The Most Underrated Sequels

Does part two really have to mean part awful?
August 19, 2008
Zen Champion here, or you can call me Z.C. and this is my very first Retrojunk article. I guess it would be more fitting if it were my second article since it deals with sequels but I shouldn't jump ahead of myself. When discussing sequels we should always remember what the true purpose of the sequel is. I have always felt that the sequel is to be a continuation of the original which in and of itself is it's greatest flaw due to the fact that the original had met with such success that most of the time it sets the bar too high and the sequel seems like a pitiful remake. There are some exceptions to this rule, where the sequel actually overshadows the original and gains favor among the public and draws critical acclaim, such as the case with "The Godfather Part II","Terminator 2: Judgment Day", and "The Empire Strikes Back."

What I shall introduce within this article are sequels to both video games and movies from my past that I feel have often been ignored and even despised for not meeting the expectations set fourth by their predecessors. I judge these video games and movies based on their "face value" or what direction the producers/developers were going, why I feel the sequel is underrated, and how well the game or movie holds up today. I shall start with the fifth most underrated video game sequel then the fifth most underrated movie sequel and alternate until the most underrated sequels in both categories are revealed. Also, remember underrated doesn't necessarily mean awful, and I will only be looking at the direct sequels which is the second in each franchise.
The Fifth Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos (1990)

Face Value
This is the very reason why the Game Genie was invented, as it shares the same incredibly difficult hordes of enemies the re-spawn over and over again as the first game. In this second installment, Ryu Hayabusa finds himself facing Ashtar, some demon lord, as well evil hawks and bats which all seem to be well placed to knock Ryu into various chasms and ditches resulting in instant death. Make no mistake, because even the slightest mishap and you're toast. Several handy power-ups and weapons show up to aid you in your quest varying from small ninja stars to larger ninja stars as well as an assortment of flame spells. A second power-up even allows Ryu to make red ninja clones of himself that mimic his every move, but even with all of this, the game is still one tough cookie.

It's only a matter of time before some bird knocks him off...

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos continues the punishing difficulty set by the first Ninja Gaiden game and is quite the challenge for anyone. The bosses still suffer the same problem as many bosses in these 8-bit NES games which is that they will falter to using the same attack patterns over and over, however these patterns get harder to spot in the later levels as the bosses have cheap moves that can take any ninja out quick and painfully. Once you lose to a boss, you are humiliated by having to play the entire level all over again, mocking you completely. Just having the chance to get to fight a boss is a great achievement, since the levels beforehand can be such a pain, but to have to lose and be degraded to fighting through the level again is too much. To it's credit Ninja Gaiden II does fix some of the problems that plague the first installment. For one, it is much easier to climb walls since now Ryu actually climbs instead of oddly jumping back and fourth, and the power-ups are much better especially the ninja clone technique. All of these are welcome additions to a stellar sequel.

Why is this Underrated?
Some are likely to argue that this sequel is in fact not underrated at all. For me, I don't recall ever playing this game as much as the original Ninja Gaiden. It could be that a large majority of the gaming world who owned the NES were never able to finish the first Ninja Gaiden and thus never wanted to play this sequel or even the third game.

Get ready to die over and over

It seems like it's no wonder many people don't know about this game due to the fact that the original is an accomplishment to beat in itself. I for one commend the harsh level of difficulty found in this game since in most aspects it rewards patience and correct timing. Then again there is also a pesky time limit. I consider this game is underrated due to the fact that it is an achievement in correcting the flaws over the original even if it is not as well known.

Does it hold up?
This game gets bonus points all across the board for still remaining as addicting as the original was and still is. Collectively the Ninja Gaiden games on the NES are some of the finest 8-Bit games out there, and they are just as good now as they were twenty years ago. If you ever come across this game at a yard sale and you still can get that NES to work I would highly recommend buying this.

There's no way you'll make it to me...

The Fifth Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Face Value
Once upon a time there were three Indiana Jones films, kids, we called them 'The Indiana Jones Trilogy' and this one used to the rotten egg of the bunch. What happened here was that the first Indy flick "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was such a groundbreaking achievement for it's time, that this one failed to captivate audiences and didn't seem all that dazzling compared to Raiders. If that wasn't bad enough the third Indiana Jones movie "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade" was better than both previous films thanks in large part to Sean Connery's involvement among other things. So this became the unwanted middle child. Thankfully for it, the unnecessary fourth Indy movie "Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" replaces Doom as the worst film by far.

Fedora, check. Whip, check. Yeah he's Indiana Jones alright!

