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?
It’s high time I get down below the hundreds, so here we are with the last few games before we get there.
125: Splinter Cell (PC) – The first adventure with Sam Fisher and this was a revelation to me when it was released. I’d always loved the narrative maturity of the Tom Clancy games and this one was no different. You really felt like a ghost sneaking around and taking guys out, but you had to be a ninja, because if you got several guys after you, you were pretty much toast.
124: Geometry Wars: Evolved 2 (Xbox 360) – I didn’t like the first one at all, I thought the learning curve was way too steep. When this was released I was a bit hesitant, but trying out the different game modes sold me on it. What I love about this game is the combined frantic and calm nature that comes with it. There can be a hundred things happening on the screen and in all that chaos, you succeed the most when you stay calm and learn how to prioritize among the targets while figuring out how to move.
123: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (Gameboy Advance) – The amount of time you can sink into this kind of turn-based strategy RPG is mindblowing and I have a friend who’s been almost religious about this genre. Myself, I got about halfway through the storyline while building my team. It’s really addicting trying to plan out how you want your guys to develop.
122: Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64) – I think this is the only N64 game I’ve got on the list because I was never a fan of that console. I did, however, love playing Super Mario 64. It’s been said countless times, but this was the first game that really brought solid 3D platforming controls to gaming. This had everything we all love about the Mario games. Incredibly solid platforming while moving the genre forward. It was just plain fun to play.
121: Diablo 2 (PC) – For the longest time I regarded the original Diablo to be the better game, mainly because it annoyed me that the sequel had you playing in the desert and in the jungle. Those were very un-Diablo-like areas. Still, the game was a lot of fun to play with other people. I didn’t, however, get completely stuck in grinding that some of my friends thought was so much fun. I just thought it was a fun hack and slash. And no, it is no RPG. I hate it when people label it as that.
120: StarCraft (PC) – More Blizzard. I think this was the last RTS I really played extensively. The reason why is because one of my friends got insanely hooked on it and beat the rest of us with no problem. That made me go “huh… so I suck at this… fuck it” and I spent most of my time playing action games from then on. The music still gives me chills and I’m actually curious about the sequel. First time in over a decade that I’m curious about an RTS.
119: Day of Defeat (PC) – Woohoo, even more WW2 shooting. However, this time it’s not some bland single player campaign, so that doesn’t matter. Day of Defeat was the WW2 response to Counter-Strike and it was a lot of fun to play.
118: Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (Xbox 360) – This was a tricky one to rank. On one hand there were many gameplay improvements over the first R6 Vegas, but on the other the story and environments were quite uninspiring. I had a lot of fun with it, especially in co-op, both in story and terrorist hunt, but in the end the game was too bland to get a higher ranking.
117: Batman (NES) – Badass. That’s what this game is. I haven’t sunk my teeth into Batman: Arkham Asylum yet, but I hear it’s the best Batman game ever. Well, before that, this game held that honor. It has it all. Great action, tight controls, awesome music and more atmosphere than 50 other NES games put together.
116: Blood (PC) – One gadget I used to dominate the multiplayer games between me and my friends was the crystal ball. With it I could camp at a spot while I saw the perspective of another player. Then when he was in a good, vulnerable spot, I’d pounce on him and take him out. Worked all the time. The voodoo doll weapon was fun too and Caleb is one of the more memorable one-liner-spewing main characters in any game. Everything brought to us by the good old Build engine.
115: Super Monkey Ball (GameCube) – Monkey Target. That’s all I should have to say here. The minigame that stole the thunder from the regular gameplay. My friends and I spent a lot of time on that, gliding towards the different target zones. We also spent a lot of time playing Monkey Fight, which was very brutal in a cute and fun way. But seriously, this game should be played for Monkey Target alone.
114: Civilization 2 (PC) – Oldie but goldie and a lot of fun in multiplayer, provided you have a lot of time on your hands. I haven’t really sat down with any of the sequels, but I’ve wanted to. If only I had more time… but Civ is always Civ and this classic series was a mammoth early on. I remember one of my friends having the huuuuge manual that came with the original game. You could kill people with that brick.
113: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Xbox 360) – I know this was originally released on the PlayStation, but I never had one of those and played this the first time on Xbox Live Arcade. I really like it, but some of the sequels on the GBA and the DS have been improved on greatly. Some of the funniest moments in gaming are the voiceovers the few times there is dialogue happening.
112: Fahrenheit (PC) – Any game that contains necrophilia has to be good, right? No, it’s not THAT sick. It’s actually fairly romantic necrophilia. Okay, seriously, this game is fantastic for the first three quarters and then it just tanks in a mess of mysticism and weirdness. Before that it is a great detective game with great narrative. The European version wasn’t censored, so we got the love scenes and some other weirdness. It was called Indigo Prophecy in North America.
111: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Manhattan Project (NES) – I remember getting this on one of those Japanese import cartridges and what I loved the most about it was that the turtles actually had individual special moves. I liked Michaelangelo’s the most, the way he’d catapult himself up in the air, taking any foot soldiers along with him.
110: Rock Band 2 (Xbox 360) – Multiplayer music! This is just plain fun, although I can’t play the drums worth a damn. But I can still sing and play guitar 🙂 It’s a bitch to do both at the same time if you don’t know the lyrics and melody by heart.
109: MDK (PC) – Murder Death Kill is what I heard this stands for when it came out. It’s one of the more unique games I’ve played, an interesting mix of shooting, platforming, style and humor. One of those that I wish could get a fresh coat of paint for the current generation of consoles.
108: MechCommander (PC) – Ah, yes, BattleTech. This is an awesome strategy game, especially when you get down to the nitty-gritty of how to build mechs and stuff like that. It doesn’t have the prettiest graphics, but I still think it’s a solid game to pull out from time to time. It’s a real thrill to take down a MadCat with a few lighter mechs.
107: Odium (PC) – This was also released as Gorky 17 and I think the developers are Polish. It’s a semi-weird game that gave me a lot of Fallout vibes because of the grid- and turnbased combat while telling a scary story about covert mutations by the Russian army or something like that.
106: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles in Time (SNES) – This is one of the funniest multiplayer games I know. It’s a pretty fast run to go through the whole game along with someone else and the action is as good as it gets on consoles for a turtle lover.
105: Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast (PC) – The best Star Wars game I’ve had the priviledge to play. Going through the game, plowing through hordes of stormtroopers with ease was fun, yes, but not exactly earthshattering. Then, when you started facing off against other opponents with lightsabers and force powers, guys that were not bosses, the game took a turn and got very tense, because you could stumble upon one of these guys at any turn. Taking on three or four at once was so damn fun.
104: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (PC) – Another game that just oozes atmosphere. It’s a bit slow in the beginning when you don’t have any equipment at all, but then it really gets going, especially when you start moving past the halfway point. I had a lot of fun with this and it was both good action as well as scary during some parts of it. Too bad it was quite buggy.
103: Stunts (PC) – I don’t know how many tracks I made for this game. The thing is, I didn’t really make them so they could be standard racing tracks. No, I wanted to break the game and find loopholes. Take a long straight road heading right towards a hill and then at the top of the hill, put a big ramp, then see what happens. I was able to make the game get my car driving upside down and mirrored, so if I pressed the left arrow key, it turned right. A lot of fun.
102: Metroid Zero Mission (Gameboy Advance) – I never got myself to play through the entire game of Metroid and I had to hunt for this game for a long time before I could find it at an affordable price, but boy was it worth it. Adding the last part of the game was a genius move and made you appreciate the suit even more.
101: Bionic Commando (Xbox 360) – At first, when I started playing this, I really didn’t think that much of it. The controls felt clunky and you couldn’t really do much. However, at some point during the game, I got the hang of the controls and some of the added abilities really made the game fun. Even though the story is as cheesy as they come (most ridiculous plot twist ever), the action is just so damn solid. It’s incredibly entertaining to swing around like some weird monkey while really kicking a lot of ass. This game was a pleasant surprise.
Alright, all done with the first 200 games of this list. From now on I will post ten games per post. What do you think so far?
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.
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?
Lots of games left to cover on this list, might as well keep it going. Check the blog tag Top 300 Games for all the posts about the list.
275: Maniac Mansion (NES) – This was a game that I got when I was really young and I didn’t understand it. A few years later, I went at it again with better results, but I didn’t beat it until even later still, when I tried it on Amiga or PC. The NES controller or interface didn’t really make things easy in this point and click game. Quirky game that is the predecessor to one of the funniest games of all time.
274: Blades of Steel (NES) – This game is completely hilarious to play these days, not only because of the downright weird hockey played, but also because of the jersey colors and other stuff. Of course, that’s from my perspective as an NHL fanatic. The fighting was fun and it could be a bit tricky to score sometimes, but I thought it was better than Ice Hockey (the NES game) because it felt more grown-up and cool. Really good music.
273: SWAT 4 (PC) – The SWAT games always felt like the red-headed stepchild in the family of tactical shooters. Compared to the Rainbow Six series, this was pretty dull, but it was still pretty cool because it was a bit closer to reality than the extreme terrorism scenarios in Rainbow Six. The action part of it wasn’t too good though, and the whole process of having to keep track of all the weapons and having to hogtie everyone got pretty boring in the long run.
272: Darius Twin (SNES) – A sidescrolling shoot’em up that was pretty entertaining and unique back in the day. You shot at big, robotic, flying fish. In space. Yes, someone was smoking powerful stuff when coming up with the concept for this game. Awesome gameplay though 🙂
271: Icewind Dale (PC) – This was the lesser cousin of Baldur’s Gate, didn’t lean that heavily on the story, but it was a nice dungeon crawler for anyone who loved the AD&D RPGing in Forgotten Realms.
270: Skyblazer (SNES) – This platformer was a nice action game where you could scale walls and I borrowed it from a friend. Then a few years later I wanted to play it again, so I borrowed it again and started playing, but something felt wrong. After a while, I was finally able to put my finger on what had been feeling wrong. I realized that the first time I’d borrowed it, I’d also borrowed a music CD (Pandora, apparently her genre is called “eurodance”. Okay…) that I’d listened to every single time I’d played the game. I promptly went back to my friend and asked to borrow the CD again, so I could play the game properly. Weird how audio/video associations work in our brains sometimes.
268: Puzzle Quest Galactrix (Xbox 360) – This was a game that I had great expectations for, but I was sorely disappointed. The game mechanic had been changed to something where randomness was too big of a factor. Still, there was kind of a charm to it that made me overcome the fairly shitty game mechanic. Also, the whole space gate closing issue got REALLY annoying after a while, but I just kept playing to get through the whole thing.
267: Police Quest (Amiga 500) – Here’s a classic. This is the kind of game that really got the imagination and creativity going, only to be disappointed by finding out that it was pretty limited. It would have been so much more fun if you could actually grab the balls of the guy in the precinct shower or just shoot anyone you wanted. Also, it got me paranoid about walking around my car every single time I wanted to drive somewhere, because if I didn’t, it might blow up randomly.
266: Prince of Persia (PC) -PoP had a very kinetic feel to it, even though it was released so many years ago. The motion of the prince was very well animated and the limited time the game gave you to run and fight your way through the castle gave it excellent pace and tension. I’ve been thinking about buying this old school version on Xbox Live.
265: Total Annihilation (PC) – My friends and I used to play this wonderfully big strategy game during LANs, but only after one of my friends had lobbied for it for months. When we gave it a shot we discovered that it’s actually a lot of fun to take your commander unit (I forget the exact name) and wreak havoc on your opponent’s base. I never played the story mode.
264: Lemmings 2 (Amiga 500) – I remember not actually playing through the levels of this one as I did with the first one. Instead I mostly just started one of the big rooms with no exit and went nuts with all the different skills you could give the lemmings. Lots of fun!
