The 100 Greatest Games? (Part 2)

The 100 Greatest Games?
Part 1        Part 2        Part 3

The Remaining 45 Games (of 90) To Be Automatically Dismissed


Metal Gear Solid

Metal Gear Solid

Blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Dey tuk our jobs! (Durk de durr!)

Brad Hates Games: MOST… OVERRATED GAME… EVER… My high school film project had better acting, storylines and dialogue than this mess. Solid Snake is supposed to be saving the world from nuclear annihilation, but it seems like the only danger we’re in is that these terrorists might just talk our ears off. Normally, when a game has a bad story, you can just ignore it, but MGS makes it so front and center at all times that it cannot be overlooked. Which is too bad, because the narrative is full of unnecessary nonsense, like Vulcan Raven telling me all about the events he plans to take part in for the Eskimo Olympics, Otacon describing his love for anime, and Liquid Snake ranting for 30 minutes at a time about symmetry. Yet fans ate it up like it had been penned by Shakespeare. Honestly people, read a book. Preferably one that doesn’t have a picture of a wizard on the cover.

TheMadSpin: If Uwe Boll, Paul W.S. Anderson and Alexander Witt got together to make a Metal Gear Solid film, even they couldn’t make it more ridiculous than Hideo Kojima has. The man is a genius when it comes to gameplay and character design, but then he screws it all up by trying to send us a message.

If Double Dragon taught us anything, it’s that we don’t really need a reason to kill stuff and save the day. We just need someone to punch our woman and drag her off.

Seriously Hideo, “Metal Gear Solid 4: Gimme Back My Biatch”…think about it.

Fatsquatch: My brain can process large amounts of dialogue in my entertainment choices, but this game’s relentless blathering proved to be entirely too much. After a few hours of play, I suffered a mild aneurysm and couldn’t move my left arm for nearly three weeks.


StarFox

StarFox

Oh, Slippy Toad, are you ever NOT about to die?

Loogaroo: I don’t want to make it sound as if I’m pinning the blame solely on this game (and its “revolutionary” Super FX chip) for ruining the video game experience for about seven years, but you have to admit, this was the first video game in which most of the fanfare was devoted for how the game looked, rather than what the game actually was. This was supposed to be the future of video gaming? Graphics composed almost entirely of lifeless, over-abstract polygonal textures and practically no detail? Sadly, everyone went ga-ga over the supposed “eye candy” that StarFox represented, and such was the direction taken by programmers in the upcoming Saturn/PlayStation/N64 era. On top of that, this game very well could go down as having three of the most cloying and useless wingmen in twitch shooter in history.

TheMadSpin: Somewhere, the “FX” chip and “Blast” processors are snowboarding away with our money, laughing all the way.

Fatsquatch: The biggest problem with StarFox is that damn incompetent frog, Slippy Toad. Whether the action is light or heavy, he’s always about to get his ass handed to him, and you’re constantly having to help him out. Now I don’t know if there is really such a thing as a mentally challenged frog, but I think it’s safe to say that Slippy is a prime candidate for there being proof of a “special” toad. How he managed to live long enough to join an elite military force without being run over by a car, ending up in French cuisine, getting mauled by a lawn mower, or working for the WB is beyond me.

RoyalRanger: Actually, ‘Squatch, I think that Falco Lombardi is an even bigger problem than Slippy Toad. Slippy may be incompetent, but at least he respects his fellow combatants. Falco, however, practically tells you to go to hell every time you get in his way. You could have just saved his life, and he’ll just yell at you for not letting him fight his own battles. If there’s any character in StarFox who has some serious personal issues, it’s Falco.

Brad Hates Games: Forget about Slippy Toad, if Falco says “Rock Me Amadeus” one more time, I’ll shoot him down myself.


Metal Slug 2

Metal Slug 2

“Perhaps I should lay off the Krispy Kremes and stick with the MREs?”

Loogaroo: Nothing infuriates me more than platform shooters where your hero requires so much ammunition to defeat just one boss, the Russian Mafia give you a discount for buying in bulk. Meanwhile, if the player gets hit with a stray electron, he dies a horrible death. I realize that arcade games require a steady diet of quarters to survive, but if it takes me three quarters alone to get past the first boss, we have a problem. Besides, if MS2 was so great, wouldn’t people still be playing it? We have a sit-down MS2 at my local arcade, and it doesn’t even make enough money to pay for its own electricity.

TheMadSpin: Remember when this game was called Contra and came out 20 years ago?


Warcraft II

Warcraft II

There appears to be a
full moon out tonight.

Brad Hates Games: In most RTS games, the key to winning is usually to build a lot of powerful units as quickly as possible. However, things generally aren’t that simple, because the game will be balanced so that most units have some sort of weakness, and there will be a counter-unit to exploit it. This isn’t so much the case with Warcraft II, as almost all of the units for both sides are virtually identical except for their names and appearances. Not only that, but the majority of them are simply stronger, faster, more expensive versions of other units. Because of this, most battles come down to basic wars of attrition, without the depth or, you know, strategy found in games like Command & Conquer, Total Annihilation or Age of Empires.

TheMadSpin: I don’t have a whole lot of venom for this game, but Warcraft III was better. That’s really all you need to know.


Populous

Populous

Zombie Yul Brynner!

Brad Hates Games: At its core, Populous is really game about genocide. You play as the God of the Blue People, and the goal of each level is to kill every single one of the Red People, who worship a different god. Of course, we are told that the Red God and his followers are evil, which is the same kind of propaganda used by virtually every perpetrator of genocide. Worse yet, as a God, almost all of your powers are destructive — you can cause earthquakes, turn land into swamps, and make volcanoes erupt all over your enemies. Or you can indiscriminately kill both you and your enemy’s followers with a massive flood. About the only benevolent power you actually have is that you can give your followers nice, flat land. I’m not an extremely religious person, but I’d at least like to think that I couldn’t replace God with a bulldozer and be no worse off for it.

TheMadSpin: You know, for all the mighty powers you get in Populous, I never really felt that mighty. You actually lose power early in the game while waiting for people to do your bidding. By contrast, I always get the sense that Samus could probably kick my ass by the time she gets the magma suit and the freeze beam, and she’s no god.

Fatsquatch: Despite being an avid PC gamer, my only experience with Populous was on the SNES not long after the system launched. Now, its been a few years and I can’t remember the specifics, but I do clearly recall that this game had me bored out of my mind, and if it had not been a rental, I probably would have taken a dump on it.


Planescape: Torment

Planescape:Torment

The book in this image
pretty much says it all.

Brad Hates Games: I love a good, detailed story in an RPG as much as the next guy, but Planescape: Torment is basically just a really long book disguised as a game. In fact, it’s almost like a Choose Your Own Adventure book where instead of flipping pages for each choice, you navigate 200,000 word long dialogue trees. Sure, there’s some combat and puzzles, but these parts are like tiny islands in a tremendous sea of text. I’ve heard that you can even kill the final boss without fighting him at all if you’ve spoken to the right people throughout the game and make the right choices when talking to him. I wouldn’t know; I got to the part where my annoying skull friend got kidnapped and stopped playing. That was the best thing that had happened in the entire game so far, and I wasn’t going to ruin the experience by trying to get him back.


Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger

Chrono checks out the 22’s
on his freshly pimped ride.