Here we find that the world's most adventurous archaeologist, Dr. Henry Jones winding up in some small town around India. With him are his companions Willie, a woman who is as beautiful as she is cowardly, and Short Round a thief and pickpocket, in the form of a ten-year-old Asian boy with a New York Yankees baseball cap. Indy is on a quest to retrieve sacred tablets within dark catacombs, where he must fight witch doctors, drink blood, and battle with his own sanity.

Why is this Underrated?
I honestly have no idea why the vast majority of Indiana Jones fans and moviegoers despise this movie so much. My guess is that it is for the reason I said earlier which is that the first was good and this one wasn't as good, then the third was better than the first. It's really a shame that time has caused this movie to fade into oblivion so to speak, causing consumers to simply forget about it. Steven Spielberg himself has went on to say that Doom is his least favorite of the three original movies. It seems that overall this movie suffered the symptoms of any sequel, which is that it just isn't better than the original. Of course, since the third movie Crusade was a bigger hit than both of the first two, it almost seems like Doom is completely doomed to be forgotten.

This scene where Jaws attacks the mine cart was left on the cutting room floor.

Does it hold up?
I have to admit that this is THE Indiana Jones movie that I fondly remember growing up. In fact, the only time I realized that Raiders existed was because of a McDonald's promotion where you could buy all of the Indiana Jones movies on VHS with a value meal or something. Now when I watch this movie I see it entirely different. I find the Short Round character to be very annoying, but still a better sidekick than Mutt Williams in the new movie. Kate Capshaw's performance nearly steals the show with her lines like "I could have been you're greatest adventure." As a kid I had no idea what that was supposed to mean. I would have to say that this movie does hold up after all these years which prove that it is a movie for both kids and adults, it's just a shame that most people think that the other movies are much better, including me, which makes this sequel very underrated.

Don't feel bad for her, she's now married to one of the most powerful men in Hollywood.

The Fourth Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (1987)

Face Value
We go from one whip-toting hero to another and this time it's Simon Belmont. Apparently, Dracula, the greatest vampire of all time, wasn't too happy when he was defeated in this first Castlevania game and decides to put a curse on the game's main character Simon Belmont, the hero from the first game. This game sets itself apart from the other Castlevania games because it functions on an odd night/day time limit, which was a first for any game. You find yourself starting off in a town where you must look for clues as to where to go, eventually you must leave the village and head into the forest. At some point, it becomes sunset and the creatures become a lot tougher. The object of this game is to locate all of Dracula's body parts and bring him back to life, only to kill him once more, in order to lift the curse.

Behold! The first ever pop-up message!

However, unlike the first Castlevania game, or other Castlevania games, this one isn't quite as linear, and it's real easy to get lost and not even know where to go or even how to get to where you need to go to advance in the game. Talking to townspeople is the only means to know what to do. This is a huge problem because only a handful of these townspeople give actual clues, and most of the time they speak in odd riddles that you have to figure out on your own. Plus, as an added bonus, Simon Belmont can't touch water or he will instantly die, so on top of being cursed he also can't swim. There are several weapon upgrades that are available, the best being the fire whip, but still the most difficult aspect of this game is how hard it can be to even know where to journey to.

Why is this Underrated?
Like I've already said, this game does it's own thing with the whole night/day formula of game play, which is innovating, yet it's also a chore to have to read the same dialog box every time it turns to night! We get it he's cursed! Maybe the curse is that he must be reminded he's cursed...That makes sense. There have been several Castlevania games that were made after this one, it's successor, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, which also appeared on the NES, had a much warmer reception, as it did alway with the whole night/day while searching for clues angle, in favor of switching between characters. Then several years later came Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which established itself as the greatest Castlevania game. Overall, this is a sequel that is marred by various game play issues not found in the other installments.

Does it hold up?
I remember finding this and playing it just a couple of years ago, and surprisingly it is still somewhat entertaining. It is a game that has it's own rules, albeit it's rules are ridiculous. The first time I played this as a kid, I couldn't get anywhere, of course now all you have to do is look up strategy guides online, making things much easier. Another strange aspect is how I remember the character Simon Belmont. I used to watch "Captain N: The Game Master" on Saturday mornings, and on that show he was an arrogant jerk. Anyway this game can still be a challenge unless you know what to do and where to go to do it. I feel that this game is underrated because most people don't like how Konami changed the traditional Castlevania formula set up by the original, but with this game we should understand that change can be good, just not here.

