Gaming My Way

12 Apr

100 Games I’ve Played, Part 1

Inspired by James Newton’s Sega Top 50, I decided I’d like to try my own project. This is going to be one hundred different games I’ve played, beginning to end. There are a couple exceptions for games in a persistent world format, but they’re a minority. Of course, one hundred games are easy, but to keep things interesting, I’m only pulling one game per series. To be clear though, that doesn’t mean games with the same characters can’t show up together on the list, just not games from the same series. For instance, I could (and may) include both Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Kart, but I would not include both Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64.

Now is the perfect time for this project, as I’m now leading up to my 100th post on Gaming My Way. Some of these games will be excellent, others will be awful, but all have been played through. Today, I’m going to get started with the first 10, in no particular order, and I’ll do 10 more each post until I reach 100. Perhaps you’ll find some gems in here to try out, as well as a few to ridicule and warn others against playing.

1. Demon Stone (PS2)

I had incredibly high hopes for this game. Since it was based in the Forgotten Realms, they brought in R.A. Salvatore, author of The Cleric Quintet and The Legend of Drizzt, among many other series, some original and others as part of the Forgotten Realms. Unfortunately, the story fell kind of flat when playing through the game. I imagine it was simply incompatibility between Salvatore’s writing style and an action game with some light RPG-like upgrades. In the end, this turned out to be a moderately enjoyable game, but on the whole, it was a pretty generic hack and slash experience when I was expecting an amazing, epic story (at least before I read reviews).

2. Crystalis (NES)

This game was absolutely stunning when I played it. I got confused on what I was doing the first couple times I started playing, but I  figured it out pretty quickly. Upon first playing, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a Zelda knockoff, and while it shares many gameplay elements, it has a unique style that  feels very different to play through. Four elemental swords? Check. Upgrades for these weapons? Check. Spells to help carry the day? Check. There’s also a definite strategy to what abilities to use for different enemies, and the different towns you find yourself in all have their own unique traits. Did I mention there’s an amazing soundtrack, as well as nice variation of enemy design? Because this game has both of those things. It all creates an amazing atmosphere and adventure to play through.

3. Marble Madness (NES)

This quirky game put you in control of a marble you needed to navigate to the end of a maze within a time limit. Each maze became progressively more difficult, with more chances to fall off the edge of the stage or get caught in some kind of acid or vacuum trap. And everyone remembers the black marble that would push you off to your doom. This simplistic race to the finish was incredibly fun, and still is to this day. You can also play with a friend, in which case you can work together to maximize your chances of both finishing the game, or play cutthroat to force your buddy not to finish, or at least aim to get the better score.

4. Neverwinter Nights (PC)

Ok, I admit it. I never actually played the original campaign. I’ve played the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, and I’ve played a few persistent worlds, most notably the now completed Dracontide. Neverwinter Nights was not amazing for it’s gameplay (it’s just as bad in terms of gameplay as any MMORPG) or for it’s story (it was good, but it wasn’t that good). Neverwinter Nights was amazing for the way it allowed you to recreate the experience of D&D on your computer with people all over the world, as long as you could understand each other and log in at the same time. While not a perfect recreation by any means, with a competent group of Dungeon Masters (basically admins in NWN) you could easily have a legitimate D&D campaign, complete with 3rd edition rules, full roleplaying, crazy munchkining, and an awesome story to boot. The toolset would let you build an amazing array of areas, encounters, and conversations, and then that could be enhanced with live storytelling. There was also support for lots of additional user created content to modify spells, create new classes, and many other possibilities. If you had the time, you could build a world with this game, and players would come to enjoy it.

5. Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

Ah, this was a game for some pure, mindless fun. Grab a taxi, pick up a passenger, and drive as wildly and quickly as you can to the destination to get your payout. Rinse and repeat. If you were like me, you would attempt to pick up passengers in such a way as to be able to do laps around the city. Or see how much you can earn going back and forth between two destinations. Among other challenges you might come up with. Simply drive crazy, aim for a high payout, and have fun.

