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Saturday, January 22, 2011

My 100 Favorite Video Games of All Time: Part 5 (60-51)

60 – Galaga
Midway made some very famous arcade classics. One of their best was a little game attempting to ride the coattails of the shooter superpower of its day, Atari's Space Invaders. Galaga came out, and Atari died a little on the inside. Midway's classic shooter had challenge, pacing and graphics on its side, and after this game blew up, poor little Space Invaders (still a classic) was more or less left in its dust.

59 - Deus Ex
Warren Spektor, in part responsible for popular entries in the Ultima and Theif franchises, developed Deus Ex under the developers Ion Storm. Deus Ex is a dense, fun action-RPG that added a great deal of depth to the popular world of first-person-shooters. The interactivity of the world and the engaging story puts this one near the top of its genre.

58 - Super Punch Out!!
Mike Tyson's Punch Out was a classic. After a licensing contract with the speech-impeded boxer ended, its production was discontinued and replace simply by Punch Out!!, which had the ultra-lame final boss Mr. Dream instead of Iron Mike. Thus, Punch Out!! became the series title and its sequel on the Super Nintendo, Super Punch Out!! was a superb upgrade. It had all new characters, great graphics for its time and newly polished controls that were tighter and more responsive. Super Punch Out!!, in my opinion, is actually superior to its predecessor solely because the new characters just seemed more inspired and less recycled (recurring characters notwithstanding).

57 - Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest
Simon Belmont goes RPG!!! Castlevania 2 was an amazing follow-up to the start of the franchise. Guiding the series into its free-roaming future, Castlevania 2 charged you with the gruesome task of collecting Dracula's body parts, reassembling him and then slaying him to extinguish a curse that is plaguing the land. I just dread it when it is a “horrible night to have a curse!!!”, and what kicks more ass than a Flame Whip? I mean, come on!

56 - Secret of Mana
Seiken Dentetsu 2 is a classic. The game moved away from the traditional turn-based gameplay that was popular at the time, instead offering a real-time combat system that encouraged patience and finding that right time to attack. Throw in some unique characters, a great story, and some of the weirdest bosses ever and you have a winner. I would like to add that if you see a random sword stuck in a stone, it may be a good idea not to take it out... Just a thought.

55 - Donkey Kong Country
Have you ever wondered what Donkey Kong did when he wasn't scaling poorly assembled scaffolding with a damsel in distress in tow? Well... He fights to save his bananas. Yep! That's it. Donkey Kong Country was a very fun, very pretty game developed by the UK team Rare that pushed the Super Nintendo hardware to its limits and offered some truly memorable gaming moments. The game boasted fun bosses, clever level design and an interesting gameplay mechanic of controlling two characters at once who also act as your health. Oh, and I looooove the underwater music from this game!

54 – Flower
This is one of the greatest games of the last ten years. The idea is so simple. You control the wind as you guide flower petals along a sweeping landscape to bloom more flowers and grow your lengthy chain of color. The game is also a music game in a sense, timing the actions you take with sounds that match the key and sound of the background music. Some of the music from this game is so good, it actually may be one of my top 20 game soundtracks of all time. It is certainly getting very careful consideration.

53 - Half Life 2
Nerds wielding crowbars. Half Life 2 is the stunning continuation of the story of Gordon Freeman set in a decrepit cityscape. Half Life 2 takes you all over the place story wise, introducing a number of new characters (including one of my all time favorite supporting characters in video games: Alyx Vance), and reuniting you with other familiar faces. This game is just gorgeous to boot, with some really fun set pieces that feel cinematic, despite being actual real-time action scenes. When Half Life 2 launched along side Halo 2, it was an all out war for superiority, fanboy flames flew and those in between were caught amidst the cinders. I got into this title a little later, mainly because I didn't have a PC that could actually run the freaking game, but it resonated with me. It's just so good.

52 – Ico
SCE Japan Studio. One faction of this development crew could be the best game designers in the history of video games. NO! I'm not exaggerating. Ico is an absolutely stunning adventure title that basically amounts to an extended escort quest, with puzzles in between. It is not torture though. I love playing through this one as it brings be back to a period in gaming only a few years ago where I was still amazed by some of the things that came out. Ico's developers would team up a few years later to make another really good game. I wonder if it is going to pop up on this list somewhere..?

51 - Ninja Gaiden (Xbox)
AAAAAAHHHHHHHHhhhhh!!!!! Broken controllers. Violent screams laden with profanity. Me punching myself in the face. All for that final cheer when I finally figure out how to beat that FREAKING BOSS! At the time of this game's release it was notorious for its brutal difficulty, lush graphics and tight gameplay. Still, where this game was really enjoyable was when you felt the undeniable satisfaction that you had actually accomplished something, as Ninja Gaiden wasn't hard because it was broken; it was hard because it was actually a challenging game.

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