From classic games to pachinko machines. The history of the company we’re going to talk about today is full of ups and downs, with timeless classics and astronomical failures.
Put on your eye patch, grab your cape and put on your boot, today is her day. You asked, voted and here’s the one from Worst to Best Konami Special. Here are our criteria, pay close attention:
- The grades shown are based on Metacritic grade aggregators. If the title was released for more than one platform initially, we’ll take the grades for each version and do an arithmetic average.
- We ranked the 5 best and 5 worst games in the company, after all, that’s the idea of the board. As we had draws, we will have more than 5 games among the best, but only 5 positions.
- If you have a different opinion, just leave your list there in the comments.
Let’s start with the best!
5) World Soccer: Winning Eleven 8 International (2005) – 89.6 (PS2, Xbox, PC)
World Soccer: Winning Eleven 8 International, also known as Pro Evolution Soccer 4, was released in 2005. The title is important to the franchise’s history for being the first to have licensed leagues. In addition, he was also the first to appear on Xbox and connect online to both Microsoft and Sony consoles.
Other new features are a Master League with 72 teams, plus elements added in the development and retirement of players in this way, more than 200 clubs and national teams, three licensed leagues, which are Serie A (Italy), Eredivisie (Netherlands) and Liga Española (Spain), referees on the field and improvements in editing mode.
The game was highly praised for its intuitive controls, fluid movement, loads of dribbling, referees, graphics and creative freedom of play. His grade is 89.6.
4) International Superstar Soccer ’98 (1998) – 91 (Nintendo 64)
Fourth, we start with International Superstar Soccer ’98, released in 1998. The title focuses on the FIFA World Cup that took place that year, bringing the 32 qualified teams and some extras. If people knew what happened, they would be disgusted! OK I stop.
The game is not licensed by FIFPro, which prevented the developer from using the real names of the players, but they have the same numbers, appearances, ages, heights, weights and abilities as the real ones. Now, what I mentioned was valid for the whole world, with the exception of the Japanese version, which was fully licensed.
The game received praise for its fun factor, its addictive gameplay, its creation modes, its weather condition options and the ability to play multiplayer with up to three players. Your grade is 91.
4) Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (2001) – 91 (Game Boy Advance)
And also in fourth place we have Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, released in 2003, which follows Nathan Graves, a man trained by Morris Baldwin to defeat monsters and the dark lord Dracula himself.
The game brought to handhelds the RPG elements that had previously appeared in Symphony of the Night: Hit points, magic points, items dropped by enemies and experience points. There is also the introduction of the Dual Set-up System, or DSS, which is based on magic cards found in the game that can be action or attribute cards. The game has 4 alternative game modes that are unlocked one by one ending each one of them, which are Magician, Fighter, Shooter and Thief mode. Each changes a different aspect of gameplay.
For many at the time, it was one of the best franchise games ever released. The game is long, challenging and not frustrating, its animation is smooth, the DSS is great and the replay value is amazing. The RPG elements were also praised. Its plot wasn’t a million wonders and it featured a lot of recycled elements, but it’s still one of the best games in the entire series. Your grade is 91.
4) Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (2003) – 91 (Game Boy Advance)
Still in fourth position, we have Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, released in 2003. In it, we are introduced to Soma Cruz, who is a young student who has just changed schools and possesses the Power of Domination, which allows him to absorb the souls of monsters and use their abilities. During his adventure, he discovers curious things about his origins that will put him and his friends in danger.
The gameplay maintains the foundations of the franchise bringing the RPG elements introduced in previous games but with a new feature: the Tactical Soul, which is a system that allows you to absorb enemy souls to gain special abilities. These souls are separated into 4 categories: Bullet, Guardian, Enchant and Ability, all have different colors and the player can only have one equipped at a time. A New Game Plus is present at the end of the game, which allows the player to restart the story with all the equipment, levels and souls. Additionally, Julius Mode and Boss Rush are also available.
For critics, not only did it get it right, it was also the best portable game in the series. Great visuals, great mechanics, great story, great news but the duration and difficulty were put in check. He also got 91 grade.
4) Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004) – 91 (PS2)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is easily one of the darlings of fans of the saga and was also fourth on that list. The game is a prequel to the series, set in 1964, and the story focuses on one of the main villains in the series, the famous Big Boss, or Naked Snake, as he is called in the story. There is controversy about this, but we will not discuss this issue today.
The game introduced gameplay systems such as camouflage, which affects how well enemies can see you depending on the map, hunting animals for food, and a timing system, which influences elements within the game. Have you ever thought that if you leave your food in your backpack for too long it might rot? Or that if you go too long without playing the game, an elderly character might die of old age? Well, Hideo Kojima and his team considered it when they developed the title.
The title was a complete commercial and critical success, being praised for its cinematic vibe, its new protagonist, the great story, the upbeat narrative and the beautiful cutscenes, but it received complaints related to inconsistencies in the camouflage system, the often bizarre script and the frame rate of 30 FPS. Your grade is 91.
3) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997) – 93 (PS1)
And we entered third place with more draws. Starting with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Released in 1997, the game begins with Richter Belmont defeating Dracula. Four years later, the castle reappears and Richter is missing. Alucard then appears to destroy the place and ends up encountering several mysterious and bizarre things.
The game contains several endings that will depend on the player’s actions to be unlocked. Even, in a certain part, the player can break a spell of a certain boss and, with that, he discovers that above the castle there is another identical one with everything backwards, full of secrets and different opponents. Several times, the player will need to return to places they have already passed to unlock previously blocked paths. Alucard has 8 different powers that can be used, each using a specific amount of magic points. An interesting thing is that if the player puts Richter Belmont as username, he can use it instead of Alucard, which brings a good difference in gameplay. I couldn’t stop talking about the soundtrack that has different music styles like Classical, Techno, Gothic rock, new-age, jazz and even thrash metal. It was composed by Michiru Yamane, who worked on several other games in the franchise until 2008.
The game is considered a classic, featuring amazing graphics, giant freedom, gameplay of another level, smooth animations and more. Some found his graphics too stoned, reminiscent of SNES. Your grade is 93.
3) World Soccer Winning Eleven 6 International (2003) – 93 (PS2)
Released in 2003, World Soccer Winning Eleven 6 International was the second title to receive the name Pro Evolution Soccer, this outside of Japan and the United States, which continued with the classic name of the franchise.
The game features six modes, including the famous Master League, 40 teams and 56 unlicensed teams (with the exception of Japan) and the classic song We Will Rock You by British band Queen.
The game was highly praised at the time, being classified as the best football game ever released, mainly because of its realism and fun factor with friends. Your grade is 93.
3) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015) – 93 (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC)
Also in third place, we have the controversial Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, released in 2015, which won the hearts of a large part of the audience while displeasing another part as large as it. It takes place in 1984 and follows the Punished Snake mercenary, better known as Venom, who is seeking revenge on people who nearly killed him in the events portrayed in Ground Zeroes, a stand-alone prologue released the year before.
Phantom Pain brings a huge open world to explore as you want and several details that bring more realism to the title. Did you know that if Big Boss’ horse D-Horse gets his way on the road, enemies might slip in the animal’s droppings? It’s a detail to say the least… interesting, but it shows the attention the game’s developers took in developing it. In addition, there are several side missions to be accomplished, a real-time day and night cycle along with a dynamic weather system and a great deal of storytelling freedom.
The title had a complicated development, which ended at the end of the marriage between Konami and Hideo Kojima. Even the renowned director and creator of the franchise left the company months before its launch, without finalizing the title.
He’s been highly praised for his complex and intriguing story, incredible world, captivating characters, open world full of possibilities, great stealth gameplay, and perfectly fitting into the overall storyline of the franchise, but he has some pacing issues around the end, which can leave a flea behind the ear. Your grade is 93.
2) Metal Gear Solid (1998) – 94 (PS1)
The first Metal Gear Solid, released in 1998, both innovated the franchise created by Hideo Kojima and influenced the entire video game world. The story follows Solid Snake, a soldier who must infiltrate a nuclear weapons base to neutralize the terrorist threat of FOXHOUND, a renegade special forces unit.
The transition from MSX2 to the powerful Playstation 1 allowed developers to innovate in graphics and bring Metal Gear to the 3D world. With that difference, Kojima had plenty of room to show how creative he was.
The title is purely stealth, so the player needs to be very careful with opponents, because if identified, the stick will eat. Much of the gameplay has a top-down perspective, but other camera angles are used in some situations. The title brought some of the most memorable moments in the franchise’s history, such as the boss fight against Psycho Mantis, which reads some of the games saved on your memory card. And, as if that wasn’t enough, it was necessary to change the control input to defeat him. In fact, the answer to one of the game’s puzzles was on the back of the game box, which is really cool.
The game was highly praised at the time, being rated by some as the best game ever made. Analysts praised its gameplay, its graphics and its complex story, but criticized the frame rate at times and some facilities related to the detection of the player by enemies. Your grade is 94.
2) ISS Pro Evolution (2000) – 94 (PS1)
ISS Pro Evolution, released in 2000, also came in second. The title featured a new graphics engine with new movements, animations and graphical improvements.
This was the company’s first game to feature the Master League mode, which is an exclusive championship with 16 teams, these being the biggest in Europe at that time. Even though they can choose the club they will defend, the players will be replaced by generics to create a greater competitive climate.
The title was highly praised for its new visuals, animations and Master League mode, which encouraged the player to continue playing, even alone. Your grade is 94.
2) Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008) – 94 (PS3)
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, released in 2008, marks the end of the journey of Solid Snake, now known as Old Snake, who is aging faster thanks to cell degeneration but that won’t stop him from reaching his new goal: eliminating Liquid Ocelot, the fusion of Liquid Snake with Revolver Ocelot.
