Scott's Top 25 Games of All Time
by Scott

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


20: Shogo: Mobile Armor Division

Developer: Monolith
Publisher: Interplay
System(s): PC, Power PC
Date of Release: 1998
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Reasons for being on this list:
I love anime, but I'm not completely obsessed about it. Still, most games based off of anime suffer from the licensing curse. So it's surprising that the best game built like an anime is not actually based off of an anime or even built by the Japanese. Shogo was built by Monolith, who were obviously also huge fans of anime, more specifically, giant robot anime. It was clear from the opening (I take no reasonability if any youtube link does not work), to a distinct art style, and the story that was filled with twists, turns, and memorable characters that said some pretty funny and highly quotable lines. My favorite: "Ok, that's it. Ryo's going to die and it's going to be bloody."

The stages where you pilot a giant robot are the best since every weapon in your arsenal is some variant of a rocket launcher. You've got a mine that sticks to targets and detonates a few seconds later, a gun that fires out five missiles at once, and a personal nuke (yes, hitting yourself with the huge blast radius is instant death). The on-foot missions were kind of 'eh', but it was nice that the on-foot enemies (all two of them) appear in the mecha missions, to be stepped on. Add into that destructible environments (just background objects) and several optional missions that you can chose not to do by your actions (do you want to find a lady's lost cat or just blow her away?) and you've got a really fun game.

So, why is this game on here instead of Tron 2.0? Well, because it doesn't grind to a halt during the boss fights for one. Tron 2.0's final boss was 'I'm here and I'm evil! With really inconveniently placed pits!' Second, the light cycles, the whole point of the game, had clumsy camera control. Go and try and play the stages from the cockpit view, I dare you.

Ease of acquiring/playing: Kinda finicky. It might take some time to locate a copy, and it doesn't like Windows XP all that much. It will run nicely, but you'll get odd errors every now and then. Such as crackling sound or disappearing game text. Plus, it's up to chance if your graphics card will be recognized by this game. My Radeon card works perfectly, but you might get stuck in software rendering hell. I have played this game that way, and I know which one I prefer. The disappearing game text happens when you force the game to use an unsupported card. There's still Tron 2.0 for a really kick-ass licensed game. And while we're at it, go play No One Lives Forever 1 and 2. Why? In No One Lives Forever 2, one boss battle is against an army of ninjas. In Ohio. In a Trailer Park. During (and in) a Tornado. Course, this scene might get beaten out by the dramatic chase sequence against French mimes while riding a tricycle being peddled by a Scotsman.


19: Mega Man X

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Nintendo
System(s): Super NES, PC
Date of Release: 1993 (North America)
Genre: Side-Scrolling Platformer
Reasons for being on this list:
The Mega Man series has now become a running gag that should have ended years ago. Seriously, how many times do we have to save the world from crazy people and their 8 robots? While Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3 was the best on the NES, Mega Man X blew both of those games away by adding in a plot line. For the first time, Mega Man was fighting for a cause, an actual reason that was; well, to save the world. But at least it was a step up from before. Sadly, Capcom did nothing with this great set up and the series fell into the same copy-and-paste routine that killed the original Mega Man series.

However, if you drop the pitiful storyline, X adds the armor, chargeable weapons (actually good weapons, too), dashing (which was more useful than sliding), wall grabbing, and permanent sub-tanks. Who cares if you can't play as Zero in this game, X collects the robot master weapons, which was the entire point of the megaman series. You know, collect robot master weapons and use them against the other robot masters.

Ease of acquiring/playing: Super-duper easy. Not only is Capcom shoving megaman collections out faster than they can copy they own formula for the next 12 megaman titles, they also remade this game for the PSP, which was awesome. Just don't bother looking for the PC version of this game, it was crap. And don't forget about the great Mega Man 2 and 3 for NES.
Screenshots are from the VGM.


18: Super Metroid

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
System(s): Super NES
Date of Release: 1994
Genre: Side-Scrolling Platfromer/Adventure
Reasons for being on this list:
Metroid is something of an enigma to me. It features a person running around in a space suit, shooting at bizarre enemies, and exploring a huge alien world. Sounds like fun, right? Well, there are lots of problems with the first Metroid. First, it's very hard to refill your life or missiles when you die or start from a password. This is before instant refill points were created. Second, I'm sure everyone who has played this game will remember the certain death spots in Norfair. You know, the tall pillars that had lava between them. It wasn't bad that you had to try to do the very hard bomb jump to get out (which I can still not do in this game), but also it kills you very slowly, as if telling you how much you suck. Third, no map for this very complex game (still get lost in hideout 1). And finally, the ability to get yourself stuck in way too many places, usually by trading out the ice beam for the wave beam and then realizing you need the ice beam to get to the next area, and you can't get the ice beam back. Yeah, this game got mean when you screwed up.

