Gaming My Way

06 May

100 Games I’ve Played, Part 3

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 moving on to the next 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.

21) Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

This game is quite possibly the pinnacle of the Super Mario Bros. series. Perhaps it’s the huge number of levels crammed into the game. Or maybe the amazing number of power-ups to choose from, along with obscure secrets to find (or read about in the strategy guide). Perhaps it’s the ever so slightly refined but familiar gameplay with all the new elements mentioned before added in. Whatever it is, this game is amazing, and if you’ve been living under a rock and somehow managed not to play it, you should go and fix that now. Yes, I know I didn’t actually say anything about how the game works… I really hope I don’t need to.

22) Final Fantasy VI (SNES)

I think this game is the finest the series had to offer, but I certainly understand valid arguments can be made about many other games in the series as well. I was drawn in by the large cast of characters. Not because there were a lot of characters, but because almost all of them got enough face time to be major players in the story, and I found myself caring about all but one character by the end of the game. In addition, this game had one of the better renditions of the save the world from ending theme, along with one of the best villains the series has seen in Kefka.

23) Grandia 2 (Dreamcast)

Best. Battle System. Ever. Seriously, this game has the best turn-based battle system I’ve ever seen in an rpg. It actually starts out seeming rather similar to the battle system used in Final Fantasy VII with the way the timing is set up, but you quickly learn it’s far more than that. Positioning in battle matters. The range of the weapon you have  matters. What you and your enemies are trying to do at any given time matters. Because with the right timing, some attacks can cancel out attacks the enemies you’re fighting are preparing. Same goes for enemies canceling your attacks as well though. So it becomes important to decide which attacks to use when. You can do a single powerful attack to cancel enemy attacks, or a series of weaker attacks that do more damage but don’t cancel enemy attacks. You can go for the fast attack to avoid having it canceled, or the big powerful attack for big damage. And then there’s repositioning so you’re in a favorable position to react to enemy attacks, or to prevent the clustering that leads to area effects wiping out the party instead of just a few characters. It’s awesome. The story, on the other hand, is passable, but nothing you haven’t seen before. You play this one for the dungeon crawl.

24) Bubble Bobble (NES)

Want to know what’s irritating? Getting to the end of the game, finally managing to defeat the final boss, then realizing you did it wrong. Because on the floor before the last one you played, you were supposed to get a hard to get item to bring you to another gauntlet of floors leading to the real (harder) final boss instead. That said, this game was all kinds of mindless fun, trapping enemies in bubbles then popping them all to send them flying around the screen. Doesn’t seem like it would be, but it holds up quite well. Just be ready with some twitch reflexes, especially when boss season opens up at the end of the game.

25) Snow Bros. (NES)

So, what’s more fun the trapping enemies in bubbles and popping them all to move floor to floor? Rolling them into snowballs you smash against the walls to move floor to floor! And rolling said snowballs over other enemies too. This game also has  five boss fights instead of one, which is nice addition. It helps to break up the usual gameplay a bit, something I really appreciated. That, and I love boss fights. This one does only have fifty floors though, so it’s a bit shorter, but there are no irritating items to miss in order to finish the game properly, which is a definite plus. Also, the power-up potions are a blast, especially the one that causes you to blow up like a balloon in order to wipe out all the on-screen enemies at once.

26) Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn  (PC)

Do you like your games big? Really big? 200 hours with sidequests big? Then this is the game for you. It’s based on D&D 2nd edition, so if you’re one of those geeks like me who has more than one geeky hobby, you’ll have a leg up on other PC gamers as you get started. Everyone else will be able to figure it all out soon enough though. There are a few quirks to the system that take some getting used to, such as a low armor class being a good thing, but it’s all part of the system. Don’t let the little things get to you.

The story is epic in scale, taking you from the prison you find yourself in after a disastrous ending to your last adventure, to learning about your heritage as one of the Bhaalspawn and coming into your full power and finally defeating the madman inflicting pain and suffering on you and your family. Of course, this all plays out over a number of chapters, and there are a bunch of subplots, some specific to certain characters, others which can be accessed by any party at all. You will be amazed at what they could cram into one game.

27) Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2)

You wouldn’t typically expect a shooter to have a story that surpasses the quality found in many rpgs, but this is the series to look to if that’s what you want. Metal Gear Solid 3, in particular, has a very nicely paced story, a suite of villains almost as awesome as those found in the first game, and better control options than those available in the previous games. Of course, I would be remiss in not mentioning that while you can go in guns blazing much of the time, the whole point of the game is stealth. And aside from some scripted events and boss fights, stealth is usually the best way through a situation. Luckily, the game does a good job letting you use camo and cover to your advantage to stay hidden until you’re ready to pounce… or you could just move on your way without the killing. As long as you don’t get captured or killed, you’re doing good.

28) Gauntlet Legends (Dreamcast)

Sometimes, you just want to wade through hordes of enemies, and emerge victorious from battle. This game is an excellent choice for those times. They have all the standard fantasy character classes, then a couple extras just for kicks. In the end, they all play pretty similarly, they just have different beginning stats, and different appearances. Basically, the goal is to wade through endless enemies, collect the runestones to unlock new levels, and defeat the many guardians of each world until you confront the ultimate evil in the final showdown. It’s a great hack and slash game, and played with four people together, quite the party experience as well.

29) Viewtiful Joe (Gamecube)

Sounds like a dumb game, doesn’t it? This is why you don’t judge a book by it’s cover. This game is what we need more of in the gaming industry if it’s going to thrive. It’s different enough to stand out and offer some new gameplay options, while not trying to add every possible feature just have more things to write on the back of the case. It’s a very nice package, and the cel-shading does a lot to make it feel like playing through a combination of a comic book and superhero movie. Being able to use different movie features (namely slow motion, fast forward, and zooming in) to effect gameplay was a brilliant move, and it adds a lot to the game’s style and substance. The fact that said powers can be used to effect the environment as well as making Joe awesome is icing on the cake.

30) Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (Genesis)

Since this was originally supposed to be one game, I’m counting it as one game. This is the way the game was meant to be played after all. Naturally, you get to control Sonic, the world’s favorite blue spiky hedgehog with attitude, through 14 amazing zones. Or you can play as his favorite sidekick Tails, or his misunderstood nemesis (and later ally) Knuckles. The zones are long, all of them are original so you never feel like you’re treading old ground, and there are 14 chaos and super emeralds to collect through the course of the game. I think this is the finest game in the series, but I certainly recognize the awesomeness of the others as well. Of course, this is also the game you can thank for making the final boss showdowns between Super Sonic and some kind of apocalyptic enemy… though Sega hadn’t quite figured out the apocalyptic enemy part just yet. I suppose they’re still working on that part, in fact, but the intent was there, and it is an amazing final boss fight. So take a blazing fast run down memory lane and give this one another playthrough. I know I’ve played it far, far more times than I can count.

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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