PK's List Note Cemetery
PK's All-Time Favorite Video Games
THIS list has been undergoing renovation, and most of the first notes I added to it are being replaced to fit in with the new direction that has developed. I may have retained some parts of the notes, however. Also, the odd title has been removed altogether.
87 7.21. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy
Yo! Hope I'm not late to the party.
39... 38... 37... Man, this soundtrack kicks all kinds of keister! 36... 35... 34... You know, if I killed one of these Metroids every year starting today I wouldn't be that old by the time I'm done. 33... 32... 31... I think I'm starting to see two Game Boys in my hands. How's that possible?
30... 29... 28... I bet there'll be another Nine Inch Nails album release when I finish here. 27... 26.. 25... What's that, homework? You're feeling neglected? Then take responsibility for yourself and make some friends! 24... 23... 22... Haha, I love the Twenty Twos. Sorely under-appreciated, like this game.
21... 20... 19... I- don't- think- 18... 17... 16... I'm- going- to- 15... 14... 13... make- it-!
12... 11... 10... Maybe if I stopped interjecting between sets of three I'd get this done faster. 9... 8... 7... Now that's poetic justice. 6... 5... 4... Darn, did I leave the oven on? Oh well. I'm sure Blueberry won't mind his Saturday sauna being a dozen or so degrees higher.
3... 2... 1... Almost there! Finally! You're dead, Metroid species! Dead as a damask drape! Haha! I bet you're not so threatening to humanity now! Ahahahaha! You... Wait, what's that round thing? Why can't I move? What's going- oh, you've got to be kidding me. How'd the Metroid count go back to 9???
Samus, you're a much more patient person than I could
12 7.22. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up - Nintendo Wii
"I really hope this fire doesn't take our weapons because I am NOT losing the Bo staff-to-old geezer cane advantage!"
Turtle Power! Radical, dude! Iii-iiit's Mikey! Cowabunga! Go, Ninja! Go, Ninja! Go! Pizza Time! Bummer! Take that, Shred-head! It's a shell of a town! Vol. 4 to recommence in May!
...okay, so that last one was a Freudian slip. But there's little grounds for the argument that the Turtles aren't what one might consider a cultural so-to-speak phenomenon.
But certainly they're best days aren't behind them? I mean, Nickelodean's got us covered, right? Considering these are the people that brought us Nick at Nite 2.0, after all? The question marks don't end, seemingly?
Honestly, I've hardly watched the network, so I really don't have too much of a bias? (Darn it, question marks, just leave me alone! There. =] )
One may say this is too derivative of the Super Smash Bros. series. At least the team that made said series' third entry was responsible for it. And if there are going to be so many of the classic kinds of fighters, I don't mind at all if the evolutionary Smash Bros. formula are harnessed for some more of these kinds of 2D fight fests.
Some things I would have liked differently:
Instead of the three Rabbid characters, I'd have liked Usagi, Baxter Stockman, and a Triceraton warrior. Also, the fights were too short! Super Smash Bros. is able to draw things out, but I guess that's due largely to the percentage system. I guess it's hard to come up with a new system that does something similar without ripping off the series. Oh well.
Ultimately, I wouldn't mind this formula being used for the next Castlevania and Godzilla fighters. When I first heard about Castlevania Judgment my first thought was, "Not 2D!?" because that's where they should have started if they wanted to heed all forethought. And they shouldn't give up on the whole fighter genre as a whole just because Judgment failed! Iga definitely has no right to, being a big 2D fan. And as for the Godzilla fighters, well, maybe it's just me wanting a 2D fighting engine to be used in the next game, because I'm a fan of that series and its myriad of characters as well.
At any rate, this formula is getting used all over. Games with such themes as the Viewtiful Joe and Digimon series, the Shonen Jump magazine, and now the Cartoon Network television station have been created and, quite frankly, I'd be devastated if more didn't come around as well. The fast-paced, quick reaction- and elaborate combo-based fighters are not my speed. You know I once took an online quiz to find out what kind of personality I had? It said I'm into quality time where you don't necessarily have to do much and simply enjoy spending time with others, while the picture was of an old couple on their front porch in rocking chairs. So... Yeah.