However, people (myself included) loved this game, and we eagerly awaited the next ones in the series. It was Metroid 3, aka Super Metroid, that pushed Metroid into the 'unforgettable' game series. One that people will never stop playing, no matter what dimension it moves into, a.k.a. Metroid Prime. Super Metroid was one of the first games to use 24-bits, and it used them to great effect. The intro stage that was a space station that exploded as you tried to escape is worth the price of the game by itself. The boss battles, unlike the first or even the second game, were made to be gigantic towering struggles that filed multiple screens. And while these types of boss battles have been greatly improved on (Shadow of Colossus, for example), no one is going to say that the fight against Ridley is not one of the greatest 2D boss battles ever made.

Super Metroid also contains what might be the first violence in a game developed by Nintendo, before Kraid, there is a dead body with its head ripped off. Given Nintendo's harsh censorship, that was kind of surprising. It also had space pirate ninjas, you just can't beat that.

Ease of acquiring/playing: Easy. Finding an original copy might set you back quite a bit, but it's now on the Virtual Console on the Wii. Finally, after re-releasing and re-making the original, the best is finally seeing some love!
Screenshots are from the VGM.


17: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Sony
System(s): Playstation 1
Date of Release: 1997
Genre: Side-Scrolling Platformer/Adventure
Reasons for being on this list:
Take Super Metroid, put it into a Castlevania game, and you have something in the realm of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. That's kind of everything I can say about this game. I mean, everything that was great about Super Metroid is in this game; a huge variety of areas to explore, terrific boss battles, items upon items to collect, and a sound track that beats out anything you've ever heard. Well, everything was jacked up to 11, and then added with spicy 'let's kick even more ass' sauce. There was little touches in every part of this game, from the way Death greets Alucard at the beginning of the game like they meet every other Thursday for Mahjong, to the boss fight against the other characters from Castlevania 3, to the way how Alucard eats the peanut item, by tossing them into the air and catching it in his mouth. Granted, the game gets easier the farther you get in it because certain items are just too powerful (helloooo Crissaegram!), but you still can't let go of the controller until the credits roll.

This game is also one of the first that I played that had voice acting. While it is quite bad by today's standards, it still wowed me the first time I played it. This was also the game that helped cure me of my Nintendo Fanboyishness, which can only be seen as a very good thing. Still, I wish Konami would stop megamaning this version of Castlevania (did I just create a new word? Hell yes).

Ease of acquiring/playing: You don't have this game yet?! It's just been put onto XBox Live and the Playstation Network. Everyone I know has this game, or has a Playstation that can run it. Seriously, if you don't have this game, and you call yourself a gamer, question what you've been doing with your life. Screenshots are from the VGM.


16: Golden Sun

Developer: Camelot
Publisher: Nintendo
System(s): Game Boy Advance
Date of Release: 2001 (first half), 2003 (second half)
Genre: Japanese RPG
Reasons for being on this list:
While it was the original Final Fantasy that got me playing RPGs, I never found one since then that hooked me from the beginning until the end. Until I found this game. Split across two cartridges, the Golden Sun series fixed many of my complaints about console RPGs that follow the Final Fantasy mold. Of course, I liked the first one the best. The second one kind of meandered along until you got the boat, which was a good 1/3 of the way into the game. Thankfully, it did pick up significantly after that.

True, the combat was still in the Final Fantasy mold of fight, heal, repeat, but it redeemed itself with a huge number of improvements. It was given some strategy with summons that you had made yourself weaker to use, and the weapons had special 'unleashes' (more damaging attacks) in battle at random moments. Thus, you couldn't summon Bahamut for the entire fight or rely on limit breaks.

The story was, at its heart, still 'save the world', but from your childhood friend who you thought died but was saved by the villains? And that is only the beginning of the twists found in this game. Even the second half, which is from the perspective of the childhood friend, has several twists, but is still about saving the world. This kind of leaves the second half of the story weaker than the first, and it is just a few steps above you standard JRPG storyline. The villains in the first half, while menacing, die at the end of the first game. Their replacements are, well, kind of weak: "We're going to kill you so we can save the world!" Um, what?

Still, finding your way through a dungeon was also much improved with the addition of Zelda-like puzzles that made this game feel more than just the player walking around hearing lots of dialogue from angsty-preteens. Oh yeah, no angst filled dialogue, which nearly sells this game right there. Attention game makers, you make one more game staring an angst filled teenager with amnesia, I will personally find you and beat you to death with your own arm.

Ease of acquiring/playing: Moderate. It's one of the biggest RPGs for the Gameboy Advance, so there's lot of copies out there. Still, you might have to head on-line to find a copy.
Screenshots are from the VGM.






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