Not in a writing mood, but might as well push through it and get down to 61 on the list. I’ve had a few chaotic weeks, emotionally, but it’s best to push that aside and try to accomplish something, even if that’s just a small thing such as writing a nostalgia-filled list. Let’s go!
70: Portal (PC) – When this game came out I didn’t fall for it instantly. I had to play it through a second time to really appreciate all the good things it offers. It was revolutionary and re-invented how you look at 3D gaming and it was a real challenge to think your way through all the puzzles. GLaDOS is quite possibly the funniest antagonist ever. The worst thing about this game is that the net got over saturated with “The cake is a lie!” jokes that ARE NOT FUCKING FUNNY! Pretty much everything else about it is genius. It’s just a pity that it’s a bit too short.
69: Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (Nintendo DS) – My favorite of the Castlevania games. Feels like there isn’t much more to say about it, but I try to compare it to all of the other games, both the ones that came before it and the ones that came after. The conclusion I come to, for me, is that this got the concept perfected while still adding fresh things. I think they went too far with how Portrait of Ruin took the concept to another place in the next game and from what I’ve played of Order of Ecclesia, I don’t like that one at all, even though the higher difficulty is interesting. Dawn of Sorrow has the perfect blend of difficulty, hammy story, interesting weapons and abilities while also introducing the touch screen function in a good way for the boss fights.
68: Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (PC) – Fantastic sneaking action here. As far as pre-Conviction Splinter Cell games go, this is the one you want. It’s beautiful, you get a good set of moves, the missions are interesting and the story is kept engaging. All the while the atmosphere stays at its peak throughout the whole game.
67: MechWarrior 4: Vengeance (PC) – Good shit, although the mech building stuff was a bit too simplified for my taste. Can be downloaded for free these days, I think. The story was fairly interesting and a bit more personally engaging than the rest of the games, but as a BattleTech nut, I don’t need a basic “they killed my family, now I want revenge” story. I understand that people who don’t know BattleTech inside and out would like that kind of story better, to motivate them to play a bit more, but I don’t need it.
66: FreeSpace 2 (PC) – The most epic space action flight sim ever created. This game has so much atmosphere and such perfect flight sim controls that beyond ridiculous. It’s too bad that there has never been a sequel to it, because the story was really interesting too. The music and sound design is still insanely good and would definitely hold up today.
65: Peggle (Xbox 360) – Second most addictive puzzle game I’ve ever played. You just can’t stop playing Peggle once you start. You just need to get through all of the puzzles and clear all the challenges. Trying to figure out what character is the best for each puzzle is a nice little facet, but mostly it’s just about making the perfect plays.
64: Meteos (Nintendo DS) – Most addictive handheld puzzle game I’ve ever played. This was the perfect game for me to buy for my DS early on, because it showed how uniquely you could use touch controls compared to the classic controller input of a D-pad and buttons. Even today with all the smartphones, you still can’t get as good responsiveness with your finger on an iPhone compared to this. It becomes a frenzy and you try to get all the pieces up in the air as more gets dumped on you.
63: Shadow Complex (Xbox 360) – Metroidvania in high definition. Shadow Complex intrigued me early on and when I found out that two books were being written to support and flesh out the story in conjunction with the game, I got even more excited. It has excellent gameplay and it’s a giant love letter to all the other Metroidvania games. If I have to say anything outright bad about it, the game is a bit short, but at least it’s short and sweet. The books by Orson Scott Card are good too.
62: Moonstone (Amiga 500) – Quite possibly the bloodiest game on the Amiga 500. This was so much fun to play along with three friends, each of you getting a knight that is really bad-ass. I see it as the spiritual predecessor to Castle Crashers, but this game has no humor whatsoever. All the enemies are really scary in their own right and you fear some of them a lot. The multiplayer dynamic makes the competition pretty exciting. The others know if you find something important and then they can go after you. Then it’s on and only a duel will settle it.
61: Blackhawk (SNES) – Also known as Blackthorne. Blizzard knows how to make solid, storydriven platform action and this grim tale just teems atmosphere. There is a nice progression of skill in how your gun gets upgraded every few levels and the puzzles forces you to play patiently and methodically, much like Flashback which is higher up on the list. Very engaging game.
After the next post, there will just be 50 games left. Insane numbers if you think about it, but there are a bunch of great games out there and I’ve missed a bunch of them too.
It’s getting more and more interesting for every post that I get closer to the number one spot. Moving along down to spot 71 today and some really fun games are coming up. Check out this tag for the all the posts about the list, as usual.
80: Metroid Fusion (Gameboy Advance) – Samus Aran is a great heroine and I actually didn’t like this game that much at first. The changes to the classic Metroid concept, the fact that there were no metroids, it was all a bit hard to accept. About a fifth into the game, though, it became a lot of fun and the weird looking suit that Samus was wearing didn’t look so weird anymore. Her voicing her thoughts got interesting after a while too and all in all, I’m amazed that they managed to pack all that into a small GBA game. You went through the game being really scared of the evil Samus clone that was totally badass.
