Gabe and Lian are now federally wanted fugitives and are marked as terrorists after trying to foil The Agencies’ plans to acquire the Syphon Filter biological weapon. The game picks up right after the end of Syphon Filter 2. Both agents are testifying to Vince Hadden, the main villain of the previous game, and the entire game is made up of flashback missions filling in gaps for the entire series.
While this is a fine idea, Syphon Filter 3 suffers from a huge flaw and that’s level design, as the clever level design from the last 2 games is out the window here and seriously brings this entire game down. While I liked knowing what happened before the first game during the beginning cut scene with Rhomer and Mara in the jungle, and I like seeing how Gabe, Lian, Mujari, and Teresa all met, the levels don’t do it justice. The issue here is both lazy level design and over-ambitious design mixed with hardware limitations. This game came out too late and should have been made for the PS2. Levels in this game are large and open and suffer from the black distance and low draw distance from the PS1’s hardware limitations. The level design is incredibly confusing and hard to navigate. One mission as Lian in the Ancient Ruins is just a labyrinth of hallways and instead of the smooth push through each level there’s tons of backtracking and running around blindly.
Another issue the game suffers from is too much action. There aren’t really any required stealth missions anymore and too many enemies are thrown at you at once as well as a mix of low ammo resources. I frequently ran out of ammo and had to exploit the game by resorting to headshots when I didn’t have to. The increased enemy count just doesn’t work with the game’s auto lock-on system. Many times I died because I couldn’t switch between enemies fast enough. Another mission as Gabe has him running around a boat to plant explosives which is incredibly boring and one level is so short it only has four enemies in it. I feel like 18 months wasn’t enough time to develop this game and create the fun clever levels and enemy placements that made the series so popular.
There are no new gameplay elements added this time around, just new weapons. The MARS, Spyder, AUG3000 (that can see through walls), and that’s about it. Even these weapons are hard to come by and you’re left with the same weapons used in the previous two games. I also didn’t care for the multiplayer this time around and the added mini-games which are just trial runs aren’t that fun either. The only really enjoyable part of the game was the final mission as it felt like a classic Syphon Filter level and the satisfying conclusion to the story for this chapter.
There are no visual improvements outside of better-pre-rendered cut-scenes and virtually no new gameplay additions or enhancements. Overall, I feel Syphon Filter 3 was a product of rushed development and trying to get it out the door for the PS1 players who hadn’t adopted the PS2 just yet. Is it worth playing? Yes, if you’re a hardcore fan, but just take the game with a grain of salt and be prepared for aimless wandering around levels and many frustrated restarts due to poor enemy placement and lack of ammo.
Syphon Filter is one of my favorite gaming franchises of all time and the top five PS1 series. It was the very first serious “adult” game I ever played and got into. Just the concept of how shooters work was totally alien to me before Syphon Filter. It was a game that I also spent a lot of time with my late father and we aced each game learning every enemy spawn point, hidden cache, and level design. We rented this game frequently and spent dozens of hours mastering each game. We probably spent more time on Syphon Filter 2 than any other game in the series and for good measure as it’s the best game out of the three.
Syphon Filter 2 isn’t just an expansion, despite playing and looking exactly like the first game, as there is a greater and more expanded story, more weapons, new levels, and it’s also a couple of hours longer than the first game coming on two discs. You play as both Gabriel Logan and Lian Xing as you are fugitives of the US government and are still fighting The Agency so get back the data discs that store the Syphon Filter data. The game picks up right where the last game left off when Gabe crash landing in the Colorado Rockies. In the first level, the game introduces new weapons and gameplay elements such as being able to leap gaps. New weapons include the unsilenced 9mm, H-11 sub-machine gun, silenced HK-5, UA12 auto-shotgun, hand taser, flashlight, teargas launcher, and more. These weapons are just as memorable and awesome as the first games. There are so many new weapons here it nearly doubles the arsenal.
