#50 - Radiant Silvergun (SAT)
Chosen by: sunburstbasser, Rhete, Crono Maniac
sunburstbasser - If G-Darius didn't have enough awesome boss fights for you, Radiant Silvergun should do the trick. Most of the "levels" are relatively short sections allowing you to shoot enemies to power up your weapons. The meat of Radiant Silvergun is the dozens of boss battles culminating in a fight with Double Pyramid God. But it isn't worth the prices I've seen it sell for.
Rhete - In the 16 bit days Treasure was all about the action platformer, with Radiant Silvergun they applied their brand of action to the shoot em up. The result is a crazy shmup with a time travel storyline, tons of weird weapons, including a sword that cuts bullets, and a nearly non-stop parade of bosses. Radiant Silvergun is rough, raw, and beautiful because of it.
Crono Maniac - It's funny that the only Treasure games with an interesting storyline are the shmups. I prefer its more restrained successor, but there's a lot to appreciate about Radiant Silvergun, between the mess of boss fights, the variety of weapons, and the fascinating structure.
#49 - Mega Man Legends 2 (PS1)
Chosen by: Voodoo Groove, Pitchfork, Rhete
Voodoo Groove - Fixed up some issues with the original and made a bunch of weapons better/easier to use, but lacked that sense of exploring a huge dungeon like the first game. Still, the fundamentals of buster parts and subweapons is as enjoyable as ever.
Pitchfork - Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus was basically Abe's Oddysee 1.5: More Levels, and despite the added gloss and gizmos, it added up to something somewhat less than the first. The exact opposite is true of Mega Man Legends 2 (or so I recall, anyway: I borrowed and played it only once, years ago). More weapons, better designs, more humor, more Tron, more everything and better everything.
Rhete - I'm still torn if I like this game or the original more. 2 is the traditional bigger, better, vaster sequel, but lacks a the charm that the smaller, more intimate setting of the original had. Either way both are fantastic games and you can't go wrong with either. Now, about that cliffhanger ending...
#48 - Rayman (JAG/PS1/SAT)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, jetstorm4, Zeloz
Pixel_Crusher - Much before Rayman Origins, the first Rayman game was the perfect showcase on how to make a platformer that delivered in both gameplay and presentation. Also, it was so difficult that I shamefully had to resort to the game's 99 lives code.
jetstorm4 - This is one of those childhood platformers that has really held up over time. Rayman is a platformer with character, charm, great music, and interesting level design. In particular, I like the Playstation version, but mostly because that's all I've played. It's also on Saturn and Jaguar!
Zeloz - One of the only good-looking games on the Jaguar, and wouldn't ya know it, it still looks and runs better on other consoles. Funnier still, it's probably aged the best of the American PS1 launch titles. Nary a polygon to be found here, but the colorful and cartoony aesthetic makes excellent use of the 32-bit hardware, with a sense of atmosphere and charm I found somewhat lacking in Rayman's later 3D outings. It's also really, really, brutally difficult. Almost unreasonably so for a game that looks so damn silly. I mean, what kind of game makes you 100% it just to access the final world and credits? This game, apparently. In my youth, I knew of one friend who actually managed to clear the game in its entirety without using any cheats, back when I didn't know that was a thing one could do. I imagine he's either given up games by now, having become an honorable family man. Or maybe the game secretly drove him mad, and now he's a soulless hard-game beater who roams the interwebs somewhere. I pray that it's the former. He was only a boy.
#47 - Mega Man X5 (PS1)
Chosen by: jetstorm4, Zeloz, Crono Maniac
jetstorm4 - What can I say? Mega Man X5 is masterful. Some of the best levels in the X series, great music, and bosses let this one tower over the others. Even it's story had me a few times near the end.
Crono Maniac - It's full of bad ideas, but as a send-off to the Mega Man X series it's nostalgic and celebratory. Ultimately its clumsiness is sort of endearing.
Zeloz - No, it's not straight-up nostalgia that puts this game in my heart above X4. You're crazy, son. This was the game that was supposed to end it all, and yet it was somehow my first Mega Man game. This led to a series of weird flashbacks when I started playing earlier Mega Man games through emulation. Yellow Devil in the first game, the Wily symbol in the second game, Rangda Bangda in X1, Bubble Crab's theme in X2... all of these felt familiar when they shouldn't have. I didn't realize until later, when I picked up the PS2 X collection and played through X5 again, that the game is making homages to it's series past, all while building up to a conflict that was to end the X series in an explosive final battle between X and Zero.
Like Final Fantasy VIII, X5's taken a lot of flak over the years for doing things differently, and not doing those things well. Yet, like FFVIII, I like the game more for it's devil-may-care treatment of the formula. Sure, giving the player a time limit to clear out the bosses probably wasn't the best idea, nor was blatantly encouraging the player to take on the bosses in a certain order. But other changes, like letting the player pick between X and Zero before every stage and having your actions during the first half of the game affect the endgame are actually pretty neat. And kudos to whoever decided to break tradition and name the bosses after Guns n' Roses members. It's like both the developers and the localization team knew the series was on it's last legs, so they decided on just throwing convention out of the window and making this fantastic finale of a game, with some of the best music and stages the series has to offer. It's an honorable send-off to the X series, and it segues nicely into the Zero series.
#46 - Suikoden (PS1)
Chosen by: No, Miller, Vanor Orion
No - Suikoden 1 was the beginning of the awesome Suikoden universe. I ranked it higher than S2 because I felt it was more consistent quality wise. I also enjoyed the characters and story more in the first Suikoden over the 2nd one. It's still a good introduction to the Suikoden universe honestly.
Miller - Since it's the game that kind of started my obsession for everything Suikoden, it earns a spot. The game is solid but perhaps a bit too archaic at this point in time. An absolute necessity to play though if you can't get enough of the beautiful world of Suikoden 2.
Vanor Orion - People definitely and rightly gush about the second game, but you can't fully appreciate the sequel without playing through the original. The game is definitely rough around the edges, yet it does simple things that make it stand out from its peers: 6-man parties, unison attacks, runes that use the original FF-esque charges instead of MP, an interesting story set in an interesting world that's definitely more grounded in reality despite it having magic and the like in it. And of course, the ability to have a headquarters and recruit and grow an army that you will use to retake your homeland from the bad guys. The war sections aren't all that in-depth, but what they DO succeed at is giving the game a greater scope which would normally just be inferred in a game like this. And all of a sudden recruiting people becomes a lot more important because they add to the overall chance of success in these battles. Likewise, the duels are pretty simplistic, but add a more intimate touch to certain pivotal moments of the game.
