I was going through my gaming library last night, and decided to try and find something to play that I hadn’t in awhile. I was in an old school mood, so I was flipping through my NES catalogue. I came across a game that I would say I haven’t even touched in nearly a decade, Puss n’ Boots.
After playing, I sadly realized that it wasn’t a game that hasn’t aged well. But it led me to think of all the great games that have been released over the years that have been relatively unknown, or forgotten. So, if you have the time and patience, here are some games you might not have played but definitely should.
5. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Fighting Edition
During the 90′s, the video game market was saturated with fighters, much like the FPS genre is today. You literally couldn’t turn around without seeing some toy, video game, or movie brand without seeing a fighting game accompanying it.
Most of these fighter games were white noise, compared with the awesomeness that was Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat. If you ever decide to sift through all the fighters that were released during the SNES, and Genesis days there is one you definitely need to try, Might Morphin’ Power Rangers: Fighting Edition.
It might be hard to fathom, considering the Power Rangers are probably the most milked franchise in the history of entertainment. Besides Star Wars. Somehow, some way the Power Rangers were given a worthy fighter treatment. It’s not a surprise, considering the game was developed by Natsume, who I consider one of the most underrated developers ever.
The game featured only the ‘zords’ as there were four different MegaZords to choose from (Thunder Megazord, Mega Tigerzord, Ninja Megazord, Shogun Megazord), and five playable villains, one of which is Ivan Ooze from the Power Rangers movie.
What makes the game so fun to play, is the fun but fast paced style of combat. The matches don’t take long to complete, but it keeps the gameplay fun and kinetic. Also, each character is vastly unique from the others. So, the roster might be short at 9 characters, but each is vastly different in terms of speed, and list of moves.
One of the overlooked aspects of the game, is that for its time it was quite beautiful. The zords, and villains were well stylized, and the game used a wonderful color palette. The effects of the different moves were done well, with enough flashes to cause an epileptic seizure.
If you happen to have a SNES, and find this game at a pawn shop or on eBay, then pick it up. If you like to play some old school games with some friends then you can’t go wrong with it. Also, if you’re in college and want to play something that makes for a great drinking game, you’ll find none better than Might Morphin’ Power Rangers: Fighting Edition……trust me.
4. Yo! Noid
If the trend in gaming for the 90′s was the fighting genre, then advertising in the 90′s usually was attaching your brand to some annoying company figure. Things like Chester the Cheetah, the Trix rabbit, the Snapple secretary lady, and in the early 90′s and late 80′s there was the ‘Noid’.
Dominos, and Pizza Hut were in a grueling battle for the high stakes pizza delivery wars. Pizza Hut had advertising through the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So, Dominos then fired back with some weird, mutant-rabbit looking creature called a Noid. It was the Noid’s job to thwart the success of Dominos, so it was up to the consumer to order their pizza to defeat the Noid (Papa Johns FTW).
While the silly advertising could easily have led to a disastrous game release, Dominos actually made a smart decision when releasing a NES title. They hired Capcom. The relatively small developer company then made an equally impressive decision, by localizing a Japanese game for the US. The game was called Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru, which I could easily recommend just as much as Yo! Noid, if you have a Famicom system.
What makes Yo! Noid such a fun game is in its challenging difficulty. You’ll be hard pressed to find a side-scrolling platformer that’s harder than Yo! Noid. Your main weapon was a yo-yo which must have had acid or razor blades attached to it because it thwarted most enemies. The platforming elements in Yo! Noid were unique in the sense that the levels varied in design, and gameplay. Some stages you were on foot, while you were skateboarding in others, or using your pizza crusher pogo stick.
Another unique feature for the game, is that each level had a timer. This added a sense of urgency, and forced the gamer to quickly make their way through a level. Just like with the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers game, Yo! Noid was another game that was quite beautiful for its time. The levels were detailed very well, and the action continued from beginning to end.
If you happen to find a new copy of Yo! Noid somehow, there’s also a $1 coupon off a Dominos pizza. So, on top of having a good game, you’ve got that going for you.
3. Tiny Toons Adventures: Buster Busts Loose
So far, this list has been following a couple of trends. First, all of the games are based on properties from TV, or pizza companies (not doing it on purpose). The second is that all of the games have been made by developers who are renowned as the best in the business. The games on this list are a large part of that, even if you won’t see them in any video game history book.
