The Cinematic Platformer Compendium

#1



The inspiration for this thread came from my love for the cinematic platformer genre, as well as finding somewhat lackluster definitions of what it is and a non-existing comprehensive list of games that fit within it. I’m not claiming I’m an expert or anything and I’m probably stretching on some of the topics, but I felt compelled to at least attempt to make this a decent reference for future study. Also, while I feel this is a fairly comprehensive list of titles, there might be more out there I’m not aware of so feel free to mention any games that might fit the genre. Naturally, critique, comments and suggestions are very welcome.

Also, this is my first new thread on GAF so I apologize for any mistakes, typos and other nonsense.




As is the case with various forms of art, there has always been a branch of game design philosophy oriented towards realism, be it gameplay mechanics, visuals, physics or all of the above. And while certain genres such as vehicle simulators or sports games seemed to fit this approach quite naturally, others were always set in more outlandish, caricatured and deformed versions of reality. Ever since Mario (Jumpman at the time) started jumping over Donkey Kong’s barrels, platformers have been the staple of cartoon physics and impossible acrobatics, becoming one of the most popular genres in video game history. And while real time 3D graphics were still in their infancy, most action games involving a character (as opposed to a vehicle and such) were set in the familiar 2D side view (scrolling or not), so as time went on, genres began to blur, creating new sub-genres. Platformers evolved into action adventures, puzzle platformers, light-RPG adventures and all sorts of weird genre mixes, adding more story and interaction to them, all the while keeping their original 2D side view. Some of them tried to keep a certain level of realism and a cinematic feel to them, from cosmetic things like character proportions to more realistic physics, the inability to change direction mid-flight, adding falling damage, low jump height and climbing on ledges. Even with the introduction of a third dimension, it took a few years to make the transition from vaguely anthropomorphic forms into somewhat believable and realistic looking characters and environments, so the cinematic and realistic action adventures remained in the 2D side view for quite a while. And it is during this decade, from the late 80s to the late 90s, that a new genre was born, one that would curiously spawn a relatively small number of games but still leave a significant mark on video game history. Of course, I’m talking about the cinematic platformer.




If I mention Prince of Persia, Another World, Flashback or Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, people immediately recognize the type of game I’m talking about. But curiously, it’s not that easy to define what makes a cinematic platformer, especially if you notice that Prince of Persia and Another World (aka Out of This World) are two very different games, the latter probably fitting into a genre of its own. Some might dispute if Another World is even a platformer at all, although it satisfies the basic platformer requirements of being able to jump and having at least some limited platforming involved (as in jumping over chasms). Let’s just say that Another World tries to be as much of a movie as possible while still being a game, in contrast to FMV choose-your-own-adventures like Dragon’s Lair and Night Trap which are at the other end of the spectrum. It becomes even more difficult when we look at modern platformers like Limbo, a game that’s often put into the same genre yet it’s mechanically missing most of the elements from, say, Prince of Persia. So in my attempt to define the cinematic platformer genre more clearly, I’ll try to answer:


  • What are the key elements?
  • Which games are the precursors that influenced or resembled the genre?
  • Which games are the defining and obvious examples of the genre?
  • What the hell are these other games that feel very similar but are still very different?
  • How have they naturally evolved into the third dimension and influenced some of the greatest classics thereafter?
  • Is there a resurgence of something similar in recent years?
So what is a cinematic platformer? Since this is a genre with such a limited number of games, I think it’s safe to say that most games closely resembling Prince of Persia and Another World fit the mold. This might be a weird distinction to make, but you could say that most cinematic platformers are Prince of Persia clones, while Another World is largely its own thing although directly inspired by Mechner’s game. However, there’s a huge list of almost exclusively European developed and home computer centric games that, for a lack of a better name could be called cinematic action adventures (a lot of them were just called “arcade/action adventures” back in the day). These mostly come from a time when genres were not fully fleshed out, with experimental mixes especially typical to home computers. Some of them are almost straight up brawlers, run and gun or adventure games but are almost nothing like Kung Fu Master, Contra or Day of the Tentacle for example. They have a minimalistic approach, mysterious atmosphere, the characters have realistic proportions, are directly controlled (as opposed to point & clicking), are nicely animated (sometimes rotoscoped), often quite large on the screen and there’s usually some action, exploration, adventuring and puzzle solving going on. Some notable examples are Impossible Mission, Project Firestart, Weird Dreams, a large list of Simulmondo and Silmarils games and maybe even some later console games like Generations Lost and Stargate.

I’m deliberately not delving into 3D territory because then everything starts to blur very quickly and you could potentially place most modern action games into the same category. Also, for the sake of not mixing other well defined sub-genres, it’s important to mention that Castlevania and metroidvanias, the Monster World series, Shinobi, Shadow of the Beast III, Braid and a whole lot of other action/stealth/puzzle/adventure platformers are NOT EXACTLY cinematic platformers, no matter how “cinematic” they may seem in execution, but more on that later. The term “cinematic platformer” is quite ambiguous in itself, but for a lack of a better name, that’s what we’re calling them. So here’s what might be a breakdown of the genre's key elements:


  • Grounded in reality - characters are anatomically correct, extremely vulnerable, take lethal falling and environmental damage, firearm combat requires you to pull out weapon before use, items and interactive elements are always in a logical location (on floor, wall, no floating coins etc.)
  • Realistic movement - fluid step-based movement, slow and clunky compared to mascot platformers, realistic jump height/distance, running inertia and shifting weight, vertical movement is often done by climbing on platform ledges, rocks, ladders or using elevators
  • Trial and error gameplay - revolves around memorization and trial and error, frequent deaths are a part of the learning process, checkpoints are often implemented, unlimited retries, item and environment based puzzles (bring battery to generator, blow up rock to open a path etc.), often fairly short games once you know what you’re doing
  • Environments and hazards - plenty of one-hit-kill hazards and traps, cliffs and pits, destructible doors/barriers, hostile creatures and enemies, levels often have backtracking and free roaming between small areas
  • Well animated visuals - 2D side view, exceptionally fluid rotoscoped or 3D pre-rendered character animations, screen flipping scenes, UI is minimal to nonexistent, numerous (and gruesome) death and plot cutscenes
  • Minimalistic storytelling - ranging from no text or dialogue to a few short lines or cutscenes, silent protagonist, the plot often revolving around being suddenly thrown into a hostile and/or alien environment over the course of a few hours to a day or so
  • Cinematic presentation - achieved with well animated characters and action sequences, unique cinematic set pieces with special actions and input requirements (Another World – rocking the cage, kicking an enemy in the nuts, pressing random buttons on a cockpit etc.), long stretches of silence broken by dramatic music in action situations, custom cutscenes and animations for almost every brutal way you can die
If we try to sum it up in a shorter definition, it might look something like this:


  • Cinematic platformers are action adventure platformers with a strong emphasis on realism, cinematic presentation, detailed character animations, trial and error gameplay and a minimalistic approach to storytelling.
And with that out of the way, let’s see which games might’ve influenced or at least resembled Mechner’s and Chahi’s classics.




Prince of Persia was released on October 3rd, 1989, the game that established the cinematic platformer genre so it’s only natural to first look at which titles influenced Jordan Mechner to make his timeless classic.


Lode Runner (1983):
Source: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134900/the_story_behind_the_making_of_.php?page=4
Lode Runner is deep in Prince of Persia's DNA. Lode Runner is like the light pencil sketch that you can't see anymore by the time you have a finished ink drawing.

Castles of Dr. Creep (1984):
Source: Game Design: Theory and Practice by Richard Rouse III (Jordan Mechner interview)
The most direct inspiration there was a game by Ed Hobbs called The Castles of Doctor Creep, which didn't get too big a circulation, probably because it was only available on the Commodore 64. My college dorm mates and I spent a lot of hours playing that game. It had these ingenious puzzles of the Rube Goldberg sort, where you hit one switch and that opens a gate but closes another gate, and so forth. So the one-sentence idea for Prince of Persia was to do a game that combined the ingenuity of The Castles of Doctor Creep with the smooth animation of Karateka. So when you ran and jumped you weren't just a little sprite flying through the air, your character actually felt like it had weight and mass, and when you fell on the spikes it felt like it really hurt.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988):
Source: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134900/the_story_behind_the_making_of_.php?page=5
Been playing Super Mario 2. First time in ages I've been addicted to an arcade game.
Several points worth noting:
• It took me hours of play to get through the first area; but having done it once, I can now zip through it reliably in minutes.
• I'm building up a repertoire of skills.
• There are certain things that it pays to do in the first area -- like boost your life meter from 2 to 3 to 4, and collect an extra life -- but you can also keep playing forever in the same area, if you like, without achieving anything.

Karateka (1984):
Jordan Mechner’s previously released game naturally influenced Prince of Persia with its cinematic look, cutscenes and rotoscopic animations.

Other influences include films like Raiders of the Lost ark, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, The Thief of Baghdad and literary works like Arabian Nights, Shahnameh, One Thousand and One Nights and The Golden Age of Persia.


Eric Chahi’s Another World was released two years later in 1991, with one of the obvious influences being Mechner’s Karateka and Prince of Persia as well as a few other titles.


Dragon’s Lair (1989, Amiga version):
Source: http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/another_world.htm
However, in August 1989, when Paul was completing the code for "Future Wars", another game as famous for its spectacular pictures as for its non-interactivity was released: it was the Amiga adaptation of Dragon's Lair. Developers actually managed to store the original videodisk's animations on a floppy: characters filled the visual space, like a cartoon, which was unusual at the time with the reduced sprites' size. The downside of their method was the huge memory storage needed for the game: 6 floppy disks were read during its streaming... When I saw all these animations in flat color, I thought these could be done with vector outlines. That's the sparkle that made me use polygons for 2D animations. This technique has the benefit of using less memory space without any restraints on the animation size. That's the principle used by Flash on the internet.

I knew this principle would be quite perfect for a game with a cinematic atmosphere. The first thing I did was to write a polygon routine on Atari ST in order to make sure this technique would work. I had already worked at the 68000 assembler for a few months, and after a week of writing, performances were getting right, at about 10 displayed polys per 50 frames per second. That was good enough.

