Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#432 - 452)

#432 Mario Bros (Arcade) – Winter 2013

The start of the Three-Decade Project. Got this idea to play something from every year of the previous 30 years, which got me a bunch of new #'s. First was 1983. This game...did not take long at all. Probably like a half hour? It's a very basic arcade game with one screen.

The cool thing about this game was seeing the genesis of all the things that went into making the Mario series what it is. Koopas, blocks, the whole nine yards. No Goombas yet though. I'm glad I played it just to see what it was all about.

Post HERE.

#433 Kung-Fu Master (Arcade) – Winter 2013

1984 game. Really simple game where you run from one side to the other and mash kick/punch buttons to defeat foes that are also mashing kick/punch. You do this over five or so levels that are all basic hallways. Worth noting that there's a boss at the end of each one, meaning this was one of the very early games that actually had boss fights. One of the most basic games I've ever played, but it was from 1984. At least it led to me making one of my favorite posts of all time:

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Super Mario Bros (NES)

1985 game. Played it for the second time ever. This one DOES have Goomba. It always takes me right back to being 5 years old and playing it at the doctor's office.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Gradius (NES)

1986 game. Surprised I didn't come up with something else for 1986, as this game is about 25 minutes long and there isn't much to say about it. Wait, maybe that's the very reason why I picked it.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: The Legend of Zelda (NES)

1987 game. Also played this for the second time ever.

Post HERE.

#434 Metal Gear (MSX) – Winter 2013

Played this outside of the Three Decade Project and unfortunately didn't do any posts for it. Great game here that punched well above its weight. Never played the NES version but it's said to be pretty inferior anyway. This is Solid Snake's first mission, as he takes on Big Boss and Outer Heaven while making use of all kinds of spy gadgets. It's both rudimentary and ahead of its time.

#435 Metal Gear 2 (MSX) – Winter 2013

You can really feel the Metal Gear Solid coming on with this one. It's got codec calls and a number of other things that are best known from MGS, but had their genesis here. Refines the gameplay of the first and punches above its weight for an 8-bit game. Even better than the first one, with Snake going to Zanzibar Land to stop a nuclear threat. These two games, after the fact, have really put the MSX computer on the map.

Fondest Memory: Had a lot of Bloody Marys while playing this game. Horseradish mix and vodka. Really kind of fit the MGS series, as far as drinks go.

#436 Golvellius (Sega Master System) – Winter 2013

1988 game. Decent game, even if it's basically Grinding: The Video Game. If you want to kill time in a retro game that doesn't ask too much of you and doesn't have any real chance of getting lost or stalling out your progress, check this one out and grind away for the 5 hours or so that the game lasts. I honestly have zero clue whatsoever how this got onto the Three Decade Project.

Post HERE.

#437 Bad Dudes (NES) – Winter 2013

1989 game. Pretty generic beat 'em up that has some hilarious dialogue. When it comes down to it, it's one of my favorite NES games. It's a "so bad it's good" kind of game, but it's also kind of unironically good. And led to another of my favorite posts:

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Mega Man 3 (NES)

1990 game. I've played this so many times at this point, too bad multiple playthroughs of the same thing don't count on the list.

Post HERE.

#438 Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Genesis) – Winter 2013

1991 game. It took me this long, yes, 20 years into my gaming career, to finally play a Sonic game. Whoa. As much as I love Mario, the Sonic games just never appealed to me. Mario's world is bright, happy, and every move requires thought. Sonic on the other also some of those things, but it zips all over the place and I wasn't sure how I was really supposed to interact with it. Play it like a platformer, or a fast-reaction jet bike level? I never really had time to think either, it was just a constant careening towards the next thing. That said, this first game is much more of a platformer, while the 2nd and 3rd games are more what I expected Sonic to be (a speed-fest). Those were later though.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Space Megaforce (Super NES)

1992 game. Still probably my favorite shooter of all time, much as I like Axelay.

Post HERE.

#439 Aladdin (Sega Genesis) – Winter 2013

1993 game. Very different from the SNES version, and you fight by swinging a sword rather than bouncing off enemies like Mario. Some of the levels are also different. It's actually remarkable how different the two versions are considering they could have just copy-pasted the game. The same thing happened with Robocop vs Terminator between the same two systems. If it comes down to it, I prefer the Genesis version of Aladdin for sure.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mentions: Donkey Kong Country (SNES), Yoshi's Island (SNES), Super Mario 64 (N64), Star Fox 64 (N64), Metal Gear Solid (PSX), Ehrgeiz (PSX)

The 1994 through 1999 games. What a great lineup. They're all fairly short and kinda timeless to revisit whenever.


