#50) Kingdom Hearts II (PS2)
Kingdom Hearts II added ONE new feature that makes it better than the original. No, not the Drive Gauge or the Reaction Commands. Not the new Gummi Ship segments, and certainly not those creepy guys in white jumpsuits.
No. I'm talking about the "Skip Cutscene" button.
It may seem like a little thing, but in a game where cutscenes are this long and frequent, and the story is such a mess of poor fan-fiction, Mary Sues, and ridiculous amounts of melodrama, it can be the difference between a decent game and an awful one.
#49) Ratchet & Clank (PS2)
In comparison to its two sequels, (which I still enjoy more than most other games) the original Ratchet & Clank has boring weapons, unmemorable boss fights and slow pacing. Though I'll grant that in comparison to Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, most games have boring weapons, unmemorable boss fights and slow pacing.
But despite those facts, (AND the fact that until you hit planet Rilgar, the game is easy enough for stupid babies with motor problems) the second half of the game still manages to be flat-out fun enough to earn this game a spot on the list. (That might just be the nostalgia talking, but whatever)
#48) Warcraft II (PC/PS/SAT)
At every other title on this list, I consider myself to be at least fairly good... But I royally suck at this game. My micro-managing skills are ass, I don't know how to properly use Mages/Death Knights at all, and even the dumb-as-fuck AI often manages to give me a hard time.
But I like the game. Though admittedly, I probably wouldn't if I hadn't played some of the newer, better installments of the series first.
#47) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GCN/Wii)
I have a lot of beefs with 3D Zelda games, and not a small number of them are present in Twilight Princess. The combat is unsatisfying, the overworld (And now that I think about, the entire game) is devoid of any truly challenging enemies, most items are useless outside of the dungeons they were found in, yadda yadda yadda. But amidst those things are a hell of a soundtrack that sets the mood, the most coherent game world the series has ever seen, and some great dungeons that, while superficially might feel just a tad... recycled, have some interesting quirks that keep things fresh.
#46) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64/GCN/Wii/3DS)
The only things that differentiate Ocarina from Twilight Princess are that the items aren't quite as useless, and the difficulty is a bit higher. And I really don't feel like writing a full paragraph about virtually the same game twice in a row.
#45) Lylat Wars (N64/VC)
And I mean Lylat Wars. Not Star Fox 64. Why is it such a big deal, you ask? Because you have the option to toggle off that ear-piercing voice acting, that's why! The alternative is admittedly not much better, but it beats listening to Slippy.
Anyhow, Lylat Wars is a quality arcade-style rail shooter. If it wasn't so damn easy, the game could be a lot higher. (That out-of-place seabed tour didn't help much either)
#44) Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (DS)
It turns out "entertaining unskippable cutscene" and "fun turn-based combat" aren't oxymora after all. Huh.
#43) Spyro The Dragon (PS/PSP/PS3)
Ripto's Rage was way too easy, Year of the Dragon had those awful kangaroo, yeti and space monkey stages, (The penguin stages were actually okay) and everything after that is just irredeemable. The original is where it's at. It's a shame that the price Insomniac had to pay for no annoying sidekicks and a difficulty curve that's actually a curve instead of a flat line turned out to be decent boss fights.
#42) ActRaiser (SNES/Wii)
I'm as atheist as they come, but even I can't claim there's not a certain appeal to playing as the Lord Almighty himself. Be it building a city for your peeps with the help of your constantly interrupting naked angel friend, or plowing your way through minions of the Devil to BITCHING 16-bit music.
#41) The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (PS2/GCN/Xbox/GBA/PC)
I initially wrote a whole paragraph explaining why I think this right here is the best movie game ever instead of GoldenEye, but then I realized I was rambling and talking more about GoldenEye than about this game.
In single player mode, the game is hardly anything special. In co-op mode, it's a blast. Until that one guy who doesn't know how to play rages out and picks Gandalf or Legolas.
