Today Halo Reach gets released and if everything goes as planned, I’m getting my hands on a copy. To prepare for it, I decided to watch Halo Legends, the anime project that was released a while ago. I’d put off watching it for the longest time, even though my best friend told me several times to watch it. Yeah, I’m an idiot that way.
But now I’ve watched it and I really liked it. Then again, I’m a complete Halo nut, so that’s hardly surprising. The DVD has everything a Halo fan can ask for, ranging from Forerunner back story, comedy bits (the 1337 episode was bordering on too silly, but it pulled it off), awesome action, insight into the Elites and it had lots of nods to the novels for those of us who have read them. The last episode where Master Chief, Kelly and Fred save Catherine Halsey was full of that kind of references, for example, but it wasn’t the only one. Basically, more projects like this should get done, because the end result was awesome.
So Halo Reach will be in my hands soon. I’m debating whether or not I should play it immediately or save it for when my best friend gets back from a work trip so we can co-op our way through it. It’s not like I have a lack of quality games to take on in the meantime anyway… We’ll see. Maybe I should get a poll going or something? “Which game in my pile of shame should I take on first?”
Time for some Sunday gaming goodness, getting this list down to 21. As usual, check out the Top 300 Games tag to look at older posts. Let’s go!
30: Soul Calibur 2 (GameCube) – We used to play endless matches in SC2 and this is my favorite beat ‘em up of all time. What we did, usually we were four or five people playing together, was that we played a team game where we chose eight characters on each “side” and then we took turns playing until all eight on one side were defeated. I also plowed through the single player part of the game, which was more of a series of different challenges that you had to go through. Looking at the stats, I played about 1200 games with the character Yunsung. Link was a bit overpowered because he was the only one with long distance weapons, but if you just sidestepped, that was all taken care of. The extremely buxom girls in the game were… well, they had extremely large and bouncy boobs, so much so that it just became comical more than anything else. They’ve only gotten bigger in every sequel since then.
29: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC) – Whenever I think about this game, I think about atmosphere and a beautiful world to play in. The story is okay and the side quests are really good at times, but what kept me playing was the world I was playing in. It got me hooked from minute one with the beautiful music and the beautiful setting. Beautiful is really getting a lot of mileage here, but the game is truly beautiful in almost every single way. The only not-so-great part of it is the dialogue. The people look weird and there is a huge shortage of voice actors, so most of the people sound the same. It’s also a bit silly that in order to level up your athletics skill, you go around jumping constantly whenever you walk from one town to another. But all in all this is one of the best RPGs out there and I had so much fun with it.
28: Halo 2 (Xbox) – The game that got FPS multiplayer going on consoles. I played this two years ago or something on my Xbox 360, so I missed out on its release, but I really like the story part of the game and the time I’ve spent with it in local multiplayer has been a lot of fun too. The narrative in the single player story is interesting in how you switch between playing Master Chief and the Arbiter, giving you a better understanding of the enemy from the first game. I co-oped my way through it a couple of times and I think it’s interesting that they included a song by Breaking Benjamin at the end of the game. That felt like a gamble that, if it had paid off, we would see a lot of popular music in more games today, as opposed to just being the soundtrack in sports titles.
27: NHL 94 (SNES) – There was one pretty essential feature missing in this game that was added in later versions and that’s the season function. I promptly started playing my own season where I drew up a schedule on paper and counted goals and assists for all of my players. Most of the times I’ve played a season in the NHL games, I’ve played with the Detroit Red Wings since that’s my favorite team. Same thing here. Steve Yzerman ended up with something like 268 goals and 480 points in 84 games. As a reference for you normal people who aren’t complete hockey nuts like me, the most a player has ever scored in the real NHL is 215 points by the best player ever, Wayne Gretzky. In later years, me and my best friend have taken to playing Detroit vs Pittsburgh (his favorite team) in an endless stream of games. We’re so even and it’s a blast in every game. The games usually end up something like 9-8 to one of us.
26: Super Mario All Stars (SNES) – You can call this my cop out pick of the list because it’s a collection and I’ve been really really torn on where it should end up. We’ve pretty much all of us spent considerable amount of time with the Mario games, especially 1 and 3, but I don’t know… to me there’s something missing. I always preferred Mega Man to Super Mario back in the day if I could have my pick. Regardless, this is a collection of games that is almost second to none. SMB1 is THE video game, in my eyes the one that started it all (or restarted it all, if you started with Pong and those oldies). SMB2 is the black sheep of the family, but it’s still fun. SMB3 is one of the most impressive evolutions of a game series ever and then you have SMB The Lost Levels, which I’ve never actually finished. I will probably go back to it just to finish it one day, probably as both Mario and Luigi, but until then, it’ll have to remain that “too damn hard!” game I never managed to beat.
