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Compiling a list of the top 200 games of all time is an undertaking. Favorites are missed, sequels are argued, and friendships are strained. Naturally, some games that I thought would be shoe-ins for the top 200 ended up on the floor of the GI vault, discarded until reconsidered for another list. I chose to scoop up those abandoned titles and pay tribute to them in the form of a list. My list. These are the 10 games I thought should have been in the top 200.Here they are in no particular order:Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Genesis, 1994)It‘s impossible for me to divide this amazing platforming masterpiece into two independent titles. Originally developed as one entire saga, Sonic 3 & Knuckles was fragmented into two separate projects because Sonic Team was on a strict schedule. The result was mind-blowing lock-on technology, which provided a Knuckles-packed augmentation to the already stellar Sonic 3. Fans of the series newcomer even had the ability to play through Sonic 2 as the edgy echidna. Anybody who claims that Sonic 2 is the best Sonic game never played through these two games back-to-back. Blazing through Sonic 3 and collecting all the chaos emeralds, only to then begin collecting the hyper emeralds and morph into Hyper Sonic or Knuckles was a dream for any fan of the series. Sonic 3 & Knuckles was such a massive experience that it truly instilled appreciation for the built-in save function. Not enough for you? How about a Doomsday battle against Dr. Robotnik in space? It was the apex of the series, and has become the standard to which I judge all other Sonic games.Banjo Kazooie (N64, 1998)Banjo Kazooie is one of the most fun, polished platforming games of all time. This N64 gem’s endearing characters, immersive worlds, and straight-forward item collection gave Mario 64 a run for its money in terms of gameplay variety. I was enamored with the game from the moment I popped the promo VHS into the VCR and heard Jon Lovitz’s voice insist I beg my parents for it. The game has aged surprisingly well, and is available on Xbox Live Arcade if you’re in doubt of the Rare’s ability to contend with Nintendo’s first-party quality in the past.Resident Evil (GameCube, 2002)The original Resident Evil made our top 200 games list, and deservedly so. However, there is no doubt that the GameCube remake was by far a superior title. Shocking both newcomers to the series and veterans alike, the game’s beautifully rendered backgrounds and creepy environments made every cautious footstep through the Raccoon mansion feel like your own. Capcom’s reimagining deserves a spot on the list just for successfully playing off well known scares from the original game and put a twist on them, such as a window cracking where an infected dog is expected to smash through. If new fans of RE4 and RE5 want to experience traditional, pure survival horror they should look no further than the remake.Earthworm Jim (Genesis, 1994)If ever there were a contender to usurp Sonic from his Genesis mascot-dom, it was Earthworm Jim. Zany, hilarious action practically overflowed from the little black cartridge. From escort missions involving a cuddly dog who turned into a raging beast if provoked to intergalactic wormhole races against Psycrow, Earthworm Jim was packed with something new in every level. Don’t dare think this was a watered-down, cartoony kid’s game either, as the spacesuited- megadrile’s shootouts offered a high degree of challenge to unsuspecting gamers. If you want to experience early ‘90s wackiness in condensed game form, this is it.Rogue Squadron (N64, 1998)At the time of its release, Rogue Squadron for the N64 was the best Star Wars game ever made. Expanding on the snowspeeder Hoth battle in Shadows of the Empire, this LucasArts title boasted polished third-person perspective flight set in iconic Star Wars locales. Taking full advantage of the N64’s expansion pack, the game was a visual-marvel to behold. Piloting the X-Wing, Millennium Falcon, and various other starships set to charming MIDI-esque versions of John William’s score is and experience nestled snugly in my memory.Bionic Commando (NES, 1988)NES platforming games revolving around jumping are a dime a dozen. What made Bionic Commando stand out was that it successfully managed fun, varied platforming with a protagonist whose vertical ups make Danny Devito look like Shaq (yeah, that joke contained both Danny Devito and Shaq - in theaters soon). Latching on to ledges and swinging through levels was an absolute blast, and blowing away Nazi-wannabes all the while made the experience even better. This game deserves a spot on the list for its incredible music alone. Bionic Commando is just another example of Capcom’s 2D domination.River City Ransom (NES, 1999)Genre-blending seems to be the talk of the town these days. River City Ransom already integrated two unique game types way back in the NES days. Who would’ve guessed that RPG elements would have fit so seamlessly into a side-scrolling brawler? In the game, conquered foes barfed coins that could be spent to unlock new fighting moves at local shops and restore health. The idea of grinding some cash by fighting a bunch of bad guys in a brawler was a genius way to spice up the mindless pugilism. River City Ransom’s smooth genre synergy remains to be seen in the brawler/RPG circuit even today.Ghosts ‘n Goblins (NES, 1985)Yeah, it’s another Capcom game. Ghosts ’n Goblins was definitely one of those games. Hordes of foes combined with the ability to absorb only a few blows resulted in a truly punishing, yet rewarding experience. Few games have managed to replicate the “aww, you gotta be kidding me…” moment of Ghosts ‘n Goblins false ending. Yes, after lancing the hell out of all those zombies, you were forced to do it all over again, only it’s harder. This would have resulted in more smashed controllers if the game wasn’t so damned fun.Final Fantasy (NES, 1987)Sure, it may not be the best game in the series, but as far as reshaping the video game landscape goes this game can’t be ignored. Final Fantasy received its name because it was perceived to be struggling developer Square’s last game. The classic RPG swansong went on to be a hit in both the Western and Eastern markets, acting as a shot in the arm to the still-budding console-RPG scene. It may be hard to imagine a world without RPGs inspired by Final Fantasy, let alone without Square Enix, but such would have been the case without Final Fantasy.Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins (GB, 1992)Mario’s second full-fledged Game Boy title was the defining platformer for Nintendo’s new handheld. Emulating some of the best aspects of Super Mario World, the game featured a detailed, secret path-laden world map, detailed character sprites, unique power-ups, and fun boss fights. Super Mario land 2 also marked the first appearance of iconic Mario villain man-child, Wario. The sheer amount of Nintendo-magic stuffed into that tiny square cartridge ensured it would stay wedged in many a Gameboy for a very long time.Agree? Disagree? Hate Sonic? Post your comments below.
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