8 Underrated Konami Games That Have Been Forgotten

Ah, Konami. For a studio loaded with classic video game IPs, their fall from grace has been remarkable. From their very disappointing (and very public) falling out with legendary creator Hideo Kojima and the subsequent cancellation of his highly-anticipated Silent Hills game to the few ill-advised releases they’ve put out since (Metal Gear: Survive anyone?), it’s been a rough decade for the Japanese developer. Konami is hanging on by a thread with the gaming community and has chosen to focus their attention more on Pachinko machines and NFTs than triple-A video games.

RELATED: Retro Series That Need The TMNT: Cowabunga Collection Treatment

Gamers have been waiting patiently for the big guns at Sony or Microsoft to pony up the cash and buy Konami’s stagnant IPs from them. As of this writing, such a purchase has not come to pass. While the allure of a new Silent Hill, Castlevania, gold Metal Gear game is potent, there are plenty of other titles under the Konami banner that has long been forgotten. Here are the best Konami games that continue to be underrated by the gaming community.

8 Suikoden

Konami’s response to the success of Final Fantasy, tea Suikoden series hasn’t seen a mainline release since 2006 (and nothing at all since 2012), and it’s a shame because they brought their own twist to the JRPG market that hasn’t been replicated since.

The original Suikoden was one of the most successful RPGs available on the original PlayStation, which is impressive considering the massive amount of classic RPGs released for that console. It boasted a massive array of playable characters (78 in total), a fantastic soundtrack, stunningly detailed pixel art for its time, and a complex narrative that didn’t shy away from asking players difficult moral questions. It still stands as one of the best JRPGs of all time, and a series revival is long overdue.

7 Gradius V

The original Gradius was released way back in 1985, and it defined the space shooter genre that took over arcade machines for the next decade. The series made the move to consoles and struggled to find the same audience, but Konami still gave the franchise its due with four sequels. A side-scrolling space adventure that pioneered the idea of ​​bullet hell, there is an appetite in today’s market for this kind of game.

The most recent entry in the series was 2004’s Gradius V, which was outsourced by Konami rather than being developed internally. It was a gorgeous, challenging bullet-hell shooter with an epic sci-fi soundtrack, and was considered a rejuvenation of the Gradius brand at the time. Sadly, the series hasn’t seen another installment since.

6 Zone Of The Enders

The fastest mech game around, many players would never have looked twice at Zone Of The Enders back in 2001 had it not come with a pre-order bonus that included a demo disc for Metal Gear Solid 2. Both games were Hideo Kojima titles though, and hearing the Metal Gear creator’s name attached to a third-person hack-and-slash shooter starring flying mech robots would be all it would take to sell a new entry in the series these days. Unfortunately, back in 2001, it was simply considered the world’s most expensive demo disc.

RELATED: Every Franchise Spearheaded By Kojima Productions

As it stands, Zone Of The Enders: The 2nd Runnerreleased in 2003, is the most recent entry in the series, although both games received HD remasters for PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012. It’s too bad, because these games controlled like a dream, with the ability to launch a volley of rockets and swing a laser sword at the same time while swooping around at high speeds.

5 Bloody Roar

A long-forgotten fighting game, Bloody Roar entered a market saturated with games akin to street fighter and mortal kombat, and struggled to generate an audience of its own. It had all the gameplay and graphical designs to stand level with its competitors, but the game lacked its own sense of style, which was eventually its undoing. That didn’t stop Euro-pop band Eiffel 65 from including it in their 2000 single “My Console” though.

What made Bloody Roar unique was that each of its characters had a standard set of fighting moves, but each also had the ability to transform into a unique animal, which gave them a second set of attacks. It was a cool idea, befitting of an era where Beast Wars and Animorphs saw success with a similar concept, but the game didn’t catch on in the same way.

4 Adventure Island

This game was originally an adaptation of the arcade game wonder boy. Essentially a Mario clone, Adventure Island pioneered enough of its own ideas to warrant a dedicated player base at its height. The most recent release in the series was Adventure Island: The Beginning on the Wii in 2007. It was a somewhat uneven glimpse at how the series could transition to a 2.5D game.

Adventure Island was one of the first platformers to incorporate a health bar. While players would still lose a life for getting hit by an enemy, there were also obstacles littering the game’s levels that could decrease the hero’s health if they weren’t avoided. The game’s protagonist, Master Higgins, became a mascot for the Hudson Soft company, and the series was absorbed when Konami bought the company in 2012. Unfortunately, Adventure Island never found much traction in the West, and it’s likely the series has seen its last release.

3 Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hand

Remember when games had weird real-world mechanics programmed into them? The Psycho Mantis boss fight in Metal Gear Solid is one example, where players had to unplug their controller from Port 1 and plug it into Port 2 to fight the boss. These ideas have long been done away with, but there was a time when merging video games with the real world was attempted in various creative ways.

RELATED: Classic Run And Gun Games That Hold Up

When it came to the GameBoy Advance release Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hand, that idea was solar power. Specifically, the game’s main character was a vampire hunter who wielded a gun powered by the sun. To recharge the gun in-game, players had to use actual sunlight. Literally, there was a light sensor on the back of the game’s cartridge, and players were encouraged to play the game in direct sunlight. This was another game worked on by Hideo Kojima, so that kind of quirkiness isn’t surprising. The game did well enough to warrant two sequels on the GBA, both of which used the light sensor mechanic. Then the series was rebranded as Lunar Knights when it made the jump to the Nintendo DS, and the light sensor mechanic was ditched in the process.

2 The Adventures Of Batman And Robin

Kids growing up in the 90s probably have fond memories of Batman: The Animated Series. To this day, it remains one of the most iconic representations of the Caped Crusader, so much so that voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprized their roles as Batman and The Joker in Rocksteady’s Arkham series.

However, those fans may not remember that there was a 1995 Sega Genesis and SNES platformer released alongside that Batman series. The Adventures Of Batman And Robin styled itself after the TV show, designing each level to be an “episode” with a particular Batman villain acting as a boss to close them out. Players could play as both Batman and Robin, and make use of a number of cool gadgets like Batman’s grapple, as well as a very early incarnation of night vision.

1 Contra

Contra is the only game on this list to have a new mainline release in the last 5 years. Unfortunately, 2019’s Cons: Rogue Corps likely more contributed to the series being forgotten than it did to its rejuvenation. Contra is known for its absolutely brutal difficulty, as well as its embracing of the 80s and 90s sci-fi aesthetic of muscular heroes with big guns. When at its best, there are few games more satisfying to beat.

The series was a fusion of two types of games: a platformer not unlike mario and a bullet hell shooter like Gradius. The two ideas merged to fantastic effect. Contra gained itself a fiercely-loyal following due to the highly-demanding nature of its gameplay that made players retry levels over and over before succeeding. Some players weren’t turned off by that though. Fans of the series will often rank Contra III: The Alien Wars as one of the greatest Konami games of all time.

MORE: Konami Franchises Is Letting Fade From Popular Memory

Leave a Comment