Friday, January 27, 2012

SuperPhillip's Top Ten Games of All Time - 2012 Edition

As promised I have battled in my brain the ten titles out of hundreds I have played that I deem to be the top ten of all time. My focus is on Nintendo platforms as my first gaming systems were mainly Nintendo. I did get to play Sega's Genesis off and on, but nothing really gelled with me. I was always on the Nintendo side of things in the nineties. Then when Sony came out with their PlayStation, my brother and I became two console gamers with the PS1 and the Nintendo 64.

This generation we had all three main consoles before the Xbox 360 died three months out of the warranty. Now we have our 60 gig PlayStation 3 and our Nintendo Wii which needed to be repaired once already. Consoles just aren't made like they used to be which makes me wary on going headfirst into the next generation of systems. Nonetheless, I think I have set up the following list just splendidly. Before we begin, why not take a look at my list from way back in 2008? Enough rambling from me-- let's get to the games!


10) Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

The all-star brawl is on! I was devastated when I found out that all of my data from my old Wii could not be restored. That meant all the work in my village in Animal Crossing: City Folk was gone, all my perfect swings in We Love Golf! were for naught, and the killer, my unlocks in Super Smash Bros. Brawl went kaput. Today I'm slowly slogging through the game. I have opened up all of the stages, I am one character away from having them all, and I am slowly building my collection of trophies. Replaying the game isn't all too bad surprisingly. I am enjoying my time once more. It is like the return of an old friend who was long gone. I love the stages, the characters, combing through my army of trophies, squealing with delight when I pick up a new trophy, sticker, or CD, and battling with the beautiful graphics. The addition of Final Smashes added a new dimension to the game. It's a mad scramble when a Smash Ball appears in thin air. Who will break it open and unleash its power on their opponents? Even with having to recollect everything all over again, I cannot help but be in a state of delight with this love letter to fans of anything Nintendo. Note: The following shots were taken by me.

9) Perfect Dark (N64, XBLA)

Unfortunately my 360 died before Perfect Dark went old school on Xbox Live with online play, a new and super impressive graphical engine, and nothing in the way of slowdown, unlike the N64 original. Regardless, I cannot count how many hours I played multiplayer in Perfect Dark, unlocking awesome new arenas with perfect vantage points, hideouts, and shortcuts. I loved the Villa, Area 56, Skedar, and the 15+ large-scaled arenas that were the locations of many a fierce and intense shootout. Who didn't love having matches with proximity mines only or rockets only? Playing with bots that could be given different personalities like a pugilist, a simulant that always goes after the person in last place, or a bot that stocked up heavily on ammo so no one else could take it. The Combat Simulator portion of the game was meaty and could have been its own title, but no, Rare was ambitious and included an excellent single-player campaign with many missions and objectives to tackle. The objectives changed or more were added pending on your chosen difficulty level. I will always remember the day I beat the game on Perfect Agent, one of my favorite feats in my 20+ year gaming history. Perfect Dark took the formula GoldenEye 007 laid down and-- forgive me-- "perfected" it to make the best FPS in the history of the genre... at least of what I've played. The shots below come from the XBLA version that I did not get to try out.

8) Banjo-Kazooie (N64, XBLA)

With a preorder of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, a fine game in its own right (many fans would disagree), I received a download code for the Xbox Live Arcade version of one of my favorite 3D platformers of all time, the original Banjo-Kazooie. Yes, it even beats Super Mario 64. How's that for a controversial opinion? The game was divided up between nine unique and diverse worlds such as Mumbo's Mountain (introductory level), Treasure Trove Cove (pirate's realm with sandy beaches and one ornery shark), Mad Monster Mansion (your worst fears come alive), and Click Clock Wood (made up of the four seasons). Speaking of Mumbo, this shaman could transform Banjo and Kazooie into one of many transformations that were pertinent to not only survival but to acquiring Jiggies, the power stars of the game, used to open new worlds. You could become a termite, a crocodile, a walrus, and even a flying bee. Each world had Bottles placed in various locations to slowly teach the bear and bird duo new moves like the Talon Trot, made for walking up steep slopes that Banjo would otherwise slide right down. I vastly prefer the XBLA version as it not only clears up and makes the Stop 'N Swap mystery useful, but it also allows you to collect musical notes (100 in each world) and not have to gather them all in one go. This means dying at 99 notes won't make you have to collect them all over again. Add in HD visuals, and you have the Xbox 360's best platformer.

