Retro Gaming 00’s- Crash Nitro Kart: (2003)

One of the few racing games from the early 00’s that was definitely overshadowed within it genre was Crash Nitro Kart. For those do not know Crash Nitro Kart was published by Universal Interactive and developed by Vicarious Visions and appeared on multiple game systems including the PS2, Xbox and GameCube back in the early 00’s. Crash Nitro Kart was considered to be a sequel to the Crash Team Racing game from ‘99 while being the ninth Crash Bandicoot game within the entire series. Crash Nitro Kart contained over 20 playable characters including Crash, Coco and Crunch Bandicoot and introduces a few new characters such as Fake Crash along with N-Trance as well. Crash Nitro Kart also saw the return of Doctor Neo Cortex who was the main villain in the very first Crash Bandicoot game from ‘96. We also saw the return of Nitrous Oxide the main villain from Team Crash Racing in Crash Nitro Kart as a leader of his own group known as “Team Oxide”. The game has a rather interesting plot that saw the main villain Emperor Velo XXVII abduct Crash & Neo-Cortex’s group while forcing them to compete in a racing tournament.

The possibility of Earth’s destruction plays a role in both Crash and Doctor Neo-Cortex’s group agreeing to participated the race with the winning team receiving freedom from the Galactic Emperor Velo XXVII. The story for Crash Nitro Kart has alternate endings depending on which team won which added to the game’s overall replay value. As cool as Crash Team Racing was back in ’99 many would argue the Crash Nitro Kart was a more superior game despite not being on the same level in terms of popularity. Crash Nitro Kart was challenging and the gameplay was highly enjoyable since it felt like Naughty Dog’s version of a 3D Mario Kart game. But unlike many Mario Kart games we have seen in the past Crash Nitro Kart has an actual storyline which in some ways makes it better than some Nintendo’s past racing titles within the Mario series.

Retro Gaming 00’s- Left 4 Dead 2: (2009)

When we think about memorable first person shooters from the late 00’s one of the few games that instantly comes to mind is Left 4 Dead 2. For those who do not know Left 4 Dead 2 was developed and published by Value Corporation and was released for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows back in 2009. The Left 4 Dead series began back in ’08 and the sequel that we got the following year in ’09 was arguably a better title than its predecessor. The plot for the game itself revolves around players trying to defend themselves against hordes and following zombies following the aftermath concerned a deadly pandemic. Left 4 Dead 2 including both single & multiplayer gameplay as players controlled survivors who could utilize melee attacks along with various weapons to stay alive. The replay value involving Left 4 Dead 2 was very high especially since the game included at least five different campaigns. Out of the five Campaigns included in Left 4 Dead 2 many would argue that Dark Carnival & Hard Rain were among the best that the game had to offer. The mini-games included in Dark Carnival along with the environmental obstacles included in Hard Rain seemingly stood out the most out of the five campaigns that were included in Left 4 Dead 2.

Ever since, its release Left 4 Dead 2 has been praised by critics and various gaming entities as being one of the best video games that Valve Corporation as ever made. Despite, the technical issues that players may of had with Left 4 Dead 2 regarding multiplayer online gameplay it was still a well polished first-person shooter game that rivaled the likes of Wolfenstein and Fallout 3 in terms of popularity. Left 4 Dead 2 was seemed every bit as good as its predecessor and managed to reach at least four million Cop in sales before the end of 2009. While Left 4 Dead 2 was enjoyable on the Xbox 360 it seemed more addictive to PC gamers during a time period were online gaming was starting to increase in popularity. In fact, the first person shooter and survival horror genres of gaming were beginning to become more mainstream as it related to 3D gaming between the late 00’s and the 10’s decade. Left 4 Dead 2 was huge attraction back in ’09 and its a game that would probably hold up well in year 2020 if it were remastered in high definition for a current generation console.

