A Personal Video Game Retrospective (1986-2015) 1999

1999

Welcome back to another absurd list of video games. Honestly even I’m amazed at how many games I have in my collection from this one year. Even with the amount of games I apparently bought I don’t consider this a amazing year for video games. Plenty of great games released this year but this time everyone isn’t constantly putting out games that completely blew me away. Other than maybe Sega which I cover in the next paragraph. Sony is fine still being on top while Nintendo starts to try to take back some lost ground with the introduction of the 64 disc drive in Japan.

Dreamcast

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Sega’s last attempt at making a console may have failed but at least they went out in a blaze of glory. The Dreamcast had a lot of good points but so many factors worked against it that it was doomed to fail. At the time of its release in Japan thing were looking up. For one the controller has the form factor of a modern controller. If only it had dual analog sticks instead of the VMU slots then it would have fit right in with its competitors. Not to say the VMU memory card didn’t have some positive elements like all the time I spend raising my chaos or playing one of the many mini games sega included in their games. At the time it was also a graphical powerhouse but that fact quickly changed.

How to quickly pulverize your opponent in 3 easy steps. Step One: EA games will not make games for your console. A insane blow at the time since EA had one of the best selling sports games in the form of Madden around this time. Step two: Your competition launches a console that outperforms anything the Dreamcast could do. A year later the PS2 comes out and everything is has is better. Having better hardware isn’t always the key to success but in this case it lead to a decline in sales. Step three: Hara-kiri, Sega killed any real momentum they had with their previous console. Anyone who bought a Saturn most likely wasn’t very happy with what Sega was doing. And so the once proud company was demoted to third party status never to be the same again.

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Ah yes the 90’s where a developer randomly puts a music video in its option menu. I don’t even know who Ultraspank is other than they have a horrible name. 3Xtreme is when 989 took over development of this series and made it full of 3D polygons. Once again lowering the total racer count down to 6. At the time I’m sure this looked fine but now it doesn’t look that great. The best new mechanic they added was a hard turn. Makes it easier to take some of the sharper curves in the road. To bad it doesn’t improve my tendency to run into the side of the many gates you can go through for some extra points. No clue why you would want to do that since it only matters if you get first place in the race with the points not even used at all.

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One more Baseball game before I never play it again. Like MLB Featuring King Griffey Jr this game expects the player to aim at where the pitcher throws the ball. Timing the swing close to when the ball hits the plate will hopefully lead to a base hit. This one feels more realistic with better looking visuals even if the crowd still looks like a mess of pixels. I prefer the previous game since it was much easier to hit a homerun. While this one seems to require exact timing to hit one. Unrealistic sports is the way to go if a developer wants to get my interest.

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The 3DO kinda made the same game twice within the same year huh? Both of these games have a army man named Sarge as a hero. He must take down the tan army lead by the same villain even if they don’t name him. The main difference is that this is a more serious take on the army men universe. While also sticking closer to the figures that this is based on. Running out of heath is a big issue with any attempt at finishing a level. With Sarge only being able to take about 6 hits before dying. With no checkpoints you could get most of the way to the end before getting barbecued by a flamethrower unit. With the low heath and small amount of weapons like a grenade being pointless I much prefer the upcoming Army Men game compared to this one.

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I didn’t really think about this at the time but this is a proto third person shooter. Although this one relies on heavy lock on instead of requiring the player to actually aim. Except in certain cases like aiming at a sniper. When aiming the game goes into first person cause that is a great way to quickly aim at something right? Ha well they improve that over time. This is a army men game although only part of it takes place in our world. After Sarge charges in a portal after a blue spy that level turns into a romp around a bathtub. With water being the weakness of any army man it is best if you don’t jump into it like me. It was odd to see the 3DO logo when booting this game up. I don’t really think of them creating games after their failed attempt at making a console.

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A racing game with only one car. You can choose the color which changes the handling somehow. Luckily that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Each course has a unique theme to go along with the groovy beats of the soundtrack. Going from a nice ride in the country to driving through a fake Jurassic Park is the kind of variety you should expect to see. Plus every rack has a bunch of shortcuts to find even if sticking to the track seemed to allow me to win. Trying a new shortcut in a race seems to be an effective way to make me mess up. The one thing that can never get old is the ability to enjoy a wacky racing game.

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Yes this is another platformer starring Bugs Bunny. After getting lost in time he must collect 120 clocks to make it back to his own time. I wonder which game they were basing this progression on hmm. Whoever they got to voice all of these looney tunes characters did a great job since they sound spot on going by what I heard in the intro level. Like every other game like this the levels are varied. You will start off in the stone age and keep heading into the future till you return back to the present. Wish I had more to say about this but it is just a so-so platformer.

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Konami had such a tough time transferring the 2D nature of Castlevania to 3D. I think they did a okay job of recreating the combat. Platforming just doesn’t work that well. Accidently falling into the water in the first level happened a bit to much. Battling the giant bone skeleton with either Carrie or Reinhardt is neat. Playing as Reinhardt is your standard whip wielding hero while Carrie casts magic orbs at her enemies. They change it up enough that you could want to play through this twice. Looks like I gave up in stage 5 the last time I attempted to beat this game.

