Welcome back! Today I've got another 10 games for you that I really love, for reasons I am going to get into...obviously...I mean, why else am I here?
If you missed the first ten games of our Top 100 Video Games of All-Time, check that out here:
Anyway, as with all lists, I know you're not here for the preamble, so let's talk great video games:
90 - Jurassic Park
I love Jurassic Park, so I know that helps my opinion of this SNES and SEGA Genesis game released in late 1993, but it is not just nostalgia goggles on this one; much like last time when I talked about Super Bomberman, this is a game that I played all the way through (beating the damn thing, which was really hard) in University. I vividly remember sitting in residence, with my girlfriend at the time, and one of the other guys from our floor (drawing maps for us to get through buildings as we went) for pretty much an entire day...because you had to play through the entire thing in one sitting (no passwords, no save points).
The game is loosely based on the film, as we control Dr. Alan Grant as he tries to escape Jurassic Park, which is a giant, open game world, filled with bite-y dinosaurs, You have to go through several missions to get the park back online and get rescued, and it switched between a top-down view, and 3D first-person view when in buildings, which was incredibly creepy, and added a great dynamic to the game. I think I may have played it when it first came out (rented it, or whatever) but it was not until University that I really gained an appreciation for Jurassic Park's amazing (for SNES) sound, design, and giant (difficult) open world.
EGM called the game "too-easy", but I have no idea how...unless the SEGA Genesis game was much different...it took time, skill, and admittedly a bit of luck to save Dr. Grant, and it's an experience that I'd really like to have again someday.
89 - Star Wars: Dark Forces
Oh Kyle Katarn--the fact that I did not even have to look that name up tells me that I have made the right decision here for my list; Star Wars: Dark Forces was one of my absolute favourite PC games when I was growing up...I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I played it all the way through...
The story has the mercenary Katarn working for the Rebel Alliance, and on his mission he comes across the "Dark Trooper Project", but over the course of this FPS, you are moving around the galaxy, facing different missions (including one I was always fond of, where you had to go rescue Crix Madine from being executed for treason--he was an Imperial Commander who defected to the Rebels-- on Orinackra). I'm a Wars geek; always have been and always will be, so what I just talked about up there is like catnip to me.
What's also interesting (and young me didn't really know at the time) is that Dark Forces also happens to be innovative in terms of the FPS genre, building on what Doom (1993) had started, and introduced multiple-floor levels, and the ability to look up and down. Which may not seem like much, but go back and play some shooters where you can't...it's really weird.
Dark Forces was also very, very popular, and spawned a few sequels (that came to include Jedi powers) but I never played them anywhere near the amount I played the original.
88 - Far Cry Primal
I don't know that I can say anything more about Far Cry Primal on PS4...considering I wrote a full article on it (after getting the Platinum Trophy), as well as a preview describing how excited I was for it when it was first announced. It's a caveman first person shooter done by the makers of (spoilers) some of my favourite games of all time...
87 - Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
This narrative-based game, which was often called a "walking simulator" (as both an explanation of the game, and in some cases, a criticism) is one of my favourite experiences I have had on the PS4 to date. I still stand by what I said when we talked about our Games of the Year for 2015 when I think that this has one of the best stories I have encountered in a game.
Essentially all you do is walk around the small, fictional English village of Yaughton, some time in the 1980s, that is now completely empty except for a few things you can interact with, as well as lights which will occasionally coalesce into a sort of "energy snapshot" of a scene between the townspeople. You have five, distinct areas that each focus the story around one prominent member of the town, and you are essentially taking a soft, peaceful, and occasionally heartbreaking journey into the apocalypse. Many video games take a stab at putting the players in a post-apocalyptic (or even apocalyptic) scenario, but none of them handle it as beautifully, or as emotionally as Rapture does.
This remains one of the few games that I have connected to the story enough to cry while playing, it is still one of the few games that I have stopped playing to just enjoy the atmosphere and musical score for as long as I can (one of the best musical scores in gaming ever), and yes long-time readers, the Rapture windmill theme is still on my PS4.
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture was recently featured as a free game for PS Plus (as well as a Windows release this summer), and I hope that it will get a whole pile more players into this game to experience it, because it really does deserve that. While I acknowledge it is not for everyone, it does deserve to be tried: you may be surprised.
86 - Gladius
Gladius is a tactical-RPG which was released on the Gamecube, PS2 (where I played it) and Xbox which reviewed really well, and then seemed to disappear off the face of the Earth; Official Xbox Magazine even listed Gladius as one of the "best Xbox games most people never played".
Well they missed out--this was a wonderfully deep RPG where you as the player got to build a gladiatorial school, equip and train your fighters (and heroes), and work your way through four different regions on your way to ultimate glory. It worked largely like other RPGs (you recruited new fighters, you upgraded their gear, designed your school to have balanced classes, you fought on a tactical grid) however it also added in "swing meters" --think like any sports game, especially golf-- that could drastically alter the effectiveness of your characters' attacks.
This is just one of those classic RPGs that did not seem to hit, and I'm not usually a huge tactical-RPG fan, but this one hit all the right notes for me, not to mention the fact that the gladiatorial theme was awesome for this kind of game--it actually felt like it fit.
