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1/17/2016

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. Battletoads (Rare, 1991)


Battletoads is a name that brings back fond gaming memories and thoughts of dread in roughly equal measure.  On one hand, it is a game known for being fun, well designed and having fantastic visual effects and music for the NES. On the other, it's punishingly difficult. A majority of the game is taken up by obstacle courses that traveled at mile-a-minute speeds and required lightning reflexes to make it through, and one mistake usually resulted in your death and sent you back to the previous checkpoint. Even the two player mode didn't help much with this, as one player's death on an obstacle course would end the attempt for both, and if one person lost all their lives, both would be booted to the continue screen and have to restart the level - questionable programming, to be sure. But as a single player game, it was a great challenge and exceptionally fun once you were used to its special brand of sadism, and hey, if you could actually beat it in one go, even with the lives code, you were the man.


99. Street Fighter II and its many, many revisions (Capcom, 1991+)


The quintessential 2D fighter, it was quite a sight to behold for 1991 - smooth controls, huge sprites with fluid animation, detailed backdrops, and a cast of characters with unique moves and tons of personality; it's little wonder it was such a heavily-copied game in the '90s and continues to get ports and remakes even into modern day.  Sure, later games in the genre have leagues more characters, features and mechanics, but Street Fighter II is a game I can pick up any version of at any time and have a few minutes of fun with.  Just a pure classic in every sense of the word.


98. Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (Chunsoft, 1992)

Dragon Quest was never exactly a huge name in the west, but it still had a substantial following; not enough to get Enix to localize its two entries on the Super Famicom, however, which is a shame as its fifth entry is considered one of the best games in the franchise (and even the series' creator, Yuji Horii, has said it's his favorite).  It certainly upends quite a few popular tropes - you're not the chosen hero of the story, but rather spend a good chunk of it searching for them, and it incorporates passage of time and multiple generations into its narrative, which is something still relatively few games attempt.  It even incorporates a bit of Bard's Tale or Shin Megami Tensei into its design by letting you recruit monsters to your party, who can level up over time and become quite formidable allies themselves.  A surprisingly ambitious and unusually dark entry in a series that normally prides itself so heavily on adhering to tradition.


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...


95. 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.