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Frezno’s Top 20 Games Of All Time July 12, 2009

Posted by Frezno in gaming blogs, rants.

Oh holy crap, now what am I up to? Well, thanks to my academic researchings on the Intertubes, I have been inspired to do a countdown of my personal top 20 games of all time. I figure, hey, my opinions probably interest the five people that read this. Probably maybe. It was kind of tricky to get 20 games, thanks to my stipulations. Y’see, I’m a big JRPG nut and could just put five Final Fantasies, four Dragon Quests, the Mother trilogy, and other franchises on there and call it a list. But that shit would be boring, ne? So, I limited myself to one game per franchise I love. Also, the ranking may be numbered, but it doesn’t mean I love one thing more than another. It’s completely arbitrary and just for kicks. One last thing before we start; I freely invite any Non-Loser reading this to make their own Top list. Can be a Top 10, a Top 15, a Top 20. Whatever you want. Let’s participate and make this a group project, hey? Since this list will likely be long as hell, you can click that little button to see the thing in full. Go on, you know you wanna. Push it. Yeah.

Hey, you pushed it! I’m proud of you. Let’s start.

#20- Parasite Eve
Alright, here’s the scoop with this one. Years back, my friend wanted me to pick up some PS1 stuff for him. Amongst his list was Parasite Eve, which happened to be the first game I found. Seeing as how I wouldn’t be seeing the guy for a while, and it was opened already, I decided to play the thing. Well, holy crap. It turned out to be one of the better RPGs I had ever played.. even if it was insanely short. (I beat the damn thing in 7 hours!) The screwed-up mutated creatures, plus the battle system (which actually reminds me of Vagrant Story, now that I think on it), makes for something that feels like a survival horror RPG. It’s a shame the sequel shifted to a literal survival horror style game with an HP bar; I liked PE1’s system just fine. Short but sweet, Parasite Eve is worth checking out. Oh, and that final “boss” thing can go eat one and die.

#19- Terranigma
I told you. I’m a JRPG nut. I can’t help it! Terranigma was the final game in Quintet’s world-building..quintology… thing. It had to follow on the heels of greats like Actraiser and Soul Blazer. (I hesitate to call Actraiser 2 and Illusion of Gaia “greats”.) Did I say follow? I meant BLOW CLEAN OFF. Terranigma is one of the moodiest games I have ever played; everything is so goddamned desolate and grim when you start. You work your way towards fixing things, but now everything is totally FUBAR. I can’t spoil a Very Big Thing that happens late in the game, but trust me, you’ll know it when you see it.. and will have to change your shorts. A morbid reflection on the hopelessness of existance itself.. or just a kickass action/RPG? You be the judge when it comes to Terranigma.

#18- Donkey Kong ’94
Okay, the game’s title is just “Donkey Kong”, but we have to differentiate it from the arcade version SOMEHOW, now don’t we? The game fakes you out by making the first four stages the arcade version. Hey, look at that, all done already, aren’t we? NO WAY. This is like a puzzle game, but.. not one of those block puzzler deals like Tetris. In every level, there’s a locked door, and a key. You need to get the key to the door without getting your ass killed. There’s a crapload of levels, too; something like 100 or so. I have fond memories of playing this thing at midnight on Friday, brick Gameboy plugged into the wall. Good times, good game. Also worth noting is that the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games are sort of the spiritual successor to DK’94. I should check those out sometime.

#17- Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
Now THIS is how you make a platformer! Super Mario Land 2 was damned good, I’ll admit.. but this blows it out of the water for me. You’re Wario, and you’re running around a Super Mario World-esque map, bodychecking guys and looking for as much treasure as you can get. 40 levels, secret exits, secret treasures to collect, multiple endings depending on how MUCH treasure you get (well, kinda)… This thing is amazing. It put Wario on the map, pretty much, and gave him a bunch of Wario Land games, plus Warioware which is trippy as hell but not on this list, sorry. His first starring role was genius, though.

#16- Operation C
This was one of the earlier Gameboy games to come out, but I didn’t get it ’till much later. There’s a fun story behind that, but I’ll blog it another time. For now let’s talk about CONTRAAAAAAAAAA! This game kicked my ass at first, but as I kept playing it over the years, I got it down pat. It’s a short game at only five levels, so it was easy for me to memorize the whole damn thing. It’s a lot like a portable version of Super C, with sidescrolling and overhead stages. It also has the Homing Gun which breaks the game so long as you can avoid bullets and whatnot. Great version of Contra, though; if a scrub like me can beat it, so can you.