Before Konami decided to go off on a tangent and start the Metal Gear Solid series (big mistake??), they were the developers behind the Tiny Toons video games. The Tiny Toons were a cartoon that ran from the early-mid 90′s and was created from the genius brain of Steven Spielberg. The show was a hit, which then of course led to the creation of a long line of video games that started on the NES. The best game in the series though, would see its release on the SNES, with Buster Busts Loose.
Buster Busts Loose, is a game that adopted elements from the Mario series, and the SEGA rival Sonic. The game had the jumping, and level designs of the Mario games, along with the speed and reaction timing of Sonic. This created a game that really had a fresh feel to it, and had a pretty steep difficult to boot.
The game was wonderfully animated, as Buster’s speed was easily felt as you went flying through a stage. The characters, and levels were wonderfully put together. This is one of the early games based on another media that truly captured the artistic style of which it was replicating. In between stages, there are five mini-games which add to the fun instead of hinder it.
If you’re a fan of challenging platformers, and think you’ve played them all then try out Tiny Toons Adventures: Buster Busts Loose. You won’t reget it.
2. King of the Monsters 2
One of the drawbacks, or great things (depending on who you talk to) about the 2D fighters from way back is that you were forced to fight on a single axis. You could move left-right, and jump in the air but that was about it in terms of freedom of movement. SNK Corporation changed all that when they released their short lived, but much appreciated King of the Monsters games.
The two King of the Monsters games are quite similar, but I recommend the sequel due to the larger character roster and small gameplay changes. The roster of characters range from Super Geon (Godzilla), a King Kong rip-off, an Astro Boy rip-off, and some really bizarre looking villains.
What makes King of the Monsters so great is the unique play style it implements. In fact there really isn’t a game that I can think of that could really compare to King of the Monsters. In the single player, or co-op mode it’s much like a side scrolling beat em’ up. You take your monster through a stage, battling enemies along the way, then taking on another monster to see who is king.
One of the cool aspects of King of the Monsters is that as you go through a stage the destruction you cause is laid out quite nicely. The cities you tromp through will become damaged, there’s explosions and quite a bit of action taking place at once. The real meat of the game is found in the boss fights. The game employs a wrestling type feel to it, much like the THQ wrestling games on the Nintendo 64. The co-op mode was a blast, which would periodically have the players fighting against each other which added a competitive edge, along with the cooperation.
1. Blast Corps
It’s my belief, that the Nintendo 64 for the most part was made great by Rare. Yes, Nintendo did make some fabulous games for the console, but it was Rare that really utilized the full potential of the system. One of their less known games, but as equally impressive in my eyes was Blast Corps.
If you’ve played Blast Corps, then you know that there really is no other game that is similar to it. There are so many different aspects to the game; action, puzzles, racing, sandbox gameplay. The game is such a blast because all of these elements are pulled off extremely well.
The backbone of the game is based around the story which is quite simple. You’re in charge of destruction crew, who’s in charge of clearing a path for a leaking set of nuclear missiles. The kicker is that the nuclear transportation vehicle can’t run into anything, as it will detonate. It sounds weird, but the real fun comes from having to destroy the stage in order to clear the path. There’s a slew of different robotic vehicles, and regular vehicles in order to destroy all of the obstacles. The puzzle aspect of the game comes in, by having you discover what suits you need to use and in what order.
On some levels, you’ll use your Ramdozer, or maybe you’ll need to use the Skyfall to jump a ramp and have to land on your obstacle. Each stage is different, and really keeps you engaged in terms of always having to stay on your toes. Another aspect of the game, which is just bonus levels are the racing portions. They might be considered “bonus”, but they are really fun and you’ll find yourself playing them as much as the main levels.
Blast Corps is one of the best games you’ll find on the Nintendo 64. I think due to its wacky design, and weird gameplay style it never really took off commercially. There’s never been a sequel or re-imagining so it has fallen out of the memories of some gamers. But if you’re looking for a fresh, fun, and action packed title you can’t go wrong with Blast Corps.
Let me hear back from the games that you’ve played, that really aren’t talked about often. Is there a secret jewel I should play, that you think I haven’t tried yet? As always, feel free to comment.