I don’t like to recommend games to anyone. This is mostly because people have a ready schema in their head what they want to play, and getting a game to fit that schema is difficult. This post is kind of here to circumvent the schema, as this way I have no person to think about.
Every game on the list has its own value as a game. Some of them might not be the best game ever, but then again no game is really as good as people say. Believing hype is like having a rash; the more you scratch it the itchier it gets. You could always cut out the skin where the rash is, but then you’d be left with open wound.
To make it fair, I will only use games that I have in my own personal library, just so that the list has some validation to a direction or another.
Sword Master is your typical 2D action game. It’s a rather short game, but the difficulty is high at places, and music is pretty damn catchy. The games was developed by Athena, and could be thought as a spiritual sequel to Castle of Dragon, thou this game is vastly superior in every regard.
Devil’s Crush MD
Devil’s Crush MD isn’t really an unknown game, but it is less known. You don’t really hear a lot about virtual pinball games, because majority of them are bad. NAXAT Soft was one of the best developers in the game industry, as their games had good production values and were coded with care. It also helps that their library of developed games were generally well regarded, and they still have a cult following.
Makeruna! Makendo, also known as Kendo Rage in the West, is your typical 2D action game and has everything that made the 90’s anime fun. It’s colourful, sounds good, has nice challenge and makes you wonder what kind of drugs the developers were smoking while making this game.
Don’t let the name distract you… or the intro video. Bulk Slash is by far one of the best, if not the best, 3D Saturn game out there. Only released in Japan, this 3D mecha action game has nice visuals and music, and Saturn controller was well used. There’s two things that could make the game even better; slightly better draw distance, and more stages. HUDSON really knew what they were doing with this game. As it is a Saturn game, don’t expect to see it on any other platform. SEGA lost almost all source codes to the games at one point.
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
Mega Man Legends wasn’t that big of a bomb when it hit the shores. Misadventures of Tron Bonne is it’s spin-off game, and one of the testaments why 90’s CAPCOM was awesome. The way this game could be described would be that it is a collection of larger minigames. Don’t let that distract you, as every minigame has its own gameplay and at least three acts that use it. It has first person dungeon crawling, 3D action, puzzles, stealing animals from local farm and so on. It’s a pretty damn enjoyable game overall, from which you can see the love the developers had towards the Legends series.
Evolution: The World of Sacred Device
Ever wanted to play an alternative console RPG that has characters name after different weapons and gadgets? Evolution; The World of Sacred Device was the first RPG that the Dreamcast had, and it shows. It’s dungeons all are randomly generated, thus making it somewhat different every time you visit the game. The game had a sequel that expanded everything the first game had. Not a bad game by any standards, but due to the random nature of the dungeons, the visuals took a hit.
RAD; Robot Alchemic Drive
Cheezy 70’s super robot series plot; checked. Cheezy voice acting; checked. Awesome gameplay; checked. RAD is one of the hidden gems of the PS2, and was never released in Europe. I hate whoever decided that Europe shouldn’t get this game. There’s not really any other games that corresponds with RAD, but it’s not overly unique either. It’s difficult to describe RAD in any other way other than that it’s awesome.
Mobile Suit Gundam; Pilot’s Locus
While the GameCube had pretty small selection of actually good games, Mobile Suit Gundam Pilot’s Locus is one of the gems that never left Japan even when PS2 got its share of Gundam titles in the west. Pilot’s Locus, or Senshitachi no Kiseki, could be argued to be the best Gundam game of its generation. Even if it isn’t, it’s up there. The controls are arcady as they should be, but they allow a lot of control overall and the gameplay flows well. As with most GameCube games, you just need to get used to the controls.
Gungriffon Allied Strike
Gungriffon series is less known overall. Allied Strike is the last part of the series, and I doubt we’ll ever see another one. It’s not hard to see why; the muddy visuals, non-existant soundtrack and generic art design. Nevertheless, there’s quality in there. Gungriffon series might be a little dull, but somehow it has charm, and that charm comes from good gameplay. The closest thing it could be compared to could be that the game is a mix of both Western and Japanese takes on mecha.
