Saturday, 5 May 2012

Bamboozled by game sequel and franchise headings

A few more have been added, so to find them, just search for an *.  Thanks in advance.

Video games, computer games or just plain old games have mesmerized the past, current and no doubt the future generation.

Gamers of all ages continue to be drawn into the world of solo and literally get lost when teleporting themselves to the online universe.

Once in, it might be more difficult to leave than Royston Vasey.

Gaming continues to excite and delight millions of joystick junkies.

To most, it's an obsessive soap opera and not regularly engaging in some kind of moving image combat or interaction of sorts with the gaming community is considered blasphemy.

While most are getting some shut eye, having queued in their droves to pick up their reserved copy of a big, big game from midnight onwards, a marathon session into the early hours will surely follow.

Meanwhile, the beer and/or Red Bulls are sufficiently chilling...

If World of Warcraft could be taken intravenously, Blizzard would happily send a free syringe with every subscription.

I hope the upcoming Diablo III (currently in beta form) will take MMORPG's to levels higher than a Skyrim fanatic.  It really is nice.

Of course, speaking of such a fanatic will have since - obtained many perks.

Unlike 8 bits, I never really hinted at and/or teased a sequel to my film headings rant but after chewing over much beta material, I’ve now decided to vent my anger towards games.

I live in hope that this sequel is worthy of the original.

Like T2 or Aliens. 

There are countless tasty morsels to dissect and some will blow your mind.

Of course, some may be known and others not, but regardless, by the time I’ve finished with them - those known or unknown will wish they had never been named nor pixelated.

I will focus on games that are considered to be part of the main franchise only, so no spin-offs, expansion packs, downloadable content, mobile games or any other type of irrelevance will be included (at my discretion of course).

I almost feel guilty as most of these games rock louder than a music concert.

When I’m picking on many franchises – there’s obviously many other games that exist but I don’t feel it necessary to mention them (unless I really have to).

In addition, I also won’t jabber on about games that were multi-ported to every damn computer, console or other electronic gadget as that would be too exhausting.

Years and formats may be mentioned too but I reserve the right in choosing whether or not to omit countries of origin.

It seems that films and games ran in tangent, diagnosed with the same mind-fuck disease and seemed reluctant to seek a cure.

I give unreserved thanks for the spreading of this epidemic as w/o them, this post couldn't be possible.

It’s as controversial as a 70s splatter flick but Final Fantasy won’t be featured as in my opinion, confusion only rages because of annoying names.

Very briefly, when the SNES remakes were released in North America, FF II was FF IV and FF III was really VI.

Switching formats, the PAL version of Final Fantasy Anthology on PS1 contained ports of FF IV and V and also, Origins (regardless of region) had ports of I and II.

Where was III?  Well that's another story and at some point, I'll clear everything up.

As with films, I’m unconcerned with the quality of franchise as it’s the title I’ll be launching a well planned assault on.

Not wanting anybody to suck eggs but common well known jargon will be explained.

Hey, some might not know what I’m waffling on about.

COD however, might be an exception.

I hope your taste buds are suitably tantalized because if I served films as the main course, let’s proceed to the dessert.
I will ease you in at first and then I’ll hit you unexpectedly with such awesome firepower – Robert Patrick would struggle to regenerate.
Be prepared to be caught up in the carnage as you're about to dine with calamitous confusion.

Quis est iste qui venet?

Well that doesn’t matter as you’re more than welcome but be warned, it ain’t gonna be pleasant.

If your cutlery and necessary condiments are ready – tuck in and enjoy.

Let's begin with classic Taito lightgun monster - Operation Wolf.

It burst onto arcades in 1987 and although its premise wasn’t odd, it always had a strange title – for this operation to be successful, the purpose was to target and destroy a wolf?

A year later, the next operation was to capture a Thunderbolt - a lightning discharge usually accompanied with a thunderclap.

Where were they going with this?

So a few years would pass and it seemed that Taito had ceased all operations as they were deemed frankly too dangerous.

But no, brass balls were shown and in 1994 there would be Operation, hmmmm?

So the first game was an animal, woof woof or whatever, the second was a force of nature and the third?

Megabyte?  No! Quartz? Too good!

Nah, they’d give it to us straight and surprise us all.

Here is wisdom:

Let gamers that hath understanding count the number of the operation, for it is a number of a game; and its number is 3.

Well in 1994, it shed all intrigue and was simply shat out as Operation Wolf 3.

Bollocks and bullshit aplenty.

Star Ocean is an RPG series that will (like most others) be overshadowed by the grandaddy of all RPG’s, a certain fantasy that was always final.

It all started on the SNES and yes, it was just Star Ocean.

Next, Star Ocean: The Second Story on PS1 in 1998, well it’s not Star Ocean 2 and/or II but that’s fine as it clearly tells us that it’s a sequel as it’s the second story.

But oh dear, all numbering or a clue at sequencing would then depart!

Star Ocean: Blue Sphere was the third game and only released on the Game Boy Colour in 2001.

It did follow the series as it was a sequel to Second Story but why not add a 3 or The Third Story after Star Ocean?

Star Ocean 3: Blue Sphere or Star Ocean: The Third Story?

In 2004, Star Ocean would move onto next gen or really past gen now and be Till the End of Time on PS2.