79: Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360) – Big step up from the first game in pretty much every aspect. Better graphics, better weapons, better control, better action, better narrative, better multiplayer, and so on. Gears is still very gray and brown, which is a bit of a drag, but the action is extremely solid and it’s a lot of fun as a co-op experience. Both the story and the Horde mode are good fun to play together with a friend and the goals you got for achievements made for some extra fun.
78: Mega Man 4 (NES) – The fourth Mega Man game was a clear step down from the previous game in the series, but it still had incredibly solid action, control and music, staples for the Mega Man games. Pharoah Man is the robot master I remember the most from that one, especially because of how his weapon killed off the last boss.
77: Mirror’s Edge (Xbox 360) – Before this game got released I watched the trailer over and over and I fell in love completely with the music and the aesthetic. I obviously didn’t know how the game would feel, so that was still a big question mark, but from the moment I finished watching that trailer, I knew I would love this game and I did. The feel of the free running is almost perfect and the way you navigate the levels is so intuitive.
76: Doom 2 (PC) – I never actually played the first Doom. I know, I know… but I played the second one a whole lot and we had a lot of fun with this one in multiplayer, especially with the version we played that we got from my friend’s big brother. He had changed the sounds of the game into a bunch of randomness with him and his friends. Random sounds aside, Doom 2 is a a scary game and it was extra scary back in the day.
75: International Karate + / IK+ (Amiga 500) – This game was pure cool back when we used to play it. The coolest thing you could pull off was the double kick to knock down both of the opponents. You, your friend, a TAC-2 joystick each and then just go to town on each other (and the CPU opponent). The bonus games between the matches were a lot of fun too, especially the weird one where bouncing balls and heads came at you.
74: Baldur’s Gate (PC) – I have a confession to make. I never actually finished the first Baldur’s Gate. I think I got about two thirds through before I stopped playing. That’s not a slight on the game, though, that’s just me being stupid. It’s a very good game and I loved the lush forests when I played it. My biggest gripe was that it was so very low-level. You never really built your character into something really interesting. Still, this set the standard for high fantasy games and still holds up today.
73: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (Gameboy Advance) – The best Castlevania game on the GBA and it took the series to a new level. Soma Cruz is a weird name for a hero, but it is what it is and he is okay as the protagonist. Not much to say, really, it’s more Metroidvania that’s incredibly polished.
72: N+ (Xbox 360) – There is an achievement in this game that you get when you die a thousand times. You will die a thousand times on the way to finishing all the levels. It is so minimalistic yet still so fun because of the perfect platforming. It has a fun co-op component to it too and a huge amount of challenging levels.
71: Resident Evil 2 (GameCube) – The Resident Evil series is, on the whole, one of my favorite game universes. I’ve played a lot of the games and I’ve also read a bunch of the books. Zombies are quite simply a very effective horror to build stories around and Resident Evil took this one step further with all of the other horrors that the Umbrella Corporation unleashed upon the world. The second chapter in the game series is a memorable one and I really liked going through the game with both Leon and Claire. The police station was a great choice of location for this second game and the lickers gave me a lot of scares.
I feel like writing “some really fun games here” but that’s been true for pretty much every post and it only gets more and more fun, at least for me, the further I get into this list. Thoughts?
Time to count down some more on the list. As always, check out this tag to view all of the posts about the list.
90: Indiana Jones & The Fate Of Atlantis (PC) – This was probably the first point and click game that I really finished. Played it on my dad’s computer and it was really tricky. I really don’t understand why they didn’t just adapt this for the big screen when they made Indy 4, instead going with that Crystal Skull BS that turned out to be extremely “meh”. This game isn’t like most of the other point and click games that I’ve tried, in that it’s not completely illogical and whacky all the time. Most of the time you can figure out the puzzles without much help. This was the last great Indiana Jones game.
89: Ikaruga (GameCube) – Shoot ’em up’s grand master as far as I’m concerned. You kind of need to re-program your brain to be successful at this game, but when you do, you just “get it”. What I’m talking about is the polarity mechanic. When you’re light, you absorb light attacks and you do normal damage to light enemies. But you take damage from dark attacks and you do double damage to dark enemies. And vice versa of course. Since the game only uses three buttons (one for basic attack, one for the special attack you build up to by absorbing enemy attacks and lastly, one for polarity shift), it seems easy to get into, but the learning curve is crazy steep. Then one day, you just stop playing frantically and learn how to use the polarity shift to your advantage and everything is a breeze. That’s when you can get into attack combos to max out your score, but I never really cared for that.
88: Gears of War (Xbox 360) – This first game in the Gears series is pretty good, but it’s not close to the second one. You kind of get thrown into the middle of things and you don’t really understand what’s happening. But then you get some levels into it and the atmosphere really ramps up. It’s a good co-op game, but sometimes it can be a bit frustrating. Great action, though, and it’s really visceral. The soldiers are ridiculously macho, but it’s all part of the game.