206 7.43. Sonic Adventure - Sega Dreamcast
"Hey, buddy! No one ever said there can't be two Chaos emerald-harnessing blue/green anthropomorphics! Come to think of it... I don't believe anyone's ever used the word 'anthropomporphics' before."
You can have your Casablanca, your Sophie's Choice, your Singing in the Rain, your stubborn pink erasers. The intro to this game beats them all collectively, though with pink erasers in there it was close. This opening scene is full of so much win that anything after that can't possibly impress you, right?
Way past wrong. The 3D Sonic experience is as awesome as the Genesis games. Playing as different characters in the series - speeding through levels as Sonic, racing Sonic as Tails, hunting for emerald shards as Knuckles, trying to impress Sonic as Amy, and redeeming your soul (or lack thereof) as E-102 Gamme are all loads of fun. Big's gameplay... Not so much. The change in artistic direction continues to bother Sonic fans to this day, but I like the new looks for the characters - not that I didn't like how they looked before (except maybe for mohawk Sonic) - and I think everyone agrees Amy's makeover was a vast improvement.
The chao garden aspect of the game is a very involved thing to do on the side, even going so far as motivating the player to collect animals to help the little blue guys grow. I just wish it weren't so easy to accidentally jump on and hurt them. And Chaos is the perfect villain for Sonic's universe - connected even more than true blue himself is to the Chaos emeralds, growing little by little by collecting them.
Unfortunately the game and its sequel were initially available only on the Dreamcast, a somewhat unsuccessful system. To this day, people praise the living daylights out of other groundbreaking 3D debuts to such series as the Super Mario Bros. (Super Mario 64) and Zelda series (Ocarina of Time), and this game along the lines of an ASPCA commercial for Sonic Adventure... Just open your heart to the though that this game is one of the best 3D platformers ever.
464 7.94. Sonic the Hedgehog - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive
Don't even try to make sense out of the above screen.
There have been many works of art that have, over the years, delved progressively more into the human mind's potential to imagine the insanely weird and eccentric. The paintings of Salvador Dali. The first Sonic the Hedgehog game. The lists of Listal user Pumpkinate. And everything before, after, and inbetween.
Sonic did several things for me. One, I adore its speed-based gameplay. It took the platforming structure made standard with franchises like Mario and Alex Kidd and pumped as much Pixy Stix powder as possible into every vein in its body. As the lightning struck the antenna on top of the lab, sending electricity into said structure, terrible spines protruded from out of its back, its body became an awe-inspiring cobalt, and a peach mouth uttered the chilling words "Let's do it to it!. The doctor who created it, realizing completely what a monster he had brought to life, screamed with great fervor - "I. Hate. That. HEDGEHOG!!!" - and thus one of video gaming's greatest franchises came into existence.
Secondly, I also love the surrealism of the game. Eventually the blue blur's games would embrace more realism, but here we have so many things that make no sense whatsoever (dancing flowers, robots powered by animals, checkered earth) and are the better for it. I mean, isn't a video game supposed to follow its own logic to a great extent? Speaking of which, the third thing is the health system. It's not a matter of the player having to avoid getting hit even once or twice or keeping track of a health meter as in many platformers. As occurred for the fighting game genre with Super Smash Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog's ring system made gameplay much less set and predictable. Still, the challenge of not getting hit is still there when it comes to Chaos emerald collecting.
This is one of the very first video games I ever saw being played on the Sega Genesis when I was a youngster - along with Sonic 2, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, The Lion King, and the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers fighter - so you can imagine I have nostalgic feelings for it. It stands strong among my favorite video games even now, though, and takes its place as my second favorite Sonic game ever, right behind, well... Read on.
225 8.25. Perfect Dark - Nintendo 64
"I'm a guy in real life, but my character's a girl, so I don't have any scruples in turning that window behind you into a bunch of bright red shards, baby doll."
I didn't spend too much time on this game's single player. I imagine it would be more fun to go it with a friend or two. Thus, I plan to play it one day with family and/or friends. Or you. Thaaaat's right.
