Back in 2002, a small band of internet forum-goers decided to leave their previous board, which had become a little too venomous for their liking, and created a new place to get together to chat about games. It was called Neomega. What originated as a RPG concept of administrator andyrose quickly became a game site with reviews, news and a forum full of awesome people. The time spent together was joyous and rarely confrontational, and the site even earned a place in EGM for a Mario Sunshine glitch video put together by Regus. However, the good times wouldn’t last forever. Unable to keep the site afloat, andyrose pulled the plug on Neomega little more than a couple years into it.
As the features editor of the site, I’ve held on to some of the staff articles that we did, which, with permission from andyrose, I will republish on this page. For me, it’s interesting to look back on what I thought back a few years ago, and it reminds me of all of the good times we had back in those days. It may not be of any interest to anyone beyond nostalgic Neomega staffers, but hey, I owe this blog to their hospitality in letting me join them, so this is my homage to them. Thanks again, all. ^_^
I’ve slightly edited these from their originals to catch little things I missed before (and to correct some rather glaring errors) , but on the whole, they are relatively untouched.
3 WORST GAMES
Reflection – Basically, this article discussed what we felt were the three worst games we ever played. I remember Gehn’s choice of Super Mario 64 was very controversial among us at the time. He stuck to his choice, however (which is good for him not bowing to our dastardly peer pressure!). I think that on the whole we had quite a bit of fun writing these scathing paragraphs. As for mine, I’d change two of my choices, but Home Alone II would still be on there, no question. What a train wreck of a title. XD What other games would I pick now? Virtua Fighter II for the Genesis would be one. That is a terrible game designed by its choice of name to lure poor gamers who didn’t know better into playing a disastrous port that barely resembles its namesake. My other choice would probably be Kingdom Hearts, despite knowing I’ll get flack for saying so. Another thing is how far my writing’s come since I did these. Man. Anyway, let’s start!
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (NES)
Ah yes, my worst experience in gaming. Now, some may scoff at this, but I liked the original Home Alone on NES. I thought the premise was different and pretty well executed. You ran around the house, avoiding the two burglars, and you could drop traps and hide at points in the house. You had to try to stay alive for 30 minutes, and trust me, it was no easy feat to do that. I almost had it once, but not quite. So when I went to a friend’s house and saw this, I translated it to “Hey, maybe this time you run around that apartment building and do the same thing! How awesome!” Well, I was appalled to discover what this really was.
Somewhere at THQ, someone must have gotten the idea that a craptastic platform game would be a better formula than the original’s frantic “trap-dropping-running-trying-to-stay-alive-excitement” from the original. Well, everything about this game went wrong. The graphics are horrible. The music was terrible. The level design sucked, the controls were awful, and the disappointment was immense. I can say I’ve never been more upset at a title than this one. *slaps THQ*
First, a brief lecture on the Zapper. The Zapper was included with the NES along with the console, controller, sometimes a power pad and a cartridge of the classics Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. The Zapper was used to drop fowl and clay in Duck Hunt, shoot up gangsters in Hogan’s Alley, eliminate outlaws in Wild Gunmen, and a few other choice games. It was also Captain N’s weapon of choice. Now, after that impressive pedigree, what could go wrong with the Zapper? I mean, it was a gun that let you shoot ducks! Well, this cartridge here is what could go wrong. REALLY wrong.
Andyrose picked this as well, and he must have braved farther than I did, for I recall no evil green monsters. But imagine a platform game. You’re a detective out on a quest to rescue your daughter from some evil gangster folk. You must collect 6 jewels to save her. Well, the premise isn’t too bad for a NES game, but the execution of it is wrong. Instead of using the Controller, you’re stuck with the Zapper. And it is not the greatest way to control someone in a platform game. At all. In fact, after watching myself barely miss the diamond in the first stage and continue on my merry little way with no way of going back, I knew I was in for a long ride into crap. If you’re a Zapper fan, avoid this, please.
Hexen 64 (N64)
My third bad experience was with Hexen 64. The original Hexen was a medieval FPS by Raven Software for PC’s. I have no problem with Hexen itself, but this port of it was done really, really badly. I think GT Interactive (who if I recall correctly published this) was trying to capitalize on the success that Doom 64 had, but went about it the wrong way.
First off, at least Midway revamped the graphics in Doom 64. GT didn’t do that. It was a pixelated mess, especially when you got too close to an enemy (which happened often, if I recall). The controls also weren’t mapped very well. All and all it was hard to prevent myself from sleeping while I played this game, and that is rare. Shame of GT for releasing a shoddy port, even though they aren’t around anymore.
I own this game. I bought it because the art on the cartridge looked interesting. There was a guy dressed like a detective, floating in the air, with a balloon to his left and a green monster to his right. “Sweet, this game is going to rock…..AND roll”, I thought to myself. Little did I know I was stepping into a realm of pain and ultra-violent torture gameplay that would scar me for the rest…of….my….life.
You play a detective. A girl gets kidnapped. You go after her. Here’s the catch: You’re all hopped up on crack cocaine, or something, and your gas pedal is glued to the floor. You run after her, always running, never stopping, ALWAYS, and there are balloons and monsters that try to attack you. These things come at you from insane angles, so you HAVE to figure out a way to dodge them. BINGO! You figure out the best way to stay alive! Shooting yourself with the Nintendo Zapper! That way, you’ll jump up, and for the most part you can almost dodge some of the oncoming enemies! That’s about the point that you DIE, because in all honesty, you can’t dodge a dozen flying monsters by just shooting yourself up into the air, that’s just crazy. This game is crazy. It makes me so angry, I’m angry right now.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2)
While I’m still angry, I’m going to nominate the sequel to my beloved MGS as my second suck candidate. Hideo Kojima, my god, what did I do to you to deserve this pile of dog crap in my PS2? Are you just trying to screw with my head? It’s working, man, because if Solid Snake doesn’t get the lead in the next game, I’m going to have to get MGS2 out of my head. WITH A BULLET. You don’t hype a game for over a year with videos and demos of Solid Snake, and then replace him as main character in the game with a blonde haired bimbo that has to repeat everything he hears (else he won’t remember it later!). It’s just not right, from a moral standpoint.
I know there are those of you out there that liked this game, and I can understand that. The first part of the game is pretty fun. After that first hour, though, everything just went to complete shit for me. The dialogue, the plot, even the gameplay got tired, boring and repetitive. I can respect the game for its eye-popping visuals, that’s not where I fault it. I fault Kojima and the character artists for following up one of the greatest games of all time with a title I don’t ever want to play again.
Devil May Cry 2 (PS2)
While I’m on the subject of sequels that pissed me off, I might as well finish off this top 3 list with Devil May Cry 2. As with MGS2, the original game in this series really floored me. I loved DMC, and I still do. But what Capcom did to the game, replacing the development team, changing the game engine for the worse(character movement and camera angles are much worse in DMC2 than in the original), and putting in some of the lamest dialogue and characters ever……well, that can’t be excused.
The addition of some chick with a stupid accent and a bad haircut doesn’t make up for this game’s shortcomings. I don’t even want to talk about this game anymore, I feel like it’s going to give me bad luck even mentioning its name, like a severed monkey paw. I’m stopping now.
Developed by the folks at Kronos (probably best known for the Fear Effect games), Criticom is a pseudo 3D fighting game that manages to fail on every level, from control to simple aesthetics. Basically, take a collection of the blandest, most generic, and most poorly modeled characters you can imagine and throw them in 1-on-1 battles to the finish, but no matter how much these characters hit each other, it was always me that wound up feeling the pain.
Besides being butt ugly, Criticom’s real problem is that the fighting engine is so off the mark. Combatants feel like they’re practicing martial arts while submerged up to their necks in a vats of maple syrup. Just getting these guys to pull off the most simple combos made me feel like a special needs child in a Jackie Chan flick. Throw in the fact that Criticom’s idea of AI is to have the opponents constantly turtle, and you have a recipe for DEEP HURTING! Definitely the worst fighting game I’ve ever played, and that’s saying a lot.
Stretch Panic (PS2)
Between the outlandish premise, and the fact that a certain magazine (*cough cough*) gushed over it before release, Stretch Panic sure got a lot of attention. The fact that it sported the name Treasure probably didn’t hurt either. My curiosity was certainly peaked when time came around for this game to ship. But, oh dear god.
Stretch Panic is such a god awful game, it’s really hard to imagine that it ever saw the light of day. Sure, you can blather on endlessly about how the deformable models were impressive, but that doesn’t take away the fact that there is barely any game here to begin with. Pulling on things with a floating scarf may offer up a few moments of gee-whiz fun, but packaging this thing as a game and stamping a fifty dollar price tag on it was nothing short of highway robbery. Not to mention Treasure’s pension for being strange just for the sake of it has worn thin with me.