Loogaroo: I don’t care if the game was made by Squaresoft or not; there are still a couple of things an RPG needs to have if it wants to be truly great. Like, for example, a plot that’s more than just a time travel goose chase. Or a cast of characters that I can actually give a crap about (the only two characters I actually like aren’t even human!). How about not having level grinding take three times as long as it should? Maybe not have 90% of the non-standard attacks have their own plot arc? The only thing really going for this game is the multiple endings, and pardon me if I don’t feel like beating this game twelve times to get them all.

Brad Hates Games: The ‘Prehistoric Fortress’ was reason enough to throw this game out; walk two steps, fight unavoidable “optional” battle with rock lizards, use lightning attack, repeat for four hours. No thanks.

RoyalRanger: The first half of the game was a creative time traveling adventure full of crazy paradoxes. Okay, I can accept that. The second half of the game was a plain, ordinary RPG full of mystical floating cities and stereotypical end-of-the-world scenarios. No thanks.

TheMadSpin: I see what Brad is saying. If you figure out the weakness of any creature or boss, it becomes Rock/Paper/Scissors vs. a psychic. I remember being boggled by a boss for days, and then once I figured it out, it took me only two rounds to completely destroy him. I also thought it was amazing that even in a non-Final Fantasy title, Square was able to insert the old, “Your main enemy isn’t really your main enemy,” cliché that we all know and love.


Resident Evil

Resident Evil

“You can’t shoot me. I’m the master of unlocking!”

Brad Hates Games:
(Brad is looking over the list of remaining games, and notices Resident Evil is still on the list)

Fatsquatch: Brad, have you found anything interesting?

Brad Hates Games: Yes, but I can’t write very well.

‘Squatch: How about eliminating Resident Evil by yourself? I have a pen here.

Brad: Oh, do you? Well then I’ll try to write using the pen.

‘Squatch: Wait.

(Fatsquatch tosses the pen to Brad. Brad begins to write, but once he starts, the pen runs dry!)

Brad: Hey, what’s going on?

(Camera pans to Fatsquatch )

‘Squatch: Now I’ve done it! Sorry, Brad, wait. I’ll go and get another pen.

(He exits. Camera pans back to Brad)

Brad: ‘Squatch? Fatsquatch!

(Brad waits. Camera pans to Fatsquatch, who returns to the room. Camera pans back to Brad.)

‘Squatch: Hey, are you there, Brad? Grab the pen!

(Camera pans back to Fatsquatch, who throws it to Brad. Brad crosses Resident Evil off the list)

‘Squatch: I’m sorry, Brad.

Brad: I didn’t know THAT was going to happen.

‘Squatch: Sorry. I was really careless.

Brad: Are you okay, ‘Squatch? Maybe you’re getting tired.

‘Squatch: No, I’m alright. Don’t worry. (pause) Brad, I’ve found something!

(Brad walks over and takes it from him)

Brad: Thank you. I’ll take this then.

TheMadSpin: This game is far inferior to later iterations of the series, and it took them until the “greatest hits” version of the Director’s Cut to add analogue support.

I also think that the recent labor dispute between the game industry and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) could have swung in SAG’s favor if they’d just played some tapes of the dialogue in this game.

Fatsquatch: Few games are as much of a pain in the ass as Resident Evil. Your character can only carry a few items, even though you typically need about seventeen different things in order to unlock one damn door. The game’s length is based heavily on this required item collecting (and the associated backtracking), and I suspect that if you could carry every item that you found, the game would really only last 45 minutes. Factor in the sluggish controls, limited ammo and horrendous voice-acting, and you have a title that could very well be the poster child for bad game design.


Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! for the NES

“I wanna kill people. I wanna rip their stomachs out and eats their churdren. BLARGH!!!”

Loogaroo: Let’s just set aside the fact that this is one of the most comically anachronistic titles in video game history. Beyond that, what exactly is this game supposed to be? All I can tell is that it’s a glorified exercise in staring at the screen waiting for your opponent’s eyebrow to twitch. The fighting patterns of each boxer are about as predictable as your average Jerry Bruckheimer movie; even Tyson himself has a pattern that’s easily sniffed out. And while I’m not much of a boxing aficionado, I do believe that boxers are allowed to actually move around the ring, rather than stand in one position like a pair of Rock’em Sock’em Robots. But the game does have one thing going for it: blatant self-promotion (“Join the Nintendo Fun Club today, Mac!”).

Brad Hates Games: I’ll forgive the fact that the star of the game turned out to be a psychotic, wife-beating, cannibalistic rapist (nobody knew how crazy Mike Tyson was when the game originally came out). What I can’t get over is all the blatant racial/ethnic stereotypes present in this game. The alcoholic Russian who drinks “soda” between rounds? The French guy who can’t win a fight? The Pacific Islander named “King Hippo” who’s so fat he can’t even get up when you knock him down? And don’t even get me started on Mr. Sandman. Most surprisingly, there’s even a slanty-eyed Japanese guy who just blurts out the names of Japanese cities and companies for no apparent reason. Very enlightened there, Nintendo. Why don’t you just toss in a fat American cowboy while you’re at it?

RoyalRanger: Besides, Super Punch-Out!! was more fun.

TheMadSpin: I remember Tyson being really hard to beat…until I started head butting him.

Fatsquatch: I like how Nintendo repackaged this game only as Punch Out (sans Tyson), after Iron Mike went loco and started raping people. Which, by the way, prompted a wave of “OMG! MY MIKE TYSON PUNCH OUT GAME IS GONNA BE A COLLECTOR’S ITEM!”

Years later, you can still easily by a copy for a couple of bucks.


Warlords

Warlords

Behold! I am a Lord…of WAR!!

Brad Hates Games: I first got this game in the summer of 1993 and immediately started a campaign with seven other computer-controlled opponents. I played it for a few hours a week, and was finally able to finish that game about six weeks ago. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but if you’re seriously thinking about sitting down and playing a game of Warlords to completion, you had better clear your schedule for the next few months. Even getting your ass kicked and losing in the early stages of the game takes forever. I suppose this is just as well since the game only has one map, which kind of eliminates replay value. Considering that very few things — placement of cities, units that can be produced, locations of treasures, etc. — ever change from game to game, there isn’t much point in playing it twice. Whatever worked last time is probably going to work again.

TheMadSpin: I remember there being a big Warlords I and II push at LAN parties (yeah, I attended them) and I couldn’t figure out why. Even the sequel, a vast improvement over the first, was so inferior to every other game in the genre that it made me sick. They didn’t even bother to be graphics whores. It was like playing chess on an etch-a-sketch.

Fatsquatch: Oh my god, I LOVE Warlords! You guys have no idea how many quarters I dropped into this game back in the day, or how many hours of intense multiplayer action my friends and I had with this game on the Atari 2600.

(Brad whispers something to Fatsquatch)

Wait, this is a different Warlords? Oh, well then…This game SUCKS!!


Command & Conquer: Red Alert

Command & Conquer: Red Alert

The Reds attack at dawn: Where’s Patrick Swayze when you need him?

Brad Hates Games: Command and Conquer: Red Alert was highly regarded when it first came out because it represented the next evolutionary step in a wildly popular genre. However, real-time strategy games have moved on quite a bit since then, and without the distinction of being the most advanced RTS on the market, this game doesn’t have anything really unique or appealing to fall back on. The story is perhaps the most overdone “What if?” scenario ever used by writers of historical fiction, and as an added bonus, is told through painfully bad FMV sequences. The campaign missions are nothing extraordinary, and even include a few single-unit missions that remove almost any semblance of strategy. Also, the computer AI is simplistic and makes plenty of tactical mistakes, laying out its bases chaotically and wasting units on suicide missions. The farther Red Alert moves away from the cutting edge, the more it becomes just another RTS.


