#10: Metroid Prime (GC)
In 1987 the NES game Metroid was released. A sidescrolling platformer where you play as Samus Aran, navigating the planet Zebes with upgrades to find such as the Morph Ball, which allows Samus to navigate small tunnels, Missiles, which damage enemies heavily and can open certain doors, the Ice Beam, which freezes enemies for a short time, and the Varia Suit, which is heat resistant and reduces damage taken, as well as Energy Tanks, which boost your maximum health. Samus must use the upgrades he finds as he shoots his way though the violent monsters of the alien atmospheres of the planet to defeat Kraid, Ridley, and their leader, Mother Brain, to stop them from using the parasitic organisms known as Metroids to eliminate all who oppose the Space Pirates. And at the end, after you've escaped from the self-destruct sequence of Tourian and saved space from the tyranny of the Space Pirates, it's revealed that... Samus is a girl?!
Metroid was extremely successful after its release, selling over 2 million copies. It was popular enough that it got a sequel, four years later we saw the release of Metroid II: Return of Samus for the Game Boy. This game was about Samus traveling to the alien planet SR388 to destroy the last remaining Metroids to ensure peace and safety. Metroid II was generally the same formula as the first one, introducing a few upgrades such as the Space Jump and Spider Ball, but it was much more linear, as the game denied you access to later areas until you'd hunted enough Metroids down. The screen size was also a bit of a problem as Samus' sprite was also made larger. Metroid II was generally received well, but most people preferred the original.
Still, after all this, the Metroid series was yet to see its definitive entry... that is, until 1994. Super Metroid was the third entry into the Metroid series. Released on April 18th, 1994, Super Metroid took everything that the first game established and polished it up VERY nicely, with a unique art style, an active and high-scale soundtrack and gameplay refined for more control while shooting, as well as more platforming ability with the several new upgrades, such as the Grappling Beam, the wall jump, and several new weapon upgrades such as the Spazer and Plasma Beam, and the ability to charge Samus' regular shots. Samus was now returning to the planet Zebes as Ridley had made a return, sabotaging a research station and kidnapping a baby Metroid. Despite the return to the planet, the world has changed a lot and you visit many places that you didn't in the first game, with a lot more atmosphere for a deep effect.
Super Metroid was pretty well received, but by this time Mario and Zelda were already rocking the market as Nintendo's go-to series. Not only that, but the game was being heavily overshadowed by the popularity of the Donkey Kong Country series, as well as the impending releases of the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn. Metroid remained behind in popularity for a while after Super Metroid's release. A Nintendo 64 game had been planned, but they never started work on it, as they couldn't come up with any strong ideas. It wasn't until the Nintendo GameCube when Samus would get another adventure...
But first let's backtrack a bit. In 1998, Nintendo teamed up with the former founder of Iguana Entertainment, Jeff Spangenberg, to create Retro Studios. After their offices were established in 1999, Retro started working on a few GameCube games, but when Shigeru Miyamoto visited the studio in 2000, he didn't approve of any of the games being developed there. Instead, after seeing one of their projects, he suggested that they work on a Metroid title instead. Retro eventually cancelled all of the games they had been working on, so that they could all focus on developing the next entry into the Metroid franchise.
So then came the big question, how would Metroid make the jump from 2D to 3D? Would it remain a sidescrolling platformer or would they revamp its genre completely? Well initially in development the game started as a third-person shooter, with an over the shoulder perspective. However, Miyamoto didn't like this, he suggested they instead make it a first person shooter, and so began the development of Metroid Prime.
Metroid Prime was released in 2002, and wasn't like anything Metroid had done before. Rather than a 2d platformer, Metroid Prime opted for a 3d first person perspective focused on combat and the world around you. The game first starts on the Space Pirate Frigate named Orpheon, in orbit around Tallon IV, as Samus arrives having intercepted a distress signal. She soon finds that the Space Pirates onboard had been slaughtered by their own mutated experiments. As Samus progresses through the frigate she eventually comes accross the dangerous Parasite Queen, and after killing it in combat, it falls into the ship's reactor core, setting off its destruction. As Samus escapes the frigate, she experiences an electrical surge that causes her to lose her suit upgrades and weapons, but despite this she succeeds in escaping. Seeing her old nemesis Ridley flying to the planet below, Samus gives chase in her ship to investigate.
At this point seeing a new Metroid title was a surprise in itself, let alone a practical reboot like Prime was. Metroid Prime was a drastic change for the series, if only because it was in 3D. The first person perspective was fresh and new for the series and the combat was unique itself, being very quick and seamless. The game was much more story based with its silent storytelling, providing a lot of backstory through Chozo inscriptions and Space Pirate logs. The game was also a bit more linear, as goals were usually straightforward for the first half of the game.
Metroid Prime was one of the few series-deviating GameCube games that was received well. It sold over 1 million copies in America alone and many people consider it to be the best game of the franchise. ~ LugiaLv100
In 1995 on the Super Nintendo, Rare, after developing the masterful Donkey Kong Country trilogy, went back to their roots to try to design an original game for the system. This game would be known tenatively as Project: Dream. The core team working on Donkey Kong Country put another team in charge of the Donkey Kong series so that they could get to work on what they planned to be Rare's greatest SNES game, with Tim Stamper, one of Rare's founders, working as the leader of the team. This was also around the time when composer Grant Kirkhope joined the company.
Project: Dream was planned to be an RPG starring a young boy named Edison, wielding a wooden sword, the boy got in trouble with a group of pirates lead by the fearsome Captain Blackeye. Several sidecharacters included a rabbit that looked like a man, a baby breegull, a dopey dog and a bear.
According to Grant Kirkhope, when he saw the demo of the SNES game he was "blown away", stating that it looked beautiful and that it would be very superior to the Donkey Kong Country games. Before long, though, it became clear for the developers that the game was getting too big for the aging SNES, so they instead moved over to the Nintendo 64, where they were planning to use what was presumably Nintendo's (eventually unreleased) Nintendo 64 Disc Drive attachment.
What really slowed Project Dream was, in fact, Conker, then in its Twelve Tales, child friendly form. When the team saw this game and how well it ran using a Mario 64 type of 3D design compared to their clunky (but innovative) 3D system, their hearts sank. They went back to change their formula to one closer to this, and the game began running just fine. But then they became unhappy with Edison, being a sort of generic hero. Tim suggested they change him into an animal, and they decided on the bear sidecharacter in the end, thus creating Banjo, and later adding his trademark backpack and Kazooie. Keeping the RPG aspects, Tim still didn't think it held up well, and after seeing Mario 64 get a successful release, he made the decision to go back to Rare's roots and make it a platformer, and Banjo-Kazooie was born.
It's really hard to describe just what Banjo-Kazooie did without first talking about Super Mario 64. Mario 64 was a very open-world, adventurous 3D game where the goal of the game was to get all of the Power Stars and use them to save the Princess from the evil king Bowser. The level structuring was... not all that great. The levels themselves were a bit contained and simple, and while you could get most of the Power Stars from any mission, once you got one you would be booted out of the level, and have to go back in to get another. Not only that but a lot of missions slightly change the level, making some things only obtainable in certain missions. The game also lacked much personality, choosing to focus on its basic and somewhat slow gameplay.
