Everyone deserves a second chance
Store shelves are littered with sequels to crappy games and franchises that have no right to exist. Meanwhile, video game history is teeming with amazing, innovative titles that were mercilessly trampled underfoot when the balance sheet didnt add up. This is our ode to games with unrealized franchise potential.
Some of the games on this list are no-brainers, others are diamonds in the rough. Some may have had sequels only in Japan, or have been out of circulation since the 16-bit era. Whatever their backstory, were picking them up and dusting them off in hopes that whoever owns the rights will heed our call and get cracking on follow-ups.
1. Primal Rage
Arcade, PSone, 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Sega 32X, Atari Jaguar CD, Sega Saturn, Amiga, Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES, Sega Game Gear, Game Boy and PC CD-ROM (Atari, 1994)
This gore-drenched 2D fighter featured a cast of ferocious postapocalyptic monsters divided into two camps, Virtuous and Destructive. Work on Primal Rage 2, which was to feature a ginormous dragon-skeleton beastie named Necrosan, was cancelled by Atari in 1995. However, the plot was kept alive in the form of the novel Primal Rage: The Avatars. Books are great and all, but what we really want is a proper videogame sequel brimming with high-definition dino-gods and ape-beasts ripping the shit out of each other for the fate of mankind.
2. Base Wars
NES (Ultra Games/Konami, 1991)
This falls in the same territory as Primal Rage why did it take game devs decades to come up with this super-basic, supremely awesome concept, and why the hell isnt it an annual fixture? We already see seven or eight thousand sports games a year, most of which only appeal to a very specific audience. Killer Robot Baseball, on the other hand, is an idea any red-blooded American can get behind. Want to steal second? Hover on over there and beat the bolts out of that stupid tank-treaded baseman and take it by force. Dont like your pitcher? Shred him down and buy a new one. Add in season play, a build-a-bot warehouse for drafting and a couple of new player designs and wed be the first to step back up to the plate.
3. Jade Empire
PC, Xbox (Microsoft Game Studios/BioWare, 2005)
Since 2005, BioWare has been talking about the possibility of a Jade Empire sequel. And back in January of 2008, a shadowy rumor leaked onto the interwebs that code for Jade Empire 2 exists. The original game had all the trappings of franchise material with engrossing characters, magnificent settings, and a unique take on martial arts-fueled RPG combat. But until hard evidence of a sequels existence materializes, well continue yearning for BioWares one-off hit to attain franchise status.
4. Ring of Red
PlayStation 2 (Konami, 2001)
/br> It wasnt hard to stand out in the early days of the PS2. Most of the launch-window titles were lackluster, PSone-caliber games with moderately improved visuals. By mid-2001 though, Ring of Red was able to not just distance itself from the other me too games of the day, but also cement its place as one of the systems most unique and tense strategy RPGs.
What was so special about this long-forgotten one-off? Mechs. But not the typical mechs you see in countless games--theyre mechs as they might appear if they were actually built and deployed in real-world battles. Theyre huge and unwieldy, loud as hell and powered by noisy, smoke-churning engines. They take forever to set up one shot, have to brace before each blast and need a whole team of people to repair and rearm in between rounds. But, they come in so many shapes and sizes, and have so many different attributes that you start to get an idea of just how difficult and impractical mech battles would be.
It was intensely fun to play, primarily because of the time invested in each shot fired. Every shell mattered and your support teams needed to be on point and chosen carefully. Nothing like this at the time, and nothing since. This idea, set in an alternate 1960s, could support plenty of games, just as Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea have done for years.
5. Full Throttle
PC, Mac (LucasArts, 1995)
Its good-guy rebel attitude seems a little quaint in todays post-Grand Theft Auto market, but Full Throttles smart, beautifully animated biker adventure is still loved by legions of adventure-game fans. Unlike most of the other games on this list, Full Throttle actually had two well-publicized sequels in the works, both of which were canned amid concerns over quality and internal disagreements at LucasArts. But hey, Sam and Max got sequels, so theres no reason to write barrel-chested Ben and his Polecats gang off completely.
6. Samurai Western
PS2 (Atlus/Acquire, 2005)
The idea of a bullet-slicing samurai set loose in the Wild West is one with seemingly boundless potential, but the mediocre Samurai Western used it to create a blandly goofy hack-and-slasher. Still, theres a lot of promise behind the concept, and plenty of franchises have bounced back after crappy first installments (Street Fighter, to name one). Wed love to see a reimagined and expanded East-meets-Wild West story on current-gen systems just make it better than Afro Samurai, huh?
7. Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest
GameCube (Atlus U.S.A./Saru Brunei, 2002)
Known enigmatically as Animal Leader in Japan, Cubivore fell prey to a public that was caught totally unprepared for its sheer quirkiness. Think Spore done the art style of Katamari Damacy. As your cute little cube creature rips the limbs off its opponents and devours them, it mutates and passes new traits on to its offspring. Eventually, you evolve a creature strong enough to destroy the Killer Cubivore. Now that franchises like Katamari have paved the way for mainstream acceptance of eccentric games with peculiar art styles and amazing soundtracks, we hope Atlus will give Cubivore another shot.
8. Shadow of the Colossus
PS2 (SCE/Team ICO, 2005)
ICO and its spiritual successor, Shadow of the Colossus, are two of the most unique and impressive games ever designed. Fumito Ueda and Team ICO brilliantly pair artsy experimentation with sturdy gameplay and obscene elegance, creating experiences which are both intelligent and fun.
While probably compromising their vision, they could have released ICO 2, and Shadow of the Colossus 2, and 3, and 4, and we probably would have loved them all. Instead, theyre taking the slow, steady, do-it-once-and-do-it-right approach. In this case, were glad they havent sucked the veins of their previous successes dry. Theyve instead opted to let their masterpieces stand alone but near each other so that they can move on to new things (note to almost every other developer: try this once in a while), and were damned excited to see whats coming next (Ueda has said that their unnamed, upcoming PS3 game is rather close to Ico). So does this approach constitute a franchise? Well let you argue it out in the comments.
9. Jet Force Gemini
Nintendo 64 (Rare, 1999)
In between making clones of Super Mario 64, Rare managed to pump out this action-packed shooter that was shockingly ahead of its time. Loaded with beheadings and dismemberment, a co-op story and four-player versus modes, Gemini was indeed supposed to be a big damn deal. It sort of was critically, but were guessing the sales werent there to justify another entry. Too bad, cuz Nintendo could always use more edgy titles to balance out their first-party lineup. Instead, Rare opted to craft Banjo Tooie, Star Fox Adventures and then jump ship for Xbox and Grabbed by the Ghoulies.
10. God Hand
PS2 (Capcom/Clover Studio, 2006)
At turns surreal and insouciant, God Hands stylistic influence can be seen in more recent games like No More Heroes and MadWorld. The irreverent beat-em-up was the last game released by the much-underappreciated Clover Studio (OKAMIIIIIIIIIIII!) so a franchise is exceptionally unlikely. But we can dream of a world where originality is rewarded, right?
GameCube (Nintendo/n-space, 2005)
Check out the logline: A dead body searches for its body and possesses others in the process, while taking down an evil corporation. Hell yeah, this FPS deserves a sequel. So maybe possessing a dogs food bowl wasnt all that exciting. But think about a newer, revamped game with new things to possess. We dont give a shit about the story. Hell, maybe its another dude whos looking for his body. Just think of the emergent gameplay concepts you could fit into a possession game. The first Geist was okay, but a second one could knock it out of the park.
12. Downhill Domination
PS2 (SCEA/Incog, 2003)
Though it reviewed fairly well, this combat-fueled thrillcoaster (think Road Rash with mountain bikes) never quite found an audience. The fickle public missed out on Downhill Dominations amazing tracks, tricks and customization options. DD also had an addictive multiplayer mode that would play fantastically on our modern networked consoles.
13. Mario Paint
SNES (Nintendo, 1992)
Nintendo Photoshop. Thats what we could be playing if Mario Paint had continued beyond its original release. In just one game they crammed a paint program, sprite creation, basic animation tools, slideshows, minigames and a seriously impressive music studio thats since been converted for web use. Semi-sequels have seen the light of day in Japan, but nothing substantial has surfaced even in this modern era of Nintendo trying to appeal to every living thing with disposable income.
The kneejerk reaction here is to put it on Wii U, touting the GamePad as a digital pen that lets users draw freehand, plus the usual Mario Paint extras. Not a bad idea, but wed rather see it on 3DS, as the stylus/touch screen combo, along with the camera and SD card support for music, make it the natural home for one of Nintendos most creative products.
PS2, Wii (Capcom, 2006/2008)
Were getting pretty damn sick telling you why Okami is worth playing. We could tell you about its rich and emotional storyline or how beautiful the cel-shaded graphics look (especially the cherry blossoms), but instead well pine for a sequel. Seriously, if Nintendo can make the same Zelda game every few years, then why cant Capcom release Okami 2? Think of how gorgeous the game would look in high-definition. Those of you who beat the game (kudos!) know that Waka and Ammy arent heading back to the Celestial Plane on that ship. No way! Theyre looking for more adventures and more demons to fight. Just get with the development already.
PS2, PC (Bungie/Rockstar, 2001)
Bungies anime-styled beat em up/shooter won much acclaim for its deep combat system, cyberpunky heroine and dystopian storyline. Its characters and setting were loosely based on the manga/anime megahit Ghost in the Shell, but it was not officially connected to that franchise. At least Bungie has some good B material in its pocket for the day when people stop playing Halo.
