|By PlatformPCPS3Xbox 360Wii U3DSPS VitaAndroidiPhoneiPadOther HardwareEditor's Choiceby Author||By LatestThe best and worst s : May Returns Grim Fandango Gravity Ghost New Nintendo 3DS XL Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn... Citizens of Earth Resident Evil HD Remaster Saints Row IV: Gat out of Hell Funk of Titans Legend of Grimrock 2 Assassin's Creed Unity: Dead KingsMore reviews||By GenreActionAdventureFightersFree-to-playMMOMusicPlatformShootersSportsRPGStrategyMore genres|
|Xbox LIVE:||TheDust34||PSN ID:||TheDust34||Wii U code:||TheDustinThomas|
How's that for a category name? Rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? Over the course of the last few weeks I've written about my favorite Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo exclusive games, so I figured the best way to round out this 16-bit series of blogs is with my favorite multi-platform games from the era. Some of the games on the list differ on their respective platforms, but for the most part, they're the same game. As with the previous couple of blogs, there were a ton of games to choose from, so here's a few honorable mentions:
I didn't even know that the TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine existed until about ten years ago, so it's understandable why I didn't include any games from those consoles. I included Rondo of Blood on my top Castlevania games list, and even though it was exclusive to Japan, it's now playable in several forms in America and elsewhere. If you're a fan of the series or retro 2D games in general, Rondo is a must-play.
And now, the offical 5.
This may seem like a very weird choice, but I had so much fun playing Clue on the Genesis back in the day. Whether I was playing with friends or by myself, I never had a bad time with it. I've never been the type to play board games in their videogame iteration, but Clue was different somehow. Maybe it's because I've never played Clue in it's intended board game form. I had the Sega Channel as a youngster, and every time a new month started and they doled out the new games, I would always check to see if Clue was still there (or making a comeback). The months where it wasn't included were always a drag.
When it comes to nostalgia for the game, I've always remembered a time where I woke up early on a Saturday and couldn't fall back to sleep. It was probably around 6 a.m., and instead of trying to go back to sleep, I played two games of Clue, and wound up winning both because Professor Plum is unstoppable.
Plum was always my character of choice, and I never understood why until I saw the movie. It's because Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, plays the professor. It's also one of Tim Curry's best performances. What I'm saying is you should go watch Clue if you've never seen it before.
If there were one genre that I found to be synonymous with the early 90s, it's the beat 'em up. Of course we think of titles like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, and Turtles in Time, but one of my favorites was Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage. I've never been a comic book guy, but I know who Spider-Man and Venom are, and that was enough for me to want to play the game. It also didn't hurt that the cartridge was a different color than most on the SNES, making it stand out from the pack like a big, red penguin.
In terms of the actual gameplay, you won't find anything special. It's your standard punch, kick, and jump fare, but the thing that really stood out was just how deliciously 90s the game was, even more so than Comix Zone. Everything about it just screams "alt rock." So much, in fact, that the 90s rock band Green Jelly aren't just featured, but they actually wrote and produced the soundtrack. I remember their logo being prominently featured on the games start up screen. Who was Green Jelly, you might ask? I'm not surprised you don't remember. Well, I wasn't too familiar with them, but if there was one song you may know, it's "Three Little Pigs." Fun fact: when doing research, I discovered that Tool drummer, Danny Carey, was the drummer for Green Jelly for a five year span, and that Tool's singer, Maynard James Keenan, does backing vocals on "Three Little Pigs." That was fun to discover, because even though I don't listen to them much anymore, I still consider Tool to be one of my all-time favorite bands.
Anyway, the game looks great, as it's done in its native comic book style, and it controls really well. The only drawbacks are that the game is pretty difficult, and you don't actually get to do a whole lot of Spider-Manny stuff. You climb up a building at one point, and you can use the web-sling, but it only transports you as far as the edge of the screen, so it's pretty pointless. Nevertheless, a solid game on either platform you choose to play it on.