Battlefield 1942

Battlefield 1942

“How can I best help my team? I know! I’ll crash into that building!”

Brad Hates Games: The problem with making a multiplayer game that emphasizes teamwork and coordination is that most people playing online are selfish dumbasses. This is further complicated when you give them a bunch of tanks and planes to smash into things. You’ll marvel at the stupidity of your teammates as they kill each other over the chance to drive vehicles, only to crash them into buildings for no apparent reason. There’s nothing quite like seeing a teammate jump into a transport, and then drive off right away empty-handed. You would think that single-player might provide welcome relief from this, but the computer bots feature some of the most human-like A.I. you’ll ever see…just not in a good way. They’ll do all the insane stuff their human counterparts do, only they are much better at getting vehicles stuck in ways you could never even imagine until you see it.

TheMadSpin: Not only does this game pretty much look like garbage (even on maxed out computers), but it also features nothing for those of us who don’t dig multiplayer. I’d like to think of the greatest game of all-time as something that I’d take with me on a deserted island, and I wouldn’t imagine I’d have high-speed internet there.


Xenogears

Xenogears

Ummmmm… What?

Brad Hates Games: There is nothing that I detest more in a game than when a designer gets pretentious enough to think I’d prefer to spend 90% of my time hearing the story rather than playing the game. This goes double if the game is heavily influenced by anime, which Xenogears unabashedly is. I understand that story is an important part of any RPG, but if that’s the only thing I wanted, I would read a book. And it sure as hell wouldn’t be a book about some guy who looks like a samurai and operates a Mech. Do I even have to tell you that the game has a random battle every four steps, or is that just implied by the fact that it’s from Square? At least it doesn’t have polygonal characters and grainy pre-rendered backgrounds like every other RPG they made during that era, but since the whole game looks like ass anyway, I guess that didn’t really help much.

TheMadSpin: They took a multi-part narrative and dropped you right in the middle. Confusing, right? Well, to make matters worse, they hired the same monkeys that are always writing Shakespeare to translate it. As a final nod to making things as confusing as possible, the game would occasionally stop suddenly to make you watch hand-drawn anime for a little bit, completely taking you out of the action. I also happen to think your buddy Dan was an oompa-loompa.


Deus Ex

Deus Ex

“When I asked for a light I didn’t mean this! OH GOD! AHHHHH!”

Brad Hates Games: Deus Ex allows players to choose how they want to play the game, incorporating elements of stealth, action and hacking. This is a great concept, but in execution, it ends up being kind of like the menu at Denny’s — there are a lot of choices, but none of them are really all that appealing. The stealth gameplay is fairly limited (especially when compared to games like Metal Gear Solid or Thief II), the 1st-person shooting is simply not fun, and the hacking/lockpicking is largely non-interactive. Different things happen throughout the game depending on your actions, but these changes are rather minor. In fact, how you’ve played the game, and the choices you’ve made, don’t even determine which of the endings you get. These are instead based solely on a choice you make in a dialogue tree near the end of the game. How weak is that?

TheMadSpin: This game had so much potential — until they chose the Verizon guy to voice the main character. That’s right, the protagonist is the very same man that makes you hate yourself every time you say the phrase, “Can you hear me now?”


Diablo II

Diablo II

Hours and hours of left-clicking fun!

Brad Hates Games: There haven’t been too many games to come out in the last ten years that made me think “Man, this would be so much better if it played more like Gauntlet“, but this is certainly one of them. Like its predecessor, Diablo II takes RPG elements and mixes them with gameplay that’s similar to working on Excel spreadsheets. Unlike its predecessor, nobody ever made a more arcade-like (and fun) console version. So get ready for the kind of enjoyment that can only be found by navigating randomly designed dungeons and clicking on the same two or three palette-swapped monsters for countless hours. Look out! That’s a blue zombie! You’ll have to click on him three times before he’ll die. Are you up for the challenge of hitting your mouse button three times, or will you need to find the “Marginally Better Axe of Craftsmanship”?

TheMadSpin: Diablo II is sort of like that Hanson song, Mmm-bop; you hate it and it hates you, but you still sing along when it comes on the radio. Sure you try to stop, but it won’t let you.


Halo

Halo

Is this Doom? Quake? Unreal? Duke Nukem? No, wait! Those are headcrabs, so this must be Half-Life, right? No?

Fatsquatch: As the “Master Chief” (worst frickin’ character name EVAR) in Halo, the player must run around in a first-person perspective, killing alien enemies with a variety of guns that can be picked up along the way. Sound kinda familiar? Sound like five hundred other games you’ve played before on consoles and (especially) the PC? Well, that’s because it is like all of those other games, and that’s its damn problem.

Wake me up when they start making original games again.

TheMadSpin: No matter what some will tell you, this isn’t even one of the top 40 games for the Xbox, let alone the greatest game ever. When you move this piece of crap from the Xbox to the PC it goes from amazing to third tier.

It’s just a first-person shooter people, and it’s not nearly as good as Half-Life 2.


Wipeout XL

Wipeout XL

Nintendo’s F-Zero in 3D

Fatsquatch: It’s bad enough that racing games are inherently tiresome by design (play each course until you have it memorized enough to move on to the next one; lather, rinse, repeat), but Wipeout XL added a whole new dimension to racing game pain with “floaty” physics and out-of-control speed. To make matters worse, the game’s soundtrack consists entirely of “techno” (a genre that’s unbelievably more irritating than “nu-metal” — even though Prodigy’s Firestarter was enjoyable for about two days back in 1997).

Brad Hates Games: To be fair, Wipeout XL featured the instrumental version of Firestarter, which means that it didn’t get tiresome for at least five days. You know what the game really needed though? More ads for Red Bull; it’s not like there wasn’t one of those every 10 seconds.

TheMadSpin: Ohhh, the game you guys are talking about is Red Bull Racing! I wondered why I didn’t know what you were going on about.


River City Ransom

River City Ransom

“Barf”, eh? You’ve got that right.

Loogaroo: It must be said that incorporating RPG-like elements into a beat-’em-up game was an interesting idea. There’s just one problem with its execution: in order to develop stats enough to take on the powerful late-game enemies, you need to play the game for a long period of time. Unfortunately, games of the beat-’em-up genre cannot withstand being played for long periods of time without getting painfully repetitive. Granted, the game does have a password function, but it’s incredibly long-winded…and in the case of my copy of the game, it doesn’t work.

RoyalRanger: Come to think of it, this game is a very poor role model for children. I’m not talking about all of the violence, stealing, and destruction of property. I’m talking about gluttony. Think about it, what do Ryan and Alex do with all the money that they steal from the gang members? They take a trip to a restaurant and stuff their faces. One minute, these two are out beating the stuffing out of other people; the next minute, Alex is asking Ryan to pass the ketchup, and the rolls, and the sushi, and another hamburger. Meanwhile, Ryan is trying to reach for the soda while he stuffs an entire platter into his mouth — dish and all — before asking for an extra order of fries to take with him. People are so quick to place the blame on McDonalds for making their children fat. Maybe they should start looking at the more subtle influences that are afoot here. Is this game really just another beat-em-up, or is it a triple-thick milkshake commercial in disguise?

TheMadSpin: I’ll go you one better RR…I say this game glorifies bulimia. Buckets and buckets of binge eating followed by vomiting? I rest my case.