Till doesn’t even make any sense as the shortened word ‘until’ is written as ‘til.
So that’s the fourth game and nobody knows what the fuck is going on.
Inevitably, a fifth would follow or just another game in the series in The Last Hope.
2009 is our year but we’d somehow be in the year, well years before Star Ocean and of course it’d be a prequel.
Why do we always have to look backwards and not forwards when we get to a certain point in a franchise?
In 2008 (yes I’m a prequel too) the PSP would have Star Ocean: First Departure and was a remake of Star Ocean.
I need not mention numbers here but for chronology, it did ‘pretty’ well.
Before moving on, it seemed to focus on years of SD, and not AD or BC.
Great, as all games were in Standard Definition but they missed an important detail in The Last Hope as this ‘time’ should have been in HD.
Doom, yes Blackadder may have been ‘doomed’ many times but I’m gassing about the classic, ultra violent and gory first person shooter.
Doom, Doom II (good so far) and then….
Final Doom – ok, that’s not too bad as it’s the final game in the series but we all know what happened with Friday the 13th as the fourth film threatened the same only with The Final Chapter but not this time.
Rosy, hunky dory and absolutely spiffing!
Duh, duh duh!  That’s not the end…..
Like an indestructible horror villain, Doom would be resurrected.
Final Doom on PS1 was basically an upgraded version of Doom II.
So that’s not even a third game and just an update so next is Doom III?
Errr, well no!
Not counting FD, we’d miss 62 games out and jump straight to Doom 64.
Whoah, wow and OMFG – what the hell happened here?
Well even I can’t blag my way out of this one and say the next game was Doom 14: Divided by 2, Multiplied by 8 and To the Power of 7.
In truth, and like many others, it was just the tacky marketing gimmick that Nintendo used for N64 games by shoving 64 after the title.
Just like the SNES did with Super, but that preceded games…
So in 2004, we’d finally get Doom III – hooray!
Not particularly bad but FD really cocked things up.
Forgetting about Doom 64, why not Doom II: Final Update?
Doom, Doom II, Doom II: Final Update and Doom III – nice.
Doom IV is been made….
But, with no doubt in my mind will be a reboot and just be called Doom.
Metal Slug was and still is a classic run and gun game featuring incredible graphics, kick-ass gameplay and subtle humour.
Metal Slug was very consistent until after Metal Slug 2 when they shoved Metal Slug X but although highly unlikely, this could be the tenth game.
X was released as apart from other subtle differences to 2, it vastly reduced the slowdown present in 2.
After X, all good.
Tomb Raider – its famous protagonist, Lara Croft would start off as a triangular bosomed, ugly freak of mixed polygons and would see many salivate over her pyramid like breasts and unnatural tennis playing orgasmic squeaks and grunts.
Gamers would cause her to grab, moon jump, shimmy, shoot and outfox a series of insane bugs and obscure puzzle-solving.
It was a great idea but its gameplay was something of an appalling beast.
Tomb Raider (1996), Tomb Raider II (1997), Tomb Raider III (1998) and that’s where all sensibleness would end.
The next was Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999).
I really HATE colons.  I’m glad I’ve got one or my digestive system would struggle but when it comes to video games and films….
How do they do this?  What are they doing?  And why the fuck do they keep on doing this?
Tomb Raider Chronciles (2000).  Oi - my favourite friend has taken leave of its senses and gone missing.
But don’t worry darlings, it would quickly return in Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, and stick like an annoying leech in Legend, Anniversary and Underworld; each in 2003, 2006 and 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Anniversary was quite predictably a remake of the original but not very well timed – it was released 11 years after the original and you don’t really hear of 11 year anniversary editions do you?
As with all ideas of this nature, it endeavoured to cash in on the original’s legacy and failed rather miserably.
Ha Ha Ha!
Was it too much effort to shove numbers after each game after the third?
Heck, I’d forgive them if with the second game they went down the Star Ocean route and called it the second story and/or the second chronicle etc.
The upcoming game is a reboot to the series and like later games in the franchise, the title is about as exciting as A Day in the Life of a photocopier.
Tomb Raider at least looks to be rather more attractive than Jodie Marsh.
R-Type, the evil Bydo empire, bits, force and ring lazers et al and you can’t deny its importance and really, it should be religion to shum ‘up junkies.
However, Bydo’s evil also had a sub-agenda – to cause much confusion to many and most and trigger several mini explosions in the depths of fans’ minds.
The late 80s was among the golden age of classic arcades and made all home computer owners go a tinge of The Grinch and be envious over such power.
1987 was one of those years and R-Type and the R-9 would launch its first attack against the Bydo.
The sequel in 1989 was appropriately named R-Type II and next I can’t begin to know whose turn it was with the white powder when this was conceived.
It qualifies as being part of the R-Type universe so I must mention it.
Armed Police Unit Gallop in 1991 – forgive me for exclaiming a stuttering OMFG.
Irem - you just simply can’t do this to us.
“Hey Fred, did you hear about the next R-Type game?” asks an excited gamer.
“No Harry”, replies a fellow gamer, “Didn’t even hear know or hear about it to be honest with yer’ but fuck, I’m really excited now, so when’s R-Type III out?”
“R-Type III?  Well I can see your thinking as the previous game was called R-Type II but nooooooo.”
“It’s not R-Type III, scowls an irritated Fred, “Shock me then, what’s it called – R-Type 2.5?”
“Not even close, Armed Police Unit Gallop.”
Shock soon turns to despair for Fred as it all becomes too much for him and collapses.  Harry watches on in horror as he sees Fred shaking, twitching and paler than a bottle of milk.
Paramedics are swiftly alerted to the scene.
The madness tries to redeem itself by returning to familiar roots (also in 1991) with Super R-Type which nicks bits and most bobs from R-Type II.
Next year in the Bydo shitpile is R-Type Leo, featuring forceless R-9s and 2P simultaneous action.
Sounds all interesting and great as it suggests it was a prequel but why have they decided to move onto astrology to make Mystic Meg and Russell Grant wet their panties.
R-Type Scorpio, Taurus, Gemini etc and take yer’ pick for the next game….
But they’d shatter my heart into a thousand pieces because in 1993, they’d release R-Type III: The Third Lightning.
But have no fear, the fuck up machine is here and in 1999, R-Type Delta was upon us.
So Irem would go Greek with Delta being the fourth letter of its alphabet.
So doing a R-9 count, even discounting and/or miscounting on purpose, you can only narrow this down to be the fifth game in the series.
You do this by ignoring, if you like, certain non-games (APUG and Super) or it’s the seventh game.
So let me get this right, the only way you can make it accurate to its Delta title is ignoring Leo too so are they saying that we have to pretend that three other games (clearly R-Type or part of) didn’t exist for this title to be true to their chosen Greek letter?
Makes…. Total……And….. Utter…… Sense……
Oops, just created another R-Type related game.
Anyway and whatever, this was a PS1 exclusive and featured nukes (you call them super weapons) and for the first time, other ships were selectable with their own weapons.
I always found me wanting another ship’s weapon as no matter what craft I chose, I always found other weapons more useful in certain situations….
So considering this, the next game was obviously R-Type Epsilon.
Realistically, not really possible but at least in 2003, they’d end it with R-Type Final.
Personally, after R-Type III, the next should have been a reboot and start it off with Alpha, Beta, Gamma, then Delta etc and then maybe Final.
Still, that’d be the most epic franchise ever and even embarrass Final Fantasy and Street Fighter as in total; that would be a whopping and mind-blowing 24 games.
That’s not even counting the games that did exist, or should I say, the games Irem didn’t want you to include when considering Delta….
Hadoken, Oo Oi, Yoga Fire, Tiger and Spin Bird Kick.
Those are some of the now iconic utterances from probably the world’s most famous fighter.
The long since forgotten and largely ignored Street Fighter was released in 1987.
In 1991, Street Fighter II blew our minds and before getting to that, Final Fight was originally going to be Street Fighter’s sequel and be called Street Fighter ’89.  All that changed of course when it was decided it would be a scrolling fighter.
So back to SF, the updates would come thick and faster than a Bruce Lee punch and nobody, I repeat nobody (including Capcom) can call these ‘sequels’.
Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting (or Turbo), Super Street Fighter II and finally to bore us all with the latter, shoving Turbo in again.
Next we’d get Street Fighter III, oh no you don’t, oh yes you do.  Enough already, this isn’t fucking panto yer’ know.
Nope, we’d have Street Fighter Alpha (1995), yes R-Type – this is where you should have started.
Then Alpha 2 and 3, note the numerals have gone but even I can’t fault this numbering.
