Discussion in 'Gaming & Tech' started by straightorbroken, Nov 26, 2014.
I loved rubbish old Dan and his range of pastel karate suits - he actually wasn't that bad to play as, and there was a good humiliation factor in beating someone using him (especially if you threw in his ludicrous super move where he rolled around doing taunts and not attacking whatsoever )
"My Dad could beat you and he's dead!"
This remains one of the most tragic character designs ever
'Deeper Shade Of Blue' vibes.
Her bum-bounce move was everything
While on the subject of Street Fighter spinoffs, I'd like to mention how much I appreciated the Street Fighter EX series - I wouldn't expect any of them this high on the countdown, but they were good throwaway fun and had some fab characters (such as Pullum Purna and her Arabian Nights vibes, and of course greatest SF character ever Skullomania )
I never played the EX games, last SF game I played was Alpha 3 not counting Marvel vs Capcom. I never even tried IV but I would like to give a special mention to the forgotten SF3 which I spent a week during a holiday playing on an arcade.
10. Final Fantasy VII
Platform: Sony PlayStation
Release: Jan 31 1997
In late 1995, the industry was made aware that one of Nintendo's closest 3rd party allies, Japanese giant Square, was jumping platforms to release the next traditionally Nintendo-famed Final Fantasy game exclusively on the 32 bit success story, the Sony Playstation. Many will remember the early tech demo screen shots that had seemingly came to be unofficially recognized as being 'Final Fantasy 64' for Nintendo's forthcoming console that had the working title of the Ultra 64, and needless to say the bold step for the franchise into 3D graphics would be a huge coup for whatever system it found its way on. It's widely accepted that the major reasoning behind this surprising shift of allegiance, which was officially confirmed in 1996 (the same year Nintendo sold their Square shares that were then bought by Sony), was that Nintendo (possibly looking at the track record of disc consoles up until Sony, and perhaps because of their failed SNES CD upgrade together) opted to go for cartridges, thus limiting the ambitions of what Square desired for their game's next epic journey (it would feature many CGI cut scenes the N64 would be incapable of producing with cartridges). I do wonder if Nintendo's clunky and ill-fated 64DD (also announced in 1995, well before the N64 was even launched) was part of their belated campaign to keep the game a Nintendo exclusive. Although there have been FF spin-offs on the GameCube and Wii, some of which I have, I can't comment on their quality yet, and I do find it surprising that this line has never properly made its way back onto a Nintendo console. However, there's a lot more to it than these disagreements, and it does just seem like one stupid mistake from Nintendo after another (how times have changed).
So now that I've got that flushed out my system, onto the game itself. This seemed like a peculiar one, I had never seen anything quite like it, but the praise it got was unavoidable and I credit it, along with Tekken 2, as making me succumb to finally getting a Playstation, which was admittedly long after I even got a Nintendo 64 if memory serves. With its cinematic qualities spilling through into practically every aspect (I'll forget all about the hugely disappointing snowboarding, talk about going downhill, etc), with its sense of urgency, vivid graphical grunt, intriguing art style, a scorching orchestral score, and atmospheric environments, you're instantly whisked away to explore thoroughly, commit to a wide array of quests, experience dynamics more queer and mysterious than even between Square and Nintendo, be made to feel a whole range of emotions ranging from sadness, regret, to more sadness, and even some intense bits are thrown in too, this is a sprawling epic journey that in my case was clearly a console seller. Even if my Playstation library was limited, I'd take a guess that this surely must be the jewel in its crown. It's an incredibly memorable game, introducing a lot of Western gamers previously ignorant of what RPGs are truly about, and the franchise soon became global gaming events. The next installment is currently due for release on both Sony's and Microsoft's current generation systems.
Revisionists will always hate it because it was the Final Fantasy that broke into the mainstream, but deservedly so! The intriguing story, those cinematics, the dramatic camera angles, the music, THAT unexpected plot twist... this game had flair in spades and was literally like NOTHING else you had seen before. It has obviously dated quite a bit and the translation makes the plot hilariously incomprehensible at times but it's very much a gaming milestone and I would put it up there with other 90s classics such as Tomb Raider, Super Mario 64 or Resident Evil in terms of legacy and impact.
The battle theme is still my favourite of all Final Fantasy games - and that is saying SOMETHING.
The story is hands down the best ever for a video game. Well thought out and deep, but not to the point where it tries too hard and unnecessarily complicated and convoluted. Which is what Final Fantasy is like TODAY.
Definitely one of my top ten Final Fantasy games.
I played it after FFVIII so graphically I found it a bit underwheling (also the PC port was shit). I would rank it third after 8 & 12 for me.
I was being a bit flippant really, it's hard to overstate the impact FFVII had and it really is an incredible step up from anything that came before - for me, FFVII and Metal Gear Solid were an amazing one-two punch that changed the perception of what you could do in a game during that era. Having said that, I do feel that Square really perfected the formula in the two subsequent PS1 FF games.
Where do you even start with a game like FFVII?
It is absolutely a milestone in gaming history - it managed to popularise a genre of gaming that until that point was very niche and difficult to market outside of Japan.