Fragile – Farewell ruins of the moon
Funny thing, most intro videos in Youtube got their soundtrack deleted. Nevertheless, Fragile isn’t really unknown, but overlooked after initial buzz. Basically, it’s one of the better adventure RPGs that the current generation has. Nintendo didn’t want to release it in the west, but got after some time got a release by another company. It has pretty creepy atmosphere around it. There’s few things here and there that might detract from the game’s overall value, but I can’t overlook that the developers succeeded to make a good post-apocalyptic RPG without resorting too much stupid clichés in the genre. They resorted to other clichés instead.
WarTech: Senko no Ronde
This game splits opinions. It has a lot of history behind it, in it’s story and all that, but what matters is that it has good and hard gameplay. After all, it’s an arcade title. The best way to describe it would be to call it as VIRTUAL-ON in two dimensions mixed with shooting game elements. The controls are pretty easy and complicated at the same time, but you can get into it fast. Wartech: Senko no Ronde has its cult following, but it flew under the radar here in West for a good reason. Nowadays you should find it cheap anywhere, and some consider it to be one of the definite 360 games out there. I agree that all who enjoy good arcade games should try it out, and everybody should at least give it a rental. Sadly, we never got the sequels, which are better overall.
Genji: The Day of Blade
Don’t expect too much from Genji. However, expect nice gameplay from Genji, but keep in mind that it’s a 3D action game with swords. That should say a lot. Nevertheless, Genji is does a lot of things right. It might be a little bit dull on the edges, but once you get into it all the game turns more interesting. The Day of Blade is a sequel to a PS2 title, which most people seem to like better. Keita Amemiya was the one in charge of the art direction in Genji series, and if that says anything to you, expect great things from this game.
I’ve talked Penta Dragon previously. It’s still an unique game that has very little competition in what it does. It has it’s flaws, but it’s still an enjoyable title.
This is the only Mega Man Battle Network game that mostly bases itself in the TV-series. It’s a traditional 2D action game like most other Mega Man games, and has something in common with the Transmission game on the GameCube. The video above has bad quality overall. The actual game flows really well, has much better music quality and doesn’t this jerky. It’s also pretty damn hard after a while. While the fandom knows about this, it flew under the radar mostly because it’s on WonderSwan.
Riviera The Promised Land
Originally a WonderSwan game, and then later on a PSP game, Riviera is a good alternative RPG on the go. The mechanics are nicely unique and distances itself pretty well from the general RPG flock. Riviera is a quality title with a strange name, but it might fetch high prices nowadays as it has rather strong cult following.
Umihara Kawase Shun Second Edition Kanzenban
I won’t lie to you; this game is expensive as hell and it’s one of the best physics puzzle games out there. It combines the SNES and PlayStation Umihara Kawase games into one package. It suffers a little bit from being on the DS, but that’s mostly only if your DS is worn down like mine. It’s easy to get into, and is as hard to master as it is to break an old Nokia phone.
The Legend of Heroes; Trails in the Sky
The Legends of Heroes is Falcom other big RPG series next to Ys. Known as Eiyuu Densetsu VI; Sora no Kiseki on the East, Trails in the Sky is one of the most vast RPGs there is. It’s divided into two parts, FC and SC (First and Second Chapter) and the second part actually continues the following morning after the first game. FALCOM is known for quality titles, and TitS shouldn’t be missed if you’re even slightly into RPGs. It also has an awesome vocal album.
While my PC game library doesn’t consist of any that unknown titles, it has Söldner-X, a shooting game that’s actually pretty damn impressive. Why it’s impressive is because it has good arcade quality gameplay and isn’t afraid to show it. It began it’s life as a indie game that was self-published on the PC, and as later ported to other platforms as well. I paid my piece then euros, and it came with a hardcover booklet and some extra stuff. It’s well worth the price on PSN as well.