But isn't it really all about the multiplayer? You have all this freedom to customize what weapons you use, characters you play as, and levels you play in and what type of mode you'd like to do. Though I haven't played too many first-person shooters in my day, this is way up there.
Halo was, to me, too confusing and in my short time playing a copy owned by someone else I never really got comfortable with the controls. You'd think the N64 controller - just about the zaniest controller ever for a main competitor in the video game market - would be more difficult to use than the X-Box's own tool of operation! Perhaps growing up adoring the N64, I just got easily accustomed to using the various buttons for this game as well.
I used to play several of the built-in modes to death. When I was in either late middle school or early high school, a friend of my older brother's came in to my room and said, approximately, "Dude, what are you playing? All I can hear from outside is constant gunfire - it sounds freakin' awesome!"
And that's just the type of game Perfect Dark is. Freakin'.
280 8.76. Super Metroid - Super famicom and SNES
What's that, Nintendo? You say you have an upgrade for the Super Metroid formula? Pssh, yeah, I'm sure you wish you did.
How do you sum up true love? How about... #17 on your All-Time Favorite lists!? Okay, so while I've really enjoyed Super Metroid, there are other games that took after it which I've enjoyed just a slight bit more.
This is a fairly simple Metroidvania without all the fluff that later entries would add to varying success, but it's executed perfectly. The whole experience is so atmospheric and immersive that it's easy to get lost in this masterpiece.
But to continue the thread from the first paragraph, it's lower on my list than other non-linear exploration-based games. You can read why I liked those titles lower down on the list, but for the time being, let's go through why - besides the aforementioned execution of the formula - I value this game as much as I do.
Well, it's the formula itself. I love exploring largely at my leisure, I like to know that I can access the previous parts of the map if I want, and I like having a feeling of connectivity to every other part of the map, and thus the game itself. I love being able to power up and learn new abilities so that I can feel like there's some growth over the course of the game and that I can return to earlier parts of the game and handle them with ease.
This formula was created for the original NES Metroid, but that game probably isn't as accessible for gamers who didn't start with the NES era games (as opposed to the system's other classics). I know I found it frustrating, though maybe now that I've played the entire 2D series I can go back to it and really withstand the challenges it presents. Metroid II: Return of Samus is actually my second favorite game in the series behind this one, though it doesn't have a viewable map (or a logical map in the first place) or the excellent polish that Super has.
Super Metroid completed the formula. Anything that would be done with future Metroids would simply be slight updates and unsuccessful deviations. Clearly in order to breathe new life into the series something fundamental would have to change. Still, other series would adapt the formula to their core gameplay elements. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Kirby & the Amazing Mirror are two fantastic examples of this. Unfortunately, Konami would do with Castlevania the same thing Nintendo did with Metroid and produce a slew of all-too familiar successors - some good, but none doing anything fundamentally new for the series.
Since I'm such a big fan of this sub-genre, I openly welcome any other platform video game series or developer trying its hand at it. Even if it's not a downright classic, so long as it has the uniqueness that a first attempt at this generally does, it can't be blamed for anything other than taking inspiration. If it continues, will it go on to be perfected, as Metroid would be with the game Super Metroid, or never need improving upon as with Symphony of the Night? Or worse - will it start out well, but not as brilliant as the sub-genre's previous gems, and try desperately to make the quintessential Metroidvania for its series but end up struggling in vain?
Griptonite's Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is a really great game, and honestly, has some of the smoothest and most effortless controls I've ever experienced in a platformer. Shattered Dimensions was an improvement, but was held back by the annoying warp point challenge that was required to traverse from dimension to dimension, and could have brought something unique and profound to the table to give Spidey an edge in the world of Metroid-inspired games. As Griptonite continues making their 2.5D platformers, there seems to be little new, however. Sad for one of the few developers that is dedicated to making these kinds of games.
Be they Griptonite or not (I personally think they'll either need Spider-Man's awesome gameplay to reinvent themselves or make up a whole new character and his or her world to work with), the Metroidvania is something which has yielded many classics and will continue to do so for the rest of my life, at least. Then I don't care what garbage it is reduced to, because I'll be dead, and you guys will be stuck with it! Seriously, though, I wish you all the best. Of course.
