There is nothing sadder for a gamer than seeing the heroes they adore, the developers and publishers who in the past were so praised for the quality of their games, end up being a nightmare and an “enemy” at the end of the battle. Slowly but surely, money seems to start eating their idealistic soul to focus more on quantity rather than quality. Complexity is seen as a problem, giant game franchises are no longer being brought to life because they are seen as a disadvantage, great talent is being kicked out, and gamer input is never heard from again. These publishers seem like they are looking for the quickest way out to kill themselves, at least from the gaming industry. And there is no better example to talk about this than to see what was going on with Konami.
Revered because of the giant game franchise loved by gamers in the past, Konami is now becoming more and more like an antagonist who is trying to be “subdued” by gamers. Burning heated conflicts with Hideo Kojima for no apparent reason, killing several giant franchises that seem less likely to come back to life, to canceling a project that so many gamers anticipated – Silent Hills. Many rumors are circulating, believing that the shift in leadership at the top level of Konami will make this company more focused on selling their gambling machines which are selling well in Japan. While the loss game division will slowly but surely be shut down. A black flag seemed to be rising, slowly but surely from the land of the rising sun. Opening up old wounds and traumas we never want to go through again, as gamers.
In fact, in the past, Konami was a haven for cool games. Dozens of franchises that, if rebuilt with sincere intentions, will certainly be successful in quality and sales, enough to carry their name as one of the respected publishers. A hope that may not come true and ends sweetly, but it is still worth maintaining to ensure we can still enjoy the game industry that we have loved. Konami has a big gait there, and as it should be, it stays there, with an identity that has made us fall in love. The same Konami when they gave birth to the 13 cool games on this list:
Dance Dance Revolution
Which gamer has never heard of the name Dance Dance Revolution before? Although arcade machines with the same name are starting to become a rarity in the arcade centers of big cities, it is their work that makes this genre so popular among young people. No longer just enjoying music, taking on difficult rhythm game challenges with a controller, you are now allowed to dance with him. Not only in the Arcade version, an additional mattress for the console version is also sold separately. We ourselves are one of the gamers who have loved the DDR series in the past. Dancing, wasting sweat to get a perfect score on BOOM BOOM DOLLAR, and constantly blaming the placement of the mattress for seemingly shifting too easily is an unforgettable experience. If only Konami could stick with him.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
In the days of the arcade and the early days of the NES, no arcade game could match how epic the adventures of four friends of ninja turtles were in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Separated into different levels with challenges, you have the opportunity to use Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michaelangelo with their own unique weapons and movements. Going on an adventure together with a cooperative split screen mode, dealing with enemy variants and level traps that are not easy to beat, gamers who have tasted TMNT in the past won’t easily forget it.
The name Gradius, which has launched in various series, may not be as popular as games that carry the same genre. However, its existence that stands under the banner of Konami makes an equally significant contribution to making this genre so excited in the past. “Airplane game” with a difficulty level that cannot be underestimated, Gradius is probably starting to be forgotten by now. But those who have had the chance to experience the music, the difficulty level, and the burst of adrenaline that comes from the dense bullets that they have to avoid on the screen understand why Gradius is one of the formulas we want to see, back in the gaming industry, someday.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
The Metal Gear approach is so different compared to what we know so far, Konami’s open-mindedness to let Kojima and Platinum Games create MGR: Revengeance is still something we deserve to appreciate as gamers. The result? The action game is so riveting. The complexity of Platinum’s hack and slash gameplay system has succeeded in defining Raiden’s identity and actions in an extraordinary experience. Destroying enemies in deadly slashes, even cutting them into small pieces without mercy, until the battle against Metal Gear Ray alone, Revengeance leaves a moment that will continue to be discussed for the next few years. Expanding the Metal Gear franchise itself, but at the same time strengthening its identity, that’s what’s so extraordinary about this series.
Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest
Lord of Shadow? I don’t know how many Castlevania fans refuse to accept the fact that Konami, for reasons that are not clear, is trying to push the God of War style into the action RPG franchise, which since its inception, has been more enjoyed in this two-dimensional format. Castlevania isn’t perfect, but the early concepts it built lay the foundation for so many similar games in the future. An action RPG game with a challenging difficulty level, with a variety of equipment and weapons that can be used to ensure your safety. Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest is a very memorable project because of the complex mechanics, from secret blocks to the day-and-night concept that turns out to be implemented for older generation consoles like this.
It’s a bit sad if we talk about P.T., one of the scariest horror games that ever stopped at Playstation 4. P.T. it’s like a monument of hope, that in the future we will finally be able to taste a series of Silent Hills which will be fronted by Hideo Kojima and veteran director – Del Toro, with Norman Reedus as the main star. Kojima even at that time confirmed his ambition to make the scariest game ever, even if he had to swallow the bitter pill if the game didn’t sell out on the market because no one dared to taste it. And so far, P.T. does its teaser job very well, almost perfectly. Incredible Fox Engine implementation, a horror atmosphere that is second to none, to the right target psychological terror. Unfortunately, all hope is lost, only memories, after Konami made sure to cancel the Silent Hills project and withdraw P.T. from circulation.
When it comes to strategy games in the golden age of the first Playstation, Final Fantasy Tactics and Vanguard Bandits with the mecha theme are probably the two most frequently mentioned games. In fact, there is one other strategy game project from Konami that cannot be ignored – Vandal Hearts. Coming in two series, Vandal Hearts is indeed nothing special as a strategy game. It comes with standard visuals and stories, with common mechanisms that aren’t difficult to master. What makes it special? It is a strategy RPG game released for 32 bit consoles at that time.