Submitted for your disapproval… Ripper. Consider it not as a stand alone title, but as an entry into that dark age of gaming when FMV was being thrown at us like the Second Coming. Ripper takes place in the not-so-distant-future, where you play a detective trying to track down a modern day Jack the Ripper. And despite starring a wide range of talents like Christopher Walken, Jimmy Walker and Karen Allen, it just plain sucks… long and hard.
As you make your way through this point-and-click FMV-fest, you’ll spend hours upon hours having redundant, canned conversations with paper-thin characters, navigating stagnant locations in between load times, and floating your cursor over every inch of the screen, hoping to find something to interact with. Oh yeah, as if the game world wasn’t bad enough, a good portion of Ripper takes place in a virtual world where you get to spend time researching tedious subjects and playing hokey arcade-style sequences. Nope, even Christopher Walken couldn’t save this game for me.
Stretch Panic (PS2)
Stretch Panic is one of those cases that proves to me that players often don’t know what’s good for them. You see it in message boards all the time: people wanting ideas to be implemented in new games, modded or patched into old ones or included in expansion packs but yet often their ideas are things that would ultimately wreck the game even for them, just because they’re simply not good ideas. Stretch Panic was not a good idea, it was cool in a “I want to be a firefighter” sort of way. But unlike people who think they want to be firefighters usually end up realizing they never thought it through and would not actually want be anywhere near a dangerous blaze, Stretch Panic never gave itself a reality check.
Then again, maybe the developers knew the game was horrible. After all, it seemed like the game copped out on its own premise by making what you did with your magical scarf amazingly repetitive and easy. Which is just as well, because if you attempted to do anything else with the scarf, you rewarded with realizing just how obnoxious controlling the damn thing would be if the gameplay was actually dependent on this. The bottom line is that the basic gameplay concepts involved were horribly flawed. Perhaps a game where you control your character and their magical scarf separate could be fun, but the designers got it pretty much all wrong here. Stretch Panic stands out in my mind as a design mistake so large, I can’t think of any other game so inherently flawed.
E.T. (Atari 2600)
Almost everybody who has played this old Atari 2600 game will agree with me when I say this game is horrifically bad. It can be said that over time, classics live on, average games slowly fade and horrible games putrefy. Amazingly though, E.T. is just one of a breed – a whole line of movie inspired games that suck because they were just attempts to cash in and the time and effort required to bring a good idea to fruition was never taken and so the game remains mired in stupid little flaws absent in better games. Like other movie to game transitions, I’m left puzzled – what does a whimsical story about a boy meeting an extraterrestrial have to do with falling into holes repeatedly and having a hard time getting out?
Super Mario 64 (N64)
I’ll get straight to the point: I think Mario 64 is just about everything worth hating in a modern 3D game. It’s all there: overly context sensitive controls that never seem to be doing what one wants them too, ridiculously short melee attack ranges with a camera that tends to view it at an angle that makes it even harder to judge, a horrible camera that can’t go through walls or intelligently make objects transparent and won’t even stand still when you want it too, uncustomizable controls and best of all, tons of ways to end up sliding all over the place.
That’s not why it makes the list though, there are other games with the same problems and a few more of their own as well. Instead, it makes the list because not only did it have these problems but it was a big, influential game released by a big, influential publisher, designed by a big, influential developer with an influential lead designer. Not only does this make it more of a shame that the game was bad but it also makes the bad decisions spread. A whole generation of games had these problems and Mario 64 strikes me like the ringleader and that’s reason enough for me to say it deserves to go down as one of the three worst games of all time.
Command and Conquer: Sole Survivor Online (PC)
Never have I seen a game who’s very premise was as deeply flawed as this one’s was. Take the first C&C game. Remove the strategy, vast armies, story, resource gathering, campaign modes and fun. That’s Sole Survivor, the only C&C game where you play as only one unit. That’s right. One unit. You lead your solider around the map alone, searching out other single units to fight. The interface is exactly the same, which means you simply click-click-click him around the map. You click once on any target and watch to see if he kills you or your kill him. That’s all that there is too it. This game is simple, and can be mastered by most anyone, and several higher-order species of animals. It’s the first game you can play against your dog with. This game truly redefines “click and the thing goes splat” style gameplay in a way that shows Diablo up in every way possible.
Not only that, but powerups come in the form of crates. Your unit starts out weak, and has to pick up crates to increase it’s power. Not a problem, right? Well, picking up a crate also carries the risk of an Ion Cannon blast, instantly frying your unit. The chance of this happening increases as you gain power, which would be an interesting gambit, if the path finding knew to avoid crates. It doesn’t. You can be chasing a weakened opponent, guns blazing as he flees in terror, and accidentally run over a crate, instantly vaporizing you. You respawn on the map with no powerups, while your tripped out former prey now hunts YOU. Fun.
Part of me doesn’t want to put this on here. This game has been mocked to the point where it is a joke in and of itself. But there if there is one thing I can’t resist, it is bashing John Romero. With all the hubris of a mad scientist building and stitching together his monster from body parts, he proceeded to print an ad for the game that read “JOHN ROMERO WILL MAKE YOU HIS BITCH!” promising the game in seven months. It came out three years and five lead developers later, and has gone down in gaming history as one of the biggest disasters ever. Yet somehow, people can’t seem to feel sorry for Romero. Maybe it’s the bitch thing. Maybe it’s the fact that he built a movie theater in his office. Maybe it’s because he took his girlfriend, gave her a surgical makeover, and got her in the pages of Playboy (not many people can claim to date a Playboy model, much less one they made themselves). Or maybe it’s the overwhelming egotism.
Daikatana itself is simply a portfolio of ideas that came too late. By the end of its development cycle, all of its ideas had already been thought of and explored by better games. Many of the areas you visit can be directly compared to games that had already come out by that time. The past areas are a lot like Hexen, the present and future ones like Quake. Daikatana, the titular sword, is the only weapon you can carry between time zones, which would have been original at the time the game was first conceived, but had since been surpassed by Jedi Knight’s lightsaber. You fight beside AI partners, such as a black man named “Supafly Johnson”. I’ve met enemies in Super Mario 3 that were smarter, and if they die (which is often), the game ends. Fun.
At one point in my life, I was fairly sure that video games were not directly responsible for violence. Then I played a game so terrible, so monstrous, so hellish and mind warping, that I was filled with an unquenchable desire to exterminate the entire human race that has lasted to this day. That was Survivor: The Interactive Game, the only game dumb enough to boast in its title that it is interactive. Go with what you’ve got, I suppose.
I have no idea how to break this down into two paragraphs. I can do it in two words, both of which would have to be censored, so that’s out. The game’s best feature: it won’t run out of the box. Should you go against all reason and get the first patch, which allows the retail version of the game to start up, and then it won’t run for long. At most, it’ll run for a game day or two, before crashing and burning like a Hindenburg made entirely out of gasoline-soaked rags and atomic bombs. There is a character creation screen where you can assign points to skills, none of which do anything. You get to pick your role for the day, which basically means you get to watch your character walk around on his own and talk to people. You have no control at this time. Dialogue is disjointed, and makes no sense. This part is the worst part of the game, and you’ll be spending at least three minutes every game day here. Then you do some stupid minigames that are somehow even more buggy then the first part, and finally, you go to the tribal council to get voted off by the computer. Fun. And look! Someone at Gamefaqs gave it a 10/10! Urge to destroy humanity. . . rising. . . .
From what I remember, this game had you driving around looking for gas and shooting people when you got out of your car. It had a Mad Max feel to it, which may sound cool, but was executed all wrong. The driving aspect was terrible then and it’s probably horrendous now, and the out-of-car action was laughably lame. I played this for 15 minutes and swore I would never touch it again.
Pool of Radiance (NES)
This game was decent on the PC, but the transition to the NES was just god-awful. There was like two colors on-screen, brown and yellow; all the corridors looked the same; the “frame rate” was so bad that if you weren’t paying absolute attention or if you looked away and looked back, you would not have a clue where you’re going; and the character creation was pretty lame.
I really didn’t want to list this one because it’s the only X-Men game on the NES, but I have to. The graphics, both the characters and backgrounds, were horrible. If you stood still long enough, looked away and quickly looked back, you probably wouldn’t be able to find your character in the graphical mess. Furthermore, none of the X-Men looked anything like their comic book counterparts, and I never had a clue as to what their mission was.
Total Recall (NES)
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the movie Total Recall? Is it three breasted women, Arnold killing lots of people, or mutants? How about bunches of midgets trying to punch Arnold in the balls and the Hobo King? What? You mean you don’t remember those last two things? Well neither do I, but for some reason the makers of Total Recall for the NES did. The first few levels of the game were made up of hundreds of midgets trying to punch Arnold in the balls, and the second stage ended with a boss fight against the evil hat throwing Hobo King. And if you happen to get sick of fighting the midgets you can always duck into the nearest theater to watch the game credits, which is definitely a good place to start planning your list of people to kill in a future killing spree.
Movie games and Acclaim have both been universally panned for years, and Total Recall is one of the reasons why. The developers succeeded in turning a fairly cool movie into some grotesque platforming beat em up. To this day Acclaim has yet to make up for the horrible torment they caused with this release.
