Video games have come a long way since their inception, evolving from simple pixelated graphics to highly realistic and immersive virtual worlds.

Despite the advancement in technology, however, not all video games receive the recognition and attention they deserve. There are many hidden gems, great forgotten titles that were released in the past and unfortunately never got their chance to shine.

These forgotten video games may have suffered from poor marketing or timing, but their lack of popularity doesn’t take away from their quality. They offer unique and captivating gameplay experiences and are just as enjoyable as their more well-known counterparts.

Outcast

Release date:1999-08-19
Genre:Action-adventure
Developer:Appeal

Outcast is the greatest open-world action-adventure game almost no one knows about. What a shame!

The game puts you in the shoes of an ex-Navy Seal named Cutter Slade. You know, he’s the wise-cracking 90s action hero with a pretty stupid, but of course very memorable name. He gets a chance to save not one, but two worlds at once. An experiment gone wrong poses a threat to the existence of Earth and Cutter ends up on the planet of Adelpha where he is the prophesied Ulukai, a savior of the people known as the talan.

The game lets you explore these lands pretty much freely. You complete quests, collect new weapons and gadgets, fight enemy soldiers and hostile creatures, gather resources necessary to craft more ammo, and work towards undermining the rule of the evil Fae Rhan. It’s a fantastic adventure. Couple that with an incredible orchestral soundtrack by Lennie Moore and you’re in for a wild, wild ride.

Outcast is available in the 1.1 version with various tweaks to make the game more playable on modern setups. There is also a remake titled Outcast: Second Contact. A sequel titled Outcast: A New Beginning is in development.

Key features
  • Pretty much the first modern open-world action-adventure title in the history of gaming
  • Adelpha is a living, breathing world filled with wonders and dangers
  • Six upgradeable weapons and plenty of useful gadgets
  • Majestic orchestral score by Lennie Moore

Anachronox

Release date:2001-06-27
Genre:RPG
Developer:Ion Storm

Video game developers in the late 90s and early 2000s had a knack for creating unusual stuff. Anachronox is a part of that trend.

Gameplay-wise, Anachronox draws a lot of inspiration from Japanese RPGs, as it’s primarily turn-based. The whole thing takes place in a 3D environment and its theme is science fiction, inspired by cyberpunk and film noir. It’s all infused with a healthy dose of unorthodox humor.

The game is set on the titular planet of Anachronox where you play as Sylvester “Sly Boots” Bucelli, a former private investigator. He’s your typical overconfident, wise-cracking and brash hero. Over the course of the game you’ll be joined by a diverse cast of characters with unique personalities and abilities. In general, it’s one of the most overlooked oldies that nevertheless packs unique gameplay and is an amazing adventure that you might really enjoy.

Key features
  • Turn-based RPG gameplay inspired by Japanese role-playing games, such as Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger
  • The plot takes place on the titular planet of Anachronox
  • You get to recruit a wide variety of interesting characters
  • The story here is quite remarkable

Sacrifice

Release date:2000-11-05
Genre:RTS
Developer:Shiny Entertainment

Sacrifice is set in a fantasy world and follows the journey of a wizard who must save their world from destruction.

Sacrifice features various creatures that can be summoned, each with its strengths and weaknesses, and players must build their armies wisely to achieve their goals. Units can be upgraded and customized.

A mix of action, strategy, and customization makes Sacrifice a truly unique and challenging game that deserves more recognition.

Key features
  • Third-person action-adventure
  • Summoning creatures and casting spells
  • Strategy-based and real-time gameplay
  • Fantasy setting

Original War

Release date:2001-06-15
Genre:Indie
Developer:Altar Games

Original War is a real-time tactics and strategy game set in a science fiction world where players control a team of soldiers and scientists on a mission to travel back to the prehistoric times and transfer all deposits of a precious resource known as Syberite to Alaska.

Players control a team of soldiers and scientists and must navigate through a science fiction world, collecting resources and securing territory. The game combines real-time action and base-building, challenging players to manage resources, build structures, and make strategic decisions to succeed.

The game’s real-time nature adds an extra layer of challenge, as players must make quick decisions and react to changing conditions on the battlefield.

Key features
  • Real-time tactics and strategy
  • Science fiction setting
  • Resource management
  • Players control a team of soldiers and scientists

Giants: Citizen Kabuto

Release date:2000-12-06
Genre:Adventure
Developer:The Omni Group

Giants: Citizen Kabuto is set in a fantastical world where players control one of three unique characters, each with distinct abilities and goals.

