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First post, by dr_st

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*apologies if such a topic already exists*

I guess sequels to popular games usually fall into one of a few categories:

* Same formula, adjust for better technology (e.g., Duke Nukem II which kept the Duke Nukem gameplay only with better graphics, sound, music, or the second Keen trilogy compared to the first)
* More of the same, basically an "expansion pack" in the form of the sequel (e.g., Spear of Destiny, DOOM II, Descent II Earthworm Jim 2, etc.)
* Remakes in a somewhat different genre like moving to 3D (Duke Nukem 3D, Rayman 2)

And then I was thinking about sequels that totally outshine the first game, usually by expanding on the existing formula but with so much better technology/gameplay, that they make you think: "This is how the game was supposed to be", or "This just has everything that is needed".

Off the top of my head I can come up with a few examples:

  • Warcraft II - which in addition to better graphics, enriched the gameplay so much with air and sea combat, more spell variety, better command interface, contributing to a much more complete experience.
  • Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion, aka Dave 2 - which went from a basic, generic and primitive platformer into a much more realistic, challenging, gory and atmospheric environment.
  • The Incredible Machine 2 - although a lot of the parts were already added in "The Even More Incredible Machine", this one takes it to another level, with even more parts, scenery elements, head-to-head play, a guided tour (complete with speech) and a puzzle creation mode that actually allows you to program solutions and play them like any built-in puzzle. The graphics and sounds are also greatly improved. When playing this I really got the feeling that it had everything a game like TIM could need. No wonder that all the later versions (TIM3, "Contraptions" and "Even More Contraptions" did not introduce any more elements, just modified graphics and different puzzles.
  • Prince of Persia 2 - to me probably the best example of the above. The first game feels amazing, until you play the second and you realize just how monotonous and repetitive the first one is. PoP1 had but two level types (which were basically the same except graphics), and a few focused special events like the shadow, the mouse, and Jaffar, PoP2 had three main level types, each of which looked different and felt different as far as enemies and traps go, special events almost in every level, much deeper combat mechanics, a first and last levels which were nothing like the others, and puzzles which were quite tricky to solve. The beautifully drawn and narrated cut-scenes, and the great ambient music which fit in perfectly with the environment were just the icing on the cake.

So what do you think? Do you agree with the above examples? And what were some such examples to you? (oldies preferred, of course, since we are on Vogons, but not limited to). 😉

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Reply 2 of 49, by VileR

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leileilol wrote:

Star Control 2 for sure. Combat is almost identical though, but this time.... there's a plot to follow!!! The MOD soundtrack is very nice icing to it all.

Quit stealing my posts. 😠

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Reply 4 of 49, by dr_st

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F2bnp wrote:

Heroes of Might & Magic 2 and then 3.

This is a great example. I was almost sure it was going to be brought up, and almost mentioned it myself.

I think HoMM3 is the real jump. HoMM2 is amazing, adding quite a few elements (two new castle types, creature upgrades, secondary skills, more interesting places on the map, larger battlefield), while staying true to the HoMM1 formula. It is in many ways like Warcraft II to Warcraft I.

But HoMM3 is the one that added even more stuff, and also worked on balancing the castles and heroes. The first two games had a clear hierarchy of castle strength (which was balanced by cost), and a pretty clear distinction of hero specialties. In the third game they really tried to mix & match the creatures so that no castle is clearly strongest. Heck, even the 7th level creature hierarchies are not clear. There are two hero types per castle, many more skills, much more complex and advanced spell/artifact systems, new combat elements. Just wow.

But here's the catch: shocking as it is - I never liked HoMM3 nearly as much as I did the first two games. I really think they went a bit overboard with it. The game is too big. There are too many options. Every creature can be upgraded, and a lot of the upgrades are quite stupid/useless (sometimes the creatures themselves are useless too). The depth is overwhelming - you can play for years and not cover all the aspects. I realize that for some people it's a dream come true - a game that's almost endless. But to me it just felt alienating. I think it's a psychological issue. 😉

So, objectively, it's a great example of the concept of this thread. Subjectively, I just couldn't bring it up because I didn't like the game enough. 🙁

And don't even mention WoG. It's a masterpiece of programming/scripting/whatever, and the folks who did that are geniuses. It broke the game and rebuilt it from the ground so thoroughly, and provided such level of customization, that I think every game in the universe can somehow be implemented as a combination of WoG scripts/settings. 🤣

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Reply 5 of 49, by vetz

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Wolfenstein 3D (talking about the ID game that was a reboot/sequel to the 1981 Apple II game by Muse software)

3D Accelerated Games List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D)
3D Acceleration Comparison Episodes

Reply 6 of 49, by Gemini000

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I don't think Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion qualifies because I'd heard of the first game since childhood and didn't know the sequels were a thing until I was MUCH older... Think I discovered them in 2006, 2007.

