Hey there guys and welcome to part 3 of The Grumbler’s top 100 video games of all time! This week, we got some real jewels in the list so please read on and see for yourself. Just as a quick reminder, this is my personal list and as such there will be things you disagree with. Feel free to leave your comments in the comment section below. Feedback, as you know, is greatly appreciated.
Now, on with the show!
59. Saints Row 2
The gameplay of Saints Row 2 is structured similarly to that of its predecessor. The core gameplay comprises elements of third-person shooting and driving in a nonlinear environment, affording the player an open world in which to move around. The player’s character is capable of maneuvering through the environment, utilizing weaponry and engaging in melee combat. After successfully completing the first game mission, the player is able to explore the environment and choose how they wish to play the game. Missions are unlocked by earning ‘respect’ points from minigames and side-missions and although completing missions is necessary for game progression, players can complete them at their own leisure. The player is granted the option of instantly retrying the missions should they fail an attempt. Numerous checkpoints save progress in each mission, and missions can be replayed from locations within the environment. Aside from attempting missions, the player can explore the environment, purchase items at shops and participate in the aforementioned mini-games and side-missions. The player can also wreak havoc upon the environment which can provoke potentially fatal attention from authoritative forces.The player can recruit members from a friendly gang and use a mobile phone to contact friends and/or businesses, as well as to input cheat codes. It should be noted that entering cheats will disable Xbox 360 achievements.
The player can drive a variety of vehicles which can be stolen, bought or unlocked. Aside from automobiles, the game contains boats and water craft, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, motorcycles, and other vehicle types (read: UFO). The player can activate a cruise control system on land and sea-based vehicles, which may aid in chases and drive-bys. Waypoints can be placed on the pause-screen map, leaving a GPS route between the player character’s location and the set destination. Instead of having to manually drive, the player can hail a taxicab from cab services and pay a fee to travel to destinations on the map.
The player is granted the ability to alter the player character’s appearance; modifying the gender, ethnicity, fitness, voice, facial structure and hair of the player character is allowed. The player may also modify the player character’s interactions in the game, i.e. the player’s movement, fighting style and personality traits. Clothes, tattoos and piercings can be purchased for the player character, and the colour or style of individual items can be modified. Set outfits can be bought or created and saved for later use. The game allows the player to modify land-based vehicles, after being taken to a chop shop. The player can equip performance modifiers like hydraulics and nitrous oxide, apply body mods and apply paint schemes to the vehicle. In-game safe houses, known as ‘cribs’, can be purchased by the player. At a crib the player can withdraw from the player character’s earnings, alter the player character’s outfit, replay missions/cutscenes and save game progress. The player may also alter the interior of cribs by applying themes and purchasing items like television sets and pool tables. Boats and fixed-wing aircraft can be stored at docks and hangars, respectively. The player can select from preset clothing fashions, vehicles, ‘signs’ and ‘tags’ for recruits of the player character’s street gang.
As with Crytek’s previous game Far Cry, Crysis is an open-ended first-person shooter game with many ways to meet objectives.
The player controls a special forces soldier codenamed Nomad. The player’s weapons can be customized without pausing the flow of time, for example changing firing modes, changing scopes or adding sound suppressors. The player is also capable of selecting various modes in Nomad’s military “Nanosuit” which draw power from the suit’s energy. When the suit’s energy is depleted, no modes can be used and the player is more vulnerable to damage before the suit recharges. One of four modes can be selected: Armour deflects damage and recharges the suit’s energy faster; Strength allows stronger hand-to-hand combat, the ability to throw objects and enemies with deadly force, higher jumps, steadier aiming and reduced weapon recoil; Speed increases running and swimming speed, as well as other forms of motion such as reloading weapons; and Cloak, which renders Nomad almost completely invisible and suppresses movement noise. The suit’s integral facemask has its own HUD, displaying typical data including a tactical map, health, current energy levels, and weapons information. The view is electronic in nature, shown in-game through things such as a booting readout and visual distortion during abnormal operation. A particularly useful utility is the binocular function, which allows the player to zoom in and electronically tag enemies and vehicles from afar, thereby tracking their movement on the tactical display. The player can engage enemies in a variety of ways; using stealth or aggression, bullets or non-lethal tranquilizers, ranged rifles or short-range weaponry, and so on. Enemy soldiers employ tactical maneuvers and work as squads. AI soldiers will respond to noise caused by the player, including using signal flares to call for reinforcements. If the player has not been detected in the area, enemies will exhibit relaxed behaviour, but if aware of the player they will draw weapons and become combative.
The game begins in 2020 when North Korean forces led by General Kyong take control of the Lingshan Islands. A team of American civilian archaeologists, led by Dr. Rosenthal, send out a distress call indicating that they discovered something that could change the world. Thus Raptor Team was dispatched to the islands, with the core mission of evacuating them out and securing any valuable information that they have. The team consists of Nomad, Psycho, Aztec, Jester and team leader Prophet (all under codenames); they are outfitted with Nanosuits, which help protect them from gunfire and explosions, as well as giving them superhuman strength and abilities. As they perform a high-altitude jump onto one of the islands, an unknown flying entity disrupts the jump by smashing into Nomad, and the team is separated. The crash deactivates Nomad’s Nanosuit and destroys his parachute, but he is saved because he lands on water and his suit absorbs the impact of the landing. After he makes his way to shore, Prophet is able to reset Nomad’s suit, restoring its normal function.