And lastly, I want to comment on the Soul Eater Rune. A consequence of having charges for spells instead of MP, is that the Soul Eater is probably one of the BEST fucking runes in the game once you level the protagonist up enough. You gain instant death spells that ALWAYS WORK except for maybe bosses. What I really like about this is that it shows you in the GAMEPLAY how destructive the Soul Eater is, and how huge of a burden that having it weighs upon McDohl, which probably explains why you find him behaving the way that he does in the second game. Speaking of which, finishing the game makes him playable in the second game, which gives you access to some of the best Unison attacks available, and also adds some backstory on to various little bits. Also, snooty treehugger elves get burned alive with a giant magnifying lens. That automatically makes it the best game ever.
#45 - F-Zero X (N64)
Chosen by: AdmiralMaxtreme, Carmichael Micaalus, FreezingInferno
AdmiralMaxtreme - This is a racing game that is about pure speed. If that doesn't interest you, then why are you playing racing games?
Carmichael Micaalus - Never owned this one, but I rented it a few times. From what I remember, they didn't change much from the Super Nintendo version as far as the mechanics go; a lot more car choices and a lot more tracks, but effectively the same as what it was on the SNES... which wasn't a bad thing. They could also get away with a lot more cool visual stuff, too.
FreezingInferno - Another one Jon insisted I buy. Another time he was right. God. F-Zero X is brilliant. F-Zero GX is probably more brilliant but I never owned that one and that's also on Gamecube. F-Zero X, though. It was fast! It had great music! It had DEATH RACE! It had that scary level that was shaped like a hand with no guard rails! I never cleared the game beyond Standard because it was so hard but holy HELL is it a good racing game!
#44 - Castlevania Chronicles (PS1)
Chosen by: FreezingInferno, Zeloz, Pitchfork
FreezingInferno - Now this is more my jam. A... what is this? A remake of a remake? A remake of an adaptation? Whatever it is, it starts with a rad version of Vampire Killer and Simon has pink hair and it's HARD AS HELL BUT I LOVE IT. Why in the hell did vintage 'vania have to die? I don't know, but it went out for a while with this great blaze of glory. It doesn't hit the heights of Castlevania 3 or Rondo Of Blood, but it's damn fine.
Zeloz - Full Disclosure: I've never played the PS1 version of this. But, can I just gush about one particular part in the game? So, the second level boss has you on a small raft, with a water geyser rocketing you upward at an outrageous speed. Suddenly, your raft starts to hit rocks, which not only tilts the boat violently but knocks off one of the logs. Eventually, you're left with a pathetically small raft and it seems like another rock might just smatter the thing to bits, but the geyser slows down, and your raft gets stuck on a platform. This slow section makes you maneuver the platforms as the water flows upward, until you find another, somewhat larger raft. After that, the bone dragon that you thought was dead earlier in the stage rises from the water and does everything in it's power to knock you into the water and kill you, while the geyser resumes its speedy ascent. This is all in level 2, the second level. All of this happens while "Thrashard in the Cave," one of the most rockin' songs in the Castlevania series, plays. It's satisfying, it's tense as all hell, and I love it to bits.
Pitchfork - Classic Castlevania > Metroidvania
#43 - Valkyrie Profile (PS1)
Chosen by: No, jetstorm4, Miller
No - Valkyrie Profile has one of the most badass female main characters within an RPG. She's a goddess who goes around collecting fallen souls to bring back to Valhalla. VP did a pretty good impression of Norse Mythology as well, but it also did its own thing to make it stand out even better among games that used Norse Mythology. The gameplay is also rock solid as well!
jetstorm4 - Oh gosh. Valkyrie Profile. What I call Star Ocean: The Second Story's sister game. Take the story of Ragnarok, Norse Mythology, and a narrative that can twist in one way or another depending on your actions (and difficulty mode). The game has an amazing premise that fits around it's mechanics. Find Einherjar (party members), build up their stats and traits, then send them off to Odin for the final battle. Accompany this with some great dungeons that play like platformer levels, an easy to learn battle system, and the best soundtrack put out by Motoi Sakuraba and you'll have one of the best RPGs on PS1.
Miller - Some of the side-stories along with its art and cutscenes where truly heart wrenching. The take on Norse mythology not so much. A rather good combat system though!
#42 - Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (PS1/SAT)
Chosen by: jetstorm4, Miller, Vanor Orion
jetstorm4 - One of the most recognizable RPG stories. This remake of the original Sega CD game improves upon the already great game in many ways. In particular, the Working Designs treatment feels special here. The characters, setting, narrative all come together to pull you into this game. Likewise, the battle system is clever, and the game relies on item management to challenge you in each battle. Bosses are especially tough bouts that grow along with the main character's level.
Miller - Everyone has their first vanilla JRPGs that doesn't bring anything new to the table. They just aim to perfect that formula of a lonesome youth that saves the world along with his/her crew. This is one of my firsts.
Vanor Orion - Probably the first "anime" RPG I'd ever played. A friend of mine let me borrow it back in high school, and I absolutely fell in love with the game, despite its brutal punishing difficulty. I love how simple and straightforward the game is. It's a simple tale of a boy becoming a man and saving the world and the girl from an evil self-absorbed asshole. The execution is why this works, and I have to admit I really enjoy the English dub for this game. Ghaleon chews the scenery as the villain, and his gaggle of femme fatale lackeys are hard not to ogle, and would normally steal the show except for the wonderful cadre you pick up during the course of the game (okay, maybe except Nash, who honestly I wish Ghaleon would teleport to the sandworm dimension so he could inflict his grating personality on some unfortunate sandworm's digestive tract).
The gameplay is straightforward but interesting and rewards good positioning on the battlefield. In many ways the game's difficulty is very similar to the original Final Fantasy's in that the dungeons and battles enforce a strict adherence to resource management, especially in the latter end of the game. It definitely makes beating the game a hell of a lot more satisfying. Factor in a very vibrant and colorful setting, that's still pleasing to the eye today, and a wonderful soundtrack, and all the hidden goodies, like the bromides and hot springs we don't talk about, and you got yourself a timeless classic about good versus evil that sets itself apart form its peers with aplomb, especially in a time where RPGs were starting to get all existential and morally grey with their stories.
#41 - Breath of Fire IV (PS1)
Chosen by: AdmiralMaxtreme, Carmichael Micaalus, No
AdmiralMaxtreme - It's a pretty standard entry in the RPG genre, with a few tweaks here and there. The battle system, especially, has some interesting quirks. There's really not much this game does wrong, it just doesn't hit the necessary highs to bump it up from good to great.
Carmichael Micaalus - Complete change from the previous incarnation, but no less good. The story for it was just beautiful and allowed you to play both sides of the conflict happening. The colours were much more muted compared to BoF 3, but it really worked for the setting.
No - This was the first Breath of Fire game I actually owned, I felt the combat for this game was really solid. I had enjoyed the story a lot as well, and I feel like the game (and series in general) doesn't get enough credit for its universe of having various demi-human species around instead of just humans. I'm actually kind of surprised that this game isn't held up in a higher regard.
