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5 Gorgeous 2D Games 159

kukyfrope writes "With the advancement of technology, it's rare to play a game that doesn't incorporate 3D graphics. While 3D games are great, classic 2D side-scrollers are beautiful in their own way. GameDaily takes a look at what they believe to be the top 5 most visually striking 2D games, with less text and more screenshots because words don't do these games justice."
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5 Gorgeous 2D Games

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  • Oddworld (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:51PM (#15552608) Homepage
    I always found the Oddworld games to be visually stunning. Abe's Exodus beats every game on their list except Yoshi's Island, for me.
  • Side-scrollers are cool. I've recently been enjoying the new Super Mario Brothers on my younger sibling's new DS Lite, and it looks fantastic.
  • ?rp=49 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:56PM (#15552628)
    "?rp=49" like in "when I click on the link you get some money" ? :p
  • mod article down ;-)
  • by LLuthor ( 909583 ) <lexington.luthor@gmail.com> on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:09PM (#15552684)
    has got to be the Worms series. Since Worms 2, the Worms series has been visually fantastic, and the gameplay is second to none. Its simply a great game, in every way.

    Not to mention the fact that even years after its release lots of cool online matches can be found in minutes, since the gamer community likes it so much.

    (Oh and, Worms 3D is even sexier)
    • Imho Worms 3D isn't as good as Worms DC was on the Amiga. I can't talk about Worms 2 and whatever more 2D-titles there might had been because I haven't played them more than just a few minutes. Also the small worms in worms 1/dc doesn't matter to me since I'm there for the gameplay and not the graphics.
      • Worms 3D is a completely different game, and yes, Worms 3D is not good. The series you are missing are 3 games built on the Worms 2 engine: Worms 2, Worms Armeggedon, and Worms World Party (which is simply Armeggedon with a few extra goodies). But I've played the original worms as well, and unsurprisingly, it can't compete with the Worms 2 series, either in graphics or in gameplay, but hey, it was a great start, which ended up producing one of the best hotseat party games ever. Are there plans to release it

    • Worms 2 -> WP rules in terms of sheer amusement and fun. I wouldn't say it's the most 'gorgeous' of 2D games though.
    • It's worth mentioning that both Worms Armageddon and Worms World Party run pretty well under Wine on Linux with a dll hack and a couple of overrides.
    • Worms Armageddon introduced the ability to switch to higher resolutions. I always think how awesome that is -- high-res 2D! I want a next-gen game to coin 2DHD, so pussy developers have a new genre umbrella to work under. That way maybe, just maybe, we'll get some new 2D games instead of all these mutated offspring of Mario 64. Then people will catch on that 2D isn't all that bad, that we just forgot about it like animatronics, both lost in the 1990's wet-dream of "3D". 3D is the real enemy here! Nvid
  • Hrumph (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shoolz ( 752000 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:09PM (#15552686) Homepage
    I'm really, really surprised that Out of This World (aka Another World) [wikipedia.org] wasn't on that list.
    • I actually liked Flashback a bit more, for gameplay and visuals. A little less creative with the user interaction, yes, but longer and more solid overall.
      • Ahhh, flashback, the spiritual sequel. Good game.

        Out of this World (Another World) really deserves more in my book, especially considering where it came from. It was the advent of this kind of technology, and back then, it looked beautiful (still does when you consider it was on a Genesis/SNES (Genesis version is better, IMHO)).
        • Re:Hrumph (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          > still does when you consider it was on a Genesis/SNES

          Actually it was developed on the Amiga originally. Doesn't change your point though; fanastic for the time.
        • Yeah, it definitely does. The gameplay was so wildly creative, too. It seemed like every puzzle contained custom interaction elements, rather than the reusable stock pieces that even great games like Oddworld and Flashback used. Rolling around in a pipe, swinging a cage to break the cord, watching a guard in the reflection of a chandelier... that kind of variety hasn't happened since.
        • Re:Hrumph (Score:2, Informative)

          by Das Modell ( 969371 )
          I only played it on the Amiga. Speaking of Amiga, it had a lot of good looking 2D games, like Superfrog, Chaos Engine and Shadow of the Beast III.
    • Re:Hrumph (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
      Except for Yoshi all titles on that list have seen releases this generation and Yoshi is going to see another sequel soon as well. I think there may be a certain bias in the article.
    • Re:Hrumph (Score:4, Informative)

      by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Saturday June 17, 2006 @07:22AM (#15554292) Journal
      You might be happy to know the author has re-make the game with partially updated gfx, yet keeping the same visual atmosphere of the original.

