So recently, there was a downright awesome bundle on Dot Emu. Assuming the deal is still running; you should give it a look ? forty of the best games that ever debuted on the Sega Genesis for $10.00. It sounds like the sort of dream deal you?d find on Steam, during the Steam Summer Camp Sale. I bought it almost immediately after I discovered it, noticing several games in amongst the library which pretty much shaped my childhood. After downloading and playing for a while, my train of thought went on a nostalgia trip.
It?s not quite come down from it.
I?ve been thinking about some of the best games from an age past. The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, Megaman, Sonic the Hedgehog, Doom, Quake, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Zork, the Obsidian/Bioware D&D games, Neverwinter Nights?none of those are on this list. We?re going into this with the assumption that these are games you?ve already loved, games you?ve already played and played again.
If you haven?t, go play them. Now.
Instead, we?re going to try something a little different: we?re going to look at a few less famous, lesser known titles from ages past. I present to you, then, a list of games which, although they may not have shaped the face of gaming; were still brilliant titles in and of themselves. Now, given how many games have cropped up over the last several decades, this is by no means a comprehensive list. If you know of a game or two that you feel deserves to be on it, let me know ? I can?t include everything here, after all.
The Landstalker-esque Light Crusader was one of the titles in the Genesis pack, and booting it up reminded me exactly why I loved the game as a kid. It?s a fairly standard platformer/dungeon crawler, and the story?s nothing special. Still, there?s something charming and entertaining about the game, and the music?s fairly enjoyable, to boot.
Not, it?s not the Amnesia you?re thinking of ? that one doesn?t really qualify as old school. This one?s actually an old text-based game, written by award-winning science fiction author Thomas M. Disch. You play (unsurprisingly) an amnesiac that wakes up with nothing but the clothes on his back, an engagement to a strange woman, a murder conviction hanging over his head and a stalker who wants him to die. Sounds intriguing, right?
At the risk of sounding like a hipster douchebag, Body Harvest was an open-world game before open world games were cool. Players found themselves in the shoes of Adam Drake, a genetically engineered soldier tasked with eliminating a group of aliens which returns every twenty five years to harvest the organic material of the human population. Using his time travel device, Drake must go between five different eras and locations spanning a hundred years.
This game set the stage for titles like Grand Theft Auto, by the way, so you?d do well to check it out if you?ve got a thing for non-linear titles.
If you were to take The Legend of Zelda and mash it together with Crystalis, you?d end up with Faria- a highly underrated action RPG developed for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. The game features most of the common RPG tropes: an overworld with randomly generated battles as well as levels, items, and upgrades. Where it diverges a little is in the fact that these battles feature a top-down perspective; this, along with the game?s various dungeons, is where the Legend of Zelda style gameplay comes in.
It was also one of the first titles to feature saved game slots, instead of passwords. If you can get past the downright grotesque looking characters, it?s actually a great game.
A lot of people have recommended Pocky & Rocky, though I?ve only had a passing experience with it, myself. It?s a top-down shooter deal, where you take the role of a shrine maiden named Pocky or a Tanuki (basically, an anthropomorphic raccoon) named Rocky. Each of the two characters has their own unique play-style and repertoire of attacks which they can utilize to fight through a number of different ?stages? in feudal Japan, each with its own end boss. It?s fun, fast-paced, and colorful.
I recall playing Secret of Mana 2 when I was younger, and finding myself rather impressed by the way the game was structured, storyline wise ? it?s similar to Chrono Trigger; in both story structure and combat. There are several ?main? characters, and before you start the game, you choose one of them as your protagonist, which changes how the story pans out. There are also several different final bosses, depending on the choices you make. Did I mention both the graphics and music are downright masterful, as well?