#40 - Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS1)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, Zeloz, Vanor Orion
Pixel_Crusher - I like to think of the Crash Bandicoot games as the PlayStation equivalent to Donkey Kong Country. The first game was fairly flawed even if fun but the second game managed to perfect everything in it with better controls and collision detection.
Zeloz - I can't really put my finger on why exactly I like this one better than it's technically more sophisticated sequel, but I'd imagine it has something to do with Warped's heavier emphasis on gimmicky stages. And, while I have the first Crash game to thank for a smooth transition from the Super Nintendo to the PS1 (the games are an awful lot like Mario and Donkey Kong Country), the second I feel was the high-water mark for the series. The sliding/crouching mechanic allow for trickier platforming, and the locales are more varied and interesting to play through. And, wouldn't you know it, the sewer levels don't suck. Crash was a fine contender for PlayStation mascot character. It's just a shame his games after the turn of the millennium kinda got trashy.
Vanor Orion - I've generally come to hate 3D platformers, at least as how Nintendo defined them with Mario 64, which is why it's not on the list. That being said, I think Crash Bandicoot handled the whole "3D" thing better than Nintendo did with Crash, seeing as I actually enjoyed playing Crash 2 like a traditional 2D platformer as opposed to the 3D Mario games where it felt like a chore more often than not. The game in some ways feels like Donkey Kong Country with a lot of the collectathon nonsense, but the actual gameplay is a lot more entertaining than I feel was executed with the likes of DK64 or Mario 64.
#39 - Vagrant Story (PS1)
Chosen by: AdmiralMaxtreme, jetstorm4, Vanor Orion
AdmiralMaxtreme - Vagrant Story is an example of SquareSoft flexing its creative muscles. They really changed up a lot of their established RPG formula for this one, and it totally works. The battle system is ridiculously deep and the story is unique to say the least.
jetstorm4 - The TRUE followup to Parasite Eve, Vagrant Story takes the political based stories of Yasumi Matsuno and gives them a less grand, personal spin. The battle system involves building a risk gauge that allows the main character to build more attack power at the cost of missing. It also involves targeting specific body points to deal more damage to different enemies.
Vanor Orion - I see the kids these days bragging about dying in Dark Souls well MOTHERFUCKERS I BEAT VAGRANT STORY!!! Bitches, Ashley Riot doesn't brag about sucking and needing the reinforcements, HE IS THE REINFORCEMENTS!!! I actually got my copy from a friend who bought it cuz it was a Squaresoft game, but he didn't care for it so I just bought it off of him. I was fucking DETERMINED to beat this game because everyone else had given up on it. This is one of the few games (outside of Onimusha) that I wear like a badge of honor. You start out in that game as being weak and puny, and you really have to build yourself up, and know HOW to do it. Otherwise you have a very hard time. So climbing this game's summit was definitely rewarding.
But on top of that it had plenty of awesome things like weapon and armor customization, renaming your weapons (Soooooo cool), an awesome and unique story that actually had a satisfying ending, filled with interesting and memorable characters talking all Shakespearian and what have you. Also, this game is bar-none, one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL Playstation games you will ever play. Pop this baby into your PS3 or PS2 and turn on texture smoothing....
Also I'd wreck Callo Merlose like it was Deep Impact.
#38 - Pokemon Snap (N64)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, FreezingInferno, Voodoo Groove, Crono Maniac
Pixel_Crusher - "Capturing" pokemon using a camera was quite a sweet thing to do given on how you could photograph some of them in funny situations or angles. These days, I can't help but to think that this game would fit like a perfect glove on the Wii U, along with the possibility to export the photos to an SD card and print them.
FreezingInferno - Another fairly simple one, but it has its charms. It's unique and fun for any Pokemaniac, albeit a bit short. How it hasn't gotten a sequel with the other 650 Pokemon created since Gen 1 is beyond me.
Voodoo Groove - It's like a mini vacation on your N64! Pokemon snap was a fun little experiment, a niche title for sure, but I'd kill for some kind of sequel or expanded remake.
Crono Maniac - It feels a little brief, like it was cut short at some stage of development, but what's there is a fun, puzzle-y take on the rail shooter genre.
#37 - Klonoa: Door To Phantomile (PS1)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, jetstorm4, Miller
jetstorm4 - Playstation's best platformer. It's not the hardest game, it's not the most well-crafted experience either, nor the most consistent. However, this game has heart. It uses puzzle elements to briskly take you through it's 13 levels. Really, it caps off with one of the most emotionally charged endings I've ever seen out of a little platformer with a cute little rabbit thing. Get's me every
Miller - Discovered this one late but it was surprisingly enjoyable! A bit on the easy side but enough challenge to keep my glued to the screen for a few hours.
Pixel_Crusher - If you're looking for a truly beautiful platformer filled with soul and emotion, then look no more further than this. That said, why are you still reading this? Get the hell out of here and go play it now for Christ's sake!
#36 - Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64)
Chosen by: AdmiralMaxtreme, FreezingInferno, Voodoo Groove, jetstorm4
AdmiralMaxtreme - Kirby 64 stays with 2D gameplay, but with an awkward 3D perspective. The levels seem small and empty, and even for a Kirby game it's pretty light on challenge. What saves this game is the power combo. Combining any two powerups into a totally new one provides a completely new dimension in gameplay. It's a shame that it hasn't been used in any subsequent Kirby titles.
FreezingInferno - This game's cute. It also uses color really effectively. It's not the best Kirby game, but it's one of the best by far. Power mixing is a genius mechanic that opens itself up to experimentation, and also has some smart payoff with finding all of the crystal shards. When I figured it out I thought that was genius. Also Kirby in a mall. There's a mall level and it's adorable. Everything about this game is adorable. Except the last boss.
Voodoo Groove - I've always had a soft spot for Kirby games, and this one is no exception. Combining powers is what makes this game, giving another level experimentation that's welcome in such a laid back, simple series. That falling tile minigame is pretty fun too.
jetstorm4 - Probably my third favorite Kirby game, next to Super Star and Dream Land 3. This is an adorable game with a neat mechanic for the Kirby series: mixing powers. Combine Ice and Electricity? You get a refrigerator Kirby! Cutter and Fire? Flaming broadsword Kirby! Cutter and Electricity? Sith Lord Kirby! Eh, you get the idea. This also has the best Kirby boss of all time, Miracle Matter!
Oh, and the final boss is pretty cool too I guess...
#35 - Panzer Dragoon Zwei (SAT)
Chosen by: jetstorm4, Rhete, Crono Maniac
jetstorm4 - One of the most atmospheric 3D shooters you will ever play. Panzer Dragoon Zwei takes the first game's ideas and improve upon the action, presentation, route mechanics, and even adding growing your dragon. One particular level involves your Dragon taking his first glide down a cliff side. It's a slow decent as he spreads his wings for the first time. The music stops, there's no
gunfire or bullets to dodge. The game stops to take in this moment. Beautiful.