Banjo-Kazooie took the base that Super Mario 64 laid for it and escalated it one hundred fold. Expanding the levels and giving them, and the characters in them, gallons of personality. No longer was the game mission based, but rather everything was absolutely open, you could get almost anything in any order you wanted, it encouraged exploration and had tons of things to do in a world. Not only that but it added a lot of different mobility-centered moves to the formula, making the game flow much better and giving the player a lot more control over their situation.
Other than that it was pretty similar to Mario 64, but it was a solid formula to begin with, and Banjo absolutely perfected it. Banjo-Kazooie was released in 1998, to give millions of kids a wonderful fantasy adventure game that many would never forget, winning tons of awards in the process. It's a game that's still acclaimed today, and it was so good it got a sequel! And it was even better! Taking the Banjo formula that was already set up and fine-tuning it even more! It was an incredibly smooth game, and just as big of an adventure, if not even bigger. But some good things can never last. In 2002, Microsoft purchased the company Rare ltd. and the rights to all of its properties, destroying several of their Nintendo ventures in the process. They could still produce handheld games for Nintendo, however, as Microsoft aren't in that market. Rare produced two more games in the Banjo series, the mediocre 2.5d platformer Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, and Banjo-Pilot, a game that was originally supposed to star Diddy Kong, while producing such games as Grabbed by the Ghoulies and Kameo: Elements of Power for Microsoft's original X-Box.
So what became of the bear and bird? Well, development for a third Banjo-Kazooie game first started in 2002 for the X-Box. There they threw around several ideas for a new Banjo, the first few being remakes of the original game. One idea was to do a straight remake of the game, only with high-scale events added in, such as one planned where a termite queen would burst out of the top of Ticker's Tower, and act as a boss. Another idea was yet another remake, but one where Gruntilda would follow and mimic the player. It's unknown all of what this would entail, but soon, before any of their ideas came to fruition, the XBox 360 entered the market, and Rare was forced to shift, leaving any work they'd done behind.
One of the things all of the Rare staff felt is that doing a regular sequel would be boring, that it was typical, they wanted to do something new. They WERE developing a customizeable racing game starring Banjo, but that eventually got scrapped and worked into some of their other ideas... So, in 2008, eight years after the release of Banjo-Tooie, the next main Banjo game, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, was released. Now I know what most of you are probably thinking by this point, and no, I am not going to throw around my criticisms of this game like confetti. This is about what it did to people with its changes, not if those changes were good or not.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts was released as a... very new concept for the series. A lot of people fault Microsoft for this, but this is something that the people at Rare themselves wanted. Nuts & Bolts is a game all about vehicles. You build different vehicles and use them to accomplish tasks which usually earn you Jiggies, like in the old games, but more than that has changed. First of all, Banjo and Kazooie can do nearly nothing outside of the vehicles. You can walk around and jump, and in some rare cases there are things that only they can do outside of a vehicle. Kazooie has the ability to pick up objects with a magical wrench, and you also have one very basic attack that can be used on the occasion that you run into an enemy, which isn't often. The majority of the time you'll just be in a vehicle of some sort.
Another thing that was really off about the game was the level structuring. Every game world was gigantic, too gigantic to navigate well on foot, but it was separated into three "Acts". Each one is generally the same except that all of the missions were restricted to one of the three Acts, going back to the Mario 64 formula a bit. The missions were almost always very straightforward and usually required you just to complete one basic task, such as getting to a point within a certain amount of time, or something involving picking up an object and carrying it somewhere with your vehicle. Another change was that the missions didn't give you Jiggies directly, but rather they let you get Jiggies from a vending machine type thing in the main hub world, which you then took to a large machine in the main area of town that would unlock more worlds for you if you got enough.
So... just why was this game shocking? Banjo-Kazooie and its sequel, Banjo-Tooie created a very large fanbase for its unique style and smooth gameplay, and after MIcrosoft bought Rare in 2002, nothing was quite the same. Fans waited eight whole years for the next Banjo game, only to get what was more of a spin-off than anything. No longer romping around on foot with your bird buddy Kazooie, traversing huge and interesting worlds and looking for items, Nuts & Bolts is much more mission based than exploration based, not to mention being centered around building and piloting vehicles. Most people were SO shocked by this that they absolutely hated the game, calling it a fluke, claiming that Rare was over (which it was in the end, actually).
Is this game bad? I think so, but not because of the gameplay changes alone. Most people were way too put off by the game's drastic style change, and whether that was justified or not is left to the individual. But for now, let's just hope that by some miracle, we'll see the real Banjo-Threeie we've been hoping for all these years. ~ LugiaLv100
Back in 1996 Capcom decided to shock the world with a brand new game called "Resident Evil." Up until this point, the world had only seen a hand full of "horror" based video games. Most of the horror games released never really did what they set out to do, and most of them were actually pretty unknown. Now sure, there were a few games with a few good scares, but none of them really offered that in depth horror experience many people had been looking for. That is, until Resident Evil entered the picture!
The first Resident Evil game was a horror survival game which focused on two playable characters: one was named Chris, and the other named Jill. Both of these characters had entered an old mansion which was filled with flesh eating zombies, and mutated animals, and they both had their own skills and abilities to help the player progress. The thing about these characters is, well, players were able to really connect with them, and you truly cared about their well being as they explored this crazy mansion. The game used fixed camera angles with prerendered backgrounds to give the game a realistic feel, the game's music and sound effects always kept you on the edge of your seat, and you never knew when a zombie or monster would jump out and scare the heck out of you! For its time, the game was a horrifying experience, but its setting was not the only thing that scared players.
Resident Evil is what you would call a "horror survival game," which means it is also about surviving. As you explore the scary old mansion, you find items, read diaries filling you in on what happened to the people who lived there, and you also find weapons and other resources to help protect yourself. The monsters and zombies in Resident Evil are NOT ones to mess with, and unlike in most action games, they do NOT go down without a fight. You can use up all of the ammo from your gun trying to kill a SINGLE monster, but then you will find yourself completely defenseless for who knows how long. You could also use health items to heal yourself when you get hurt, but just how many health items are actually IN the game?
The thing is, EVERYTHING is limited in Resident Evil, and that even includes the save points! You cannot save the game unless you find an item that allows you to save, and just like everything else they are very rare. Sure you could go ahead and save your game as soon as you get one, but how long till you find more? Then again, what if you hold onto that save item, go out exploring, solve a few puzzles, and then get killed and lose hours worth of progress? In Resident Evil you always had to question yourself on what the right move was, how much of an item you should use, which fights you should fight or run away from, and even when you should save; it was a survival game, and you were ALWAYS scared of dying and losing progress.
After Resident Evil 1 came out, the game soon became a series with games like Resident Evil 2, Code Veronica, and Resident Evil 3 following. Every one of these games offered a similar experience to the first game, and every single one of them focused on survival and limited resources. They were all pretty challenging games, but die hard fans could never get enough of them! So it was only natural that Capcom should continue making Resident Evil games right? Well, they did, and things were not quite the same. Before we knew it, Capcom was throwing out a lot of the major features of the Resident Evil series, they were changing the tone, and soon headed down a completely different path.
