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Today has been awful. More computer issues, thus making it more difficult to work on blogs. So tonight, I literally have 23 minutes to put something together that doesn't smack of laziness or cheapness. I'll be honest. I type much faster nowadays now that I've gotten in the habit of doing it, but posting a whole blog in less than half an hour? Well, we'll see.
This time around, I'm going to keep things simple. I'm gonna take you guys back and introduce you to ten games that absolutely blew my mind at the time. These were the games that I never imagined would get any better or could be improved on. Silly me. Here goes:
This was one of the very first games I bought for my first PC, and I was obsessed with it. I remember sitting there in the dark in front of my little 19" SVGA screen feeling like I'd discovered digital heaven. And while much of the gameplay was predictable and repetitive, I loved every minute of it. Think of Cyberia as a very primitive version of Deus Ex. But for me, I had never experienced anything like this before. There were no arcade games like Cyberia. Perhaps the closest comparison would've been Star Wars: Rebel Assault which was on nearly every system of that time.
I want a pair of B.L.A.D.E.S
Using Zak's B.L.A.D.E.S to analyze various objects or to solve puzzles was just incredible to me. Watching V-mails (think e-mail with video) from various characters added an air of mystery and tension. And although the game itself was very linear, somehow it seemed like a world that was wide open.
Awww yeah. Bring the pain!
Another PC classic that was hot on the heels of Id Software's success with the original Doom. Again, I was just discovering how far PC games had come since my days of tinkering on an Apple 2C. Heretic was nothing short of amazing. It was bright and colorful. It ran smoothly. And I was also amazed by the sense of scale in each of the levels. The varied levels of Heretic were dark, and foreboding.
Yeah, now it's okay to crap your pants.
You never knew what was going to come from some dark corner to attack you. And all the while you were roaming about, you could hear the sounds of the pantheon of creatures just waiting to kill you. But perhaps the most terrifying moment? The first time you hear the chanting of the Disciples of D'Sparil. The constant rhythmic sound literally makes the hairs on your arms stand on end. Then again, the Nitrogolems, which would launch screaming skulls at you were pretty awful too. Nowadays, the game looks positively primitive, but for 1995 it was awesome. Actually, I still love it.
Don't laugh. Yeah, I really thought this game was awesome. Yes, there were already more advanced games at this point, (Daytona Racing, Ridge Racer), but I fell in love with the immense rendered background locations for the various races. I mean, racing through a dead whales carcass? Underwater???
A picture really IS worth a thousand words.
And then their was Lance Boyle, the obnoxious but somehow entertaining host of MegaRace television. I replayed the game over and over just to see every FMV cut-scene after you finished a race. Yes, it was horribly corny, but it still has a warm place in my heart.
They say ignorance is bliss, and it must be true because I really didn't seem to know thatmany of the games I viewed as "cutting edge" were actually fading fast. Microcosm was one such game. I was just taken in by Microcosm's "beauty". And for it's time, depending on what you played it on, it actually was pretty good looking. But the 1990's was a positively explosive time for gaming. For the longest time, gaming had been defined by pixels and sprites. The introduction of CGI, polygons, and texture mapping (to name a few things) was bold new territory.
#5 Duke Nukem 3D
That's right. Pull your pants up so I can blast ya!!!
For anyone who remembers the insane popularity of the first Doom, then you also remember how Duke Nukem seemed to just pimp slap Doom in every possible way. The levels were bigger and more beautiful. The weapons were ten times more badass, and hilarious. There was partial nudity and frat party humor. And perhaps best of all, Duke could talk!!! Between shrinking aliens and stepping on them, to throwing pipe bombs in to bathroom stalls while the aliens pinch a loaf, Duke Nukem will always be an awesome, awesome game.
#6 Star Fox
This was the game that made me sad I didn't have an SNES. You could say what you want about the fake hyping of the FX chip that Nintendo engaged in. But even today, Star Fox is an attractive, well-executed, solidly fun game to play. And for years, there was nothing like it. I literally tried searching all sorts of references for Sega Genesis games that might be able to rival Star Fox, and there were none. Even with the addition of the Sega CD and 32X, there was no one piece of software that had the same charm that Star Fox did. On the Sega CD, you had Silpheed, which was fun, but an entirely different experience altogether. The 32X had a port of Star Wars Arcade, but still... just not the same. Star Fox will always be one of my very favorite games of all time.
#7 Jetforce Gemini
The N64 was a console that I had been fully prepared to ignore. Unlike most gamers of the time, I was not impressed by Mario's transition to three dimensions. And when I thought of the N64, I just thought of an overpriced, somewhat flawed (no disc drive) console. What changed my mind? Jetforce Gemini. Back when Rare was in peak form, they were flooding the N64 with IP's that were destined to be legends. Conker, Banjo, Joanna Dark. Rare was on fire. But the big, lush, beautiful scenery, and cute (almost PIXAR like), characters had me instantly hooked. To this day, one of my greatest beefs with Nintendo and Rare is that we've never seen a proper sequel to this game.
#8 Silent Hill
Silent Hill was the first game that I had ever played where I found myself nervously looking over my shoulder, or behind me, for fear of what might be sneaking up on me. The game had me that scared. The images of a ghost town blanketed in white snow, with dark and terrifying things waiting in the shadows was permanently burned into my brain. Surely, this title was one of the reasons why the Playstation brand is what it is today.
Are there even any words that explain how important Shenmue was to gaming? Simply put, if you've have been playing GTA V recently and loving it, just realize that there would have been no GTA without Shenmue blazing that trail. Shenmue was the ORIGINAL blueprint for an open-world game. The sheer variety of things to do and the freedom of exploration were simply unprecedented. The Dreamcast had already done so many things right. But Shenmue is a shining example of EVERYTHING that was good about Sega.
#10 Far Cry
I used to just play Far Cry sometimes just to wander around and bask in all the sheer beauty. I mean, you hear plenty of games get praise for their visuals. And then once enough time passes, the imperfections become abundantly clear. But Far Cry, even now is just a gorgeous game. From the crystal clear water and lush jungles, to the waterfalls and cliffs, and stunning sunsets. The Cryengine's first foray into gaming was a phenomenal one.
Even now, the sheer variety of mods make for some very, very satisfying gameplay. Far Cry is probably one of the best things to ever happen to a computer.
And that folks. is my list. I hope you enjoyed it. How about you? Were any of these as special for you as they were for me? Thanks for reading, and well... power to the players, right?