Rhete - One of the greatest, if not the greatest rail shooter ever. Multiple paths through levels, an incredible soundtrack, on foot sections, and one of my favorite final bosses of all time, this game is the complete package.
Crono Maniac - Space Harrier by way of Team ICO. Highlights: 1) the lock-on targeting still feels really good, 2) the moment your dragon opens its wings and soars into the skies (not until mid-way into the second level), and 3) the subtle branching level structure that makes replays feel vibrant.
#34 - Lunar 2: Eternal Blue (PS1/SAT)
Chosen by: jetstorm4, Miller, Vanor Orion
jetstorm4 - My personal favorite Working Designs published game. Also my favorite game in the Lunar series. While the first Lunar is a classic, Lunar 2 is the hidden gem in the series (mostly because it's been remade less). With a story following centuries after the first game, we see the development of the world of Lunar. We also join an extremely likable cast of characters, each with their own personal arcs that resolve as the story goes. It also refines the already excellent Lunar battle system. Finally, it's writing is top notch, and I think it's the best script from Working Designs.
Miller - If the first Lunar remake did not really bring much new to the table (because it didn't need to), Lunar 2 added a bit more spells, more unique characters, more items and a lot more post main game secrets. Soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal too. A must play.
Vanor Orion - Just like the first game, only better and more polished, naughty bromides and all! I will say I like the story and characters a bit more than the first game (Ronfar is Kirk-levels of badass). The chatter during battles, especially with Leon's attacks are hilarious. The connections and nods to the first game make it twice as rewarding for people that finished it. And Ruby is just adorable. The moment that best sums up how I feel about this game is when Lucia watches the woman sing to her baby to calm it down. And that was just from playing it recently. Something so simple but cuts right to the fucking heart, that in a nutshell summarizes why I love this game so damned much.
#33 - Saturn Bomberman (SAT)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, Zeloz, Miller
Pixel_Crusher - Simply put, the best Bomberman game EVER! Anime cutscenes, redbook soundtrack, a fleshed out campaign, Mujoe (aka: one of the funniest villains ever), a great challenge mode and a 10 PLAYER BATTLE MODE! Bomberman games don't get any better than this.
Zeloz - I don't give a rip about this game's supposedly-awesome 10-player battle mode. I don't know nine other people who'd be the least bit interested in playing frickin' Bomberman, especially in our age of Advanced Warfares and Smash Bros. But this game is just so damn colorful and nice to look at! It doesn't really play all that different from the 16-bit Bomberman games, but it does that Bomberman game thing exceedingly well. All of the enemies types have unique movement patterns and AI levels, and each of them have their own cutesy death animation. Each stage also connects to each other, with stage backdrops and hazards being nicely animated and fitting the theme of the five worlds really well. At one point in the Wild West-themed world, there's a huge cactus that inexplicably turns into a slot machine. The amusement park world has a pirate ship level where you can fire cannons at unassuming marine life for seemingly no reason. The game's just filled with charming, unessential minutiae and I love it. And, oh god the soundtrack. I've heard some of June Chikuma's esoteric soundwork in Do-Re-Mi Fantasy and Bomberman Hero, but the genre variety on display here is just fantastic. The songs all really go quite well with the stages, and it just all combines into a sublime, classic Bomberman experience. Don't just play it for the multiplayer, play it because it's a damn good Bomberman game! Easily one of the best games I've played in 2014.
Miller - The best Bomberman game there is.
#32 - Bomberman 64 (N64)
Chosen by: Carmichael Micaalus, No, Voodoo Groove, jetstorm4
Carmichael Micaalus - You know, I think I only rented this game once or twice, but I recall having a lot of fun with it. There's not too much I remember of it, what with it being something like... 16+ years since having played it, but yeah.
No - Bomberman 64 was the first Bomberman game I had ever played, it was also the second game on the N64 to own as well. What I had enjoyed about it was being able to pump up bombs to get even bigger and make big explosions! The MP for the game was pretty fun too, I had a good time messing with my cousin by throwing bombs on top of his head. The story itself was fairly simple, but it had a surprising twist on it as well, which was a nice surprise.
Voodoo Groove - Is it heresy so say this is my favorite multiplayer Bomberman game? There's a really interesting meta for this game, what with throwing bombs, pumping bombs, and utilizing invincibility frames after recovering from a stun. On top of that ghosts of defeated players can possess those remaining and the sudden death effects are quite intense, it all just adds up to a twitchy, shout profanities then laugh it off party game.
jetstorm4 - Just one of those games that I have to pull out every now and then. I think this is my favorite game in the Bomberman series just for it's single-player levels. Building bomb stairs and hoping I don't blow myself up accidentally lead to some good memories.
#31 - Guardian Heroes (SAT)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, Voodoo Groove, Miller, Rhete
Pixel_Crusher - I sucked at this game and could never beat it without using some sort of cheat code for extra lives or something like that. What I really loved about it was being able to collect every single enemy from the game and pit them all against each other in the arena, much before Pokemon meant a thing for me.
Voodoo Groove - I only played the XBL/PSN re-release, but damn was this game fun and friggin' hard. I love the huge amount of special attacks and freedom of controlling your character.
Miller - Even though it's a bit laggy, it still is the best beat 'em up of this generation,
Rhete - The best beat em up ever! Five unique playable characters, magic spells, branching level paths, five final bosses/endings, this game is jammed full of content. Also amazing is the arena mode where you can play as ANY enemy/boss/npc in the game, and even engage in six player battles with a Saturn multi-tap.
#30 - Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64)
Chosen by: Carmichael Micaalus, No, jetstorm4, Rhete
Carmichael Micaalus - I think this was the first game I played related to the Goemon series. You could switch between characters, pilot a giant mech, turn into a mermaid, and do a bunch of other crazy things. It was a lot of fun and pretty funny as well.
No - One of my favorite platformers on the N64, I enjoyed how zany it was and plus MECH BATTLES. It felt like a Zelda game at times, and I always wondered to myself why they didn't keep using this style in the other Goemon games. I may not have gotten its Japanese humor, but I had a good laugh at it anyways while I was enjoying the gameplay.
jetstorm4 - Basically a followup to Ganbare Goemon 3 for the Super Famicom, Mystical Ninja N64 is a fun adventure game with a wacky premise and humor to go with it.
Rhete - Before Zelda hit the N64, this was the game that filled that action-adventure void. The areas in Mystical Ninja felt expansive and massive in a way I'd never seen before, for this is the first 3D game that felt like it took place in a huge world, rather than segmented levels. Also it had a green haired girl who could turn into a mermaid, so of course I played as her every moment the game let me.