85 - Bully
Bully is a game that garnered a lot of bad press before it even came out (based on the subject matter, or rather, the expected subject matter), but all of that was just noise--the PS2, Xbox, Wii game by Rockstar Vancouver was actually an excellent, well-thought out, and often wonderfully realized character-filled game.
Bully is a third-person, open world, action-adventure game set at a fictional boarding school where you play as a "new kid" named Jimmy, who over the course of the game needs to go to classes, but also work through all of the different cliques, eventually uniting them, before the "evil" boss gets you kicked out of school, and you are forced to come back and get even. The missions were often quite fun, the open-world school was hilarious (in that Rockstar parody sort of way), and there was never a moment while I was playing Bully that I was bored...not to mention the fact that I still remember the random dodgeball tournament (in-game) like it was yesterday.
Bully is a game that I wish Rockstar would release a sequel to, and I hope that the release of the game as a PS2 Classic on PS4 is getting more people a chance to try it, and join me in pushing for a Bully 2 (even though I know it is unlikely, but a man can dream can't he?)
84 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so obviously when Ultra released a TMNT game on the NES, it was something that I needed to have. Now at the time, considering how young I was, I obviously had no idea how ridiculously hard the game was, but in the end, that never mattered. I have very fond memories (and a few frustrated and angry ones) about playing this game: being able to rotate through the turtles for different situations, fighting Rocksteady and Bebop to save April O'Neill in the sewers, dying in the swimming level (sorry, having a turtle "captured")...occasionally rescuing a turtle and getting them back (only to lose them quite quickly).
When I was younger, I know I never finished the game; I do not think I ever even saw Shredder, but I do believe I did finally beat it much (much) later when I was in University...because sometimes you just need to check that a game off your list, and this was a game I loved enough that I just had to finish it one day.
Now if only I could bring myself to try and get through The Adventures of Dino-Riki again...
83 - Blades of Steel
This was my hockey game forever. I love Blades of Steel--it's a very simple hockey game, with three difficulty levels (the guy in this gameplay video plays on junior...which I never did, even when I was first playing the game on the NES) where you could play exhibition games (to get good) or challenge yourself with a tournament to get through a few games to win a trophy. The goaltending is rudimentary (you just try and line up with the shot to "block it"), the fights/losing a guy to the penalty box if you lost a fight were fun, and the music...
The game says a few words, has music that is essentially ingrained in my soul, and that crowd noise sound, as silly and 8-bit as it is, still makes me feel good every time I hear it.
I decided not to talk about the annualized sports games on these lists (how do I pick a FIFA?) but there was absolutely no way I could do a Top 100 Video Games of All-Time list and not include Blades of Steel....it also happened to be my first virtual console purchase on the Wii.
82 - Gitaroo Man
....I may have just spent the last 45 minutes or so watching bits and pieces of all of the stages in Gitaroo Man (as there does not seem to be a trailer available), and my fingers still know remember some of the inputs; a totally useless muscle memory that I have because Gitaroo Man is awesome. This is one of those games that helps to explain why I'm a PlayStation guy: this weird, awesomeness that Japanese game studios come up with is just...it is so my jam.
Gitaroo Man is a strange rhythm game for PS2 where you play a young boy named U-1 who is the last remaining hero of planet Gitaroo, and with the help of your trusty talking dog Puma, are able to fight off the bad guys. The music is fun (and hops through genres repeatedly; I put up the J-pop song, but there's a lot of variety), the story is ridiculously hilarious, in the most amazing way possible, and it always felt amazing to hear that "You Win *giggle*" when completing a particularly tough level (especially once you unlocked the Master difficulty).
The gameplay also set it apart from almost every other rhythm game I have played since, as there were different phases to the musical battle, plus you had to consider a "trace-line": you had to move an analog stick along a track, while hitting the inputs to play your gitaroo, and then dodge/defend whenever the screen changed into a cross pattern by hitting the corresponding button prompt at just the right moment.
This is my favourite rhythm game, without question, and it's a weird, crazy game that I wish would somehow get a second life, and give me a sequel, because I need more Gitaroo Man in my life.
81 - Brütal Legend
Wrapping today's list up is the PC, PS3, Xbox360 action-adventure/Real Time Strategy-heavy metal game Brütal Legend, starring Jack Black as a Eddie, the best roadie ever who is...well essentially pulled into an ancient kingdom of rock and roll (which is basically just him being pulled into the worlds of 80s metal album covers), and written by Tim Schafer.
I barely know where to start with this...oh...wait: the music in the game is amazing: it is a who's who of classic metal and hard rock, and the added voices of Lemmy and Ozzy popping up as important characters in the game (not to mention the fact that their characters look like them) just wrapped the game into a kickass package. The art-design was amazing, moving around the world is like playing a game inside the best metal art you can imagine, the story was funny, and engaging, the bad guys (split between two worlds of "glam/arena rock" and "goth") were brilliant...and sure, on occasion, the blend of third-person action and RTS did not blend as well as it could have, but I never stopped having fun while playing this game (any of the times I've played it).
I feel like this one got a little bit ignored, and it did not review as well as a lot of the other games on this list, but Brütal Legend is a game that any metal fan, any fan of Schafer's other work, or even any Jack Black fan, really owes it to themselves to at least try.
That's all for today's list, I'll see you again next time (which is tomorrow) for 80-71 (or hey, you can always agree with me, or tell me how wrong I am before then).