Great Games you Never Heard of

Great titles in video game history you may not know about!
June 20, 2006
In the old beatup shoebox of video game history, stuck in the top shelf corner of your childhood closet, could rest several gems shining with bright depth and color! Unfortunately, they're resting in the same container that your stack of "other" games are in. Unused, much like your old rock collection, lost and forgotten, I am here to remind you that they cry out for attention and some good ol' fashion love! I'll only include pictures of the boxes or the title screen! If you want more, I URGE you to try this stuff out first hand! So let the memories begin!

The Last Ninja Series - Commodore 64/128/Amiga/NES/Atari

You may have been one of those people back in the day who were looking at the rows of computer games and you stumbled on this gem completely by accident just because it had a picture of a very angry ninja on the cover! Well, if you were one of those people, you were like me and went, "NINJAS? Freaking sweet!" and afterwards made a very hasty purchase! Well, congratulations! Your wanton spending habits actually paid off!

The Last Ninja series has many pluses in it's history: A devilishly addicting soundtrack for all three games. All the ninja tricks of the trade in the ninja handbook minus the touch of death (and oh how we all love the touch of death)! Plus it was one of the first home video games to ever have a graphical introduction (part 3 specifically) which took up both sides of an entire 5 1/2'' floppy disk! Doesn't sound like much now, but back then, that was a big deal! This was years before games like Ninja Gaiden which were considered graphic "heavy" for their time.

Sadly though, there was much trouble ahead for the lone ninja! The biggest problem with the game was getting used to the movement and environmental interaction. This was before the time of walkthroughs, readme's, and tutorials, so you had to learn the hard way, through many ninja related accidents, and pitfalls. The problem, more specifically, was that you had to jump from 3 to 4 pixel-wide spots somewhat frequently. One mistep by even a pixel meant your ninja was falling to his doom. One of the great joys of video gaming reared it's ugly head in this game as well. It sported a NINJA whose job it was to get revenge...but couldn't swim. Ah, the oldies... Aside from that negative spot on it's record, the game still sold very well and continued to amuse and entertain many a gamer of the older generations.

If you want a little more info on the game, i'd recommend this site:

Herzog Zwei (pronounced hayer-tsohk tsvai)- Sega Genesis

While this game is getting more recognition these days, back when it was first released in 1989, things weren't so great on the Herzog front! It was hurt by some rather ignorant reviews by several magazines, including EGM which gave it a 3 overall (out of 10). Little did the gaming bandwagon know, this game would lead the way in many RTS concepts. Herzog Zwei was the first 2 player RTS video game in video game history! Great addictive gameplay, with a very addictive soundtrack, and a nice variation in difficutly! Only 8 levels to take place in but with varying difficulties and an AI that adapted to your movements, the game became a battle of resources, button mashing, and strategy. High action, high fun! That's all aside from the fact that you controlled a mech that could turn into a jet transformers style! It's win freakin win baby!

The biggest problem that would befall this game however, is the fact that back then the concept of "real time strategy" game, didn't exist! Because of that, getting someone to play the game with became a pretty difficult task unless you had a close group of friends that all enjoyed playing video games! Mainly because no one knew what you were reffering to! Even still, playing against the computer in this game time and time again still heralded leaps and bounds of entertainment! A required experience for any "real gamer!"

Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu - NES/Turbo Graphix 16

Don't let that horrible box art fool you! DON'T! BAD MONKEY!......Anyway...beneath the horribly drawn goofily-grinned facade that is Jackie Chan lies a world of AWESOME! The game is a very straight forward martial arts platformer where you play as Jackie Chan (obviously)! You and your sister/girlfriend (depending on your copy of either the NES or the TG16 version) are enjoying a nice walk along the countryside when she is suddenly kidnapped by the evil sorcerrer who is the rival of your ancient martial arts instructor. Your job is to, obviously, save the girl!

The music is fun (and appropriate for the levels), with warp zones like your favorite Mario Bros. games, on top of crazy martial arts moves you "pick up" as you travel along, which can be used in very imaginative ways. There is a summersault technique for example, which you can use to cover great distances between platforms on those jumping levels. You fight everything from weapon wielding humans to leaping tigers and even a cloud cyclopse.....thats right..a CLOUD cyclopse! I bet you wish you hadn't missed out before now huh?
The 7th Saga - SNES

Nintendo put that warning on the box FOR A REASON people! Heed their warning with caution!