PS2 (SCEA/SCEA, 2001)
Sexy ladies fused with motorcycle exoskeletons hauling ass through a streaky neon Wipeout clone? How are there not 3 or 4 more of these? Unfortunately, it received moving violations for lackluster multiplayer and limited track selection. A PS3 facelift could easily address these issues while further exploring the curiously compelling world of lightning-fast lady-bikes.
Xbox, PS2, PC, XBL (Majesco/Double Fine, 2005)
A young psychic cadet named Raz is out to save his summer camp for the mentally gifted in this surreal adventure by exploring the delightfully twisted subconscious minds of his camp counselors, camp fish and other camp-adjacent weirdos. Raz uses his gifts to enter the Godzilla-based mind of the giant Lungfish terrorizing the campers, go deep into the Napoleonic boardgame world of an insane asylum inmate and infiltrate the ultra-paranoid faux-idyllic 50s Milkman Conspiracy (our favorite), to name a few of the psyched out psyches he visits. There just arent enough games with psychic heroes going inside abnormal minds these days. In fact, there arent any games that showcase creative storytelling and areas as well as Psychonauts, which is why this game deserved a sequel were tired of playing the ice world, fire world and cookie-cutter themed area worlds over and over again.
18. PN 03
Weve brought Vanessa Schneider up before, and well keep doing it until someone at Capcom realizes the inherent franchise potential in a game like PN 03. It stars a gyrating bounty hunter that swivels her hips and prances around while blasting the shit out of robots. Thats just plain awesome, even if the gameplay itself was a bit on the repetitive and sterile side. The dirty, worn universe contrasted beautifully with the stark white-on-white interior settings, the music was ace and the heroine, once again, is hot enough we played the game over and over just to unlock her many costumes. Heres a case where the idea, character and gimmick work great, but theyre smashed into a sucky game. Give em a new one and watch this star rise.
PS2, Xbox (EA/Criterion Games, 2006)
Blacks high production values and uber-realistic weapons made for a solid FPS experience. Coming at the end of the last console cycle, it showed just how much power could be squeezed out of last-gen consoles. If Criterion wants to turn it into a lasting franchise, however, theyll have to put some time in on story and character development. Last December, Criterion Games published, then immediately took down, a job posting for Black: Second Mission, claiming it was due out in 2009 for PS3, 360 and PC. Since the post was taken down, weve heard nothing. Was this a purposeful blunder to gauge audience interest in a sequel, an honest to goodness mistake or did they just hire a staff in record time?
20. Giants: Citizen Kabuto
PS2, PC (Interplay/Planet Moon Studios, 2000)
Usually, games that attempt to combine this many disparate genres and styles just turn into a mess of half-realized ideas and frustrating gameplay. Giants: Citizen Kabuto pulls off the seemingly impossible: an action/shooter/RTS with an offbeat sense of humor, engaging characters and a vibrant world to explore. Each of the three playable races, Meccs, Reapers or the massive Kabuto, represent technology, magic and brute force respectively and provide wildly different gameplay experiences. Giants: Citizen Kabuto is truly a triumph of creativity and originality. By all rights, this game should not exist. But since it does, can we have another, please?
21. Planetscape: Torment
PC (Interplay/Black Isle Studios, 1999)
Serious RPG nerds like to call this game avant-garde fantasy instead of high-fantasy because they enjoy using semantics to show theyre smarter than you. Planescape: Torment is set in the traditional Dungeons and Dragons Universe, but far away from any elves, dwarves and magical +2 swords, in the shifting dimensional-gateway city of Sigil a home to some truly some freaky-deaky stuff, including a hidden blood war between armies of demons spanning thousands of years and an ancient hideously scarred man known as the Nameless One, who you play as.
You awaken on a mortuary embalming table as the game begins, and soon discover that your character is blessed with immortality (possibly by dying) but cursed with forgetting his past lives. The gameplay fixates on dialogue and nebulous moral choices to shape your character and progression, rather than combat and picking the good, neutral or evil path. Asking yourself if you really want someone to dig around in your guts for a clue a previous incarnation may or may not have put there is not an unusual question in Planescape: Torment. Its one of the most unique RPGs ever and will leave you scouring old RPGs for its literary equal (there is none), but of course, we couldnt say that if theyd made a sequel.
PS2, Xbox (Capcom/High Moon Studios, 2005) While it didnt innovate much in the gameplay department, Darkwatch was a solid shooter with proficient controls. Its real strength was its unique horror/western setting and bizarre selection of gothy undead characters and enemies. The main character, Jericho Cross, is bitten at the outset by the vampire leader, and is slowly turning into a vampire himself. Though he evolves a handful of powers as the game progresses (good or evil depending on player choice,) in practice they were actually pretty useless and underdeveloped. A sequel could offer improved supernatural powers. The multiplayer was also anemic, but could easily be fleshed out and made to shine.