Resident Evil 4 is at number 8 on this list for a very good reason, but that reason also prevents it from being higher up as well. While RE4 was Resident Evil's first jump into full 3D, it also changed a LOT of the game's mechanics as well (so much it actually SPLIT the Resident Evil fan base)! Although RE4 follows the story of Resident Evil 2's main character Leon, it is really nothing like the Resident Evil most fans had come to know and love. While the game still did have tank controls, jump scares, puzzles, objects to find/collect, an inventory system which limited how much they could hold, and most of the same weapons and items; the rest of the game was not what you would expect from Resident Evil. Instead of a horror survival game, it was basically a "horror" 3rd person shooter.
Unlike in the past games, resources were not as limited (most enemies drop ammo and healing items), there was a shop for you to buy power ups, upgrades, and equipment, you could save as many times as you wanted, and above all, there are NO zombies! The game is mostly about a parasite that lives inside the bodies of the people in a strange cult, and most of the game is spent shooting their heads off so you can shoot the parasite inside. Now sure the game is pretty disturbing (especially the bosses), but due to the fact that you can just shoot the heck out of everything, you really are not on edge as much. This time around the knife is much more useful as well, and you can shoot enemies in the knees to knock them down, then follow up with a melee kick to the head to send them flying. Really, these guys are nothing to fear, and you are actually rewarded for taking them down instead of avoiding them.
Another thing that makes Resident Evil 4 so much different is the fact that it uses a level based set up! As you progress through the game you access many different types of areas, and each one of them is completely different from the last. There's really not much backtracking (there's no back tracking to older areas since they become locked off), and the game is more focused on moving forward in a linear style, rather than exploring every inch of a single house. This is another very unexpected change from past Resident Evil games, and it is also one of the reasons the fan base is split between Resident Evil 4 and the classics.
Really, Resident Evil 4 was something no one saw coming. Up until the release of Resident Evil 4 Capcom had been showing off tech demos of a few other versions of the game, and just about all of them showed off a game similar to what fans had come to love. They featured Leon walking through dark corners of a house with a flashlight, solving puzzles, and there were also a few jump scares thrown in as well. This is what most people thought Resident Evil 4 was going to be like, but when they got the final game, they found a completely new game unlike the classics. It was a shock to fans everywhere, but it is the Resident Evil style that has been with us ever since.
On top of all of that, Resident Evil 4 also shocked 3rd person shooter fans as well! The game featured a wide verity of features that were not yet common in shooters, and they really set the stages for future generations of games! In Resident Evil 4 you could actually enter houses, push furniture up against walls and windows to prevent enemies from entering, and you could also shoot through some materials such as wood! Locked door? No problem! Just blow it up! Before Resident Evil 4 came out these were the type of game features you would rarely see, and they really did shock a lot of people! (Both Resident Evil fans and 3rd person shooter fans alike!)
Although Resident Evil 4 may not seem as shocking today as it was back then, but let me assure you, it was in fact quite the shock! ~ NettoSaito
In 1988 the video game company SEGA released a brand new console RPG for their SEGA Master System, and changed the world of gaming. You see, this new console RPG was a little game called "Phantasy Star," and it was one of the first story driven games to ever be released in the West! Gamers who picked up Phantasy Star found themselves in a sci-fi fantasy world, exploring towns and dungeons, fighting monsters, and building a party of unique characters to help them on their adventure.
For the time that it came out, Phantasy Star was a pretty advanced game. It has bright and colorful graphics (with some very detailed character sprites), the game was massive in both game world size and content, and it was one of the few games out there that really let players do whatever they wanted. Back in 1988 this sort of game was seen as a revolution of sorts, and it shocked many gamers across the world.
After the success of the original Phantasy Star, SEGA actually went on to make quite a few sequels. Although each sequel was a game of its own (new story, characters, worlds, etc), each game did keep the basics the same. They were all still sprite based JRPGs, you explored towns, traveled from area to area from a world map, the battle system was turn based with different moves for you to pick from (such as standard attack moves or magic attacks), and they were all story driven games. This type of game is what gamers soon came to expect from the Phantasy Star series, and there were no signs of it changing anytime soon; that is until the SEGA Dreamcast came out.
The SEGA Dreamcast was released in 1998 (1999 in the US), and one of its core features was it's online connection. Gamers would be able to use the Dreamcast as a sort of computer to browse the web, get in contact with friends, and play games with them online; however for the most part these features were limited. That's when SEGA got the bright idea to make full use of it, and release a game that NO ONE would have ever seen coming.
In the year 2000 (2001 for the US) a brand new game by SEGA was released on the Dreamcast, and it was unlike anything anyone had ever seen on a console. The game was a part of the Phantasy Star series, but it was NOT the Phantasy Star fans once knew. The new game was called "Phantasy Star Online," and it was the world's first Console MMORPG! It was a game unlike any other, and before they knew it, players everywhere were being drawn in by this completely brand new experience!
Unlike in past games, when you first turn on Phantasy Star Online players are asked to create their own character, which would then serve as "you" for the rest of the game. You could change your hair style, pick your race, and even customize some other appearance options as well. Although the customization was quite limited by today's standards, for its time it was actually pretty advanced! Once you finished picking and naming your character, you could then enter the world of PSO.
Although Phantasy Star Online does in fact have an offline mode with a smaller story, its main focus is in fact on the online. PSO is a fully 3D game, ALL of the action takes place in real time (making the game more based on skill), there is a verity of different weapons for you to use, and just about everyone you saw around you was in fact REAL people and not just NPCs. Players could talk to one another using the Dreamcast keyboard, they could travel to different areas and complete quests together, and they could even fight each other in the battle arena as well! PSO basically threw out everything Phantasy Star was known for, turned the series into a real time action RPG, and made it into a massive multiplayer game unlike the world had ever seen before. Still, this change did come with a price.
Phantasy Star Online was not a free game to play, and that alone turned quite a few Phantasy Star fans off from it. Just like with all games you did have to buy it in stores, but if you wanted to play online you also had to pay a monthly fee! Although it was a small fee, players would have to either pay for a single month of gameplay, or they would have to pay a slightly higher fee for three months worth of gameplay. Although players weren't required to play the game offline, their gameplay experience would have been extremely limited.
As the years went on PSO began to evolve, expansion packs were released, and the game was also ported over to other consoles as well. The game became one of the world's biggest online games, and it continued to thrive up until it was finally taken down completely in the year 2008. Even so, during that time the game had already left behind quite the legacy, and since then it has continued to influence game developers worldwide (.hack was just one of the games PSO influenced).
