89. Gunstar Heroes (Treasure, 1993)
90. DOOM (Id Software, 1993)
DOOM was an amazing title at the time of its release for its realistic 3D environments, fast-paced action and varied gameplay, combining elements of puzzle-solving with run and gun action against hordes of enemies. But when you added on online deathmatches and the ability to create custom maps, the game's replay value rocketed through the roof, and even today it remains an incredibly fun experience, spawning hundreds of thousands of custom maps and countless player mods that remix the experience into something completely new. Surpassed in technology but still unmatched in gameplay, DOOM is a truly immortal game.
The debut title of Treasure (an independent company spun-off from industry giant Konami) and still one of their finest titles, showing the world that "blast processing
" wasn't just a marketing gimmick and that the Sega Genesis most definitely could tread ground that the SNES couldn't by providing incredibly fluid animation and fast-paced gameplay that its competitor simply could not match. All that and it was a pretty damn fun game too, having one or two players combine four different weapon types in any way they pleased (resulting in things like steerable firewalls, homing lasers and a short ranged beam of lightning) and blasting their way through hordes of enemies and countless over-the-top boss battles. This really was a game that made even the most die-hard of Nintendo fans just a little
green with envy, whether they admitted it or not.
89. Astro Boy: Omega Factor (Treasure/Hitmaker, 2004)
Not only my favorite Game Boy Advance game of all time, but one of the finest from the Sega, Hitmaker and Treasure camps to boot, Astro Boy is a great experience all around. Combining numerous Osamu Tezuka characters into one enormous storyline, as well as several different gameplay styles (beat-em-up and scrolling shooter being the most prominent), Astro Boy is also a very challenging game. But the real genius of it all is in its implementation - by finding characters, Astro Boy's "Omega Factor" develops, unlocking new abilities and upgrades. A pretty clever way to explore the universe of Osamu Tezuka (which you really should anyway; the guy is a legend).
87. Slay the Spire (Megacrit, 2019)
A relatively novel blend of elements, Slay the Spire is one part deck-building card game and one part roguelike, melded together quite expertly. Building your deck, thinning out your less-useful cards and acquiring various Relics to bolster your abilities (doing everything from restoring HP after battle to damaging enemies every few cards you play) become just as much of a focus as clearing out foes. As you proceed up floors, defeating progressively tougher enemies, you also get a slew of randomized events - campfires to rest and regain HP or upgrade a single card in your deck, shops, and all manner of random events that can help or hinder you. Tough and unpredictable as any good roguelike, but with enough of a strategic bent that encourages experimentation and gives it a ton of replayability.
86. Resident Evil: Village (Capcom, 2021)
Resident Evil is a franchise that's definitely had its ups and downs over the years, but with a resurgence that brought us the amazing VII, an excellent remake of 2 and a not-quite-excellent-but-still-solid remake of 3, everyone was excited for what would come next. The answer was Village, and it frankly blew me away. The game masterfully works in all things Resident Evil, from the slower-paced segments with a focus on puzzle solving and evading danger to the over-the-top boss fights, treasure hunting and inventory-upgrade system of 4, and the game looks absolutely stellar - virtually photorealistic. It's also the first game in a very long time that genuinely creeped me out on several occasions, building a brilliantly unsettling atmosphere and a true sense of dread. It's the best RE I've played in over fifteen years, and that's saying a lot considering how amazing the games that came before it were.
85. 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...
84. Streets of Rage 2 (Sega AM7/Ancient, 1992)
Streets of Rage 2 is considered by many to be the greatest beat-em-up ever made. I don't know if I quite agree with that, but there's no denying that it is a very worthwhile addition to the genre. Take the usual beat-em-up formula, add in a huge variety of crazy enemies (including robots, jetpack guys and ninjas), and complete the package with challenging gameplay, detailed and well animated characters, and a fantastic soundtrack that pushed the Sega Genesis platform to its limits thanks to composer Yuzo Koshiro, and you've got one hell of a good time. A game which truly highlight Sega and the Genesis platform at their best in every respect.
83. 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 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 weapons, 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.
82. Resident Evil 4 (Capcom, 2005)
81. Maniac Mansion (Lucasfilm Games, 1987)
Admittedly, I've never been much for horror games, survival ones in particular; their attempts to be intense and scary mostly just come off as contrived and their gameplay is so one-note and slow that they generally bore me straight to sleep. But Resident Evil 4 is definitely an exception, taking the puzzle-based gameplay of the earlier entries and kicking the action up to eleven. The slow, lurching hordes of enemies, satisfying gun and melee combat make the action both tense and extremely satisfying, and some grotesque boss monsters add variety to the proceedings too. That, plus some extra campaign content and the ever-fun Mercenaries mode, make it a game that simply never gets old to play. It may be a divisive entry among long-time franchise fans, but regardless, it's a game you can start up at any time and have a blast playing.
Point-and-click adventure games were a pretty huge genre in the 80s, but began to fall off around the time the mid 90's rolled around. Solving puzzles and following their storylines was fun, but once you'd figured out all the puzzles and gotten to the end, that was basically it; the game wouldn't be any different the next time through. Maniac Mansion is definitely an exception, though, letting the player pick a team of three characters (Dave and two others), each with their own talents and ways to bypass certain obstacles, which in turn lent itself to eleven different endings. That, plus a consistently hilarious sense of humor, a lack of cheap deaths (you can still get characters killed, but it generally requires doing something really
dumb) and a lot of nods to cheesy horror movies the tropes thereof, made Maniac Mansion a great time that's still fun today.