23. Cel Damage
PS2, Xbox, GC (EA/Pseudo Interactive, 2001)
One of the early examples of cel-shaded animation in video games, 2001s Cel Damage was a cartoon demolition derby with wacky characters and over-the-top weaponry. Think Loony Toons meets Twisted Metal, with lots of zany ways to destroy your opponents vehicles. Though the graphics sparkled (especially on a brand new, just launched Xbox,) gameplay quickly became repetitive due to a weak selection of arenas and modes. With an HD update and an expanded selection of maps and vehicles, Cel Damage could become a mainstay for online multiplayer.
24. Alfred Chicken
Amiga, Amiga CD32, NES, Game Boy, SNES, PlayStation (Mindscape Group/Twilight Games, 1993/2002)
To be fair, Alfred Chicken did get a PSone facelift. But a remake does not a franchise make. Alfred Chicken is one of the original, What the hell were they smoking when they came up with that? games.
25. Alter Echo
PS2, Xbox (THQ, Outrage Games, 2003)
Alter Echo was a sci-fi actioner set on a planet whose very surface was alive. It had some really great ideas in it, but flubbed the overall execution with repetitive enemies and environments. Remember Fallout 3s V.A.T.S.? Alter Echo used a similar but slightly more active system called Time Dilation that let players freeze time to set up combo chains. The shape-shifting PolySuit was another cool idea that just needed a better game around it. Alter Echo was dripping with potential, but poor sales and middling reviews put franchise dreams on hold.
PC, Mac, SNES, Sega CD, Mega Drive / Genesis, 3DO, Amiga, Atari ST, Atari Jaguar and CD-I (U.S. Gold / Delphine Software, 1992)
Since most 80s and 90s sidescrollers featured cartoon mascots bouncing through candy land environments, 1992s Flashback stood out in a big way. The settings were gritty and futuristic, the sci-fi plot was drenched in mystery and the very human protagonist moved with fluid animation that is still amazingly lifelike to this day. So why, for chrissakes, did the follow-up (1995s Fade to Black) abandon all that for generic, over-the-shoulder action-adventure 3D? We want a real sequel.
PC (1995) A first-person grid-based dungeon exploration game, Stonekeep created an original fantasy dungeon that begs for at least one sequel to take advantage of the imagination that went into the game. It still has a unique look today since it used tons of live-motion cinematic sequences to capture both enemies and NPCs (a cardinal gaming-sin of the 90s). That combined with the unusual lack of free-roaming and the five-year development time didnt officially cause (but may have speculatively contributed to) Black Isles cancelling Stonekeep 2: Godmaker while it was still in development.
SNES, 32X, PC, GBA (Interplay/Blizzard, 1994)
Its a side-scrolling action-puzzler like Prince of Persia and Out of This World, but with orcs, guns and a whole lot of badass attitude. Most heroes in games of this type are bumbling, insecure people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Blackthorne, on the other hand, sports a pump shotgun, can take cover anytime and has an ultra-slick behind-the-back shot where he fires without even looking. He doesnt care what he hits, even if its a chained-up hostage begging for release. The ending even leaves the game wide open, so theres no good reason why Blizzard hasnt touched this since 1994. Oh, World of Warcraft has 12 million players? Thats a good reason
29. Red Ninja: End of Honor
PS2, Xbox (Vivendi Universal Games/Tranji Studios, 2005)
In the hands of a proficient developer, Red Ninja could be so much more than a poorly-executed Tenchu knockoff. After all, who wouldnt want to play a game that contained a properly executed ninja seduction/stealth kill mechanic?
30. Armed & Dangerous
Xbox, PC (LucasArts/Planet Moon Studios, 2003)
A third person shooter with a loutish sense of humor, Armed & Dangerous took liberties with everything from genre archetypes to common sense. The beloved Land Shark Gun is emblematic of AnDs irreverent style. From the over the top weapons to the wacky cast of side characters, Armed & Dangerous could have a good run of sequels. So where are they??
PS2, Xbox, GC, PC (Namco/Argonaut, 2003)
Before Ninjatown and Wee Ninjas, I-Ninja was killing you softly as the cutest little ninja on the block. It was oft compared to Shinobi, but less mature in tone. The main character, known only as Ninja, had a grip of sweet moves and a grappling hook to help him get around. Though this lighthearted platformer was marred by occasionally maddening level design, it had the potential to be much more.
32. Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat
PS2/Xbox (EA/Westwood, 2002)
Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat was an action-adventure game that followed the exploits of swashbuckling pirate princess Katarina DeLeon (the titular Black Kat.) P:TLoBK was a fairly proficient action/adventure that didnt really break a lot of new ground, however with a bit more effort the charismatic Black Kat could have become a more iconic character.