Superman 64 (N64)
If one were to take Kryptonite, and pack it into cartridge form it would probably look something like Superman 64. Titus turned the man of steel into the man of suck. For one thing, the game was absolutely disgusting to look at. N64 games were known for having tons of fog, but Superman 64 made even the worst fog in Turok look like a sunny day. Titus’s explanation for all the fog? It is Kryptonite fog developed by Lex Luthor to prevent Superman from seeing far… never mind the fact that something like that would almost certainly kill him. Worst of all for some reason the developers decided that Superman should look like he was constipated throughout the game… which is incredibly disturbing.
If you succeed in looking past the terrible graphics, you’re in for even more pain when you try to actually play the game. Lex Luthor came up with a diabolic scheme for the game… let’s have Superman fly through 8 bajillion rings, which is nigh impossible since he controls about as well as a slug in a salt factory. And IF by some insane chance the player gets through all that, then they’ll have the space of a couple of seconds to save someone in a car somewhere in the fog. And when you fail, you get to start it all over again. I have yet to meet someone who has been able to endure even 10 minutes worth of the game before throwing down their controller in disgust.
Michael Jordan in Chaos in the Windy City (SNES)
The meeting that came up with the idea for this game is one meeting I would love to have been able to sit in on. I can just see it in my mind:
Marketing Genius: We’ve got the rights to put Michael Jordan in our games now, what do you think we should do?
Lackey: Well, how about another basketball game?
Marketing Genius: Nah, we’ve done that before, anyone else have any ideas?
Evil Incarnate: How about… instead of having Michael play basketball like he’s good at, we have him run through the sewers of Chicago fighting Zombies and Giant Robotic Spiders?
Marketing Genius: Now you’re on to something! But I think we should still tie basketball into it somehow.
Mad Scientist: How about we have Michael fight them by throwing a magically infinite number of basketballs at them all. And we can make the Zombies… BASKETBALL ZOMBIES.
Marketing Genius: Now you’re on to something… we’ll do it! Next up, let’s discuss our plan to steal candy from children.
If only I could have been there… with a bomb. I think I could have done the world a gigantic favor.
Rise of the Robots: I remember a time when I was at a friend’s house many years ago. I was looking through his SNES games and saw Rise of the Robots there. It looked cool, so I decided to play it. He warned me against it, saying it was really awful. I’m really not sure whether I should have listened or not. On one hand, if I listened, I wouldn’t have had to play that trainwreck. On the other hand, I might have ended up paying money for it. I guess it’s a good thing that I did play it, since it would probably ruin my life and I’d be living under a bridge right now. Not sure HOW that would happen but the ghastly powers of this game would be able to pull it off somehow.
Dragonball GT Final Bout: This just barely edges out Rise of the Robots. I guess the point that this game actually has moves puts it a notch above. Either way, it’s complete and unplayable crap. Actually, there is one good thing about this game. Go to GameFAQs and look at the reviews for it. Choose one with a 10/10 score. Laugh.
Frogger (PS1 Remake): I really don’t know exactly HOW this game got into my house. I think my brother bought it but I guess I’ll never know since it just kinda appeared here. The game actually starts off well enough. You jump across traffic and a river, just like the old Frogger. After that, the game takes a nose dive. Absolutely nothing in the levels after that is fun in the least. Apparently, being a greatest hits title, at least a million people bought this. My god…
Batman: Dark Tomorrow, Pulse Racing (Racer? I forget) for Xbox. I honestly like every game listed above more than these two.
I would go with Superman 64. 99% of the people who played it gave up on the training mission when after completing the 3 and a half hours of hoops, you had about 2 seconds to save this person from being hit by a car. You were too busy foaming at the mouth from doing the rings you didn’t know what was going on.
Superman 64, Lucky Luke, Batman: Dark Tommorrow
Mario is missing
Chronicles of the Sword!
NFL Football (NES) – Something went terribly wrong in the development of every aspect of this game.
And since I don’t want to keep listing crappy sports games, my other two are:
Bubsy 3D (PS1) – One of the earliest attempts at 3D gaming was just plain ugly. Ugly to look at. Ugly to play.
Stretch Panic (PS2) – It’s got to be bad when even the hardcore feel Treasure let them down. If you haven’t played this yet, try it, and you’ll see.
Plasma Sword – yuk
Evil Zone – The one button fighting game. >_<
NEOMEGA’s TOP 25 GAMES
Reflection – Here’s what Neomega’s staff thought were the finest titles of all time…in 2003. Looking back through my list, I can chuckle at my declaration of Metroid Fusion being the best game the GBA had at that point. I suppose Aria of Sorrow wasn’t out yet. Fusion was a great ride, and I was very much taken with it during my first playthrough. I have, through time, changed my stance. While the SA-X segments are among some of my most thrilling moments in gaming (and if you weren’t scared, you have my awe), the overall experience didn’t retain that spark. When I replayed it in 2008, I still liked it, but the structure was a little too guided for Metroid, and the shake-ups to Samus’ arsenal were not improvements, but sidesteps. Zero Mission is the better GBA Metroid, but it too pales in contrast to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. *cough* Tangent over, now, so let’s look at our choices!
1. Silent Hill 2 (PS2)
Words cannot describe my adoration of this game. SH2 is a beautifully constructed trip through a place built out of negative emotions. The depth to the characters’ problems and the symbols through which they are expressed are all extremely well put together. The enemies are fittingly demonic in their nature and motion and the dark history of Silent Hill can be felt throughout the game as it is present, both overtly and covertly, in the many locations and situations you find your character in. A brilliant soundtrack that helps set the mood and greatly enhance the game’s feeling of delusion and mental disorganization rounds out the picture. Plus, multiple endings adds on the game’s replayability.
2. StarCraft (PC)
Both a single player experience and a multiplayer funfest, StarCraft is the best RTS I have ever played through. The story, its characters, the gameplay and the multiplayer experience (complete with special rules maps which can be a blast) were all so amazingly well done. As icing on the cake, the game also featured some of the best cinematics I’ve ever seen, and I’m not just limiting that statement to games. Highly replayable, both single player and multiplayer, StarCraft is the current king of the RTS domain for me.
3. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
Great characters, a great plot, a fun, diverse battle system, a wide range of environments, huge bosses, tons of side quests, time travel, the killing of not just any main character but the protagonist, an unusual villain, memorable music, more than an enough different endings and wide selection of goodies to find all in one game.
4. Earthbound (SNES)
A quirky and often downright funny RPG, I have yet to play another game like Earthbound. The modern setting, the psychedelic battle screens, the oddest of enemies and some of the most memorable jokes made this game all-out fun. The game even went so far as to include some cool customization options, a fun, meandering story and some innovations in the battle system.
5. Soul Reaver 2 (PS2)
6. Soul Reaver (PSX)
Both of the Soul Reaver games make the list due to my love of exploration – both in terms of actual areas and of the well-written and well-acted story that these games provide. I found all of the places you visit and all of the people you meet, very and almost eerily, intriguing. The sense of depth given both to the locations and the characters is amazing. The places you journey through speak about their history and hint at their future. The characters drive the story, and show great range in their interaction with each other – a range not usually seen in games. The combat and puzzles that make up the actual gameplay are quite enjoyable as well. The senior Soul Reaver beats out its little brother for a simple reason: it has more and better of everything. The plot is denser, twistier and more intriguing in the second game. The graphical facelift the PS2 provides gave much more depth to the environments and the puzzles and battles you encounter in the environments are better polished and more varied.
7. Ico (PS2)
Although short, Ico is still one of my all time favorite games. Ico is a story told mostly without words, and a puzzle game without arbitrary trial and error. It also has the distinction of being one of the few games I’d call touching at any point. What also amazed me so much about this game was the design of the castle from which you must escape – it felt so much more natural, and real than similar structures in other games. The ability to see where you’ve been and where you must go adds so much to the game, and gives each scene great scope.
8. Vagrant Story (PSX)
Featuring a great story with excellent characters, along with some interesting gameplay innovations, Vagrant Story is quite the RPG. It’s also very unique as RPGs go as it lacks the default towns and dungeons setup, and instead goes for a more entertaining setup of exploring an ancient city that makes up the setting for the entire game.
9. Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (N64)
A good amount of people didn’t like the three days & restart gameplay piece that was the center of this game, but I thought it was a blast. In fact, there’s nothing about Ocarina of Time that wasn’t surpassed, in my opinion, by Majora’s Mask. Add in the whole new element of tracking the people’s movements through the days to solve what turn out to be some fairly complicated situations, and this game is a timeless gem.
10. Magic Carpet 2 (PC)
Few games do what Magic Carpet and its sequel did so long ago: let you move around pretty much any and all landscape. This venerable game still provides some of the most unique and entertaining first person gameplay around. What other game has you building a castle that sends balloons to pick up mana? Everything about this game was delightful, and in many ways unique.