Fatsquatch: That’s a pretty good theory, ‘Spin, but I’ve played as much RCR as the next guy, and here I am about to top out at an even 500 pounds. Now, I do indeed say “Barf!” every time I have to blow chunks, but the problem is that I don’t spew very often at all. *shrugs*

Brad Hates Games: Honestly, is there anything I could write here that would be any funnier than the box art for this game? Judo chop!


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Look! It’s more of the same crap from the previous game! *yawn*

Loogaroo: Is it just me, or does this game encourage you to cheat? The game starts out with manageable tasks at the outset, but by the time I get to the New York City level, the score plateaus are so ridiculously high and the tasks so difficult to access that I usually say, “Screw it, let’s turn on the moon physics again.” Beyond that, you can’t unlock everything in the game unless you clear every single goal on every single level — with every single skater. Remember that Sisyphus analogy I brought up with Doom?

TheMadSpin: This game pisses me off because it had this amazing soundtrack full of catchy tunes. I hold Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 totally responsible for this atrocious Dub Pistols album I bought in 2000.

Brad Hates Games: Speaking of the soundtrack, nothing screams “skateboarding” like Anthrax and Public Enemy together on the same song. Especially when that song was almost ten years old when the game came out. Sure, the first Tony Hawk game might have been filled with really bad pop-punk and ska tunes, but at least that’s the kind of garbage skateboarders actually listen to.

RoyalRanger: Well, I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I always just mute the music.


Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII

Candy-ass gamers everywhere actually cried during this scene. LOLLERZ!

Loogaroo: Final Fantasy VII isn’t a terrible game. The problem is, this is where the Final Fantasy series underwent a major style change — and not necessarily for the better. Previous FF games were an intriguing blend of magic and mechanics, with characters that had more dimension than the console could display, and unique challenges that were completely optional. But in FFVII, all that changed. The game was set in an ultra-industrial world where magic was practically an afterthought, the cast of characters consisted of stereotypical caricatures (like the angsty hero and the bishonen villain), and the game itself was usurped by the large number of side quests and mini-games that were all over the place. Honestly, what do you remember more about FFVII: the storyline or how to breed a Golden Chocobo?

(I think I just sent millions of fanboys into one simultaneous temper tantrum.)

Brad Hates Games: Hey look, it’s another RPG on the PlayStation that features pre-rendered backgrounds, bad-looking polygonal characters, orchestral sounding MIDI tunes, and FMV clips at every major plot point. The story is good for a while, but then trainwrecks near the end and becomes insane. Character development is limited and there is a random battle every ten seconds. Is it Final Fantasy VII? VIII? IX? Chrono Cross? Legend of Mana? Saga Frontier? Vagrant Story? Legend of Dragoon? Parasite Eve? Somebody help me out, I can’t tell any of these damn games apart anymore.

TheMadSpin: A lot of people will try to convince you that Final Fantasy VII is the best Final Fantasy game ever. It’s not. Get over it.

Oh and Brad, it’s not just any RPG on PlayStation that features pre-rendered backgrounds, bad-looking polygonal characters, orchestral sounding MIDI tunes, and FMV clips at every major plot point…it was the first! If anything, I’d say we could also blame Final Fantasy VII for Legend of Dragoon.

RoyalRanger: I still remember the first and only time I played this game in my first PlayStation console. The game would always skip during the cut-scenes and would sometime freeze, leaving me to start from my last save point. One particular cut-scene froze about six times before I finally got through it. Then, I found out that the game console was partially at fault because the CD reader was too old and out of whack to keep up with the information on the FFVII disc, even though no other game disc caused the console to react this way. Because of this one game, I had to fork out money to replace my used PlayStation. Thanks for nothing, Final Fantasy VII.


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Link brings TEH RAWK to Men at Work’s 80’s smash, Down Under.

Brad Hates Games: I realize that Nintendo has pretty much spent the last 10 years tripping over their own feet, but that doesn’t mean this game gets bonus credit for not being completely atrocious. Zelda: The Ocarina of Time pretty much embodies everything that’s wrong with 3D adventure games. Exploring fairly safe areas makes up about 75% of the gameplay, many of the side quests are mindless “collect all the stuff” missions, and the only thing that’s challenging about combat is trying to keep your enemies on-screen long enough to kill them. In previous Zelda games, figuring out the various puzzles that appeared in the dungeons was challenging and fun, but in this game, many of them are solved simply by playing a song on the ocarina, or else by searching thoroughly to find the needed switch, key, or item.

TheMadSpin: Let’s face this terrible truth once and for all: Nintendo has been making the same Zelda game for the last ten years, and it all started with Ocarina of Time. In OoT you hunt for chickens; in Wind Waker you hunt for pigs. In OoT you play the ocarina; in Wind Waker you conduct. In OoT you ride around on your horse; in Wind Waker you cruise on a ship. The overall changes to gameplay are almost always minor. I think that’s why Nintendo went with such a huge graphical change to Wind Waker. They wanted to make sure they distracted everyone from realizing they were playing the same damn game they did the last time. We were all so excited that cel-shading didn’t ruin the game, that we never stopped to consider that we were playing OoT with a boat.


Monkey Island II: LeChuck’s Revenge

Monkey Island II: LeChuck's Revenge

“Stop the jokes, you’re killing me! No really, STOP IT.”

Brad Hates Games: Lame gags, horrible puns, and illogical puzzles that nobody would ever solve without a hint book. That’s pretty much every Lucasarts adventure game ever made, and Monkey Island II is no exception. Believe it or not, adventure games don’t have to be terrible. Back in 1994, I had a program called ZZT that I used to make my own games, and also to play games that had been made by others. ZZT was pretty limited; the graphics were all ASCII based, any game you made had to be played an overhead perspective, and character movement was limited to four directions. Even so, ZZT adventure classics like Island of Jerks III, Terminator vs. Barney and my very own The Northern Samoan Revolution are still funnier and better designed than Monkey Island II. And keep in mind that those games were all made by high school kids with no real programming knowledge and rather juvenile senses of humor.


Syndicate

Syndicate

Ya gotta love the colors here. Looks like that stuff they use when somebody pukes in school.

Brad Hates Games: Whether it’s in a book, movie, or game, I can never really believe the storyline in which corporations rule the world. If our own federal government, with its trillions of dollars in debt, is any indication, it’s just not a very profitable business to be in. And even if companies could turn a profit by acting as governing bodies, I find it hard to believe that they would behave the way they do in Syndicate. Every time one of their agents goes out on a mission and blows up a monorail or police station, the corporation is going to have to pay to replace it. And can you imagine what all those civilian casualties would do to their stock price? Those people getting slaughtered are both shareholders AND customers. It just seems to me that there would be more profit in say, manufacturing cars or providing cable TV service than there would be in being evil and ruling the world.


Galaga

Galaga

Anybody got some bug spray?

Loogaroo: This game may not have an obvious, glaring, tragic flaw that caused it to stick out like a zit waiting to be popped, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anything particularly remarkable about the game either. It’s just your standard space shooter that got a lot of attention when it came out because expectations were fairly low back then. And if there’s nothing remarkable about you, don’t expect to be considered one of the greatest games of all-time.

RoyalRanger: What a waste of time and money. Does anybody ever say to themselves, “You know, I can really go for a round of Galaga right now”? Like Loog said, there’s nothing spectacular about this game. This is more or less one of those games that you play only when you have nothing better to do. “Look, I’m tired of playing Cruis’n Indonesia, Marvel vs. Tyco, and Metal Slug 17, so I might as well just hit that old Galaga cabinet over there.”


