We’re down to the last five parts of this list. Or rather, the first part of this list. If you remember the prelude post in this series, I mentioned that I have a few other lists coming as well and that they’re related to this one. As always, check out the tag Top 300 Games to go look at the older posts in the series. Let’s get this one started!
50: Duck Tales (NES) – Capcom has produced some of the most wonderful games ever and they had such a hot streak going way back on the NES. Most people associate them with the Mega Man series and that’s all well and good, but you just can’t forget the other great games. Duck Tales is one of them and it’s my favorite Disney game. It’s one of those perfect platformers. Everything about it is fantastic, especially the music. Listen to this song and tell me it’s not awesome!
49: Mega Man (NES) – I think this was one of my first NES games and it took me several years to actually finish it. Why? Because it’s damn hard and damn unforgiving for a seven-year-old. It’s no frills Mega Man. No E tanks, no sliding, no Rush and no passwords. It’s pure Mega Man and with this concept, great things were to come… more on that later on in this list, though. Mega Man is one of those games that has stood the test of time and you can pick it up just like that today and be awestruck by the pixel perfection and awesome music. The Mega Man series has the best platform controls ever in any game.
48: MechWarrior 3 (PC) – Now we’re talking the best MechWarrior game that I’ve ever played. This is, in my opinion, the epitome of what a BattleTech game should be. The Mechs feel heavy to control, not as arcadey as in MechWarrior Vengeance, and the story is about kicking the clans’ asses, which has always been the best storyline in the BattleTech universe. It also follows the proper rules for building mechs and the briefings before each mission are the best I’ve come across in any BattleTech game. But most of all, the controls are just right. The feel is just “there”.
47: Deus Ex: Invisible War (PC) – Probably the most shat upon game sequel in history. DXIW is almost universally laughed at and considered a shitty game. It’s not a shitty game at all. It just happened to have to live up to the expectations set by the first game, which just happens to be one of the best games ever. I loved the atmosphere in DXIW and I loved the futuristic setting of it. It worked a lot of things from the first game into the story, but still managed to introduce enough interesting new angles. I thought it was a shame that it got a bit “consolified” as far as the detail writing got. I missed the in-depth books and newspapers that were strewn around the first game.
46: Super Mario World (SNES) – Once upon a time I finished this game and I finished it the proper way, by finding all the hidden exits. Then my nephew came along and started playing this game one day when I wasn’t at home. I came home later and went up to my room. He was so proud that he had finished a few levels on his own, since he was just five years old or something. He didn’t understand that he had erased my play file with the finished game. I got furious back then. Now I just laugh about it. Super Mario World is an excellent game and Yoshi was the perfect addition to the Super Mario series. It’s hard to find words to describe the Mario games. They’ve always been there and they’ve always been among the top games of every Nintendo console, simply because they are so good. Every little mechanic works perfectly and I can’t imagine SMW in any other way.
45: Rainbow Six 2: Rogue Spear (PC) – The first game introduced the concept of tactical shooting to the PC. The sequel perfected that concept as far as I’m concerned. The storytelling was a lot better, the planning worked a lot better, there were more useful weapons, the AI had been improved and so on and so forth. It was an improvement in every single conceivable way. Some of the most tense moments I’ve ever had while gaming was during the sneaking missions in this game, especially one where you infiltrated a huge mansion.
44: Worms & Reinforcements United (PC) – I like the Worms games, but I’ve never really felt at home with all the different cartoony versions. Why? This one. This is the original and it was perfect. If you aimed somewhere, that aim was accurate. I never got that feeling in the cartoony Worms games. Also, this game was the inspiration for one of the games higher up on this list. But all in all, this is simple, pure, destructive fun.
43: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (Xbox 360) – Puzzle Quest came from nowhere and stole sooooo many hours from me, but I loved every minute of it. It was such unexpected fun! The hammy setting and story worked perfectly and I really didn’t expect Bejeweled to work so well and in such an engaging way as a combat mechanic. Pure genius! The only downside was that the music, while being very good, got old really fast because you heard the same tunes over and over and over…
42: Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) – Here we have RE4 and 5 in rapid succession. It’s a close call, but RE5 gets the short end of the stick. I like it over RE4 in some ways though. The characters, first and foremost. I’ve always loved Chris, Jill and Wesker over Leon and as far as new characters go, Sheva kicks the president’s daughter’s ass any day of the week and don’t even get me started on that bizarro Napoleon dude from RE4. There’s also one huuuuuuuge thing for which I love RE5 more than RE4 and that’s co-operative play. My best friend and I are both big RE fans and we played our way through this game together, something that was a complete blast. HOWEVER! This game, Resident Evil 5, is COMPLETE AND UTTER SHIT if you play alone and have to rely on the AI to control Sheva. The African setting is pretty “meh” most of the time and the most exciting parts for me were the industrial and high tech settings. The boat was an awesome last level.
41: Resident Evil 4 (GameCube) – The reason why RE4 ends up ahead of RE5 is because when it was released it was revolutionary and you didn’t see it coming. The first time I came across that insane bad guy wielding a goddamn chainsaw, I almost shit my pants. I’d read about it, but it couldn’t prepare me for it. I panicked and tried to take a stand inside a house, only to be overrun and finally decapitated by said chainsaw. Lovely! On one hand the game felt like a natural continuation of the Resident Evil franchise, but on the other hand it didn’t feel like Resident Evil anymore. Sure, it still had somewhat gimped controls, but you didn’t fight zombies anymore (and anyone calling them, or the enemies in RE5 for that matter, zombies is a clueless idiot who needs to be shot) and there were too many of them. RE4’s depiction of Spanish villagers is laughably silly. I keep imagining this redneck American who knows nothing about anything but Texarkana, plays RE4 and then actually thinks that Spain is some underdeveloped shithole of a country, full of decrepit villages and dark castles. Typical Japanese game development. But it’s so much fun and tense!
That’s it for this post. Tune in tomorrow! Same bat time, same bat channel! Okay, maybe not tomorrow, but in a day or three. We’re getting down to 31 in that one! Let me know what you think so far in the comments.
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 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.