Gaming My Way

29 Jun

100 Games I’ve Played, Part 6

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.

51) Star Fox 64 (N64)

When I was younger, this was the game I most wanted to play when the N64 was first announced. These days, I’d rather play Zelda, but back then, I was really into the on rails space shooters. This game did not disappoint me. The graphics upgrade made it look a whole lot nicer, and the addition of speech, while still kind of irritating, was much better than the weird garbly sounds they used in the SNES version. Of course, all that is cosmetic. The ability to choose the path you take planet to planet was really cool, and helped add a lot of replay to the game in choosing the route you take to Venom. Of course, all of that means nothing without the gameplay, which remained faithful to the original while adding a few nice tweaks. Being able to charge your laser to lock on is a very fun addition, but it doesn’t make the game too easy since there are still situations that call for fast accurate shooting instead of slow charged shots. The wing men are still pretty useless, though they do a little more this game than they did in the original. Still, that’s fine with me… I want to do the shooting, not have the game do it for me. Definitely one you want to play if you haven’t yet for some reason.

52) Unreal Tournament (PC)

I had a lot of fun playing this game, but I do have a confession to make: I only ever really played single player. In my dorm I played a little multiplayer, but I’ve never really taken the time to get good at the game by playing against real opponents. I just wanted a fun run and gun game, and this fit the bill. I’m not a big fan of the domination or ctf modes, but that’s really just because they aren’t my thing. The modes themselves are solid. Assault, on the other hand, was a boatload of fun. It set one team up as defenders of a base and the other team as attackers who had to take the base. After the match, the roles reversed, and the other team had to take the base in a faster time than the opposing team did. Even with AI, it was loads of fun. To this day, it’s my favorite mode in the game.

53) Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

For a long time, this was my favorite game in the arcade. It took me a long time to be able to finish this one, because I didn’t have a big budget for dumping in quarters. That said, this was usually the game I went to at the arcade, because I was fairly good at it so I could play for a decent amount of time on a small amount of money, and it was also one of the best we had for a long time. For the time, the game looked great, and it was one of the smoother playing fighting games of the time. It was also the first fighting game I played that I felt like I could really use the mind games inherent in fighting games. I never really got the hang of Mortal Kombat enough to do so, and it was years later before I finally played Street Fighter II.

54) Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)

Ok, so technically, I never finished this game. I’m including it anyway, because I did tons of stuff in it, played it longer than many games I have completed, and it is a sandbox game, so it’s not necessarily expected that the main quest will be played through, even if that is the apparent goal. Still, I’ve explored most of the locales the game has to offer (and I love the pyramid city), experimented with spell creation (and found a few keepers even), managed to find uses for the Scrolls of Icarian Flight that won’t get me killed, gone on killing sprees, ascended through the ranks of the mage’s guild to become archmage, tried out a few of the martial disciplines (magic is cooler though), and in general had an absolute blast playing in the giant fantasy world Bethesda created.

55) Rappelz (PC)

Another game I’ve never completed, but for a different reason. It’s an MMORPG, and as such, has no real ending. Also, after the first fifty levels, it’s boring as watching paint dry. Since it’s an MMO and there’s no clear end though, this one’s allowed on the list, and I’ve made enough of an investment of my time in the game that I feel I’m allowed to comment. At first, I really thought this would be the game to kill the boredom cycle of the MMO. Levels came reasonable quickly, quests were in literally infinite supply, and skills could be purchased with a reasonable amount of job points. However, fast forward to level 40 or so, and things slowed down considerably. At this point, quests were still in infinite supply, but they always had irritating requirements that made it not worth doing the quest for the trifling amounts of xp and jp they gave out. Instead, the only viable way to level your character at any decent pace was to join dungeon parties, which is basically the Rappelz version of a raid, except only with eight characters. And there isn’t always a boss to kill, sometimes it’s just mindlessly killing overpowered dungeon monsters because they’re the only way to get decent xp anymore. If that’s what the game is like at 40, I’d hate to see it at 180. In short, great diversion and lots of fun at first, but a snail’s leveling pace less than a quarter of the way through the game sucks the fun out of it.