25: Resident Evil Remake (GameCube) – As good as RE4 and 5 are, they don’t hold a candle to the original game. It was the first game I got for the GameCube and today it’s the only one I haven’t wanted to sell. It is beautiful and sooooo damn creepy with atmosphere so thick you can slice through it with a knife. It’s a testament to some games really benefitting from remakes and it makes you think about how other games could be remade.
24: NHL 10 (Xbox 360) – At the time of writing this, it is four days until NHL 11 is released here in Sweden. I’m getting it on release and I’m trading in this sucker. Since I got it, I’ve played countless games, most of them online. It is THE hockey game to play and I hope that the next one takes it a step further. My friends and I have had endless fun playing together in the couch against random people on Xbox Live. The Be a Pro feature was fun at first but it didn’t hold up for long, especially when you started playing online. The center Thomas Johansson with the jersey number 36 was drafted by the Washington Capitals and quickly rose through the ranks, won the rookie of the year trophy and all that jazz. Then I stopped playing and forgot about that feature as soon as online matches caught my eye and I never looked back. At the end of summer my nephew was trashtalking about how he could beat me and I told him that he had no chance whatsoever. Finally we sat down and 12 straight wins (with a combined score of 80-23 or something like that) for me later, he wasn’t so cocky anymore. That was fun.
23: Half-Life 2 (PC) – I feel that this game is insanely overrated, much like Portal. Yeah, both are part of The Orange Box, but I felt there was such a difference between them, so I kept them as separate picks. I include in this pick, however, the “Episodes”. Writing this now, we are still waiting for Episode 3, so the story is not entirely finished, but it’s been years since Episode 2 was released, so fuck it. This game kept the narrative style from the first game and used more engaging supporting characters to tell a deeper story in HL2, for better or worse. Sure, Alyx Vance is a good female game character, but all too often I felt that she was leading me by the hand every step of the way. The pacing is one of the best things about this game and that’s an underrated thing. But the real star of the show is a weapon, just like in Portal. The Gravity Gun made this game what it is. Along with a solid set of vehicles and intriguing set pieces, the story has gotten deeper and deeper for every part, ending with a heartwrenching loss at the end of Episode 2. How it all ends in Episode 3 will be very interesting.
22: The Legend of Zelda (NES) – Link’s first adventure was awesome and it was also responsible for me looking up a word in the dictionary for the first time in my then short life. There’s a cave where an old man says something about a secret and a peninsula. I was seven or eight years old English wasn’t my first language, so peninsula was pure gibberish for me. Getting it translated didn’t help in making sense of the damn clue, but I finished the game anyway. One of the all-time classics. Not a lot more to say here, actually. Just give it a go if you haven’t already.
21: Mario Kart Double Dash (GameCube) – Another couch multiplayer favorite for the GameCube. We never tried connecting several GameCubes, although with hindsight I think we should’ve given it a shot. Then again, hindsight is always 20/20 and we still had loads of fun with this game. I never fell in love with the SNES or N64 versions and the Wii and DS versions are lackluster in comparison IMO. This is it when it comes to kart action. All the tracks are a lot of fun and the side games are also a really entertaining and that’s what this is supposed to be about. Pure goddamn fun.
Now I’m down to the top 20. From now on it’s nothing but slam dunks all the way to the top.
This is the fourth list post about the games and I’m already having a hard time coming up with original ways to start off each post. Oh well… I’m going to be done with the first third of the list after this one. To check out the other posts in this project, click here.
225: Codename Eagle (PC) – This can pretty much be called the beta-test for Battlefield 1942, since it used the same game engine and was extremely buggy. If you’re not familiar with that series, it was the first multiplayer FPS that combined good shooting with proper vehicle control. Codename Eagle had that too, but the words “good” and “proper” should be changed to “weird” and “random”. It was completely possible to fall from the sky in a parachute, activate it and instead of landing on your feet, you started swimming ON THE GROUND, moving around at about 100 mph. In spite of the bugginess the game was very fun in multiplayer. I remember one special moment when I managed to maneuver the clunky bomber plane under a bridge, flying low enough so my friend could jump into the air and get into the plane without missing a beat. Simply awesome.
224: Lips/SingStar (Xbox 360/Playstation) – I’m combining the karaoke games into one spot and they hardly get a spot on this list because they don’t really have much game to them. Since I love singing, they go on the list.
