RandomTopFives

Random top 5 lists for your enjoyment! Everyone likes lists!

Top 5 games you never played April 2, 2013

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 2:33 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 

Today we are going back in time to review some games that may have slipped by you in the past. These titles are worth a revisit if you have played them and if you missed them as many did you should go back and give them a go.

#5 Spy Vs Spy

Originally released on the Apple II and the Commodore 64 the version I played the most was the NES cartridge. The game was based on the Mad Magazines popular long running spy battle of the White spy vs the Black spy, and this game really captured the essence of the comic strip. The game was made for multiplayer and used a split screen to do so. Each spy had to explore a building and the players could adjust just how big the playing location was, through exploration the spys had to uncover different items that would help them ultimately escape the facility. The games highlight of course came in the traps that one spy could set for the other, hand to hand combat was also involved but never as satisfying as setting a bucket of paint on top of a door, or placing a large spring behind a picture on the wall that when set off in Classic Spy Vs Spy style would launch the opposing colored spy across the room to their untimely death and thus allowing free exploration for a period of time. In the end only one spy could find the briefcase that allowed them to exit the level and thus win the round! Extremely fun and a game that gave me some early video game adrenaline rushes!

spy-vs-spy-nes-004_m

#4 Secret of Evermore

I am always surprised that few people recall this game, it was fantastic! Released in October of 1995 for the SNES this was an action RPG that had a great combat system, interesting storyline and great mechanics such as changing equipment and useful leveling. Perhaps even more interesting was the currency system, as new worlds were found, new currency must also be uncovered, just as the US wouldn’t accept a peso, the worlds within Evermore wouldn’t accept foreign currency! The game also contained a playable sidekick in the main characters dog, that when not being played had very good AI. The highlight however came in the form of the Alchemy system, new spells had to be discovered throughout the game, then ingredients had to be uncovered in order to cast said spells, with each new worlds spells becoming harder to cast and the spell system itself had a great leveling device in that the more a spell is cast the more proficient it becomes. Add to all the above some great graphics and you have a title that is worthy of playing but often overlooked!

evermore

#3 North & South

released in 1990 on the NES this game is a mixed bag of action and strategy that really was a ton of fun! You begin by choosing a side in the civil war, obviously Confederates, or Yankees, then the player gets to choose what year they are going to begin the action in. The game then opens on a board game style map of the US with strategic locations marked out, tho gaol is to overwhelm the opposition by controlling important ports, railway yards and cities. Armies are built and when two collide the game goes into an action screen where the battle is fought. Cannons blast, calvaries charge and soldiers march, this gave the game a great sense of diversity as now you were watching the units you had built on the aforementioned map actually battle it out, and you had control! Then there was an almost spy type level that had an individual assaulting train stations, and with the use of knives and punches the soldier must battle through the level in order to capture key outposts. The game had weather elements and was rather detailed for an 8bit title, I highly recommend giving this game a go!

011_02_north_and_south

#2 Bloody Wolf

The Turbo Graphics 16 had a short but wonderful lifespan in my opinion. It unfortunately never had the backing of the Nintendo or Genesis systems by developers however there were some amazing games that came out exclusive to this console that many people missed simply because they never owned one. Great titles include the original Bonk and splatterhouse, but for my money Bloody Wolf was the systems shining moment. This two player gem had some of the best graphics of the day and in similar fashion to Ikari Warriors you had to battle (hopefully side by side) through countless waves of enemies, a variety of weapons could be uncovered and many of them resembled weapons we have come to love through Contra like the ever so useful spread gun and if a baddy got to close the ever useful knife to the neck would suffice. The bosses were epic and controls were sharp, and with secrets galore and a great storyline, just lost to a dead system, Bloody Wolf is a must play!

Bloody_Wolf_TG16_01

#1 Covert Action

Still one of my favorite games of all time, from the genius Sid Meier the PC only game from Microprose that I still play religiously today. Covert Action had it all, elements of action, spy thriller, strategy, puzzle, car chases, moles, grenade/gun battles and a story that involves some of the major players and locations that still today threaten national security. As Maximillian Remington or Maxine, your choice you are briefed by the head of the CIA that some heinous crime is about to go down, it is your job to uncover who the players are and what they are up to. Could it be the KGB is involved with Mafia, or perhaps the Haitian Junta is in bed with the Marxist regime in Cairo! The beauty of the game lies in its open endedness. You can approach cases in any manner you see fit, perhaps you want to be low-key, well you can go to a building that may have had some suspicious activity and place a wire tap, then either follow or bug cars leaving the building to see if they lead anywhere, often times they are just dead ends, or you could go guns blazing into a suspects hideout, and with your spy camera hope to find some incriminating evidence, but beware because every action takes time off the clock and the bad guys are always in motion, and if you show your hand to early the baddies will simply go into hiding knowing that you are hot on their trail thus ruin any chance you had to capture them. Each case you solve leads you one step closer to the mastermind, which is basically the boss of one of the organizations you are after and each succesful bust will get you promoted a few ranks higher in the CIA. At the end of each case you will get a step by step breakdown of what the bad guys were doing at the same time you made your moves, it really is quite interesting to see their reactions to your actions and visa versa. The game provides so much depth and has so much replayablity its a shame that this game is lost to the masses. Please do yourself a favor and track down a copy of this title today!