MechWarrior II and Street Fighter II completely exceeded their original counterparts. LineWars II is another example, though that game wasn't nearly as popular.

Descent 3 is a far more interesting game than Descent II, but most people remember the first two Descent games and not 3, so that one wouldn't qualify. Same with Populous II, SimCity 2000, Dungeon Keeper 2... they're all much stronger than the original games they were based off of, but people tend to remember the sequels just as well as the originals so it's hard to say the sequels "completely outshined" them. :P

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Reply 9 of 49, by VileR

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vetz wrote:

Wolfenstein 3D (talking about the ID game that was a reboot/sequel to the 1981 Apple II game by Muse software)

OP precludes 'moving to 3D' remakes and with good reason... they're not even remotely the same game formula, and it's a 'sequel' in name only.
The first Ultima would be an obvious one here, heh.

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Reply 10 of 49, by peterferrie

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I think that singling out PoP is a bit unfair, given that it started on the Apple II, so the PC port had to be reasonably faithful to it.
So perhaps one criterion should be that both the original and its sequel(s) were produced for the same platform?

I'd like to add MDK, Questron, and of course, Zork (the first one was just a treasure hunt, the second and particularly the third had an actual plot). ViceRancour beat me to suggest Ultima.

Reply 11 of 49, by dr_st

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peterferrie wrote:

I think that singling out PoP is a bit unfair, given that it started on the Apple II, so the PC port had to be reasonably faithful to it.
So perhaps one criterion should be that both the original and its sequel(s) were produced for the same platform?

That's an interesting point, considering that ports in some cases make the game very different.

We don't actually have to go very far for an example. 😀 PoP itself had a SNES version which was very different from any other version - much longer (20 levels), somewhat improved graphics/music, and with more variety in the scenery, enemies and traps (even including some modern things like conveyor belts, ridiculous as they look in the PoP world. But still PoP2 was better. Except, ironically, the SNES version of it, which was total and utter crap (due to implementation, not by design).

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Reply 12 of 49, by King_Corduroy

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Close Combat was totally blown out of the water by the sequel "Close Combat : A bridge too far" it is essentially the same game but with more maps, better interface, amazing graphics and sound, and multiplayer.

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Reply 13 of 49, by tayyare

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Return to Castle Wolfenstein - compared to Wolfenstein 3D
Dune 2000 - compared to Dune II
Leisure Suite Larry 7 - Compared to all other Larry's
TIE Fighter - compared to X-Wing (well, maybe not entirely...)
Half Life 2 - compared to Half Life
Postal 2 - Compared to Postal
SimCity 2000 - compared to SimCity
Command and Conquer Red Alert 2 - compared to all other previous C&C titles

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Adaptec AHA29160
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Reply 14 of 49, by King_Corduroy

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Not sure that I agree with the last one, I mean RA2 was great but Tiberian Sun was epic as hell.

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Reply 16 of 49, by swaaye

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Tiberian Sun is a love hate thing alright. That game was so hyped up and delayed, but then it turned out to be really just more of the same. It was/is also pretty buggy and was very demanding to run well at the time. Some people really liked it though.

Reply 17 of 49, by DonutKing

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Transport Tycoon Deluxe - like the first one with way more features, new landscapes plus the original 'temperate' one, and of course one way train signals, which are a major omission from the original version.

Civilization 2 - expanded on the original, added a lot of new features and fixed many of its flaws. You could say that each game in the series was better than the previous, but I think that 3 really diverged from the original formula, 4 and 5 even more so.

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Reply 18 of 49, by tincup

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King_Corduroy wrote:

Close Combat was totally blown out of the water by the sequel "Close Combat : A bridge too far" it is essentially the same game but with more maps, better interface, amazing graphics and sound, and multiplayer.

+1

Not that CC1 is bad - it isn't. But A Bridge Too Far makes CC1 feel 10 years it's junior.. great series.