Simon Belmont as he appears on Captain N, he has twice the chin and twice the ego.
The Fourth Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Face Value
Taking place five years after the incidents that happen in the first movie, Ghostbusters II unfolds as the Ghostbusters have effectively quit busting ghosts and have gone their own separate ways with different careers. The cast of crazy secondary characters return, such as Lewis, the geeky accountant who becomes the lawyer for the Ghostbusters, Janine, the Ghostbusters secretary who develops a relationship with Lewis, and Dana, Peter Venkman's love interest who now has an infant son. As the story develops we find out that the ghost problem is coming from underneath New York as a 'river of slime' flows which causes anyone it touches to react in a moody and cruel way. The villain in this movie is Vigo, an ancient Carpathian warlord who is trapped inside a painting in some New York museum. He may not be as powerful as Gozer from the first movie, but he has more screen time and way more lines.

Look into his eyes and tell him you hate his movie

In order for Vigo to regain his human form, he must possess Dana's son Oscar, as part of a bizarre plot device that calls for Dana to ask for the aid of New York's finest Ghostbusters-THE Ghostbusters.

Why is this Underrated?
I have always felt that this movie is slightly better than the first, due to my own personal preference. It is likely underrated for the reason that the first film was too good, and ended on such a note that a follow-up movie wasn't really necessary. I would have to disagree with this assumption. When this movie opened during summer '89 it broke box office records (to only have those records broken a week later by Tim Burton's Batman). Regardless I feel that it is very unjust to criticize a sequel of this caliber just because it isn't as good as the first one.

Does it hold up?
I still watch this movie every now and then, and I even have it on DVD and will eventually get it on BluRay and at some point will download it into my brain so I can watch in subliminally. I have always been a fan of this movie ever since I can remember. Sure there are no demonic dogs or Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but it's still a fun adventure. There is a fantastic scene where the guys use the song "Higher and Higher" along with "happy slime" to cause the Statue of Liberty to move through New York so they can break the shield over the museum hiding the antagonist Vigo. There are several other great moments as well, so many. Seeing Lewis in a Ghostbuster outfit was so cool, I said to myself "good for him." Over all, I can't get enough of this film, even though the cast and crew including the director Ivan Reitman were said to be dissatisfied with the final results. I still can't get enough of this very underrated sequel, maybe I should have said it's the most underrated movie sequel of all time. Oh well, it's not, but I can't wait to watch it again later...

Make way Statue of Liberty coming through
The Third Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time

Double Dragon II: The Revenge (1989)

Face Value
Now we're talking it's Double Dragon II: The Revenge for the NES! This one has everything a sequel to Double Dragon could need, especially vengeance! Billy Lee is framed for the death of his girlfriend Marian, so it's up to both Billy and Jimmy (or just Billy in 1 Player Mode) to clear his name by kicking the crap out of every punk that walks the planet. There is so many ways the developers give you to beat up foes in this masterpiece: punching, kicking, grabbing, jump-kicking, or this awesome move I do called The Super Knee Buster that sends guys off miles away. One thing to get used to is the control scheme of this game which is different from the original Double Dragon. Here, the A Button punches in the right direction, and the B Button kicks in the opposite direction. It's kind of weird at first. Pressing both buttons at the same time will do special air moves like the jump kick or the triple jump sweeper. Be careful because foes can still carry around knives and whips, and it's still easy to mis-jump a gap and fall to your death.

Check this out, I'm the guy in the red on the right and I'm about to send this guy flying with the Super Knee Buster.

This game definitely knows how to pack a punch and throw a drop kick. One of the greatest aspects of this sequel is that it has to be one of the first NES beat-em ups that allowed for co-op game play. The original arcade Double Dragon had co-op, yet for some reason the NES version of the first Double Dragon didn't which was lame. Anyway another awesome aspect is the level design, which is greatly improved over the first. The helicopter level for instance allows you to knock enemies out of a flying helicopter-including the boss! In game cut scenes also were thrown into the mix to move along the game's storyline much like in Ninja Gaiden games. Acclaim and Technos really crafted a perfect sequel with this one.

Why is this Underrated?
I guess the correct answer here would be this it is not underrated at all. In some ways Double Dragon II: The Revenge is greater than the original and in other ways it is not. This once again is a matter of personal preference and tastes. One factor that is a true addition to the Double Dragon game play formula that this sequel made is the co-op game play. Sure it was included in the arcade version of Double Dragon, but I never played that. This co-op option is seen in practically every beat-em up game that followed including Final Fight, and Final Fight clones such as Street Smart. River City Ransom also introduced co-op game play but I'm not sure which game gets the credit for introducing it first. Both games were developed by Technos so it really was their idea to put it in a beat-em up. Going back to Double Dragon II: The Revenge being an underrated sequel, let's observe the fact the original sold millions of copies and was a smash hit. Several ports were made of the game which eventually led to a cartoon and even a motion picture which was awful. So saying Double Dragon II: The Revenge is underrated is more of an opinion or a preference for the original, which I have.

