ScrewAttack's Top 20 Games You Must Play #10-6!
Well, we're almost done. And by that, I mean I'm almost done. This fucker clocks in at around 26 pages in Word on 10 point font, if you're wondering how much I've done here. Of course, before we can get finished with the top five, we need to get through the bottom of the top ten. So, what made it this time?
10. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
You all had to know we would be seeing this game. A Link to the Past is commonly considered one of the greatest Zelda games ever created, certainly the best among the 2D Zeldas by most people's views. But what makes this game so special? Well, mainly how massive a leap the game is compared to the two that came before it. The original Legend of Zelda could fit on a phone by today's standards and Link's Adventure was iffy, to say the least. A Link to the Past is the game that every single 2D Zelda looked to and every 3D Zelda took notes from. A Link to the Past is the defining game for the entire Zelda series, one of the most influential series of games ever created, inspiring tons of amazing titles across all generations Nintendo has been around.
A Link to the Past took all that worked with the original game and ELECTRIFIED THEM via the power of the Super Nintendo. The story had dialog and weight to it that the original just couldn't create and the graphics still look great today, standing the test of time with a very lovely art style. Ultimately it's the game itself that sets it apart, thanks to a massive amount of items to use and plenty of bosses that allow you to use as many as possible. It's one of the better designed Zeldas and also one of the most involving. You know that one good thing about Twilight Princess, aka the Twilight Realm? They stole that idea from this game. BTW I really don't like Twilight Princess send me a message about how much I suck at the following webzone; www.iamafatidiotanddarksidedoesntcare@AOL.edu.
The gimmick for this game is that Link can travel between two parallel worlds, the light world of Hyrule and a dark world where Ganon won the day and everything went to complete terrible, to put it DARKLY LOL. From a narrative standpoint, this works amazingly well, creating a new motivation to save Hyrule, showing what can ultimately happen to it if you fail. It also allowed for some interesting puzzles that have become more mainstream in games in recent years. It's nearly perfect in design and came with fresh ideas to bring Zelda into a new generation. We owe A Link to the Past a lot of thanks for all it has inspired.
Thoughts from other g1s:
I am sure this will be on there but here is why for me. It had perfect controls. Well balanced and times approach to getting each additional item or power unlocked so the games difficulty and pacing never felt too hard or too easy. A great story that truly brings the world of Hyrule to life in a way the NES never could. A superb soundtrack. Long hours of gameplay to complete. This cart is worth the investment and remains my favourite Zelda game to date.
Quite literally, TWICE the game of it's NES counterpart. LoZ was one of the greatest games ever made. Link to the Past said, "double it." I still don't understand why this game doesn't get more love. As much as I like Ocarina of Time, link to the past is just a more epic and fun game.
9. Cave Story
Cave Story is one of the crowing jewels of the indie scene. The amount of success its had is outstanding, and all due to a single person, Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya. See, this guy made a massive game over the span of five years in just his spare time. The result is a very personal and strange game that pays homage to the golden age of gaming and is entirely the vision of a single creative mind. It's been ported and remade on nearly everything at this point, and for good reason. Nobody would be talking about it if not for the fact that the game is great, fantastic even. This is the sort of game every indie developer wants to make, an entirely personal project of high quality that manages incredible success. It earned its spot with ease.
The story of the game is bizarre, putting you in the shoes of a robot who doesn't remember who or where he is, only to slowly discover that he's in a mysterious cave and an evil scientist simply named The Doctor is trying to use the innocent creatures of this underground world to start a war on the surface. All of that is only the barebones, the rest is populated with a rich and never seen before mythology and likable characters that the game is not afraid to make suffer. It really manages to get you right in the gut at times, but there's always a window open to change things for the better if you're willing.
Of course, then you just have to survive the game itself, which is incredibly difficult. It plays like an old school Metroid with a power up system similar to shoot 'em ups or bullet hells. The controls are fluid and killing enemies is satisfying, while the platforming is tight and enjoyable. All the while, you're subjected to a mythical blend of bit art styles and the oddly beautiful mind of Pixel, resulting in an unforgettable experience. There's not a game that's quite like the whole of Cave Story, which is pretty impressive for a freeware title. Absolutely breathtaking in its ambition and just how much of that ambition it accomplished.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Few stories in video games have made me care about the characters involved like this one has. And that story is backed up with the perfect art, music, weapons, area designs, controls, and gameplay. And when I say "perfect," I mean exactly that.