      http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/index.h tm [anotherworld.fr]
    • Agreed. Especially since the new version is even prettier than the original. Very few games have done 2D graphics with polygons like that.
  • Coral Cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by SlashdotOgre ( 739181 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:18PM (#15552713) Journal
    Less than 10 comments and the site is alread slashdotted, I got through it using Coral Cache: http://www.gamedaily.com.nyud.net:8080/Specials/To p-Five-Most-Gorgeous-2D-Games/?rp=49 [nyud.net] The List: 5. LocoRoco 4. Lumines 3. Yoshi's Island & Yoshi's Story 2. Metal Slug 1. Guilty Gear Not much is said on each page though they do talk about classics like Gunstar Heroes, Sonic, Marvel VS. Capcom, etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Less than 10 comments and the site is alread slashdotted"

      They're running it on a 2D server.
  • by rhfb ( 980702 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:20PM (#15552717)
    5. Loco Roco (PSP) 4. Lumines (PSP) 3. Yoshi's Island & Yoshi's Story (SNES & N64) 2. Metal Slug (Multi) 1. Guilty Gear (Multi)
    • As soon as I saw the title of this story, I thought "it would be a crime if Guilty Gear wasn't mentioned." Although I can't access the article, it's great to see that this amazing game is getting some mainstream recognition. Guilty Gear XX Slash, the latest installment, is by far my favorite game ever. It's pretty popular in Japan (their arcade scene is orders of magnitude larger than the US's) and has an underground following in the States. In fact, a rather large tournament, Midwest Championships [dustloop.com], is bein
    • What pisses me off is they are all fucking handheld systems!

      I don't own a handheld system - I don't want to own a handheld system, but some of those might have been nice on a standard console.

      Bit of a shame indeed.
  • SotN (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wilson_6500 ( 896824 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:23PM (#15552735)
    I always thought Alucard was animated with amazing fluidity. Sure, his sprite could've used more detail--like a face--but the actual animations were and still are impressive.
    • Yep, Symphony of the Night should be in the list for sure.
    • I still play through this game every other month or so. Excellent game. Worth all the honorable mentions you can throw at it at the very least. Another gem would be the DS version: Dawn of Sorrow. SotN is beautiful, but this game takes it a step farther. I'd have to say mostly because it's on a smaller screen, but there are more animations for every monster and about the same amount for the hero. Excellent game!
  • shameless plug (Score:4, Informative)

    by theantix ( 466036 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:23PM (#15552740) Journal
    Is it still a shameless plug if you're not the one personally benefitting from the plug? Either way, a friend of mine has produced a gorgeous 2D game, Steam Brigade [steambrigade.com] that is totally worth checking out if you like that sort of thing.
    • It's a heck of a lot better than any of the ones on their list (which was mostly high contrast Orange-on-Blue junk, IMHO. This one looks like it was produced by an artist with some color sense.


    • There's no version for Linux. That makes me a sad penguin.
      • Re:shameless plug (Score:3, Insightful)

        by theantix ( 466036 )
        There's no version for Linux. That makes me a sad penguin.

        Dude, I'm a linux desktop user myself. But are you really surprised that an independent shop doesn't put out a Linux version of their first game? I assume they are trying their damndest to put out a great game that reaches out to the largest possible audience because of limited scope. Hell, most studios with huge budgets don't bother to put out Linux versions of stuff, yet you expect the small guys to bend over backwards for the two of us who use
    • Looks like an updated / inspired "Rescue Raiders" -- pretty cool !!
  • 5 pages (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nEoN nOoDlE ( 27594 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:27PM (#15552750) Homepage
    5 games, 5 pages to load. These types of crappy banner-whore pages are sprouting up like crazy these days, and it's the most annoying thing since pop-ups. Does user experience mean nothing anymore? I'd rather have a banner between each of the games than put up with having to click through and load 5 pages
    • I agree, but I do something similar (not quite as bad) on my site simply because google won't allow more than 3 of their ads on a single page.
      • Re:5 pages (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I do something similar (not quite as bad) on my site simply because google won't allow more than 3 of their ads on a single page.

        That's for a reason. How many fucking Google ads do you think you deserve?
      • ..and that's pathetic. You really think anyone wants to see more than three chunks of ads on a page? What makes your content worth sifting through multiple ad-filled pages?