Does it hold up?
This game is still possibly the greatest sequel ever made for a video game. Wait, it's not because it's an underrated sequel, and it's not the greatest underrated sequel to a video game, because it's the third greatest. This game is still a blast to play even after all these years. It really is hard to pick whether I like this or the original Double Dragon more. For now I'll say I prefer Revenge, but it's still an underrated sequel, which should have been the original. I guess that is the greatest flaw with Revenge is that it should be the original. One thing though, if the original NES version of Double Dragon did have co-op game play, Revenge would seem like a bad clone. Revenge does have it's share of problems. The controls can be a hassle some times and may not work when you need them to. Also, it can get really easy to die when you get to the later levels and fail to jump correctly to a platform. Despite these minor problems this sequel is still incredible and I can't wait to beat the living snot out of it in the near future.

Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a guest appearance in the game!
The Third Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time

Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)

Face Value
I can almost feel the boos and jeers for this choice. You're probably thinking "How can something so stupid be underrated?" Well let's look at what this film is, or it's face value, as I have deemed in this article. To call this movie 'stupid' is to mock it, because isn't it supposed to be stupid? Wasn't the first movie "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" about a couple of idiots trying to pass a high school history class by going through time in a magic phone booth? So, it goes without saying the writers here had to think of some new direction to take these characters, so why not kill them off and have them enter Hell...The story starts off in the future, where Bill and Ted are seen as gods, which was the major plot of the original film. Rufus, played by the late George Carlin, is teaching students about being excellent to each other at Bill and Ted High School. There is an evil scientist who creates Evil robot duplicates of Bill and Ted, and is sent back in time to kill off the originals. This can get a little confusing later on in the movie. Anyway the ACTUAL Bill and Ted are thrown off a cliff and go to Hell. Eventually they meet the Grim Reaper, play various board games with him such as Twister and Battleship in order to get to Heaven. In Heaven, the guys meet God, who is shown off screen, recite the lyrics to an old Poison song, and finally request the aid of the greatest scientist in the universe which happens to be this Big Foot lookalike named Station, who creates Good Bill and Ted robots that fight off the Evil Bill and Ted robots while the ACTUAL Bill and Ted make it to the Battle of the Bands and restore the future. I don't think it sounds that stupid...Alright, it is but that's the whole point!

This guy got snubbed for Best Supporting Actor

Why is this Underrated?
I am starting to notice that the public in general does not highly approve of movie franchises that take "new directions." Maybe this only holds true when discussing "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey." Whatever the case may be the original "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" will always be the preferred of the two. I remember the original had a cartoon series, comic books, a toy line, and even a spin-off live action television show that featured none of the original actors from the movie! (See also: "Weird Science" The USA Original Series) I think that this movie did the best it could, and I commend it for doing that. If it would have been another movie where Bill and Ted go back in time then it would have been a rehashed remake.

The ending has one of the best rock anthems ever written

Does it hold up?
It's hard to find this on any cable station nowadays, because those channels typically show Excellent Adventure. I remember watching it within the last five years, and it's still a good movie, with some good scenes and an awesome song that the guys play at the end when they come back from the future. It's actually a song recorded by KISS whenever the band was in their 1980's phase and didn't wear any make-up. The song is called "God Gave Rock and Roll to You." I actually bought the album "Revenge" for that one song, and it sounds nothing like it does in this movie, but it's still a good rock track. Other than the strange plot, this movie has some other problems. One thing I didn't like is the lack of Rufus, who was the 'guide' for Bill and Ted in the first movie. In this sequel it seems like he has only a few scenes and then seemingly replaced by the Death character. That's another thing wrong with this movie, is the supporting cast is made up of oddballs instead of oddball historical figures. Overall, this film is more under appreciated than underrated.

Sadly, George Carlin is barely in this sequel at all.
The Second Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time

Zelda II:The Adventure of Link (1988)

Face Value
Here we have not just a good game, but a great game. The game continues the quest to rescue Princess Zelda and restore the Triforce, while having to thwart the schemes of the evil wizard Ganon (a.k.a. Ganondorf, his first form). I still remember how awesome it was that the cartridges for both NES Zelda games were golden. It seemed like you were playing a king's video game or something. The greatest difference between this and the original Legend of Zelda, is that this sequel is a side-scrolling adventure, while the first was a over-the-top scrolling adventure. If anything, this is probably why so many see Zelda II as the ill-fated sequel. Especially since the other 2-D Zelda games that went on to appear on the Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS follow the same top-down perspective as the very first Zelda. Regardless of it being a side-scrolling game it is still hard. There are these knights called Ironknuckles that start to show up in the castles that are some of the fiercest enemies in any game. They come at you quick and will either give you a low or high attack with their sword, so you have to guess how to strike and at the same time, hit them before they hit you. There are other enemies, of course, as well as a nice variety of weapons at Link's disposal to use, such as bombs and boomerangs. Link can also learn abilities that in some ways take advantage of the side perspective, namely the downward stab attack. There is an odd format that this game follows where villages and other environments appear in side-scrolling fashion, yet once you leave these places you go to an over world map in birds eye view, where you can encounter enemies or even fairies which restore health.