Even though it has been many years since the game was first released as a free-ware game by one Japanese nerd, Cave Story still manages to stand as probably the best indie game of all time. Excellent story telling with likable and understandable characters, superb gameplay, awesome music, beautiful design, it manages to pretty much to everything you could want from a game that was made by ONE. SINGLE. PERSON. Dude even translated the thing on his own and made ports, jeebus christ.
8. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask/Shadow of the Colossus/Super Mario World
Ladies and gentlemen, the last tie on the list, and it's a weird one! One of these things is not like the other, one of these things punishes you for doing what it tells you to! Somehow, the most morbid Zelda and one hell of a depressing experience got put together with a fat Italian plumber. That's odd, to say the least. That said, all three games are fully deserving of a spot here, just Majora and Colossus for vastly different reasons than Mario.
Majora's Mask is one of the most creative games in the Zelda canon, using time travel has a major mechanic and telling a story with a nearly unseen amount of subtlety. There's a surprising amount of maturity to it all, hinting at larger concepts and dark themes at every turn, mainly dealing with the ideas of loss, grief and suffering. What makes Majora's Mask stand out so much is that it doesn't rub the message in your face, just giving tiny nods here and there to its larger message. Majora's Mask can best be described as a Zelda game that took from Tim Burton's good work and storybook style, making a morbid, yet hopeful, experience that manages to get under your skin.
Shadow of the Colossus deals with similar themes to Majora's Mask, but with a massive coat of moral ambiguity and beautiful emptiness to leave you in your thoughts. SotC is usually the first game used in the defense of games in that old games as art argument, and for good reason. The story presented is bare minimum, but the end result is usually deeply haunting. Of course, the game is also a blast, presenting a ton of giant bosses to try and figure out and defeat, each different from the last and bringing a new experience with them. The score only helps to punctuate the magnitude of the encounters, and the ending leaves on a very dark but brilliant note. Describing the game any further would just ruin it a bit, it needs to be experienced.
That leaves Super Mario World, which is simply put upon as one of the best Mario games ever made. This was Mario's first go on the Super Nintendo, and it outright told every other platformer of the era to step up their game and get on its level. Tons of areas to explore, a new spin jump move to change how you handle enemies and blocks, fantastic graphics, the addition of Yoshi and a whole new slew of power-ups. Super Mario World is one of the most complete of the 2D Mario games and has held the test of time with ease, some say that it even managed to get better. Super Mario World is the finest of wine among platformers.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Ferret75 [On Majora's Mask]
There are so many aspects of this game that demonstrate the high potentials of the video game medium that it would be impossible to list them all in a single paragraph. The environments are grandiose and largely varied, the story contains fleshed out characters with interactive paths and fates, there is a mood-evoking atmosphere which is dependent on the current time, the gameplay offers a really large exploration including mechanics such as the mask system, and the three day system allows for a world where the player's possible actions almost always have consequences. This is my favorite Legend of Zelda title of all time, and it perfectly combines the entertainment aspects of gaming with the atmospheric presentation of art titles. It's not only fun; it's an engaging experience.
TheLouzer [On Shadow of the Colossus]
A great example of how story can be told with limited dialogue. Also a great way to engage the player, as defeating each colossus makes you feel accomplished, like it was something YOU DID, rather than something you made a character on a screen do.
Jing412 [On Super Mario World]
If there's one series that can define the platformer genre it would be Mario. Super Mario World offers a great variety of levels and level design. While it starts off being pretty easy the game easily notches up the difficulty as you progress. With secret worlds to explore, and Yoshis to save, go play Super Mario World
7. Final Fantasy VI
Well, we all knew Final Fantasy would get a place on here, solely due to its name. It's the first game that comes up when you think about JRPGs for most, and while its influence has become almost nothing in the modern day, the classics of the series acted as the building blocks for every amazing JRPG of the modern day. Among all of these games, the strongest whole with one of the best casts in the series is easily Final Fantasy VI (and IX is a close second coughbiascough). Hell, it's my second favorite game in the main line of the series after IX (for the record, FFTA > All). I came in late, but it's honestly amazing how well this game has aged.
