RandomTopFives

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

Top 5 hardest bosses in NES history April 3, 2013

Back in the late 80’s there was no such thing as a casual gamer and there were no fluffy little titles that gave forgiveness at every turn to entice people who occasional play games. Even the fluffy looking titles like Mario and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were as hardcore as the titles with demons and machine guns!! But a the heart of any challenge is the epic boss battles we all encountered at the end of each level. Here is my list of the top 5 I had the most trouble with.

#5 Mr Big at the end of Narc

The game was awesome, as a narcotics patrol officer you had to blast your way with machine guns and rocket launchers through hordes of junkies protecting their suppliers. The levels included a Marijuana grow house, a LSD production lab and the bad guys aside from shooting you would stab you with their dirty needles! There was a sweet car level on the bridge and you had to take down helicopters along the way. But even using the two player cheat, where you would start the game with player 1 and when you lost all of his lives, jump in with player two for a fresh set, the end was near impossible. Mr Big as he was known would first appear in a wheel chair, so your thinking, dude in a wheelchair, no problem, but it was a big problem as his normally innocent device for mobility was fully equipped with machine guns, rocket launchers and a jet pack system of sorts that propelled him all around the damn screen! Once you destroyed his wheel chair form, he revealed his true self, A giant floating head, that hovered on a device that resembled Krang from TMNT! All the while he was puking huge projectiles larger than you! Needless to say this boss battle was an epic end to a highly enjoyable game!

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#4 The Final Room Double Dragon

This entire game was tough, you had to try to accumulate those points as fast as possible to gain your special moves or else you were in trouble. the game had some tough platforming nonsense, but when you finally reached the red carpet room at the end the real trouble began. Basically you had to fight the entire regime of bad guys one last time, including your brother as the final battle. Also if you accidentally moved your character to close to the bottom of the screen, it was an instant death in the spikes! Many who got here never succeeded in surviving, a tough battle to say the least!

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#3 Mother Brain from Metroid

The entire game was epic, one of the first games I had to pull out pen and paper and map out, but nothing compared to the final room of the game. Mother brain was first protected by five or so barriers that had to be destroyed by rockets, the whole room was filled with canons and those damn ring throwing sum bitches! You had better have rockets stock piled because you were going to need them, once you blasted through the protective barriers you had then destroy the Brain herself. Avoiding not just all the projectiles but you had to be very mindful of the lava and one wrong jump landed you in the pit in front of the brain which was a certain death! After countless missiles into the brain the level then began a count down timer and made you traverse a very challenging platforming section to survive to see t he final credits, which now remains one of the greatest and rewarding moments in gaming history- Seamus is a chick!

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#2 Top Gun Landing the damn plane!

OK so its technically not a boss battle, but you had to land the jet at the end of each level, which for my money qualifies it as a boss. Nothing was more frustrating than flying a perfect mission and then being forced into the landing sequence, which almost assured ones death was imminent. Speed down, left left, right right, speed up, left left, speed up, up and then the little animation of your jet right into the damn drink! This part of each mission almost always claimed one of you three lives, I recall barely even playing past level two and it was mainly the landings fault! F U landing sequence! Then to top it all off they reprised the same scheme to refuel in later levels, that just crushed my spirit completely!

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#1 Mike Tyson, from Punch Out

I loved the game, loved the graphics, the characters, and of course love the challenge. Before internet and before the code to go right to Tyson was made available to me, no game ending eluded me more than Mike Tysons Punch Out. First came lightning upper cuts, one hit knockdown wonders! Then came his blinking hooks, which were devastating, the sheer speed at which Tyson moved was ridiculous, add to that the knowledge that if I lose I am going to have to go back and face Super Macho Man again! He was relentless and if you got hit once recover was almost impossible. Timing was everything and like every other character in this game, Tyson was a puzzle that had to be cracked, but unlike all the other characters, one false move and you were done! UUGGHH! I had more trouble with this guy than any boss ever on the NES.

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Thanks for reading!

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Top 5 games you never played April 2, 2013

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 2:33 am
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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!

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#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!

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#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!

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#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!

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#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!

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Top 5 Point and Click Adventure Games March 27, 2013

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 11:44 pm
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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!

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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!

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Top 5 Video Games of All Time across all platforms!