223: Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (PC) – I’ve always had a soft spot for rally games and this one was my favorite on the PC even though it’s pretty old. It had the best driving feel of any of the games in my opinion. Most other games had this kind of gravity that felt like you were driving on the moon, with the car almost hovering a long way every single time you hit some kind of bump.
222: Bubble Bobble (Amiga 500) – The music in this game has to be some of the most iconic you can find on the Amiga. Whenever I hear this music, see video of the game or play it myself, I keep thinking “sweet bubblegum”. Yeah, that’s weird, but it’s the truth. It’s all pastel color and fluffy.
221: Donkey Kong Country (SNES) – This was incredibly cool when it came and it’s still a very solid platformer. However, the reason it’s not higher on the list is because I felt that it just didn’t have a lot of staying power. I just didn’t spend a lot of time on it after the first playthrough and I also didn’t really think that much about the characters.
220: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (NES) – Kevin Costner on the NES. Yes, it’s ridiculous in a lot of ways and they padded this game something silly. There is so much extra stuff in this that you wonder what the developers were smoking when they made it. Still, I had a lot of fun with it when it came. It was a lot of fun back when I didn’t really understand just how buggy it was. Something that always annoyed me was how, when the game shows you character portraits whenever someone is speaking, Alan Rickman’s photo has been switched with Michael Wincott’s, so the big bad guy’s photo is actually just one of the henchmen from the movie.
219: Super Probotector (SNES) – Probotector is what Contra was released as in Europe and the player models were changed from Rambo-like soldiers to metallic robots. It’s classic platform shooting with some over-head perspective shooting sprinkled in just for fun. The spread rifle still rules.
218: Unreal Tournament (PC) – The first of three Unreal games in this entry. I have spent a shitload of time with bots in this game because they were actually pretty decent in it. I think the reason I went with bots is because I could never get good ping times on my old 56k modem. Facing Worlds was really fun to play CTF on and DM-Morpheus with some silly mutators was always a laugh too. This didn’t get a lot of play on the LANs we used to do.
217: Eternal Sonata (Xbox 360) – This is quite possibly the most diabetes-inducing game on the 360. The characters, the plot, the setting and the dialogue is… no, the word “sweet” doesn’t quite cut it. It is so damn über-sweet that it’s not even funny. It gets tiresome. I couldn’t finish the game because of it. However, as sweet as everything is, it is still a beautiful game, both visually and musically. Sadly, it’s all bogged down by the world’s most tiresome cutscenes, something that plagues most Japanese RPGs. Interesting battle system.
216: Red Baron (PC) – The old Dynamix game from 1989 or 90 is what’s up here. I played this with no proper sound card, which meant using the internal PC speaker, and on a black and white monitor. At least at first. Later on my dad got a color monitor. I didn’t care, this game was still so fun to play.
215: Burnout 2: Point of Impact (GameCube) – Some of the most fun I’ve had with a racing game didn’t have anything to do with racing. Burnout 2′s crash mode was so much fun to play around with, to the point where I didn’t really care about the rest of the game anymore. I didn’t really like the other versions as much as this one for some reason. Can’t really put my finger on why.
214: Lemmings (Amiga 500) – I always liked the first Lemmings game the best, because why complicate things? Sure, it can be fun to add rocket pack lemmings and a bunch of other skills, but keeping things simple is usually the best way. Finding creative ways to massacre them was always fun.
213: Unreal 2: The Awakening (PC) – Second Unreal game in this entry. This was the second game with a proper story mode and I can’t remember what it had to do with the first one. They seemed completely disconnected from each other. I really liked the design of this game and one of the levels was this desolate technological fortress that was overrun with giant spiders. Freaked me out like nothing else in that game.
212: Delta Force 2 (PC) – More voxels! This game was a lot more polished than the first one and the single player mode was actually worthwhile. I really loved the vast expanses of terrain because back when these games were released, the size of most levels/maps wasn’t that much to write home about. I used to take an M4 with a grenade launcher attachment and just go nuts on the opposing soldiers. Taking them out with a sniper rifle was also extremely satisfying, more so than in most games.
211: Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (GameCube) – If there is something that is all too rare in gaming, it is the mindfuck. Eternal Darkness got this right on so many levels. As you played the game and your character got more and more insane, the game would throw all sorts of strange effects at you, among them telling you that the memory card was corrupt. That was a real scare that really messed with you and when you later realized that it was all just part of the game, you could go “phew” and chuckle at the ingenuity of game design.
