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?
Time for the next 25 entries in this giant list, getting close to wrapping up the first 100. As usual check out the blog tag Top 300 Games for all the posts about the list.
250: Leisure Suit Larry (Amiga 500) – The ultimate video game pervert made his debut in this game that was kind of the silly antithesis to Police Quest. I thought this was soooooo cool and grown up when I played it and my cousin wrote me a walk-through way before GameFAQs was around, just so I could go all the way with a skanky hooker. Wonderful…
249: Journey to Silius (NES) – Journey to Silius was a fresh change of pace among a bunch of brightly colored and generally cheery platformers on the NES. This was a dark, dystopian tale that featured awesome action, interesting enemies and some of the best music in the entire NES game library. This was good shit and it still holds up today, so check it out.
248: North & South (Amiga 500) – One of my friends had an Amiga 500 and this was probably the game that we played the most. We made aiming cannons into an art and I can still remember all those times when I tried to sneak a few infantrymen across a stream to let them loose on my friend’s artillery, only to aim them incorrectly and they’d leave the battlefield without doing any damage. Damn it! Although I was usually pretty good at doing those train assaults where the game turned into an action platformer.
247: Track & Field 2 (NES) – I wonder how many NES controllers and/or fingers have been worn out because of this game. To this day, I still can’t come up with a game that centers so much around pressing a button or two repeatedly like a madman. We got so good at turbopressing that we were faster than the autofire controllers that were available back then.
246: Delta Force (PC) – Voxels… Ah, they were supposed to be the new graphical revolution in video games, but then polygons took over and the rest is history, as they say. But voxels were pretty cool too, even if they lacked the texture detail that some polygon based 3D games had. Why? Draw distance. With voxels, the game world could be virtually endless and it could be as flat or mountainous as you wanted it to be. I used to play skirmish games on it, where the game would spawn 50 or so enemy soldiers and then it was my job to kill them all. Most of the time, that meant me picking them off with a sniper rifle. Fun stuff!
245: Pro Wrestling (NES) – This game has the greatest game over screen of all time. “A WINNER IS YOU!” Oh, the memories… My favorite fighter was always Star Man because of his trippy outfit, but I liked the monster guy who could chew on heads too.
244: South Park (PC) – I don’t remember playing through a lot of this game’s story mode, because it was basically just about shooting turkeys. The real fun was in the multiplayer and we used to play that quite a bit at one point. It had some really creative weapons and this was a couple of years into South Park’s popularity, so everyone loved killing Stan, Kyle, Cartman but especially Kenny. Yes, we were that predictable and boring.
243: Giants: Citizen Kabuto (PC) – The most interesting thing about this game, apart from the wacky humor and the beautiful graphics, was that you played as distinctly different characters. The most fun to play as was Kabuto, because he could wreak havoc like no one else since he was so big and strong and could take a thorough beating before he went down.
242: Tiny Toon Adventures (NES) – Same thing here as with Giants, you could play as different characters. Of course, this wasn’t in a big 3D game world, it was just a classic NES platformer. But it worked really well and was a lot of fun. I loved playing as the Tazmanian Devil’s kid the most.
241: Crusader No Regret/Remorse (PC) – I baked these two into one entry because frankly, I can’t remember how to tell them apart and they were basically the same thing anyway. Awesome, isometric, shooter action that I would love to see a remake of on XBLA or something like that.
240: Grand Theft Auto (PC) – Gouranga! That’s what popped up on the screen in large letters whenever you managed to run over an entire procession of Hare Krishna worshippers. The reason I like this game so much is because it was so simple and yet so big and so fun. Not a million mini games. You could do a lot of things with it even though you could only drive cars and stuff viewed from above. Some of the chases that went on for a while got really intense.
239: Super Star Wars (SNES) – The best of the bunch as far as the SNES Star Wars games are concerned, in my opinion. It could be that it was the first one, but I thought it was really exciting and had a lot of great action. I remember renting this and putting it into my console only to hear the familiar Star Wars music blaring out of the TV.