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Going in I just expected a bland kart racer. Actually it is a bit higher class than that with the controls feeling more responsive. When I can figure out how to not high walls fairly quickly after starting a kart racer Squaresoft must have done something right. The pop up book style lends a certain charm to this game as well. Plus who wouldn’t want to race a Chocobo with jet blades around different race courses.

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Squaresoft was really trying to turn the Chocobo into a cute mascot character around this time huh. Chocobo and his pal Mog decide to go treasure hunting ending up a very large dungeon. They must work together in a turn based format. Leveling up and using any items scattered around the dungeon wisely seems to be the way to win. Chocobo can cast magical spells like aero with the help of any of the many magical books scattered around. Otherwise he has to kick enemies till they fall over. This just seems like a even simpler take on the Mystery Dungeon series.

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I assume most didn’t think Civilization came to consoles before Revolution but that wouldn’t be true. Civ II works a lot better on a controler than you might assume. Most of the early game is spent exploring and any units that can move will automatically be singled out to let you move them. So you don’t have to worry about moving a cursor around a lot since almost everything can be dealt with via a small pop up window. It has been a while since I really put any time into a Civilization but they did get rid of letting the player pick their gender before starting the game right? Once they added in 3D models instead of using some artwork for each leader I guess it was just too much work.

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Command & Conquer is a fun RTS and a great introduction to this genre. These days I do feel like I’m missing part of the appeal of C&C since this is the N64 version so no FMV. They do at least include the spoken dialog from the mission intros. A controller may not be the best way to play a RTS but it doesn’t make it impossible. Thanks to the series being quite simple it doesn’t take long to build a base and amass an army. My old mindset of turtling till I have a huge army is no more and I know charging first into battle is the way to win. Being able to play as the good and evil side of a war was what got me interested in RTS games from this point forward.

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Shades of what Travelers Tales would turn into are in this release. The basis of the first Lego games are here with a set of levels to play through with different challenges that unlock new levels if you find enough of them. That also describes every other platformer from this time as well. They do a good job recreating open environments from the movie like Andy’s house and the airport. Doesn’t seem like they spend much time recreating the plot of the movie and instead they just give the player new levels to explore. Buzz uses a laser to take down enemies that mainly seem to attack him by charging in his direction. At least early on it doesn’t appear to be a hard game to beat.

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I’m all for Rare collectible based games but even they went a bit too far this time. Between two types of coins blueprints and the crown on top known as golden bananas this just had me going every which way. Doesn’t mean I didn’t finish the game but I wasn’t gonna go for 100% this time. Like usual Rare does a good job of creating different environments to explore. Controlling Dk and his pals is okay too and graphicly this does look nice. In the end this was the game that made me avoid collectible based platformers for a while.

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Driver on the GBC is a impressive port of the PS1 game. Going by the sequel since I’ve only ever played this version of the first driver this one actually controls better. Being able to nudge my way past a car is a lot easier when it is possible to turn on a dime. Allowing me to see more missions which are still limited by a strict time limit. Whoever decided to use an arrow instead of the weird cone radar was a genius even if it was just a limit placed on them by the Game Boy Color. The developers even included the free roam and the driving mini games too. It may not have much of a story other than you must do this job for us but I think that is pretty much the plot of the PS1 game as well.

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After slapping the Die Hard name onto the first Dynamite Deka game they couldn’t quite do that again for the sequel. Instead they called it Dynamite Cop when they brought it over here. I happen to have the Japanese version since it isn’t that hard to play import games on a Dreamcast. Story wise this time the president's daughter is the main target of a band of pirates lead by the villain from the first game. This still has a linear progression through a set of levels although at the start you can choose one of 3 ways to infiltrate the cruise ship. The narrative stays the same but it looks like the environments you got through will be different. The main addition to the gameplay is a power up bar. Once it fills up all of the attacks the player does will be more damaging and lead to bigger combos.

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Its funny how low expectations can change the viewpoint I can have of a game. A odd little factoid is that Rockstar published this in the US. Earthworm Jim 3D follows in the footsteps of other platformers of this era by making it about collecting items. In this case all the marbles Jim lost after getting hit on the head by a cow. The game told me Jim was about as smart as a waffle before I turned it off which sounds about right for him. I do like that it is possible to collect everything on the first attempt of a level instead of having to wait for a power up gained later on. That also means that Jim must not get anything worthwhile to change the gameplay thus not giving me a reason to get very far in. The camera being annoying might be why too. At one point the camera blocked me from leaving an area till I twisted it around. The first boss being about collecting 100 marbles to win didn’t help it either.

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Hm seeing what they made before I see how Dreamfactory got from Tobal to this game. Going by the style and humor of the endings it looks like they were attempting to make one similar to Tekken. Even obviously basing some of the cast of Ehrgeiz on some Tekken characters. Although they decided to go with full 360 degree movement instead of sticking to a 2D plane. The biggest selling point at the time was most likely that this included Cloud and cohorts from FF7. I also want to note that this has a odd final boss with the fight being played over credits and it doesn’t even matter if you lose. Overall as a fighting game it doesn’t feel that great. It works a lot better as a beat em up in the other big mode. Picking adventure mode turns the game into a action rpg. With the goal of getting to the bottom of a dungeon to find treasure. At least I assume that was the motivation since I wasn’t looking at the screen during the intro text crawl. Beating up monsters and finding loot is cool but I don’t ever remember making it to the end.