As Raptor Team regroups after the jump, Aztec is killed by an unknown entity. When the team finds him, they discover that whatever killed him also killed and dismembered a nearby squad of KPA. The remaining members of Raptor Team proceed with the mission, and find the hostages’ boat frozen near the coast of the island. They also get their first look at the aliens who have been attacking their team, when a flying alien machine sneaks up on them and snatches Jester, killing him shortly thereafter. The first hostage the team rescues turns out to be a CIA agent who was sent to monitor Dr. Rosenthal’s work. In the jungle, Nomad finds another hostage named Badowski dead with ice shards in his back, as the KPA battle an alien machine nearby. After Nomad regroups with Prophet, Prophet is suddenly snatched by another flying machine, which flies away with him in its grasp. Shortly after, Nomad is contacted over the radio by the American military asking if he wishes to abort the mission since most of his team has been killed or missing; Nomad refuses, saying that he can still complete the mission …
Read here if Crysis 2 is a worthy successor to Crysis.
57. The Sims
The Sims is a strategic life-simulation computer game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It was created by game designer Will Wright, also known for developing SimCity. It is a simulation of the daily activities of one or more virtual persons (“Sims”) in a suburban household near SimCity. Instead of objectives, the player is encouraged to make choices and engage fully in an interactive environment. This has helped the game successfully attract more casual gamers. The only real objective of the game is to organize the Sims’ time to help them reach personal goals.
There are three life stages in The Sims: infant, child, and adult. While babies grow up into children, children and adults never age. This means children and adults remain in their life stage indefinitely. Sims, however, can die from various causes (e.g. burning to death in a fire, drowning in a pool, starving, or dying from diseases). A Grim Reaper may appear after the death of a sim. If a relative of the dead sim wins against him in Rock, Paper, Scissors, the dead sim will be revived. If the relative loses, the dead sim will remain dead and his/her tombstone will appear and the option of Rock, Paper, Scissors will not be available. The tombstone will stay in its place, unless the player decides to move it to another place, or just delete it. Each newly created family will begin with §20,000 regardless of its number of members. These funds can be used to purchase a house or vacant lot, build or remodel a house, and/or purchase furniture. All architectural features and furnishings are dictated by a square tile system in which items must be placed on a tile. Walls and fences go on the edge of a tile and can be diagonal, whereas sims and items cannot be diagonal. Items that are attached to walls cannot be placed on diagonal walls in the same way that items cannot be placed up against diagonal walls. The base game contains over 150 items including furniture and architectural elements.
This game meant a revolution in the game industry as it now also became highly accessible for the casual gamer whereas gaming was more for the fanatic or hardcore players before this.
Civilization is a turn-based single-player strategy game. The player takes on the role of the ruler of a civilization, starting with only one settler unit, and attempts to build an empire in competition with between two and six other civilizations. The game requires a fair amount of micromanagement (although less than any of the simulation games). Along with the larger tasks of exploration, warfare and diplomacy, the player has to make decisions about where to build new cities, which improvements or units to build in each city, which advances in knowledge should be sought (and at what rate), and how to transform the land surrounding the cities for maximum benefit. From time to time the player’s towns may be harassed by barbarians, units with no specific nationality and no named leader. These threats only come from unclaimed land or sea, so that over time there are fewer and fewer places from which barbarians will emanate.
The scope of the game is huge — larger than most other computer games. The game begins in 4000 BC, before the Bronze Age, and can last through to 2100 AD (on the easiest setting) with Space Age and “future technologies”. At the start of the game there are no cities anywhere in the world: the player controls one or two settler units, which can be used to found new cities in appropriate sites (and those cities may build other settler units, which can go out and found new cities, thus expanding the empire). Settlers can also alter terrain, build improvements such as mines and irrigation, build roads to connect cities, and later in the game they can construct railroads which offer unlimited movement.
Players can also build Wonders of the World in each of the epochs of the game, subject only to obtaining the prerequisite knowledge. These wonders are important achievements of society, science, culture and defense, ranging from the Pyramids and the Great Wall in the Ancient age, to Copernicus’ Observatory and Magellan’s Expedition in the middle period, up to the Apollo program, the UN, and the Manhattan Project in the modern era. Each wonder can only be built once in the world, and requires a lot of resources to build, far more than most other city buildings or units. Wonders provide unique benefits to the controlling civilization. For example, Magellan’s Expedition increases the movement rate of naval units. Wonders typically affect either the city in which they are built (e.g., the Colossus), every city on the continent (e.g., the Hanging Gardens), or the civilization as a whole (e.g., Darwin’s Voyage). Some wonders are made obsolete by new technologies.
The game can be won by destroying all other civilizations, reaching the end of the modern era with the highest score, or by winning the space race by reaching the star system of Alpha Centauri.
Castlevania is one of the great gothic games of all time. The first game with a “horror” theme, it is an out an out classic that has spawned numerous sequels that have spanned over numerous consoles from the NES to the Xbox 360. The very first title, Castlevania, released in 1986 by Konami, was a platform game in which the player takes the role of Simon Belmont, a descendant of the Belmont clan, a family of vampire hunters. He travels to Dracula’s demonic castle, Castlevania, and fights his way through, eventually destroying Dracula himself. Belmont’s main weapon is the Vampire Killer whip, while the secondary weapons are powered by Hearts, found by whipping candles. Common secondary weapons include a dagger, holy water or an axe. To me it’s the first and the best of the series. Easy to play, great game mechanics, compelling with a terrific ambience that kept you playing, this game was a real breakthrough and way ahead of its time, preceding the whole “Twilight” bullshit by decades.
Killzone is a first-person shooter game. You can pick up any weapon, Helghast or ISA, anytime throughout the game and your ammo will carried over to the next level. There are numerous types of weapons, which most have a secondary attachment you can use. In the game most actions such as climbing a ladder have you press the X button, and the ability to do certain moves is determined by which character you are- Templar, Luger, Rico or Hakha. Templar has your basic moves, Luger can crawl under tight spaces, Rico has limited movement but heavy firepower and Hakha enables the player to pass through Helghast traps, such as lasers.