33. Slave Zero
PC, Dreamcast (1999)
Its excessively difficult to eff up a game about 60-foot cyborgs that trash futuristic cities, but thats precisely what happened with this Dreamcast launch title. The action was forgettable, the graphics mediocre and the level layout, which was bland at the time, is worse than rudimentary today. However, all these problems are technological and could be solved with modern development tools and a team that really wants to sell the idea of a rogue robo-giant trashing an evil army. Throw in some customizable weapons, a bevy of online options and you could have a real contender for the next big multiplayer hit.
34. Urban Chaos: Riot Response
PS2, Xbox (Eidos/Rocksteady Studios, 2006)
Although Riot Response was technically a sequel to the original Urban Chaos, the connection between the two games didnt really extend beyond the title. Casting players as a brutal supercop in a city consumed by riots and gang violence, Riot Response mixed its ultraviolence with concepts like civic duty, as you frequently had to rescue firemen, paramedics and other cops, who would then watch your back and/or open locked doors for you. It was also surprisingly good for a 2006 last-gen game, and the fact that there hasnt been a follow-up while not exactly surprising is a little disappointing.
35. Mischief Makers
N64 (Nintendo/Treasure, 1997)
Possibly the most underrated and widely ignored game on the N64, Mischief Makers was pure 2D brilliance. Starring a goat-legged robot maid named Marina Liteyears, Mischief Makers took the same sensibilities that crafted the brilliant Gunstar Heroes on Genesis and applied them to a game about grabbing sad-faced aliens, shaking them until gems come out and then hurling them at other sad-faced aliens. It was pure, unadulterated awesome, but it was 2D at a time when 3D was the big thing, and on a console that was all about 3D. So of course most players summarily dismissed it as behind-the-curve crap, and a game with huge franchise potential (on the DS or a download service, most likely) faded into obscurity.
36. AMBER: Journeys Beyond
PC and Mac (Hue Forest, 1996)
Forget Fatal Frame. Ghosts were much, much scarier or at least more disturbing in this 1996 point-and-click adventure. Why? Because you didnt fight them you inhabited them, solving the mystery of their deaths by exploring the scenes of their last moments. Was it murder? Suicide? A tragic accident? Are these characters worth mourning? Or did they deserve to die? The answers were always different, and never expected, but the game included only three lost souls. The concept could have supported a hundred.
Amiga, Amiga CD32, PC, Mac, Sega Mega Drive, SNES, 3DO, Atari Jaguar, Acorn Archimedes, NEC PC-9801 (EA/Bullfrog, 1993)
This real-time strategy game put you in charge of a corporation with world domination on its mind. Using four cyborg agents armed with deadly Gauss guns and slick trench coats, you could complete various missions to take over new territories and reap in the rewards of taxation without representation in Syndicates dystopian world. Is an online follow up to this great game a hopeless pipe dream? Maybe not. Peter Molyneux, the producer of Syndicate and designer of Fable, expressed interest in revisiting the series at the Leipzig Games Convention in an interview with GameSpot in 2006. "Aside from the licensing complications, some sort of next-gen online version of Syndicate would certainly be popular with gamers. Id love to reprise games like Syndicate, Populous, and Dungeon Keeper, but as you point out, we'd need some business development people to sort this out," explained Molyneux.
38. Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri
PC (Looking Glass, 1996)
Imagine MechWarrior, Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon combined seamlessly into one game. That was Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri, a deeply tactical FPS in which military clans fought intergalactic pirates for control of trade and resources. Powered Battle Armor enabled combat across harsh planetary surfaces and uniquely talented squadmates (Recon, Demolitions, Electronics, etc.) meant that missions could be tackled with a countless number of strategies. Looking Glass, the same developer behind Thief and System Shock, intended Terra Nova to be a franchise as well in the end, they couldnt even afford to deliver the multiplayer pack promised on the back of the box.
PC (LucasArts, 1997)
In a genre stagnated with cramped hallways, overpowered weapons and repetitive alien-terrorist-zombie enemies, this forgotten first person shooter dared to be different. Playing as a retired U.S. Marshal in the Wild West, seeking revenge for his murdered wife and kidnapped daughter, you hunted down evil railroad barons, psychotic medicine men and fierce Native Americans often with nothing more than a trusty six-shooter at your side. The settings were bright, expansive and neatest of all animated to look like a Disney adaptation of The Good,the Bad and the Ugly. While the game didnt sell well in 1997, the concept seems too bizarrelybrilliant not to try again.
40. Battle Engine Aquila
Xbox, PC (Encore/Lost Toys, 2003)
Two factions war for the remaining bits of land after global warming turns most of the planet Toocean. You play a dock worker conscripted to pilot a giant transformable mech for a string of epicbattles over the precious remaining resources. Battle Engine Aquila had sophisticated AI forenemies and allies, making you really feel as though you were an integral part of a massivemilitary engagement. The only place Battle Engine Aquila fell down a bit was in the storydepartment, with a flimsy plot and horribly rendered cutscenes. Now if we could fuse Aquilas gameplay with Robotech-caliber storytelling, wed have a serious contender on our hands. Please,someone get to work on that.