I wouldn't say it's overrated as such, but I think its flaws are often overlooked because for many gamers, it comes coupled with a heady sense of nostalgic fondness - myself included.
I do think it contains one of the best scripts in gaming, certainly from a plot perspective, although the translation leaves the actual text somewhat functional. For me, it straddles the line perfectly between remaining coherent whilst introducing concepts that we're much more accustomed to these days thanks to mainstream sci-fi TV/movies, but at the time were fairly mind-bending. And there seems to me to be a genuine fondness for the characters from those involved in the game - the core cast have more heart and soul than the majority of characters in subsequent entries, despite their graphical limitations. There are so many little moments of personality (dressing up as a woman early in the game being one of them) that create a real bond between the team and that makes Aeris' demise even more gut-wrenching; yes it was unexpected (and WHAT a plot point that was in the days before walkthroughs were standard/necessary) but you do actually feel the loss beyond simply losing your white mage.
I replayed the game a few years ago and it IS clunky, though I'd put that more down to the time it was released and Square finding their feet with the graphical leap (I can't really think of a series that has taken such a massive leap - even Mario 64 wasn't quite so dramatic). The materia system also unlocks far too easily, making the latter stages an absolute breeze if you can get the combinations right - but in a sense that's only a flaw since gamers became more educated on the conventions of the RPG - I think it was necessary at the time, but now I'd almost feel it was a bit of a cop out now to be able to just have any character use any ability and in a sense it made job classes completely redundant once your materia was levelled up. FFX balanced it much better in terms of being able to switch characters with the same degree of fluidity but with them retaining specific abilities (until much, much later after a lot of level grinding).
I've always said I would love them to remake it, and I still would. But a lot of the things that make it memorable wouldn't translate in the same sense - that first moment you step outside Midgar, for example. That, for me, was a moment that brought gaming forward into that generation and now a world map like that wouldn't have nearly the same impact. Aeris' death would probably mean you just wouldn't bother using her and instead focus on another character so that you don't feel the loss of skill from the party, etc. I'm not sure that I would have the time to sink the 99+ hours I did into it at the time (probably closer to 150) and I think the inevitable addition of voice acting would spoil it - maybe in part the characters are the way they are to people because they were silent and therefore their "voice" and personality is largely due to the individual bringing the words to life in their mind.
So, essentially it's a game that I love, and I love that I got to play it at a time when it was breaking new ground. It had a massive impact on me as a gamer and I think it's brilliant that it brought RPG's into the mainstream. But I think Square are right to distance themselves from it these days. It will always stand as a gaming landmark, but I don't think it could be a landmark moment again and I'd rather Square instead focus on re-introducing the same degree of personality into their characters again and avoiding the clichéd sterotypes they keep resorting to - 'Xenoblade Chronicles' and 'Bravely Default' had some questionable voice acting, but the characters themselves were quite refreshing and endearing, so it can be done.
Wow somebody loves FFVII Nice summary Slave. The plot is actually very Japanesey, all that stuff about Mako and inner energies is very much in tune with Shintoism and it had already kind of been explored in FFVI (and to a lesser extent in the previous games of the series).
For me, what made FFVII uber cool at the time was how unashamedly political it was, particularly for a game aimed at teenagers. You were part of a Green terrorist cell who went around bombing reactors that belonged to an evil energy company that was draining the energy of the planet! The whole game is top notch, but the first 7-8 hours or however long it takes to leave Midgar was AMAZING: the first reactor, meeting Aeris, Tifa's bar, Don Corneo, the ascension of the Shinra building... perfect.
I geeked out a few weeks ago and went to the swanky Square Enix shop cafe in Tokyo. AMAZE
Going to Tokyo made me really GET for the first time just how Tokyo-inspired Midgar is, and really Japan-inspired that world is.
I never had that feeling the other times I'd been
Also I bought a plush CACTUAR
"This guy are sick"
9. NiGHTS Into Dreams...
Developer: Sonic Team
Platform: Sega Saturn
Release: July 1996 (JAP), August 1996 (NA), October 1996 (PAL)
With its glistening visual splendor and graceful sensation of flight, Nights was a console-defining game that sadly arrived too late. It was very impressive at the time, finding new ground for the Saturn (whilst in the air), unleashing a belated surprise with what is arguably the system's brightest moment. Nights is fun, brisk, fluid, colourful and infinitely playable (until the time runs out that is). The game is a good length, lacking a little in variation of environments, but when they are so vibrant and slightly hectic this is almost helpful to pick up your control instincts, especially when up against the clock. Genre-wise, it's probably suspended between being a 'floating platformer' and something of a points-geared racer.
It really forged its own path, leaving a touching trail of originality and rewarding gameplay. Despite 'copying' Nintendo with the then newly launched analogue controller (which arguably catapults its 2D gameplay into feeling more eloquent if not fully 3D), Nights presents a unique idea that made it feel impossible to put down. The Utopian and 'dystopian' dream worlds are smooth running, fast, and infused with lots of both charm and mild tension. The balance of challenge, surreal thrills and the sheer, soaring pleasure of soaking up all that's going on, with a constant supply of collectible objects scattered in the air, ensures your wide-eyed focus and marvel.