Hey! I can see my house from here!
Once again, this game can be a tough one, as it is filled with mazes and puzzles that develops this game into more of a chore than actual entertainment. Like Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Zelda II offers the same types of villages filled with townspeople that speak one sentence, over and over, with only a few of these villagers actually giving out helpful information.

Nowadays he says "I am 404."

Other villagers, namely women in the town, will take Link into their home and restore his health and magic, which at least is better than this not happening like in Simon's Quest. There is even a village where the townsfolk are servants of Ganon, and turn into bats after you talk to them, which must mean that they are all vampires. Link's main objective is something that has to do with gathering six crystals to open some gate that contains the Triforce of Courage that will awaken the sleeping princess.

The plot to this game is told during the introduction screen when you turn the game on, and probably goes into more detail in the instruction booklet. It's something like Zelda has a brother (who never has appeared in any other Zelda title) that wants to know the secrets of their family that only Zelda knows about. After Zelda refuses to tell him anything, he gets a wizard (who is not Ganon) to place Zelda in a deep sleep and locks her in the palace. Meanwhile, Link gets this mark on his hand, which means that he is the only hero who can break the sleeping spell. At the same time, Ganon's followers are planning to kill Link because if they do then Link's blood will awaken the evil wizard Ganon, who was killed in the first Zelda.

Why is this Underrated?
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link gets a lot of heat because it isn't like the original or the subsequent later Zelda titles, because Nintendo decided to make this a side-scrolling game with RPG elements. Link can now level up his magic, health, stamina, and attack with the EXP points he gets from every enemy he defeats. This makes the game much more strategic than the first, because now players must choose what they want to improve on. Another difference is that now Link has extra lives or "extra men" as I call them, meaning if Link dies once the game isn't over. It's a shame that Nintendo has never decided to make another Zelda game like this one, because it really was a good idea, it's just that the vast majority of players did not think so.

Does it hold up?
I'll be the first to admit that I have never sat through and ever beat this game. In fact, I never beat the original Zelda either. The first Zelda game I beat was the SNES classic, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I did play this both in my youth and recently, and I can honesty say that overall, this game suffers similar problems that also affect Simon's Quest. It is really difficult to know exactly where to go, and then once you arrive at say some castle, there is some obstacle in your way, requiring you to find some magical item. There is a lot of backtracking and going back and fourth, which consume a large amount of time. The farthest I ever got in this game was to some sort of maze in the mountains, until I quit playing due to frustration issues. Oh well, maybe I'll pick up this game and continue playing it in another ten years.

She's going to be asleep for a long timeThe Second Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time

Batman Returns (1992)

Face Value
This movie seems like it's ancient history now, "Batman Returns" hit movie theaters three years before the third 90's Batman film "Batman Forever" plunged Batman in the realm of awfulness, then the fourth film, "Batman and Robin" left the franchise in total shambles. Only recently has Batman been given a cinematic face lift, with director Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale, with both "Batman Begins" and the masterpiece "The Dark Knight." Arriving in 1992, I can still remember this movie as the first I had to wait in any long line to see, as the theater lobby was quite full. This is the follow-up to the Jack Nicholson movie "Batman," where Jack's portrayal of The Joker, and the Joker's antics, steals the show. With Returns, there is no Joker, but two, no wait, three villians. Danny DeVito, plays Oswald Cobblepot, also known as The Penquin, Michelle Pfeiffer, plays the down-trotten Selina Kyle, a workaday independent woman who becomes the leather-clad Catwoman, and Christopher Walken, plays Max Shreck, a wealthy businessman who is the slimiest of the bunch.