#29 - Conker's Bad Fur Day (N64)
Chosen by: sunburstbasser, AdmiralMaxtreme, FreezingInferno, Rhete
sunburstbasser - Rare got really tired of Nintendo telling them how to make games. The original Conker was going to be another cute platformer like so many other games of the era. The final product was full of vulgarity and filth, and dispensed with most of the collection elements so common in 3D platformers for actual platforming, occasional combat, and puzzle solving. It also has a multiplayer mode that turns it into a deathmatch game.
AdmiralMaxtreme - This game had a tone that very, very few games had ever even attempted. So-called "adult games" were usually limited to clumsy sexual innuendo and gratuitous near-nudity, but here was a game for adults that was actually clever and interesting. Comedy in video games is all too rare, so when it's actually pulled off, as it is here, it's always a memorable experience.
FreezingInferno - What a silly game. It's nothing short of ludicrous. It's also fun as hell. Some of it gets stupid obnoxious difficult near the end, but overall it's a weird little game worth checking out. In which you go to war with teddy bears, fight operatic shit, and kill cyborg hay. Among other things. Worth it.
Rhete - So... this was a game that was on my SMPS Worst Games Of All Time list. Not because it was bad because it let me down. I beat it in a single night, replayed some spots the next morning, and then traded the game back in, because that was a thing you could do back then. But I'd be lying to myself if I didn't admit what was there was hilarious and amazing, I just wish there had been more of it. It's a game I'd love to revisit some time, except, oh, right... *looks at ebay prices and sighs*
#28 - Xenogears (PS1)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, AdmiralMaxtreme, No, jetstorm4
Pixel_Crusher - I may not like Xenogears as much as other people do but I'm still thankful for its existence because, if not for it, Xenosaga might have never existed and that is my favorite RPG series of all time. I just wish the team behind it had more time and money to properly do that second second disc or the entire saga as they had originally planned. That way, maybe I would have come to love this gem.
AdmiralMaxtreme - This is one of Square's first fully 3D RPGs, and it goes against convention (for them, at least) with a science fiction theme. The story is incredible, if more than a little nonsensical, and the Gear battles are probably the true highlight of this game.
No - There's mechs in this game. Plus a rather good combat system and fairly dark story under all the mechas. I enjoyed most of the characters in the game (That pink ball thing is pure wot tho). I really wish they had been able to complete the game, I felt like the second disc could've been something special if they had more money to finish it. Regardless, it's a game that stood tall and shook the heavens anyways.
jetstorm4 - Xenogears is a weird game. For sure. An unfinished disaster for some, but an unfortunate masterpiece for others. I'm in that latter category. Xenogears makes sure you know it's story. While the developers had to cut content from the second disc, they made sure the story could be intact, as well as the last part of the game. They knew that final impression was important, and Xenogears sells on that. However, beyond that lies an excellent battle system, great characters, and deep philosophical discussion surrounding identity, trauma, and stress. Also an amazing soundtrack.
#27 - Grandia (PS1/SAT)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, AdmiralMaxtreme, Zeloz, Miller
Pixel_Crusher - This wasn't simply an RPG, it was also a tale about coming of age. Boasting a phenomenal combat system, a colorful cast and awe-inspiring moments of both drama and excitement, there was never a dull moment to be had here. It's a shame we never got the Saturn version though, as the general consensus seems to indicate it as being the superior one.
AdmiralMaxtreme - This is another one of the early full 3D RPGs. It also provides a nice change of pace from the SquareSoft RPGs. Overall, just a really nice, original game.
Zeloz - It seems to me that 90s Game Arts RPGs tend to be executed with a surprising amount of heart and sincerity, and what they lack in story originality they more than make up for with polished mechanics and likable characters. Grandia, much like the Lunar series before it, has all of this in spades. But what really stands out is the battle system, which takes into account character spacing and turn duration, giving it a sort of depth most other JRPGs outside of Chrono Trigger lacks. I know it's kind of silly to give a game high praise mostly on the merit of its' battle system, but just that feeling you get when you successfully interrupt an enemy attack... it just feels better than it has any right to.
Miller - My idea of a true videogame journey that isn't trying too hard. Many games try to convey the same feeling and many fail. Maybe it's just the excellent combat system, but there is something so naive to the first Grandia that I can't help but love it.
#26 - Silent Hill (PS1)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, Vanor Orion, Pitchfork, Crono Maniac
Pixel_Crusher - While Silent Hill 2 will always be the best in the series for me, the first game earns some huge props for being one of the few genuinely scary games with its use of psychological horror instead of resorting to gore.
Crono Maniac - What a statement. It borrows the brilliant formal design of Resident Evil, but its horror is more psychological than the gorey or visceral (although it has those qualities too). The Otherworld transition in the school is a subtle highlight, along with the non-Euclidean stage level layouts in "Nowhere."
Vanor Orion - I rented this thinking it was going to be Resident Evil done by Konami. In the first five minutes I realized I was actually playing Hellraiser: The Game. To. this. day. this game still scares and unnerves the shit out of me. It holds up VERY well, with its controls, its emphasis on melee combat, its camera, its fully 3D environments, the thick fog covering up shit draw distances, and the weird ass story and shifts in reality. Worse than the monsters you face are the environments you find yourself in. NOBODY wants to be in a school alone in the dead of night, or in a hospital, and sure as fuck not in the sewers. There's nowhere in this game you wanna be, and by god you have to go to all of those places. An EXCELLENT soundtrack, multple endings and lots of little subtle things to discover are the icing on this particular cake for me.
Pitchfork - Poor Lisa.
#25 - Final Fantasy VIII (PS1)
Chosen by: AdmiralMaxtreme, No, Zeloz, Pitchfork
Pitchfork - Final Fantasy II was a wreck, the black sheep of the 8-bit Final Fantasy trilogy, and we needn't reiterate all the problems that make it such a grueling ordeal of a game. And yet it was an augur of what was to come: it introduced a character-driven (well, sort of) storyline to the series, as well as dozens of its iconic monsters, character types, and tropes. Final Fantasy VIII is its distant, fifth-generation relative, going wildly off the rails of the last game and making a whole lot of changes to the formula that get reversed in its immediate back-to-basics sequel. Final Fantasy IX, X, and X-2 were much more conservative than VIII, but, like II, it predicts where the series eventually goes: ever since XII, numbered Final Fantasy XII games are made by taking the old model, throwing away half the pieces, and then rebuilding it with an assortment of new parts apparently selected more out of caprice than calculation.
Final Fantasy II was lousy; the SNES and PSX that borrow from its better innovations are pretty damn good. The Final Fantasy games that subscribe to the mad science of VIII are...well, all I've played are XII and XIII, and one is decent, and the other is garbage. But VIII itself holds up pretty well for what it is, especially after the initial disappointment has had ample time to dissolve. It's still a really fun game to visit, provided you don't take it too seriously-but then how COULD you? Final Fantasy VIII has the dubious honor of being maybe the first RPG settings I've visited to have fully crossed over into the uncanny valley: its world is so imaginative and artfully realized (even groundbreaking), but none of it makes any fucking sense, and it can get distracting. (8 and 16-bit RPG worlds didn't make a lick of sense either, but verisimilitude wasn't exactly what they were striving for.)
