Sunday, 26 August 2012

Top 25 Video Games I Like The Most (20 - 16)

20. Megaman 9 (PS3)

So, you're wondering why Megaman 2 isn't on here or any of the Megaman X games. Well that's because the only Megaman games I've had played are 1, 9 and 10. Now if I perchance had played some of these previous games, Megaman 9 wouldn't be on this list, because I've seen a good amount of reviewing, video game footage to know that those games are possibly much better than MM9. It's even apparent that I enjoy MM2's soundtrack more than MM9. But I can't list a game I haven't played as much as I'd love to fawn over how great the music is. So I had to choose through these slim pickings. The original MM while fun and challenging, felt a little short compared to the other two and MM10 didn't really provoke me to play more. It wasn't as rememberable. So MM9 would be the one that I would choose here.

While I've said that MM2's soundtrack is chiptune heaven, there is still no doubt in my mind that MM9 does really well of matching it's brilliance. The tracks range from peaceful adventuring (Splash Woman's stage) to cautious maneuvering (Plug Man) to catchy as hell (Hornet Man) to downright intense (Concrete Man). Then again, it's quite obvious that when you talk about a Megaman game that the music is going to usually end up being quite good. If it isn't that way, then something is incredibly wrong. As is also expected from the Megaman franchise is a great deal of challenge of abilities to switch from to get ahead in the game. For instance, there's a part in Tornado's Man stage where there's these platforms that twirl you about. You're supposed to time your jump right so that you end up jumping where you want to go. Or how about the part in Jewel Man's stage where you're in that room and you're supposed to avoid the rocks that rain down on you and jump at the time that the boulder with a face comes up. Or how about Plug Man's stage where you get the classic "limited time platform" puzzle where you have to be very careful on how the platforms appear.

The game comes with a good amount of abilities to choose from, my favorites being Galaxy Man's B. Bomb and Splash Woman's L. Trident. Speaking of which, an interesting aspect that this game is noteworthy of is that it has the first official female Robot Master. Can you believe that? Imagine what kind of female Robot Masters could await us in Megaman 11 perhaps...although in MM 10 there wasn't even a single "______ Woman" in sight...which sort of makes you think why even have a female Robot Master if you're not going to carry through with it in further installments. Whatever the case, such a detail like that makes MM9 one of the more interesting selections of the series, even if Splash Woman didn't put up much of a fight. Come to think of it, all of this is delving into something much'll have to excuse me if I cut this entry a bit short. I'm sure you all get the gist of why I enjoy this least to some degree.

19. Pokemon Puzzle League (N64)

Now for a select few of you, you'd think that having this choice on the list is incredibly odd. It's like putting Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine on this list, it's basically the more famous version of a reskin of a game. Even then, Pokemon Puzzle League would be the lesser known version as people would either recollect Panel De Pon or Tetris Attack first. So, why is this on the list then? Well, believe it or not, this was a game that strengthened my relationship with my mother. The first time she got introduced to this game, she really seemed to be invested in it. It was a simple puzzle game where the point was to match up blocks so they'd dissapear. The bigger the combos were, the more damage you could inflict on your rival. The goal would to basically fill the screen of the enemy by throwing as many obstacles in their path as possible. Add in the sort of cheerful, family friendly look that Pokemon would emit, and it seemed to get both of us engrossed in the experience.

For the most part, I'd go against her in the versus matches, as she was the only person I knew that could put up a challenge in this game. Everyone else I'd play with would end up losing to me and usually want to play something that would be equally fun for the both of us. Sometimes, I'd just watch her go against the computer in some of the timed challenges or against Mewtwo since I was never able to defeat any of them. Now, it may seem to you that the reason I put this game on the list (that being because this game appealed to a family member and helped us bond in a way) seems kind of outlandish, but there's something more to it. See, in all of my gaming life, it was rare that I would get that sort of reaction out of someone for a game that didn't get much of a following. Sure, my friends would love to play SSB, but who wouldn't. Someone who looks at a game like Pokemon Puzzle League wouldn't be all that crazy for it.

Not only that, but it was the most iconic one because I too enjoyed playing the game. My mom also liked playing Dr. Mario 64 and Mario Golf, and while those games are good, I was more into playing Pokemon Puzzle League. It was like Tetris, except the stakes were higher and you could play with someone else and have loads of fun. A game that has that sort of ability to bring endless hours of entertainment with family is doing something right, even if it's rehashed. I'm sure there are other people out there that have had their fair share of this game and enjoy it for it's addicting, fast-paced nature.

