The Hutch's Top 25 Games of All Time
by The Hutch

25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 |

5: Killer7 (PS 2)
Here's one you probably haven't heard of, so I can go into a little more detail. Which, considering how you've made it this far despite each game being as long as a Pitchfork article, I'm sure you're fine with.

Killer7 is another one of the Capcom Five I mentioned earlier with Viewtiful Joe. Similar to VJ, Killer7 is cell shaded, although Viewtiful Joe is more like a comic whereas the art in Killer7 is more based on shading. Needless to say, it puts Wind Waker to shame, and somehow looks both beautiful and menacing at the same time.

The story for Killer7 is what it is most known for, as well as the unique gameplay but I'll get to that after. The basic plot is that after many years the world has finally solved all international conflicts, and there is total global peace. However, a terrorist cell called "Heaven's Smile" emerges, and starts blowing people up. Should be simple enough to take care of, however they're all capable of invisibility. So the only team that is able to not only see but also destroy the Heaven's Smiles is the Killer 7. Harman Smith controls his six personalities at will, not only to bring them out mentally but actually physically change form. Getting a little weird so far? I haven't even scratched the tip of the iceberg. In order to function properly, Harman and his personas need blood.

All of the Killer 7's last names are Smith. There's Dan, KAEDE, Coyote, Con, Kevin, and MASK de. There is a reason why KAEDE's and MASK's names are capitalized, but the least I can do is spare you every last bit of trivial knowledge I have on a game until my top favourite game of all time.

Anyway, on to the different personas. The six aforementioned personalities are all able to change with each other at any time, however their manager, Garcian Smith, is only accessible through the "medium of television". Meaning that you can only switch to him by getting caught on a security camera or accessing a television in the many Harman's rooms. This is never really explained within the construct of the game, but I'll get to that later.

What I like best about Killer7 is it's one of the most genuinely scary games I've ever played. As you're going to down a dark corridor, nothing to hear but your own footsteps, and you hear the ominous cackle of an invisible walking bomb, you'll nearly shit your pants. Or hopefully nearly... I need new bed sheets.

The music is phenomenal. There's no other way to describe it. It's very ambient, and really helps set the atmosphere. And surprisingly, it's all composed by some guy I've never heard of before. Some JAPANESE guy, no less.

On to the gameplay. It's hard to accurately describe it, but it's almost like an on-rails shooter. You can only go two directions, forwards or backwards, but you will come up to junctions in which you can choose to stay the path or go into another room or hall, or look at an object that may be of interest. When you hear a Heaven's Smile, you pull out your gun and scan, then shoot it down, optimally aiming for it's weak points which give you the most amount of blood which you can use to heal yourself or upgrade each Smith. This is where the game got most of it's bad reviews from, because a lot of people felt that it's the personification of the argument that video games these days sacrifice gameplay for storyline. Personally, I loved the linear-style gameplay. If you liked Time Crisis and Kirby 64, then you'll love this game.

Each Smith is a unique character with their own special moves, all of which can be interpreted by the final cinematic scene once you've beaten the game. I won't ruin it for you, so I'll just give you a brief outline of each character. I will say, however, that Garcian Smith and the Killer7 have all died before, but were brought back to life by Harman's resurrection power.

Dan Smith is a badass, and was a hired killer in his previous life, even before he joined the Killer7. He was betrayed and killed by his mentor, and then joined the Killer7. His special move is the devastating Demon Shell shot. KAEDE Smith is a quite, shy Japanese woman in a white dress with a blood stain that resembles roses on it. Her appearance is similar to one of the Heaven's Smiles that is considered a traitor by the others, but I won't get into that. Her special move is the ability to break barriers by opening a stigmata in her wrist. Coyote Smith is a Puerto Rican thief. His special ability is being able to leap incredibly heights, even onto rooftops, effortlessly. Con Smith is a blind Chinese teenager. His special move is being able to run at superhuman speeds for extended periods of time. Kevin Smith is a mute who specializes with knives. His special move is the ability to turn completely invisible. MASK de Smith was a Los Luchas wrestler. Despite his hulking physique, he is quite gentle and loves animals and children. His special move is layething the smacketh down on candy asses.

The story for Killer7 was originally much longer, but due to length issues, it was cut down immensely, leaving much backstory and explanation out. Fortunately, it was released as a graphic novel by the writer, so fans like me can figure out just what the fuck just happened. Things like why Garcian Smith cannot be changed with the other Killer7 members, or what the deal with the TVs are explained more thoroughly, but it's not necessary to understand the game entirely. It's a fantastic experience without having a clue as well. Definitely worth your time, and chances are you'll be able to find it for less than $10. Go buy it now.

4: Hitman: Blood Money (PS 2)
I already wrote an article on this. Go read it.

3: Resident Evil 4 (PS 2)
The final member of the Capcom Five to make it to my list. Resident Evil 4.

