Retro Gaming 00’s- Kirby & the Amazing Mirror: (2004)

When we think about memorable games that appeared on Game Boy Advance back in the 00’s Kirby & the Amazing Mirror is one of the few titles that instantly comes to mind. Kirby & the Amazing Mirror was released back in ’04 and was both a platformer and metroidvania game. The game has a rather interesting plot that involved the Mirror World which was located in sky within a place known as Dream Land. Players learn that they must rescue Meta Knight following his loss to Dark Meta who sliced Kirby up into four different beings. Dark Meta had also sliced up the Mirror that Meta Knight was locked to eight different pieces. After the mirrors are scattered players had to search for them while controlling Kirby. Along with battling sub-bosses, venturing through different world and solving puzzles players can gather items to enhance their in-game performance. In addition, to robust gameplay players have three mini-games they can enjoy known as “Kirby’s Wave Ride, Speed Eaters and Creative Hack which all contributes to the overall replay value Kirby & the Amazing Mirror. The visuals for Kirby & the Amazing Mirror is stunning has a great look to it.

One of the reasons why Kirby & the Amazing Mirror was a pretty cool game because the plot found a healthy balance between between being both dark and kid-friendly. As good as this adventurous platformer was it was seemingly overshadowed on the Game Boy Advance especially with games like Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire and Super Mario Advance 4 being huge attractions on the handheld game system. A game like Kirby & the Amazing Mirror really could have stood out on the SNES back in the early to mid 90’s and is one that can be considered an underrated gem for Game Boy Advance.

Retro Gaming 00’s- King Of Fighters XII: (2009)

When we think about cool fighting games from the late 00’s that were memorable classics titles such as Street Fighter IV, Tekken 6 and Soul Calibur IV are all games that instantly come mind. While the three games just mentioned were all fantastic fighting titles there were games such as King Of Fighters XII from ’09 that does not get talked about as much as should. In fact, King Of Fighters XII is a game that was quite possibly underrated and definitely overshadowed during the late 00’s. Despite, not having a storyline similar to that of KOF ’98 or KOF 2002 this game saw the return of three vs three gameplay which has been a feature that has been apart of the series since 90’s. It should also be noted that King Of Fighters XII has removed a gameplay feature that was popular in KOF 2003 known as the “Tactical Shift System”. While SNK had decided to remove a gameplay mechanic they added something new known as the “Critical Counter System” which some would argue was a better feature than the “Tactical Shift System”. While players had limited time to link their attacks ending it all with a special move it was a feature that almost any character could use. The Tactical Shift System from KOF 2003 seemed like it was set up to benefit the leader of a team more than anything since they had exclusive accessories to certain moves during battles.

Also the inclusion of gameplay mechanics such as “Guard Attack” and “Clash Attack” both added to the overall quality to battles that took place in KOF XII. Along with having improved gameplay in comparison to the likes of KOF XI from 2005 King Of Fighters XII saw the return of popular characters such as Joe Higashi, Lori Yagami, Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard, Robert Garcia, Ryo Sakazaki and more. Despite, the fact that SNK was still utilizing 2D sprites for the character models it was perfectly fine since they looked highly refined. In fact, some people would argue that King Of Fighters XII looked nicer and had more robust gameplay than Street Fighter IV from 2008. However, many would argue that King Of Fighters XI was a more solid entry than KOF XII in general. The presentation of King Of Fighters XII was good enough to capture the attention of those who were casual fans of the fighting genre of gaming. Also, SNK did make an effort to apply technical changes in KOF XII opposed to giving us the same exact thing from KOF XI with better aesthetics. While King Of Fighters XII May not have been the best fighting game from the late 00’s its definitely one that deserves more recognition than it receives.

Retro Gaming 90’s- MegaMan & Bass: (1998)

When it comes down to underrated games within the MegaMan series one of the few titles that comes to mind is MegaMan & Bass from the late 90’s. For those who do not know MegaMan & Bass was initially released for the Super Nintendo a Entertainment System back in April 1998 as Japanese exclusive. MegaMan & Bass did not come to America until August 2002 when it was ported for the Game Boy Advance. The interesting thing about MegaMan & Bass water fact that the game could have been very popular in America if it were released for the SNES anytime between the ’94-’96. Also, MegaMan & Bass saw the introduction of a new villain by the name of King while allowing players to play as either character in order to compete the game. In some ways Capcom’s MegaMan & Bass was a bit similar to Sega’s Sonic & Knuckles in the sense where players had the opportunity to select the main character along with his rival in order to fight against a much bigger threat. As far as replay value along with overall quality is concerned many would probably argue that MegaMan & Bass was a better game than MegaMan 7 from 1995.

