There are more RPGs in existence than the current population of China. Not even the most devoted RPG fan could have sampled them all. Even yet, there were many which fell through the cracks under the bigger titles which were released. Here are 8 Role-Playing Games (in no particular order) you may or may not have forgotten:
Tecmo’s Secret of the Stars, SNES 1995
Secret of the Stars is easily forgettable due to its looks. The graphics were highly outdated in comparison to the other RPGs being shuffled out in 1995. The one and only RPG from Tecmo was single-handedly responsible for Tecmo’s decision to never touch the RPG genre again. Aside from it being a terrible time to release the game, it still had a certain spark about it. The playable characters in the game were split into two groups: the Aqutallion and the Kustera. You can only proceed in the plot line with the Aqutallions, making the Kustera almost useless at some points in the game. Despite this, Secret of the Stars had a diversified cast of characters. Everyone from a boxer to a samurai is in this game. But let’s face the facts: this game isn’t Tecmo Bowl.
Beyond the Beyond, Sony Playstation 1995
This is a tough game. If you’ve ever sat through its entirety, you know exactly what I mean. The encounter rate is ridiculous, but for this particular game it’s beneficial at the players expense. While playing through it, I always figured that the reason fights were so frequent was because the game’s final boss had an insane amount of hit points. Three fights in four steps is a sure way to facilitate the final encounter. It’s sitting through all of these battles that makes this game so difficult. When most gamers wouldn’t have the nerve to painstakingly sit through this mediocre storyline and battle system, RPG fans overcome all odds to prove they are the poster-child for masochistic gamers everywhere.
Beyond the Beyond can be described as typical, but it did hit home for many gamers who put time into it. The battle system was that of the button-mashing variety, where tapping X rapidly could mean a harder hit or a chance to defend. The graphics were pretty weak for a PSOne game, which didn’t leave this game in the favor of competitors like Arc the Lad or King’s Field. Even SNES RPGs were making headway with games like Chrono Trigger (I’m sure you remember that one.) This game has standard written all over it, making it easily forgettable. It could only appeal to the most die-hard RPG player.
E.V.O.: Search for Eden, Super Nintendo 1992
E.V.O. is a game that proves RPGs don’t have to follow the same mold and that a leveling system doesn’t have to be a bland increment. Straying from the quintessential RPG setting of magical realms filled with wizards and warriors, Search for Eden is set in an array of different time periods as well as a game about evolution. If Darwin were alive today, he’d say one thing about this game:
If you can get around the tedious game play that plagues most RPGs, you’ll find this game to be an enticing experience. E.V.O. takes a different approach where combat is really a dual button mashing instance still requiring a certain bit of strategy being an action RPG. After the fish stage the game turns platform-er but still retains its RPG nature. A great game for the old-school gamer looking for a different style of RPG.
Evolution: The World of Sacred Device, Dreamcast 1999
I personally know only three people who have played this game and although it has a mediocre storyline, the game itself emits a charm you won’t find in most RPGs. Combat in Evolution is not a random occurrence, as the player can initiate combat by touching an enemy similar to another game you probably haven’t forgotten: Earthbound. Battle formations are a highlight amongst the classic turn-based fighting system, where moving your party closer or further to/from the enemies alters your offensive and defensive capabilities. Throw that in with randomly generated dungeons and you have yourself a battle-heavy RPG. You spend most of the game in the ruins, which means much like Beyond the Beyond, you’ll be fighting a lot. For anyone who likes to grind experience and skill points in a game to become strong enough to defeat a boss on a 20 floor dungeon, this one’s for you.
Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean, Sega Saturn 1997
When the protagonist of an RPG is named after a fish (or polearm) and is raised by a group of harpies, you know you have an adventure on your hands. After Pike’s family of harpies are turned to stone, he must venture out to find a cure. Like any RPG, he meets a diverse cast of characters during his adventures. One character in particular is especially noteworthy: Gryzz. Gryzz (Seriously, the guy’s name is Gryzz) is a half-human, half dragon, all bad ass, dual-wielding katana master. And while other RPGs had playable dragons venturing with your party, such as Breath of Fire, none of them compare to Gryzz. That “dragon guy” was the one reason I remembered this game because I no longer own a Sega Saturn.
Robotrek, Super Nintendo 1995
Robotrek is a highly-underrated game. Its childish dialogue and quirky graphics just couldn’t be taken seriously at the time of its release. Like Secret of the Stars, it was released in 1995 – the worst year to be released if you were an underachieving RPG. Unlike other RPGs following a turn-based approach to combat, Robotrek had an active time battle system. Similar to Chrono Trigger, the player must wait for his gauge to fill before deciding his base of action.
What made Robotrek special were the robots you’d assemble using pre-purchased or invented materials. Nothing beat decking all three of your robots with the best swords and machine guns in the game. Sure, the robots looked goofy and kiddish, but much like the Wii, you can be both of those things and still have fun. In the end, if it’s fun, isn’t that all that matters?
Shadowrun, Super Nintendo 1993
This game is fucking awesome. There weren’t many games around in which you could shoot up an entire bar full of orcs only to be carried away in a body bag by morticians. One thing notable about Shadowrun is its approach towards conversation. Because the main character is a “shadowrunner”, collecting information is key to advancing the plot. You can even jack into cyberspace, just like Keanu did in The Matrix, except it doesn’t have two shitty sequels ending a trilogy in nothing but garbage. Based on the cyberpunk table-top RPG of the same name, Shadowrun is far from your standard RPG.
Then there is the taint of the next-gen Shadowrun they made not too long ago for the Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. Where labeling one team as “a corporation” is supposed to bring the feel of Shadowrun to a Counter-Strike clone. If you’ve forgotten about this game, no one blames you. Is it too much to ask for a real Shadowrun game? A title that thrives in the Shadowrun universe, where wearing trenchcoats and mohawks reign king.
Nox, PC 2000
An action RPG that came out 3 years after Diablo-fever. Nox had only three character classes: Warrior, Wizard and Conjurer. Sounds like a miniscule amount but if you’ve ever played the multiplayer this game offered, you’d see it was well balanced. The same cannot be said about a game like Diablo 2. The single player storyline changes slightly depending on what class you’ve chosen, which adds great replay value.
The best part is that the main boss is this fine hussy:
She raises the dead.
She likes skeletal furniture
and you can be her willing sex slave.
Actually, if you played the game, you’d probably just kill her. That’s the way she likes it. Then there is the Captain Crunch-looking NPC who stalks you the entire game, only to reveal the obvious at the end of the story. Nox had its charm. It didn’t push the envelope like Diablo, but it prevails over many games of its kind in both gameplay and storyline. When EA got the rights to Nox they trashed it, as well as closed Westwood Studios’ servers. Though this game isn’t totally forgotten, it certainly is dead.
These 8 games didn’t shine their brightest during their time and have been forgotten by many. Still, they show that even a game plagued by “cut-and-dried” mechanics can still retain redeeming qualities. Thus proving that even RPGs labeled as “clones” of games past warrant at least one moment of your time.