210: Quake 3 Arena (PC) – The most of the time I’ve spent with this game has been playing The Longest Yard over and over again. It was a nice blend between Quake and Quake 2, but for some reason, I couldn’t get fully into it. Don’t really know why, because it should’ve been the perfect multiplayer game for me. Fast FPS action was just my thing and I was really good at it.
209: Scribblenauts (Nintendo DS) – Scribblenauts is a fairly new game to me and I haven’t beaten too much of it yet, but I really like what I’ve played so far. If you’re like me, you try to be creative with your solutions, not using the helicopter and rocket pack over and over. I’ve had a lot of fun trying to see just how much stuff they’ve crammed into the game by entering random stuff that pop up in my head. I also like pitting random characters against each other. Does God beat Cthulhu? No, not without certain weapons. Vampires? I’ve tried surviving a nuke in many different ways.
208: Army of Two: The 40th Day (Xbox 360) – This is the sequel and it’s worse than the first game. I hate it when that happens, especially when it’s obvious that the development decisions that went into this one are obviously stupid. For example, how about not having a clear enemy? The first game had it. This one didn’t and the game really suffered from it. Still, it was a pretty fun co-op experience.
207: Myth 2: Soulblighter (PC) – The Myth series was the last thing Bungie did before they started working on the Halo series. Yes, I know they made Oni too, but that was made by an expansion studio and the studio folded after that game, so it doesn’t count. Myth 2 was refreshing because it didn’t focus on resource gathering or base building. It was a purely tactical game and it was a lot of fun in multiplayer. It was also really bloody and it was cool to see body parts flying all over the place.
206: Unreal (PC) – Third time’s the charm, at least for Unreal games and this list entry. I love this game, it was seriously tense and frightening the first times I played it. What really made it stand out compared to most other FPSes that were released around the same time, was the use of color and lighting. It was pretty dark, but it was not just all brown smudge everywhere. The opening credits still give me chills.
205: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (PC) – The old TIE Fighter game was a lot of fun, but it was choppy as hell and the action wasn’t near as tense as in this one. I had a Logitech Interceptor joystick (picture) that I used with this game and it was so much fun. I wouldn’t want to play it with the mouse and keyboard. Being able to play both the Alliance and the Imperial ships was what made the game so much fun.
204: Elastomania (PC) – Very small game, lots of fun. This was an exercise in weird physics and really strange levels that were virtually endless. Predecessor to the XBLA hit game Trials HD and very addictive.
203: Slicks ‘n’ Slide (PC) – Another addictive racing game seen from above. This was a little DOS gem that could be fiddled with to increase the speed of the game, etc. I had kind of a competition with a friend of mine to get the best times on a bunch of tracks. If I’m not mistaken, you could play four people on the same computer. LAN play was out of the question.
202: Resident Evil 0 (GameCube) – I never finished this game, but I like what I played, although not as much as the other games in the series. I know this is a silly thing to say, considering it’s the Resident Evil universe, but I felt that this game got a little out of hand. I like Rebecca as a protagonist and Billy works too, but the rest of the cast was very “meh”. Really didn’t care for the bad guy.
201: Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii) – I wanted to get one of the Smash Bros games on this list and this is the one I’ve spent the most time with, even though that’s not very much. I had a hard time getting into the concept of Smash Bros because I was used to beating your opponent and then going on to the next round. Here you had to beat the other people out of the screen and the round doesn’t really end when you’ve beaten them once. That makes it a lot more frantic and fun, but that’s also my biggest gripe with it. I like to have control and Smash Bros is just a bit too chaotic for my taste to land it higher on this list.
I’m still debating whether or not I should go 25 each down to 150 or all the way down to 100. There will be at least two more posts with 25 spots each, leaning towards starting off the 10-posts at 150. That way I can cram in some more thoughts about each game.
After watching some videos for Halo Reach, I’m starting to build up a lot of expectations. Normally, I’m pretty mellow when it comes to me buying into the hype of games. I can look forward to playing games, but that doesn’t mean that I go nuts about them. For some reason, I’m not like that with the Halo games. Here’s a video where one of the Bungie guys are showing off some multiplayer action while providing some interesting commentary and all the small details have gotten me all excited.
It’s nothing extremely special, really, but it’s all the small things put together that I really like. The funny thing is that I haven’t actually played Halo 3 that much online. I’ve been wanting to, but I’ve had other games that I’ve wanted to play more, mostly to get through single player story stuff. But I think that I might actually log a lot of time with Halo Reach. I bought Halo ODST, so I should be able to download the Reach beta and try it out.
I also can’t wait for the story mode of Halo Reach. I usually play it through myself first and then I get a few playthroughs co-operatively with some friends and I expect the same to happen with this one.