Although PSO is now no more, the game continues to live on in other forms today. The game was later replaced by Phantasy Star Universe, a spiritual sequel was released on the DS called Phantasy Star Zero, Phantasy Star Portable 2 was released for the PSP, and finally a true sequel called Phantasy Star Online 2 was released in Japan for the PC and PlayStation Vita in 2012 (with a US release in 2013). Even though the whole action RPG/online set up is now a series standard for Phantasy Star, back when it came out in the early 2000s it was completely unexpected, and it has also caused a split in the fan base because of it. Even today some fans are still waiting for another old fashion turn based RPG, but by the looks of it, we won't be getting one anytime soon. ~ NettoSaito
For those of you who do not know who and what Klonoa is, Klonoa is a gaming character, starring in his own series. Klonoa is an anthropomorphic cat with really long and weird ears and a short tail that end with a fluff, something that stirred quite a few arguments over Klonoa's race until it was officially stated that he is, indeed, a cat with long ears and a short tail that end with a fluff.
The series is a puzzle platformer one - Klonoa has his wind ring which can grab certain enemies or block so he can move them around, throw them, or use them to double jump in order to get to the next level or fight the bosses. There is a remake of the first version for the Wii, too. I'd advise you to try it if you like puzzle of platformers games, but I digress.
Klonoa is something the frenchise calles a ‘dream-traveller,’ and every game he is starring is set in a different world entirely, which makes it a series with inifinite potential, in one point of view - having a different story each time and making as many changes as possible to the cast and scenery without it becoming weird or having to get up with an excuse for each change the series gets, as long as Klonoa himself stays the same - but it also has its limits, such as most characters not showing up for more than one game. Including characters fans have grown to love. Some characters did make another appearance in some games, though, but those are far and few in between, and only the main ones.
There were two Klonoa spin-off not to have the basic and classic Klonoa gameplay style. The first one I am going to mention was an Action RPG: 'Klonoa Heroes' for the Game Boy Advance, which was released towards the end of 2002, and was the last Klonoa game before the remake of the first game for the Wii.
The game was never released outside of Japan, but it showed Klonoa in a new way. Unlike the other games in the series it was in fact more story based, and one of the characters from it which was taken from the other Klonoa spin-off, Guntz, was detailed more then the other spin-off showed, and actually made it into a future release. Among those releases, ‘Namco x Capcom’ for the PlayStation 2 is included. Unfortunately, this game, too, didn’t make it outside Japan, and Klonoa did not make it into the sequel, ‘Project X Zone’ for the 3DS, much to Klonoa’s fans’ dismay.
But ‘Klonoa Heroes’ is not the game I am talking about. There are plenty of frenchises who tried to go into RPG and Action RPG, so I cannot say this game came out as that much of a surprise. The thing I find most surprising about it is that it was not translated. The game that surprised me was… well… it is the second spin-off, called ‘Klonoa Beach Volleyball.’
Klonoa Beach Volleyball is, as the name suggests - a volleyball game, though not really beach. The only beach scenery in this game was the first level of the story. And it had Klonoa character. It came out during the middle of 2002, for the PlayStation, and was only released in Japan and Europe.
The game goes like this: You pick a character, reciece an AI partner and off to play ball! The gameplay was that you move and hit the ball while pressing a direction key to aim the ball. Outs are possible in this game, though, and count as a point to the other team. If the ball touches the ground in your field, it's a point for the other team. If you get enough points, as the rules of volleyball go - you win. If the other team does, then you lose.
It was also possible to have a special hit - if you hit the ball enough times, you can hit the ball with a special hit, which will cause a change in background and make the ball go faster, which will make the other team more unlikely to hit it back at you.
Each character had its own possible ending, stats and special move, but the game still didn't take more than about three to four hours to beat with all characters. The stories in this game are light-hearted and funny, and I am almost certain that if you play this game, at least one of the endings will make you at least chuckle, even with their childish feel to it. Or maybe it is because of their childish feel.
After beating the story, though… the game doesn’t have that much replayability value. The replayability value is all in the multiplayer, but because it is a PlayStation game, there is no option for playing with others over the internet and it will be hard to find someone to play with today. This game can be and usually fun while it lasts, but it has the problem of being short. Too short. As said earlier, it takes about three to four hours to beat the story with all characters, and I find it hard to believe you will touch this game again after beating the story.
So there are two Klonoa spin-offs that I can actually say surprised me - ‘Klonoa Heroes,’ and ‘Klonoa Beach Volleyball.’ An RPG is not something that I think has any room for in this list, because it is not the first frenchise to do so, and more than one frenchise experimented with RPG elements. A volleyball game, though, is not something I know many frenchises do, especially before the Wii came out to feature such sports games. Also, straying from being a puzzle platformer to a volleyball spin-off is... well... at the time of release, quite unheard of and unthinkable. This is why I believe this game is one of the most surprising one to come out of a well-known series. ~ GlacialLeaf
So, just imagine for a sec. You're a kid from the late 90's, the dawn of the 21st century has cast itself upon you, promising wonderful new gaming consoles for the future. You've packed away your Nintendo 64, on which you logged several hundred hours of Super Mario 64, in preparation for the big man on the Nintendo block, the GameCube. You're ready and excited to meet with the next 3D Mario sure to succeed Super Mario 64 and blow your socks off with the new generation of gaming hardware... you're watching E3 live, or perhaps you decided to pick up a copy of Nintendo Power to read about it there. You wait in anticipation for the news of the next big Mario game and then... wait, what? Luigi?
For the less informed, the Mario games are usually 2D sidescrolling platformers, and Mario and Luigi are most well known for being good jumpers, jumping onto enemies to disable them and up to floating blocks to plunder their contents. The plot of these games rarely got more complicated than "the Princess was kidnapped, go save her", but they never needed to. Mario set the bar for a quality platformer back in 1985 with the release of Super Mario Bros. on the NES, but that wasn't all he did. Fast forward ten years to 1995 and you'll see the portly plumber jumping into a brand new adventure; in 3D! Mario was the star of one of the first 3D platformers to be released: Super Mario 64, for the Nintendo 64. The game that set standards in the new industry of 3D gaming. It's a game that many other 3D games have based themselves off of, if not completely copied. It was a very good base for Mario's career in 3D, and sold just as well as his 2D adventures.
But to elaborate, Mario 64 was a very open-ended game for its time. Sure, you still run around, hit blocks and jump on stuff, but this game didn't just have a linear goal at the end. No, rather, Mario 64's levels were comprised of whole 3D worlds you could jump into (literally), where you could wander around and explore, and find the seven "goals" in each world (the Power Stars, 120 in all, that you had to collect), most of which you can get in any order you want. It was a very explorative game that rewarded you for being curious, although it's grown much smaller with age, and despite the scale the game holds, the story is still no more complex than saving the princess. By the time the GameCube was revealed, every eye was on it to release the next 3D Mario game, a bigger and better Mario game than ever before.
More to the subject matter, there's Luigi. Mario's brother who, since his creation, has more or less lived in his shadow as the second player, usually using the same sprite as Mario but colored differently. Luigi never had a big break in the Mario series (aside from Mario is Missing, a mediocre third-party learning game for the NES, SNES and PC), until the GameCube that is...
