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Top 10 Forgotten Adventure Games

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Kurt Hvorp Not every game is remembered for generations to come – some fall into the depths of obscurity. Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Forgotten Adventure Games. For this list we're taking a glance at those adventure games that have disappeared from public knowledge, including games that aren't readily talked about or that can be considered cult classics. Regardless of quality, sales, or the pedigree of their creators, these games didn't quite become as well-known as their competitors. Special Thanks to our user "Laballs" for suggesting this topic on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Kurt Hvorp

Top 10 Forgotten Adventure Games


Not every game is remembered for generations to come – some fall into the depths of obscurity. Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Forgotten Adventure Games.

For this list we're taking a glance at those adventure games that have disappeared from public knowledge, including games that aren't readily talked about or that can be considered cult classics. Regardless of quality, sales, or the pedigree of their creators, these games didn't quite become as well-known as their competitors.

#10: “Snatcher” (1988)

One could say this game was “snatched” from the spotlight... sorry. Anyway, “Snatcher” was a cyberpunk-inspired adventuregame directed and written by Hideo Kojima, creator of the “Metal Gear” series. Taking the role of investigator Gillian Seed, players traverse the game's environments from a first-person perspective and interact with objects to progress the fittingly complex plot. Though appreciated for its quirky references and use of the visual novel style, the game's poor sales outside of Japan ensured it became a curiosity at most. Such a shame.

#9: “Orion Burger” (1996)

Time is the key, in this case. This obscure 1996 title focuses on Wilbur Wafflemeier, just an ordinary pet shop assistant who gets kidnapped by an interstellar fast food company. Fortunately, before he and humanity are declared fair to eat, Wilbur is granted the power to time travel – which sets up his crusade to stop the aliens and save Earth. Alongside its fun time manipulation, “Orion Burger” also delivers full voice acting – giving it the authentic feeling of a zany Saturday morning cartoon.

#8: “Deja Vu” (1985)

The life of a private eye is a hard and lonely one. But should you get the urge to experience it, “Deja Vu” may be up your alley. You are Theodore “Ace” Harding, an ex-boxer working as a private detective... who awakens in a bathroom stall with no memory of himself or the night before. The investigation into Ace's lost memory and his previous actions draws from classic detective stories, while splicing in the puzzle-based gameplay of adventure games. It's certainly an interesting balance.

#7: “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” (1995)

Some games are forgotten in spite of an impressive pedigree – such is the case here. Based on the 1967 short story by Harlan Ellison, “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” tells a frightening tale about a human-killing computer and the five humans spared for 109 years of torture. The game proper divides into five scenarios, sending each individual character into a metaphorical adventure intended to prey on their fatal weakness. Add to that the use of grim themes such as genocide and sexual assault, and the game not catching on makes a little more sense.

#6: “Beneath a Steel Sky” (1994)

Welcome to the Australia of the future, as imagined in 1994. Developed by Revolution Software, “Beneath a Steel Sky” is viewed as a sort of cult classic in the realm of adventure games. It focuses on Robert Foster, an adopted member of an Aboriginal tribe whose circumstances change for the worse when security officers of Union City come for him. The game merges a comic book-like visual style, a complex tale of conspiracy and technological restriction, and a simple but effective point-and-click interface to create something unique.

#5: “Loom” (1990)

So... this is odd. This entry into the adventure genre came to us courtesy of Brian Moriarty, creator of such games as “Trinity” and “Beyond Zork”. “Loom” tells the tale of Bobbin Threadbare, a child borne of a magical loom who embarks on a quest to find his fellow villagers, who have been transformed into swans. On top of its unusual premise, the game also swapped out traditional puzzle-solving for the use of magical four-note tunes. Perhaps the unorthodox design wasn't as endearing as originally hoped – too bad.

#4: “Commander Blood” (1994)

Oh, to be back in the days of DOS games. 1994's “Commander Blood” takes an interesting approach to adventure game design: it uses multiple-choice conversations and has the player click through dialogue options to progress the plot. Said plot, for the record, deals with the manufactured clone Blood assisting his creator Morlock achieve his final wish – to see the Big Bang. And then there's the game's mix of computer-animated characters and live-action puppets. It's at once a fascinating and quirky product.

#3: “The Neverhood” (1996)

A claymation-style adventure game – we wouldn't have guessed. Taking on the role of the mostly-mute character Klaymen, players are tasked with escaping from a small room to explore the outside world, a surreal realm of plasticine structures and environmental puzzles. Its bizarre tone and unique style can be attributed in part to game designer Doug TenNapel, creator of the similarly-offbeat “Earthworm Jim” games. Surprisingly enough, this often forgotten gem did get a sequel in Skull Monkeys, which ended up being a platformer to avoid the declining popularity of adventure titles.

#2: “Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars” (1996)

Globetrotting adventure and a story about a Templar conspiracy, what's not to like? Well, there's certainly a few things to at least respect when talking about this first installment in the “Broken Sword” series. “The Shadows of the Templars” concerns itself with George Stobbart, an American tourist whose vacation in Paris turns into an international quest for answers. Mixing mature themes, a light-hearted sense of humour, and a classic animated visual style, this is most definitely a classic to be remembered.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Little Big Adventure” (1994)
“Phantasmagoria” (1995)
“The Dig” (1995)
“Total Distortion” (1995)
“Policenauts” (1994)

#1: “Sanitarium” (1998)

Of all the games to fall into obscurity, this may be the most deserving of a reversal of fate. Developer DreamForge Intertainment's “Sanitarium” puts you in the shoes of Max, a man who awakens in an asylum after a car accident... and whose quest to recover his memories sends him to oddly-horrific locations. The game's mix of subtle horror, grotesque visuals, and unsettling mood acts as a cover for a moving tale of loss, identity, and the uncertain nature of reality. Calling it a cult classic would be an understatement.

Chances are that due to the nature of this list, its likely we’ve forgotten or didn’t know about certain adventure games. So let us know what underrated gem you think needs more love, and for more understated Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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