87: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360) – Some people probably thought this would end up higher on the list, but I thought this was a huge letdown after how well the previous Modern Warfare game played. It’s still incredibly solid action and the Spec Ops missions are fun, but that doesn’t take away the comparatively sour taste the single player campaign left me with. It’s not bad by any means, it’s just not great. Now obviously, I haven’t really played it on Xbox Live, but I’ve played it on local deathmatch and that’s pretty fun, especially creating a class that runs constantly.
86: The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind (PC) – Morrowind captivated me so much when it was first released. It was choppy like hell on my computer, but soooo beautiful. The music was wonderful and I could literally sit for a long time and just look at the night sky in the game. That’s how mesmerized I was. It’s a dirty, grimy RPG that really makes you feel like you’re a part of that world. The outlandish world was a bit much at times, but I had a lot of fun doing alchemical stuff, especially when it meant I could create a potion that would make me fly for three minutes while making me invisible. Lots of fun and very unbalanced. I never finished the game, but I still spent over 50 hours on it. The game is simply huge.
85: Cannon Fodder (Amiga 500) – War has never been so much fun! A game where you control tiny soldiers and kill enemies in the jungle. If one of your guys dies, you just grab another one from the long line of recruits. But you want your guys to live long so they get to go up in rank, etc. I played through this with one of my friends on his Amiga 500 and it was a complete blast from beginning to end. It has a lot of humor and you get a taste of it quickly because of the song that plays at the beginning of the game where the singer goes “War has never been so much fun!”. Why this hasn’t been remade into a current-gen game is so beyond me that I don’t know where to begin.
84: Bionic Commando Rearmed (Xbox 360) – The original was fun, this is that much fun and much, much more. The whole game has been remade into this lovechild of high definition graphics and sound and the gameplay of the old NES version. It just rocks. The feel of the game is perfect and the music consists of cool remixes of the original tunes. It also has a bunch of challenge rooms that I’ve tried to grind. I have the final room left and it just kills me. All of the other rooms have one tricky obstacle, two at most. The 56th room has an endless amount of tricky things to overcome, so you really need a perfect run to make your way through all of it. The game has co-op too, but weirdly enough, my best friend and I haven’t really spent that much time on it.
83: Condemned: Criminal Origins (PC) – A cross between brutal streetfighting, CSI and a horror movie, Condemned was a big and pleasant surprise when I played through it. As Ethan Thomas, you’re an investigator who gets caught up in a crime plot, trying to find a serial killer who imitates other serial killers. The game has an incredible amount of atmosphere and the hand-to-hand combat is really violent and visceral. Just one guy coming at you freaks you out a lot. Imagine three at once and you’re really on your toes. Awesome game. I’ve tried the sequel but that was a giant “meh” in comparison.
82: Colin McRae DiRT (Xbox 360) – I love rally games. It’s a special kind of driving challenge and you really need to pay attention to the guy calling out turns for you. DiRT has a great rally section but it also has a bunch of other disciplines for you to master. Some of them are just tiresome, like the buggy races and trucker races. But the hill climb and duel races are a lot of fun, plus the main part of the game is still rally racing. It is beautiful and it has great drive feeling.
81: Aliens vs Predator 2 (PC) – One of the scariest things in gaming is to play as a Marine in any AvP game and have a motion tracker go off and suddenly start beeping while you can’t see anything in the direction of the beeping. This game has that in spades. The only thing that’s a shame is that it’s heavily scripted. In the first game the aliens ran around randomly so you were never safe, even if you had played the level before. On the other hand, this game has a great story and great narrative. It’s also more interesting to play as the alien because you evolve throughout the game.
Alright, so that’s enough for this time. I plan on getting up part 80-71 on Saturday. Thoughts?
It’s been a few days since I posted, so it’s time to get on with it again. I’ve been with my family at Sweden’s biggest amusement park and spent time with Assassin’s Creed 2 as well as doing some barbequing with a bunch of friends. Long weekend, a lot of nice experiences. Time to get back to the list. As usual, check out this tag to check out the rest of the posts, going all the way back to my initial thoughts and reasoning behind the list.
150: MechCommander 2 (PC) – I am a huge fan of the BattleTech universe and MechCommander 2 is, sadly, a game that I wish I could’ve spent more time with, but things just didn’t pan out back when it was released. Still, I played it enough to have fun with it, but I didn’t like the narrative as much as in the first one. The first one was about kicking Clan ass and the second one was about the Inner Sphere squabbles that happened after that. That’s probably gobbledegook to most people, but the first one was simply better. I will say, though, that the ability to play for three different factions was quite interesting.
