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Spoony's Top 100 Games, #100-91

Just as the name implies, this is a top 100 of my personal favorite games of all time.  Keep in mind that this list is my opinion and no-one else's, so if you don't agree with an included game or where it's placed... I honestly don't care!

100. River City Ransom (Technos, 1989)

A definite NES cult classic, River City Ransom was a side--scrolling beat-em-up (part of the legendary Kunio franchise) that expertly blended in RPG elements to create a memorable experience.  Rather open-world too, as you could freely wander around between objectives to seek out enemies to battle for cash, which in turn could be spent in shops.  Buying food items would generally bolster your stats (and some could also be taken 'to go' and used in the field when you  needed a quick health boost), while buying skill books would let you unlock new moves, from triple-punches and kicks to turning thrown enemies into deadly projectiles that travel all the way across the screen. Innovative, hilarious and fun, as well as one of the best NES co-op titles there is. 

99. Battletoads (Rare, 1991)

An ever-controversial NES game for its sheer insane difficulty, but unlike many others on the system, it gets an inordinate amount of flak for that.  But if you can look past that and appreciate the game itself, you have a brilliantly-crafted experience.  While it at first presents itself as a beat-em-up, no two levels at all feel the same - from rappelling down a giant hole and dodging traps to surfing down a river to the fast-paced (and notorious) Turbo Tunnel, the game is a challenging series of obstacle courses that require a lot of memorization and twitch skill to complete, but all are very well-made and feature some downright jaw-dropping visuals for the NES.  Not to mention when you finally get to the end and trounce the Dark Queen, you feel like a king for what you've accomplished.  I'm not sure why games like Ninja Gaiden get a free pass for their ridiculous difficulty and this one doesn't, but regardless, Battletoads was fun back then and I still love it today.

98. Contra (Konami, 1988)

Ask any NES fan what one of their favorite games growing up was and Contra is almost certain to be on that list. Because honestly, there is no denying that this game kicks ass. Two players running around blowing up aliens and traversing a variety of clever stages including climbing up a waterfall, evading bombs tossed in from the background on a snowy field, and even wandering inside a giant alien's guts to destroy its beating heart? What's not to love about that? Well, the difficulty, perhaps, since you're given only three lives and two continues. But it's not even that much of a bother since the controls and mechanics in the game are so solid; you just have to get some practice in and you can beat the game with little trouble.

97. Lunar: Silver Star Story (Game Arts/Japan Art Media, 1999)

A remake of the brilliant Sega CD RPG, Lunar sported colorful graphics, impeccable design, a fantastic soundtrack and animation and voice acting on par with that of a big budget animated movie.  Not only was it voice acted, but the FMV scenes were fully animated, hand drawn and gorgeous to behold, even sporting some song numbers that rival many of the memorable Disney films in quality.  Pair that up with some brilliantly written characters, impeccable dialog and some very challenging gameplay and you have a truly unforgettable experience.  An absolute classic RPG that remains wonderful and charming even to this day.

96.  Rocket Knight Adventures (Konami, 1993)

Mascot platformers were a bit of a fad in the 90s, with every company wanting to create their own Sonic the Hedgehog in order to capitalize on his runaway success.  Most attempts were mediocre to outright terrible, but Konami's take outshined even its source material.  That was Rocket Knight Adventures, starring an opossum with a jetpack taking on an army of pigs who wielded giant robots and war machines aplenty.  It also perfectly highlighted the capabilities of the Genesis with its colorful visuals, fluid animations and fast-paced battles, particularly near the end of the game, as well as an excellent soundtrack that highlighted that the Genesis could easily hold its own against the SNES.  The only letdown is that none of its sequels were anywhere near as good as the original game...

9. Star Fox 64 (Nintendo, 1997)

A great many fans ended up disappointed when Star Fox 2 was cancelled.  Understandable, as the game looked fantastic, expanding on the original in every way imaginable and featuring some downright amazing 3D graphics on the SNES (which, as stated, was not designed with 3D graphics in mind at all).  Well, Nintendo somewhat made it up to us with Star Fox 64, a solid remake of the original game featuring a voice acted narrative (with actual voice acting, not garbled gibberish), sharp graphics, gigantic bosses, clever stage designs and numerous stage routes that gave the game some substantial replay value.  There were even two new controllable vehicles in the form of the Landmaster Tank and the Blue Marine sub, which were pretty cool but sadly limited to specific stages.   All in all, though, we have a solid entertaining game that's fun to try and get a high score on.  It was also the first game that touted the use of the "Rumble Pak", the device that introduced proper force feedback to gaming and would shake your controller whenever you took an especially big hit.  Every game console since has incorporated that into their controllers in some form or another, so it was a pretty big deal at the time.

94. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Intelligent Systems, 2004)

It may be sacrilege to some, but I honestly think the second Paper Mario game holds up better than Super Mario RPG (and make no mistake, I love Mario RPG).  The N64 original was just okay and most of the ones that followed were pretty forgettable, but this game goes all-in, putting a 2D Mario into a 3d picture book world and taking advantage of the concept in every way it can - unfolding parts of the terrain to reveal new paths, having Mario transform into a paper airplane or a boat to reach new areas, and of course having some impressive and fluid design with hundreds of sprites onscreen at a time.  It takes the minigame-driven combat of SMRPG a step further too - not just for timed button presses, but shooting minigames, filling bars, spinning the control stick, et cetera all tie in, and doing well with all of them will fill up the audience, which in turn lets you unleash more powerful attacks (and occasionally they try to sabotage you too, so be wary of that).  Fun, charming and with a kickass soundtrack, TTYD is an amazing game that deserves another shot.

93. Marvel VS Capcom: Clash of Heroes (Capcom, 1998)

An arcade game I must have sunk well over $50 into during a class field trip, and I don't regret it one bit as this game is just as fun now as it was then. The incredible presentation and visuals (including some clever interactive stages), plethora of hidden characters, amazing soundtrack and intense gameplay are all honed to perfection here, and of course it features the star of one of my favorite franchises of all time (Mega Man) as a playable character, which was a huge plus. It may be largely overshadowed by its sequels, but to me, the original Marvel VS Capcom is over-the-top fun at its most pure.

92. Ikenfell (Happy Ray Games, 2020)

RPGs are a notoriously difficult and time-consuming genre to develop, which is why well-made indie RPGs are pretty rare, but something I greatly enjoy when they're done well.  Ikenfell definitely fits the bill, with, some low-resolution but surprisingly expressive and well-animated sprites, some wonderful music (by the two who composed for the show Steven Universe, so they definitely know what they're doing) and a very charming cast of well-written characters.  Its gameplay is nothing especially groundbreaking (working in the timed button presses of Super Mario RPG and some light grid-based combat tactics), but serviceable and fun, and it's just the right length that it remains fun throughout and never wears out its welcome.  A delightful experience from start to finish.

91. Tetris (Alexei Pajitnov, 1984+)

Tetris had its beginnings all the way back in 1984 for the Electronika 60, and its popularity was (and still is) such that it's gotten numerous updates, ports, rereleases and remakes across just about every platform imaginable.  There's no shortage of variants and great licensed versions out there - the Game Boy version that launched that platform to massive success, the somewhat-notorious Tengen version for NES, Tetris 2 + Bombliss for the Famicom, the ultra-difficult Tetris the Grandmaster trilogy for arcades, or even adding Puyo Puyo into the mix with Puyo Puyo Tetris.  No matter which you choose, though, Tetris is the most successful video game franchise of all time for good reason - it's sheer addictive fun.