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 10’s- Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- : (2014)

When we think of popular games that fans out towards the early part of the 10’s decade one few titles that instantly comes to mind is Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- from 2014. This game was developed by Arc System Works and considered to be the first major installment that the series had seen since Guilty Gear 2: Overture which was released between late 2007-late 2009 for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- was arguably one of the most popular fighting games of 2014 and ever since its release has been praised for various features including its cel-shaded graphics along with its gameplay. In fact, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- might have been the first game within the series to utilize the Unreal Engine 3 similar to titles such as Mortal Kombat IX from 2011. Similar to various fighting titles that we have seen throughout the 10’s decade Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- featured both online and offline game modes to keep players busy for many hours. When it comes down to offline gameplay there modes single player modes such as Battle and Story; there was also two-player Versus mode in addition to a Training mode which helped players get better at the game itself.

Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- also featured an online multiplayer gameplay in Network Mode which was something a lot people enjoyed when the PlayStation port of the game was released in December 2014. Since initial arcade release back in February 2014 there have been different updated versions of Guilty Gear Xrd related between the 2015-2017 time period. We got to see Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator for Arcade, PS3, PS4 and Microsoft Windows between Summer 2015-Winter 2016. After the second version of the game we got see Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator 2 which saw an arcade release in addition to appearing on the PS3 & PS4. Even though, the Guilty Gear series has been around since ’98 there are many people who would argue that Guilty Gear Xrd was the best installment that Arc System Works has ever made. As it currently stands a brand new installment entitled Guilty Gear Strive is expected to appear on multiple game systems sometime in 2020. While Guilty Gear Strive looks very promising its hard to tell whether or not it will be better than any of the Guilty Gear Xrd games from 2014-2017.

Retro Gaming 10’s- Grand Theft Auto V: (2013)

When we think about some of the best video games ever in relation to the 10’s in general Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V from 2013 instantly comes to mind. Grand Theft Auto V was initially released back in September 2013 for various game consoles including PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. GTA 5 was eventually ported to the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One a year later during November 2014. This game was the high anticipated sequel to Grand Theft Auto IV from ’08 and was the seventh major installment that we got to see in the GTA series. As far as overall success is concerned Grand Theft Auto V was quite possibly the best game within the entire GTA series; in fact many people still play Grand Theft Auto V today and are currently waiting for the release of GTA 6. Since its initial release back in late ’13 Grand Theft Auto V had reportedly earned over $6.6 billion worldwide in revenue while selling over 115 million copies worldwide in over the past six years. In fact, Grand The Auto V had achieved legendary status within the gaming world by becoming the third-best selling video game of all-time behind Minecraft & Tetris.

There were various aspects about Grand Theft Auto V that were very impressive such as: gameplay, storytelling, visuals. Also, players had the option of controlling three main characters opposed to only one which was something that was very common in older games within the series. The story revolved around three men known as Michael De Santa, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Phillips who all have stories that eventually connected together. The cool thing about the missions within the game is the fact that some of them required completion using more than one character which was something that was pretty unique. Players were also given the freedom to switch between characters outside of missions and had set of skills that could be enhanced as they progressed throughout the GTA V. One of the coolest things about Grand Theft Auto V was the fact that the game had multiple endings depending on choices that players made especially towards the end of the game. Michael De Santa’s life seemed like it was constantly in chaos from living under witness protection in Los Santos to feuding with a billionaire named Devin Weston to him being betrayed by the Federal Investigation Bureau after doing their bidding to impede the operations of the Internal Affairs Agency.

While the single-player story mode was fantastic the online multiplayer game mode seemed like an even bigger attraction that ultimately contributed to the overall replay value of Grand Theft Auto V years after its initial release. The gameplay for GTA included several elements that were popular in previous installments such as the wanted meter and the use of weaponry when dealing with foes. Despite, the amount of controversy that Grand Theft Auto V generated in relation to misogyny the game was universally praised by fans and critics alike along with various other gaming publications as being one of the best action-adventure games ever made.

Retro Gaming 10’s- Dead Or Alive 5: (2012)

When we think about top fighting games that have emerged throughout the 10’s decade titles such as Super Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat IX, Injustice, Soul Calibur IV, Tekken 7 others instantly come to mind since they were all enjoyable titles. During the early part of the 10’s decade the games just mentioned were all remarkable and had replay values that were high while receiving good to average reviews from fans and critics alike. One of the many fighting games from the early 10’s that many people enjoyed was Tecmo Koei’s Dead Or Alive 5 which was developed by Team Ninja and released back in September 2012. Dead Or Alive 5 initially appeared on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and was the highly anticipated sequel of its ’05 predecessor Dead Or Alive 4. Despite, not receiving as much mainstream attention as Capcom’s fighting titles Dead Or Alive 5 was considered to be more superior in terms of gameplay compared to the likes of Super Street Fighter IV or Street Fighter X Tekken. Also, Dead Or Alive 5 had a healthy balance of game modes as it relates to offline/online gameplay.

Dead Or Alive 5 included offline modes such as Story, Arcade, Survival and Time Attack. Players also had the opportunity to partake in online gameplay were they can participate in lobby and ranked matches with other competitors around the world. When playing online people could create and host tournaments that could include up to sixteen different people. The training mode in Dead Or Alive 5 was more superior than its predecessor since new features such as Online Dojo was introduced. In Online Dojo players had the opportunity to spar with other players online during training which was something that was not too common in fighting games back in day. The Spectator mode which allowed players to watch their fights back back felt like an added bonus to Dead Or Alive 5. The gameplay in Dead Or Alive 5 was also very impressive with the inclusion of new mechanics which made the battles feel more realistic. The “Power Blow” attacks along with the “Cliffhanger” sequences added more life Dead Or Alive 5 and made the fights seem more epic than that of DOA 4.

The retention of tag battles and the inclusion of other fighting features such as “Critical Stuns” and “Critical Combos” were features contributed to the overall appeal of Dead Or Alive 5; making it one of the most enjoyable titles within its genre back in the early 10’s. Since 2012 Dead Or Alive 5 has been re-released multiple times due to its level of popularity amongst gamers. Dead Or Alive 5 was ported to the PlayStation Vita as “Dead Or Alive Plus” while an updated version of the game DOA 5: Ultimate appeared in the PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360. We finally ended up getting Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round in 2015 for the PS4 & Xbox One which was without a doubt the best version of the game. While Dead Or Alive 6 which recently came out back in January 2019 is quite impressive some might argue that DOA 5 was a stronger entry overall. The inclusion of DLC characters like SNK’s Mai Shiranui In DOA 5 was like cherry on top of the cake for the game making for a memorable fighting title as it pertains to the 10’s decade.

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.