149: LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Xbox 360) – Wonderful co-op game. The LEGO games are all working with the same concept. Take a movie/toy/comic/book brand and make a game out of it where you run around as different characters with a few standard abilities, collecting tons of different things and building stuff while everything is in LEGO. I’ve only spent considerable time with LEGO Star Wars, going through the story along with my best friend. It’s a fun ride and most of the story bits are told with a lot of humor, even the serious stuff. The controls, however, can be very frustrating, especially the camera and how well you can see depth of field. This means that a lot of the time, you jump to a platform only to discover that you were way off because of the crappy camera perspective.
148: Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers (NES) – This is a Disney classic on the NES and not surprisingly, it was made by Capcom. Great game that’s a lot of fun just because it keeps things simple. The design is spot on because you’re tiny and the world is big, so it’s fun jumping around on huge plants and whatever else there is. You can play co-operatively and the fun thing when doing that is that you’re able to pick each other up and throw. This usually leads to conflict in one way or another, in a very fun way.
147: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (SNES) – One of the best Mario games, as far as I’m concerned. It was extremely unique to play it back when it was released, because no one understood how Nintendo had the balls to make you play as the Yoshi family instead of actually playing as Mario. I just love the art style of this game, but I always felt that there was something missing. Maybe it was Baby Mario’s damn whining that was the problem?
146: Street Rod (Amiga 500) – One of the most monumentally epic fails in my gaming “career” was when I had gone through this game, winning street race after street race, tweaking cars left and right, repainting them to look nice, etc. It was one of the last races before I’d won all the cars, or something, and I was getting ready to start the race. The countdown starts and I promptly shit the bed and wreck the transmission. Woohoo, all that “work” down the drain and back to the drawing board. Awesome game.
145: Call of Duty 2 (PC) – Well, we’ve been here before. Yet another WW2 game, so I don’t really know what to say. The screenshot I chose for this game is one of the most tense sequences I’ve ever played in a game, where you have to lay down fire on a big town square while hordes of enemies come at you. Just about everything from the first game was improved on in this one, really solid action.
144: Mega Man 5 (NES) – And here is where Mega Man enters my list. The Blue Bomber’s adventures have a few things that make you go “that’s Mega Man” if you come across them. First of all, the music. As far as 8 bit music goes, Mega Man has no peer. His games are simply the best 8 bit music you can find. Then the tight controls. They are just perfect and make the third point possible. The action. It’s just goddamn perfect platform shooting action. In MM5 the concept was getting a bit tiresome, so this was when I stopped playing the 8 bit games. It was still an awesome game though.
143: Doom 3 (PC) – This is a case where iD Software went from an old game and tried to up the ante to what was current. They couldn’t make another mindless shooter with solid level design and no narrative. They also couldn’t make Carmack’s engine work its magic to have many enemies on screen at the same time. So they went for nice narrative and really creepy atmosphere with more shock horror than the looming fear of walking into a room filled with a hundred enemies. I played this with the flashlight mod, because I couldn’t stand not being able to light my way everywhere I went. That was a stupid design decision if there ever was one.
142: MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries (PC) – More BattleTech. This was the first Mech game I ever played, before I started reading all the books, so I didn’t get fully into all the technical bits of it, all the details. I also had no clue what the game was about, but it was cool to control a walking tank and lay waste to a bunch of stuff. I say walking tank, because I go nuts every time I see a Mech referred to as a robot. Mechs need pilots and can’t think for themselves.
141: Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll (NES) – This was a really fun game. Fun for real. I don’t just mean the gameplay and whatnot. I’m saying that the snakes looked like they were having so much fun and the music had so much swing to it that you couldn’t play this game without enjoying yourself.
140: G-Police (PC) – If only this game would’ve taken off and become insanely popular. Sadly, it didn’t. I just love the whole dark futuristic city that you work in as a part of the police air force or whatever it is. Fantastic action game and a prime reason to own a joystick back in the day. In fact, I’m wondering why they don’t do something similar today. Think Descent in a futuristic urban environment.
139: Rise of the Triad (PC) – This was one of the most fun multiplayer deathmatch games that we used to play on LANs. I can’t actually remember if I played the story part of it and frankly, it doesn’t matter, because we had so much fun with the multiplayer.
138: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Gameboy Advance) – This Zelda game helped me pass the time when I moved to another city in 2004 and hadn’t gotten my place set up properly. It follows the, by now, classic Zelda formula and it has a lot of fun elements to it. One of them is the match-the-pieces thing that you do to unlock a bunch of stuff. That really got me going in a really OCD way, because I wanted to find all of them. The talking hat was entertaining too and they did a lot with the regular/mini size changes.
137: Heavy Gear 2 (PC) – More Mech action, or rather Gear action. The publisher behind MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries lost the rights to the MechWarrior brand, so they got the Heavy Gear brand instead. This was the sequel that I spent loads of time trying to get to work on my computer, mainly because it wasn’t released for European keyboards. Trying to re-map the controls by fiddling with config-files was a bitch, but it was worth it. Heavy Gear 2 was amazing.