New gameplay systems were introduced in this game, such as one to acquire new weapons for the character and a new way to customize those weapons to make them even more lethal. Many points of the series’ main plot are closed here, and Kojima leverages his cinematic knowledge to present a monumental ending that features a 21-minute cutscene, and a staggering 71-minute cutscene sequence.
The game has an amazing mix of storytelling and gameplay, its visuals are wonderful, its shooting mechanics are great, as well as stealth, and it has a lot of gadgets and weapons to suit any style of player. Still, some may find it boring for having a dense story, but that didn’t affect its grade, which also came to 94.
1) Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) – 96 (PS2)
We arrived at our very first place with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, released in 2001. The long-awaited sequel to the story of our beloved Solid Snake was played by Raiden, who is tasked with confronting a criminal group that calls itself “The Children of Liberty”, or “Sons of Liberty”.
Like its predecessor, it focuses on stealth, bringing in smarter enemies who work in groups, using a small radio to communicate. If the player shoots the radio, they stop working. Also, the cover mechanic has been improved and a laser target mechanic has been added.
The main criticism the game received was that players were promised the beloved Solid Snake, all the game’s advertising involved the legendary soldier, and even the cover of the game featured incredible Solid Snake art. But the story, full of plot twists and deep conversations about philosophy and politics, justifies why the marketing team has outwitted fans of the series. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty shows very well how good and bad are sides of the same coin, something that will become recurrent in future games in the series. Such reflections brought to the game a deserved score of 96 and the first place on the list.
Get ready because we’re going to the worst games in the company!
5) Apocalyptica (2004) – 34 (PC)
If you thought we had a lot of draws, get ready. We start with the apocalyptic, released in 2004. It is a third-person adventure game that allows the player to control religious and technological super soldiers whose task is to destroy Neo-Satan’s army.
He has 4 classes and several weapons, but nothing he does is right. The level design is simple, the artificial intelligence is dumb, the graphics are buggy, the gameplay is fickle and it crashes a lot. The title got 34 of note.
5) McFarlane’s Evil Prophecy (2004) – 34 (PS2)
McFarlane’s Evil Prophecy, released in 2004, takes the player to the 19th century, when the dead returned to the surface to bring chaos to the world and rule it for good. The title is based on Todd McFarlane’s line of action figures, including Frankenstein and Dracula’s monster.
What turned out to be monstrous was its end result. He’s nothing solid, he has a negative fun factor, his story is weak, his characters are all the same and I could go on. He also got a 34th note.
5) Bomberman: Act Zero (2006) – 34 (Xbox 360)
And not even a large franchise was left out. Bomberman: Act Zero, released in 2006, decided to follow a more realistic line, with darker visuals, setting itself in a dystopian future. The gameplay remains the same, but with some new features, such as a mode called First-Person Battle, which puts the player very close to the action.
But changes are not always well accepted, especially when poorly executed. The game has very long loading screens, bad collision detection, forgettable soundtrack, repetitive and tedious gameplay, texture replay, poorly balanced artificial intelligence and lack of a save option. Your grade is 34.
4) Target: Terror (2008) – 33 (Wii)
Target: Horror, first released in 2004 for arcades, was ranked eighth on our list. The arcade shooter-style game revolves around terrorist groups confronting authorities in various parts of the United States.
The title was ported in 2008 to the Nintendo Wii and that was certainly a big mistake. Analysts focused on criticizing the extremely frustrating difficulty and murky graphics, which earned him a 33rd grade.
3) Frogger: The Great Quest (2001) – 32 (PS2, PC)
Who came in third place was Frogger: The Great Quest, released in 2001. The game is part of the franchise frogger, from the 80s, and is a 3D platform in which the player must find the princess who can transform him into a prince.
But the game did very poorly, mainly due to the imprecise controls and poorly worked camera, besides not allowing the graphic quality change on the computer. He got 32 grade.
2) Crime Life: Gang Wars (2005) – 30 (Xbox, PC)
Second, we have Crime Life: Gang Wars, released in 2005. The title focuses on gang confrontations and brings several weapons, 25 missions in the story and freedom to explore the city in free roam mode.
The problem is that the game wanted to take advantage of the success of the GTA series and managed to miss everything. The gameplay is lousy, the combat is broken, the graphics are horrendous, the control options are poor, and it’s not fun at all. Your grade is 30.
1) Beat’n Groovy (2008) – 29 (Xbox 360)
And first and foremost, we have the musical game Beat’n Groovy, released in 2008 for Xbox Live Arcade. It is like other titles of the genre, in that you have to press the button at the right time to hit the notes and scoring.
But everything he tried failed miserably. Basically he was poorly thought out and poorly executed, which earned him the Coconut Medal on our 29th-note list.