The first Resident Evil created a genre, the survival horror. And for long, it has dominated it, with the only serious competitor being Silent Hill, or to a lesser extent "third-party" Resident Evil games. However, the game soon became tiresome and repetitive, if not already insanely difficult. With news of Resident Evil 4's changes to the series, however, many old fans to the series became excited. I had never played a Resident Evil game before, but RE4 looked appealing none-the-less.

What we got was a game that not only revived the series, but was fresh and innovative. A dark, gritty town in a foreign country, monsters left and right, and a constant feeling of urgency all are what make this game so fantastic. The over-the-shoulder camera really works well in the setting, and although it was at first largely unaccepted, the fact that you have to raise your gun before you can shoot enhances the experience. Again, the run-and-gun style of gameplay is similar to Killer7, which is why I love them both. However, with Resident Evil 4, the world is expansive and beautiful. There are detailed, moving backgrounds, a bleak brown sky, dirt looks like dirt, water looks like dirt, manure looks like cow shit, it's great. Not only that, but the models themselves also look much less clean, not only the villagers but Leon himself who appears much older and grittier.

Now, if you haven't played this game, go shoot yourself right now. If you have, you know that it doesn't have any zombies in it. This was one of the first things that we knew about the game, and even I was a bit upset at that. I had never played a Resident Evil game before, but I at least knew there HAD to be zombies in it.

Well, there are no zombies, just violent villagers with some sort of vengeance against you. That or my abhorrent alliteration. It works, however, and as the story develops it quickly ties itself in with the previous games.

The atmosphere of the game really lends itself well to the style of it. Foggy lakes, dank caverns, dimly lit torches, and pitchfork'd bitches hanging from shed walls make you constantly looking over your shoulder waiting for something to jump out at you with a sickle. The music is fucking fantastic, the action sequences keep you on your toes, everything is just well done.

The story this time around is the President's daughter has been kidnapped by an unnamed group. Leon S. Kennedy, six years after Raccoon City, has been trained under the direct supervision of the President, and is sent on the only lead to find her in a small Spanish village. What he finds is a lot of pissed off Spaniards. A religious cult called Los Illuminados and a strange parasite called Las Plagas keep finding their way into his investigations, and on his assignment to find Ashley and get out, he uncovers and destroys an entire evil cult, and pretty much saves the fucking world.

Ashley herself is pretty much jailbait. Yeah, they say she's 22 in the manual, but I don't fucking believe it for a second. Jailbait.

The extras are great, the game itself has immense replay value. Honestly, I have played through the main game at least a dozen times, if not closer to two dozen. You can call me crazy, but I'll just bite you in the nose.

2: Okami (PS 2)
Another cult classic for the PS 2. This game was meant to be Clover's saving grace, but unfortunately was just not received well. It's not that people didn't like it, quite the opposite in fact, it just didn't get the popularity it deserved.

From the same company that made Viewtiful Joe comes another cell-shaded adventure, this time an adventure game in Edo-period Japan. You play as the reincarnation of the hero white wolf Shiranui, embodied by the Sun Goddess Amaterasu.

First, I should go into a bit of the back story of the game.

One hundred years before the events of the game took place, there was an 8-headed dragon called Orochi who stole maidens from villages and ate them. When he came to a small village protected by a woodland sprite, he was challenged by a white wolf that many thought was the accomplice of Orochi. This village also was home to the strongest swordsman in all Japan, Nagi. Together, Shiranui and Nagi defeated Orochi, but Shiranui died in the battle. Nagi trapped Orochi in a temple, using his sword as a barrier to keep him in.

Then, a century later, some asshole pulls out the sword. WHOOPS! Out comes Orochi, ready to exact revenge upon not only the small village of Kamiki, but all of Japan.

The sprite that protected Kamiki Village for thousands of years, Sakuya, uses the last of her power to call upon Amaterasu, who was thought lost. She takes the form of Shiranui, and immediately jumps into action, followed by a strange wandering artist, the one-inch boy Issun.

The game is quite simple, really, and if you liked the N64 Zelda games, you'll love it instantly. What sets it apart is the celestial brush. Amaterasu once had the 13 powers of the Celestial Brush, which she used to perform miracles such as creating life or fire out of nowhere. However, since her resurrection, she lost many of her powers. Issun, on a quest to find all the powers himself, joins her on her quest to stop Orochi.

The way the Celestial Brush works is by stopping the game and bringing up a blank canvas, Amaterasu can use the brush to paint different objects or symbols to perform a certain miracle. It's actually quite neat, and surprisingly doesn't feel obtrusive at all. You also have a certain amount of ink, and each miracle you perform uses one bottle of ink. It replenishes by itself, but if you run out entirely of ink, Amaterasu loses her other Godly powers, and becomes an ordinary wolf.