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Eidos took a Hawk from Fighting Force and decided to try to make a character action game. To bad the additions to this sequel actually made it worse. Other than still being a beat em up they added key cards to collect and some minor platforming. The simple nature of the combat mixed in with slow progression through the first level gave me a lot of time to regret this purchase. At least early on enemies seem much easier to deal with since they don’t even block attacks and most can only take one shot from a pistol. The narrative change of Hawk turning into a buffed up cyber commando was an odd choice as well. Plus at the time I really missed not having multiplayer support.

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So Squaresoft put out FFV-VI again on PS1 and added in some CGI. Playing both of these to write so little about them would be pointless so I focused on VI entirely since it was apparently a lot of people's favorite Final Fantasy. It is a great game but I never got that far into it. Which is to bad since I know the story gets pretty crazy later on and would have surely made me enjoy it more. Even early on it is intriguing story with the beginning starting off with Terra being brainwashed to raid a town on the back of some magitek armor. Even if they are evil who doesn’t like controlling a mech that fires giant laser beams. Being overpowered is nice but soon after the first fight with the giant snail the narrative changes and you lose the armor. The amount of damage Terra deals to enemies has been vastly reduced along with her memories. I’m just going to assume she want to take down the empire at some point later on. The only real downside to this version is the loading times between battles. Which don’t appear to be that bad. I really should play through this game entirely one day.

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If you want some in depth analysis of the entirely of Final Fantasy VIII you should check out @zombiepie blog series he did last year. Check it out via this link Playing my First Final Fantasy Game Parts 1-8. Anyway onto my thoughts of FF8. Well the CG intro kinda looks like a clip show of random stuff that’ll happen later on in the story. Which is kinda odd since I don’t know why they needed to show that to the player. Getting into the gameplay it once again uses the active time battle system. The main new addition out of combat was the Junctioning system. Well not entirely out of combat since the player must draw out magic of enemies to boosts his stats. Limited use of magic by how much I draw from enemies is an odd system at first. Although it apparently lets you break the game if you know what you're doing. Compared to other RPG’s i’ve played this intro is slow and is heavy into tutorialing a lot of stuff. Since it has so many new elements I see why they took it so slow. At least I know it gets better once the seed exam starts. Hard to not remember a test where a giant robot is constantly chasing the party.

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Compared to the first game Game & Watch Gallery 3 just has more of everything. 6 G&W games remade with updated graphics. Yet still including the original look as well. If you want to test your reaction time these are the games to play. Whether it is spraying bugs or moving cakes on a conveyor belt every game here requires you to be fast. A few like Donkey Kong require the player to dodge some attacks by jumping. The absurd amount of unlockables gave me a reason to try to get every star. But getting to 1000 points in every game just wasn’t possible for me. Another note worth mentioning is the fact that some of these games are dual screened. With this being on the Game Boy they get around that by scrolling the screen or making the top screen smaller.

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This was the right way to bring Gauntlet back. A direct sequel in gameplay and in how each level was set up. Something about throwing an endless barrage of axes is satisfying. The graphics were also upgraded to 3D although compared to other N64 games this kinda looks bad. Or at least overly simplistic for a game that came out much further in the life cycle of this console. A omega attack was also introduced to clear an entire room out of enemies even when only one person is playing. I remember either this one or the sequel actually allowed arcade players to save their progress via a password which wasn’t something I saw often. It may be a basic action RPG but mowing down enemies and finding secrets is still fun.

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Huh this is the first game I played that kept the Japanese voice acting in the US release with english subtitles. Unlike the last game this one sticks to the 2D format of previous Goemon games. What is with every villain in this series flying around in a UFO although this time it is just a standard one instead of being shaped like a peach. Since this is like the older games it is a tougher game to beat as well. Even more so when the day/night cycle makes it even tougher at night. Except for throwing money Goemon’s man attack is close range so it comes down to timing attacks correctly. A few missteps and you’ll end up dead pretty quick. I always meant to try to beat this game but I never did.

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Grand Theft Auto as developed by Tarantula Games for the Game Boy Color. This is a bad version of GTA. I just don’t understand why they made walking on foot like controlling a car. I have to press A to walk anywhere and it doesn’t seem like I can run. Whenever I actually get into a car it goes so fast and I can’t see far enough ahead to be able to turn around corners without stopping. Since every car controls like a tank the end of my first mission where I needed to drive into a garage I got stuck between parts of the building while trying to drive into it. Nothing about how the first two GTA games were set up seem that appealing anyway.

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This is my favorite harvest moon game of all time. Even now the clay like 3D graphics don’t hinder my enjoyment of playing it. The greatest thing a good harvest moon gameis that it lets you do whatever you want and with many different options you’ll always find new ways to make money. Never quite having enough time to do everything in a day seems to come up a lot. After all wooing the heart of one of the dateable girls while trying to raise a successful farm/ranch isn’t easy. (Karen best girl yes?) The playoff of having a big ranch at the end along with a greenhouse to grow vegetables even in winter is a awesome feeling.

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Hot Wheels was at its best when it is a stunt game. That at least is partially true with this release. In a pause screen this game told me I could win by racing, stunts and blowing up all the other racers. Far as I could tell winning the race was the only way to win. Stunts just gave me extra turbos to use while blowing up the enemy just slowed them down a while. With the courses being modeled after Hot Wheels tracks most of them are narrow and rubbing on the walls seems to be expected. The ai keeps the race close but the only reason I would get behind is if I messed up a spin or ran into something that blew me up. With very little challenge early on and eace race going on for a bit too long this didn’t leave the best first impression on me.