17 6.97. Donkey Kong Jr. - Famicom and NES
A most heartwarming game about the triumph of the primate spirit.
I first received the second Donkey Kong Jr. e-Reader card in the Hightimes Fun Pack along with Wobbuffet, Kuriboh, Roger Clemens, Pogman and Eggy. I then went to the local comic book shop and picked up a DK Jr. #4 that was on display for fifteen dollars (they really overprice these things!). I traded the issue of Amazing Spider-Man where Spidey trounces Magneto along with my Titanium Silver Beetleborg action figure for my friend's first and fifth cards in the series. Finally, I printed out the third one online and thus had the complete Donkey Kong, Jr. And if you haven't gone through an experience kin to this, then I guess you really haven't lived at all.
The platforming here is engaging and varied. Most platforming from this far back doesn't hold its own against those with the more polished and refined engines we have today. Somehow, with just one fixed screen to play on and simple tasks to perform, the developers of this game were able to create a classic experience. Maybe it's because they had so little to work with - all focus was put on creating the most fun levels they could muster. My only complaint is that it's very short - this could be fixed with a sequel somewhere around the size of the recent Mario Vs. Donkey Kong series, if only Nintendo would try this formula out again.
The amusing thing is that this is the first time a Donkey Kong was ever playable, and I actually prefer it to the entire Donkey Kong Country series. Those games have straightforward platforming where the main replay value is in collecting bananas. I don't like collecting things that don't have any effect, really. In all the Metroidvania games I like, items have some sort of use beyond being collector's items. In Sonic the Hedgehog, Chaos emeralds allow the main character to go super. When I go through some arduous hunt for something, I demand it be worth it. Pulling one over on a villainous Mario certainly is.
I've played and beaten this game many times. It's short, it isn't incredibly hard, and its premise is simple. Here's an honest game that doesn't monkey around with the player.
36 6.58. Hey You, Pikachu! - Nintendo 64
"Pika Pika Pi! (A little lower... A little lower... Ahhh - perfect!)"
When this game was being marketed, my presumption based on the commercials was that you could command Pikachu to do anything. So naturally, I planned on getting the game and telling Pikachu to make me a house decorated as I saw fit, where I would live it up with him as my servant. This didn't turn out to be the case.
Still, the voice technology was pretty new and the choice of things to say to Pikachu large enough. It definitely turned out to be a fun game, though accomplishing some of the objectives proved to be hard - especially since I never consulted a strategy guide!
But the real reason I liked this game was to mess around at home or at one of the many locales of my choosing. I would spend the whole day taking quizzes on the TV or picking up the items I'd collected and throwing them at one another, seeing which one would last longest (eventually they'd wear out and disappear) and thus win the tournament. Yeah... I had my fair share of free time as a younger youngster.
Though I was made fun of by people I knew for playing Hey You, Pikachu! - this was at the time when Pokemon had become uncool - I didn't care too much, and satisfied my frustrations at being an outcast by making Pikachu thunderbolt miscellaneous whatnot that I'd just so happen to find throughout this particular game.
420 8.29. Pokemon: Blue Version - Game Boy
Yeah, sure you are. I've been out here at all times of the day and you've just been catching sun.
Pokemon was all the rage when I was in elementary school. You weren't merely expected to "catch 'em all" - you had to systematically hunt down every trading card, every figure, everything Pokemon related if you wanted to stay in. Soon Pokemon became the out thing and we all left that era of our lives behind us, or so we said.
Pokemon Red/Blue took a new spin on the RPG genre. The sheer amount of choice in customizing one's Pokemon team is formidable - use any combination of Pokemon you'd like, with similarly varied combinations of attacks. The world that one plays in is very different from the standard Final Fantasy title - there are dungeons, of course, but the region in which the game takes place is made up of towns and the paths inbetween, with seamless transitions to towns where the overhead view doesn't change. If you haven't noticed already by some of the titles on this list, I'm a gamer who likes to simply mess around in a game from time to time. This game gives me a good outlet for that, since one is able to wander the towns, talk to its inhabitants, go on side quests, view my Pokemon's stats via Pokedex, and various other things. There aren't as many unnecessary cool things to do as in Gold/Silver, but it still has a lot more depth than most other Game Boy system games.