On top of this, there are other gameplay elements added such as enemies being able to get a headshot on you. The HUD will flash red and a headshot text will appear on the screen. You have mere seconds to get out of the way or you instantly die. New enemies are introduced such as full armored ones that only die with explosions in one level towards the end of the game. There is also a better balance of action and stealth with Lian’s levels in the air force base are perfect examples. Agents can be killed but military MPs can not. You must sneak around and tase the MPs with your hand taser, but the agents are fair game with silenced weapons. Another level has you sneaking around vents and night vision automatically kicks in when the area is too dark which is awesome.
The level design is on point just like the first game. Each level is memorable and fun and takes you around the globe. From the Colorado Rockies that the first disc mostly takes place in the Moscow nightclubs, Agency bio-labs, and New York sewers. The levels are incredibly designed with the perfect balance of stealth and action. The train ride is a fun linear shooting gallery while the bridge level requires quick thinking and stealth and mastering enemy movement patterns. You can tell Eidetic mastered this genre with the second game and even the voice acting greatly improved. This is a AAA PS1 game at its finest and you will be hard-pressed to find better on the system.
The visuals didn’t really improve any, but they already pushed the system to its limits and still have plenty of detail and the game looks great. There is some issue with slowdown here and there, but what PS1 game didn’t have that? There’s also a shoehorned multiplayer mode that I didn’t even care for. 1v1 on maps from both Syphon Filter games just isn’t very fun. If the game allowed 2v2 via a multi-tap that would have been awesome, but what we have here is something just not very fun, and not to mention half the maps need to be unlocked by finding secrets in the game.
Overall, Syphon Filter 2 shows what the PS1 era of games would do and helped push the third-person shooter genre into what it is today. While it came out very late at the end of the systems life cycle — a mere week before the launch of the PS2, it still sold incredibly well and showed that the PS1 had staying power even after its successor launched. The story, voice acting, visuals, and overall feeling of the game are fantastic and there’s nothing else like it on the system. It’s a must-own for any PlayStation fan.
Crystal Dynamics was a juggernaut on the PS1. After Tomb Raider was released they firmly placed their name in every gamer’s household. Akuji was released closer to the end of the system’s life cycle, and while critically acclaimed, it didn’t sell well. It was a bizarre game about voodoo and was hard to market at the time.
You play as Akuji who needs to get his wife’s soul back and must travel through the different levels of hell to reclaim his ancestors’ souls and appease the keeper of the vestibules which act as hubs. In each hub, there are doors you can go through that lead to each level. If you don’t collect these floating heads you won’t be able to advance in the game and I absolutely hate this system. Even with all the skills, you used to beat bosses and enemies you need to collect things. I feel this is demeaning and frustrating. For the story, it’s forgettable and nothing special.
The game plays quite well with Akuji jumping around, slashing, and blasting spells. You will use your spells more than you think in this game and there is a variety of them and each is used for different situations. Outside of combat, there is some minor puzzle solving and switch throwing. Platforming in the game is mostly fine, but the camera is sluggish to move around with the shoulder buttons so Akuji will jump off an edge or fall to his death. Another irritating thing is the use of lives, I mean why? You can hit checkpoints, which are poorly spaced, so why not just restart there? Why punish the player even more as if surviving and checkpoints aren’t enough?
I felt this game dragged on a bit too long. There are over 15 levels and, while they all look different and look great, they’re unoriginal. They are mostly short, and each level plays out the same. Grab this doohickey, put it here, flip this switch, kill this enemy to lower this wall, etc.
While this was the norm back in the day, it just doesn’t hold up well. Maybe if some things changed a bit like the use of lives maybe it would be a more fun experience. Mixing a collectathon with a progressive platformer just doesn’t work well here.
The game looks fantastic as Crystal pushed the PS1 to its limits, probably too hard. When effects like water splashes or magic effects flash around the game slows down to a crawl which can get quite annoying, but it’s still playable.
Overall, Akuji is a great PS1 title that has solid controls and great gameplay, it just has so many frustrating factors around it that make it less enjoyable as you play. If you really need a PS1 platformer that’s different then go for it as this is a hidden gem.