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Since I bought this used the introduction of this makes absolutely no sense. After looking up the story I’m apparently playing as a hybrid human who has decided to rebel against his alien masters. Without that context the introduction just looks like I’m actually the villain by unleashing a biological outbreak on a secret underground base. When not in combat this plays like a third person action game similar to Tomb Raider. However combat mixes fighting game mechanics into a turn based system So after charging up a bar and selecting action the player can choose a variety of punches and kicks to take down the enemy. Far as I can tell kicking everyone was the best choice damage wise. None of the early enemies seemed to know how to block it. I should note that this has a high resolution mode that turns the cutscenes into a giant mess of slowdown. Would have thought Konami would have tested that a bit better.

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Above all else Midway knew how to make a fun racing game. Between San Francisco Rush and Hydro Thunder they kept me interested in a type of game I don’t play very often. I wonder if one reason they decided to go with speedboats this time was because how impressive water looks on new arcade hardware. The over the top nature of these games continues to be amusing like smashing into tour boat that then jumps 50 feet into the air off of a ramp. At least early on the race courses are wide open with very little chance of going off course. Must be why they made the AI really tough to beat even when you seem to be doing your best. I had multiple attempts where I beat my previous time yet I still didn’t get first. Then the very next attempt that had a worse time ended up getting me first. No clue what I did to earn 1st other than maybe ramming into more racers maybe.

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Going by my old save file I spent about 10 hours trying to compete Jet Force Gemini. That was enough time to unlock all the characters but not enough time to finish it. Looking at the game now really shows how much the control scheme was made for the N64. Using the C buttons to move around while aiming is a bit awkward but doable. Huh the 2nd cutscene at the start of the 2nd world shows off that the N64 can display reflections in water. A neat effect for the time even if it never comes up again. For a elite force of commandos JFG does a poor job of rescuing the race of bear people from the a ant army. Half the team gets captured while trying to rescue them and it is up to Juno to save everyone. Between the 3 playable characters they all have a unique gimmick that lets them get to different areas. Picking the right character for each level is the only way you’ll be able to collect all the secrets.

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Lego had to get some of that Mario Kart money. They left it up to High Voltage Software which were competent enough to create a assortment of average games around this time. These days they don’t do much other than ports so I guess it’s kinda worthwhile to see how they got to this point. Sure Lego Racers does what it aims to do yet not that well. The kart doesn’t control that well leading to running into walls a lot while the 1st place AI driver will always win unless you get the right power ups to counter him. Going by the first grand prix they created at least one course per lego playset theme. So you’ll see a pirate themed level and right after that a space race will start up. But off brand Mario Kart couldn’t stand up to the real deal from my point of view.

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Wow the start of Legend Of Legaia is grim. A mist infects the human world turning the Seru into chaotic monsters that try to infect the rest of humanity. Turning any human they touch into monsters. Conveniently our hero Vahn finds the Ra-Seru that is stronger than the mist and wants to revitalize the earth by regrowing all the genesis trees. A fairly standard save the world story. With such a good opening I don’t remember much after getting out of the first town. The gameplay is where this is different from other RPG’s around this time. A combo system is added where you can hit up down up to do a somersault. Learning how to do flashy moves by randomly finding the right combo is neat. Being able to summon other seru after beating them is a unique way to do a magic system. Allowing you access to better magic attacks by taking down tougher enemies is a good way to slowly give you cooler moves like the kamikaze fire attack the first enemy does after summoning him. Overall a neat game that I should have put more time into.

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If you thought this Looney Tunes game would be an easy romp through a few platforming levels you would be wrong. Each of the playable characters has a different kind of level. Level one begins with Daffy platforming and by the end he ends up fighting a giant fish. The no mercy approach starts here with this first level having 4 sub bosses you must beat to make it to the boss. In level 2 Tweety gets to run away from Selvester through the streets. Getting hit by bats somehow speeds up Tweety instead of slowing him down. The final level I got to was Porky Pig flying a airplane shooting down satellites ending with a boss fight with a witch. Gotta give this game some credit for having so many gameplay types.

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I actually ended up playing this after picking up the sequel. So when I first played this I pretty much knew what was going to happen thanks to an animated cutscene that played a little way into Lunar 2. This story starts off with a young lad named Alex along with his buddy Noh wish they were a hero like Dragonmaster Dyne. Early on in this it looks like most character introductions will be animated. Both Ramas who only cares about money and Luna the love interest got a animated intro scene. As for the game it is a turn based rpg. Enemies are encountered in dungeons only and it is possible to skip some fights if you're fast enough. A small nice touch during fights is that Noh will revive any fainted party member and they will still gain exp. Overall a nicely animated RPG that I remember enjoying.

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I don’t know what to say about this game. Mario characters playing golf just like the previous game I played on NES. The addition of a 3D environment does make it a bit easier to judge shots. I even managed to get a chip in birdie shot on the second hole. Putting has been the part most improved since it is easier to judge slope shots. Doesn’t seem like this has any extra modes other the ability to play run of the mill golf.

