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I felt like writing some of the honorable mentions for my top ten games list as of 2013. These didn't make the cut because I don't replay them as frequently as the other ten, but these are ones I have replayed several times (although a few I never could finish) and still feel cravings for from time to time.
Castlevania Symphony of the Night
Metroidvania does accurately describe this game but I think that term gets applied too liberally to other games that have nothing to do with Castlevania. Highlights for me include getting the sword that lets you walk the same time as swinging it, and figuring out how to jump really high. So good! The pixel art was awesome and the 2d backgrounds were very impressive. Musically there are lots of great tracks here. I also remember there being a song on the playstation disc where Alucard says something along the lines of "As you can see this a playstation black disc, the first track one play but you already knew that, didn't you?" The gameplay was great. Alucard was finally cool too, I didn't think he was that special in Castlevania 3 as he seemed to weak for being the son of Dracula.
Great brawler game with lots of other different types of gameplay. I loved the big fist or boot when you finished off the baddies. The music also deserves mention here as it was top quality David Wise soundtrack. I played lots of double dragon with friends, and even though this game was a little too hard to play all the time with someone else, I always came back to it.
I have never been able to complete this game. Even with game genie codes! That didn't stop me from trying. I got to the point where I could get to the pipeline level consistently but that was it. Rat race a few times but I don't think I've been able to get further than that. With the game genie I did go to the dark tower and have infinite lives but I didn't have the patience at the time to keep trying.
This game was the reason I got a Sega Genesis before getting a Super Nintendo. My friend picked this up in 1993 and we were blown away by the graphics in the battles. He was also the kind of friend that would let you play his games when you came over. He handed me the paddle saying "Just try it out." I think I got to the part with the Circus and the Marianettes in one sitting and loved every minute. I got a Sega Genesis for Christmas because that's all I wanted. I actually was playing this game just last week again. I've owned three different versions. Strangely, I don't like very many other SRPGs but Shining Force and Final Fantasy Tactics are some of my favorite games of all time.
Secret of Mana
A few years later I had moved and I went to my neighbors house one day and he was playing this game that looked kinda like the Legend of Zelda. The character had a sword and could cut grass just the same as Link, but he could also hold the attack button to charge up the sword and unleash a more powerful attack. Later on a girl and a sprite joined the party, and then he handed me a controller and I could play too. Not only that but the music sounded like real music instead of video game music. I was in love with Secret of Mana.
This game is the reason I got a Super Nintendo (besides the package including Zelda LttP as a pack in). I have never finished it on my own save file, but I did at that good neighbors house. It's been quite a few years since I've played this amazing game.
Resident Evil 2
Ah memories. After getting converted to the playstation family thanks to Final Fantasy Tactics. I started getting into more mature games than my Nintendo 64 titles. Metal Gear Solid, Parasite Eve, Final Fantasy 7, Colony Wars, and several others. I remember that around this time of year in 1998 there was a game I decided to rent called Resident Evil 2. The opening cutscenes were amazing! Voice acting in a video game that was good! Zombies! The first time I played it I died within inches of the wrecked car where you first gain control. After retrying several times I finally just ran past as many as I could. This started a relationship that lasted throughout many years. It's been a while since I've replayed it but this is still my favorite Resident Evil of the bunch. (4 did come close but it was too long for me). I even unlocked the Hunk scenario and was almost fooled by EGM's unlock Akuma April fools.
I loved this game. My oldest brother is a big fan of James Bond and we even went and saw the movie in theaters together. It's actually my favorite film in the series. I remember when the game released a few years later I picked it up for my Nintendo 64 and couldn't put it down. Several parties were had for multi-player (proxy mines, license to kill, paintball mode and several other variants) which was fantastic, but the single player was awesome too! We never had the no oddjob rule because it never bothered me. I was pretty good with the C buttons anyway that I was almost unbeatable amongst my friends. My brother eventually stopped playing with me because I knew the levels so well I could find him as soon as he spawned and could get the armor before he had a chance to get me again.
I remember finally unlocking the Egypt level and not knowing how to get the golden gun. My brother went to babbage's (the local game store that gamestop eventually bought) and looked at the strategy guide and wrote down the steps in his day planner. He brought it home and we finally beat that stupid puzzle. I didn't know you had to walk on the tiles in an order.
I'll give you some respect points if you know this game. I think we all have some niche games that nobody really knows are aren't that popular that we like. Lots of people try to talk extra about these games and state their underrated-ness and that these are overlooked. I think that's why I like the Happy Video Game Nerd as he does a pretty good job proclaiming the gospel of overlooked or under appreciated games. He also does really good research about the games and what the story is about them. I don't know if this one is a gem by any means, but I played it constantly and enjoyed it's weirdness. Seriously one of the bosses is a dude with boxer shorts with smiley faces on them.
Mega Man 2 or 3
I can't choose between these too as I love them both. Out of all the series for the NES these were the best two and they tied for most times played. I did finish 3 before I could ever finish 2, but I think the music of 2 is catchier. Anyway, I recently purchased these for the Wii U so my son could play some games with me. I forgot how challenging they are and ended up doing it for him.
Star Control 2
A PC game on my list. Most of the PC games I liked and played tons are well over 10 to 15 years old as at that point I switched to consoles pretty exclusively once I got a Nintendo 64. Our family computer just couldn't cut it or it was such a challenge getting them to work properly (our sound cards were always the issue with all our machines). This game will always hold a place in my heart though. I'm suprised I even finished it on my own as I played through the Ur-Quan masters (the free remake) just last year and I couldn't do it without some guidance. I loved the music of this game and the unique ships and fun battles. My oldest brother and I would play melee mode quite a bit and have lots of laughs thanks to the pkunk insults and the goofiness of some of ships. Exploring space in the single player mode was also quite the experience for 10 year old me. Any game that includes space exploration reminds me of this game. Mass Effect awakened a lot of these feelings again for me.
Streets of Rage 2
This game is one of the top I've replayed through countless times. Many different friends and myself would play through this game from time to time. I like it more than pretty much any other beat em up / brawler that I've played. The whole series is pretty good but this one take the cake. The music was perfect, the levels were great, the graphics were awesome at the time. I have no problem admitting that Axel influenced how I dressed when I reached high school. I usually just did a white T-shirt and jeans like him.
So those are my runner ups to the top ten. These are all great games that had great impact on me. How about you? What are some games that you hold dear but maybe didn't even finish or consider your top games?
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