#15- Hotel Dusk: Room 215
Oh my God yes. I remember a friend of mine telling me about this game looking and being amazing, and then I so happened to spot it for fairly cheap a while later. I figured, “Why not?” and picked it up. Let me warn you right now; if you hate reading, stay away from this game. It is essentially a visual detective novel with adventure game elements. Lots of exposition, and lots of reading. I am a bookworm and a fan of mysteries, so I was on cloud nine while playing this. Also, I love Kyle Hyde. Kyle Hyde is a badass who doesn’t take crap from anybody. A man’s man if there ever was one. If you like mysteries and plot and puzzles and all that jazz, play this and love it as much as I do.

#14- Gradius III
My relationship with Gradius III can be described as something akin to an abusive one. We met in a retro heaven with other attractive cheap games displaying their cuteness, and I picked her up. We had our fun together, at first; she went Easy on me and it was a blast. Then things got harder, and my only Option was to continue onward. She started beating me. Things got heated and frustrating, an accelerated Speedup of rage. And yet, I kept coming back, kept Shielding myself from the blows she gave. So what is it about Gradius III that I keep coming back to? I think it’s her weapons. A range of customizable mix-and-match armaments lets her go Easy on me with different style now and again. Someday I’ll please her and defeat the Bacterion Empire though, bringing her to her knees.

Then she’ll give me a blowjob.

#13- Mega Man X
Christ. The one-game-a-franchise rule meant that I had to pick one Mega Man game out of all the iterations. I bet you thought I was gonna pick Mega Man 2 ’cause it’s a labor of love and regarded as the best Mega Man game, didn’t you? You’re wrong because A) I like Mega Man 3 more and B) I like Mega Man X more than that. The X series is one that “jumped the Shark Man” relatively quickly. X1 and X2 were marvelous, X3 wasn’t bad, and then from X4 on things got nuts, until we hit rock bottom with X7. X8 brought it out of the hole a bit, but the damage had been done, as it always is with Mega Man. X1 though. Ohh man. I think the thing I like about the X series is how X progresses through each game. He starts off weak as a kitten, but as you beat Mavericks and get Heart Tanks, he becomes stronger until finally you are a walking death god. It’s that feeling of empowerment, plus the fine-tuned action/platforming, that puts MMX on the list.

#12- Super Castlevania IV
Awww yeah, Castlevania. SC4 might seem like a step back compared to Castlevania III’s “cram everything ever into this NES cart” approach, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work. It looks pretty damn good, but more importantly it PLAYS pretty damn good. The ability to swing your whip in 8 directions makes it a lot easier to play than the NES Castlevanias. Some might complain that it breaks the game, but if you have to gimp your player character to make the game tricky, you’re doing it wrong. Besides, SC4 isn’t baby easy; it’s still tricky. But it’s tricky in a GOOD way. Also it has phenomenal jazztastic music. I just invented that word. It’s mine now. Go play Super Castlevania IV.

#11- Pokemon Diamond/Pearl
..Oh, shush. I can’t help it, I like Pokeymans. The question was, which one to put on the list? I had the four main generations to choose from. Gold and Silver would have been a shoo-in, but I decided to put Diamond/Pearl on here for one simple reason; The friggin’ thing ate my brain. Every waking hour, for about a week, I would barrel through this thing, fighting Trainers and catching Pokemon and earning badges. I hadn’t had that much fun with a game in years, and I still haven’t gotten so absorbed into something like that since. It was good, clean, nostalgic fun that reminded me of being a little kid with a brick Gameboy training a Blastoise.

#10- Super Mario Bros. 3
Some people are of the opinion that Super Mario World is the better Mario game. Personally, I love them equally, but there are aspects of SMB3 that I adore. Again, it comes down to nostalgia. Every day after school, little me would trudge his way to a relative’s place to wait until the family got off from work. They had an NES there, with all the Mario games. AND Dr. Mario! I’d sit there and play the stuff, relishing it in and loving every moment of it. That relative’s passed away now, sad to say, but my memories of SMB3 remain. It truly is one of the finest platformers ever made.

#9- Kirby Superstar
And so is this. GODDAMN. So.. much.. Kirby! It may advertise itself as 8 games in 1, but what the box doesn’t tell you is that the 8 games are actually GOOD. This ain’t no Action Kirby 52, no sir. You’ve got the sort-of remake of Kirby’s Dream Land, the simply epic Revenge of Metaknight, the treasure-hunting Great Cave Offensive, and a bunch more great Kirby games on this one cart. Sakurai, you may be a giant troll, but you know how to make a good Kirby game.

#8- Dragon Warrior III
Fair warning, the bottom few games are mostly JRPG territory. I love Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest gives me a retro classic boner. But back in 2001, when this thing came out, I knew it as Dragon Warrior. III is easily my favorite of the Dragon Quest games; V may dethrone it, but since I haven’t beaten it yet, it can’t go on the list. Maybe someday, DQV. DQ3 was one of the first RPGs I bought for myself, and goddamn was that a wise purchase. You get a customizable creatable party with preset classes that can be changed later, a big epic “save the world” quest, minigames, collectible items, and endgame bonus dungeons that would make the most buffed-up adventuring parties do a double take. Holy JESUS. This thing is simply amazing.

