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The Other 25:
The OTHER Games I’m Looking Forward to...
Written By:
J. Michael Neal

Part One

What a year for gaming this will be!  Doom 3, Half-Life 2, World of Warcraft, Halo 2, Jade Empire, Fable, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Gran Turismo 4, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Resident Evil 4, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy XIII, Prince of Persia 2, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw, so on and so forth – everyone knows about the big, BIG games coming out within the next 9 months that will surely pwn the all of us, but within this goulash of heavy hitting, soon-to-be million sellers there’s also a sizable number of equally amazing, lower-profile games that just may sneak under your radar, for one reason or another, if you aren’t careful.

Every year they come, the “sleeper hits”, the “short list” candidates, the “critically acclaimed” commercial “failures” that gain cult followings but make little headway on the sales charts before plummeting to the depths of the bargain bin. Us high-falutin hardcore gamer types typically value them just as highly as we do the chart-toppers, if not more so, and for us, the next 9 months are looking brighter than ever. Sure, I’m on just as many pens and needles for the super-hyped games as the next geek, and rightfully hold my fair share of pre-orders on some of the above titles, but personally, I’m awaiting the next 25 potential sleeper hits just as much…

You might want to keep an eye on them too…

Alien Hominid

Why I’m Excited: Dude, have you seen this thing in action yet? It looks downright orgasmic! It has such a unique look and feel, what with the wacky, exploding dog-style hand-drawn animation, and it’s a 2D side-scroller for crying out loud! And not just any 2D side-scroller at that – an incredibly frantic, violent, humorous, and disturbingly cute 2D side-scroller with an ass-load of replayability! I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on this!

Why It May Go Unnoticed: First time developers and a greenhorn publisher make a 2D side-scrolling shooter console version of a free Flash game? This will no doubt be a tough sell to the 3D-obsessed public, no matter how many year end awards this game will eventually rake in…

Systems: GC, PS2.


Beyond Good & Evil II?

Why I’m Excited: At this point, this game is little more than a shadow, but considering what it’s a shadow OF, it’s still worth getting jazzed about! BG&E was yet another gem from cult-gaming god Michel Ancel, but it didn’t sell well enough to please Ubisoft, so now the fate of the former trilogy is up in the air. Hopefully, Ubisoft will do the right thing and let Monsieur Ancel finish telling his wonderful tale.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: “Unnoticed”? It may never see the light of day! Poor sales can easily kill a grand trilogy. Ask Yu Suzuki.

Systems: Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d wager all platformers.


Conker: Live and Reloaded

Why I’m Excited: I missed the original Conker, not being an N64 owner myself, so I’m totally stoked over this one. Not only do I get Rare’s next-gen follow-up to its controversial platformer, but I also get to experience Bad Fur Day without having to pick up some crusty, used N64 at a flea market and put up with generation-old muddy visuals. Plus, it’ll put my near-wasted Xbox Live subscription to use!

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Rare has a lot to prove to the world. Well, not really, but that’s what many people think. Star Fox Adventures failed to cause much of a splash among those looking for the next Perfect Dark, and their first Xbox title, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, was generally regarded as a big, steaming pile of style over substance. They are a few more poorly received releases from losing nearly all of the street-cred they built up during the 16 and 64 bit days! And on top of that, the first Conker didn’t exactly burn up the charts, so how much branding potential the title has is debatable…

System: Xbox


Destroy All Humans!

Why I’m Excited: I damn near soiled myself when I first saw this game! In all honesty, I’m anticipating this game as much as Half-Life 2 and Doom 3. It’ll probably be my next War of the Monsters – campy, B-50’s horror movie nods, classic Bernard Herrmann score remixed by Junkie XL, animal mutilation, massive destruction, probing! Pandemic certainly knows how to give a man what he wants! Hell, how many games do you know of that use Plan 9 From Outer Space as a story catalyst? Farmers, lock up your cows, because it’s on come First Quarter 2005!

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Being “my next War of the Monsters” will probably mean it won’t sell much better than War of the Monsters, even if you can probe pathetic earthlings and wreck-havoc freely, GTA-style.

Systems: Xbox, PS2.


Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires

Why I’m Excited: The Dynasty Warriors series is one of the most rewarding franchises out there. It has some of the coolest, most chaotic battles in gaming, tons of replayability, a multitude of unlockables, and enough Chinese history to make you feel like you’ve learned something. Empires looks to add a deeper tactical element to the game, both on and off the battlefield, which should make the game more challenging and more addictive than ever before.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: For some insane reason the Dynasty Warriors series has never gotten much respect from gaming critics, and although it has a modest if not dedicated fan base, KOEI's franchise still seems like a dark horse in the industry. Let’s see how many magazine covers and front-page features DW4E gets between now and September…

System: PS2.

Part Two-->

Posted: 8-31-04
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