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Well this is most likely the most divisive series ever. I don’t mind playing 20 turns of any Mario Party. At the time after buying this I most likely saw the potential of what they could do with this setup. Hudson didn’t quite get everything right on the first try. The biggest flaw is that winning is left up to randomness most of the time and that fact has never been fixed. The board game part of a MP game isn’t the reason I keep coming back. I enjoyed playing the minigames more than anything even if this first game was a great way to break the analog stick. The running of the bulb mini game always stuck in my mind since it required everyone to work together to win. Running away from a bunch of Boo’s is just a good set piece too. Even now I can enjoy some of these mini games and I was surprised to see how many collect a bunch of coins mini games came up in the first 5 rounds. I’m used to most games only giving one player coins most of the time Must be set up that way to counter the bad luck you could have on some of these courses.

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Well even though they came out the same year on the PS1 these Marvel based fighters came out at least a year apart in arcades. Between this being a 2v2 game and all the high jump shenanigans you can get upto this obviously lead up to MvC. With the main difference being that this has a heavier focus on Street Fighter so you will see characters that won’t show up again later. I don’t think Dhalsim or M Bison show up in later games. The marvel roster is slightly pulled from the previous X-men game with new additions like Captain America and Blackheart. The nice sprite work and all the insane animations are here as well. They aren’t crazy long but some of the loading times on PS1 are a bit much when you just want to get to the next match quickly.

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Woah all of my memories must be from MvC2. Sure the soul of this series is here but it is a 2v2 game instead of 3v3. Along with separate assist characters. As for the fighting this is what you should expect from this series. I had to realize that the default layout of the gamepad wasn’t allowing me to do any super movies easily. I almost never change button layouts when playing a game so I was surprised that I needed to change it. Without that critical maneuver beating the AI even on easy was tough. I spend too much time thinking about doing something cool and not sticking to the basics. Usually gets me killed 80% of the time. Out of the final bosses in MvC games I knew nothing about Onslaught before blasting him to bits. Most likely because he never showed up in the X-men cartoon.

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I had no issue with buying Spy Hunter again to play it on the go. This one actually emulates the arcade release a lot better than the one on NES. It even has a high low stick shifter. Actually surviving long enough to reach a boat sections is still an issue. Moon Patrol is about jumping over mines and blasting UFO’s out of the sky while patrolling the moon. I didn’t expect to see a continue screen after I ran out of lives. Most early Midway games don’t let the player continue after running out of lives.

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This is a by the numbers Micro Machines game. From a top down view point you’ll be racing mini cars around race tracks made out of different real world objects. Like a billiard table or even racing a mini speed boat around a Koi pond. If only it didn’t have one big glaring flaw. The viewpoint makes it impossible to know when a turn is coming up. Accidentally going off course will happen a lot untill I made a few laps on certain courses. A mini map would have made up for this flaw but they didn’t include one. The different vehicles control differently leading to some trial and error moments.

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This really is just more Monster Rancher. The main addition is that they added in more monsters to find. Just like before the goal is to become the best monster trainer in the world and beat the major 4. The developer did upgrade the training montages to 3D instead of 2D artwork like the first one. Plus they give the player more control of what the monster decides to do during battle. At least early on that just means you could tell it to attack more often. Really I don’t know why I bought this sequel since I barely even played the first game and that carries over to this one. Watching the stats go up slowly every week for most of this game is just a bit too boring for me to get to the good stuff later on.

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After hitting start this game decides to display ENCOUNTER in giant text before switching to battle mode. Turns out it was generic looking evil bad guy with one of his henchmen. A unwinnable battle that leads to a man named Wolf rescuing Daniel from his fate. After meeting his daughter Kal a duck and rabbit monster randomly attack him outside. Other than dragon punching enemies in turn based combat format the main focus is about summoning monsters to help out. To bad our great “hero” sold his last monster before coming on this journey. But he quickly gets some new eggs to hatch and must fight in an arena to prove his worth. Once the player actually gets into a battle with summonable monsters the only control over them is telling them to give them one command once they hatch out of their monsterseed. So it kinda looks like battles later on will be letting the monsters do most of the work while the summoner stands on the other side of the screen. Sunsoft’s translation seems rather iffy too a lot like a later game on this list Star Ocean 2. Oh well as a C tier RPG it seems fine.

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The stakes have been raised to a whole new level with this 4th game in the Need For Speed series. At least that is what EA wants you to think going by the title. Since I’ve not played any of these games before this one I don’t quite know what they added. Police focused modes seem to be new. With one of them being a mode where the player needs to chase down speeding vehicles and stopping them before time runs out. I didn’t look at it for too long but career mode seems to be a standard selection of races where the goal is to get first every time. With the same moniker as the game High Stakes is a 1 on 1 race where the loser fortifs their car to the winner. Without a save to come back to my loss didn’t mean to much to me. All the cars control fine and it looked like most of the tracks have plenty of turns to test your skills.

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20 years Pacman is back and his entire family has been captured in his stead. By the evil Toc-Man who is just a robotic version of our hero. He must now travel through 6 worlds to rescue everyone and reclaim his honor along with his birthday cake. I think Namco did a good job of mixing the old with the new. If you just want to play some Pac Man mazes you can still do that once you boot the game up. Along with the quest mode which is mostly a 3D platformer.I think they did a great job of revitalizing Pac Man for a new age this time. Even if he does kinda just play as the middle ground between Sonic and Mario. (He has a butt bounce and a speed dash.) Plus Namco was even nice enough to include an arcade port of the original Pac Man game as well.

