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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My 100 Favorite Video Games of All Time: Part 6 (50-41)

50 – Beyond Good and Evil
I wasn't a huge fan of Rayman.  It was a successful platformer and spawned several sequels.  I wish I could say the same for its developers' masterpiece Beyond Good and Evil, an absolutely spectacular action-adventure title.  The game follows a reporter named Jade working with a resistance against vile aliens bent on domination and control of the world's citizens.  You travel a vast landscape (waterscape?), dingy interiors and cleverly designed cities, controlling multiple characters, incorporating a number of gameplay styles.  Why is it that all of the utterly fantastic games are commercial failures?  Really?

49 - Call of Duty 2
This epic shooter was not a commercial failure, however.  Call of Duty 2 is one of the most successful sequels of all time, spawning a massively popular franchise that would evolve and expand over time.   Infinity Ward built a great game here, filled with interesting and likable characters, amazing set pieces and just the right balance of fun and difficulty.  The multiplayer didn't hurt either.  It was a big online hit due to its teamwork-oriented modes, tactical features and greatly polished gameplay.

48 - Final Fantasy XII
The Final Fantasy series is a big one.  It's been around for more than two decades and has evolved steadily over time.  SquareEnix shocked fans when they announced a real-time battle system for Final Fantasy XII, reminiscent of popular MMORPG's its time.  Still, the gameplay turned out to be excellent; different but excellent.    The story was only okay, a sort of political thriller focusing on a soldier framed as a traitor by his brother; an exiled princess, who was thought to have killed herself, who became a resistance-fighter after her newlywed husband is killed in combat; two street kids; and a couple of successful and cocky sky pirates in it, at least in the beginning, for the loot.  What I like about FFXII's storytelling are the characters and the stunning script.  While Vaan and Penelo speak as you or I would, Baltheir, Ashe, Basch, Fran and other supporting characters talk in a far less colloquial style, as if it were penned by a classical author.  It's just so perfect, adding a touch of culture clash.

47 - Dr. Mario
Block puzzle games are great.  They are addictive, they exercise your spatial skills and give you a sense of satisfaction when you master them.  Dr. Mario was Nintendo's foray into the world of the block puzzle after the über-success of Tetris.  You threw multicolored pills down a vertical screen stacking them and attempting to match colors to eliminate viral baddies in each level.  It had some fun multiplayer and got pretty tough on higher difficulties.  I just adore this game.


46 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade)
I probably have spent the equivalent of the GDP of a small Caribbean nation in quarters on this game.  I love this old-school beat-'em-up starring the Heroes In A Half Shell.  The music, the simple but clever level design, the bosses and the humor just made this one a winner for me.  It was at its best with three other friends, all with a fistful of 25¢ pieces.  The devoted fans have beaten this one multiple if not hundreds of times and it still feels fresh with each play-through.  I GOT DIBS ON LEONARDO!!!


45 - Mega Man 7 – 
Mega Man 7 was an exciting entry into the long-running series as it was the first time that we got to see the original style of Mega Man titles in new 16-bit graphics.  It also had a great soundtrack, fun levels and a renewed level of difficulty.  The graphical improvement gave us a new look at the classic heroes that we saw only as an 8-bit sprite for 6 games before it.  Mega Man 7 is a marker in the franchise's history, along side Mega Man X from the same era.

44 - Grandia 2
Religious struggle is part of the history of our world, and is the foundation of several wars.  Grandia 2's references to Catholicism, war, and a powerful church's influence over the powers of state are abundant.  The fantasy world which places a pious young acolyte at the very center of the battle between good and evil, perpetuated by a corrupted church who seeks to bring about their prophesied end of the world, is captivating.  The twist of the story is devastating, effecting all of the characters in different ways.  I love this game so much.  If you missed this title, do yourself a favor and check it out, if anything for the extremely addictive, pseudo-real-time combat system and awesome magic attacks.  I'm willing to forgive how horrible the names of some of the spells are (“BA-BOOM!” and “Shhhhh” for example).

43 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Guns.  War.  A nuke.  Some Soviet dude in Chernobyl who gets his arm blown off.  Amazing multiplayer that adds role-playing elements that allow your fighter to grow and level up, obtaining new abilities.  All of these are elements in Infinity Ward's greatest game thus far.  CoD 4 was so perfect that it became the staple for most shooters released since that have stolen at least one thing from it.  It was revolutionary and intelligent with a terrifyingly believable story and great characters.  It also has some of the most amazing and fun levels of any first-person-shooter in history.

42 – Ms. Pac Man
A classic.  Some may be shocked that it's so far back on my favorites list.  Still, I love this game.  It's so simple in its design yet it remains a challenge.  As the game progresses things get pretty insane, and it even had cutscenes... sort of.  As I am typing this, that chomping sound is playing in my head.  Over and over it plays.

41 – Diablo
Let's go kill Satan!  Blizzard's staple of the dungeon-crawler had numerous classes, each playing differently, some pretty intimidating bosses and a great loot system that kept you playing, seeking more powerful gear.  Diablo is a classic, reshaping multiple genres forever after its release, and it is one of my favorite PC games of all time.

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