The original PlayStation library was fantastic. There were many huge million-dollar sellers, and there were many quirky and underrated hidden gems throughout. From Western platformers to Eastern JRPGs the PlayStation had it all. However, many of these great games never saw sequels on the PS2, and some didn’t get sequels until much later on. I’m going to talk about several games that should get a sequel and why.
1. Parasite Eve II – 2000
Parasite Eve was a fantastic Resident Evil clone, but it had a great protagonist and its own unique spin on the genre. It was scary, a little weird, and beautiful all at the same time. While we got a “sequel” on the PSP called The Third Birthday, it was a big letdown and didn’t do the series justice.
2. Intelligent Qube – 1997
Intelligent Qube was a very strange puzzle game, but worked really well and was so different it wowed fans, but not enough to sell units. It was a commercial flop, but when you actually sit down with this game you can’t put it down. Having a small man push giant blocks around on screen is so addicting, even on a black background. It’s a great game to wind down with and relax.
3. Strider 2 – 2000
Strider was a fast-paced 2D platformer with buttery smooth controls and great level design. The moves looked cool, the character was cool, and the gameplay was rich with attitude. Why did Strider 3 never happen? We may never know, but there has been a remastered version of Strider released so maybe there’s hope later on?
4. Skullmonkeys – 1998
Skullmonkeys was a great-looking stop motion-style platformer with quirky humor and fun gameplay. It had the same quality that Nintendo put into their platformers but was not a commercial hit. Is it the unpopularity of platformers today? Or something more? We probably will never know.
5. Bushido Blade 2 – 1998
A slower-paced one-hit-kill fighting game that is ultra-realistic was unheard of back in the day. While many fighting fanatics detested Bushido Blade, many liked it still. It was very unique for its time and was a commercial success. While the sequel was hokier and less serious than the original, the reason for no Bushido Blade 3 is crazy. With today’s technology, we could get realistic gore similar to Mortal Kombat X.
6. Motor Toon Grand Prix – 1996
When you think of Gran Turismo you don’t think of bouncing cartoon cars and colorful visuals. Kazanuri Yamauchi made a cartoony racing game before his ultra-realistic racing sim. Motor Toon was a flop financially, but critics loved the game. It was full of life, beautiful, and looked so good on the PS1. Now is probably a great time to pull this one out of the garage.
7. Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko – 1999
While Gex varied in terms of issues and problems, it was still a quirky and fun platformer that made the PS1 stand out from the N64. Gex looked good and had unique levels that were quite fun to play through. Gex 4 would be a great debut on the PS4, and with today’s visuals it could really stand out.
8. Jet Moto 3 – 1999
Jet Moto was a fast-paced and good-looking racing game. Water sports games are pretty much dead these days, but Jet Moto 4 could do well on the PS4. The water effects could look insane and with realistic physics, it would be golden.
9. Pandemonium 2 – 1997
Pandemonium was an off-beat platformer with insane levels and kooky characters, but it was a blast. Would the weirdness turn gamers off these days? Not quite sure, but a third sequel would be something I would look forward to.
10. Disruptor – 1996
The guys behind Spyro, Resistance, and Ratchet & Clank started out with a first-person shooter in vain of Doom and Duke Nukem. It was a wonderful shooter with interesting enemies and great level design, and the guns were really unique. This could easily be done today and given its own identity to stand out amongst the average shooters.
The late ’90s was home to extreme sports on consoles. There was a huge boom in this genre and it led to many great games. Sled Storm is kind of an oddball as snowmobile racing isn’t a huge hit in the US. However, EA managed to pull off a responsive and fun little racing title.
Sled Storm is similar to most arcade racing games from its time. There are several modes such as championship, single race, and multiplayer. Championship has two different modes. One mode is an open circuit with natural courses and you can upgrade your ride. The second one is a snocross closed-circuit event in which you just need to win. Sounds simple enough right?