7) Mega Man X (SNES)

Classic Mega Man is my brother's favorite, and seeing Capcom's treatment of him by putting the North America Mega Man from the original game's cover in Street Fighter X Tekken, it's a shame how blatant they are trolling Mega Man's fanbase. Regardless, Mega Man X was a more serious storyline and setting for the blue bomber, placing him in a faraway future where the Sigma virus has infected reploids, turning them into Mavericks. It's up to X and his partner (no, not that kind of partner, sickos) to lead the charge against them. With twelve or so levels, eight of which are able to be played in any order, new bosses that instead of being men or women (Top Man, Star Man, Gravity Man, etc.) were animals like Launch Octopus, Chill Penguin, and Storm Eagle, and hidden secrets in the form of armor upgrades from Dr. Light, heart tanks which boosted X's health, and sub tanks used to give X extra help in case his health goes dangerously low in battle, Mega Man X meant business. There was just more to do in Mega Man X, and now you don't even need sixteen digit passwords to save your progress. You can pick up either the PS2 or GameCube version of the Mega Man X Collection, and save right to a memory card! Now that's progress!

6) Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

I was originally blown away by this game, but the more I played one of the next titles on this list, the less impressive this one was. It was very easy in difficulty save for some daredevil and timed runs. Regardless of this, Super Mario Galaxy is still one of the premier games of the generation as well as one of the best games of the generation. The presentation alone is unlike any Mario game before it. It is one of the Wii's greatest looking games and has a stellar soundtrack to boot, composed mostly by Mahito Yokota. There's plenty of great moments in Super Mario Galaxy such as spinning rocks into the face of Bouldergeist, ground pounding stumps to make gigantic worms pop out of planetoids made out of apples in Gusty Garden Galaxy, carefully balancing the Wii remote so you can guide a ball Mario is running on safely to the goal, and launching from a star pad and having a volcano erupt in all of its fiery glory behind Mario in Melty Molten Galaxy. Then there's the glorious galaxies Mario explores such as Good Egg, Freezeflame, Buoy Base, Beach Bowl, Dusty Dune, and so many more. Make no mistake about it, Super Mario Galaxy is living, albeit virtual proof that Nintendo knows how to make genre-defining games. Forgive me if you think that this is hyperbole, but I stand by it.

5) Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition (Wii)

I have played Resident Evil 4 on so many platforms now, I think there's more varieties of the game than there are Starbucks Coffee shops in the world. Nonetheless, I first encountered Resident Evil 4 in the pages of Nintendo Power. The game was touted as a big exclusive for the GameCube, one of the Capcom Five. Most of know how that turned out... Anyway, I opted to get my grandma (bless her heart) to purchase the game for me at the Galleria's GameStop location for my birthday back in 2005 or whenever the game came out. I wasn't expecting much as I had never played the series until then. When I finally placed that small DVD into the GameCube, shut the lid, and powered that tiny box on, my jaw hit the floor. Not only were the ambient environments breathtaking (the European woods with its fog, many dead leaves on the ground, and dilapidated houses), but the action was intense as well (the first villager encounter with the tense music made me almost wet myself. Thankfully I had my diaper on just in case). Then came the PlayStation 2 port with prerendered cutscenes instead of using the game's engine like the GameCube version. This port added an Assignment Ada mode. Fast-forward a few years later and the Wii gets its own installment, the one I consider to be the definitive version (and also one of the first games on SPC to be given a perfect 10/10). Not only did it have all of the bonus content such as Assignment Ada and the unlockable weapons and costumes for Leon and Ashley, but it had precise pointer controls for easy sniping, shooting, and slaying. Don't like it? Then use a traditional controller. That option alone makes Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition to best version of the bunch, SD or HD.

4) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

I had dabbled a bit as a naive young child with the original Legend of Zelda only to always get my butt kicked by those lion enemies and Darknuts. It was either that or I'd get routinely lost with no assistance but the map inside the instruction booklet. Seriously, how obtuse is using a flute to empty a lake or burning a seemingly random bush to enter a dungeon? I'm getting off track. The first Zelda that I truly enjoyed was on the Super Nintendo. It was the third Zelda, and it was much more newbie friendly indeed-- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The game started off on the right foot with an... I hate to say this word as it's overused everywhere now... epic start. Link wakes up to find his uncle gone to Hyrule Castle as flashes of lightning goes off, rain pours to the ground, and darkness fills the air. The game had incredibly designed dungeons and two terrific overworlds which made you think in multiple dimensions. Couldn't reach an area of a dungeon? Perhaps you had to fall from a higher floor to reach it! And just when you thought the game was over after battling the sorcerer Agahnim, a whole new dark world opened up to explore! There was a myriad of items to help Link on his quest like the hookshot, multiple canes, the Pegasus Boots, the ice and fire rods, and multiple medallions. Heart Containers could be found high and low for the adventurer who pursued them, and maybe even other secrets, too. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is without a doubt my favorite 2D Zelda, but is it my favorite of the franchise?

