With the state of today’s backwards compatibility in the absurd state that it’s in, there are some games that we currently own from previous generations of home consoles that we will never have the chance to play on our new and improved systems. Why compatibility for the 360 and PS3 can’t be akin to that of Wii/GameCube or PS2/PS I’ll never know, but it’s annoying caveat of current-generation consoles that we are stuck with. Going back even further, for games on cartridge, you really have no other option other than purchasing the originating system.
Sure, a lot of these games may be available on download services like Xbox LIVE Arcade or Wii’s Virtual Console, but a true gamer is a hoarder, and always prefers playing a game on the system it was built for, much like a film aficionado will traverse hell and high water to see an original film print of his or her favorite movie. So while some of these games you could easily go download in minutes, if you truly love gaming, you’ll take the hours out of your day to hunt them down, along with their systems that you probably already owned at one point in your life, and re-purchase them. Here’s to feeding the secondary market.
10. Jaws (Xbox, PS2)
Okay, so this game isn’t so great. But short of Ecco The Dolphin, what other game will allow you to swim through the ocean as a creature of the deep? Not only that, but I’m pretty sure that you ain’t going to be able to tear human beings limb from limb with a bottle-nosed kiss ass like Ecco. While the game might not be perfect in any sense of the word, it really is your only option to be the most famous shark of all time and do shark-like things.
Not to mention, dragging innocent people through the water in your teeth to John Williams’ theme is a borderline wet dream.
9. Gitaroo Man (PS2)
During my time working for the Big Blue Empire Best Buy, I found this game sitting in their racks for a mere $9.99, right around the time of its release. I was on the hunt for a new music game (there was a time when music games weren’t a dime a dozen, you know), and this is what I chose to fill the void. Though I later resold the game for a price upwards of $80, the time I had with it was priceless. I can’t even really describe the gameplay, other than it’s one of the most Japanese experiences of my gaming career.
If you can find this game, you’ll enjoy plenty of bright flashing lights, an out-of-their-minds storyline, whacked out gameplay and just an all around true "experience".
8. Viewtiful Joe (GameCube)
GameCube enthusiasts surely still shudder to this day when they recall the Capcom Five, five games that were in development for the system by Capcom – which included Viewtiful Joe – and were set to revitalize the third party market of the GameCube. Obviously, it didn’t really turn out that way, with two of the games being critically panned, the two good ones (Joe and Resident Evil 4) ported to other systems, and one canceled all together. But, upon its initial launch for the GameCube, Viewtiful Joe was an original, fun, and hard-as-balls affair that made hardcore fans rejoice and naysayers take notice of Nintendo’s little Cube. Unfortunately, it couldn’t do the same for the mainstream gaming public.
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)
Yes, you can download this on XBLA. You can even get a re-done version with 3D graphics, but we here at CraveOnline have already told you why you shouldn’t be wasting 1200 MS Points on Turtles in Time: Re-Shelled. However, there isn’t quite anything like dusting off your ol’ SNES and gearing up for a little TMNT, as the old SNES gamepad’s plastic squeaks and rattles in your hands.
You can beat the game in roughly a half an hour, but doing so holding an Xbox 360 controller just isn’t quite as satisfying. And, if you were to rebuy a SNES, you surely could find a whole wealth of games that you could lose hours in once more. Super Metroid, I’m looking at you.
6. WWE Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth (PS2)
There was a time in professional wrestling when things were exciting. There were rival promotions, the pushing of envelopes, and more importantly, great storytelling. While WWF WrestleMania 2000 will always be the epitome of the wrestling genre for me, Shut Your Mouth represents the quiet before the storm, the last moment in time before everything went downhill for the business.
Shut Your Mouth has an amazing roster, featuring an eclectic mix of the Attitude Era, post-WCW closure WWE, NWO (re-?)invasion, and the modern main eventers. It’s nostalgic, but in a presentation that is more like what you would see on television today, aside from the lack of entertainment. So until the cyclical nature of the sports entertainment business is back on the up-and-up, you’ll have to settle for playing out your own fantasy storylines.