The game is set in an era of space colonization where the Helghast Empire has recovered from its defeat in the First Extrasolar War and launched a blitzkrieg against the outer Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (I.S.A.) colony planet Vekta. Vekta’s orbital Strategic Defense (S.D.) platforms failed during the initial assault, allowing the Helghast to land swarms of soldiers onto the surface and making it all the more difficult for the outnumbered I.S.A. forces. In the game, the Helghast are a faction of human descendants who colonized the planet Helghan many generations ago. The planet’s harsh environment forced the Helghast to adapt and mutate so much that they can no longer be considered human. They are stronger, faster and more resilient than their human cousins, and possess a burning hatred for humanity. Except for a small number of half-breed Helghast and trained troopers, they require a gas mask and air processing tank that creates air similar to that found on the planet Helghan. Earth, after a serious nuclear war between its nations, formed a major government of the richest surviving government and industries to explore space colonization, eventually settling for solar system outside of Sol. They find the Alpha Centuri which contains two planets next to stars, one lush and blossoming Vekta, another rich in energy supply but inhospitable; Helghan. These two planets were invested by the Helghan Corporation after the UCN (United Colonial Nations) decided to auction it. However after Helghast’s different economic policy threatened to undermine the UCN’s financial system, the UCN invaded Vekta and removed the Helghast after failing to impose financial sanctions. This left the Helghast deeply resenting the loss of Vekta and the forced colonization of Helghan, a harsh and brutal planet.
A great shooter with a good backstory, multiplayer and decent graphics for its time earned this game a spot in my top 100.
53. Guitar Hero series
Some are better than others, but I can’t single out any specific title, so Im just gonna go with the whole massively successful series. Basically, the game is a conceptual masterpiece. The idea to interactively “play along” with popular music, thus taking the air guitar to another level was a stroke of genius. Instead of actually having to go through the whole process of learning an instrument you can just mash buttons and be a ‘rockstar’. At least it engages kids I guess. For me, it’s just a really fun distraction. At this point after the millions of sequels it might be getting a little tired and a reset is in order, but the overall idea was a step forward in videogame making..
52. Resistance 2
Resistance 2 sees protagonist Nathan Hale travel to the United States in order to once again battle the Chimera, who have launched a full scale invasion of both the east and west coasts. This time out Hale is part of an elite force of soldiers called “The Sentinels”, who, like him, are infected with the Chimeran virus, but keep it under control with special inhibitors and are thus able to reap the benefits, but the inhibitors only last a certain time until they either get another shot or the Chimera virus takes over.
Resistance 2 is a single-player campaign, with the player controlling protagonist Nathan Hale. The game includes many of the weapons from Resistance: Fall of Man, as well as new weapons such as the “Marksman” and a mini gun called the “HVAP (High Velocity Armor Piercing) Wraith”. The weapons are a mix of 1950s human technology and more advanced alien technology. Unlike the first game, where there was no limit on the number of weapons carried, Resistance 2 limited the player to two weapons, as well as a more limited number of grenades. Resistance 2 also does not use a health bar in the single player campaign as it did in the first, but instead it uses an automatic regenerative health system, whereby players must keep out of the line of fire in order to recover health.
Resistance 2 features multiplayer in two variations. Both multiplayer modes track the player’s performance, gaining experience and leading to benefits and rewards, as well as assigning the player a skill ranking.Unlike its predecessor, Resistance 2 does not offer co-op for the single player campaign. Cooperative mode features a separate campaign mode set in 1952-53 in the gap in the time line of the single-player campaign. The cooperative campaign supports anything from two to eight players, taking the role of a special forces group called “Specter Team”. Players are tasked with many randomized objectives around the map, while defeating hordes of Chimera in the process. The strength of the enemy forces is altered based on the number of players and their skill levels. There are three classes to choose from: Special Ops — long-distance damage dealers, who also provide ammunition; Soldiers — the “tanks” who endure the most damage; and Medics — who drain life from enemies and impart to teammates.
Competitive mode features support for up to 60 players during the Skirmish mode; which allowed for the greatest amount of players in an online PlayStation 3 game at the time of release, but was last surpassed by MAG. Five games modes are available: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Core Control (Capture the Flag), Skirmish, and released via update, Meltdown. Skirmish has players getting split up into squads of five and take part in objective-based proxy-battles. Players can play as either the Humans or the Chimerans (but due to updates, the player can now be a Cloven, a Female Ranger, or a Ravager), and get to choose their weapon loadout before and during a game while respawning.
Half-Life is a science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Valve Software, the company’s debut product and the first in the Half-Life series. First released by Sierra Studios on November 19, 1998, the game was also released for the PlayStation 2 on November 14, 2001. In Half-Life, players assume the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist who must fight his way out of a secret underground research facility, whose research and experiments into teleportation technology have gone disastrously wrong.
Half-Life is a first-person shooter that requires the player to perform combat tasks and puzzle solving to advance through the game. Unlike its peers at the time, Half-Life used scripted sequences, such as an alien ramming down a door, to advance major plot points. While most contemporary first-person shooters relied on cut-scene intermissions to detail their plotlines, Half-Life‘s story is put forth entirely through scripted sequences, keeping the player in control of his first-person viewpoint. In line with this, the game has no cut-scenes, and the player rarely loses the ability to control Gordon, who never speaks and is never actually seen in the game; the player sees “through his eyes” for the entire length of the game assuming that the player doesn’t use the ingame console to enable a third person view. Half-Life has no “levels”; it instead divides the game by chapters, whose titles flash on the screen. Progress through the world is continuous, except for breaks for loading. The game regularly integrates puzzles, such as navigating a maze of conveyor belts. Some puzzles involve using the environment to kill an enemy. There are few “bosses” in the conventional sense, where the player defeats a superior opponent by direct confrontation. Instead, such monsters occasionally define chapters, and the player is generally expected to use the terrain, rather than firepower, to kill the “boss”. Late in the game, the player receives a “long jump module” for the HEV suit, which allows the player to increase the horizontal distance and speed of jumps by crouching before jumping. (The “long jump module” was first seen in the “Hazard Course” portion of the game.) This is used for platformer-style jumping puzzles in the later portion of the game.