In MegaMan & Bass players had the freedom to choose the which Robot Masters they wanted to fight in the beginning between which unlocked other bosses as they progressed throughout the game. Completing certain stages ultimately lead to players gaining access to the security room where players must destroy eight crystals collected by Robot Masters in order to unlock fortress stages. One of the downsides of MegaMan & Bass was that players could not switch back and forth between either character. Once a player had selected MegaMan or Bass they were locked as either character for the rest of the game. Despite, the improved gameplay that MegaMan & Bass has in comparison to MegaMan 7 the MMX series seemed way more popular during the mid to late 90’s. In fact, MegaMan X4 was released worldwide back in ’97 for the PS1 which became a way more popular game system than the Super NES. While its a shame that MegaMan & Bass did not receive a SNES release in America back in the late 90’s many people believe that the visuals we got to see on the Game Boy Advance in the early 00’s was more superior. As a action/platform game MegaMan & Bass was well received by fans and critics alike and felt more memorable than the MegaMan Zero series from ’02-’05 depending on who you ask. As far as underrated 2D platform classics from the 90’s are concerned MegaMan & Bass was definitely a game that should have been ported for PS1 during the late part of that decade. While the MegaMan X series was a blast from ’93-’00 MegaMan & Bass deserved an American release for the SNES despite how old the console had become by 1998.

Retro Gaming 90’s- Aero The Acrobat: (1993)

There were various 16-bit platform games from the early 90’s that were considered to be memorable classics for the Super NES. For those who are retro gamers titles such as Super Mario World, Mega Man X, Castlevania: Rondo Of Blood, Donkey Kong: Country and many other 16-bit platformers instantly comes to mind. One of the few classic 16-bit platform games that may have bee overshadowed back in the 90’s was a game known as Aero The Acrobat. There is no doubt that Aero The Acrobat was a pretty unique platform game developed by the now defunct Iguana Entertainment and published by Sunsoft. Aero The Acrobat was released for both the SNES and the Sega Genesis. As far as the plot for Aero The Acrobat was concerned it was a bit more intriguing and somewhat darker than other popular platforms such as the Sonic The Hedgehog Trilogy or Super Mario World. The story saw Aero The Acrobat who was a top level circus star trying to thwart the plans of the main antagonist Edgar along with his Psycho Circus gang. In the process Aero The Acrobat has to resuce his girlfriend known as Aeriel along with the other circus performers captured by Edgar.

As far as Edgar’s backstory is concerned he becomes a malevolent industrialist following his banishment from Funpark and The World Of Amusement Circus. The gameplay in Aero The Acrobat involved maneuvering throughout various levels by jumping through hoops using roller coasters, etc. When it came down to fighting off enemies Aero had about two basic offensive attacks which blended well with his character. Also, the setup for Aero The Acrobat was different from what you would normally see in other platformers since the game only had four worlds that consisted of five levels. Aero The Acrobat was eventually re-released for the Game Boy Advance in ’02 while receiving a direct sequel for both the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis the following year during 1994. As a platform game Aero The Acrobat was one that stood out from other platform titles since the main character seemed more like a darker protagonist opposed to being a traditional hero with strong”moral” and “values”. While it may not have been the most high profile platform titles to have come out of the 16-bit era it was a game that is still considered to be memorable to those who have owned it.

Retro Gaming 90’s- Mario Paint: (1992)

When we think about SNES games that were both very different and unique as relates to the early 90’s Mario Paint from 1992 is a title that instantly comes to mind. For those who do know Mario Paint was basically a single-player art tool game that allowed players to engage in a variety of activities. The creation of custom stamps by utilizing pixels was something special because was something that people hardly saw in Super NES titles back in the early 90’s let alone a Mario game. Also, the endless fly swatting game with three looping levels and a final boss was one that seemed like it did not belong in a Mario game at all. But considering the fact that Mario Paint was not your typical platform title the fly swatting mini-game made players feel as if they were playing a non-Mario game and was interesting in that respect. One of the main features that Mario Paint has to offer as far as gameplay was concerned was the the music generator. For those who were very creative and were fond of composing music in some way Mario Paint has provided talented individuals to make their own songs using 16-bit sounds.

The music generator feature in Mario Paint is one that has remained popular since the early 90’s and people have often used it within the 10’s decade to remake famous songs from the past couple of decades on the internet. As popular as Mario Paint was back in the early 90’s the game never received a direct sequel for Super Nintendo, N64 it GameCube which was something that was always questionable. Some people find it bizarre that Nintendo never created another art-tool based Mario game since ’92. In fact, following the release of Mario Paint during the Summer of ’92 the game was critically acclaimed and received praise from various publications. Mario Paint was unlike anything that the world had every seen on the Super NES and it was something that was never seen on consoles like the Sega Genesis which made it so special.