Wrong. You need to get first place in every race to advance. There are 4 other racers on the track and the game is subject to frustrating rubber band AI. You can be ahead all through the race and on the final lap, everyone seems to zoom ahead of you. One crash and it’s restart time. The other annoying thing is that you only get 3 restarts and then have to restart the entire championship.
It’s rather annoying but tolerable. The crafts handle really well and the visuals are great. Powder flies up behind the vehicle into the camera every time you bounce or take a turn. There’s snow blowing toward you and the track is nicely detailed. The controls are what steal the show here. They feel smooth and very responsive and make you want to keep playing.
There is no fancy trick system here, but a point system is used for knocking down objects on the track and other reasons I couldn’t figure out. That’s about all there is to this game. The tracks actually vary, but after beating the championship there’s really no reason to come back. Think of this as a quick little 2-3 hour racing game and back on the shelf it goes.
Fear Effect is actually a game that goes way back for me. I remember the summer of 2000 and was shopping around in a local game store, Game Doctor, back in Casper, Wyoming. There weren’t really any databases to look up reviews back then, outside of magazines, so I would always pick a game based on its cover. I saw Fear Effect, $30 used in the display case. I used trade-in credit (back when it was all written down on carbon paper) and took the game home. Seeing it had 4 discs I thought I was in for one hell of a ride.
I was actually dead wrong and returned the game the following day. It was frustrating, hard, and content too mature for my age at the time. It’s so strange finishing this game almost 20 years later and realizing that it was actually harder than I thought. This game is downright unfair and frustrating around every corner.
You play three different characters throughout the game, Hana, Deke, and Glas. All three are mercenaries hired by a Chinese mobster who wants his kidnapped daughter back. It starts out as a spy-style action game and then quickly turns into something supernatural. It’s the strangest thing and is such a jarring change of pace for this type of game. That will be the least of your worries, however.
The game has beautifully pre-rendered backgrounds that you run around a la Resident Evil style. These “tank” controls are just awful and there’s a reason why they don’t exist anymore. You can sneak around, shoot, and use items, but it’s how those are executed that makes the game so hard and unfair. Stealth is actually out of the question, no matter how slowly I snuck up guards would hear me and kill me. I just had to blast my way through everything and therein lies another issue: Ammo. You will have many enemies thrown at you with little ammo and the supernatural enemies don’t drop ammo. They even get clever towards the end and make them drop paper ammo that you need to backtrack to a fire and burn to get the real ammo.
It doesn’t end there, you will be reloading save after save and dying over and over again. Most of the puzzles and traps will trigger an FMV, and usually a death FMV, meaning game over. Just the slightest pixel of your character touches the trap and you’re dead. It’s back to reloading the save, which is rather long by the way. The backtracking is the final killer here, especially on the final level, with items gathering on either end of the level just to unlock the door on the opposite end. It’s silly, archaic, even for the time, and didn’t need to be in this game.
I will admit that the puzzles are rather clever. You actually get clues that are organically placed in the environment and you need to write them down to solve the puzzle which is neat. Back in the day, walkthroughs were scarce, so all you had was a guide or writing things down. The puzzles aren’t serious brain scratchers, but they are tough and fun.
The combat itself is awful and is the main cause for reloads. You get a dodge button, but with awful tank controls, you just stand there blasting everything. There’s no cover, no armor, nothing like that. You also have to flip through your inventory with square and circle while you’re getting blown away which can cause problems. Why not pause the action with a radial menu? That’s not too hard.
Is the game even worth trudging through for the story? Not really. The mix between Chinese mafia antics and the undead is weird and forgettable here. The characters have no depth and the story is slow to move forward. It’s entertaining enough to push you through the game, but nothing you would replay, even for the multiple endings. With that said, I only recommend playing this if you want a beautiful-looking PS1 game to play or you want a decent adventure. Just get the cheat codes handy or expect to spend more time reloading than playing.
