Wednesday, July 17, 2013

SuperPhillip Central's Top 100 Games of All Time (40-31)

On June 5, SuperPhillip Central turned five years old. We're celebrating big the only way we know how, with a list of our favorite 100 games of all time. SuperPhillip Central's staff has come together to come up with this list. These don't necessarily have to be the best, but they are indeed our favorites. Coming up with an order for these games has been an immense challenge. We're sure you won't agree with our order-- heck, we don't even agree with our order. That said, we hope you'll at least agree with our picks, and if you don't, at least you can read our rationale for our choices. Regardless, for ten weeks, we will be counting down our favorite games of all time. Please join us for this great undertaking.

If you missed a previous edition of our countdown, look no further than these links:

Games of All Time (100-91)
Games of All Time (90-81)
Games of All Time (80-71)
Games of All Time (70-61)
Games of All Time (60-51)
Games of All Time (50-41)

Let's return to the countdown!

40) Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)


The most recent game to be released that is one this countdown, Animal Crossing: New Leaf turns from a video game into an addiction quite quickly. After hearing the criticism of City Folk (the Wii game) players that there were far too few changes to the Animal Crossing formula, the developers behind the game decided for a huge change in the form of becoming the mayor of town. This allowed you to create public works projects and enact ordinances for your town. The level of customization was one that hadn't been seen in an Animal Crossing game-- a series that already had plenty of customization options. Now players could alter the look of their house, create unique patterns that could be placed on clothing, signs or the ground, and even create custom-patterned furniture. We here at SuperPhillip Central have already clocked a total of 160 hours to New Leaf in the span of one month and one week. To say Animal Crossing: New Leaf has become an addiction isn't too far off. Be forewarned before you play or you could end up like us!

39) God of War (PS2)


It's amazing how we enjoy a series whose main protagonist is a some male adolescent power fantasy come to life in virtual form. Kratos may be a total jerk who is hard to like, but his games are anything but hard to like. While not our absolute favorite God of War game, the original God of War was an epic roller coaster of a ride, all beginning with Kratos leaping from boat to boat being rocked back and forth by the choppy sea waves while having to deal with the multi-headed Hydra. God of War turned the action dial up to 11, offering action sequences so intense and thrilling that many competing games just paled in comparison and seemed tame. Sprinkled throughout the action were small puzzles and platforming sections to create a nice sense of pacing to the entire game. All of this was tied up together into an ultraviolent package, making God of War one of the most entertaining action games of all time.

38) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1, SAT)


Before Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Castlevania games were mostly linear affairs with brutal difficulties. The first Castlevania game in the 32-bit era was Symphony of the Night, and it completely changed how future Castlevania games would be created. Many would try to outdo Symphony of the Night, and most would fail. Following the formula that Metroid and Super Metroid created, Symphony of the Night had players controlling Alucard through a nonlinear castle. As he defeated bosses and earned new abilities, he could venture into new portions and areas of Dracula's behemoth-sized castle. Alucard could obtain new weapons and equipment and even earn experience to level up his strength, defense, among other attributes. Unfortunately, it seems this manner of Castlevania game is in hibernation, but we hold hope that one day the series will return to this preferred Super Metroid-inspired formula.

37) Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow (GB)


Not everyone on the SuperPhillip Central staff got as into Pokemon as much as Phil did. He was in middle school when Pokemon Red and Blue released, and he bought (i.e. had his mommy buy for him) the Blue version with Blastoise on the cover. He was so engulfed with the Pokemon mythos that he woke up really early every weekday morning just to watch the Pokemon anime, he drew his own line of Pokemon comic books and he collected every figurine and trading card he could find. The original games seem so ancient now and slow. Still, there's this wide sense of nostalgia that makes the trio of Pokemon games so cathartic to play. We didn't have to worry about IV training. We worried about catching 'em all and finding a friend to hook up Game Boys with to trade Pokemon that we couldn't get in our version of the game. Many called Pokemon a fad, but it still goes strong to this day, especially with the upcoming release of Pokemon X and Y.

36) Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)


Not the best Ratchet & Clank game, but it's pretty darn close. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is our pick as the second best Ratchet & Clank game in the entire series. It featured a glorious mix of platforming and shooting action, and it didn't sacrifice its tone to do that mix either. (We're looking at you, Jak & Daxter!) Up Your Arsenal featured more expanded levels than in past games, a wide array of awesome weaponry (approximately 20) that could be leveled up upon repeated use, and the same trademark humor that makes the Ratchet & Clank games so endearing. It introduced one of our favorite villains, Dr. Nefarious, a hater of all squishies (aka organic life). Up Your Arsenal was the first game in the series to offer online multiplayer. While the PS2 servers are long gone, those that have the Ratchet & Clank Collection for PlayStation 3 can online multiplayer out. It's truly a blast, much like the entire package that is Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal.