Contra

Contra

A rip-off of H.R. Giger’s “Alien” creature spits jumbo shrimp at one of Contra’s badasses.

Loogaroo: As I mentioned when I took out Metal Slug 2, any shooter in which your hero dies after taking one hit, but all the enemies require entire magazines of ammunition in order to be destroyed, already has one strike against it. Admittedly, Contra did give most players a fighting chance to progress through the game, but when you get to the final level, the game goes anal on you: you have to defeat not one, but two separate bosses, both of which take boatloads of gunfire to kill. I can only forgive a fatal flaw for so long.

TheMadSpin: In retrospect, this game wasn’t really that great, and thanks to the idiotic shared screen for two players, it actually caused a rift between my friends and me. For instance, if one of my friends was a jerk and took all the power ups, I’d just wait until he got to a tricky jump and then I’d pull the old, “hold the screen back” trick so that he plummeted to his doom. Sure, I didn’t have the power-up, but now he didn’t either. That’s teamwork right there.

RoyalRanger: I never found Contra to be particularly challenging. I had always been told that it was extremely difficult, but I put those reports to rest when I actually bought the game. Within just a few days of my purchase, I had destroyed the final boss for the first time. That’s supposed to be difficult? I’ve purchased games that have taken me weeks or months to master. I even have a few games that I still haven’t beaten after years of trying. But this game took me less than one week to complete? The difficulty in Contra isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be.

Brad Hates Games: Two soldiers against a gigantic alien invasion force? Look, the next time there’s a global crisis and Finland says “Hey, don’t even worry about this one guys, we’ve already sent our entire army to take care of the problem,” the rest of the world really ought to ask a couple of follow-up questions.


Tetris

Tetris

“Hello Cleveland! Are you ready to RAWK?!”

Brad Hates Games: First of all, let’s not overlook the fact that Tetris was originally developed as a way to test the problem-solving skills of Soviet cosmonauts and help train them to spread evil communism throughout the galaxy. Even so, I bet you’re still thinking “You can’t slam Tetris! Everyone likes Tetris!”. That’s the problem with this game, though — everyone likes Tetris, but nobody loves it. Nobody who has played more than a few games thinks of Tetris as their favorite. People don’t wear Tetris t-shirts or eat Tetris cereal or even watch the Tetris cartoon. Tetris doesn’t have active message boards where people have flame wars over which “L shaped” piece is better (its the “backwards L”, by the way), and if I write a negative review of the newest installment of Tetris, hundreds of illiterate Tetris fanboys won’t send me insane hate mail with links to Tetris pr0n. It’s just a game that everyone kind of likes, and in that regard, it’s really no better than Minesweeper or Freecell. And come to think of it, I’ve spent a lot more time playing Freecell than I ever have Tetris.

RoyalRanger: I think it’s clear that Tetris wasn’t created solely to train the Soviets to spread their communist agenda. This game was also created to deliver subliminal anti-capitalist messages to the world. Because capitalism is an economic theory based on the principal of accumulating capital, we’re going to assume that each set of blocks in Tetris represents a certain amount of capital. The harder you try to collect and organize your capital, the more of it disappears, likely to the hands of an evil, oppressive rich person. However, if you accumulate too much capital, you lose the game because you’ve now just become an evil, oppressive rich person yourself. This game was clearly created with an agenda in mind. I’m surprised that the United States government has allowed Tetris to slip past their radar for so long.

Loogaroo: You know, the whole “OMG THIS GAME IS SO ADDICTIVE” thing was kinda lost on me. I never really played this game for more that 15-20 minutes at a time, and most of it was spent restarting the game over and over until I had a semi-decent score after about 50 lines. In my case, they may as well have called the game “Resetris”.

TheMadSpin: Screw all the conspiracy theories. All I know is that after a considerably long Tetris spree a few years ago, I had a dream that I played for days and days on end without ever getting the much needed “straight” block. Of course, then I realized it wasn’t a dream. Any game that takes that much pride in ruining a well-built plan by withholding needed blocks is…wow, I guess that does sound a little like communism.


Shining Force

Shining Force

Surely there are better
ways to clean the floor.

Brad Hates Games: You want to see some bad A.I.? The next time you play Shining Force, take your weakest character and have him rush in and attack the strongest magic user you’re facing. Then sit back and relax as he retaliates with BLAZE 5, wasting all his MP to do enough damage to kill that single weakling three times over. Better yet, the nearest enemy cleric will then cast HEAL 7 to restore that one HP of damage you did, wasting all of his MP, too. That’s two powerful enemies you won’t have to worry about anymore! Look, I realize that strategy games back then weren’t as sophisticated as they are now, but I would at least like to use more advanced tactics than “trick computer into wasting spells”.


Dragon Warrior

Dragon Warrior for NES

Players will face the most terrifying of beasts in Dragon Warrior.

Loogaroo: I’m probably the biggest defender of this game among the staff, and yet I’m the one to slam it first. Why’s that? Well, put succinctly, Dragon Warrior epitomizes the biggest drawback of an RPG: the grind of fighting hordes of underling monsters — one at a time, mind you — until you reach a high enough level to explore the next cave/dungeon/whatever on the itinerary. That’s just about all DW is; one big long level grind, without much of an ongoing plot to motivate you to do all the grinding. And whose bright idea was it to use the triangle-sounding wave channel on the NES’ audio board as the melody track to the overworld?

Brad Hates Games: Perhaps the most infuriating thing about this game is that it can’t differentiate between a person, treasure chest, or door, so it makes you choose all of your interactions off of the same menu. C’mon Dragon Warrior, do you really think I wanted to talk to that treasure chest or use the King as a stairway? And what could I possibly hope to accomplish by searching the door for treasure? “Fortune smiles upon thee, Brad. Thou hast found the doorknob!”

TheMadSpin: There’s a little something that only we hardcore Dragon Warrior players know. I couldn’t tell you where I learned it (it was probably some secrets guide written in the late 80’s or early 90’s), but it’s both very true and very stupid. The name of your character in Dragon Warrior affects what your stats will be. When thinking about this I decided to check on Gamefaqs, and sure enough, there’s a guide to explain how the formula works. Ironically, the game rewards people who are so unoriginal, that they go with “Erdrick” as their character’s name (it has one of the best growth rates).

Penalizing someone for having the name “Hedwick” is just a little redundant to me.


Half-Life

Half-Life

Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo as Half-Life protagonist, Gordon Freeman.

Brad Hates Games: Any game that opens with a 10-minute credit sequence during which all you can do is look out a window, and then follows that up with another 10 minutes of walking around while nothing happens is already starting off on my bad side, and the rest of the game didn’t do much to change that. I can’t look back on any single part of Half-Life and remember it as being particularly fun, but I can probably think of at least 20 parts of Half-Life that were a gigantic pain in the ass. The platforming sequence to get to the alien world, the tentacle monster that you have to distract with grenades, going down the lift and being attacked by thousands of headcrabs…these are all things I remember, but not fondly. At least Half-Life had an original story though. Well, except for the part they stole from DOOM about scientists opening up a gateway to another dimension that was full of monsters.


StarCraft

StarCraft

The “Zerg” — Yet another game character ripping off H.R. Giger.