For the most part the player battles through the game alone, but is occasionally assisted by non-player characters; specifically security guards and scientists who fight alongside the player, assist in reaching new areas and impart relevant plot information. A wide array of enemies populate the game including alien life-forms such as headcrabs, bullsquids, headcrab zombies and Vortigaunts. The player also faces human opponents, in particular Hazardous Environment Combat Unit (HECU) Marines and black ops assassins who are dispatched to contain the alien threat and silence all witnesses.
The iconic weapon of Half-Life is the crowbar which can be used for melee fighting as well as as a tool for clearing obstructions and breaking apart boxes and crates, which sometimes contain useful items. The game also features numerous conventional weapons, such as the Glock 17 pistol, Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, MP5 submachine gun with an attached M203 grenade launcher, Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver, and rocket launcher as well as unusual weapons ranging from a crossbow to alien weapons such as Snarks. Two experimental weapons, the tau cannon (nicknamed the Gauss gun) and the Gluon Gun, are built by the scientists in the facility and are acquired by the player late in the game. With the installation of the High Definition Pack, the weapons’ appearances are substantially updated, mainly due to a larger number of polygons in the models. Although their appearances have changed, they perform exactly the same as their original counterparts in terms of gameplay. The Glock 17, MP5, and SPAS-12 are the only weapons to be completely changed in appearance, being replaced by the Beretta M9, M4A1 carbine, and a version of the SPAS-12 with a stock, respectively.
51. Counter-strike: Source
Counter-Strike: Source is a remake of Counter-Strike, and consequently retains its team-based objective-oriented first-person shooter style gameplay. The aim of playing a map is to accomplish a map’s objective. There are many types of objectives that a map can have, but the ultimate goal of the game is to win more rounds than the opposing team, which is accomplished by fulfilling the map’s winning conditions. Some winning conditions include defusing a bomb, planting a bomb and preventing it from being defused by the other team, rescuing all the hostages on a map, preventing the hostages from being rescued, and defeat all the members of the opposing team. When playing on a server without modifications, if players are defeated during a round, they do not respawn until the next round, unlike in many other first-person shooter games, where players respawn on a set timer.
Moving and shooting also differs noticeably from many other first-person shooters. Shooting while moving dramatically decreases accuracy, and holding the mouse button down to continuously shoot will generally produce severe recoil. Recoil can be difficult for beginning players to compensate for because the player’s reticle does not correspond with where the bullets actually hit during continuous fire, so beginning players may aim too high during automatic fire. The amount of damage done by a bullet varies dramatically depending upon the body part the bullet hits, with great emphasis on shooting the enemy in the head, which is almost invariably lethal.
Aspects of the game that have changed from Counter-Strike include the behavior of the grenades, the physics engine, and the weapons’ recoil. The smoke grenades in Counter-Strike: Source spread much more slowly than the ones in Counter-Strike,(however, a recent major update made the smoke similar to that in Counter-Strike), and the flashbangs, which now utilize DirectX 9 effects, have a much more pronounced effect, and bounce very differently from the ones in Counter-Strike. Counter-Strike: Source also implements physics objects, such as filing cabinets, which the user can interact with while playing. The recoil in Counter-Strike: Source differs from the recoil in Counter-Strike in that while Counter-Strike had perfectly consistent recoil, the recoil in Counter-Strike: Source is much less precise. Furthermore, the addition of ragdoll physics marks another difference between Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Source.
This game became so popular that it’s still being player competitively to this day. And it doesn’t look like that’s changing any time soon!
49. Shadow of the Colossus
The game focuses on a young man named Wander who must travel across a vast expanse on horseback and defeat sixteen beings, simply known as colossi, to restore the life of a girl. The game is unusual within the action-adventure genre in that there are no towns or dungeons to explore, no characters with which to interact, and no enemies to defeat other than the colossi. Shadow of the Colossus has been described as a puzzle game, as each colossus’ weakness must be identified and exploited before it can be defeated.
Shadow of the Colossus is regarded as an important work of art and cited as an influential title due to its minimalist landscape designs, immersive gameplay and emotional journey. It received wide critical acclaim by the media and consistently ranks upon best games lists by publications, as one of the best PS2 games of all time and one of the best games overall. It was met with strong sales compared to Ico, due in part to a larger marketing campaign, and the soundtrack was widely praised. It won several awards for its audio, design, and overall quality. Shadow of the Colossus is also referenced numerous times in debates regarding the art quality and emotional perspectives of videogames.
Progression through Shadow of the Colossus occurs in cycles. Beginning at a central point in an expansive landscape, the player seeks out and defeats a colossus, and is then returned to the central point to repeat the process. To find each colossus, Wander must raise his sword while in a sunlit area to reflect beams of light, which will converge when the sword is pointed in the right direction of the next encounter. The journey to a colossus is seldom a straightforward matter: stretches of varied terrain often require that a detour be taken along the way. Most colossi are located in remote areas, such as atop cliffs or within ancient structures. Once a colossus is found, the player must discover its weaknesses to defeat it. Each colossus dwells in a unique lair, and many colossi cannot be defeated without making use of the surrounding environment. Every colossus has at least one weak point, indicated by a glowing sigil that can be illuminated and identified by the sword’s reflected light. Each colossus has areas covered with fur or protruding ledges, which Wander may use to grip and scale the colossus while it thrashes about in an attempt to dislodge him. While scaling a colossus, the player must act quickly, as Wander has a limited stamina gauge that decreases while he hangs onto the creature.