During the wait for the next Mario game to be revealed, one of the first GameCube games ever released was Luigi's Mansion, it was a launch title that came out with the system and surprised everyone by being about not Mario, but Luigi! And it was a pretty radical step in the Mario series' history, at that. Not any sort of platformer, 2D or 3D, Luigi's Mansion was actually a 3D horror game that opted for a Resident Evil sort of style, where Luigi was set into a dark mansion that mysteriously appeared overnight to rid it of the ghosts that plague its halls, using a device called the Poltergust 3000, a vacuum capable of sucking up ghosts a la the Proton Packs of Ghostbusters fame.
The story goes as follows: Luigi is sent a flyer in the mail that claims he's won a free mansion. Lucky him, or so he thinks... as his brother Mario sets out to check it out before him, Luigi arrives a bit late, only to find that the mansion promised to him is in fact, very gloomy looking. In the midst of a dark and threatening forest with Mario nowhere to be found, Luigi approaches and enters the mansion, only to soon find that it's being haunted by violent ghosts. Therein he meets Professor E. Gadd, an aging old ghost researcher who also designed the Poltergust 3000. He explains to Luigi that the mansion just appeared overnight, and that some of the ghosts in the mansion were sealed by him in paintings previously, but were let free by another spirit. He then asks Luigi to seek out the ghosts to turn them back into harmless paintings and cease the horror of the mansion, as well as find his brother, Mario.
Luigi's Mansion, gameplay-wise, is VASTLY different from the Mario norm. No longer are you jumping around, collecting items in a bright and cheery atmosphere, you're now walking through dark hallways of the decrepit mansion with only your flashlight and Poltergust, fighting for your life against the ruthless and sadistic (and also sometimes very comical looking) ghosts of the mansion. The gameplay is now centered around catching these ghosts: you must first shock them with your flashlight to make them reveal their hearts, at which point you can begin sucking them in with your Poltergust. The process is a bit like fishing, as it requires you to tug them repeatedly to lower their HP, and once it hits zero, they get sucked in just like that.
The boss ghosts of the mansion, these are the ghosts who escaped from E. Gadd's portraits. They always have 100 health (which is a lot, although the final boss has even more), and are much harder to stun, requiring you learn what their weakness is to get their guard down. But once you do, they're just as vulnerable as the regular ghosts. Your general goal in the game is generally to get as many keys to new rooms as you can, and fight all of the boss ghosts. Oh, and to get as much money and treasure that's hidden around the mansion as you can in the process.
This drastic change of gameplay coupled with the fact that it centered around Luigi (Mario barely gets any screentime) was shocking for that time, entering a new generation with an original new idea rather than the next Mario or Zelda game was risky, and it's part of the reason why Luigi's Mansion, as well as Super Mario Sunshine (the 3D Mario game on the GameCube, that was released a year later) and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker weren't received well initially. Everyone was waiting for the next big 3D game in those respective series, but no one expected them to be so different from the last ones, and a lot of people were SO shocked by these games that they just dismissed them as bad entries into the series, when they did hold value, which Luigi's Mansion indeed does.
In short, if you're a Mario fan but have never played Luigi's Mansion, pick it up and see for yourself just how it rocked a generation. ~ LugiaLv100
Back during the console wars of the early 90s, both Nintendo and SEGA duked it out. While Nintendo had series such as Super Mario Bros, the Legend of Zelda, and Metroid, SEGA had its Sonic the Hedgehog series. Over time a rivalry formed between the blue hedgehog Sonic, and the Italian plumber Mario, and fans began to take sides. Although this rivalry is pretty much behind us all now, the legacy both Sonic and Mario left behind still stands today, and both games are still quite well known! Even so, over the years both game series have evolved, but Sonic seems to be the one that has changed the most.
In 1991 the original Sonic the Hedgehog hit the SEGA Genesis, and fans were hooked. The game was about a blue hedgehog who was "the fastest thing alive." The game was about Sonic speeding through levels, going through loops, running up walls, and fighting the evil scientist Dr. Robotnik (Dr. Eggman in the Japanese version, which is also what he is known as today) to free his animal friends before they are turned into robots. By collecting power rings to protect himself, hitting springs to fly through the air, and picking up other power ups to help him on his way, Sonic not only found himself speeding towards the end of the levels, but he also found himself diving head first into a long running series of sequels.
It wasn't long before Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 3 came out, and each one brought something new to the series. While Sonic the Hedgehog 2 brought in Sonic's best friend Tails (who is a fix with two tails that allows him to fly), Sonic the Hedgehog 3 brought in Knuckles the Echidna (who can glide and climb up walls), as well as a series of new power ups such as the flame shield. Each one of these Sonic games built upon the original Sonic the Hedgehog, players saw more of Sonic's story develop in front of their eyes, and it wasn't before long that even Sonic spin offs began to appear. On top of games like Sonic Spinball (a pinball based Sonic game), the series also got its own TV shows, and comics as well. Before fans knew it, Sonic had became a major game series, and in 1998 (1999 for the US) Sonic had finally made his first TRUE step into 3D. Now sure, there was Sonic 3D Blast which was a top view isometric styled game, and there was also the spin off racing game Sonic R, but it wasn't until Sonic Adventure that Sonic made his first full step into the 3D world.
Unlike past games in the Sonic series, Sonic Adventure was a fully 3D game, it had open areas and field maps to explore, it had an actual story (with cutscenes, character development, etc), and it also had a wide verity of characters to play as; all with their own unique play styles. While Sonic's levels were what you would expect from a Sonic game, Tails' raced through his, Knuckles hunted for pieces of the Master Emerald in a hide and go seek like fashion, Amy slowly made her way through platform based levels, Big the Cat went fishing, and Eggman's robot Gamma shot his way through his stages. All of these different play styles helped change up the game, but it also turned many fans off as well.
Over the next few years 3D Sonic games would experiment with different features, and all of them would have their own styles of play. While games like Sonic Adventure 2 introduced the new rail grind system, as well as two new characters named Shadow and Rogue, Sonic Heroes focused on teamwork where you played as three characters at once, and switched between them as needed. Really because of all of these different styles of play the Sonic fan base became split, and many fans found themselves being turned away by the games they once loved. Even so, despite all of these changes, NO one ever saw what would be coming next.
In the early 2000s SEGA held a series of events (which I personally took part in) on their official forums, where they asked fans to vote on what game they would like to see next. In the survey SEGA asked a series of questions revolving around the Sonic series, and its different characters. It asked about who you would like to see as a main character in the next game, it asked what you think the game's title should be, it asked what age group you thought the game should be aimed at, and it even asked what kind of features you wanted to see in the game. Well, what won was in fact what fans wanted, but at the same time I'm sure no one expected it to turn out the way that it did. The options that won in the poll were as followed. The character the game should follow was Shadow the Hedgehog (from Sonic Adventure 2), it should be called "Shadow the Hedgehog," and the age group the game should be aimed at was teens. After the results were in, SEGA began taking fan feed back, and before we knew it the first piece of gameplay was leaked. Although no one wanted to believe it was real at first, we all soon found ourselves facing reality. The game featured guns, blood, and aliens.