136: Assassin’s Creed (Xbox 360) – This game had so much promise that went down the toilet because of repetition. You had nine big assassinations to do and for every one of them, you went through the exact same things to prepare for the hit. That kind of repetition got insanely tiresome and effectively killed the game for most people, myself included. The second one is another story, but I’m not done with that yet. Still, for all the faults of the first one, it is a very inspired game with great parkour action.
135: Diablo (PC) – “Stay a while and listen.” How many times have you heard that line? I love the simplicity of this game and in a lot of ways I like it more than the sequel, mainly in terms of level design. All the “levels” you went through to get down to Diablo felt no-brainer and they nailed a lot of the bosses, especially The Butcher.
134: Aliens vs Predator (PC) – The first AvP game for the PC introduced the horde mode that’s become very popular today. That’s not, however, what made this game fantastic. No, this game lives and dies on atmosphere. It has it in spades and I can count on one hand (okay, maybe two) the games that have had me more scared. The aliens were unpredictable because they weren’t always in the same places. When you played as a marine, you faced the aliens for so long that when you finally ran into a predator, you shit your pants. You felt mighty as the predator and fast and sneaky as the alien, just right. It was also really cool to go back to the levels as the other species.
133: NHL 2001 (PC) – This represents all the PC NHL games that I played. If we go by time spent, I should probably have this a lot higher up on the list, but a lot of the time, it was just a war of attrition against the AI. With pretty much every game, I played at least a season with the Detroit Red Wings.
132: Killer Instinct (SNES) – I will go into why I liked this over Street Fighter 2 in another post, but what matters here is that I did. I thought the graphics were awesome and I loved the different fighters. My favorite to play as was Fulgore, but the others were fun too, especially when I learned combo breakers.
131: Probotector (NES) – Contra for the US audience and the soldiers were transformed into robots, but what the hell, it’s the same game. The spread gun has never been as big of a life-saver as in this game and the only thing that keeps this game from being higher on the list is the maddening difficulty. Talk about unforgiving.
130: Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Gameboy Advance) – The first portable Metroidvania game that had a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t have a clue about if it weren’t for GameFAQs. The different cards you could collect, the combos you could do, etc. Great game even without that knowledge, though, and it’s one of the best Metroidvanias out there.
129: Wolfenstein 3D (PC) – Another game I played in black and white on my dad’s computer with PC audio. When I played this in color and with a proper soundcard for the first time, I was floored. It was such a badass game to play and I was playing this game for a long time. Moving along a wall, pushing the use button to try and find secret doors took up a lot of my time in my early teens. So worth it.
128: Need for Speed 2 (PC) – This is kind of a collection post for NFS2, NFS3, High Stakes and Porsche Challenge, but mostly for NFS2. These were all fun racing games in singleplayer, with High Stakes probably being the most fun of the bunch, but when it came to multiplayer NFS2 had them all beat. My friends and I used to play all of the stages, but one in particular got a whole bunch of playing time with us, although I can’t remember its name now. I used to spend the first lap driving the wrong way and then turn around when I met (read: crashed into head first) the other guys who were going the right way. Then I would spend the remaining seven or eight laps in catchup mode, going faster than what would normally be possible. It was so much fun.
126: Castle Crashers (Xbox 360) – This far into the list, it should be obvious that I like co-op play. Castle Crashers is pure co-op awesome in a little jar. One of the best games available on XBLA, with its unique art style and hilarious game design. We basically went through this game, four of us, in one sitting and the time just disappeared. When we were done, we thought the time was about midnight. It was 3 AM. Go figure.
I have a bunch of work stuff to take care of this week, so I don’t know how much writing I’ll be able to get done. I’ll get 125-101 up before Friday.
Not a lot to say here, just keep it going. Check this out if you want to see the rest of the posts about the list.
175: Hitman 2 (PC) – The second game was different from the first in that it gave you an alternative if your regular assassination attempt didn’t work. Regular being using disguises and all that jazz. So what would you do? Shoot your way through it. The game had markedly better shooting controls.
174: Mario Kart DS (Nintendo DS) – I never got that thing that made it possible to connect your DS via wifi to a USB connection point in order to connect the DS to the internet so you could play multiplayer online instead of just within your wifi radius. That’s why this game is down here. It got comparatively boring pretty fast to only play the AI. Still, it’s Mario Kart, so it’s on the list.
173: Army of Two (Xbox 360) – Cookie-cutter shooter but it becomes quite entertaining in co-op. Not blow-your-socks-off great, but solid and enjoyable. Also, the camp factor of this game is through the roof. Miles better than the sequel, since it has a clear bad guy you go after and the environments are a lot more varied too.
