Thursday, March 5, 2020

200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME PART 1


1. Joust

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2. Mappy

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Joust is a game where knights ride on top of gigantic birds and kill each other in gladiatorial combat. Everybody is equipped with a lance, which sticks out a few pixels from their head. The goal is to collide with other jousters, ensuring that your lance is above theirs, which will then kill them. Bouncing on their heads, of course, will work just as well. It's a different formula from many arcade games from the era like Pac-Man, which typically put the player in weakened state. In Joust, most everyone is on the same playing level. That’s the theory theory, anyway. The key to Joust is learning how to keep your bird under control. There is only a single button – "flap" – which will propel your bird every so slightly into the air. With a few more presses, you take your steed higher into the sky, allowing you to stay airborne. In addition to fighting against gravity, you're also dealing with inertia. Build up enough speed and you'll find yourself careening across the arena, wrapping around the screen as you disappear off one side and reappear on the other. It’s a surefire way to make yourself dizzy until you skid to a stop. Namco is one of the great golden age arcade developers, largely known for Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaxian. However, their secret best title is Mappy, a cute cat and mouse platformer with vague influences from some of their more popular titles. The goal, as the titular policemouse, is to collect a series of items strewn about the level while avoiding a miniature army of thieving cats. The stage is divided into several floors, and the only methods of traversal are trampolines strewn about.
As with many classic games of the era, Mappy cannot directly attack his opponents, but there are a few tricks he can use against them – particularly, the many doors spread around. Only Mappy can open and close doors, so he can use them strategically to divert enemies or knock them off their feet, if they're close enough. Additionally, Mappy is invincible while bouncing on trampolines. Just on these terms, Mappy is a fun game, but there are numerous layers to the scoring strategy.
3. Bubble Bobble

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4. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

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When it was released in 1986, Bubble Bobble was hardly at the edge of technology. Platform games with single-screen levels had been introduced with Donkey Kong five years earlier, and were already on their way out. Yet Bubble Bobble was so brilliant, it powered a small renaissance for the genre, and was followed by many clones and sequels. It’s a prime example of how you can turn a simple and straightforward concept into a mega hit and instant classic with cute, recognizable characters (some taken over from Taito's earlier game Chack'n Pop), and countless small, but clever modifications on a limited rule set. The Geometry Wars series had an inauspicious start as a minigame buried within Project Gotham Racing 2 for the Xbox. An homage to classic twin-stick shooters like Robotron 2084, and perfectly adapted for a dual analog controller, you controlled a little weaponized claw as you blew up lots of other geometric shapes, created in the vector style of games like Tempest. It was fleshed out considerably and released separately at the launch of the Xbox 360, where, even as a cheapie download title, it was the best game on the platform for months, inspiring legions of new twin-stick shooter clones.
5. PacMan Championship Edition DX+

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6. TxK

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Despite being one of the most popular games of all time, Namco has long struggled to make sequels to Pac-Man. Outside of the American-developed Ms. Pac-Man, the results have been unfulfilling, gimmicky spin-offs (Pac-Man Jr., Pac and Pal), games that completely changed genres (like the oddball graphic adventure Pac-Man 2), or 3D platformers (Pac-Man World). Pac-Man Championship Edition, released in 2007, is one of the few games that’s not only a suitable iteration of the original, but also the rare modern reinvention that actually bests it. This was later followed up by DX and DX+ editions, adding even more content. David Theurer's 1981 arcade game, Tempest, was one of the first real 3D shooters. Creating what's now known as the "tube shooter" subgenre, you control a little claw-shaped ship as it travels along the outside of a web, shooting at enemies that spawn from the other end. It's one of the bestgames of the golden era of arcade gaming, in part due to the sharp, colorful, vector graphics. However, due to both the display and the rotating knob controller, Tempest never quite got a decent home port. That is, until Jeff Minter created an update for the Jaguar, Tempest 2000.
7. Super Mario Bros. 3

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8. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

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In the context of NES platformers, Super MarioBros. 3 decimates its competition. Even compared to other games in the series, it's a gigantic step upward from the frustrating Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, and the diversionary (through still excellent) American sequel. Compared to the original game, the screen scrolls in all directions, allowing for more open and less confining stages, including tense levels where the screen automatically scrolls. The map allows alternative routes to the end of each world, with challenging castles at the mid-way points, and airship stages that culminate in fights against one of Bowser's seven children. Put simply, it’s far more expansive than almost any other similar game on the 8-bit platform. In North America, Yoshi's Island is known as "Super Mario World 2", presenting it as a sequel to the legendary SNES launch game. While perhaps thought necessary from a marketing standpoint, it does an injustice to how unique this title is, as it iterates Mario tropes (and characters) in incredibly creative ways. In truth, Yoshi's Island is a prequel. The hero, of course, is Yoshi (defined as a whole species of differently colored, but otherwise identical dinosaurs), tasked with escorting a diaper-clad Baby Mario away from danger. Yoshi is better prepared for direct conflict than the Mario Bros., able to eat almost any enemy and produce an egg, which can then be thrown as a weapon.
9. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

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10. Sonic CD

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When it was released in 1994 for the SNES, Donkey Kong Country wowed gaming audiences with its impressive CG graphics and fantastic soundtrack. Still, there was some resentment against it – it was simpler than Nintendo's own Super Mario Bros. games, and was criticized as a case of style over substance. Fast forward 20 years to 2014, and the tides have drastically turned. Nintendo’s prolific New Super Mario Bros. series is fun, but safe and uninspired; meanwhile, the Donkey Kong Country series, out of the hands of original developers Rare and placed in the care of Retro Studios, has created better crafted games. Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii was very, very good, yet it suffered in a few areas – the forced waggle controls were lame, the music was forgettable, and the levels lacked creativity. Every issue was fixed in its Wii U sequel, Tropical Freeze. The third game released in the classic Sega series, Sonic CD, has always been an oddball, especially when you consider the system it spawned from. Even among Sonic fans, it can be a rather divisive game, given how different it is from those that followed. It's that sort of weirdness that makes it so memorable, though, even among a set of such great games, and there's no doubt that it's one of the shining gems of the Sega CD. From a gameplay perspective, Sonic CD almost feels like a more polished version of the first game. Sonic has his spin dash attack as introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but it's not quite as quick to use as in the later entries. The general pace is somewhat slower as well, with more emphasis on platforming and exploration than your average Sonicgame.
11. Klonoa: The Door to Phantomile

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12. Super Meat Boy

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While first and foremost respected as an arcadecentric developer, Namco has made several fascinating games for consoles. Their most impressive non-coin-op game may be Klonoa, a slightly late attempt to get in on the Sonic-esque mascot platformer craze. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a gorgeous adventure, putting 95% of all Sonic ripoffs to shame. For starters, it barely even feels like a Sonicgame, with an art direction all its own. Playing in a 2.5D perspective, the graphics still hold up remarkably well today – something that can't be said for a lot of PS1 games. With creative character designs and vibrantly colored landscapes, it's certainly more than just jagged polygons everywhere. Everything about the aesthetics, from its cute fodder enemies to the whimsical sound design, gives off an adorable charm (though things do turn remarkably more dark later on). The main gameplay gimmick here is the "Wind Bullet", a short-range projectile that balloons an enemy a la Dig Dug, and allows Klonoa to either throw the opponent or bounce off of them for a double-jump. Super Meat Boy is the reason why, for better or worse, the "masocore" genre of gruelingly difficult games is so popular nowadays. It turned out to be a massive success story for Team Meat, and was worthy enough to be chronicled in Indie Game: The Movie. The setup here is that Meat Boy's partner, Bandage Girl, is kidnapped by the vile Dr. Fetus. This leads to more than 100 levels of pure platforming goodness, where all you need to do to survive is run, jump, and wall jump. It starts out fair at first. Before long, though, the tricks and enemies grow especially vile, like living missiles which split into six, or murderous Meat Boy clones. There's a gargantuan amount of content up front, as each normal level also has a tougher dark side variant unlocked if you beat the normal one under the par time. There are also warp zones leading off into hidden levels, where you can unlock characters from other indie games, each of which play akin to the games they're from while still adhering to this game's physics.
13. Shinobi (Arcade)

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14. Strider (Arcade)