648304-covertactionbox

Advertisements
 

Top 5 Moments in Gaming History March 28, 2013

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 5:10 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

All good games bring out some emotion, fear, love, hatred, but a great game stirs such emotion that it embeds itself into your mind forever. These are my top 5 moments in gaming that I will never forget.

#5 Finish Him – Mortal Kombat 1 Arcade

My number 5 moment in gaming history is standing at the local arcade, and some guy you have never met before walks up to the Mortal Kombat machine that your playing on, climbing the tower of computer bad guys and this shmoe drop his quarter into the machine and presses player 2 start. This is a direct challenge, it had existed in the arcade for years, I remember bitter battles taking place at a Karate Champ machine, and years later Street Fighter 2 was the measuring stick for bragging rights, but Mortal Kombat brought this challenge to a whole new level, by introducing fatalities. If you were good you may be able to defeat your opponent, but if you were awesome, you would FINISH HIM! preforming a fatality against an unknown real life adversary gave a sort of gratification rarely felt before in gaming history, hold block and press up up- Toasty!

Image

#4 Final Fantasy 10, the Battle vs Sin and the Aeons

Final Fantasy endings were always epic, ever since the first installment. Part of it was you had invested so much time with these characters and struggled so much to final face off against your adversary who had thrown everything against you. FFX had such an epic feel to it, SIN the ultimate bad essence, the world destroyer, and throughout the entire game you grew to love your characters, build your characters, Tidus, Yuna, Wakka, and Auron just to name a few, and then you had worked so hard to gather the Aeons, only to have to fight them all. This finish brought a tear to my eye, it was Beautiful!

Image

#3 TIE- The first ten minutes of Both Resident Evil 1 and Resident Evil 4

My first tie but a deserving one. The first ten minutes of Resident Evil parts 1 and 4 were both epic in their own way. When I purchased the first Resident Evil for the PS1 it came in that over sized case and I was carded at the checkout counter for the first time! I had no idea what the game was even about, but I knew it was going to be amazing after I popped it into my PS1 system and got a real life movie about these characters getting stranded at an abandoned mansion. The horror levels rose fast as I roamed alone and stumbled onto my first zombie, and only minutes later was attacked by a dead dog that leaped through a window. The film like angles were superb and for the first time I felt a new level of submersion in game play. Years later Resident Evil 4 shocked me again, the first village you come across was so well laid out and the Spanish speaking locals had some serious issues. Both games were revolutionary and you knew it within ten minutes of turning on your console!

Image

#2 Golden Eye – 4 Player Bliss

I still recall the endless nights we dumped into this game in my dorm room.
Golden Eye brought Friends and enemies together like never before. The 4 controller ports on the front of the Nintendo 64 revolutionized what designers could do for games. Golden Eye was a solid single player game with some of the best level design of the day, but the game really soared to new heights when four buddies got together for an evening of death and mayhem! From all the customizable options to the amazing map layouts, Golden Eye kept everyone enthralled and the game never got old or stale, if someone got fed up with it, change it up, go Man With the Golden Gun or all rocket launchers and watch the smiles light up.

goldeneyesplitscreen

#1 Metal Gear Solid – Mind Games

Psycho Mantis is by far and away the most unique, clever, and evil design for a boss in gaming history, he came into the real world and messed with your head. He got you to shut your console off, unplug your controller, and bang the side of your TV. While MGS remains one of the most well designed games in history, with some of the most memorable characters, Psycho Mantis remains the one that outshone them all! He would look into your memory card and recall games that you had played sometimes years earlier, commenting on such things as Castlevania, and Suikoden, two games I was a huge fan of, but how in the hell did he know that? This battle has stuck with me through all my gaming years, and I have yet to feel as confused and yet in such awe of the genius that was Psycho Mantis!

