I'm a 30ish Brazilian who grew up playing video-game and exposed to Japanese animation, live action series and such since very small. It seems we have the biggest japanese community outside of Japan here, so... it always felt a little familiar to watch such things here.
Many of my posts will be about things I like, being games, nostalgic memories from games I loved played or hated so much I can't forget, or new ones I play nowadays and happen to leave a mark in me.
I hope whatever I write will be entertaining and I can find other people that may have experienced similar things as I did.
Hello everyone. This is my first post.
My information is right there on the right so, let's cut to the chase.
I've been thinking for a while about what to write first, and as much as I have a few ideas for posts I really wanna write next, the first would be about:
TOP 7 Obscure games that ROCK nevertheless.
Have you ever played a game with no expectations whatsoever and then realized you couldn't stop playing it? A game you just found in a discount shelf or a special sale and thought… what the hell, why not? let's buy it…
You brought the game home, but first, you had to make a sandwich, went to the bathroom, got back to the living room, turned the tv on, checked the internet and, oh… the game, of course, let's see how it is.
You turn the console on and…
- What? It's actually ok.
(1 hour later)
- This game is actually quite good
(2 hours later)
- What happens next? I can't believe I found such a gem! I can't believe it's so good and I've never heard of it! I can't believe I even wasted time going to the bathroom first!
You got the idea.
Nowadays, with internet, youtube, video-game specialized websites, you pretty much know what to expect from a game before even playing it yourself. Well, most of the time it's true, but how about before all of this? How did you purchase a game before being able to try a demo, or read a review?
We have always had video-game magazines, truth be told, however, what about those games? That special kind that were overlooked and never made it big enough to get some attention at least in the western portion of the globe?
I tell you people. I used to buy games back in the Playstation One era, by the cover. As absurd as it sounds. Both cover and the opening used to be game sellers back in the late 90's. A good friend of mine, also blogger here, ManWithNoName made a post a while ago about game openings. I agree with him. Back then, openings were common and usually awesome, and you bought games after watching the amazing openings or being intrigued by the cover.
here's a list of games I knew nothing about before getting them and immediately loved playing them.
7 - Future Cop LAPD - Playstation One
This game is that kind you take to your friends place with you, a 2L bottle of coke and snacks, and you know you're gonna have fun for hours.
This game was supposed to be in the same "series" of Jungle Strike, Nucler Strike, Soviet Strike, and was going to be called Future Strike, however it went in a different direction and as far as I'm concerned this was the right thing to do. The game does remind you of the Jungle Strike mechanics, but you have this vehicle that transforms into a hovering car, a bipedal robot fully armed with missiles and machine-guns looking much like ED-209.
You've got 30 seconds to press start. 29, 28, 27...
If that didn't sell the game out to you, here's a video
Hint: This game was available a while ago in the PSOne classics section of the European PSN Store. I'm not sure if it's still there.
6 - Remote Control Dandy - Playstation One
If you happen to be born before 1990, chances are when you imagine giant robots fighting, you then imagine those huge mechanical skyscraper high things, moving slowly and punching holes in buildings, the ground shaking with each of their steps.
If you were born after that, you may imagine giant robots jumping and flipping while fighting dozens of other fast ninja like robots with some emo like kid in the cockpit and J-Rock bizarre solo going on at the same time.
Well, this game is for the older ones then. The first time I played it, I got the initial shock.
1 - The robot is huge.
2 - You're a small kid on the ground controlling it.
3 - The robot moves relatively slow, as a giant robot would.
4 - It doesn't break for noone! Really. You walk over whatever it is in your way.
You are in control of a massive machine, that has all a giant robot should have. It punches, defends, flies a little bit and most importantly… it makes everything shake as it walks and fights in the middle of the city (where else would we fight anyway?).
Hint: There is a PS2 version of this game, with improved graphics.
5 - Robot Alchemic Drive - Playstation 2
Another giant robot themed game. This one seems to be more polished and it has a similar scheme of controls of Remote Control Dandy, except this time you have more robots to choose and… wait for it… a few of them, transform!
Enough said, check this video:
4 - Rayblade - Playstation One
I mentioned I used to buy games for the opening and the cover. Yes, this game was one of them. The opening screams awesomeness all around. Good CGI for that time, nice design for robots and that was it, I was sold.
I got the game and played. I was surprised to see it was similar to Final Fantasy Tactics Mechanics. You had several characters and their respective robots, each with certain abilities and weapons, not to say special attacks as well.
One interesting thing about this game is, it was one of the first to introduce the dating simulation aspect to a game that doesn't go around picking girls for the sake of it.
In Rayblade, you have a few female characters in your crew, from whom you can choose one to get close to, by going with her on dates, spending time together etc. When you get the girl close enough to you emotionally, she unlocks some kind of bonus feature on your robot if she's the co-pilot, if I remember correctly. It's been 10 years I've played it the last time.
