Alright, let’s get to it. This was the original goal of the list, for me to showcase my 100 favorite games. We’re here now, so let’s keep going.
100: Heavy Gear (PC) – Activision lost the MechWarrior licence and quickly secured the next best thing as far as North American mech universes go. Heavy Gear was fairly established, so they used an upgraded version of the engine that they used for MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries and created this game. I love the MechWarrior games, but this one isn’t far behind. The gears are more mobile than mechs, so the action was a little bit faster, which was a nice change of pace.
99: Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (PC) – The Sam Fisher Saga, part two. The second game was essentially more of the same as the first with just some graphical upgrades. Sadly, what has been the most touted component of Pandora Tomorrow, the creative multiplayer mode, was something that I never even touched. I really wish I did, especially now that I’ve had some fun with the multiplayer in Splinter Cell Conviction.
98: Shogo: Mobile Armor Division (PC) – Here’s a game that’s gotten way too little fanfare through the years. Monolith made this game and part of it is just bland corridor shooting, but then you also have the giant mech action in the vein of Japanese anime like Gundam or Evangelion. Spice the whole thing up with incredibly hammy characterization and voice acting and it’s a smash hit in my mind. Some of the weapons in this game took shooting to a new level, mainly because Monolith could go over the top like crazy with the mech action.
97: Action Quake 2 (PC) – Time for another mod on the list. This time it’s a mod for Quake 2 that limits the weapons you can carry and also how much damage you can take. If you get hit you need to bandage the wound if you don’t want to bleed out and die. We used to play this a bunch on some LANs and it was a lot of fun. Every map only had one of each special weapon and one of each equipment, which made for some interesting strategies. The flak vest along with the assault rifle was a nice combo, but so was the slippers and the sawed-off shotgun. The slippers removed any sound you made when walking, so they were perfect for you to run around with, sticking the most powerful short range weapon in the game up someone’s ass.
96: Guitar Hero 2 (Xbox 360) – Guitar Hero 2 has had the following effect on the songs I’ve tried to grind to perfection: Every time I hear them, I visualize the notes coming at me on the screen. This happens every single time I hear Sweet Child of Mine by Guns ‘n’ Roses, etc, etc. I don’t have the talent to take on all of the songs on expert difficulty immediately, but after I’ve had the chance to play them on hard first – for a few weeks – then I can give them a try on expert. Incredibly fun game and for me, this was what started the whole music game craze.
95: Outcast (PC) – Cutter Slade. Now there’s a name, a masculine hero’s name. This game is probably the best game ever that’s the least played. It is action adventure perfection and it still holds up today, almost 11 years after its release. It is another game that is based on voxel graphics, which gave it rolling hills and huge environments for you to walk around in. It had an alien race that was in awe of you and considered you to be a god, which made for some hilarious interaction. But in the end, this is simply an incredibly solid game that should be played by more people.
94: F.E.A.R. (PC) – More Monolith. This game has the most ridiculous acronym in its title. FEAR apparently stands for First Encounter Assault Recon. Now, this may just be my ignorance, but I was under the impression that assault and recon are two vastly different combat types. One is light and designed for swift movement with some stealth purposes, while the other is Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Commando. Regardless, this game has some of the tightest action I’ve ever played and it’s really scary too. It kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire duration and I also wanted to know what happened with the storyline right up until the very end. That doesn’t happen often with shooters.
93: Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway (Xbox 360) – You might think that for this one I will say “Yet another WW2 shooter, you know the drill” but BiAHH has the best narrative I’ve experienced in any WW2 game and that’s by a damn mile. This game has an extremely engaging storyline and I haven’t even played the previous Brothers in Arms games. The action is interesting, since you need to utilize the rest of your squad to succeed in the game. The atmosphere and the environments are very nice and after you get into the story, you start being a bit more careful of how you order your squadmates around because you don’t want them to die because of your recklessness.
92: Double Dragon 2 (NES) – Co-op fun on the NES! I love how brutal this game was and its difficulty was just right to be challenging but not annoying. I used to “cheat” by starting a two player game and then killing my brother until all his lives were gone. What happened was that if I killed him so he lost a life, I gained that life, effectively doubling my lives as I went through the game alone. It was the poor man’s Konami code.
91: Braid (Xbox 360) – When I first started this game I just sat there watching the water color painting that was suddenly on my TV screen, listening to the wonderful string music that flowed out of the speakers. Easily one of the most beautiful games ever and it encourages players to be creative with game mechanics as the game moves forward. Storywise it is an engaging tale that is told through books between the levels and when you get to the end it is all put on edge and you start reconsidering the whole experience. Simply sublime game design and I look forward to the next game by Jonathan Blow.
So that’s the first batch of ten out of the top 100. Thoughts? I actually had a thought. I should count how many games are from each platform when I’m done with the entire list. I haven’t consciously tried to limit myself to balance stuff out or anything.
Alright, I’m all done with the rankings, I think. Let’s give this a shot. My reasoning behind the rankings can be found here. Nostalgia overload in 3, 2, 1…
300: Sim City (Amiga 500) – Starting off with the city simulator that eventually spawned the virtual dollhouse The Sims, I didn’t really understand what was needed to build successful cities, but it was fun to build what I could and then destroy it with the various disasters you could use.
295: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) – Yes, the first one, even though it was horrendously difficult. It was still a Turtles game and the Turtles were king when I was a kid. The swimming levels were insanely difficult and I remember trying to avoid the baddies with the turtle van. I heard that a friend of mine actually beat this game a few weeks ago during one of his retro gaming sessions.
293: B.O.B. (SNES) – Really underrated puzzle/shooter with a great main character and lots of humor. This is a game that should be on most people’s lists of games to play if the decide to take on some retro games.
292: Premier Manager (Amiga 500) – I used to play this with my cousin and we almost always started off from scratch every weekend we spent playing it. I didn’t really understand all of it, but it was pretty fun being a soccer manager. Later versions got too bloated with stuff to do, I think.
290: Soldier of Fortune (PC) – This game was really raw, but I never really went for the gore. Still, it was a pretty solid shooter. It’s interesting to look back at this. They tried some narrative, but it was beyond horrible and they might just as well have done random maps.
289: Sensible World of Soccer (Amiga 500) – Another soccer game I played with my cousin. Blazing fast action that had a really steep learning curve, but once you got the hang of it, you could do insane things on the pitch.
288: Dark Colony (PC) – This RTS was a game that kind of rode on the success of Command & Conquer and Warcraft, but it had its own thing going for it. Playing as the grays was fun because it was released during the heyday of the X-Files.
287: Ikari Warriors (NES) – ABBA. That’s the cheat code that gave you a bunch of extra lives… or if it was invulnerability. Anyhow, it was kind of a Rambo bullet hell shooter that was pretty fun to play with a friend.
284: Shadowgate (NES) – This game was released in Swedish over here and the translation was quirky in some places, but that just made it all the more fun. I don’t remember if I beat it or not, but I got far without any help. GameFAQs wasn’t around back then anyway.
282: Need for Speed Carbon (PC) – I didn’t really play this one, but I watched my nephew play it A LOT with me sitting next to him. Probably the most atmospheric racing game I’ve come across so far, even with the hammy acting performances.
280: Fifa 96 (SNES) – There was this trick that you could do whenever there was a goal kick. You just moved your attacker to stand right in front of the goalie and you’d spam the kick button. As soon as the kick was made, your attacker made an instant bicicleta or header to score. Cheap, yes, but fun.
279: Desert Strike (Amiga 500) – Back when I was a kid, this was one of the coolest games around, mainly because Rambo 3 had made helicopters bad ass. It’s a good action game with surprisingly good controls.
278: Killing Time (PC) – This could be the most obscure game on the list. It’s a budget FPS that I played with my nephew and it’s pretty much a more action-oriented Rose Red (the Stephen King story) with ghosts and a haunted manor to run around in. Hammy as hell, but really fun.
277: Rescue – The Embassy Mission (NES) – Also known as Hostage on the Amiga, I think. This game had three fun parts. Sneaking, sniping and room-clearing. I loved the sneaking part, but it was all pretty good. Really tense action.
276: Spy vs Spy (Amiga 500) – This one is a classic and I think I played two sequels as well. You ran around in a maze of rooms trying to outsmart the other spy and get out of the place, using traps and other sneak stuff that usually backfired because you forgot that you had boobytrapped a door.
Okay, so that’s the first batch of 25. I’ll do seven more parts like this, I think, and then it’s ten parts or so for the top 100. I love lists and I’d love to hear what you think about this first part, so let me know in the comments!