You got to admit, she looks hot in that outfit

This Batman film has plenty of action, as Batman fights off gangs of clowns and other circus misfits. I always wondered why this clown gang didn't hang out with The Joker from the last movie, since Joker is a clown himself. Oh well, anyway, Shreck befriends The Penguin as a plan to get The Penguin to run for Mayor of Gotham City. Only Bruce Wayne senses something is amiss, and knows that this is all some sort of evil plan. Somewhere during the first twenty minutes or so, Shreck also finds time to push his secretary, Selina Kyle, out of the window of his office, causing her to develop some sort of multiple personality as she is brought to life by stray cats licking her wounds (yeah, it's kinda stupid). Long story short (spoiler alert), the rest of the movie goes like this Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle form this relationship, while at the same time; they don't realize that they are both fighting each other on rooftops in their costumes at night. The Penguin forms an alliance with Catwoman to take down Batman, but only has that broken after Penguin hits on her. Eventually Bruce exposes The Penquin as a self-centered jerk over a loud-speaker, causing Penquin to go on a rampage and kill off every first-born son of Gotham. Penguin eventually gets killed; after Batman foils his lame scheme to blow up Gotham using actual penguins with dynamite strapped to them (I thought The Penguin befriended actual penguins). I won't go into the very end except for the fact that Batman reveals to Selina Kyle that he is in fact Bruce Wayne.

Why is this Underrated?
There is a large amount of people who cannot stand this movie at all. Then there is a large amount of people who love this movie and say that it is greater than the first. I fall somewhere in between, I feel it does well in some ways and it falls short in other regards. Some of the dialog that the characters speak is pretty lame, of course not as lame, as Mr. Freeze's dialog in "Batman and Robin." Much of this comes from Danny DeVito's Penguin, who visually looks like a Tim Burton rendition of Batman's comic book nemesis, but still sounds like DeVito, making corny jokes every now and then. Another bad line is when Catwoman interrupts a face off between the Batman and Penguin, looks both of them, then says, "Meow." That was really, really stupid. I did like how this movie had more action than the one before it, yet this is followed by dumb scenes like the stray cats coming to the aid of a nearly dead Selina Kyle which creates the Catwoman persona, give me a break. Looking at this movie in it's entirety it is a fairly decent movie, but a work of art compared to the two subsequent non-Burton Bat films of the 1990's.

The Penguin in this movie looks more like the fat little brother of Edward Scissorhands

Does it hold up?
For the most part I would have to say that this movie holds up pretty well. I remember thinking that Robin was going to be in it somewhere, but he isn't, which turns out to be a good thing. Like I've said before some of the lines are a bit corny and some of the story is a bit strange, but it still is a pretty good Batman flick, as well as action flick in general. I really liked how they do this whole thing with Catwoman having nine lives, which I thought was clever. Also, I really like how all of these villains form alliances only to lead to betrayal. The romance with Bruce and Selina is a really nice touch, as their alter egos are rivals. Even today, over ten years after this movie was released it still has all of the charm of any underrated sequel.

Michelle Pfeiffer is the most underrated Catwoman

Now The Moment Has Come to Announce The Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time!

But First...A Recap of the Other Underrated Video Game Sequels!

The Fifth Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time
Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos

The Fourth Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest

The Third Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time
Double Dragon II: The Revenge

The Second Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Here it is...

The Most Underrated Video Game Sequel of All Time

Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988)

Face Value
You have got to be kidding! This is a complete joke! This game is beyond atrocious! I'm sure you're probably thinking these things right now, or even yelling them at the screen. Just calm down and I will explain all of the reasons and justifications as to why this often overlooked game is the most underrated video game sequel of all time.

Most of us who spent our childhoods with an NES have played Super Mario Bros. as it came with the NES console during the mid 1980s on a cartridge that also features Duck Hunt, a game where you shoot either ducks or clay pigeons using the NES light gun. Super Mario Bros. instantly became one the greatest video games ever created, making Mario and Luigi huge superstars. The original led to several cartoons, coloring books, toys, t-shirts, and even a movie starring Bob Hoskins. In Japan, Nintendo developed a sequel to Super Mario Bros. that was deemed to be to difficult for the American audience. So Nintendo decided to take another game it had developed called Doki Doki Panic and change the characters to Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool (now called Peach), and Toad. Other small aspects were also tweaked such as music and graphics. When this game was originally brought to the United States way back in 1988, nobody in America really knew that this was not the true sequel. Only later, when Nintendo re-released the actual Super Mario Bros. 2 as part of the SNES collection, Super Mario All-Stars, did we learn the truth. Now for this reason there is a great hatred for this game.

Wrong choice pal. In this game, Luigi is better than Mario.

Why is this Underrated?
The argument against this game will always be that it is not an ACTUAL Mario game. To this I say, YES IT IS, because MARIO IS ON THE BOX! Sure, it may have been published at Doki Doki Panic in Japan, and Nintendo decided to switch those characters out with Mario characters for the North American release, but it is still a Mario game, because Mario is in it! What more do you need? I don't remember hearing any of these complaints when this game was released some twenty years ago. If we can look past the fact that this is a completely different game in Japan, and treat it as an underrated sequel to Super Mario Bros., we will find that it is a very good sequel.