Retro Gaming 00’s- MegaMan X6: (2001)

As far as action games from the 00’s are concerned there are many people who might remember Capcom’s MegaMan X6 game from 2001. MegaMan X6 was released during a time period where the series was starting to decline but it still managed to gain the interest of those who were long time fans of the X series since 1993. MegaMan X6 has a very interesting plot that followed the events from MegaMan X5 which saw the introduction of a new villain known as Zero Nightmare. After the Eurasia space colony incident from X5 players can control either X or Zero in order to stop Zero Nightmare and depending on their actions they can unlock multiple endings. While the storyline was pretty dramatic some might argue that it was not as exciting as some of the earlier games where Sigma was the main villain. The graphics and gameplay for Megaman X6 were just as great as every other game within the series and it could have possibly have been more popular than it was during the mid to late 90’s. By the early 00’s the 2D action platform genre of gaming had declined greatly and 3D gaming started to become more mainstream.

Even though, MegaMan X6 came out for the PS1 it may have been a bigger attraction as a PS2 exclusive during the early 00’s since the 32-bit console was around seven years old by 2001. The storyline and multiple endings along with the soundtrack of MegaMan X6 were solid but not the best that we got to see within the X series. While some critics praised the nightmare system and the length of the game itself others would go on record and argue that MegaMan X6 had its share of shortcomings. However, the replay value of MegaMan X6 was still pretty high and the game is still considered to be an action-platform classic for the PS1 that many people probably never got a chance to play.

Retro Gaming 00’s- Need For Speed: Underground (2003)

When it comes down to high profile racing games from the early 00’s it’s almost impossible to have a conversation about that topic without discussing Need For Speed: Underground from 2003. Need For Speed: Underground was developed by EA Black Box and published by EA Games and was released for multiple systems including PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox and was considered to be one of the best racing video games of ’03. Need For Speed: Underground has a variety of offline game modes including Drifting, Circuit, Knockout, Sprint along with Drag Racing which added to its overall replay value. The car customization mechanic was also something that was praised by many fans and critics as well. While Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 from ’02 was praised by critics NFS: Underground had more game modes opposed to players simply trying to evade the police which made for a worthy successor. However, despite how popular Need For Speed: Underground became many would argue that its sequel NFS: Underground 2 was the best entry in the series as it pertains to the 00’s. Need For Speed: Underground was one of the few high profile racing games that stood out within the 00’s decade along with the likes of Race Driver: Grid, Project Gotham and Forza Motorsport all can with Midnight Club II & III.

The visuals for Need For Speed: Underground looked good for its time and the gameplay seemed balanced especially since a player’s performance depended on how they customized their cars prior to races. Even though, Need For Speed: Underground came out in ’03 some might argue that the game deserved to be remastered between the late 00’s-early 10’s time period for either the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360; seeing how popular the series had become especially during the mid 00’s onwards. Need For Speed: Underground was not quite as popular as NFS: Most Wanted from ’05 but then again it was the first installment within the series to include a storyline within its Career Mode which was groundbreaking at the time. There were stages in the game that looked very impressive considering the fact that they mirrored real-life cities such as: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in terms of looks. Need For Speed: Underground was a memorable racing classic from the 00’s; despite not being the most popular game within the series it was still highly successful reaching at least 7 million in sales by ’04.

Would KOF: Maximum Impact 2 be considered underrated?

When many people think about some of the most iconic games to have come from the KOF series some of the installments from the 90’s come to mind. In fact, KOF ’98 was arguably the greatest fighting game that SNK made and was probably one of the best 2D arcade fighting titles of all-time. While SNK’s games within the KOF series has improved visually as time progressed many gamers are only aware of the 2D installments from the 90’s, 00’s and the 10’s decade. Following the release of KOF ’98 we got to see critically acclaimed 2D entries such as King Of Fighters XI-XIV between ’05-’16. However, the 3D KOF games do not get mentioned nearly as much as the 2D installments; which is understandable considering the fact that the series began in 2D towards the mid 90’s. After KOF Maximum Impact 2 was released in ’06 there were casual gamers who may have been impressed with features such as 3D gameplay along with character voice overs during story mode cutscenes. The gameplay for KOF: Maximum Impact 2 felt similar to that of a Soul Caliber which was cool considering how popular the Soul series has become during the 00’s.