        Why don't these morons ever learn about the fundamentals of web design before making a site?
  • Fun vs Flashy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:32PM (#15552767) Journal
    this article reminded me of Chu Chu Rocket, a prime example of a game that was great fun, but lacked all of the high end graphics or complexity of most modern games. Simple can be wonderful.
  • RPGs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by krotkruton ( 967718 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:36PM (#15552786)
    Looking past the article's scarce content, I completely agree with its point. However, I look towards RPGs for support. Personally, I loved the old tile-based RPGs such as Final Fantasy 3, the early games of the Breath of Fire series, along with the first Dragon Warrior games. These were relatively simple games where you didn't have to worry about bad camera angles or how well you could control a character like in the bike races in FF7. I also dislike how in many games today, there will be some places where you have to stand in just the right position to make an event occur, which was obviously much easier in tile-based games.

    I'm not saying that these things don't belong in RPGs, but that doesn't mean they are required either. I feel like there is still a market for simple, 2-D games. After every RPG I play, my dad asks me if he can play it because even though he loves the games, he can't play a lot of them due to his almost complete lack of hand-eye coordination (he played FF7, but I had to get him through a couple parts). Making games more realistic, and consequently more complicated, does not always make the games more fun.
    • by Rayonic ( 462789 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @01:11AM (#15553684) Homepage Journal
      Excellent point, but a lot of the time older games were *more* complicated to control than their modern counterparts. Convoluted menus, awkward control schemes, or just tons of mapped keys. I'll throw out a few examples.

      System Shock 1 -> System Shock 2
      Dune II -> Warcraft 3
      Nethack -> Diablo
      TES: Daggerfall -> TES: Oblivion
      Wasteland -> Fallout
      Text Adventures -> Graphical Adventures (w/ icons)

      I'm not "hating" on older games, but you must admit that the older ones I listed are more complicated to control than the newer ones.
      • I'm not "hating" on older games, but you must admit that the older ones I listed are more complicated to control than the newer ones.

        I have to disagree with your assertion that Nethack is more complicated to control than Diablo. While Nethack obviously has an order of magnitude more controls, the game is turn-based, which means that you can take your time to think of the correct solution and find the correct control. While Diablo has less controls, you have to find them in a hurry, which requires hand-e

  • xenon II (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thelost ( 808451 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:45PM (#15552832) Journal
    I remember actually salivating over Xenon II [gamespy.com] for the Amiga. That and a few other Amiga games such as Shadow of the Beast were and will always be the most gorgeous games I've ever played. I also remember seeing the mode 7 fx in Contra wars for the snes, the first time the plane zoomed over. Pant wettingly good at the time.
    • I played Xenon II on my PC-XT, it rocked!

      Prince Of Persa was also very beautyful..
    • You should try to find Gods for the PC then. Also a Bitmap Brothers game.
      • heh, funnily enough I followed the Bitmap Brothers in my Amiga days. I had most of their stuff, but only ever played the God demo that came on Amiga Format (a UK based Amiga magazine, back in the day). Hah, I just thought of another incredibly gorgeous game, Magic Pockets. For me, Amigas where the computers that kept on giving.
  • I've always thought Popful Mail for Sega CD was really beautiful for its time. Another platformer that stands out to me as unique was Wild 9 for PSX.
  • The page is slashdotted so I can't read the article itself, but after looking at the games on the list I have to ask how they could include Lumines but not a Castlevania game? The GBA Castlevania games (and the more recent, and equally excellent looking Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow for the DS) are really very polished, with smooth animation and a lot of artistic detail. Lumines was great and all, but I really think there are more deserving alternatives for good looking 2d games.
    • Yeah, someone else mentioned Symphony of the Night earlier. I have to agree, at least one Castlevania game should have been on that list.
    • Are you really surprised when they have a 2-D fighter as number one? While Guilty Gear does have "beautiful animations," there is no connectivity with the environment. A static/semi animated background with automata bouncing around shooting sparkles from the hands, no matter how beautifully painted, is still a static/semi animated background.

