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10 hard-to-find classics that deserve a second chance

Good games can be hard to find, especially if they’re more than a few years old. Maybe they’re out of print and sell for $200 on eBay. Maybe they won’t work on modern systems. With services like the Virtual Console, PSOne Classics, Game Room, Steam, Good Old Games and disc-based compilations, plenty of old favorites have become easily playable on modern hardware, but there are still plenty of games out there that have simply fallen through the cracks, making them painfully difficult (and in some cases ridiculously expensive) to play now. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth your attention.

Some of the games we’ve listed here still have hope for a rerelease. After all, awesome old games like Syndicate keep making their way back to us through various means. For the time being, though, playing them legally is going to require you to sacrifice some time and money (and perhaps your firstborn son) to the eBay gods.


1. Uniracers (Unirally in the UK)

Before Rockstar North was known primarily for the Grand Theft Auto series, it went by another name: DMA Design. It was already making awesome games, though. Uniracers, for example, is by far the best side-scrolling racing and stunt game featuring unicycles ever to be released for the Super Nintendo.

Above: Uniracers ran into legal trouble stickier than this track

The game already feels pretty fast, but doing tricks in midair gives you a speed boost if you land them, so you’re constantly encouraged to flip like a madman (or madunicycle). This can get really tricky when the tracks are throwing you crazy loops and constantly changing which direction you’re supposed to be going. You could play split-screen with a second player or even set up an eight-player tournament, making it a fast and fun party game.


So why aren’t we still playing Uniracers every day? Because back in 1987, Pixar released a four-minute-long short film called Red’s Dream, which starred an autonomous, computer-generated unicycle. Apparently this gave Pixar the idea that any later appearance of a rider-less CG unicycle was stealing its concept, and it sued DMA Design shortly after Uniracers was released. Unfortunately, the court sided with Pixar, forcing Nintendo to stop production on copies of the game and ensuring we’ll never see it again. So next time you’re thanking John Lasseter for directing Toy Story, take a moment to curse him for indirectly taking Uniracers out of the world.


2. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue

The original Lunar: The Silver Star has been remade in different ways quite a few times, most recently for the PSP. Lunar 2, originally on the Sega CD, saw one remake on the Sega Saturn (in Japan) and the PlayStation, but since then has been lost to the eternal blue oceans of time. Like its predecessor, Lunar 2 boasts a fantastic story and likeable characters, as well as solid RPG mechanics. Both iterations of the game are considered to be among the best RPGs on their respective platforms, and they won’t come cheap if you want to buy them now.

Above: Lunar 2 is one of those gems that’s hard to get these days

It might be difficult to license a straight port of either version of Lunar 2, especially with original US publisher Working Designs out of business. However, it would be worthwhile for Game Arts and Xseed to release an Eternal Blue remake the same way they released Lunar: Silver Star Harmony for the PSP: Rebuild it, touch it up and redub all the voice work. Some nostalgia would be lost for old fans, but at least a new audience could experience the story. It would be far better than nothing.

We would personally be happy just to see Eternal Blue again, but fans of the series have long been hoping for an English release of Lunar: Magic School as well as the long-rumored Lunar 3. Unfortunately, the powers that be are too busy porting the original Lunar for the thousandth time, this time to iOS. The last time we were promised something different, we got the immensely disappointing Lunar: Dragon Song on the DS, and nobody was happy about that.


3. Snatcher

Shortly after finishing Metal Gear, Hideo Kojima created a cyberpunk detective story not unlike Blade Runner. The game, Snatcher, was a first-person adventure with a cool noir style, and its protagonist, Gillian, had a robot sidekick named Metal Gear long before we saw Old Snake nab the technology.

English-speaking gamers are probably most familiar with the Sega CD release, which is the only time the game escaped Japan. Sadly, the game sold poorly in North America, possibly because it was on the Sega CD, which Americans only used to play Kriss Kross: Make My Video. Nowadays you’d be hard-pressed to find a copy of Snatcher for under $150, if not much more.

If we could just pry Kojima away from Metal Gear for a while, maybe he could convince Konami to remake Snatcher. While they’re at it, they could go ahead and do an English release of Policenauts, another Hideo Kojima adventure game that has never been released outside of Japan.

61 comments

  • TreyTable - March 8, 2012 4:32 p.m.

    I have Earthbound on my Virtual Console. Sure, my Virtual Console is on a modded Xbox, but just like on the Wii it is still emulation. Same with Lunar 2.
  • jmcgrotty - March 4, 2012 2:21 a.m.

