BoG's top 30 greatest games of all time: part trois (20-16)

20. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

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The GBA saw three Castlevania new games, beginning with Circle of the Moon, the second ever Castlevania to feature "Metroidvania" style gameplay. Second came Harmony of Dissonance, a game I just couldn't enjoy no matter how hard a tried. Third and final was Aria of Sorrow, a game I just couldn't NOT love no matter how hard I tried. For the first time since Symphony of the Night, Konami took the series in yet another new direction with the customizable soul system. The soul system was a ton of fun to use, and rewarded exploration with more and more powerful souls in your arsenal. The system has been a defining characteristic of every Castlevania game since, as some sort of system with abilities being gained from enemies has been present in every game sicne. Of course, that isn't all there is to love about AoS. IT marked the return of brilliant music to the series, as the first two GBA games were lacking in the audio department. AoS has some of the most varied, atmospheric levels of any Castlevania to date. These lavels were masterfully designed, and tons of fun to explore. The story was an interesting one for Castlevania, taking place in the future. It's not lacking in the "twists and turns" department, either. There is so much game in Aria of Sorrow, only someone who isn't a fan of the genre won't fall in love.

19. Katamari Damacy

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A few years ago, Gamespot posted a story on Katamari, discussing how it was a surprising hit among gamers. They didn't go into much detail about the actual game, just how gamers were embracing this truly unorthodox title. I looked at the box art with its rainbows, cows, and giant... thing, and my interest was piqued. I went out and bought it on an impulse, one that occurs every so often, where I don't ask questions, just drop some cash. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. I popped the game into my PS2, where I was greeted by ducks singing what is without a doubt the greatest theme song in the history of all video games. When I began playing, I fell in love.
Katamari is like nothing before it, and nothing after it (excepting only its sequels). The game puts you in control of the Prince, who must use his Katamari to roll up stuff for the King to make stars in the sky. It has basic dual-stick control, tons of levels, objects, and craziness to keep anyone occupied for days. I absolutely loved my first playthrough, and love going back today to find new objects and roll bigger balls. Katamari Damacy is a super fun fame, and has charm to spare. <3 Katamari.

18. Star Fox 64

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Star Fox 64 is one of those games I just can't stay away from. I owned it when I had a NIntendo 64, and played it all the time. Once I sold the Nintendo 64, the desire to shoot Andross in the face remained, and I ended up downloading an emulator just to do so. When I bought my Wii, the first game I purchased on the Virtual Console was Star Fox 64. I still boot the game up every once and I while so I can teach Pigma a lesson or two. Even 12 years later, Star Fox 64 remains fast, fun, and has gameplay that holds up. It says a lot about a game when it holds up so long. Few games are as memorable as Star Fox 64 is in every single detail, from gameplay to the awesome dialgoue and voice acting. You cannot deny the awesomeness of the voice acting. Fox and company really need to return to their glory, and soon. Drop the on foot missions, and give me pure, on rails, Arwing goodness, just like this classic.

17. The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap

Minish Cap seemed to have the least celebrated release of any modern Zelda game. The handheld titles have never been as celebrated as the console games, but Minish Cap had relatively no fanfare. I remember lots of anticipation for the Oracle games, and similar hype for Phantom Hourglass. Minish Cap however had a quiet launch. I remember that stores around me didn't stock many copies, and it took me over a year to actually find the game. Maybe it was different in other places, but it just 
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seemed that Minish Cap wasn't a huge deal at launch. This is very unfortunate, as Minish Cap is brilliant. First of all, Minish Cap boasted some of the best puzzles, dungeons, and items in the series. The team went beyond the established Zelda format and added in som awesome and creative new items like the Gust Jar and the Mole Mitts. There was no shortage of creativity in the puzzles and dungeons, either. I reiterate, they are some of the best in the series. Minish Cap perfectly balances the puzzles with a healthy dose of action, and the action in MC is without doubt the best among the 2D Zelda games. Each area in the game is a sight to behold, from the world of the tiny Picori, to deep jungles, and all the way up in the sky. To top it all off, the game has some of the best boss battles and one of the best soundtracks in this legendary series.

16. Super Mario 64

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Prior to Mario 64, no game had really excelled in the realm of the fully 3D. Mario 64 came on to the scene, and set the bar that remains in place today. Mario 64 paved the way to three dimensional gameplay, with it's brilliant design which still holds up today. Mario 64's greatest feat, in my eyes, is how well it takes the platforming genre into the third dimension while retaining what made the platformers of the past so awesome; platforming. Many games have tried, but ultimately fail to be as good at pure platforming as Mario 64. In fact, many games try to imitate what Mario 64 and fail to be as good as it is. Mario 64 excels in level design, with a huge variety of awesome levels. My personal favorites are Lethal Lava Land and Rainbow Ride. The game is fun and challenging from start to finish, and provides a good time when you're hunting for stars, or just running around the castle hub and each of the levels. Mario 64 doesn't have a single dull moment, and each star is a new experience. Even playing through a second time, the game filled me with glee. It's just so good.

Honorable Mention: Vagrant Story

Like my last honorable mention, Vagrant Story misses the top 30 because I haven't finished it. The game features some of the best visuals of any PS1 game, an intriguing story, mindbending puzzles, and interesting RPG gameplay. Do yourself a favor and play it.

Well, I apologize first of all if my english isn't the best. First of all, discussing my favorite games gets me all emotional, which inhibits my writing ability. Second, I wrote this whole thing, Chrome crashed, and so I had to write it all over again, so I wasn't as mindful about my adherence to grammatical standards due to my frustration.

Now, I expect a little more hate this time around. I hope I don't offend anyone by stating that Aria of Sorrow is better than Super Metroid. But that's what I think. Feel free to disagree, and stay tuned for part four!

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