I played a lot of sports games as a kid, but I was always partial to the ones that were over-the-top, like Base Wars, NFL Blitz, and Mutant League Hockey . But the one I spent the most time with was NBA Jam: Tournament Edition. I played it on the Super Nintendo, and for the most part, it was a pretty good arcade port. NBA Jam was well known for its plethora of secrets, like "Big Head Mode," being able to add Hot Spots, which increased the amount of points you'd receive if you made a shot standing on that spot, full-court dunks, and of course, tons of secret characters like Will Smith, Hillary Clinton, and George Clinton (no relation...that I'm aware of).
Unfortunately, the game didn't have my two favorite basketball players, which were Michael Jordan and Shaq. I assume the reason is because they both had their own games, but let's not talk about those. Since I couldn't play as them, my team of choice was actually the "Rookies" team, which featured 20 different combinations of NBA rookies from that year. I usually went with Grant Hill and Jason Kidd, which makes me feel really old because I remember when Grant Hill and Jason Kidd were rookies.
But I can't talk about NBA Jam without mentioning the announcer. It's one of the most recognizable voices in videogame history, and few things hit all my nostalgia buttons than hearing "He's on fire" or "Boomshakalaka."
The original Mortal Kombat, while not technically on the same level as Street Fighter II from a fighting game perspective, changed my life in ways that Street Fighter II didn't. I had played the arcade version at a local Putt-Putt several times, and got the Genesis version for Christmas the year it was available. The blood code, to me, is on the same level of importance as the Konami Code, and it's been etched in my memory since the day I learned it.
Mortal Kombat was one of the few games that brought my brother and I closer as children (at least momentarily). We would play for hours on our weekend evenings, usually with one of his friends, fighting match after match. I was never the type to compare games to their predecessors as a kid, but when Mortal Kombat II came to our Genesis, I could tell immediately that it was an improvement over the original in every conceivable way. The characters were better, there were twice as many, everyone now had two fatalities, there were more arenas, they included special stage fatalities like the Acid Bath, and they included the ridiculous "friendship" and "babality" finishers. I always thought the babalities were kind of stupid, but I did get a kick out of the friendships.
I lost the luster for fighting games when I played the original version of Street Fighter IV and realized that I didn't enjoy it at all, though I still tried to get into the 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat, but it was all for naught. I have no intention of playing Mortal Kombat X later this year, and honestly I probably won't go back and play any old Mortal Kombat games, either. But the memories I have of staying up late and fighting an absent player two just so I could try all of the fatalities is one that I hold very dear to my heart.
If any game from the 16-bit era emerged as a cult classic, Zombies Ate My Neighbors is it. And it's only fitting, considering that the game itself is inspired by cult classic films like Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. It's also one of the best co-op games you can find, and I'm not just referring to it's generation. ZAMN is one of those games that my wife and I could pop in, play for a couple hours and have an absolute blast.
At the risk of sounding like an old man complaining that "they just don't make 'em like they used to," whoever they are, it just bums me out that there aren't games like Zombies Ate My Neighbors anymore, at least not in the console space. I would love to see an HD upgrade of ZAMN and put out on the various downloadable services. Unfortunately, when LucasArts was acquired by Disney and later shut down, most of that hope went out the window. While LucasArts did release a sequel called Ghoul Patrol, and other games done in the same style like Herc's Adventures, it's just a shame that no one has come along to play mad scientist and try to concoct the perfect mix of great gameplay, humor, horror, and all things camp like Zombies did.
ZAMN is the perfect Halloween game, but regardless of what time of the year you play it, it'll always be fun. It's one of my favorite games of all-time, and you owe it to yourself to track down a copy if you've never given it a shot.
Thus concludes 16-bit month for my weekly top 5s, I hope you guys enjoyed them.
Hey everyone, here's that episode of the podcast I talked about last week. It's a little late, but whatever.