11. Diablo II (PC)
The pinnacle of the hack ‘n’ slasher, Diablo II is a long, and extremely fun romp through various random-generated areas. The game controls and plays in a smooth, effortless manner that makes it such an enjoyable experience. Add in the excellent Lord of Destruction expansion pack, and you have one huge, well-polished game. In what is a running theme in the games I like, this game again features interesting and reasonably varied environments throughout the game.
12. Duke Nukem 3D (N64)
This is another game that amazes me despite being an earlier FPS. The attention to detail throughout this game was astounding – lights you could turn on and off, pool tables you could interact with, various objects that did things when you activated them (including strippers) and plenty of things to blow up. Plus, of course, Duke Nukem himself was just plain cool.
13. Doom II (PC)
The grand-daddy of the modern FPS, Doom II still lives on, due in part to being such a great game and due in part to having publicly available source code. With the addition of mouse aim, and other control improvements provided by the new Doom engines made with said source, the game can still stand its own. What never ceases to amaze me is the wonderful use of lighting this game had, especially considering how old it is. If it was ahead of its time in any regard, that was it.
14. Half-Life (PC)
No cut scenes, three-way battles, smart enemies and a whole range of environmental challenges made this FPS an absolute gem. Half-Life wasn’t original, but it did take everything about FPSes and make it better. What it sorely lacked in uniqueness it more than made up for being a very solid game that gave birth to a legendary Internet community.
15. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSX)
A beautiful and somewhat nonlinear sidescroller, this has to be my favorite side scrolling experience, overall, of all time. The game was huge, the bosses great and most importantly, the whole thing played brilliantly. The dash of RPG aspects was also a welcome touch.
16. Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (PSX)
A good story, with good characters, a good battle system without any random encounters and finally, what really got me hooked to this game, excellent dialog. No other RPG has ever had dialog that felt as fluid or as natural – it still had its awkward moments, or some things that seemed questionable, but it definitely lacked the stiff feeling most video game dialog has.
17. Shadow Man: 2econd Coming (PS2)
How anybody can look down on a game that sends you through such wondrous environments, wielding cool weapons against cool, if uninspired, monsters using a great control scheme, is beyond me. I suppose not everybody sees the game this way, but I certainly do.
18. Shadow Man (N64)
If there’s any reason for me to own a Dreamcast, it’s for me to get to experience this game’s cool environments in more graphical glory. Still, on any system, it was a great game, even if a bit overdone in certain areas. The nonlinearity was a big an interesting feature and linear or not, the levels were fun to explore and, due to excellent controls, easily navigated.
19. Silent Hill (PSX)
Silent Hill, to me, was everything Silent Hill 2 is, but just less so. It was creepy, intriguing, entertaining and well-done, but wasn’t as polished or as smart as its sequel. Still, it towers above all other “survival horror” games and provides a truly enjoyable experience, instead of just an interactive B-rated horror movie with bad controls.
20. Jak & Daxter (PS2)
An extremely easy, but extremely enjoyable game, Jax & Daxter is the only 3d platformer I’ve completely enjoyed. While most 3d platformers, and perhaps, platformers in general, seem to shy away from simply being fun and try to be more skillful or challenging, Jak & Daxter merely tries to be enjoyable and succeeds.
21. Sonic & Knuckles (Genesis)
22. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)
23. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Genesis)
I never was a huge fan of Mario, and Sonic filled that side-scrolling void within me so well. It was fast, fun, and had great environments to go through. Plus, it had interesting and entertaining bosses. The only Genesis side-scrolling Sonic that misses this list is the original Sonic, simply because the rest of the series surpassed it. I order them the way I do here because of one major factor: level design. True, Sonic and Knuckles did have the cool lock-on technology gimmick, and Sonic 3 had saves, and Sonic & Knuckles + Sonic 3 was the ultimate Sonic experience but what really set the various members of the series apart were the levels. For me, Sonic & Knuckles was the king of this because it doled out some of the coolest and most memorable Sonic levels ever. Sonic 2 comes next with its excellent, but somewhat less interesting level design. Finally, Sonic 3 straggles in with its fun but occasionally messy levels.
24. reVolt (N64)
The control was finicky at times, but it fit the theme and the theme was a large part of what made the game so fun. The diversity of cars, tracks and modes in this game made it a solid racer and one of the few where I felt the weapons were close to being well implemented.
25. Gore (PC)
The first and currently the last PC FPS I’ve enjoyed multiplayer, I felt Gore deserved this spot for that alone. While none of the elements in the game are all that unique, the blend definitely is – and quite enjoyable at that.
The control was finicky at times, but it fit the theme and the theme was a large part of what made the game so fun. The diversity of cars, tracks and modes in this game made it a solid racer and one of the few where I felt the weapons were close to being well implemented.
1. Final Fantasy 7 (PSX)
This was the game that forced me to buy a Playstation, and it’s probably the reason this website is here today. I spent that first night playing it non-stop, in awe of the benefits technology had added to the RPG genre. From the cool as hell intro to the breathtaking finish, Final Fantasy 7 is one ride I’ll be taking until I’m old and toothless.
2. Xenogears (PSX)
After Final Fantasy 7, I had become a big Squaresoft fan. With games like Parasite Eve, Brave Fencer Musashi, and finally Xenogears, they had put a strangle hold on my fragile little mind. Xenogears is more than just a game to me, it’s a masterstroke. I doubt that any game will even attempt a storyline of this span and scope again, so if you haven’t played it yet, do yourself a favor and find a copy.
3. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
I was a Sega Genesis kid in my younger days(damn you, mom), so I had missed out on a lot of the great SNES games. Chrono Trigger shares a lot of the same traits that Xenogears does, and no wonder, them both coming from a similar development team. Although it’s story isn’t as massive, the characters seem more down to earth, more…I dunno….real. Chrono Trigger is another game I believe should be mandatory for gamers, it’s just that damn good.
4. Megaman 2 (NES)
Ah, the NES Megaman games. Nothing else brought me more joy, not to mention controller throwing anger, than the little blue robot and his dog. What made MM2 stand out was the extremely cool bosses and the catchy, sometimes kickass music. Remember, use bubbles on the final boss.
5. Grand Theft Auto 3 (PS2)
I had to put this in my top 5, GTA3 was the most popular game of 2001. Deservedly so, it was the first PS2 game to give you freedom to do, well, almost ANYTHING you wanted to. Most people will remember as “that game you could beat up cops and have sex with prostitutes”, but there was so much more to do. I spent at least half of my playing time jumping cars off of ramps, that slow-mo effect was brilliant.
6. Metal Gear Solid (PSX)
If you beat it three times, you get to wear a tux.
7. Halo (Xbox)
My sister kick’s my arse at this game in multiplayer, but for some reason I still come back for more.
8. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 (DC)
3 and 4 are better games, but 2 was the one that hooked me.
9. Skies of Arcadia (DC)
I was wondering when a new RPG was going to show off the technological advancements of the industry, this was that game.
10. Super Mario Bros 3 (NES)
One word. THE WIZARD.
11. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)
I spent half of my childhood playing this game, at least.
12. Myst (PC)
I had to break down and buy the frickin’ gameguide, but it was worth it. Damn, this game was tough.
13. Marvel vs Capcom 2 (DC)
I remember distinctly getting this game. Finally, I had an arcade fighter in my own house!
14. Parasite Eve (PSX)
Besides the stunning CG work, the game was actually fun. Try beating the Chrysler Building, just try.
15. Shenmue (DC)
While it had its faults, it was a great experience I’ll never forget.
16. Shenmue 2 (DC)
Keeps most of the faults of the first game, but manages to enhance the experience even more.
17. Final Fantasy 6 (SNES)
I had to go back and play this one on the PSX Anthologies collection, but I’m glad I did.
18. Gran Turismo 3 (PS2)
I was addicted to GT3 for 6 months straight. I finally kicked the habit with an anti-racing patch. Not sure what I just said, but keep reading.
19. Metroid Prime (GC)
I was worried this game would suck the big one, but I ended up pleasantly surprised.
20. Maximo (PS2)
Not nearly as hard as the first few games in the series, Maximo still managed to make me throw my controller a time or three.
21. Silent Hill (PSX)
There’s nothing more frightening than curling up in bed at night, with the lights off, to play Silent Hill. If you scare easily, avoid this game, ok?
22. Silent Hill 2 (PS2)
Not nearly as frightening as the first game, however it did have its moments of terror. Multiple ending games like this rule.
23. Deus Ex (PC)
J.C. Denton is one bad mutha, evil corporations beware! HIS MOMMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT!
24. No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.’s Way (PC)
Cate Archer is one of the coolest female lead characters ever created. This game really takes you on a ride.
25. Kings Quest 6 (PC)
Kiddy, you say? Screw you, I like it!