After a long wait, Shadow the Hedgehog was finally released in the year 2005, and it soon came under fire by both fans and critics alike. While the game was still a 3D "Sonic" game, it featured a LARGE amount of core gameplay changes, and in a way it felt like a completely different game. Levels were no longer based on speed, each level had three possible ways to complete them (by either reaching the "goal ring" at the end, doing the mission objective for the hero side of things, or doing the mission objective for the evil side of things), aliens and humans filled the levels as they engaged in all out war, and Shadow himself had a wide verity of weapons to use.
Just about everything in the game could be used as a weapon, and that right there is also what made up the game's core gameplay. Most of the game is spent slowing down, picking up guns, shooting the heck out of everything around you, picking up street signs to bash alien's and human's heads in, and listening to your "partner" character as he comments on your actions. Although these partner characters do follow you through the stage, and could be controlled with a second controller, they could only use their basic jump attacks, and overall were not very useful.
Unlike in other games, Shadow is also able to get into vehicles (which allows him to run people over), use Chaos Control to warp through the area, or use "Chaos Blast" to kill/destroy everything around him. These special moves and vehicles helped change up the gameplay even more, and they also really felt out of place for a Sonic game. Even so, the final shock is what put the icing on the cake.
Shadow the Hedgehog was the first game to be rated E10 by the ESRB, but it originally was going to be rated T. Minus the fact that there's guns and blood, the game also features an extremely dark story, it had many different endings for you to see based off of your actions (in one Shadow actually kills Eggman), and Shadow is willing to say or do just about ANYTHING. What, he can't find that Chaos Emerald? He lets you know it with his (now famous) phrase "WHERE'S THAT DAMN FOURTH CHAOS EMERALD!?" Although Sonic has cursed in the Japanese releases, this was completely unheard of in the west, and it shocked fans everywhere.
Even if Shadow the Hedgehog wasn't a well received game, there is still one simple fact that remains. It was a dark, "mature," game, and it shocked Sonic fans across the world. Heck the English version even had to be censored due to some of its content! Although the cursing and in game violence might be okay for the west to see, apparently the GUN soldiers shooting Maria dead in the intro isn't. That alone was quite shocking.... ~ NettoSaito
The year was the 1987, and a small video game company known as "Square" was struggling to stay alive. Their sales were low, and no one was really quite sure how they would make it, so they decided to release one final game; a game that would be called "Final Fantasy." Square had put everything they had into making this last game with the hopes that it would somehow magically save the company. Really it didn't look too good, and Square really had no way of knowing if the game would sell, but they knew that it would be at least wroth a shot.
After seeing how well Nintendo's fantasy series "The Legend of Zelda" was doing, Square decided to make Final Fantasy a fantasy based game as well, but they wanted to throw in some twists of their own. Square decided that the game was going to be a fantasy based JRPG, it would focus on open ended gameplay, and it was going to be a game that also had a strong focus on its story (which was quite rare for games at the time). So, with that being said, Square crafted their last hope of a game, and released it to the world.
In 1986 Final Fantasy hit store shelves, and it stunned the world! When players first turned on the game they found themselves picking a party of four from a wide range of class selections, they then got to name their characters, and decide how to use them. With the wide range of classes to choose from, equipment, and weapons, players truly got to build a unique team to suit their needs. This time of freedom was just about unheard of in a game, but what was even more shocking was the game's world itself! Now this wasn't the first console RPG, but the game had a massive world map, there were many towns and dungeons to explore, there were NPCs to talk to, many monsters to fight, and as smaller events occurred, the larger story unfolded in front of the players eyes. Players fell in love with the game over time, and before they knew it, they would soon find themselves becoming fans of a completely brand new game series!
After the success of Final Fantasy, Square set out to work on a sequel titled "Final Fantasy II;" however this was not your standard Sequel. Square had apparently decided that the Final Fantasy series would be sort of like a book, and each entry in the series would be its own stand alone story. The second game featured a cast of all new characters, it had a brand new story, a brand new world, and it also featured quite a few new gameplay mechanics as well. This was the pattern Square would soon find themselves repeating over and over again for the next decade, and because of that fans would soon find themselves playing many different games within the same series.
Although each Final Fantasy game did in fact keep the same basics, each game felt like a game of its own, and because of that each game also had its own fan base. While some people might love Final Fantasy IV, others have fallen in love with the characters and setting of Final Fantasy VI. Sure while the games are still turn based JRPGs (with a sort of timed battle system), each game had its own features which made them unique, and because of that each one was able to stand out on its own. Then things began to change.
In 1998 Square jumped into a brand new generation, and released their first Final Fantasy game on the brand new Sony PlayStation. Making full use of the PlayStation's power, Square decided to release Final Fantasy VII as their first game with 3D models, and prerendered backgrounds. The game featured a Sci-fi setting mixed with modern day aspects (such as cars), the game had a darker tone, and many felt that it was a game that took JRPGs to a whole new level. Unlike past games which were rated E for everyone, Final Fantasy VII got a T rating in the USA, and because of that Square was able to take the game places past Final Fantasy games didn't dare enter.
The game's story revolved around a man named Cloud as he pulled off terrorist attacks on the Shinra company. Shinra was draining power from the planet's life force, and Cloud has decided to stop them at all costs. Although this is how the story starts, things actually take a very unexpected turn. Soon Cloud watches his friends die, he meets up with an old friend from the past, and he soon finds himself setting out on an adventure that would leave him down a dark path. Unknown to him, things on the planet aren't quite what they seem, and soon he finds himself fighting for the lives of everyone he cares about.
Really the story of Final Fantasy VII isn't something that can be easily summed up, and it is a story that has actually gained a large cult following. The game's story was deep, filled with plot twists, all of the characters were very likable, and on top of that, it even expanded outside of the game! Books were released, anime OVAs were released, and even a full CGI film was released to take place after the game ended! Really the game's story became one of the most well known among Final Fantasy fans, but that isn't the only reason fans were so in love with the game. Final Fantasy VII also featured quite a lot of improvements to the gameplay as well, and due to the game being on three game discs, it was also much longer than past games as well. With its massive world, its customization systems, and with its massive game length, FF7 soon became a "must play" for RPG fans everywhere. But how do you follow that sort of game up? Well over the years Square continued to release Final Fantasy games, but the fact still remained that Final Fantasy VII still had a large fan base, and movies weren't going to please them forever; that is when they decided to release a sequel to Final Fantasy VII on the PS2 titled "Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus.
Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus is a follow up to Final Fantasy VII, and it takes place not too long after the end of the movie. The game actually focuses on the two extra characters from Final Fantasy VII (Vincent and Yuffie), with Vincent being the lead character. Now although one might expect Dirge of Cerberus to be an RPG, the truth is, it was anything but, and THAT is why Dirge of Cerberus is at number 3 on this list! So, just what is this game then? Well...