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A. If you know what this code is, then your life as a gamer is wonderful. You are one of those who witnessed the history of how an action game not only became the foundation for many similar projects born afterwards, but also an irreplaceable legendary icon. That’s right, we’re talking Contra. This two-dimensional action game with iconic music, high difficulty levels, and hard to forget sound effects has indeed become a phenomenon in itself. Almost all gamers who have owned NES seem to have tried this game at least once. There’s a great sense of accomplishment when you end up clearing this game without using the “secret” code above. So, how iconic is Contra? Enough to make the Cheat Code now known as Konami Code and become an easter egg for so many games out there, just as a joke or a separate award.
Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner
One might always associate Hideo Kojima’s name with Metal Gear Solid and the complex story that covers it. But Kojima actually has another “modern” franchise that’s no less fantastic – Zone of Enders. Battling in a three-dimensional world scheme using mecha-mecha capable of moving flexibly with extremely destructive weapons, Zone of the Enders still contains Kojima’s strong taste in the side of the story and cinematic camera shooting. When you first climb into Jehuty and feel how much power he has, the Zone of the Enders begins to grow into a childhood dream that turns into reality. It’s the “robot game” you’ve been dreaming of, the heroic story you’ve always been hoping for, appears in your life.
Winning Eleven 4
Kojima is likely not going to be in Konami anymore, but this Japanese publisher still has a franchise that looks like it will continue to struggle to exist. That’s right, we’re talking about their flagship soccer game – Pro Evolution Soccer / Winning Eleven. With a series that continues to be released every year, there is no series more special than Winning Eleven 4 in the first Playstation era. Why? Because he was a dark horse when FIFA at that time, arguably, had no competition. Everyone talks about FIFA, everyone plays FIFA, everyone comments about how easy it is to execute the various beautiful soccer moves in the game. But suddenly Winning Eleven 4 appeared and overhauled everything. A soccer game that feels so simulated, where formation plays an important role, where the position of the players is crucial, where the tactics are essential, where the mood of the players is also influential, where there is no sound more melodious than hearing the word “SHUUUTTOOOOOO ..” continues to echo from the screen.
Silent Hill 2
It was not an easy matter to compete with Resident Evil, which at that time could be called the “king” of the Survival Horror game. But Silent Hill brings a more tense atmosphere through a foggy city setting with all the mysteries and monsters that you never predicted before. Then the Playstation 2 was born, offering an amazing performance leap. There is no more correct decision than all the policies that have been taken by Konami other than throwing Silent Hills 2 into Sony’s “newest” console. The result? Not only has he managed to capture the terrifying atmosphere of his first series, he even multiplies it with the power of storytelling and enemy designs ready to give goosebumps. But the most memorable thing from Silent Hill 2? Its visual quality has been fantastic in the past. You are like enjoying a real world horror. It might sound a little hyperbole, but past gamers certainly understand what we’re talking about.
Metal Gear Solid
Hiding, looking for the right moment to subdue the enemy, and moving to the next area is just an “introduction”. Slowly but surely, you will begin to understand why many people fell in love with the first Metal Gear Solid series on the first Playstation. The graphics may still look boxy and unattractive, but Kojima’s ability to concoct stories, characters, and cinematic viewpoints in cut-scenes that always contain complex content is what brings many gamers to their knees. In the midst of your struggle to save your country, you meet a ninja robot capable of repelling bullets with his sword, Psycho Mantis who can read “minds”, to a sensual sniper who lives with a group of wolves. All the creative ideas, jokes, and gameplay injections that exist make Metal Gear Solid appear as an irreplaceable masterpiece.
And there is no deeper sadness for us and perhaps for many other gamers around the world, apart from discovering the fact that the best games in Konami’s history that we chose are also franchises that are less likely to be brought to life in the future. Suikoden 2 is the best JRPG ever created, there’s no doubt about that. It’s not a cliché, it’s not a story about how you were the chosen hero who was given the power to save the world. Suikoden 2 is about how 108 people and many other characters try to achieve common goals for a better world, amidst political conflicts, interests, wars, and death. Unique interactions in each character, a battle system like no other, the opportunity to build your own castle with a huge effect on gameplay, to emotional storylines, Suikoden 2 is an excellent JRPG. No JRPG can make you feel more heroic than this one game.
So, with the current condition of Konami, which reportedly will focus on continuing to sell their gambling machines in the Japanese market, is there a possibility to see the best games according to our version above to find momentum again, live and continue to shine? Despite the high expectations we have and perhaps yours too, the facts say otherwise. With the conflict against Kojima and Silent Hills shutting down, Konami is now in such a bad position. They seem to no longer know gamers who in fact should be their main consumer base. The bond seemed just cut off, without any effort from Konami to reconnect it. If they intend to continue Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hills without Kojima, then we anticipate the presence of a new series that no longer focuses on quality, but only sells big names.
We really hope that whatever is happening at Konami at this time, this company is encouraged enough to “sell” their franchise use rights to other developers or publishers who are more concerned. Selling Suikoden to Nintendo? Or let Kojima develop a new Zone of Enders through Kickstarter?
How about you? Of all the Konami games that you have tasted before, which game do you think deserves to be categorized as the best? Feel free to comment and expand the list!