Good but Obscure, Overlooked, or Low Budget Retro Games

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zimzamfromspace

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#1  Edited By zimzamfromspace

I'm starting to collect Playstation One games and accessories, and I had the idea to look for the most obscure, random bullshit I can possibly find. Of course, as the word "obscure" implies finding these games is either hard, or very, very expensive. So, I figured it would be a good idea to ask around and find what kind of things people have found in their own gaming journeys, for any platform. As much as I wanna start things off with a game of my own, my mind is coming up blank, my apologies. What's the weirdest or most hidden gem (or turd) in your collection/that you've seen?

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tnecniv

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One of the Amiga games they played last week on UPF, Cannon Fodder, is really good. You would what is basically a mouse driven top down shooter would be clunky, but it actually plays very well. You can get it on GOG for $5.

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Arabes

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@tnecniv: I fucking love Cannon Fodder! Played it on my cousin's PC back in 94 I think. But I finished it on the SNES. Such a good game, especially the helicopters.

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bigsocrates

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Wild 9 is pretty much forgotten today but was a really cool, weird, PS1 platformer where you could torture and kill your enemies with an energy hand type thing, and it was just really cool.

Skullmonkeys is remembered by a few people, but is a Claymation(!!) platformer for the PS1 that was pretty fun but more importantly had an incredible aesthetic with amazing music and a look that was only replicated by The Neverhood, another obscure but charming game in the same series (though an adventure game.) Armikrog is a recent game in the franchise, but is less obscure just because it's more recent.

Speaking of point and click adventures, a lot of people don't know that Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, wrote an original video game called Starship Titanic. It's not a great game, suffering from all the adventure game issues, but it's very very funny.

I wouldn't call Voodoo Vince, which is a 3D platformer for original Xbox, obscure exactly, but it is sort of unjustly forgotten. After Rare Replay I was really hoping Microsoft would give some additional games from that era the same treatment that Grabbed by the Ghoulies (which is now sort of recognized as being underrated) got but it doesn't appear to be happening.

I'm old so I could do this basically all day. And that's not even taking into account games that are ACTUALLY obscure but aren't obscure on Giant Bomb because GB has done video on it, like Incredible Crisis.

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Topshelf211

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One of my favorite obscure games for the PS1 is Herc's Adventures. I'm not sure why it didn't garner much attention back then but it's a great open world, beat em up. It's kind of like a humorous cartoony version of God of War and the couch co-op makes it even better.

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paulmako

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@bigsocrates: I saw this earlier when I couldn't post but I was going to say Skullmonkeys too! It always amazes me when I see people talk about that game because it seems like the kind of thing that only exists as an inside joke for me and my siblings.

It has some amazing claymation FMV sequences that were hilarious when I was younger and are actually pretty dark looking back. Like you say the music was amazing.. The art and boss designs were great also.

I do remember it being hard as nails. But it was also from the time where there was a password system so you could spam in random combinations and get to random levels. I think that's how we got to the last level. The ending solution of that game is incredible.

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ninjalegend

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Deathrow on the Xbox is a fun fighting, glowing Frisbee throwing, sports game. Sad I lost that one in a move.

Aero Elite: combat academy is a good PS2 flight game that has a more sim like approach to an arcade game. Weird but fun trying to nail the controls.

Sky Odyssey is a good PS2 flight game.

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whitegreyblack

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@topshelf211: Unfortunately Herc's Adventures seems to go for 100-200 bucks nowadays on the used market.

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riostarwind

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#10 riostarwind  Moderator

Off the top of my head, I can think of two obscure PS1 games.

Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman : A game about a cowboy that learns how to use a sword. Gameplay wise it is a rough early character action game but the over the top setting and humor make up for the bad controls.

Tail concerto : This game is basically a 3D platformer that has the player control a mech that runs around catching anamorphic pirate cats with a bubble beam.

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bigsocrates

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@topshelf211: Unfortunately Herc's Adventures seems to go for 100-200 bucks nowadays on the used market.

$6 on PSN. I realize it's not a physical version, but if what you want is to play it I'd rather have the digital version for $6 than pay over 30 times as much for physical.

Deathrow was a great game. Probably my favorite "not a real sport" sports game if you don't count weird racing games. Cleaned up a little it would make a fantastic downloadable title in the mold of Rocket League.