Pokemon Red/Blue and the Pokemon craze in general were definitely a huge part of my childhood. I'm also really glad I started with the original and got to see the series progress from Blue/Red to Gold/Silver... And maybe further if I pick up where I left off someday.
41 6.910. Mario Bros. (Classic Arcade Series) - Famicom and NES
~insert simple phrase in offensive steriotypical Italian accent here~
Something about these simple platformers with one fixed screen appeals to me more than traditional linear platformers to a degree similar to my love for the much more complex Metroidvanias. Why can't I find a good middle ground? I swing from one side of the pendulum to the other - that's just history. First we're Federalist, then we're Democratic-Republican, then we're either Democratic or Republican. Does it ever end? I say we simply embrace the sentiments of the old saying, "Given a choice between two theories, take the one which is funnier." (Blore's Razor) You be the judge of which is which.
Yes, it's a fixed screen, but as was the case with Donkey Kong Jr., this fact gave the developers the chance to put everything into the one screen that was present. Jumps can't be changed midway, but this works into the gameplay quite well as much of the challenge lies in upside-downing an enemy from the story underneath correctly. Going from one end of the screen to the other gives the player some extra means of navigating the levels and something extra to keep track of as this has the potential to get confusing. The POW block makes for a nice shortcut to making enemies vulnerable, though it can also put them back on their feet (or whatever they have) if they've already been knocked over, so using this also requires some skill. The competitive aspect to Mario Bros. is great as well, this being Luigi's first game appearance, and it's always satisfying to knock out the other player in the same way one does the sewer critters.
I happen to love this little 2D arcade title. If you don't like this game, then fine. Fine! Sit on your stupid little couch and play your stupid little X-Box. See if I care! You're really something, you know that? I mean, here I am not doing anything, and you have to come in and ruin my day. I hope you choke. Jerk.
P.S. I'm currently seeking an X-Box so I can play some more Metroidvanias via the Live Arcade. You think you can give me a good deal on yours? =]
744 8.311. Super Mario 64 - Nintendo 64
Good day, sunshine.
I missed out on a lot as a kid - with N64, cable, and starvation in a third-world country - which I'm still traumatized about - making it high up on the list. My point is that I didn't really have it that bad as a younger human being; but living in a WASPy community like mine, I had to witness other kids' more comfortable circumstances. So naturally I was frustrated about these things. And while I was out of place in my family's not being well-off financially, there was - and, at the time of writing this, still is - a mother and son family (whose father also died), who were out of place in that they had gobs and gobs of money. I'll never forget how, while playing Super Smash Bros. with this kid, he used to pause it after fifteen seconds of gameplay and sit there and laugh like a fool for five minutes at the close-up perspective of the characters in battle mode. I do wonder what they're still hanging around my neighborhood for. At any rate, I feel as if my lesser economic position in relation to those around me has led to my appreciation of all the great things life offers. I think that you can most easily get used to things as a kid, and now that I've lived this whole time without every little commodity, I'm sure I as an adult will be much more appreciative.
It was the end of an era of my life when, in middle school, I traded a jar full of candy for my oldest brother's recently-purchased used Nintendo 64, received a number of games that my older brother had been given by his friends before him, and played and beat Super Mario 64. To me, the whole world is still a bright and colorful alternate existence, despite the complaints people bring up about its graphic compared to games nowadays. The music's the best of the whole series. You can try your hand at messing around with Mario's face, or hang around the castle, sliding down the rails of the staircase, teasing the paintings by almost walking into them and then watching them move like disturbed water, and exploring the fun little area simply to enjoy the 3D experience. The environments are of all kinds, and designed in a fun and engaging way. Mario controls well, though kicking off of walls correctly is a cause for frustration, admittedly. While getting all 120 stars was a trial, I feel flying up to the castle and meeting Mario's old friend - who imparts a message straight from the game's developers - was more than worth it.