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Sega's 1987 side-scroller Shinobi is remarkable for the way it plays with the conventions of both player and enemy vulnerabilities. In most games of the time, simply touching an enemy meant death, or at least taking damage. Not so for ninja hero Joe Musashi, who is merely knocked back when running into a foe, and is only killed by a weapon or physical strike. It allows for a much more gung-ho playing style that promotes forward momentum. This is important for more than one reason. While Joe has an unlimited supply of shuriken to take out enemies from a distance, many foes have shields, which prevent them from taking damage. However, if you're close enough to an enemy, you'll automatically execute a melee attack, which will either immediately kill or at least stun them, enabling an opening for a follow-up blow. Capcom's Strider is a masterwork of character and game design. The hero, Strider Hiryu, is a ninja badass that flies straight into enemy territory with a hand glider. His sword, the Cypher, is so fast that its blade is like one continuous blur of light, slicing most mooks right in half. He can also somersault, and even climb on walls and ceilings. He even has robotic tigers and birds as sidekicks. The enemies, too, are well defined. The evil Grandmaster Meio is introduced as a cackling madman, with his twisted fingernails encircling the Earth. During the cutscenes, the villains each speak in their native language – Meio and the bounty hunter Solo speak English, the trio of Asian acrobats speak Chinese, and the Soviet premier (obviously patterned after Mikhail Gorbachev) speaks Russian, while Hiryu speaks Japanese.
15. Ninja Gaiden

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16. Bionic Commando Rearmed

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Ninja Gaiden is the more highly caffeinated cousin of Castlevania. It borrows its basic formula, like the sub-weapon system and the status bar, but while Konami's vampire slaying series is slow and deliberate, Tecmo's ninja slicing game traverses at a near-breathless pace. You move fast, and the enemies move faster still, but the controls are essentially perfect. Scaling walls is executed by rapidly jumping back and forth between two columns, using rad, spinning flips that defined why every kid in the 80s thought that ninjas were just the coolest thing in existence. It also demands the need for split second reflexes, lest you miss a midair slash and be knocked into a pit for the 30th time by some infernal bird. The need to push forward is highlighted by the enemy respawn points, which can trigger infinitely if you're standing at the wrong point on the screen. The music is also intense – the percussion is some of the crunchiest on the NES, with pounding drum loops and strong melodies that perfectly suit the game's speed. Most action platform games involve running around, attacking, and jumping. Capcom's daring Bionic Commando did away with that last bit by removing the jump button, forcing the player to rappel around the landscape with a retractable arm. Its original incarnation was an innovative, yet clumsy arcadegame, but the mechanics were refined and assembled into a much better package with the NES version, which is a totally different game. The inability to jump initially proves puzzling for overcoming the most simple obstacles. It takes a bit of time to unlearn the techniques of other 2D platformers and instead think indirectly, but soon the snap-swing-go mechanics of the arm become second nature, and then almost every other game feels worse for not having it. It requires some split second reflexes, but flinging yourself from point to point – like a futuristic Tarzan, feet never hitting the ground – is some of the most fun you can have in a platformer. One of the greatest levels is a straight shot upwards, using all of the skills you've learned at this point to scale a massive tower.
17. Gimmick!

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18. Castlevania Dracula X: Rondo of Blood

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At first, Sunsoft's Gimmick! looks a lot like a Kirby game. The hero, Yumetarou, a wide-eyed green blob with stumpy legs, attacks by throwing glowing stars. The enemies are all toys that have come to life, and most of the levels are colorful. This is deceiving though, because Gimmick! is hard. Very hard. It's also one of the most incredibly well put together action game of the era, though. Like Sunsoft's earlier Batman: Return of the Joker, Gimmick! was designed to compete with the early generation of Genesis and SNES titles. In the end, it ends up surpassing most of them. There are only seven not-entirely-long stages, but each screen has an incredible amount of care put into it, often with superfluous but charming details. Somewhere in the second stage, there is a motionless enemy which, if you pick up the second controller, you can briefly command. If you manage to beat this stage quickly enough, you can find the level boss taking a snooze, allowing you to push him off a ledge and immediately win the level. There's a prevailing sense that some of the enemies aren't really "bad guys" per say, they just want to play with you, like the cat creatures in the third stage that bounce around then retreat after a few steps. Konami's long-running vampire slaying series features the struggles of the Belmont family, in their quest to destroy the evil Count Dracula and his legion of movie monster-inspired villains. It's a franchise characterized by fantastic music and a high level of challenge, built upon a foundation of strong design. Castlevania: Dracula X for the PC Engine ranks as the best of the classic era of the series, before it switched gears into a more openended, RPG direction with Symphony of the Night. Initially an exotic import, teased mercilessly in magazines of the 90s, it's become more widely available thanks to a PSP remake and a Virtual Console release. The PC Engine is known for its colorful palette, and despite the dark overtones that come with gothic monster slaying, Dracula X has a bright and peppy look that makes it distinct from other Castlevania titles. The character designs are straight out of an early 90s anime OVA, with dramatic voice acting to accompany it. The music is also fantastic, with remixes of classic songs and several excellent new ones, all with an upbeat, poppy feel.
19. Demon’s Crest

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20. Mega Man X

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Capcom was on a roll in 1994, becoming renowned for the striking animation and bright visuals in games like Mega Man X, Darkstalkers, and Street Fighter Alpha. It's actually understandable, then, why a game like Demon's Crest would slip under the radar. It's a big departure for Capcom, with a very dour tone and a darker look than anything else the developer had put out (Resident Evil would not appear for another two years). An SNES successor to Capcom's Gargoyle's Quest games, Demon's Crest eschews most of the previous installments' role playing elements in exchange for something structurally closer to Mega Man X. Players guide Capcom's popular red gargoyle, Firebrand, through different areas, earning new weapons to use against the game's many bosses and enemies. While his animation isn't quite as smooth as that found in other Capcom games of the time, most of his abilities involve him taking on a completely different form, each with its own unique sprite. Demon's Crest's aesthetics fully deliver on the visual details, too. Backgrounds have little animation and minimal parallax, but they’re very colorful and, more importantly, each of the game's six areas sport completely different graphics. There's much debate as to which is the best MegaMan game out of the franchise’s many subseries, but almost everyone who's played the first Mega Man X would agree that it’s one of, if not THE best. Set many years after the original games in a dire future, where mass-produced "replicate androids" (Reploids) fight against each other, X and his partner Zero attempt to take down Maverick leader Sigma. Despite the darker setting, its level structure is still classic Mega Man, where you pick your stage order between the eight Maverick leaders. Instead of just being "Something Man," the bosses are all modeled after animals with interesting designs, with names like Chill Penguin, Spark Mandrill, and Armored Armadillo. It’s a testament to the artistry that it can make innocent looking creatures seem intimidating. Even the normal enemies exhibit personality, like lumberjack-bots who chuckle if they hit you, and living robot torsos on an assembly line. As the very first Mega Mangame not on an 8-bit system, Mega Man X takes full advantage of the SNES's graphical capabilities, with smooth animation and gorgeous backgrounds.
21. Völgarr the Viking

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22. Shovel Knight

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This much is certain – there’s definitely no shortage of independent releases trying to bring back the magic of old 8- and 16-bit 2D games. Völgarr theViking is special, though, because it not only lives up to its inspirations, but surpasses most of them. Völgarr is not pretty. The sprites were obviously created with a lot of care, but the careless resizing makes them look messy. The backgrounds are just downright ugly, too. However, dismissing the game based on its looks would be one the most tragic misjudgments any fan of classic action games like Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Castlevania, or Ninja Gaiden could ever commit. It's always a risky prospect to lean on nostalgia, as it can come off as insincere pandering if executed poorly. Such is the case with some independentgames inspired by the 8-bit NES days, but ShovelKnight completely avoids any accusations by simply being a well-made product. When an ominous tower appears, Shovel Knight, who rather comically wields a deadly digging instrument, is motivated to find out what happened to his old partner, Shield Knight. This leads him into battle against The Enchantress and eight other knights in her employ, called "The Order of No Quarter,"
23. Prince of Persia

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24. Another World

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Prince of Persia may be one of the most famous games ever, considered a hallmark of visual design for its time, and creating the cinematic platformer subgenre. Building off of the rotoscoping technology first exhibited in Karateka, Jordan Mechner created a more ambitious game involving as much platforming as combat, giving it an Arabian flair that’s particularly influenced by 1001 Nights. The Prince must attempt to escape the 12-stage dungeon and defeat the evil vizier Jaffar to save the Princess. The infamous one-hour time limit, requiring you to not die much in order to rescue the Princess before she is slain, makes it one of themost difficult games to conquer even today. The realistic movements and weight of the character are interesting, but take time to learn, and the many deceitful traps and increasingly difficult enemies ensure that an under-an-hour victory won't come without much practice.  Another World (also known as Out of this World and Outer World) is one of the most recognizable examples of the cinematic platformer genre, with all its usual elements: rotoscoped graphics, realistic movement (which includes jumping which is, like in real life, quite difficult to control), and a strong focus on puzzle-solving. The game's main character, Lester Chaykin, gets transported to an alternate reality as a result of a failed science experiment, and that's all the backstory we're given. The whole game is spent in this world, trying to survive – with the help of a friendly alien – and features encounters with both its hostile inhabitants and the local fauna. It's quite a minimalist setup, but the game makes the best of it by eschewing dialog and telling the story through gameplay, animations, backgrounds, and music.
25. Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap

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26. Super Metroid

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Wonder Boy III begins as you play out the ending of its predecessor, Wonder Boy in Monster Land. Things go a little awry when, upon navigating the castle and defeating the evil Meka Dragon, the hero is cursed with an inhuman dragon form. Throughout the journey to change back into a human, the hero gains the ability to turn into other animals – beyond Lizard Man, the fire breathing form you start out as, you can become Mouse Man (to fit into small spaces and climb on certain surfaces), Piranha Man (to swim), Lion Man (to break certain bricks), and Hawk Man (to fly). Metroid, released on the NES in 1986, is a dark, confusing, frightening game. As bounty hunter Samus Aran, clad in a robotic suit of armor, you roam through countless, nearly identical dark corridors of the planet Zebes, hunting down the evil Space Pirates and the energy sucking aliens known as Metroids. After a Game Boy sequel, the series hit astounding heights with its SNES entry, SuperMetroid. It is still a lonely, oppressive game, though its atmosphere comes from incredible design rather than technical limitations.
27. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

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28. Cave Story

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Symphony of the Night marks the generational transition of the Castlevania series, changing from a linear side-scroller to an exploratory action-RPG. With a structure and map screen that seems directly borrowed from Super Metroid, it's the best video game of all time that coined the "Metroidvania" term. The change was not unprecedented, considering that Castlevania II: Simon's Quest for the NES was similar, albeit more obtuse in the way that so many 8-bit RPGs are. From a story standpoint, it's the direct sequel to Castlevania Dracula X: Rondo of Blood for the PC Engine, Independent 2D, sprite-based action-platformers seem as common today as grapes in a vineyard, but before any of them was Cave Story. Created as an unassuming personal project by Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya in his free time, Cave Story gradually received notice and became the prototype for the incoming best indie video game of all time zeitgeist for the new millennium. The premise is simply named for starting in a cave and telling a story, but the plain title belies a tale fraught with several dark and twisted turns, despite its ostensibly cute art style.
29. Rogue Legacy

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30. Dust: An Elysian Tail

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The indie revolution in the early 2010s brought about a number of Metroidvanias and Roguelikes, so it makes perfect sense to mash them together. The result is Cellar Door's Rogue Legacy is the best video game of all time, which takes the basic action and exploration of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and combines it with a randomization element that changes both your player character and the layout of the castle. You play as a family of warriors hell-bent on making it to the end of Castle Hamson in order to uncover its mysteries. There are four areas to conquer, each with a boss, before the door is unlocked that leads to the final encounter. The first member of the family, at level 0, will probably meet their maker relatively quickly. However, your fortune and your equipment are bestowed upon the next generation of heroes, allowing you to forge new gear and build up the skill tree, which in turn strengthens the heroes, offers new abilities, and unlocks extra character classes. Dust: An Elysian Tail is a beautiful 2D wonder, created largely by a single man, Dean Dodrill. Dean is an animator by trade, only taking up best video game development on a whim. It’s a gorgeous piece of work, with high resolution, hand-drawn characters and backgrounds, in a fantastically vibrant world. Gameplay-wise, Dust is a platformer with some light RPG elements. The influences of Super Metroid and Castlevania are obviously felt in the non-linear level design – there’s even an item named “mysterious wall chicken” – but there's still plenty about the game to make it all its own. Dodrill and co-writer Alex Kain really did something right when they created the world of Elysia. The story opens with the main character, Dust, waking up in a magical meadow with a talking sword, a flying furry sidekick named Fidget, and no memory of who he is. That all may sound rather cliché, but Dust is not your typical sword-wielding, amnesiac badass. 
31. Legacy of the Wizard

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32. The Guardian Legend

around the world top list, top list around the world, around the world, top ten list, in the world, of the world, 10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 32. The Guardian Legend
The world of Legacy of the Wizard is a true labyrinth; almost every screen is filled with multiple secret walls, blocks you can push around, hidden items, and hordes of monsters running all over the place. Like Metroid, you explore and find upgrades to let you progress further, but here you get to play as and regularly switch between four different members of the Drasle family. Each one controls differently, and also has a selection of things to find in the dungeon that let them complete different parts of the game. The game's challenge doesn't come just from the combat or making a map, but from figuring out who is best to use in each area and how to get them there. The game has three unique features to help you out. First, each area is designed for a specific person and has a different musical theme (composed by Yuzo Koshiro and Mieko Ishikawa), so you know to start looking for those quirks in the areas that only a certain family member can handle. Second, there are the blocks themselves. The Guardian Legend is one of the coolest games on the NES. While looking at screenshots could make you dismiss Compile's 1988 greatest adventure video game of all time as a Legend of Zelda rip off, it's much more ambitious than a cheap imitator, and it definitely stands on its own. When starting the game, you’re greeted with a fast overhead shooter area similar to Compile's previous NES game, Zanac. These shooter stages move impressively fast at times, and the titular Guardian, Miria, fights through several of them throughout the game. Miria herself isn't human, but rather a heavily armed android that can transform into an equally heavily armed spaceship. The opening level ends with Miria landing on the planet Naju, an artificial world that transforms and corrupts all life it passes by, set into motion by an unnamed alien race long ago for reasons unknown.
33. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 33. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
34. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 34. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is often regarded as the bastard child of the series (though not necessarily the worst). Most of the game is viewed from a side-scrolling perspective, with only a simple overworld to travel between locations. There are numerous towns with villagers to talk to, and you gain experience points and levels from defeating enemies. Like many others, it was very obviously inspired by Dragon Quest and the wave of RPGs that were finding great success on the Famicom. Nowadays, Nintendo is seen as such a friendly, cuddly company, it's easy to forget that their early 8-bit titles like Metroid and Nazo no Murasamejou, were brutally difficult. Zelda II falls into that same category, especially with its sprawling dungeons. You get three lives, but with bottomless pits, and the constant threat of being knocked into them, you can go through these quickly. The final dungeon is expansive, and coupled with the journey required to reach it, you can lose an hour or more if you screw up and lose all your lives. Much of the Game Boy library ran parallel to the early days of the NES, offering exclusive sequels to 8- or 16-bit games that were not only portable but, offered their own unique experiences. Their efforts were usually great, but didn't match up to their console big brothers – almost no one would pick Super Mario Land 2 over Super Mario World. That is, except for one case – The Legend of Zelda:Link's Awakening. Descended from A Link to the Past for the SNES, long held as the best of the 2D series, we have a devout preference for the portable title, in spite of its lesser technology. For starters, Link’s Awakening is just really weird and silly. The entire game takes place with Link shipwrecked on the island of Koholint, far away from Hyrule, and with only barely a mention of the titular Zelda. The goal is to find eight instruments to awaken the Wind Fish, which is the only way Link can return home. Link comes across a number of strange people during his journey,
35. Terranigma

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36. Seiken Densetsu 3

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Terranigma stars a mischievous boy, named Ark by default, who one day breaks open a forbidden door and discovers a strange creature in a magic box. This freezes all inhabitants of his village deep inside the earth, except for him and the elder, who tells him to conquer five towers to free his friends. Each tower has the side effect of reviving one continent on the planet surface, and when the deed is done, Ark is sent above ground to bring back civilization to the world. This mythical task is framed in typical action-RPG terms – Ark frees the souls of living beings by defeating monsters, then proceeds to the next part of the world by interacting with the newborn plants, animals, and finally humans. The Mana series used to be something truly special in Squaresoft’s catalog. Koichi Ishii’s magical world was more than just Final Fantasy’s more colorful cousin. Merging Dungeons & Dragons-style fantasy at least halfway towards Peter Pan, the third game exhales an atmosphere of childlike wonder and mysticism, just as much as high adventure. It opens with a swarm of birds soaring into the sky from the enormous, ancient Mana Tree. They are followed by four sparkling fairies, whose journey across the clouds is then traced, accompanied by a fast, thrilling variation on the previous game’s rather laidback theme.
37. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 37. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
38. Ys: The Oath in Felghana