Years later (1997), we’d finally get Street Fighter III and then two more ‘updates’ in 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike.
Okay that runs in sequence but what’s wrong with 3rd Impact or flipping the coin and 2nd Strike and follow on from there.
Look Capcom, it’s not hard to keep consistency here.
So after countless updates and/or countless laziness, (apart from Alpha) they still couldn’t get it right.
There were many more but then I’d be moving into the unnecessary minefield of spin-offs…
Super Sidekicks was an interesting and fun footie game to say the least as no bullshit stats, annoying formations or repetitive commentary – just pure arcade action and that’s what the Neo Geo and/or the arcades was all about.
Amusingly, because no games had the FIFA licence (this was owned by EA Sports), the names were totally made up too although they did inevitably bear a very obvious likeness.
Super Sidekicks, Super Sidekicks 2: The World Championship, Super Sidekicks 3: The Next Glory and then…
The Ultimate 11: SNK Football Championship.
I know what they meant but what a ridiculous departure and why ruin such a good thing?
Super Sidekicks 4: SNK Football Championship – there you go.
As a side note, there was Neo Geo Cup ’98: The Road to the Victory.
SNK were great at games, but not so good when it came to English as the subtitle doesn’t make any fucking sense.
Fatal Fury 3 nearly uses the same sub.
Neo Geo Cup ’98: The Road to Victory reads so much better.
This sounded like a new game but really, it was just a very lazy remake of SS3 only based on the 1998 World Cup staged by France.
Savage Reign is an obscure little number and not one of SNK’s best.
It features here because its sequel was called Kizuna Encounter Super Tag Battle.
How would you know it was a sequel to any game – simple, you wouldn’t!
Battlefield is an award-winning super charged war vehicle and is only threatened in combat by Call of Duty.
Okay grunts, I’m giving it to you straight:
Battlefield 1942,
Battlefield Vietnam,
Battlefield 2,
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat,
Battlefield 2142,
Battlefield: Bad Company,
Battlefield 1943,
Battlefield: Bad Company 2; and
Battlefield 3
Obviously ignoring expansion packs (there were many), where do you start?
It just didn’t know if it was coming, going, back to the past or forward to the future.
Whatever, after releasing Battlefield 2 – it took them five games before Battlefield 3 and these weren’t even updates, but original games.
Call of Duty or COD now and things ARE going to get worse than its nearest competitor, thanks to Modern Warfare.
Reloading magazine completed:
COD 2,
COD 3,
COD 4: MW,
COD: World at War,
COD: MW 2,
COD: Black Ops; and
So you have two series’ running in conjunction with each other to fuck things up.
They had to, I mean they really had to, because they couldn’t resist.
Jill would also be a sandwich and the Master of Unlocking.  What am I going on about?
Resident Evil reinvented the survival horror genre and those who only played Resident Evil wouldn’t even realize that Alone in the Dark was way before this baby and even before that, the Firestart, twisted Firestart…
It’s called Bio Hazard in Japan and was forced a name rethink in North America and Europe due to a band already having that name and so, they cheesily settled on Resident Evil.
The rest as they say is history.
Fans and probably the world will know it had many bizarre experiments, some even more dangerous than the ultimate bio weapon itself - the Tyrant, such as Online and lightgun games, so those evil excrements won’t be detailed.
The mansion doors would creakily open in 1996 with Resident Evil, then Resident Evil: Director’s Cut, released as a tease before fantastic sequel - Resi 2 was released.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was next and then a famous first, Resident Evil Code: Veronica as it was first game in the series to be released on a non-Sony platform, i.e. the Dreamcast in 2000.
Then a Gamecube remake of the first and we’d next go backwards (sigh) with Resident Evil Zero.
In 2004, we’d have 4 Resident Evil, no we wouldn’t say that, but that’s how it was portrayed on the game sleeve.
WTF and why, to me it remains one of the most stupidest designs ever in gaming.
They’re telling me it was physically impossible to make the number appear after Resident Evil?
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence was basically a Tomb Raider: Anniversary job but was released on the DS so at least, there would be some new gameplay elements.
Resident Evil 5 (they did learn after all) and later Gold Edition would appear in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Resi 6 comes out later this year and I can’t wait.
That expression doesn’t even make any sense as even though I can’t wait for something to happen or come out, it’s tough as I have no choice but to, as time can’t be speeded up.
It’s like somebody telling somebody something amazing and the reply would be “Did he?” or “Did she?”
Well of course he or she did or why would I be telling you this as that’d be a total and utter fucking waste of time.
I do it too (laughs).
So after getting lost in pointless expressions, the main problem was Veronica as things would be fine if it was just called Resident Evil 4 Code: Veronica, then we might have 5 Resident Evil (4) and Resident Evil 6 (5) and even though I can’t, (but I’ll have to) I’d actually be buying Resident Evil 7 or unless they fuck it up again (in box art at least), 7 Resident Evil.
Virus cured.
The next series is fucked up, you always know when a game’s fucked up as it’s so narcissistic; its publisher has to form part of the title.
I’m talking about Tecmo’s Deception trap ‘em’ up series.
Whoah – holy moly, I’ll be eventually stunned.
The first apparently thought it was more fit than Vega as it was Tecmo’s Deception: Invitation to Darkness.
Okay, okay, okay.  So it’s a new trend as its sequel would be Tecmo’s Deception 2: [insert subtitle here] but not quite, as it was Kagero: Deception II.
We’d go backwards again by using Deception III: Dark Delusion, so although I have some reservations, all is pretty good as each gave a very obvious hint that these were Deception games.
They’d be a fourth and here’s when I’m stunned longer than a Street Fighter char.
It was Trapt.
So there you go, no Deception or Kagero, just a totally insane choice.
I’m going to leap to its defense by saying the games are primarily about laying ‘traps’ but I’m afraid that’s not good enough, as noobs just wouldn’t know this.
Even avid players would struggle to believe that the fourth would be called what it was.
You can use all the obvious refs you want to other games as fans may take a blind guess.
Imagine if Samurai Shodown’s sequel was called Whirlwind – you’d think WTF, even though that’s a staple special move in the series.
Confused?  I’m more stumped than an asthmatic cricketer.
Rez had a problem with TV addict Gex the gecko, who sees him as a bugbear in his dream to destroy television.
So quite a change to Sega’s psychedelic, electronic, trance shoot ‘em up.
He also served as a mascot for Crystal Dynamics as he’d feature in their logo for quite a few years and was one of the ‘best’ games for the ill-fated 3DO.
However, since the 3DO was that ‘great’, he’d only star in the original.
So back to business, the first was simply named after the protagonist and my colon would appear with Gex 2: Enter the Gecko.
Oh heck, I’m hallucinating again as no it wasn’t – just Gex: Enter the Gecko.
I guess that I was just wishing the sensible again.
To complete the trilogy, the final game was Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko.
It seems 3, really is a magic number.
The Legacy of Kain series was quite a beast as it started off as a classic Zelda game (in perspective at least) and then became three dimensional.
The original is a quite rightly regarded as a cult classic.
Strangely, it couldn’t decide who the daddy was – Kain or Raziel.
To understand, let's sink our teeth into the games:
Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996),
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (1999),
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 (2001),
Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain (2002); and
Legacy of Kain: Defiance (2004)
So there’s basically two games in the series (like COD and MW) getting in each other’s way as Blood Omen features Kain and Soul Reaver features Raziel (apart from Defiance which both were playable).
I think when conceived, to avoid any possible confusion, it would have been best to keep these protagonist’s totally separate.
Guilty Gear is not one of my guilty pleasures but it does at least does succeed in guilty chars.
Bizarre would also be sourced to other means.
Guilty Gear (1998) and then;
Guilty Gear X (2000) - so another nine games would be banished to the bizarre confines of unknown video game history.
But in truth, it was the first sequel and then not to get boring XX (2002) would be next.
In 2004, Isuka would become guilty.  No idea where that piece fits in to this puzzle but it was obviously time to shove a random subtitle in.
Finally, it would throw everything what had gone before with this - Guilty Gear 2: Overture.
What happened here?  After so many games, why did they feel the need to randomly make a sequel (at least in name) to the first game, 11 years later!
This didn’t even belong as a GG game as it dared to cause ripples by using elements of RTS (real-time strategy).
Fucked enough, but the first game was just a one on one fighter.

