Gaming’s Forgotten Sequels

A look at some great, but overlooked sequels.

By Anthony Pershkin. Posted 05/02/2014 13:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

Some of the most memorable and critically acclaimed games on any platform usually happen to be sequels. With experience and understanding, developers are able to perfect the formula and make something bigger and better than previous entries in the series. But for every Mega Man 2, there is Mega Man 5. Some games, for one reason or another, just can’t stay in our heads for many years to come. It might’ve been bad timing for release or a lack of any kind of promotion, or sometimes it’s just the low quality of the final product that makes people want to forget about a game’s entire existence. But we’re not talking about those kinds of games. I want to talk about the games worth giving a second chance, about the greatness hidden inside many well-known franchises.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

For our first game, I decided to not go very far into the past. Besides, how can I ignore such a heavy dose of irony when the game already has “Forgotten” in its title? I always quite enjoyed the Prince of Persia series, especially the Sands of Time trilogy. Despite the solid quality of Two Thrones, the series desperately needed to evolve with its next installment. The 2008 reboot wasn’t exactly a big success for the company, so in 2010 Ubisoft decided to back-pedal into something fans would appreciate. And so, the Sands of Time’ Prince was back with a weird-looking face and a new game that lacked the innovation and creativity the original trilogy was known for. At least, that’s how HD version ended up being. The Wii version was a whole different story.

Developed by a different internal studio, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands on Wii was a completely separate game with its own unique story. Unlike its HD brother, the game’s main focus was on puzzles and platforming, which suits the series more than mindless crowd-control battles, if you ask me. The battle system is still present, even though it is undoubtedly the weakest part of the game and the entire series, for the matter. But if you like platforming with imaginative powers and tight controls, then you should definitely give Forgotten Sands a second chance.

Legend of Kage 2 (DS)

Legend of Kage wasn’t exactly a very well-known game when it first came out. Some people still remember it for the simplistic arcade fun they’ve had, but not much beyond that. And considering the obscurity of the original game, its sequel is pretty much non-existent at this point. Who knew that 23 years after the original came out, Taito would resurrect the franchise in 2008? I knew about Legend of Kage and even I was confused in 2008 when I saw a copy of Legend of Kage 2 in my local game store. It was such a long period of time for an already obscure game, no wonder people don’t remember the sequel.

With that being said, the game itself turned out to be a pretty decent action title. The controls are once again hard to get used to, but it’s still incredibly fun killing ninjas while jumping between trees. If you liked the original Legend of Kage, the basic gameplay has not changed drastically in the sequel. So, if you feel like you could go for a slightly more complicated experience, then don’t hesitate to grab the sequel.

Metroid II: Return of Samus (Game Boy)

Released five years after the first entry, Metroid II had Samus finally return, even though her destination course was slightly off. I think no one expected a new numbered entry in the series to arrive on a portable console, but that’s exactly what happened to Metroid. Not to say the series is not brave and experimental enough to jump between platforms. It was still very bizarre, especially for 1991.

Although I think the platform change is definitely to blame for the game’s dark horse status, Metroid II itself just wasn’t technically a very good game.  Monotonous level design, no in-game map and sub-par music were the factors that made Metroid II the weakest entry in the series. Despite all of that, Metroid II also introduced a lot of gameplay mechanics that would later be featured in other, more well-known games in the franchise.  It’s hard to recommend the game due to its faults, especially nowadays, but like it or not, it is one of the more important games in the Metroid series. At the very least, you could play it for the story that serves as a direct prequel to fan-favorite Super Metroid.

Super Punch-Out!! (SNES)

I have to say, the original Punch-Out!! on NES and the one on Wii kind of blend together in my mind nowadays, probably because the latter one is more of a remake than a straight sequel. And while both games are excellent, Super Punch-Out!! holds a special place in my heart. I enjoy the subtle gameplay alterations here and there, but most of all I enjoy the new art style, which reminds me of the popular manga/anime series Hajime no Ippo. Sure, Little Mac still looks odd even for the new art direction, but we also have a whole new cast of racially insensitive characters. That’s exciting, right? Seriously, though, Super Punch-Out!! is another excellent game that unfortunately got overlooked.

Star Fox Command (DS)

While the cancelled Star Fox 2 might be the definition of the word “forgotten,” I’ve tried to stick to games that actually saw an official release. Thankfully, Star Fox Command is not very different from its unreleased SNES brother, as it incorporates several elements like complete all-range mode. So, it’s almost like we’re talking about Star Fox 2. Well, almost.

The Star Fox series had it pretty rough after the release of Star Fox 64. Every new entry tried to innovate in ways that were met with pretty cold reactions from fans, and the 2006 release of Star Fox Command was no different in that regard. Except, people just kind of forgot about it. Bashing of Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox Assault continues to this day, while Star Fox Command is being treated like a fan-fiction novel. I’m not sure if that is actually worse than direct hatred, but, personally, I find the game to be quite solid by the series’ standards and definitely worth a look. The story might scare some people off with its random plot twists, but the mix of always-on all-range mode and turn-based strategy puts a new spin on a familiar formula.

Excitebots: Trick Racing (Wii)

When Wii launched in 2006, Excite Truck was definitely one of the first games to get for your shiny motion gaming wonder box. Similar to the entire appeal of its console, the game was also easy to understand and easy to pick up and play. Sadly, due to its release in the launch window, the game felt rushed and missing some important bits of content. In 2009, the development team luckily had another chance at the Excite series with Excitebots: Trick Racing. The new game featured animal-themed robot vehicles and all sorts of crazy minigames that would occur during races. This kind of wacky style gave an already great game a much needed personality, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to make people buy it. In fact, I think weird looking robot vehicles scared the majority of people off. Which of course is a shame, since Excitebots: Trick Racing is one hell of a sequel.

Those are only some forgotten sequels that I could remember from the top of my head. I’m sure I missed a lot of interesting ones, so why don’t you tell us your suggestions in the comments below!

2 Responses to “Gaming’s Forgotten Sequels”

  • 1294 points
    Robert Marrujo says...

    I gotta object to the dissing of the 360 and PS3 version of Forgotten Sands; I though that Ubi did a really good job with that game! The Wii version was excellent, though, and I was happy to see you mention it. I always felt that Ace Attorney Investigations didn’t get enough love. Still waiting on its sequel’s localization, one of these decades.

    • 33 points
      Anthony Pershkin says...

      HD version was good, but I felt like it didn’t bring anything particularly interesting to the table.

      At this point, I doubt we’ll ever see Ace Attorney Investigations 2 leave Japan. I’m not even sure we’re going to get that new Ace Attorney game localized for the West.

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