Not to be confused with "The 7th Guest," this under-appreciated SNES RPG stood out from the rest of the flock in many ways! First off, you had 7 "main characters" to choose from when you started. Each character had their own ending which you could reach in many different ways. The story focuses around 7 gems which need to be gathered to prevent evil from fully awakening in the land. There were a couple of different ways you could go about experiencing the game. You could even steal the gems from any of the other 6 characters in the game by letting them get killed while in your party, kill them yourself, or collect the gems together. You could even kill the other main characters WITH main characters you chose to have join your party. Lot's of flexibility with the classic "menu" battle system we all grew up with! En-freaking-joy!

Inindo: Way of the Ninja - SNES

There are many things about this game that make it stand WAY OUT there from the rest of the rpg's on this system's long list of great games. The story is a "what if" story based on Japan's history of Oda Nobunaga, a japanese warlord from fuedal Japan. The "what if" being, what if Oda didn't die when he did. Not too exciting unless your into that specific history right? I guess....but then there's the gameplay.

While the graphics are simple and in some cases archaic, the concepts behind Koei's title are very interesting and fun to try out time and time again. But be warned, this game has a very high learning curve. It will take lots of time and retries from the beginning of the game time and time again. I have played this game for over a decade, (off and on) and I have NEVER beaten it! Maybe I suck at the game! It is possible, but man is it ever fun! You are a lone ninja (once again, I know) whose clan has been wiped out by Oda and his troops out of fear of what your people could become in his battle to take over Japan.

You start the game fleeing from your village as it's being torn asunder by Oda himself and his persional legion of soldiers. The gameplay starts with you on your own running away just to survive. As you continue to play the game however, things get very complex! Characters that you can recruit are randomly generated with the start of each new game. On top of that, they don't stay in the same village as time passes by. Also because you survived Oda's onslaught, you are a wanted ninja! As such any of the NPCs that you can recruit in the game, may decide to hunt you down for the bounty. Which ensues on a 1 on 1 boss battle between you and your persuer. Your party members may even turn against you if your relationship with them sours over time. Their behavior towards you is based on which region they're from, what they know about you, and what your bounty is up to.

There's still more! You can join emporers of different regions of Japan in their fight against Oda in their ranks, which breeds a whole new tactical gameplay aspect. While your playing the game, time passes by in their world. At the beginning of each month a picture of Japan is showed and it's lords and their regions are color coded to show their borders, including Oda's influence in Japan. So if you take too long to finish the game traveling will become a large problem simply because more of Oda's men will be wandering around Japan taking land and hunting you down all the while. There is alot more to this game than even that, but i've already droned on enough about how awesome the gameplay is! If your looking for a challenging SNES RPG, please give this one a whirl, it's worth it!

Haunting - Sega Genesis

This is a really simple but fun game to try out. It will never win any kind of awards or stand out amongst some of the other great games out there. I mostly recommend this one just because it's simple fun. The concept is your a teenager whose been killed by an incredibly snobbish selfish rich upper class white family....I should make a movie off of that...anyway...the whole point of the game is to scare the bejeezus out of them by enchanting various objects within the household. Scare each member of the family out of the house, and you win the level. Most of the fun in this game is seeing what each item does when you fill it with your evil essence, and the item gets triggered by your unwitting victim(s).

After you empty out the house, you'll go back to "hell" (or their version of it anyway) where you must regain your ....poultergeist ....juice...when you play it, you'll understand. Trust me. Once your meter is filled back up, you goto the next house the family has moved into to get away from you. Each house is bigger with more rooms, and therefore, a little more difficult to empty out. They'll employ ways to protect themselves from you like adopting a dog who can see you and in turn will attack you. There is a bit more to the game, but not much.

Well this is the end of my first article on here. If you guys enjoyed my little segment, let me know. I've still got plenty of other games that are alot of fun to play even though they're not well known! Tell me whatcha think!
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