Your Guilty Treasure?

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BaneFireLord

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In the wake of the latest premium show premiere (and a quite excellent one at that, in my humble opinion!), what game would you pick as your personal Guilty Treasure? In other words, what’s a little-known, little-covered game that you have fondness for that you wish more people knew about?

I’d probably go with Lego Island Xtreme Stunts. I haven’t returned to it in probably 15 years so I doubt it holds up, but I had a blast with it as a kid and rarely hear about it on the internet. One of the last major Lego games before they all submitted to the Traveler’s Tales formula, it didn’t have the surrealist streak of the original Lego Island or the personality and globetrotting appeal of the sequel, but it had an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to its activities and mechanics that I haven’t seen anything else quite like since. As a kid without access to a console or M-rated games, the combo skateboarding/extreme sports/GTA-lite open world gameplay scratched a variety of itches I wasn’t otherwise able to satisfy. I also loved how the in-game radio was filled with original, Lego-themed songs—a lot of work and attention to detail was clearly put into a game that it would have been really easy to half-ass. I dearly wish the Lego games still had that try-anything spirit after going on 20 years of more-or-less the same broad formula for every property.

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zeldaking2001

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Rocket: Robot on Wheels.

It's a 3D platformer developed by Sucker Punch for the N64. While everyone was talking about Mario 64, Banjo, and Conker I was shouting from the rooftops how great this game was. But unfortunately it came at a time when the market was full of lower quality 3D platformers (remember Tonic Trouble and Glover?) so it got completely forgotten about.

Shame because it had a real unique flavour to it, with some nice physics for the time.

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Chamurai

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I'm torn between Ultraman for the Super Famicom or Soulblader/Soulblazer for the SFC as well.

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epidehl

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#4  Edited By epidehl

This is tough for me because I didn't pay a ton of obscure games as a good. Like, my Genesis was Sonic, Mortal Kombat, and licensed games.

That said, the best I can think of is Grandia 2 for the PS2 (was also in DC). It's got a fairly rote JRPG story (nearly identical to FFX and Tales of Symphonia for large chunks), but the combat is still one of my favorite systems in a turn based game. It also has a really fun cast played almost entirely by Metal Gear VAs + Ariel from The Little Mermaid as a personification of evil. I was so excited when it actually got a re-release on PC and switch (which also got me to play Grandia 1 for the first time), still wish it would come to PS though.

Oh and the soundtrack RIPS

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Justin258

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I thought about this and it's probably Hot Wheels Turbo Racing, a PS1 game I played a whole lot as a kid. There was another PS1 Hot Wheels game whose subtitle I can't remember where the cars transformed depending on what type of surface you were on, something that would appear again mucb later in both Mario Kart and Sonic games.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Probably Freddy Pharkas or the Lara Bow games, both of which have largely been forgotten despite how good they were. I'd love to do an extended feature on the Runaway series too.

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ALLTheDinos

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The very first thought I had when this series was announced was "Man, I wish I could have them cover The Unholy War". A combination fighting and turn-based strategy game for the Playstation 1, had a surprising amount of depth, and even came with a demo of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver! It was a lot of fun picking the appropriate hard counters in the fighting mode, or going against type with a character you were just better at. I still think about the sounds and music of that game all the time.

I think my favorite memory of it is my one friend who was a Killcycle savant. He was fine at the other characters, but when it came to Killcycles, he could beat just about everyone pretty handily. So we'd do the campaign mode, make about half Killcycles and half other stuff, and just pass the controller between us depending on which one was battling. One of my earliest and happiest memories of real collaborative gameplay.

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tartyron

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#8  Edited By tartyron

Oh, I have a few. One that leaps to mind is the Gothic/Risen series (they are essentially the same). It’s always been about five years behind on quality control, voice acting quality and graphics. And combat….and enemy AI. Ok, it’s honestly a bad series with an unacceptable amount of jank, but god help me is scratches that itch in my shameful regions so well.

And there are good aspects. The design has always used verticality better than other open worlds, as well as packing in tons of stuff in those levels. The leveling system makes sense to me in that you needed to seek trainers for new skills, and getting the training was sometimes a side quest itself. The stories (at least for gothic) were kinda sort interesting the first was all in a prison and new games expanded to an island and eventually a continent (and all of gothic 1’s map was in Gothic 2).

