There have been many great video game franchises throughout history, and one thing that you tend to expect from a franchise is a consistent style of gaming. For instance, in a Zelda game, you usually expect to go into dungeons, get some items, and defeat Ganon/Ganondorf. Well, sometimes developers throw us for a loop and send out a game that looks and plays nothing like its predecessors (or its successors, for that matter). Today, we count down the 10 best of those brave, daring, sometimes pretty screwy projects.
10. Mario Paint
Yep, it’s Paint. That’s about it. Thing is, on the Super NES, this was goddamn revolutionary; it even came with a mouse peripheral. Also, it inspired Homestar Runner, so there’s that.
9. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
After the original Legend of Zelda was a top-down adventure game, Nintendo turned around and made…a side-scrolling platformer with RPG elements? While widely acknowledged as one of the lesser entries in this series, it was actually a pretty decent game. Zelda games have pretty high standards.
8. Bomberman 64
Bomberman games are generally pretty simple: top-down multiplayer games where the object is to blow up the other guys and that’s about it. Bomberman 64 translated that into a pretty fun 3D adventure, even giving you a bunch of different armors to equip Bomberman with.
7. Dragon Warrior Monsters
Instead of killing the monsters, now you’re training them!? This game was actually a great time, as the breeding system was pretty deep and it was just enough of a grindfest to make you really love getting your ass kicked by it.
6. Final Fantasy II
Like the Zelda series, the second Final Fantasy really threw things for a loop. Unlike the previous XP system, where as you do stuff you get stronger overall, Final Fantasy II gave you a skill-based leveling system. This meant that taking damage would boost your HP, using swords made you better with swords (but not axes!), etc. While it was kind of a pain in FFII, Square refined the system and made it work pretty well in the Final Fantasy Legend series.
5. Mega Man Legends
Capcom turned one of the greatest 2D platformers into a 3D exploration-based adventure game. While it was a huge departure from the previous games in the series (there’s a story!!??!?), it remains a cult classic to this day.
4. Pokemon PinballOh man, this game got me through SO MANY car rides. It’s just a simple pinball game, with the twist that you have to catch all 151 Pokemon. Yeah, you try putting this bad boy down.
3. World of Warcraft
Oh, like I was gonna leave this one off. Warcraft was an incredibly successful RTS series; Blizzard parlayed the overwhelming popularity of Warcraft 3 into the biggest MMORPG of all time, and truckloads of cash.
2. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
This game brought Castlevania into the modern gaming age. You play as Dracula’s son Alucard (oh yeah real original), but the big thing is that you can equip weapons, armor, items, and explore the whole damn castle. Circle of the Moon also followed this style on the Game Boy Advance, but SotN is generally held as one of the best PSX games of all time.
1. Final Fantasy Tactics
That’s right, TWO Final Fantasies. What’s so special about Tactics? It’s a tactical RPG, a genre that had been pretty limited until FFT released. Controlling individual characters and moving them around during battle was a revolutionary idea all those years ago, and the PlayStation was the best place to try these wacky ideas.