After all the conversions and unofficial games, the classic space trading game Elite would get proper sequels.
Next there was Frontier: Elite II (1993) - great, as it clearly told you that is was a sequel to Elite.

But the third game (and officially the last game) would clearly screw the concept up more than frustrated joiner.
Frontier: First Encounters (1995).

Yeah, not the slightest hint it was related to Elite.
At face value, this is a standalone game right?  Of course it is as its title bears no actual resemblance to even the sequel whatsoever and I'm basing this on the principle of face value.

So unless you knew the history of Elite, okay but if you'd never heard of Elite or its sequel and considering all sides of the coin/argument; how the fuck would you know that this was the third game in an all-time classic franchise which was first out in the early 80s on a seemingly now forgotten microcomputer?
So here's a good idea, if you insist this bullshit - just call it Frontier: First Encounters: Elite III.
Easy right?  Apparently not.
I'm sorry, there's no way in the world, a noob would walk into a games shop in 1995, buy it and know what it's based on, no fucking way.  They'd assume it to be a standalone game.
The control at the helm must be sometimes, shall we say 'loosened' and when it does, all hell breaks loose...
Wild Arms is another long-running RPG series and was quite cool.
It all started on the PS1 in 1998, and then transferred itself to other Sony platforms (mainly PS2).
2 (2000) and 3 (2003) would be where the sanity ends.
Alter Code: F in 2006.  Sure, Wild Arms preceded it but non, c’est difficile.
But I know something, although cryptic in title - it was another revamp of the series’ first game.
Following that desperate attempt, we’d get back on track with 4 (2006) and 5 (2008).
In 2008, we’d go portable to the PSP with Wild Arms XF.
XF is supposed to be pronounced as ‘cross fire’.  Yeah I get it.
Still, there’s enough to perplex.
Here’s a possible little known fact – SNK helped Sacnoth make an RPG on the PS1.

That sort of thing happened with a Neo Geo CD exclusive in Sam Shodown RPG but on a Sony platform?  Wow.
Koudelka, an ambitious survival horror and tactical RPG effort, it was released in 2000.
I’d expect a sequel but the name was not quite what I expected.
But a year later, Shadow Hearts would be it.
You’d have to have knowledge or some kind of inside info, as nobody could have predicted that. 
It’s a standalone and brand new franchise, but now you know it’s not.
Colons would be followed by Covenant and From the New World.
Guybrush Threepwood would go bananas with pirates on an island and is still to me, one of the best point and click adventures ever.
The Secret of Monkey Island and the The Secret of Monkey Island 2 but that would not be its sequel, and for once, I’m glad as that just sounds stupid as the first game wasn’t just called ‘Monkey Island’.
Although, like anything that has a fanbase, it would be shortened and just be called ‘Monkey Island’. Chuckles and chortles!
So having amazed everybody by agreeing with a game’s title, the sequel was Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge.  Perfect!
Guybrush would later deal with a ‘Curse, ‘Escape’ and tell ‘Tales’ of the namesake island.
I’m inclined to agree with subtitles here but the only thing that pisses me off was using a number.
If I was head of naming Monkey Island games, this would be it:
Monkey Island,
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (what it was),
Monkey Island 3: The Curse,
Monkey Island 4: Escape; and
Monkey Island 5: Tales.
Agree, disagree?  Whatever, if it wasn’t for THAT number, it wouldn’t be here.
Snake (Liquid and Solid) are chars from the essential stealth ‘em up Metal Gear Solid.
Although, it wouldn’t be known as what everybody knows it as today until it made its stealthy entrance on the PS1.
So if you don’t mind, I’m taking you away, but I’ll promise you’ll be back in time.  As I know, you gotta be back in time.
I hope somebody gets that, but as some may not, it’s paraphrased from a Huey Lewis song, featured in a very famous film.  Great Scott!
That should be enough hints.
So in 1987, Metal Gear would be released in Japan on a computer called the MSX2.  It would even have its own sequel in 1990 - Snake’s Revenge: Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake also on the MSX2.
Doesn’t really roll off the tongue does it?
It would finally be known as Metal Gear Solid in 1998.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty in 2001, before the third, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes on Gamecube would do what others have done before (I’m not repeating it again) and also in 2004, the proper sequel would be Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
A massively enhanced version of Snake Eater was released in 2006 with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.
So two versions of the same game, well the third was good but you watched it more than played it.
Currently, the final game is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and came into being in 2008.
So the current gen was perfect and I really have no complaints.
This is only confusing for those who don’t know its history so this is more education.
Forgive me for saying this, but I reckon many still don’t know that Metal Gear Solid wasn’t the first game.
Biff, smash, bang, crash and wallop.
The essential next gen boxing sim Fight Night, ‘hit’ our screens in 2004.
Rest assured this is gonna be no Thriller in Manila or Rumble in the Jungle.
Seconds out – Fight Night Round 2, 3 and 4 would follow in 2005, 2006 and 2009 respectively.
And then Fight Night Round 5 would surely appear?
No, never and no way in that order.
Fight Night Champion was released in 2011.
I mean it’s a very sensible idea having rounds for a boxing franchise, regardless if each sequel was a ‘proper’ game or just falling into ‘update’ territory.
Fight Night Round 5 or Fight Night Round 5: Champion?
Whatever, I’ve thrown the towel in.
Hitman next and we’d start with Hitman: Codename 47 in 2000.
Okay, that’s a good start and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002) was next but I know, they’d continue the trend by using a number – 3 is a good idea, but like Tomb Raider (after III) they’d decided against this….
Hitman: Contracts (2004) and finally Blood Money in 2006.