Dirge of Cerberus is a 3rd person shooter/action game, and NOT an RPG! Now sure you do unlock weapons, upgrade them, increase stats, etc, but the game is still in fact a 3rd person shooter. Every level has Vincent running through different areas, shooting the heck out of everything he sees, dodging bullets, melee attacking every enemy that gets close to him, and using other items and pieces of equipment around him to his advantage. Each stage has a series of cutscenes to break up the action (so the game is still in fact story based), but for the most part it is shooting galore! On top of that Vincent can also transform into quite a few monsters with their own melee attacks and abilities, but this feature is completely overshadowed by the shooting aspect of the game, and only has limited uses. The game also features quite a bit of platforming and exploring areas for hidden secrets, but once again these features all come standard with most 3rd person shooters such as this.
On top of the game's story mode, Dirge of Cerberus also featured a wide verity of extra missions as well, and it even included a full story multiplayer mode; however sadly these features didn't remain in all versions of the game. In the original Japanese version of the game, was the only version to include the multiplayer mode, and it is the only version to include its story as well. This story took place before the main game's storyline, and it focused on two "player" characters who are not seen during the rest of the game. Multiplayer in a Final Fantasy game was also unheard of, and it was another major shock to fans who got to play the original release.
Really, Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus is something most fans would have NEVER seen coming! I mean, think about it; what do you think of when you hear someone say "Final Fantasy?" I'm pretty sure there isn't a person in this world who will think "3rd person shooter," which is what this game is. It was unexpected as a game, it was an unexpected sequel (which was unheard of for the Final Fantasy series), and it focused on the two most unexpected characters of Final Fantasy VII; the two characters who were added in as extras and don't even show up in the game's cutscenes. Maybe Dirge of Cerberus isn't as big of a shock today, but back then it was completely unheard of. ~ NettoSaito
The Metal Gear series is currently one of the most well known game series out there, and it was a game that on its own shocked the world! In 1987 Hideo Kojima created and directed a game that was unlike any other, it was a game that was focused on avoiding combat. During this point of time most video games were action based, and when people played them, that is what they expected. Gamers would go to video game arcades, they'd turn on a game, shoot the heck out of things for awhile, and then they would go home; having a game where you avoided combat was completely unheard of, and most people figured that a game like that would fail. Well, guess what? It didn't.
When Metal Gear came out gamers were shocked! The game was about a man code named Solid Snake as he sneaks into a massive fortress called "Outer Heaven" to locate a missing member of his team. Although the game was based around sneaking around and exploring the base, it also had a major focus on story telling, and was one of the first video games to have a truly deep and engaging story. Because of this, the Metal Gear series soon went on to see quite a few sequels (although only one of them is considered canon), and over time it actually evolved into something new.
When the Sony PlayStation came out, Hideo Kojima decided to revive the Metal Gear series, but under a new name. The new game was called "Metal Gear Solid," and it was the first Metal Gear game to really take its gameplay to a whole new level. The game was in 3D (with a fixed camera angle), there was a wide verity of stealth actions to preform (such as pressing up against a wall and making sounds to get enemies to notice you), more weapons were added into the game which allowed you to pull off stealth kills and defend yourself, and the story was greatly enhanced as well. Metal Gear Solid featured many cutscenes, full voice acting, codec (a radio like device) conversations with the members of your team, and it tied everything together almost like a movie. The game soon became known for its outstanding story, and it soon spawned its own series of sequels. Before long the Metal Gear Solid series became one of the biggest game series out there, and it has gained a large fan base of its own.
In 2004 (2005 for the west) Hideo Kojima decided to expand the Metal Gear series in yet another new way; however he did so in a way that broke just about all of the series' standards. Kojima wanted to make a new game for Sony's new PlayStation Portable handheld, and instead of continuing the Metal Gear Solid storyline, he decided to do something completely different. The game Kojima released was a (now lesser known) game called "Metal Gear Ac!d."
Metal Gear Ac!d is a Metal Gear game that takes place in a timeline of its own. It features a completely original "Solid Snake" as the main character, the game's story uses still images with anime styled art, and its tone is completely different from the rest of the Metal Gear series. While other games normally focus on Snake (or other characters) sneaking around a base while at war, MGA opens up with two psycho living dolls kidnapping everyone on a plane! The story alone of this game is completely unlike anything you would see in other Metal Gear games, but what is even more shocking is the fact that you learn at the beginning of the game who Snake REALLY is (let's just say, the events of the game are basically his fault). Still the strangeness of the game's story doesn't even come close to comparing with the game's actual gameplay!
MGA isn't a stealth action game like past Metal Gear games, but instead it is a Turn Based Strategy, Card, Stealth game. Yep you heard me right. The game is a turn based game that takes place on a grid, and each "player" (in this case you and the enemy units) takes their turn moving their characters around the map. At the start of each turn you have a verity of different cards to use, and each of these cards have different uses as well. After building your "deck" and jumping into battle, you must use your cards to move Snake (and later another character) a set number of spaces around the map, and then you can use them to engage an enemy. Each card is based on different weapons or characters from past Metal Gear games, and each one of them basically does what you would expect it to. If you have a card of a standard hand gun, then, well, when you use it Snake will shoot the enemy with a standard hand gun! Card stats also plays a role when it comes to facing off with enemies as well, and it basically comes down to whoever has the best cards wins.
Although the game is a TBS with a card battle based battle system, it also does feature some stealth and Metal Gear styled elements. Sometimes you'll need to be hidden in the shadows during different turns to avoid being spotted, and sometimes you have to get key cards and open doors in order to advance to the next area. While this aspect of the game is quite a bit like the older games, the game you play the game in general makes this aspect of the game very unique on its own, and I'm sure most fans never expected the game to be like this.
Really Metal Gear Ac!d isn't just a shocking game to Metal Gear fans, but it is a shocking game for Turn Based Strategy fans as well. This game takes features from the MG series, mixes them with a TBS, and the outcome is a unique experience unlike anything else, and that is why Metal Gear Ac!d deserves a spot at number 2 on this list. Even though the game did get a sequel awhile later, the original is still quite the shock, and it is something most people never expected to see in a Metal Gear game. ~ NettoSaito
It was the early days of the NES, and the video game company Capcom was finally ready to release their newest game; a little game they decided to call "Mega Man" (Rockman in Japan). Mega Man was a side scrolling platformer about a little blue robot who set out to stop the evil Dr. Wily from taking over the world. Really it was a simple game, but there was also something about it that made it very unique.
You see, Mega Man was a game that allowed you to play the stages in any order you wanted to, and whenever you beat one of the Robot Master bosses, you would get their weapon. These weapons could then be used against other bosses who were weak against them, creating a sort of rock paper scissors type of game; however, it really wasn't that simple. The original game was actually a very challenging game that required dead on platforming, enemy pattern memorization, and it really required players to stay on top of their game. Truthfully Capcom wasn't sure how well the game would do due to these facts, but in the end it actually became a hit.
Not too long after Mega Man was released, Capcom went to work on its sequel "Mega Man 2." Mega Man 2, unlike the original, included eight bosses for you to fight, it refined the gameplay, made it a bit easier, and added in a few new features as well. Once again Mega Man 2 was a hit with the world, and that is what lead Capcom to create a series of sequels following. Mega Man 3, 4, 5, and 6 all came out for the NES, and each and every one of them brought new features to the game. From the ability to slide under gaps and enemies, to the ability to charge up Mega Man's buster gun to unleash a powerful charge shot, the game's gameplay continued to evolve. That's when Capcom finally decided to take the next major step forward.