AdmiralMaxtreme - This is an unfinished game. The developers hit the deadline and just handed in what they had. This much is clear. The game practically tells you itself when Dr. Odine tells you that it's impossible to know why Ultimecia wants to cast time compression magic, we just know we have to stop her. I've been disappointed by games before when the endgame doesn't fulfill the promise of the beginning, but I've never actually laughed out loud when the game revealed itself to be a fraud until I played this game. But what a fraud, though! I can't get enough of the Junction System, and some of the events and characters, some of the time, in certain situations, are actually interesting. I just wish they had given themselves a few more months to actually complete their project.
No - This game sadly has a mixed rap due to...all sorts of reasons. Honestly, I enjoyed the world it was set in the most out of the PSX Final Fantasies. It was a mix of modern and sci-fi themes that just...melded right within the game. Not to mention I thought the premise of the game was pretty damn fun (You were playing as teenage mercs!) and wish they had done more on that front rather than just having one grand big job. I enjoyed the Junction system of the game, it was a good mix of deciding whether or not you wanted to use those spells to power your stats or if you wanted to use them in combat instead.
Zeloz - In a time where my only concept of Final Fantasy games came from Final Fantasy Adventure, I had absolutely no idea what such a game would look like on the PlayStation when I first heard of it. Later, when my older brother moved in from the Philippines, he talked of the many games he and his friends would play on the rentable PS1 systems there, chief among them Final Fantasy VIII. I still had no idea what he was rambling on about, though we eventually went by the video store and rented a copy.
I'm not entirely sure how I first reacted to the opening cinematic. I think I just hid for most of it, being an oddly fearful kid back then. After that, though, I learned through observation about turn-based battle systems and random encounters, concepts alien to a mind raised on action games. Before I knew what a Role-Playing Game was, I knew this game was weird. And now, after having watched the game played from beginning to end, after realizing how utterly broken the draw system and some of the GF abilities could make your characters, after taking a few stabs at the game myself, it's still quite bizarre. But it's bizarre in the best way, with a fascinating game world, atypical locales and locations, and monsters that often looked more alien than monster (for good reason, as it later turns out). There's a lot to dislike about this particular Final Fantasy title, sure, but I like how it dared to do something different. It's like Square knew they couldn't quite replicate what they did with FFVII, so they went off and tried doing something completely different. And, as I'm sure any other "kusoge" lover will attest to, a game doesn't have to be technically good to be a fascinating piece of interactive art. FFVIII is fascinating, I'll give it that.
#24 - Resident Evil 2 (PS1/N64)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, Miller, Vanor Orion, Rhete
Pixel_Crusher - While I absolutely love Resident Evil 4, it's Resident Evil 2 that will always be my favorite. The game's six different scenarios gave it a crazy amount of replay value and the Birkin Tyrant designs look awesome and menacing even today (the embryo Tyrant was also the stuff nightmares are made of). This was also my very first Resident Evil experience, one that will forever stay in my mind and heart as a true testament on how a proper Resident Evil game should be made and an example Capcom should follow thoroughly as soon as they decide to take their heads out of their asses.
Miller - The pinnacle of classic Resident Evil in my opinion. Two characters with two scenarios each at least made the game feel huge.
Vanor Orion - 3 is technically superior to this game, and incorporates elements from 2 into it, so therefore it should be higher on the list, right? Nope, 2 makes it on here because it was THIS GAME that pulled me over from Nintendo to Sony. And it wasn't that hard since Nintendo made some serious bungles with the N64 that ultimately left a sour taste in my mouth. But Resident Evil 2 was new, exciting, and so unlike anything I'd seen before in a game. It was an improvement over the original in many ways, had awesome music, was scary as hell (yeah you screamed like a little girl when Tyrant blasted through the fucking walls don't fucking lie) and had an awesome arsenal of weapons to choose from like Claire's ubiquitous M79 or Leon's Custom Shotgun. Which was good because there was an abundance of horrible shit in this game that wanted you dead. I'll just end this by saying, fuck remaking Final Fantasy VII, remake THIS GAME.
Rhete - I feel like I've described too many sequels on this list as pretty much the same as their originals, only bigger, better, etc. If you were to be reductive, Resident Evil 2 is still sorta that, but really this game just completely blows the original out of the water. Instead of a slow, cheesy opening, the first screen in RE2 has you under siege from zombies. Also amazing is what they did with multiple playthroughs. Your first time through you can play as either Leon or Claire, then after completing the game, play as the other in a harder, remixed scenario (and it matters who you pick first, so there are actually four different scenarios in the game). One of the major things in the second scenarios though was being pursued by the hulking, invincible Mr. X the entire game, a gimmick so good they based the sequel off of it.
#23 - Paper Mario (N64)
Chosen by: AdmiralMaxtreme, FreezingInferno, Voodoo Groove, Zeloz
Zeloz - I haven't played the other... 3 RPGs in the N64's library, but I'm gonna go ahead and declare Paper Mario the RPG of the system. It's just such a hard act to follow up, and it's aged surprisingly well for a 64 title. The storybook aesthetic is charming and still looks pretty great today, the battle system takes what I liked about the first Dragon Quest (the one-on-one fights) and made it more interactive than many of its PS1 contemporaries, and humor just sweetens the whole deal. My only complaint is that it's a bit on the easy side, but you could also argue the lack of difficulty fits the casual and friendly feel of the game overall.
AdmiralMaxtreme - It would have been so easy to just make Super Mario RPG 2, But This Time It's 3D, but they instead went for the incredibly inventive paper gimmick. This game is the counterargument to "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
FreezingInferno - PS1 won the RPG race. It wasn't fair. They had Golden Age Square on their side. Nintendo only had like... two RPGs on their machine. That piece of crap Aidyn Chronicles game and this. At least this is really good. I profess to liking Thousand-Year Door better, but without this we wouldn't have that. This is a good template and a good game, though! Fun times were had.
Voodoo Groove - Thousand Year Door is a better game in my opinion, but I still greatly enjoy the first Paper Mario. I've always liked the leveling system of the Mario RPGs, and the badge system Paper Mario introduced was just fun to mess around with. It lacks some of the humor of the later games' scripts, but hey, you've got timed hits, a cool paper motif with graphics that have aged fairly well, and some inventive battles. What more do you need?
