Top 10 First Video Games of Great Franchises That Didn't Age Well

Credits: Dan Paradis Jason Bowman
Script written by Noah Levy These games are certainly not easy on the eyes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re looking at the Top 10 First Video Games Of Great Franchises That Didn’t Age Well. To have your ideas turned into a WatchMojo or MojoPlays video, head over to http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and get to it!
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Top 10 First Video Games Of Great Franchises That Didn’t Age Well

As time marches on, you might find some beloved games don’t hold up as well as you remembered. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re looking at the Top 10 First Video Games Of Great Franchises That Didn’t Age Well.

For this list, we’re looking at the introductory games in franchises that are undeniably important, but either pales in comparison to what the series later became, or have become dated to a certain point. We’re not saying all these games are bad, but the greatness that they later produced just rendered them inferior.

#10: “Crash Bandicoot” (1996)



Sony’s quest to find a mascot in the early days of the PS1 gave us this marsupial led platformer from Naughty Dog. Hitting around the same time as Super Mario 64, Crash gave PS1 gamers a fun 3D adventure to call their own, becoming a huge success and spawning a franchise. But following the release of its sequels, Cortex Strikes Back and Warped, the original Crash suddenly became a relic of the console’s awkward early life. Despite its advanced graphics at the time, the gameplay was considered to be nothing special compared to other games in the genre. Add to that the fact that the game was released before the advent of the DualShock, which meant that this 3D platformer had to be controlled without analog sticks, and you can see why it wouldn't hold up to modern standards. Thankfully, you can enjoy this classic with updated controls and graphics with the “N’Sane Trilogy.”

#9: “Dragon Age: Origins” (2009)



Despite only having three main installments, Bioware’s fantasy RPG series has gone through significant ups and downs in its short lifespan. The first game, 2009’s Origins, was widely praised for its story, gameplay, and customizability. But when its sequel came out in 2011, it was criticized for removing what made the original so unique and loved, like the size of the world and the complexity of combat. Upon Inquisition’s release in 2014, the series was once again at the top of the RPG world. Because Inquisition was a departure from many of the mechanics of the first two games though, Origins is now seen as the more traditional, formulaic game of the trilogy. It still has the BioWare pedigree but has been significantly outmatched by its successor.

#8: “Tomb Raider” (1996)



The importance of Lara Croft and her games can’t be overstated. Not only did Tomb Raider introduce gamers to an unprecedentedly popular and strong female protagonist, but it also provided an expansive and cinematic gaming experience. But despite its mighty reputation, we doubt there are many people who go back to play the first game on a regular basis. The once revolutionary 3D graphics are now an eyesore, and similar to Crash above, the inability to play using analog sticks is a major detractor. Thankfully, the series evolved with time, and for anyone that wants to experience the first game with modern polish, there’s 2007’s Tomb Raider: Anniversary.

#7: “Star Fox” (1993)



Despite being a primarily 2D system, the Super Nintendo managed to jumpstart the 3D era of consoles through a number of innovations, namely: the Super FX Chip. The first game to include this tech was this space shooter from Nintendo, which featured Fox McCloud and his squadron fighting polygonal enemy ships in their own polygonal Arwings. Despite demonstrating unprecedented graphical fidelity at the time, Star Fox doesn’t really hold up to modern graphics standards because… well, the entire world is made up of blocks. The franchise really began to shine when it entered the world of full 3D with the release of the beloved Star Fox 64, ensuring everyone can experience the frantic space saga for themselves.

#6: “Duke Nukem” (1991)



Today he may be known best for having the most painful delay in video game history, but Duke was once one of the premiere badasses of the gaming world, as seen in Duke Nukem 3D, the game that truly put him on the map. But before Duke made the jump to 3D, he got his surprisingly humble start in a side-scroller for DOS. Drawing more from games like Commander Keen than Doom or Wolfenstein, it contains little of the personality or innovation that would come to define the series, even though it is a serviceable game. Still, it is amusing watching a pixelated, pint-sized Duke take on aliens with a permanent scowl etched on his face.

#5: “Metroid” (1987)



In an era where games were mostly linear experiences, the first Metroid flipped that on its head featuring a huge, explorable world with secrets and easter eggs, and probably the biggest surprise in gaming history, a female protagonist. Metroid’s influence was massive, but it was the groundbreaking Super Metroid that took the gaming world by storm. Unfortunately, that meant the original suffered in comparison. Going back now, Samus’s first journey on Zebes is incredibly confusing without having either a map or save points, instead relying on a password system. Not to mention it’s hard to feel like you’re in danger when you’re fighting far less intimidating versions of Kraid and Ridley. Luckily, Nintendo gave the original a well-deserved update in 2004 with Metroid Zero Mission for the GBA.

#4: “Resident Evil” (1996)



We owe an endless debt of gratitude to Capcom’s original fright-fest for popularizing the survival horror genre. However, the scare factor seemed to extend to aspects beyond the gameplay. While the standard for the genre at the time, RE’s “tank controls” managed to scare off players who weren’t used to them. Not to mention the games cringe-inducing dialogue, soap-opera style music and cheesy FMV cutscenes weren’t really appropriate for the tone the game was trying to strike. Despite these minor issues, Resident Evil’s influence was so huge that Capcom remade the game from the ground up in 2002, upping the horror and removing the unintentional comedy, in what many consider one of the best video game remakes of all time. If you want to play the Resident Evil games from the beginning, just jump straight to the remake.

#3: “The Elder Scrolls: Arena” (1994)



With masterpieces like Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim in the series, it is kinda hard to remember that The Elder Scrolls came from very humble origins. The first installment, Arena, set the stage for the franchise’s future, introducing the land of Tamriel and its trademark first-person RPG gameplay. But influential as it may be, is it actually any good? Well, let’s just say the later Elder Scrolls games basically rendered Arena obsolete. After all, who wants to go back to punishingly difficult 2.5D gameplay when you can fight dragons in breathtaking HD?

#2: “Grand Theft Auto” (1997)



It’s said that big things come from small beginnings, and there were probably few beginnings as small and unassuming as the original GTA. Released in 1997 for PCs and the PS1, Grand Theft Auto let players commit crimes and vehicular violence from a 2D top-down perspective, in what would now be referred to as an “open-world”. The game was praised for its sense of freedom, but never really made a huge splash. Fast forward to 2001 and the original GTA was made completely irrelevant with the release of GTA III, which took the open world concepts of the original, made it 3D, and significantly pumped up the violence and controversial content, as well as introducing narrative into the mix. It caused an outcry and a gaming revolution, despite its humble beginnings.

#1: “Street Fighter” (1987)



Be honest: Growing up, if there wasn’t a “II” in the title of Street Fighter II, would you have any idea an original Street Fighter existed? Street Fighter II and its seemingly endless updates may have revolutionized the fighting genre, but the series got its start in 1987 when the original was released for arcades. It pioneered techniques that future fighting games couldn’t survive without, such as the button layout and special moves, but lacked in other important areas: Namely, with its sluggish controls and lack of character diversity. Ironically, Capcom never felt the need to revisit and update this game, despite giving its sequels an almost comical level of remakes and polish.
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