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 38. Ys: The Oath in Felghana
The Zelda series has fallen into an uneven alternation between titles that are just gradually expanded retreads of the same core concept – A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess – and interesting experimental adventures. Majora’s Mask may look a lot like Ocarina of Time for using the same engine and some of the same assets, but under the hood, it’s one of the wild ones. By the numbers, the game seemed like a disappointment – You only get to play as child Link? Only four dungeons in a Zelda game? Majora’s Mask stretches out in a different way, though, namely over three days. More precisely, the three final days of the dying world Termina (it’s never really explained how exactly Link ended up here), which end with the creepy moon crashing down to the earth. Few companies do action-RPGs as well as Falcom. Their mechanics are so well-defined, so satisfying, that you could strip away all of the role playing elements and still have a fantastic arcade action title on your hands. While the Ys series was long famous for its divisive (but incredibly fun) bump combat system, where you attack enemies by crashing into them at the proper angle, Falcom changed things up with the fifth game, introducing both a jump and a proper attack button. While uncharacteristically clumsy, they greatly refined this with Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, which utilized 3D graphics, but kept the same style of top-down action. The follow-up, Ys: The Oath in Felghana, is based on the same engine, but is vastly improved.
39. Mega Man Legends

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 39. Mega Man Legends
40. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 40. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
By the end of the millennium, Capcom had two series with the brand name "Mega Man" on them, and they decided to add on a third take of the bluearmored hero with Mega Man Legends. While Mega Man X had similar gameplay and story ties to classic Mega Man, Legends is very far removed from the other two, and feels more like Capcom's take on a Zelda game. In a really distant future, Mega Man Volnutt travels with his team to explore ruins and excavate treasure, but he has to deal with the double threat of the Reaverbots who guard the ruins, and the Bonnes, rival pirates who wish to steal the treasure for themselves. He eventually comes across a dark secret which may spell doom for Kattelox Island. More than likely, anyone who saw this game would have wondered where the Robot Masters were at, why Mega Man doesn't steal anyone's weapons, or why he's walking around an overworld in a third-person camera, instead of avoiding spiky pits on a two-dimensional plane. When Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain debuted on the PlayStation in 1996, there was nothing like it. Superficially a Legend of Zelda clone, it stars a bloodthirsty undead sociopath, traveling the world in an attempt to undo his curse and avenge his own death, no matter the cost. Blood Omen's striking gothic atmosphere and flowery, excellently voice acted script earned it a strong cult following, leading to the release of its sequel, Soul Reaver. It changes the viewpoint from an overhead 2D game to a fully 3D one, to great effect. Taking place long after the events of the first game, Soul Reaver begins assuming players chose the bad ending in Blood Omen, with Kain ruling over a dying world overrun with his vampire descendants. Taking place long after the events of the first game, Soul Reaver begins assuming players chose the bad ending in Blood Omen, with Kain ruling over a dying world overrun with his vampire descendants.
41. Okami

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 41. Okami
42. Shadow of the Colossus

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 42. Shadow of the Colossus
Okami is the most gorgeous looking video game ever made. The world of Capcom's mythological Japan is rendered as sumi-e ink paintings, with thick brush strokes used as cel-shading, and a filter applied to make it look like a painting in motion. As the sun goddess Amaterasu, reincarnated into a white wolf, the central theme is nature. The lands are dark and cursed, until you destroy the demons that infest them and restore the world's beautiful form, with flora spreading over the landscape literally as a wave of multi-colored life. Amaterasu dashes with leaves created in her wake, and sprouts greenery by touching the ground. When fighting enemies, the serene Japanese traditional music of the overworld gives way to the fierce pounding of taiko drums, with the battlefields burning with intensity, and flames encasing the combatants. The game is structured as an action-RPG, very similar to the 3D Zelda games, right to the slightlyannoying companion that complements the silent protagonist. A good boss battle can be quite memorable, but a bad one can sour the entire game. Shadow of theColossus foregoes regular enemies altogether, and consists almost entirely of 16 unique and amazing boss battles. The player controls Wander, a boy who has journeyed to "The Forbidden Lands" to retrieve the soul of Momo, a girl who was sacrificed for having a cursed fate. He meets a mysterious being, known as Dormin, who tells Wander that he can resurrect Momo if the 16 Colossi that inhabit the plains are slain. Wander isn't a strong, muscle-bound beefcake who laughs at the concept of stamina, though — he’s actually a rather average looking guy. His run is wild and unrefined, he gets both visibly and audibly tired after running, and he grunts while pulling himself up a ledge. Wander isn't alone in his quest, though, and is accompanied by his mare, Agro.
43. Nier

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 43. Nier
44. Bloodborne

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 44. Bloodborne
Cavia's final game, Nier, is both their best original work and the most fleshed out. Rather than focusing on the non-stop pessimistic carnage found in their Drakengard games, Nier is structured more like a typical action-RPG. The tone of the game is less violent and more successfully melancholy than what was seen in Drakengard. Part of this is due to the writing, but part of it is also from the much more laid back structure and atmosphere. Rather than rushing from place to place only to kill, the protagonists have several towns to stop at where simple side missions can be found, along with plenty of conversation. Areas are also connected by open, outdoor expanses that are accompanied by music, triumphant and often with beautiful vocals, that is much more sweeping and hopeful than anything in Drakengard. Nier opens up with the eponymous protagonist protecting his daughter, Yonah, from otherworldly specters in a post-apocalyptic landscape. While it doesn't have "Souls" in the title, Bloodborne is the most ambitious game so far to carry the DNA of From Software’s challenging action and atmospheric role playing series. The director of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, Hidetaka Miyazaki, is back for this installment, and the game definitely bears his mark. Much like how the prior games combined concepts from Shadow Tower, King's Field, and Eternal Ring, Bloodborne presents a merger of everything good from their previous Souls games. It has the large, interconnected world of Dark Souls; the intricate, winding level design of Demon's Souls; and a focus on beastly humanoids like Dark Souls 2 (though Bloodborne keeps this in the realm of werewolves and Lovecraftian horrors). One of game's most interesting features is a stat keeping track of your character's Insight.
45. Shenmue II

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 45. Shenmue II
46. Yakuza 4

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 46. Yakuza 4
The original Shenmue was released in 1999 for the Dreamcast, the first chapter in hero Ryo Hazuki’s quest to avenge the death of his father. Though tedious at points, it did a fantastic job of replicating the texture of a small city in 80s Japan. Shenmue II, released two years later, successfully fixes every issue with the original while also delivering an excellent experience. The biggest change is the sheer size of the game, with Ryo exploring large parts of Hong Kong instead of just his home town in its predecessor. Players also get to use the game's fun combat system much more. The soundtrack is greatly improved as well, feeling reverent to Ryo's situation and surroundings without coming across as overdone. Sega’s Yakuza series (also known as Ryu ga Gotoku) is known for its beautiful and faithful replications of modern Japan. Though not on the scale of Shenmue, they have more immediately rewarding storylines, and gameplay that melds a Japanese RPG with beat-em-up action. The fourth installment is a huge step for the franchise. Rather than just playing as reformed yakuza Kazuma Kiryu, players get to use four different characters, each with completely different attacks, stories, side quests, and mini games. It also accomplishes the impossible, in that it takes these four seemingly unrelated characters and manages to weave a single story that draws them together.
47. Red Dead Redemption

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 47. Red Dead Redemption
48. Contra: Shattered Soldier

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 48. Contra: Shattered Soldier
Red Dead Redemption is often described as "Grand Theft Auto in the Wild West", which isn't entirely inaccurate. It does acknowledge pretty much every problem of the GTA games and irons them out, though, creating the absolute best game of Rockstar's library. The story focuses on John Marston, a former outlaw, coerced by the government into taking down his old boss. As a reticent hero with a taciturn demeanor, Marston is easily the best protagonist found in any Rockstar game. GTA has always been saddled with stories about sociopathic criminals – it's suggested in the name. As the title implies with Red Dead Redemption, however, the driving force is reconciling John's past. This comes not only by hunting down his former gang, but also by improving the lives of everyone in the frontier. This gives more weight to your decisions if you choose to play an outlaw – with an honor and a fame system, you can lose respect, offsetting any of the good deeds you've done in the main story, as well as sticking a bounty on your head. Grand Theft Auto often attempted to satirize American culture, and while occasionally funny, it was just as often moronic. The Contra series has been a household name for action game fans since the late 80s. A rapid fire pastiche of futuristic arsenals, deadly robots, and alien monsters inspired by various films of the time, its fast action and challenging design created a legacy that influences game design to this day. With new installments released on consoles during the 90s, the series had no trouble staying in the public eye. However, after 1998’s lackluster C: TheContra Adventure (created by an outside developer), many assumed the series was dead. Four years later, Konami revealed a true sequel. Known as Shattered Soldier overseas and Shin Contra in Japan (as it was the first "true" entry developed by Konami itself for some time), this game was rightly promoted as the real deal. It's a flawless sequel that incorporates the franchise’s familiar weapons and scenarios with a significant amount of new enemies and scenery. It also serves as an ultimate refinement of what made Contra a hit in the first place. There are no overhead stages, no 3D levels there aren't even any power ups.
49. Turrican II: The Final Fight

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 49. Turrican II: The Final Fight
50. Gunstar Heroes

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 50. Gunstar Heroes
Best action games of all time on old home computers often aren’t taken seriously, and not only among those who grew up with consoles. The lack of hardware specialization often leaves them with bad controls and middling performance. Games like the Turrican series, however, show that it doesn't always have to be like that. The Commodore 64 originals by Manfred Trenz are programming masterpieces, but it was the Amiga versions, by German studio Factor 5, which demonstrated that home computers did not need to hide from consoles when it comes to fast-paced action. Smooth and responsive gameplay combine with beautiful sprites and stunning effects to make Turrican II the killer app for the Amiga. In contrast to most Japanese offerings of the time, which were usually tightly arranged and straightforward, Turrican's stages are vast, multileveled areas with multiple paths. There are countless secret areas to find, and even merely getting to the exit often requires an extensive search. The closest equivalent on consoles, structure-wise, might be Sonic the Hedgehog, if he could mow down enemies with massive firepower. Treasure's 16-bit classic obviously takes after Konami titles, particularly Contra, but its philosophy is much, much different. In Contra, the rules are rigidly defined – use the right weapons for the right situation and memorize the enemy patterns so you don't get hit. That last part is particularly important, considering a single tap on the shoulder by an enemy would immediately kill you. Gunstar Heroes tosses all of that out by granting a large life meter, providing for a fairly wide margin of error. It allows the game to be surprising without punishing the player for not anticipating its every move. As a result, Gunstar Heroes is a playground of destruction. One level is a long expanse filled with enemies and the simple instruction to "Destroy them all!". Through a weapon customization system involving four element types, there are 20 different weapons you can create and switch between explosive fire bullets, auto-targeting lasers, short range light swords, rapid fire machine guns all sorts of stuff. Additionally, there are a number of melee attacks, ranging from slides to body tackles, and you can even pick up enemies and flying bombs in order to throw them at one another.
51. Shock Troopers

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52. Metal Slug 3

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 52. Metal Slug 3
While overhead run and gun games a la Commando and Mercs are a dime a dozen, few feature the perfect combination of colorful graphics, rocking music, and effective weaponry seen in ShockTroopers. Released for the Neo Geo in 1997, Saurus and SNK offer an ultimate refinement of the genre, similar to what Nazca accomplished with Metal Slug the year prior. Players get to choose from eight different characters, each with unique attributes, and proceed to bloodily obliterate a massive army, along with the advanced military hardware at the end of each level expected of the genre. The game is fast, replicating the intense pace of shooters from the late 80s like Contra. SNK/Nazca’s Metal Slug series stands in competition with Konami’s Contra as two of the best run-and-gun franchises. When Metal Slug 3 was first released, fans questioned the sudden shift from fighting mostly military hardware to giant crabs and mutant insects. Rather than a desperate attempt at variety, though, Metal Slug 3 is a focused refinement of the ideas and designs seen in the previous games. While the original game had the general aesthetic of a WWII setting, and the second a modern globetrotting shooter, this game pulls out all the stops with monster themed levels. In just one stage you'll fight vomiting zombies, a sentient meteorite.
53. Hotline Miami

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 53. Hotline Miami
54. Fantasy Zone II DX

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 54. Fantasy Zone II DX
Released in 2012 in a package soaked with neon and bloodshed, Dennaton Games' Hotline Miami quickly gained fame and critical praise. It's hard to explain what exactly the game is – it’s sort of a meld between an overhead twin-stick shooter and a stealth game – though the most accurate description is probably "top down fuck-em-up". The influences behind the game's world provide comfortable elements before the brutality sets in. On the cinematic end, there’s a direct homage to 2011's Drive and the informative presence of Cocaine Cowboys. The palette and aesthetic of late 80s Miami is also familiar territory for those pining for another trip through Vice City. The dark synth soundtrack is equal parts 80s John Carpenter and modern day EDM, opening ears to a burgeoning subgenre of music. As you progress through levels, it becomes clear that it's more than the sum of its influences, and takes a few disturbing detours into David Lynch-esque, surrealistic horror as well. Sega's Fantasy Zone is a strange series of a shootem- ups, one that borrows its mechanics from Defender rather than other typical forward-scrolling shooters. You control a sentient, winged pod named Opa-Opa, flying across a looping landscape, and destroying enemy generating bases. Take them all out and then you’ll fight the level boss. Each destroyed enemy drops coins, which can be used to purchase power-ups from shops, which are represented by balloons. There are speed-ups, extra lives, and bombs, along with single-use items like 16-ton weights. There are also weapons like laser cannons and eight-way shots, which only last a limited amount of time. The kicker is, every time you purchase a weapon, its price will go up, disallowing you from continuing to use the same thing over and over. If you're aiming for a single credit clear, it's extremely important to develop an efficient.
55. Gradius Gaiden

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 55. Gradius Gaiden
56. Sexy Parodius

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 56. Sexy Parodius
The Gradius series began in 1985, and most of its subsequent titles adhered to a fairly strict formula. In that vein, Gradius Gaiden is not an exceptionally original title, but it is an extraordinarily refined one. The 32-bit era allowed for some extremely impressive 2D graphics, though in the case of most consoles, this was wasted on 3D visuals. Gradius Gaiden, like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, was an opportunity for Konami's artists and programmers to not only show off some fancy scaling and rotation effects, but also use them to create new levels and bosses that would have been impossible on 16-bit console hardware. The Parodius series is comical take on the Gradius games (“parody” + “Gradius”, of course), taking its tropes and refreshing them with silly themes, including colorful graphics and an odd obsession with penguins. The fifth and final game, Sexy Parodius, is especially interesting for encouraging you to do more than just beat the level. All stages after the first one have an optional goal, like collect this many coins or destroy that many enemies, and the third and fourth stages are completely different depending on whether you can complete these goals. These forked pathways give a bit more replay value than you would expect from a shooter.
57. MUSHA

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58. RType Delta

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 58. RType Delta
Compile was responsible for many high quality shoot-em-ups, with MUSHA as the most original of them. The classic tale of "evil supercomputer turns homicidal and fighter pilot intends to stop it" is the baseline plot for nearly every shooter, but its originality is found in its visual design, which is heavily influenced by medieval Japanese art and architecture. Instead of practically designed tanks and sleek, round dirigibles, most vehicles look like Japanese houses with distinct, large roofs, except with cores and turrets instead of windows and doors. The first boss is basically a colossal tank fused with a pagoda, and other bosses include a large mechanical oni wielding a chain flail, and a creepy looking Noh mask that turns demonic after enough damage. Shoot-em-up enthusiasts view Irem's R-Type series as a classic, alongside the likes of Konami's Gradius. The original R-Type, released in 1987, is still considered among the best of its kind out there, thanks to its unique gameplay, frightening biomechanical monster designs, and unforgiving difficulty. Its ingenuity lies with its versatile Force pod power-up, which can be attached to either side of the ship to bolster your weapons and act as a shield, or separated to attack enemies from afar. All of its sequels are great, too, but among them, 1998's R-Type Delta for the PlayStation stands out as the best in the series. Thanks in part to how it builds on what's worked with previous games, it uses its transition to polygonal graphics to take the franchise in a more peculiar, if darker direction.
59. Batsugun

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 59. Batsugun
60. Battle Garegga

10 video games of all time, top ten video games, 10 best video game, 100 best video games, best game of all time, greatest video game of all time, 200 BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME 60. Battle Garegga
Batsugun is the culmination of nearly a decade worth of work on shoot-em-ups by developer Toaplan, whose other works include Truxton, Grind Stormer, and Twin Cobra, as well as the internetfamous Zero Wing. While the company closed not long after the publication of Batsugun, many members from Toaplan went on to found Cave, which created many similar games that defined the bullet hell subgenre. Programmed by Tsuneki Ikeda, Batsugun can be seen as a kind of "proto bullet hell", with many of the same ideas, such as the dense bullet patterns and demanding scoring systems, becoming more and more refined with each subsequent shooter that he designed. Battle Garegga is Shinobu Yagawa’s first arcade release, having previously programmed the outstanding Recca ‘92 for the Famicom. Yagawa has a very specific style for his shooting games, causing them to revolve around the use of a few key mechanics. For starters, they tend to use a sliding difficulty system, known as “rank”, that adjusts itself based on the player’s skill. They also employ a “medal chaining”-style scoring system, where the point value of score items increases with each consecutively collected medal, but resets if one is missed. Finally, they use the “every extend” system, which awards an extra life at fixed point intervals (a rarity in modern shooters).
61. Ikaruga

62. Mushihimesama Futari

The shoot-em-up genre generally holds to one steadfast rule: don't get hit. Treasure's Ikaruga breaks this rule, forcing you to intentionally charge through enemy fire, though only if you obey the game's rules of polarity. Your ship, along with every enemy and every bullet, is one of two colors – light or dark, and you can switch between them at the push of a button. When light, your ship is invulnerable to light shots and absorbs them. The same is true for dark shots when colored dark. As a result, defending against incoming fire isn't a matter of weaving through bullets, which is practically impossible, but visually discerning where you can safely move. Mushihime-sama Futari is a vertical bullet hell shooter developed by Cave and programmed by Tsuneki Ikeda, a pioneer of the subgenre. These games are infamous for the way they flood the screen with mazes of tiny bullets — more than 2,000 on the highest difficulty levels. Ikeda's games focus on a strong interplay between fast movement coupled with rapid fire, wide-angled weak shots, or sacrificing that speed to use a focused, highpowered laser attack. This dynamic supplements the player's tiny hitbox and the emphasis on dodging oncoming attacks. As such, Futari can be quite the chaotic visual experience. The screen seems to be littered with an obscene number of bullets from all sides,
63. Space Harrier

64. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor

"Welcome to the Fantasy Zone! Get Ready!" Sega's Space Harrier was released in 1985, but compared to its contemporaries, it sure as hell doesn't look it. While many other companies were happy to get games that merely scrolled from left-toright, Space Harrier sends the player rocketing into the game world with an over-the-shoulder viewpoint. This was all thanks to what would eventually be known as Sega’s Super Scaler technology, which manipulated sprites and other 2D elements to give a very convincing illusion of a 3D perspective. This wasn't the first game to use these effects – it was predated by the submarine shooter SubRoc 3D and the sci-fi adventure Zoom 909 / Buck Rogers and the Planet of Zoom – but it easily trumps these titles from both a technical and a gameplay standpoint. Treasure's Sin and Punishment was released in the waning days of the N64. A futuristic 3D rail shooter with some impressive visuals and an inscrutable plot, it differentiated itself from similar games like Star Fox 64 in that you control your character and their targeting reticule independently. The result was a game that was incredibly fun, but difficult to handle, since almost every part of the N64 controller needed to be used simultaneously. Though only originally released in Japan, it received a second life as an international Wii Virtual Console game, where it found enough success to greenlight a sequel.
65. Vampire Savior

66. Street Fighter Alpha 3

Out of the dozens of fighting games Capcom has put out over their history, the Darkstalkers series is definitely one of their highlights. While it's not quite as experimental or straight up crazy as, say, Tech Romancer, or even the Marvel games, it's still an incredibly well polished fighting game with a lot of good ideas. The third release, alternatively known as Vampire Savior or Darkstalkers 3, is the most refined entry, especially the 32-bit console ports, which feature additional characters. The Street Fighter series has seen many incarnations and re-releases, but Street FighterAlpha 3 offers the most content. It features 25 selectable characters, seven of which have been added on top of Street Fighter Alpha 2's roster. It contains the entire cast of Street Fighter II, some characters from the first Street Fighter and Final Fight, and some who debuted in Alpha. It also introduces Karin, Sakura's rival, and the female wrestler Rainbow Mika.
67. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike

68. The Last Blade 2

The concept of Street Fighter III became a running gag when multiple enhanced versions of Street Fighter II were made instead of a true sequel. Street Fighter Alpha was something fresh despite being a prequel, but it still wasn't what fans were anticipating. It finally happened six years after World Warriors, though reception was mixed due to less friendly gameplay, and nearly all of the regular cast members being replaced by mostly unfamiliar characters. Of course, it was retooled over two more iterations, going from New Generation to 2nd Impact, and ending on 3rd Strike. The SFIII trilogy was passed over during its release, but gradually built up a fanbase, attracting the attention of highlevel fighter players on the tournament scene. At a glance, one might dismiss The Last Blade games as knockoffs of SNK's own Samurai Shodown series. The Japanese name of the series, Bakumatsu Roman: Gekka no Kenshi, refers to the period during which Japan's borders were forced open, and the immediate political turmoil that followed as the Tokugawa shogunate was replaced with the Meiji government. It's an interesting setting choice, as it lets SNK bring some more contemporary and Western elements into the game's backgrounds. Also, while not much of the story is presented in the game itself, it largely revolves around each of the characters' reactions to their world changing.
69. Garou: Mark of the Wolves

70. The King of Fighters Unlimited Match

Garou: Mark of the Wolves is often compared to Capcom's Street Fighter III, and for a number of reasons. The primary similarity is that it's a groundup refresh of the long-running Fatal Fury series, introducing an almost entirely new roster of characters and drastically refining the mechanics. The story takes place roughly 10 years after the last canon Fatal Fury game. Series protagonist Terry Bogard feels overwhelming guilt for killing Geese Howard, the recurring villain, and atones by adopting his orphaned son, Rock. Terry is the only returning character, featured with a more mature redesign but roughly the same moveset. Rock, as a mark of both his genetics and his upbringing, is both a mix of Terry and Geese's abilities. The King of Fighters has been SNK’s flagship series for a long time, beginning in 1994 and continuing with yearly releases until 2003, then receiving more sequels on a more erratic schedule. They all feature gigantic rosters, a conglomeration of characters from Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Ikari Warriors, Psycho Soldier, and others. When The King of Fighters 2002, the ninth entry, was first released, the reaction was mixed. Fans appreciated the huge mechanical improvement over 2001, but it also had some unimpressive animation changes and middling sound quality. Being a huge improvement over 2001 was enough to make it a success, however, and it generally came to be considered one of the best games in the series along with The King of Fighters '98.
71. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R

72. Super Smash Bros. Melee

Although Street Fighter II inspired dozens of clones during the 90s, the intense competition whittled the scene down to two major players: Capcom and SNK. In 1997, Arc System Works released Guilty Gear, an enthusiastic but extremely rough heavy metal 2D fighter for the PS1. Though this barely made a dent in the scene, its sequel, Guilty Gear X, proved to be a legitimate heavyweight that challenged the establishment. Over the course of a decade, several revisions were issued to add characters, rebalance attacks, and stick in new mechanics, ending up with the ridiculously titled Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R as the most recent version. Created by Daisuke Ishiwatari, he designed the characters, wrote (and performed) the music, created the story, and provided the voice for main character Sol Badguy. There are so few auteurs in fighting game design, and it makes Guilty Gear feel more cohesive than most other fighters. Super Smash Bros. Melee is one of the most popular games ever. The first one was a fun enough concept, but Melee adds many more characters, stages, and items. Plus, who would guess Yoshi could fight on equal footing with Samus? Smash is technically a fighting game, but completely unlike Street Fighter. It has more in common with Capcom's lesser-known Power Stone, where up to four fighters beat each other senseless while using the environment to their advantage. The stages vary in size and terrain, and helpful items frequently pop up from nowhere. The most unique feature is the stamina system, where typical life bars are instead represented by a percentage of how much damage somebody takes.
73. SoulCalibur II

74. Virtua Fighter 5

Namco's Soul Edge popularized three-dimensional weapon-based fighters, similar to how Tekken promoted unarmed 3D combat alongside Sega's Virtua Fighter. While Soul Edge's home version, Soul Blade, was praised for its amazing amount of additional content (including the Edge Master Mode and different weapons for all characters), it feels stiff by today's standards. Its sequel, SoulCalibur, still holds up today as one of the smoothest and most accessible fighters of all time. Stylistically based in the Renaissance period, several warriors fight to either destroy or obtain the cursed weapon Soul Edge and try to survive against its bloodthirsty host, Nightmare. Bringing back some familiar Soul Edge characters like Sophitia and Voldo, while introducing newcomers like Kilik and Ivy, When Virtua Fighter was first released in 1993, it marked a significant paradigm shift for the fighting game genre as it had been defined by Street Fighter II two years prior. Rather than a game with a rigid set of binary rules and fixed moves that always worked the same, Yu Suzuki’s team, AM2, aimed for a simulation of martial arts combat, even though at first the series didn’t make much explicit use of the added dimension. Virtua Fighter’s true achievement wasn’t the ability to sidestep (which wasn’t implemented until Virtua Fighter 3), but rather making everything based on physical calculations.
75. Streets of Rage 2

76. Violent Storm

Few beat-em-ups could match Capcom’s influential Final Fight, but Sega’s Streets of Rage 2 surpassed it. The tale of Axel, Blaze, Max, and Skate teaming up to rescue Skate’s brother Adam from the clutches of Mr. X takes the crew through eight stages, and features some of the best visuals on the Genesis. The memorable locations include a bridge littered with bikers, an amusement park with a very Giger-esque horror house, and a stadium with a secret underground elevator. Its vividly detailed locations are complimented by Yuzo Koshiro’s mastery of the YM2612 sound chip, where an infectiously catchy techno soundtrack keeps the game’s energy at a constant high. Beat-em-ups have been done so often that the only ones that usually stand out are those that everybody knows about. Among your Final Fights and Streets of Rages, though, Violent Storm is probably the best of many, many brawlers that Konami's brought out. As far as mechanics go, the game doesn't do anything particularly revolutionary, but it’s much more polished than their pretty-butsloppy licensed games like The Simpsons or X-Men, and does everything so well that the game remains an absolute joy to play.
77. Alien vs. Predator (Arcade)

78. Double Dragon Advance

Based on the Dark Horse comic series crossing over two of the most badass extraterrestrials in cinema, Alien vs. Predator is considered by many to be among the top dozen-or-so arcade beat-em-ups produced by Capcom after Final Fight's success. Here, two Predators team up with two cyborg marines, Dutch and Linn, to fight off rampant hordes of H. R. Giger's monstrosities. Every character has multiple attack techniques that put some fighting games to shame, including guns that need time to cool down if used too much. If that's not enough, there are oodles of weapons (mostly firearms) littered just about everywhere. Like the genre or not, there's no denying that beatem- ups can be among the most monotonous and repetitive games. Many follow the Final Fight template, which gives each character one more or less fixed combo, a few grappling techniques, and maybe one or two special moves. Double Dragon started out with a little more complexity, but the next few sequels didn't really evolve much, and most are a step back from the original. Therefore, it didn't take long for the series to fall into irrelevance. When Technos's successor Million brought back Billy and Jimmy for the Game Boy Advance, they finally captured what the proper next big step should have been after the original.
79. Guardian Heroes

80. NiGHTS Into Dreams

As the Saturn and PlayStation made 3D graphics commonplace, they forever shifted how 2D games were received, both critically and commercially. While popular genres and sprite artwork have remained visible to this day, there was a sudden casualty of this change. The prolific 2D beat-em-up genre all but died out in the face of these two systems, and had effectively disappeared when the N64 was released in 1996. This is also when Treasure’s Guardian Heroes appeared on the Saturn, and was quickly forgotten despite generally positive reviews. Fortunately, a small but passionate cult following helped the game gain enough popularity to receive a GBA sequel in 2004, and an enhanced port to the Xbox Live Arcade in 2011. Sonic the Hedgehog was Sega's breakout franchise during the Genesis era. Once they transitioned to the Saturn, however, the Japanese developers left him behind. Thus, Sonic Team created NiGHTS Into Dreams, starring a flying purple jester who lives in a dream world. While conventional wisdom suggests that mascot games should be platformers, NiGHTS completely defies definition. If you were to try to stick it into a pre-defined genre, it would be closest to a racing game, but even that's underselling it. Each stage is comprised of four "Mares", or two dimensional paths through the 3D landscapes. When you start each Mare, you have 120 seconds to gather 20 blue-colored chips, place them in the Ideya Cage located in the middle of the stage, and return to the palace at the beginning of the Mare.
81. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped

82. Psychonauts

These days, the Crash Bandicoot games have died a rather ignoble death as another series Activision got their hands on, milked dry, and tossed into an ever growing pile. Before the tragic end of the series, however, Crash had some of the finest platformers that the original PlayStation had to offer. The first game introduced the character and concept, while the sequel was a vast improvement. The third game, Warped , isn't quite as much of a leap in quality as its predecessor. Still, it has enough extra content and polish that it manages to edge itself out as the best of the trilogy. After the publication of Grim Fandango, when it was clear that the point-and-click adventure game market was dying, designer Tim Schafer left LucasArts to found Double Fine. With a focus on consoles, they decided a 3D platformer would be appropriate. However, rather than aping the animal/mascot approach of others, they created something wholly different – Psychonauts, a platformer with the spirit of an adventure game. The hero is a young psychic boy named Raz, who has run away from his family to join a training camp for those with mental powers.
83. Super Mario Galaxy 2

84. Ninja Gaiden Black

Super Mario 64 defined the 3D platformer, being one of the first in the genre that really controlled well. Despite the familiar characters, though, it didn't really feel much like previous Mario games, as the tight platforming obstacles and short stages were replaced with expansive, non-linear arenas. The Gamecube follow up, Super Mario Sunshine, continued this trend, though it offered brief challenge stages which focused entirely on classic running and jumping. It was this that inspired the Super Mario Galaxy titles for the Wii, which carry the double duty of bringing Mario back to his roots while completely revolutionizing the 3D platformer. The early 2000s was a time of revival for many classic game franchises in modernized from, from quality reboots like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time to struggling reinterpretations like Final Fight Streetwise. Few were able to reinvent themselves in 3D quite as exquisitely as Ninja Gaiden, though. Team Ninja didn’t get things just exactly right in the first run – the original release from 2004 saw many players struggling with an unresponsive camera system that made parts of the game more difficult than they should have been. The upgraded Ninja Gaiden Black from the following year not only fixes this, but also adds a variety of new enemies, weapons, moves, and other features, including an easy mode for those who complained about the difficulty.
85. Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors

86. God Hand

When Microsoft released the Xbox in 2001, they made an effort to court Japanese publishers into making games for a system most had spurned. One company they could count on was Sega. The Xbox soon received a nice library of games that would have probably been on the Dreamcast had it lived a longer life. Lost between these more popular titles were the Otogi games by From Software. Low sales condemned the series to obscurity, despite its impressive environmental destruction. Developed by Clover, the team within Capcom that would eventually spin off to form Platinum, God Hand was a highly anticipated game that ended up flopping in both the US and Japan. Fortunately, it developed enough of a cult following over the years to get re-released through the PS2 Classics line on the PS3, so more people could enjoy its intense brawling action and irreverent situations. While the graphics are admittedly middling, it does the single best job of portraying the absurd brawling action seen in exaggerated martial arts comics and anime in game form.
87. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

88. Bayonetta 2

Metal Gear Solid 2 starred a rookie soldier named Raiden. Ostensibly meant to provide a different view of series hero Solid Snake, he instead spent most of the game reacting like a doofus and getting harangued by his girlfriend. Metal Gear Solid 4 gave him a cyborg body and rad ninja skills, but his badass redemption only occurred in cutscenes. Over a decade after his introduction, Raiden finally got his own action-based spin-off, Metal Gear Rising:Revengeance, developed by PlatinumGames. Platinum has a pedigree for amazing 3D action games, like Bayonetta and God Hand, but surprisingly, Rising plays nothing like them. The original Bayonetta is one of the best 3D beatem- ups ever made. It features a massive variety of combos, along with finely tuned evasive moves that reward player skill while still staying accessible. The difficulty curve is handled brilliantly, and while some boss fights are repeated, it's actually refreshing to quickly obliterate gigantic foes that posed a bigger threat in the early game. The most infamous thing about the series, however, is Bayonetta herself. There was some controversy over the validity of the character.
89. A Mind Forever Voyaging

90. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

During the early 80s, Infocom was known as the best developer of text adventures. While most of their works fell neatly into pulpy fiction tropes – fantasy with Zork, sci-fi with Planetfall – their crowning jewel is A Mind Forever Voyaging, one of the few deeply political works in gaming history. Taking place in the future year 2031, the USNA (a merger of the United States and Canada) is not only suffering from a faltering economy but are still under constant threat by the USSR (the game was developed before the collapse of the Soviet Union). The solution? The Plan for Renewed National Purpose, a set of deeply right wing measures that include huge tax cuts, massive deregulations, the reinstatement of the draft, and an emphasis on religious values. In order to test such an overhaul, top scientists developed PRISM, a sentient computer that is able to explore a simulated version of the future. You control this AI, dubbed Perry, as he explores the city of Rockvil over the course of several decades, seeing how the Plan has affected society. Almost every kid wanted to be a pirate at some point. Informed largely by cartoons and movies, what young'un didn't want to sail the high seas, get into sword fights, and hunt for buried treasure? Of course, that purposely omits all of the gruesome things that actual pirates historically stood for, but it's that quaint ideal that lies at the core of LucasArts' Monkey Island series. In The Secret of Monkey Island, naive goofball Guybrush Threepwood fulfilled his dream of becoming a pirate, defeated the Ghost Pirate LeChuck, and (kind of) got the girl, the dashing Elaine Marley. The sequel picks up after an indeterminate time, with Guybrush having squandered his fame and fortune, lost the girl, and ended up in the middle of nowhere. Not content to wallow, he begins a quest for the legendary treasure of Big Whoop, but inadvertently resurrects his nemesis in the process.
91. Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle

92. Grim Fandango

Time travel is not an uncommon theme in video games, yet few pull it off with such maniacal brilliance as the point and click adventure Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle. Three teenagers – nerdy doofus Bernard, metal head burnout Hoagie, and psychotic med student Laverne – are each sent to a different time period in order to prevent a worldwide takeover by evil, sentient tentacles. LucasArts games have typically aged better than Sierra's from the 90s era of adventure games, partially thanks to their no-deaths, no-dead-ends approach, but also due to how downright silly they are. Day of the Tentacle doesn't have the "best" puzzles, in a purely rational sense, but it does have some of the funniest. Most involve lateral thinking, like other adventure games, but also dealing with the effects of time. For example, Laverne is transported to the future, where humans are kept as pets and are unable to roam freely. One of the few things she has access to, however, is a flag. Grim Fandango reinvents the role of a grim reaper as something akin to a travel agent. Their job is to escort recently departed souls to their eternal resting place by giving them travel packages based on how well they lived their human life. You control one such reaper, Manny Calavera, whose best clients are being stolen away by his corrupt coworker. Manny's journey for the truth takes him across the expanses of the afterlife. Beyond its take on metaphysical concepts, Grim Fandango also has a uniquely appealing visual style. It’s patterned after the film noir stylings of the 50s, with art deco architecture and a classy jazz soundtrack. Since the characters are all dead, technically, they’re designed to look like Mexican calaca figures, skeletons used in the Day of the Dead festival. In spite of their low resolution, their simple design is perfectly suited for the low polygon character models of the era, and don't look at bit dated.
93. Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers

94. Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness

The fourth entry in Sierra's Space Quest series sends hapless janitor Roger Wilco bouncing back and forth through time. Rather than just sending him to the “past” or “future", though, he's sent into his own fictional sequels. The first is Space Quest XII: Vohaul's Revenge II – a sequel to a sequel must've seemed ridiculous back in 1989, but it's remarkably prescient considering the absurdity of something like Final Fantasy X-2. Further adventures send him rocketing to Space Quest X: Latex Babes of Estros, as he tries to figure out why an ex-lover is trying her best to kill him (or at least make him suffer the pain of shaving his legs like a woman), then back in time to the original game, where a VGA-colored Roger interacts with blocky, EGA resolution backgrounds. All the while, its denizens lambast his high tech look as being too pretentious. Sierra's Quest for Glory series is different from their normal fare. It’s essentially an RPG, implemented using their point-and-click adventure game engine, with a stronger emphasis on storytelling than most other CRPGs at the time. You can pick from three character classes – Fighter, Magician, Thief – each of which allows different approaches towards puzzle solving. It maintains a cult following thanks to its fun cast, pun-filled writing, and immersive scenery. While the hero is the same through each game (players can even import data from one game to another), each installment focuses on a different part of the world and its mythology. The original takes place in and around the fictional barony of Spielburg, focusing on both Germanic and Slavic mythology. The second game sends players to the Shapeir desert to explore a massive city evocative of 1001 Arabian Nights. Part three, Wages of War, sees our hero venturing to the continent of Fricana, a fantasy imitation of Africa inspired by Egypt and Uganda. Part IV, Shadows of Darkness, is where the series really comes together.
95. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

96. Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

Computer gaming in the 80s and 90s was ostensibly aimed at adults, yet few of their games really ever felt mature. Jane Jensen's Gabriel Knight series was Sierra's attempt at expanding beyond their own fantasy/sci-fi games. They’re basically mysteries with an added supernatural element, but set apart from the field with their fantastic characters and respect towards history. The hero is Gabriel Knight, handsome and charming, but also something of a screw-up. He's a terrible, failing author, and his antique bookstore is on the verge of financial implosion. It's only due to his connections with the local police that he begins research for his next book by investigating a series of voodoo related murders in New Orleans. Here he becomes entwined with the upper crust of society, as well as uncovering his family's past as "Schattenjägers", or German demon hunters. George Stobbart may be the ideal adventure game protagonist, combining the adventurous spirit of Indiana Jones with Jessica Fletcher’s talent to stumble into crimes, all with the curiosity of a child. After witnessing the murder of an old man by a clown during his vacation in Paris, the nosy American lawyer simply cannot let the case rest, despite the pleadings of the local police to leave matters in their hands. He finds a companion in freelance photojournalist Nico Collard, who first humors George’s enthusiasm and senses an opportunity to forward her career. The two grow fond of each other by the end, though. That end, of course, lies beyond mysteries, a big conspiracy involving the Knights Templar, and many travels around the world.
97. The Last Express

98. Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

The Last Express is an adventure game created by Jordan Mechner, the man behind Karateka and Prince of Persia. It's an ambitious title with slightly unusual gameplay which sold badly at first, but is now recognized as one of the genre's classics. The game's story seems to borrow many themes from Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, although it quickly takes a decidedly different turn. The protagonist, Robert Cath, hops aboard the train in order to meet up with an old acquaintance, but instead finds him murdered. In the quest to find his killer, Cath is also forced to impersonate his friend. In the process, he becomes involved with a series of political intrigues which are about to lead up to the first World War. Funcom’s The Longest Journey series tells the tales of two interconnected worlds: Stark, the world of technology, and Arcadia, the world of magic. Certain people, known as Shifters, have the ability to transfer between both worlds. The star of the first game, a young college student from Stark named April Ryan, has this ability, and is called to save the fabric of both worlds. While stories of saviors and parallel worlds are common in fiction, The Longest Journey is different than most because both worlds play an equally important role in the story. Arcadia is a standard medieval world, but Stark is a futuristic version of our own Earth, and the plot balances both elements of fantasy and science fiction. The expansive history and tumultuous politics of both worlds play a huge role in how the story plays out.
99. Cosmology of Kyoto

100. Snatcher

It's mostly famous for being one of the few video games that Roger Ebert loved, but Cosmology of Kyoto is a stunningly ambitious combination of education, spirituality, and horror. An obscure contemporary to Myst, Cosmology eschews the seminal CD-ROM game's surreal landscapes and puzzles for an oppressive, nightmarish depiction of Heian era Kyoto. The real genius of the game, however, lies not just within its chilling sound design or use of mythology, but in how all of these elements are merged into a single experience. Rather than a pastiche of East Asian mythology, Cosmology's supernatural events are modeled after folklore and philosophy very specific to its place and time in history. There was a perfect storm of talent here. Some of Cosmology's graphics are the work of Masashi Imanaka, who would go on to do motion capture work for several monster-filled Capcom games, like Resident Evil 4. Snatcher, a Japanese adventure game from Hideo Kojima originating from the late 80s PC market, tells the story of Gillian and Jamie Seed, a couple who emerge from cryosleep with no memories other than realizing that they are apparently married. The world they've woken into is one in turmoil, with a nuclear explosion wiping out a huge chunk of Europe, and a disease wreaking havoc on Earth's population. Furthermore, human society is fighting off a band of robots named Snatchers, who kill regular people, assume their identities, and blend into society. No one understands who they are or where they came from. but Gillian has faint beliefs that they are tied into his past. With him and Jamie feeling no love outside of their apparent obligations, they separate, and Gillian becomes a Junker, a special police force tasked with hunting Snatchers.



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