In the early 1990s the new SNES was released with its 16 bit graphics, and Capcom decided to make full use of it to show just what the system could do. While Capcom did in fact make a Mega Man 7 for the SNES, they also decided to release an entirely new Mega Man game as well; one that they would go on to call "Mega Man X." Mega Man X was still a side scrolling action platformer like the original series, but it also had many changes as well. The game's story took place over 100 years after the classic series, and it focuses on a brand new character named Mega Man X. X was a part of a group called the "Maverick Hunters," and the game follows his story as he hunts down "Mavericks" (robots who have gone crazy and broken the rules of robotics). The game featured a much darker storyline, and took place in a world where "reploids" (robots that were based on X's design) can think for themselves and have feelings (just like humans). Just like with the original Mega Man games, the X series went on to spawn many sequels, and it was the first Mega Man series to really form a deep storyline.
After the success of Mega Man X, Capcom later went on to create a direct sequel to Mega Man X (called Mega Man Zero which focused on Mega Man's friend Zero), as well as a 3D adventure series called Mega Man Legends. While the Zero games continued the dark history and gameplay of Mega Man X, Legends was a fully 3D game, it featured a completely brand new character named Rock (who was renamed to "Megaman" in the West), and it played out a lot like an adventure game. You explored ruins, found treasure, found new gear to use, and made your way through a storyline. Later on a game series called Mega Man ZX would continue the story past the events of Mega Man Zero (while mixing in elements from Megaman Legends), but before that one other series was actually released; one that NO ONE could have seen coming.
In 2001 a game called "Mega Man Battle Network" was released for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance, and it was quite the shock. This game was nothing like we had ever seen before, and it was a game that was COMPLETELY out of character for a Mega Man game. Battle Network was a game that took place on its own timeline, and it took place in a modern day world; one that we currently live in today. In the world of Battle Network, people have become depended on the internet, and everyone carries around "personal terminal" computers (known as PETs for short), and they serve as everyone's gateway to the net. From surfing the web, to checking email, to also being able to act as a phone, these PETs help everyone with their daily life, but they also include one other feature. Inside each PET lives an AI known as a "Net Navi" who helps their owner out in any way they can.
These Net Navis are virtual living beings who can directly enter the cyber world (a virtual world version of the internet), fight and delete viruses, and interact with the world in many different ways. They can control computer systems, help build networks, or help out with just about anything else that might be job related. To sum it up, these Net Navis are human's best friends, and both humans and Net Navis are able to work hand in hand to achieve their goals.
The story of Mega Man Battle Network follows ten year old Lan Hikari, and his Net Navi Megaman as they go about their daily loves. Lan attends school, "net battles" with his friends (which is where their navis enter a virtual world to fight), and goes on living a normal childhood in the age of technology; however things don't stay this way for long. When a group calling themselves the "WWW" show up to pull off cyber attacks, Lan soon finds himself caught up in the middle of the attacks, as he does whatever he can to protect both his friends and family. By sending Megaman into the networks, Lan directly confronts the WWW, and their navis, and stops each and every single member. While this sort of story itself is unexpected, the real shock actually comes from the game's gameplay!
Mega Man Battle Network is an Action RPG mixed with a strategy game. In the game you control Lan from an isometric perspective as he travels from area to area, and interacts with NPCs (as you might expect from an RPG), but this is really only the half of it. In this world EVERYTHING electronic has a built in virtual world where navis, programs,and even viruses can gain access, and because of that Lan can actually send Megaman into them! By "jacking in" into an object, the game will switch over to playing as Megaman in these virtual worlds. While electronic objects are normally just stand alone objects with small areas to explore, personal computers and servers will actually allow you to gain access to the internet. The internet is the massive overworld in the Battle Network series, and it is where you spend a lot of time in game. On the net you can find more NPCs to talk to, find items, as well as get into fights with viruses (and other enemies); however that too isn't quite the same as your normal RPG.
While the battles in Battle Network are in fact random (as in you'll be randomly pulled into them), the battle system is completely unique. Battles take place on a 6x3 grid where each "side" of the field has a 3x3 grid they can move across. While Megaman always faces right, the viruses/enemies on the other side will always face left, and both sides are able to jump between each panel on the grid to both dodge attacks and attack themselves. Although the battle system is in fact in real time, there are still in fact "turns" in Battle Network, and at the start of each turn you can pick which attacks you want to be able to use. Mega Man Battle Network uses a "battle chip" system where you collect card like computer chips to use as attacks. Each battle chip is a different attack, and you are able to build a "chip folder" with a limit of 30 of them to take into battle. Each and every chip is only one time use per battle, but you can never really run out of moves to use. Megaman does in fact have a normal buster attack (which is weaker) to use, and when you're not using your battle chips, it does in fact become your main form of attacking.
To go along with the battle chip system, there is also a system called "Program Advance" which allows you to pull off special moves. By selecting battle chips to use in a special order, you can create a chain reaction of sorts, which will transform your battle chips into a massive special attack. For example of you use the battle chips sword, wide sword, and long sword together in that order, it will create a massive sword, that hits most of the battle field, called life sword. Systems such as these really make you think about how you want to build your chip folder, and it also makes you really think your moves through during battle. Sure the combat is action and skill based, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't play smart. Mega Man Battle Network is a game that tests both your reflexes and your mind, and that's where it really shines.
Although up to this point Mega Man had already had a few other series, Mega Man Battle Network really is something you could have NEVER seen coming. It wasn't a side scrolling game, it featured a unique battle system, it took place in a completely different timeline/world, and above all, it took place in a world we are slowly seeing come true today! Back in 2001 we really didn't have all of these smart phones, you couldn't connect to the internet everywhere you went, and we didn't have these AIs that controlled our mobile devices with voice commands (heck we hardly even HAD mobile devices)! The world in Battle Network truly was a "near future" world, and it is a world we basically live in today. Everything about Battle Network was shocking, and that is why we felt it deserved a spot at number 1 on this list. If someone ever tries to tell you they saw this game coming, then they lied. ~ NettoSaito
Well that's it for our top 10 list guys! I'd just like to thank everyone for their support, and I would also like to thank everyone at Netto's Game Room who helped make this list happen. This was a project that took us a few weeks to actually complete, and I would personally like to thank GlacialLeaf and LugiaLv100 for all of their hard work! Really this was not an easy list for any of us to write, and we ended up having to remove many, MANY, great games from it. If you realize it or not, there are a lot of shocking games out there, but with all things considered, not all of them truly deserved a spot on this list. While games like Kirby Canvas Curse may be shocking to some, if you look back on games like Yoshi Touch and Go, then you'll see it really isn't as unexpected as you might first come to believe. After sorting through our massive game list, this is something we quickly realized, and all it did was made it even harder to pick out our final top 10.
So anyway, I hope you guys all enjoyed this list, and I hope we'll see you all again for our next! On behalf of everyone at the Game Room, this is NettoSaito signing off!
List by NettoSaito (03/22/2013)
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