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Hidden Gems


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Ever heard of the anime?


If you do check it out, I recommend you start with episode 2. 1 kind of starts things off on the wrong foot and is pretty much repeated as a later episode when it makes more sense to have it. The series is mainly a big back story of the games(From before he becomes Grave, though it ends differently). Same guy that did Trigun too.

Ahh, yeah, I did watch the anime and despite the ending working differently, I kinda preferred it, given the context of the story. I was a little concerned that they were ACTUALLY going to make Grave a silent protagonist, but that was nullified a little way in.

As far as more hidden gems go, I'd like to bring attention to Dark Cloud 2 (Dark Chronicle in Japan). Its an updated sequel to a pretty awesome game that was unfortunately pretty overlooked due to a random release date, but it sucked MANY hours from my life.

Also, what other game do you get a customizable fighting robot called Steve?

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I'd like to bring attention to Dark Cloud 2 (Dark Chronicle in Japan). Its an updated sequel to a pretty awesome game that was unfortunately pretty overlooked due to a random release date, but it sucked MANY hours from my life.

I love Dark Cloud, though I never bothered with Dark Cloud 2, although I did see part of it at a friend's house. It kinda bothered me that the main character's weapon is a wrench and another guy pilots a mech-thing; just seemed a bit too "Industrial Revolution" to me, I guess. The think that really killed it for me though was, assuming I am remembering this correctly, my friend told me they took out the village rebuilding mechanic, which is half of the reason I love Dark Cloud.

Two games that may be well-known, but I'm not sure:

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures (SNES) - You can tell Pac-man to go left or right and interact with objects to get his attention, but cannot directly control him and he's always moving. Can be ridiculously difficult but also a lot of fun. Cocky Pac-Man is hilarious.

Space Station Silicon Valley (N64) - You play as a robot's memory chip and control various robotic animals to complete various missions. Amazingly fun and can be rather hilarious. For example, the rat attacks by pooping and the King Rat can rally his troops and attack by farting. The King Penguin can jet propel himself upwards and hover via a jetstream that comes out of his butt. And the hyena kills opponents with infectious laughter.

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This site has a list of "hidden gems" for each console. Definitely worth checking out:


Anachronox for the PC is one of my old favorites. A great Japanese-style RPG with really great voice acting, art design, and a good story.

Rise of the Triad is an overlooked shooter for the PC with an awesome soundtrack.

Iggy's Reckin' Balls for n64 is fun as fuck. Once you get the hang of it, it's awesome.

Jet Force Gemini for the n64 is not necessarily obscure, but it often doesn't get a lot of attention and it's one of my favorite games, with an amazing soundtrack.

If anyone here hasn't played the gameboy version of Donkey Kong, they're in for a treat. Same goes for Wario Land 2.

I had a PC with DOS before I ever had a game system so I'm partial to a lot of old DOS games, but there's too many to list here.

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I know I'm taking a text dump here, but I made it scannable so you can quickly catch the main points. If you couldn't tell, I've been thinking about making a thread about this game for a while.

Shadow of Destiny. Shadow of Memories in Europe and Asia. PS2. Third-person adventure (think: LucasArts adventure). $5 used at your local... um, not-Gamestop*, hopefully.

You won't see it on any major listing of top PS2 games (I know because scouring these was my starting point for used-game buying), which I suppose is fair because there were a ton of solid games for that system. And because the game does have one aggravating flaw (I'll explain later). But it's not fatal: the concept and story delivery more than compensate for it (and nothing else ruins it). If you're curious, some ratings were: Metacritic - 78 (notables: IGN-85, Gamespot-82, GameSpy-80); Gamefaqs - 75 reader / 80 reviewer.

It has also been ported to the PC and the PSP. Haven't played them, haven't read about them, so no comment.

