411 Games Top 5 02.23.13: Top 5 Spin-Off Games
Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there, sometimes a spin-off can be better than the original.
* For this week’s Top 5, I wanted to do something in honor of the Metal Gear Rising Revengeance game coming out this week, so here are the best spin-off games. *
5. Metroid Prime – Some might consider Metroid Prime to be more of a sequel than a spin-off, but the conversion of the game to that of a first-person shooter definitely gives it more of a spin-off feel. Either way, changing Samus Arans’ franchise from a side-scrolling platformer to an FPS game was a smart way to reinvigorate the franchise and take it in an entirely new direction. It contained all the important elements to make it a Metroid game but felt new and relevant without losing any of the fun factor. Sounds like a hit spin-off to me.
4. Kingdom Hearts – The first of my Final Fantasy spin-offs is probably the more innovative, but the one I spent less time with since…well, since I never had a PS2 or PS3. Kingdom Hearts was an inspired idea; take characters from the Final Fantasy franchise and throw them in with iconic Disney characters for a full-on role-playing adventure. The mix of action-adventure and role-playing elements was innovative at the time and the storyline more than held up, making it a game that is still beloved now, ten years after the fact and for good reason.
3. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – Sure, Tekken Tag is the true “spin-off” but a sequel to a spin-off is still a spin-off of the original, right? I spent so much money on this in the arcade that I wouldn’t even begin to be able to estimate it, and now that I’m part of the console generation I’ve spent even more money getting it on XBLA. As a game it is good for hours of enjoyment and the enormous roster creates any number of teams that you can create. Good times.
2. Final Fantasy Tactics – Speaking of games I couldn’t estimate how much I’ve spent on…I can’t even begin to guess how many hours I spent on Final Fantasy Tactics. It was a great idea; take the Final Fantasy dynamic and set it in a turn-based strategy RPG. The storyline Yasumi Matsuno is very well-done and the mechanics of the system allows for incredible replay value as you go through and try to get all the classes. This was one of the first games I really tried to play through to absolute completion and the amount of time I spent trying to do so is pretty vast. I still occasionally go back and play it to this day thanks to the iOS version. And yes, Wiegraf STILL drives me bonkers every time.
1. Super Mario Bros. – Let’s not forget that one of the best-selling games of all-time is a spin-off. Super Mario Bros. was piggy-backed off the success of Donkey Kong and Mario Bros., taking the characters of Mario and Luigi and putting them in a more linear setting than the previous two games. It is not an exaggeration to say that SMB played a huge part in driving the second video game boom. The success of the Super Mario line is a testament to that original game and the many ways that it succeeded. When you’re talking video game spin-offs, the conversation really begins and ends with that crazy Koopa-killing plumber.
5. Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? – One, if not the most obscure character spinoff game ever. After playing the first Disgaea, I never in a million years imagined the exploding demon penguins would ever get their own spinoff. “Dood!” it happened. Switching from SJRPG to a 2D Side Scrolling Platformer, Prinny:CIRBTH kept much of the humor from Disgaea and gave us a lighthearted story of the 1000 squad of Prinnies and their quest for the Ultimate Dessert.
4. Saturday Night Slammasters – Be it a prequel to Final Fight or not, seeing Haggar in a game that was part Street Fighter II and part pro wrestling was a sight indeed, playing the damn thing was far more enjoyable. While Haggar and Jessica were the only core characters from any Capcom series, other characters were somehow tied to others, Gunloc is apparently Guile’s brother, Titanic Tim was once Birdie’s tag partner for example. While Capcom has had numerous spinoffs, ranging from the Vs. series to Alpha’s and EX, Saturday Night Slammasters is one that has stayed near and dear to me.
3. Kingdom Hearts – Be it a Final Fantasy or a Disney spinoff, Kingdom Hearts has become a monster, having it’s own numerous spinoffs. Who would have thought this series would be as good as it became? With no date in sight for the 3rd core Kingdom Hearts game, fingers are crossed for Sora and friends visiting worlds in both the Marvel and Star Wars Universe. A Lightsaber Keyblade, who isn’t hyped to see that?
2. Demons Crest – From the obscure Prinny, we go to the perhaps even more mind boggling Demons Crest. How or who decided that Firebrand, the red gargoyle from the first level of Ghosts and Goblins would get his own game, let alone series, simply put it’s baffling! Then again, Ghosts and Goblins is probably far more recognizable than Disgaea. Demons Crest, the SNES game is darker in tone than the previous two NES games, Gargoyles Quest and Gargoyles Quest II. It’s also one of my favorite games. While it may be an obscure character, I am glad they went with it.
1. Super Mario Bros. – Simply put, because Mario spun off from Donkey Kong. Incredible isn’t it? Donkey Kong is the source for the Mario empire. Without it we might have never seen Mario Kart, Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario, hell Nintendo might have survived and would no longer be a company. It all started with a pissed off ape, a damsel in distress, and Jumpman, thank the heavens they later renamed him Mario, oh and he was a carpenter, not a plumber at the time.
5. Pokemon Snap: Still one of my favorite games to play when I don’t have anything else to do, mainly because in a weird way it gave you a fun yet different way to look at Pokemon. It’s almost as if you were on a safari and now you had to learn how to understand and capture these creatures that you spent so much time capturing and training in the main gameboy games. I like games that are different and I think without the minor success of this we wouldn’t have the picture taking portion in Beyond Good & Evil, which is another fantastic, yet underrated game.
4. Final Fantasy Tactics: I think anyone that has read my lists know I am a huge Final Fantasy fan. I am usually not a big fan though of when Square attempts to take the FF series in another direction (unless it involves a music game lol.) Final Fantasy Tactics is one of the few times that I wasn’t pleasantly surprised with how enthralling a spin-off can be if done correctly. Square made one of the deepest strategy games to ever exist in gaming, tied a nice story around it, and gave you character classes and a great job system to sink your soul into as well. This series has also seen it’s fair share of spin-offs and ports and there are not that many spin-offs that can say that.
3. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars I am sure a lot of people are going to say I’m insane for putting another Mario spin-off above this, because most gamers see this as the ultimate Mario spin-off. However, getting to this game, It is quite a marvel that Nintendo happened to just strike gold with this. Sure, many people look at the Mario & Luigi portable games and say “those are just Super Mario RPG rip-offs” but they exist because of the supreme fan favorite. Come on Nintendo, we have waited long enough! Give us a Super Mario RPG 2 for goodness sakes!
2. Donkey Kong Country: One of the hardest platformers Nintendo has ever released just happened to also star the other main character from the Donkey Kong arcade game. Donkey and his buddy Diddy made a mockery of your jumping, smashing, and sneaking skills as you tried to avoid traps and those evil bees on your way to destroy the evil King Koopa. I still love booting up my SNES emulator and playing this from time to time because it is really fun and it helps me remember the good old days of the SNES.
1. Mario Kart Series: To me, these are the greatest things to come from Mario being such a landmark figure in the industry because they are just so damn fun to play. Whether you are blowing up balloons against friends in battle mode, trying to help a friend get second place in co-op play, or battling friends in versus mode it was always a blast. We could spend hours on Saturdays playing Mario Kart and never get tired because it seemed like there was always something for us to conquer, especially once you got to that blasted Rainbow Road lol. People may disagree with this choice, but hey, I love me some Mario Kart.
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Games Coming Out the Week of 02/24/13
Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires (PS3 Only)
MUD- FIM Motocross World Championships (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, PS VITA)
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (Nintendo 3DS Only)
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus (PS VITA)
Might & Magic Heroes VI: Shades of Darkness (PC Only)