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This was more of a direct sequel to Paperboy that my memories told me. For some reason I kinda remember this being somewhat open world. But other than a few of the extra bonus missions allowing me to cycle anywhere the main gameplay is exactly the same as the previous game this is based on. As the unluckiest paperboy ever the player must take his revenge on the world. Maybe it was just the animations but the amount of people this paperboy is willing to smack with a newspaper is quite absurd. High Voltage made this even more of a video game than before by adding in boss fights. The first one is against frankenstein and his monster. A amusing fight even if it just required me to hit 4 tesla coils.

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On paper being able to collect em all in pinball format is a good idea. But adding randomness to a pinball table that already relies on a bit of luck to win wasn’t a good idea. This has two different tables based on PKMN red and blue. Yet I kinda hate the red table. I’m just not good at getting to the catch em mini game. On blue it is right in the middle of it so starting up that mode is easy. But that isn’t all you need to worry about since moving around to different areas is also required to find new pokemon. Most of the time during this session I just got stuck in one area and never made it to another one before running out of pinballs. I do think these are good pinball tables but they don’t have much replay value.

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Taking pictures of Pokemon doesn’t seem that compelling at first. Yet trying to get the perfect shot of every Pokemon is more satisfying than you might infer. This entire game is literally on rails that go at a slow pace till they reach the end of the level. Along the way the player needs to take good photos of every Pokemon to fill out a report for Professor Oak. More levels get unlocked by using different items like Pokemon food to blow up a Electrode that reveals a new path to a volcano. This is a great game just to sit back and relax as you become a ace Pokemon photographier.

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Eh is this really enough of a game to point it out again? I’m leaning toward yes even if this is just a reskin Blue/Red. With the biggest addition that Pikachu now follows the player around everywhere. They also added in a few new encounters and changed the rival’s pokemon to Eevee. I wonder if Nintendo always planned on producing a third Pokemon game. The focus on making it like the TV show makes me think it wasn’t something they were planning on doing till much later.

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I’ve said this before but sometimes keeping the gameplay simple leads to a much better game like Power Stone. After all a 3D fighting game without ony two buttons could have come out much worse that this. The chaos of each battle is where the fun comes from in these matches. Random item pickups can change the tide of battle. Especially the power stones which turn the player character or the opponent into their super forms. Once transformed they can pretty much lay waste to the other fighter with lock on attacks. Keeping the enemy from gathering the crystals first is the key to winning any battle especially against the final boss Valgas. Good thing I found out he was weak to dive kicks.

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Rampage 2 is the same game as before. But they did make it more of a balanced game to play through. Instead of dying every 5 seconds you can actually play through this without worrying about dying. The main playable characters are new monsters and the main goal is to save the original monsters. A ultra special was added that allows you to take down a building if you fill a meter. Other than that this really is just the same thing over and over again. I may rather play this one than the first game but the repetitive nature can be a bit much.

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4 years later Rayman returns now with his buddy Globox in tow. Pirates have taken over the world and only Rayman has the power to stop them. He must platform his way through 3D environments and free lums from their cages to restore the balance of the world. Ubisoft must have thought that the range of Rayman’s fist would be too limited in 3D so they changed it into a throwable ball of light. At least this time you don’t have to collect everything to get a ending. I’ve noticed a lot of these games were programed to use the extra MB of the expansion pack allowing them to look slightly better.

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I kinda bought just about every Midway game from this era huh. Ready 2 Rumble Boxing was sadly my first boxing game. Apparently a great way to get me to not care about boxing games from this point forward. It may be more complex than Punch Out but it still has plenty of racial stereotypes. Which was only widely used because this was also a comical take on boxing. Looking at the gameplay this has light and heavy punches. That can be aimed high or low. A rumble meter also fills up which gives the player a volley of punches that will hurt a lot if they hit. For the time the fact that the boxers could get bruised was unique. Nothing about this game made me like it that much. The additional elements of having to block low and high just left me hitting the mat way to often.

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After seeing this game during a AGDQ marathon I knew it needed to be in my collection. It is super dumb and that is why I love it. The hero of this story is a cowboy named Zan who was trained by a wise old master from Japan to use a sword. After finally returning to his hometown after many years of training Zan finds the place took over by a gang of thieves. Using both his sword and gun he must save the day. I can’t quite explain the low budget hilarity this game has in text form. Between most of the cutscenes looking like they were using concept art to the “great” theme song that plays once the disc starts the appeal is evident if you watch it in motion. I won’t say it is a good character action game but as a first attempt it is at least playable. Even the QTE are better than most with them being called all button events because you need to press every button rapidly. A dumb idea that apparently could only come from Japan.

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I wonder how many people know this is Sucker Punch's first game The through-line from this to Sly Cooper makes perfect sense. To start off with they decided to make a Super Mario 64 like game starting a robot named Rocket. He must rescue Whoopie World from a devious Racoon named Jo Jo. Since they set it in an amusement park it is easier to believe all the unique themes for each level. Between flying on a magic carpet or running around a circus they did a good job of visually making each world unique. A different set of 12 challenges are lined up in each level with the main progression tied to collecting tickets. Some of the challenges are take the by the numbers approach like collecting all the tokens in a level. Others are quite unique like racing a car through a circus or solving a paint puzzle by painting something the correct color. The best thing about learning all these mechanics is that the final level uses them all to test how well you’ve mastered them.