The main selling point of the game was the art style. It looks like an ukiyo-e style ink and wash painting. At first, I thought that it was just cinematic sequences, but no, the entire game looks like a painted picture. It's the single most beautiful game I have ever experienced. You'll find yourself, from time to time, just dropping your controller on your lap and staring at the incredible world around you. It's literally jaw dropping.

The story is vast and complex, and also doesn't get in the way of the game. It took me over 60 hours to get through it the first time. It is not a short game. Despite that, there's lots of replay value, and I've now played through it six times, with two 100% runs. I'm almost certain that I have put more time into this game than any other PS 2 game, save for MAYBE Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. Hell, even speed runs of the game are upwards of nine hours.

Obviously, one of my all time favourite games of all time, and it makes sense. It feels like a call back to the NES adventure days, and it's just so beautiful it's hard not to look at it in awe. If you don't own this game, get it now, because it's probably pretty cheap and in short supply.

1: ? (?)

I'll leave you on the ropes a little while longer, and go off on a bit of a tangent here. By the time I was 8, I was already an experienced gamer. I had done it all, from platformers to fighters to early FPS games. Yes, I had played Duke Nukem 3D when I was 8. Aside from the necessary classics, I had also been introduced to some more obscure titles, such as Earthworm Jim, Mad Max, and Commander Keen. I had a promising career as a gamer ahead of me. With the release of the N64, I barely batted an eye. Sure, it was fully 3D, but I had played Sonic 3D Blast, so it wasn't anything new to me. The first games were novel, Pokémon Snap and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, but I still found myself turning to my trusted Genesis and NES.

Then, in 1997 came the bombshell. Something nobody could have expected. Something Golden.

I am, of course, talking about Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64.


1: Goldeneye 007 (N64)
It's no secret that I'm a huge James Bond fan. I own every James Bond movie, some of them twice. James Bond was my hero. Where most kids played Cops and Robbers, I played Bond and SPECTRE, I demanded my pulpy orange juice shaken not stirred, and I had slept with every girl on my cul-de-sac. Not only that, but Goldeneye was my first and favourite of the Bond films. Because the internet was still in the experimental stages, I hadn't heard much about this game until its release. Two years after seeing Goldeneye, I was wondering when we would see a James Bond game.

Goldeneye 007. To this day it is confirmed to have sold over 8 million copies, probably closer to 10 million. To give you a clear picture of how huge that is, Doom only sold one million copies, with an estimated 10 million Shareware users. Nearly an equal number of people were willing to pay for Goldeneye as used the free version of Doom. That is phenomenal. It's beyond phenomenal, it's fucking Godly.

Production on Goldeneye 007 actually began for the Super Nintendo, but because it began so late, they delayed it in order to bump it to the N64. The game was worked on by a small team of nine developers, among which was the infamous David Doak. During production, no one expected the game to go anywhere. Even the developers themselves thought they were just a bunch of students screwing around with their first game. But, as the testers started raving their approvals, serious work began on the title.

The game is innovative in so many ways, not only to the FPS genre, but to gaming itself. Mainly, it brought the FPS genre to consoles, as well as shaped it how we know them today. Rather than speed and strategy, Goldeneye focused more on stealth and cover. It's also the first FPS that pits you against people, rather than aliens and monsters. Not only that, it's the first to allow you to reload, have effective armour, objectives, split-screen multiplayer deathmatch, and so much more. There's an incredible arsenal of weapons of every sort, and it's a game you can pick up at any time and play for hours.

Usually, news of a licensed game is bad news. Even in the NES days, they were pretty bad, as I made evident in my two video reviews. But for some reason, Goldeneye 007 just seemed to work. And it's not even that it had little to do with the movie itself, that's usually a bad sign as well. It's hard to explain, but it just has a certain charm. The way the developers tried to remain faithful to the film, but also create a fantastic gaming experience is certainly commendable in the very least.

The AI in the game is actually pretty intelligent for the time. Rather than just stand in one place and shoot in your general direction from behind doorways, they'll spot you, duck behind cover, and unload into your ass in groups. If you're good enough, though, you can manage to sneak behind them and shoot them in the head, or in the ass. Body part specific hit boxes and dozens of death animations make for hours of fun.

This was my very first game for the N64. It was one lucky Christmas morning when I awoke to find a large, obtrusive box sitting beneath the tree. Carefully opening the wrapping paper because I'm OCD, I happily discovered a Nintendo64 console. As I stood up to release my joy in the form of a victory cry, I discovered a smaller, slightly disfigured box that I had been sitting on. This was, of course, Goldeneye 007. I don't remember clearly what happened next, but I'm pretty sure that I didn't eat, drink, go to the bathroom, or blink for the next 72 hours.

I have so many fond memories of this game. I still play it to this day, even. It truly is timeless.

25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 |

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