The next game, Hitman: Absolution is set for release in November.
Maybe if they persisted with numbers, they’d find themselves on the list of Codename 47 themselves.
Eek, squeak and many smiles abound as a very famous dolphin sounded an ecco in the past and still rings out in the present.
The dolphin would begin 1992 and would quickly descend into madness.
The next game was Ecco: The Tides of Time.
They couldn’t even be bothered to state a dolphin or a number and/or numeral.  Was this mammal really already that famous?
Their sonar would further go off course with Ecco Junior and then swim right off the ocean with Dreamcast exclusive Ecco: Defender of the Future.
I’m aware that DOTF was a reboot but aren’t they usually just called what the original was, or at least a shortened title?
In those days, obviously not!
Poor old Eddie Carny would become involved in horror mysteries several times and certainly I wouldn’t play it alone, and certainly not in the dark.
W/o the penning of H.P Lovecraft, this wouldn’t exist.
The first three games were perfectly named, after the first 2 and 3 and then…
Alone in the Dark Jack Is Back.  This was another enhanced port of not such an old game but instead of the original, this was to the sequel.
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare - certainly a nightmare of a game and not in a good way. 
So it was the next proper game but look at the title?
Finally, Alone in the Dark (2008) would slide out of the poop passage and this wasn’t a reboot, but would cause mass confusion as to some, this is surely the first game of a new franchise.
My friends, you have to ask – why the fuck wouldn’t you?
Finally, finally - there would be another version of the same game and was released not long after on the PS3.
Alone in the Dark: Inferno apparently cleared up some gameplay issues.
The controls in this game were horrendous.
Bloody Roar – this wasn’t the sound of a war cry but more the sound of a pretty average 3D fighter.
Bloody Roar Hyper Beast Duel (1997)
Bloody Roar 2 (1999)
Bloody Roar 3 (2000)
In 2002, it would start to become illogical.
Blood Roar Primal Fury would give in to the hypnosis of sense and sensibility but annoyingly, Bloody Roar 4 would make an unexpected return to normality.
If I could turn back time….
Breath of Fire was a fine RPG and began in 1993 on Nintendo’s brilliant lunchbox.
This threatened, (like Bloody Roar) to almost escape but there’s always one…
Breath of Fire, followed by the naughty numerals of II, III and IV.
Hark, is there an imminent ignominy stampeding its way into the fray?
Yes, my hearing still rocks and rolls as in 2002, we’d have Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter.
So near, so far, but fell short at the very last hurdle like a drunken gazelle.
A marsupial is basically a mammal with a pouch in which they rear their young.  They are also characterised by being fetal at birth.
Poor bastards!
So a video game char in Crash would become a famous bandicoot ever since his birth in 1996.
It’s the usual story – had a sequel with 2: Cortex Strikes Back but quickly quits on scoring less than the England footie team and begins tripping down an all too familiar journey.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped (1998), Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (2001), Crash Twinsanity (2004), Crash of the Titans (2007) and Crash: Mind over Mutant (2008).
So obviously doomed after the sequel but why after Cortex did they choose to omit what type of pesky critter he was?
Did they wish he was another type of marsupial?
Imagine All You Good Good People if:
Crash Kangaroo
Crash Kangaroo 2: Rise of the Joeys
Crash Kangaroo 3: Packing a Serious Pouch
Crash Kangaroo 4: Box Clever
Crash Kangaroo 5: Leaps and Bounds
Awesome, amazing and brilliant eh!
No?  GSOH required then.

Actually, if you read my 8 bits Part 1 feature, you'll know there was a video game kangaroo in Kosmic Kanga, yes it's not a typo and shame it was totally awful.

*Smash TV is a game very similar (in gameplay and controls) to Robotron: 2084.  Its theme was borrowed from Arnie film, The Running Man as it's also set in a violent game show.

Of course, the dual joystick controls of the arcade could never feature with ports, nor be bundled with them but thankfully, it was still sensibly recreated for home conversions and played fine.  I played such a conversion on the SNES.

Anyway, you had Smash TV and then there was another game and while not a direct sequel, it was as direct as it possibly could be w/o actually being one as it featured very similar gameplay.

What I'm getting at is while it's never as bad as the insanity in Armed Police Unit Gallop, it gave it a shot.

So was it called Making a Deadly Buck or Cash for Kills?

Nope, Total Carnage.

While sounding completely random I'm kinda leaping to its defence, but really I'm just making a small hop.  

The gameshow host does voice occasional quotes and one does feature the words "Total Carnage!"

Despite this, that still doesn't really cut the mustard though.*

*Burnout is a high speed racing series first released for the past generation of super consoles.

It would eventually descend into naming chaos.

We'd start with Burnout, Burnout 2: Point of Impact and Burnout 3: Takedown.