This game allows you pick between four characters, which I always thought was a very cool idea, and possibly the first for any platform game. This would later be used in various other NES games such as Battletoads and Maniac Mansion. In Mario 2, however, you can choose players after every level, or if you lose all of your lives. The characters are not very balanced though, as some can go through the game a lot easier than others. Mario, the franchise player of the team, does his typical running and jumping, no big deal. Luigi on the other hand, is able to do this odd air walk when he jumps causing him to hover. Princess Toadstool has a similar jump like Luigi, but she does more of a glide. Then there's Toad, who is basically like Mario, and has no real special abilities. This game is not very story driven, as there really is no plot. I suppose it is something like Mario and company wind up in this magical land where they must thwart Bowser's evil plans again. Wait, a minute...Bowser isn't in this game? Since, this game originated as Doki Doki Panic, most of the signature villains that appear in the original Super Mario Bros. aren't in this sequel, such as Lakitu, the Hammer Bros., and the King of All Koopas-Bowser. Instead the final boss in this game is some frog king named Wart.

Potions in this game create doorways to other dimensions

Several of the characters introduced in this game, have become prominent members of the Mario universe over the years. Toad, for instance, technically originated in this game. Sure, you could say that he was the guy in the first Super Mario Bros. that would always tell you that the princess was in another castle, yet that could have been any toadstool minion in the Mushroom Kingdom! Another SMB 2 character, Birdo, who has become the center of Yoshi's (the dinosaur from Super Mario World) love life, can be seen in several Mario iterations such as Mario Tennis, Mario Super Sluggers, and Mario Strikers Charged! Then there are the Shy Guys, who appears in several Mario Parties as well as various other Mario titles.

You can't expect to survive an encounter with a dangerous Shy Guy

Besides the fact that this game is originally Doki Doki Panic, there are other reasons why it is underrated. One major reason is that the sequel to Super Mario Bros. 2 is Super Mario Bros. 3 (big surprise) which is arguably one of the greatest NES games ever made. Mario 3 not only brought back Koopa Troopas and Bowser but added so much more to the Mario formula, like throwing in a 2-Player Mode where Mario and Luigi battle for territories by facing off with each other in the original Mario Bros. arcade classic. Also new power-ups are included in the third notably the Magic Leaf that allowed Mario to fly in a Raccoon form, the Tanooki suit that allowed Mario to turn to a statue, the Hammer Bros. suit which allowed Mario to throw hammers, and the Frog suit which makes Mario swim underwater easier. Overall, Super Mario Bros. 3 is the best Mario for the NES, that still only is more reason to consider Super Mario Bros. 2 to be the greatest underrated sequel to a video game.

Does it hold up?
I play this game every now and then, since lately, it has been reincarnated on new Nintendo hardware. It appears on the Game Boy Advance as the original Super Mario Advance, and recently it has been available as part of the Virtual Console for the Nintendo Wii. I think this game is a true masterpiece that gets overshadowed by it's older and younger Mario Brothers. The music and level design in Super Mario Bros. 2 is a great achievement over that found in Super Mario Bros., even if the classic Mario theme is no where to be found. I remember the levels very well, especially the one I call, The Ice Level, where the characters all slip all over the place, and are attacked by evil snowballs. If you want to look down on this game just because it was called something else, then that's your choice. It still doesn't change my mind in calling Super Mario Bros. 2 the most underrated video game sequel of all time.

The battle for the fate of the universe is between these two...

At Long Last, The Time Has Come...Bring Fourth The Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time As Well As The End To This Article!

But First...A Recap of the Other Underrated Movie Sequels!

The Fifth Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

The Fourth Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time
Ghostbusters II

The Third Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time
Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey

The Second Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time
Batman Returns

Here it is...

The Most Underrated Movie Sequel of All Time

The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

Face Value
What? I scrolled all the way down for this to be considered the most underrated movie sequel? If this is your question, then the answer is yeah I guess you did, because this is the most underrated movie sequel of all time, hence the title that appears above the movie poster. Following the huge success of the first movie "The Karate Kid" director John G. Avildsen and writer Robert Mark Kamen were paid huge amounts of money to create a sequel. They decided to take the sequel to Okinawa, where there is all sorts of trouble awaiting Daniel LaRusso, and his mentor Mr. Miyagi.

Put 'em in a body bag!