Our story follows a massive cast, mainly a young girl named Terra. A former brainwashed slave of an evil empire, a resistance group found her and saved her life, but quickly discovered that Terra herself has a connection with the magical creatures called Espers that the empire is trying to use for its own evil means. FFVI has aged well because it kept the plot and cast pretty simple and focused on making them likable instead, and they succeeded. Terra is one of my favorite female characters in the entire videogame medium for her arc from a timid victim to a strong woman trying to protect others in a rough world. The rest of the cast manages to stack up with strong personalities, the train-suplexing Sabin as the stand out. Even Kefka manages to add a bit of a spin on the evil clown character and accomplished what most FF villains never could.
The reason FFVI has stood out among its many fantastic peers is simple; personality. XII has a great plot but a tad wonky characters. VII has good characters but a very odd plot and VERY simplistic minor villains. IV had yet to really get down proper writing and pacing for the period it was released and X is a few major plot holes from reaching greatness. The result is the personality of each game feels a bit off, FFVII presenting serious themes with the usual lighthearted cast or XII forgetting to properly develop most of the cast for the sake of the plot. VI keeps a perfect balance and centralizes everything on its large main cast, their lows and their highs. You see them all start out as individuals with their own grief and baggage, only to watch them come together and work for each other's happiness and the good of the world. It's a simple story, but FFVI told it best among its era and made an emotional connection with the audience that has not been forgotten. It's basically the Star Wars of JRPGs. And FFXIII would be the prequels HI-OH!
Thoughts from other g1s:
The greatest Final Fantasy game and just overall one of the best games ever! A must play for all RPG fans out there. Pushing the Super Nintendo hardware to it's limits in every way: making full use of mode 7and the 8 channels of sound have not been more apparent than the opera scene. People might find the random encounters tedious and the 50-60 hour journey too long, but it is worth every minute. This game is just, a masterpiece. Yes, it is even better than Chrono Trigger in my opinion.
What can be said about this game that hasn't been said a thousand times over? It's the quintessential 16-bit masterpiece and the pinnacle of RPGs during its Golden Age. That good enough? No? Well I don't care, pick this one us NOW!
6. Super Mario Galaxy
GOD DMAN IT MARIO, GIVE PAC-MAN A CHANCE! The Italian plumber really has some staying power, and for good reason. Mario basically saved console gaming, the fat meatball has also managed to stay with the times with only mechanics and keeping the same design and style the whole way. Super Mario Galaxy is pretty much the magnum opus of the modern 3D Mario platformer, perfecting every system and move while adding a new style of play with some truly beautiful cosmic playgrounds. But really, it's simply the gameplay itself that makes this a masterpiece among games of any kind, polished to perfection.
Super Mario Galaxy has the same story of every Mario game BUT IN SPACE!!1!11!!!1111 and ends up with our fat friend hoping around planets and moons. The newest mechanics are brought in with motion controls, such as collecting star bits to use as stunning weapons or controlling gravity itself and going where no Bronx born blue collar has ever gone before. The result is a trippy, gravity redefining experience that takes the foundations of the Mario series and make them brand new again. The amazing part is just how well its all put together, carrying that high level of gameplay quality the Mario series has always tried to strive for.
Games like Super Mario Galaxy prove why Mario has been around for so long and only manages to get better. You can hate him all you want, but the amount of shine his games have at their best result in absolute classics that age with near perfect grace. He's relevant because he can prove he's still relevant. Where most series would just be satisfied living on past success, Mario innovates. You know, until every Mario game after this game, where they recycled the exact same games over and over for easy money and casualized them to a difficulty level a baby could play. Okay, you can go back to complaining about Mario now.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Few games come this close to perfection in their genre, but Galaxy turns 3D platforming completely on its head. Not only with its gravity mechanics, but its unbelievable level design (there's more creativity in 1 level than in entire game), tight controls, and gorgeous graphics (well, by Wii standards), this is a game that you must play, no matter what.
Of all the Mario games I've played Galaxy is my favorite. The game has excellent worlds to explore, a great soundtrack, sweet graphics, and the great controls that almost every Mario games has. Plus the game doesn't use motion controls very much. The game is also part of the Nintendo Selects Wii games so you can get it fairly cheap.
It's been a long go, but there's only five games left. I promise, you won't be disappointed with what's coming. Stay tuned.