#22 - Perfect Dark (N64)
Chosen by: AdmiralMaxtreme, FreezingInferno, No, Rhete
AdmiralMaxtreme - With this game being so similar to GoldenEye, I'd normally put it behind the original, but Perfect Dark improves upon its predecessor in pretty much every conceivable way. Multiple weapon functions, AI-driven simulants for multiplayer, a slew of new play options for single and multiplayer, and the list goes on. The single-player story is delightfully ridiculous, and the gameplay is as tight as ever. The game can be extremely easy or incredibly difficult, depending on your liking. I still haven't beaten the final mission on Perfect Agent after all these years. This was probably as good a shooter as it was possible to make on the N64.
FreezingInferno - Rare took Goldeneye and made it better. This is what I played not long after I tried Goldeneye, and it's better in just about every way. Better weapons, a better single-player story, probably better multiplayer. It's weird that more people rave about Goldeneye than Perfect Dark because PD is just... Goldeneye but better! What else is there to say?
No - Perfect Dark's an improvement on Goldeneye in terms of...everything really. There was still the same varying objectives based on difficulty, the guns got even cooler with the addition of a secondary function on them such as an SMG that can stay locked on an enemy when you aim it. There was also some new additions to the MP of the game like bots and their personalities could be greatly customized. To date, there's no other game that has done bots as well as what Perfect Dark had done. Having a cool female main character was just the icing on the cake.
#21 - NiGHTS into Dreams... (SAT)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, AdmiralMaxtreme, jetstorm4, Miller, Rhete
Rhete - Things must've been tough for Sega's marketing team during the Saturn years. The Genesis distinguished itself by being the cooler, edgier system, but now Sony was beating them at their own game. To make matters worse, what did Sonic Team give them as their big, must have exclusive to promote for Christmas 1996? A whimsical, arcadey score attack game starring a genderless jester. Aside from having polygonal graphics (though the gameplay is still almost entirely 2D in nature), NiGHTS was so hilariously out of step with where gaming trends were at that it feels like a parody.
Anyways! I do really love the game, quirky as it is. There's really nothing else like it, flying through the levels, collecting blue orb things as fast as you can, then facing off against some of the weirdest and most imaginitive imaginative in gaming. The story, while simple, also manages to work perfectly for what it is.
AdmiralMaxtreme - NiGHTS into Dreams was supposed to allow you to fly around in a big 3D world, only no one really knew how to make that happen at the time. Their solution was to put you in a 3D world, but keep you on a 2D track, and when you accomplished a goal, you'd basically switch tracks, like a train. The goals you had to accomplish were pretty repetitive, but there's just something strangely fun about flying around as Nights, and that's magnified when you revert to one of the children and have to slowly walk around everywhere.
jetstorm4 - Oh gosh where do I start with this game? NiGHTS is quite possibly my favorite game by Sonic Team. Beautiful scenery, excellent levels, and fantastic mechanics that work under arcade rules. Playing with a Saturn 3D controller is the best option, but the control nonetheless is smooth and creates the effect of flying through these fantastic levels and bosses.
Miller - Such weird games, in a great way. Apart from Jet Set Radio and Shenmue, these games are as SEGA as it can get.
Pixel_Crusher (Voted for Christmas NiGHTS) - Having never played the original properly as a kid (shame on me), I always preferred Christmas NiGHTS because it was easier and seemed less complex. I also preferred it because you could play as Sonic through one of the Christmas presents.
#20 - Mega Man X4 (PS1/SAT)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, Carmichael Micaalus, FreezingInferno, Voodoo Groove, jetstorm4
Pixel_Crusher - What can I say? With this game, the Mega Man series had finally reached perfection. Anime cutscenes, voice acting, explosions that would make Michael Bay eat his heart out, great level design, a meme, fine-tuned gameplay and a fully playable Zero made this game what I could very well consider the Rondo of Blood equivalent of the Mega Man series, a holy grail in platform gaming and a bar set so high that nobody at Capcom, not even its creator could ever hope to reach again in life with future installments.
Carmichael Micaalus - The voice acting was hilariously terrible, but it was a fun Mega Man game. I don't recall it doing anything out of the ordinary, but considering how that turned out for X5 and 6... that's not a bad thing. That's a very good thing, really.
FreezingInferno - Oh no here we go again. Okay. WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOOOOOOR? There. We got the meme out of the way. This is probably the best of the PS1 X games. I say this despite it being the only one I've played. I have enough knowledge to know that X5 might have a CHANCE of being better, but that X6 is trash. X4 is a step up from X3, at least. Maybe it's presentation, maybe it's the new hardware, but like MM8 we've got a pretty neat game under the hood here. Now just jump on ahead to Mega Man Zero.
Voodoo Groove - It's Mega Man, I mean... what else needs to be said? Maybe "...before it got worse"? The bosses were cool, the cutscenes were cool (I watched them over and over unironically when I was like, 9), Zero as a fully playable character was fucking rad. Honestly, I think that's the big selling point of X4. It's a good Megaman X game where you can play as Zero. Nice.
jetstorm4 - The Mega Man series has always been special to me, and X4 is just one of those Mega Man games I can go back to over and over. Two different characters leads to two completely different play styles to get through the game. Also has a great presentation, aside from most of the voice acting of course.
#19 - Resident Evil (PS1/SAT)
Chosen by: FreezingInferno, Zeloz, Vanor Orion, Rhete, Crono Maniac
FreezingInferno - Spoooooky. The dogs bursting out of the window? The grandfather of this Five Nights At Freddy's jump scare shit. Ammo management is a hell of a stressful thing, you've got those scary gorilla things, and all the silly voice acting... man, this is good. I don't survival horror much, but this is stellar.
Zeloz - The fact that its sequels have aged better doesn't necessarily make this a bad game, nor does the fact that the game hasn't aged well anyway. The intro cinematic and terrible voice acting plays up the game's cheesy action movie elements nicely for the first few minutes, but then it's straight into the world of Survival Horror, with surprise jump scares and tense walks down long corridors. The game gets legitimately scary and challenging for the first couple of hours, with much of the scares coming from the feelings of uncertainty as you struggle to get to the next safe spot or healing item. It's during this part, before the game hits the secret underground facility and goes straight back to action cheese, that you're able to take in the complex level design and atmosphere. The game never gets as unsettling as something like Silent Hill, but I do like how it goes from using stock zombie movie monsters to more nature-based horrors as the game progresses. Giant tarantulas in any context are just unsettling.
Vanor Orion - When I was younger, I got an N64, my cousin got a Playstation. I actually remember reading about RE in a magazine before it came out years ago, and it was at my cousin's that we first played it. Needless to say, it left a lasting impression. The voice acting sucks and the dialogue has become the stuff of internet legend, but the game ITSELF has definitely stood the test of time in all of its iterations. The game just oozes atmosphere, the sound (or lack there of) helps contribute to the tension. The monsters become more horrific and dangerous the further into the mansion that you explore, delving into its depths trying to piece together what the hell happened here. And of course it literally took over a year ot figure out that you could open the god damned Doom Books to get the medals to move on to the last area of the game. Aside from that, add in two different characters with two different storylines, multiple events, multiple endings, backstabbing, giant mutant clawed humans, and enough corny dialogue to fuel countless internet memes for decades, and you have yourself a bonafide classic.