The concept/plot: You solve your own murder. The game opens with you being blindsidedly killed. You then find yourself in an unworldly place where an enigmatic being gives you the chance to return to an earlier time, via a peculiar time-travel device, and solve your murder. Knowing roughly how you died, you try to prevent it. Of course it's not that simple: the killer won't rest after one defeat, so you must uncover the details of each following attempt on your life (chapters of the game - eight in total). The setting is German town, though this isn't too confining as the thickening plot leads you to travel to several different time periods throughout the course of the game. The time travel isn't a gimmick, either; it's fully integrated and well-done. The character interaction is passable and at times even very good, but the plot and your control of its unraveling are what make the game.

Gameplay: If you've played Grim Fandango, it's mostly like that. If you haven't played Grim Fandango, what the hell are you doing still reading this go out and find a copy on e-bay or wherever and play it right now. Anyway, SoD: walking, talking, and utilizing the information and objects you find to thwart your killer's next move. Zero action, all investigation and storytelling. Time constantly progresses - a minute spent in another time is a minute in the present - and your time travel device only allows you to travel between periods, not back up time in the current one (just roll with it; it is explained in and works within the context of the game). If you fail - and you will - it is not game over. You are instead be transported back to the same time before you died and given another opportunity (where you can then skip seen cutscenes, so it's not a drag to die). While most choices lead to the same conclusion, some change the game's ending and others open or close different possibilities in future chapters.

Replayability: The game stands well on one-playthrough merit, but you might find it hard to put it down after the first go-round. There are 5.1 different main endings, and once these are completed, two additional ones become possible. These two explained the mysteries of the plot. Or so I understand: I've only beat the game once so far, but there are definitely loose ends and I will definitely replay this game until I tie them all together.

Minor shortcomings: The graphics are early PS2 (gameplay screenshot) and significant portions of the dialogue are hammed. The former I don't mind; judge for yourself. The latter is of the b-movie cheese variety that smells a bit but for some reason doesn't taste bad with the decent wine you have to wash it down with.

The aggravating flaw, however, stems from the catch that if you die in another time, it's game over; restart from the beginning of the chapter. This would be ok except there are occasions where you have eight minutes left so you go to talk to someone and a ten-minute scene ensues. A great game would have an oh-shit button you could press right then and there to take you back to the present, where you can die and restart like normal. This is not a great game. It is a good game, where if you go into it with the plan that when t-minus ten minutes hits, you're booking it back to the fut-er...present (where you can actually speed through that in about 30 real-life seconds), then this is not a factor. I went to great lengths to explain this because some reviewers say this flaw kills the game. It doesn't.

8/10. Highly recommended if you dig the concept and are cool with an action-free adventure game. If you don't or if you aren't, stay away.

Tangentally: should I shore up this review and post it on Gamefaqs?

*RIP the only Play 'N Trade within 100 miles. I'll keep leaving flowers on your old storefront.

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Gargoyle's Quest II (Action RPG)

Guardian Legend (Shmup)

Gun Nac (Shmup)

Zanac (Shmup)


Firepower 2000 (Shmup)

The King of Dragons (Hack 'N Slash)

Nosferatu (Action/Puzzle)

Super Turrican (Action Platformer)

Super Turrican II (Action Platformer)

-=Master System=-

Psycho Fox (Platformer)


Alisia Dragoon (Action Platformer)

Arcus Odyssey (Action RPG)

Atomic Runner (Run 'N Gun)

Battletech (Action Strategy)

Dragon's Fury (Pinball)

El Viento (Action)

Gods (Action)

Granada (Shmup)

Herzog Zwei (Real-Time Strategy Shmup)

Master of Monsters (Turn-Based Strategy)

Midnight Resistance (Run 'N Gun)

Spot Goes to Hollywood (Platformer)

Subterrania (Shmup)

Traysia (RPG)

Viewpoint (Shmup)

Whip Rush (Shmup)


Amok (3D Action)

Astal (Action Platformer)

Powerslave (First Person Shooter)

Shining the Holy Ark (Dungeon Crawling RPG)