#40) Metal Slug (Everything known to man)
Before there were alien invasions, zombie apocalypses or fucking dragon grim reapers with skulls on their chest, there was this. A simple game about a guy, (sometimes accompanied by another guy) armed with a pistol, some grenades and a trusty RAWKET LAWNCHAIR, fighting to rescue half-naked bearded men with flamethrowers in their pants from a general that looks like the lovechild of Hussein and Stalin.
The game had some serious frame-rate issues, but some of the sequels it spawned are among the best things ever. Anywhere.
#39) Zeus: Master of Olympus (PC)
I played this game as if there were no tomorrow as a kid. Which is probably why it's not higher up on the list. I memorized every building, every building's corresponding function, hell, even almost every music track in the game. (And the music isn't even that memorable) I played the game so much that I eventually couldn't stand it anymore. Years later, I still haven't quite recovered. Maybe if I could track down that fucking expansion pack...
#38) Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves (PS2/PS3)
Bentley was more fun when he wasn't of the handicapped variety, and the lack of clue bottles was a bummer, but in turn, Sly 3 has some nice multiplayer modes, a much-needed mission select feature, and a few new characters that are fun to play as. (Does not include Penelope or Dimitri) The game also breaks the tradition of having a huge drop-off in quality around halfway in. (Vicious Voodoo in Thievius Raccoonus and Jailbreak in Band of Thieves)
Carmelita's voice actress is all over the place, though. It's like she can't decide between an American accent and (what I think is supposed to sound like) a Spanish accent, so she flip-flops between the two throughout the entire game.
#37) Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS/PS3)
This is how platformers should have transitioned into 3D. Not get turned into collect-a-thons.
#36) Mega Man 9 (Wii/PS3/X360)
A shout-out to Soultrigger and for making me a fan of this game long before I actually played it.
The other aspects of the game aren't that bad either. The level design is good, there are no Hyper Bomb or Metal Blade equivalents (Utterly useless and game-breakingly overpowered, respectively) and some of the less pattern-based boss fights are a blast to fight.
#35) The Legend of Zelda (NES/GCN/GBA/Wii)
If I were better at this game, and didn't always get stuck on that room full of Darknuts in Dungeon 5, this game would be a lot higher on my list. I honestly can't come up with a single complaint about it. And if you've been following my list at all, you know what a Negative Nancy I can be, so that's saying something.
But this isn't a thread about the fifty best games of all time, it's a thread about the fifty games we enjoyed the most. And this game's difficulty (Or rather, my own ineptitude at it) prevented me from enjoying it as much as I could have.
#34) Metal Slug 4 (NG/PS2/Xbox/Wii/PSP)
Metal Slug 4 relied more on cheap enemy placement for difficulty instead of pure great game design, and I fail to remember most of what happened in the final two stages, but it still doesn't fall too short of its two predecessors.
By the time this list is finished, you'll realize what a huge compliment that is coming from me.
#33) Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (PS/PS3)
I dislike most 5th gen platformers for a variety of reasons, which include, but are not limited to wonky camera angles, flat-out crap controls, and a severe deficiency of lethal enemies in most levels.
The only things Crash Bandicoot 3 suffers from are easy (albeit memorable) boss fights and underwater levels.
#32) Snake II (Old-ass Nokia phones)
If I had spent my first five years of comprehensive school actually paying attention instead of playing Snake II under the desk, maybe I would be a better person today. But then I would never have scored 2497 points on max speed, so I have no regrets.
#31) Mega Man 10 (Wii/PS3/X360)
Mega Man 10 is far from the best game in the series. I can tell that just by watching YouTube videos. However, it is the best game in the series that doesn't play in slow motion in PAL regions.
If this game had been the one to be released over a decade after the previous installment instead of Mega Man 9, it would probably be a lot more acclaimed.
#30) The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC/3DS)
It's a world o' fun until you bump into a liftable object without the Power Bracelet or pick up a Guardian Acorn.