Rhete - Probably one of the most influential games of all time. While Resident Evil didn't invent the survival horror genre, it did popularize it in a massive way. Heck, just look at all the games on this list that people have mentioned as inspired by Resident Evil.
Crono Maniac - Silent Hill is a more mature story than Resident Evil, but the latter's design has more teeth. Resident Evil is survival horror at its most malicious. Its saves and inventory space are limited, its combat and movement are clumsy, and it's possible to make it to the final area and have no way to win. I wouldn't have it any other way.
#18 - Banjo-Kazooie (N64)
Chosen by: sunburstbasser, Pixel_Crusher, Carmichael Micaalus, No, Voodoo Groove
sunburstbasser - My sister had the N64 instead of me. We never owned a copy of Mario 64, and this was the only platformer we had for the system. I loved it to death then, and still love it now. If anything, I feel that it is all-around superior to Mario 64 despite not having quite the impact. The British humor helps a lot in that regard.
Pixel_Crusher - To me, there were only two platformers that could compete with Mario 64 at its own game, Ape Escape and Banjo-Kazooie. The latter was a glorified collectathon that boasted clever humor and a catchy soundtrack by Grant Kirkhope, its challenge was immense (Grunty's Quiz game) and the gameplay was about as good if not close to its source of inspiration.
Carmichael Micaalus - Very similar to Mario 64, but that wasn't exactly a bad thing. Last boss was a complete cheating bastard, though. That's a bad thing.
No - Banjo-Kazooie is a pretty damn good platformer on the N64, I had tons of fun with getting puzzle pieces and learning how to do new moves and making those moves work together. Sure, it's a collect-a-thon, but it's one that does it well.
Voodoo Groove - Banjo Kazooie makes me smile. That's the best way I can think to describe it. It doesn't feel right to call it generic, though really it is. You run, you jump, you collect stuff, you open worlds in a semi-linear order. But there's a special kind of air about it, the game very much feels like a goofy little fairy tale. Gruntilda's castle is such a great setting and responsible for much of the atmosphere (certainly more than Peach or Bowser's castles have ever been). The castle's leitmotif is one of my favorite video game tracks, and the way it seamlessly transitions to different musical styles throughout the areas of the castle is really cool. Gruntilda's in-rhyme taunting of the heroes is a nice touch. Banjo Kazooie manages to be more than a solid 3D platformer with its fun characters and sense of humor.
#17 - Mischief Makers (N64)
Chosen by: Pixel_Crusher, Carmichael Micaalus, Voodoo Groove, jetstorm4, Rhete
Pixel_Crusher - Treasure always made some of the best 2D games ever and Mischief Makers was definitely one of them for many of us. While the CG styled graphics certainly don't hold a candle to their pixel artistry, what really mattered was an end-product that oozed both personality, quality and originality. Think you have what it takes to get the full ending?
Carmichael Micaalus - Shake shake! A green haired robot girl named Marina runs around and shakes the shit out of her enemies to save the universe! Or maybe a planet. One of the two. Either way, keep her away from babies. Carmichael Micaalus' Game of the Generation.
Voodoo Groove - I love this game sooo much. Leave it to Treasure to take one mechanic and make the absolute most of it. Amazing, creative boss battles (par for the course), a good variety in level objectives, a collection of cute and weird characters, Mischief Makers simultaneously harkens back to the glory days of 2D platformers while simultaneously being a completely unique game all its own. I'm still pained that it's never had some sort of sequel for Wii/Wii U. I mean come on, that is THE system for shaking things with a controller! Marina needs more love.
jetstorm4 - One of the most fun games I've played by Treasure. I've only just played Mischief Makers this past year, but what I found was an excellent action game with some of the best bosses I've fought in a long time. This is the game that revitalized my interest in the Nintendo 64 this past year, now knowing there are a lot more gems I haven't played on this system.
Rhete - I'll be honest, I was disappointed when I first played Mischief Makers. Compared to Treasure's previous efforts, Gunstar Heroes and Dynamite Headdy, Mischief makers is weird looking, short, and really easy. But it's one of those games where reaching the end credits is just the start, to really play Mischief Makers is to go after the Golden Gems. Getting these requires completing various objectives in every level, including beating bosses without taking any damage. Suddenly the game wasn't so short and easy anymore, and getting all 53 for the true ending felt like a major accomplishment.
#16 - Mario Kart 64 (N64)
Chosen by: sunburstbasser, AdmiralMaxtreme, Voodoo Groove, Vanor Orion, Pitchfork, Rhete
sunburstbasser - The frame rate is a little choppy at times, and it has some technical issues with the way it handles sound on old TVs. Otherwise a great kart racing game, one that a few friends can play for hours.
AdmiralMaxtreme - Mario Kart games can be absolutely maddening sometimes, and this one is no exception. But there's way more than enough fun and charm to make up for it in this installment, whereas a game like Mario Kart Super Circuit had all the frustration with none of the payoff. This game would have been damn near perfect with some better multiplayer options, like four-player grand prix, or multiplayer races with computer players, but despite those limitations, this is still a game that can never have all the fun wrung out of it.
Voodoo Groove - I feel like most of the Mario Kart fanbase is divided on what the best game in the series is, and I rarely see people side with the N64 incarnation. It stands as my favorite, mostly because of the battle mode and the physics in the game. I'm probably just used to it at this point, but it feels like the fastest Mario Kart title. I swear my copy is corrupted since you seem to have a 50% chance of getting a star from any given item block in battle mode, which makes the whole thing a ridiculous game of cat and also cat.
Vanor Orion - I'm still not sure if this is as good as the original SNES game or not. Regardless, it's definitely a good game that holds up well compared to some of Nintendo's other 1st party efforts. The driving definitely feels more fluent to me compared to the original, and there's definitely a greater variety of novelty in the tracks compared to the prior game. I always had fun playing the game solo, or with friends and family (yes, even when my youngest sister kept whooping my ass in Vs race mode). There's really nothing more to add, it's Mario Kart.
Pitchfork - I can take or leave any iteration Mario Kart, really, but it was (and is) one of the few games that's eminently playable no matter where you are or what crowd you're with. That counts for a lot, and it's what Nintendo has done best for the last two decades.
I was too young to realize it back in the day, Toad's Turnpike is pretty much like driving on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. (If any of my friends from Queens happen to be reading this, I have just told you why I never come visit.)
Rhete - They say your first Mario Kart is your favorite, but that's not true for me. By bringing the series to 3D, Mario Kart stopped feeling like a watered down F-Zero and more like it's own series. 64 improved on the original and defined what the series is to this day.