#10: Banjo-Kazooie (N64)
Banjo-Kazooie is about as strange as it's name implies, however it's one of the best platforming games that Rare has ever produced.
It's no wonder why they decided to revisit Spiral Mountain on the Xbox 360!
Originally on Nintendo 64, RareWare released this game in 1998 following more than two and a half years of development. The enjoyment factor of this game far outweighs the nonsensical plot that you are presented with and it immerses you in a game that is heavy on the innuendos.
It had voice-acting that consisted of random noises, but definitely fit the game. The music was infectious and the characters stood out.
Banjo-Tooie continued the tradition of tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic comedy and really carved the series out as a cult hit.
Rare had attempted a never-before-seen feature video games, the STOP-N-SWOP. The idea was that you could collect secret items in Banjo-Kazooie and then enter the STOP-N-SWOP menu which would utilize the Nintendo 64's memory to briefly store the information while you switched the game over to Banjo-Tooie and unlock features in that game.
It never came to fruition due to the possible damage Nintendo perceived it would cause to the system from quickly ripping out and slamming in another game as the player would only have 30 seconds to make the swap.
This feature led to some very interesting conspiracy theories, inspiring "The Bear-Witch Project" website to investigate the the mysteries of the game. The STOP-N-SWOP feature is fully functional in the Xbox Live Arcade version, original conspiracies fully intact!
The hinted-but-never-delivered sequel to Banjo Tooie was eventually brought to us after a swell of fan support, demanding that Rare follow up the series.
We ended up getting a vehicle-themed game that was very light on the platforming. A little disappointing for the fans of the series, but it gave another level to the story and a bit of closure.
Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts is the reason this scored so low in the list, but the first two games are available on Xbox Live Arcade and worth the look!
Xenosaga was a spiritual successor to the ultra-popular Xenogears that debuted on the Playstation I. With a grand legacy to live up to and much pressure put on the franchise to carry on the Xeno-name, Xenosaga delivered.
With the epic storylines woven tightly together, it is easy to get absorbed and forget you're playing a video game.
The only drawback of the series is the massively long cutscenes that explained a bulk of the plot, however it meshed seemlessly into the battle sequences and made sense.
Gameplay wise, Episode II was in this writer's opinion, the worst... However Episode III was clearly the team learning from their mistakes as they put together a brilliant game that capped the series perfectly.
Conveniently, the first game can be watched in it's 12 part anime series which almost perfectly mirror's the games original plot. Suffering through the gameplay woes of the second game is definitely worth it for the story and the 3rd game more than makes up for all of it.
Be sure to check this series out!
If it's one series that has staying power, it definitely involves a moustached man in blue overalls.
Paper Mario is a unique series that brought a new aspect to RPGs. An indirect sequel to Super Mario RPG (another revolutionary title), Paper Mario was built on the two dimensional idea it's name implies.
The original game was straight out of a story book, literally, where Bowser had stuck himself in the middle of the action (again, literally).
It launched us into a universe of brilliant writing, great RPG pacing and memorable characters.
The direct sequel, Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door was built on a stronger system in the GameCube and had brilliant graphics and intuitive gameplay. The way the game had placed puzzles gave it the same feel as other Nintendo successes that will find themselves on this list, and has a massive replayability factor.
Building on the success of the previous titles, Super Paper Mario on the Wii added another dimension (yes, another pun). It gave the player the ability to switch to the 3rd dimension and back to the previous 2D scroller. It gave more depth to puzzles and removed the turn-based combat of the previous games to better accomodate the Wii's motion control functionality.
It is an impressive series and the story (while it is Mario after all) is still entertaining.
It's a must-have for Wii owners as you'll be able to play all THREE games on the same console!
#7: Metal Gear (NES)
Inspiring one of the longest running series in history, Metal Gear was an impressive and difficult video game for the NES.
With a focus on stealth, a stark contrast to the CONTRA series, it challenged players. Starting without a weapon, the character had to find ways around armed guards, rewarding the player for taking guards out stealthily as opposed to using a weapon and alerting attention.
Well ahead of it's time in terms of gameplay, it would continue it's massive success several years later with Metal Gear Solid.
Carrying on the torch of difficult-yet-rewarding stealth play, it became a hugely successful franchise that has spanned several platforms (NES, PS1, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii) and has fans clamouring for more.
Entertainment has a name, and it's name is Mario Party!
Built to be strictly a party-game, it delivers and it revolutionized gaming by popularizing the mini-game-madness.
Many popular titles borrow from Mario Party's moniker (Wario Ware, Rayman Raving Rabbids) but nobody seems to capture the magic that sticking a bunch of characters from the Marioverse together and forcing them into comical mini-games.
Plenty of the mini games are based on platforming elements, something that Nintendo is very strong with.
Add to that, the fact that every release is different and anyone can play it, makes this a strong recipe for success.
To that end, it release 3 titles on the N64 alone!
There is no end in sight for Mario Party, the original game is still flying off the shelves (if you can still find shelves that have it!) and the fact that this title is still relevant in a market dominated by first person shooters, this makes the list!