Retro Gaming 90’s- Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story (1995)

When we think about classic JRPG’s from the 16-bit era of gaming from the early 90’s various titles instantly comes to mind for those who are retro gamers. During the early to mid 90’s memorable JRPG gems had emerged such Secret Of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy IV-VI and others were considered to be popular titles that are still talked about to this day. While a majority of the titles just mentioned eventually made it to America back in the 90’s there were titles such as Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story that remained Japanese exclusives which makes are retro gamers question why it was never released in the US. For those who do not know Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story was developed by Arc System Works and developed by Angel and was released as a SNES exclusive back in 1995. Sailor Moon: Another Story was a single-player JRPG that gave people the option of controlling any of the Sailor Scouts that they want to while leveling them up throughout the game.

This game featured the Inner Senshi characters such as Sailor Moon, Mini Moon, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and the Outer Senshi Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Saturn and Pluto as they attempt to defeat the main villain who is a sorceress known as Apsu from the 30th Century. As far as the plot for Sailor Moon: Another Story was concerned its was rather intriguing especially since emphasis was placed on time travel. Also, Apsu managed to assemble a group of warriors named Sin, Ishtar, Nabu, Nargel and Marduk known as the Opposito Solders who are supposed to be villainous counterparts of the Inner Senshi. In this game Apsu plans of altering the events of the past in order to make her mission of retrieving the Silver Crystal that much easier in the 30 century. In addition, to receiving new antagonists within the Sailor Moon series some the main villains from the first three story arcs reappear such as Queen Beryl, Black Lady, Mistress 9, Rubeus, Esmeraude and others who American fans were probably more familiar with by ’97-’98. In fact, Sailor Moon: Another Story was released in late ’95 the same year that the fourth season of the series known as Super S first aired.

As far as the game itself is concerned Sailor Moon: Another Story has nice graphics, impressive level designs along with mini-puzzle games and artificial intelligence that would force players to develop creative strategies on how to defeat their opponents. Each character had their signature attacks from the manga/television series along with HP (health points) and rechargeable EP (energy points) before battling various monsters and bosses throughout the game. Sailor Moon: Another Story also had interesting dialogue between characters along with multiple endings depending on what level players complete it on. While its unclear on how successful Sailor Moon: Another Story was in Japan in relation to sales many people often wonder successful this game would have been in America between ’95-96. Considering how popular the Sailor Moon series was during the mid 90’s after appearing on Fox Kids and Toonami this JRPG could have ended becoming an attraction on the PS1 considering that fact that the Super NES was starting to become old by 1995. Some fans would argue that the story for this game was arguably better than the Sailor Moon: Super S television series and deserved a non-canon movie release. Either, way Bishoujo Sailor Moon: Another Story is considered to be an underrated JRPG from the mid 90’s and is possibly the best game from the series in general.

Retro Gaming 80’s- Donkey Kong Jr. (1982)

As far as Nintendo based arcade classics are concerned one of the few titles that retro gamers think about in relation to the 80’s is Donkey King Jr from 1982. Donkey King Jr was the highly anticipated sequel to its 1981 predecessor that was also popular in arcade centers which placed emphasis on Mario being the main villain of the game. In fact, Donkey Kong Jr was probably the only game where Mario played the role of a villain as he captured Donkey Kong for revenge in relation to what happened in the original Donkey Kong game. In the 1981 Donkey Kong game DK was the main villain because he captured Mario’s ex-girlfriend Pauline and made him go through various obstacles & stages in order to get her back. Some would argue that Mario was justified for his actions in this game especially since he ended up presented as hero in just about every other game that Nintendo has developed since 1982. In this game Donkey Kong’s son has to rescue him after he is captured by Mario and as he makes his way through each stage in this vertical platformer. The stages become more challenging as players progress throughout the game requiring them to be more strategic then they would in side-scrolling platform games.

Since its arcade release Donkey Kong Jr was ported for the NES and release in various different countries throughout the 80’s. Donkey Kong Jr. also appeared on other consoles such Atari 2600 and Atari 7800 and is a platform classic that is still somewhat popular to this day. As a platformer some might argue that Donkey Kong Jr was more difficult than most Mario and Donkey Kong games from the 80’s and early 90’s. While the plot for Donkey Kong Jr. was very basic the fact that Mario was casted as a villain opposed to that of a hero will always be considered one of the most aspects about this game in particular.