3) Super Mario World (SNES)

Welcome to Dinosaur Land! Mario, Luigi, and newcomer Yoshi team up to tackle Bowser's ill-conceived children in Super Mario World. I loved the map of this game, being able to choose my own path to Bowser through discovering hidden exits in levels. This kind of freedom was uncommon in a platformer at this point in time, and Super Mario World definitely delivered in that regard. Moreover, World controlled sensationally and was truly challenging in every sense of the world. The difficulty curve is almost unmatched to this day. From battling Super Koopas on Butter Bridge to going inside a Koopa Kid's castle and taking on Magikoopas, there was a wide variety of locales and places to visit and venture to in Super Mario World. The benefit of playing with two players added to the fun. If one player couldn't complete a level, maybe the second player could. The addition of having the ability to store an item and have it given to either Mario or Luigi at any point in time allowed even the worst SMB player a chance to triumph over Bowser and his Koopa offspring. Many love Super Mario Bros. 3 the most, but I'm in the camp of cool kids that dig Super Mario World the best.

2) Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

It's an adventure that's out of this world. The game that somehow eclipsed Nintendo EAD's already impressive and outstanding work in Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2 took everything to an entirely new level. It hit the ball not just out of the park but out of the atmosphere (space joke #2). The galaxies were more plentiful, the boss battles were more entertaining, and the challenge was more difficult. It was the game that fans of the original like myself were clamoring for. Another thing players were wanting was the return of Yoshi, and Mario's faithful dino returned in a big way, helping Mario or Luigi traverse large gaps as well as gobble up annoying enemies. The gravity element from the original continued to make the series look and feel unlike any other on the market. Mahito Yokota came back to compose the music for the game, and he somehow created an even better score than the original with bombastic boss themes, catchy galaxy themes, and other fun melodies that feel like they came from a space opera and not a Mario game. Even after the original 120 stars have been collected, the game isn't over just yet. 120 more green stars appear in hard-to-reach locations for the completionist to gather. The greatest game of this generation (why it didn't win many Game of the Year awards besides from SuperPhillip Central and a few other places is criminal and proves this industry has a short attention span), Super Mario Galaxy 2 is nothing if not phenomenal, and that might even be short-selling it.

1) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)

What do you get when you take my favorite game of all time, update the graphics, add a new boss rush mode, throw in a completely different quest after the original game has been beaten, and remove all of the framerate issues and slowdown from the Nintendo 64 classic? You get The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. It was the first 3DS game in my collection, and it was the main reason I wanted the system to begin with. A game has to be powerful and desirable enough to make someone purchase a system for one game. Well, Ocarina of Time 3D managed to do just that for me. Sure, it was a gift, but still. Having the option to assign items and equipment like the Iron Boots to one of four buttons (two face buttons and two touch screen buttons) made shuffling through said items and equipment a breeze and no longer a hassle. It made trekking through an already difficult dungeon in the Water Temple less taxing on the player. Remember the original and always having to pause the game to equip and take off your Iron Boots? No longer a problem with Ocarina of Time 3D. Chuck in (but ever so carefully) some fabulous stereoscopic 3D visuals, tried and true gameplay from 1997 that has withstood the test of time, and all of the aforementioned fresh content, and you have a game that I will perpetually be returning to and consider my favorite game of all time.... of all time!

Honorable Mentions:

LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3)
Mega Man X4 (PS1)
Mega Man X2 (SNES)
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)
Metroid Prime (GCN)*

*was number ten on my 2008 list


Now that you have perused my list of favorite games, what are your top ten games of all time? Don't be shy now. Share your list with your fellow SPC readers in the comments section as well as your thoughts on the games in my list. Too Nintendo-heavy for your tastes?


Pix3l said...

Super Mario World was one of the best snes games ever imo!

Parko said...

Most of the games on this list would definitely be on my own, but I have fallen out of love with one in particular.

I went back to Banjo and Kazooie not too long ago and was stunned at how bored I became. This is a game that I spent over 90 hours playing back in 98, a game that I explored every nook and cranny of for days and days on end. I am not a fan of all the collecting anymore and share a similar view of Donkey Kong 64. I'm still a little shocked to be honest and might have to give it another try.

Unknown said...

Thank you! Thank you for not giving Halo, GTA or Half-Life a spot on your list!

For the most part I agree with your list but I'd probably have to swap Super Mario Galaxy 2 (mainly cause I haven't played it:) with Final Fantasy VII...

What makes this funny is FF VII is almost like the games I'm glad you didn't mention! lol

Unknown said...

I prefer the old school FF games to FFVII. I particularly like FFIV and FFVI way more than the Sony generation ones. Trying to play FFVII now is next to impossible for me as the graphics are severely dated.

Zack said...

I' can't help but agree with a lot of the games on your list. I would have included Super Mario 64 though.