King Of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2 looked and felt way different from many other installments within series; similar to how the Street Fighter EX did from every other 2D SF title from the 90’s. While some fans thought that making a 3D KOF game with voice acting was a step in the right direction others felt that titles such as Maximum Impact 2 deviated away from what made the series popular during the 90’s. For a 3D fighting game KOF: Maximum Impact 2 looked pretty decent by mid 00’s standards and would probably turn heads within the gaming world it was remastered in high definition. However, the demand to see a remastered version of KOF: Maximum Impact 2 is not very high especially since there are much better games within the series that the public adore even more.

Could Mother 3 have been more successful on the SNES?

Mother 3 was an underrated JRPG from the mid 00’s that may have been released a lot sooner than it should of been. As many people know the legendary Earthbound series began in the late 80’s on the NES with the most high profile entry being released for the SNES back in 1994. Although, Earthbound/Mother 2 failed to be a huge success in terms of sales the game is still considered to be a cult classic while being recognized as one of the greatest RPG’s from the 16-bit era. While the world never got to see an N64 sequel to Mother 2 years following its release Mother 3 eventually appeared on Game Boy Advance exclusively in Japan back in 2006. While Mother 3 is also considered to be a critically acclaimed JRPG its often overlooked especially since it came out during a time period where people were turning away from the Game Boy Advance and began sinking their teeth into the Nintendo DS which came out in 2004. Some wonder whether or not Mother 3 could have been a bigger attraction during the 90’s for the SNES considering the fact that the game looked like it belonged in the 16-bit era of gaming.

However, Mother 2 was not much of an attraction as other RPG’s that appeared on the SNES during the 90’s and its highly unlikely that Mother 3 would have been any different. If Mother 3 was released for the SNES back in the 90’s it would of been too late since ’94 was the same year that more superior consoles such as PS1 and Sega Saturn were released. During the mid to late 90’s the Super NES was no longer the main attraction within the gaming world and 16-bit RPG’s were beginning to decline in popularity by that time. While there is no question that Mother 3 could have definitely worked on SNES during the 90’s its unlikely that it would have been more successful than Mother 2 from ’94. Earthbound 64 was the game that the gaming world was waiting to see following Mother 2 and the world never got to see it since development had ended abruptly around 1999. If anything Mother 3 could have been a slightly bigger attraction on Game Boy Advance anytime between ’02-’04 outside of Japan despite how popular the PokeMon series was within that country and places like America during that time period.

Should Konami have released more DDR games for Dreamcast?

When we think about big video game franchises that started off in arcade centers around the late 90’s Dance Dance Revolution is one that many retro gamers from that era would most likely remember. The DDR series first began in ’98 and has her around for over two decades with various games from the series appearing in both arcade systems and on numerous consoles since then. There have been countless entries with in DDR series that we have seen in game systems such as PS1, PS2, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360 and there was even one installment that appeared on Dreamcast in 00’s entitled Dance Dance Revolution 2nd Mix. Unfortunately, DDR 2nd Mix was the only was the only installment within the series to be featured on Dreamcast despite receiving mainly favorable reviews following its release. As far as arcade style gameplay is concerned Dreamcast was far more superior than the 32 bit PS1. Despite, Dreamcast being a 128 bit console Konami may have went with the decision to release their DDR games mainly PS1/PS2 consoles due to their levels of popularity during early 00’s. While the original DDR was released in arcade centers in ’98 it was eventually ported to PS1 as Japanese exclusive the following year in April 1999.