Brad Hates Games: With a genre as crowded as real-time strategy, the top games are often defined by their best features. What does StarCraft have to offer that other RTS games don’t? The following are quotes from some of the glowing reviews found on GameFAQs that tell us exactly what makes StarCraft so special:

  • “As you progress threw [sic] a game more and more units become available to you and same goes with buildings.”
  • “There is also a pre-made campaign and a lot of pre-made levels.”
  • “Whenever you click on a character in the game, they will say something in their own voice.”
  • “Background music is not annoying and doesn’t make you want to throw the computer out the window.”
  • “The game even tells you when you are being attacked.”

Wow! A premade campaign with a lot of levels? Background music that won’t make me throw the computer out the window? Like I couldn’t find all those things in just about any RTS game. Thanks for nothing, StarCraft.

TheMadSpin: This is where all the real cheaters went when they got tired of hacking in Counter-Strike. I didn’t mind losing game after game to superior Koreans when the game launched there, but I do mind all the toddlers that decided to exploit the most obvious flaw in the ladder system. If you have the technology, you can set up games against an alias, win enough games to get ladder-qualified, and then beat up on tons of people who are inferior to you in order to improve your ladder rank. This is why you can log on and find unlikely records like 900,000 – 2.


Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64

Winning in Mario Kart 64 often has more to do with which power-ups you get, as opposed to how well you run the courses.

Brad Hates Games: Back in 1997 I was still working at EB Games, and spent pretty much every Saturday night of the summer at the store working with my friend Big Tom. By working, I mean that we would spend all night playing Mario Kart 64 and ignoring customers. This wasn’t as much fun as it sounds, though, as every time it looked like I was going to win, the game would start screwing me. Big Tom would suddenly start getting fantastic weapons like lightning bolts and blue shells until he had not only knocked me out of first place, but sent me all the way to the back of the pack. Of course if he had the lead, all I would ever get were those frigging useless green turtle shells, which would invariably bounce off something and come back at me. Then, after each of his victories, Tom would spend the rest of the night marching around the store and humming the music they play in the trophy scene. I know it sounds like I’m slamming the game for purely personal reasons, but trust me, this game had a grudge against me long before I had one against it.

RoyalRanger: What was wrong with the original Super Mario Kart, anyway?

Fatsquatch: I’ll tell you what was wrong with it…it didn’t have blurry mip-mapped graphics. Mario Kart 64 took care of that.

TheMadSpin: Everything on the N64 had blurry mip-mapped graphics because that’s what players wanted, and Nintendo knows what players want! Players want a crappy catch-up mode and inferior rehashes of our favorite titles. Players want a company to prey on our need for nostalgia. If only I had been able to link up my Gameboy Color to Mario Kart 64. Players like to link things together because otherwise we’d spend our money on food.


Goldeneye 007

Goldeneye 007

An exciting scene from
David Lynch’s Eraserhead.

Brad Hates Games: A few years ago, I worked for a not-for-profit agency that provided vocational training and assisted living for people with various mental disabilities. We would usually teach them how to do custodial work or minor assembly-type jobs. One thing we did not do was give them machine guns and have them guard military bases. Apparently they do things differently in Russia, because the soldiers in Goldeneye are complete idiots. They will stand by without a care in the world while the guy next to them gets a 9mm tracheotomy, and don’t even turn around while you ping bullets off their helmets. You know, just because somebody might have written a “Base Guarding for Dummies” book, that doesn’t mean you should actually try it. Oh, and here’s one thing they must not have covered in training: If you see a doorway with a big pile of dead guards in front of it, you probably shouldn’t casually stroll through that door.

TheMadSpin: Have you ever hated something just because someone stupid liked it? I remember someone saying that Goldeneye revolutionized multiplayer gaming, and from then on I decided that I must hate that person and any game he tried to push on me. You see, Quake: Team Fortress revolutionized multiplayer gaming before Goldeneye was even released. And Quake II (which came out shortly after Goldeneye) was already a bigger and better multiplayer experience: You could have far more players competing at once, and since it was a PC game, the FPS play was far more suited. Plus, screw that guy!


Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II

A parked car is about the only thing that slow-ass Zangief can beat up.

Loogaroo: There are instances where I wish I could just go back in time and destroy the prototype for SF2. This would have altered the course of history such that there wouldn’t be any Mortal Kombat, Primal Rage, Killer Instinct or any of the other glut of 2D fighters that flooded the arcades in the mid-’90s. That’s reason alone to hate SF2 — because of all the wannabes it spawned. It also spawned the kind of game that had no learning curve whatsoever, because if you wanted to play for more than 15 seconds, chances are you had to beat the arcade’s resident virtuoso to do it.

TheMadSpin: Like Loog, I wish I could destroy the prototype for Street Fighter II, but not to eliminate games like Mortal Kombat or Primal Rage. I just want to eliminate the 45 special editions of Street Fighter II that appeared in its wake.

Brad Hates Games: Each character in Street Fighter II had his own ending that showed what happened to them as a result of winning the tournament. For example, Ryu went on to look for a new challenge, Guile avenged his friend’s death, and Ken got married. If you beat the game with M. Bison, he conquers the world, but the game never explains how. It just demands that you accept the idea that winning this martial arts tournament is somehow the key to his global domination. Well, I’m sorry Capcom; I can believe that mastery of Yoga has given Dhalsim the ability to make his limbs double in length, and that Chun Li can turn herself into a human helicopter, but Bison’s ending is asking me to suspend my disbelief just a little too much.


Tecmo Super Bowl

Tecmo Super Bowl

Yeah, it might suck, but at least Tecmo Super Bowl has big BUTTS.

Loogaroo: Nothing is more annoying in a sports video game than when you start a full season with your favorite team, and your star player goes down with an injury on the first play. That’s more likely to happen than not in Tecmo Super Bowl, where your kick returners’ legs are apparently made out of breadsticks, ready to snap in half if anyone on the defense touches him. Meanwhile, your computer-controlled teammates have the AI of a sack of flour (which was most likely used to make said breadsticks), always diving at a player with the ball and missing, allowing the runner to tack on 25 or 30 yards more than he would’ve gotten if the defender had just waited until he caught up with the guy. In Tecmo Super Bowl, if a ball carrier gets more than 5 yards, chances are he’s headed for the end zone.

Brad Hates Games: I’d really like to know who this QB BILLS is supposed to be, because I’ve never seen Jim Kelly throw a football 100 yards and hit Andre Reed in stride. Then again, I’ve also never seen Tom Tupa punt the ball out of the stadium, or Haywood Jeffries jump 40 feet in the air to make a catch. Also, I’m pretty sure that if Christian Okoye broke a tackle by flinging Deion Sanders all the way into the crowd, I would have seen it on Sportscenter or something. Especially if, during the same play, Deion managed to climb back onto the field, become 10 times faster than he had been, and catch Okoye before he scored a touchdown, only to be tossed into the stands again. But the thing that always really bothered me about this game was the way my players would automatically get worse every week, so that the same QB BILLS who was throwing those perfect passes in week one could do nothing other than throw the ball right to opposing players in the Super Bowl. Oh wait…actually, that part is pretty realistic.

TheMadSpin: Stat tracking sort of loses its novelty flare when your running back starts out the season averaging 80 yards a carry, and by the end he’s picking up -5 yards thanks to blitz after blitz. You see, in Tecmo Super Bowl, you had to guess the same play as your opponent to get a blitz. Early in the season the computer hardly ever guesses and you can dominate. By the end of the season the computer basically reads your mind. Even if it doesn’t choose the play, I dare you to use a flea flicker. You’ll be demolished about 5 seconds before the pitch and watch them pick up your ever bouncing fumble and carry it to the end zone.

