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Gathering the crew

16 May, 2011 1 comment

I don’t know exactly how long I’ve played Mass Effect 2 by now, but if I had to guess, I’d say that I’m about 25% through the game. I have two more squadmembers to find and I’ve only completed one loyalty mission so far. I’m in love with pretty much every aspect of the game. So far it’s practically perfect. I’ve just started playing the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC.

I should write more about this, but it seems like I could write a whole novel about all of my impressions. It’s just perfect. Pity I can’t experience what’s in this screenshot because I don’t want to mess anything up with my love interest from the first game going into part three. That’ll have to be with my next playthrough, when I play with my renegade femShep, as opposed to the paragon maleShep I’m playing right now. She’ll go after Thane for sure. He kicks ass. Or should I go for Garrus? We’ll see, I guess. I could still make a save and then have a little hanky panky, load up the save and turn Miranda down and I’ll still be safe with Ashley Williams. Kick ass!

I know what I love the most about the game. It’s the consistency. This is as pure an experience that I’ve ever had with a video game.

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 10-1

17 October, 2010 Leave a comment

Final part of the Top 300 Games list. The older parts can be found here. This part of the list was so hard to rank, so think of it more as a collection of number ones, because they are all that good. Let’s go!

10: Fallout 2 (PC) – The only game where you really have the freedom to be both good and/or evil. It also has some of the best writing in a video game ever. And the best moody, dark, post-apocalyptic atmosphere music ever. It’s funny, it’s poignant, it’s raw, it’s just so multifaceted. I’ll give you an example. When you get to a small village called Modoc, you can sleep with either the son or daughter of a farmer. They are really jonesing for some bedroom action. If you do, the farmer catches you and forces you to marry whomever it is you got nasty with. Problem? Hardly, you just go the Slavers in The Den and sell them your spouse. Yes, it’s that kind of a twisted game and it is awesome for it. Pure genius.

9: Halo 3 (Xbox 360) – The third and, at this point, final part in the Halo story starring Master Chief. It’s the most solid console shooter I’ve ever played in almost every respect. It’s a great conclusion of the Halo story and it’s so much fun to play in co-op. It’s also awesome in multiplayer, both online and right at home on the couch with three of your friends. I’ve had so much fun with this game. It doesn’t have a weak point in my book.

8: System Shock 2 (PC) – I don’t think I’ve ever been as scared as when I played this game for the first few hours. At one point I crawled into a ventilation tract and just stayed there until The Many were gone. This game and its generally undiscovered greatness is the main reason why I’m annoyed by the attention and accolades heaped upon BioShock. BioShock is, apart from graphics, an inferior game in pretty much every conceivable way. You can play this game any way you want. You really can and not a lot of games can make that claim. The skill trees are very interesting and there is a metric fuck-ton of different ways to customize your character. BioShock is a joke in comparison. Shodan is one of the best villains ever and the narrative is insanely effective.

7: Mega Man 2 (NES) – Mega Man 2 is pixel perfection. It is the pinnacle of 8bit gaming. It is a perfect game. The theme music from the first Wily stage is the best game music ever composed. Metal Man’s weapon is the perfect Mega Man weapon. It just has it all. It’s a goddamn awesome game. Nuff said.

6: Zelda 3: A Link to the Past (SNES) – This is the last great Zelda game as far as I’m concerned. This will probably never be topped. The balance in this game between action, adventure, exploration, puzzles, tension and pure fun is perfect. The pacing and the narrative is awesome. And of course, it explains who Link, Zelda and Ganon are… WITHOUT FUCKING UP THE WHOLE STORYLINE *COUGH* OCARINA OF TIME *COUGH*!!! I will get to OoT later and I will explain further why it is not on this list, but that is the biggest factor. Zelda 3 is pure Zelda. When you go to get the Master Sword is one of the most atmospheric moments in gaming history. Perfection.

5: Chrono Trigger (Nintendo DS) – I haven’t played through this game yet. I’m at the end game, but I still have a ways to go, as is often the case with JRPGs. This is the greatest of them all. It might just be 16bit graphics and sound, but this game conveys so much emotion that it’s off the scale. It just grabs you and refuses to let you go. Hell, I never thought I’d care this much about a robot and a frog and even a villain. And Marle and Crono’s connection is just perfect. I love this game, pure and simple. Just play it. It’s like a fine wine, it only gets better with age.

4: Deus Ex (PC) – I recently replayed this game all the way through for the first time in six or seven years and it still holds up. Incredible feat, especially considering it being a first person shooter. I tried to make an effort to make my character a bit different than what I usually play as and I discovered that putting points into melee and using one of those nano-swords along with the melee combat bonus implant will decimate any fighting force in seconds. Especially if you have damage reduction and a speed booster so you can take a bunch of hits while you run up to people and chop them down. I discover new things about this game every time I play it. Just fantastic.

3: Secret of Mana (SNES) – I got this game for Christmas 1993, I think. I told my parents that I didn’t want anything else and I even snuck up at night to look at the presents under the tree. I found one that was for me that was shaped like a SNES game box and opened one of the folds and saw the title of the game in its dark green box along with a screeshot. Then I went to bed, calm and pleased that I would get what I wanted the most. The next day, on Christmas eve, I got it and I didn’t even have to fake surprise, because it all came naturally anyway 🙂 Then I went up to my room and popped the game into my SNES. When the first notes of the title music hit me I just couldn’t press start to start playing. I just sat there on my bed listening to the music over and over again. It was pure magic. It still is, I guess. Anyway, I played through most of this game with a friend of mine and I remember thinking at one point that “man, this game is really long” and I wasn’t even halfway yet. But it kept me going all the way through and the entire game is just genius. Sure, the story and narrative aren’t as deep as Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI, but it still beats them in my book. The art direction, the music, the fighting, the leveling up, the characters, the mood and atmosphere… it’s just all there.

2: Super Metroid (SNES) – Apparently this game was so good that Nintendo didn’t think they could do it justice with a sequel for the Nintendo 64, so that’s why they skipped that generation for a Metroid game. I love Metroidvania games and this is the ultimate game in that genre. You can play this one in so many different ways. Speedrun? You got it. Discover everything? Sure, and even if you think that you’ve discovered most things, I can guarantee you that there is even more in there. It has so many secrets for you to find and this is THE most atmospheric game I’ve ever played. The controls are perfect, the graphics are perfect, the music is perfect, the pacing is perfect, everything about this damn game is absolutely perfect. Just play it.

1: Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn (PC) – Here we are. The number one spot. I don’t want to count how many hours I’ve spent on this game, but I’ve loved pretty much every one of them. It’s by far and without hesitation the best RPG I’ve ever played and it has so damn much you can experience and if you want to get into the mod scene it grows even bigger. The crazy thing is that I never even got around to playing Throne of Bhaal. If I did, it would probably be a runaway victory instead of a neck-and-neck finish like it is right now. I don’t really know what to say about Baldur’s Gate 2… it’s so damn great!

The next step in this list is to make it a permanent part of the blog and add a few games that I’ve played since I started writing the list, such as Splinter Cell Conviction, which I’ve already written about in this blog. I will also make an aggregate list in a post so you can see all of it in its entirety. Then I’ll start writing the spinoff lists, starting with the games that I don’t want on my list even though popular opinion might put them there. Zelda: Ocarina of Time is number one on that list. It’s a bastardized Zelda game as far as I’m concerned. I have no idea what time frame I have on the next stuff since I don’t have as much of a drive to write when I work full-time, but it’ll get cranked out sooner or later.

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 20-11

19 September, 2010 4 comments

Next to last post until this list is wrapped up. Well, at least until I get to the spinoff lists, but I’ll sit on that one for a while. As usual, get to the rest of the blog posts in the series by clicking the Top 300 Games tag. I should note that at this point in the list, it’s extremely difficult to differentiate between games and make up my mind about whether or not one of them should be ahead of another.

20: Thief 2: The Metal Age (PC) – Garrett, the ultimate gaming antihero, returns in this, the best sneak ’em up of all time. Karras is a really creepy bad guy and on the way to the end you go through the most inspiring levels I’ve ever seen in a sneak ’em up. Every single level is fantastic; the first warm-up mansion, the harbor, the bank, fleeing from your house, getting to know the mechanists and then the pagans, etc. It’s all set up so well.

19: Mega Man 3 (NES) – Among a lot of Mega Man fans, there’s a divide between those who regard MM3 as the best in the series and then you have those who give that honor to MM2. I’m one of the latter, but holy shit is MM3 close. I still remember firing it up for the first time and trying out Gemini Man because he seemed to be the coolest boss on the startup screen. Rush joined the gang and was a good addition. Facing the MM2 bosses was also an interesting curve ball.

18: Half-Life (PC) – Even though the first game is missing the gravity gun, the impact of playing it hit me more than playing the sequel. I still remember battling headcrabbed scientists, trying to get to the surface of the Black Mesa research center and then there are soldiers there and they … shoot at ME! It was such a cruel twist. People like to rag on the game for the Xen levels at the end, but I didn’t have any problems with them. The expansions are interesting too, especially Blue Shift. I’m still waiting for the mod called Black Mesa, which is a conversion of the entire Half-Life game to the Source engine used in Half-Life 2.

17: Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PC) – When I first played this game, I thought it was much more mature than anything I’d ever played. I think I’ve played through it four or five times and I still love the narrative and detail, but most of all I love the perfect action. The TV shows you can catch throughout the game are complete genius. I thought I would be annoyed by the change in Max’s appearance since the first game, but it actually worked really well. The romance with Mona Sax was perfect and the environments, the city of New York, it’s still like one of the characters in the game. I’m dreading the release of Max Payne 3, because it seems the new developers have dropped all the good aspects of the first two games.

16: Mass Effect (Xbox 360) – I fairly recently replayed this one, because I had only played it once and I wanted a second character to import into Mass Effect 2, one that was the complete opposite of my first character. My first character was a male good guy who had a romantic relationship with the soldier Ashley Williams. I saved the council at the end because I’m such a philanthropist. My second character was a female, evil, lesbian asshole who didn’t give a shit about the council and also saved that almost extinct murderous insect race. I figured that I will play through ME2 at least twice, so why not make it interesting? Mass Effect has its flaws, to be sure, but it’s the general impression that’s so lasting and thorough. Even though the battles can be a bit stilted, that’s easily overshadowed by the fantastic cinematic feel of the entire game. The inventory sucks? Fuck it, just sell everything. I love the whole story and the world just pulls you in. I also read the two books and they put some of the things in the game in wonderful perspective.

15: Final Fantasy VI Advance (Gameboy Advance) – This is a game that could just as easily be in the top three as in spot #15. One of the greatest RPGs ever and I’m actually glad that I didn’t get to play this one properly until I was a grown-up. I don’t think I would’ve appreciated it as much in my early teens. Kefka is the most evil bad guy ever and the whole ensemble of heroes is fleshed out A LOT. The storytelling in this game pulls no punches even though it’s just a 16 bit game. You care about those small sprites. I’ve been thinking about who are my favorites, but the longer I got into the game, the more I got to know each character and the harder it was to pick a favorite. Still, Celes and Locke has a special place in my heart. And Terra of course… and Cyan! See, it’s impossible to pick just one or two! And we can’t mention this game without bringing up Nobuo Uematsu’s excellent music. Quite possibly the best game soundtrack ever in my opinion.

14: Fallout 3 (Xbox 360) – The expectations I had for this game were so high, I don’t think I’d ever had them that high for anything. Apart from a few small details, this game lived up to them and was a slam dunk and a home run at the same time. What I missed the most was the witty writing from the first two games. The action was awesome, the blend between turn-based and real-time battles was perfect, atmosphere and settings were great, and the list goes on. At this time I haven’t even touched the five DLC episodes, but that’s coming and with them, this one might rise.

13: Duke Nukem 3D (PC) – I think you could say pretty safely that this game is what got me so heavily into the FPS genre and it also got me to appreciate the fun of multiplayer. You see, when a bunch of other people were praising Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64, saying how awesome it was in slow four player split screen multiplayer with worthless controls and boring, bland settings, I was playing with eight others, each of us on our own screen, killing each other in colorful and detailed settings at a fast pace and with incredibly fun weapons. This game had it all and I replayed the single player part of the game last year on XBLA for the 360. With the news that Duke is finally coming back, I don’t really care how good or bad that game is. This one is the grandfather of FPS games for me and it still holds up today.

12: Counter-Strike (PC) – I could have included this with the Half-Life spot, but I’ve spent so much time playing this that I view it as an entirely separate experience. Counter-Strike. CS. I guess I’m referring to the old-school version here and not the one that was released along with Half-Life 2, with the upgraded Source engine. At first when I started playing this I didn’t really like the constant interruptions of new rounds and I didn’t like that I could only carry one rifle and one pistol. That you ran faster when holding the knife was so ridiculous that I didn’t even know where to begin. But then I started liking it and I got really good at it. I didn’t play with a clan or anything like that, but I played consistently with the same people at a few servers, so we got to know each other pretty well and could play together as a team. I was pretty good with most weapons, so it wasn’t like I went AWP sniper rifle all the time, although that was pretty fun. I liked to vary my play style to keep the opponents on their toes. My favorite map was cs_office because I always dominated that one by listening to the enemies while sneaking around the corridors.

11: Quake 2 (PC) – Quake 2 is the game I was probably the best at at one point. I knew for a fact that I was among the top 30 in Sweden when it came to free for all deathmatch. Several different server stats made that a sure thing. I was simply good at the game and even though I didn’t work on becoming better, the insane amounts of time I spent on the game probably helped make me even better. When we played local multiplayer I could take on everyone else at the LAN, 8-10 people, in CTF and still come out on top. A friend of mine was the same when it came to StarCraft, but Quake 2 was MY game. Online, I liked to play the regular DM maps, but there was a special server that ran only one map over and over. It was a secret map in the single player part of the game and it was called Space. What made this map special was that the gravity was very low, so when you jumped, you flew across the big rooms and this made it a wonderful place to use the railgun, my favorite weapon in the game. I had a lot of fun on that server.

The next post will have the final top ten.  After that I’ll get it up as a separate part of the blog and update it with a few games I’ve played since I started making the list.

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 30-21

12 September, 2010 2 comments

Time for some Sunday gaming goodness, getting this list down to 21. As usual, check out the Top 300 Games tag to look at older posts. Let’s go!

30: Soul Calibur 2 (GameCube) – We used to play endless matches in SC2 and this is my favorite beat ’em up of all time. What we did, usually we were four or five people playing together, was that we played a team game where we chose eight characters on each “side” and then we took turns playing until all eight on one side were defeated. I also plowed through the single player part of the game, which was more of a series of different challenges that you had to go through. Looking at the stats, I played about 1200 games with the character Yunsung. Link was a bit overpowered because he was the only one with long distance weapons, but if you just sidestepped, that was all taken care of. The extremely buxom girls in the game were… well, they had extremely large and bouncy boobs, so much so that it just became comical more than anything else. They’ve only gotten bigger in every sequel since then.

29: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC) – Whenever I think about this game, I think about atmosphere and a beautiful world to play in. The story is okay and the side quests are really good at times, but what kept me playing was the world I was playing in. It got me hooked from minute one with the beautiful music and the beautiful setting. Beautiful is really getting a lot of mileage here, but the game is truly beautiful in almost every single way. The only not-so-great part of it is the dialogue. The people look weird and there is a huge shortage of voice actors, so most of the people sound the same. It’s also a bit silly that in order to level up your athletics skill, you go around jumping constantly whenever you walk from one town to another. But all in all this is one of the best RPGs out there and I had so much fun with it.

28: Halo 2 (Xbox) – The game that got FPS multiplayer going on consoles. I played this two years ago or something on my Xbox 360, so I missed out on its release, but I really like the story part of the game and the time I’ve spent with it in local multiplayer has been a lot of fun too. The narrative in the single player story is interesting in how you switch between playing Master Chief and the Arbiter, giving you a better understanding of the enemy from the first game. I co-oped my way through it a couple of times and I think it’s interesting that they included a song by Breaking Benjamin at the end of the game. That felt like a gamble that, if it had paid off, we would see a lot of popular music in more games today, as opposed to just being the soundtrack in sports titles.

27: NHL 94 (SNES) – There was one pretty essential feature missing in this game that was added in later versions and that’s the season function. I promptly started playing my own season where I drew up a schedule on paper and counted goals and assists for all of my players. Most of the times I’ve played a season in the NHL games, I’ve played with the Detroit Red Wings since that’s my favorite team. Same thing here. Steve Yzerman ended up with something like 268 goals and 480 points in 84 games. As a reference for you normal people who aren’t complete hockey nuts like me, the most a player has ever scored in the real NHL is 215 points by the best player ever, Wayne Gretzky. In later years, me and my best friend have taken to playing Detroit vs Pittsburgh (his favorite team) in an endless stream of games. We’re so even and it’s a blast in every game. The games usually end up something like 9-8 to one of us.

26: Super Mario All Stars (SNES) – You can call this my cop out pick of the list because it’s a collection and I’ve been really really torn on where it should end up. We’ve pretty much all of us spent considerable amount of time with the Mario games, especially 1 and 3, but I don’t know… to me there’s something missing. I always preferred Mega Man to Super Mario back in the day if I could have my pick. Regardless, this is a collection of games that is almost second to none. SMB1 is THE video game, in my eyes the one that started it all (or restarted it all, if you started with Pong and those oldies). SMB2 is the black sheep of the family, but it’s still fun. SMB3 is one of the most impressive evolutions of a game series ever and then you have SMB The Lost Levels, which I’ve never actually finished. I will probably go back to it just to finish it one day, probably as both Mario and Luigi, but until then, it’ll have to remain that “too damn hard!” game I never managed to beat.

25: Resident Evil Remake (GameCube) – As good as RE4 and 5 are, they don’t hold a candle to the original game. It was the first game I got for the GameCube and today it’s the only one I haven’t wanted to sell. It is beautiful and sooooo damn creepy with atmosphere so thick you can slice through it with a knife. It’s a testament to some games really benefitting from remakes and it makes you think about how other games could be remade.

24: NHL 10 (Xbox 360) – At the time of writing this, it is four days until NHL 11 is released here in Sweden. I’m getting it on release and I’m trading in this sucker. Since I got it, I’ve played countless games, most of them online. It is THE hockey game to play and I hope that the next one takes it a step further. My friends and I have had endless fun playing together in the couch against random people on Xbox Live. The Be a Pro feature was fun at first but it didn’t hold up for long, especially when you started playing online. The center Thomas Johansson with the jersey number 36 was drafted by the Washington Capitals and quickly rose through the ranks, won the rookie of the year trophy and all that jazz. Then I stopped playing and forgot about that feature as soon as online matches caught my eye and I never looked back. At the end of summer my nephew was trashtalking about how he could beat me and I told him that he had no chance whatsoever. Finally we sat down and 12 straight wins (with a combined score of 80-23 or something like that) for me later, he wasn’t so cocky anymore. That was fun.

23: Half-Life 2 (PC) – I feel that this game is insanely overrated, much like Portal. Yeah, both are part of The Orange Box, but I felt there was such a difference between them, so I kept them as separate picks. I include in this pick, however, the “Episodes”. Writing this now, we are still waiting for Episode 3, so the story is not entirely finished, but it’s been years since Episode 2 was released, so fuck it. This game kept the narrative style from the first game and used more engaging supporting characters to tell a deeper story in HL2, for better or worse. Sure, Alyx Vance is a good female game character, but all too often I felt that she was leading me by the hand every step of the way. The pacing is one of the best things about this game and that’s an underrated thing. But the real star of the show is a weapon, just like in Portal. The Gravity Gun made this game what it is. Along with a solid set of vehicles and intriguing set pieces, the story has gotten deeper and deeper for every part, ending with a heartwrenching loss at the end of Episode 2. How it all ends in Episode 3 will be very interesting.

22: The Legend of Zelda (NES) – Link’s first adventure was awesome and it was also responsible for me looking up a word in the dictionary for the first time in my then short life. There’s a cave where an old man says something about a secret and a peninsula. I was seven or eight years old English wasn’t my first language, so peninsula was pure gibberish for me. Getting it translated didn’t help in making sense of the damn clue, but I finished the game anyway. One of the all-time classics. Not a lot more to say here, actually. Just give it a go if you haven’t already.

21: Mario Kart Double Dash (GameCube) – Another couch multiplayer favorite for the GameCube. We never tried connecting several GameCubes, although with hindsight I think we should’ve given it a shot. Then again, hindsight is always 20/20 and we still had loads of fun with this game. I never fell in love with the SNES or N64 versions and the Wii and DS versions are lackluster in comparison IMO. This is it when it comes to kart action. All the tracks are a lot of fun and the side games are also a really entertaining and that’s what this is supposed to be about. Pure goddamn fun.

Now I’m down to the top 20. From now on it’s nothing but slam dunks all the way to the top.

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 60-51

31 August, 2010 Leave a comment

Time to fire up this list again, now that I’m back in action and everything. For those of you who are only checking out the list because I’m linking to it, I’ve been cranking out a few other posts lately. Check them out if you’d like. Anyhow, time to get down to 51 so there are only 50 games left. As usual you can find the older posts by checking out this tag.

60: No One Lives Forever (PC) – Cate Archer is the agent that, to me, is a classy mix between James Bond, Austin Powers and whatever female action hero you want to throw at the screen. In fact, Archer’s boss seems to be ripped right out of Austin Powers, copying the boss from those movies. But it all ends up being a very nice mix of action, bright colors, fun gadgets, hilarious dialogue and just an overall sense of humor that’s spot on.

59: Metroid Prime (GameCube) – I never actually completed this game, because I took a break pretty far into it and then when I got back to playing it I had forgotten the layout of all the places and I was supposed to find a bunch of hidden glyphs or something. That’s one of my biggest gaming regrets, but in the end… it doesn’t really matter. But I digress. Metroid Prime was for a very long time the GameCube game with the most powerful ambience. At first I was very skeptical about how the developers would transfer the Metroid feel into the first person perspective, but they pulled it off. The music also needs to be mentioned because even if it’s distinctly different from the other Metroid games, it’s still pure perfection for this particular game. Some of the platforming gets a bit old at times, but the action is tense and generally the play sessions end up being really long because you can’t stop playing.

58: Rainbow Six (PC) – I bought this game before I bought the book, but the game was goddamn awesome back in the day. It was like nothing else that had been released back then. Everything was just run and shoot monsters and suddenly, here came a tactical shooter where you shot terrorists and a single bullet could kill. You could also plan the missions in detail, but I wasn’t very good at that. I usually let my guys stand back so I could sneak through the level myself, but there were a few missions that forced me to plan an assault that came through two or three entry points simultaneously and that was just beautiful. The game’s story is a bit gimped compared to the novel, but for the time it was released, it was pretty good. I just wished I read the book before I played the game.

57: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360) – I should begin saying that I never got hooked on the online multiplayer in this game. We played a bunch of split screen deathmatch, but my most lasting impression of this game is the single player part. The sequel was waaaay too all over the place, whereas this one was very focused and the narrative moving between characters and present/past worked perfectly. It wasn’t over-used or anything. The sneak-and-snipe mission in flashback Russia is one of the most memorable gaming moments ever. The game is extremely tense throughout the entire experience and it’s a must-play if you have an Xbox 360. There’s just one thing that got to me with this game and that’s the fact that I got it into my head that I should max out the achievements, resulting in me grinding my way through the story on veteran mode, which in turn resulted in me dying about … hell, I don’t know. 2500 times? I really have no clue. I just know that I died. A lot. And I didn’t even max out the game. I gave up on the next-to-last mission. Still an awesome game, though.

56: Bioshock (Xbox 360) – A lot of people love this game and praise it because of the freedom in how you choose your skill progression and whatnot. Same with the storyline and the way the characters and the story are presented. These people have obviously not played System Shock 2. I have and that’s why Bioshock ends up in spot 56 and not higher up. Seriously though, it is a very special game and it has mood and ambience coming out the wazoo. Rapture, the underwater city the game takes place in, is a character in itself because of its presentation. I also love that this game takes an enormous dump on the so-called “philosophy” of the hypocritical and intellectually dishonest bitch/so-called author Ayn Rand.  Objectivism deserves every bit of shit thrown at it and this game illustrates beautifully how fucked up it is.

55: Advance Wars DS (Nintendo DS) – When I got my DS, I got a handful of games and this was one of them. I didn’t really get around to playing it all that quickly because I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I hadn’t played the Advance Wars games that had been released for the Gameboy Advance, so I wasn’t really hyped about the DS game. Then I started playing it and I just couldn’t put it down. It is a perfect game for the DS as a platform and while the characters and story are EXTREMELY corny, they actually work and they actually engage me as a player to keep going until the end. The single player story part is also perfectly balanced in terms of difficulty progression.

54: Day of the Tentacle (PC) – This could very well be the funniest game I’ve ever played all the way through. It has some of the most hilarious writing ever and it’s perfectly complemented by the animation, art style and voice acting. Hoagie is my favorite character, but they’re all golden. The puzzles are really ingenious, especially since you have to send stuff back and forth between different time periods.

53: Thief: The Dark Project (PC) – Garrett, the protagonist of the Thief series, is one of my all-time anti-heroes. He does the right thing when he has to, but he also does the morally wrong thing when he wants to. He’s also been the inspiration to a character I started writing a novel about. I played the second game before I played this one, so it was like taking a step back in some respects, but not enough to make it a worse experience overall. There are several scary levels in the game, but the Bonehoard almost made me shit my pants. The zombies were extremely scary because, as Garrett, you’re not very powerful. The regular guards were also scary, of course, but the unstoppable zombies were one step beyond annoying. Tense doesn’t even begin to describe the Thief series. It is a beautiful experience.

52: Flashback (SNES) – How a game could have such a strong and movie-like narrative on such a relatively weak console as the SNES is astounding. I would almost go so far as to call it pixel perfection, if it weren’t for the somewhat confusing beginning of the game. Every movement by every character in the game seems so lifelike, which was very impressive at that time. Motion capture wasn’t really common then. The whole job system is also interesting.

51: Neverwinter Nights (PC) – I never actually really played this game on my own. I spent a week or so at a friend’s house and we co-oped our way through NWN. Another friend jumped in here and there too. I was playing as a rogue/mage while my friend was a tank wielding dual weapons. I pelted the enemies with arrows and sometimes laid traps. Later on I started throwing magic missiles and fireballs wherever I could and I also found that buff spells were really useful. Normally I don’t use buff spells in RPGs. Anyway, NWN’s story is nothing I remember right now, but I do remember the atmosphere. That game’s atmosphere made the entire experience. The co-op element was also extremely entertaining and easy to control.

There, down to the fifties, down to the nitty gritty.

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 80-71

20 June, 2010 6 comments

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?

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 225-201

26 May, 2010 9 comments

This is the fourth list post about the games and I’m already having a hard time coming up with original ways to start off each post. Oh well… I’m going to be done with the first third of the list after this one. To check out the other posts in this project, click here.

225: Codename Eagle (PC) – This can pretty much be called the beta-test for Battlefield 1942, since it used the same game engine and was extremely buggy. If you’re not familiar with that series, it was the first multiplayer FPS that combined good shooting with proper vehicle control. Codename Eagle had that too, but the words “good” and “proper” should be changed to “weird” and “random”. It was completely possible to fall from the sky in a parachute, activate it and instead of landing on your feet, you started swimming ON THE GROUND, moving around at about 100 mph. In spite of the bugginess the game was very fun in multiplayer. I remember one special moment when I managed to maneuver the clunky bomber plane under a bridge, flying low enough so my friend could jump into the air and get into the plane without missing a beat. Simply awesome.

224: Lips/SingStar (Xbox 360/Playstation) – I’m combining the karaoke games into one spot and they hardly get a spot on this list because they don’t really have much game to them. Since I love singing, they go on the list.

223: Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (PC) – I’ve always had a soft spot for rally games and this one was my favorite on the PC even though it’s pretty old. It had the best driving feel of any of the games in my opinion. Most other games had this kind of gravity that felt like you were driving on the moon, with the car almost hovering a long way every single time you hit some kind of bump.

222: Bubble Bobble (Amiga 500) – The music in this game has to be some of the most iconic you can find on the Amiga. Whenever I hear this music, see video of the game or play it myself, I keep thinking “sweet bubblegum”. Yeah, that’s weird, but it’s the truth. It’s all pastel color and fluffy.

221: Donkey Kong Country (SNES) – This was incredibly cool when it came and it’s still a very solid platformer. However, the reason it’s not higher on the list is because I felt that it just didn’t have a lot of staying power. I just didn’t spend a lot of time on it after the first playthrough and I also didn’t really think that much about the characters.

220: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (NES) – Kevin Costner on the NES. Yes, it’s ridiculous in a lot of ways and they padded this game something silly. There is so much extra stuff in this that you wonder what the developers were smoking when they made it. Still, I had a lot of fun with it when it came. It was a lot of fun back when I didn’t really understand just how buggy it was. Something that always annoyed me was how, when the game shows you character portraits whenever someone is speaking, Alan Rickman’s photo has been switched with Michael Wincott’s, so the big bad guy’s photo is actually just one of the henchmen from the movie.

219: Super Probotector (SNES) – Probotector is what Contra was released as in Europe and the player models were changed from Rambo-like soldiers to metallic robots. It’s classic platform shooting with some over-head perspective shooting sprinkled in just for fun. The spread rifle still rules.

218: Unreal Tournament (PC) – The first of three Unreal games in this entry. I have spent a shitload of time with bots in this game because they were actually pretty decent in it. I think the reason I went with bots is because I could never get good ping times on my old 56k modem. Facing Worlds was really fun to play CTF on and DM-Morpheus with some silly mutators was always a laugh too. This didn’t get a lot of play on the LANs we used to do.

217: Eternal Sonata (Xbox 360) – This is quite possibly the most diabetes-inducing game on the 360. The characters, the plot, the setting and the dialogue is… no, the word “sweet” doesn’t quite cut it. It is so damn über-sweet that it’s not even funny. It gets tiresome. I couldn’t finish the game because of it. However, as sweet as everything is, it is still a beautiful game, both visually and musically. Sadly, it’s all bogged down by the world’s most tiresome cutscenes, something that plagues most Japanese RPGs. Interesting battle system.

216: Red Baron (PC) – The old Dynamix game from 1989 or 90 is what’s up here. I played this with no proper sound card, which meant using the internal PC speaker, and on a black and white monitor. At least at first. Later on my dad got a color monitor. I didn’t care, this game was still so fun to play.

215: Burnout 2: Point of Impact (GameCube) – Some of the most fun I’ve had with a racing game didn’t have anything to do with racing. Burnout 2’s crash mode was so much fun to play around with, to the point where I didn’t really care about the rest of the game anymore. I didn’t really like the other versions as much as this one for some reason. Can’t really put my finger on why.

214: Lemmings (Amiga 500) – I always liked the first Lemmings game the best, because why complicate things? Sure, it can be fun to add rocket pack lemmings and a bunch of other skills, but keeping things simple is usually the best way. Finding creative ways to massacre them was always fun.

213: Unreal 2: The Awakening (PC) – Second Unreal game in this entry. This was the second game with a proper story mode and I can’t remember what it had to do with the first one. They seemed completely disconnected from each other. I really liked the design of this game and one of the levels was this desolate technological fortress that was overrun with giant spiders. Freaked me out like nothing else in that game.

212: Delta Force 2 (PC) – More voxels! This game was a lot more polished than the first one and the single player mode was actually worthwhile. I really loved the vast expanses of terrain because back when these games were released, the size of most levels/maps wasn’t that much to write home about. I used to take an M4 with a grenade launcher attachment and just go nuts on the opposing soldiers. Taking them out with a sniper rifle was also extremely satisfying, more so than in most games.

211: Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (GameCube) – If there is something that is all too rare in gaming, it is the mindfuck. Eternal Darkness got this right on so many levels. As you played the game and your character got more and more insane, the game would throw all sorts of strange effects at you, among them telling you that the memory card was corrupt. That was a real scare that really messed with you and when you later realized that it was all just part of the game, you could go “phew” and chuckle at the ingenuity of game design.

210: Quake 3 Arena (PC) – The most of the time I’ve spent with this game has been playing The Longest Yard over and over again. It was a nice blend between Quake and Quake 2, but for some reason, I couldn’t get fully into it. Don’t really know why, because it should’ve been the perfect multiplayer game for me. Fast FPS action was just my thing and I was really good at it.

209: Scribblenauts (Nintendo DS) – Scribblenauts is a fairly new game to me and I haven’t beaten too much of it yet, but I really like what I’ve played so far. If you’re like me, you try to be creative with your solutions, not using the helicopter and rocket pack over and over. I’ve had a lot of fun trying to see just how much stuff they’ve crammed into the game by entering random stuff that pop up in my head. I also like pitting random characters against each other. Does God beat Cthulhu? No, not without certain weapons. Vampires? I’ve tried surviving a nuke in many different ways.

208: Army of Two: The 40th Day (Xbox 360) – This is the sequel and it’s worse than the first game. I hate it when that happens, especially when it’s obvious that the development decisions that went into this one are obviously stupid. For example, how about not having a clear enemy? The first game had it. This one didn’t and the game really suffered from it. Still, it was a pretty fun co-op experience.

207: Myth 2: Soulblighter (PC) – The Myth series was the last thing Bungie did before they started working on the Halo series. Yes, I know they made Oni too, but that was made by an expansion studio and the studio folded after that game, so it doesn’t count. Myth 2 was refreshing because it didn’t focus on resource gathering or base building. It was a purely tactical game and it was a lot of fun in multiplayer. It was also really bloody and it was cool to see body parts flying all over the place.

206: Unreal (PC) – Third time’s the charm, at least for Unreal games and this list entry. I love this game, it was seriously tense and frightening the first times I played it. What really made it stand out compared to most other FPSes that were released around the same time, was the use of color and lighting. It was pretty dark, but it was not just all brown smudge everywhere. The opening credits still give me chills.

205: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (PC) – The old TIE Fighter game was a lot of fun, but it was choppy as hell and the action wasn’t near as tense as in this one. I had a Logitech Interceptor joystick (picture) that I used with this game and it was so much fun. I wouldn’t want to play it with the mouse and keyboard. Being able to play both the Alliance and the Imperial ships was what made the game so much fun.

204: Elastomania (PC) – Very small game, lots of fun. This was an exercise in weird physics and really strange levels that were virtually endless. Predecessor to the XBLA hit game Trials HD and very addictive.

203: Slicks ‘n’ Slide (PC) – Another addictive racing game seen from above. This was a little DOS gem that could be fiddled with to increase the speed of the game, etc. I had kind of a competition with a friend of mine to get the best times on a bunch of tracks. If I’m not mistaken, you could play four people on the same computer. LAN play was out of the question.

202: Resident Evil 0 (GameCube) – I never finished this game, but I like what I played, although not as much as the other games in the series. I know this is a silly thing to say, considering it’s the Resident Evil universe, but I felt that this game got a little out of hand. I like Rebecca as a protagonist and Billy works too, but the rest of the cast was very “meh”. Really didn’t care for the bad guy.

201: Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii) – I wanted to get one of the Smash Bros games on this list and this is the one I’ve spent the most time with, even though that’s not very much. I had a hard time getting into the concept of Smash Bros because I was used to beating your opponent and then going on to the next round. Here you had to beat the other people out of the screen and the round doesn’t really end when you’ve beaten them once. That makes it a lot more frantic and fun, but that’s also my biggest gripe with it. I like to have control and Smash Bros is just a bit too chaotic for my taste to land it higher on this list.

I’m still debating whether or not I should go 25 each down to 150 or all the way down to 100. There will be at least two more posts with 25 spots each, leaning towards starting off the 10-posts at 150. That way I can cram in some more thoughts about each game.