Wander and the colossi have life bars to indicate their remaining health. A colossus’ health will decrease significantly when its weak points are attacked, while Wander can be harmed by a colossus’ attacks or a fall from great height. Throughout the game, Wander is equipped with only a sword and a bow, but may obtain other weapons from completing the Time Attack trials.
While the Colossi are the only enemies, there are natural animals in the environment. Only one species, however, has any effect on gameplay: killing and eating a certain kind of lizard increases Wander’s stamina gauge. Likewise, the player may find fruit that increases Wander’s maximum health. Wander’s horse, Agro, plays a large role in the game. In addition to serving as a means of transportation, he is vital in defeating some of the Colossi. There are, however, many places that he cannot reach. Colossi often inhabit areas beyond deep water or obstacles that must be scaled. Agro cannot travel beyond these, and when separated from Wander by such obstacles, cannot participate in the following battle. The environment must be used to the player’s advantage more often as the game progresses. The first two battles take place on simple, large, flat areas of land, with the only goal being to discover how to scale the colossi and attack their weak points. However, the majority of the following fourteen battles require that some aspect of the battlefield be used.
48. Age of Empires II: The Conquerors
The Conquerors Expansion introduced various new gameplay features and tweaks, including the new game modes Defend the Wonder, King of the Hill and Wonder Race. Additional maps, some based on real life geographic locations, and new winter and tropical terrain textures were included. In-game, infantry are able to garrison in battering rams, protecting the infantry while increasing the ram’s speed and attack, while ships are able to form formations for more effective fighting. The graphics are the same, but new civilizations have been added such as the Spanish and the Huns.
Micromanagement is made easier, by an improved scripted Artificial Intelligence of villagers and siege weapons. Villagers will now commence automatically gathering resources, if they build resource gathering sites, while siege onagers will not fire if their attack is likely to harm friendly units. Additionally, a button was added to the mill, which would allow farms to be paid for in advance, so that when an existing one was exhausted, it would automatically be replanted. Chat commands are introduced, in order to communicate more effectively with allied computer players.
The Conquerors Expansion adds four additional single player campaigns. These are based on Attila the Hun’s rise to power, Montezuma’s defense against Hernán Cortés and the adventures of El Cid. The fourth campaign, “Battles of the Conquerors”, is actually a group of unrelated single scenarios, each based on a significant historical battle. These include the Battle of Agincourt, the saga of Erik the Red, and the Battle of Hastings, among others.
The Visigoths (who later became the Spaniards) play a minor role in the Attila the Hun campaign, El Cid goes over the Christian reconquests against the Moors, and Moctezuma is about the Spanish conquest. In addition, the “Lepanto” scenario from “Battles of the Conquerors” is about a Spanish victory against the Ottoman Turks.
Twilight Princess is an action-adventure game focusing on exploration and item collection. It uses the basic control scheme introduced in Ocarina of Time, including buttons whose functions change depending on game context, and L-targeting (Z-targeting on the Wii), a system which allows the player to keep Link’s view focused on an enemy or important object. Link can walk, run, and attack, and will automatically jump when running off of or reaching for a ledge. Link uses a sword and shield in combat complemented with secondary weapons and items, including a bow and arrow, boomerang, bombs, and the Clawshot (similar to the Hookshot introduced earlier in the Legend of Zelda series). L-targeting allows Link to lock on to an enemy and automatically defend himself. During L-Targeting, projectile-based weapons can be fired at a target without the need for manual aiming.
The context-sensitive button mechanic allows one button to serve a variety of functions, such as talking, opening doors, and pushing, pulling, and throwing objects.[ The on-screen display shows what action, if any, the context-sensitive button will trigger, determined by the situation. For example, if Link is holding a rock, the context-sensitive button will cause Link to throw the rock if he is moving or targeting an object or enemy, or place the rock on the ground if he is standing still.
The GameCube and Wii versions feature several minor differences in their controls. The Wii version of the game makes use of the motion sensors and built-in speaker of the Wii Remote. The speaker emits the sounds of a bowstring when shooting an arrow, Midna’s laugh when she gives advice to Link, and the series’ trademark “chime” when discovering secrets. The player controls Link’s sword by swinging the Wii Remote. Other attacks are triggered using similar gestures with the Nunchuk. Unique to the GameCube version is the ability for the player to control the camera freely, without entering a special “lookaround” mode required by the Wii; however, in the GameCube version, only two of Link’s secondary weapons can be equipped at a time.
The game features nine dungeons—large, contained areas where Link battles enemies, collects items, and solves puzzles. Link navigates these dungeons and fights a boss at the end in order to obtain an item or otherwise advance the plot. The dungeons are connected by a large overworld, across which Link can travel on foot, on his horse Epona, or by teleporting to one of several specified points.
When Link enters the Twilight Realm, the void which corrupts parts of Hyrule, he transforms into a wolf. He is eventually able to transform between his human and wolf forms at will. As a wolf, Link moves more quickly, attacks by biting, and digs holes to create new passages and uncover buried items. He also carries Midna, a small imp-like creature who gives hints, uses an energy field to attack enemies, helps Link jump long distances, and eventually allows Link to “warp” to any of several preset locations throughout the overworld. As a wolf, Link has improved senses and can follow scent trails. Using Link’s wolf senses, players can see wandering spirits and hunt for ghosts named Poes.
The artificial intelligence (AI) of enemies in Twilight Princess is more advanced than that of enemies in The Wind Waker. Enemies react to defeated companions and to arrows or slingshot pellets that pass by. The AI can also detect Link from a longer distance than in previous games. There is very little voice acting in the game. Link remains silent in conversation, but grunts when attacking or injured, and gasps when surprised. His emotions and responses are largely indicated visually by nods and facial expressions. Midna speaks in a pseudo-language during some of her dialogue.
For me personally, this game is one of the better ones in the series because of the more realistic graphics and certainly fun with the Wii remote.
