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1/17/2016

Spoony's Top 100 Games, #80-71

80. Tyrian 2000 (Eclipse Software, 2000)

I've never been a big fan of shmups, but Tyrian 2000 is definitely an exception, providing challenging gameplay with plenty of pop.  Drawing inspiration from the likes of R-Type and Zanac while introducing many elements of its own, Tyrian has a lot to offer.  In addition to a story mode that has you collecting points to purchase ship upgrades, there are other clever game modes like an Arcade mode that lets you collect powerups and input Street Fighter style moves to do special attacks, minigames like "Destruct" (an artillery combat game similar to Scorched Earth or Worms), plenty of alternate paths and hidden content and a strong sense of humor.  All in all, just a fun, kickass game for the PC platform; it's a pity Eclipse Software never made more games after this one.

79. Grandia II (Game Arts, 2000)


An overlooked RPG if there ever was one, though I can't blame people too much for that - its initial release was on the Dreamcast and the PS2 and PC ports that followed a couple years after left much to be desired.  However, I am glad it's getting more recognition in recent days, as Grandia II, like the others in the series, is a fantastic experience.  A darker tale than the first for sure, but it retains its innovative combat system that allowed turns to be delayed or cancelled entirely with well-placed attacks.  And of course, some excellent music and surprisingly good VO for the era add much to the experience as well.

78. Marvel VS Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (Capcom, 2000)


Even as someone who was blown away by the early Marvel-Capcom crossover games, Marvel VS Capcom 2 managed to impress me on a level no other fighter had (and few others have since).  With a roster of 56 playable characters, comprised of every character from previous crossover games and a handful of new ones, the same fast-paced gameplay that never misses a beat and teams of three (who can call in the other two characters to assist or chain Hyper Combos together for huge damage), the game is just a blast to play.  I'm not a huge fan of the bizarre CGI backgrounds or the strange light jazz soundtrack they got for this crazy crossover fight, but in terms of gameplay it's still among the best fighters ever made.

77. 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.

76. Final Fantasy VII (Squaresoft, 1997)


A divisive game among series fans, and while I have some mixed feelings about it myself, I can't deny that it's a game that made a huge impact, both on me and on gaming as a whole.  A cinematic experience with stunning visuals (for the time), amazing music, a wonderful central storyline and an amazing cast of characters; I'll never forget the complex, flawed protagonist Cloud, nor the chilling and wicked Sephiroth and his unsettling alien puppetmaster, Jenova.  The gameplay is a bit less well-polished, but consistently entertaining, and the integration of numerous minigames and sub-quests added a lot of variety to the experience.  It may have been followed by a plethora of mediocre spinoffs and knockoffs and  later entries in the series may have improved upon its design in numerous ways, but 7 will always hold a special place.

75. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (Playstation 4/PC, 2017)


Final Fantasy XII in its original form was kind of a mixed bag; while it had an amazing world to explore and some fantastic characters, its gameplay was rather dull, with little variety between the cast (especially as they all work off of the same skill pool) and an overall slow pace.  Zodiac Age addresses both of these by introducing something of a job system to the game, as well as having a fast forward feature and immediate access to new post-game content (in particular the ability to dual-class once a character's first class is maxed out).  A game that mixes the best elements of western CRPGs and Japanese RPGs together into one awesome package.

74. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Konami, 1997)


While it wasn't the first game in the franchise to utilize an open-world style of exploration (that being the relatively unpopular Castlevania II), Symphony of the Night was the game that took it to perfection.  Giving the player tons of options and abilities, as well as an enormous castle environment to explore, ensured that Symphony of the Night is a widely played game that still enjoys a massive cult following to this day.  While I never was a big fan of the Castlevania franchise, there's no denying that SOTN is a very worthwhile endeavor for the sheer amount of gameplay it offers - challenge runs, speedruns, or just casual playthroughs are all a blast in this one.  Oh, and it's got some really kickass visuals and music to boot.


73. Saturn Bomberman (Hudson Soft, 1997)


The greatest Bomberman game of all time, as well as one of the best multiplayer experiences ever made, for one simple reason: Ten way multiplayer.  Yes, up to ten players can leap into the fray and try to blow each other up with a plethora of powerups in an ever-closing arena full of fire and mayhem.  Granted, it'll cost you quite a bit to get that experience; a Sega Saturn, two Saturn multitaps, a copy of a rare and expensive game, and of course enough controllers to go around, but is it worth it to have an incredibly entertaining romp with nine friends?  You bet it is.



72. 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' MIDI capabilities.  The only letdown is that none of its sequels were anywhere near as good as the original game...

71. Unreal Tournament 2004 (Epic Games, 2004)

Unreal made a big splash in the 90s with its polished engine and stunning 3D visuals, and its spinoff franchise, Unreal Tournament, only continued its legacy with its fast-paced gameplay, a ton of crazy weapons to use and clever game modes like Capture the Flag, Mutant and Double Domination.  UT2004 continues the trend but adds vehicles and gun turrets into the chaos, building a new layer onto the gameplay without disrupting its balance.  All of that, plus modding support that allowed players to create custom maps, models and even game modes and basically tweak almost every aspect of the game to their own liking, make this an excellent experience both in multiplayer and solo play against bots that's still incredibly fun today.