5 Games You’ve Never Played, But Should (Part 1)

Let’s face it, as gamers we sometimes miss out on jewels in the gaming world. There is always some game that would blow our minds, guaranteeing endless hours attached to our televisions, yet somehow they seem to go under the radar. Over the years, and over many consoles, there have been more great games that we’ve missed out on than we’d care to actually think about. And most of the time they’re well received games, yet are overshadowed by the giants that dominate each console; Mario, Halo, Final Fantasy, etc. Well here are 5 titles that are true gaming gems, flaunting the best of gaming goodness you’ve probably never played, but definitely should.

#5 The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse (SNES)—1992

So any list like this has to have a game that makes the reader think “what the hell is this guy thinking?” Well this is that game. The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse was always one I was proud to own, loved to play, but would hide whenever friends came by. Having a Disney video game, much less a Mickey Mouse video game begged for some serious teasing from your friends. But regardless, I love this game, and that’s because it’s just so damn fun. And since it’s a Mickey Mouse game, odds are you probably passed over it. Its ok, I forgive you.

The game was released for the Super NES in both Japan and North America in late 1992. The game was developed by Capcom and designed by Tokuro Fujiwara. It features Mickey Mouse traveling in a strange land ruled by the evil emperor Pete, searching for his dog Pluto. With the help of a wizard, Mickey sets out to find his friend and stop Pete’s tyranny.

It plays like a side-scrolling Mario game, but has so many cool features in it that it’s completely different than any normal side-scrolling game. For instance is the different outfits Mickey has during the game. With each new level, Mickey will obtain a new outfit, and kind of like a power-up in Mario, would feature a different special power for Mickey. Mickey’s outfits in this game include: a magician outfit, which enables him to shoot magic; a firefighter uniform that enables him to continually spray water; and mountain-climbing gear that gives him a grappling hook that can attach to certain surfaces and objects. Take it from me; the mountain-climbing level is some seriously badass stuff.

The game progresses from one magical adventure to another, yet never lingers so long that any one place grows tedious, and instead switches up the scenery so frequently that you’ll regret it every time you abandon one locale for another. The gameplay seems to simplistic at first, but gets progressively harder, even for a Disney game—which is always a good thing. The only negative thing about this game is that, like many other early games, it doesn’t have a save feature; forcing you to finish it in one fail swoop. But hey, it’s fun enough to do, and partially intended that way. Because this game is a Mickey Mouse game is probably the exact reason why you passed it up, but take it from me, it’s absolutely worth playing…over and over again.

#4 The World Ends with You (DS)—2008

Every once in awhile a game will come around, completely blow you off your rocker and leave you begging for more. The World Ends with You unquestionably did that for me. Developed by Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts team and Jupiter for the Nintendo DS, the game is set in the modern-day Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo and features a distinctive art style inspired by Shibuya and its youth culture.

In the game, Neku Sakuraba and his allies are forced to participate in a game that will determine their fate (which can seem a little ambiguous at times). The battle system uses many of the unique features of the Nintendo DS, including combat that takes place on both screens, and attacks performed by certain motions on the touchscreen or by shouting into the microphone. All the bang for your buck. Some cool features are the elements of Japanese youth culture, such as fashion, food, and cell phones, which are key aspects of the missions.

The game plays like an action style RPG, and is arranged into three chapters following the three weeks that Neku is involved in the Reaper’s Game. What’s so distinctive about this game is the fighting system. It’s a complete ball-breaking ass of a system to master, but once you get the hang of it, it’s by far some of the coolest fighting seen on any game. It’s broken into two screens: top screen you make use of the D-Pad, pressing corresponding buttons for combos, while simultaneously using the stylus to guide Neku to slash, dash and blast his enemies into dust. It also uses a Pin system, which is very unique, and features “psych pins,” which are decorative pins that possess powers that only Neku can activate while wearing them. Psych pins are used for combat, for “Tin Pin Slammer/Marble Slash,” or as trade value for money or equipment. Most pins, particularly those used in combat, can become more powerful as the player accumulates “Pin Points” (PP).

Overall the game received excellent ratings, profound sales, and too many awards for me to mention, but regardless of its somewhat translucent popularity, a lot of people do not know this game is in existence. Hell, if it hadn’t been for a friend, I would still have no clue of its existence. And you can forget trying to find it in stores. That’s why this game is top priority for this list. Go, play it now, you can thank me later.

#3 The Legend of Dragoon (PlayStation)—1999

Every gamer has a sweet spot for a good role playing game, whether you’d like to admit it or not. There is just something charismatic about a 40 plus hour video game to gamers. RPG’s complete with turn-based fighting, potions and magic, and mythical creatures—we love it. That’s why the next game I feel I have to mention is a RPG. The Legend of Dragoon is probably one of the most underrated, and unknown RPG’s released on the PlayStation. Released in the wake of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX, Dragoon seemingly got caught in the mix, and was bypassed by many gamers.