This title is actually the game that led to the first and only time I threw an entire console against the wall. I’ve done it to control pads plenty of times, but this was my only “console toss”. The game itself broke into pieces, but my NES was fine. Later, I would jam the cartridge (sans casing) into my game genie, just so that I could play it again. It still pissed me off then too.


Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

Looks like someone’s got
a case of the “Mondays”!

Brad Hates Games: In Disgaea, you don’t just level up your characters as you play, you level up your items and equipment, too. But it doesn’t end there. After you’ve leveled your party up for a while, you “transmigrate” them, which starts all the way back at level one, except with slightly better stats than the last time. If you transmigrate them enough times, you can eventually max out their starting statistics, and then it’s time to level them up for real — all the way up to level 9,999. You can’t transmigrate equipment, so in order to max that out, you’ll have to conquer a bonus dungeon for the extra equipment you don’t even want and then transfer the bonuses from it to the equipment you do want. And no, this is not a faster process than it sounds. Have fun!


Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings

Age of Empires II

Dudes, just go AROUND the towers.

Brad Hates Games: Historically, the Vikings were one of the greatest European military powers of the Dark Ages. They raided everything that was accessible by sea or river, and managed to take their plundering far inland as well. They even briefly conquered England almost 50 years prior to the Norman Conquest. Eventually, they turned from raiding to settling, taking over large parts of England, Ireland, and Northern France, as well as setting up colonies in Iceland, Greenland, and Canada. The Saracens (or Moors) were another major power during this time, who swept through Northern Africa, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, and conquered almost all of Spain. They remained on the Iberian peninsula for almost 500 years. Yet in AoE II, these are two of the worst civilizations to play as, frequently getting their asses handed to them by such also-ran societies as the Aztecs, Goths, and Teutons. So much for historical accuracy.


Super Mario 62

Super Mario 64

Mario’s craving Doritos soooo badly.

Brad Hates Games: In most action games, your reward for clearing a stage is that you never have to play it again. In Super Mario 64, however, getting through a stage only means that you’ll have to play it again, except with a slightly different goal. It’s bad enough when I have to keep doing the same series of jumps because I died, but when I beat a stage and still end up doing the same areas again, it feels like I’m being punished for succeeding. This might be forgivable if the levels were at least interesting, but they aren’t. Most of them are light on the action and heavy on the exploration — sparsely populated and filled with obstacles that are more like annoyances than hazards. At times, this seems like more of a showcase for the Nintendo 64’s 3D abilities than a game.

Fatsquatch: Yeah, for real. Can we finally put the brakes on the nearly 10-year old bandwagon and just admit that Mario 64 isn’t all that its been hyped up to be? With its constant backtracking of levels, areas filled with anger-inducing jumps, and an over-animated Mario who’s simply quite irritating to control, Mario 64 is clearly overrated. I didn’t think this game was “all that” back in ’96, and after spending 10 painful minutes with the retread on the Nintendo DS, I think even less of it now.

TheMadSpin: I never really liked the original iteration of this title, but I wanted to give it another try, so I picked up the Nintendo DS version. Not only was I still frustrated by the camera and control, but I spent more time playing the mini games than I did on the adventure itself. I popped in the N64 version just to compare the two, and the camera and control were only marginally better.

Just because this was the first blockbuster 3-D game out there doesn’t mean it was that good. It just made fewer mistakes than any other had before. That’s not saying much, especially all these years later.


Star Wars: TIE Fighter

Star Wars: TIE Fighter

Ummm, ever hear of skin lotion?

Brad Hates Games: How big of a geek do you need to be to enjoy a game like this? It’s a PC flight simulator based on Star Wars. With the possible exception of Xenogears (a Square RPG influenced by anime), that’s about the nerdiest thing I’ve ever heard of. Not only that, but you get to play as the bad guys, so that dweebs everywhere can finally live out their dreams of being evil and using the dark side of The Force to get back at those kids in high school who would hang them up by the underwear in their locker. And I don’t even mean the preppies or the jocks — anyone who likes TIE Fighter probably got beat up by the art students and band kids; it’s that geeky.


Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Sharp boobies = TEH SEXY!

Brad Hates Games: Lara Croft might look as sleek and sexy as a Ferrari, but she handles more like your grandfather’s Buick. Forget about gunning down packs of wild animals while running from a huge boulder on a narrow walkway over a fire pit — you’re going to have a hard enough time lining up a simple jump in less than 10 minutes. As a result, the danger level is scaled way back from other action games, and you spend most of your time just kind of wandering around by yourself without any real danger other than the fact that every so often, Ms. Croft will simply disregard all your commands and walk right off a high ledge. I realize most video game players should get used to having women that hot completely ignore them, but it seems like a rather mean-spirited way to drive the point home.

Loogaroo: I can only think of one reason why this game became so popular. Well, two really, but people tend not to refer to them individually.

Fatsquatch: Tomb Raider? More like BOOB Raider! OMFGROLFBBQ!!!

Ahem…    *sigh*    I got nothing.


Soul Calibur

Soul Calibur

Misturugi’s nips have apparently been tucked.

Brad Hates Games: When I played Street Fighter II frequently, I knew every single move for every character that I used. I knew how much damage each move did, what their range and length was, and how they could be made into combos. This was all stuff that I had to know if I was going to be any good at the game. By contrast, I can dominate at Soul Calibur while only knowing one or two moves for each character. I’ve gone on long winning streaks as Kilik while simply using the same combo over and over. In fact, I probably don’t even know half of the moves for the characters I play frequently, yet I still do well against other good Soul Calibur players. After all, there’s almost no need to worry about such trivial things as timing, spacing or defense. Just mash on those attack buttons!

By the way, I just realized that this was the only Dreamcast game on our Top 100 list. Nice legacy, Sega!

Fatsquatch: My first few days with Soul Calibur was spent solo, studying the various moves for Yoshimitsu and preparing myself to do battle with friends. At the end of my training session, I had a pretty good handle on Yoshi’s abilities, and I just knew that I would easily be able to defeat my friends, who hadn’t spent much time — if any at all — with the game.

So, when I finally came face-to-face with an old gaming bud who had never played a single minute of the game before, I was eager to show off Yoshi’s badass repertoire (at his expense of course). As it turned out, knowledge of my character’s various moves proved to be no match for my opponent’s wild button-mashing, and I lost. After that happened a few more times, I said “@!%# it”, chose Kilik, and adopted a button-mashing technique of my own, all to great effect.

Those kinds of game-design issues are gold, Jerry. GOLD!!

TheMadSpin: Soul Calibur was never a great fighting game, it was just a really smooth and pretty fighting game. This was one of the many attempts by Dreamcast fanatics to glorify a fairly pedestrian game. The only truly groundbreaking fighting game for the Dreamcast was Power Stone.


NHL Hockey ’94

NHL Hockey '94

Gotta love that funky
aquamarine colored ice.

Brad Hates Games: The way people talk about NHL Hockey ’94 as the “last great hockey game”, you would almost think that for the follow-up, EA simply slapped a bunch of NHL ’95 labels on leftover copies of Shaq-Fu and shipped them off to stores. The truth of the matter is, NHL ’95 is a superior game in every way imaginable. It uses the same engine and has essentially the same gameplay as seen in NHL ’94, and makes major improvements off the ice. NHL ’94 lacks the season mode, stat tracking, and roster management (such as create-a-player or trades) that are available in its successor. It should probably also be mentioned that the goaltending in NHL ’94 is laughable. Any shot headed toward the upper-left corner is going to go in, and the goalies almost never stop one-timers, including a few times I scored on shots that were the length of the rink.