Filed under: Video Games — cowboyography @ 1:33 am
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#1- Baldurs Gate 2 + Throne of Bhall on the PC

Released September 24, 2000

This was the amazing follow up to the Original Baldurs Gate from Black Isle Studio. These guys know how to make RPG’s! As Gorions ward the player must uncover their true identity and rise up against Irenicus and fight the forces of evil. This game has it all, true Dungeons and Dragons rules with roll by roll action, a sprawling world that you could spend years exploring, small side quests, and an expansion that is almost as big as the original game. For those of you who played pen and paper D&D this game allows you to take your character into the 20 levels and makes you square off against god-like creatures! Winner of RPG of the year award this is a must play for any PC gamer out there! Remember you can import your character from the original saga to get that feeling of continuity of the epic quest that this game offers. My first play through was with a monk character, as I wanted to try one of the new classes that were offered up, I was so enthralled that once I finished I immediately imported my cleric from the first Baldurs to play through yet again. Since I must have played through this game 5 or 6 times, finding new things each time and playing from different perspectives each time…  No doubt my number 1 game of all time!Image

#2 Ultima Online on the PC

Released September 24, 1997

Before Everquest, Before WOW, Before any other MMO there was a little game known as UO. Ultima Online was the best experience I have ever had online period. The community was awesome, if a bit rough and tumble, and it had a feeling of stress at all times! This game was designed by genius Richard Garriot who since has been into space! UO was an unforgiving mistress that I put more hours into than any other game in history. The constant threat that anyone could attack you at any time and if you died, they could loot your body, not just an item or two but literally everything you had on you, now many people viewed this as a turn off, I would call them chicken! Gangs skirted the city and awaited the poor souls that would wander out into Britains graveyard, or helpless miners in search of precious ore. Some of my fondess gaming memories are those of hanging in the bottom of Deceit Dungeon battling lich lords with silver weapons, when an army of RED PK’s (Player Killers) would come piling through the door and a three way battle would ensue, the blues vs the reds, vs the lich Lords! The only penalty for killing a person was you would be flagged red for a period of time, and the person could place a bounty upon your head, literally once you killed a red PK you could use an edge weapon to remove their head and take it to a guard to receive any bounty that players had placed upon that person! Also anything on the dead was fair game. I remember hiding (a very useful skill) in Destard and waiting for a Dragon to kill a brave soul, once they had died they became a ghost and had to wander around until they found a NPC (Non Player Character) healer, that is of course unless they were accompanied by a powerful enough mage to cast AN CORP, an 8th level spell of resurrection. Once their ghost left the room I would run to the corpse and try to snag any valuable loot from the corpse and run before the dragon struck me down as well! The game was unforgiving, besides players looting your corpse, smart creatures would kill you and steal from your body as well! You could build your own house, or castle or start your own guild, the game had so many possibilities that it easily qualifies for number 2 on my list! Corp Por!

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#3 Castlevania: Symphony  of the Night for the PS2

Released March 20, 1997

An epic game that revitalized a series, it has had many imitators since, but this game was the one! The side scrolling platformer had been in play for over ten years when this game was released, but this game added all the other elements that were missing, an epic storyline, a main character that mattered, one of the best soundtracks in history and role playing elements including leveling up, familiars, and attributes. The map alone is Worth the price of admission and many people thought that they had finished the game only to realize that they hadn’t even played through half of what the designers laid out before them. By this of course I am speaking of the correct ending where the player equipped the glasses to see that the final boss was actually just a puppet on Dracula’s strings, once finished properly the entire castle flipped upside down providing an entire new world to play through. The design was amazing the simple fact that the game was so big and worked upside down and right side up was mind blowing, then throw in huge grueling bosses from legend, plus one of the greatest tag lines of all time when you died “Let us go out this evening for pleasure. The night is still young” and you have my third favorite game of all time!Image

#4 Donkey Kong at the Arcade

Released July 9, 1981

The quarter sucker of all quarter suckers this game had to be on the list, if not for gameplay then just for the pure history of the game itself. Many pure gamers consider it the measuring stick that all gamers should place themselves against. It is pure reaction and muscle memory at work, not to mention its history and regarded by most to be the most difficult game of all time, very few will ever witness the kill screen in all of its glory live and in person. The movie King of Kong gave this game new life as Steve Webe proved that he is the best gamer and that Billy Mitchell is nothing more than an impostor poster boy!!Image

#5 Street Fighter 2 in the arcade and SNES

Released March 1991

The true test of player vs player gaming came in the form of a side view fighter, when Street Fighter 2 was released in arcades lines formed, quarters were placed upon the machines to designate who was next and the winner stayed while the loser payed. A culture phenomenon was born that spawned many sequels as well as Hollywood films and a ton of imitators, but no game would have the precise timing and elegant format that SF2 offered. I remember waiting 20 minutes or longer to get a chance to fight, only to get destroyed and wait in line again. SF2 revolutionized control schemes with its quarter circle forward and backwards setup and it proved that button mashing was futile! With some of the most memorable characters ever, forget Ryu and Ken, how about Chun Li, Zangief and of course the contorting Dhalsim this game had to make it into my top 5 list!Image

Thanks for reading and please look for more top 5 lists soon!