When we were young, we played just about any game we could get our hands on. All the memories building our gaming skills are precious. However oftentimes, childhood can become a bit of blur the farther we get from it. We upgrade to the new consoles and play the new games and these new things are objectively superior in many ways. It can be quite easy to compare the new and the old and feel like the older games are simply not any good. But despite all the flashy new stuff we get nowadays, there are a few gems hidden in those golden times. Here are ten of those underrated games that you might have forgotten about.
10 Luigi’s Mansion
Nintendo recently announced the development of Luigi’s Mansion 3, but the soon-to-be trilogy has humble origins. Released in 2001 for the GameCube, this game was a bone thrown at one of Nintendo’s most underrated characters. In this game, Luigi is the star, tasked with saving his brother Mario from the clutches of King Boo and his mansion full of ghosts. The unique mechanic of the game involves Luigi sucking up ghosts using a vacuum-like device. It’s easy to do but a challenge to master as the ghosts get harder and harder to capture.
9 Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows
Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. Gauntlet is a famous series that frequently made its rounds in arcades and is known for its four-player co-op play. Taking place in a fantasy-style world, players can choose between a warrior, valkyrie, wizard, or elf as they embark on a grand hack-and-slash adventure. Receiving good reviews, this game is a classic. In addition, it featured online play, so if you were one of the lucky kids whose parents let you hook up your PlayStation 2 to the internet, you and your friends could still play even if you weren’t together.
8 The Burnout Series
Burnout is another great series from the PlayStation 2. The first game was released in 2001 and continued until 2008, when games were released for Xbox, PC. and PlayStation. These games put players in the driver’s seat of fast, powerful vehicles to compete in races. During races you can ram your car into your competitors to make them crash, giving you the lead. In the fourth installment, Burnout Revenge, you could do the same with the civilian traffic that often gets in the way. Also, a beloved mode is the crash mode, where you launch your vehicle into the middle of a busy street and try to cause as much destruction as possible.
7 Viewtiful Joe
This game is a fun addition to any collection. The first Viewtiful Joe game came out in 2003 and continued to have three more games released. It features a flashy, eye-catching, and dynamic art style. The colors are bright and as the game is a beat ’em up, whenever you get combos and beat up bosses, word bubbles pop up on the scene like a comic book. The hero Joe transforms into a superhero to beat up bad guys across movie sets to save his girlfriend. Full of action and quips, the game is super fun to play and you’ll find yourself wanting to go from level to level until the very end. It got high reviews upon its release and maintains a fanbase to this day.
6 The Sly Cooper Series
Sly Cooper is an anthropomorphic raccoon who comes from a long line of master thieves. He and his friends (who are also his thieving crew) go on lengthy, detailed capers to steal the finest treasures and sometimes end up saving the world along the way. The first three games in the series were all released on the PlayStation 2, with the first one released in 2002. With well-made stealth mechanics, you usually control Sly to pull off death-defying stunts to complete your objective. The art style is comic book-esque with a real jazzy feel to the music. Having received great reviews throughout most of the series, this one is a fun but challenging play.
5 Ultimate Spider-Man
With the most recent Spider-Man game and all its fancy graphics, it can be easy to push aside its predecessors. Ultimate Spider-Man was released in 2005 on just about every console. This game is definitely a classic rival to the newest edition. The web-swinging is easy and fun and the art is, naturally, comic book style. It follows the storyline of the Ultimate Spiderman comic books and as you progress, you alternate play as Spider-Man and Venom. It has great replay value, as you can play the challenges over and over to get the gold rating, and there are collectibles to find as well.
4 Ty the Tasmanian Tiger
The genre of the mascot-based action-adventure game is populated with a massive amount of colorful cartoon characters, many of them often being anthropomorphic animals, so it is easy for some to simply blend in with the rest. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, released in 2002 is about the character in the Australian Outback, with two boomerangs as weapons. He goes on a quest to save his family from the clutches of an evil cassowary. It’s a unique setting, with the boomerangs becoming an interesting mechanic for combat and puzzle-solving. All of this puts Ty a step above similar games of his time.
3 Evolution: The World of Sacred Device
This game is a bit older than most on this list, having been released on the Sega Dreamcast in 1999. It’s a JRPG that features the adventures of Mag Launcher and his companion Linear Cannon as they travel about, searching dungeons. As is usually the case, world-ending conflict arises and Mag must spring into action. In RPGs, you battle teams of foes with your own. When you win, you get experience points to help you level up and become stronger. This game also gives you points to upgrade your skills as you see fit, instead of just boosting them all indiscriminately. This a good game with unique characters and fun gameplay.
2 Sword of the Berserk: Gut’s Rage
As we saw with Ultimate Spider-Man, comic books and other media make for great video games as it allows you to become your favorite characters and live through their adventures. Sword of the Berserk: Gut’s Rage, that was released in 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast, is just such a game. Its allows fans to play through a section of the manga Berserk as your favorite characters. Sword of the Berserk is also revolutionary for its time and is one of the first games to include Quick Time Events as well as different consequences for failing other than a game over. This was a classic hack-and-slash that was slightly ahead of its time.
1 The Gradius Series
One of the staples of the arcade experience is the side-scrolling shooter. Gradius is one of those games. The Vic Viper is your ship that you must fly through the depths of space, shooting hostile alien crafts while avoiding even more hostile environmental hazards. Having begun in 1985, Gradius has endured the test of time. It has been on almost every console throughout the years and each game has a two-player co-op option so you and a friend can work together. Gradius V for the PlayStation 2 is a glittering example of the simple yet fantastic formula. The graphics are good and the difficulty has a slow increase, so it’s enjoyable but still challenging.