As a younger gentleman, this game was my number one pick of favorite video games ever, though over the years I've developed a taste for sidescrollers since then and thus this list will feature more of them than it would have previously. Still, it's my favorite Mario game ever - that is, I haven't played Sunshine or Galaxy 1 & 2, which I'm sure I'd enjoy as well. And it's at least my favorite 3D platformer, if that counts for anything.
54 8.412. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror - Game Boy Advance
"Don't you dare insult the glory that is the hub!"
This is the best Kirby game ever. It's also the best Metroidvania along with Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It's the best puzzle platformer I've ever played. Yes, it IS that good.
I didn't think so at first. I couldn't wrap my head around all the puzzles, and sought the help of a strategy guide. Going through the first couple areas like this proved to be very tedious, so I stopped. However, I picked up the game later for the sake of reviewing it for my Metroidvanias in Review list, with a little bit of confidence after reading a review which said the puzzles aren't too hard if you put a little thought into them. I then got to playing it and thought to myself, "Hey, this really is doable..." and enjoyed myself thoroughly.
The game takes the Metroidvania style and fits it to the classic Kirby ability-gaining system. This makes it right at home for Kirby fans and a breath of fresh air for Metroidvaniacs. There's a lot of backtracking involved after making a mistake and having to do-over a series of rooms in the map which one cannot simply go backwards to return to, but I never cared because the game was so fun and this fact only made it challenging enough so that I felt like I was able to appreciate the concept in its fully realized form. Using the separate Kirbys is useful and only at times necessary. I just love how one can recolor Kirby using spray paint cans. The abilities are in great variety; admittedly, some are more useful than others.
This is also is an interesting game because Kirby doesn't attain any status upgrades later on besides helpful HP hearts. Whereas Super Metroid had missile upgrades that seemed to never end and SotN introduced a level-up system a la RPG games, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror features a main character who doesn't require you to take him or her to Super Saiyan form, and then transcend the Super Saiyan, and then see how many times you can repeat the process. No - rather than sell you a computer that's fast at first but gradually slows down and requires updates continuously, K&tAM's difficulty is balanced enough without having to offer power-ups to the player. And it's amazing.
14 8.213. Wario Land II - Game Boy
"Throw a boomerang at me, will ya? You're fired!"
As was the case with Donkey Kong, another Mario villain gets his own series. This time, the character doesn't put on a more heroic personality, however. And that's the premise of the game - Wario finding treasures to satisfy his greed.
I played parts of this game for a small amount of time at Best Buy and I liked it so much with such minimal playtime that I had my female guardian (saying it like that and not "my mum" just makes me feel like I'm a big boy!) buy it for me at a later date. I still remember my two older brothers creating the "Cool Club" which consisted of them two and not me. But when I discovered an alternate route shooting off from the first level of the game, they invited me in! I was so excited! And now I know said membership meant nothing.
There are two reasons this game is on here. For one thing, the originality, as the premise wherein Wario cannot die is a breath of fresh air. Why, why, why did they go the health meter route in later games? Whatever. At least they took the game into Metroidvania-style platforming (always a plus for me) with Master of Disguise. Wario's various forms are also fun to use to interact with the levels. Which brings me to my next point: The levels are just plain fun. Whether it's the most linear of linearity - like going from car to car on a train - or exploring the innards of massive skyscrapers, this makes for a fun ride and is a solid foundation to build from for the series.
23 5.814. Wario: Master of Disguise - Nintendo DS
"Arr, ye mateys! Well, are ye or not?!"
Maybe I'm a hypocrite for praising this game while whining and moaning about how Wario Land 4, though good, took the series away from what it was originally all about. Maybe this game's touch screen controls commit theft on one's time and patience. Maybe I am the got-danged governor's son! So sue me while I suit me in eight different fashions.
I'd heard so much criticism against this game. But when Wario first walked onto the cruise ship in the intro scene for the first act, I thought the presentation was perfect. And the controls - at least the movement - are smooth and fluid. The controls as far as drawing Wario's costumes goes are, while difficult to do in a snap during boss fights, a new dynamic which I enjoyed. The series brings back many of Wario's age-old abilities in other forms, like his tackle and butt-buster. The mini-games are usually pretty fun except when the touch screen occasionally screws you up (as in the "Create a Path for Wario's Severed Head to Fall Into!" game - though that's certainly one of my favorites anyway).
