Saturday, February 6, 2016

EGM #100's Top 100 Games Of All Time: A Lookback (Part 1 of 4)

November 1997 saw esteemed video game magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly release their one hundredth issue. And to celebrate the occasion, they concocted a Top 100 list comprising their favorite games and calling them "the best of all time."

But are they really?

For the next little bit, I'll be listing all the entries in said list and offer some minor thoughts on each game if I have any. To make this easier to digest, I've divided this piece into four parts that will see release throughout the month.

#100 - Qix (NES)
A puzzle game of sorts where you move a tiny spark across the screen and draw boxes to fill the playfield while avoiding the deadly Qix.

#99 - Samurai Shodown (NEO GEO)
The fantasy fighting game and one of the earliest fighters to implement weapons-based combat. If a SNK-produced fighting game is two entries in...

#98 - Virtua Cop 2 (Saturn)
A light-gun shooting game on rails, with multiple paths and stuff.

#97 - MLB '98 (Playstation)
A baseball game and part of a franchise that sees annual releases... is this game on the list because it's that good or is it because it was the newest game in the franchise at the time? There are some folks who would prefer playing an older entry in a series over the latest one, but what do I know? I generally don't dabble in sports games.

#96 - WipeOut XL (Playstation)
The sequel to the speedy futuristic racing game with loads of techno tracks from actual techno bands and musicians. Never played the game myself, but have heard good things about it, so...

#95 - DecAthlete (Saturn)
3D Track & Field for the then-modern age... the gameplay itself is about as exciting as Constant Button Mashing would be... but everyone was still on the THREE DEE kick and so we have DecAthlete on the list.

#94 - Ice Hockey (NES)
Fast-paced four-on-four ice hockey with six international teams and the ability to choose from three body types for each of your four players.

#93 - Blast Corps (N64)
Haven't actually played this one. Heard good things.

#92 - Flashback (Genesis)
You know, I tried getting into Flashback but only spent about ten minutes on it before I had to leave. I've been meaning to get back to it one of these days, but never had the chance.

#91 - Axelay
Konami's legendary space shooter not named Gradius, Life Force, Scramble, Super Cobra, or Gyruss, making use of the Super Nintendo's much-vaunted Mode-7 capabilities to produce some splendid spectacles.

#90 - Panzer Dragoon Zwei
The sequel to Panzer Dragoon is better than the first.

#89 - Ms. Pac-Man (Genesis/SNES)
I understand that the folks at EGM opted to restrict themselves to console and handheld releases for this list, so not including arcade originals, computer games, or the like means you need to opt for alternative versions of those famous games. With that in mind, the Tengen-produced Ms. Pac-Man for Sega Genesis and the William port for the SNES are as good a choice as any to represent the Missus. With plenty of options, mazes, and other bits and bobs.

#88 - Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword Of Chaos (NES)
Classic game. The first might get more fondly remembered, but the second nailed the formula. Shadow clones, more useful weapons, greater challenge, better storytelling, what a great package.

#87 - Baseball Stars (NES)
Welp... another baseball game on the list. Baseball Stars is supposed to be really, really good. Seeing as I've never played this one, I'll have to take their word for it.

#86 - Galactic Attack (Saturn)
A space shooter of some kind. Never played it.

#85 - Bonk's Adventure (TurboGrafx-16)
One of the standout titles for the TurboGrafx-16 and a fun game to boot. If you had included Bonk's Adventure rather than Keith Courage, chances are the Turbo would've been a bigger hit than it was.

#84 - Puyo Puyo Repackages
Okay, I'm cheating here because the listing is actually a tie between Kirby's Avalanche for SNES and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine for Genesis, but since both games are basically repackaged versions of Puyo Puyo, I'm just listing it as Puyo Puyo.

#83 - Revenge Of Shinobi (Genesis)
A Sega Genesis staple and one of the more iconic titles to grace the system. In hindsight, I find that Shinobi III is the somewhat superior title, but Revenge Of Shinobi is probably the more fondly remembered if nothing else.

#82 - Jumping Flash 2 (Playstation)
Jumping Flash was one of the earliest 3D titles to grace the Playstation; a semi-platformer/shooter type of game. So naturally, it got a sequel. Never played either game, but I've heard good things about them, so might as well track them down one of these days.

#81 - Sega Rally Championship (Saturn)
A racing game... naturally.

#80 - Legendary Axe (Turbografx-16)
Never played this one.

#79 - Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn)
Virtua Fighter 2 gets the nod over Virtua Fighter 1... good choice, since it's the better game. Not much different from before, but a bit more refined... sure, why not?

#78 - Mega Man X4 (Saturn, Playstation)
The newest and latest entry in the Mega Man X series at the time, where players can either blast away enemies as X or get in close and personal as Zero with his Z-Saber. Probably the only time a Mega Man X game not released on Super Nintenddo is going to be given a pedestal, as the series would take a tumble shortly after.

#77 - Blazing Lazers (TurboGrafx-16)
Excellent shooter. Why wasn't this the pack-in game for the Turbo?

#76 - Life Force (NES)
For Japanese audiences, there was a Gradius II in their lives. For everyone else, we had Life Force serving as the sequel to Gradius. This NES version is drastically difference from the arcade Salamander game it's based on; maintaining the horizontal and vertical scrolling levels of the arcade, but replacing the traditional power-up system with the Gradius style system of manual power-ups with pods. Great game, but tough.

So that's Part 1 of our list... tune in to Part 2 for the rest.

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