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Rugrats the board game via a N64. Coming out the same year as Mario Party was a great way to make this look like a lesser game. Although they both are a board games that are about being lucky. The layout of the Reptar themed board game was brain dead simple. Run around a circle till you get bored to death. Glancing at the scavenger hunt level it appears to have more stuff going on yet it is somehow even more random. With each board piece being hidden till the player lands on them. At least they got the voice actors from the cartoon.

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It doesn’t seem like Sonic in 3D didn’t click for everyone. Either you absolutely hate Sonic Adventure or you tend to enjoy it with almost no middle ground. I lean on the side of enjoying this series even if I can see the flaws. The reason why I like this iteration of the Sonic games is that it had more than just one gameplay style. Even the ones that may not be that great like Big the cat's fishing mini game doesn’t overstay its welcome. Sonic’s missions were obviously the main focus and they were well made. Unlocking the final story after beating them all was also a cool bonus.

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Star Ocean 2 has a long intro before anything of note happens. Other than the first battle with Claude (Which I didn’t control.) I didn’t get to play any battles. Which is to bad since half the reason I like the Star Ocean series is the combat. It is a action rpg that lets the player chose from a selection of moves to take down enemies. Another thing I like about this game is that the story is slightly different depending on which playable character you choose at the beginning. The main story arc is still the same but extra scenes are added in to explain what happened during points of the story where the two playable characters separate. After playing mostly Working Designs translated rpgs up to this point Star Ocean seems kinda dry and robotic even when it is trying to be funny. After playing a part of so many RPG’s it has become apparent when some lines aren’t quite aren’t quite on point. Oh well at least they corrected that with the re-release on psp.

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This is a bad video game. The best thing I can say about it is that it does follow the narrative of the movie really well. To bad you almost have to save scum to win. Between poor platforming controls and the fact enemies can reduce your life bar to zero really quickly if you're not careful this isn’t a easy game to beat. The fact that it lets you save anywhere makes it apparent that the developers expected you to save occasionally. Otherwise you will need to restart the entire level. Depending on the playable character the only options you have in combat is to wildly swing a lightsaber or shoot a blaster. The range of the blaster makes it a better weapon to use overall even if the character has access to force powers. This could also go on a list of games with a random music video in their menu.

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Say what you will about SW Episode 1 but this podracer game was the best thing to come out of it. Like Wipeout this has a great sense of speed. Barely staying on the track without blowing up a engine is what will be happening every second of each track. Each track has shortcuts and going down them should make it easier to beat the CPU. Yet upgrading the podracer to maximum after each race seems like a great way to stay ahead of every other podracer. I had no issues getting first in almost every semi pro race I decided to attempt. Maybe a bit too easy but hey if the game gives me the tools win every time I’ll take it.

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This is a faithful recreation of Super Mario Bros now with more stuff to do. In classic mode the only new thing is a world map instead of white text on a black screen. It also has a challenge mode which gives you a reason to try to get a high score. Along with collecting some red coins and a Yoshi egg. Racing against Boo is another unique mode which challenges the player to beat Boo while he causes blocks to appear to stop you from winning.

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Oh boy here we are at the game that has been labeled as one of the worst games of all time. It hasn’t got that moniker by being a good game and that shows in just the first two levels. I don’t think Titus was trying that hard when making this game anyway with the 5 second introduction of the story being MUHAHA save your friends if you can Superman. Then getting put headfirst into flying through rings to compete a bunch of random events. Failure is the name of this game with many retries till I eventually succeed. Mostly thanks to the bad flying controls that make Superman control like a flying car. Once the game goes into on foot mode in the 2nd level it is somehow worse. Punching enemies doesn’t give the player any notification that they are damaging the enemy and the one animation they used for this attack looks silly. With no maneuverability during fights other than to clumsy fly away I found it tough to even beat the first villain. Getting kicked back to the beginning of the level after losing was a great way to get me to not care about playing this mess anymore.

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The used copy of Syphon Filter I ended up buying is unbeatable without cheats. The disc itself is really scratched up but it plays fine up till one of the later levels where it always freezes during a cutscene. This is a tough game that I didn’t manage to beat until much later. The story is straightforward as agent Logan you must take down an evil terrorist plot to use the Syphon FIlter virus to infect the world. To stop the terrorist plot the player will need to shoot his/her way through different levels competing any objectives that come up during the mission. Some of the objectives expect you to be on point like aiming for a headshot to take down someone near the bomb. At least Logan has the best taser ever that can actually light enemies on fire if you keep the attack button pressed down.

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I had to know how bad this game was. 2$ was cheap enough to see how badly Rockstar messed up when creating this skateboarding game. Good luck doing anything other than two tricks in a combo. Each level is not set up to allow the player to get a lot of points with combos. Do as many different types of tricks as possible seems to be the name of the nature of this game. If it wasn’t so slow it might have been a better game. At least it is fun to see some early ragdoll whenever your skater falls down.

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The only reason Rainbow Six works on the N64 is because it has heavy aim assist to counter the fact that it is possible to die in one hit. This was when the Tom Clancy name meant they were trying to make it realistic in every way. Although I do wish they varied up the objective a little bit. Going by the first 4 every mission is apparently just about rescuing hostages. Although they aren’t really the true mission which is just shoot everyone. These early games are all about planning out moves on a map beforehand. Not something I really spent much time on instead preferring to use my backup team as an extra attempt if blue team fails.