For those apprehensive about trying this game, I say try it. It can't hurt too much. I ended up enjoying it and feeling it a complete experience despite not seeing a single perfect review for it anywhere. To me, its flaws are forgivable. For others, this may not be the case. I was willing to give it a try because A) It's Wario, and B) I'd read some positive GameFAQs reviews and they gave me more hope in the game.
Just don't be fooled by those negative reviews. They can look so good and sound so sweet, but simply equip Genius Wario near a picture of them and you'll see something... Dark... Sinister. And yes, I am referring to the Golden Age Fallacy. No, really, I'm referring to Tiaramisu.
300 8.615. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - PlayStation
Only a true badboy could talk this way to a succubus.
So Alucard's another in a long list of modern, emo, girly vampires. The masculinity had to end somewhere. And, to be honest, the artistic transition from a grimy castle and he-men Belmont heroes to a very finely decorated castle and Dracula-related anti-heroes fared quite well. At least better than the short-lived transition to an anime style for the DS titles did.
This game did so much more than provide pure aesthetics. Pure, beautiful, gorgeous, pneumatic, Hephaestus, ruby, right-wing aesthetics... Er, it also brought to the table a hero with a closer relationship with Dracula than simply his hated enemy, as mentioned. Alucard's got more daddy issues than your typical Playboy bunny. He's not simply your virtuous hero; he harbors resentment towards his father, though he does good despite his anger. Also, a Belmont hero's character is turned upside-down - Richter becomes possessed by the facilitator of the game's conflict, Shaft, and must be rescued by Alucard. Dracula's baby boy as the main character also allows the player to use a variety of non-whip weapons, as well as attacks and spells the thirsty Transylvanian is especially known for in this particular series.
But that's all well and good, really, because there's more. Yes, this game began the now-controversial change to non-linear, Metroid-style (dare I utter the word? Metroidvania!) gameplay. This has been met with mixed results because, for fans of the previous generation of Castlevanias, or anyone who identifies with the style of gameplay used at that time, the continuous onslaught of what they consider the same game time time and time again has - they feel - taken the series in one particular direction, the road changing even while said direction is taken, leaving the series totaled and in a ditch. Their words, mind you. However, at the time of this game's release it was met with praise from veteran 'Vanians and those new to the series, the public and critics alike. One thing's for sure - this game brought some new life to the series. It's example only need lead Konami in future outings, so that they can do something new.
...waitaminute. How can you do something new based off of an example? Eh, SotN did it. And so can YOU!
310 8.216. Pokemon: Gold Version - Game Boy Color
Someone needs to get their hands on some second generation Pokemon.
Why is this game and Silver so great? Because I decree it so, by authority of the duke of France.
To put it plainly, these two games improved upon Blue and Red in so many ways while retaining that classic charm, something seemingly lost as the series went on. The way Gold/Silver works isn't too different from Blue/Red - the same overhead view of the trainer is used, with the same RPG elements, and the progression from town-to-town collecting gym badges is present. There are so many new Pokemon, though, and the new first half of the game offers fun new towns to explore. There are nice side quests to take, like the Johto National Park Bug-Catching Contest. There's lots of fun stuff to do just for kicks, like listen to different radio stations and call people you've met, or give and receive a "present" (such as a Snorlax doll which can be put on display in the protagonist trainer's room in his house) by linking with another cartridge of the same generation. The graphics are also much more colorful, taking advantage of the Game Boy Color's smorgasbord of colors. Fighting the trainer from the previous generation of Pokemon games is a nice way to bring the game to a close.
Here we have a perfect Pokemon experience. What came before wasn't bad either. Afterward... Well, I should play some of those games so I can make an informed opinion.
635 8.317. Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Nintendo Wii
Sorry - button mashing won't help you here.
Compared to previous series entries, this game has a much larger roster of characters (including Konami's Solid Snake and Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog), new, unpredictable levels, more even-paced action (whereas Melee is too fast for the everyday gamer and is played on the GameCube controller which has waaay more buttons than that of the Wii), and a massive adventure mode (admittedly bogged down by its excessive focus on beat 'em up elements rather than platforming).