#440 Aliens: Colonial Marines (Playstation 3) – Winter 2013

Game that I was very excited about at the time, only to be let down. I'm hugely into all things Xenomorph, and this looked like the Aliens game in first-person HD that everyone wanted. Unfortunately the Xenomorphs aren't much of a threat and basically amount to fodder enemies a lot of the time. Without them having the threat level expected of, well, Xenomorphs, the game quickly loses any real intensity. I think critics were way too hard on this game, but it wasn't exactly good either. Other problems were the weak enemy AI and the amount of time you spent fighting human/android foes instead of aliens.

One thing I really liked about this one was the cover art. It had a brilliant cover. This and Cities: Skylines were two things with good covers that I was really looking forward to at the time, only to have both launch in an unfinished state. At least Cities ended up getting significantly fixed up later.

Fun Fact: This was supposed to be the "2013 game" for the 'Project. However, given the bad reception for the game, I gave that spot to Tomb Raider and just played this beforehand.

#441 Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse (Super NES) – Winter 2013

Good game here, if pretty simplistic. It's like five levels and Mickey has entirely different abilities in each level, which was the kind of thing I found interesting as a kid. So on the list it went, but it was far enough down the list that here I am getting to it in 2013.

It was also the cover game for the second Nintendo Power I ever owned, Volume 44. I played this one specifically to do a post (and out of curiosity dating back to that NP issue).

Post HERE.

#442 Blur (Playstation 3) – Winter 2013

Basically Neon Night Riders: The Game. Had a great time playing this with roommates. Actually it was one of the last games I played with a bunch of roommates. (The very last would be Resident Evil 5, several years later). This game mixes mostly-nighttime racing with neon colors, fun power-ups you can attack with ala the Mario Kart series, and a great ambient techno soundtrack. It had all the tools to be a super fun experience.

Also lots and lots of night-driving. This was a fantastic racing game for the era and probably the most fun racing game I played in the 2010's that wasn't a Mario Kart game. It's much more fun than your usual hyper-realistic racing games and deserved a lot more attention than it got.

Toughest Part: Actually "beating" this game was a difficult challenge in and of itself because I had to unlock all the courses and finish them, kind of like a Tony Hawk game, by meeting all of the game's demands. It took me a while of playing this on and off to get it done. That said, I was in no hurry to get it done, as it was in the household game rotation for months.

#443 Front Mission: Gun Hazard (Super Famicom) – Spring 2013

I really love this game, and it has that "late 90's Squaresoft soul" that you can also find in things like FFVII. The visual designs and color palette are outstanding and it's highly-memorable as a result. This is a straight-up action game, showing yet again that Squaresoft got results every time they branched out from RPGs. It's a little slow and clunky, but it's by design because you're piloting these big mechs. I only played this the once, and it remains a fond memory.

Post HERE.

#444 Kirby 64 (Nintendo 64) – Spring 2013

2000 game. Kind of an oddball game here that tries to bring 3D elements in but kinda loses something in the process. Like many other 64-bit versions of 16-bit games I liked, I wasn't super into this one. The series is fine in 2D form, when it comes down to it, and really kinda needs to just stay in 2D. Regardless, I had a quest to play every Kirby game (a quest I eventually finished) and this was part of that. It also has the same kind of washed-out color pallete and level of detail that Kirby's Dream Land 3 did. And funnily enough, my memory of both games is pretty washed out too.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mentions: Mega Man X5 and Metroid Prime

2001 and 2002 games. I maintain that MMX5 is actually a very good game and better than it gets credit for, particularly once Alia is removed from the game (which can be done with some work). And of course I'll seize any excuse to play Metroid Prime. Later I played the HD version on Switch, but it won't be on the list because it was an identical port with no new content added. Posts HERE and HERE.

#445 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Playstation 2) – Spring 2013

2003 game. I actually played most of this game back in 2003; this was just me swinging back around to do it for real. This being half-completed for a decade actually bothered me in the back of my mind because I liked it a lot and wanted to see what happened. It sat on a shelf for that entire duration until I finally plucked it out for the Three-Decade Project and started from the beginning. It's an interesting game with a gorgeous visual theme and a time stop/slow/rewind mechanic that was ahead of its time. Nothing else was like this in 2003.

Fondest Memory: The above scene, near the beginning of the game. Playing this in 2003, I was wowed by the visual splendor of this first area. It was summertime and I had all the windows open, which emulated the vibe of the game where the main character had wind gusts going through the open windows of the palace.

Post HERE.

