Tell Us About Your Lost Classic

Another day, another original article.  How can this be?  Yesterday I looked at a few series that I happened to miss out on, and asked you to share your stories.  A few people said they didn’t really have much to talk about so I figured this article should remedy that problem.  Today we’re going to get the juices flowing by hopefully introducing players to lost classics.  Games that you felt were great or worthy of being mentioned even though perhaps they never really caught on or reviews didn’t seem to “get it.”  As usual, I’ll get things started.

There are countless games I could talk about here.  Games that I thought were good enough to warrant a sequel, or twenty, but just never seemed to click with the masses.  The first game that pops to mind is Fear Effect.  This PS1 third person action game was something else when it hit the scene back in February 2000.  Wow, I can’t believe an entire decade has passed since this original IP was released.

Fear Effect was made by the now-defunct developer Kronos Digital Entertainment, and published by Eidos Interactive.  Yes that’s the same publisher as Tomb Raider.  At the time of release the awesome Resident Evil: Code Veronica had just hit the scene on the Dreamcast.  A lot of reviewers were saying the RE series was starting to show its age, not so much in graphics, but in terms of gameplay.  Remember that three full Resident Evils had been released up to that point, all featuring the exact same gameplay mechanics and overall idea.  Fear Effect was something a bit different.

Instead of featuring zombies, this game was all about the Chinese culture and its version of hell, hell on Earth.  Protagonist Hana was a hard-edge gunslinger who, along with Deke and Glas, was out to make money.  These weren’t your typical anti-heroes, these people were real asses.  Like all good s.o.b.s, eventually you start to like them.  Their mission was simple, to return a missing girl to her father. What starts out super simple eventually becomes a struggle for survival as hell literally opens up and your simple task becomes a fight for the future of Earth.  Well, something like that anyways.

Gameplay was also excellent.  Not only was there non-stop action and everything you’d expect from a survival horror-inspired game, but the puzzles, oh man were they awesome.  You know how Resident Evil has some of the most ridiculous puzzles out there.  For example, having to power something up by locating a power supply…inside a fridge…on the moon.  Obviously this is an exaggerated example, but you know what I’m talking about.  With Fear Effect all the puzzles made sense.  If you had to power up something, you needed to find the breaker which just happened to be located…in the power room!  OMG incredible!  Another example would to walking across a glass structure as debris falls and hits the glass.  You can see the cracks in the glass and you need to slowly move away from the cracks.  Little puzzles like this went a long way to enhance the experience.  Even the enemy encounters were puzzles in and of themselves.  Occasionally battles would take place where you had only two points of safety, forcing you to move between them while a helicopter stopped firing.  Everything made sense, and to this very day that’s an extremely rare occurrence.

What made Fear Effect stand out was its storyline, puzzles, action, and its incredible streaming technology.  It was one of the first games to use this tech.  While Rockstar would perfect it with GTA III, Fear Effect used a massive four CDs full of information for what amounted to a 10 hour action extravaganza.  What this boiled down to was pre-rendered animated cutscenes that actually animated while you played within them.  So take the opening sequence as an example.  You land on the rooftop of skyscraper in a future Blade Runner-inspired China.  As you’re on the rooftop everything around you moves.  I mean literally moves.  You see vehicles flying by; you see lights in the city go on and off, etc.  To this day it remains one of the most impressive sights I’ve ever had while first playing a game.  As you progress, the sights and technology get that much more impressive.  The only downside is that each scene would only last around 20 seconds before it would pause and reload.  Today, I would imagine we could extend that greatly.

When you look at everything Fear Effect did right you had yourself a game I would have easily scored a 9/10 or “Buy” rating today.  It was so unlike all the other games on the PlayStation at the time.  It remains a classic and one I continue to tell people about.  While graphically it might be a little weak today, and the controls surely take some getting used to, it remains a lost gem.  Fear Effect 2 was a much more controversial game in that it featured some questionable sexual content, but it too remains a game most people would really get into today.  Because of its content it was reviewed quite harshly and eventually lead to the cancellation of Fear Effect Inferno on the PS2, and that lead to Kronos being dissolved.  I consider that a crying shame.  Today a game like this would likely sell millions only because it featured great gameplay, looked awesome and was so original.

Now I pose the question to you.  What game have you played that others just seemed to ignore.  What was it about and what made it so original?  Everyone has that one game you found awesome, but it just seemed to disappear from everyone else’s line of sight.  It doesn’t matter if the media ripped it apart, part of what makes this article fun is that you have the freedom to voice your opinion.  Let us know about your lost gem.

9 thoughts on “Tell Us About Your Lost Classic”

  1. For me this gen Alpha protocol, it was in my eyes less buggy, had better dialogue choices and better gameplay than the first mass effect, this game really got bad press and i dont understand it really i did enjoy the game too much, but maybe iam alone.
    Last Gen Luigis mansion, super mario sunshine, jade empire, baten kaitos, and killer seven, mainly because it didnt received the accolades they should have gotten.

  2. Unlike your last article, I knew right away which game I would put in here.

    http://gameboy.ign.com/articles/163/163959p1.html

    That’s a game that sold like crap, nobody played, and ever the sequel- Wizards, was deep in development for the GBA but was never actually released. This game was also published by Nintendo so I really wonder why it didn’t do better. Anyway, I really loved this game. As soon as I started playing it, I couldn’t stop until I finished. It was failry long too.

    The sad thing is I never found nobody who had it. The game has an awesome multiplayer mode that I always wanted to try, but couldn’t since nobody had it. Plus, playing against or with people was the only way to get the last wizards. Warlocked is the perfect example of a lost gem.

  3. Do I even have to say it? Any game that immediately pops to mind is by Tri-Ace, particularly Valkyrie Profile. The game blew my mind back in the day, and it’s still just as good if not better than most RPGs released today. Star Ocean: The Second Story and Radiata Stories are also games that I’ve really enjoyed. I was particularly surprised by how engrossed I’ve become with Radiata a couple of years ago. I think I can place it in my 1op 15 best PS2 games.

    I’ve we’re talking about something recent, then I’ll just have to put Lost Odyssey in. This has to be the greatest modern JRPG released thus far, and it deserves a lot more praise then it usually gets. Shame on Square-Enix for releasing crap like FFXIII instead of looking for inspiration to the guy who made them what they are today, the creator of Lost Odyssey, Mr. Sakaguchi.

    About Fear Effect, I’ve also pretty much ignored it. The only thing that caught my attention was the so-called sexual content of the sequel. Is it true that they’re lesbians in it? Talk about shocking.

  4. Lost Odyssey was a great game that I sadly never got around to finishing. It was really hard too if I remember right. I think I died in the opening scene…. which is kind of a tutorial so it’s not a place you’re supposed to die. Anyhow, great game, great fighting system. Hopefully, I’ll get back to it someday.

    1. I think I told you this before, Steven: but did you know that Lost Odyssey was developed by ex-members of the Shadow Hearts team? I’ve always found that pretty interesting. It’s no wonder why it turned out to be the best of MistWalker’s works thus far. Sadly though, I think the developer (FeelPlus) has recently been dissolved into their owner AQ Interactive. The last game they developed is an action title that’ll be released next year by Square-Enix, MindJack.

  5. Man, there are a bunch I could mention…I think one that immediately comes to mind (it’s the retro gamer in me, lol), is Crystalis for the NES. I LOVE that game. I go back and play it every so often because it’s such a classic game. Honestly, I prefer it over Zelda for a good NES adventure game–I know that sounds like blasphemy but I stand by my assertion that Crystalis is better.

    It’s a huge game with a vast world to explore, just like the original Zelda. But it totally one-upped it with more detailed and colorful graphics and lots of content. Not only can you get several swords, each with different elemental powers, you can also get a huge assortment of powers. You can read minds, fly, transform/shape shift, talk to animals, regenerate, teleport, and more. You can make the sky call down lightning! It’s such a cool game. The music is amazing too. It’s too bad that the Game Boy Color port was so butchered, the game deserves a comeback.

  6. This is one of those instances wherein the press’s opinions will never resonate with me, even though they were on the ball. This game has issues, but I loved it anyways…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_gs_501XnE

    Enormous, story-driven RPGs were practically non-existent on the N64, perhaps in part due to the storage limitations imposed by cartridges, but Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage really pushed the envelope with a massive world brought to life by an absolutely epic and engrossing plot.

    A lot of people were pissed off by the open-endedness of the world wherein you’re given little direction as to where to go next, but I enjoyed the freedom and exploration. Reviewers also hated the battle system, which was an odd mix between real-time and turn-based, but I appreciated the depth of strategy it put on the table.

    In short, the game was absolutely hammered by the media in almost every regard, but it didn’t matter to me because the ever-changing story (as in Mass Effect, your decisions/answers make a world of difference) and sense that you were really on your own, trekking through this surreal fantasy land with all its unusual and well-developed characters, were more than enough to pull me in.

    It’s unlikely that people will ever agree with me, but I don’t expect them to.

    A Youtube commenter sums it up pretty well: “A clunky game with surprisingly brilliant aspects and massive worlds.”

    1. I hate that I missed out on this n64 game because the press scared me off back then, especially IGN. I was so looking forward to it as its released drew near, especially since I enjoyed the spiritual prequel, Quest 64. Yeah, the press slammed that as well. I didn’t find it to be perfect obviously, but the real-time/turned-based battle system was pretty good back in the day. Catchy music and clean visuals, too.

  7. Thanks for all the comments guys. It’s interesting to hear about all these different games. I might do something like this again in the future because it’s proven to be quite insightful. Also, never listen to reviewers, they have no idea what they’re talking about ;)

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