Look, I can’t recommend anyone ever play these in 2021. These guys are still making them, Elex (the series with the Korn music in the trail during E3) is the modern, sci-fi version and it’s essentially the exact same games, and I couldn’t do it anymore (but not one night goes by where I don’t I lie in bed, sweating cold bullets while rocking back and forth clutching myself, wondering about Elex, if I should go to it, if it will reach out to me, if what once never was will change and Elex and I will be together, our arms intertwined as we float into sweet ecstasy.) but if you were in your early 20’s, ignoring your college homework and had a Star Trek poster on you dorm room wall, it was a great game to delay you bachelor degree a year or two for.

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liquiddragon

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Couldn't get enough of Pokemon in the 90s so I also got into these Pokemon rip-offs.

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TheRealTurk

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Depends on if the criteria is more "obscure" or just "no one talks about it."

If it's the former, then I'd go with Escape Velocity: Nova, which is basically a 2D-Elite: Dangerous if you took out the multiplayer and obsession with simulation and just focused on trading and shooting fools. It was pretty neat for a shareware game - it had a ton of ships and weapons and even had several semi-random branching storylines you could play. The problem is I'm not even sure if you can get a copy anymore. It was made by Ambrosia Software, which is now defunct and since I don't think there were physical copies, I'm not sure where you could purchase it anymore.

If we're talking about the latter, I'd go with Heroes of Might and Magic III, which isn't necessarily obscure, but it's a game I played the hell out of when I was younger and the series had kind of died out since Ubi bought it. I put so many hours into that thing that even though it's been years since I played it, I still have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the units in my head.

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styx971

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if this was a decade ago i would have said yakuza but that finally blew up in the west so i honestly don't know. i've never really played obscure games so its definitely a hard one.

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Onemanarmyy

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#12  Edited By Onemanarmyy

The more obscure games that i love are probably games like Team Buddies ,Drakan: Order of the flame and Gabriel Knight 3.

Summoner 2, Shogo:MAD, Dungeon of the Endless, Sacrifice and The Sexy Brutale are on that list too but at some point i don't know how obscure something should be. All these games deserve more than they get though. I also feel like Vampire The Masquerade: Redemption is secretly a very neat game, but i haven't played enough of it to confirm that. But it's definitly cool enough to deserve 1% of the love that bloodlines gets.

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styx971

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@tartyron said:

Oh, I have a few. One that leaps to mind is the Gothic/Risen series (they are essentially the same). It’s always been about five years behind on quality control, voice acting quality and graphics. And combat….and enemy AI. Ok, it’s honestly a bad series with an unacceptable amount of jank, but god help me is scratches that itch in my shameful regions so well.

now that you mention it those risen games are realy something. the 1st at least had alot going for it enough to make me actually rough it out playing the 360 version ( the buggier version with horrendous framerate and crashing ) till my system ended up having unreadable disc error issues and i was forced to abandon it... i also played a small chunk of elex (preordered ps4 version) , not sure what i droped it for but dispite it's flaws i was enjoying it

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stise

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I was honestly thinking Cybernator would be mine when the show was announced, so I was delighted to see Jeff pick a game from the same series.

If I had to choose a new one, it'd probably be Cubivore. Every single thing about that game, from aesthetics to mechanics to narrative, and even down to the naming of bosses, is a capital-C Choice.

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LooterJennings

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@zeldaking2001@: Wow, I thought I was the only one who remembered Rocket, there! It definitely wasn't as good as its inspirations but I probably played it just as much.

My personal Guilty Treasure is Disney's The Haunted Mansion. It came out around the same time as the awful Eddie Murphy movie but had nothing to do with it. Instead, it followed the story of the caretaker you see on the Haunted Mansion ride.

It was basically a slightly edgier Luigi's Mansion. The general concept was the same, but it actually felt pretty creepy as a kid.

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fjor

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@tartyron: Gothic 1 and 2 are indeed criminally underrated , i am playing Elex now 25 h in.....and if u can get pass some not so good combat mechanics i would say it's the best western rpg since witcher 3

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ALLTheDinos

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@therealturk: Oh man, EV Nova! I had my wisdom teeth removed in 2007 and spent a week doing nothing but playing that game to unlock all the storylines. If you can’t get it anywhere anymore, that’s a real shame.

Fun fact: my first gamertag on Xbox was Azra Oryhara!

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luissrod

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One of my favorites that I always go back to is Herc's Adventures for the PS1. A classic LucasArts overhead action-adventure game. It still plays so well and the lack of loading screens makes the game real dynamic and almost convinces you to keep playing because of it.

At the time, I didn't have a great PC, so even though I always wanted to play, Diablo was out of the question. Now, after playing Diablo and other hack-and-slash games, this is still my go-to. It's fun, light hearted, and the boss fights are also pretty good. Hard as hell at times, but fun.