Giants: Citizen Kabuto is a third-person action-strategy game where players must navigate a fantastical world filled with mythical creatures, aliens, and otherworldly landscapes.

The game features action and strategy elements, challenging players to make quick decisions and react to changing conditions on the battlefield.

Key features
  • Control unique characters
  • Action-packed gameplay
  • Humorous tone
  • You can play as a giant monster, too

Scrapland

Release date:2004-11-04
Genre:Action
Developer:MercurySteam

In Scrapland you play as D-Tritus, a scavenger tasked with solving a series of mysteries. The game features a large and detailed open world, filled with a wide range of characters and vehicles.

Scrapland is a third-person action-adventure game offering an immersive gameplay experience. Players must use their skills and wits to overcome obstacles and enemies and can choose from many weapons and gadgets.

Innovative character transformation mechanic allows players to take the form of various non-playable characters. Despite its commercial shortcomings, Scrapland remains a highly regarded title among the fans of the genre and is certainly an underrated gem.

Key features
  • Futuristic open world
  • Character transformation mechanic
  • Various weapons and gadgets
  • Attention to detail

Hype: The Time Quest

Release date:1999-11-20
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Ubisoft Montreal

Hype: The Time Quest tells a story about Hype, a young hero on a quest to save his kingdom by traveling through time. The game features an epic storyline, challenging puzzles, and memorable characters. Hype: The Time Quest was a standout game of the 90s, garnering critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase.

The gameplay in Hype: The Time Quest focuses on puzzle-solving, exploration, and interaction with characters in the game world. Players must use Hype’s abilities and the items he collects to overcome obstacles and progress further.

Players explore the game’s environments, search for clues and items, and talk to characters to gather information and advance the story.

Key features
  • Time-traveling adventure
  • Puzzle-solving
  • Memorable characters
  • The Time Quest features an epic storyline filled with twists and turns that keep players engaged throughout the game

Two Worlds & Two Worlds 2

Release date:2011-02-03
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Reality Pump Studios

Two Worlds and Two Worlds 2 follow the story of a hero in a large open world filled with quests, enemies, and loot.

Both games offer single-player and multiplayer modes, with Two Worlds 2 introducing new features, such as improved combat and magic systems. Two Worlds and Two Worlds 2 are regarded as standout games in the action RPG genre of the 2000s.

Two Worlds and Two Worlds 2, despite being forgotten games, offer engaging and satisfying gameplay experiences for fans of the action RPG genre. Combat in the games is fast-paced and satisfying. Players can engage in melee and ranged combat using various weapons and magic spells.

Two Worlds 2 builds upon the gameplay of its predecessor with improved mechanics, deeper crafting and magic systems, and a more immersive game world.

Key features
  • Single-player and multiplayer modes
  • Open-world exploration
  • Map editor
  • Fast-paced combat

Daikatana

Release date:2000-05-23
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:ION Storm

Despite its troubled development and mixed reception, Daikatana remains an interesting footnote in the history of first-person shooters and is a title worth returning to.

Daikatana includes a single-player campaign and multiplayer modes, including deathmatch, capture the flag, and a cooperative mode. The game’s online component offers fast-paced and competitive gameplay, challenging players to outwit and outshoot their opponents.

Key features
  • Time-travel mechanics
  • Fast-paced and competitive gameplay
  • A mix of FPS and RPG elements
  • Various multiplayer modes

The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble

Release date:1995
Genre:Puzzle
Developer:Coktel Vision

The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble is a point-and-click adventure game following the story of a character named Woodruff as he sets out on a journey to save his world from a mysterious evil force.

The game challenges players to solve puzzles and interact with a quirky cast of characters. It features hand-drawn graphics and a whimsical soundtrack that set the stage for Woodruff’s journey.

Players must navigate through various environments, collect items, and use them to solve puzzles and progress through the story. The game’s puzzle design is challenging but fair, making it a rewarding experience for fans of the point-and-click genre.

Key features
  • Hand-drawn graphics
  • Classic point-and-click adventure gameplay
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Nostalgic soundtrack

MDK & MDK 2

Release date:1997-01-01
Genre:Shooter
Developer:Shiny Entertainment

MDK & MDK 2 are action games set in a quirky and comedic world and follow the adventures of Kurt Hectic and his companions. They earned critical acclaim for their unique setting and sense of humor.