Impossible Mission (1984):
Source: http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/another_world.htm
Still under the visual influence of Dragon's Lair, I thought I would create a game with very big expressive characters... I thought about many different themes, such as an adventure game in a house haunted by spirits? No, I had already experienced that in "Le Pacte"...
I actually quickly orientated myself towards a theme in which I had worked little but that was always dear to me: Science-fiction. I wanted the player to be immersed in an alien, completely quirky but credible world. It’s on this basis I made the introduction, without thinking thoroughly of the development once in the other world, as the separation with the real world would be clear-cut anyway. I kept the game mechanics for later, even though I was already thinking about a 2D game, between "Karateka" and "Impossible Mission" (Epyx, 1984).
Other influences include films like Star Wars, the Dragon Ball series (animation, the pistol charging animation) and the art of Frank Frazetta.

The following titles weren’t directly cited as influential but are notable examples of games with similar approaches and design decisions. Some of the developers might have arrived to the same conclusions while thinking about cinematic experiences so it’s probably one of the main reasons for such similarities.


Dark Castle (1986):
The Black Knight has brought misery to the land, and the end way to end this is to enter his haunted house to slay him. You are the brave adventurer taking on this quest through 14 increasingly-tough zones.

The bulk of the game is side-viewed, involving single screens to pass through, which incorporate ropes, cages and trapdoor. There are enemies walking, flying and hovering through this, and many of them respawn. Unusually your weapon to take them on (rocks) can be thrown through 360 degrees, which aims to make the gameplay more realistic and methodical. The screens were linked by hub screens, which the player passes through simply by clicking on a door.
It has well animated characters, multi-screen scenes, large custom animations (choosing the next room), difficult trial and error gameplay, various death animations (getting hit by lightning for example), lots of traps, puzzle solving, platforming, picking up items and elixirs off the ground, one on one battles with special enemies, realistic reactions like fall damage and getting dizzy. Also has a very similar sequel, Beyond Dark Castle (1987).


Weird Dreams (1988):
A severely ill man is on the operating table when a Daemon named Emily trapping you in your own subconscious. To escape you must find four orbs, which are trapped within a selection of esoteric mini-games set within the darkest Dali-influenced recesses of the mind.

Weird Dreams is a third-person game with action and puzzle elements. The game contains bizarre levels and unorthodox activities, including feeding a wasp cotton candy, beating up hopping totem poles with fish from the sky, and an encounter with a baked chicken in a haunted house. The game comes with a "short novel" that explains the plot in detail and serves as copy protection.
Weird Dreams is a delightfully bizarre game that’s unlike anything seen before it and it’s also surprisingly similar to titles like Another World. It features large, anatomically correct and reasonably well animated characters, multi-screen scenes, heavily reliant on trial and error gameplay (to a point of making no god damn sense), gruesome death animations, realistic (and clunky) movement and combat, picking up items off the ground, almost every level is a set piece with an action/puzzle to be solved and the story unwillingly plunges the protagonist into a violent and strange world of his dreams.


Project Firestart (1989):
Project Firestart is one of the progenitors of the survival horror genre. In the future (2066) a genetic experiment (Project Firestart) onboard the Prometheus to get strong durable miners went wrong. Your job is to go onboard the Prometheus (which has been out of radio contact) and find out what happened. You will end up fighting monsters, gathering information on what really happened, and have a chance to save a survivor.
A sci-fi horror adventure ahead of its time, Project Firestart was heavily inspired by Ridley Scott’s Alien and had several elements common to the cinematic platformer genre, even though there’s no platforming in this game. It has well animated and possibly rotoscoped characters, a very cinematic presentation (intro, cutscenes showing shocking and gruesome scenes or even cutting gameplay halfway to show simultaneously occurring situations, environments changing dependent on the plot etc.), minimalistic UI, realtime limited game clock, a slow moving companion to escort, mostly silent with suspenseful music when enemies are nearby.
 
#2



Now that we've established what cinematic platformers are and what are some of the sources of inspiration, it's time to get right to it and make a list of all games cinematic and platformy. This is a list of games that fit most if not all key elements of the genre with slight variations, focusing on realistic movement and damage, puzzle solving, platforming and some adventure elements. Screenshots and descriptions mostly taken from Mobygames.

Prince of Persia (1989)
Prince of Persia is a 2D platformer that is commonly regarded as a progenitor of the cinematic platform genre. Rather than following the more common jump-and-run mechanics, it focuses on careful advancement through fairly complex levels, emphasizing the protagonist's vulnerability and survival aspect. Rotoscoping technique is used to give more realism to the animation of the characters' movements.
Another World (a.k.a. Out of This World) (1991)
Out of This World combines shooting, platforming, and puzzle-solving elements. The game is divided into stages; some of them are straightforward and can only be accessed one time, while others are connected to each other, constituting a larger environment. Exploration and problem-solving are emphasized. Many levels include challenges not seen in the previous ones. Tasks may involve environmental puzzles, timed sequences, precise jumping, and combat.
Golden Eagle (1991)
The plot of Golden Eagle is a basic one: the evil priest Nahmur stole the Golden Eagle, severed it into five parts and hid them in the city. The player controls a special agent with the order (the employees are mutants) to find said parts.
Flashback: The Quest for Identity (1992)
Flashback: The Quest for Identity incorporates elements of platforming, shooting, and problem-solving. The game can be described as a "cinematic platformer" (commonly referred to as Prince of Persia-style), following a design philosophy that was also manifested in Delphine Software's previous work, Another World. Compared to that game, Flashback focuses more on platforming and exploration of large levels.
Dylan Dog: The Murderers (1992)
Based on the Italian comics character Dylan Dog, London "nightmare detective", Gli Uccisori (The Murderers) is another volume created by Tiziano Sclavi himself and is a side-view action platform game with puzzle elements.

You as Dylan should move around the house, fight with the murderers with bare hands, with revolver, or with weapons found in the house such as knife, screwdriver, sword, or maul. You should find certain keys to open certain doors. Also after killing certain murderers, you'll be provided with certain secrets given to you by the survived guests. Main parts of the story is told in comics art-style without any literary material.
Fiend Hunter (1993)
Fiend Hunter is a cinematic platformer set in an Old West-like environment with supernatural elements. With the exception of the initial town and a few other locations, the game is spent in areas that require carefully navigating Feed through a series of platform-like structures. Controls and animation resemble those of Prince of Persia. Feed can jump, run, perform a running jump, hang on ledges, pull up or drop down, kneel and crawl. He also takes falling damage; the primary challenge during platforming sequences consists of preventing him from falling down.
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame (1993)
Prince of Persia 2 is, like its predecessor, a cinematic platformer. Much of the gameplay is reminiscent of the first game, focusing on precise jumping puzzles, swordfighting, and overcoming many hazards in order to stay alive. Swordfighting is more prominent and features situations where several enemies attack the Prince at once. Reinforcements may arrive after the Prince has eliminated all visible enemies. Like its predecessor, the game must be completed within a time limit.
Cruel World (1993)
Made by the Israeli company Makh-Shevet, Cruel World is a tribute to the famous game Prince of Persia, having identical gameplay and looking very similarly to the classic platformer.

The hero is an innocent citizen who was thrown into a deep dungeon without trial and explanation. The goal is to escape from prison. Just like the prince, the hero must perform a variety of runs and jumps, fight enemies (skeletons and others) in real-time combat, and occasionally solve environmental puzzles.
Dylan Dog episodes 01-17 (1993)
An episodic continuation of Simulmondo's Dylan Dog games with the same gameplay as The Murderers.
Tex episodes 01-12 (1993)
Another one of Simulmondo's comic book adaptations, this time it's Gian Luigi Bonelli's Tex Willer series. The gameplay follows the similar patterns of their Dylan Dog and Diabolik games.
Diabolik episodes 01-11 (1993)
Simulmondo's comic book adaptation of Angela and Luciana Giussani's Diabolik series. The games are much more adventure oriented, with lots of character conversations, reply choices and point & click segments with somewhat less emphasis on platforming.
Nathan Never: The Arcade Game (1993)
Based on Italian comic book published by Sergio Bonelli Editore and originally created in 1991 by Michele Medda, Antonio Serra and Bepi Vigna (credited as 'Medda Serra Vigna' in the game). Similar in gameplay and style to the Simulmondo games.
SOS (1993)
Inspired by Paul Gallico's 1969 novel The Poseidon Adventure, this game puts the player in the shoes of one of four denizens of the fated vessel: Capris Wisher, architect; Redwin Gardener, counselor; Luke Haines, sailor; or Jeffrey Howell, doctor. Each of these gentlemen possess certain exclusive skills and distinct backstories and motivations - a successful strategy toward winning the game will vary greatly depending on which character the player initially selects to control.