1. Ultima V – Warriors of Destiny (PC)
There are a million reasons why I love the Ultima series in general, and Ultima V in particular, but for the purpose of brevity, I’ll pick one. Ultima V was the first RPG to really connect me emotionally with the game. Not only was the game centered around the corruption of a land that I knew and loved, but it actually communicated the feeling of betrayal as the very inhabitants of that world turned against me. But even more, there was one scene in Ultima V that really illustrated this emotional tie. When being interrogated by Lord Blackthorn about the whereabouts of the lost shrine, he compelled you to talk by taking a party member, placing that person under a swinging blade and giving you a small amount of time to answer his questions. If you refused or lied, that character was killed… forever. It was a remarkable moment.
2. Wing Commander: Privateer (PC)
The key to Privateer’s greatness is its personality and its completely open-ended gameplay. You start the game with a broken down ship and a few bucks, and it’s up to you to make it in the universe by becoming a tradesman, mercenary, Confed toady, or pirate. Decisions you made in the game actually effected your reputation, and the mix of arcade-style combat and exploration was phenomenal. There was a great story too, which you could take or leave. It was an immersive experience like no other, and without a doubt one of the best games I have ever played.
3. Space Harrier (Arcade/Saturn)
It was probably sometime around 1985 or 1986 when I first climbed into a Space Harrier cabinet at Seaside Heights in NJ. I was around 14 years old and it was an experience like none other. It was as if I had been transported inside a shooter. I was mesmerized by the incredible speed, the array of vivid colors, the fabulous artwork, and one of the best videogame soundtracks of all time. And even without the elaborate hydraulic-driven cabinet, the game still holds its own today. It’s been a long time since I’ve played it in the Arcades, but each and every time I pop in my copy of Sega Ages, I am reminded of how great this game truly is.
4. Starflight (PC/Genesis)
In some ways, Starflight is like an RPG version of Privateer. They are both about space travel, and they are both extremely open-ended experiences. But where Privateer emphasizes arcade-style combat, Starflight is a more tactical game. Even more than 15 years later, I am still blown away by the enormous playing field, the number of planets to explore and the sophistication of the diplomacy and economy of the game. I’m even more amazed at how immersive the game is, despite the simple graphics and even simpler control interface. Given time, I could compose pages about why this game is so great. My PC version has long since disappeared, but I still love playing my Genesis copy on a regular basis.
5. Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast/Gamecube)
Just when I thought I was completely washed out on console RPGs, along comes Skies of Arcadia and made itself an exception. Skies is one of those games that just clicks with me to the point where it’s hard to put my finger on any specific thing that makes it so great. The characters are sympathetic, well-developed and memorable, the artwork is fantastic, the soundtrack is beautiful and the world is teeming with places to explore, setting it apart from the more linear console RPGs. Oh, and the ship-to-ship combat is a wonderful innovation.
6. Ultima II (PC)
A huge leap over the original and the game that really set the foundation for what would follow. Not to mention, you could jump into a rocket ship and explore other planets!
7. Ms. Pac Man (Arcade/PlayStation)
Much of my childhood was spent at the local “Magic Fountain” in downtown Bloomfield, NJ pounding down slushees and playing the table-top Ms. Pac Man game. It takes all the charm and the greatness of Pac Man and makes perfects it. Haven’t played it in the arcade in ages, but I pay homage to it on my Namco Museum disc on a regular basis.
8. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)
Playing the original Sonic was truly one of those “oh my god!” moments in my gaming career. But Sonic 2 even managed to surpass it. Still my favorite Sonic game of all time.
9. Grandia (PlayStation)
Wonderful characters, no random battles, a brilliant combat system and my favorite RPG soundtrack of all time. Grandia eschewed the trite melodrama of so many other console RPGs and served up a lighthearted, but not frivolous romp.
10. Maximo: From Ghosts to Glory (PlayStation2)
Everything about Maximo clicks perfectly for me. The graphics and artwork are excellent, the control is spot-on and the level of challenge is there if you want to perfectly master each level. I will be replaying this game until the end of time.
11. Grand Theft Auto Vice City (PlayStation2)
An open-ended opus with a good story and lots of laughs. As a child of the 80s, the soundtrack really took me on a trip down memory lane. The addition of motorcycles and the ability to buy business great touches. I’m still relishing it long after having conquered it.
12. Super Smash TV (Arcade)
One of the all-time great quarter-gobblers. I can think of no other arcade game that I would rather play with a friend. Mutoid Man remains one of the most memorable bosses I have ever faced, and I still can’t go up against him without busting a gut laughing as he destroys me.
13. Homeworld (PC)
This one is an ingenious blend of traditional RTS resource gathering, building and combat and full 3D movement in space. The presentation is refined and artsy, the music is outstanding and the interface is poetically simple. And despite the fact that you never see a single person, I still formed an emotional bond with my fleet and its crew.
14. Age of Empires II (PC)
It probably wasn’t the leap over the first AoE that some were hoping for, but since I adored the first one, that wasn’t a problem for me. It does, however, introduce some great new features and the medieval setting is right up my alley. Building fortifications and keeping the enemy at bay is like digital crack. Taste the might of my Wonder, foo!
15. Crazy Taxi (Arcade/Dreamcast)
One of my favorite quick-fix games of all time, Crazy Taxi landing on the Dreamcast was a dream come true for me. I played it almost non-stop for the first weekend it came out, and I still play it at least once a week to try to hone my skills. Pity about the sequels, though.
16. Ghosts & Goblins (Arcade)
As far as scrolling platformers go, Capcom’s Ghost & Goblins is my all-time favorite, and not just because it has zombies. I was attracted to the artwork and music way back in the day, and now I can appreciate it for the challenge it presents.
17. Rez (PlayStation2)
I’ve already established that I love Space Harrier. Rez is similar in gameplay, but to say its presentation is unique would be a colossal understatement. It’s trippy graphics and outstanding musical score blend together to form an orgasmic experience that I will likely never grow tired of playing.
18 .Contra Hard Corps (Genesis)
They can have my copy of Hard Corps when they pry it from my cold dead hands. Intense action, well thought-out levels, and some truly memorable bosses make this one of the mainstays of my Genesis collection. Brownie rocks!
19. The Raiden Project (Arcade/PlayStation)
You can keep your Radiant Silvergun, when it comes to vert shooters, Raiden is my game! And since both Raiden and Raiden 2 are bundled on one disc, I can cheat and list them both in one slot! The detail in Raiden 2’s graphics still impresses me to this day.
20. Half-Life (PC)
If games like Doom and Wolfenstein gave birth to the FPS genre, then Half-Life evolved it. It’s almost impossible to swing a machine gun without knocking down a stack of FPS games that have been greatly influenced by this giant.
21. Out Run (Arcade/Saturn)
There’s no shortage of great arcade racers, but Out Run holds top place for me. The music, incredible speeds, colorful graphics and laid-back artwork really made this one stand out for me and thanks to Sega Ages and my Arcade Wheel, I can enjoy it at home on a regular basis.
22. Super Mario Bros. (NES)
Considering how much time I’ve spent playing this one over the years, the fact that I can still play it for hours on end with a big dumb smile on my face is a testament to its greatness.
23. R-Type (Arcade/PlayStation)
With twitch-based shooters a dime a dozen, there’s something about R-Types slower and more methodical approach to the genre that really makes it stand out for me. The artwork is still great, and the level of challenge makes this one still as compelling as ever.
24. Castlevania Symphony of the Night (PlayStation)
Well, it’s Super Metroid with Vampires! It’s also gorgeous and sports one of the best soundtracks of all time. Yeah, it’s so easy that given enough time my dog could probably beat it, but the emphasis on exploration really worked for me then and it still works for me now.
25. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (Arcade/Dreamcast)
I’m what you would call a casual player of 2D fighting games. And while I love games like King of Fighters and Street Fighter III, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 awards the not-so-die-hard players like me a chance to whoop ass with insane combos and some of my favorite characters.
1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
I’m not going to talk about how brilliant the controls were or how great the graphics were. Just know that Ocarina of Time literally took me into another world, and made me forget that I had a life outside of it. I played it night and day, even if it was just to wander the land of Hyrule to look at the sights or to go chicken gliding. For two weeks, I lived a dream and didn’t want to wake up.
2. Metroid Prime (GC)
This has probably been said a hundred times already, but never in my wildest imagination would I ever thought I would like, let alone love, Metroid Prime. Who would have thought that an American-based FPS Metroid would turn out so grand? Metroid Prime had atmosphere and feel that no other game even comes close to having. The graphics, the controls, the mood — everything about it was just so right that when you’re playing it, you’re loving it, when you’re not playing it, you’re thinking about playing, and when (if) you’re sleeping, you’re dreaming about it.
3. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1)
I remember the first time I popped in Symphony of the Night. It was only to test it out for a few minutes. Three hours later, I was still playing. In a time when 2D games where like water in a desert, Symphony of the Night came like a waterfall, drenching us in beautiful hand-drawn graphics. Add that with awesome Super Metroid-like gameplay and excellent controls, and you have an instant classic, not to mention one of the best games of all time.
