What we missed: The true successor to X-Com. That's what. Only a spiritual sequel to one of the single greatest turn-based strategy games of all time, whose owners were even then preparing to stamp on our hearts by releasing X-Com: Enforcer, a third-person shooter so bad that vegetables turn rotten in its presence. Dreamland Chronicles was set in a world where the aliens had almost won, and the last hope for humanity was the secrets locked away in Area 51. For the most part, it just looked like a polished, 3D version of X-Com, but since we're still holding out for one, that would have been just fine by us.
What we got: Technically, we did almost, slightly, get the game. In its original form, it was cancelled due to not being able to find a publisher, but the rights kept floating around and eventually emerged in the form of UFO: Aftermath - a spiritual sequel to X-Com in the same way that a photocopier makes spiritual sequels to your tax forms. It was okay, but definitely not great. Co-creator Julian Gollup went on to design and release the much smaller-scale multiplayer tactical game Laser Squad Nemesis, and the very similar Rebelstar: Tactical Command for Gameboy. X-Com itself of course is due for a reboot later this year, as a 3D shooter. It may be great. It may be bad. It just won't be the X-Com strategy fans wanted.
What we missed: For the five or so people who could actually play it, Outcast was one of 1999's best, most impressive games. A huge, sprawling open world adventure. Funny. Exciting. Densely plotted. The use of graphics built around voxels (3D pixels) created some of the most beautiful, natural worlds we'd ever seen - but unlike many graphical showpieces, Outcast's beauty wasn't simply skin-deep. Advanced AI, gorgeous music, and almost complete freedom to explore and do whatever you felt like made for a truly epic adventure. It's available on GOG at the moment, although we'll admit, you do have to fight it quite a bit if you want to play it now. Trust us, in 1999, it was jaw-dropping stuff. Everyone who played it, loved it. Needless to say, it sold like crap, even if the technical issues made that understandable.
It's surprising that the sequel even got the green light, especially since it was going to change almost everything about the game. Instead of voxels, it was going to use polygons like every other game - taking advantage of the 3D cards that were slowly spreading throughout the gaming world, and appearing on the PS2 instead of just the PC. It was also going to be more of an action game, taking hints from games like Metal Gear Solid 2 rather than the original's "Bruce Willis Plays Zelda" style of design. Truth be told, it probably wasn't going to be what the fans wanted, to the point that one of its founders ended up quitting. Still, Outcast was the Beyond Good and Evil of its day - one that deserved a second chance.
What we got: Outcast is dead at the moment, thanks to its developers going bankrupt and Infogrames never having shown much interest in having another crack at it. There are groups of fans working on mod projects though, notably Open Outcast . You can also find a few bits and pieces about what the game was going to be at OutcastII.net , including screenshots and a copy of the planned storyline.