In a pre-DLC world, Sega extended the life of the game by subsequently giving away a bonus Christmas Nights disc, which Europe got in 1997. As a lover of snow levels, the Christmas theme really shines, the attention to detail is there, doing the original justice and providing an extra experience that matches elegance, energy and sparkle as before. The game was later ported to the PS2 in Japan only, with the festive flight levels being unlockable once the original game is completed.
Given that on first impression I really disliked the Wii sequel (I've given it one go), I'm unsure now whether I'd find Nights a bit dated to play, but watching youtube 'fly-throughs' still dazzles with its truly sumptuous graphical design. If I were to ever buy a Saturn again (which isn't likely), this would be my first pick-up. Infused with so much beauty, Dreams remains a benchmark and one of the most endearing games I've ever played. The series is currently lying somewhat dormant, but the inclusion of a Nights-themed track in the recent multi-platform Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed (a flawed, but underrated gem) does suggest that a sequel isn't beyond the realms of possibility.
I love Nights, it was and still is to an extent truly one of its kind. It's the game where SEGA caught up with Nintendo's je ne sais quoi in my opinion. To my shame, I have never finished it - it really does get hard towards the end.
8. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Platform: Super Nintendo
Release: August 1995 (JAP), October 1995 (NA, PAL)
If there is one thing that can justify all those annoying baby characters clogging up the recent Mario Kart rosters, it would be the Super Nintendo classic Super Mario World 2: Yosh's Island. So cute you’ll want to eat it up and poop it back out as an egg you can throw at RareReplay-playing Xbox One owners, its visuals stand up some 20 years later, and offer some of the most vibrant and pleasing level designs I have ever experienced. What probably makes this game so impressive in a way that even the recently released Yoshi’s Woolly World can’t compete with is that all this detailed mastery was achieved on a 16-bit console at the end of its life cycle, taking aim and smashing much bigger competitors with infinite charm and style.
It actually looks better than an alarming amount of current generation indie platformers (whether they are ‘retro-inspired’ or not). In fact, what Yoshi’s Island proves is that gameplay should dictate style and not the other way around, something many of these numerous new games paying homage to the 8 and 16 bit eras might want to pay closer detail to. If the SNES was far from its infancy by the time of the game’s release, Yoshi’s Island, along with 1994’s Donkey Kong Country and its 1995 sequel, seemed to find an extra burst of life for the console, giving it a true last hurrah with a series of blockbuster hits.
Producer Shigeru Miyamoto’s first demonstration of the game was met with a somewhat lukewarm response from Nintendo’s marketing department, who insisted the game should match the pre-rendered sprites of Rare’s Donkey Kong Country. Perhaps because Kong was a creation of his, Miyamoto’s uncharacteristically insulting quote indicates such feedback hit a nerve: “DKC proves that players will put up with mediocre gameplay as long as the art is good.” Although he later retracted this statement, I do not have a link sadly. Thus, the resulting style that makes the game so alluring was decided upon, both to substitute for and surpass the Rare game’s technical achievements in transporting 24-bit splendour onto a 16-bit SNES.
One of three games to use the new Super FX 2 graphics chip, this allowed for larger sprites and a wider array of effects. These included the addictive ‘fuzzy’ transitions, bosses being far larger than ever before (many enemies’ biggest threat is making you stop to admire them), and like DKC you could morph into and/or utilize different characters or vehicles to allow even more abilities, scope and variation. The gameplay is varied, fresh and forgiving as Yoshi has both defence and attacks, and a countdown, all to keep death at bay. If you can ignore Mario’s crying, the sounds are equally as beautiful as the hand-drawn styled visuals. Some are subtle, others will be a joy to flutter-jump around to, and as with all the truly great Nintendo soundtracks, the effect tends to linger.
The only positive to come out of this game (sorry Sorb, despite your passionate write-up, I despised this sequel then and slightly less now) was the spin off, Tetris Attack - a sort of proto-Candy Crush with Yoshi's Island characters featured heavily.
7. Conker's Bad Fur Day
Platform: Nintendo 64
Release: March 2001 (NA), April 2001 (PAL)
Conker's Bad Fur Day is an ambitious 3D action-platformer, and something of an anti-flagship title that arrived at the end of the Nintendo 64's tumultuous life cycle. It is especially notable for its gruesome and crass taste levels, but its sharp-witted script, varied "context sensitive" gameplay, impressive graphics, lewd and crude voice acting, and rich soundtrack all serve to give a game that features a lot of poo, piss and vomit an awful lot of intelligence to get away with it all. I did have a GameCube game set to appear in this countdown, but I might concentrate on Nintendo's post-N64 consoles at a later date. I got this game earlier this year and can't think of any other game that I found so amusing and absorbing. It's a really unique, devilishly entertaining game.
I missed this the first time round but Super Mario World 2 is one of the most original sequels of all time. It's an acquired taste, but its execution is perfect hence the sequels struggling to be anywhere near its quality.
Conker I find particularly embarrassing although I appreciate it as a curio in Nintendo & Rare's history. As a game it's nowhere near Banjo-Kazooie or even DK64 and it has dated horribly wrong.