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csl316

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Mentioned in the comments, but I'll just bring up Silpheed again on the Sega CD. It was truly amazing when I played it at the time in '93. It made you feel like you were in giant space battles like nothing I had played before, not even Sol-Feace/Deace!

Just check out this stage (and its monster groove).

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izzy_izumi

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#20  Edited By izzy_izumi

I posted on reddit, but I'll post here, too. I can think of three I'd love to see: Loaded (PSX), Ghost in the Shell (PSX), and The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang (SNES).

And Spike McFang gets the ultimate pick. I never owned it, but my cousin did. Loved the action RPG element, along with the weird card spells. Wasn't particularly hard, but I somehow enjoyed this more than something like Secret of Mana.

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Nillock

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Shadowrun on the SNES and Shadowrun and the Genesis. Same title and source material, but two completely different games that are both very fun.

Also, Gundam Breaker 3 on the PS4. A game I would not recommend to anyone, but I think it's great.

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goosemunch

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Countdown by Access Software. Everybody's heard of Tex Murphy games and talk about it tons, but I've seen literally zero soul mention this game either in real life or online. A spy thriller point-and-click adventure game from 1990. A technological marvel at the time, although it may not be as ground-breaking as Mean Streets that came out a few months prior. I loved this game - haven't played it in over 20 years so I'm not sure how it holds up (I seem to recall it being not as forgiving as LucasArts contemporaries).

It was released on GOG this week which took me by complete surprise. I thought the history had all but forgotten this game.

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fjor

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@luissrod: Herc's Adventures would totally deserve the HD treatment , such a hidden gem

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alianger

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#24  Edited By alianger

Ghostbusters (SMS) - A good hybrid genre game with elements of action adventure, tactics, driving and action which seems to play and look the best on this system.

The guilty part is that on their own, any individual element isn't particularly great and without the license it would be less interesting, but as a whole and with that in mind it's one of the better licensed games from that time not by Sega, Capcom or Konami.

Flicky (MD) - A pretty fun early arcade-style platformer that some people like to shit on. I guess because it's rather simplistic for a MD game, and because the sound isn't that good. Which is fair enough but it still plays fine.

James Pond 2 (Multi) - This game does have certain issues with its pacing, there are some oddly empty maze segments and climbing is too slow. The music is also rather generic and saccharine like a cartoon for small children. However the christmas theme is rather well done, the level variety and spritework are pretty good and I don't mind Pond as a character.

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aiomon

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Gotta be Rise of Nations for me. A forgotten RTS that I think is actually good and holds up pretty well. Really good graphics for the time too.

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luissrod

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@fjor: Oh totally. It would be such a good online multiplayer game that I think would find a big audience.

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Nodima

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Like some others, a bit harder for me since I didn't play many obscure games, at least that I can remember, as a kid. While I rented a game pretty much weekly, I was very beholden to favorite IP and Official Playstation Magazine / Nintendo Power review scores. If I played it, there was a good chance everybody else did, too.

I do have a couple that come to mind, though. Only time to share the primary, truly "guilty" treasure right now.

First, James Bond Jr. I played a lot of this game, firstly because I liked James Bond, secondly because it was one of the few I actually owned, and thirdly because it was ungodly cruel to the player and so it took a ton of trial and error and level memorization to get anywhere in the game. This guy looks like such a '90s doofus, it's clear they were targeting Johnny Quest fans (it's easy to forget this was also a cartoon, and that "James Bond, Jr." was canonically (?) James' freakin' nephew:

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I have a bizarre amount of nostalgia for that helicopter, despite it being objectively awful.

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apewins

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#28  Edited By apewins
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Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri (1996). It was basically a Mechwarrior game with tactical team combat and an elaborate FMV story. It received very positive reviews but for whatever reason sold poorly, leading to the studio closing. It was made by Looking Glass studios, makers of Ultima Underworld, System Shock and Thief: The Dark Project. Though I don't know if a guilty treasure game is supposed to be something that most people think is bad or mediocre or if a game can be amazing and it's just that nobody's ever heard of it.

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Monkeyman04

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I will die on this hill. The Virtual Boy isn't as bad as people say it is. To this day I still find time to play on my VB. I love the Wario game that came out on it. Also Nester's Funky Bowling is a great bowling game.

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snaketelegraph

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One thing I think is cool about the feature is that it doesn't necessarily have to be super obscure and niche but just something you like that passed people by. So while I could throw out like, Shadow Hearts, Trauma Team, Folklore, even recent stuff like Gravity Rush 2, I think my pick would be Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines.