Solar Eclipse (3D Shmup)


Bangai-O (Shmup)

Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm (3D Hack 'N Slash)

Red Dog (3D Action)

Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage (3D Hack 'N Slash)

Test Drive Le Mans (Racing)

Wild Metal (3D Action)


Battle Engine Aquilla (3D Action/First Person Shooter)

Enclave (3D Action)

GunValkyrie (3D Action)

Otogi (3D Hack 'N Slash)

Otogi 2 (3D Hack 'N Slash)

Panzer Dragoon Orta (3D Shmup)

Rallisport Challenge 2 (Racing)


In The Hunt (Shmup)

The Raiden Project (Shmup Compilation)

R-Types (Shmup Compilation)

R-Type Delta (Shmup)

-=Playstation 2=-

Alien Hominid (Run 'N Gun)

Metal Slug Anthology (Run 'N Gun Compilation)

Raiden III (Shmup)

Shining Tears (Action RPG)

Silpheed: The Lost Planet (Shmup)

SkyGunner (Flying)

Taito Legends 2 (Compilation)

The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning (3D Beat'em Up)

The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (3D Beat'em Up/Platformer)

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (3D Beat'em Up/Platformer) Plenty of exploration too

-=GB & GBC=-

Blaster Master: Enemy Below (Action Platformer)

Gargoyle's Quest (Action RPG)

Sagaia (Shmup)

Shantae (Action Platformer)


Iridion (3D Shmup)

Iridion II (Shmup)

Metal Slug Advance (Run 'N Gun)

Pinball of the Dead (Pinball)

Shining Soul (Turn-Based Strategy RPG)

Shining Soul II (Turn-Based Strategy RPG)

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Alright then, brace yourselves, here we go:

Game Boy Advanced

Iridion II (shmup) - It might be a euroshmup but it's a damn good one, amazing for a handheld.

Sigma Star Saga (shmup/jrpg hybrid) - That genre description should be enough.


Lost Kingdoms & Lost Kingdoms II (jrpg) - From Software messing around. Unique art style as usual and the card-based gameplay as thoroughly addictive even though it's not as deep as other card-based games. Soundtrack's oddly amazing.


Gridrunner++ - Jeff Minter is god.

Gridrunner Revolution - Jeff Minter is god.

Space Giraffe - Jeff Minter is god.

Nintendo DS

Bangai-O Spirits (shmup.. almost) - In case you missed it, Bangai-O is Treasure at it's best and the DS version of their fantastic Bangai-O is sadly overlooked.

Flower, Sun and Rain (adventure) - Suda 51's PS2 classic made it overseas as a DS game. Dark, quirky and utterly brilliant.


Blast Works: Build, Trade & Destroy (shmup) - Based on Kenta Cho's Tumiki Fighters, Blast Works evolves the concept of the "katamari shmup", adds a powerful editor and unlockable Kenta Cho games. A must have.

Opoona (jrpg) - A "casual lifestyle rpg" from Koei. Really? Yeah really. Super laid-back, almost childish JRPG but ever so pretty, enjoyable and cute. Music by Sakimoto is fantastic and it's a crime that it doesn't have an official OST.

Star Soldier R (shmup) - A WiiWare title, one of the first. Score attack, time-limited, vertical shmup. The natural continuation of the Star Soldier series and fucking fantastic.


Bishi Bashi Special (arcade) - Wario Ware before someone thought of Wario Ware. Also WAY more crazy and Japanese. Essentially an arcade port but ever so fun with 2-3 players.

Evil Zone (fighting) - Not particularly "good" but still enjoyable. A bunch of made-up anime characters clash with a super simple battle system, odd narrative and awesome music.

Jade Cocoon (jrpg) - BEST JRPG EVER MADE.

Kula World (puzzle, also known as Roll Away) - like the only Swedish PS1 game ever made but still one of the best puzzle concepts.

