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Faellin

Underrated 3D platformers from the N64 - gamecube era?

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Been in a dire mood to replay the ratchet and clank games on PS2, but my console is kinda broken at the moment. Probably for another few weeks until I can get the one replacement part I need.

So in the meantime, anyone got some good 3D platformers from that era to hold me over? I pretty much have played all the real big name ones like crash, spyro, mario, and all the ones that are household names. Mostly looking for more underappreciated ones that flew under the radar.

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Pac-Man World 2 maybe? I don't hear that one get as much love as it I'd say it deserves. It's a really solid game overall and goes for pretty reasonable prices nowadays.

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Disney produced Lilo and Stitch and Emperors New Groove games for the PS1. Pretty much attempts at cloning the style of Crash and Spyro respectively. If you've got a PS3 lying around you can download those for cheap - they're quite playable as licensed games go. Toy Story 2 was on N64, that game was for sure good. I know you said you're aware of Crash and Spyro, but Crash Bandicoot Wrath of Cortex and Spryo a Hero's Tail were both released on gamecube and are underrated by virtue of dorks on the internet thinking the series ended after the PS1 trilogy. Those two were seriously some of the best of their breed. The first Jak & Daxter and Sly Cooper games rocked as well, but whoops ps2 games. Wario World is also a juicy 3D collectathon but the idea of shopping for gamecube exclusives in 2020 - woof those prices. I'm afraid to suggest any N64/gamecube games for that reason. I heard Rayman 2: The Great Escape was good on N64. I can second Rocket Robot on Wheels and the first two Pac Man Worlds. And Gex 2 and 3 were very okay.

Edited by Glennstavos

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Try Space Station Silicon Valley for N64. It's a collectathon platformer build around the mechanic of taking over the enemies' bodies and using their unique skills to plow through the levels. A bit like what Mario Odyssey did with the difference that your main physical form is just a crawling microchip. 

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The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: The Video Game: as far as licensed games go, it isn't bad at all; it's actually a decent 3D Platformer thanks to the developers being able to save time by reusing assets from Battle for Bikini Bottom

Then there's Super Mario Sunshine: It seems to have a bad reputation among a lot of Mario fans, and not for completely unjustifiable reasons (the game was definitely rushed out the door and the camera has serious issues), but it does have a lot of great stuff to it as well. The FLUDD adds a lot to Mario's movement potential and can provide useful tips without interrupting the game, Delfino Plaza is one of the best hub worlds in a 3D Platformer, and plenty of other great stuff about it. 

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N64

Banjo Kazooie >Mario64>Banjo Tooie> Rayman 2 > Rocket on Wheels > DK64 >  SSSV > Conker's Bad Fur Day >  Glover > Gex 3 > Chameleon Twist 2 > Spider Man >  Duck Dodgers > Gex 64: (Gex 2: Enter The Gecko) >  Indiana Jones and Infernal Machine > Chameleon Twist 1 > Tonic Trouble > Earthworm Jim 3D

Hybrid Games  such as Third Person Shooter / Platformers and Puzzle Platformers will start being better than "Pure" Platformers starting with Chameleon Twist 2 - eg Turok 1&2 / Jet Force Gemini / Blast Corps / Lode Runner 3D -- also it's a harder argument to make but Tony Hawk 1-2 are almost Sports-Platformers)THPS argument also applies to PS1, PS2,GCN

Rocket on Wheels, besides the Charlie Brown music, actually has the best physics engine on the N64, and a lot of interesting stuff is going on in its levels. Space Station Silicon Valley has the cheapest graphics you'll ever see in a 3D game (unless you go pre 5th console gen to jumping flash or something) but it humorous, and the puzzle heavy level design makes up for the somewhat cumbersome movement of some of the animals you control in the mostly short levels. Glover has moments of incredibly cleverness with riding on top of the ball, dribbling for platform movement, changing between balls that float and sink on water levels, etc - but a lot of the rest of the game is generic fog-filled levels unfortunately - Gex 3 is a shockingly big and bland game, but well it does an okay job of having secrets to reward exploration - ignore the 100 Coin goals and the game will still outstay it's welcome, but not by as much - Chameleon Twist 2 is actually very nostalic to me as a game I played in my first year of N64 ownership - the Tongue's polevaulting and Bar Spinning are very clever on occasion - It is a weekend rental game with only 6 levels. Spider Man is a very linear game, but movement is surprinsgly repsonsive and I enjoy it overal - Duck Dodgers tries to be a colletathon, but with very few stages and easier difficulty - The sound design (especially the Tiptoeing) is so spot on to the cartoons that I can't help forgive it though. Gex 2's best stages are more charming and creative than Gex 3 - such as the Looney Tunes stages, snd pace, aRezopois ... unfortantely this is the exception rather than the norm, and the medivel/arabia/kung fu stages are generic X100 and worst of all the Cyberspace stages - the rest of the game has a Medium-Bad Camera, but the Cyberspace stages have the worst camera EVER. > Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine is a VERY bad game on PC, but the N64 game was substationally upgraded by Factor 5 (The Star Wars Rogue Squadron guys) that said it's shimmying , heavy movement, occasional item use is just completely outclassed by the likes of Tomb Raider or Prince of Persia. Tonic Trouble is a prototype of Rayman2 (The salesman in one of R2's cutscenes comes from this game) it has some ropey worlds, but at other times it works pretty well. A little too primitive to play through. Earthworm Jim is the bottom of the barrel. If you play a game that you start to think is worse, then stop. (This shouldn't reflect backwards on it's good 2D games)

Gamecube(Includes and supercedes Dreamcast Ports)

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time > Mario Sunshine > Rayman 3 > Sonic Adventure 2 >  Billy Hatcher >  Tomb Raider Legend >  I-Ninja > Vexx > Sonic Adventure 1 >  Tak 2 > Dr. Muto > Tak 1 > Warioworld

Hybird Game such as Metroid Prime 1 and 2 Third Person Shooter/Platformers and arguably Metal Arms:Glitch in the System will start being better than "Pure" Platformers around Sonic Adventure 2. 

Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 are definately DAMAGED in their porting to the GCN - on Dreamcast itself I actually rate 1>2, but they are dense games with plenty to do. Billy Hatcher is a case of "promise and potential" rather than quality a lot of the time, but does a competent job at having themed worlds and collectibles and has its moements where the mechanic uniqueness of rolling a ball around at all times shines through > I-Ninja has 90s edge humor, but if you got through Tony Hawk's Underground 2, you can live through it - It's secretly one of the more focused 3D platformers (Crash Bandicoot obstacle course style) on the gamecube - Don't go in expecting a collectathon and it'l be great - Vexx is the platformer with the most dense movement - you can stack your jump, uppercut, sideflip, etc - Essentiall it has similiar strengths weaknesses to Mario Sunshine with better feeling movement than most of competetion but somewhat underwhelming stages to go with it (also higher difficulty than normal for genre near the end) Tak games where clearly made by a fledgling studio and treat the player with kid gloves (definately a young platformer) but are competent engouh. More Crash obstacle course style than collectathon. Dr. Muto is a guilty pleasure of mine (for the music) It's filled with jumps that are more finnicky than they should be and you should stop looking for games before you get there. Warioworld is some kind of hybrid Brawler with occasional Light platforming in the form of those throwback puzzle rooms (similiar to the "platforming" in Paper Mario game) - it doesn't quite nail it and is really like a Rental game you can 100% in a weekend. -

I also want to pause and say that Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is like 5th-6th in my 2D platformers of all time and is easily better than everything below Rayman 3.

PS1

Ape Escape > Crash 2 > Crash 3 > Spyro: Year of the Dragon(Spyro 3) > Tomb Raider 1 > Tomb Raider 2 > Spyro:Ripto's Rage (Spyro 2) > Spyro 1 >  Tomb Raider:Last Revelation > Crash 1 > Spider Man > Gex (Gex 2: Enter the Gecko) > Tomb Raider 3 > Tomb Raider: Chronicles 

Hybrid Games such as MDK - Third Person Shooter / Platformer and Legacy of Kain:Soul Reaver -  Zelda Clone style ARPG / Puzzle Platformer will start being better than "Pure" Platformers starting with Spyro 2. 

I've seen some people really positive on Tomb Raider 4 (Last Revelation) as the PS1 Tomb Raider with the most feautures - personally I think 1&2 are the peak and that while better than TR 3 and TR 5(Chronicles) it still adds in the wrong direction just not as obviously as TR 3 and TR 5. 

PS2(Includes and supercedes Dreamcast Ports)

PsychoNauts >Ape Escape 2 >  Sly Cooper 2 > Maximo:Ghosts to Glory >  Sly Cooper 1 > Jak and Dakter 1 >  Ecco the Dolphin:Defender of the Future > Ape Escape 3 > Pac Man World 2 > Battle for Bikini Bottom > Sly Cooper 3

Hybrid Games such as Ratchet and Clank2-3/MDK2 Third Person Shooter / Platformer   will start to be better than "Pure" Platformers starting with starting with Ecco 3D - 

Psychonauts is a great game but it will basically require half of an entire memory card because it's save file is basically as uncompressed as the PC version. Ape Escape 2 is a very early PS2 game and technologically very close to Ape Escape 1, but it also has the most over-the-top setpieces in the series (Eg the Wrestler who suplexes T Rexs) , Sly Cooper 2 is Incredibly Cutscene heavy, but has very satisfying gameplay and can deliver, The first Maximo has areas that are slavishly made to evoke Ghosts and Goblins and it's incredibly brutal (the 2nd one is more of a Brawler than a platformer) it's worth beating though, Sly Cooper 1 is a nice and not-too-long cross between an obstacle course platformer and , Jak and Dakter 1 is the only good game platformer in the Jack series as the rest of them are third person shooter/platform hybirds. Ecco 3D had me sceptical because usually dolphin movemnt is used in small doses as a single area or for a few minigames (Rocket on Wheels and DK64 for instance) but it works surprisingly well > Ape Escape 3 is a let down to me considering how much I like 1,2, and the Racing game spin off, but it's competent and has large themed areas. Pac Man World and Battle for Bikini bottom both have cult fanbases but you can live without playing them even if you don't go anywhere past the first 3 games on the consoles. Sly Cooper 3 isn't actually bad as a game, but the platforming is used to connect an endless string of concealed minigames - also you'll notice the mix of context buttons to normal jump movement is way different in Sly 3 - compared (non mission) roof to roof movement in the first two games for an obvious example.

Other

My Short List

N64 - Banjo through SSSV

PS1 - Ape Escape and Crash only

GCN - Prince of Persia through I-Ninja

PS2 - Psychonauts through Sly Cooper 1

Edited by Reality

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Just checked my local used gamestore. And the games I found in stock from the ones listed above that I never played

Tak 1, 2 and 3, Vexx, Pac man world 1 and 2, and one not mentioned above anywhere. Scaler.

Those should hold me over for awhile. Thanks for the suggestions.

 

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