46. Assassin’s Creed
Assassin’s Creed is a historical third person, stealth action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The bulk of the game takes place during the Third Crusade, with the plot revolving around a Muslims sect known as the Secret Order of Hashshashin (Assassins). The player is in reality playing as a modern-day man named Desmond Miles, who through the use of a machine named the “Animus”, is allowed the viewing and controlling of the protagonist’s genetic memories of his ancestors, in this case, Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad, a member of the Assassins.
Desmond Miles, a bartender, is kidnapped by the Abstergo Corporation. There, Desmond is forced to lay in the Animus, a device that is able to replay the genetic memories of the user’s ancestors. In Desmond’s case, they seek information about his ancestor Altaïr ibn La-Ahad, an assassin during the time of the Third Crusade. Within the Animus, Altaïr’s memories reveal that he was attempting to stop Robert de Sable from taking an artifact from a temple, but broke three of the Assassins’ Brotherhood’s creeds. The Brotherhood leader, Al Mualim, demotes Altaïr, and assigns him the task of assassinating nine people to regain his former status.
As Altaïr completes the assassinations, he finds that each was a member of the Templars searching the area for “Pieces of Eden”, artifacts similar to the one de Sable attempted to steal. Altaïr eventually faces de Sable in front of King Richard, and kills him; with his dying breath, de Sable reveals the existence of a tenth Templar: Al Mualim. Returning to the Brotherhood, Altaïr finds Al Mualim in possession of a Piece of Eden that is able to control people’s minds. Altaïr is forced to fight his way through innocents to reach Al Mualim, and engages him in battle. Altaïr eventually sees through Al Mualim’s tricks using the artifact, and kills him. Upon approaching the artifact, Altaïr is surprised to find it displays a projection of the Earth marking several spots around the globe.
At this point, Desmond is brought out of the Animus, his purpose served. He comes to learn that Abstergo is a front for the modern-day Templars. Abstergo is now set to use the locations on the map seen by Altaïr to find more Pieces of Eden, believing that they must collect the artifacts to control the world’s population in order to stave off the projected end of the world in 2012. Desmond’s life is spared by Lucy Stillman, one of the Abstergo scientists but actually an Assassin mole. Left alone in his locked room, Desmond discovers through a “bleeding effect” from his time spent as Altaïr that he can observe numerous messages in blood on the walls and floor left by a previous test subject, Subject 16, that foretell the end of the world.
45. Super Mario Bros 3
Next up is yet another Mario game, and in my opinion, is the best one of the bunch. Built on the gameplay of previous Mario games by introducing new power-ups that augment character abilities, it established conventions that were carried over to future games in the series. The game shares similar gameplay mechanics with previous titles in the series—Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, and Super Mario Bros. 2—but introduces several new elements. In addition to the running and jumping moves found in past games, the player can fly and float with the aid of special items, slide down slopes, and execute new types of jumps. Super Mario Bros. 3 is set after the events of previous games. Mario and Luigi embark on a mission on behalf of Princess Toadstool to stop Bowser and his children (called “Koopalings”) from terrorizing the kings of seven regions in the Mushroom World; the Koopalings stole the kings’ magic wands and transformed them into animals. Each region serves as a game world that is divided into stage levels, and an eighth region is included as the final world, Bowser’s Kingdom. The eight worlds feature distinct visual themes; for example, the second world, “Desert Hill”, contains sand-covered levels with pyramids, while the levels in the fourth world, “Giant Land”, are populated with obstacles and enemies four times as large as other worlds. Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced several suits to alter the character’s abilities. For example, Mario can use the “Frog Suit” to swim more easily in water, but will move more slowly on land. The player navigates through the game via two game screens: an overworld map and a level playfield (pictured left). The overworld map displays an overhead representation of the current world and has several paths leading from the world’s entrance to a castle. Paths connect to action panels, fortresses and other map icons, and allow players to take different routes to reach the world’s goal. Moving the on-screen character to an action panel or fortress will allow access to that level’s playfield, a linear stage populated with obstacles and enemies. The majority of the game takes place in these levels, with the player traversing the stage by running, jumping, and dodging or defeating enemies. On top of that, Super Mario Bros. 3 includes a multiplayer option which allows two players to cooperatively play the game by taking turns at navigating the overworld map and accessing stage levels; the first player controls Mario, while the other controls Luigi. Through this mode, players can also access a special minigame, a remake of the original Mario Bros. arcade game. I tend to still plug in my NES from time to time and pop this game in. /retrogamegeek
Gameplay in Uncharted is a combination of 3D platforming and third-person shooter gameplay elements. Platforming elements allow Nate to jump, swim, grab and move along ledges, climb and swing from ropes, and perform other acrobatic actions that allow players to make their way along the ruins in the various areas of the island that Drake explores.
When facing enemies, the player can either use melee and combo attacks at close range to take out foes or can opt to use weapons. Melee attacks comprise a variety of single punches, while combo attacks are activated through specific sequences of button presses that, when timed correctly, offer much greater damage; the most damaging of these is the specific “brutal combo”, which forces enemies to drop twice the ammunition they would normally leave. Nate can only carry one pistol and one rifle at a time, and there is a limited amount of ammunition per gun. Picking up a different firearm switches that weapon for the new one. Grenades are also available at certain points, and the height of the aiming arc is adjusted by tilting the Sixaxis controller up or down. These third-person shooter elements were compared by several reviewers to Gears of War, in that the player can have Drake take cover behind walls, and use either blind fire or aimed fire to kill enemies. In common with the aforementioned game, Uncharted lacks an actual on-screen health bar; instead, when the player takes damage, the graphics begin to lose color. While resting or taking cover for a brief period, Drake’s health level, indicated by the screen color, returns to normal.
