Gaming My Way

25 Oct

100 Games I’ve Played, Part 8

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.

71) Contra (NES)

This is one of those games that just has a reputation for being hard. In fact, I think this is probably the game most widely known for being one of the hardest games ever made, even though there are a couple (though not many) that I’d rate as a little harder. Still this game makes the gold standard for games that will chew you up and spit you out. It’s a pretty simple concept though: grab a gun, go kill aliens and save the world. All while dodging endless streams of bullets and praying you don’t get locked in a corner with no where to go.

72) Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1)

This is the first tactical rpg I ever played. It’s also one of the hardest rpgs I’ve ever played, likely because of the tactical nature of the game. It’s also one of the most fun I’ve ever played, because of it’s robust job system, great combat setups, and high level of challenge. Of course, it also has one of the best written stories I’ve seen in a video game, and the setting in a society so worried about family honor gives the game a vastly different feel than most rpgs I’ve played.

73) Tales of Symphonia (GC)

Here’s another rpg  that didn’t fit the standard mold when it was released. It has the overworld map and semi-random encounters for battles. But the battles are all real-time on a 2-d  fighting plane that shifts around to give the impression  of being 3-d. The player is given control of one character while the others are controlled by an AI that is customizable to a good degree, or other players if they happen to be available and interested. The story was well done, though probably nothing you haven’t seen before. While the story is definitely above average, it really is the battle system and excellent music that will draw you in the most.

74) Secret of Mana (SNES)

This was an excellent game, and I’ve played through a couple different times. Played a bit like Zelda with a party, except you had stats to make it a true crpg. This game really only had one major problem as I saw it: you had to space out your attacks to make them effective because Square added a meter to the game that depleted as you attacked, making you do ridiculously small amounts of damage if you kept attacking. I think this could have been handled better, or simply omitted, to make a much better game. However, when you factor in the rest of the gameplay, the exploration, and the story, this is a nitpick about an otherwise excellent game. And there are those who think the meter adds an interesting extra element of strategy to the game, so you may even like the meter there. In any case, this is an excellent rpg to add to your collection.

75) Power Stone (Dreamcast)

This was a very different kind of fighting game. You pick one of a number of outlandish characters to do battle as, then get thrown into a 3d battle arena with full 3d movement, then attempt to beat your opponent with your fists, feet, and any weapons you can pick up. In addition, there are power stones that drop throughout the course of the fight, and gathering three will transform you into a powered up mode that will, with most characters, make it very difficult to stop you. Much of the game is spent trying to prevent your opponent from getting all three stones, as having them all is a distinct advantage. This is a very wild game, but a lot of fun as well.

76) The Bouncer (PS2)

3d beat-’em-ups are rare these days, and were rare last generation as well. Particularly fun ones. The Bouncer was one of these rare gems. Each level sees you choosing from one of three characters to play, and towards the middle of the game each character even has his own branching story, if you care about such a thing in a game about beating the bad guys and hitting the next level. You can also buy new moves and abilities through leveling, which adds some replayability to the game, but probably wasn’t strictly necessary to add in.  All in all, a very satisfying game, and one of the better looking PS2 games close to its launch.

77) Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi (PS2)

Yep, it’s another DBZ game. They seem to be pumping them out pretty often now, but since they’re actually moderately fun now, that’s ok. While this is a fighting game, you actually fight with the camera behind the character you control, which really messes with the standard fighting game control scheme. However, once you get used to it (and you will need to get used to it), it works very well for this kind of game. By this kind of game, I mean fighting game where energy blasts and charging attacks may as well be part of your basic moveset rather than special moves, and to really bring the hurt you need to pull off some crazy planet destroying move that the DBZ anime is known for.

78) Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers (NES)

Hey look, it’s one of those licensed games that was actually pretty fun. Basically, Capcom took Disney’s Chip and Dale show, turned it into a moderately challenging platformer, and added in some random story between levels in case anyone cared about the license. In the end, most of the boss battles were pretty easy, but the levels themselves made  for decent challenges, particularly the gauntlet at the end of the game with all sorts of traps, bottomless pits, and fairly challenging enemies. Still worth playing today. Unless you have something against the rescue rangers license anyway.

79) Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense (Dreamcast)

Since I didn’t have a Playstation or PS2 until long after I got a Dreamcast, I needed a way to get my fix of zany car battles provided by Twisted Metal. This game delivered… for the most part. Weapon use was a little bit more complicated in this game, in a way that detracted from the game a bit. Also, the characters weren’t quite as crazy. But, the controls were nice and smooth, I could still get into large scale battles from behind the wheel, and it was still great fun. Definitely a good attempt at the crown and worth playing.

80) Doctor Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Genesis)

Drop beans, rotate beans, make combos of at least four to clear them off the playfield. Reminiscent of Tetris, like most puzzle games of this style, it was still different enough to be amusing. There was some sort of story about stopping one of Robotnik’s schemes, but really, this was all about clearing each stage by beating your AI opponent and moving onto the next until you finished the game. This was no mean feat though, as it got progressively harder as you faced tougher and tougher robots (who basically provided a face to your AI opponent). The game would both get faster, forcing you to react faster, and the robots would pull off harder and harder combos, forcing you to work much harder to bury them in beans without losing yourself. Because yes, by performing big combos, you could dump loads of beans on your opponent, making their play field harder to navigate.

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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