4. Halo (Xbox)
I was never too big of an FPS fan, and that is why Halo ranks so high on my list. Only a game of great magnitude and fun could change my mind about the genre, and Halo more than succeeded. In fact, if I were to base my list on pure fun, Halo would be reigning at the top. When you can play levels in a game over and over and not be bored with it, that’s when you know you’ve struck gold. Welcome to Halo.
5. Ninja Gaiden 2 (NES)
Ninja Gaiden took action-platforming to a whole new level with excellent controls and smooth gameplay. Many complained that it was too hard, but good players knew how to be one with the game and glide right through. Ninja Gaiden 2 took all that and made it even better; and better is always a good thing, especially when it follows a great thing.
6. Soulblazer (SNES)
I just love the premise of this game: “God” sending one of his angels to souls which “Satan” had taken. Oh, and it plays awesome, too.
7. Super Metroid (SNES)
Metroid with a 16-bit upgrade. Nuff said.
8. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
The rain, look at that rain!
9. Gunstar Heroes (GEN)
Action-shooting perfected. Welcome to the next level indeed.
10. Skyblazer (SNES)
Awesome action-platformer with great controls, great graphics, and one dope main character.
11. Dracula X: Rondo of Blood (Turbo Duo)
Castlevania gameplay coupled with the best video game soundtrack ever is one deadly combo.
12. Metal Slug (Neo Geo)
One of the most intense action-shooters ever, with a great WW2 motif.
13. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GEN)
I believe in blast processing!
14. Devil May Cry (PS2)
Action games have never looked or played this good. Let’s rock baby!
15. Guardian Heroes (SAT)
Crazy 2D side scrolling beat em’ up action with some RPG elements mixed in for good measure.
16. Contra 3: The Alien Wars (SNES)
Contra on steroids.
17. Final Fantasy 3 (SNES)
The RPG that got me into RPGs.
18. Record of Lodoss War (DC)
Customizing your character with stats has never been more fun. Easily my favorite Dreamcast game of all time.
19. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (DC)
Easy to pick up, hard to master. That’s what makes this one so great. Can you pull off the one million point combos?
20. Crazy Taxi (DC)
Like Pac Man and many more old school games, you play this one for fun and for points. And boy is it fun, lots and lots of fun.
21. Final Fantasy 8 (PS1)
I may be alone in this, but I think it’s the best Final Fantasy out of the PS1 trilogy. I loved the draw/junction system. And Squall’s the man.
22. Ikaruga (DC)
Graphically and gameplay-wise, everything about Ikaruga screams intense, especially its difficulty.
23. Landstalker (GEN)
Great story, great dungeon design, great puzzles — overall, great game.
24. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (PS1)
Vampires + Action RPG = One of the top 25 games on Nash’s list.
25. Doom (32X)
Excellent translation on an underpowered system. It’s the version of Doom I spent the most time with.
1. Skies of Arcadia Legends (GC)
Simply put, I love this game for its characters, storyline, incredible world and a well done battle system for ships and on land. Plus you can build your own base, customize a ship, and slap mud in the face of an empire. Add in the great music, and it can’t get no better than this, at least to me.
2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
This game…is incredible. An engaging world, a good (although similar to other Zeldas) story, great character design, easy and efficient controls, and great music…a fantastic game and a grand experience.
3. Super Metroid (SNES)
Wow. This is platforming at its best here. Incredible controls make for one terrific ride through a fantastic world with boss battles a plenty and item collecting made fun. Incredible game, and I wish I would have found it earlier.
4. Mega Man 3 (NES)
I love this game. Great boss design, awesome stages, music that’s fantastic for NES standards, and Protoman being introduced…Awesome title. BTW, this is my favorite credit music and ending ever.
5. Super Mario 64 (N64)
Mario in 3D…I thoroughly enjoyed this game, and had a blast getting all 120 stars. Bowser’s last battle still is playing in my mind…great job here with controls, music and graphics (for the time)
6. Goldeneye 007 (N64)
Rare’s first FPS was a smashing good time. I will always treasure multiplayer in this game.
7. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
I played it so much I can’t play it now. Hammer Bros. Suits rule.
8. Body Harvest (N64)
DMA did this before GTA3. I think they took a bunch of ideas from this. Great music also.
9. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
Square had everything perfect on this RPG outing. Incredible game and great characters, music and battle system.
10. M.U.L.E. (C64, old PC’s)
Early strategy gaming at its best, you need to hear the title music. Also, you need to play this somehow. Great game.
11. Metroid Fusion (GBA)
Without a doubt GBA’s best offering in my eyes, Samus strikes against the X parasites in a well-executed way.
12. Metroid Prime (GC)
Retro nailed Metroid nearly perfectly in 3D, and one of 3D’s best offerings yet.
13. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (DC, Arcade)
LP, LP, Forward + LK, HP. Learning that with Shin Akuma = Scary.
14. Secret of Mana (SNES)
I love the interface on this game, and being able to play a Zelda-like game with 2 people is great.
15. Paper Mario (N64)
The battle system’s interactivity made this well worth the time spent on it. Fantastic offering.
16. Grandia II (DC)
Ryudo’s tale may have been told in other ways, but the battle system, characters and no random battles made this a fun game.
17. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (DC, Arcade)
54 characters, 3 man teams and crazy supers. Great stuff, just drop the assists and tweak it a bit more next time (if there is one).
18. Ogre Battle 64 (N64)
Strategy RPGing at its best, I had a blast going through this game.
19. Perfect Dark (N64)
It’s here for the multiplayer. I love blasting 8 bots and 3 friends.
20. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)
My fave Sonic game, and it’s mainly for the multiplayer mode.
21. Kirby’s Adventure (NES)
I had a blast with this as a kid. Great controls and graphics.
22. Bard’s Tale III: The Thief of Fate (C64, old PC’s)
A classic RPG that is challenging and a lot of fun.
23. Heroes of Might and Magic II (PC)
I had a blast when I played this a while ago. It’s my fave strat series on PC.
24. Super Smash Bros. Melee (GC)
4 player fighting at its craziest. FALCON PUNCH!
25. Legend of Zelda (NES)
This game got me into gaming early on. So it deserves this spot.
1. Super Metroid (SNES)
Nintendo has been known for the many great games that they’ve made, but Super Metroid still stands as the best of the best. Expanding on the free exploration aspect introduced in the first two Metroid games, this game added a much deeper storyline and an even bigger world to explore. Several amazing boss battles just provide icing upon the cake. Few games even come close to the greatness that is Samus’ journey.
2. Mega Man II (NES)
Mega Man is the longest running game series of all time, but even through umpteen sequels the series has not been able to return to the greatness of the first sequel. Taking everything from the first game, but toning down the difficulty a bit and adding in some of the coolest bosses ever in a NES game make MMII not only one of the best NES games made but one of the best games of all time.
3. Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals (SNES)
It’s a sad thing that the greatest RPG of all time is one that few people have ever heard of. Released by Natsume on the SNES, this game was lost in the multitude of RPG’s released for the system. A prequel to the original Lufia, this game had many innovations which have been imitated many times since, including monsters that you could actually see in the dungeons, complex puzzles throughout the dungeons, and even a Pokemon esque monster raising system way before Pokemon was even conceived. A great game that every RPG fan owes it to themselves to play.
4. Legend of Zelda (NES)
There hasn’t been a game in the Zelda series that hasn’t been great, but none have been able to match the innovation of the original. Zelda brought about the concept of epic quests in videogames. There was a huge world to explore and many dungeons to explore in Link’s quest to save the Princess Zelda. Secrets were everywhere to be found throughout the 9 dungeons and the huge overworld. But that wasn’t even all, after having beat the game a whole other quest with completely rearranged dungeons and overworld awaited the gamer.
5. Contra (NES)
The game that defined the action shooter genre is still the best. A challenging yet incredibly fun game that was even better two players. Not only were there great side scrolling stages and bosses, but there were also incredibly cool psuedo 3d stages in the bases, and why hasn’t Konami done those again? And who can forget the classic Konami code, which was first introduced in this game.
6. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
The best of the Mario games took you on a journey to stop Bowser and his many children. Various outfits gave Mario many a power and a multitude of secrets gave SMB3 a ton of replay value.
7. Metroid Prime (GC)
Not only did Retro prove the many of us wrong who were convinced that a First Person Metroid would ruin the series, but they succeeded in making the best game of 2002 and one of the best games of all time. All the exploration and great boss battles that have made the Metroid series a classic were revisioned in 3d.
8. Doom II (PC)
While Doom II wasn’t the first FPS (Wolfenstein 3D takes that honor), it did a great job of improving the formula. A hectic game with tons of secrets and challenging boss battles, Doom II is a game that will be remembered for a long time.
9. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES)
After trying something new with Simon’s Quest, Konami returned Castlevania to its platforming roots and created one of the best Castlevania games of all time. Multiple routes and the addition of spirit helpers (including the first introduction of Alucard) are just two of the things that made CVIII great.