The goal is not to be on the ship when it goes down for the last time. Accomplishing this demands mastery of a new skill hitherto untapped by its platform-game spiritual predecessors Prince of Persia and Flashback: exploring and navigating the ship in both an upright and an upside-down position, as well as many of the gradiated permutations between - thanks to dizzying Mode 7 abuse, the game environment will tip, tilt and skew at predictable intervals, granting access to some hitherto unreachable areas while denying access to other portions of the ship the player perhaps intended to go back through.
Simulman episodes 01-11 (1993-1994)
Following the same mold of their Diabolik games, this is Simulmondo's take on an original character, a crime solving virtual reality cop.
Time Runners episodes 01-30 (1993-1994)
The second original and longer running series by Simulmondo deals with Max who uses a time traveling scooter to jump to various historical periods to rescue his girlfriend.
Spider-Man episodes 01-03 (1994)
Simulmondo's short lived adaptation of the Spider-Man comics.
Blackthorne (1994)
Blackthorne is a platform action game played from a side-view with non-scrolling backgrounds. It has certain similarities to Prince of Persia, being set in maze-like environments and focusing on exploration and occasional puzzle-solving. Blackthorne fights enemies by shooting at them. His default weapon, a pump action shotgun, can be upgraded throughout the course of the game. Various types of bombs can be used to damage enemies, blow open doors, or destroy generations. Keys must be often found to gain access to new areas.
Nosferatu (1994)
Nosferatu is a platform game similar to Prince of Persia in gameplay and presentation. The protagonist travels on platform structures and relies on acrobatics moves to overcome traps. He fights enemies with his bare fists. Like in Prince of Persia, there is a time limit (which can be extended by picking up the hourglass power-up). Other power-ups include colored crystals that heal the protagonist or increase his life energy.
Heart of the Alien: Out of this World parts I and II (1994)
Heart of the Alien is the sequel to the game Out of this World, also known as Another World. The story picks up immediately after the end of the first game. You begin as Lester and his alien friend, "Buddy," land their pterodactyl in the ruins of Buddy's village. Lester was knocked unconscious in their escape, so Buddy lays him down on a cot to rest. The people who used to live in Buddy's village remain enslaved, so he decides to go on a mission to free them. Thus, you control Buddy as he sets off to free the people and find a way to send Lester home.
Death by Dark Shadows (1994)
Death by Dark Shadows is a platformer similar in style to the Prince of Persia series. The same basic game concept ideas are used - Fight the voodoo curse and the bad guys at the same time, all while avoiding deadly traps.
Father World (1994)
Father World is an action game with adventure elements. Peace in a megalopolis is threatened by a mysterious demon and his cyborg minions. A lone hero agrees to do what the authorities can't: single-handedly avert the threat. The game is very similar to Another World visually, though it contains by far less platforming elements and setpieces, and focuses on exploration, making it feel more like an adventure game. The player navigates the protagonist through side-view environments, talking to characters, obtaining quests, and occasionally engaging in combat and avoiding obstacles. Character animation is almost identical to that of Another World; the hero is able to run, jump, perform a running jump, and crouch.
Lester the Unlikely (1994)
The game has a unique engine in which the protagonist, Lester, is easily frightened early in the game and will act reluctantly when faced with animals, heights, etc. For instance, when the player guides Lester towards a turtle in the first stage, he will at first scream and run in the opposite direction; when the player makes him walk towards it a second time he will slowly creep towards it. This coincides with one of the major themes of the game being Lester facing his fears, and these instances happen less and less as the game goes on. The game also has an item and weapon box, allowing Lester to hold both of these things.

Also notable are the game's rotoscoped graphics, referred to in the game's manual as "Filmed in Geek-O-Vision." The manual boasts that the Lester character has more than 250 frames of animation, "about twice the number of an average game."
Bez Kompromisu (1994)
A Polish take on the cinematic platformer genre. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future and revolves around an amnesiac set on a path of revenge.
Zorro (1995)
Based on the series of books by Johnston McCulley, Zorro is a side-scrolling platform game that has certain similarities to Prince of Persia and other so-called "cinematic platformers". The emphasis of the gameplay is on careful advancement through the levels and physical activities such as jumping and climbing. Zorro has two weapons at his disposal - a whip and a sword; the sword is more powerful, but the whip has a longer range.

The game utilizes cutscenes with live actors to advance the story.
Star Trek Deep Space Nine Crossroads of Time (1995)
"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Crossroads of Time" is a 2D action game based on the famous TV series. You play Benjamin Sisko, commander of Federation space station Deep Space Nine. When the station is attacked by Bajoran terrorists, your mission to uncover their plot leads you from DS9 to Bajor, beyond the wormhole and even through time itself.

Moving through the side-scrolling environments of DS9 and other places, Sisko must complete several missions like disarming bombs or rescuing hostages. If necessary, Sisko can use a phaser to stun enemies. To solve puzzles, he can use a tricorder and other items. The plot is often carried forward by interacting with other characters from the TV series.
Bermuda Syndrome (1996)
Bermuda Syndrome is a cinematic platformer similar in concept to Flashback. The emphasis of the gameplay is on solving problems and carefully proceeding through screens filled with enemies and hazards. Jumping, fighting, and occasionally using items are required to succeed. At some points it is necessary to interact with the princess in order to solve a puzzle.
Disney's Pocahontas (1996)
Incarnation of the Disney cartoon; Pocahontas, along with a tag team partner in her raccoon friend, Meeko, goes about her homeland, helping her animal friends. As so is done, she will acquire animal spirits which will help her become stronger and bless her with new abilities.

But soon enough she meets John Smith, and as an inevitable consequence has to prevent a war between his and John's people. And she has to do it in a hurry, before John's neck gets a non-"disney" treatment..
Ar'Kritz the Intruder (1996)
Ar'Kritz is a platform/action game with an horizontal view and 10 levels of gameplay through 230 different screens. You control a unique character displayed on screen fighting against dozens of enemies. You will have to run, jump holes, climb ladders, kill enemies with your hands or with the weapons you will be able to collect on your way. Be careful to collect the necessary items to solve the puzzles placed all along the game.
onEscapee (1997)
onEscapee is an adventure game similar to Flashback. Daniel White is a reluctant hero, having been abducted by aliens and ended up on a dumping planet; alone, abandoned and with little chance of returning to civilization or stopping the mysterious alien race in question from continuing to abduct humans.

There are seven levels to get through before things come to an end, containing many puzzles and action moments, many of the puzzles being timing-sensitive. It is possible to die in several different ways, each death bringing an animated sequence to life. There is plenty of help for the early puzzles, which allows the player to adjust to the combat system.
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee (1997)
Abe's Oddysee is the first game set in the fictional Oddworld universe. It is a platformer with puzzle-solving elements, focusing on the portrayal of a weak, underpowered character in a grim and hostile world, who has to rely on his cunning to outwit enemies and overcome hazards. Abe is almost completely helpless: he cannot use weapons and is usually instantly killed by his brutal enemies if he confronts them directly. For this reason, most of the game involves careful exploration, timed movement, sneaking, and outsmarting the foes through various means: throwing stones to confuse them, luring them into traps, etc. Abe can run, jump, climb, tiptoe, crouch, and roll; in most areas these actions are essential to his survival. A few stages involve Abe riding a large animal known as Elum.
B.I.G. (1997)
B.I.G. is a action-adventure platformer with gameplay similar to Flashback. A group of fanatics called Apocalypse attacked a convoy carrying nuclear warheads. Their objective is to cause a global nuclear conflict. To prevent the extermination of the human race, the president sends the best agent to the enemy base located in a foreign country, to initiate the process of self-destruction. That is the moment when the player is handed the controls.
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus (1998)
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is a 2D platform game very similar to its predecessor both visually and gameplay-wise. Like in the previous game, Abe has to outsmart his foes and avoid obstacles rather than confront them directly. The game is larger than its predecessor and is more oriented towards puzzle-solving, featuring more complex interaction with the Mudokons, who can now be angry, wired, depressed, sick, or blind. The first three problematic conditions can be removed with the appropriate "Gamespeak" command; sick Mudokons must be cured with a special item, while blind ones will follow Abe's voice and may fall to their deaths if Abe doesn't stop them in time.
Heart of Darkness (1998)
Heart of Darkness is a cinematic 2D platformer designed by Eric Chahi, the creator of one of the genre's progenitors, Another World. Though the game has many fast and furious action sequences, including shooting hordes of dark creatures, it is built like a series of tasks, each requiring different approaches, from arcade-style shooting or jumping to interacting with the environment and solving puzzles. Like its spiritual predecessor, the game is linear; completing a section usually takes Andy to a different location, where another task awaits him.
 
#3
At the turn of the millennium, the cinematic platformer genre was very much in stagnation. However, the slow rise of mobile phones as gaming platforms and the popularity of Gameboy Advance and the Nintendo DS created a new environment for 2D games where a few titles in the Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia franchises were released.