      And seriously, where is Viewtiful Joe?
      • Viewtiful Joe, while a great game, is not 2D. The action may take place on a rail, but it is a 3D game. Everything is rendered in 3D. I'm glad to see Yoshi's Island on the list. I've always loved that game and it had such a fantastic look. I didn't like Yoshi's Story's style as much, but it was often stunning looking. Loco Roco looks neat, and I'll probably buy or rent it, but to me it just screams "Gish! [chroniclogic.com]" so loud, and I want to yell at all the magazines and websites that don't pick up on that obvious simil
  • Lemmings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kamineko ( 851857 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:55PM (#15552878)
    I think the visuals of Lemmings (Amiga) are beautiful, perfectly suited to the gameplay and executed flawlessly.
  • Even though there was a generation of 2d PSX games that came after it, with a lot more power to create even more beautiful 2d games, every time I play Final Fantasy 6 (3 in the US), I simply can't get over how gorgeous it looks. Amazing music, amazing graphics, amazing story, and tons of diversity. But mainly, Squaresoft designed such an amazing look and two completely unique worlds for this game.

    Plenty of 2d games are more impressive technologically, but I have a feeling that if FF6 were ever updated
    • I thought 6 was one of the ones released for PSX? On FF Anthology. I haven't played it though, so i don't know if it fits the criteria you're suggesting.
      • Final Fantasy 6 was released as FF3 in the US on the Super Nintendo. Yes, it was rereleased on PSX, but with no upgrades - just a FMV cutscene at the beginning and end of the game I believe (I never played that version)
        • Ah, like i said, i'm not familiar with the PSX version, so i didn't know if it included any visual upgrades or not. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of what you're describing in a DS version, though; the release of the first two games for GBA was a pretty good step up graphically speaking, and there is a DS version of FF3 in development, so who knows? You may have your wish if they decide to keep going. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll at least do the fourth game as well.
          • Well, officially, at this point, Final Fantasy 6 is supposed to come out around the same as FF5 for the GBA. The only problem is, the DS is booming, and is quickly replacing the market the GBA once thrived in. Still no release date has been given to these games, so I'm starting to wonder whether they're pulling and reworking them for the DS. This would be my preference, and probably the preference of most fans, anyway, especially since they will be playing the SNES versions on their Wiis by that point. FF4
  • But what Lunar? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by samwh ( 921444 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:36PM (#15553031)
    Lunar is the best 2-d RPG series ever. Sad that there will never be any more, 3d or otherwise.
    • Lunar: The Silver Star is probably my favorite RPG of all time. I think i even like the original Sega CD version better than the PSX version. But as for there not being any more, it is still possible. In Vic Ireleand's last post on the Working Designs website, he mentions that he and other members of the staff would be working for other publishers, and who's to say they won't bring some already hatched ideas to the table? I assume that Lunar: Dragon Song for the NDS is something along those lines, since
  • Where's Gish? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by skjef ( 980808 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:58PM (#15553100)
    Fluid physics and dynamic lighting FTW.

    Screenshots [chroniclogic.com].
  • by Eideewt ( 603267 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:00PM (#15553112)
    I don't see the point of an article listing five nice looking 2d games. "Here are five games we think look nice! Yay!"

    Whoever these guys are, I'm really not impressed that they can think up five nice looking games. On that note, here's a few I like: Gish, Commander Keen, Rayman, and the Fallout series. Hey, you didn't even have to click through five pages to read my list.
  • by chadruva ( 613658 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:44PM (#15553254) Homepage
    RPG titles had awesome 2D graphics back in the SNES days, like FF3. How about Chrono Trigger?, this one even had a mini racing game that was 3D like (camera movements), graphics and gameplay blended very well on those games, I hope square-enix keeps producing quality titles.
  • E.T.? (Score:3, Funny)

    by fyrie ( 604735 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @11:23PM (#15553380)
    What? E.T. didn't make the list?
  • Guilty Gear!? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Muramasa ( 534108 )
    Those games are barely animated at all. Sure the sprites are high-resolution, but most of the moves have very few frames of animation and there are tons of 3D effects used as well. It's like watching a slide show.