But the real reason to get this game is to go at it with friends in multiplayer, as any other Super Smash Bros. With assist trophies featuring Nintendo characters just unpopular enough to be playable, more items that drop out of the sky (including weapons as well ascollectibles you'll want to snatch up before they disappear), and the mentioned unpredictable stages, plus the variety of characters available, the game is exciting and highly playable for both casual and hardcore gamers and has a replay factor unparalleled.
As with the previous entries, as new Smash Bros. games come out and (hopefully) improve upon the formula, this game will go further down on the list with the new series entry taking its place.
4 1018. F-14 Tomcat - Game Boy Advance
Splashing hordes of bogeys on behalf of an intrusive government has never been so much fun.
It may not be the first of its kind (in fact, it's actually a remake of the SNES game Turn and Burn: No-Fly Zone) or loaded to the brim with extra modes, and it may not have the best visuals (the enemy fighters are the same sprite regardless of disatance, simply blown-up larger and larger as they get closer). It was the first and still the best flight simulator I've played. It does have a fun multiplayer mode, the only draw being that one has to buy multiple carts (which I did). And the screenshots used in advertisements for the game were enough to pique my interest.
When I first started playing this game I couldn't figure the dang thing out, and didn't complete the first level. However, I soon found that if you turn the fighter so that the horizon line is, er, perfectly vertical during dogfights, it's completely doable. Still, I had trouble with the later levels in this game. Playing the later games in the series, however, I had little trouble, either due to their being easier or my being better.
The solo campaign is enjoyable on its own, with a fun-to-use machine at your disposal (once you get used to its functions) and a helpful radar and viewable mission briefs/objectives. The multiplayer is the best part, though, with simple alterations that can be made like changing the weather and deciding how the game is won, with either a time limit or splash count that can be manipulated. Altogether, it makes for a great party game if you can put together a posse who are into this brand of fun.
Though this game is quite likely on few others' Top 50 lists, I've enjoyed it too much not to consider it for my top ten. And even then, a spot below the top five would be a middle finger to Majesco.
252 7.919. Sonic & Knuckles - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive
Knuckles's adventure starts out with a bang.
This game, though occasionally criticized for being a continuation of a working formula and an add-on that should have been included with the previous game, is my single favorite Sonic game.
As far as the "being a continuation of a working formula" criticism goes, my reply is that it introduced the gameplay dynamic of Knuckles the Echidna - a gliding, wall-climbing reddie whose abilities are perfectly balanced with Sonic's and Tails's due to a combination of smart character gameplay conception and fun level design.
As far as the "an add-on that should have been included with the previous game" argument is concerned, would it really have been the same game without the plug-and-play? If it were just Sonic 3 & Knuckles, with no possibility to play each game individually, nor operate Knuckles in the setting of Sonic 2, and no being able to practice the "blue sphere" levels, would it have been as memorable? Maybe, but not for the same reasons. Though I also really love Sonic 3, Knuckles is a uniquely fun character to play as, and the super emeralds are fun to collect, while the ability to lock-on and combine the stories justifies not including part two with Sonic 3.
Each level is fully thematic with vibrant visuals and funky beats. The bosses seem to follow a theme - from the capsule robot who attacks himself when you stand on top of him and jump out of the way just in time, to the pyramid guardian sand golem who jumps at you into a pool of quicksand, they seem to be primarily self-destructive. Is this a commentary of how fascist governments, with all the enemies they create, ultimately facilitate their own undoing themselves? Probably not. I don't really even know why I put that in there... Now I'm embarrassed. Just never mind my saying it...
The Sonic and Knuckles campaigns even have their own special distinctions. Due to Knuckles's talents, there are areas he can reach that can't be accessed by Sonic or even by Tails. As for Sonic, he has a whole extra few levels - the Sky Sanctuary Zone, Death Egg Zone, and Doomsday Zone, three of the most interesting levels of the Genesis series.
Sonic Team were at the top of their respective games here, in more ways than one. Okay, bad pun... I should really cut it out with the rhetorical devices... But this game rocks.
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