18. Terraria (PC)

This choice was a bit of a tough one to decide. I was either gonna put Sonic R, Kirby: Nightmare In Dreamland or Terraria in here. I enjoyed all three enough so it would end up on this spot, but I had to end up with one. While I love playing Sonic R (in the same way I love watching "The Room"), it would kind of make people think I'm a fool for deciding it. And I have a better choice for a Kirby-related pick on the list. So Terraria had to do. Here's the odd part though, while I have tons of fun playing this game, I find myself incredibly frustrated by it. In fact, I dare even say it's the choice that has brought me the most aggravation on this list.

For those of you who are unaware of the bittersweetness of Terraria, just imagine it like a 2D-Minecraft with a little more of a goal to achieve. There appear to be bosses scattered around the game and there's a lot of place to go that you have to be well prepared for. For the most part, I usually end up building houses, treasure chests, anvils and tables around certain "checkpoint" areas" and spend my time underground, discovering and creating caverns. It has a nice adventurous feel to as you progress, as there are tons of treasure chests to rob and pots to smash as well as zombies, skeletons and giant blobs to kill. There's also tons of potions and shiny things like gold, silver, copper, jade, ruby, sapphire and ameryst. It's loaded with that special adventure feel.

The problem doesn't lie with the lack of a goal. I've played goalless games before and have had a ball of fun, the problem actually is when I do get a goal set, I get demolished. For example, the further you head out in either direction, the tougher it becomes. That's understandable, but at some instances I find myself getting cornered and ganged up by an onslaught of enemies. Then once I do get by, I usually end up fighting a boss I can't kill and then lose the cash that accumulated. I end up dying a lot so I find continuing pointless at times. Not only that, but in single player I can't find a store for the life of me, so I can't even use all of that cash to benefit me when I do get to more challenging areas. I'm skeptical of going into multiplayer unless I have some friends by me and I usually end up playing to the point where I don't want to play the game anymore. It's incredibly fun in short busts though.

17. Skullgirls (PS3)

Fighters sort of share the same treatment as they do with RPGs. Unlike RPGs though, I actually have move fighters...and they're even made by different people, what joy! My distance with fighters though is that I don't have one of those arcade style controls, and even if I did, I'd still suck. See, while people like to say that fighters are just a frenzy of button mashers, it actually plays out more like a hyperspeed Simon, where you have to land the right buttons at the precise time to pull off the best moves. For a EVO champion, that's possible, but for me, I couldn't pull off consecutive combos if my life depended on it. I'm the scrubbiest of the scrub, constantly getting my ass handed to me by either human player or computer as I frantically push everything to land a hit. I tend to forget that what helps you in a fighter is also knowing how and when to block, which I tend to forget.

So, why would this fighter be here if I suck at them? Well, because I have a lot of fun with this fighter. I lose a lot, but I have fun nonetheless. I heard about this game for quite a while, and got interested when I saw the art-style and some of the gameplay. The characters, stages and whole word seemed to have a sort of old-timey American cartoon feel lightly coated onto the design. In Peacock's case, it's incredibly evident, but in the other characters it's more hidden. For the most part, it borrows a good chunk of anime art-styles, which isn't necessarily bad, as it's pulled off in a manner that makes it look inventive. It's hard to really pinpoint what makes the style seem different from the standard anime look, but when I look at it, it feels as if it one of the early black and white animators was trying to draw anime. Call me crazy, but that's how I see it. Whether or not you agree with me on that, the music from this game did sound good regardless. It perfectly fit the cartoony theme that the game was trying to push.