5. Ikaruga (GameCube)
If chopping down a tree, having sex, and taking a life hasn’t yet made you a man, then Ikaruga will. This game is f*cking hard. Chances are, you’ll have to replace your GameCube controllers – and perhaps even your GameCube – many times over if you decide to tackle this game. In the vain of old-school shooters like Galaga, Ikaruga is a top-down flight combat game that movies briskly at an unforgiving pace.
The game revolves around a "polarity" concept, which will allow your ship to absorb certain bullets but take varying amounts of damage from others. Likewise, enemy ships are dealt with in much the same fashion. The player can change the polarity of their ship, which is really what adds to the depth (and difficulty) of the game. You can purchase Ikaruga via XBLA, but I guarantee it’s cheaper to replace broken GameCube controllers than Xbox 360 controllers, even after the cost of buying the system.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
As far as I’m concerned, Ocarina of Time is the end-all be-all of video gaming. No game has ever surpassed its quality, and I doubt any ever will. Though you can get Ocarina in a variety of ways – including Virtual Console and Master Quest on GameCube – you will never feel a more elated sense of being than when you plug that epic golden cartridge into the slot of the Nintendo 64. Ocarina‘s Z-targeting system was custom built for the N64 controller as well, and it just doesn’t feel the same using a GameCube or Classic Controller.
Ocarina of Time was built for the N64, and that is the only way to experience it.
3. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
From the team responsible for the Playstation 2 masterpiece Ico – aptly named Team Ico – Shadow of the Colossus is an experience that can hardly be told to you; all the more reason to go out and make the purchase. Best described as a series of boss battles mixed with puzzle elements, and a kick-ass soundtrack to boot. It’s rare that a game strives to classify as artistry (though games are certainly more than capable), but Team Ico strikes gold twice with the success of Shadow of the Colossus.
As far as adventure/action/puzzle games go in the PlayStation 2 generation, you’d be hard pressed to find anything that compares to this game, even a little bit.
2. Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier (PS2)
Don’t recall seeing this game on the shelves ever? That’s because at E3, Sony made the confusion-inducing announcement of releasing the first console installment of the series (discounting Jak X: Combat Racing) since 2004’s Jak 3 this year on PS2. While the PS3 is alive and kicking, original developers Naughty Dog are busy working on Uncharted, and instead Sony sent this project to High Impact Games.
It’s a bizarre move, to be sure, but certainly garners respect from this gamer. Sony clearly has faith in the now decade-old system, and enough of it to release a follow-up to one of its most successful (and most idle) franchises on it, while its current-gen system sits in third place behind its competitors.
1. FreQuency/Amplitude (PS2)
It’s a GD shame that we’ll likely never see another Amplitude game for the rest of our lives. Harmonix’s true gift to the genre of music games came in 2001 with FreQuency, and then improved upon in 2003’s Amplitude. A few years later of course, they would be responsible for the explosion of music genre games with their creation of Guitar Hero, and later, Rock Band, but it was the simplistic concept of FreQuency that blew me away.
The games see the player racing down a tunnel-like area with multiple tracks, much like any other rhythm game, using the shoulder buttons to strike the notes. Each track is a different instrument, ranging from drums, guitars, vocals, synth, bass, etc., that the player has to switch back and forth between in order to hit a combination of notes and get all tracks actively playing at one time. It’s fast paced, fun as hell, and extremely difficult to master. It may sound primitive to be using a standard controller in this day-and-age of overly done instrument accessories, but I’ll be damned if anyone can tell me that Rock Band holds more depth in its gameplay thatn FreQuency or Amplitude.
Though both games had remix modes, Amplitude‘s was more efficient by far, and even made use of Sony’s Network Adapter to share your mixes online, as well as collaborate with one another, and of course, challenge other players. The music selection is vast, and all of them are master recordings. It took Guitar Hero three installments to get to that point. Trust me, if you’ve never played these games, pick them up once and you’ll smash that Rock Band axe like you were Pete Townshend.