238: Punch Out (NES) – I always wondered how some of the guys in this game actually got as far as they did. King Hippo? Come on! I think the farthest I got was to meet Bald Bull the second time. As I recall, I couldn’t beat him that time, but it was a long time ago, so I could be mistaken.
237: The Settlers (Amiga 500) – My cousin and I used to play this because he had a hard-on for building games. His favorite part was the guy who went out to look for minerals. I liked the whole thing and now that I think about it, I’m actually a bit surprised that I haven’t really picked up any of the sequels.
236: Castlevania II – Simon’s Quest (NES) – Looking back on this title these days, I don’t really understand what made it stand out for me so much back then. Perhaps I didn’t have better judgement, because it’s a pretty shitty game that’s complete nonsense a lot of the time. Great music though.
235: Syndicate (Amiga 500) – My friend used to roll his eyes at me just because I insisted on always having a shotgun with one of my guys in every mission, imitating Michael Biehn’s Corporal Hicks in the movie Aliens: “I like to keep this handy for close encounters.” This was another dystopian favorite of mine when I was younger, but I didn’t really get much of the story, if there even was one. My friend and I just plowed through the missions because it was good action.
234: Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) – This was the ultimate zombie game way back before zombies got so insanely popular. It was extremely fun and equally hard when you got a bunch of levels into the game. Those homicidal little knife maniacs were my primary hate objects but there were a whole bunch of annoying enemies that you could hate.
233: A-10 Tank Killer (PC) – I used to play this on my dad’s PC when he still had a monochrome screen and I think I played it with the invulnerability cheat on for the most part, but then when I got a bit bored with it, I figured out how to turn that off and play it properly, learning how to follow the different orders and using the right bombs/missiles for the different assignments. I haven’t really touched a realistic flight simulator since then.
232: Hidden & Dangerous (PC) – Remember what I said about Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines about wanting it to be released with a fresh skin? Well, this is sort of it, but it was released pretty closely after Commandos. It was a bit more action-oriented, but still focused on stealth, which was a lot of fun. Actually, it’s the kind of game that could probably be released today and garner a lot of success. I liked it because it was more than just shooting stuff. It forced you to think a bit before you pulled the trigger.
231: Bucky O’Hare (NES) – One of those games that got way too little exposure and fanfare. This is one of the best platformers on the NES and again, it’s one of those games that lets you play as different characters with different abilities. I’m noticing a pattern here.
230: Red Faction (PC) – I remember when the demo for this game was released and I tried it. You got to play a bit of the first level and you also got to play around with a fun-house level that was just a glass house in a mine. I used to edit the config files to up the explosive force of the packs of dynamite or whatever they were, just so I could blow away more rock. Finally, I found out that the level had hard limits that I couldn’t blow myself past. Meh. Fun game in story mode, it was one of the first FPS games that really pulled off vehicles mid-game.
229: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (NES) – The first TMNT game was a bitch to play and this one was also quite tricky, although a lot more manageable. The biggest improvement over the first one, apart from… well, everything really, was that you could play two players this time around, which was completely awesome.
228: Ninja Gaiden (NES) – This was called Shadow Warriors here in Sweden, but it was just as fantastic and horribly difficult. But I beat it, although I can’t for the life of me understand how today. I was some kind of NES ninja back in the day. I tried the sequels on the NES too, but I figured that I had gone through enough with the first game. Those damn birds can go suck a big fat dick as far as I’m concerned. They are the single most annoying platforming enemies ever. So unforgiving.
227: Ignition (PC) – A Swedish developer made this game, actually, and I remember the gaming magazines over here made a big deal out of it. I thought it was an okay racing game, very casual. It felt more like controlling those little remote-controlled toy cars you used to have when you were a kid.
226: Gun.Smoke (NES) – Capcom has made some really classic NES games and Gun.Smoke is one of them. The period is there because of copyright issues with the TV show. This is still one of the best western games ever released, which says a lot about how bad western games have generally been through the years.