#29) Chrono Trigger (SNES/PS/DS/Wii/PS3)
I don't usually like JRPGs. It usually takes several dozen hours for the game to start being non-linear, and more often than not, they're filled to the brim with unskippable cutscenes, Mary Sues and awkward humor. And Chrono Trigger has all of those things in abundance.
Which is why I'm so puzzled as to why I like this game so much. Maybe it's because of the dynamic take on the Active Time Battle system, the thirteen different endings, the fact that you can summon a giant frog from the sky to crush your enemies, or the soundtrack that poops over everything that Square's music department has pumped out since.
#28) Kirby's Adventure (NES/GBA/Wii/3DS)
If you can just stop wondering what the living Hell is going on in this guy's digestive system for a second, you'll find that this game right here is pure gaming pleasure injected straight into your eyeballs. Simple and precise platforming action combined with a soothing yet catchy lullaby-esque musical score, and to this day, no other game quite feels the same. (But then again, this is the only official Kirby game I've played)
But like many games on my list, Kirby's Adventure loses points for just being too damn easy.
#27) Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
While it is still indubitably a Metroid game, Prime 3 is where the series began its "less exploration, more cutscenes" policy. It wasn't bad enough to ruin the game, but it was bad enough to make me place it over ten places lower than its predecessors. A pity, since it really could've been the best Prime game, with its perfect controls, lore scans that you just have to read each and every one of, and bosses that are perhaps the third-best in the series. (That's a much bigger compliment than it sounds)
#26) Sonic CD (Listing every platform would take half a day)
For some reason, every Sonic fan I run into thinks this is either the best Sonic game ever, or one of the worst. To the first group, I point out the lackluster soundtrack and the weird physics. And to the second group, I say nothing, because if they can't appreciate the excellent level design and special stages, or the inventive time travel mechanic which is sure to make every playthrough unique, they're obviously not capable of thinking properly.
#25) Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2/PC/Xbox)
It's funny. Many gamers of my age utterly dismiss games that they could possible enjoy just because their self-consciousness about their own masculinity prevents them from enjoying anything that doesn't have coarse language and excessive amounts of virtual intestines continuously splattering across the screen. But I dismissed this game for years because it had those two things.
I don't shy away from violence or swearing; I've been foulmouthed and into action movies since kindergarten. It was just that every 18-rated game I'd played before Vice City had been a shallow turd with gameplay as an afterthought, and the "edgy" subject matter (Oooooh, guns and drugs!) as the main attraction. Including GTA III. So what the Hell was I supposed to expect? Certainly not well-written (and completely skippable) dialogue, an interesting cast of characters, an even more interesting setting, a great (albeit completely licensed) soundtrack, and good controls even outside the vehicle. But that's exactly what Vice City has to offer. Well, that and ethnic stereotypes and Scarface worship. (Sorry, old habits die hard)
#24) Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (PS2)
I don't always like 3D platformers, but when I do, chances are they have a huge-ass arsenal of delectably destructive weaponry.
#23) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES/GBA/Wii)
A Link to the Past is great. The grass is also green and homosexuals are gay. I should be sorting out my fucked up sleep pattern right now, not doing this.
#22) Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
Not much to say about this game. You drive around a track with annoyingly upbeat BGM on a bike, (unless you're stupid and use karts) throwing banana peels and turtle shells at other racers. It's simple. It's chaotic. It's hella fun.
#21) Sonic the Hedgehog (Everything. Sega likes to re-release shit)
Branching paths. Power-ups. Hidden items. Dangerous enemies. Special stages that cause seizures in little children. Sonic the Hedgehog has everything you want in a platformer. And then there are the little things, like standstill animations and the debug mode. It's not as good as its immediate sequel, or the two games that followed, but the original is somehow... Purer. No foxes, no echidnas, no retarded cats or fwuffy wabbits. Just a hedgehog and a sadistic scientist.
I still instinctively press 'Down' and tap 'Jump' at the start of the stage every now and then, though.
