BLOG – My Top 5 Favorite Atlus Games

You Should Probably Play These Games –

Atlus has always been one of my favorite game companies as they consistently release unique, high quality titles with game experiences that cannot be found anywhere else; no other publisher would even consider going near some of the games Atlus has released. Atlus understands the dedication of their fans as they release most titles with limited edition pre-order bonus content that gamers actually care about.

Now it is easy to acknowledge the Personas, Disgaeas and Shin Megami Tensei titles and rarely is there a genuinely “bad” Atlus game but the following titles are my some of my favorite titles Altus has worked with. Call them sleeper hits if you will but these games pull on my heart strings from both a nostalgic and gameplay stand point. The hardest part was narrowing it down to only five.

In chronological order:

 

Such epic boxart
Such epic boxart

Dungeon Explorer, TurboGrafx-16 (1989)

One of the first games Atlus worked with is also one of my most favorites. Dungeon Explorer was an action RPG built in the shadow of Gauntlet but incorporated a simplified leveling-up system after each boss was defeated. In other words, this was basically a 2D overhead Diablo or Baldur’s Gate before Diablo and Baldur’s Gate. The best part was the multiplayer feature. One of the few games to actually support 5-player co-op, Dungeon Explorer is an absolute blast mixing different playable characters to create the ultimate team. The hardest part was actually trying to gather five friends in the same room at the same, with the TG-16 multi-tap (players needed to buy a multi-tap for multiplayer support) and five controllers. The soundtrack was also ahead of its time and still stands tall today.

One of the best 5-player games ever!
One of the best 5-player games ever!

How to Play it Now:
It is highly recommended to download this title on the Wii Virtual Console, gather as many players as possible, and lose yourself in the mindless fun. Hint* dedicated players can find a powerful secret character by using a seemingly weak character.

 

Snowboard Kids!
Snowboard Kids!

Snowboard Kids, N64 (Dec 1997)

Now I am a huge fan of Mario Kart 64 as I have played countless hours earning all the gold trophies, improving times in time trial, and red shelling friends to death in the multiplayer mode but to this day I still think Snowboard Kids is the best racing game on N64. Sure the rubber banding computer control AI can be brutal and the game lacks a general timer function but the gameplay, music and multiplayer component are just so well done. The trick system, currency system and shop system, weapons, and different characters blend together perfectly to create one of the most entertaining games on the N64. Oh yeah, and the music! Snowboard Kids has one of the best soundtracks in gaming. The sequel, Snowboard Kids 2, was also another high quality title whereas the threequel, Snowboards Kids SBK on original Nintendo DS, was definitely the low point in the series.

Multiplayer greatness
Multiplayer greatness

How to Play it Now:
Unfortunately, these two N64 games never saw a re-release on the Wii Virtual Console so they are only playable by owning original copies on N64. It is too bad this series never fully earned the recognition that it deserved.

 

This fetches a pretty penny on eBay
This fetches a pretty penny on eBay

Tactics Ogre, Playstation (1998)

This is the most controversial title on my list because of the long history behind this game. Originally developed by Quest and released on the Super Famicom, this strategy game saw a port on Saturn and eventually the original Playstation thanks to Atlus. Then just a couple years ago, Square Enix re-released this stellar game on the PSP after giving it the tender loving care that it deserved; many new welcomed features were added and this PSP version is considered the definitive version of Let Us Cling Together. However, the original Playstation version was when I was able to sink my teeth into this mature quest. With multiple endings, unmatched gameplay, and a haunting soundtrack, TO is not only one of my favorite Atlus games, it is one of my favorite games of all time. While I am also a big fan of the Final Fantasy Tactics series, I always thought this rare and highly collectable title stood at the top of all other strategy games.

This game is so, so good.
If you game has a character named Canopus, it has to be good.

How to Play it Now:
You might be able to find a used UMD of the PSP version (which is the best way to play this great game) still floating around your local Gamestop and the digital version is available for download on the PSN. Whatever price you pay for this game, it will be worth it.

 

GBA players love this game.
GBA players love this game.

Shining Soul II, Gameboy Advance (2004)

Similar to Dungeon Explorer, the two Shining Soul games on GBA were action RPGs but with a more traditional leveling system. Not that the original game was bad, but the sequel is just an overall better experience as pretty every category has been improved. The best feature about these forgotten GBA titles was the multiplayer capability. If you somehow managed to get a couple buddies together with their own copies of the game and could tolerate the restricting game link cables, Shining Soul II can offer hours of mindless multiplayer fun – just like Dungeon Explorer.

Look at all the playable characters!
Look at all the playable characters!

How to Play it Now:

There is no Virtual Console re-release so you are going to have to look online or dig through garage sales to find a copy.

 

So much love and respect went into this game.
So much love and respect went into this game.

3D Dot Game Heroes, PS3 (2010)

In a time when developers were trying to push gaming hardware to their limits, 3D Dot Game Heroes harkened back to a time of blocky graphics and stereotypical overhead RPG gameplay. The end result was a wonderful, modern day version of classic Zelda in a way that really hasn’t been touched since. This game is basically a new version of the original Legend of Zelda (NES) and has a sense of nostalgia and charm that could make gamers teary eyed and giggle with joy all at the same time.

Yes, this game is as awesome as it looks
Yes, this game is as awesome as it looks

How to Play it Now:
The full version is not available for download on PSN but your local Gamestop might have a used copy sitting on their shelf for a low price. Old school gamers, especially Zelda fans, cannot pass this up.

 

Other games I really wanted to put on this list but only limited myself to 5:

The Karate Kid, NES
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, PS1 (1997)
Trap Gunner, PS1 (1998)
Thousand Arms, PS1 (1998)
Super Dodgeball Advance, GBA (2001)
Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis, (2002)
Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest, GC (2002)
Puyo Pop Fever, DS (2005)
Riviera: The Promised Land, GBA (2005)
Yggdra Union: We’ll Never Fight Alone, GBA (2006)
Radiant Historia, DS (2010)

 

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com, @ZackGaz

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