Wednesday, July 31, 2013

SuperPhillip Central's Top 100 Games of All Time (20-11)

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)
Games of All Time (40-31)
Games of All Time (30-21)

Let's return to the countdown!

20) Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)

The first game on our list of ten titles for this week is Super Mario 3D Land. The series finally found a nice balance between the 3D gameplay of games like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy, and the 2D linearity of games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Because of this, Super Mario 3D Land really felt like a 2D Mario game in 3D. What players received with the game were an unforgettable combination of cleverly constructed obstacle courses, each with three hidden star medals to find, power-ups like the returning Tanooki Suit and more than double the expected content of 3D Land with the secret eight bonus worlds after originally completing the game. Many were bummed with the unveiling of Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U that the new 3D Mario action game wasn't in line with something like Super Mario Galaxy. Seeing as how great Super Mario 3D Land really was and the addition of multiplayer, we can't help but be excited.

19) Star Fox 64 (N64)

Do a barrel roll! One of those rare games that seemingly has infinitely quotable lines of dialogue, Star Fox 64 put players in the role of Fox McCloud, joined by his squadmates Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad and Falco Lombardi. Star Fox 64 was the type of action game that offered multiple paths to the final planet of Venom, where the nefarious scientist Andross was exiled to. There were over twenty unique ways to reach Venom, meaning players needed to replay the game multiple times to reach every level within the game. Most levels had two paths to them, giving players an option on which path they wished to go. (Sometimes the path would be chosen for you if you failed to complete the requirement.) The replay value didn't stop there, either. No, one could go for medals by getting high kill counts on each of the 15+ levels. Outside of arwing combat, whether it is along rails or in all-range mode, Fox could pilot a ground tank and even a submarine. Star Fox 64 is one Nintendo's classics for the 64, so there's no wonder why gamers around the globe wish to step into the cockpit with Team Star Fox once again.

18) Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)

Last week we had Donkey Kong Country Returns on our list. This week the greatest of the Donkey Kong Country line of games is proudly represented on the Top 100 Games of All Time list. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest featured Diddy Kong in the starring role, alongside his girlfriend Dixie Kong (no relation) to save Donkey Kong from Kaptain K. Rool's klutches-- er... clutches. What transpired from there was a myriad of differently themed areas, masterfully crafted levels, which constantly brought some new and fresh gameplay mechanic into the fold, and an atmosphere that most 16-bit games of that era would have dreamed to have. Donkey Kong Country 2 brought a harder challenge than its predecessor, more interesting bonus areas and even a secret world and boss battle to overcome. Then there's the glorious soundtrack, which made our list of best soundtracks of all time. All of this is packaged into one banana-slamma' of a ride.

17) Final Fantasy VI (SNES)

What we declare to be the best in the Final Fantasy series (sorry, Final Fantasy VII fans), Final Fantasy VI (or as it was originally released in the West as Final Fantasy III) brought together a cast of interesting characters, each with unparalleled development from beginning to end. Final Fantasy VI contained a villain who actually succeeded in his plans, creating a second half of the game that was totally nonlinear, which may have been overwhelming to some players, and understandably so. The previous Final Fantasy games were already fantastic experiences to themselves, but Final Fantasy VI seemed like such a massive beast in comparison to them. There were so many side quests to do, optional bosses to conquer, powerful equipment to find, party members to save and dungeons to enter. It's amazing how timeless Final Fantasy VI is, and it's all thanks to the compelling gameplay, stunning presentation and excellent vision the developers had for the game.

16) The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC)

The first handheld Zelda title was Link's Awakening. A remastered version of the game, implementing color, was released on the Game Boy Color in the form of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX. Of course, if you had a Super Game Boy, you could already play the original Link's Awakening in color, but you'd miss out on DX's exclusive color dungeon, giving Link either stronger offense or beefier defense. Koholint Island didn't waste any space within its borders. Each grid on that island served a purpose. There was little to nothing in the way of filler. The dungeons sported clever puzzles, especially the seventh dungeon, a tower, where one needed to chuck an iron ball into the support columns to bring the top floor crashing down. Link's Awakening brought with it Roc's Feather, an item that would be used in the majority of handheld Zelda titles that followed. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening was a dream come true in video game form, and the DX version only heightened its greatness.