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ajamafalous

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#12  Edited By ajamafalous

Faxanadu for the NES is criminally-overlooked. I feel like Jeff is the only person I've ever heard mention it, and nobody else ever knows what it is.

I always liked Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, though I'm not sure I'd call it obscure. They started porting the game to Steam this year!

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whitegreyblack

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#13  Edited By whitegreyblack

@bigsocrates said:

@whitegreyblack said:

@topshelf211: Unfortunately Herc's Adventures seems to go for 100-200 bucks nowadays on the used market.

$6 on PSN. I realize it's not a physical version, but if what you want is to play it I'd rather have the digital version for $6 than pay over 30 times as much for physical.

The OP suggests this thread is about collecting physical items. (edit: good tip on the digital version though)

@zimzamfromspace: if you're after some obscure PS1 stuff, my PSX collection gems are:

  1. Fear Effect
  2. Fear Effect 2
  3. Future Cop LAPD
  4. Ghost in the Shell
  5. Mega Man Legends
  6. Mega Man Legends 2
  7. Misadventures of Tron Bonne
  8. Omega Boost
  9. Slilent Bomber
  10. Tail Concerto
  11. Vanark

A few of these games are grossly expensive (though some are cheaper now vs. a year ago due to some digital re-releases) but you can also get them digitally on your PS3, like what BigSocrates mentioned re: Herc's Adventures.

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fisk0

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#14  Edited By fisk0

For the PS1 I'd suggest Bedlam, a bit of a budget Crusader: No Remorse knockoff, it's pretty good. For a bit of an action game oddity I'll also say Tunnel B1, which was part of a very short lived genre of first person vehicular combat games that kinda played like FPSes, but with racing-track-like level designs with some backtracking, key hunting and occasional arena combat. There were something like four games like that released around the same time in 95-96, and then nothing (only other game in that style I can recall the name of right now was Zone Raiders, I suppose Blam: Machinehead could count too).

When I started my Genesis collection, these kinds of mostly forgotten budget titles were the kind of games I was looking for, lots of Amiga ports, simulator games and some early console FPSes. The pre-Wolfenstein 3D FPS Cyber-Cop/Corporation, the PAL exclusive Bloodshot/Battle Frenzy and Zero Tolerance which Giant Bomb looked at briefly during an UPF last year are some of my favorite Genesis finds so far. Zero Tolerance is the only one that goes for over $10 in most stores.

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Lv4Monk

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#15  Edited By Lv4Monk

Dino Crisis 2 is one of those "so dumb, so fun" kinda games. Totally not a scary game, it's sorta like the mid way point between classic Resident Evil and RE4. Fairly "arcade-y" and a lot of fun.

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Onemanarmyy

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#16  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Team Buddies is a great game that no one seems to know. I played it quite a lot against my neighbour. You basically have a map with blocks in the world, and a base with a building platform. You go out in the world, to gather those blocks and combine them on the platform to create new weapons / vehicles (depending on the configuration of the blocks). The person who blows up the other's person base wins. Of course, you can steal blocks from eachother. Apparently each 'team' can have up to 4 'buddies' that you can order around to kill people / gather blocks / make new items etc.

Just looked at the prices on Ebay, 80$ seems to be the cheapest. Oof!

Some other games i remember fondly:

I recently found a PC-game called 'Militato' in a box of mine. Apparently it's mostly sold in Russia / Netherlands. My memories were kinder to it than the reality

This made me investigate further into the publisher, which made me stumble upon this FMV adventure game called Gag: Het Impotentie-Mysterie

The maincharacter is a a member of an agency charged with the Prevention of Sexual And Religious Perversions, who gets bitten in his dick by a poisonous penguin, which makes him impotent. Apparently there are only about 20 copies flying around between Russia, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK.

There's also this dutch game called AmsterDoom that i own. It's a first person shooter that's situated in Amsterdam. There's no connection to Doom, apart from them both being first person shooters. Amsterdoom is actually in 3D and contains no gore nor multiplayer to scare off potential customers. For some reason you're killing purple aliens. The company also made the A2 Racer games which tried to make the player feel like he was driving around the dutch highways.

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kcin

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#17  Edited By kcin

Wild9 is weird and cool. Any Shiny Entertainment game is, at the very least, super weird.

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Samcb

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It's hopefully about to get less obscure because it's getting a remake this year (already on mobile, no date yet on PC version as far as I know) but White Day will always be this game for me. Such a cool older Amnesia style game. It's a lot faster paced than most modern equivalents but it still scares me a lot more.

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ShaolinSpade

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I just dug out Azure Dreams for the ps1. It's a rogue-like dungeon crawler with light town management, monster collecting, and dating elements. It's pretty neat and a decent copy goes for about $50. I got it new as a kid but couldn't penetrate it until now.

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deactivated-582d227526464

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I really like Demon's Crest on the SNES, and I feel it's pretty overlooked. I recommend checking it out if you like castlevania/metroid.

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avantegardener

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If you want to play a wierd retro RTS when some genuinely interesting progression and rpg elements, I would recommend Original War, I remember buying it for nearly nothing in 2001 from a bargain bin, and was really impressed. It's a a little hookey and hard, but worth a look.

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zimzamfromspace

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@whitegreyblack: Fear Effect is a name I haven't heard in forever. What a reminder that is lol, also great list!

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zimzamfromspace

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@shaolinspade: Azure Dreams is one I completely forgot existed. I remember hearing about it, possibly through a friend, but never looked to deep into. It sounds really cool, and I will be looking into it for sure

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Xdeser2

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#25  Edited By Xdeser2

Uprising X on the PSX is one I have some very fond memories of. It was a pretty unique mix of base building and light-RTS mechanics with tank combat. Oh and also its ridiculously cheesy, totally serious and its kind of hilarious in retrospect. Granted, its been a long while, so I dont exactly know if its actually "Good", just interesting.

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SecondPersonShooter

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Is it too early to call PS2 retro?

Because holy shit is Steambot Chronicles not one of my favorite games of all time.

The aesthetic of Steambot Chronicles nails this folksy charm that is like a sort of Miyazaki-take trough a steampunk countryside. And all the characters are so universally quirky and inviting. I've always been a huge fan of rhythm games as well, so the plot focus on being in a touring band, complete with different instrumental rhythm minigames, did a lot for me. The mech combat itself is well realized too. There is just a ton of memorable content in this game.

The translation and English voice acting is also surprisingly great

I guess this was pre-Persona 3 before Atlus became widely known for their fucking dope localization skills, but I really think Steambot Chronicles is as good as the Persona games if not better

Literally the only complaint about the game I have is the framerate dips in larger bosses.

Thanks for letting me talk really passionately about Steambot Chronocles for a sec I think I needed that

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Stonyman65

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#27  Edited By Stonyman65

Wait, PS1 is "retro" now? Man, that makes me feel old...

Apocalypse (PS1)

One (PS1)

Winback: Covert Operations (N64)

Battletanks (N64)

MDK (PS1)

Delta Force: Land Warrior (PC)

Delta Force 2 (PC)

That's all I can think of without looking at all of my older games.

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kewlsnake

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All of them are PSX for me since I grew up with it. Fear Effect, like mentioned before. I bet the graphics style still holds up.

Tai Fu, Wrath of the Tiger. You're a tiger that learns kungfu and you need to beat a bunch of masters to learn their techniques. What a great game!

Einhander Really good 3D shmup with cool weapon system. Pretty hard though!

Not sure if really obscure but Fighting Force was pretty good.

I thought the PSX versions of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and 4 were pretty interesting (bad). They ran on the THPS2 engine and had new mechanics added to them that were never really meant to run on it. It's a world of difference with the PS2 versions (which were great).


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WheresDerrick

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Clibe Barker's Undying

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zimzamfromspace

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#30  Edited By zimzamfromspace

@kewlsnake: I fucking love THPS4 on PS2, so when I played it on PSOne for the first time thinking it'd be the same but in the style of 2, oh boy, was I shocked. Surprisingly a lot of people didn't even know that game was on PSOne, and finding it a few years back was difficult as all hell. Einhander seems awesome, will definitely be looking into that one!

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nuworldblue

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I always loved Azure Dreams on the PSX. It was my first real experience with a roguelike RPG and I was into Pokemon at the time, so the monster taming part was cool. I loved the art and the music and the characters. Total nostalgia trip, I make a point to play it every few years.

I also liked Alundra and Alundra 2.The first was a straight Zelda clone and the second was kind of a 3D Zelda clone. I highly doubt the second game holds up to the test of time, but I loved it at the time.

Wow, I shouldn't have started this comment because I'm tempted to keep going. There are a lot of B-tier games in my childhood. Buck Bumble 4 lyfe.

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ShaggE

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Eyyy, Skullmonkeys fans!

There's also Boombots and an unofficial Japanese air hockey game (Klaymen Gun Hockey), both with tangential Neverhood relations as well. The word "good" doesn't really apply in those cases, however. Most interestingly, Japan also got a PS1 port of The Neverhood itself.

Not even going to get started on obscure PC games, as I have shit to do this month. :P Just taking a glance at what I have currently installed, though, I'd say the best (that is, a personal favorite... not exactly a GOTY snub here) obscure title on here is Ken's Labyrinth. And for sheer obscurity, Cube: The Video Puzzle Game. (note to self: Add Cube to the wiki)

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csl316

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Project: Overkill is one of my favorite PS1 games. Isometric, tough as nails shooter.

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ArtisanBreads

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#35  Edited By ArtisanBreads

@bigsocrates: second the Wild 9.

One I will throw out there I really enjoy a lot is Jackie Chan Stuntmaster. Fun mix of beat em up and platformer and it just has a fun silly vibe to it.

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ArtisanBreads

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Tai Fu, Wrath of the Tiger. You're a tiger that learns kungfu and you need to beat a bunch of masters to learn their techniques. What a great game!

I was obsessed with this game as a kid. I wonder how it is now. I would say it's definitely worth checking out at the least though. There were frustrating parts but it was interesting and had a lot to it.

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#37  Edited By 2Mello

Heart of Darkness for the PS1 and PC is Eric Chahi's follow-up to Another World (Out Of This World), and it's a very gorgeous cinematic platformer as well as the first game to ever be scored by a live orchestra. It wasn't very successful and caused Chahi to take a break from game development, but it's one of my favorite games ever. I wish I had kept my PC copy in better shape, but I didn't think a game like this would become as obscure as it has. You can really see how games like Playdead's LIMBO and INSIDE took a lot of inspiration from classics like this.

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monetarydread

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#38  Edited By monetarydread

Some rare, but awesome PSX games are:

  • Alundra - It plays out like an action RPG version of Zelda. I don't think it is as good as Zelda, but I almost never hear anyone talking about it.
  • Arc The lad Collection - This series was awesome, obscure, and almost forgotten.
  • Evil Zone - This is the first Anime fighter I saw that really looked like an anime. going back to it it feels like a proto-DBZ Budokai
  • Culdcept - The only person I have heard talk about this game is Shane Bettenhausen. I played more Culdcept than any other multiplayer game on the PSX. Imagine a cross between Monopoly and Magic the Gathering.
  • Sexy Parodius - Imagine a joke version of Gradius. Lots of Moai Heads and cat girls
  • Cho Aniki - Just Google it
  • Sled Storm - It might be terrible, honestly, I haven't gone back to it in over a decade. I enjoyed my time with the game though.
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha: Complete Box - Its a japanese Tactical-RPG that was so crammed full of stuff that you could play it for hundreds of hours. Plus it has mechs.
  • Tactics Ogre - This game might be the ultimate rareity on PSX. It is like a more hardcore version of FInal Fantasy Tactics.
  • Valkyrie Profile - I was lucky enough to find a copy of this for $30 at a local game shop... if you try to ebay this game you will be in for a shock. It might be one of the most expensive PSX games out there.
  • The Misadventures of Tron Bonne - I preferred MegaMan Legends II, but this game has a real fun sense of adventure to it.
  • Xenogears - I really don't get the love for this game. Its just page of text after page of text for a hundred+ hours. If I had to guess, it was because certain people had never seen a game with this much story and it was novel to them. Despite my hatred for the story, I loved playing it.
  • Wild Arms II - Wild Arms I was the shit, but WA II took all that was good about the first game and got rid of the shitty encounter rate, while increasing the amount of cowboy shit.

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whitegreyblack

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This thread got me thinking about my pretty slim PSX collection; so, I have bought the following games which I think are pretty good semi-obscure titles:

- Alundra

- Apocalypse

- One

- RayStorm

- RayCrisis: Series Termination