10. Grandia (PS1)
It really says a lot that a game can still be fun with a horrible translation and even worse voice acting. But Game Arts’ excellent game still pulls it off. It may be the excellent battle system, or maybe it’s the sprawling story, or it could be the many boss battles. But in the end it’s all of those combined that make Grandia an incredibly great game despite Sony’s poor localization.
11. Gunstar Heroes (GEN)
Take the play style of Contra, add in some mind blowing bosses, a hand-to-hand combat system, and some wacky stage designs (including a board game stage), shake and bake and you’ve got Gunstar Heroes. One of Treasure’s first games is still one of the best to come out of the masters of innovation.
12. Ninja Gaiden II (NES)
Ryu Hayabusa’s second outing still retained all the great things found in the first (including the very cool cinematic cut scenes) and reduced the difficulty a bit making it a much less frustrating, and in the long run an even better game.
13. King of Fighters ’99 Dream Match (DC)
This dream match of epic proportions didn’t have the deep storyline found in most KoF games, but it more then made up for it with a huge selection of characters, including many that had been killed off in earlier games, making this the best of the King of Fighters yet.
14. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1)
SotN took the Castlevania in a whole new direction. Combining the great music and cool gothic look of Castlevania with a new Super Metroid play style, and added in a level up system just for extra measure. Easily one of the best games to come out of the 32-bit generation.
15. Metal Slug (NEOGEO)
SNK took their aging Neo Geo software and instead of moving on, continued to churn out the games. One of those was Metal Slug, which is a true gem in the Action Shooter genre. A hectic action game, with some of the best animation in a 2D game ever.
16. Double Dragon 2 (NES)
The sequel to the original beat em up added better control and a more in depth storyline making it the best beat em up of all time.
17. Panzer Dragoon Saga (SAT)
Team Andromeda’s final game was the true gem of the Panzer series. It had one of the most original battle systems in a RPG and a storyline that succeeded in tying up many of the loose ends within the Panzer saga.
18. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (SNES)
Konami’s TMNT games proved that all licensed games don’t have to be bad. And the SNES Turtles in Time was the best of the bunch. An incredibly fun beat em up featuring all of the best villains of the series. Hopefully Konami’s future Turtles games will be able to live up to the past.
19. Lightening Force (GEN)
aka Thunder Force IV. One of the hardest, yet most fun shooters on the Genesis, and a true testament of what makes the side scrolling shooter genre great.
20. Lunar Silver Star Story (PS1/SCD)
The first game in the Lunar series, sees the start of the great battle system that would be developed much more in the years to come. With a great storyline and lovable characters, this was the reason to own a Sega CD.
21. Advance Wars (GBA)
The turn based war strategy RPG series has been a dying genre for quite a while now, but that didn’t stop Nintendo for making one for the GBA and it turned out to be the best game available for that system. Incredibly hard, with tons of strategy involved make this an excellent game for beginners and veterans alike.
22. Rayman II (DC)
Oftentimes when a great 2D game has a 3D sequel it’s not very good. That was not the case here though, Ubi Soft succeeded in taking their Rayman series to the next level with Rayman II which ended up being one of the greatest 3D platformers of all time, even topping the great Super Mario 64.
23. Klonoa (PS1)
Namco decided to come up with a new platforming series on the Playstation and this gem is the fruits of their labor. An incredibly involving game with innovative boss battles, and one of the saddest endings to ever appear in a videogame (if you aren’t almost in tears at the end, then you have no heart).
24. River City Ransom (NES)
A little known but incredibly fun beat em up from Technosoft. High School was never as much fun as it was in this game. A fighting system that was ahead of its time marked this game as one of the best.
25. ICO (PS2)
An absolutely gorgeous game with enthralling environments and an atmosphere that just sucks you in. This game was proof that games could be an art form.
1. Planescape: Torment (PC)
Wow. What can I say here? This game did everything right, from characterization to story branches. It was the first game I ever played in which you could talk your way out of the main boss fight. I just loved the options. I don’t think I could replay it..everything just sits to freshly in my mind for that, but the first time experience was like none other.
2. Xenogears (PSX)
This was my fav until Torment came along. I enjoy a good story in my RPG’s and this one was twisted as they come. I loved the second disc as well, though getting to actually play through all those areas one day would be great.
3. Suikoden II (PSX)
Well, this game lacks a bit of characterization but makes up for it with a well-conceived story. The battle system is speedy, which is a plus in its favor, though at the same time a bit boring. This and Persona 2 could be interchanged in my list. I appreciate them both equally.
4. Persona 2: EP (PSX)
Maia and Ulala, two of my favorite characters in any game I’ve ever played. This story is nice and twisted as well, and though some would complain that the battle system is boring, I enjoyed the hell out of it, and love having the option to talk rather than fight.
5. Street Fighter II (Any-for the most part)
I’ve played this game and its various incarnations for more hours than any other. I was a master of the original, and even an army guy twice my age (the bastard) could only split even with me. Guile all the way.
6. Final Fantasy VI (SNES/PSX)
In all fairness this game should’ve ranked higher on my list.
7. Dragon Warrior IV (NES)
Fun stuff. The best RPG on the NES.
8. Dragon Warrior III (NES/GBC)
Drew me into the world of console RPG’s.
9. Final Fantasy IV (SNES/PSX)
Good memories. Nostalgia alone ranks it for me.
10. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSX)
A great game all around. That’s all, I suppose.
11. Secret of Mana (SNES)
The first action RPG that I ever enjoyed.
12. Mars Matrix (DC)
One of the few shooters I really got into. Love the experience.
13. Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD)
14. Pool of Radiance (NES-never played the computer version)
I loved D&D at one time. That would account for this.
15. Street Fighter III (DC)
Far deeper gameplay than SFII, though I didn’t like the characters as well.
16. Final Fantasy Tactics (PSX)
A great strat RPG. Shining Force doesn’t hold a candle to it.
17. Record of Lodoss War (DC)
Deep gameplay here. ECM was right.
18. Final Fantasy X (PS2)
Loved it. Screw the naysayers.
19. Baldur’s Gate (PC)
The first PC RPG I ever played. Good introduction.
20. Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves (DC)
Good stuff. Sorry, but it doesn’t hold a candle to SF.
21. Bushido Blade (PSX)
Innovative. I’d like to see it done right, one day.
22. Virtua Fighter IV (PS2)
Best 3d fighter ever. I just need the time to get into it.
23. Dragon Warrior VII (PSX)
A great old school RPG. The mini stories were cool as hell.
24. Arc the Lad Collection (PSX, as a whole)
As above for old school. Not the best of translations though, especially on III.
25. Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
Solid. I just finished playing it, so time will tell if it stays here.
1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSX)
Growing up a Nintendo Fanboy, I was incredibly (and in retrospect, insanely) resistant to the thought of a Castlevania game on the PSX. However, after constant urging to try it out, I gave it a shot. All I could say? Wow. Fast, instant gratification gameplay with satisfying dungeon exploration that keeps urging you on, all wrapped up in what are perhaps some of the most impressive 2D graphics ever rendered on screen. Well designed and paced, Castlevania: SotN is a testament to what Konami is capable of. Gaming at its purest.
2. Metal Gear Solid (PSX)
Call me a bandwagon hopper if you will, but this (and to a lesser degree, FF VII) is what got me to buy a PSX. I was a huge fan of the NES Metal Gears (even Snake’s Revenge) and this baby had to be mine. Innovative gameplay layered on top of a compelling story with enough military jargon to provide military technophiles like me with a veritable digital hand-job. My jaw hit the floor with the opening and stayed there until the end.
3. Sam & Max Hit the Road (PC)
Coming from the geniuses who sometimes put out a game for Lucasarts (who are these guys and why can’t they get them on a Star Wars game that isn’t X Wing?) Sam & Max is one of my definitive PC experiences. A truly great game with truly funny dialogue, Sam & Max Hit the Road is a graphic adventure featuring a six foot tall talking dog in a suit and his hyper-kinetic rabbit friend. The quest? To find Bigfoot and Trixe the Giraffe-Neck-Girl from Scranton (yes, you read that right). A nice and simple point and click interface allows you to examine plenty of hilarious items and exchange witty dialogue in tourist traps like Snucky’s, the Worlds Largest Ball of Twine and the Mystery Vortex (loosely based on Santa Cruz, CA where I hang my hat!).
4. Mechwarrior 2/ MW-Ghost Bear’s Legacy Expansion (PC)
Easily my favorite sim game of all time, I poured hours on end into MW2 and its expansion back in “the day.” As a rabid Battletech fan, this game was a no-brainer, but it actually stood on its own two legs as a lean, mean mech game. Logical mission objective beyond simply killing everyone, heat, ammo and armor depletion insured an element of strategy to the game that gave it a real depth. And nothing…NOTHING… is more satisfying than getting two LRM 20 racks locked onto a Jade Falcon light mech, pulling the trigger, and watching that stravag cease to be.