Tomb Raider (2000) (GBC)
This version has the standard Tomb Raider gameplay of running, jumping and switch-flipping, but presented in a side-view 2D style, reminiscent of Flashback.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword (2001) (GBC)
Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword contains five large areas to explore. Afflicted with a terrible curse, Lara must follow a group of thieves from a museum in Manhattan, across rooftops in Soho, down into the New York subway system, beyond the Brooklyn Docks, and all the way to their hideout in Bermuda.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Prophecy (2002) (GBA)
Lara Croft discovers a manuscript which speaks of a mysterious occult magic which will bring desolation on earth in the near future. This prophecy also talks of three legendary stones which are linked with the mentioned devastation. Fascinated, Lara travels around the globe in search of these fabled stones.
Flashback Legend (2002, unreleased) (GBA)
Flashback Legend is the unreleased sequel to Fade To Black, itself the sequel to Flashback: The Quest for Identity. The Morphs are at it again, and that elevator- and jump-loving guy Conrad is the only one who can stop them...by following orders without question, searching cards and cells, and sometimes even directly charging into enemies. This prototype is a pretty early build dated June 21, 2002. The game was shelved after the developers went bankrupt.
Prince of Persia: Harem Adventures (2003) (J2ME)
This mobile game incorporates the environment and gameplay mechanics of the first Prince of Persia game. There are seven palaces (all original levels) with an increasing difficulty to visit. After completing a level, a picture of the freed girl is shown, along with some statistics.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003) (GBA)
Unlike the console versions, this GBA title reverts back to the tried and true platform adventuring of the original Prince of Persia, with added elements of action and puzzle solving. Players can use the power of the Dagger of Time to reverse time if a mistake is made during play, and you will also control a second character during play to open switches for the Prince to proceed.
Splinter Cell (2003) (GBA)
You're casted in a role of Sam Fisher, an secret operative that gets his hands dirty when others will not. Entering like a ghost, you'll have to rely to the stealth and make a good use of your surrounding to avoid direct conflict and end up outnumbered.
Tomb Raider: The Osiris Codex (2003) (J2ME)
Tomb Raider: The Osiris Codex is the first episode of a trilogy using the Tomb Raider license. Lara is about to enter a new challenge. An anonymous person gave her the information about a tomb in Egypt where the Osiris Codex is supposedly located. Lara will have to go through fifteen levels of gameplay full of traps, puzzles, objects and enemies. Lara will still have to jump over holes, use her guns, action levers to opens doors.
Tomb Raider: Quest for Cinnabar (2004) (J2ME)
This is the second opus of Tomb Raider games on mobile phones. The game keeps the original main principle of gameplay in a side view scrolling game where guns, objects to collect and puzzles to solve are still more than present.
Tomb Raider: Elixir of Life (2004) (J2ME)
This is the last episode of the Tomb Raider trilogy for mobile phones. After retrieving the Osiris Codex and the Cinnabar, Lara is asked to bring them to a strange mansion in the middle of England owned by a mysterious Mr. Drummond. Lara will still have to solve puzzles, jump, run and collect objects throughout fifteen levels.
Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (2004) (GBA)
The hand-held version features the same story as its console cousins, but tells it in a completely different way using a side-scrolling view with 22 different objectives and new locations to play in. The same stealth maneuvers can be used in this one as well: using shadows to hide, sneaking around, using human shields, forcing suspects to talk and even hide behind objects.
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (2005) (J2ME)
In the mobile version of the last game in the trilogy, the prince returns to Babylon after the events of the previous game, only to find out that a vizier has taken his throne. This new ruler has captured the Babylonian women. You need to set them free and defeat the vizier at the same time. The gameplay combines fast-paced acrobatic moves, with wall-running, slides, climbing and platform jumping, with brutal fighting.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (2005) (J2ME)
Infiltrate the enemy and bring the battle to their soil before the chain of chaos becomes unstoppable. You are Sam Fisher. You are a Splinter Cell.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend (2006) (GBA)
The GBA version of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend is a side-scrolling platform game more similar to the DS version instead of the 3D console versions by a different development studio. Unlike the previous GBA game in the series, a side view is used instead of more titled, overhead camera perspective.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend (2006) (NDS)
Tomb Raider: Legend for Nintendo DS is a rather different game than its console brethren. It retains the plot and cutscenes, but the platforming action and evironmental puzzles have been reworked into a side-scrolling format, though with some 3D elements. There are also occasional motorcycle levels.
Splinter Cell: Double Agent (2006) (J2ME)
Sam Fisher faces his most challenging mission yet, a mission that will require a new skill set that includes slyness, stealth and speed. To stop a devastating attack, he must infiltrate a vicious terrorist group and destroy it from within.
1213: Episodes 1-3 (2006) (PC)
1213 is an action platformer with lots of puzzle elements. With gameplay and movement similar to Flashback and the original Prince of Persia, the player has to help 1213 find a way out. Armed with a gun with an unlimited amount of bullets, 1213 is able to move around, crouch, jump, dangle on ledges and shoot enemies. Consoles contain logs that provide insight into the background story.
Cyberpunk: The Arasaka's Plot (2007) (J2ME)
The game is a platformer similar to Flashback. The player can walk and run left and right, jump, crouch and climb ledges up and down. When entering combat the player uses a gun at long range or a melee attack at short range. Once enemies have been killed the player can take their armor and other items they might carry. Items that can be found include implants and new weapons. After taking damage, medic kits can be used to restore health.
Live Free Or Die Hard: The Mobile Game (2007) (J2ME)
A criminal plot targeting the nation’s computer infrastructure threatens the technological foundations of the U.S. economy. It's up to John McClane to stop the bad guys from carrying out their evil plans.
Prince of Persia Classic (2007)
Prince of Persia Classic is an enhanced remake of the original Prince of Persia created by Jordan Mechner. The visual style has been upgraded to resemble Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and the Prince himself has acquired some additional moves, such as the ability to roll, backflip, wall jump and stop time briefly during combat. However, the core gameplay remains the same as the original - defeat Jaffar within one hour, watching out for the many traps and defeating the guards you encounter.




In recent years, the massive resurgence of indie titles has revitalized various genres and brought the popularity and the spirit of experimentation back to platformers, with a lot of games mixing platforming and adventure elements, realism, trial and error gameplay or stylistic choices familiar to cinematic platformers. There have also been a couple of remakes like Flashback and Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty and a few other games that closely fit the cinematic platformer genre. Some of the games listed here probably aren't a complete match but as genres are often mixed and melded with one another these days, I felt that the similarities are close enough to at least warrant a mention.

Limbo (2010)
Limbo is a side-scrolling puzzle platformer set in a sinister, monochromatic world. The player controls a protagonist simply known as the The Boy, who is said to enter the world Limbo in search of his sister. However, the story as a whole can also be seen as a metaphor for the search for companionship and getting around in a new environment. Not a single clue is given at the start, there are no cut-scenes and the game starts right away. In that world filled with hazards and danger, his means are few and he is extremely vulnerable. Only two buttons are used, a feeble jump and one to perform an action, combined with movement. This allows him to explore the world and hang on ledges, slide down slopes, push objects, pull levers, and cling to ropes, but the player has to make most of what is present in the environment to get by, often with physics-based elements.
Splinter Cell: Conviction (2010) (J2ME)
Play as Sam Fisher, a highly skilled special forces operative and fight a corrupted secret agency to get your daughter back. Follow a trail of intrigue that leads from Malta all the way to the White House!
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken (2011)
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a reworked and enhanced version of the original Rocketbirds: Revolution! released as a commercial browser game in 2009. The game was reworked entirely away from the original Flash technology, but keeps the main premise of an albatross soldier trying to overthrow a militaristic republic's leader in a platform game that mixes puzzling and shooting with stealth sequences.
War of the Worlds (2011) (XBLA)
Inspired by the seminal work of author H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds is a cinematic 2D platformer that pits players in a story of survival as a lone person trying to escape chaos and destruction amidst an alien invasion in 1950s London. The game is a dark and breathtaking new vision of the classic novel, with a gameplay narrative parallels the timeline and events from the 1953 movie adaptation, but introduces a new story arc, characters, locations, and sub-plots. Players follows the exploits of an unknown everyman struggling to escape the Martian invasion of London and rescue his family. Forced to think through insurmountable odds, players will outsmart an army of alien tripods and other menacing war machines as they make their way through a landscape of total devastation.
The game has narration voiced by Patrick Stuart with music by Chris Huelsbeck.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
The game is a side-scrolling 2D platformer with minor puzzle elements to take out enemies and finding a way to proceed to a next area. Tintin is able to sneak around, steal keys, hide inside barrels, throw objects, roll, grab ledges, and jump to reach platforms. Fights are based on stealthy takedowns, but there is also regular melee combat. In later levels guards are well armed and the player needs to use objects in the environment such as banana peels or wet paint to take them out. Occasionally there is a level boss. Tintin can also send Snowy to sneak through gaps or command Haddock to stand on a pressure plate.
Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock (2012)
Play as the Doctor and River Song as they race to save the universe and time itself. Unravel the mystery of The Eternity Clock and stop its deadly path of destruction before it’s too late.
Deadlight (2012)
Deadlight is a 2.5D side-scrolling survival horror platformer set in Seattle in the eighties. The story starts when the protagonist Randall Wayne kills Karla Patterson in the warehouse. She was Stella's sister and part of the small band of survivors who hole up in the building to escape the Shadows, the zombie-like undead that chase after them. Karla was bitten and infected. The other survivors in the complex are Sam Powell, Benjamin F. Parker and Stella Patterson. As they attempt to escape to a safe point, a ladder breaks down and Randall stays behind. He faces the Shadows alone but attempts to reach the safe point as well where he hopes to find back his family. Just 145 days earlier a first patient started spreading the virus that decimated society.
Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame (2013) (iOS, Android)
This is an enhanced remake of Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame first released in 1993. Like Prince of Persia Classic it is a 2D cinematic platformer built with a 3D engine.

Aside from the obvious graphical update this version features numerous changes in design of locations, enemies and traps; some scenes were cut out while others were added in. This version is more player-friendly than the original: it features an unlockable map of every level, upgradable combo-moves, instant revive potions and other items. All the items can be bought from in-game shop with coins found in the levels and awarded for killing enemies or purchased with real money if the player wishes so.
Flashback (2013)
Flashback is a remake of Flashback: The Quest for Identity and follows the same main plot as the original with enhancements in graphics, new dialogue, plot twists, and voice acting. In general, the gameplay may be treated as identical to the original, but it is essentially enhanced in certain aspects.
OddPlanet (2013)
OddPlanet is a side-scrolling adventure game inspired by Limbo and Oddworld. You will guide a lone little girl through the hostile environments of an alien planet and help her survive. She will share her feelings and thoughts. Prepare to experience atmospheric sounds, music in stereo and meet fascinating creatures in this beautiful, hand-painted world.
Rain (2013)
Developed by PlayStation C.A.M.P!, the creative minds behind TOKYO JUNGLE™ and Echochrome™ rain is developed exclusively for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system as a digital download through the PlayStation®Network. rain is the enchanting tale of a boy who chases after a girl with an invisible silhouette. After discovering that the girl is being hunted by ghostly creatures, he embarks on his own journey into the mysterious world of rain to save her. Upon entering the world he discovers that he has also become invisible and he must learn to navigate through the unknown, using the rain to guide and protect him.
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty (2014)
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty is a faithful remake of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee where the pre-rendered sceneries are recreated in real-time 3D without changing the original gameplay. It also replaces the single screens linked together of the original version into a true 2.5D side-scrolling game.
Residue: Final Cut (2014)
Residue is a 2D adventure game played as a side-scrolling platformer. The focus is entirely on the narrative and the puzzle elements are only environment based. It is set in an abandoned excavation site in the remains of the Aral Sea in present-day Uzbekistan, more specifically in the former sea port of Mo'ynoq in northern Karakalpakstan. It consists of twelve chapters, along with an introduction and an epilogue. The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world, but due to Soviet cotton irrigation it has become a wasteland. The game starts when Elena Ostrovska and her boss Nikolai Sitvin lower explosives tied to a large package into the excavation site, when a sudden flood causes them to flee upwards, without the chance to detonate the package.
The Fall (2014)
The Fall is a unique combination of adventure-game puzzle solving, and side-scroller action, all set within a dark and atmospheric story. Exploration will be paramount to surviving your adventure. Utilize ARID's flashlight to uncover a myriad of interactive objects. If what you uncover is hostile, switch on your laser sight and kick some metal! Get ready for a disturbing journey as you fight, explore, and think your way forward, expanding ARID's world, in spite of her protocols.
Monochroma (2014)
Monochroma is a cinematic puzzle platformer. It’s a game about being a kid, growing up with a little brother that needs your help, facing obstacles and solving unique puzzles in a dystopian 1950's setting.
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) (2014)
Built in partnership with the Alaska Native community, Never Alone is an atmospheric puzzle platformer that explores the harsh and vibrant world of Alaska Native stories. Delve deeply into the traditional lore of the Iñupiat people of the Arctic for a game experience like no other.
Datswer (2015)
Games that are based on stories often manage to gather interest of the players. You really want to see the end of the game when you have a mission which is not possible in the popular endless running games. One such game is Datswer which is an action and puzzle game where you will not only have to use your fingers but also your brain. Datswer is a statue which came to life as some drops of magical liquid fell on it. it is a statue in the dark cave and now he has to exit the cave in order to save his life. You are going to help it find its way out.
Datswer - help a brave hero escape to freedom from the dark dungeon full of traps, horrible enemies and various obstacles. The protagonist of this Android (note: also on iOS and Steam) game is a statue that came to life after being hit by a few drops of mysterious magical liquid. You need to use your reflexes and logic to pave a safe way through dark dungeons. Jump over pits and obstacles, climb over barriers, and interact with various objects.
 