35) Sonic 3 & Knuckles (GEN)


Is this cheating combining the two games? We hope not, but even so, we're sticking to our proverbial guns here. After all, the main point was combining Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles to create this excellent platforming adventure. The pinnacle of Sonic's 2D exploits is Sonic 3 & Knuckles, a game that, back in the day, required players to insert the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge into the SEGA Genesis (or Mega Drive for our PAL pals) and then place the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 cartridge into the S&K one. What all that added up to was a fantastic journey through an abundant number of well designed levels, zones, and acts. You could play as Sonic and Tails or Knuckles, each having their own separate endings to up the replay value. Then there was trying to obtain all of the Chaos AND Master Emeralds via the Blue Sphere bonus stage mini-game. Sonic 3 & Knuckles is everything fans of old school Sonic the Hedgehog adore and must-play-gaming for those who have not experienced this glorious combination of games as of yet.

34) Chrono Trigger (SNES)


How can you not have a game on a Top 100 Games of All Time list that doesn't include Squaresoft's named Dream Team of Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy series creator), Yuji Horii (Dragon Quest series creator) and Akira Toriyama (famed artist of the Dragon Quest and Dragon Ball series)? We didn't just include Chrono Trigger on this list because of the men who worked on it. We included it because it's one of the greatest RPGs ever devised. Everything about Chrono Trigger was exemplary, including its many multiple endings, its character-driven story with side quests that fleshed out each character, its drop-dead gorgeous graphics and its incredibly unique and entertaining battle system. It is a total shame that PAL players could not play Chrono Trigger when the game originally released. In fact, the game would first be available to them with the Nintendo DS port released in 2009. We believe that with how great Chrono Trigger is, the wait may have very well been worth it-- no matter how agonizing.

33) Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1)


One of the first Final Fantasy spin-off games, outside of Mystic Quest, Final Fantasy Adventure and Final Fantasy Legend, Final Fantasy Tactics verily leaped over what a Final Fantasy spin-off could be by providing sensational tactical RPG gameplay, a dramatic plot of politics and betrayal and one of the best soundtracks for a video game ever composed. Players joined the ranks of Ramza, an upper class cadet who is thrust into the center of The Lion War, consisting of two factions desiring the throne of the country of Ivalice. Final Fantasy Tactics was a huge departure of what made the mainline games so popular. The game was played on grid-based battlefields that featured an isometric camera angle that could be spun around. Constants from Final Fantasy such as magic, summons, jobs (an idea taken from Final Fantasy V) and items returned, as did various enemies like Bombs, Chocobos and Marlboros. Two sequels came out on Nintendo platforms, but they came nowhere near the level of Final Fantasy Tactics. In all honesty, few tactical RPGs have ever come close to Final Fantasy Tactics's level.

32) Final Fantasy IV (SNES)


Though Final Fantasy IV (or as it was known in the West as Final Fantasy II) is not our favorite Final Fantasy game, it might as well be our most played due to how many re-releases this classic has seen. From the Super Nintendo original, to the PS1 version, to the Game Boy Advance release, to the Nintendo DS remake, to the PSP Complete Collection... yikes. We've played a lot of Cecil Harvey's story of romance, betrayal and crystal collecting. Final Fantasy IV was the first Final Fantasy game to use an Active Time Battle (ATB) system, where when a party member or enemy's gauge fills, they are able to choose an attack. This constant amount of action with little in the way of waiting made for more exciting battles. The ATB would be used in several subsequent Final Fantasy games, and they were made all the better for it. The plot of the game has been called everything from a brilliant early example of excellent video game storytelling to something that modern games can be thankful of. Final Fantasy IV delivers in story, gameplay and presentation-- a hat trick deserving of the series.

31) Mega Man 2 (NES)


Widely accepted as the best classic Mega Man game, Mega Man 2 introduced eight of Dr. Wily's Robot Masters to battle as opposed to the six of the original game. These bosses and their respective levels could be taken on in any order, but for the easiest time, using the weapon that a given Robot Master is weak against was recommended. Choosing the correct order to take down the Robot Masters (as each defeated Robot Master gave Mega Man its signature weapon) was essential to having the smoothest go of it. Of course, one could make Mega Man 2 and its subsequent sequels as difficult as they'd like by taking on bosses using only the Mega Buster, for instance. Mega Man 2 stands as an important title for the series as it introduced new concepts to the games like a helpful password system and Energy Tanks to restore lost health. The former was a godsend, as that meant one didn't need to play through the entire game in one sitting. While not our favorite classic Mega Man game, there's no denying Mega Man 2's influence to Capcom's now neglected franchise.

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We have but three more parts of our top 100 list to get through. The best of the very best is coming, and we hope you'll stick with us to this unprecedented (at least on SuperPhillip Central) list's conclusion.

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