Back in the days where reviews of video games weren't readily available via the internet, blind purchases were much more common, meaning that many truly awful games were bought by customers who hadn't picked up a magazine that informed them that their money would be better spent elsewhere.
However, sometimes these blind purchases led to the discovery of hidden gems, such as the five underrated games listed below. Here are 5 awesome retro games that you've (probably) never played.
After Nintendo released Super Mario Kart, a huge influx of kid-oriented racing games featuring cartoonish characters began pouring in. One of these games was Street Racer. Originally released on the SNES in 1994, Street Racer was initially dismissed as just another Karting Klone, due to its implementation of Mode 7 graphics and aping of Mario Kart’s Battle mode in the form of a ‘Rumble’ mode.
However, its supposed re-release on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1995 was actually more of a remake, with improved graphics, tracks and a multiplayer component that has been harshly overlooked as one of the most fun of its era. Featuring the hugely addictive Car Soccer mode and a new Rumble mode that pitted racers in a vehicular Battle Royale, Street Racer is one of the most fun titles that has ever graced the Karting sub-genre and, in many ways, perhaps even better than the game it was initially inspired by.
The 90’s was filled with side-scrolling beat ‘em ups looking to become the next Streets of Rage or Double Dragon, and one such game that was unfortunately drowned out by its wealth of competition was Cyborg Justice.
Considering its unique selling point, it’s actually quite surprising that Cyborg Justice didn’t find an audience. Set in the future (what game wasn’t back then?), you’d be tasked with killing hordes of enemies after – get this – creating your own KILLER ROBOT. You could put a chainsaw on its arm and turn it into a half-robot/half-tank, then take to the streets with one of your buddies in order to deal out some justice… some CYBORG justice. Although in terms of gameplay it didn’t quite match up to some of the Mega Drive’s/Genesis’ classic beat ‘em ups, it was still a ton of fun and unfairly underrated.
Considering its concept, it’s hardly surprising that Vib-Ribbon didn’t garner much of a western audience when it was released on the PlayStation back in 2000. After all, a game where you control a rabbit that navigates her way through minimalist, black ‘n’ white 2D levels that are created via the sound of music that you have burned onto your PlayStation is not an easy concept to explain.
However, the few Europeans who DID play Vib-Ribbon (it never received a North American release) know that it was as fun as it was quirky and, at the very least, gave you something to do with all that music you’d pointlessly saved onto your console.
Released at the tail-end of the Mega Drive’s/Genesis’ lifespan, Comix Zone was, without a shadow of the doubt, the best looking game in the system’s history.
With its story centring around a comic book artist being teleported into his own comic book, Comix Zone’s striking art style saw the player jumping between panels, tearing holes through pages and punching enemies until speech bubbles expressing their disdain hovered above their heads.
Aside from its impressive graphical accomplishments, its gameplay also rivalled the best side-scrolling beat ‘em ups Sega’s system had to offer, with its fluid combat and challenging level of difficulty ensuring that the very few who did buy it championed it enough to garner it a small cult following. If you’re looking to expand your retro gaming collection, Comix Zone should be at the top of your list.
Very few games from the original PlayStation's library have withstood the test of time, but 1999's Pepsiman is one of them. As a marketing ploy it was less subtle than when Steve Jobs died, but as a game it was awesome to the (Pepsi) max.
In terms of gameplay, Pepsiman is very similar to the hugely popular iOS/Android game Temple Run, if Temple Run had you collecting cans of Pepsi and your goal was to reach a Pepsi vending machine. Much like the copious amounts of caffeine swirling around in the product it was intended to advertise, Pepsiman was hugely addicting and increasingly challenging which, even though it was never released outside of Japan, has garnered it a small but dedicated Western fanbase thanks to import copies and emulators. Now, in an unrelated topic, is anyone suddenly really thirsty?
Paul Tamburro is the UK Editor of Crave Online. Follow him on Twitter @PaulTamburro.