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The following games don't fit the requirements completely but I think they have enough similarities to be included in this list. These games often have a cinematic presentation, more realistic movement, well animated or rotoscoped characters, adventure elements and puzzle solving so they're not simple platformers or straight up adventure games but they also have uncommon platformer or action elements that don't fully fit the cinematic platformer mold or just lack some of the key mechanics that are common for the genre.

Tir Na Nog (1984)
You play Cuchulainn, and you must restore the Sidhe race to its former position of intelligence, enlightenment and civilization. This can be done by retrieving the four pieces of the Seal of Calum, which was shattered when the Great Enemy invaded./quote]

Bob Winner (1986)
Bob Winner is a side-view flip-screen action game with hand-to-hand combat sequences. The protagonist will often have to avoid rolling barrels and flying insects that try to impede his progress, in order to access a lost civilization by gaining three keys in three major cities.
V: The Computer Game (1986)
V the computer game is based on the movie and series V in which aliens visitors came to earth in 50 spaceships offering friendship and technology. The aliens are actually lizardlike creatures who wanted to take over earth. You play the leader of the resistance, Mike Donovan, who has infiltrated and is onboard an alien mothership.
Contact Sam Cruise (1986)
It's Whodunit time in this licensed arcade adventure starring Sam Cruise. Collect clues, dodge bullets, enter buildings and make phone calls in this very unique detective adventure.
RELICS (1986)
You play not one role, but many, as you guide a disembodied shadow of being into living vessels to explore and escape from the Relics Point temple. Through body-snatching, you can use different individuals' abilities and social status to interact with unique characters in this science fantasy realm, most of whom do not enjoy mischief. Expect plenty of rooms to map, obscure puzzles to solve, and multiple endings based on which choices you make.
The Last Ninja trilogy (1987-1991)
The essential C64 trilogy follows the story of revenge of one ninja against an evil shogun, from feudal Japan to the 20th century urban jungle and the mystical Tibetan temples.
Obliterator (1988)
You play Drak, the last of the Obliterators (genetically enhanced machines bio engineered for otherwise impossible missions.) Your mission is to save the Federation from an alien spacecraft.
Barbarian II (aka Axe of Rage) (1989)
In the sequel to Barbarian / Death Sword, the Wizard Drax is back after your previous defeat of him. But this time, you're not alone. The princess you saved back then has taken up a sword and joined your cause! Now, it's more than a death match. You have to explore the many tunnels in his dungeon, defeat the dangerous monsters that come between you and put cold steel to Drax's throat.
The Running Man (1989)
Inspired on the movie with the same name with A. Schwarzenegger, you are an ex-cop presumed guilty for the murder of many civilians, thrown into a game show of life and death.
Wrath of the Demon (1990)
The mighty wizard Anthrax, in an attempt to usurp authority over the kingdom, has summoned a horrifying Demon. The Demon makes good on his chartered task by summoning a horde of monsters to lay waste to the kingdom at large. Fortuitously, a random stranger is strolling nearby the kingdom and realizes that only he can beat back the foul creatures.
Colorado (1990)
Colorado is a side-view action game with adventure and trading elements, in which you must survive despite the constant threats of Indians and wildlife. The plot involves a search for a Cheyenne goldmine. The game also has many unconventional objects and weapons that can be used against your foes.
StarBlade (1990)
StarBlade is an epic space-opera, set in the vastness of the Orion galaxy, the year 3001. The human race has been decimated to a series of small hi-tech colonies by the ruthless, insectile Cephalhydras. To finally wipe out humanity, Cephalhydras geneticist have produced Genolyn, a hideously mutated Queen brood-mother, who will spawn a legion of super warriors. Your mission is to board "StarBlade", the most technically advanced starcruiser in the galaxy, and to find and eliminate Genolyn before she starts to breed.
Metal Mutant (1991)
Metal Mutant is an action game, where you control the eponymous machine, sent to the planet Kronox to find and destroy the insane computer AROD 7. The Metal Mutant has the ability to transform into 3 different forms: humanoid, dinosaur and tank. Each form has different capabilities. You'll need to change form often depending on the situation, as most obstacles and enemies can be only beaten by a specific form.
Blade Warrior (1991)
Blade Warrior is a unique game in two ways, the most obvious being the graphics. Everything in this game is seen in silhouette - as you wander around looking for magical items and killing baddies.

Secondly, the game is an unusual mix of adventuring and battling. On your way to collecting magical items and exploring the huge ingame map, you're assaulted by baddies. Then, once you have collected certain artifacts, you can conjure up spells (so long as you have the recipe) back in your tower, trade with wizards for those all important tablet pieces and get clues to the next important artifacts.
Moon Crystal (1992) (NES)
Moon Crystal is a platform action game where you control Ricky Slater on his mission to free his kidnapped father from the evil Count Crimson. There are 7 stages, each ending with a boss fight. The player can find power-ups that can extend the range of your knife, give additional health containers, allow Ricky to make double jumps etc. The game is notable for its fluid animations and rich graphic cut scenes which moves the story forward.
Alien 3 (1993) (SNES)
Alien³ for the Super Nintendo is very different from the Alien³ adaptions for other systems. The game consists of six stages, and in each, you are given a series of missions to complete that include rescuing prisoners; repairing pipes, fuses, and junction boxes; welding doors shut; and destroying alien eggs, as well as the mother alien.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1993)
This adaptation of the movie is essentially a side-scrolling action game, with both melee combat and shooting. T-800's default weapon is a pistol, but he can later acquire other weapons such as a shotgun, a mini-gun, etc. The "good terminator" can also use kicks and punches to dispose of the enemies. As in the movie, T-1000 appears frequently and must be fought and incapacitated, but can not be permanently killed until the ending part.
Generations Lost (1994)
Generations Lost is a platform action game in which the player takes the role of Monobe, an adventurer on the search for the past of his people. Thanks to his magic armour Monobe is able to execute many different moves. Besides running and jumping, Monobe can roll on the ground, deliver blows with hands and feet, and shoot energy balls. With the help of an energy rope Monobe can swing from platform to platform.

Most of the time, Monobe has to solve several puzzles, find secret switches and survive deadly traps. The game is split into six areas which can be accessed via the "Magic Box" teleporter.
No Escape (1994)
Based on the 1994 movie of the same name starring Ray Liotta, the player takes control of Capt. J.T. Robbins, whose only objective of the game is to escape an island. After shooting his commanding officer, Robbins is imprisoned and eventually sent to the island Absolom as a war criminal, from where there is no escape possible. To do this still, the player must explore the island with side-scrolling platform gameplay for clues, finding items and combining them to make weapons and traps.
Stargate (1994)
As Colonel O'Neil, a variety of objectives must be met starting with the recovery of supplies and the finding of other teammates, including civilian archaeologist Daniel Jackson. Once regrouped, O'Neil must lead the attack on the god, Ra and escape back to Earth before the power of the nuclear bomb can be unleashed on this new world. The game is a side-scroller platform adventure. The player controls O'Neil on a variety of objectives and is armed with a rifle weapon and grenades. Embarking through desert, caverns and nomad towns... eventually to the palace of Ra.
Tintin in Tibet (1995)
A platform game starring Tintin. Tintin in Tibet follows on the heel of Infogrames Asterix & Obelix, with the same gameplay. Although the game will prove easy for the expert gamer, there are many levels to pass, each of which features new locations, enemies, and obstacles that serve to advance the storyline.
Demolition Man (1995)
Demolition Man is a fast-paced platform game, with some levels taking place in an overhead perspective (similar to Smash TV). As John Spartan, the player will spend most of his time shooting endless waves of "cryocons" released upon the antiseptic world of the future. The standard weapon can be upgraded with a shotgun and magnum, both with limited ammo.
Nightmare Circus (1995)
Nightmare Circus is a beat'em-up mixed with elements from platform games and fighting games, made for Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. The hero, Raven, is trying to put an end to the nightmarish circus that only appears on stormy nights. He has to fight twisted and warped circus denizens through a variation of deadly circus levels.
Phantom 2040 (1995) (Game Gear)
The cartoon mini-series: Phantom 2040, right here. It is the aforementioned year, 2040, and the city of Metropia is in total chaos. Crime, smuggling and terrorism are escalating. In comes Kit Walker, the 24th Phantom, following the proud but secret footsteps of his ancestors. This 18 year old has to fight his way to get things right, or end trying.
Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun (1996)
This game is based on the Belgian comic book of the same name. The gameplay itself is a typical platforming action: Tintin walks through the levels while avoiding the enemies. Pretty much everyone, e.g. little girls and security guards, is out to hurt Tintin who has no means of defending himself. This means the most important aspect is learning enemy placements, their patterns and how to avoid them.
Spirou (1995)
Spirou is a platform side-scroller based on popular Franco-Belgian comic strip Spirou et Fantasio. The player controls Spirou. He is able to jump, duck, climb ladders and cliffs and run fast if the player holds down the action button.
Enemy: Tempest of Violence (1997)
Alien ships have appeared in our solar system and a large crew of scientists and security detail have been dispatched to investigate.
A strange and unique game with a very atmospheric presentation and control scheme with lots of gore, puzzles and dangerous levels.
Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari (1997)
Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari, roughly translated by the developer as "The Seven Blasts of Wind in Island Story", is a commonly neglected masterpiece released by Enix exclusively for the Saturn in 1997.

You play as Gaapu, a green biped dragon is hatched from an ancient egg and is swept to a mysterious island. By interacting and trading information with his fellow characters, Gaapu will learn about harnessing the legendary seven winds and the method to use them in his favor, overcoming the obstacles that appear with each new challenge.
Trilby: The Art of Theft (2007)
Trilby: The Art of Theft is a 2D platformer entirely focused on stealth. The player assumes the role of the British cat burglar Trilby, known from the The Chzo Mythos adventure series by the same developer. The events take place in 1991, two years before 5 Days a Stranger.
Iji (2008)
Iji is a side-scrolling platformer with major role-playing elements and a heavy focus on the narrative. Iji needs to explore ten sectors to find the Tasen leaders, but the choice becomes complicated when another alien race, the Komato, becomes involved. Through cut-scene sequences, in-game logbooks and conversations with her brother, Iji can steer the outcome of the story, choosing to enter a truce with one of the alien races when she finds out more about their motives. Based on the actions, the dialogue and the logbooks, revealing the history and thoughts of several alien characters, are also changed during the game. The player is never presented with dialogue choices to influence the story, but it changes according to the actions during the levels.
Trine (2009)
Trine is a fantasy action game where the player can create and use physics-based objects to beat hazardous puzzles and threatening enemies. Set in a world of great castles and strange machinery, three heroes are bound to a mysterious device called the Trine in a quest to save the kingdom from evil.

The gameplay is based on fully interactive physics - each character's different abilities help the player battle an army of undead and defeat hazardous contraptions. The player can at any time freely choose whoever is best suited for the upcoming challenge or puzzle: The Wizard is able to summon objects to help solve puzzles and create new ways to overcome obstacles, the Thief uses her agility and dead-on accuracy to swiftly surprise the monsters, and the Knight unleashes mayhem and physical destruction wherever he goes.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (2010) (NDS)
Along with Wii and PSP releases of the game, Nintendo DS version of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands also features a unique platform-specific gameplay style and entirely different storyline from the base game. The game is a side-scrolling platformer using 3D graphics and a fixed camera and is played entirely by stylus.
Stealth Bastard / Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark (2011-2014, various versions)
Stealth Bastard is a stealth based platform game. The objective for each of the game's 28 levels is simple: get to the end without being seen. To do so the player has sneak around in the shadows to avoid being seen by the enemy robots and cameras. A visibility display shows how visible the player is. If the status is fully visible then the player will be instantly killed by enemy lasers if he moves within their viewpoint.
Trine 2 (2011)
Trine 2 is a puzzle platform video game, requiring the player to use the skills of the three characters, Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief, and Pontius the knight, to navigate each game level. As with the first game, the mystical "Trine" has bound the three characters together into one common entity, and thus the player controls only one character which can be switched to the other two at any time. Each of the characters has unique abilities: Amadeus can use magic to grab onto certain objects in the game world, and create boxes and planks to be used to get around; Zoya can strike at objects with her arrows, and grapple onto certain surfaces; and Pontius is strong in combat against foes, can bash apart walls, and deflect projectiles with his shield. A combination of these elements are necessary to complete each stage in the game's world.
Mark of the Ninja (2012)
In Mark of the Ninja, you'll know what it is to truly be a ninja. You must be silent, agile and clever to outwit your opponents in a world of gorgeous scenery and flowing animation. Marked with cursed tattoos giving you heightened senses, every situation presents you with options. Will you be an unknown, invisible ghost, or a brutal, silent assassin?
Upgrade new tools and techniques that suit your playstyle and complete optional objectives to unlock entirely new ways to approach the game. Finish the main story to unlock a New Game Plus mode with even more options and challenges.
The Swapper (2013)
Holder of numerous awards and accolades, the Swapper is an atmospheric puzzle platformer set in the furthest reaches of space. Players wield an experimental device able to clone the user and swap control between them. Dropped into a character and world as mysterious as the workings of the device itself, The Swapper is a game of exploration of a very personal nature.
The Cave (2013)
Assemble your team of three from seven unlikely adventurers, each with their own unique personalities and stories, then descend into the mysterious depths to explore locations including a subterranean amusement park and a medieval castle, not to mention a fully armed and ready-to-launch nuclear tipped ICBM. The Cave awaits.
Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones (2014)
Break free from linear levels of the original game with a fully explorable overworld, laying siege to a diabolical cloning facility with varied and detailed environments. Use a variety of special equipment to unlock new areas and find new ways to complete old puzzles. Explore the game with a friend in a full co-op mode, where one player controls the clone and another uses a variety of tools and skills on the Wii U GamePad to keep the player protected and hidden. HD graphics running at a full 60-frames-per-second combine with tight controls to provide a smooth but challenging platforming experience.
 
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Alongside the obvious franchises like the Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed and Uncharted series, cinematic platformers left an obvious mark on some other developers and studios. Some cite certain titles like Another World and Prince of Persia as direct influences while others have suspiciously similar elements in their games. Of course, some might have ended up at the same conclusion and decisions while contemplating on a cinematic approach to their games.

A list of developers citing Another World as influential to their work (so far all Japanese, curiously enough):

Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid series):



Sources:
http://www.metalgearinformer.com/?p=1079
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkbNBD4m89o#t=1209 (20:10 mark)

Kojima was also asked what games had most profoundly impacted him. First of all he mentioned Super Mario Bros, and said that without that game, he probably wouldn’t be sitting here. Another game that impressed him and stood out to him when he entered the game industry, was polygon based game called Another World (Out of this World in America). According to Kojima, this game did a great job of conveying the creator’s style.

Fumito Ueda (Ico, Shadow of the Colossus):



Sources:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ico
http://www.famitsu.com/game/news/2007/04/03/103,1175597139,69535,0,0.html
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/qanda-another-worlds-eric-chahi/1100-6164199/
http://web.archive.org/web/20081206...speak-out-on-behalf-of-western-gaming-part-2/

Ueda's main inspiration for Ico was Eric Chahi's game Another World (Outer World in Japan), which used cinematic cutscenes and lacked any head-up display elements as to play like a movie. It also featured an emotional connection between two characters, despite the use of minimal dialog. Ueda also cited Lemmings, Flashback and the original Prince of Persia games as influences, specifically regarding animation and gameplay style.
Goichi Suda aka Suda 51 (killer7, No More Heroes):



Sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BA3MnMx_nU#t=395 (6:35 mark)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV25ZylPwIk#t=109 (1:50 mark)
http://www.ign.com/articles/2007/02/17/interview-suda-51-on-no-more-heroes

Who do you think is the best game character of all time, apart from Travis, and why?

I'm a big fan of Eric Chahi, he's a game designer who created Outer World (japanese release name) and Flashback (note: wasn't actually involved). I don't remember the characters names but the experience of playing the games is unforgettable.
IGN Wii: What is your favorite videogame of all time and why? On the same note, what is your favorite movie of all time and why?

Suda: My favorite game is Out of this World. I was shocked and impressed by the game by Erick Chahi. My favorite movie is Paris, Texas. I was very moved by this movie, and that feeling still remains today.

Apparently, Shinji Mikami (of Resident Evil fame) has also cited Another World as one of his favorite games, but I can't find any direct sources or quotes. Also, if anyone else has any info and sources about other devs influenced by cinematic platformers, feel free to share.




The mid 90s rapid advance in realtime 3D graphics shifted the industry's focus towards this new and popular design approach. In 1995, Delphine Software made Fade to Black, a direct sequel to Flashback in full 3D. The game had a lesser emphasis on actual platforming and focused more on the action adventure and puzzle solving gameplay. It was only a year later that Core Design showed how to successfully transfer cinematic platformers to the third dimension with Tomb Raider. The game was pretty much a direct attempt at making a 3D cinematic platformer and has most of the key elements in place: realistic movement, high vulnerability, brutal deaths, traps and hazards, almost no HUD, trial and error gameplay, environmental puzzle solving, cinematic presentation and lots and lots of platforming. It showed that realistic platforming and climbing mechanics could be successfully pulled off in a 3D environment which paved way for some of the most successful franchises of today.

Ico was released in 2001, an atmospheric puzzle platformer with a minimalistic visual and narrative style, following a horned boy escorting a girl companion as they attempt to escape a castle together. Fumito Ueda cites Another World, Prince of Persia and Flashback as direct inspirations for his cult classic. His next game, Shadow of the Colossus also shares many of Ico's sensibilities and gameplay mechanics although it is a significantly different game, mostly designed around unique boss battles.

And while Tomb Raider sequels lined one after another and various 3D games introduced elaborate platforming and climbing mechanics, it wasn't until 2003 that the movement controls started feeling much more fluid and streamlined, parkour-style, with the release of the first game in the modern Prince of Persia trilogy, The Sands of Time. It introduced a lot of improvements and novelties in the genre, with fluid acrobatics, more elaborate and action packed melee battles and a time rewinding power that became the staple of the series. This game established the 3D third person action adventure platformer mold that spawned some of the most successful modern video game titles.

After the Prince of Persia trilogy was concluded, Ubisoft Montreal started working on a sequel with a diffrent direction in mind. This time, the player was not the protagonist but merely a bodyguard of a very young prince. Eventually, the bodyguard, an assassin, was selected as the lead character and the idea evolved into what we know today as the Assassin's Creed franchise, with the first title in the long running series released in 2007. It perfected the parkour-style movement, enabling the player to climb any building or object in the game world. Combat took a hit and perhaps returned to its very early roots, with somewhat clumsy and servicable melee fighting, but the historical epic adventure established the series as one of the most popular and prolific in recent years.

The same year, another famous franchise was concievend by the very talented Naughty Dog studios, with the release of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Drawing obvious inspiration from titles like Tomb Raider, it further perfected the cinematic third person action adventure recipe with epic set pieces and an action packed story.
In 2008, one peculiar gem also gave a go at realistic platforming, but this time in first person with the release of Mirror's Edge. In essence, it somewhat successfully transfered Assassin's Creed parkour mechanics into a first person perspective, creating a memorable cinematic plaforming experience.

Here's a short (and probably incomplete) list of modern cinematic platforming action adventures:

Fade to Black (1995)
Tomb Raider series (1996-ongoing)
Prince of Persia 3D (1999)
Arabian Nights (2001)
Ico (2001)
3D Prince of Persia games (2003-2010)
Shadow of the Colossus (2005)
Assassin's Creed series (2007-ongoing)
Uncharted series (2007-ongoing)
Mirror's Edge (2008)
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010)

Valve's Half-Life (1998) is also a very interesting example.

Here we have an iconic and wildly respected game starring a silent protagonist, a scientist that causes (through his own fault, chance or other outside forces) a science experiment to go terribly wrong, opening a portal to another world. At first, the player doesn't have any weapons and has to survive using his wits, reflexes and platforming skills. A bit later, he finds the most useful and iconic weapon just lying around on the floor. The levels are filled with traps and hazards causing gory and brutal deaths to the player and his eventual companions, one of the frequents being an alien "sarlacc pit" creature with chomping teeth and hanging tentacles. The entire adventure lasts a few hours to a day or so (inside the game world that is), a crisis situation with the main goal of escaping the dangerous environments and eventually stopping the bad guys, all done through very minimalistic storytelling. And as an icing on the cake, the protagonist actually teleports into a weird, alien world near the end.
Most of these elements are directly comparable to Another World, even the basic mechanics like platforming through hazardous environments, backtracking, solving simple environmental puzzles and cinematic setpieces full of exploding walls and collapsing structures. The parallels are pretty interesting, although as I mentioned earlier, Valve might have come to the same conclusions as Eric Chahi while thinking about the cinematic approach to video game design, although some of the details are eerily similar.

The same can be said about a lot of today's common gameplay mechanics like quicktime events, David Cage games in general, context-based actions (frequent in Uncharted or something like fluidly going into a fixed cinematic camera when entering a tomb through a narrow crack in the wall in the Tomb Raider reboot) and cinematic setipeces with rockets flying around, collapsing buildings and friends helping each other climb a ledge. Again, I'm not claiming that Another World directly inspired Call of Duty, only that they've drawn the same conclusions regarding cinematic gameplay, which only strengthens the idea of just how much Eric Chahi and Jordan Mechner were ahead of their time.




With the advance of smaller, indie titles on Steam, current gen consoles as well as the popularization of crowdfunding, various genres have begun to make a return and as we've seen before in this thread, there has been a surge of atmospheric, weird and interesting 2D sidescrolling cinematic platformers with even more titles announced in the coming months and years. Most of the following games are still in development with little info on them so whether they actually belong to the genre or not is largely up for debate so the list will probably change as the games get released. Here's a small list of upcoming titles, feel free to recommend more and I'll add them to the list:

Behind Nowhere (upcoming)
Black the Fall (upcoming)
Guild of Darksteel (upcoming)
INSIDE (upcoming)
Randall (upcoming, 2015?)
The Last Night (upcoming kickstarter in March, 2016 launch)
The Way (upcoming, 2015 launch)
Somerville (upcoming)
Orphan (upcoming, late 2015)
Project Infinitesimals (upcoming)
Wander (upcoming)
Hunger (upcoming)
Drake: The Golden Hind Story (upcoming)





To sum it all up, I believe that cinematic platformers should get a bit more recognition, especially when discussing video game history and the influence of certain titles on the industry. It's one of the evolutionary paths of a 2D sub-genre that reached its peak years ago and left some classic and highly influential games in its wake, not unlike what immersive sims have done for the first person action-adventure-RPG genre (Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines). They are special in some ways, giving off a sense of mystery and adventure without the need to explain anything in detail. As perhaps the most compelling example, Another World gives us a very powerful and intimate peek at the creative mind of the developer, his sensibilities and sources of inspiration. It's a game primarily designed with the core inspiration in mind. Eric Chahi created the intro first, without even knowing where the story would lead him next, and he kept this approach throughout the development process. The focus was always in setting the mood, getting an emotional reaction from the player, creating a cinematic set piece and pulling the player in with its art and atmosphere.

You could argue that this approach is flawed and to be fair, Another World has its share of problems and annoyances, but I believe its artistic approach to visuals and game design leave a lot more room for expression and originality, giving the player a unique and memorable experience rarely encountered in video games. You could also argue that the cinematic approach is a very bad idea, trying to turn one medium into another when they're not completely compatible. This is certainly true, especially with extreme examples like FMV adventures and Quantic Dream's choose-your-own-adventures that often neglect the gameplay aspect, leaving you wondering why the developers didn't just make a movie. But I think there can be a balance and that video games as a medium offer a wider spectrum of narrative styles, with cinematic platformers perhaps managing to successfully combine well designed and strong gameplay with minimalistic and atmospheric storytelling, leaving the player with a sense of reading a good book, watching an exciting movie or just existing in another world while still very much being a good video game.

I hope this thread will be useful or interesting to people so feel free to comment, reminisce and post about upcoming games or something I've missed. I certainly haven't played all of these games and there's bound to be mistakes and inconsistencies, especially since at this point it's mostly my take on what should or shouldn't be on this list. It's a work in progress so hopefully we can make it even better. Thanks!

 
#6
This first game that I remember really being engrossed in was the original Prince of Persia. It felt so real.

Thanks for this!

EDIT:

well damn, posted too soon
 
#9
Amazing set of posts, I just wanted to point out one you might have missed:

Max: Curse of the Brotherhood (XB1, PC)

At least I feel like it falls in with these other games?

Edit: Nevermind, I see "Grounded in reality" which it obviously isn't. Sorry :)
 
#10
This thread warms my heart and is so necessary. I feel like there's almost a language barrier when discussing games in this sub-genre and how the family tree connects. You covered tons of games that I didn't know, even though it's one of my favorites. Now I'm also looking forward to all those upcoming games that I wouldn't have known about otherwise. Thanks OP.
 
#11
There should be a warning for these types of threads that there's like 100+ images, or maybe link to albums instead so this page isn't seemingly infinitely long
 
#15
I love cinematic platformers. Therefore I love this topic.

Also, concerning Flashback, if you didn't like the remake, you will not like Flashback Legend. I think even as a prototype, they seemed to have finished with the level design itself. And it sucks. It's one of the most boring level design I've ever seen.

You forgot Jurassic Park (Normal and Rampage Edition) on Genesis, it's pretty similar to cinematic platformer style when you play with Grant.

(Been working on one for a little while too...)
 
#17
Incredibly informative thread, great work.
I'll fully admit that this may well be my least favourite sub genre of platforming so I don't tend to play many of them with my favourites of the many featured being of the borderline variety that tend to excel for different reasons (Shadow of the Colossus, Mark of the Ninja for instance).

Still I could always try a few more, I played through a good chunk of Never Alone last month with a friend, should probably wrap that up if he didn't go and finish it himself.
 
#20
This first game that I remember really being engrossed in was the original Prince of Persia. It felt so real.

Thanks for this!

EDIT:

well damn, posted too soon
No prob, and I'm glad you like it. :)

Two more for your in-development section:
Somerville

Orphan
Completely missed these two, I'll check them out, thanks!

Amazing set of posts, I just wanted to point out one you might have missed:

Max: Curse of the Brotherhood (XB1, PC)

At least I feel like it falls in with these other games?

Edit: Nevermind, I see "Grounded in reality" which it obviously isn't. Sorry :)
I've actually never played this but I just skimmed through some videos and though it was more of a puzzle platformer, but I've also mentioned some stealth and puzzle platformers as well, so I'll look into it more thoroughly, thanks.

This thread warms my heart and is so necessary. I feel like there's almost a language barrier when discussing games in this sub-genre and how the family tree connects. You covered tons of games that I didn't know, even though this is one of my favorite subgenres. I'm now looking forward to all those upcoming games that I wouldn't have known about otherwise. Thanks OP.
Thanks, that was the basic idea, although I may have overblown it a little bit with the images. :)

There should be a warning for these types of threads that there's like 100+ images, or maybe link to albums instead so this page isn't seemingly infinitely long
I made the pretty stupid mistake of not checking out how it all actually looked on GAF while preparing all this (wrote it in a separate editor). Still, my approach was to make a list with easily visible screenshots as they would quickly and more easily show the game's contents but I may have overestimated just how much images there are in there. I could edit them all to something like you've suggested:

Screenshots: #1 #2 #3
With the hash numbers being links but I'm wondering if it's cumbersome to click through the links instead of looking at the images directly. I'm absolutely willing to edit this topic, I'm just thinking about what's the best solution to make it more readable.
 
#23
Wow.

This was certainly a blast from the past. So many revolutionary-looking games I used to pore over in magazines, wondering how they played, and sadly never got to.

A fantastic genre and one I'm glad is still thriving.
 
#24
With the hash numbers being links but I'm wondering if it's cumbersome to click through the links instead of looking at the images directly. I'm absolutely willing to edit this topic, I'm just thinking about what's the best solution to make it more readable.
People are likely to just not click on any of the links, and get less knowledge out of what would then just be a rosettastone.jpeg. The pics are part of the information being imparted here. A pic conveys the concept of genre connection immediately, and if someone sees something they never saw, or like the look of, they'll probably be more likely to make note of the game's name and attributed information.
 
#26
No to be a party pooper of a well made OP but
Seriously?
What makes SMB2 so different from the rest of the other SMB games that it qualifies while the other don't?
If anything Mario 64 qualifies more for what it means for 3D games than SMB2 ever did.

And Dragon's Lair? a platformer? it's a QTE game 1rst and foremost!
 
#28
I love cinematic platformers. Therefore I love this topic.

Also, concerning Flashback, if you didn't like the remake, you will not like Flashback Legend. I think even as a prototype, they seemed to have finished with the level design itself. And it sucks. It's one of the most boring level design I've ever seen.

You forgot Jurassic Park (Normal and Rampage Edition) on Genesis, it's pretty similar to cinematic platformer style when you play with Grant.

(Been working on one for a little while too...)
Haven't played the Flashback remake yet, was pretty disappointed with what Cuisset's team did with the original idea.

As for Jurassic Park, I know, and I was really on the fence of adding a whole other bunch of similar games from the Genesis/SNES era but I don't think there would've been enough room. I mean, since I've added Stargate and Demolition Man as not-quite-but-still-similar games, Jurassic Park should probably also be in there. I think it has a bit more emphasis on the run'n'gun part, shooting is frantic and quick (more akin to something like Contra maybe), movement is a little bit more unrealistic, you collect floating hearts etc. They're subtle differences but the 90s were full of these action platformer shooters with realistically proportioned characters so it's really tough to make a distinction on what is and isn't a cinematic platformer. I don't know really, I may completely revise the whole thing later on.

And I'm glad that people are still making games inspired by this genre so I'm excited about your project, whatever it may be. :)

Looks awesome, will check it out, thank you!

Incredibly informative thread, great work.
I'll fully admit that this may well be my least favourite sub genre of platforming so I don't tend to play many of them with my favourites of the many featured being of the borderline variety that tend to excel for different reasons (Shadow of the Colossus, Mark of the Ninja for instance).

Still I could always try a few more, I played through a good chunk of Never Alone last month with a friend, should probably wrap that up if he didn't go and finish it himself.
It's interesting how Ico and Shadow of the Colossus have been inspired by these games and have in turn become even greater inspirations further on.

Nice thread. Definitely some interesting games in there that I wasn't aware of.

How about the Super Star Wars series on SNES?
It's a bit of a thin line but Super Star Wars is a lot more action oriented and less realistic (his Jedi ass does crazy high somersaults etc.) so it's more of a run'n'gun sidescrolling action platformer, even though the character is realistically proportional and reasonably well animated.
 
#30
Ah, I don't like this genre at all, so I feel like I shouldn't post, but any OP who puts in that kind of effort deserves mountains of praise, so...

Well done OP, incredible work. Really informed me about a genre I knew almost nothing about. Now that I know more, I must admit that my desire to play some of this genre has only diminished. It ain't for me. But threads like this definitely are.

Also, how many prince of persias are there?!? I had no idea.
 
#31
Ah, I don't like this genre at all, so I feel like I shouldn't post, but any OP who puts in that kind of effort deserves mountains of praise, so...

Well done OP, incredible work. Really informed me about a genre I knew almost nothing about. Now that I know more, I must admit that my desire to play some of this genre has only diminished. It ain't for me. But threads like this definitely are.

Also, how many prince of persias are there?!? I had no idea.
What don't you like about them? I highly recommend checking out Iji and Tribly. An fantastic metroidvania and the best free stealth game around
 
#33
This is an incredible thread.

There are a lot of licensed games in this "genre". I feel like the desire to match the source material led to a greater focus on realism. Instead of focusing purely on function, you had to focus on form.

What makes SMB2 so different from the rest of the other SMB games that it qualifies while the other don't?
Guessing it's the emphasis on holding and throwing items.
 
#35
People are likely to just not click on any of the links, and get less knowledge out of what would then just be a rosettastone.jpeg. The pics are part of the information being imparted here. A pic conveys the concept of genre connection immediately, and if someone sees something they never saw, or like the look of, they'll probably be more likely to make note of the game's name and attributed information.
That was my initial idea, that at least glancing at the images would attract more interest from people and help in discovering new games in this genre, but it still is a long ass list because of the images.

I suppose i should add a (image heavy) text in the title. How do I go about doing this, ask one of the mods (who should I ask)? It's a stupid question, especially since I've been posting a while now but I don't wanna make a mess out of it.

No to be a party pooper of a well made OP but


Seriously?
What makes SMB2 so different from the rest of the other SMB games that it qualifies while the other don't?
If anything Mario 64 qualifies more for what it means for 3D games than SMB2 ever did.

And Dragon's Lair? a platformer? it's a QTE game 1rst and foremost!
That particular section is about what Jordan Mechner and Eric Chahi, the creators of Prince of Persia and Another World respectively, have cited as their sources of inspiration for their games. In the supplied link with the Gamasutra article, Mechner gives more info from his notes back in the day, talking about his evolving process of designing Prince of Persia. He mentions SMB2 primarily in context to how the levels are arranged, the sense of progress (and fun) by improving your skills while playing and how you can boost your life meter, collect extra lives etc. which also influenced Mechner to add drinkable potions in Prince of Persia. You're right, some of these things are common for many platformers but SMB2 is the one that inspired Mecher, simple as that.

As for Dragon's Lair, it's the same. Eric Chahi got his idea of using clean vector graphics because he though he could pull off the same animation and fidelity seen in Dragon's Lair (8 floppies on Amiga I think) and drastically reduce the storage size. Also, Another World is pretty much chock full of quicktime events without button prompts, it's kind of one of the things that make it "cinematic".
 
#36
Haven't played the Flashback remake yet, was pretty disappointed with what Cuisset's team did with the original idea.

[...]

And I'm glad that people are still making games inspired by this genre so I'm excited about your project, whatever it may be. :)
Well, Flashback remake to me is... mediocre but still played it until the end.
You really feel that they wanted to do so much but they couldn't. So much wasted stuff in there, it's really sad. And apparently, it was originally going to be a 3D sequel to Fade To Black, and then Ubisoft convinced them to make a remake instead.
Also, you should look at the concept arts of the game: http://soranemathieu.blogspot.fr/
They're really nice.

My project isn't really original; I've got in mind to make my own Flashback remake. I've 90% done the game design, and I rewrote the story from scratch, mostly taking into account what were the problems of the remake, and what people liked and didn't like. I'm pretty confident on this project.
(And in case I get legal problems... I have ideas to make it an original game. But I don't do that because well... I want a good Flashback game.)
 
#40
I think the OP is perfect the way it is. I really appreciate the time and effort you obvious put into making this. Thanks.

I find it funny how I initially didn't think much of this genre.... However, after going through the listed games and realizing how many I have played and loved, I realized how big a part of my early gaming experience it was. Perhaps I need to get back into them.
 
#41
Gameloft actually cranked out quite a few of these on j2me in addition to their Prince of Persia downports. I really liked the one they did for Live Free or Die Hard at the time. There was also one about pirates that wasnt licensed but I forgot the name of it
 
#42
That particular section is about what Jordan Mechner and Eric Chahi, the creators of Prince of Persia and Another World respectively, have cited as their sources of inspiration for their games. In the supplied link with the Gamasutra article, Mechner gives more info from his notes back in the day, talking about his evolving process of designing Prince of Persia. He mentions SMB2 primarily in context to how the levels are arranged, the sense of progress (and fun) by improving your skills while playing and how you can boost your life meter, collect extra lives etc. which also influenced Mechner to add drinkable potions in Prince of Persia. You're right, some of these things are common for many platformers but SMB2 is the one that inspired Mecher, simple as that.
Ok that makes sense.
I guess it wasn't too clear for me.

As for Dragon's Lair, it's the same. Eric Chahi got his idea of using clean vector graphics because he though he could pull off the same animation and fidelity seen in Dragon's Lair (8 floppies on Amiga I think) and drastically reduce the storage size. Also, Another World is pretty much chock full of quicktime events without button prompts, it's kind of one of the things that make it "cinematic".
I can see Another World working kinda like Dragon's Lair on a high level but having played it back in the day, I feel like Another World is actually pretty consistent unlike pretty much all QTE type games where the action are context sensitive in a way.

Thanks for the answers, it felt a little random to just pull these 2 out of all the games out there.
The rest I totally get it I think.
 
#45
One of the best OPs I've ever seen on GAF. Great, great post.

And oh man, Lode Runner and Dark Castle and Blackthorne. You're hitting three different levels of early-gaming nostalgia for me.

Thoughts on whether some of the Epic Megagames shareware-ish stuff like Xargon and Jill of the Jungle would count? I know they're pretty heavily weapon- and powerup-based, but so is Blackthorne.
 

Morfeo

The Chuck Norris of Peace
#47
Holy shit, this is one of the best threads I have ever seen. Great work! Definitely subscribing.

Anyways, what is the reason stuff like the 2D Ninja Gaiden-games doesnt qualify? They felt pretty cinematic to me.
 
#49
Amazing OP. I'm glad to see Heart of Darkness on there I still have the PS1 version in pretty mint condition. Now that Grim Fandango is released, I now would like to see HoD again. If only to taste the tears of new players. Man, such a great game.
 
#50
Great, great thread OP. This is going to make for some good reading. Also already spotting a few games I haven't heard of worth checking out.

Quick question: would something like Freedom Planet qualify? That game has a hell of big story to it. And for that matter, would something like Mischief Makers also qualify? Story's pretty important to that game. I'm guessing they wouldn't because they're based more on skill-oriented challenges, and the levels themselves are designed more to test skill than tell the story in and of themselves.

But, another opinion on the matter wouldn't hurt.
I personally think the idea of cinematic platformer here is more in the execution of the gameplay as coming across as rather stylised and deliberately paced to present a rather stylish filmic flow for lack of a better term, of course I may be wrong.
Something like Freedom Planet is a game that has cinematics and a plot emphasis between stages but plays in a much more action focused manner if you get what I mean, the core is built upon being a fast and frantic action platformer where you can even play the game with no cutscenes at all.

Though you do bring up a good point, the line between a platformer with strong plot emphasis or as a puzzle platformer that could be argued as also being cinematic styled being part of the compendium may be quite thin.
I guess it's a bit up for individual interpretation like for instance what gets classed as an RPG under its wide net and where does that influence end?