Then they forgot about the important stuff because after Burnout, you'd get:

Revenge, Legends, Dominator, and Paradise.

I suppose it was only a matter of time.*

Here’s an urban legend and remains a huge misconception.  Flashback is widely regarded as being the sequel to Another World, but it’s not.
I suppose this is so because they were both published by the now defunct Delphine.
Getting back to it boys and girls, Flashback was nevertheless a motion captured near masterpiece.
Conrad would fight a world of corruption and aliens called the Morphs.
Before Delphine went bankrupt, a sequel was released in 1995 for Playstation and PC.
Not Flashback 2 but Fade to Black – yeah, Fade to Black – that really makes sense.
At the time, it was blasted as being too similar to Tomb Raider… 
That name sucks though.
Hey, hey, hey it’s time to make some crazy names, er money are you ready?  Here we go.
Yeah, yeah yeah!
Sega’s Crazy Taxi is surely and purely the only fare ‘em up in existence and was very enjoyable, albeit in a very limited way.
Tearing through the city picking up and dropping off hirers at their desired destination, and even earning tips along the way - stonking stuff!
The naming was spiffing too as these were numbered, that is until the games continued beyond the trilogy…
Crazy Taxi: Catch a Ride and Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars.
I think they’re crazy.  Actually, no I don’t; just completely doolally, utterly bonkers but most of all, a taxi is needed pronto.
“Where’s it to be pal?” demands an irascible ug.
”Err, whirr, buzz, squeak – malfunction does not compute.”
He alights against his will and is swiftly given a good kicking.
I guess he meant the unfunny farm.
On the next journey, I’ll pay the fare (including tip).
Broken Sword?  It’s not the only thing I feel like breaking…
The Monkey Island wannabe began in 1996 with Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, then Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror in 1997.
Then, it’s time to go tits up folks.
Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon (2003) and The Angel of Death (2006).
Note a familiar punctuation mark rearing its ugly head and the lack of something else featuring after the second game?

*Myst is a static puzzle adventure game  using point and click interface to interact with objects.  I suppose it has a cult following but I really couldn't understand why as it's just a boring interactive picture book.

So Myst came out in 1993 and then the inevitable happened, a sequel.

It was called Myst 2.  Wait a minute, no Myst 2: Riven.

In 1997, reality bites as it was just Riven.

If that wasn't bad enough, the game front is famous as it displays Riven The Sequel to Myst.

That's just funny as they couldn't be bothered to call it something like Myst 2: Riven.

For the third game, they got back to basics with Myst III, IV and V (with a subtitle for each).

So apart from the sequel, I have no problem with it.*
Ninja shenanigans now and this easily succeeds in guaranteeing confusion.
We have to go back to the late 80s and one arcade I fondly remember as many old style 10p’s were lost in this baby.
It was Shinobi, a classic scrolling action game, featuring excellent graphics, terrified hostages and ninja magic.
So the sequel was Shadow Dancer.
Hmmmm, sounds like a ‘dance’ game but not Shinobi 2/II: Shadow Dancer, oh no!
It continues to fuck things up with The Revenge of Shinobi and it’s the next game that really starts to piss me off.
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi.  Well what the fuck do you know about this?  So a sequel to Shadow Dancer (you’d think so), but it is actually the Megadrive’s effort of Shadow Dancer and aside from gameplay, it’s a totally different game.
So here’s a shiny idea, why not tell us about it.  Or even better, call it The Megadrive Shadow Dancer and/or Shadow Dancer: Megadrive Ninja.
Sounds mad but it’s far less insane than the reality.
The Cyber Shinobi was next (WTF?) and now steam is bursting through my ears as I’m really angry now.
Shinobi on the Game Gear, so now I’m assuming it’s reboot time but even then, this is the same name given to the first game, so as far as noobs are concerned, this is the first game.
Thanks lunatics but for those that didn’t, we all now know different.
In Japan, it was called The GG Shinobi, so they at least they’d eventually took my advice – albeit, spiritually so.
Shinobi 2: The Silent Fury, lovely - a definite sequel to Shinobi so can’t bitch about this one.
You could make a case for annoyance, as Shadow Dancer was the sequel to Shinobi and apart from this game, there isn’t a Shinobi 2.  Not in past, present and probably not future.
I can however, turn into a super bitch with Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master as this was on the Megadrive, so they can’t even be consistent with formats as you’d believe this was on the Game Gear, and not the fucking Megadrive.  In Japan, it was known as Super Shinobi II.
Shinobi would use his magical prowess and banish numbers – forever and a day.
Shinobi Legions for the crusty Sega Saturn – the first and last for Sega’s 2D middleweight, the heavyweight is still of course, the truly exceptional Neo Geo.
However, Neo Geo games on the Saturn (despite needing a helping hand with RAM cartridges) really looked the part – far better than on PS1.
Anyway, we’re still In The Mouth of Madness and the next game was, just take a wee stab in the old eclipse here, obvious surely?
No, no yippee ay oh!
We’d only have yet ANOTHER Shinobi, this time on the PS2.
Staying with the PS2, we’d assume that if there was going to be an inevitable sequel, we’d hope they wouldn’t go down the Shadow Dancer route and instead, go down the Game Gear journey with adding 2 or II, after Shinobi.
Of course, assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.
I think taking that into account, you know it just wouldn’t be.
Nightshade was its name.  For all you retro heads out there, there was a 1985 Speccy game that also held this ‘title’.
In all honesty, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was a PS2 remake of that classic, shoved in the Shinobi franchise.
But I’m only teasing, as it was a direct sequel to Shinobi, but how would you know?
Who knows as it beggars belief!
Excellent news, the final game has really sent me over precipice.
We are Dual Screen now and of course they’d call it Shinobi.
Errrr, a truly massive and delayed what? the? fuck?
So they’ve done it to us not once, not twice a fantastic THREE times.
A truly magnificent effort, take a bow as that is outstanding!

*Maniac Mansion is undeniably a gaming masterpiece and LucasArts classic.  Its mix of humour, puzzles, chars, interface and story made it nothing short of iconic.

Today it remains legendary and still really great.

So you had Maniac Mansion and those boffins would surely make a sequel and name it something sensible, right?

Well they did and such bright sparks really couldn't call it anything but Maniac Mansion, followed by a number or a subtitle...  

Well somehow, they didn't.

It was Day of the Tentacle.

The first featured a tentacle which gorged on wax fruits and drank fruit drinks as a bribe and it forms the sequel's story as it drinks toxic sludge and mutates for the better.