It took many years to acquire, but the PSOne with a screen attachment has been one of my top must-have consoles since it came out. Growing up as a kid, my parents didn’t have the $100 for the console and $130 for the screen add-on. The Combo Pack was released for $200 and seemed insane, but the PS2 was out and cost $300 at the time of release. $130 for a 5″ TFT LCD screen might seem like a lot, but this did more than just display games. It had an amazing brightness range, and clear stereo speakers that could be quite loud when turned up all the way. It also easily screwed onto the back of the unit and had a headphone jack, AV in, and even AV Out so you can just plug it up to your TV without taking the screen off. The power cable also plugs directly into the screen, so there was a lot of foresight on Sony’s part.
What makes the screen so awesome compared to any other console out there is that you can take it with you. Using a 7.5v car adapter, bringing it into your bedroom, or on the go, allows you to make playing the PS1 a more immersive and personal experience. The LCD screen makes the games look better than they do on current or older TVs. It’s like Sony found a perfect balance and knew how the PS1 would render and output, so they made the perfect screen for it. All the games display clear and sharp and the screen is quite vivid, so I can easily see the $130 price point during release.
As for the system itself, what can I say? It’s the PlayStation 1! While the system’s first iterations had many flaws such as overheating, cheap laser assemblies, and various other issues, the PSOne is sleek, slim, and just the basic unit which is all we need. Sony went for a rounded style with this system and it looks great. The only downside is that you can use most wireless controllers as the receivers are too large and can’t fit a memory card on top. The system is lightweight, even with the screen attached, and would easily fit into a backpack. The PS1 has an amazing library, probably some of the best out there. The PS1 wiped the floor with Nintendo 64 due to just a more diverse and massive library. The Nintendo 64 has some memorable games, but the overall experience just couldn’t top the PS1. With pre-rendered and live-action cutscenes, thanks to the CD format, it was a whole new experience. From the classic start-up jingle to the amazing feeling of the DualShock controller, and even down to the black underside of the discs, the PS1 was a behemoth and was unstoppable.
Would I recommend the current going price for a full PSOne Combo Pack at $100? Yes, go out and get it now. If you’re a PlayStation fan or just want to check out the classic library, this is the perfect unit to pick up. For some advice, make sure when you buy the unit you make sure the power and tray buttons work. These are large buttons and can easily be stuck or get grime down inside. Also, make sure the hinges on the screen aren’t loose. Many units have cracked hinges with screens that won’t stay up, and most importantly, make sure the LCD backlight isn’t dead. I bought a unit from a local store only to have the backlight die on me the second I turned it on when I got home. Of course, make sure both speakers are working and there isn’t any rattling or distortion. Make sure to ask the sellers these questions, or look for this if you find one in person.
Third-person shooters weren’t very frequent on PS1 and when they did come by they were usually pretty bad. Syphon Filter proved that you can make this genre work on the PS1. The game is still really fun today and was way ahead of its time. A well-done camera, great lock-on system, a decent story with memorable characters, a kick-ass arsenal of guns, and genius-level design. Who would have thought a third-person shooter would be this good in the late 90s? Eidetic and 989 Studios did.
You play super spy Gabriel Logan who is a CIA agent trying to stop a dangerous terrorist named Eric Rhoemer. A Syphon Filter virus that targets specific DNA demographics has been created by a man named Phagan and it is up to you to shut down their operations and stop them from spreading the virus. You start out in New York with the streets being shot up by Rhoemer’s thugs. There are objectives in each level to complete, but it is way beyond throwing this switch, pulling this lever, or shooting this amount of bad guys. You usually have to kill a certain amount of scientists, administer vaccines to victims, disarm bombs, and turn off power grids. The objectives vary, but what is fun is figuring out how to get there.
Syphon Filter has some of the most memorable levels I can remember. This is a game you play several times and remember where every enemy is, every crate location, and even how to kill each enemy. The levels vary with stealth sections, climbing, and timed areas. The game features a smart lock-on system because there is no camera control. It is surprisingly smart and follows you wherever you go. Enemies wearing flak jackets can only be taken out with headshots or very powerful weapons. This requires aiming in first-person mode and taking them out. This flak jacket element is a staple of the series and will go on to be in every game. It is actually an element all on its own and not just body armor for you or the enemy. You can die very easily and if you don’t stop and aim for headshots you will waste ammo and/or die very quickly.
