I think we are at a point in the evolution of video games where it isn’t hard to tell what games are going to be successful and which ones are going to fail. Much like pop radio, the stuff that gets most consumed is the stuff that gets most shoveled at the masses. You have big name companies that hype up their big name games, and the result of that can be the good games that come out in between the bigger titles becoming obsolete almost immediately.
No one is surprised when a Halo game makes millions, but what about all the great games that slip through the cracks every year? Here are six games that span my lifetime of gaming, that I felt were robbed of the credit they deserved. Thanks to Gamefly, the “used” bin, and download services, most of you can find these gems for a few dollars now. THAT is money well spent.
What seems generic today once screamed to me. Perhaps I was the generic one all along.
They say everyone has that perfect old flame. That one love they never got over. For me, that one love is Medievil for the original Playstation.
Don’t get me wrong, there were many games I adored before Medievil (The Legend of Zelda was the first game I was ever obsessed with) but for me, Medievil came to me at a perfect point in my life. From the dark humor, to the Tim Burton-esque graphics and level design, for me, it was a perfect storm of gaming. I loved every single thing about it. Especially this:
I still consider this one of my favorite boss fights of all time.
The real reason I think I loved that one scene so much was because I think, even back then, I knew what it was an homage to:
Young Sherlock Holmes, motherf*ckers!
I would play this game with all the giddiness of a child. And then, when I would talk to my friends, no one had played it. Not “no one” as in three people. Literally. no one. I was TRYING to lend it to people, just so we could talk about it. So why didn’t I go onto internet forums or chat rooms and talk about it with other fans? On the internet?? You think that thing is gonna stick around??
The game has since spawn a sequel or two, which tells me it was much more beloved than I thought, but I never played anything after part 1. It was like I knew I couldn’t recreate that magic, so I didn’t even try.
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron: Xbox 360
I feel slightly stupid writing the name of this game out, and as I did right now I knew why, that was the games downfall. If ever a title screamed “This game is going to be pretentious”, it is El Shaddai. And God forbid you look up what the game is about. No, really, God forbid. This game is a one button action game that is based around The Book of Enoch. I realize I may have just said what sounded like the worst pitch for a game ever. Now, between the game and its heavy themes, I can see why no one played it.
Visually, the game is on a level all by itself. Wow, my wordplay knows no limits.
Also, it is super weird and somewhat gay. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but a truthful way. Your main character loses pieces of armor (to near naked) as he fights other (all male) angels, who have flowing locks and all look like a mix between Fabio and Chris Hemsworth. If Xbox Live is any indication of the demographic that buys games, than this game never had a chance. But for those who missed it, you missed a game with an ever-changing visual style, an INSANE (but compelling) story, an extremely odd and creative narrative, and a level with a TRON bike.
You really have NO idea what you are in for, level to level, with this game.
Seriously. So homophobes and hate-filled kids are really missing out. This game is mind melting good time. It also has some of the deepest and most layered one-button combat I have ever played.
I mentioned the naked angels already, right?
Shadows of the Damned
I know some people just don’t have the necessary attitude to love a Suda51 game. But I tend to feel bad for those people. Juts like exploitation cinema from the seventies (I spit on your corpse and pee on your grave, and then sh*t on your dinner table: A revenge film!) there is an undeniable cheesy awesomeness to this man’s games. Shadows of the Damned had so many great references and juvenile jokes, and it played like the heir to Resident Evil 4. So what is there NOT to love?
Worth purchasing for all the dick jokes and the awesome Evil Dead homage, alone. Yes, there is an Evil Dead themed level (which, I could be so bold to say it s Cabin in the Woods level) and for fans of the original Sam Raimi flick, it is a true joy to play through. Well, joy and panic.
Hail to the thief, baby. I just made a Radiohead AND an Evil Dead reference.
There is a cool light/darkness mechanic to this game that makes it an absolute blast to play. You can’t actually hurt the creatures when it is light, you have to find this weird goat-head lamp and shoot it in the face to make it dark, THEN you can kill the creatures. The actual act of finding the goat head is not easy, though, and in later levels it adds a cool puzzle element to the fighting.
Plus, dick jokes. Dick jokes and naked angels. Wow, I am keeping it classy today.
Battle For Olympus: Nintendo
I will now show you my descent into nerdom, with a pivotal moment in my life.
It is 1989. I am a very young nerd, already wrapped up in gaming to avoid the pratfalls of daily life. I figure out, on my own, that there is a trick to beating the Hydra boss in Battle of Olympus for the NES. The trick boiled down to terrible programming on the designers part, but it didn’t matter. I wrote to EGM. I told them you stand at the edge of the water and slash repeatedly, and the hydra will come up into your blade everytime.
Thing is, they published me. I was just a kid and they published my tip. That, my friends, is called foreshadowing.
To a nerd kid, that is about as awesome and seeing a Unicorn. Or a boob. Or a Unicorn with one boob for a horn.
The game may have seemed like a crappy Zelda knockoff to some, but to me, it was so much more. I felt like it was a mashup of Castlevania and Zelda, and I loved every second of it. Plus, who was fighting the hydra WAY before Kratos? Yup, that’s right:
Look at all the God of War bosses in this Nintendo game. Also, features PASSWORDS!
Perhaps, it is looking back and seeing it in that light (my name is a video game magazine!?!) that casts the game an advantageous edge, but I believe it to be a multitude of things. Ultimately, it was a a much easier version of Zelda 2. To me, it was like playing a version of Zelda 2 that did not reduce me to tears from its sickening difficulty. Yet, no one played it.
Why? Also, anyone who feels compelled to tell me that God of War didn’t rip this game off, and BOTH are based off Greek mythology, go crawl into a corner and die, quietly.