The game also includes vehicle sections, where Drake must protect the jeep he and Elena are in using a mounted turret, and where Drake and Elena ride a jet ski along water-filled routes while avoiding enemy fire and explosive barrels. While players direct Drake in driving the jet ski, they may also switch to Elena by aiming the gun in order to use her weapon — either the grenade launcher or the Beretta, depending on the chapter — in defense, or to clear the barrels from their path.
The game also features reward points, which can be gained by collecting 60 hidden treasures in the game that glimmer momentarily or by completing certain accomplishments, such as achieving a number of kills using a specific weapon, performing a number of headshots, or using specific methods of killing enemies. In subsequent playthroughs of the game, the player can use these rewards points to unlock special options; these include in-game bonuses such as alternate costumes and unlimited ammunition but also non-game extras, such as making-of videos and concept art. There are also several references to other Naughty Dog games, especially the Jak and Daxter series; one example includes the “Ottsel” branding on Drake and Fisher’s wetsuits, a reference to the species that mixes otter and weasel found in the game.
One of the most famous games ever, it was conceived by Lyle Rains and programmed and designed by Ed Logg. It was a hit in the United States and became Atari’s best selling game of all time. Atari had been in the process of releasing another vector game, Lunar Lander, but demand for Asteroids was so high they stopped further production of Lunar Lander so they could begin building Asteroids. The first 200 Asteroids machines were sent out in Lunar Lander cabinets. Asteroids was so popular that video arcade owners sometimes had to install larger boxes to hold the amount of quarters that were spent by players. It is also the first game to use Atari’s “QuadraScan” vector-refresh system.] A full-color version known as “Color-QuadraScan” was later developed for games such as Space Duel and Tempest. The objective of Asteroids is to score as many points as possible by destroying asteroids and flying saucers. The player controls a triangular-shaped ship that can rotate left and right, fire shots straight forward, and thrust forward. As the ship moves, momentum is not conserved — the ship eventually comes to a stop again when not thrusting. The player can also send their ship into hyperspace, causing it to disappear and reappear in a random location on the screen (with the risk of self-destructing or appearing on top of an asteroid). Each stage starts with a few asteroids drifting in random directions on the screen. Objects wrap around screen edges — for instance, an asteroid that drifts off the top edge of the screen reappears at the bottom and continues moving in the same direction. As the player shoots asteroids, they break into smaller asteroids that frequently move faster and are more difficult to hit. Smaller asteroids also score higher points. Periodically, a flying saucer appears on one side of the screen and moves across to the other before disappearing again. The saucers are of two kinds: Large saucers fire in random directions, while small saucers aim at the player’s ship. The minimalist soundtrack features a memorable deep-toned electronic “heartbeat”, which quickens as the asteroid density is reduced by the player’s fire. Once the screen has been cleared of all asteroids and flying saucers, a new set of large asteroids appears. The number of asteroids increases each round up to a maximum of twelve. The game is over when the player has lost all of his/her lives. A huge classic in all respects.
42. Fable 2
The game takes place in the fictional land of Albion, five hundred years after Fable’s original setting, in a colonial era resembling the time of highwaymen or the Enlightenment. Guns are still primitive, and large castles and cities have developed in the place of towns. Unlike the original, the player may choose to be either male or female, while also choosing a character’s sexuality, allowing for marriage and sexual liaisons with male and female NPCs.
The player’s companion is a dog which the player befriends as a child. This dog follows the player almost all of the time during the game. The dog can learn tricks, fight enemies and find treasure, and lead the way to quest objectives (when required, though this is rare; typically the player is led to objectives via a sparking gold “bread crumb” trail). It can also aid in combat situations by attacking downed enemies. The dog cannot be killed, but can become injured and ineffective, requiring healing by the player.The appearance of their dog will also mirror the player’s choices and changes color depending on the player’s alignments; if the player is neutral it will remain gray, being good will turn the dog’s coat to golden and evil will turn it to black. There are no other animals in the game, a fact commented on by one NPC who notices the oddness of carriages with no horses. In the downloadable content “See the Future”, it is possible to change the dog’s breed with potions. The three choices are Dalmatian, Bloodhound and Husky.
Fable II enhances the system of morphing one’s character based on their actions as introduced in Fable. Character morphing revolves around two major alignment scales: Good and Evil, and Purity and Corruption.
Good players will enable a pleasant looking Hero, with tanned skin and light hair, while evil players will have a more frightening look, with pale skin and black hair. Pure players will find that their hero will have a clear complexion and a halo, while corrupt players will find their hero with a flawed complexion and horns. These scales are independent of one another, meaning that it is possible to be both good and corrupt simultaneously or any other variation.
Also related to character morphing is the character’s slimness or fatness, determined by what foods the player eats; fruits and vegetables (mainly celery), make the player thinner, while alcohol, meat and pies make the player fatter. In addition, fruits and vegetables give the player purity points (because no animals are harmed in their creation/consumption), while meats and alcohol give the player corruption points (because animals were harmed in their creation/consumption and they can cause drunkenness, respectively). This has no effect on game play other than attractiveness or the lack thereof in the eyes of NPCs.
Leveling up stats also will alter the player character’s appearance. Increasing the Physique level will make the Hero more muscular. Increasing the Skill stat will make the Hero taller. A high level of will power and spells create glowing blue markings, called Will Lines, all over the body.
This made the game pretty good as it showed the impact of your actions not only on the world, but also on yourself. If for instance, you’d be an evil person your character would sprout horns and the world would look a whole lot more grim than when you’re playing the good guy.
41. Kingdom Hearts 2
Kingdom Hearts II is the third game in the Kingdom Hearts series. It picks up one year after the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Sora, the protagonist of the first two games, returns to search for his lost friends. Like the previous games, Kingdom Hearts II features a large cast of characters from Disney films and Final Fantasy games. Organization XIII, a group introduced in Chain of Memories, also reappears to impede Sora’s progress.