TheMadSpin: I think pretending NHL ’94 is the best hockey sim ever made is about as laughable as Steve Yzerman’s recent complaints about the rule changes in the NHL. Sometimes change is for the better, even if you have to work a little harder to make it better.

Fatsquatch: Everybody knows that Konami’s Blades of Steel on the NES is the best hockey game ever produced. NHL ’94 can bite my rotund arse. I mean, come on!!


Ms. Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Man

Can you feel the love tonight?

Loogaroo: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first patch in video game history. This game wasn’t even Namco’s work, actually — a group of hackers created a clone of the original Pac-Man called Crazy Otto. Namco was presented the clone, changed back all the sprites to the Pac-Man look (with some cosmetic changes to the protagonist, of course), released this new game as Ms. Pac-Man, and made a whole bunch of money.

But are we supposed to reward this sort of practice? Shouldn’t things like more than one maze layout and bonus fruit that actually moves around the maze have been implemented in the original version, instead of put in a second version that the company could then make another mint on? PC gamers from hither and yon complain every time a company comes out with a game that’s not fully debugged and then releases patches ad infinitum to fix the mistakes they were too lazy/rushed to correct from the get-go. If Ms. Pac-Man went any further, we’d essentially be tolerating that sort of thing.

Brad Hates Games: I remember hearing about how empowered women felt by this game because it was called “Ms.” Pac-Man, not “Mrs.” Pac-Man or “Miss” Pac-Man. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but actually, that would-be symbol of girl power is really just “Mr.” Pac-Man in some lipstick. What kind of message does this send to young women anyway? That you’re going to spend your entire life being ruthlessly pursued and beaten into submission by those who intend you harm? Every so often you’ll become empowered and be able to turn the tables on them, but these moments are always brief and end abruptly? That the goal of their lives should just be to mindlessly consume as much as possible? What a horrible thing to be teaching to little girls. Thanks for setting the women’s rights movement back 50 years, Ms. Pac-Man.

RoyalRanger: Brad, you forgot to mention the fact that Ms. Pac-Man has the word “man” in her name. If this game really wanted to empower women, it should have been named “Ms. Pac-Woman” or “Ms. Pac” or “Ms. Otto”.

Fatsquatch: Ms. Pac-Man empowered women? Hmmmm…I got something totally different out of it, as I found Ms. Pac-Man to be HOT. Seriously, look at those luscious red lips and the cute little “beauty mark” at the corner of her mouth and tell me that you don’t get turned on.

Sexiest…Video…Game…Character…EVAR.


Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto III

Don’t lose your head! *yuk yuk yuk*

Loogaroo: If you’re the kind of person who likes violence in your video games, you might be angered that I’m putting the beatdown on this game. Actually, you should be joining me in getting rid of this game for your own sake. The GTA series is the one most targeted by such habitually out-of-touch senators as Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton and Orrin Hatch (See? I’m being bipartisan here!) for supposedly turning our generation into bloodthirsty thugs that shoot up our high schools. If the pinheads in the government get their way and start passing laws about video game content, you’ll have this game to thank for it. And let’s face it, when the entire point of your game involves committing as many violent crimes as you can get away with, you’re not exactly doing video game fans a favor by giving the politicians such a prime example to bash.

TheMadSpin: I really can’t buy into the political issues, and ultra-violent content is a matter of preference. Still, there’s a reason that this title will never be considered as one of the top 10 games of all-time, no matter how much it has inspired the industry: The targeting. The targeting system is perhaps one of the worst in gaming, and it also happens to be the one issue that Rockstar still hasn’t fixed. I say bring on the violence, bring on the mayhem, and bring on the crime — I’m adult enough to choose both in game and out, but know this: in a game where you have to resort to violence as often as you do, it had better not be a chore.

Brad Hates Games:
Dispatcher: 911. What is your emergency?

Woman: Oh god! There’s this man, he’s up on a rooftop with a rifle, and he’s just shooting people at random! You have to do something!

Dispatcher: Can you describe him please?

Woman: Um…well, he kind of looks like the Fonz from Happy Days, but with green pants. Please, hurry! He’s throwing grenades now!

Dispatcher: Alright, police are on their way. I want you to stay on the line with me until they arrive. Ok?

Woman: Ok. Oh wait, never mind. He just fell into 3 feet of water and drowned.


Suikoden II

Suikoden II

Wake up, dumb arse!

Brad Hates Games: Normally, I don’t like to pick on a game just because it didn’t sell well, but considering that only about 10 people bought this game, I think it becomes relevant. After all, I could tell all of you that this is the greatest RPG ever made, and 99% of you would have to believe me. By the same token, this could be a game about hamsters based on the Primal Rage engine, and most of you wouldn’t know any better. So, maybe it’s great; maybe it’s about hamsters. Either way, I wouldn’t feel right about not bustin’ on it when so few of you would know any better.

TheMadSpin: My copy of Suikoden II has appreciated quite a bit over the years. It’s now worth $150 on eBay, when I paid only $30 for it (new) at Walmart. That, and it being a pretty enjoyable game would make you think that I’d have nothing bad to say about this little hidden gem. Problem is, this game screwed me over and basically stole 40+ hours from my life.

You see, for all the good Konami did in translating this title, they forgot to code the transfer of saved Suikoden I data to your Suikoden II game. When you beat Suikoden I and load it up into Suikoden II, you can use the hero from Suikoden I in your party, and he is theoretically supposed to keep the same name that he had in the first title. The problem is, there was a bug that only replaced the capital letters in the hero’s name in Suikoden II. His name was ‘McDohl’, so when I put in ‘Steve’, the game only replaced the ‘S’ and my character’s name was ‘ScDohl’. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it pretty much ruined Suikoden II for me and drove me crazy throughout the entire stretch of the game.


Gran Turismo 2

Gran Turismo 2

In 1st place, but only by .01 seconds.

Brad Hates Games: Gran Turismo 2 boasted over 500 cars on its roster, but I swear at least 100 of them were just different variations of the Nissan Skyline. Better yet, as you began to get far into the game, the Skylines were pretty much the only cars you really had a chance to win with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty nice car, but it might have been nice to have used a few of the other cars, too. Besides, there’s nothing quite like having to do the same license test over and over until you’re finally able to pass it by about .01 seconds, then going out in a real race and winning by a huge margin. The license tests aren’t supposed to be harder than the actual game, so the developers should have either made them easier, or program the computer controlled cars with a shred of A.I. so the races are at least somewhat challenging.

TheMadSpin: I think any racing game, whose MSRP is more than the real-life value of some of its unlockable cars, has really got to stop bragging about how many cars it has to offer. Sorry, Sony, but I don’t really want to race around in a 1971 Ford Pinto.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


About the author

Fatsquatch

Discovered as a young 'Squatchling in a Pacific Northwest woodland area in the mid-70's, Fatsquatch was soon domesticated and introduced to the fledgling arcade scene, where he became addicted to the magical sights and sounds of gaming. As years passed, his addiction only worsened, and eventually lead to his desire to write about all things gaming from a veteran point-of-view. Hence, Fatsquatch created The Jaded Gamer in 2001, and set about leading it into permanent obscurity.

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