack. The DS games only have FM soundtracks, and the other 3DS games have them as optional alternate soundtracks.
    • Due to the game's more story-centric nature, three of the explorer classes have to be unlocked (as they're tied to races or societies that are initially disconnected from the humans living in Tharsis); in all other mainline games, all ten classes are available from that start.
    • Its "horrifying stuff is happening" theme, "Imminent Calamity", follows a distinctly different format from other themes of its line in the series, and is not shared with any other track in the series (Etrian Odyssey I and II have "Red and Black", Etrian Odyssey III and V have "Unknown Menace").
  • Battlefield Hardline, which is a cop-and-robbers game in what has usually been a military FPS series.
  • Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile breaks from many of the City-Building Series' gameplay conventions: it averts Ridiculously Fast Construction; has no active Gods; forces residents to seek out their own resources rather than receive them from walkers; relies exclusively on physical resources produced within the city in place of an abstract Global Currency; and restricts the city's educated workforce according to the ruler's prestige, which degrades if not maintained. It also introduces full 3D graphics, which are also used in the next and last installment of the Series.
  • Gradius: The Interstellar Assault features very little music, enemies, or level themes from the previous titles, is the only game in the entire franchise to feature Direct Continuous Levels and has a final boss that actually fights back (albeit not much) and isn't an immobile brain or core.

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback