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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, 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, 40-31

6 September, 2010 Leave a comment

Climbing closer to the top of the list, with this one we get down to 31, leaving us with the last tenth. No more chitchat. Check out the older posts in the blog series by clicking the Top 300 Games tag.

40: Halo 3 ODST (Xbox 360) – Bungie took the narrative of the Halo series to new and exciting places with ODST, which worked really well considering the group we followed instead of just Master Chief or the Arbiter. I loved the moody setting of ODST and it was, as is usually the case with Halo games, great fun to play in co-op. The casting of the voice actors was perfect and having a bunch of Serenity actors was a stroke of genius. The soundtrack also featured different music compared to the “regular” Halo games and that was also spot on. The downside was that it was pretty short and you couldn’t play Firefight online through matchmaking. I didn’t really play it that much locally anyway, but it was a nice addition.

39: Blade Runner (PC) – Voxels again! Well, some of it. Apparently the characters were made with voxels so they could be more detailed, or something like that. At the time of its release, it looked awesome and I think I finished it three or four times. You get different endings depending on what decisions you make and what people you talk to. This whole game is all about powerful narrative and even though you should have Blade Runner the movie in your repertoire – and that helps a lot to understand the game – it’s not needed to fully get the game. What really got to me about the game back when I first played it was also that it’s a point and click adventure, but not really. You don’t get a thousand weird inventory items and there are a bunch of other unconventional things about it, but it’s still a point and click affair. Masterfully done too, I might add.

38: Life Force (NES) – This is shoot ’em up at its best in my opinion. The controls are perfect, the music is perfect, the feel of the game is perfect and the length of the game is just right. Add the Konami code to the mix and you have 8 bit perfection as far as spaceships go. There’s not really a lot more to say here.

37: Fallout (PC) – I remember getting the Swedish PC Gamer magazine one day and on the demo disc that came with every issue, there was a preview copy of Fallout. It was a small town that wasn’t included in the full game and you basically went in there guns blazing. I’ve shot countless guys with burst mode in the Fallout games, but I still remember that first time I shot a leather-clad punk with the SMG and he staggered for a bit while falling to pieces. It blew me away and, although I had already fallen in love with the setting and atmosphere, I was completely floored by that display of balls to the wall violence. The game may look dated today, but I still think it holds up today. The story kept you on your toes throughout the entire game and there are few games that pull off the moral gray areas of all the actors and factions.

36: Mega Man X (SNES) – The only Mega Man game I’ve really played on the SNES. I tried X3, but that felt way too muddled with peripheral stuff which took away from the core gameplay. That doesn’t hold true for X1 though, because Capcom hit the nail on the head with that one. It’s a very good balance of story, bosses, skill development and music. You can play the game from beginning to end and still miss a huge amount of extra stuff that you can get if you revisit the levels at different times. I kind of miss Dr. Wily as the villain, because Sigma feels a bit too serious for a Mega Man game.

35: Dead Space (Xbox 360) – Dead Space is the reason I got myself a surround sound system and that game alone was worth paying for it. The sound plays such a big part in this horror game and the developers have created a very living and believable world. When I played the game, I also watched the tie-in animated movie, which only built on the experience. The game stands on its own more than well enough though, so don’t think that it’s needed to watch that movie. Whenever I think of Dead Space there’s one word that pops up in my head more than any other and that word is “visceral”. You FEEL this game when you play it. You are practically right there in that world and even though most of the scares are of the cheap “BOO!” variety, the main scare factor of the game is the general atmosphere and creepy feeling of solitude.

34: Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox) – I didn’t have an Xbox back when this was released and at the time I was playing what I considered to be better games on the PC. You CAN’T play an FPS with a console controller, I said. Then when the PC port was released a few years later, it was fun and all, but I still didn’t see what was so groundbreaking. After that I’ve played through it again on my Xbox 360 (backwards compatibility for the win) and that time something happened. I saw how this game made it possible to play FPS games on consoles, thanks to its perfect controls. It just worked. I also started paying attention to the story, something I hadn’t done when I played the PC version, and even though it’s cliche and all, it really got me hooked.

33: Liero (PC) – The original Worms got some Finnish (I think) guy thinking “wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to play this in real-time instead of waiting your turn?” and Liero was the result. And it was awesome. My friends and I played this A LOT, sitting two people in front of one computer, because network multiplayer wasn’t possible. We came up with a version that we called Action Liero, based on the Action mods for a few FPS games. We took down the health of the worms to 10% and severely restricted the weapons. We played it so much that we were able to fly across the screen at incredible speeds and still hit our targets the majority of the time. It was like a ballet of tiny worm violence.

32: Max Payne (PC) – Yeah, yeah, he looks constantly constipated. I know. That still doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s one of the most action-packed games ever. The comic book narrative combined with the dark voice-overs are perfect and James McCaffrey has the perfect voice. Why he wasn’t cast in the movie instead of Marky Mark Wahlberg is a complete joke. There still isn’t a game series that’s done the bullet time effect in a better way.

31: Rainbow Six Vegas (Xbox 360) – This game is some of the most fun I’ve had and the atmosphere is everywhere in this one too, both when you play solo or cooperatively. Perfect controls for a tactical shooter and even though it would be nice to have the skill point system from the sequel, I like this game more because of the environments and the story. I can’t wait for the next part in the franchise.

Well, that’s it for this post. As usual, comments are appreciated.

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 50-41

3 September, 2010 1 comment

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.

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, 125-101

12 June, 2010 11 comments

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?

Dakkster’s Top 300 Games, 150-126

8 June, 2010 9 comments

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.

127: Bionic Commando (NES) – Another unforgiving NES game, but it was so cool back in the day. Not a lot to say here, really. More platform action genius by Capcom.

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.