#20) Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
This right here is my favorite thing to ever come out of the 3D platformer genre. It's funny and action-packed, controls like a charm, has even more ridiculously disproportionate weapons than the first two... Hell, even the 2D Captain Qwark mini-game and the shoehorned multiplayer mode are fun. If it were as long as Going Commando, it would break the top 10 in a second.
#19) Super Castlevania IV (SNES/Wii)
Remember when Castlevania games... Hell, any games had music like this? I don't, because I wasn't alive back then.
Thank God for the Virtual Console.
#18) Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (GEN/PC/DS/Wii/X360/PS3)
What it lacks in the amount of Zones, Sonic 3 makes up in level length and complexity. Marble Garden, Carnival Night and Launch Base are just huge compared to every Zone seen before in the series. (Except for maybe some stages in Sonic CD) Furthermore, the special stages don't make me nauseous or swear profusely at my sidekick, which is nice.
#17) Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
It's a 2D platformer, and a well-made one at that. Frankly, I was beginning to think such things had ceased to exist.
Sure, classic controller support wouldn't have gone unappreciated, the loading times didn't do good for the momentum of the game, and extra lives were handed out a bit too generously. (Despite the game's difficulty, I don't think I ever fell below fifty lives) But the exquisite level design, irreproachable controls, and the sheer amount of content, replay value and Retro's usual unlockable concept art, music and whatnot outshine those flaws like Diane Kruger beside Rosie O'Donnell.
I wonder if Retro will ever make a bad game. (And don't give me that Metroid Prime 2 bullshit, that game's still coming up on my list)
#16) Super Mario World (SNES/GBA/Wii)
This pretty much sums it up.
#15) Minecraft (PC)
It's more immersive than most adventure games. It's scarier than most horror games. It satiates your creative appetite better than a box full of Lego blocks. And if you're okay with playing just for the sake of playing, without trying to accomplish a specific end goal, it might possibly have more replay value than any other game on God's green earth.
#14) Sonic & Knuckles (GEN/SAT/GCN/PS2/Xbox/Wii/X360)
Aside from the anticlimactic battle with the second titular character, this game is just great. Through and through, from top to bottom. Nothing stands out because everything stands out.
#13) Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GCN/Wii)
Black sheep, my ass. This game has everything a Metroid game should have. Difficulty, mood-setting music, giNORMOUS bosses, and tension in spades. It's also nice that you actually have to conserve ammunition and switch between weapons instead of just mowing through everything with the Plasma Beam. On some days, I might even say I like it more than the original. But those are days when I don't remember that grueling scavenger hunt near the end, and they are not common.
#12) World of Warcraft (PC)
I have a love-hate relationship with many games on my list, such as the ridiculously fun Kirby's Adventure, which excels in every aspect except the difficulty, or Metroid Prime 3, which is beautiful, interesting and controls like a charm, but is hindered by the story that is pushed on your face, (relative) linearity and the lack of fluid exploration. They have me alternating between singing their praises and cursing profusely at them.
But no game on my list does it more than World of Warcraft.
I positively loathe the game for reducing more interesting three-dimensional characters than I can count into DBZ-esque Mary/Marty Sues or utterly shallow raid bosses who get killed by 10 or 25 ragtag no-names and are then utterly forgotten about. The Dungeon and Raid Finder features could also use a lot of refinements.
But it's still an incredibly intricate virtual world that you can just lose yourself in for longer than what's healthy. Successfully taking down a raid boss and collecting the spoils of your victory is as gratifying as ever, many of the quests introduced in Cataclysm are fun and inventive, and if you're capable of blocking out the occasional somewhat frequent ever-present annoying twats, PvP Battlegrounds can be a real blast.
#11) Resident Evil 4 (GCN/PS2/Wii)
I never truly grasped the concept of "satisfaction" until I bought Resident Evil 4 and blasted the first oncoming motherfucker straight in the face.
#10) Crash Team Racing (PS/PS3)
I'm not the biggest fan of the fifth generation of video games, (a fact which I have broadcasted on numerous occasions over the course of this list) but there is a handful of games from that period that I still enjoy, namely most of Naughty Dog's output.