6. Ecco 2: The Tides of Time (Genesis)

You would be forgiven if you picked this game up for the first time and thought it was simply a mindless children’s game about a dolphin swimming around. I made this mistake the first time I played. There doesn’t seem to be a reliable way to trigger the opening scene, other than jump around until you get it. After that though, this game opens right up into an amazing game of exploration, reflexes, and storytelling. The levels are well thought out and challenging, solutions are tough to figure out but reasonable, and the story is delivered perfectly through the written dialogue, gameplay, ambient sound, and cutscenes. Definitely worth a playthrough, just persevere for five minutes or so to get to the actual game.

7. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)

Like boss fights? Like puzzle’s? Like exploration? You’ll love this game. It’s all about the 16 boss battles you fight against the colossi, giant mountain-sized creatures that make your character look impossibly small in comparison. Each boss requires a new strategy to deal with it, and beating them is a bit like dealing with a puzzle that moves. Of course, it’s also like fighting a giant moving mountain, and the feeling that most of the battles evoke are amazing. A couple fights fall flat (the two small colossi, as well as the final battle of the game, which feels a little bit too set up in that the Colossus doesn’t really move around the battlefield like the others do), but 13 out of 16 battles inspiring awe is a pretty good track record in my book. My favorite by far is the flying Colossus in the desert you have to shoot down, then jump from your horse onto it’s side, at which point you then climb up onto it’s back to do battle in the sky. Sound like fun? That’s because it is. As for the story? It didn’t make much sense to me either, don’t worry about it.

8. Lords of Magic (PC)

This is by far one of my favorite games. You choose one of eight major faiths, which double as both country and religion, and use the unique abilities of the faith you control to do battle with the faith of Death. Or, if you play as the Death faith, then you seek to destroy the other seven. Every faith has a lord, your primary champion who must survive at all costs for the cause to continue. Champions can be warriors, mages, or thieves, and then there are many other units you can use to flesh out your armies. Resource management is all turn based, while combat happens in real time. I found this blend to be exactly what I wanted in a strategy game. There’s a lot of depth to this game, such as in building alliances, trading partners, increasing your magical repertoire through long research, and building up to the point where you can summon the legendary creatures of your faith from the local great temple. Of course, all of that has to be balanced with expansion and defending your own capital city and temple. It’s a great deal of fun.

9) Katamari Damacy (PS2)

Want to rebuild the universe? Good, because your dad, the King of All Cosmos, managed to get drunk and destroy it all, and since he doesn’t want to take responsibility for his actions, he makes you, his son and the Prince, take care of it for him. Now, how are you to do this? By rolling up a large balls of whatever you can into a Katamari, a wonderful little ball with an amazing quality of stickiness or gravity or something that lets you pick up larger and larger things (and animals and people) as it gets larger itself. How these Katamaris are later turned into stars is beyond me, but it sure is fun attempting to roll up the entire world into a ball in the later levels.

10) Sewer Shark (Sega CD)

Who here has heard of Sewer Shark?  Those of you who had a Sega CD. This game was the pack in. It was a very unfogiving game too. This is definitely not the greatest game I’ve played, but it is moderately amusing. You pilot a ship through the sewers exterminating pests and attempting not to take a wrong turn leading to your death. You have an awesome copilot, and a jerkwad boss who won’t hesitate to fire or kill you if you fail to meet his harsh standards of monster killing. This game uses FMV liberally in the telling of it’s story, but it does so effectively. Other than that, it’s a pretty brainless shooter with the occasional twitch reflex to make sure you take the proper path to avoid certain death. Make it to the end though, and you’ll get to see an amusing cutscene involving your jerkwad boss getting what’s coming to him. A fun diversion, but you can find better games.

Links to all parts of this series:
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 1
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 2
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 3
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 4
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 5
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 6
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 7
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 8
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 9
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 10

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