172: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (Nintendo DS) – For some reason, this wasn’t as fun as the first game and I’ve been trying to put my finger on why that is, but no such luck. It could be the whole postapocalypse vibe that permeates the entire game. Or that the characters aren’t as entertaining as in the first. However, the skirmish mode is still awesome and the fantastic concept of turn-based strategy is still there.
171: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (Xbox 360) – The biggest problems with this game were that the narrative was all over the place and that the environment, the ravaged city, got tiresome too fast. I also didn’t think that it had as good of a kinetic feel to it as the first game, especially during the firefights.
170: Worms Armageddon (Xbox 360) – I’m talking about the second Worms on XBLA here. Great game for couch competition, especially the game type where you and the opponent gets a fortress each and you’re lobbing grenades at each other. I tried playing it on Xbox Live, but most people were too boring, never being willfully chaotic, instead just playing tactically to win. Meh.
169: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 (GameCube) – This is the only skateboarding game that I gave a proper shot and for some reason, it stuck with me and I had a lot of fun with it. I tried out some later Tony Hawk games and I’ve also tried out the Skate games, but they’re just “meh” with me.
168: Wii Sports (Wii) – I like this the most when it’s played during a party involving alcohol and lots of people. Or when I try to hit homeruns. I like the baseball part the best, but boxing is fun too, although I suck at the controls in that.
167: Grand Theft Auto 4 (Xbox 360) – I think I’ve played about four or five “missions” of the main story. Hardly anything at all. I still spent 10+ hours with the game, running around like a madman, having fun by creating havoc, shooting people and stealing cars. I actually want to get through the story of this one, but a lot of it is soooo tedious. The brother, for example. Why you’re not presented with an option to shoot him within five minutes is beyond me.
166: Lumines Live (Xbox 360) – I first played this on my friend Micke’s PlayStation Portable years ago and it almost became reason enough for me to buy a PSP, although that never happened. But then when Lumines was released for the 360 a few years later, I picked it up and I just love the music together with the puzzle gameplay. It’s still one of the best puzzle games around and it’s like you get into a trance-like state when you’re completely into it.
165: Lost Planet (Xbox 360) – Lost Planet was the first game I ever played on an Xbox 360 and the first game I experienced on a high definition TV. I tried the demo at my friend’s place on his brand new HDTV and it blew me away. So later when I got my own 360 and HDTV, this was among the first games I got for it. It has incredibly cheesy cutscenes, but the action is very good, both when you’re on foot and when you’re in a mech. Some of the bosses are huge and the game gives you a great sense of size.
164: Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (PC) – This was the first really solid WW2 shooter if I remember correctly. There’s not a lot more to say, I think, because the whole WW2 shooter has been done to death at this point.
163: Splinter Cell: Double Agent (PC) – The story of Sam Fisher, part four. In this game, Sam thinks he doesn’t have a reason to live and becomes a double agent for one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world. It’s a pretty interesting game, actually, in how you have to play two sides, but some of the pacing in the game gets weird. I got to the cruise ship level and stopped playing there for some reason. I think I’ll finish the game someday, because it’s still a pretty good game with solid sneaking.
162: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (Gameboy Advance) – I love the Metroidvania games, but this is the worst of them. It is all over the place and a lot of the skills and mechanics are subpar for the genre. Still, it’s a Metroidvania game and I love ’em. Good thing I got this on a dual cartridge along with Aria of Sorrow, which I’ll come to later.
161: Daigasso Band Brothers (Nintendo DS) – A music game on the Nintendo DS? You betcha! I got this as a Japanese import and I don’t know if it was ever released in English. It works kind of like the current console music games, except you don’t get any weird peripherals. It tells you when to press the different buttons on the DS, for how long and everything else. The tricky tunes get really hard when you have to switch between eight different buttons + modifying them with the L and R buttons. On the other hand it’s a lot of fun to play the classic Nintendo music.
160: Hexic HD (Xbox 360) – Another 360 puzzle game, this one is quite the opposite of something like Lumines. Most other puzzle games I’ve played have been designed around pressure mounting by giving you less and less time to do what you have to do. Not Hexic. Well, excluding one of the game modes of course. Most of the time you can just watch the screen and take all the time in the world to figure out what you need to do.
159: Firepower (Amiga 500) – Oh, here’s an old-timer that has gotten waaaaaay too little attention. This was one of the most fun games on the Amiga 500 and I just loved playing the versus mode. My friend and I even made this contraption to put up a cardboard screen between us so we could only see our own half of the monitor. Tank action at its best.
158: Command & Conquer (PC) – The first one. It still has the best death scream of any game ever. This was one of the first two games I bought for myself when I got my own PC back in 1996. The other one is in the 12th spot on this list. I always liked the original series more than the Red Alert spinoffs. If nothing else, then just for the reason that the commando was so much cooler than that damn Tanya in Red Alert.
157: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (PC) – I had a lot of fun with this because I didn’t feel like playing a simulator version of the Star Wars flying games. You just plopped down in front of the computer and pulled off flying that was awesome.