Luke and I decided to try something new and recorded a video podcast, so now you can see my beard in all its glory!
But if you're not into that, here's the regular audio.
Greetings Error Machine listeners. Due to some recent goings-on, Christopher Craig Cramer was not able to join Dustin and Luke this week, so they took it upon themselves to record the second edition of their "Backlogging" series.
This time Dustin talks about his recent adventures in Super Mario RPG, and Luke tells a gruesome tale with Splatterhouse.
This was also our first venture into video podcasting, and you can find those on our YouTube channel.
Super Mario RPG talk begins at 3:15
Splatterhouse beings at 22:00
Follow us on Twitter
Hey DToiders, this week, the Error Machine Podcast is down a man, as Chris has some stuff he has to take care of. So Luke and I have taken it upon ourselves to bring the second edition of "Backlogging."
If you're a regular listener, you may remember an episode we did a few months back where we talked about games that we had recently gotten off of our backlogs. We choose games that one of us played upon its initial release, but the other host just recently played. So Luke interviewed me and asked my thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and I interviewed him about The Last of Us (Embedded at the bottom is that episode if you're interested), and these episodes are typically shorter than normal ones.
This edition of Backlogging, Luke will be interviewing me about Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and I will be talking to him about Splatterhouse (2010).
So basically, we just wanted some questions or comments about those two games in particular, or any other questions/comments you may have about our (or your) backlogs.
Hey...I love you guys.
Usually I do an honorable mention on these lists, which is basically a cheap way for me to include the game that barely missed the cut and give it some recognition, but this was, so far, the hardest list for me to narrow down. This easily could have been a top 10 (or top 20, for that matter) blog, so instead of writing in depth about an honorable mention, here's some of the games that just barely missed the cut:
Three of those games are titles that appeared on Weekly Top 5: Games I Can Finally Remove From My Backlog, and that's kind of the reason I felt weird putting them on the official list. Whenever I do a list based around retro games, my nostalgia plays a great part in determining what makes the cut and what doesn't, and since those three were games that I've played within the last year, I felt the need to keep them as honorable mentions. That doesn't take away from the fact that they are not only three great SNES games, but they're three of the best games I've ever played. That being said, let's continue with my top 5 Super Nintendo games.
The Blue Bomber was so beloved on the NES that it was hard to imagine how they could improve upon the formula, but improve it they did. X controls so well and has many more options at his disposal than the original Mega Man, like the ability to wall jump and dash while in the air. There's also an added incentive of exploration, as you can find secret areas that hold permanent upgrades for X outside of the new weapons you get from defeating bosses.
Speaking of bosses, I've always preferred the Mavericks to the Robot Masters. I just think they're cooler. Not that Wood Man and Guts Man aren't without their merits, but I'd rather battle enemies with more intimidating designs and names like Storm Eagle and...Boomer Kuwanger? Whatever that is.
I still prefer the original Mega Man series on NES, but I didn't play any games in the X series other than the original, but I've heard they vary in quality.
I hope the future that my distant descendants experience is more akin to that of Contra III: Alien Wars than to something like Fallout 3 or Rage. The latter future seems drab and depressing, while the former future seems exhilarating/terrifing. I imagine that in the Contra future, Slayer's "Raining Blood" has become the new national anthem.
If you're looking for run 'n gun mayhem on the Super Nintendo, then look no further. It took everything that was great about Contra and Super C and cranked it to 11. There are more things to do in this game than just run to the right and shoot, as Konami placed a greater emphasis on platforming with the use of poles and ladders to traverse the hostile terrain. And they revamped the weapon system, enabling you to now carry two weapons at a time and switch to them on the fly, as well as the inclusion of bombs that can be used to take out every enemy on the screen.
The level design is also improved and more over-the-top than before, including a level where you ride on missiles. But I can't mention the levels without talking about the two top-down stages. Being an early SNES title, they had to find a way to include some Mode 7 sections, and these two levels almost ruin the game. Okay, that's not necessarily true, but they slow down the action and take you out of your rhythm, and the controls always take some getting used to no matter how many times I play it.
