Five of the Most Underrated Video Games

After a fury inducing Top 5 overrated video games list, Tom returns with 5 of the most underrated games. Game on.

5. Herzog Zwei, Sega Genesis 
"THIS is the best  name
we could think of?"
When I first got this game in the fall of 1991, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had just traded my Turbografx 16, 12 games, four controllers, plus a Turbo Stick and Turbotap all for a Genesis and two games. I picked Rambo III and Herzog Zwei. I had read one review in an old magazine, and they kept going on about how great it was. Once I played it for a while and figured out what was going on, I knew I had found something special. HZ was the first Real Time Strategy/Action game I had ever played on a console. I had played turn based military strategy games before, like Desert Commander (NES) and Military Madness (TG-16,) but I quickly got tired of waiting for my opponent to take his turn. In HZ, you not only manage your bases and resources, but you fly and walk around the map as a cool Veritech fighter rip off while taking part in the real-time combat. It was years ahead of its time. It's pronounced  Hair-Zogg-Tsvei, the the last syllable rhyming with "pie."

4. Bionic Commando, PS3/Xbox 360 
"Well, my name is Spencer
and I'm really rad...The
games I make are never bad!"
A lot of people understandably missed the boat on this one, thanks to Capcom's horrible marketing strategy. Enveloped in a shiny HD modern package, this reboot is actually a cheesy love letter to the classic 2D NES days. The story is beyond stupid just like most video game stories back in the late eighties. The hero, Nathan "Rad" Spencer, is a throwback to 1980's action heroes from video games and movies. The dialogue between Rad and Super Joe is just like the conversations that Dylan and Dutch had in Predator over 25 years ago. In the 1989 release of Bionic Commando on the NES (also featuring Rad) there was a twist at the end so stupid and unbelievable it was actually charming. Grin, the company that developed this 2009 reboot decided to top that with an ending that most people consider the dumbest twist in video game history. I say bravo. If Capcom had marketed and promoted Bionic Commando the way it was intended to be, instead of as a serious action game, it would get a lot more credit today.
3. Super Paper Mario, Nintendo Wii 
While this game had decent sales numbers and above average review scores, it's still underrated. This is the ultimate title in the Paper Mario franchise, and my favorite RPG Lite ever. It's a platformer, RPG, and Puzzle game all in one. Most of all, it's a blast to play with its great writing, offbeat sense of humor, and loads of super fun game play. There are many memorable characters for you to meet, and the best of them is Francis. He's a nerdy Chameleon who lives on his computer and in the internet. While he is technically an enemy when you first meet him, he's completely endearing with his nervousness and shyness at the very thought of meeting a beautiful woman. If you still have a Wii lying around gathering dust, or a Wii U begging for some good games, pick up Super Paper Mario. You won't be disappointed.
2. Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker, PSP 
I bought an MGS skinned PSP 3000 packaged with Peace Walker on the day it released. I spent so much time playing it, I'm quite sure I did permanent retina damage. Peace Walker is now available in the Ultimate Metal Gear Solid HD collection, and you CANNOT miss it if you plan on playing MGSV. It has a typically brilliant Kojima storyline, but without as many cut scenes. The cut scenes it does have play out in digital comic book style, with super cool artwork and nifty animations. There are well over a hundred missions to carry out and the game play is some of the tightest in the series, introducing some new mechanics like the ability to recruit knocked out enemy soldiers by attaching a balloon to their feet that carries them up to a waiting airship. I was baffled when the lukewarm reviews came out, many of them calling it a low mark in the series. They're wrong. It's right up there with the best MGS in the series.

1. 3D Dot Game Heroes, PS3 
"Hmmmm.....Notice any similarities?"
Developer From Software is most famous nowadays for crafting the ultra difficult Demon's Souls and its spiritual successor Dark Souls. In the two years between those two title launches, they made a hilarious rip-off of the original Legend of Zelda called 3D Dot Game Heroes. They made no attempts to hide the fact that this IS Zelda, only with a different map and new dungeons. Sure, they added a few optional side quests, but that doesn't change the fact that the screen scrolls when you bump into the side, just like the NES masterpiece. 3D Dot Game Heroes includes a deep character editor/creator where you can make the hero look like just about anything. It comes preloaded with dozens of different avatars to represent the main hero, my favorite being the soccer player. This game is fun, challenging, and funny to the end and it deserves a second look.
-Tom McDaniel