10 Overlooked Games by Well Known Developers

Gravatar image moho_00

published on 7/4/2017

Description

In addition to playing and collecting games, I enjoy discovering more information on games, developers, etc. For example, if I finish a game, I'll often research what other games the developer had made before (and after) the one I just finished. I find it interesting to see where developers come from and it can often be a windy road due to mergers, buyouts, and other non-gaming things.

With this stack, I'm going to highlight 10 games that are often overlooked / forgotten, but were in fact developed by fairly well-known developers (or at least developers that have made some high-profile games).


1


Suzuki Alstare Extreme Racing

Developed by: Criterion Games

Interestingly enough, this game is sort of the inspiration for this stack. I randomly decided to play it recently and I had no idea Criterion Games had developed it. Criterion has been around since the mid-90s and they certainly had humble beginnings with pretty much all of their games being small releases until their breakout hit, the original Burnout.

I found this game particularly noteworthy since it's a racing game and that's sort of what Criterion would eventually be known for. In addition to the Burnout series, they've also developed several Need for Speed games. Suzuki Alstare Extreme Racing isn't a perfect game by any means, but it's a surprisingly fun (and fast) arcade motorcycle racer.

Space Station Silicon Valley

Developed by: DMA Design (now known as Rockstar North)

DMA Design started making games back in the late '80s and although they have long since changed their name to Rockstar North, they have a treasure trove of classic games when they were under their old moniker. Surely you've heard of them before, right? They only created and continue to develop the Grand Theft Auto franchise...

Space Station Silicon Valley remains one of my all-time favorite games due to its incredibly unique gameplay, smooth graphics, and tough-but-not-frustrating challenge. It looks like a 3D platformer, but it has very little in common with its direct competitors at the time like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64.

The game is sort of open world, but not really. The levels themselves are really open and have multiple puzzles / challenges you need to solve, but it's sort of a sandbox environment. You control a little robot / bug thing and you take over various lifeforms / robots on the strange planet you crash-landed onto. By utilizing these vessels, you work to solve the challenges in the level and find different power orbs.

3


Get Medieval

Developed by: Monolith Productions

Monolith's first game, Blood, was a pretty big hit, but they followed it up with a few lesser-known games, one of which was Get Medieval. This game isn't just inspired by Gauntlet, it basically is Gauntlet, but with late '90s 2D graphics. It's only available for PC, was mostly ignored upon release, and has long since been forgotten by the sands of time.

Considering the game was self-published by Monolith, it's a bit surprising that it's never resurfaced as a digital release or anything, especially given the prevalence of Steam and GOG.

Destruction Derby 64

Developed by Looking Glass Studios

Although Looking Glass Studios closed up shop in 2000, they certainly left their mark on PC gaming with groundbreaking releases like Thief: The Dark Project, Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, and oh, the System Shock series. But something many may not be aware of is they actually handled a couple of N64 ports. One of them was Destruction Derby 64.

This is an odd pairing since they had nothing to do with the original Destruction Derby games (at least not that I'm aware of) and hadn't developed a racing game since they were known as Lerner Research back in 1992. This game would actually stand as one of their final games and while a decent port, it was nowhere near as impactful as their PC work.

5


Disruptor

Developed by Insomniac Games

Before they created Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet and Clank, Insomniac released their debut game: Disruptor. This is a fairly standard first-person shooter and certainly looks similar to other games of the mid-90s like Doom and Duke Nukem 3D. The thing that makes it stand out is that in addition to guns, you also receive psionic abilities, which is sort of like having magic in an RPG. It's a pretty solid debut title, but I found it to be quite erratic in terms of difficulty when I played it a couple of years ago. I'd love to see a remaster of this one.

6


MageSlayer

Developed by Raven Software

After developing the Heretic and Hexen games, Raven built a couple of top-down action games, with MageSlayer being one of them. The game is pretty similar to Gauntlet, but not such a straight-up clone like Get Medieval. When I played it back in the late '90s, it felt a lot like Hexen (which I was very familiar with), but with a different perspective. It also has some pretty slick cover art, I mean, just look at that! This is another game I'm surprised hasn't had a digital release.

7


MDK 2

Developed by BioWare

BioWare is a huge company these days and aside from a couple of oddities in their early days, they've solely developed RPGs. One such oddity is that they were tasked with developing MDK 2 while in between the original two Baldur's Gate games. Looking back on it, this is such a strange pairing, especially considering this was their last non-RPG release. But it worked out quite well as MDK 2 is a rock-solid game and well worth checking out.

8


Rock n' Roll Racing

Developed by Silicon & Synapse (now known as Blizzard Entertainment)

Before StarCraft, before Diablo, and even before WarCraft, Blizzard released several interesting games. Rock 'n Roll Racing was a really cool isometric racing game, similar to R.C. Pro-Am. It even featured licensed music, which was kinda crazy for the 16-bit era.

Interplay published the original game and several years later, they would release a sequel called Red Asphalt. That game was also released as Rock 'n Roll Racing 2: Red Asphalt in Europe, so it wasn't considered to just be a spiritual sequel. Unfortunately, the game was quite a bit different and was universally panned.

Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm

Developed by Treyarch

Treyarch may not be as well-known as the other developers on this stack, but they've still put out a number of high-profile games. Some of their other games include the Call of Duty: Black Ops series (plus a few other Call of Duty ports), multiple Spider-Man games, a couple of NHK 2K games, and some older Triple Play games for EA.

One of their first games though was this underrated hack and slash Dreamcast exclusive. I played through this one last year and had quite a bit of fun with it. It's not a great game by any means, but it's a nice fantasy romp that you can get for peanuts these days.

10


Way of the Warrior

Developed by Naughty Dog

This is my favorite "did you know they developed THIS" game! Naughty Dog is a super high-profile developer these days, but before all of those amazing games like Uncharted, The Last of Us, and Crash Bandicoot...there was Way of the Warrior!

This is a 3DO-exclusive Mortal Kombat clone that features a White Zombie soundtrack. It was universally panned upon release and has long since been forgotten by pretty much everyone. Naughty Dog would bounce back quickly though as their very next game was Crash Bandicoot and they've been blazing a trail of amazing games ever since.

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