So that makes sense but was it really asking too much for them to call it, ahem:

MANIAC MANSION 2: DAY OF THE TENTACLE or change the traditional number for a numeral?

Whatever I say about the name, the original and even sequel are genius buried amongst pixels.*
Moving nervously on, I am now going to avoid a girl stupidly playing chicken in the road, spin my car out of control and wake up in a fog infested ghost town.

If that wasn’t bad enough – my daughter’s gone missing.
Welcome to the madness that is Silent Hill.
Trust me - you’ll be drooling incessantly after this.
The first four games follow suit brilliantly – Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill 4: The Room.
A subtitle doesn’t matter as it had 4 and not just Silent Hill: The Room.
Then comes Silent Hill: Origins.  Okay it’s a prequel but I don’t give two hoots.
Here’s an owl joke:
Two owls are playing pool and one of them fouls.
So he says to his feathered friend “Two hits to you.”
Say it in owl talk and that’s quite funny?  Well I thought so.
Back to serious business, Silent Hill Homecoming was next and the first on PS3.
Tut fucking tut.
Another would follow on PS2/Wii and PSP in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.  A reimagining of the first game so forget everything you know about Silent Hill as it’s a totally different game.
For the record – I thought it was great and injected freshness in a franchise that was starting to reel.
But why not just call it Silent Hill?
Smack up to date is Silent Hill: Downpour.
So eight games and four w/o numbers – I don’t what’s real and not real anymore.
I don’t know, maybe the first four were named in reality and the rest in the otherworld.
Or more realistically – they just fucked up.
The high-kicking exploits of Bimmy and Jimmy – that’s not a typo, as Double Dragon III on the NES famously failed the proof-reading principle.
That’s appalling and funny – was this written by SNK?
It starts off promisingly enough with the first three games and then came Super Double Dragon.  This was an original game so I’m letting it off with a warning.
But the next rightly deserves a custodial sentence in the cozy company of Mr Big in the showers as they’d snort a few lines and come up with this.
Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls.
How is this so, as where the fuck is the fourth game?
There isn’t one.
But there is just another Double Dragon game on the Neo Geo.  That was based on the awful Double Dragon film.
It’s really a spin-off though so doesn’t really count but worth mentioning.
I’m now venturing to Another World or I’ve just had enough and getting Out of this World.
Whatever country you’re in, help Lester get him out of the world of shit that lightning forced upon him.
It was a brilliant game, very innovative, full of excellent ideas and graphics.
A sequel was made, much to the annoyance of AW’s creator Eric Chahi and get ready for the title – Another World 2?  Heart of the Alien?  Another World 2: Lester’s Legacy?
Don’t jump right in, take a stride back and take a moment to ponder.
Out of the three, which is most plausible?
Unfortunately, the right answer is Heart of the Alien in 1994 on Sega CD.
Let’s get back to scrapping, on a global scale.
ADK’s World Heroes on Neo Geo.
That’s a strange animal as you’d think it was some kind of obscure super hero game but no, another one on one fighter, albeit with some odd chars and some were based on historical figures.
To explain the premise, it involved a time machine – terribly clichéd.
The games were World Heroes, World Heroes 2 and then World Heroes 2 Jet.
I really don’t know what to say to that.  It’s so terrifically random.
I mean what and why?
It’s not finished yet because after Jet, what’s next?
World Heroes Concorde or Boeing?
Not really - just World Heroes Perfect.
Well that’s quite a statement – a game that is literally perfection.  Talk about tooting on your own trumpet.

*We delve into sport again and this time aqua antics with Wave Race.

It all started on the Game Boy, then Wave Race 64 on the console originally known conceived as Ultra...

Then water gets into the Nintendo engines and everything malfunctions as it then moved onto the Gamecube with Wave Race: Blue Storm.

To think I was starting to miss my annoying friend, the colon....

