Games come and go and every so often some get missed or are played but are not spoke about enough. Here I have put together 5 games I think don’t get the recognition they deserve, I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you agree or not.
Released in 1995 for Mega Drive/Genesis, Ristar was a platform game created by Sonic Team. Ristar was a humanoid star that used both his feet and arms to travel around his environments. Ristar was developed from an idea that was originally put forward during design talks for the character who would later become known as Sonic the Hedgehog.
Gameplay was simple enough, you would journey from left to right disposing of enemies that stood in your way. His arms would stretch to grab hold of his enemies and his arms could also be used to traverse the world around him.
There were also things called star handles that were dotted around each level. You would grab onto one of these handles and it would spin you faster. Depending on the type of handle you were on you would either become invincible (depending on how fast you were spinning) if you also gathered enough momentum flight would also be possible. Each level ended with a star handle giving you the chance to gain extra points and each level would also have a special zone star handle.
Despite gaining acclaim from critics and fans, Ristar was released to late into the Mega Drives life cycle and thus seemed to disappear from the public eye which is a real shame as this is possibly one of the finest platformers of that generation.
#4 Kula World
Released in 1998 for the Playstation the player takes control of a beach ball whose job is to overcome the maze they find themselves in by collecting keys. Sounds simple enough and it is at first but this game has an evil side underneath it’s brightly coloured exterior. The player would amass points by collecting coins, gems, keys, fruit and other pick-ups. Points were vital in this game as it was not just your score but it also determined how many lives you had.
There were 150 original levels to complete with 50 more bonus levels opening up if you completed those. These stages changed theme over time. One set of levels could be set in the desert when fire is your balls enemy the next set could see you set in a snowy environment where ice blocks become your enemy. But the biggest enemy in the game was the timer. To start with the timer would run slowly but as you hit the later levels time would run down quickly meaning you had to pick up the egg timer to revolve to timer back over giving you more time to complete the level.
This game proved to be incredibly popular which did mean getting hold of a copy was extremely difficult (I should know it took over 6 months for my local video shop to get a hold of a copy). Its such a rare game that you can often find it on sites such as ebay for upwards of £60.
So you think you know side scrolling shooters, well think again. Originally released on the Dreamcast back in 2001 Ikaruga didn’t really hit the mainstream until 2003 when it was re-released on the Nintendo Gamecube.
The game consisted of 5 levels but getting to level 5 in most people cases was a pipe dream. This game threw enemies in massive numbers as well as throwing light and dark polarity orbs your way. The thing that gave this game that extra challenge was that you had to keep flipping your ship in order to absorb the orbs that were coming your way. By doing this you would not die if your ship was dark and you were getting hit by dark orbs and the same for light. You did die however if you were dark but got hit by a light orb.
Absorbing enough orbs would allow you to unleash a special move on your enemies giving you the upper hand but only for a few seconds before the next wave of enemies and orbs came your way. Each level ended with a boss and in typical shooter fashion the bosses were mental.
Timing was key in this game that and being aware of everything else that was going on around you. This game is one of the best shooters I have ever had the privilege to play and I urge everyone to go and play this game and let me know if you manage to even get to level 5.
#2 Dark Chronicle
Dark Chronicle was the sequel to the Playstation 2 game Dark Cloud which was released in 2001. Dark Chronicle was not your typical RPG game as like its predecessor as well as focusing on dungeons it also had a heavy play on rebuilding towns. In Dark Chronicle the rebuilding aspect of the game had been completely over hauled and given more depth by actually giving you more tools to do more things to customise each building or accessory.
Gone were the more typical graphics of the time replaced by cell-shaded characters and environments. The game also changed the way it looked. Gone were the more typical graphics of the time replaced by cell-shaded characters and environments. Combat was not like most typical RPG’s either instead it went with real time fighting instead of a turn based system which was used in other RPG’s.
Weapons could be customisable in a many number of different ways and they could also be built up offering higher attack numbers and better performance in battles. Along with combat and the rebuilding of towns the game also offered up a few mini games such as fishing where once a fish was caught you could either weigh it and win competitions or keep it in a fish tank to grow so it could be raced and another game was called spheda. Spheda was more like a mini golf game where you had to hit a ball round a dungeon. It added a new challenge to the game and also added to its longevity.
Enslaved was a third person action adventure game that was a bold reimagining of an ancient Chinese story. Unlike the Chinese story though, this story is set 150 years in the future. The player takes on the role of Monkey who wields a staff that can be used to take down the various types of enemies in the world.
Later in the game you are teamed up someone called trip. Trip is to be escorted and protected by you. In case that wasn’t enough incentive to look after her Monkey is fitted with a device that is linked to Trip. If she dies you die and vice versa. Trip was not just there to be looked after as she could be utilized to overcome some of your surroundings as well as help you out when it came to combat.
In an era of games that were coming out in different shades of grey and brown it was refreshing to see that a game released with so much colour and vibrancy about it. Sometimes i would stop just to take in the scenery.
Sadly though it’s not all good news for Enslaved. Despite gaining critical acclaim it failed to sell well falling massively short of its intended sales figures. It’s a shame not more people have played the wonderful game and it will go down as one of the hidden gems of this console generation.