I’m 75 games in now, how does it look?
Alright, I’m all done with the rankings, I think. Let’s give this a shot. My reasoning behind the rankings can be found here. Nostalgia overload in 3, 2, 1…
300: Sim City (Amiga 500) – Starting off with the city simulator that eventually spawned the virtual dollhouse The Sims, I didn’t really understand what was needed to build successful cities, but it was fun to build what I could and then destroy it with the various disasters you could use.
295: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) – Yes, the first one, even though it was horrendously difficult. It was still a Turtles game and the Turtles were king when I was a kid. The swimming levels were insanely difficult and I remember trying to avoid the baddies with the turtle van. I heard that a friend of mine actually beat this game a few weeks ago during one of his retro gaming sessions.
293: B.O.B. (SNES) – Really underrated puzzle/shooter with a great main character and lots of humor. This is a game that should be on most people’s lists of games to play if the decide to take on some retro games.
292: Premier Manager (Amiga 500) – I used to play this with my cousin and we almost always started off from scratch every weekend we spent playing it. I didn’t really understand all of it, but it was pretty fun being a soccer manager. Later versions got too bloated with stuff to do, I think.
290: Soldier of Fortune (PC) – This game was really raw, but I never really went for the gore. Still, it was a pretty solid shooter. It’s interesting to look back at this. They tried some narrative, but it was beyond horrible and they might just as well have done random maps.
289: Sensible World of Soccer (Amiga 500) – Another soccer game I played with my cousin. Blazing fast action that had a really steep learning curve, but once you got the hang of it, you could do insane things on the pitch.
288: Dark Colony (PC) – This RTS was a game that kind of rode on the success of Command & Conquer and Warcraft, but it had its own thing going for it. Playing as the grays was fun because it was released during the heyday of the X-Files.
287: Ikari Warriors (NES) – ABBA. That’s the cheat code that gave you a bunch of extra lives… or if it was invulnerability. Anyhow, it was kind of a Rambo bullet hell shooter that was pretty fun to play with a friend.
284: Shadowgate (NES) – This game was released in Swedish over here and the translation was quirky in some places, but that just made it all the more fun. I don’t remember if I beat it or not, but I got far without any help. GameFAQs wasn’t around back then anyway.
282: Need for Speed Carbon (PC) – I didn’t really play this one, but I watched my nephew play it A LOT with me sitting next to him. Probably the most atmospheric racing game I’ve come across so far, even with the hammy acting performances.
280: Fifa 96 (SNES) – There was this trick that you could do whenever there was a goal kick. You just moved your attacker to stand right in front of the goalie and you’d spam the kick button. As soon as the kick was made, your attacker made an instant bicicleta or header to score. Cheap, yes, but fun.
279: Desert Strike (Amiga 500) – Back when I was a kid, this was one of the coolest games around, mainly because Rambo 3 had made helicopters bad ass. It’s a good action game with surprisingly good controls.
278: Killing Time (PC) – This could be the most obscure game on the list. It’s a budget FPS that I played with my nephew and it’s pretty much a more action-oriented Rose Red (the Stephen King story) with ghosts and a haunted manor to run around in. Hammy as hell, but really fun.
277: Rescue – The Embassy Mission (NES) – Also known as Hostage on the Amiga, I think. This game had three fun parts. Sneaking, sniping and room-clearing. I loved the sneaking part, but it was all pretty good. Really tense action.
276: Spy vs Spy (Amiga 500) – This one is a classic and I think I played two sequels as well. You ran around in a maze of rooms trying to outsmart the other spy and get out of the place, using traps and other sneak stuff that usually backfired because you forgot that you had boobytrapped a door.
Okay, so that’s the first batch of 25. I’ll do seven more parts like this, I think, and then it’s ten parts or so for the top 100. I love lists and I’d love to hear what you think about this first part, so let me know in the comments!