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Spoony's Top 100 Games, #90-81

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.

89. Gunstar Heroes (Treasure, 1993)

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.

88. Shantae: Half Genie Hero (WayForward, Wii U/PS4/Vita/Xbox One/PC)

Shantae is a wonderful and charming series with a fun cast of characters, a strong sense of humor and polished metroidvania style gameplay.  Half-Genie Hero revamps the format into something slightly more akin to Mega Man, having a relatively linear, stage-based format but granting the player new powers each time they complete a stage, which in turn allows them to revisit previous levels to find new secrets, greatly improving the overall feel and pace of the game.  Then you add in some stellar music and fluid, gorgeous 2D animation, and you have my favorite game of the series by far.

87. Resident Evil: Village (Capcom, 2021)

Resident Evil Village might just be its best entry yet.  Taking the first person perspective of 7, the action bent of 4, the focus on resource management, puzzles and secrets from the older games and some amazing visuals to cap it all off, Village becomes a genuinely enthralling, unsettling and intense experience.  Each segment of the game is a significant change in both horror style and gameplay, with some putting focus on combat, others on avoiding danger entirely, and others more slow and puzzle-based, but each is masterfully done and brings atmosphere in spades.  All of the setpieces and characters are a joy to interact with too, bringing just enough manic Sam Raimi energy to keep things fun but never overdoing it to the point of becoming farcical. Village is just pure, visceral fun from beginning to end, which is something gaming in general has really lacked lately; they're all too busy trying to win buy meaningless awards to bolster future sales rather than trying to be actually entertaining experiences.  But as long as we have companies like Capcom to keep a passion for genuine quality and substance alive to offset the zillions of games built around boring chore-list gameplay, I'll remain a gamer for experiences like Village. 

86. X-COM: UFO Defense (Mythos Games/Microprose Software, 1995)

Also released as "UFO: Enemy Unknown", UFO Defense served as the first game in the strategic simulation X-COM series. The game expertly combined elements of base building, turn-based combat and business sim as the player had to manage their limited resources, reverse-engineer alien technology and keep their squads well-equipped (and alive) enough to deal with escalating alien attacks across the globe, with their ultimate goal being to take the fight to the alien base on Mars and defeat their leader in a final assault.  It also found just the right blend of gameplay elements, providing plenty of depth and challenge while not overwhelming the player.  X-COM had a remarkably good multi-platform remake in 2012 (which had an incredible sequel a few years later), but the original is certainly nothing to sneeze at either.

85. 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.

84. Perfect Dark (Rare, 2000)

If Goldeneye broke new ground for the mission-driven shooter genre, then Perfect Dark took it to, well, perfection.  This was in no small part due to the addition of the Nintendo 64's Expansion Pak, which allowed for much more detailed visuals and voiceovers for many of the characters, not to mention much more threatening enemy AI.  Additionally, the futuristic setting also allows for all sorts of clever new gadgets like ricocheting "pinball grenades", laptop sentry guns, and submachine guns with automatic lock-on functionality.  That's all good, but like Goldeneye, the real draw is in its multiplayer, which adds in several new game modes as well as the ability to have up to eight computer-controlled "simulants" running around, making for some very intense and surprisingly strategic matches.  Everything about Perfect Dark is just pure fun.

83. Scorched Earth (Wendell Hicken, 1991)

While I never was a huge PC gamer, Scorched Earth is one of those games that really managed to captivate me.  Not only was it a fun title with its relatively simple premise (blow up all the other tanks) and its wide variety of weaponry and power-ups (from ground-tunneling warheads to enormous nukes to numerous homing systems), but the sheer amount of customization it offered was amazing.  Changing winds, lightning storms, destroyable terrain, air viscosity, walls that can be set to wrap around or reflect shots, and so forth.  Hell, the retail version even lets you scan in your own mountains than you can blow up during matches.  The game really could be customized to the last detail, and provides endless fun as a result, especially when you have friends to battle with.  The only real letdown is that it lacks online functionality.

82. Resident Evil 4 (Capcom, 2005)

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.

81.  Maniac Mansion (Lucasfilm Games, 1987)

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 and the tropes thereof, made Maniac Mansion a great time that's still fun today.