PSP (Sega/Zoe Mode, 2007)
This Escher-esque platform/puzzler has you playing as an insomniac who must traverse the twisted corners of his own mind to collect all his loose thought-marbles. Crush featured a 2D/3D mechanic similar to Super Paper Mario, and won praise for its unique look and design. Alas, Crush is another one for the Okami column; pretty, innovative and no one bought it.
42. Grim Fandango
PC (LucasArts, 1998)
While the adventures of Manny and Meche dont really warrant a sequel, Tim Schafer created something fascinating with Grim Fandango, which reimagined the Mayan underworld as a 50s-style, Latin-flavored backdrop for film noir adventures starring Dia de los Muertos skeletons. The story of its characters may be over, but theres no reason we couldnt go back and play in that world. The afterlife is a pretty huge place, after all, and in the right hands theres the potential for some amazing stories to be told.
43. Star Wars: Republic Commando
PC, Xbox (LucasArts, 2005)
A rare foray into more serious, Jedi-free themes within the Star Wars universe, Republic Commando was instantly loved and then never heard from again. Putting players in charge of a fire team of four elite clone troopers, it mixed easy squad tactics with balls-to-the-wall shooting that put you right in the thick of events like the Battle of Geonosis, giant thundering war machines and all. Wed love to see another one set during Episode III, particularly if it could involve fighting Jedi after Order 66.
PC (Interplay/Shiny, 2000)
Shinys creature-sacrificing, altar-defiling action-RTS won praise and devotion for its refreshing take on the genre, but Sacrifice was practically invisible to the gaming public. Sacrifice may well be one of the most underappreciated games of all time - nothing like it has been seen before or since. Double Helix Games, the studio that Shiny merged into, apparently owns the game now. We humbly suggest they stop taking lucrative, soulless assignments like The DaVinci Code and The Golden Compass and pour everything into Sacrifice 2. If we understand the economic rescue plan correctly, youll be able to pay your mortgage with artistic integrity. AMIRIGHT??
PC, Xbox (Enlight/Mercury Steam Entertainment, 2004)
The quickest way to describe Scrapland is GTA with robots. Mix in spaceships and a whimsical sense of humor, and you have a game thats tough not to like. The hero, D-Tritus, is a lowly robot journalist who gets sucked into a robot conspiracy surrounding a string of robot murders. Wed love to solve and/or commit more crimes in Scrapland, if only that were possible.
46. Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: Tie-Fighter
PC (LucasArts, the 90s)
No game captured the feeling of piloting a spaceship in the Star Wars universe like the old X-Wing and Tie-Fighter games from the 90s. Defend capital ships from waves of incoming Tie-Fighters or bomb the heck out of a fleet of ships delivering supplies to some rebel scum. Although a few expansions were released for both games, wed dig our old flightsticks out of our closet in an instant if only LucasArts would revisit these great games by giving them proper sequels.
47. Kung-Fu Master
Arcade, NES (Irem, 1984)
Sometimes we dont want deep stories with tons of plot twists that try to shed some light on the human condition. Sometimes, all we need to know is that some bastards kidnapped our girlfriend and its up to us to punch and kick our way to justice. Thats why we think the classic 2D beat em up, Kung-Fu Masters has some untapped potential for a next-gen follow up. It worked for Prince of Persia and Bionic Commando didnt it? So somebody please give gamings most kickass gaijin, Thomas a next-gen sequel and let us pull a Bruce Lee on some bad guys in beautiful 3D dojos.
48. Dead Mans Hand
Xbox, PC (Atari/Human Head Studios, 2004)
Dead Mans Hand was held back by a slew of technical problems that ruined what could have been a rootin tootin Old West shooter. The era continues to fascinate.
49. Auto Modellista
PS2, GC, Xbox (Capcom, 2002)
Auto Modellista had a unique cel-shaded look and about a million customization options, but was plagued by wonky handling. Fix the controls, and Auto Modellista could be a stylized breath of fresh air for the realism-obsessed racing genre.
50. Cy Girls
PS2 (Konami, 2004)
2004s Cy Girls failed in many ways, with half-formed ideas and shoddy level design that had the player incessantly backtracking through levels. Some of Cy Girls core ideas, like the virtual/real world tie-ins, could be redone for awesome effect. Plus, theres a whole line of Japanese toys (theyre the Cool Girls over there) from which new characters could be culled. Konami is in dire need of some new A material Cy Girls could be it.
51. Dark Summit
PS2, Xbox, GC (THQ/Radical, 2001)
We need a good alternative to Shaun Whites ego vehicle and the tired SSX franchise. Enter Dark Summit, an emo combat snowboarding game that could provide the remedy to the shameless corporatization of the sport.