MDK & MDK 2 are fast-paced third-person shooter games that offer a unique blend of platforming and puzzle-solving. Players navigate through diverse environments and complete missions, using various weapons and tools to defeat their enemies.

The games feature challenging and rewarding gameplay, with a focus on exploration, creative problem-solving, and combat.

Key features
  • Fast-paced third-person shooter action
  • Weird, but in a very good way
  • Diverse weaponry and tools
  • The games offer a unique blend of platforming and puzzle-solving

Temple of the Elemental Evil

Release date:2003-09-16
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Troika Games

The Temple of Elemental Evil is a turn-based role-playing game set in the fantasy world of Greyhawk. You lead a group of adventurers who must explore the eponymous temple where a dangerous cult practices dark magic.

In The Temple of Elemental Evil players create and control a group of adventurers, exploring the world and engaging in combat, using various skills, spells, and weapons to defeat enemies.

The game features a deep and engaging storyline, filled with challenging quests and tactical battles that will keep players entertained for hours on end.

Key features
  • Turn-based combat
  • Character creation
  • Tactical battle system
  • Rich and engaging storyline

Turok & Turok 2

Release date:1998-12-10
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Iguana Entertainment

Turok and Turok 2 are first-person shooters released in the late 1990s. They take players on a thrilling journey through dangerous environments filled with challenges and fearsome enemies.

Gameplay in Turok and Turok 2 features fast-paced first-person shooter action, where players navigate through diverse environments while fighting against enemies using weapons and abilities.

The games also feature stealth elements, where players decide to avoid combat or use stealth to take out enemies quietly.

Key features
  • Challenging missions
  • Stealth elements
  • Turok 2 introduces a multiplayer mode
  • Immersive environments

Freedom Fighters

Release date:2003-09-26
Genre:Shooter
Developer:IO Interactive

Freedom Fighters is a third-person action-adventure game where players take on the role of a resistance fighter battling against an invading army in a fictional version of 1980s New York City.

Freedom Fighters features squad-based combat. Players control a character named Chris Stone and lead a team of up to 12 AI-controlled soldiers to battle against the enemy army.

The game includes various missions that require players to complete objectives such as freeing captive resistance fighters, capturing strategic points, and destroying enemy facilities.

Key features
  • Squad-based combat
  • Objective-based missions
  • Tactical gameplay
  • Upgradeable weapons

Summoner

Release date:2001-03-19
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Volition

Summoner is a fantasy action role-playing game that takes place in a world where players assume the role of a powerful warrior with the ability to summon various creatures to aid him.

Summoner provides a mixture of exploration, combat, and magic. Players take on the role of Joseph, the titular summoner, and must journey across the land of Medeva to defeat the evil that threatens the world.

Players can upgrade their character’s skills and abilities, and summon various creatures to aid them in battle.

Key features
  • Summoning mechanics
  • Real-time combat
  • Exploration
  • Story-driven questline

Project Nomads

Release date:2002-06-27
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Radon Labs

Project Nomads is a real-time strategy game set in a sci-fi world where players control floating islands and must manage resources and defend against enemies to ensure the survival of their civilization.

Project Nomads tasks players with managing floating islands and defending against enemies. Players must gather resources, build structures, and manage their civilization’s economy to ensure their survival.

The game features both single-player and multiplayer modes, as well as a dynamic weather system that can affect gameplay and resource availability.

Key features
  • Floating islands
  • Resource management
  • You need to fend off enemy attacks
  • Single-player and multiplayer modes

BloodRayne

Release date:2002-10-15
Genre:Action
Developer:Terminal Reality

BloodRayne is a hack-and-slash action game set in a supernatural world that follows the adventures of dhampir Rayne as she battles against vampires, demons, and other enemies.

It’s a third-person game where you use Rayne’s enhanced strength, agility, and weapons to defeat many enemies – not only supernatural creatures, but also Nazis.

The game also features elements of platforming, puzzle-solving, and exploration.

Key features
  • Hack-and-slash combat
  • Supernatural abilities
  • Platforming, puzzle-solving, and exploration
  • Various weapons and enemies

There are many obscure video games that deserve more attention and are often forgotten over time. Despite their obscurity, these games were truly innovative and offered unique gameplay experiences that made them stand out from the crowd.

These hidden gems pushed the limits of what was possible in computer gaming and offered rich, immersive experiences that were ahead of their time. They no longer look or sound as good as modern releases, but their unique gameplay and storytelling make them just as enjoyable to play today as they were back then.