Tomba! - Mega Man's daddy made a new game with a new company. The game was awesome! The sales were not. One of the most sought after collector's items and utterly brilliant.

vib-ribbon (music) - Okay, it's a cult classic by now but.. still!

PlayStation 2

Armored Core-series (mecha) - Not hidden as much as overlooked, The whole series is just brilliant, play them now!

Bombastic (puzzle) - Capcom's upgrade of the old Yaroze title Devil Dice (or Xi). The best puzzle game money can buy, game of the forever. Most crazy multiplayer ever and long single player campaign.

Flipnic (pinball) - Another brilliant serving from Capcom. Quirky pinball with amazing level design, fantastic visuals and super catchy music. To this day, this is the game I want a gamerip of the music the most.

Gitaroo Man (music) - More overlooked than hidden but still the best controls for a music game ever.

Graffiti Kingdom (platform) - Seriously odd draw-your-own-character platformer with a rather powerful editor. Just the editor is hours of fun!

King's Field IV (rpg) - Liked Demon's Souls? This is the predecessor. From Software ONCE AGAIN show that they're fucking awesome.

Mad Maestro (music) - You're the conductor? Of an orchestra full of odd characters? Playing synthesized classical music? Fuck yeah you are.

The Red Star (arcade/shooter) - Based on some kind of comic I've heard but it's a lovely old-school game of run'n'gun and shmup.

Romance Of The Three Kingdoms VIII (strateg) - Hardcore.


Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I do to Deserve This? (strategy) - New and probably not THAT overlooked but it's worth a mention. Dungeon-management game with more silly reference humor than you can shake a stick at.

R-Type Command (strategy) - R-Type is just as hardcore as a strategy game as it was a shmup.

Xbox 360

Battle Fantasia (fighting) - A stepping stone to BlazBlue but still an enjoyable fighter from Arc System Works. They REALLY tried making a proper story too, I applaud them.

Earth Defence Force 2017 (third-person shooter) - Nowadays it's hailed as the best obscure budget game in the world but in case you missed it..

Fatal Inertia (racing) - WipeOut rip-off with some good mechanics, smooth gameplay and generally sexy looks. The rubber-band weapon is priceless.

Ninja Blade (action) - Most ignored this, I did not. From Software's QUICK TIME EVENT Ninja opera. So over the top it hurts sometimes.

Project Sylpheed (space dogfighting) - Game Arts tried to resurrect the Silpheed franchise with this game and did not succeed. Kind of odd since it's a very enjoyable, if slightly advanced, space shooter. Think Star Wars.

WarTech: Senko no Ronde (shmup/fighting) - The single best gameplay concept in history. A very arcade-y experience but once you get a hang of the gameplay, this is one of the best 2 player games out there.

Xbox Live Arcade

Space Giraffe - Jeff Minter is still god.

Blazing Birds - 400MS worth of badminton. Badminton? Badminton. Simple but extremely effective.

Cyber Troopers Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram (mech) - Coolest name in the history of everything ever. Very Japanese arcade mech battle from the Dreamcast days. It shows. But the gameplay is still amazing!

Galaga Legions (shmup) - WHY ARE YOU NOT PLAYING THIS YET!?!?!?

Omega Five (shmup) - Horizontal multi-directional awesomeness. Amazing graphics, amazing music, amazing R-Type/Gradius inspiration, amazing game.

Ticket to Ride (board game) - Works very well on Xbox. No one bought it :[

Xbox Live Indie Games (pay attention now people)

Arkedo Series JUMP and PIXEL (platform/puzzle) - Two amazing games for $3 a piece. Retro-styled platforming.

Atomhex (shmup) - Great twin-stick with bold design choices that work.

Echoes+ (shmup) - Asteroids revolution.

Johnny Platform-series - Two bloody brilliant one-screen platformers.

Leave Home (shmup) - Horizontally scrolling, procedurally generated score attack shmup. Best game on the system. Period.

Miner Dig Deep (simulation) - You're a miner, you dig, deep. Addictive and cute, $1.