Image

 

Top 5 Point and Click Adventure Games March 27, 2013

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 11:44 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For years Lucasarts dominated the point and click adventure genre and rightfully so, with awesome titles such as Zach McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders and the entire Indy saga, they put out some great products in the 80’s and early 90’s. I made this list not excluding them but only ended up with one Lucas game on the list and that brings us to number five:

#5 Loom

Released June 1990

Loom was a beautiful game that combined great interface and graphics and for the time brought a music theme to the table. As Bobbin Threadbearer you must uncover different spells that you can weave on your distaff. The game had very serious undertones but with the notion laid out early that you can never die, and will never have to go back, your just play and explore mentality was able to take over. I remember experimenting at great lengths to uncover different spells and their effects on the world. Guilds rules the world and as a member of the weavers guild you very early on must venture out into the world and seek the help, or hindrance of other guilds including the blacksmiths, glass makers, and Shepard’s. The game has top notch story telling and a climatic ending worthy of my top 5!

Image

#4 Maniac Mansion

Released October 1987

Maniac Mansion is one of those classic games that most gamers especially pc gamers remember fondly but few ever truly finished. That’s because this game was hard, damn hard! As the game opens you must choose two characters to join the protagonist on his adventure into the Edison mansion, this is a crucial point as each character has abilities and ethics, some things one could do within the mansion, another couldn’t, such as place the gerbil in the microwave (c’mon we all did it!) The game was unique in that events occurred in almost real time and the player was treated to cut scenes of the evil characters in the mansion going about their business as your three kids wandered around, the only clear goal was to save Dave’s girlfriend. This game has so many memorable sequences, such as the bullying purple tentacle , or finding dead cousin ted in the shower! With 5 different endings and a feeling of freedom rarely seen at this time in gaming Maniac Mansion still holds it own, and there are many dedicated fans who still cherish this title.

Image

#3 Legend of Kyrandia Book One

Released 1992

This is one of the lesser known games in the point and click world which is a shame because its one of the best! With amazing story telling, a great bad guy, a love story, and simplistic but elegant game play Kyrandia was an easy choice for my number 3 slot. The game starts with an evil Jester, Malcom having just slain the King and Queen of the realm, Malcom this goes on a killing spree against nature, destroying trees and turning people to stone, he is one powerful and evil little dude. As Brandon you must explore the treacherous world of Kyrandia and figure out how to stop the Evil Jester. The game has some awesome puzzles and top notch cut scenes. The birthstone puzzle still haunts me from time to time and the grotto is one of the coolest location ever put into a point and click adventure! If you never played it I suggest you find yourself a copy of this gem and give it a whirl, for fans of point and click games you wont be disappointed.

Image

#2 Shadowgate

Released July 30 1987

This was my first jaunt into the point and click genre and boy was it a doosy! Shadowgate still stands as one of my most memorable gaming experiences of all time, never before had I played a game that had so much freedom and so many pitfalls, in an era dominated by the platformers, this game broke convention and threw a curve ball at my little brain! As an unnamed hero you awake outside Castle Shadowgate and must find the key to even open the front door, once inside a torch must always be lit or you will die, and yes there is only a finite number of torches thus giving the game a constant since of urgency. Shadowgate is filled with some ingenious puzzles and foes at every turn, careful thought must be applied for any progression to be accomplished, but don’t tarry to long as the torches are constantly burning away. I remember being so often frustrated at how to advance sometimes that the game became a constant source of agony but the AH HA moments when you finally solved a puzzle was so much greater! I still recall being stuck at that damn Wraith for days, before I finally realized I had a “Special Torch” and the Warlock Lord/Behemoth at the end was a trick that I believe may have been figured out by calling the Nintendo hot line! So many fond memories as my best friend and I toiled away days of our lives inside Castle Shadowgate, that’s why it belongs at number 2 on my list.

Image

#1 Kings Quest 5 Absence Makes the Go Yonder

Released November 9 1990

I purchased two of my favorite games of all time on the same visit to the game store and for months had to split my gaming evenings between Kings Quest 5 and Covert Action. KQ5 is as classic as PC gaming comes as the only member of the royal family to escape the tragedy at Castle Daventry, the protagonist Graham and his trusty talking owl sidekick Cedric set out on an epic quest that will take you over the great mountains and across the sea to far away lands. You will battle Yeti’s, bump into Sirens, and eventually confront Mordack and his pesky cat to save your family. This game contains some of the toughest puzzles I can recall, and it also required the player to create their own maps, the desert and the labyrinth come to mind. I recall talking with friends who were also playing through the game all of us stuck at different locations but helping each other through. Who would have guessed that the pie from the bakery was the ultimate weapon against yetis or that the old man could only hear you if he held a seashell to his ear. Some parts required precise movements and timing while others parts required deep thought and everything required proper order, one thing always led to the next. So many nights, so many memories, such a great series, and such a perfect game!

Image