Before I fell in love with videogames, I fell in love with baseball, and that has never changed. I'm still an avid fan of the sport, even though the Reds continually break my heart, year after year. There were tons of baseball games on the NES, and I played almost all of them. So when I got my Super Nintendo, I knew I had to find a good baseball game to play. Every year for my birthday, rather than getting presents, I would acquire a whole bunch of money and my parents would take me anywhere I wanted to spend it. I usually had a videogame in mind that I wanted, so the local K-Mart was where I usually asked to go. After seeing commercials for Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball (which is how it's usually referred to), I knew I had to have it, and to this day is one of the best purchasing decisions I've ever made.
I still play this game. I'm not kidding, I'm in the middle of a season as we speak. It's cartoony and colorful, but is still a solid baseball simulation for the time. You don't have the options that you would with the current MLB series, but that's the reason I love it. I don't need different pitches and different swing types. I also don't need a single game lasting an hour, because I can knock a game of Ken Griffey out in 10 minutes. My only complaint is that the game had the MLB license, but not the license to the Player's Association, so even though I knew who most of the players were, with the exception of the player the game is named after, they were all given fake names, and each team had it's own theme for player names (the Reds got famous authors).
The game is so good that even though there was a second game with Griffey's likeness on the SNES, this is the one that everyone refers to as "Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball" like I mentioned earlier.
Turtles in Time is one of those games whose quality hasn't diminished one iota over time. It's just as fun today as it was when it was released, and is arguably the greatest licensed game of all-time. The Turtles are timeless, although I don't think anyone is going to argue with me if I say that the cartoon I grew up with was the best incarnation our shelled heroes. It's safe to assume that if you had an NES, you probably owned the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and possibly TMNT 2: The Arcade Game (complete with free Pizza Hut coupon if you bought the game new). The third title, The Manhattan Project, was a little more obscure and is more difficult to find for a good price these days, but it's essentially a somewhat better looking version of the NES arcade port with a few extras thrown in.
Say what you will about those games, but I still love all of them. Sure, the original game on the NES is not necessarily a good game, and although it has very little to do with the cartoon that I loved, I still enjoy the heck out of the game to this day. But nothing could have prepared me for just how great Turtles in Time turned out to be. To this day, it remains my favorite beat 'em up, and I still pop it in from time to time. If I had to be nitpicky, the game is pretty short. While there are a lot of (awesome) levels, playing this game with a buddy means we finish it in under 30 minutes. But to the its credit, this is the kind of game that you can restart as soon as you finish it because it's just so much darn fun.
Lastly, I can't overstate just how much I enjoy the music. It's possibly my favorite game soundtrack ever, and I can immediately pick out any theme as soon as I hear it. It's also unanimously heralded as superior to its arcade version, which is not something that you hear very often.
One of the community blog topics on Destructoida few months back was for us to write about our all-time favorite games, and I went with Super Mario World, because it's scientifically perfect based on the research that I've conducted with 7-year-old me. This was a no-brainer, but then I remembered that a semi-rare SNES cartridge took Super Mario World and coupled it with updated versions of three other great Mario games (Lost Levels is also included, but it's not great...or good...or worth playing) in Super Mario All Stars.
Yeah, I'm kind of cheating by including what's basically a predecessor to the HD collections that are so prevalent today. It's like me saying the best game on the PS3 is the Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection. Actually, that wouldn't be a bad idea. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Super Mario All Stars often gets overlooked in the pantheon of Super Nintendo games, and it's easy to do so. Most don't look at it as a brand new game, but I feel that thanks to the superior power the SNES had over its predecessor, the updated graphics make it look and feel fresh.
It also doesn't hurt that it was later put on the same cart with the greatest game ever made. Science!