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I don’t quite understand why Ubisoft would pollute their own market by releasing two 3D platformers starring heroes that have floating limbs. This one has a purple guy named Ed accidently drop a powerful tonic onto earth and it just so happens to fall into the hands of a evil viking named Grogh. Now he must clean up his own mess by skiing down a slope and then platform his way through 9 levels gaining new powers as he goes along. After recusing the Doc he gets the ability to attack with a stick. I assume if I kept going he would have earned abilities that will then be used in the next level. This appears to be a solid platformer with good control of where Ed jumps to.

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Seeing the world from a viewpoint of a toy is a neat idea. Toy Commander is a mission based game that challenges players to beat the time on each one. Luckily it isn’t required and you can progress without getting the best time. Every set of missions are based on a different room in the house. Starting out in the kitchen by rolling eggs into a pot or racing planes through rings are a few of the missions you’ll need to compete. Beating Cyclone and the rest of the boss levels in each level is the only way to compete the game. Since you get access to them all for a final boss fight against a cyborg teddy bear.

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I’m sure the first Vigilante 8 wasn’t that serious but wow they decided to go in entirely the other direction. It starts out with some time travel from what I assume is the main villain from the first game. Who decides to go back and wipe out the vigilantes that stopped him in the past. As a car combat game this does have a better set of weapons. Mostly meaning that a lot of them can lock on to other cars. Control wise this seems just like Twisted Metal aka tank controls. It works but turning around seems like it takes forever. I do like that the developers added in extra objectives per location in quest mode. Mixes up the action a bit and forces the player to explore each stage a bit more

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I’m sure EA was super excited to attempt to create some WCW games. To bad adding in more stuff made it a worse game. On paper adding in weapons and using some of the extra buttons to give the player more options to succeed. Yet the stiff looking animations do not go well with the slightly improved graphics. (Everything doesn’t look less blurry now.) On the plus side it has a improved create a character that has more options than just changing a costume. I think it also has some intro music compared to the generic sounding music from the previous games. I know I don’t like this game but it does have a lot of good points apparently. From this point forward I gave up on Wrestling games in general.

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I always considered Winback a to be a B tier Metal Gear Solid with cover based mechanics. At least for the N64 release it doesn’t have any voice over which might have been a good thing going by the quality of VO games of this ilk tend to have. The story starts with a terrorist organization taking over a satellite that can fire a laser strike anywhere in the world. It is up to Jean-Luc and his fellow Winback operatives to stop the terrorist plot. Hiding behind cover shooting dudes will be the main gameplay flow mixed in with some box shooting. Literally boxes stand in your way and must be shot sometimes along with laser trip wire panels too. Boss fights against named villains await all who shoot their way through the many peons that stand in the way. None of them are that memorable other than a one unexpected twist that happens mid way through the game.

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This was my first Worms game and I somehow ended up with a PC and PS1 copy. Worms works just fine on a controller so I don’t know why I ended up with two copies. Since I have nothing to compare it to I always assumed they just added more weapons in Armageddon compared to the original game. Along with a tutorial and mission mode for anyone that decided to play this solo. The tutorials aren’t much more than a shooting gallery to test all the weapons. While the missions seem to be one worm operations that must be completed swiftly before the enemy team overwhelms you. Then it has regular old turn based Worms as well. Since each round is turn based you need to use whatever weapons each worm has to blow away the enemy either by flinging them off into the water or decrease their HP to zero. I never quite got good at actually winning a match of worms but I mostly cared about seeing all the absurd weapons more than winning a match.

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I can see that this is not a good game. Doesn’t mean I don’t have good memories of playing through it. Yoda’s Stories is fetch quest the video game. Go to one area to pick up an important item like a motavator to give to someone else. Use a card key you found to unlock a area. The combat is rather stuff with Luke waving his lightsaber around randomly till all the enemies disappear. Yet I enjoyed this just because it was a Star Wars side story on the go. I’m pretty sure if I played this on PC I would have been less than impressed with it. These days I don’t have the patience to figure out all the random items I need to finish a level. They do give hints on the map about locations with important items. But the main mission area was left up to me and I couldn’t find the keycard I needed.

Conclusion

I could write anything here and it would fit in with at least one game from this list. Instead I’ll go over the process of how I ended up with this list. As you should be able to tell by some of these games I didn’t quite pay attention to reviews. Other than Nintendo Power I had very few ways to see a review of a game. The internet was a thing but at AOL speeds I pretty much never used it. Oh well at least I found some merit in seeing the best and worst the video game industry could create over the years. After all no one tries to make a bad game. Next year the new millennium is upon us as the Playstation 2 enters the fray. One of my favorite Gundam games also makes an appearance too.

4 Comments

4 Comments

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warius87

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Love your retrospectives!

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Chillicothe

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Lunar:SSC and Star Ocean 2 was some goooooood summer playing, lemme tell ya.

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Justin258

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Justin258  Online

I played a shitload of Hot Wheels Turbo Racing as a kid, it's one of those ges that I 100%ed several times.

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zach66827

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Oh man, What a year. I played the crap out of army men, all star baseball, pokemon yellow, dk 64. Hadn't realized they all came out the same year.