I can't have a pop at Wave Race 64 as the SNES had Super, 64 was the Nintendo 64's gimmick but as Nintendo didn't create a pain in the arse gimmick for the Gamecube, there's just no excuse, no fucking excuse for this shower.*
Lock and load soldier boys, and get ready to kick alien arse as will you please welcome probably the most famous run and gun franchise of all time, it’s Contra.
Which is better, Contra or Metal Slug?
My heart says Metal Slug but grey matter says Contra.
Let them slug it out with each other….
Enough of my heart and mind - let it commence.
Contra and then Super Contra!  Wait a momento, alarms bells are already ringing as Super Contra came out in 1988, way before the SNES so it’s rare, but this proves that there are games out there that did slap Super at the beginning and weren’t SNES games.
Super C was next and that just doesn’t make any fucking sense as they’d just decided to omit ‘ontra’ and make a new game.  Bullshit!
The C would continue for the next – Operation C.
I guess Operation Contra?  How about Operation Crap!
Now you’ve obviously noticed that there has been no numbering yet, bullshit yes, but numbering no.
Well here we go, my gaming chums as possibly the most famous of all Contra games is next, and that is of course Contra III: The Alien Wars.
There is definitely not a Contra II, so what the fuck happened? Shit!
This was a SNES game and of course, Mode 7 would feature heavily.  It was seriously great.
Why Contra III – we are obviously not smoking the same shit as Konami, maybe they can tell us?
Numbering would again depart.
Contra Force, Contra: Hard Corps, Contra: Legacy of War (or Legacy of Shit) and next is seriously taking the Michael.
C: The Contra Adventure.  Let me think about this one – errrr, assuming that the C doesn’t stand for Contra at all, what does the C stand for in Operation?
Surely it’s not Contra: The Contra Adventure?
Are they actually pissing in the same bucket?
We are now with the PS2 as Contra: Shattered Soldier and Neo Contra were both released and no, the latter is not an SNK game.
Contra 4 was a portable delight on the DS so I’d say it was ridiculous before it got sensible.
So we get to the calm before the storm, the prelude before the conclusion or the penultimate before the end.
It’s worth waiting for….
Fatal Fury was always going to be regarded (and there are many candidates) despite any practical arguments put forward, as a poor man’s Street Fighter II.  It was never gonna escape that, as it was released shortly after it.
Out of the entire one on one fighting franchises out there – this shakes more than a maraca, rattles more than the snake and rolls better than a marble.
Before it did all that though, it didn’t really get going until a few efforts later…
Regardless, the names went through a curious metamorphosis.
Fatal Fury was first in 1991.  It was just Fatal Fury but it did also have King of Fighters slapped at the end but was never an official subtitle.  We all know that the subtitle would become one of SNK’s most prized creations, yes even threatening the untouchable Street Fighter.
Actually, some might forget that Street Fighter II also had an unofficial sub in The World Warrior – did SNK nick the idea?  Who knows?
So we’d amazingly move on with Fatal Fury 2 and then we’d go backwards and switch to update mode with Fatal Fury Special.
In reality, Fatal Fury Special was just an updated FF 2.
But fair play to SNK, unlike Street Fighter II that would have 48 updates before moving on to SF III, the next game was Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory.
So the sub would suggest the final game, but you know what’s coming.
SNK would bring us Real Bout Fatal Fury and then, Real Bout Fatal Fury Special.
Were the thousands of other bouts contested in previous games just a dream?
Whatever, it would get its own ‘proper’ sequel in Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers.  But in all honesty – this was an update too.
Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition tried its luck on the failed Hyper Neo Geo 64.
So it’s not in Deception territory yet as it’s still Fatal Fury.
It would even go portable with Fatal Fury: First Contact on the short-lived but commendable Neo Geo Pocket and more affectionately known as the NGP.
If it wasn't for the Gameboy, it might have lasted longer.  This is true for both the NGP and NGPC (same machine but in colour).
Anyway, only SNK would have the front to go up against Nintendo.
What balls eh?
Of course it had famous SNK games and there was even a Sonic game – who’d have thought that?
There would be no Second Contact, sob.
To me, the final game in the series ensured the Neo Geo went out with an explosion and not a drool, as it was surely one of the best and last Neo games.
Dare I say it, arguably the best fighting game ever?
The title however….  Garou: Mark of the Wolves.
So breaking that down, Garou is only part of what Fatal Fury is known as in Japan as that’s Garou Densetsu meaning Fatal Fury so in a multiverse - Fatal: Mark of the Wolves?
The Lone Wolves made their mark, but from the original and seminal cast, only Terry made it.
So were the other eleven new chars now classed as Wolves or just Terry?
Even if the name is strange and despite taking everything into account I couldn’t call it Fatal Fury: MOTW as that doesn’t fit around Joe’s pants.
Call it SNK genius, but despite this, it’s still not right and that (along with the others) is why it’s here.
For all those who have a Capcom OCD, it’s most accessible on Xbox Live Arcade and other formats. 
It’s absolutely brilliant.  In fact, it’s so good, it’s even mentioned in the same breath as SF III (which is an achievement in itself).
To get the proper original – start remortgaging your house as to fund this brilliance you’ll be looking at between £300 - £500 (that’s on AES and not MVS).
That’s cheap compared to Kizuna and Ultimate 11 as to even think about these, you’ll have to part with vital organs and that’s if you can find a genuine AES cart.

*Cool Boarders is a fairly trivial snowboarding franchise but was popular enough to earn a number of sequels.

So you have Cool Boarders, then the next three games threatened sanity as they were all followed by 2, 3 and 4.

The next game was released for the Neo Geo Pocket predictably called Cool Boarders Pocket.

Then there was a sixth and so far final entry...

Cool Boarders 2001.  Yes it's fairly obvious why it was named this, but why not Cool Boarders 5.

Simple stuff right but to escape my pissed off stare, they needed to previously use the year thing on every other game (Pocket excepted).

Sounds ridiculous but how about?

Cool Boarders 1996, Cool Boarders 1997, Cool Boarders 1998 and Cool Boarders 1999.*
This has been bubbling away at me for ages and it seems my bubble has finally burst.
This is it, this is it, this is it, this is it
The end was always coming and now it's here
So this is the grande finale
The crescendo of demise
This is the unhappy ending
When the final franchise fucks up and dies
This is the end
With me on my knees and wondering why?
Cross my heart, hope to die
That it’s my old arcade friend Taito, that makes me cry.
Bub and Bob, the bubble blowing dinosaurs who exterminate enemies by trapping them in bubbles and dishing out some popping.
What an awesome idea and they’d even shed their dinosaur skin and become human.
I know snakes shed skins….
Bubble Bobble was a Taito classic and ignoring all ports, was released in 1986.
Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2 in 1987 follows on nicely but what follows is unfathomable.

Bubble Symphony aka Bubble Bobble II, was released for arcades in 1994 so logic suggests this was a sequel to Bubble Bobble and not Rainbow Islands.
What?  How can this be as we've already had Rainbow Islands. 

If your head can take it, stick with me... 

Parasol Stars sounds like an independent franchise or spin off but you'll find it's insanely part of Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands.

The PC Engine and Game Boy efforts of Parasol Stars were both subbed The Story of Bubble Bobble III but in 1992, the Amiga game was The Story of Rainbow Islands II.
Released in 1993, Bubble Bobble Part 2 made its way to the NES and Game Boy but to fuck with our heads even more, the former was a typical single screen affair but the latter played like The New Zealand Story.

In short, they are totally different games.

So if you're a newcomer to the series, you'd instantly believe this was a direct sequel to the 1986 original and be blissfully unaware of Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars actually existing.

How could they do this, it’s complete and utter horse shit.

Can it get any worse?
Well yeah it can because unbelievably in 1995, Taito would snort even more powder and release Bubble Memories: The Story of Bubble Bobble III.

Er, so what about Parasol Stars?  Where does that fit in?


Although the hideous reality is totally accurate, this cacophony of nonsense still won't make any sense.

Without repeating the already mentioned subtitles, here's the general chronology of original release.
Bubble Bobble - 1986
Rainbow Islands – 1987
Parasol Stars – 1991
Bubble Bobble Part 2 - 1993
Bubble Symphony/Bubble Bobble II – 1994
Bubble Memories - 1995
How do you like those apples?
Bubble popped, parasol stuck and rainbow permanently broken before the pot of gold could be reached.
What a truly vicious assault on the depths of the damned, a regurgitation of ridicule and a disturbing deluge of dismay.

I hope it’s been a fascinating insight into when (like films), games really fuck up.
It’d be cruel not to mention those who run perfectly.
For example:
Ultima, Mass Effect, Point Blank (DS excepted), Kessen, ATV Offroad Fury, Spy vs Spy and Max Payne have all succeeded.
Ultima hugely impressed me as that has a whopping nine games, all using running numerals...
It’s easy, just use a number after each game and make sure you don’t really fuck it all up and call a game something totally different and subsequently cause mass panic.
Most of all, don’t make different games and state they’re the sequel to the same game.
It’s really that simple.
Like the big man said “I’ll be back” but until then,
Acta Est Fabula!

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