The roster of this game isn't half-bad either. For one, it's comprised of nothing but female characters. Some may see it as something else to look at it the game, some see it as a sign that we're progressing as a society, I see it as something that makes this game a tad different than the other fighters that I've played. The characters themselves are interesting as you have a secret agent (Parasoul), a schoolgirl (Filla), a cartoon "icon" (Peacock), a catgirl that can detach her head at will (Ms. Fortune), a circus performer with a hat that has two muscular arms (Cerebella), a quasi-demonic nun (Double), a nightmarish experiment-gone-wrong (Painwheel), and a nurse (Valentine). Each of them, as you'd expect, have their own stories, motives and powers. Based on these descriptions, you could pretty much guess how some of these characters fight. Valentine would fight with medical tools, Peacock will use cartoon weapons, Ms. Fortune would scratch you and throw her head at you, etc. The fighting itself plays fairly smoothly and it's fun just see what kind of moves you can pull when you pull them right. Personally my choices in the game are Valentine (for the whole nurse motif), Ms. Fortune (because I've talked with the VA and she seems like a nice gal. Also she's quite the artist, how 'bout that. That and I also like the catgirl motif) and Parasoul (for the secret agent motif and using that badass umbrella of hers), but all the other characters work out fine.

Even though I find myself scared and annoyed to play the game with anyone or anything because of my lack of skills, I still push through to at least get a few games here simply for how much fun and how interesting the whole game is. It just has a feel to me that's really inviting. Maybe it's not one of those games that many people would really consider to play because they're rather go with the other fighters, and maybe they'd think that this game just banks on the fanservice (which I think is preposterous), but it's still a wonderful experience playing this game every once in a while.

16. Batman Arkham City (PS3)

I honestly think that the best way to summarize my experience with this game is how I summarized it before:

"The Riddler isn't as great as they made him out to be. That can be partially due to the design that they went with him and that can also be due to how he seemed less like a mastermind luring you into a grand trap and more like a whiny bitch when you'd solve his riddles. The trophies can also share the blame on why the Riddler wasn't as great as I wanted him to be, but that wasn't as big as the last two parts. He did sound somewhat threatening with some of the messages he'd sent out to you, but that's about it. I guess that's enough of me nitpicking, now onto the rest of the game.

Yes, at times it felt like some of the events were trying to be bigger than one another, but it felt like it was easing into all the chaos that was coming from such an environment. It felt epic because there was proper timing to when the stakes would be risen. It was constantly building up one crazy shitstorm after another. The characters themselves are written well, but that's almost expected when talking about Batman (unless we're talking about Frank Miller, hyuck hyuck). Sure, I bitched about the Riddler, but the Joker's obviously better and has more screentime so I can smile at Hamill's hysterical Joker cackle after frowning at what I saw with the Riddler. Hugo Strange was very interesting to see as sort of the main antagonist in Arkham City mainly because I've never heard of him and he was equally as threatening as any other Batman villain.

Gameplay-wise, with all the crooks to beat up and sneak-attack, puzzles to solve, areas to glide through and   gadgets to mess about, it feels quite strong. Each of the bosses you encounter are somewhat difficult, but you can overcome them if you do the usual "time your shit right" tactic that works with most bosses in most games. The difficulty does kind of go up and down at times, but it manages to provide a challenge to the gamer which isn't a bad thing. Succeeding in something that had to make you plan out your moves carefully is more satisfying because you had made a greater effort to overcome the problem. Everything just seemed to fall into the right places in the game. Except The Riddler. But like I said, it's just a nitpick. That, and even I, as a Riddler fan, have to admit that he wasn't all that special."

As I replay the game, I find that nothing much about this has changed except the way I look at the Riddler. Sure, a part of me still isn't okay with the final design and how the Riddler came out like a total wuss, but now that I think about it, he had the gall to toy with Batman by scattering trophies and cryptical messages, which is what the Riddler is known for. That part may have been tedious for me as a player, but that's the whole point of how the Riddler functions, he's supposed to be tedious. Also, while he comes out weak, you could attribute it to the idea that he's more about brain than brawn. With that said, you could also say he should have been smarter about how he would have dealt with Batman rather than just getting pulled under the creaky floorboards.

I still think that all of the exploring you do in the Arkham City is loads of fun and the array of baddies that you fight are done very well. The story was also something really worthy of note as it had all the elements that would be present in the comic book but it also had a very cinematic and intense vibe to it as you watched everything unfurl. It had it's own identity too as it was dark but also fast-paced and had the stakes as high as ever. The Catwoman mode of the game was kind of cool to try. I wasn't all that into it because I didn't really care that much for Catwoman (shocker, isn't it?), but there was something there that I could enjoy  (the stealing, mostly) and that's enough to at least consider the choice. I really don't know what else to say that I haven't already said right now so I'll just stop padding this and end this list.

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