156: Another World (SNES) – Also known as Out of this World. This game is actually not that long, but it has style and atmosphere in spades. Excellent game about someone who wakes up in a strange world. Created by Delphine Software, this had great control and was the start of something great, the result of which will show up in the 50s on this list.
155: Age of Empires 2 (PC) – Another RTS that I spent a lot of multiplayer time with and virtually no singleplayer time. I was never close to being the best of the bunch when me and my friends played this, but it was still pretty fun to build a base and defend it, especially the castles. My favorite units were the Teutonian knights. Damn, they could take a beating before going down.
154: Quake 4 (PC) – The second game in the storyline started in Quake 2, this game gets you back on Stroggos and it’s a wild ride. The wildest part is when you’re turned into a Strogg soldier. That was actually pretty cool and gruesome. Standard action with good graphics, solid game.
153: New Super Mario Bros (Nintendo DS) – I had a lot of expectations for this game when it was released, but they were tempered quickly when I started playing it. It was just not the same thing anymore, not the same, good, old Mario gameplay. I don’t know what it was, but it just felt wrong.
152: Call of Duty (PC) – Pretty much the same as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, but this one had more narrative flair in how it intertwined the different stories. Playing as a Soviet soldier was very refreshing back then. Other than that, not a lot to say, since it’s another WW2 shooter.
151: Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (Nintendo DS) – What set this Metroidvania game apart from the others was the whole control-two-characters-at-once design. It was actually pretty cool and it made you think more about how you’d tackle each room, but in the end it had a pretty pathetic story that wasn’t very interesting. What was more interesting was the stuff you unlocked when you finished the story. Suddenly, you could control those two scary sisters and you controled them with the DS stylus.
Halfway through the list now, getting closer to the end. I’ll do two more entries of 25 games each and then start with the top 100 with 10 games in each post.
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.
Time for the next 25 entries in this giant list, getting close to wrapping up the first 100. As usual check out the blog tag Top 300 Games for all the posts about the list.
250: Leisure Suit Larry (Amiga 500) – The ultimate video game pervert made his debut in this game that was kind of the silly antithesis to Police Quest. I thought this was soooooo cool and grown up when I played it and my cousin wrote me a walk-through way before GameFAQs was around, just so I could go all the way with a skanky hooker. Wonderful…
249: Journey to Silius (NES) – Journey to Silius was a fresh change of pace among a bunch of brightly colored and generally cheery platformers on the NES. This was a dark, dystopian tale that featured awesome action, interesting enemies and some of the best music in the entire NES game library. This was good shit and it still holds up today, so check it out.
248: North & South (Amiga 500) – One of my friends had an Amiga 500 and this was probably the game that we played the most. We made aiming cannons into an art and I can still remember all those times when I tried to sneak a few infantrymen across a stream to let them loose on my friend’s artillery, only to aim them incorrectly and they’d leave the battlefield without doing any damage. Damn it! Although I was usually pretty good at doing those train assaults where the game turned into an action platformer.
247: Track & Field 2 (NES) – I wonder how many NES controllers and/or fingers have been worn out because of this game. To this day, I still can’t come up with a game that centers so much around pressing a button or two repeatedly like a madman. We got so good at turbopressing that we were faster than the autofire controllers that were available back then.
246: Delta Force (PC) – Voxels… Ah, they were supposed to be the new graphical revolution in video games, but then polygons took over and the rest is history, as they say. But voxels were pretty cool too, even if they lacked the texture detail that some polygon based 3D games had. Why? Draw distance. With voxels, the game world could be virtually endless and it could be as flat or mountainous as you wanted it to be. I used to play skirmish games on it, where the game would spawn 50 or so enemy soldiers and then it was my job to kill them all. Most of the time, that meant me picking them off with a sniper rifle. Fun stuff!
245: Pro Wrestling (NES) – This game has the greatest game over screen of all time. “A WINNER IS YOU!” Oh, the memories… My favorite fighter was always Star Man because of his trippy outfit, but I liked the monster guy who could chew on heads too.
244: South Park (PC) – I don’t remember playing through a lot of this game’s story mode, because it was basically just about shooting turkeys. The real fun was in the multiplayer and we used to play that quite a bit at one point. It had some really creative weapons and this was a couple of years into South Park’s popularity, so everyone loved killing Stan, Kyle, Cartman but especially Kenny. Yes, we were that predictable and boring.
243: Giants: Citizen Kabuto (PC) – The most interesting thing about this game, apart from the wacky humor and the beautiful graphics, was that you played as distinctly different characters. The most fun to play as was Kabuto, because he could wreak havoc like no one else since he was so big and strong and could take a thorough beating before he went down.
242: Tiny Toon Adventures (NES) – Same thing here as with Giants, you could play as different characters. Of course, this wasn’t in a big 3D game world, it was just a classic NES platformer. But it worked really well and was a lot of fun. I loved playing as the Tazmanian Devil’s kid the most.
241: Crusader No Regret/Remorse (PC) – I baked these two into one entry because frankly, I can’t remember how to tell them apart and they were basically the same thing anyway. Awesome, isometric, shooter action that I would love to see a remake of on XBLA or something like that.
240: Grand Theft Auto (PC) – Gouranga! That’s what popped up on the screen in large letters whenever you managed to run over an entire procession of Hare Krishna worshippers. The reason I like this game so much is because it was so simple and yet so big and so fun. Not a million mini games. You could do a lot of things with it even though you could only drive cars and stuff viewed from above. Some of the chases that went on for a while got really intense.
239: Super Star Wars (SNES) – The best of the bunch as far as the SNES Star Wars games are concerned, in my opinion. It could be that it was the first one, but I thought it was really exciting and had a lot of great action. I remember renting this and putting it into my console only to hear the familiar Star Wars music blaring out of the TV.
238: Punch Out (NES) – I always wondered how some of the guys in this game actually got as far as they did. King Hippo? Come on! I think the farthest I got was to meet Bald Bull the second time. As I recall, I couldn’t beat him that time, but it was a long time ago, so I could be mistaken.
237: The Settlers (Amiga 500) – My cousin and I used to play this because he had a hard-on for building games. His favorite part was the guy who went out to look for minerals. I liked the whole thing and now that I think about it, I’m actually a bit surprised that I haven’t really picked up any of the sequels.
236: Castlevania II – Simon’s Quest (NES) – Looking back on this title these days, I don’t really understand what made it stand out for me so much back then. Perhaps I didn’t have better judgement, because it’s a pretty shitty game that’s complete nonsense a lot of the time. Great music though.
235: Syndicate (Amiga 500) – My friend used to roll his eyes at me just because I insisted on always having a shotgun with one of my guys in every mission, imitating Michael Biehn’s Corporal Hicks in the movie Aliens: “I like to keep this handy for close encounters.” This was another dystopian favorite of mine when I was younger, but I didn’t really get much of the story, if there even was one. My friend and I just plowed through the missions because it was good action.
234: Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) – This was the ultimate zombie game way back before zombies got so insanely popular. It was extremely fun and equally hard when you got a bunch of levels into the game. Those homicidal little knife maniacs were my primary hate objects but there were a whole bunch of annoying enemies that you could hate.
233: A-10 Tank Killer (PC) – I used to play this on my dad’s PC when he still had a monochrome screen and I think I played it with the invulnerability cheat on for the most part, but then when I got a bit bored with it, I figured out how to turn that off and play it properly, learning how to follow the different orders and using the right bombs/missiles for the different assignments. I haven’t really touched a realistic flight simulator since then.
232: Hidden & Dangerous (PC) – Remember what I said about Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines about wanting it to be released with a fresh skin? Well, this is sort of it, but it was released pretty closely after Commandos. It was a bit more action-oriented, but still focused on stealth, which was a lot of fun. Actually, it’s the kind of game that could probably be released today and garner a lot of success. I liked it because it was more than just shooting stuff. It forced you to think a bit before you pulled the trigger.
231: Bucky O’Hare (NES) – One of those games that got way too little exposure and fanfare. This is one of the best platformers on the NES and again, it’s one of those games that lets you play as different characters with different abilities. I’m noticing a pattern here.
230: Red Faction (PC) – I remember when the demo for this game was released and I tried it. You got to play a bit of the first level and you also got to play around with a fun-house level that was just a glass house in a mine. I used to edit the config files to up the explosive force of the packs of dynamite or whatever they were, just so I could blow away more rock. Finally, I found out that the level had hard limits that I couldn’t blow myself past. Meh. Fun game in story mode, it was one of the first FPS games that really pulled off vehicles mid-game.
229: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (NES) – The first TMNT game was a bitch to play and this one was also quite tricky, although a lot more manageable. The biggest improvement over the first one, apart from… well, everything really, was that you could play two players this time around, which was completely awesome.
228: Ninja Gaiden (NES) – This was called Shadow Warriors here in Sweden, but it was just as fantastic and horribly difficult. But I beat it, although I can’t for the life of me understand how today. I was some kind of NES ninja back in the day. I tried the sequels on the NES too, but I figured that I had gone through enough with the first game. Those damn birds can go suck a big fat dick as far as I’m concerned. They are the single most annoying platforming enemies ever. So unforgiving.
227: Ignition (PC) – A Swedish developer made this game, actually, and I remember the gaming magazines over here made a big deal out of it. I thought it was an okay racing game, very casual. It felt more like controlling those little remote-controlled toy cars you used to have when you were a kid.
226: Gun.Smoke (NES) – Capcom has made some really classic NES games and Gun.Smoke is one of them. The period is there because of copyright issues with the TV show. This is still one of the best western games ever released, which says a lot about how bad western games have generally been through the years.
I’m 75 games in now, how does it look?