One thing that Square did right was purchase Enix.
Enix and tri-Ace made one of the greatest JRPGs of all time in Star Ocean.
The storylines are fleshed out and interconnect, with a full universe of continuity that would rival the Mass Effect of today. Star Ocean: The Second Story was the first game available for North America to play and it was no slouch!
A unique battle system that had all 4 of your party members fighting independently at the same time, against hordes of baddies may sound confusing. However the system was so well done, after a brief learning curve one could fluidly guide each party member and lay the smack down.
The game's following was so significant, they released several more games on the PS2 and Xbox 360 and even brought a port of the original Star Ocean to PSP.
The entire series as a whole is very deep and enriching, something you can get lost of for a very long time. Definitely worth a nod in this list!
One of the most epic and polarizing series in video game history, Mass Effect has cemented itself in the annals of history.
Although there is infamy of it's fated ending to the series, the series as a whole has to be one of the better accomplishments of video gaming.
Customizable from start to finish and the power of your choices are shown throughout as well. This game takes a lot into the heart of it's deep storyline and rarely lets up on the action later into the series itself.
Billed as a Space Opera, Mass Effect lives up to it's name. It looks epic, it feels epic and depending on who you talk to, it had an epic impact.
What sets this game apart from the popular Halo series, was that it added RPG elements to a shooter-core. It wasn't the first to do this, but it certainly was one of the best implementations of this genre.
Not shying away from epic storylines, Bio-Ware let it all out when they created Mass Effect. From the start, planning the series to span over 3 titles, it allowed them to set a comfortable pace for the series.
Mass Effect also led the charge in having every decision you make in the games come back to haunt or help you. Decisions from the first game effect outcomes in the 3rd game, something that could never had veen done without careful planning.
This is why Mass Effect makes this list, because the amount of detail that was put into this game deserves it's own Top 10.
One of, if not THE, most prolific first person shooter of all time: Call of Duty.
It was first released in 2003 to the PC gaming world's delight. Delivering a realistic (for the time) war experience that was built off of the Quake III Arena engine.
It was one of the first games that used "iron sights" on their guns, a trend that has been popularized and used to this day.
It also featured hyper-realism. When there was an explosion near the player, the screen would blur and the sound would be muffled and replaced by tinnitus (ringing in the ear) to simulate the dibilitating effects of an explosive shockwave.
The series as a whole has evolved significantly, but has kept the core of it's values. The focus on the cover system, as well as strong squad combat remains major points to the gameplay.
Call of Duty can also be credited with bringing PC multiplayer to consoles. With the unbelievable success Call of Duty's online community has seen, it has forced the hand of many different genres even outside of shooters, to incorperate a strong online multiplayer presence in their games.
This is by far one of the best series of all time.
One of the longest running series in gaming history, The Elder Scrolls makes it's appearance!
Starting out on PC DOS with The Elder Scrolls: Arena, this was a powerhouse even back in the day.
It featured similar gameplay to the games we know today, as it allowed the player to focus on melee or magic. The game was also notorious for being unforgivingly difficult and even the game's creator was killed 20 times before leaving the first dungeon!
It has evolved into an epic series that continues to break boundaries and impress on every level with each new game.
From breathtaking scenery to the deeply fleshed out history of Tamriel, every aspect of The Elder Scrolls is as sacred as the Elder Scrolls themselves.
Nearly every region of Tamriel has been explored to some degree in each game, which leads some to believe that perhaps an Elder Scrolls MMORPG is somewhere in the future... One can dream!
The storylines are engrossing and the gameplay is always improving. The only gripe about the series is that the older versions really do show their age and updated versions with high definition graphics would prove to be as massively successful as the newer releases.
All in all, the series as a whole has delivered on every level and continues to do so.
What kind of top 10 list would this be without the Mario Bros.?
The no-contest number 1 pick, this game single-handedly saved the video game industry.
The massive impact that Mario has had is evident everywhere. The original platformer, Mario is iconic and not much else can be said in terms of longevity, replayability and entertainment value.
The game was sold along side every NES that was originally boxed and thus had far outsold any video game of it's time.
Considering how many times the Original Super Mario Bros. has been repackaged, redone, re-remade and shined up, it goes to show how even the simplest idea could be the strongest.
Even getting cameo's in popular titles like Assassin's Creed, it goes to show exactly how prolific Mario Bros. has been.
With so many amazing video game series, I couldn't fit them all so I had to choose the best and most prolific games that hit the industry. I'll have to give honorable mentions to (my favorite) Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil and Halo
The games on this Top 10 have shaped the industry in some way and have given gamers a long string of games to enjoy for a very, very long time.
If you have a chance to pick up and play any of these games, I urge you to do so!
As we go further into the next generation of gaming, it will always be important to remember how we got here; So we can truly appreciate the groundwork that was set out and the wonderful titles that preceed the massive hits of today.
List by RobertoSnowager (10/11/2012)
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