Cult Classics: PlayStation 2 • Page 2

Part 2: Klonoa, Mark of Kri and a dork with horns.

Forbidden Siren

  • Developer: Sony
  • Publisher: Sony

You'd think that a new horror game from the people behind Silent Hill would garner plenty of attention, but this creepy stealth effort was perhaps too stealthy for its own good, slinking off the shelves without being noticed. Possibly too similar to Silent Hill, what with a story involving an eerie town trapped in a hellish dimension by a bonkers cult, Forbidden Siren (released as plain old Siren elsewhere) is still one of the better entries in the survival-horror canon. Of particular interest is the gameplay decision to focus almost entirely on hiding from monsters, rather than fighting them. You can attack the shambling creatures, and get rid of them briefly, but you can't kill them permanently. Instead you have to sneak through truly skin-crawling scenarios, hoping they don't see you with their horrible faces. To help you out, the game has another trick up its sleeve - sightjacking. By twizzling the right stick, you can "tune in" to the monsters nearby and view the world through their eyes as they hunt you down. Clearly the world wasn't interested in a horror game which didn't involve shotgun blasts to the face or crowbars in the cranium, although it did manage to produce one sequel in 2006. Both are worth your time.

What we said: "An immensely challenging and absorbing experience."

Ebay price guide: Less than GBP 5

Herdy Gerdy

  • Developer: Core Design
  • Publisher: Eidos
herdy

It's hard to criticise a developer too harshly for attempting something out of the ordinary, but when Core Design opted to take time out from Tomb Raider to create an all-new game, I somehow doubt that their corporate paymasters at Eidos were thrilled to learn it was about herding. Yep, like sheepdogs and that. While the concept proved to be commercial poison, the game itself actually offers a surplus of charm and whimsy, topped off with some truly stunning graphics. The story is utter arse - you must defeat a big bad thing by herding animals - but with a delicate blend of platform exploration and Lemmings-style puzzling, Herdy Gerdy is the sort of quirky-but-accessible idea that would be right at home today on the Wii. For now, seek out a PS2 copy and drink in the enormous animated landscapes. OMG! It's like being in a cartoon!

What we said: "Will Herdy Gerdy be doomed to live forever in bargain bins whimpering about sequels and blinkered PlayStation owners?"

Ebay price guide: Less than GBP 5

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory

  • Developer: Capcom Digital Studio
  • Publisher: Capcom
maximo

You'd think that the successful translation into 3D of a seminal arcade game would make more than a little splash, but Capcom's rather wonderful updating of Ghosts n' Goblins soon fell by the wayside, spawning only one equally-overlooked sequel before the series reverted back to 2D for its PSP outing. And that's a shame, since Maximo is one of the few retro updates to actually enhance the source material without losing sight of what makes it special - you collect coins and mangle the undead through a series of spooky platforming levels. And, yes, it's pretty tough. Not as tough as its legendary arcade ancestor, but with an unforgiving save system it's certainly one of the more challenging action-adventures out there. It's also a rock solid action-adventure and one that deserves more lovin'.

What we said: "A Saturday morning cartoon of a game with a grown-up skill setting."

Ebay price guide: Less than GBP 5

The Mark of Kri

  • Developer: Sony San Diego
  • Publisher: Sony
mark

Don't be fooled by this game's Disney style artwork. Mark of Kri was one of the most brutal of the PS2's legion of stealth games, with some staggeringly nasty ways of despatching your foes. Our hero is Rau, a hulking warrior whose appearance and approach to combat is drawn from Polynesian culture. The game shifts somewhat awkwardly between the expected pouncing on unaware enemies and full-blooded slash-'em-up, but the effect is never less than entertaining. The combat system is rather clever, allowing you to fight multiple enemies at once, by using a lock-on system that assigns each combatant to a different face button. With the minimum of practice, it's possible to lay waste to all around you with pleasing agility and grace. And you'll also see a lot of blood, since Rau impales, beheads and bisects those who cross his path with glee. If you enjoyed the unapologetic mayhem of THQ's recent Conan game, you'll certainly enjoy Mark of Kri.

What we said: "Arrived at very much the wrong time for a game of its almost-brilliance."

Ebay price guide: Less than GBP 5

Okami

  • Developer: Clover Studio
  • Publisher: Capcom
okami

File this one alongside ICO as a game that was apparently just too damn artistic for most players. Earning a thoroughly justified 10/10 this time last year, Okami takes the typical Zelda RPG framework and does astonishing things to it. It's not just that game looks so damnably gorgeous, its paint and ink graphical style rivalling anything on the next-gen systems, but that this graceful look is actually integral to the gameplay itself. Playing as the spirit form of a white wolf, you have the power of the Celestial Brush. When activated, the screen turns sepia and freezes, allowing you to paint over the action. Place a bold stroke through an enemy, and it turns into a damaging slash when reality kicks in again. Spatter dots on the ground and they sprout into orchids and blossoms. What makes it even more amazing is that in the same year that Clover Studio created something as delicate and thoughtful as Okami, they also gave us the ludicrous mania of God Hand. That such an insanely skilled development team was disbanded after producing two such innovative and completely disparate games is precisely why such titles should be cherished. The good news is that Okami is being resurrected for the Wii, where its brush-stroking should prove a compelling fit. Don't wait though - pick up the original and see what you've been missing.

What we said: "A game that will be talked about for years to come."

Ebay price guide: Between GBP 10 and 15

Part 3 coming soon, featuring animals wot do crime and robots that aren't Japanese, among others.

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