PC (Infogrames / Appeal, 1999)
Cutter Slade, a former U.S. Navy Seal, must lead and protect a government expedition into the recently discovered parallel universe of Adelpha. Okay, so the heros name is stupid and the plot sounds like a rehash of Stargate, but trust us, this action-adventure game was revolutionary. You could freely explore open world cities, mountains and forests (two years before GTA III). You could commandeer extraterrestrial vehicles in this case, dinosaur-like creatures - for quicker transport (two years before Halo). You could pick and choose missions in the order that suited your playing style (nine years before Fallout 3). The sequel was planned for PlayStation 2, but fell apart when the developer went bankrupt. Hopefully, these devoted fans can pick up the franchise torch
53. Gunstar Heroes
Genesis, Game Gear, PS2, Virtual Console (Sega, 1993/2006)
Considered to be one of the best action games for the Genesis, Gunstar is a blistering quick side-scrolling shooter known for redefining the genre (hit points/large freakin bosses made of multiple sprites). Its popularity led to its release on the VC a couple years ago, but why not a sprite-based sequel ala Mega Man 9? Cmon Sega!
54. Haunting Ground
PS2 (Capcom, 2005)
No one really makes haunted house games anymore. Devil May Cry ditched its spooky theme long ago, Fatal Frames recent outing in Japan blows and Clock Tower has gone the way of the do-do. Bring back Haunting Ground with a sexy protagonist who runs from creepy dudes in the scariest of castles. You had a dog assist you in some cases, which is okay we guess. Could you imagine what a current-gen system could do to really freak the shit out of you? Could you!?
55. Blood Wake
Xbox (Microsoft/Stormfront, 2002)
This early Xbox game had cool water physics, slick graphics and outstanding multiplayer. Just replace the short, maddeningly repetitive campaign with a brutalicious story about Somali pirates, and you have yourself a franchise.
56. Dead Head Fred
PSP (D3/Vicious Cycle, 2007)
As the titular headless detective, you solve your own murder by collecting the heads of suspects. Each head gives Fred a different power and advances the plot. Dead Head Freds angry, sarcastic script won the Writers Guilds first ever award for video game writing. Sadly, Fred was conscripted to the PSP ghetto and never really had the chance to shine. Sequels on more accessible platforms, please!
PS2 (SCE/SCEI, 2000)
What started as a tech demo turned into a highly playable puzzle game for the PS2 launch. If GalaxyWars can be a franchise, FantaVision ought to be as well. Perhaps people are confusing it with the orange soda?
58. Herdy Gerdy
PS2 (Eidos, 2002)
Criminally overlooked, Herdy Gerdy can best be described as a sheepherding sim. But its so much more than that. Animation straight out of a Don Bluth film and some peaceful game playing, were sure a revival would be more relaxing than PS3s Flower. Yeah, we said it.
59. Legendary Wings
Arcade, NES (Capcom, 1986)
A top-down Greek mythos-themed shooter might seem a tad unreasonable today (seriously, who plays top-down shooters anymore?), but a third-person action game with flying? Sure, Capcoms making Dark Void, but what if it was Greek-themed? We dare pose that question in this time of uncertainty.
Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox, PC, GameCube, PSP (Activision/Neversoft, 2005)
It might still be a little early to call GUN untapped, seeing as the game made a memorable splash during the Xbox 360 launch and sequel rumors have dogged it ever since. Good Western games are extremely rare especially free-roaming, gory Western games like GUN. Wed hate to see it die off just because Neversofts too busy cranking out nine Guitar Hero games a year.
61. Gitaroo Man
PS2 (THQ/Koei, 2001)
Before Rock Band and Guitar Hero took rhythm-based gaming mainstream (read: sold out,) Gitaroo Man and a handful of other quirky titles were experimenting with the genre. Koei has managed to crap out dozens of Dyansty Warriors games, so surely they can find the bandwidth to build a Gitaroo Man franchise. Though Gitaroo Man Lives for the PSP inspired hopes of a big comeback, a proper sequel is definitely in order.
62. Magician Lord
Neo Geo, Arcade, Virtual Console (SNK, 1990/2007)
There hasnt been a cool wizard in a long time (Jedi dont count) and an updated Magician Lord would rectify that. Yeah, you could shoot fireballs as a wizard, but you can also transform into a dragon or ninja warrior. Damn, an updated version would be awesome. You could do anything!
63. Blast Corps
Nintendo 64 (Nintendo/Rare, 1997)
Simple: Two defective nuclear missiles are autopilot to a scheduled detonation and its up to you and your fleet of destructive vehicles to clear a safe path. So were thinking, since hardware manufacturers love drowning us with processing jargon during every console launch, why not showcase that technology with a little exercise in controlled demolition puzzles that Blast Corps only got one opportunity to provide? OR, it could look exactly the same, and we could use Google Earth to upload versions of our hometown to flatten with a Ramdozer or a giant death-mech named Thunderfist.
64. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
GameCube (Nintendo/Silicon Knights, 2002)
Probably the deepest, darkest game Nintendo ever published, Eternal Darkness was an absolutely brilliant horror adventure in which solving puzzles and killing monsters were secondary to having the game mess with your head. Sadly, the games clever hallucination-pranks and Lovecraft-inspired horror werent enough to make it sell even though it briefly hinted at Eternal Darkness 2: Sanitys Redemption during a fake cliffhanger ending a few hours in. Even so, ED:SR designer (and Silicon Knights president) Denis Dyack has hinted at the possibility of sequels, but usually as something hed consider after completing the Too Human trilogy. For the sake of the declining horror-game genre, we can only hope that happens sooner rather than later.
65. Jaws: Unleashed
PS2, Xbox, PC (Majesco/Appaloosa, 2006)
Jaws: Unleashed sucked. Theres no denying this. However, its extremely difficult to hate a game in which you play as a giant, angry shark, even if the puzzles are terrible, youre being attacked constantly and the camera makes it impossible to see what youre doing. Giving Jaws another try on a current-gen console could be pretty cool, provided the devs actually took the time to fix the old games problems. And maybe also didnt do things like forcing Jaws to swipe a scientist across a card reader in order to open an electronic door.
PS2 (SCEA/SCEE, 2003)
While it could be argued that Primal got a spiritual sequel in the form of the excellent adventure game/blatant Ghostbusters ripoff Ghosthunter, we never again got to see petulant tattooed heroine Jen, her gargoyle sidekick Scree or the element-themed worlds they visited. Metroid already proved that theres huge franchise potential in female characters who have to change into different forms to navigate weird alien worlds, so why does Primal remain a stand-alone, long-forgotten gem?
67. Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone
PS2, Xbox, PC (Atari/Stormfront Studios, 2004)
Its no secret that Demon Stone was never that great a game, but like so many of the other titles on this list, it had strong potential to turn into something greater. A Dungeons & Dragons-branded brawler by Stormfront, the same studio behind the similar Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Demon Stone starred a warrior, a mage and a thief, who were onscreen at all times and whom players could switch between on the fly. It also featured some potent star power, with a voice performance by Patrick Stewart and a story penned by R.A. Salvatore. Unfortunately, any hope of seeing a Demon Stone follow-up evaporated along with Stormfront, which closed its doors in 2008. Of course, theres no reason another developer couldnt grab the ball and run with it
68. Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure
Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES, Virtual Console (Interplay, 1994)
Champion of gross-out fans everywhere, Boogerman made a cameo in Clayfighter 63 1/3 but hasnt had a proper sequel (2008s Virtual Console re-release notwithstanding.) Since potty humor is ageless, we suspect a Boogerman franchise would find a place on all platforms past, present and future.
69. Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist
PC (Sierra On-Line, 1993)
The classic tale of gunslinger turned pharmacist to serve a small frontier town full of people who need their funny prescriptions filled. Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist needs a sequel because Gun and Red Dead Revolver have very few jokes and because pharmacists are an underrepresented profession in gaming.
Xbox (Namco, 2004)
Breakdown got a lot of attention for its originality (first person fistfights!) and bizarre plot (time traveling alien super-soldiers.) Official Xbox Magazine went so far as to claim that Breakdowns story was better than Halos. Three and a half Halo games later, theres still no franchise in sight for Breakdown.
71. Yars Revenge
Atari 2600 (Atari, 1982) GameBoy Color (Telegames, 1999)
Theres really only one thing you need to know about this one: You played as a giant, metallic space fly able to spit fireballs and literally eat your enemys protective shield. That alone made for the best box art in 2600 history, but there was more: a giant cannon just like the Ion cannon from The Empire Strikes Back, the ability to hide from enemy cruise missiles in a rainbow-hued nebula, and an enemy who could change into a spinning plasma vortex of death and streak across space in an attempt to fry you. Take all of these elements, evolve them properly into modern forms (morphable space flies, please!) and youll have the first must-play space dogfighter on consoles in years.
Xbox (Sega/Smilebit, 2002)
Hear the game Gunvalkyrie mentioned, and the first comment is always something about how impossibly hard the game was. However, if anyone in the conversation had the stones to stick with it, the next comment will be that Gunvalkyrie was friggin brilliant and possibly that the complainer should maybe just trade his gaming console in for a bib and rattle. A sci-fi first-person shooter packed with otherworldly art design and exotically envisioned enemies, Gunvalkyrie forced you to master some new skill each and every level. By games end, both playable characters had amassed a large arsenal of explosive weaponry and the ability to with nimble joystick handling stay airborne for huge amounts of time thanks to a jet-powered jump pack. A true gaming workout, but few games in the Xbox library were as beautiful to look at or more rewarding to play.