56) Record of Lodoss War (Dreamcast)

Want Diablo, but for some reason, you can’t get it to run on your PC? First, if this is your plight, I laugh at you and urge you to invest in a new computer. Seriously, just do it. Then, I inform you that Record of Lodoss War might fit the bill as well, as the gameplay is very close to that of the original clickfest. Of course, you don’t click in RoLW, you mash attack and use the analog stick. And it’s based on an anime instead of Armageddon. Though you are fighting evil gods/demons in both games, so I guess that’s close enough too. Really, there isn’t too much to say about this one. If you want a single player Diablo style game on a console, this is a good pick. Otherwise, you’ll want to move on to something else.

57) Hydro Thunder (Dreamcast)

The N64 had Wave Race 64, the Dreamcast had Hydro Thunder. In this battle, the N64 is the victor. Not a claim I make often, as I thought the N64 was a very hit or miss system. Hydro Thunder is a boat racing game that tries to encourage you to use shortcuts, turbos, and some steering tricks to lead you to victory. Unfortunately, there just aren’t that many courses, and they’re all kind of bland. In addition, the races feel slow and clunky, not at all fast. The controls are a little wonky, I presume to make you feel like you’re piloting a boat, but it really just feels disjointed. Not a game I’d pick up if I knew then what I know now.

58) Super Ghouls and Ghosts (SNES)

So, you beat Ninja Gaiden? You beat Contra without the Konami Code? Here, try this game on for size. I think you’ll find yourself right at home. While I wouldn’t say this game is harder than either of the previously mentioned games, it is as hard as they are. You get to play as a knight with the world’s weakest armor on a quest to save a princess from some weird demon creature. One hit will bust you down from armor to boxers, with one more hit spelling demise for our intrepid hero. Furthermore, half the weapons in the game are awful, and serve as traps to avoid so you can keep the one you actually like using. Enemies swarm everywhere, and the controls are responsive, but clunky in a way designed to limit mobility while still being very usable. It’s actually quite a fine line, but it’s executed very well. The game does grant you one boon: if you can stay alive and armored long enough, you can acquire magical armor that makes your weapons better. It’s not much, but you take what you can get. Of course, that’s small consolation when you realize, upon completing the entire game, that you have to do it all over again, with an awful weapon (supposedly the most powerful in the game, but I think Capcom was just being sadistic), in order to fight the final boss. Then, if you survive that, you can finally lay your claim to finishing another of the hardest games ever made. Highly recommended, but only if you have patience or are very skilled.

59) Burnout 2: Point of Impact (Gamecube)

Like racing games? Like causing all sorts of havoc on the virtual roadway? This game has your ticket. In races, this game rewards reckless driving by giving you more turbo for driving in ways likely to cause you to crash… so long as you manage to avoid crashing. This gives you an incentive to try dangerous things, because it will help you catch up or increase your lead if you do it right. This, in turn, makes the game more fun since it always feels like you’re on the edge, trying not to lose control, which adds a lot of excitement to the game. Sometimes though, you just don’t want to do a full on race. In that case, just go out for a leisurely drive, speed up, hit a strategically placed car or bus, and see how big of a pileup you can cause. It’s crash mode, and it’s loads of fun. It’s all about causing as much mayhem as you possibly can with one car. Bonus points for flipping the buses and tractor trailers. Great stress relief.

60) F-Zero X (N64)

This game really captures the feeling of speed. I’ve never played a racing game better than this one at making me feel like I was cruising along at over 500 mph. This alone makes it a wonderful joy to play, but it also has great controls, a  large number of well-designed courses, and a variety of hovercars to choose from. The music, like that of its predicessor, is pretty hit or miss, but there are some great tracks that really help get you feeling into the race. One of the more fun aspects of the game is the ability to push other cars off the track eliminating them from the race, making one less opponent to pass you later. Also, once you finish all the cups with a first place victory on expert diffiulty, you unlock the X cup which randomly generates new courses for you each time you play it. Most of the time, these courses are nothing special, but sometimes they can be quite a bit of fun. This game is great for the thrill of speed alone, but the excellent controls and course design make this one a definite keeper.

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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