263: Super Return of the Jedi (SNES) – This one was the weakest of the SNES trilogy games. The concept was getting kind of old and you had all the force powers and yada yada… Still a lot of fun though and I think the Star Wars music always sounded great on the SNES.
262: Quake (PC) – I actually played through this game in a version that wasn’t the retail one. One of my dad’s colleagues got me the game and I could never beat the last level. Then when I asked a friend of mine how he did it, he showed me on his computer. I was flabbergasted because it wasn’t MY last level at all. The one my friend played actually made sense. Oh well… I guess I got some kind of beta version. This was the first game I started using the mouse to control the view. Before that, all the FPSes I had played, I’d done it with keyboard only. Great, fast-paced deathmatch, although my friends and I didn’t play it very much.
260: Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines (PC) – Wow, this is one of those games that I wish could be re-released with a modern skin, so to speak. I loved the game mechanics of it, having a few guys with different strengths and weaknesses, figuring out how to beat the Nazi menace. Awesome! What really stood out to me and what’s still really nice about this game is the level of detail. The levels all looked so life-like.
259: Arkanoid (Amiga 500) – What can be said about Arkanoid, really? It’s one of those games that just has a no-brainer game mechanic. You have a paddle and you use it to bounce a ball to destroy bricks. Simple and brilliant. The laser power-up is lame!
257: Castlevania (NES) – Dracula has a special place in my heart because he’s a great video game villain. The first of the Castlevania games started a great series and Simon Belmont could really crack that whip. One thing that I never understood, however, is how you can find juicy steaks by whipping stone walls to dust. WTF?
256: Theme Hospital (PC) – What a change of pace this was back in the day. When pretty much every other game was about death and destruction, this little gem came along and suddenly, you were trying to save people. Actually, I’m a bit surprised that no one tried to capitalize on a revival of this one back when Scrubs was at its most popular. Seems like a no-brainer business idea to try. I guess not.
255: Dr. Mario (NES) – It’s pure coincidence that this one comes just ahead of Theme Hospital, actually. I still love those little bastards that you had to kill with the pills. Also, isn’t this a great image of how medicine works? “See, son, the way your pills work is that you’ve got these little yellow, blue and red mini-monsters inside of you and if we pile enough pills on them, they disappear and you get well again.”
254: The Thing (PC) – The movie is one of my all-time favorites and this game had something a lot of other games doesn’t have, especially not movie licence games: great atmosphere. It’s too bad it was lacking in some other departments, because this game was a blast to play, even with its faults. If you want a good horror title and you don’t mind things looking a bit dated, check this one out. If I remember correctly, it also spoils the ending of the movie if you haven’t already seen it.
253: Chime (Xbox 360) – A wonderful twist on Tetris and Lumines and half of the money you pay for it goes straight to charity. I just love how time tends to disappear whenever I sit down and play this game. The different tunes, although they’re not many, are varied and great at putting you in a sort of trance state of mind. Whenever you get a bunch of space covered in different ways, the music just explodes in a flurry of different sounds.
252: Super Empire Strikes Back (SNES) – The best part of this game, apart from the fun Hoth level where you battle ATATs, is that you finally get your hands on the light saber and get to use it properly. Some of the levels on Dagobah can be a bit confusing, but overall, I really like the settings in this one.
251: BattleZone (PC) – Alright, here we have a RTS/FPS hybrid that was sooooo way ahead of its time that it’s not funny. It got a sequel but I think that sold even worse than the first one. I got it as a bundle game with one of the first 3D accelerator cards I bought. Anyway, you control a hover tank or something like that and you can even change vehicles, but that’s not the important thing. The whole point of the game is that you can build buildings and units and then control them through this awesome first person interface, set out waypoints and all sorts of stuff. It was so fun in multiplayer and it’s a crying shame that there isn’t a similar game out these days.
Now I’m 50 games into the list and I still have 250 left to go. This is one massive project, but it’s fun, so I don’t mind. What do you think about my rankings so far?