90s, Quick Lists, Video Games — April 4, 2012 9:24 am

6 Neglected Video Game Franchises

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Everyone knows the famous plumber brothers and many have followed their adventures in soccer, tennis, and typing.  Other video game mascots, namely blue ones, are thrown into any bad game to pay the bills.  Then there are the bastard franchises of the video game world.  You might not remember all of them, but here’s a look at six neglected video game franchises that still have potential.

6 – Tempo

Guess which box art the Americans got.  Hint: violent and not-cute.

If there’s any game that conjures rage, angst, and seizures, it’s Tempo for Sega’s 32X.  The game features motion sickness backgrounds and incredibly difficult challenges.  The characters throughout this game are fun, despite the game’s difficulty.  This is one series that easily could have survived the years if only it hadn’t been sacrificed as a 32X game, a late-aged Game Gear spin-off, and Japanese-only Saturn game.  Was Sega out to destroy this franchise from the start?

5 – Monster Party

Is it a spider or a dinosaur?

Being my favorite video game, I am biased when it comes to Monster Party’s unfulfilled franchise potential.  The game itself is an homage to cheesy horror flicks of yesteryear, featuring boss battles with mummies, rock stars, and onion rings.  The ending of this game sets up the storyline for a second installment.  Unfortunately, Monster Party did not spawn countless sequels and spin-offs as the classic movies that inspired it did.

4 – Altered Beast

More like altered state of mind!

Sega had the golden egg in its camp with Altered Beast.  The series easily could have been Sega’s answer to the Contra series, featuring character enhancing power-ups throughout stages.  Instead, only the original game was ported numerous times with no immediate spin-off.  A Game Boy Advanced follow-up was released in 2002, but proved to be too little too late.  Sega quietly revived the series again for a seemingly non-cannon PS2 sequel not released in North America.  Kind of missed the boat on this one, Sega.

3 – PaRappa the Rapper

The fun is in the challenge: PaRappa.

PaRappa, as a character, gets a bad rap.  Only two games starring the scruffy mutt were released.  However, a spin-off game spawned piles of merchandise and an anime series.  PaRappa the Rapper games were basically a digitized version of Simon.  It would have been fun to see PaRappa make appearances in other game genres, but sadly he hasn’t been seen much since 2002.

2 – ToeJam & Earl

ToeJam & Earl were starved for work by the time they agreed to appear in Art Alive.

How could you not love ToeJam & Earl?  The two loveable alien creatures first landed in 1991, scouring the earth for their missing spaceship pieces.  Their original adventure was a game unlike any other, before or since.  The much anticipated sequel game, however, took a lesson from Zelda II.  Instead of the aerial view adventure genre fans loved the first time around, the second installment was a  sidescroller.  A third game was slated to be released for Dreamcast, but the project was moved to XBox by the time of its release.  It was an attempt to return to the series’ roots, but, unfortunately, did little to excite previous fans nor entice new ones.  One can’t help but wonder how amazing a ToeJam & Earl game could be on the Nintendo 3DS.

1 – Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Zombies Ate My… Ghoul Patrol?

Main characters Zeke and Julie are two kids out to stop zombies from eating their neighbors.  They employ any weapon they can find: water pistols, magic potions, footballs, plates, and ice pops.  Much like Monster Party, this is a throwback to B-list classic films.  Zombies Ate My Neighbors still has a loyal following, but few realize there was a sequel game.  How could you miss that?  Well, it could have something to do with having the completely unrelated title Ghoul Patrol.  The graphics were better, but the game was not.

Did we miss some of your favorite neglected video game franchises?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

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