I just recently began reading Console Wars by Blake J. Harris, which chronicles the 16-bit videogame war between Sega and Nintendo. I can't put it down, and I highly suggest it for anyone interested in videogame history. As I'm reading, memories are flooding back to me about this particular time in my life. Even though I'm a self-admitted Nintendo fanboy, I was actually more of a Genesis kid than I was a Super Nintendo kid. A lot of that was due to the fact that my parents were awesome enough to subscribe to the Sega Channel, which enabled me to play 50 Sega games every month, and was a brilliant idea that was way ahead of its time. Because this era was so influential on me, the next few weeks my top 5 lists are going to pertain to this time in my life. The list this week counts down my favorite Sega Genesis games.
Games on this list were only playable on the Genesis, so games like Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Earthworm Jim, which in my mind are synonymous with the Genesis, are disqualified because they also appeared on the SNES. They will qualify for a list in the future, however. Now let's get started.
Ecco the Dolphin is scarier than any survival horror game I've ever played. I'd rather play P.T. for days on end than play Ecco the Dolphin. I have this irrational and serious phobia of water levels in videogames, they completely stress me out. I've never made it past the first few screens in an Eccogame because I get to that first shark and immediately turn the system off. No, thank you. So, Kudos to Sega for making the scariest videogame series of all-time, completely inadvertently.
Road Rash II gets the nod over the other entries in the series for one reason: I didn't play them, although I imagine they weren't much different, and RRII is usually considered to be the best. Road Rash is a series I wouldn't mind seeing make a return, as they don't make games like it anymore. Sure, it's very similar in gameplay to Mario Kart or various other kart racers, but Road Rash felt edgy, and therefore, more adult. It was almost a game that I felt I shouldn't have been playing at the time.
There need to be more car combat games (or cycle combat in this case), and not the Twisted Metal kind where you get a small sandbox to putz around in or the Mario Kart-esque games where you're on a defined track. Road Rash was the perfect amalgamation of the two; an extreme racing game where combat was essential to victory.
This game barely beat out Skitchin', which is basically Road Rash except you're racing on rollerblades, which were all the rage in the 90s.
General Chaos is one of the most overlooked games not only on the Genesis, but probably ever. There's nothing else like it, and it really is, as the name implies, chaotic. It's a single-screen combat game where you control your choice of four different squads to take on your opposition. Each squad is made up of a combination of the games five different classes of soldiers, so you can pick a squad more fitting to how you prefer to play the game. If you prefer long-range, go with the squad with the Launcher and the Chucker. Or maybe you're a risk taker and want to play with a squad that has the Blaster. It's all up to you.
You control your characters by use of a cursor assigned to the D-pad, and that's really the only flaw to the game. It gets much better (and easier) if you're playing with a friend, or three friends if you happen to have the adapter, at which point you only need to control one or two characters at the absolute most. My personal favorite part of the game is getting your character really close to an enemy soldier, at which point everything else stops and you engage in mano a mano combat. It's a far cry from Metal Gear Solid's CQC encounters, but it's still a ton a fun.
Sadly, the artist of the game tried to fund a sequel through Kickstarter back in 2013, and it came up about $100,000 short of its goal, which really bums me out considering what stuff does get funded. General Chaos is definitely worth playing if you ever get the opportunity.
I've never been into comic books, but I remember seeing Comix Zone in an issue of GamePro and thinking it was the coolest idea for a videogame that I had ever seen, and it probably still is. It's an action platformer where the main character, Sketch Turner (who looks like Dee Snider), gets sucked into his own comic book and forced to do battle with his creations. After clearing rooms, Sketch jumps from panel to panel to advance the story.
Comix Zone wasn't released until late in the Genesis' life. So late, in fact, that Sega's next major console, the Saturn, was already on store shelves, as was its major competition, the Playstation. Due to this, the game didn't sell very well, but has gone on to be a bit of a cult classic.