    Games like Last Blade 1 & 2, Real Bout Fatal Fury Special 1 & 2, Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves, and Street Fighter 3 are all much more impressive because of the fluidity of the animation.
    • A small number of frames does not mean that the animation is bad. Also, animation can be really smooth and still be bad animation. For reference, see most flash animations. Smooth, interpolated, shitty animation.
  • Fallout (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Nowak ( 872479 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @12:02AM (#15553482)
    Depending on your definition of 2D, I think the Fallout serious is perhaps the best looking computer game ever. Beautiful painted backgrounds, clever setting elements, and the consistency to truly create another world. Perhaps it is the best CRPG ever actually. They don't make em like they used to...
    • My sentiments exactly. Fallout was one of those games that instills a complete experience in the player. Most of it is due to the story and other RPG-like elements that many RPGs share, but a lot of it comes from the general atmosphere, which is almost entirely created by the visual environments. A true classic, to say the least.
  • I'm kinda surprised Abuse didn't make the list. Now, I'm one of the LAST people to put PC games over console games (and believe that PC games are greatly overhyped here), but I gotta give props to Abuse. The sprite animations were so fluid, you'd think they were polygon based, one of the few 2D games that actually managed to be frightening in it's portrayal.

    But I was also surprised to see that Symphony of the Night didn't make the list, and similarly Super Metroid, another one of the few 2D games that man

  • "While 3D games are great, classic 2D side-scrollers are beautiful in their own way."

    You know what? Fuck you. There have been many 2-D games that are absolute graphical masterpieces compared to whatever bullshit L33t-D00dz-3D pushes out to cash in on the post-Playstation poly whores. If you have to put a qualifier in to try and pidgeonhole something, just leave the discussion. You're not adding anything.

  • Not only is this slashdotted, but Gamedaily found it necessary to put each of the 5 games (with only a paragraph of text and a couple screenshots each) on seperate pages.
  • Starscape (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sylver Dragon ( 445237 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:12AM (#15553828) Journal
    One of the best 2d games I have seen in a while was Starscape [moonpod.com]. Great visuals, great gameplay. Just a ton of 2d goodness. I'm just waiting for Moopod to finally finish up War Angles now.
  • Where is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by -kertrats- ( 718219 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:55AM (#15553919) Journal
    Viewtiful Joe?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Where are the shmups?

    Darius (Arcade), Thunderforce 4 (Genesis/Megadrive), Radiant Silvergun (Arcade/Saturn)...

  • Monkey Island 2? Sam N Max? Day of the Tentacle? Etc. Superb animation and locations even today. I'd definitely have put those in there above Lumines.
  • Cave Story (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chemical ( 49694 ) <nkessler2000&hotmail,com> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @05:07AM (#15554148) Homepage
    Since we're on the subject of 2D games, I might as well mention the fabulous freeware game, Cave Story. Initially, I was somewhat turned off by its primitive graphics, but once you start playing you begin to realize what a gorgeous game it is. The gameplay is top notch, reminiscent of Metroid and later Castlevania games, and the story is actually rather compelling. I cannot get enough of this game.

    If you haven't already, download it right now [gameflaws.com]. Don't let the archaic looking graphics turn you away. Don't make the same mistake I did, initially dismissing this wonderful game. Download ane be enthralled by this spectacular work of art.

  • fun and stunning graphics:

    plasma pong [plasmapong.com]
  • R-Type, anyone? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    R-Type was one of the most visually pleasing 2D scroller space shoot'em-ups ever...

    it could've replaced that stupid game with yellow balls easily...
  • Or Ar Tonelico? Then there's all those Tactical RPGs (Disgaea et al). How about Legend of Mana (if we're going as far back as the n64 era)? Sad that Dawn of Mana's 3D, even if it looks nice. I remember thinking how awesome the 2D games on these new consoles will be. High Res and lots of animation. Too bad it never materialized.
  • Star Control 2 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DimGeo ( 694000 )
    The Ur-Quan Masters! [sourceforge.net]. The Best 2D Game Ever.
  • Alien Hominid is a great looking 2D experience. Sure the art style will turn some people off, and the game is hard enough to cause controller breakage, but there are few games out there that do as good a job of making a comic book seem come alive.

    Valkyrie Profile is just plain gorgeous, but I don't blame people for not knowing about it, with as hard as it is currently to get your hands on a copy of the PS2 version (and the low number of people that bought a PSP to actually play PSP games on it means that n
  • Lots of obvious omissions from the list, and like many other people here I do think that Castlevania SOTN and Super Metroid are among the best of the side-scroller genre. Does Okami count? That game looks pretty, no matter how many dimensions it's in. But I do find it rather funny that 2 of the 5 are PSP games, given the lack of popularity of the platform in general-- or indeed lack of many real interesting games outside of, hmm, Lumines, LocoRoco, and GTA Liberty City Stories. Having bought a PSP over

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger