R-Type Tactics also known as R-Type Command is a turn-based strategy game that sees you moving your earthly fighter ships into position against the Bydo Empire's army of bio-mechanical monsters. Taito Legends Power-Up Yes, it's another retro collection, but it's a great one: a selection of aging hits from Taito's '70s and '80s back catalog. It's a superb-looking game, too, with the mecha and characters from the original anime recreated in glorious 3D. A spin-off from the Disgaea series, Prinny gives the brave blue penguin an adventure of his own. The missions are bite-sized, and remarkably, Half-Minute Hero manages to pack all the meat of your typical multi-hour epic into a tiny, approachable package.
Both are polished and superb-looking arcade racers that contain a wealth of unlockable cars and plenty of challenge. Lead your army of creatures to victory through a mix of expertly timed button presses and canny strategic decisions - and prepare to have the infuriatingly catchy music trapped in your head for days. Or maybe it's the appeal of the soundtracks, which range from J-pop to classical etudes to anime theme tunes. Relaxing and funny, they never fail to lift the spirits. And while the games on here were ported to other consoles in the past, most of them were Japan-only releases, so Parodius Portable is a relatively affordable way of getting them all on one disc.
Gradius Collection Collecting together five of Konami's classic 2D shooters on one tiny disc, the Gradius Collection's fairly self-explanatory. Bear in mind, though, that they're getting quite rare and expensive to pick up these days. The following list is devoted to highlighting some of our favorite underrated games. The 2D action is fast and smooth, and all the original Robot Masters are present and correct. Like the Gradius Collection before it, this release gathers together five of Konami's '80s and '90s shooters, which serve as a kind of demented spin-off from the main Gradius series. It's a surreal yet surprisingly absorbing game, with the process of swinging and climbing between platforms and collecting fish proving oddly addictive - and the fiendish level designs add an incredibly challenging puzzle element.
Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? But with the project directed by Tokuro Fujiwara, who made the original Ghosts N Goblins, at least Ultimate saw the series go out on a real high. Although its action is firmly in the 2D retro mold of its predecessors, Ultimate Ghouls N Ghosts mixes 2D sprites with 3D polygon graphics, turning into a really colorful and fresh-looking run-and-gunner with some huge and imaginative area bosses. Hammerin' Hero Although it dates back to the '80s, this action franchise has always been a bit obscure, perhaps because its design feels so distinctly Japanese. Not only does the system have the technical grunt to handle its wild dervish of graphics and techno music, but its quick-fix action also feels perfect for the handheld. Inevitably, this portable version does away with the drum peripherals, and so you don't get the full percussive effect of the arcade and console versions, but there's still something hugely appealing about Taiko no Tatsujin Portable; maybe it's the sense of celebration you get when you chain enough perfectly-timed button presses together and trigger a fireworks display of color and smiling cartoon characters. But the difference here is its use of sound and hypnotic visuals, which turn this into a game that's as much about timing as it is about clearing blocks to score points.
The basic gameplay remains the same as always: guide those mindless critters from entrance to exit without letting too many of them die. For one thing, its anime-style character designs and backgrounds are imaginative and fluidly animated, while the fighting mechanics allow for plenty of strategies and winning combos. Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower It's a one-on-one fighting game from Capcom, which is really all you need to know about Darkstalkers Chroniclein terms of its sheer quality. At one stage, Capcom was planning to make an entire series of Mega Man remakes. We still don't know why it didn't keep its proper name in the west, though - for us, it'll always be called Puzzle Bobble.
With over a 150 new stages and a level editor, though, this is arguably one of the most polished and complete versions of Lemmings made so far. Admittedly, you can skip at least a couple of them Crazy Balloon and Balloon Bomber are about as scintillating as the titles imply , but there are still some real gems on here. Its bite-sized levels and fast-paced problem-solving remain as charming in handheld form as they ever were. If you've had a long day at work, the Loco Roco games are a great way to unwind. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast OutRun 2and OutRun 2006 received glowing reviews on home consoles, but the handheld port may have been overlooked in the rush of other titles released at the time. Macross: Ace Frontier If you love Robotechor Macross, you'll feel immediately at home with this sci-fi action game.
If you like this one, the sequel, which adds the rather iffy-sounding subtitle Dawn of Operation Panties, is also worth a look. The mix of aerial ship combat and ground-based hand-to-hand and shooting encounters is fairly simple, arcade-style stuff, but the ability to unlock mods for your ship adds to the replay value. Dashing through a range of 2D stages, Harry or Gen as he's known in Japan specializes in bashing everyone and everything into oblivion. . Loco Roco 2 Although it offers more of the same world-tilting, rolling action as its predecessor, Loco Roco 2offers a wealth of new abilities including the ability to venture underwater , catchy tunes, and adorable moments of cartoon whimsy.
Assuming you don't expect too much in the way of depth, you'll probably have a lot of fun with Hammerin' Hero. What makes the Gradius Collection a must-have, though, is its inclusion of Gradius Gaiden - Konami's PlayStation-exclusive spin-off that appeared in 1997. There's a good reason for Lumines' trippy music and visuals: it's designed by Testuya Mizuguchi, the creator of similarly ethereal classics like Rezand Child of Eden. You take control of your transforming Veritech fighter and take to the skies in a pitched battle against alien invaders. R-Type Tactics Irem ended its 2D shooting series with R-Type Final in 2003, but the property's true swansong was this curio, released five years later.