CTR contains some (Oh, who am I kidding?) most of the most memorable and well-designed tracks in genre history. It's excellently balanced, infinitely replayable, and it has the best controls of any kart racer I've played in my life. (And the game was made in an era where awkward controls were the norm, no less)
Maybe I'm looking though rose-tinted glasses. But over the years, I've grown to hate just about every other game I grew up with, so I don't think it's just simple nostalgia.
#9) Super Mario Bros. (NES/SNES/GBC/GBA/Wii)
#8) Metal Slug X (NG/PS2/PSP/Wii)
Aliens. Slapstick humor. Mummies. Hilarious Engrish. Fat people. Invigorating music. Half-naked men with flamethrowers in their pants.
2D shoot 'em up perfection.
I love the living shit out of this game.
#7) Metroid Prime (GCN/Wii)
Ugh, the closer we get to the end of this list, the harder it becomes to articulate my feelings about these games. Without sounding like a total cliché, at least.
#6) Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES/SNES/GBA/Wii)
Super Mario Bros. 3 is the benchmark that all platformers should strive to meet. It is mechanically perfect, and design flaws are few and far between. It is positively rife with secrets, branching paths and power-ups. It is the physical manifestation of FUN, and it is head and shoulders above everything in its genre.
#5) Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Wii
I'm completely fine with everyone playing the game the way they want to, but it's just tiring when I have to deal with all that Melee-worshipping tourneyfag bullshit every time I mention Brawl on a message board. (or at least on the two other ones I frequented)
Brawl was not meant to be a competitive fighter. If you want to try and turn it into one, that's fine, but don't pan the game because it is not something it was never meant to be. Nay, it was meant to be the most fun you can have with three other people on a couch, and that's exactly what it is.
#4) Metal Slug 3 (NG/PS2/Xbox/Wii/PSP/X360)
Even if I were the most composed, rational and articulate man on the planet, I would still end up sounding like a mental patient if I tried to write a serious description about this game. It's just marvelous. I'll leave it at that.
#3) Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Seriously Sega, cut down on the compilations)
Remember when I said Super Mario Bros. 3 was head and shoulders above every other game in its genre? I lied.
This is how you make a sequel. Improve the controls, physics and the gameplay in general without messing with the fundamentals, add more content, and just generally improve upon just about every imaginable aspect of the preceding game. This game is the finest piece of platforming paradise I have played in my life, and I'm willing to fight tooth and nail with anyone who tries to convince me otherwise.
Think I'm blinded by nostalgia? I had never even played this game until 2009.
#2) Super Metroid (SNES/Wii)
Super Metroid is like fine wine. It is just insusceptible to aging. Almost every other 16 or 8-bit game on my list could benefit from modern technology in some way, shape or form, but Super Metroid is just perfect as it is. Not one thing wrong with it. Well, alright, an option to skip the monologue at the beginning of the game would be nice, but nothing else!
Over the course of the two and a half years I have owned this game, I've completed this game close to twenty times. Sometimes in barely over an hour, sometimes not until I've explored every nook and cranny in the entire game.
On many days, it is my favorite game of all time. Just not on the day I made this list.
#1) Warcraft III (PC)
I have sunk more hours into this game than entire franchises that have been around since before I was born. Hell, I've spent more time clicking units for amusing responses ("Why don't you lead an army instead of touching me?") than playing some other games. And that's excluding all the time I've spent playing custom maps on Battle.net. (The amount of hours I've spent on Battle.net alone is a four-digit number) Playing through the campaign has pretty much been an annual tradition for me for the past eight years.
I love the RPG elements, I love the fleshed out game world, I love about a dozen other things about Warcraft III, but listing them all would might get a bit redundant. (Plus it's 1:30 in the morning and I really need to get my sleep pattern under control) It's not flawless like Super Metroid; off the top of my head, I could name seven things I don't like about it. But if I had to pick one game to play until the coming of the Four Horsemen, it would hardly be a contest.