Of course, the first ten minutes or so of this film, shows what happens directly after the conclusion of the events in the first movie, which leaves Daniel triumphant over Johnny Lawrence and the Cobra Kais in the tournament. Kreese, the fierce Cobra Kai karate instructor, is livid that Johnny was beat by Daniel and threatens to beat up his own pupil, until Miyagi steps in and gives Kreese a lesson in mercy, causing Kreese to break his hand on a car window in the parking lot. This incident adds to Kreese wanting vengeance against Daniel and Miyagi as seen in The Karate Kid Part III. Anyway after this scene, the Cobra Kais never return in the remainder of this movie or in The Karate Kid Part III. Following this, we learn that Miyagi must go back to his hometown of Okinawa to visit his sick and dying father. Daniel ends up tagging along finding Miyagi at the airport just as the last flight to Okinawa is about to take off (talk about timing). The rest of the movie takes place in Okinawa where Miyagi confronts his hostile brother Sato, who wants to fight Miyagi to the death, as Sato believes that Miyagi is a coward, and this is the only way to restore honor to the family. Honor becomes a huge part of this movie, as it speaks a lot about what honor means to the culture of Okinawa, and how it relates to family. Chozen, Sato's nephew, replaces Johnny as Daniel's nemesis in this movie, and does a pretty good job. The movie ends as Daniel must face off against Chozen in a fight to the death, as Daniel has disgraced him.

You do not want to mess with this guy

Why is this Underrated?
Honestly I don't have a clue as to why this brilliant sequel to my favorite movie of my childhood became almost lost in time. The greatest reason for it being underrated is more than likely due to the fact that the original Karate Kid movie is so popular. I remember for the longest time, "Karate Kid Part II" was never shown on television at all. Only recently have I seen this sequel appear on various cable channels such as amc and the Versus network. It really is a shame for this movie to have been desecrated as it has been because it some ways it is a better film than the original. I love how they go into Mr. Miyagi's past by spending the entire movie where his character originated from. Also, as I have already mentioned, I like how this movie deals with interpretations of honor and what it means in battle. Mercy is another theme, that returns from the original as well, as the antagonists of both stories feel that mercy is for the weak.

Talk about an ice breaking moment, actually breaking ice!

Even though this sequel is underrated, it was followed up by the aforementioned third movie "The Karate Kid Part III" and (sigh) a fourth movie, "The Next Karate Kid" in 1994 which starred future Oscar-winning actress, Hilary Swank. "The Karate Kid Part II" based on it's own merits did spawn a short-lived cartoon series, as well as a horribly difficult NES game that is referred to as "The Karate Kid: The Video Game." The third installment of the series involved Daniel returning to The United States with Mr. Miyagi and becoming fed up with Miyagi's ways. Daniel comes under the guidance of Terry Silver, a wealthy karate teacher, who actually is an old friend of Kreese, the instructor of the Cobra Kais. The third movie focused more on Daniel turning his back on Miyagi, only to return to his teachings once again to win the Karate Championship. I always see the third film to be more of a remake of the first Karate Kid, since it ends almost the same way, except with Daniel facing a different opponent in the finals, the antagonist, Mike. The Karate Kid Part II deserves to be considered the most underrated movie sequel of all time because it is rated much lower than the first, yet it continues the story so well.

Does it hold up?
Of all the underrated movie sequels I have mentioned in this article, this one holds up the best. I have seen this movie not too long ago on television, and I have to say I like watching this movie now more than I did when I was little. This movie still has plenty of drama and action, even more than the first Karate Kid film has. What's interesting is to compare this series with the Rocky series. Both films have the same underdog story, yet for some reason, the Rocky sequels got better until they went overboard with the awful Rocky V. "The Karate Kid Part II" also has plenty of cameos from actors who are now well known stars such as B.D. Wong of Law and Order, and Clarence Gilyard Jr., who is in "Die Hard" as well as "Walker, Texas Ranger." Peter Cetera's voice makes a cameo during the running on the beach scene, with his song "Glory of Love." This Peter Cetera hit single was a part of VH1 and Blender magazine's "Awesomely Bad Love Songs" a few years back, but it is underrated much like the movie it appears in. "The Karate Kid Part II" is the personification of a movie sequel that is underrated, it has everything the original has and more: action, romance, drama, and even a fight to the death. I always shall look forward to watching the movie and in my heart it shall not be underrated, but merely just rated incorrectly.

Ralph Macchio and the late Pat Morita

Well there you have it, my first article. I hope this allows you to look back at these sequels and see that they aren't so bad, and that maybe it is us who are to blame for judging them. We shouldn't really be so hard on them, because after all, most of their existence is due to an attempt to make money off the originals. We should see them as desperate efforts to recapture the magic of their original counterparts and nothing more.
More Articles From Zen_Champion
An unhandled error has occurred. Reload Dismiss