There are a couple of boss fights thrown in such as a helicopter midway and Rhoemer himself at the end. I found all gameplay elements to be evenly tossed up so you are never bored. The stealth elements need a bit of work and are probably the worst thing about the game, but it is very minor. Crouching and sneaking around works fine, but enemies tend to see you at unknown distances. Maybe a line of sight cone on the radar would help this. You also have to get in headshots otherwise they won’t die right away and alert other guards.
Weapon selection is also a bit flimsy because you have to hold down select and use L2 and R2 (strafe buttons) to select the weapon. I would have preferred a radial menu instead. Some levels can be a bit hard to navigate and are too dark to see. Thankfully you get a flashlight you can equip because some levels are nearly pitch black. I found myself lost a few times because even though the level design is fantastic, some levels can look the same with confusing hallways and misplaced crates and boxes.
I actually learned about weapons as a kid from this game. Real-world weapons are in here and some that I have never seen in any other game before. The weapons are almost a character all on their own because they feel so good to shoot in the game. The K3G4 will cut through flak jackets easily and is probably the only weapon that will do this. The G18 is a super-fast sub-machine pistol, while the silenced 9mm is a staple of the series. The shotgun, combat shotgun, PK-102, BIZ-2, Nightvision Rifle, .45, HK5, and a few more are all excellent weapons. It was also the distinct sounds the developers used that make these guns so memorable. The game has a great sniper scope that was unseen in games back then. There are grenades and gas grenades which are great for taking out a group of enemies stealthily. There are a lot of great weapons in the game and they are very memorable, unlike most shooters.
While the game itself is amazing the graphics were pretty good at the time. Looking pretty realistic art-wise, the game had some good lighting effects and a lot of detail everywhere. I also have many fond memories of this game as a kid. I actually accidentally rented Silent Hill because I forgot the name of this game. I got all the way to the Pharcom Warehouse levels and had to turn the game in. I rented this game many times over and played it to death as a kid. I purchased it a few times here and there and every time I play this it brings back fond memories. Syphon Filter is one of the greatest games ever made and every gamer should play this masterpiece.
This is such a strange game and to this day I never got it. I tried out the original game for PS1 and it wasn’t very good. The whole game is about sprinting around really fast, shooting things, and jumping. The problem is that the gameplay feels so old and outdated that it isn’t worth playing even today. The HD graphics look nice, but there are areas that look like the developers just stretched the textures out.
I won’t even begin to explain the story other than Kurt is sent off to Canada to find a remaining mine crawler and is captured by an evil guy named Schwing Schwing. Yeah, I know, I won’t even bother. The game does have some good dialog and humor wrapped in, but you have to get through the dated gameplay first. Kurt can run at about 50 MPH and he is shooting everything on the site. He has his trusty parachute to glide and his sniper mask/face which has different types of bullets. These range from grenades, bullets, and lock balls which control doors as well as others. That isn’t the issue. The problem is that the entire game feels the same. Running around with floaty physics, lobbing grenades into small holes that are a pain to hit, and killing tons of enemies while scooting around. Gets boring after the first level.
You can play as Max and Dr. Hawkins this time, but Max is even more mundane than Kurt. He has four arms so you get to use four guns, but it isn’t much different. Dr. Hawkins has a complicated weapon-making system you can use for him, so maybe his levels are the most interesting. I honestly couldn’t stand more than a few levels of this game. I was really hoping MDK 2 was much different from the past game, but it is nearly the same.
The HD graphics look better such as the new character models. Most of the textures look like they are just stretched out and weren’t redone like the character models. This isn’t the remake I was hoping for because the physics are still really floaty where you feel like you’re skating on ice. The game just really feels 12 years old and it shows in the gameplay. It doesn’t help that there is no native gamepad recognition like most PC games these days have. You have to map the controls yourself which is serious pain and takes a lot of tweaking. The resolution also sucks because it isn’t on widescreen. This was a lazy port, or it looks like they only went halfway and released it.
Is there any reason to play this game? If you like old-school shooters and platformers then go ahead, but this game is pretty dull. I really tried to like it, but the only thing going for it is the humor and wacky story. The floaty platforming, poor HD upgrade, and gamepad mapping just made me give up on the game. I hope there is an MDK 3 and everything gets updated, but until then don’t bother unless you love old school.
There are hundreds of thousands of games out there, but only a few hundred are considered masterpieces or classics. These are my personal top ten. I know it’s to everyone’s taste, but you can’t deny that these games are great. I have played hundreds in my 20 years of gaming, I have played through three generations of consoles, so at least I can speak on experience. I will try to be non-biased and even address some flaws in the games I pick because I have no problem with that. Flaws are flaws, and not a single game is perfect. There are more that are my favorite, but I would have to make a top 50 list.
This was one of the first games I had ever played at 2 years old. It helped introduce me to the gaming world and I just fell in love with the fast speed and intense gameplay. StH2 had some of the best level designs out of any game in the series and one of the best soundtracks to date. I remember never being able to actually beat the game because it was too long and too hard. I could never get past the factory level with all the grey orbs floating around Robotnik. I had to beat it many years later using an emulator and quick saves, but I still enjoyed it every time I played the game. I think I actually ruined my cartridge from taking it in and out of the Genesis so many times.
In fact, I even remember my first Genesis for Christmas of 1992. The copy of StH2 it came with kept freezing up in the system, so my mom took it back to Circuit City to exchange it. I remember throwing a tantrum because no matter how many times I blew the cartridge it kept freezing after pressing Start. The series has fallen off the deep end in the past ten years, but nothing can ruin the memories of this classic gem.
9. Gran Turismo
This game changed everything for me when it came to cars. My very first racing simulator actually made me think about every turn and what car I had to choose. I always played arcade racers before because consoles didn’t really have the power yet for realistic physics and graphics. I actually learned some things from this game like how to recognize cars on the street, and basic ways on how cars operate. I was sitting in front of my TV at 8 years old tuning my car and adjusting things like camber angle, toe angle, stabilizers, sway bars and gear ratios like a champ. I then followed the series all the way to Gran Turismo 5 today and have witnessed one of the greatest evolutions in gaming history.
I remember the skepticism from PC gamers because of the greatness and expectations from System Shock 2. I didn’t have a PC capable of playing any major games throughout my early gaming years. My computer didn’t even run Flash very well, so I solely relied on consoles. BioShock’s narrative and atmosphere made a huge impact on me and the gaming industry as a whole. The first time seeing a Big Daddy and Little Sister was just shocking. You felt trapped in this underwater utopia, but you were also memorized by how it could have been accomplished in such an early time period. The game just worked so well and felt different from the standard military shooters at the time. BioShock 2 was too similar to the first game and just didn’t make the same impact.
The second game was so much better than the first because it created a whole new world and a much more likable character Ezio is one of gaming’s most familiar faces and the game itself was revolutionary for its time. A huge open world in a historically accurate Rome, Italy was just unheard of. There was so much attention to detail that you had to sit back and just take it all in. The characters were likable, and the story was memorable with a deep and tangled political plot. The game was also violent with a fighting system never before seen in an action/adventure game. This game was almost perfect in so many ways that the rest of the games have yet to capture.
6. Syphon Filter
Syphon Filter was criticized a lot for ripping off Metal Gear Solid plot-wise. The game had unique characters, a memorable plot, and some of the best-level designs ever seen for its time. The stealth was perfectly executed and had some memorable moments. I have played this game numerous times and was actually my first-ever third-person shooter. I remember how confusing the game was because I didn’t understand how shooters worked. I was so used to platformers, adventure games, and puzzle games. After playing this game I felt like I was part of the grown-up crowd. The other two games on the PS1 were just as good but not as memorable as the first game. This has grown to be one of my favorite games of all time just due to the wonderful memories I have had.
I used to beat the game once a week using the one-shot-kill code then again without it. I memorized every enemy, and how to get every kill without being seen in stealth missions. I even went as far as replaying certain dialog scenes because they were just that cool. Syphon Filter is a mostly underappreciated game because of the lack of releases the series has seen. The last game came out three years ago on the PSP, but thankfully Syphon Filter 4 was announced for PS3.
5. God of War
God of War changed my way of thinking about action/adventure games. I remember driving to K-Mart to buy my copy after reading reviews and hearing the game blow up on forums. I didn’t really expect much other than Greek mythology-themed Devil May Cry. I was dead wrong. The game had one of the most thrilling and epic combat systems ever created. I never really even knew what quick time events were until God of War made them cool and did them right. It added a whole new layer of depth and connection to the combat that has never really been done before. The huge boss fights, gorgeous (at the time) visuals, and unabashed nudity and sexuality that few games dare tread. God of War still impresses to this day and with each iteration in the now 5 game series. Kratos is also one of the most memorable and recognizable characters to date. Make sure to pick up God of War Collection and God of War Origins Collection if you missed out on those four awesome games while waiting for God of War: Ascension.
Gears of War changed my mind on shooters the way God of War did for action games. The gameplay was just so different from your standard shooter. It was heavy-hitting, atmospheric, and featured some of the most memorable characters and stories to date. For a futuristic military shooter that’s a huge achievement. The weapons were memorable, it was perfectly balanced, and everything had a dark crunchy hit to it. The game was nearly perfect, and the graphics were out of this world at the time. I remember this being the first next-generation game I ever played when I got my first Xbox 360 for Christmas of 2006. Each of the three games in the series is amazing, but nothing compares to when I first played the first game. It wowed me like no other, and Gears of War is one of the few games I have played multiple times.
Sure this series along with Rock Band single-handedly killed the band instrument rhythm genre, but nothing compares to the first Guitar Hero. This game is the reason why I currently own and play the guitar today. Pulling off complicated riffs, solos, and chords with the then high-tech guitar controller was like magic. I spent dozen upon dozens of hours replaying songs and getting high scores. Sure it cost a lot, but it was well worth it to me. While the songs weren’t originals they were masterfully re-created and the guitar controller responded perfectly. The games later in the series lost sight of the value of mastering songs and just start pumping them out uncontrollably after GH3. This game redefined the rhythm genre and took the entire world by storm. Most people nowadays never played the first game, and they were missing out on a lot.
This was the first game I spent over 100 hours on. The world was so rich and fantastic that I felt like I was playing in one of my favorite fantasy novels. The lore, characters, quests, and loot were just so addictive and engrossing I couldn’t put it down. I remember one play session going on for 12 hours when no other game has kept me in front of the TV for that long. The expansion pack was even more amazing, and the graphics blew me away. Of course, there were a lot of technical problems, and the PC version was better, but I sure had a ton of fun with this game. Skyrimis just as good, but it didn’t wow me like Oblivion did because this was my first Elder Scrolls game. To be honest I picked this up for $60 expecting not to like it much and I was dead wrong. Anyone who has just played Skyrim needs to go back and play this. It revolutionized the action RPG genre in my eyes and a lot of games have tried to copy it to this day.
Yes, I am talking about the 1992 Sega Genesis/Arcade classic. This is my favorite video game series of all time and this is because it was the first video game I ever played. I remember my cousin babysitting me and seeing him control these characters on-screen at 2 years old. I remember seeing him pull off Scorpion’s mask and burn a character. It was something I saw before, and soon enough I was mastering the controls and beating him at 2 years old. I never knew how to pull off a fatality until years later when the internet became more mainstream, but I loved beating this game constantly. To date, I own almost every game in the series on several different platforms and have pre-ordered every recent game since 2004’s Deception. I don’t think I have played a game more than Mortal Kombat, but I still enjoy Japanese fighters. I find Mortal Kombat more accessible with more interesting characters and a story because they aren’t cliché and generic like most Japanese fighters tend to feel. There’s a whole giant story behind each and every character and they are all unique.