A digital only (in the west) Vita exclusive dungeon crawler with turn based combat and a really cool theatrical traditional Japanese art style, with the main gimmick being that your main character is cursed to die in a few years and you must "reproduce" (mostly with various gods, including like, bishonen Santa) to grow your clan so that it may survive to eventually repel the curse. Your offspring have traits of their parental god, both in their avatar and their stats, and there's a wide variety of gods for all kinds of tastes, and stats. (Also I should point out that it's not very sexualized which pushes it more to the fun side rather than the anime pervert side. Maybe if it had it would've been popular lol. If you want that and also like bad games, play Conception I guess?) It has so many cool elements that I think people would be very into, but the exclusivity was probably a killer.

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BladeOfCreation

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I dunno if either of these strictly qualify. I'll say that Advent Rising was fucking dope, and Tachyon: The Fringe was a really cool space shooter.

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PeezMachine

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#32  Edited By PeezMachine
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jamie5590

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180; a pub darts game from the 80s that I used to play all the time on my dad's ZX Spectrum. Every now and again, I find myself going back to it on the MiSTer and spending an hour or so playing through it.

It's a pretty simple game but probably on a par with most other darts games/minigames that have come out since. My two most vivid memories from playing this game are the super-repetitive music that worms its way into your head and the animation of a dog that occasionally siddles up to the bar in the background and cocks a leg.

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Onemanarmyy

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#34  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Oooh i remember the Mulle Meck / Miel Monteur / Gary Gadget series. You're a mechanic in a tiny village diving through the junkyard to make wacky vehicles out of household appliances. Just look at the graphics on this 90's ass game.

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FishboneINK

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Einhänder.

I don't think it's that obscure but I never hear anyone talking about it and it's cool as hell.

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fisk0

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#36 fisk0  Moderator

@csl316 said:

Mentioned in the comments, but I'll just bring up Silpheed again on the Sega CD. It was truly amazing when I played it at the time in '93. It made you feel like you were in giant space battles like nothing I had played before, not even Sol-Feace/Deace!

Just check out this stage (and its monster groove).

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This would've been my first choice as well. My second choice would probably be Bioware's debut mech sim Shattered Steel, in my opinion still the best game they've ever made, with some incredible destructible environments for the time.

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Shindig

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#37  Edited By Shindig

I'd really have to think about this. In my head, it has to be something unheralded that isn't 'great' but something you could really champion without looking like a maniac. I can't even recall something from my Vic-20/Amstrad days.

EDIT: No. I've got one. Footballer of the Year.

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When you think where football games have went since, this has some big ideas.

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constantk

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I'd have to say Ring of Red. That game had great strategy, such unique battle mechanics and "what if WWII but mechs" aesthetics that are incredible. The characterizations, though pretty rote for anyone who has watched anime, were well done as were the short vignettes that played when the pilots used their special moves (yes, the diesel-powered, WWII-era mechs have special moves in this game, it rules).

If I'm being really greedy, one of the interview subjects needs to be Austin. I want to know what he thinks of that game and there's precious little info online that I can find.

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chaser324

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#39 chaser324  Moderator

My top picks would probably be Touge Max 2 or Simple 2000: Edit Racing. If I'm being honest though, the game with the highest obscurity to hours played ratio from my childhood might unfortunately be B.O.B.

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wollywoo

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#40  Edited By wollywoo
@banefirelord said:

I’d probably go with Lego Island Xtreme Stunts.

I haven't played that one, but I have good memories of the original Lego Island despite it running at 1-2fps on my parents' computer at the time. It's a weird, unconventional game - not even much of a game to speak of. All there in terms of conventional gameplay was racing in a couple different kinds of vehicles, one "story mission" to see the credits, and a few errand-like objectives to finish like delivering pizza. Still, the world was really fun to explore, and it was absolutely packed to the gills with goofy humor and sight-gags in surprising places. There were all kinds of surprising easter eggs and funny random events that would play out as you walk around. As a kid absolutely obsessed with LEGO I was overjoyed. I'd like to see more games that along these lines that just involve exploring goofy worlds filled with fun surprises.

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tartyron

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@fjor: Best western RPG since Witcher 3? That is a hell of a claim, considering Pillars of Eternity 2 and Original Sin 2 both came out since then.

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FRANZlSKA

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I suppose it depends on whether I would have to have actually played a significant chunk of a game to count it. If not, The Seventh Seal: Resurrection of the Dark Lord would be an easy pick. I heard about it because its soundtrack was partially composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, but really took to it when my efforts to find out more information came up with next to nothing. Hell, only reason why it has a wiki page and why I use the wiki is because I created a page for it (although it's probably due a tune-up.)

