Sunday, January 20, 2013

Favorite video games of all time: 50-41

By Jeff

We're halfway through with my list of favorite video games of time. This next grouping is where I found myself really struggling. It was easy to think of the games that deserved to be here, but it was incredibly hard putting some of these games as low as they are. The games are awesome and could easily be higher, but then I'd be doing an injustice to other games. It's a no win situation!

You can find 100-91 here, 90-81 here,  80-71 here, 70-61 here, and 60-51 here.

50: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 (NES) - While the second game in this series was the most groundbreaking, with a portal from the classic arcade game, "TMNT 3" was just an epic game. The bosses were cool, the levels had some neat tricks to them (Hanging off the side of a submarine, golden gate bridge falling apart, etc.) and each turtle had a unique special they could use! But you couldn't just spam the special. Each time you used it, you'd lose a peg of health. So you had to use it strategically. Unless you only had one peg of life left, then you can just go nuts in a desperate attempt for survival.

One of my greatest gaming triumphs growing up occurred with this game. My buddy and I were playing and had mad it to the final boss, but barely. He quickly died and I was left with Mikey and one peg of health left. I then went on a tear and ripped Shredder a new one without being touched again to beat the game. I can still see it in my dreams sometimes!

 49: Final Fantasy X (PS2) - The first of many "Final Fantasy" titles on this list. While "Final Fantasy XIII", the first of the series on the PS3 is a downright disgrace to the series, "X" was a great game that made a beautiful transition to the PS2. I remember being amazed at the cut scene where Sephiroth burns Nibelheim to the ground in "FF7", but "X" was a whole new level of stunning  visuals.

The game also introduced an exciting new battle system. Yes, it was still turned based, but each character was strong against specific enemies, and you could switch party members in and out during battles! This meant that if you wanted to level everyone up, you didn't have to go around with a set party, spend an hour or two with them, and then do the same thing with a new group. You could level up everyone in every battle. It also kept you on your toes. Sometimes enemies would alter during the fight and you had to be ready to throw in a different character to maximize damage.

The voice acting was pretty terrible, aside from Auron. But it was the first time we had voice acting in "Final Fantasy" so it seemed great. You just had to mute Tidus some times.

The game was pretty linear, which was annoying, and the fact Tidus was a dream was beyond stupid. But the characters all have their own stories and they are compelling for the most part (Kimarhi, you kinda suck).

48: God of War (PS2) - My friend in college and I were talking video games one day. He told me about this game I had not heard of called "God of War", which had actually been out long enough it was a part of Playstation's Greatest Hits collection. He simply said "Go buy 'God of War', it will be the best $20 you spend in your life." I did, and at the time, it certainly was close to the best $20 I spent, at least on video games.

"God of War" is brutal. There are fountains of blood and the "hero" is a total jerk that you really don't feel sorry for at all. Sure, he was tricked into killing his family, but he killed tons of people before and showed that he was not a good person. But the game itself is a blast. You battle your way through various creatures, heroes and gods of Greek mythology and they all die by your awesome blades that are attached to your body by chains.

What stops the game from being higher? The puzzles you have to solve are boring as hell and I don't like how the games relies so heavily on button prompts. They don't take skill and strikes me as lazy gameplay.

47: Kingdom Hearts 2 (PS2) - If you told me that it would be an amazing idea to combine classic Disney movie characters with "Final Fantasy" characters, I'd tell you to get away from me because syphilis was eating your brain and I didn't want to be near anyone with syphilis. I was mean back then...

Anyway, it sounds like a silly idea, right? Wrong. Square and Disney combined to create a compelling story and series of games doing just that, and they worked!

"Kingdom Hearts 2" has a weird beginning, and the Nobody enemies don't make a lot of sense, but the gameplay, battle system and everything else improves on the first game. I'm still not entirely sure what Organization XIII is trying to do, but their presence in the game always had you on your toes and expecting one of them to pop up and attack you at any time.

I wish that if there are future installments, they will be multi-player and a buddy can control Goofy or Donald. That is my dream.

46: Mega Man 2 (NES) - After "Final Fantasy", the little blue bomber is probably my favorite video game franchise of all time. The games are all so very simple side scrollers, but they provide endless joy and plenty of challenge. I still cheat on Heat Man's stage. Screw those disappearing blocks, I just get the jet powered surf board and fly over the bottomless pit. Could I get across with the blocks? Maybe. I have never, and will never try.

Anyway, the unprecedented freedom "Mega Man" gave you at the time was incredible. You got to choose what level you played and when! While this started in the original game, "Mega Man 2" perfected it and the gameplay. It is truly a flawless game. It's challenging, but not cheaply so. The music is incredible. The bad guys are unique and their stages are elaborate. I dare you to find a problem with this game.

45: Hot Shots Golf 3 (PS2) - Tiger Woods can suck it. This is one of those games that really didn't do anything special or new, but it provided me with hours of fun. I enjoyed mastering as many golfers as possible and getting ridiculous scores on every course.

44: Contra (NES) - Remember how I said "Mega Man 2" was challenging, but not in a cheap way? Well, Contra was challenging in a cheap way. You could only be hit ONCE. So you had to go eight levels, with three lives and a few continues, while you could only be hit by bad guys, and there were a TON of them, once. But it was so much fun to play, especially with a friend. And if you thought your friend wasn't carrying his weight, or your were just selfish (I was), you could steal their lives.

The variety of weapons was incredible. My personal favorite was the spray weapon. As a kid, it was the only way I could take down the first level's boss. Seriously, this game made "Super Ghouls and Ghosts" look easy.

43: Castlevania: Symphony of Night - It was "Castlevania", but bigger and more intense. The protagonist, Alucard, a bastard son of Dracula, was pretty bad ass too. It blew my mind when I flipped the castle upside down!

42: Dynasty Warriors 4 or 5 (PS2) - And really, we could put 2 and 3 in here too. Why? Because they are all the same game. You get to be a Chinese warrior that you can throw into the middle of an army and wreck all kinds of havoc. Seriously, you can charge 100 bad guys and come out untouched if you're really good at button mashing.

Of course, if you have a habit of doing this in the first level or two, and then try it when Lu Bu shows up and you have crappy weapons and no artifacts, you die very fast.

Really, this is the ultimate stress relieving game. Just pop it in and start annihilating peons in the Chinese army for hours at a time. It's also two-player, so you can enjoy with a buddy!

41: Virtua Tennis (Dreamcast) - You can have your "Maddens", "MLB the Shows", and any other sports game you want. Give me "Virtua Tennis" any day of the week. I've never had so much fun playing a sports game.


  1. TMNT 3 is probably the only one so far that's surprised me because I don't think that would be in my top 100.

    Also, the KH2 write-up begs the obvious question: does that mean you now support syphilis, or are at least ambivalent to it?

  2. There are some much better games ranked lower than TMNT 3. But they just didn't bring me the same amount of joy growing up. I played TMNT 3 all the way through dozens of times. I just loved it.

    I think my feelings toward syphilis are unchanged: It's a bad thing and I would not wish it upon people. My opinion of genius ideas for a video game is what has changed. It sounded like a silly idea when I read about the game years ago, but clearly I was wrong. Or maybe it is silly, but in a brilliant way, rather than syphilis induced way...