    I just KNEW something in this article would piss me off. Didn't expect it to happen by the second title... Let me at least start with a postive comment: You're right about the quality of the game. I was glad to get my copy when the "Complete" edition came out for the PSX. Now, having said that... Re-releases of Lunar 2 "won’t come cheap if you want to buy them now "? Bull. At the very least, you have a vastly different opinion of "not cheap" than I do. Based on a quick count on eBay, there are 29 copies for sale below $70. This includes the box set version and just the game. Why does that $70 number matter? That is what it cost when released (well, $69.95). Amazon has 8 @ $70 or less. When you can find so many copies of a game for well below "new" price, that can't be considered "not cheap." (Unless your point was that it was NEVER cheap) Mega Man anything needs to be buried and forgotten. It's a ridiculouly bad franchise. Just like a few other NES debuts, it is one that topped out with one of the very first games in the series and was downhill from then on (Legend Of Zelda is this way, too. The original Legend of Zelda is the best, by far). Mega Man 1 was good, Mega Man 2 was a little bette, but not much... basically a tie. After that? Crap after crap aftere crap after crap. I swear, sometimes I think that you people don't actually PLAY games before you make a comment about them. No one in their right mind who has played any of the Mega Mans (except 1 & 2) can have positive things to say about it. "Maniac Mansion and its sequel, Day of the Tentacle. Both are considered high points in the adventure-game genre." Maniac Mansion is absolute bliss. Day Of The Tentacle sucked donkey eggs. Not a good game, and when compared to Maniac Mansion, it's really, really bad. By the way, the Maniac Mansion censorship story is a great read. Not saying it was a good thing to do, but reading about it just leaves you shaking your head at Howard Lincoln and making a noise someplace between a laugh of humor and a snort of ridiculousness. http://www.crockford.com/wrrrld/maniac.html is the story of it, told by one of the guys at LucasArts who had to deal with it. By the way, I'll add this just so you can laugh and make fun of me: It took me probably 5 years after it's PC release before I realized it was "Maniac Mansion", and not "Manic Mansion." Even worse than the Dandy Warhols "Crack Cocaine Rager," which for 3 years I thought was "Crack Cocaine Ranger," even though I knew the band and was VERY involved in that community (for lack of a better word)... I'll end on a high note: Glad you put EarthBound on there. It is the absolute #1 title for this topic, and a no-brainer.
  • RedOutlive10 - February 13, 2012 2:19 p.m.

    Bioshock was exactly like System Shock 2, even the story was copy/paste. But some things were simplified big time.
  • coyoteDUSTER - February 11, 2012 12:28 p.m.

    I would love for the old King's Quest games to be re-released on PSN or something.
  • marc-william-brown - February 11, 2012 8:38 a.m.

    i still have a copy of day of the tentacle,fate of atlantis and full throttle in some old point n' click pack from lucasarts!
  • Thequestion 121 - February 10, 2012 7:53 p.m.

    I had Mega Man Legends 1 and 2 for a long time before I gave them away to a friend. I really regret doing that now...
  • EngieIndeed - February 10, 2012 6:36 p.m.

    I actually got Legends maybe a year or two after it came out. I still have it, and it still remains one of my favorite ps1 games.
  • Darkhawk - February 9, 2012 3:37 p.m.

    You can consult with Cousin ROM for most of these.
  • Sjoeki - February 9, 2012 12:47 p.m.

    Day of the tentacle, one of the first games I ever played! Never finished it cause I needed someone to translate it for me, I'm stopping here as I'm starting to feel old now.
  • Zeos - February 9, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    Oh Mega Man Legends...how I miss you. I sadly never even got to play the second one either.
  • JonahTHD - February 9, 2012 11:03 a.m.

    Uuuuum, Lunar Silver Star Harmony was released by Xseed, not Ubisoft.
  • BrittonPeele - February 9, 2012 12:48 p.m.

    You're right, that mistake is on me. Ubisoft only published Lunar Legend and Lunar: Dragon Song (and we know how that one went). At least in the US.
  • JonahTHD - February 29, 2012 7:46 p.m.

    Unfortunately, (or fortunately...?) I haven't played much of Dragon Song, so I don't see the problem, except for how annoyingly difficult it is to obtain money.
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - February 9, 2012 2:09 p.m.

    Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.
  • JonahTHD - February 29, 2012 7:40 p.m.

    No problem.
  • Bawheidbob - February 9, 2012 10:42 a.m.

    Well there you go i never knew that about Unirally - Great game as well i used to have it.....now i wish i still did.
  • avery78 - February 9, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    I still have my copies of Lunar and Lunar 2 for the PS, glad I never got rid of them, great games.
  • Rhymenocerous - February 9, 2012 8:52 a.m.

    Flashback and/or Fade to Black. Also Martian Gothic: Unification could do with a remake.
  • celticwhisper - February 9, 2012 7:41 a.m.

    I'd love to see a Lunar 2 remake/port/adaptation/whatever, but I don't want Ubisoft coming within a hundred miles of it. I can just see it - you finally beat Borgan after 16 tries (half of which involved you getting one-shotted by him on his first turn) and as you're dancing your victory dance, you see "NETWORK CONNECTION LOST. DRM ERROR. GAME SHUTTING DOWN. YOU PROBABLY PIRATED THE LIMITED-EDITION REPLICA OF LUCIA'S PENDANT, TOO, DIDN'T YOU?" Now, Atlus? Atlus I would trust to do it justice - they seem to be this generation's Working Designs. They know how to treat fans and they've already picked up the Growlanser franchise from WD. But no DRM-obsessed, authentication-happy, internet-connection-craving Ubisoft. They can keep their tentacles right the fuck away from Lunar 2.
  • alismmka - February 9, 2012 5:57 a.m.

    i think this might be the only reason i support piracy

Showing 1-20 of 61 comments

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