#7- The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past
Oh, you know Zelda had to pop up here somewhere. It was a close one between this and Majora’s Mask, but in the end, I gave it to LttP. This thing brought Zelda back strong from its little stumble with Zelda II (I LIKED Zelda II, but the general public seems to not have cared for it.) and cemented it as something amazing. A metric ton of dungeons, crazy new items, new attacks, and the introduction of the parallel worlds gimmick that about a million other games would hinge on. Link To The Past is DAMN good.

#6- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Remember all the fanboy gushing I did for Hotel Dusk just now? Double it, and that’s how I feel about Phoenix Wright. I only put the first game on the list, but all my reasons for loving it apply to the whole series. I picked it up on recommendation, and had an absolute blast. The idea of a courtroom game may sound dull and boring, but trust me; these cases are anything BUT dull and boring. The crazy anime-esque expressions, the tongue-in-cheek dialogue, and the myriad of plot twists and epic moments make the whole damn thing interesting as hell. If you’re not adverse to reading in your games, BUY THEM ALL NOW. Can’t wait for Ace Attorney Investigations~

#5- Earthbound
If you know me even a little, you saw this coming from a mile away. As I’ve said before here, Earthbound was a victim of severe bad luck, and didn’t get the attention it deserved, which is a goddamn shame. It could have just been an RPG set in the present day (kinda like Parasite Eve, actually… hmm) and it’d still be a refreshing change of pace. What sells the thing, though, is its quirkiness. Earthbound does not take itself seriously at all, and you’ll realize this fact sometime after you use telekinetic ice on a raving hippie. Another game might have been bogged down by the silly, but in Earthbound it works. A silly parody of American culture, and a damn fine RPG. That’s Earthbound, alright.

#4- Startropics
Hey, speaking of underrated…! Startropics is really quite a lot like Earthbound; modern-day setting, silly, and underrated. Except Startropics is an action/adventure, taking cues from Zelda (hell, the file select screen IS Zelda’s) and Zelda II. Town exploration and dungeon-crawling abound in this one. It’s good clean fun if you’re a Zelda fan, though the later chapters are downright sadistic in difficulty. As for the sequel.. Ehh. It’s good, but not AS good. Still, nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be. I like them both, so there ya go.

#3- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
Words cannot describe the simple nostalgic joy this one gives me. This game WAS my childhood. Donkey Kong Country was amazing, to be sure, and the game that came with my SNES. But this? This blows it away. I love just about everything about it; it looks good, sounds good, plays good.. hell, even the cartridge has a pleasant odor, and the plastic is a lovely treat for the tongue. (Okay I made that bit up, but you get the idea) If I were stranded on an island with but one non-RPG it would likely be this one. It’s THAT good. A shame DKC3 was the worst of the trilogy, and that Rare is now Microsoft-owned. We shall never see such marvels again, but oh how glorious they were.

#2- Final Fantasy VI
Or if you want to be a nostalgia butt, “Final Fantasy III”. This thing here is the reason I play JRPGs. I still remember renting it on a whim, and getting sucked into this story. Who was Terra? Why did the Empire want her so bad? What secrets lay hidden in this massive quest? I eventually found out, and laughed and loved and lost along with these 16-bit sprite friends. Also, just wanna point out, Opera scene isn’t THAT moving or amazing or any of that nonsense to me. Sorry, just opinion. The rest of the game is fabulous, though; a true sendoff to the sprite era that paved the way for all that 3D madness. Joy. Which leads us to..

#1- Chrono Trigger
A JRPG. With time travel. JRPG. Time travel. Time travel. JRPG. JRPtimetravelG.
…Oh. Yes. Yes, that’s right, I do. Okay then. It’s my favorite JRPG ever, just nudging out FF6 there. It has good characters, fun locations, a decent battle setup that lets you AVOID battles if you so choose, without any of that random *woosh* crap, TIME TRAVEL OH MY JESUS, and NEW GAME PLUS. It’s satisfying as hell just tanking your way through the first quarter of the game again with the god characters you built up, and you even get multiple endings for doing it right! The sequel deals with PARALLEL UNIVERSES OH MY CHRIST I AM ORGASMING. Is it as good as Trigger? Some people will say no, Chrono Cross sucks. Those people are silly and doing it wrong. You don’t compare the two; you love them both for different reasons. Dur.

Well, that’s my list. Let the rabid fanboys descend on me for daring to rank this shit incorrectly.



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