#446 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Playstation 2) – Spring 2013

My favorite GTA game, even now. Miami Vice was one of my favorite shows growing up, and this is probably the closest we've ever been to a video game set in that world. Another fantastic game that I have only good memories of, and it's worth noting that almost everything in this post I have fond memories of to this day. Even the meh games. Regardless, Vice City captures that Miami Vice aesthetic, right down to the outfits and the soundtrack. The missions are inspired, the environments and weather transport you, and it's just a great time. I found the difficulty to also be lower in this one compared to most of the series, so getting to the end wasn't the chore that some of the other GTAs turned into.

#447 Fable (Xbox) – Spring 2013

2004 game. A deep, ambitious RPG with a lot of potential. They kinda ruined it by adding a gold line to the ground that always pointed you to your next objective, so you could just follow that line for the entire game without actually engaging with the world or thinking about why you're going where you're going. This level of hand-holdery also made the game extremely short. The mute main character is also a real weirdo. So yeah, this was a game that was supposed to revolutionize RPGs, but instead it was just kinda...there. Was worth seeing regardless. It was decent enough that a couple years later I played the sequel, but that's a tale for another day.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Metroid Prime Pinball (Nintendo DS)

2005 game. Fantastic pinball game with great music.

Post HERE.

#448 Warriors Orochi (Playstation 2) – Spring 2013

2007 game. For some reason I played this before the 2006 game. I played as Nobunaga, of course, he of the purple fire sword. It's a Musuo game, and you do the usual Musuo things. If I remember right, this one combines the worlds of Dynasty Warriors 5 and Samurai Warriors 2, or at least the characters, which was an outstanding idea.

Post HERE.

#449 Samurai Warriors 2 (Playstation 2) – Spring 2013

2006 game. For this one I played as this Kotaro Fuma guy, who was particularly entertaining with his constant quips and mockery of the other characters. This one is purely Japan-based, no hybrid mixing of the worlds here. No idea why I played this one after the previous game, despite being for the year (and post) before it.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS4)

2008 game. Still my favorite game in the series, even if I'm probably alone on that.

Post HERE.

#450 Assassin's Creed 2 (Playstation 3) – Spring 2013

2009 game. Up against stiff competition, this is the single best game in this episode of the list. Nothing but fond memories of this one. It takes everything the first got right and turns it up to 11 while making the world, protagonist, and storyline a lot more appealing. Ezio is one of the great characters from this era of gaming, and the Italy settings you explore here are the next best thing to actually getting to go there. This game was good enough that I did a post for it even though I had to take camera shots to do so.

Said camera shots turned out pretty solid though. Pretty much this entire game is a fond memory and I think it's still the pinnacle of what this franchise can achieve. Not sure what happened to the devs who made this one, but nowayears the series is more known for being bloated and emulating superhero movies for some reason. Very few things in gaming are as much of a rush as getting a well-timed, well lined up assassination on a well-guarded target in this game. Alas, none of the sequels did it for me the same way this did, even though Brotherhood is basically an expansion to it and does all the same stuff (while adding a few things that didn't need to be added). All of this isn't to say that the series wasn't good again, though. Later on I liked Syndicate for the setting and Origins for both the setting and the reinvention of the series a bit, and AC4 is quite good as well.

Went all-in with this one and platinumed it, which was a real blast. Everything about this game was fun and it actually made you WANT to do everything. There was a "collect 100 feathers" type achievement that I went ahead and did, and even THAT was fun given that most of the feathers were floating around on rooftops and other high places. Just a top shelf game, and I wish current Assassin's Creed still had the spirit that this one did.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Mega Man 10 (Wii)

2010 game. I dropped several Mega Mans into the 'Project. This one was a nice easy thing to slot in for 2010. In retrospect it's kinda odd to put a retro game in so late when the whole point of the 'Project was to see evolution of games over three decades, though...

Post HERE.

#451 Kirby's Return to Dreamland (Wii) – Spring 2013

2011 game. This one is a vibrant 2D game and is what Kirby games should be like. Just a bunch of fun levels, no gimmicks, no polygons. Wii wasn't the most powerful system, but it could look really good with the right games, especially 2D.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Journey (Playstation 3)

2012 game. Talked about this one recently.

Post HERE.

#452 Tomb Raider (Playstation 3) – Spring 2013

2013 game. The end of the Three-Decade Project. Not sure what prompted such a project. This post must have set a record for amount of links to other posts. As for this game, it's good, very good. Modernizes the series and Lara is at her most gorgeous ever here (probably). Wasn't as keen on the two sequels, but I liked this one a ton. It was a good choice for 2013's game.

This one moves the series in a more realistic "survival" direction and reboots it, essentially. I'm pretty sure it was the first Tomb Raider game I actually played or finished.

Post HERE.

The 1000 Games I've Beaten

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