I'm putting this in the lowest spot on the list because I seem to be the only person on the face of the earth that actually really likes this game. It wasn't perfect. It wasn't mind-blowing. It wasn't state-of-the-art. But it was Mega Man's first 3D adventure, and cleverly mixed RPG elements with simple, old school-style shooting action. The memorable cast of characters and lighthearted feel enhanced the journey, and dungeons riddled with traps, puzzles and enemies covered the underground world. Is Mega Man Legends a classic? Not necessarily, but I consider it a great game.
Another disappointingly understated release was Capcom's Killer7, which never quite took off as well as it should have. It's hard to deny that the game had style. The cel-shaded graphics, psychotic story and bizarre cutscenes all gave Killer7 a certain distinction that most games don't have. But to many, the surreal environment and crazy-ass characters were too much. And the gameplay? Certainly archaic, but that's how it was supposed to be. It's a rail shooter, but a unique, intriguing and fun one at that.
Though the GameCube games (and, later, the PS2 and Xbox compilations) were received fairly well by critics, a lot of them couldn't quite get into the series' first handheld rendition. The technology was amazing -- rather than optiing for a Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble-style top-down perpsective, Amusement Vision used a real-time polygonal engine on the GBA. The real trouble was the digital control, which hampered the gameplay but didn't stop this from being an amazing (at the time) handheld experience.
Yeah, so Nintendo's only DS launch game was a port of Super Mario 64 that DIDN'T support analog control? Yeah, the little touch screen handheld got off to a slow start. Nevertheless, Feel the Magic did enough to stand out, as it was one of the few out-of-the-gate DS games to take almost full advantage of the hardware. It was, like Killer7, a game that was almost too weird for its own good, but that's part of what makes it glow. This was my favorite DS launch title.
After Rayman's mediocre 2D opening entry on PlayStation, the limbless hero struck back with Rayman 2: The Great Escape, one of the greatest 3D platformers ever made. A generation later, we were treated to Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, a respectable follow-up that introduced the concept of costumes that gave Rayman unique powers. A rather surreal visual style and great sense of humor complemented the very traditional platformer design, and anyone who enjoyed Rayman 2 should give the third entry a shot.
R-Type is a dead franchise. If you want proof, just look at the title of the latest rendition on PS2: R-Type Final. Nevertheless, this side-scrolling shooter had a great run while it lasted. This compilation gave us the first two R-Types, and a remixed, color-friendly edition that fans will enjoy. It's a pretty difficult series, with a one-hit-then-you're-dead system and enemies that come from all sides. The space shooter genre may be on the verge of extinction, but with great games like this, we'll always remember it.
This is honestly one of my favorite Xbox games, not because of the gameplay, but because of its terrific sense of humor. The Monty Python-esque cinematics detailed the adventures of a masked bandit, a robotic gladiator, a Scottish mole and a short blind man in their attempts to steal the Book of Rule from the king's grasp. The shooting action is very basic and very fun, and in between levels we're given one hilarious cutscene after another. It may not be a classic but this is one overlooked Xbox game that anyone and everyone should check out.
The lowest-scoring game on this list by a mile, which is partly why it's placed so high. It's true that this portable game is plagued with long load times, and that the missions themselves were not fit for the short bursts of gameplay that are sometimes required for a portable game. But it's so massive and expansive that I believe any PSP owner should have a copy of this as well. Even without an online mode, devoted players can get a lot of play time out of this one.
This is one of the games on the list whose review average really angers me and further increases my hate towards 1UP.com, which may in fact be the most unreliable and full-of-itself videogame website on the planet. Though it's one of the lesser-known Metroid titles, resting between the wow-inducing original Metroid and the spectacular Super Metroid, Metroid II is still a noteworthy addition to the franchise that recreates the original's open, almost limitless feeling. It's certainly not the series' best, but you can't call yourself a Metroid fan until you've played this entry.
And now we come to the most maddeningly underrated game on this top ten list. Star Ocean: The Second Story may very well be my favorite PlayStation RPG, and easily ranks among my favorite RPGs of all time. The style of the game, from its gorgeous pre-rendered backgrounds to the intriguing worlds-collide story of two characters, is undeniably rich with lovingly crafted detail. The skills system is the game's true innovation, as it allows for open-ended character building that results in item creation and a variety of special abilities. Even the real-time combat system was astounding for its time. Star Ocean: The Second Story is a fantastic game, and don't let anyone tell you any differently.
And so, if you've ever hesitated to try one of these games no thanks to the low review scores they received, you may want to push those doubts aside. All of these games are worthwhile, and in some cases, especially Star Ocean, they're absolute classics. So don't follow the reviews and see for yourself. If you trust me -- and you certainly shouldn't -- then you can take my word for it, these are good games.
List by MSuskie (06/20/2006)
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