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10 Classic Gaming Franchises That Didn’t Survive The Transition To 3D

Change is hard for everyone. Even if someone's situation is less than ideal, the idea of life becoming unrecognizable is still scary. As people get older, the world changes around them and this also is difficult to handle. Things that were once simple are now complicated. Ideas that society once held valuable change or are deemed improper. Some people adapt to this and end up living a fulfilling life as they embrace the change. The key, perhaps, is to let change come and carefully select the parts of the past worth preserving.

Video games move faster than life. Titles barely a few years old are already looked at as relics of the past. With each new innovation comes new challenges for older series as they do their best to utilize this new technology in an effort not to feel outdated. Some succeed, others fail, and a few will shun modern conventions and continue their own trend, turning into retro or throwback franchises.

One famous era of gaming that produced numerous casualties was the transition from 2D to 3D. The PS1, Nintendo 64, and Sega Saturn ushered in this new path for the medium. Games like Super Mario 64 and Metal Gear Solid pushed the interactive art form forward in ways previously thought impossible and solidified their respective series' places in the gaming pantheon.

Other franchises couldn't adapt and ended up in ruins, or at least went dormant. This list will take a look at those unfortunate games that didn't survive the transition. While their attempts at 3D are painful to look back on, their 2D classics are timeless.

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10 Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic 2006 running

When consoles started embracing the third dimension, Sega spent years figuring out how to translate their mascot's speed to the new frontier. Prototypes were made, but nothing felt right until Sonic Adventure.

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The game wasn't as lambasted as other titles on the list, but it also wasn't as thrilling as older Sonic games. Unfortunately, it only went downhill from there. 2006's Sonic is often decried as the worst game from the series, and a contender for worst of all time.

9 Prince of Persia

Prince of persia 3D sword fight

The original Prince of Persia is brutally difficult, but earned a cult following. Six years after the second game, Prince of Persia 3D came out to lukewarm fanfare. It wouldn't have been so bad if there weren't tons of bugs and glitches. These were eventually remedied, but the reception caused the franchise to recede into the shadows. Four years later, the series corrected its path with the beloved Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

8 Earthworm Jim 3D

Earthworm Jim 3D

The original Earthworm Jim wowed gamers with its impressive animation and creative artistic direction. The only 3D entry of the series brought none of that creativity with it.

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Doug TenNapel, the character's creator, also bemoans the title.

7 Bubsy

Bubsy 3D PS1

Declaring Bubsy a classic franchise maybe stretches the definition of the word "classic," but the cat has his fans. The first game garnered a cult following, but the second entry tarnished the series' reputation. Little did fans know, it was only going to get worse from there.

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Bubsy 3D utterly destroyed everything likable about the prior games. The cat plays like a battle tank, and the environments are jumbled messes of textureless polygons... The studio behind it has seen better days since, having recently released Days Gone.

6 Altered Beast

Altered Beast PS2

Altered Beast is one of the Genesis' best side-scrolling action games. Americans are perhaps disappointed they never got the PS2 game, but they should consider themselves lucky. The transformation mechanic remains, but the game doesn't resemble the original in any other way. Since then, the series has only appeared on classic gaming collections.

5 Contra

C the contra adventure PS1

Even with the iconic Konami code, beating the original Contra games is a challenge. It's this tense, alien slaughtering gameplay that made them so beloved. Unfortunately, C: The Contra Adventure for the PS1 is not as revered. the 2D levels are decent, albeit easier than its forefathers, but the 3D sections are nigh unplayable. The mistakes were rectified the following generation with Contra: Shattered Soldier.

4 Mother

Mother 3 GBA version

Earthbound's unbridled creativity made fans wonder just what the creators could accomplish with 3D. Mother 3 did start development on the Nintendo 64, but it never finished. Fortunately, the game did materialize as 2D Game Boy Advanced title. Unfortunately, it never made its way west, and Nintendo has shown no interest in localization.

3 Final Fight

Final Fight Streetwise Not released in America

Side-scrolling beat 'em ups were king in the early '90s, both at home and in the arcade, and Final Fight was one of the best. What other game lets players rampage through the city streets as the mayor?

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The three-dimensional Final Fight: Streetwise from 2006 sucked out of the franchise and replaced with an attempt a gritty and grimy tale. The series has remained dormant since then, but is ripe for a throwback sequel. With Streets of Rage 4 coming out soon, perhaps there's a chance.

2 Golden Axe

Golden axe beast rider

Golden Axe was popular enough to warrant two sequels. It slowly withered away as arcades' popularity dwindled and 3D dominated the home space until 2008 when Golden Axe: Beast Rider came out. What should have spawned a new series of games ended up stopping in its tracks. Golden Axe 3 has never found its way onto consoles, so they could revive interest in the series by porting that game.

1 Castlevania

Castlevania 64

Action-adventure games for the NES, SNES, and Genesis don't get much better than Castlevania. When the PS1 came around, Symphony of the Night remained 2D, but became a fan favorite.

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Nintendo's first 3D console also brought the series into the third dimension. Castlevania 64 has its defenders but is largely seen as the franchise's first misstep. Enthusiasm for the series hasn't been the same since, and the only venerated game to come afterward was Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

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