Here are some of the most bizarre games from otherwise popular franchises

Let’s take a look at some of the most bizarre sequels in video game history.

Gordon Freeman and Alyx from HL2

We think of video game sequels as something that can outdo the original in most ways, be more of the same, or even hit fans with the heavy hammer of disappointment. That, however, ignores the rare but very real case of sequels that don’t necessarily suck but that will baffle fans with their nigh-inexplicable new design choices. We shouldn’t forget this class of sequel, it does at least a great job of providing fun to anyone learning about just how absolutely bizarre these games can get.

Silent Hill Book of Memories' isometric perspective
Screenshot by Destructoid

Silent Hill: Book Of Memories

Remember how the Silent Hill series managed to make players feel scared and uneasy even when no enemy was on screen? Well, nobody had time for that when they were reinventing the square for the PlayStation Vita with Silent Hill: Book Of Memories.

This one isn’t a psychological horror game and barely even a survival horror game. It’s a weird attempt at making an isometric action title in the vein of the awesome Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light but in the world of Silent Hill.

Heck, you don’t even have one of the simplest staples of psychological horror that the series had done so well up until this point—like the feeling of loneliness and isolation—as this one is a co-op adventure featuring up to four players. Wild stuff.

The second iteration of The Legend Of Zelda is a sidescroller
Image by Nintendo

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Remember when the original The Legend Of Zelda changed gaming by taking a cue from the top-down perspective of RPGs and re-purposing it for action adventures?  You don’t? Well, neither do I because I was too young to play it back then, but that’s what the legend of The Legend of Zelda says.

Zelda 2 is definitely not a bad game (if you’re looking for a bad Zelda side-scroller, google Zelda CD-I games), but it’s still pretty weird that Nintendo did away with the revolutionary design they’d come up with in the first one to make a more conservative 2D side-scroller. Nintendo already had Mario dominating that field, and there was no shortage of similar side-scrollers from other companies. Luckily, it didn’t take Nintendo long to both go back to their revolutionary formula and then try new stuff that further propelled the series into legendary status.

Bomberman act Zero's poster that looks a lot like Oppenheimer's
Image by Konami

Bomberman Act: Zero

This one was absolutely terrible and also marked an awful tonal shift for a beloved cutesy series that definitely didn’t need one. I probably wouldn’t have put it on the list because this isn’t about straight-up bad sequels, but I like how its poster looks just like Oppenheimer’s, so that’s some extra bonus points for weirdness.

If you’re looking for a wacky fun Bomberman game, then you’re much better off playing Saturn Bomberman.

Half-Life 2 survivor's wacky HUD
Image by Valve

Half-Life 2: Survivor

Remember how the original Half-Life and its sequel each changed the FPS landscape of its time, due to smart gameplay mechanics that forced players to use their brains? Welp, Half-Life 2: Survivor is a bizarre, mostly on-rails arcade version of Half-Life 2 that only came out in Japan.

Do you see that massively busy interface? That’s not one of those spoofs of HUD glut that you see all over the Internet—that’s the real deal. The reason why anyone would come up with such an antithesis to what made Half-Life 2 great is a mystery, but I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t spend a few dollars at the arcade to try this mess.

The battle hardened Jack & Daxter from Jak II
Image by Naughty Dog

Jak 2

Ever wondered why the original Jak & Daxter had players happily hopping from platform to platform and then Jak 2 was all about gunning down enemies and driving flying vehicles? Sure, Naughty Dog had also previously equipped Crash with a Bazooka for the third game in the Crash Bandicoot series, but Crash’s Bazooka only fired Wumpa fruit, not lethal rounds. What the hell happened there?

Well, it turns out that the sequel to Naughty Dog’s once happy-go-lucky platformer became a shooter because Naughty Dog saw the entire gaming landscape change with the arrival of gritty titles such as Killzone, God Of War, and, most importantly, Grand Theft Auto 3. The team made all the changes to the original that they could to accommodate gameplay elements that played similarly to Rockstar’s mega-hit, and the series was never the same again.

In Naughty Dog’s defense, however, I have to admit that Jak 2 was pretty damn good.

Starfox Adventures looks a lot like Zelda, doesn't it?
Image by Nintendo

Star Fox Adventures

This is the game that sent the Star Fox series into dormancy and made the titular Fox more recognizable as a top-tier Super Smash Bros. character than as the main character of his own series. Its mistake? It decided to get Fox out of his ship and give him some ground-based missions.

This isn’t a new kind of 3D game. This is Zelda with the exception that Zelda games are usually great, and this one is just okay. Star Fox Adventures marks one of the very rare moments in gaming when they would’ve been much better off just doing an on-rails shooter than a sprawling 3D adventure.

Dinos in space in Dino Crisis 3
Image by Capcom

Dino Crisis 3

Dino Crisis has always been an odd Resident Evil clone, but the rule is that you can only send your series to space after around the 8th entry. Picking space as the setting for your mundane terrestrial series in the third entry is too much—especially when it’s a game about pre-historic stuff, the historical opposite of space stuff, I guess. Even Exoprimal feels more grounded than this Chimera.

Also, the first two games in the series came out for the original PlayStation, whereas Dino Crisis 3 landed on Xbox as an exclusive, which might have gotten Xbox fans to believe it has always been in space, thus making it all the more hilariously weird.

A boss battle in DOOM RPG
Image By Bethesda


Remember when Doom fans didn’t like Doom 3 because it was slower, darker, and spookier? Well, there’s an even weirder, blacker sheep in this series: Doom RPG.

For some bonkers reason, Id looked at the “meh” reaction DOOM 3 got and decided to further reduce the amount of action and make a game that was more Final Fantasy than Doom. To Id’s credit, however, Doom RPG is pretty decent and was even pretty revolutionary in the mobile gaming scene, as it provided a fully-fledged campaign two years before the iPhone made mobile gaming go big. Did any of the things that you just read entice you to wait for an HD remaster? Well, good luck with that, since Id lost Doom RPG’s source code.

Darkspore's Edgy look
Image by Maxis


Remember Spore? At some point, it was totally going to be the best game ever made! Sadly, the most fun anyone ever ended up getting out of it came from the game’s extremely advanced creature creator—mostly because they got to create beings that looked awfully phallic.

The people at Maxis looked at the game’s lukewarm reception and came to the natural conclusion anyone in the ‘00s would’ve arrived at: it just wasn’t gritty enough. To solve this, they came up with Darkspore, a game that ditched everything from the original except for the creature creator, and then made a gritty action game about a badass creature that went on to battle other gritty, less phallic creatures.

Darkspore wasn’t even bad, but I can’t help but laugh at the very obvious high-speed course correction that was at play here.

About The Author
Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.
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