15) Diddy Kong Racing (N64)

SuperPhillip Central's favorite kart racer of all time gets the 15th spot here on this monumental little countdown of ours. It is Diddy Kong Racing, one of Rare's greatest spectacles. It introduced something that a lot of future racers tried to copy, to varying degrees of success, an adventure mode. Through completing races, acquiring golden balloons and beating bosses in tests of speed, the player progressed through a story to halt the sinister sorcerer Wizpig's tyranny on Timber Island. Not only that, but alongside the four player multiplayer, the three different racing vehicle types that offered their own takes on the twenty tracks, and aforementioned adventure mode was a cast of characters that were fun to play as, each with their own stats. We even had a look at Conker before he let alcoholism ruin his life. Diddy Kong Racing was a combination of well crafted tracks, addicting multiplayer (even allowing two players to cooperatively do the adventure mode via code) and colorful presentation.

14) Perfect Dark (N64, XBLA)

Our favorite first-person shooter of all time also comes from Rare. Man, those guys were really something during the Nintendo 64 era! Perfect Dark was built as a spiritual successor to GoldenEye 007, one of the best selling games on the Nintendo 64. However, Agent Joanna Dark can do anything James Bond can do, and her game did it a lot better. The missions were much more complex, offering a similar amount of freedom like GoldenEye 007 to complete objectives in any order the player liked. The multiplayer was practically its own game, presenting players with large scale maps with endless amounts of vantage points, places of cover and hidden areas. The mode also allowed something GoldenEye 007 lacked-- bots. This made it so you didn't need to have a sleepover or live on campus just to have some competition. All this in addition to the added beauty and powerful performance that the expansion pak gave to Perfect Dark (slowdown, be damned) make for a first-person shooter that may be a little long in the tooth, but is near perfection.

13) Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

We like Super Mario Bros., but we did not like it enough for it to make our list of 100 games. Now, if this was a list of revolutionary or influential games, we'd no doubt have to include the game on merit alone. That said, we didn't truly get into the Super Mario Bros. series seriously until the third installment. With Super Mario Bros. 3, Nintendo implemented eight overworld maps, which served as the player's way to access each level. Unlike past games, Super Mario Bros. 3 featured a non-linear level structure, offering different paths for the player to go, sometimes skipping over some levels entirely if need or want be. Super Mario Bros. 3 brought a bunch of other mechanics that would be featured in future Mario games, such as items that could be held, sliding down slopes, new types of jumping, the ability to fly via the Super Leaf power-up, airships, fortresses, ghost houses and more complex level design than previously seen. Despite all of these revolutionary features that many future Mario games would use, Super Mario Bros. 3 isn't quite our favorite 2D Mario.

12) Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)

Many nights went sleepless when the fantastic Super Smash Bros. Melee came into our lives. Like a falcon punch to the gut, Melee came out of nowhere as our go-to multiplayer game. Everything about Melee was meant to bigger and better than its Nintendo 64 predecessor, a game that was originally never supposed to leave Japan! We're glad it did, because otherwise we would have never gotten to experience Super Smash Bros. Melee. The game gave us more characters, more stages, more items, more modes (like the awesome Adventure mode, more crazy nights than we can count, classic Nintendo musical tracks orchestrated, better graphics, the addition of collectible trophies and much much more. To this day, Super Smash Bros. Melee is a game that many still break out for parties and get-togethers, and it is still played competitively at various events around the world. Whether or not you call it a fighting game is moot, Super Smash Bros. Melee is a love letter to all Nintendo fans and fans of great, addicting gameplay.

11) New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)

This may be considered sacrilege to some Mario fans, but we actually prefer New Super Mario Bros. Wii to Super Mario Bros. 3. While the NES classic was certainly revolutionary, New Super Mario Bros. Wii had the overall better designed and more interestingly designed levels. The addition of multiplayer to make messing over your friends and family, or, as the game probably intended, to work together to beat each level didn't hurt either. We really believe that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the pinnacle of 2D Mario level design, showing that Nintendo EAD's experience with the franchise allowed them to craft some of the finest obstacle courses that ever existed in a 2D platformer. Each level offered up something exciting to freshen things up, challenges and hidden areas that were expertly placed. Every Goomba, every pipe, every Koopa Troopa, every pit, every coin, etc. served its own purpose. There was nothing on screen that didn't belong there. That is masterful level design, and that is what New Super Mario Bros. Wii delivered in spades.


Next week we will finally name our favorite game of all time. Oh, there will be nine other titles to be listed as well. You do NOT want to miss this. You'll HATE yourself if you do! Trust us. We know these things.

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