This was a surprisingly good game and here it goes, the opening that sold me the game:
Hint: There is a short anime based on what happens after the game, but I've never seen it anywhere till I started to write this post
Anime: (Rayblade - Distance of Desire)
3 - Space Battleship Yamato - Playstation One
Now THIS is an obscure game. The anime is extremely famous. In the US it's called Starblazers, here it was called something else, but it's gonna be always Yamato for me anyway.
It was one of the first things I've watched as kid, back in the early 80's. The plot was simple. Earth is doomed with radiation, so they decide to rebuild a WWII battleship as a spaceship and send it off to space after they receive a call from another planet, claiming there is a device to clean Earth of radiation and grant human kind a second chance.
Off we go with Yamato through the space and we learn to get to know and get related to each member of its crew. Very much like an asian version of Star Trek, each officer on board has its personality and personal issues.
In resume, it means a lot to me, so when I saw the game I had to give it a try.
Ok, maybe this will make your mind about the awesomeness:
The game is a strategy game, much like a Battleship game. Apart from the strategy side, you happen to control different sectors of the ship, as a true Star Trek simulator should be, and make the best use of the crew and the individual members skills.
Like this, but with particle cannons and lasers all around
The game looked like this:
2 - Rurouni Kenshin - Playstation 2
I remember seeing only the promo video for this game back in 2006, online on youtube I guess. It was the equivalent of those openings for me.
I was immediately crazy to play it.
There goes the opening:
For those who don't know anything about the manga or anime. Ok, I confess I don't have much patience for anime nowadays anymore, and Rurouni Kenshin was one of the last ones I really enjoyed watching till the end. In the US it was called Samurai X.
A brief summary about the series. It's about this swordsman who's trained to be nearly invincible, but naive, decides to be a tide turner in a time Japan is changing from Shogunate to be unified under the Emperor's rule. After killing a lot of people, he decides to stop and atone for its sins wandering around helping people. As nothing is perfect, he more often than not, comes across people from his past and enemies he needs to defeat in order to maintain peace or simply protect those close to him. It's a lot focused on character development and this summer doesn't do justice to the quality of the series or even to this game.
So to the game.
It's good. It's a solid game, resembling a bit games like Onimusha in gameplay or Tenchu. The difference resides on the moments you can actually fight as it happens in the series and see special cutscenes referencing the dialogs and the scenes in the series.
Not sold? Ok, understandable. Check this next video. It's a fight a lot like in the series. The enemy is a boy that shows no emotions due to a shock in his past. He believes the strong lives, the weak dies and the victorious is the right one no matter what. Claiming Kenshin wasn't there for him when he needed, but the bad guy who trained him was. He then confronts someone as strong or stronger than he is and who by the end doesn't feel sure he's the right one after winning the fight. The soundtrack is superb and the voice work is also great.
Soujiroh vs Kenshin
1 - Kamen Rider Kabuto - Playstation 2
Ok, here we are. I happen to be fanatic for Kamen Rider series.
Before we go on, I gotta say that the western version of it, isn't like the original. The original japanese Kamen Rider series are usually (I said usually, not always ) focused on a young/adult audience, therefore the plot goes around darker themes such as humans turned into cyborg killing machines, who then rebel and have to deal with the fact they are not human anymore and they will protect those who will fear and hate them, or will be lonely for good due to their condition.
The Kamen Rider franchise was born in 1971. Since then many different sequels and spiritual sequels were born and several Kamen Riders were born and their respective dark stories were brought to us.
Among all of them, a few were particularly good in terms of plot, characters and design.
Kamen Rider Black was already mentioned by my friend blogger here, ManWithNoName, and another good one was Kamen Rider Kabuto.
Small taste of the show:
Aired in 2006, the show was about a meteor that crashed into Earth carrying alien forms baptized Worms by the humans. The worm could mime humans in form and take their place once the original human was killed, but that's where it gets interesting…
Not only the worms take the form of the person but their memories as well, and often they assume their lives, and like it, living peacefully as normal people.
In the middle of it all, there is an organization that fights "bad" worms, using mechanical gadgets in forms of beetles, bees, etc. The person having such gadgets can turn into Kamen Riders. They are not referred as such in the show, but you get the idea.
It'd be too complex to describe the whole thing and the subplots, but I can only say it's an amazing show and the characters and their interactions are alone a reason for you to watch it till the end. If it's not enough, there's time travel, good worms being slain and the riders questioning their purpose in the whole thing.
A must watch.
The game? Well… it is as much fun as watching the show. You have a fighting game, in perspective camera, you can fight one on one, or one against other 2 or 3. You can pair with a friend and fight off the enemies or have a bot on your side against your friend and another bot. It's a lot of fun.
Ah, I forgot to mention, you can make the time slowdown for your enemies while you move faster and can attack them off-guard.
I've said enough, watch the video and judge for yourself (just, turn off the annotations option on youtube first).
I end my first post, stating this is just a small portion of underrated games I consider great, in innovation, effort put into something that would understandably not sell so well and still has quality.
What do you think of the list? Have your personal favorite underdogs? let me know.