5. Skies of Arcadia (DC)
Skies was a truly magical experience for me. Never has a game made me feel more like a child again (in a good way). The world in Skies is expansive and beautifully rendered to the point of being breathtaking. Each character brimmed with a sweetness that spoke to the sheer love put into making this game. But beyond simply being beautiful, the game has a solid combat engine and pacing that makes each new discovery feel like a true accomplishment. Never before was I so saddened to finish a game. Why? Because I would never again experience the sheer joy and surprise of going through it the first time.
6. Metal Slug (Neo Geo)
The essence of the 2D shooter. Fast, furious and cool looking.
7. Shadowrun (SNES)
A sleeper gem on the SNES, this isometric action RPG really captured the cyberpunk future of the Shadowrun pencil and paper game. Great graphics. Great story. Great music.
8. Legend of Zelda III: A Link to the Past (SNES)
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? The flagship game of the SNES.
9. Super Metroid (SNES)
Beautiful 16 bit graphics w/ classic exploration elements and instant gratification gameplay (i.e. shooting stuff!). Another game, like Metal Slug, that is pure.
10. Jet Grind Radio (DC)
One of the driving factors in my purchase of a DC (along w/ Crazy Taxi) the game that brought cel-shading to the world showed me a great time with its Zen-like flow and killer soundtrack.
11. Super Castlevania 4 (SNES)
Wonderful whip slinging action with Simon Belmont. The game that first showed me the true power of the SNES.
12. Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis)
Side scrolling beat’em ups were never so damn fun. Nice looking with a surprising amount of moves.
13. Half-Life (PC)
This game made me its bitch. I made this game my bitch. An experience all the way through, Half-Life shows the world what a First Person Shooter/Adventure can be.
14. Strider (NES)
While more famous in its Genesis/Arcade incarnation, my first exposure to Strider was in its solid, 8-Bit form. A completly different game than its Genesis counterpart, this is still one of the finest 2D games I’ve played. Plus, the music and intro simply rock.
15. Strider (Genesis)
Right behind the 8-Bit Strider is his 16-Bit brother. With a fast flow and a sharp sword, this game shows that Hiryu can’t be beat.
16. Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse (NES)
Multiple characters, great music and graphics that were state of the art on the NES, this game stands the test of time.
17. Ninja Gaiden (NES)
Another great game that captures the fast flow of action and jumping. Once again, gaming distilled to its pure elements.
18. Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)
It’s huge. It’s detailed. It’s amoral. GTA III shows the potential of free form games.
19. Suikoden (PSX)
A solid RPG with a story line remenisant of Star Wars and a great hook: Building a rag tag army of misfits, rebels and warriors. Great stuff.
20. Devil May Cry (PS2)
Like Ninja Gaiden and Metal Slug, Devil May Cry is pure gaming. Plus it oozes style like none other.
21. Civilization II (PC)
How addictive is this game? I had to stop playing it because I wasn’t doing school work. My choice: Pass college or play a damn game? A damn sweet game that is…
22. Super Puzzle Fighter 2 (PSX)
Puzzling goodness with Capcom fighters. So much fun it should be illegal. Plus, it has Felicia. Always a plus. Now, if only Cammy were in it…
23. King of Fighters ’95 (Neo Geo)
The fighter I played the most as a youngen. My team of Terry, Mai and Clark was unstoppable…that is, until I’d get my ass kicked.
24. Super Street Fighter 2 (Saturn)
It’s Street Fighter. ‘Nuff said.
25. Dungeons & Dragons Collection (Saturn)
A sleeper game known only to importers and arcade fans. Solid, side scolling action.
1. Final Fantasy 6 (SNES, PS1)
BEST. GAME. EVER. Square can bring up more emotion with short, simple dialog then most games can with long dialog trees. This game was made in the days of Nintendo’s Nazi-like censorship, but still deals with issues like suicide and teen pregnancy, all without going after-school special on us. Locke can steal people’s clothes off their backs, and the opera. . . oh, the opera. What seals the deal, though, is Kefka. He’s the best villain ever. I hate him with every fiber of my being, and that’s good. He made Celes jump off a cliff. Just typing this makes me want to play through again, just to watch him die. If you ever get a chance to play a retranslated version, do it!
2. Chrono Trigger (SNES, PS1)
Magus, wherever you are, I hope you’ve found your sister. . . wait, I just remembered Chrono Cross. Never mind.
3. Neverwinter Nights (PC)
Can this game BE any better? Seriously, go get this, then download the Penultima campaign. You won’t be disappointed. The only problem I have is that Aribeth can jiggle so much in that plate mail armor. That ain’t right, people.
4. Super Metroid (SNES)
Let me share with you my most nerdy secret: I have loved Samus Aran since age 5. She’s the sexiest diva ever to grace the gaming screen. Screw Lara, take back Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball (no, really, take it back to the store). No one can beat the female booty (sorry, Freudian slip) bounty hunter. She can roll her entire body up into a ball and move around. Imagine the uses. . . [drool] Oh yeah, there might be some good gameplay, too. Just maybe.
5. Goldeneye (N64)
To this day, my friends and I have tournaments of this game. I have so many memories, like the time we played with hand grenades, and I spent the entire time running around with a live grenade in my hand, screaming “JIHAD JIHAD!” while my friends tried in vain to flee. Yeah, I’m sick. Deal with it.
6. Seiken Densetsu 3 (SNES, Japan)
Most of you won’t know this, but this game is Secret of Mana 3 in Japan. It was never released on these shores, except as a translated ROM and, as you all know, you can only legally keep them for 24 hours, otherwise it’s illegal. And we wouldn’t want to break the law. That would be wrong. *COUGH COUGH* This ranks right up there with the FF games and Chrono Trigger, and is one of the best Action/RPGs of all time. I have but a single complaint. One of the female characters actually kills her enemies by jiggling her butt at them, causing them to explode in Valentine’s hearts and die. Uh huh. Could anyone please explain that to me?
7. Final Fantasy 7 (PS1)
Aeris. . . . *SNIFF* Come back. . . .
8. Super Mario All-Stars (SNES)
A treasure trove of gaming. They should release this again on the ‘Cube, but with Mario 64 and Yoshi’s Island on it, and maybe the Gameboy games. That would be great.
9. Baldur’s Gate 2 (PC)
BG2 has some of the best characters and dialog in the history of gaming. BUTT KICKING FOR GOODNESS!
10. Warcraft 3 (PC)
“Darkness called. . . .” *SNORT*
11. GTA: Vice City (PS2)
I got this game months ago, and I’m still hooked. I keep trying to put it down, but it KEEP PULLING ME BACK IN! If nobody else thinks of that joke, I’m gonna be shocked.
12. Morrowind: The Elder Scrolls 3 (PC, Xbox)
Try walking across the continent. You’ll see why.
13. Final Fantasy (NES)
The original, the beginning, the worthy.
14. Homeworld (PC)
Why hasn’t a huge genre sprung up around this game? The sequel is coming, thank Chaos.
15. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES, GBA)
The apex of the series. I haven’t tried the four player thing yet, but I love it already.
16. Alpha Centari (PC)
This is one of those games I’ll never stop playing. It’s wonderful on so many levels.
17. Metal Gear Solid (PS1)
Screw Sons of Liberty, THIS is a game. Psycho Mantis alone would put it over the top. The torture part was really torture to anyone without a turbo controller. If not for the 9 million billion trillion hours of talking before the final fight, it would be flawless.
18. Pac-Man (Atari and Arcade)
Little known fact, but the original name of the game was “Puck- Man”. The name was changed after the designers realized that a guy with a pen could change “Puck” into, well, you get the picture.
19. Kirby’s Dreamland 3 (SNES)
A white marshmallow and a blue blob ride a hamster and a cat around the fields while flower petals rain from the sky. Kinda makes you wonder if you’re on an LSD trip.
20. Deus Ex (PC, PS2)
A little out of date now, but back in the day, nothing could beat this game. The sequel is coming, and it looks like a contender for my number 1 slot.
21. Fallout 2 (PC)
Any game where you can become a boxing champ AND a porn star ranks high on my list, as this is my life’s goal.
22. Tetris (Sigh. I’m not even gonna try)
Nothing quite matches that feeling of sheer ecstasy when you get a tetris. And the music! Dig that crazy Russian beat.
23. Civilization 2 (PC, PS1)
I love this game, because I have an unhealthy god complex, and desire more power then has ever been wielded by mortal hands, and a year’s supply of doughnuts. Mmm. Doughnuts. . . . .
24. The Sims (PC, PS2, GC, Xbox)
I’ll be honest; this game is a waste of time. There’s no reason for a serious gamer to ever play it, BUT I have honestly never met a girl that didn’t like playing it. I am at a loss to explain the phenomenon, but anything that works. . . .
25. Angband (Everything but a calculator watch)
Based VERY loosely on J.R.R. Tolkien, you have to kill Morgoth, the ultimate evil, at the bottom of his fortress. Very old but very good.