Seeing that the Sega Dreamcast was available in retail during ’99 its possible that Konami could have ported DDR ’98 to the 128-bit game system within that year. Even though, the PS1 was far more popular than Dreamcast the original DDR game could have shined more in both America & Japan on Sega’s Final game system especially before the PS2 came out in late ’00. In fact, there were quite a few DDR games that were released exclusively in Japanese arcade centers during ’99 that were never ported to any game system. There were titles such as DDR: Best Of Cool Dancers along with different versions of DDR: 2nd Mix that could have been attractions on Dreamcast between late ’99- late-’00. Despite, its level of popularity the PS1 had its faults including lengthy loading times and the lack of optimal quality 3D gameplay which Dreamcast had in 1999 and 2000. By releasing more DDR titles for the PS1/PS2 its quite possible that the series was overshadowed by first party video games from the late 90’s-early 00’s. Its unfortunate that Konami only got to release one DDR game before the sales Dreamcast systems was discontinued in 2001.

Retro Gaming 00’s- Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2005)

When we think about top-tier racing games to have emerged from the 00’s decade one of the few games that could be listed within category is Need For Speed: Most Wanted from 2005. For those who do not know Need For Speed: Most Wanted was developed by EA Canada & EA Black Box and was published by Electronic Arts prior to appearing on multiple game consoles worldwide. While Need For Speed Most Wanted appeared on the Nintendo DS, GameCube, Microsoft Windows along with the PlayStation Portable the game is best remembered on systems such as the: PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 during its peak in popularity within the mid to late 00’s. Need For Speed: Most Wanted was the successor to the critically acclaimed NFS: Underground 2 game from ’04 which reached over 8 million copies in sales within a short period and was considered arguably the best installment within the entire series. However, Need For Speed: Most Wanted was a game that was praised for mechanical improvements in terms of gameplay over its predecessors as it pertained to racing. In Need For Speed: Most Wanted players had access to more in-depth data regarding hot pursuits from law enforcement than they did in previous installments such as: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2.

Enhancements made to the police pursuit mechanic within Need For Speed: Most Wanted was impressive and allowed players to keep track of certain statistics regarding how many law enforcement units have been evaded. Also, players are able to determine the type of consequences that are associated with the heat level players accumulate when fleeing from cops based on the amount of offenses they have committed. While the pursuit mechanic was designed in a way that added more realism to Need For Speed: Most Wanted the in game modes such as Career, Challenge Series and Quick Race were all death that added to the fun factor of this racing classic. The Career Mode featured in Need For Speed: Most Wanted had a very good story full of twists and turns involving the player’s participation within an illegal street racing scene in Rockport as they attempt to become the number one Blacklist racer in the game. Throughout, the game players are assisted by a key character named Mia Townsend who is revealed to be an undercover cop later in the story as she helps out in defeating other street racers as the story progresses. The downside to starting the Career Mode off included having a limited choice on what they can choose to drive. However, players were able to acquire more vehicles as they defeated other Blacklist drivers within the competition and were able to customize, sell or upgrade their cars in the process. While NFS: Most Wanted did not sell nearly much as Need For Speed: Underground I & II from ’03-’04 its still considered one of the greatest street racing games ever made depending on who you ask.

Retro Gaming 00’s- Metal Slug 3: (2000)

As many people know the 2D run and gun genre of gaming was popular mainly during the 90’s with games such as GunStar Heroes, Mega Man X, Contra III: Alien Wars, Sunset Riders and many others. It should also be noted that 90’s was the same decade the Metal Slug series began when SNK developed the very first game back in ’96 for the Neo Geo Arcade System. By the time we got to the mid 90’s the 2D run and gun genre of gaming was starting to decline in popularity; but despite the growing popularity of 3D from the mid 90’s onwards the Metal Slug series was still appealing to many casual gamers along with hardcore fans of the run and gun genre. Despite, the very first Metal Slug game coming out in ’96 a majority of gamers would argue that the best installment within the series came towards the start of the new millennium. Metal Slug 3 from ’00 was initially developed and published by SNK had received an arcade release that same year before appearing on the Neo Geo AES worldwide. Following its Neo Geo release Metal Slug 3 appeared on the PS2 in ’03 before coming to Xbox during 2004.

