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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My 100 Favorite Video Games of All Time: Part 9 (20-11)

20 – Sonic the Hedgehog 2
The first Sonic the Hedgehog was a great game. At the time it was hard to imagine it being improved on but its first sequel was a welcome enhancement to its already excellent predecessor. The levels in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 do even better to allow for speedy dashes and promote the mastery of each track-like zone. The inclusion of the slower but more jumping-friendly Tails was also a great bonus.

19 - Final Fantasy VII
Many consider this one to be the ultimate RPG. I love it, though it isn't my favorite. Still, FFVII is a outstanding achievement in storytelling in games and brings us one of the most iconic villains in the history of.. well... anything. Sephiroth was a detestable, sick individual and we loved him for it. His dialogue was insane but it was also a little sad, and we sympathized with all of the characters, including the villains. The writing here made us care about them, which made it that much harder to bear when one of them was ruthlessly killed. At that point, things got personal.

18 – Super Castlevania 4
Of all of the great Castlevania titles, the fourth on the SNES is easily my favorite. This game was a stand-out classic. It polished the gameplay of the already excellent series, upped the resolution and gave us some great levels. Still, the thing I probably remember the most about this great game is its superb soundtrack. This game has some of the best music I have ever heard in a video game, and that's saying a lot.

17 – Mega Man 3
On the subject of amazing game soundtracks... Mega Man 3 is my favorite Mega Man title of the 8-bit era. The levels were exciting, the bosses fun, the abilities were fresh and who doesn't love Rush? Each zone has new ideas and a fresh theme, further enhanced by the amazing music.

16 – Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger is a classic. The time-bending story, strange characters and team-oriented battle system all make up one of the best games of the 16-bit era. From start to finish Chrono Trigger remains exciting. There are few RPGs from the 16-bit age that still hold their appeal after almost two decades. Chrono Trigger holds a special place in my heart also because Lavos is such a cool final boss. On top of all that, the game boasted a number of different endings, based on your play, something that was unheard of at its time.

15 – Myst
I'm not a huge fan of point and click adventures, but Myst is a special exception. There are a few reasons why I like this game. It was beautiful when it came out, it had a challenge level that was just right, the puzzles weren't impossible, but they did make you think. The twist ending, if you do the wrong thing, is pretty clever, and the level design was inventive and breathtaking. On a side note, I read the three novels that tell the story and they are outstanding. While the story seems weak here, read the books and your attitude will change.

14 – Doom
John Carmack's Hell-bound shooter is an exciting, energetic thrill filled with morphing levels, intimidating baddies and a horrifying scarcity of ammo. Doom is the first-person shooter that defined the genre all those years ago, and it still remains an exciting challenge to this day. I must say, I do love the B.F.G. It is so handy when you need to kill that pesky Cyberdemon.

13 – Half Life
“Gordon Freeman, in the flesh!” This one is spectacular. Half Life is Valve's stellar first-person shooter that follows the adventure of a lowly scientist who accidentally opens a portal to an alternate dimension during an experiment on a strange artifact. As Gordon Freemen you fight your way through hordes of strange beings and unscrupulous agents who are out to kill you. Half Life was a stunning step forward in storytelling in games and a huge source of fan-made mods that brought out the multiplayer and took online gaming to the mainstream.

12 – Contra
Konami's classic action title Contra gave us the spread gun, the perfection of the co-op shooter and the famous Konami Code. The game is a wonderfully balanced and challenging game that was, at its time, an innovative game that pushed the shooter genre forward. For years it was the greatest shooter ever released and to this day people still strive for high scores and that elusive perfect run.

11 – Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI (or III if you don't know what the hell you're talking about) is Squaresoft's ultimate masterpiece. The game pushed the graphical powers of the Super Nintendo to the limits, gave us a huge list of memorable characters, and introduced us to the greatest video game villain of all time, Kefka. He was so mad, so vile that he actually succeeded in destroying the world. This was a memorable game with one of the most iconic final battles in video games.

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