The Most Bizarre Platformers Of the 90s
There were some weird platformers in the 90s.
The nineties were a sort of social reckoning. A time when we collectively realized we'd been trying too hard. Grunge, irony, and weird art sprouted up almost by magic. Soon, everyone from Nickelodeon to Cinemax was pushing the envelope on just how whacky things could get. Luckily this perfectly coincided with the second "boom" in video games. Obviously, the competition for the ten weirdest platformers of the nineties is a hard choice seeing as they are all contenders. But the following list is the truly craziest of them all.
Nothing normal to see here folks! Klonoa takes place in Phantomile, a land made of people's dreams. The adventure starts when an evil spirit appears who intends to turn the dream world of Phantomile into a world of nightmares. But that's nothing compared to when you realize at the end that you are actually an extra-dimensional being.
9. Super Ghouls n' Ghosts
Anyone who's ever played Super Ghols n' Ghosts knows it should be illegal, as the margin for error is that non-existent. Yes, it's hard but that's not why it's weird. This freak of a game will have you minding your own business when suddenly skeletons will appear in coffins in the sky and fall on you. Tusked centipedes the size of elephants fly through the air. The ground itself undulates like water as you walk, so even forward movement is a "thing." But still...there's something about it you just have to see.
8. Rocket Knight Adventures
Sure you've played knight games before but has your knight ever been....on a rocket? Rocket Knight Adventures has pretty much nothing normal about it. Sparkster is a part of a group of rocket-powered knights who protect the kingdom. This kingdom is in danger from a Pigstar (yes, you read that correctly) that's in a threatening orbit. This game periodically switches from a platformer to a side-scrolling shooter (in a way very similar to Gradius). It's a strange choice, but what else is new?
7. Earthworm Jim
Earthworm Jim was a big middle finger to 'the suits' in the nineties. This satirical game made fun of games that used shameless marketing. Ummmm, roasted! Maybe you're wondering, "When the hero is an earthworm, what kind of excitement can you possibly face? " Plenty. Jim can use his head as a whip and here are just a few of the names of the bosses: Psy-Crow, Queen Slug-for-a-Butt, and who could forget, Professor Monkey-For-A-Head. Come on in, it's plenty strange.
6. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
Oddworld didn't get enough love, with a lot of players never even hearing of it. But it's plenty weird and fun! The storyline follows an adorable alien named Abe. Abe's race, the Mudokons, have been kept captive and made to do labor by an evil planet. Poor Abe is forced to work in a meat packing facility, a job he did not want. But when he realizes the meat he's been packing is HIS OWN RACE, Abe decides to bounce. The story follows his exodus from bondage and all of the trials he faces along the way.
Battletoad's was actually made in 1991, even though most players know it from its revamp in 2020. The original Battletoads was a "beat-em-up" platformer and there was certainly a lot of fighting. In full, the toads have ten unique punches and kicks, all with spectacular names like the "Swingin' Size Thirteen" or the "Battletoad Butt." Battletoads was also one of the first franchises to allow players to interact with the environment to defeat enemies. And yes, the comedy in the game is as crude as you can imagine. Have fun!
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mixed Sonic with Rayman? Well, look no further than Ristar. This little weirdo has a pretty interesting origin story. In a nutshell, Ristar's father was a shooting star who sent Ristar to kill a space pirate named Kaiser Greedy. Ristar is fun, he has stretchy limbs and if he can gain enough speed, he'll become invincible. What more could you ask for? The game's ending varied between the Japanese language release and its English language counterpart. In the English version Ristar is re-connected with his father, while in the end of the Japanese version, Greedy and two of his underlings are stranded on a deserted planet when a picture of Ristar appears in space to mock them. Got em!
Glover was released in 1998, and yes, he is exactly what he looks like: a sentient glove. Glover was once the assistant to a great wizard, but when said wizard made a potion incorrectly, he turned himself to stone. Worse yet, when the wizard became stone, his seven precious crystals went flying everywhere. Glover's quest is to restore the Crystal Kingdom by retrieving the lost crystals and returning them. Stuff gets real whacky though when Glover accidentally turns the crystals into bouncy balls. Players must help Glover gather them all through dribbling, bouncing, and rolling the balls back to the tower in order to save the wizard and the kingdom.
Pepsiman was advertising gone insane. Basically, Pepsiman would run like a bat out of hell in what looked to be "important missions." But soon, players realized the only adventure this pyscho was going on was delivering Pepsi to civilians in need of "getting their thirst quenched. " TBH, it was really fun.
1. Space Station Silicon Valley
You control the microchip of a robot whose body was unfortunately damaged in a ship crash. This game allows you to beat half-robot/half-animal characters into unconsciousness. Better yet, you could then hack into their nervous system and control their strange little hybrid bodies. The graphics also made you feel like you were about to have a stroke. 10/10. Five stars.
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