Philip Muwanga's HexyTrench (RTS) - Incredibly clever real-time strategy trench warfare. Think tower defence + board games + RTS. Supports online multiplayer and tons of cool stuff for like $1.

Squid Yes! Not So Octopus! (shmup) - WILL destroy your eyes. In a good way.

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I highly recommend Smartball for the SNES. It was developed by Sony's old software house (yes, even before the PSone), and it's really fun. It's got neat music and simple but likeable graphics and has a cool vibe. The best part is the gameplay. You can stretch tall and flatten, climb walls and I think even ceilings. You can also shoot projectiles and power up Jerry (the blob). It's just an upbeat, loveable game and it's only a couple of bucks in good condition.

Sony Imagesoft also made several other under-rated games back then, including SkyBlazer, a bad-ass platformer also on the SNES. Check 'em out people.

I also think Bible Buffet is a very fun party game (especially if you add drinking to the mix). Too bad it costs a good bit of cash.

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You like shmups more than I do. I did try hard not to mention as many though. I had all the lovely PAL releases of PS2 shmups lined up for my post too but thought "meh, who am I fooling, nobody likes shmups".

My personal favorite genre. If I'd added all the Japan and PAL-only shmups I had in mind, my list would have basically doubled in length. I left them out because not everyone can or wants to import. But if the OP wants them, I'll bomb this thread with another list :-D

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Xbox Live Indie Games (pay attention now people)

I'm surprised you didn't do a shameless plug for Artoon there :wink:

In any case, I picked it up and thoroughly enjoyed the hell out of it. Although I still can't beat some stages.

If I may, I'd like to direct eveyrone's attention to games by Sting like Yggdra Union, Riviera: The Promised Land and Knights in the Nightmare. All fantastic titles with pretty steep learning curves (Hell, the latter is basically a shmup mixed with a Strategy RPG) but rewarding once you get the mechanics down.

Also, even though this particular title may not be all that hidden anymore, I really can't recommend the Indie title Iji enough. Its free, its like Deus Ex as a sidescroller, its free, it has a great soundtrack, its free, it has multiple endings, its free .

Oh and before I forget, any of the Klonoa titles= insta-win

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Plok (Snes) Overlooked platformer with an amazing soundtrack.

Jet Force Gemini (n64) Rares most underrated golden era game.

Tyrian (PC) Has the most levels/weapons/modes of any shooter ive ever seen.

Body Harvest (n64) Most overlooked game of all time IMO. One of the original sandbox games. This is GTA's grand daddy! Of course it was made by DMA who later formed into Rockstar.

Beetle Adventure Racing (n64) Criminally overlooked possibly cause it was a racing game with only BMW's But hot damn this game was awsome. Tracks were epically long and featured multiple routes and a dynamic enviroment that made each lap different from the last.


Shadowman (n64) Creepy as hell.

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Have you guys played an SNES game called Kendo Rage. I really liked that game. It was hard for me though.

also, I went and did that "mod" to my SNES where you cut out the plastic guides that are in the machine so that Super Famicom games will also fit inside it so I could play a freaking great space shooting game, Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie. It has great gameplay and great music too.

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I'm surprised you didn't do a shameless plug for Artoon there :wink:

In any case, I picked it up and thoroughly enjoyed the hell out of it. Although I still can't beat some stages.

It's been pulled off the service after a C&D regarding the name. It should be re-released shortly at a new low price and with extra levels as Artzy.

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Tunnels of Doom - An RPG that played off of Audio Tapes. Thats right. Find the Rainbow Orb and save the King before the monsters of the tunnels kill them, then escape.

Super Demon Attack! - A shmup that takes place on the moon and you shoot at THE DEMONS.

Munchman(Alright, yes it is a shameless clone of Pacman, but I liked it better.)

Parsec - Sidescrolling Shmup

Burger Time - Action. This was also in arcades a long time back but it's still pretty good.

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