Gaming My Way

21 Jul

100 Games I’ve Played, Part 7

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.

61) Diablo (PC)

Blizzard broke into the PC gaming scene with this very entertaining, grisly clickfest. Taking on the role of a warrior, rogue, or sorcerer, you walked into Tristram, a town plagued by demons. The cathedral had been completely overrun, and it was up to you to clear it out and find the cause of the evil besieging Tristram. Every character plays pretty similarly, with their differences really coming from the stats they favor and the way their primary stats effect their secondary stats. Mages, for instance, have a higher cap on magic than any other class, gain the most mana per point of magic, and the least hit points per point of health. Since your current stats determine the gear you can wear and the spells you can learn, this slant is significant, but everybody can do a little of everything. Play is, of course, very simple, as you click to move, click enemies to attack, click npcs to talk to them, and click menu buttons to open and move through them. Of course, there are some hotkeys, which are good to learn, but they aren’t strictly necessary, though always helpful. The atmosphere, the story, and building up your character will all draw you into this game, as will the simple gameplay and exploration of the labyrinth below the cathedral.

62) Street Fighter 2 (SNES)

Ok, I’ll be honest here, I have no idea which iteration of the game I played, so what I played was one of many games in the Street Fighter 2 line of games. That said, it was a lot of fun. It’s also one of the few fighting games where the characters almost all feel very, very different. My mastery of this game is very limited, to the point where Ryu and Ken are the only characters I can truly play at all effectively. I can certainly see how different each character is just in fighting against them, and I’m sure if I put in the time to learn each character, I would see even greater differences. That said, even with my limited playtime of the game, I’ve had a great deal of fun with it, though it takes some definite getting used to after playing more modern fighters. Oh, right, I should probably have mentioned that: I started playing Street Fighter 2, when I’ve had the chance, in the past two years or so with a couple friends who happen to have the game. I don’t actually own it, but I took the time to play through Arcade mode before fighting them, as a way to get the basics down without getting completely pummeled.

63) Warcraft 3 (PC)

This is my my favorite RTS, which is sure to anger people who prefer Starcraft. I’ll be honest, my reasons for not getting into Starcraft are superficial, in that I’m not generally a fan of sci-fi games that aren’t space shooters. Basically, I liked Warcraft 3 for the story more than anything else. Starcraft may in fact be the better game mechanically, I don’t know, but I love the story in Warcraft 3 and that’s what kept me playing through to the end. Even through the really irritating elf campaign stealth mission. The highlights for me were definitely the undead and orc campaigns, as they had both had great stories along with a really good feel to the gameplay. There’s something very satisfying about raising your own undead hordes, as well as laying the shamanic beatdown on your innumerable enemies. I was also very happy to see orcs break out of the automatically evil stereotype used far too often in fantasy. Very nice change of pace.

64) Oregon Trail (PC)

“Come on, ford the river! We dare you!”

*Clicks ford the river.*

The screen displays: “Jane has drowned, and you have lost 243 pounds of food. And an ox has died. And you broke an axle.”

Everyone laughs, you get stuff fixed, and you continue on your journey to settle the west. And you play the awesome hunting game to make up for the food you lost fording the river. This game is probably one of the most successful educational games ever made, as it’s actually quite fun to play. That and just about every school in the country had it to get kids interested in using their new computers. Or interested in history. Despite the simplicity of the game, it’s appeal is just in seeing how much you can get away with on your trip west. How early can you leave while being warm enough and having enough food? How late can you leave without getting stuck in the rainy fall or icy cold winter? Can you make it as a poor farmer? Or are you going to be a carpenter for easier repairs? Or a banker for more money to buy things?

That it doesn’t shove learning down your throat, but rather invites you to experience it as part of the game helps a lot too.

65) Dead or Alive 3 (Xbox)

Some people are less interested in education, and more interested in violence and cute ladies. For those people, we have this fighting game, with both an excellent fighting engine and loads and loads of fan service. Which is responsible for some… *ahem* interesting (and unrealistic) physics choices. I actually put off playing this game for quite awhile out of irritation with the fan service, assuming they used it to sell a sub-par game. But the truth is, this is actually a very good fighting game, with very fluid combat. Counters are a little too easy to pull off for my taste, but as a defensive turtler I’m more than happy to use this to my advantage. It also makes it worth learning the few moves that can’t easily be countered. Surprisingly (to me, anyway) a very good fighting game, and definitely worth a playthrough.

66) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS)

It’s a video game about a lawyer?! What?! Okay guys, Nintendo and Capcom have finally gone off the deep end.

Anyone have this reaction? I did. Then I saw a friend play part of a courtroom scene. Complete, insane hilarity. It’s basically a puzzle game, where you have to gather evidence in an old school point and click adventure style, then bring it into the court room to find the logical inconsistencies in people’s arguments. It starts of easy enough, but it gets more and more challenging as the game moves on. Add in some over the top cheesy epic combat music for the trial to round the game off, and it’s simply amazing.

67) Shaq Fu (SNES)

It’s a fighting game. Starring Shaquille O’Neal. What could possibly go wrong with this?

Oh wait. How about everything? I can imagine the board meeting now.

Developer 1: Hey guys, remember that weird alternate dimension fighter we’re putting together? Well, it turns out that though it’s just  about done, it’s actually way worse than we thought. We can’t seem to fix the collision detection, our writers came down with the flu and we have no plot, and all in all, it seems pretty generic.

Developer 2: Well, it’s a fighting game, so it doesn’t really need a plot. Can’t we fix the collision detection and call it a day?

Dev 1: Nope, it’ll take too long, and we can’t have any more delays.

Dev 2: Hmm… Why don’t we just make Shaq the main character, and market the game around the fact he’s in it.

Dev 1: Brilliant! Even with it’s flaws, everyone will lap it up because Shaq is in it!

No. No, we won’t. It’s a generic fighter with no redeeming qualities. I blame a lack of new games in the house and my young age at the time for finishing this game at all. Apparently the Genesis version is better though. In that it has more characters. For a game like this, I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

68) Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram (Dreamcast)

Easily the most fun I’ve ever had playing a mech fighting game. Of course, part of that comes from the nostalgia of playing in the arcade with the twin sticks, but the game is still very solid, even if I’m disappointed that we never got the twin stick controllers in America. There are tons of different maneuvers to try out, some of which are clunkier than others, but once you get the hang of it, it all goes pretty smoothly. Jumping is probably the worst offender, in that you float to the ground very slowly until you learn there is, in fact, a way to speed your descent. Since jumping isn’t too important for most robots (with one or two exceptions), this isn’t a big deal.

Something a little different about attacks is that there are ammo meters for each weapon… right, center, and left. Every time you use a weapon, the meter depletes and begins recharging while you aren’t using that weapon. This makes it a very good idea to learn how to move between weapons and attacks effectively, since you’ll be doing it often. Of course, whether you’re standing still, dashing, jumping, or jump dashing will determine exactly which attack you use with the weapon you fire, and they all have their uses.

This is definitely worth playing, preferably in an arcade with twin sticks, but on the Dreamcast is a very good alternative.

69) Mario Kart 64 (N64)

This one is my personal favorite in the series. The graphical upgrade from SNES to N64 really does wonders for the scenery, and MK64 has a much greater sensation of speed than Double Dash on the Gamecube, and that sense of speed really adds to the experience for me. Of course, the biggest draw is something common to all the Mario Kart games: taking Mario characters, have them race around in go karts, and use powerups to gain advantages through shortcuts or, more commonly, pummeling the other racers with the really fun powerups like the red shell and lightning bolt… or stealing then using these by using the ghost.

70) Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

This was one amazing platformer. You take the tag team of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong through all sorts of awesome levels with their own distinct environments, and the platforming is very well thought out. The game is rarely out and out frustrating, as it has a very smooth learning curve to ease you into the gameplay. Aside from that, it mixes things up often enough that it never gets repetitive. The water levels, like in many games, are probably the weakest of the bunch in terms of fun, but they’re definitely a cut above the water levels many games have. Also, just in case it matters to you, the levels and characters were all rendered in a pseudo-3d fashion that comes together with the crisp graphics in a very nice manner. This is one of the best looking games on the SNES in addition to it’s very good platforming gameplay. Add in some awesome music, and this game is the whole package. As an added bonus, the final boss fight pulls an awesome gotcha moment, something I won’t spoil for those who’ve played the game. If you’ve played it, you know it though.

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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