Developed and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, and designed by Yasuyuki Hasebe for the PlayStation in 1999, the game takes place on the fictional continent of Endiness and revolves around Dart coming home after a 5 year journey in search of the Black Monster (whom killed his parents). When he arrives he finds that the village has been destroyed and his childhood sweetheart, Shana, has been captured by a military force. As he begins his adventure to free Shana, he discovers that he has inherited the power of the Dragoon, a knight who fought in an ancient battle for the survival of humans. Now, a war is about to begin again, and Dart must protect the world and Shana, who plays a mysterious part in the whole affair.

So what sets this RPG apart from others? Thought you’d never ask. Hasebe packed this game with so many cool add-ons its ridiculous. First is the addition system while fighting. Basically, you choose an addition to add to your regular attack, and while attacking you press the coordinating buttons for additional hits. Sounds easy, but its definitely not, and takes a little practice to master. But that’s the fun of it, and it seems to break up the monotony of turn-based fighting in he game. Next, and most importantly, is the Dragoon form. This item allows a character to transform into a more powerful form, a Dragoon. These are powerful beings with the ability to control dragons and use powerful magic while fighting, becoming badass enemy killing machines.

The game developed quite a following, most demanding a sequel or remake, but has sadly slid from focus since its release. When gamers are still crying about Sephiroth killing Aeris, and taking Cloud for another go just because, it’s easy to be overlooked. Vaunting the most epic, and awe-inspiring cut scenes of its time (most of which better than Final Fantasy VII; yes, I said it), The Legend of Dragoon is beyond doubt a game you most likely passed over, but should definitely pick up.

#2 Sniper Elite (PS2, Xbox, PC, Wii)—2005

Are you one of those gamers who love to grab a sniper, set up shop, and start taking out your enemies from a distance? You are? Well you’re in luck, because Sniper Elite is just the unknown game for you. This tactical shooter was developed in 2005 by UK-based video game developer Rebellion Developments. The main character is an American OSS agent, Karl Fairburne, disguised as a German sniper inserted into Battle of Berlin in 1945, during the final days of World War II, with the objective of obtaining German nuclear technology before the Soviet NKVD does.

Besides just having a sniper rifle throughout the entire game (which if you’re like me, is completely badass), one of the coolest capabilities of the game is the option of realistic ballistics; involving factors such as bullet drop, wind strength, and breathing when attempting a shot. Basically, when turned on, you have to adjust your sights for wind, calculate how much the bullet can/may drop, and try and steady your breathing for that perfect shot. How more realistic can a first-person shooter get?

One of the best parts of the game is when the player makes an extreme sniper shot (basically a long head shot, neck shot, or body shot), the screen then follows the path of the bullet in slow motion, while the camera rotates around the bullet, and results in a close up frame of an exploding enemy head. Interested yet? Well you should be.

The game is unlike most other first or third-person shooters, because most of the gameplay involves stealth and patience. To reinforce the stealth aspect, there is a camouflage index measured in percentage that displays the visibility of the protagonist. There is also the aspect of your snipe shots. The game keeps track of your best and longest shots taken, giving the gamer a chance to excel and add to your trophy kills with each shot.

Though it did receive the TIGA award for best PC/Console game in 2005, and is being rereleased for the Wii, it still remains unknown to many. When you’re released in a world still engulfed with Halo: Combat Evolved it’s easy to get lost in translation—which is exactly why you should take part in its sniping greatness.

#1 Kickle Cubicle (NES)—1990

It might be because I’m biased (this being the first game I ever played, aside from Mario), but Kickle Cubicle is truly the most overlooked, and underrated game out there. Kickle Cubicle is a puzzle game developed by Irem for the NES in 1988. Gameplay is somewhat similar to the Adventures of Lolo series, and revolves around the protagonist Kickle who wakes up one day to find his homeland, the Fantasy Kingdom, turned to ice by the Wicked Wizard King. The King has imprisoned the people in Dream bags, and only Kickle was unaffected. Kickle sets out to save the kingdom with his special freezing breath, which he uses to turn the invaders into ice to use against his foes.

The gameplay consists of the player traveling through four lands in the Fantasy Kingdom, which Kickle plays in a set order. Each land has a boss at the end, and after completing all four lands, the “special game” begins, consisting of 30 harder, bonus levels. If you’re the type of gamer who likes puzzle games that increasingly get harder, well this is the game for you. By the time you get to the “special games,” you’ll be ready to pull your hair out in frustration; but yet it somehow brings you right back to its puzzle goodness.

One of the good things this game has going for it is the mechanics. Unlike a lot of NES titles, Kickle is easy to maneuver throughout the game, and promotes an exceedingly smooth gameplay for the NES. The visuals are clear enough for the gamer to understand what’s going on, what they need to do, and how to do it.

Besides just being a down right fun and addictive game to play, Kickle Cubicle boasts some of the best graphics that the NES had to over. Crisp, clean and colorful, this game presented visuals unheard of in the 8-bit era of video games—like brightly lit, flower filled cut scenes. It has so many things going for it that it’s hard to tear yourself away from Kickle’s freezing breath of doom. And with 30 brain-racking, hair-pulling, and painstakingly hard bonus levels, it’s absolutely a game that will suck you in, demanding you never leave it.