Basic idea is that it's a 2000s-era Taiwanese RPG, pre-rendered backgrounds and everything, but with a combat system intended to be kinda-almost-sorta like a fighting game. Attacks have heights, enemies will move between heights to try and dodge, setting up multiple characters' attack turns in rapid succession causes a combo, so on and so forth. It seems like such an odd setup, with the potential to be really interesting, but sadly there's next to no information about it, especially since the game is only available in Chinese or Chinese with some English voice lines. There's only a half-dozen or so videos about the game on Youtube (not counting soundtrack uploads), and two of them are gameplay posted by myself, which has always left me weirdly curious as to what lies beyond the parts I can feel my way through.

For a more accessible pick, though, I'd have to go with Ribbit King. Not the most obscure title in the world, and it's got some glaring balance issues, but I loved that game as a kid, largely for how goofy and lighthearted it is. That, and frolf is just a great word.

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MeierTheRed

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Hard to pick just one out of so many years of gaming, so will just throw a few out there based on a few consoles.

Master System: Alien Storm

Amiga 500: Fireforce

Xbox 360: Too Human

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Edens_Heel

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I have to really think about this as a lot of my "of all time" greats are maybe not popular choices but certainly aren't, like, loathed or looked down upon. Like, of the three The Last Guardian is probably the least revered but it's one of the best, most emotional experiences I've ever had with a game. Similarly, Final Fantasy XII is looked upon as the red-headed stepchild of the single-player FFs but I honestly have a hard time deciding between it and VI as to which is my favourite, and I would consider it one of the greatest JRPGs of all time without hyperbole.

Maybe more to the spirit of this, I absolutely adore Demon's Crest (SNES), Jeanne D'arc (PSP), Remember Me (PS3), Return Fire (PS1), and likely the most controversial... I don't hate Metroid: Other M (Wii)—I hate its story and wish they ditched the first-person segments (and it would've been great if they gave -any- indication that you were supposed to power bomb at the very end), and it's definitely the worst of the franchise, but it's my single-favourite franchise in all of gaming and I can't bring myself to hate any of the single-player entries.

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FacelessVixen

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#45  Edited By FacelessVixen

For the two Senran Kagura fans on this site:

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$200 spent and Kenichirou Takaki liking my tweet.

Worth it.

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styx971

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@aiomon said:

Gotta be Rise of Nations for me. A forgotten RTS that I think is actually good and holds up pretty well. Really good graphics for the time too.

that was a good one , i think i still have my disc and manual in a cd binder for that along with aoe/aom and a couple other old games from around then.

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Gundato

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Not sure how obscure or interesting mine would be, but probably one of these three

Star Crusader which was a space flight sim in the vein of wing commander with branching paths, really bad CGI cutscenes, an expansion pack that you mailed the guy a check to download off an FTP server, and a stealth/scanning system that never made a single bit of sense. I still have that expansion on a disk somewhere.

Tachyon: The Fringe which was ALSO a space flight sim in the vein of wing commander (although it probably mapped closer to Freelancer) and ALSO had a branching narrative and traded out the expansion pack and nonsense for Bruce Campbell saying "That's a... big gun". Also the trick was to activate "slide" while boosting to go at max speed because it tried to model real-ish space physics. I remember playing this through probably dozens of times and the branching defense mission being something I could only ever do if it was the first thing I did on a saturday morning because it was so bullshit.

And lastly, Necrovision which was a weird probably bad FPS set in World War 1 where you end up fighting vaguely steampunk/magitech vampires for some reason. This was probably a very bad game but it lives rent-free in my head and I think of it at random ass times. Have yet to install the gog version I bought but someday

And honorable mention to Hidden and Dangerous 2 but I think that was actually a REALLY successful and popular game.

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styx971

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@tartyron said:

@fjor: Best western RPG since Witcher 3? That is a hell of a claim, considering Pillars of Eternity 2 and Original Sin 2 both came out since then.

i could see it if we're saying those you listed are just a different type of western rpg being more of of a crpg. elex while i wouldn't put it that high cause i didn't beat it definitely had alot going for it if you get past the eurojanx

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aera

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I was definitely thinking about this during the premiere and it's probably Rollcage Stage II for me - a futuristic racer (along with the original game) that was very much hidden in the shadow of Wipeout, while still having a fun, dinstinctive visual style, different driving mechanics and a fun puzzle mode.

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IndeedCodyBrown

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Headlander is pretty new relatively, but it is so underrated and no one talks about it.