The gameplay of Kingdom Hearts II is similar to that of Kingdom Hearts, though developers made an effort to address complaints with the previous game. The player directly controls Sora from a third person camera angle, though first person perspective is available. Most of the gameplay occurs on interconnected field maps where battles take place. The game is driven by a linear progression from one story event to the next, usually told in the form of a cutscene, though there are numerous side-quests available that provide bonuses to the characters.
Like many traditional roleplaying games, Kingdom Hearts II features an experience point system which determines character development. As enemies are defeated, the player and allies gain experience which culminates in a “level up”, in which the playable characters grow stronger and gain access to new abilities. As in the first game, Kingdom Hearts II allows a certain degree of character customization through a short tutorial found at the beginning of the game.
Combat in Kingdom Hearts II is in real-time and involves button presses which initiate attacks by the on-screen character. A role-playing game menu, similar to those found in Final Fantasy games, at the bottom left of the screen provides other combat options such as using magic, summoning beings to assist in battle, or executing combination attacks with other party members. A new feature is the “Reaction Command”, special enemy-specific attacks that are triggered when the player presses the triangle button at the correct time during battle. Reaction Commands can be used to defeat regular enemies or avoid damage, and are sometimes necessary to complete a boss battle. In addition to the main character, two party members are usually present who also participate in combat. Although these characters are computer-controlled, the player is allowed to customize their behavior to a certain extent through the menu screen, such as attacking the same enemy Sora targets.
In response to criticism, the “Gummi Ship” feature of the first game was re-imagined to be “more enjoyable”. Although retaining its basic purpose of travel, the previous system was completely redone to resemble a combination of rail shooter and “Disney theme park ride”. In the world map, the player must now control the Gummi Ship from a top-down view and fly to the world the player wishes to enter. Worlds are no longer open from the beginning—the player must unlock the routes to them by entering a new level, controlling the ship from a third-person point of view, and battling enemy ships. After the route is opened, travel to the world is unimpeded, unless it is blocked again due to a plot related event.
Although I never really finished it, I still think this game deserves a mention in the top 100 as it really is one of the better RPG’s out there.
40. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
The game is set in the fictional state of San Andreas, which is based on Nevada, California, and Arizona, comprising three metropolitan cities, Los Santos, based on Los Angeles, San Fierro, based on San Francisco and Las Venturas, based on Las Vegas, with deserts, rivers, forests and a mountain separating the cities. Set in late 1992, San Andreas revolves around the gang member Carl “CJ” Johnson returning home from Liberty City to Los Santos, San Andreas, after learning of his mother’s murder. Johnson finds his old friends and family in disarray. Over the course of the game, Johnson gradually unravels the plot behind his mother’s murder while exploring his own business ventures. Like other games in the series, San Andreas is composed of elements from driving games and third-person shooters, and features “open-world” gameplay that gives the player more control over their playing experience. The game adds a number of features, such as car customization, and character personalization.
Much like the previous and future entries in the Grand Theft Auto series, San Andreas’s critical and commercial success has not been without controversy. The most notable controversy was over the explicit “Hot Coffee” sex minigame found on the Microsoft Windows game, which was disabled but left within the game’s code. Its discovery led San Andreas to be re-rated in the United States briefly as an adults only game and was taken from retailers’ shelves in the US. After the ‘Hot Coffee’ minigame code was removed, the game was re-rated as M for mature again.
San Andreas is structured similarly to the previous two games in the series. The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large, open world environment in which to move around. On foot, the player’s character is capable of walking, eating, running, sprinting, swimming, climbing (the first GTA game in which swimming and climbing is possible) and jumping as well as using weapons and various forms of hand to hand combat. Players can drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, buses, semis, boats, airplanes, helicopters, trains, tanks, motorcycles and bikes. Players may also import vehicles rather than steal them.
The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain cities and content, they are not required as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam and look around the cities, eat from the restaurant, or cause havoc by attacking people and causing destruction. However, creating havoc can attract unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the authorities. The more chaos caused, the stronger the response: police will handle “minor” infractions (attacking people, pointing guns at people, stealing cars, killing a few people, etc.), whereas SWAT teams, the FBI, and the military respond to higher wanted levels.
The player can also partake in a variety of optional side missions that can also boost their character’s attributes or provide another source of income. The traditional side missions of the past games are included, such as dropping off taxi cab passengers, putting out fires, driving injured people to the hospital and fighting crime as a vigilante. New additions include burglary missions, pimping missions, truck and train driving missions requiring players to make deliveries on time, and driving/flying/boating/biking schools, which help players learn skills and techniques to use in their corresponding vehicles.
Not all locations are open to the player at the start of the game. Some locales, such as pay ‘n spray, gyms, and shops, become available only after completing certain missions. Likewise, for the first portion of the game, only Los Santos and its immediate suburbs are available for exploration; unlocking the other cities and rural areas again requires the completion of certain missions. That said, it’s possible – given the player’s ability to swim which has been added – to enter the other areas ahead of time, although doing so results in the player being immediately attacked by law enforcement. The use of certain cheat codes, however, can remove this obstacle and allow the player to free-roam virtually the entire state at will.
Unlike Vice City and GTA III, which needed loading screens when traveling between different districts of the city, San Andreas has no load times when the player is in transit (which is notable, given how much larger the in-game map is than in the previous games). The only loading screens in the game are for cut-scenes and interiors. Other differences between San Andreas and its predecessors include the switch from single-player to multiplayer Rampage missions (albeit not in the PC version), and the replacement of the ‘hidden packages’ with spray paint tags, hidden camera shots, horseshoes, and oysters to discover.
Next to that, the game has some awesome voice acting (as do all GTA’s btw). Officer Tenpenny is especially good, he’s voiced by Samuel L. Jackson.
Well, that concludes this week’s addition to the top 100 list of video games. I hope you liked it. Please share your comments in the section below and tune in next time for # 39 to # 20
You can find the previous post here.