Metal Slug 3 is quite possibly one of the best run and gun video games of all-time as pertained to gameplay. In Metal Slug 3 players had the opportunity to utilize various assault vehicles throughout different levels of the game including a Slug Mariners, Ostrich Slugs, Elephant Slugs, Astro Slugs and others. Players were also allowed to engage in melee combat through actions kicking or utilizing a knife to destroy their opponents who were also skilled combat as well. As players plow through various enemies within each level of the game they have the ability to obtain numerous upgrades to their weapons before confronting a boss at the end of each stage. One of the most interesting features about Metal Slug 3 was its branching path system; players could take multiple paths in order to complete each level and included different sets of challenges depending on which route they took. The action within Metal Slug 3 was nonstop and saw players complete missions underwater, in the air and even in space as they gained access to various equipment that would allow them to do so. One of the more realistic elements of Metal Slug 3 is for players to become zombies after being infected by toxic chemicals which had an adverse effect their character’s movements. Becoming infected by toxic chemicals in the zombie state lead to death and made players think more strategically while trying to complete various levels within Metal Slug 3. Despite, not doing too great in sales the early 00’s was a time period where 2D gaming along with the run and gun genre were no longer mainstream; first and third person shooter games had become increasingly popular throughout the 00’s decade. If Metal Slug 3 were released anytime between the early to mid 90’s there is no question that the game would of became far more successful than it did in ’00.

Did the racing genre of gaming reach its peak in popularity during 00’s?

Its no secret that the racing genre of gaming has evolved greatly since the 80’s and 90’s where titles such as Outrun, Ridge Racer, Scud Race and Daytona USA were very popular within arcade centers. While we did get to see quit a few racing games that were popular in arcade centers it felt those titles were released during a time period where the genre itself was not too popular. In fact, there were console games that were considered to be far more successful than arcade racing games from a sales standpoint that came out during the 90’s such as Super Mario Kart for the SNES and Gran Turismo which appeared on the PS1. But it was not until the 00’s where 3D racing games started to become more advanced in form of being realistic; the 00’s saw various racing games such as Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec and Race Driver: Grid where players could engage in career modes that allowed players to purchase and customize their vehicles in-depth. Also, some of most critically acclaimed 3D racing games came from the 00’s such as: Gran Turismo 3 & 4, Race Driver: Grid and Need For Speed: Most Wanted that many people in this current generation of gaming would probably enjoy today if they were re-released in high definition.

It should be noted that the 00’s was also the same decade that the Forza Motorsport & Project Gotham series began. The Project Gotham series was a huge attraction on the Xbox/Xbox 360 consoles between ’01-’07 with the second installment quite possibly being the best depending on who you ask. The Forza Motorsport games from ’05-’09 were also Xbox/Xbox 360 exclusives that caught the eyes of many gamers who owned either console. The first three Forza Motorsport games were also praised by critics and the series itself now rivals that of Gran Turismo which remains exclusively on PlayStation consoles. While we have not seen an entry from the Project Gotham series since ’07 Forza is still ongoing to this day. While Forza Horizon 4 from ’18 is considered to be the best game within the entire series it most likely would not have existed if the first couple of entries within the series flopped during the mid to late-00’s.

In addition, to the Gran Turismo and Forza games that we got within the 00’s there were also some pretty cool arcade like racing titles. We also got to see the release of high profile racing games such as: F-Zero GX, Mario Kart: Double Dash and Outrun 2 which were all titles that came out in ’03. While the titles just mentioned were not as popular as GT3, GT4 and others they were also enjoyable racing games with high replay values that would appeal to casual gamers who were fans of the racing genre. As far as optimal visuals and general gameplay is concerned the racing titles of 10’s decade definitely outshine the games of from the 00’s. But there is definitely a degree of accuracy regarding the 00’s being the golden era as pertains to the racing genre of gaming. Mario Kart Wii which was quite possibly the best selling racing game of all-time reached over 37 million in sales following its release back in April 2008. Its hard to believe that a Mario Kart game ended up surpassing every single Gran Turismo game ever made since ’97 including its best sellers GT3, GT4, and GT5; each Gran Turismo game sold between 10-15 million copies worldwide individually. We may never see racing titles from this era onwards sell nearly as much as some of the games that were released during 00’s decade.