My only complaint was that the game was incredibly hard. I was never able to get past the third level, but luckily I had friends who were much better than me and were able to beat the game, so I still got to see it in its entirety.
Remember a little bit ago when I said I've never been into comic books? While that was technically true, the part that isn't is that there are some superheroes that I really like. One is Batman, because its Batman, and the other is the X-Men. Now, I'm not the type that goes into back stories and knows the ins-and-outs of characters, but I was a huge fan of the X-Men cartoon in the 90s, as well as the action figure line that spawned from it, and then we got two great Genesis games.
Well, one good game and one great game is probably more fair to say. The first game is fine, but the sequel, Clone Wars, is outstanding. It replicates the look and feel of the show and comic to a t. You have your choice of eight X-Men characters (after you unlock Magneto), including all the fan favorites like Wolverine and Gambit. It's a straightforward action game where you punch, kick, and special attack through hordes of the Phalanx in order to (duh) save the world. Each character had unique abilities, like Beast's ability to cling to walls and Cyclops' ability to suck. But it was obvious that everyone was probably going to want to play as Wolverine, which is why he got preferential treatment and got a sweet lunge attack, the ability to climb walls, and can slowly regenerate health to a certain degree (and yes, I know health regeneration is one of his abilities in the comic). Wolverine's brooding abilities are off the chart as well.
Much like General Chaos, this game is a lot more fun when played co-op with a friend, and any time my childhood friend David and I would fire this game up, we were unstoppable with the team of Nightcrawler and Gambit.
A long dead genre, Streets of Rage 2 is the best of the best in the beat 'em up category. I love the Final Fights and Golden Axes of the world, but for me, none of them hold a candle to Streets of Rage 2. It was one of the few games that united my brother and I. Normally we were competing with each other, and more times than not, my brother would win as he had three extra years on me, but Streets of Rage 2 gave us a reason to work together.
And the game is still just as great today, my wife and I have played it within the last year and had an absolute blast. The original was great, but the sequel was much more refined and did away with the generic special attack of calling in a police car to launch missles and gives every character a unique special move. And say what you want about the music on the Genesis, but Streets of Rage 2 has one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. It sounds like it should be in a Blade movie.
The characters that were added--Skate and Max Thunder--are way better than the returning Axel and Blaze. Why do I say that? Skate wears roller blades and Max Thunder is a professional wrestler, what else do you need to know? Although you can unlock a playable Kangaroo in Streets of Rage 3, which is admittedly pretty rad.
The 16-bit era was truly a revolutionary time. Even though companies today are technically competing with each other, you'll never see companies trying to put each other out of business again the way Nintendo and Sega were in the 90s. Hope you guys enjoyed this ride through my nostalgia. Next week's top 5: Super Nintendo Games
Hey everyone, we're not exactly what went wrong during the recording process, but there's a noise that you'll hear throughout the podcast that sounds like someone tapping on a wooden desk. We apologize about that, and hopefully you don't find it too annoying. Topics below!
1:15 Chris quits cable television
4:00 Heather talks 90210
6:30 Dustin really misses caffeine
8:30 Pop talk
10:00 Weekly Amiibo Watch
20:00 GOTW: Chris played Bully
23:50 GOTW: Luke played the Shantae series & Theatrhythm FF CC
31:40 GOTW: Dustin played Super Mario 3D World & Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
37:10 GOTW: Heather played Fantasy Life
46:30 New releases (SPOILERS, there aren’t any)
48:40 Limited edition New 3DS’ in the UK being scalped
53:30 Amiibo rarity and shady practices
56:20 GameStop says six Amiibos are discontinued
58:30 Nintendo discontinues original 3DS model
59:55 Listener questions
1:01:05 Games that are synonymous with certain music
1:06:10 Our first concerts
1:07:10 Luke is offended that no one else knows Herman’s Hermits
And don't forget to subscribe and rate us on iTunes and/or Stitcher Radio.