Biggest Glow Ups

Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow to Gold/Silver/Crystal, Kirby‘s Dreamland 2 to Kirby Superstar, Adventure of Link to A Link to the Past…… There’s a lot of series that go from anywhere between bad/mediocre/alright to incredible in the span of a single new entry. What are some of the biggest glow ups in games you can think of? (The hotter the take the better!)

A couple of examples come to mind for me:

Star Control is ok, but Star Control II is fantastic.

Ultima Underworld was an interesting experiment, Ultima Underworld 2 is a great game.

The jump from Commander Keen 3 to 4 was quite impressive to me at the time.

(Sorry, these are all entirely lukewarm takes)

An easy one would be Street Fighter to Street Fighter 2

(even though I've never played street fighter and only have played like an hour of street fighter 2)

Some more I've thought of:

Megaman 1 to Megaman 2
Super Smash Bros. 64 to Super Smash Bros. Melee
Final Fantasy III to Final Fantasy IV
Super Mario Bros. 2 (both JP and USA) to Super Mario Bros. 3

I'm a Nintendo baby though!! Would especially love to see input from those more versed in other platforms.

I'm going to go with… Dino Crisis!

The first was awful, the second was incredible, and the third had LIGHTNING SHOOTING DINOS IN SPACE - the real reason the stopped at DC3 was because they knew nothing could top that.

King of Fighters 12 to King of Fighters 13 was the worst game in the series to the best. I feel like there's half a dozen other KoF examples, very up and down series as far as quality goes haha.

Savage Reign to Kizuna Encounter is another huge quality jump SNK sequel as is Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 to Garou Mark of the Wolves

Cave and Psikyo both had a string of much better sequels. On the Cave side:
DonPachi to DoDonPachi
DoDonPachi to DoDonPachi DaiOuJou
Espgaluda to Espgaluda II
Mushihimesama to Mushihimesama Futari

And then for Psikyo
Gunbird to Gunbird 2
Sengoku Ace to Sengoku Blade
Strikers 1945 to Strikers 1945 II

>

@“MichaelDMcGrath”#p43233 DonPachi to DoDonPachi

damn you beat me! I was writing something about DonPachi to DoDonPachi and how DonPachi doesn't feel totally like a cave game but felt like a mixture between a toaplan and a raizing game somehow, because they were still defining the identity of a cave game.

Another shooter one would be (at least imo) Thunder Force III to Thunder Force IV, TFIV feels a lot more refined and has better level design.

Kingdom Hearts to Kingdom Hearts II is a pretty significant leap

LISA: The First was an unremarkable Yume Nikki clone, while LISA: The Painful is one of “the” indie RPGs people often talk about and it spawned many fangames.

Yeah, I wasn't there when they came out, but I feel like Metroid 1 and 2 kind of suck... at least in comparison to the rest.

@“Kimimi”#p43227 Dino Crisis 2 really is fantastic, it feels like such a modern game compared to the first, and really feels like one of the more modern games on the PS1. I sort of feel like Lost Planet is the successor to the Dino Crisis throne, but doesn't have the goofiness.

Crash Bandicoot to Crash 2.

The first game does have a unique atmosphere that the later ones don't try to replicate though. I feel like Crash, Spyro, and Donkey Kong Country follow the same trajectory within their trilogies where the first entry is sparse and atmospheric, the second is the “definitive one”, and the third goes overboard on gimmicks/pals/vehicles.

Metroid II to Super Metroid

Streets of Rage to Streets of Rage 2 - this is a massive jump

Mother to Mother 2

Virtua Fighter to VF 2

Ridge Racer/Revolution to Rage Racer to R4

Final Fantasy IX to Final Fantasy X

Dragon Quest VII to Dragon Quest VIII too for that matter

@“tomjonjon”#p43249 I was also considering Mother 1 to 2, but I think the progression of the Mother games feels pretty natural… Everything about Mother 1 is really great aside from how much grinding is needed. On their next attempt they made a very similar game, just this time bigger and without a need to grind. Then Mother 3 learned from those lessons and made one of the best games of all time. I think there'd be a case to be made if they just went straight from Mother to Mother 3, but Mother 2 feels like a logical follow-up from the first game, as well as a logical predecessor to its sequel.

Pac-man to Pac-Man 2: The new Adventures

Tetris to Tetris 2

Farmville to Farmville 2

Devil May Cry 2 to Devil May Cry 3

(Maybe a cheating a bit since DMC2 is universally understood as a big step backward. DMC1 is pretty great but there's still a tangible jump in quality to the third installment in terms of gameplay, presentation and story. The music has always been pretty great)

Yakuza Kiwami 1 to 2: Kiwami 1 is clunky and worse than 0 in pretty much every way imo. The boss fights are mostly quite bad, mashy health sponge freaks abound, and the side stuff wasn't nearly as good. Kiwami 2, for all that it changes from the original in tone, feels like a much deeper game. Everything about it felt better.

Dragon Quest Builders 1 to 2: 1 feels almost like a proof of concept while 2 became the actual game they were always meant to make.

Ys Memories of Celceta to Ys VIII: Ys Seven and Memories of Celceta were still trying to figure out the new combat style and it was mostly okay but both are pretty underwhelming. VIII figured it out through and the game moves and grooves in ways the previous couple really struggled to.

Witcher 2 to Witcher 3: This might be a little bit unpopular since W2 is also very highly regarded but I thought that game kinda sucked and lost what was unique about the original game. W3 captures that and more, doing everything better and building just a staggering amount on the foundation of the first two.

Burnout 2 to Burnout 3: like come on

Story of Seasons to Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns: After the Harvest Moon/Natsume shit went down it felt like the series was in a really weird place. The first SoS felt kind of like a game that didn't hit on any of the core pillars of the series. All of the mechanics didn't feel quite right, the marriage candidates were stiffer than usual, didn't have a particularly good look to it. A year later Stardew came out and people were, stupidly imo, saying HM/SoS had had its time. Then Trio of Towns comes out and really delivered a great experience. It was hugely expanded from the first one, introduced well realized new elements, had killer DLC, a much more enjoyable localization. Just fantastic stuff.

F-Zero X to F-Zero GX - massive upgrade in speed, graphics, music, track design, technical skill required. Sounds like Nintendo doesn‘t believe there’s room to iterate on F-Zero GX, hence no sequel to the 2003 Gamecube release.

Metal Slug to Metal Slug 2.

The first one had big, fun military stuff going on with larger than life weaponry. That's got lots of charm, for sure, and it's a great game, but when 2 came around it had aliens and monsters and laser beams and all kinds of crazy malarkey happening that really gave the series its signature tropes and made it feel like a big fun Sci fi B-Movie.