Top 100 XBox 360 Review: #2 – Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

Still Impressive…But.

Its impact was a bit blunted this time — the game relies on the intrigue of figuring out the mechanics of the world and not the world itself. 

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Game FAQs Ranking:  #3
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

Video games rarely bleed over into a community event: they occur in palely lit rooms as a lone figure casts a backdrop from the saturated monitor light. Skyrim was a whole other story.

I never owned an Xbox360 or Playstation 3, but my new roommate did. I discovered Oblivion and devoured it quickly. He told me the next installment was just around the corner with the date being an easy to remember 11/11/11. When the day came, I woke up early (for my college days that is), and headed to my local Gamestop. Complete chaos. There was a line out the door, some in cosplay, as we all waited to get our hands on the next seminal event in video games.

Skyrim lived up to its expectations. I spent the next months/years exploring every nook and cranny. It has an amazing ability to get out of the way and let you do whatever ever you want. I cycled through all the possible combinations from Thief-Archer Kajhit to War Hammer-wielding Ogre. Betheseda has perfected the art of reward as you slowly nibble and navigate down an endless candy trail, always doing just “one more thing” for the next prize. Then you realize it is 2:00am. Yikes.

This time around, though, I learned something that lessened the game in my estimation, if even just by a little bit. The excitement and intrigue of this game did not come from the characters or story. The world is filled with thousands to meet, but they are mostly means to an end: to figure out how the man behind the curtain operates.

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Top 100 NES Review: #100 – Abadox: The Deadly Inner War (1989)

A Magic School Bus Tour of the Intestines.

This game made me ponder: what’s inside my bowels?
Abadox The Deadly Inner War Title ScreenSydlexia’s Ranking: #100/100
My Rating: smooth-starsmooth-starsmooth-star

You know if you stretched out your small intestines, they would be as long as 22 feet. While Abadox is only a measly six levels, it’s going to feel like it is much longer, just like your jejunum and ileum. That’s because during the space invasion through the gut of an alien, you will die many times by its angry inhabitants. I haven’t seen a GI system this upset since I ate a whole pizza and half a chicken in one sitting.

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Top 100 PS1 Review: # 7 – Chrono Cross (2000)

Thankfully, I Played This First.

Thus, the roughshod treatment of the beloved Chrono Trigger was unknown to me. 

Chrono Cross Ps1 Title ScreenApe’s Ranking: #7/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

This is my favorite video game of all-time. Just like its plot, I’m full of contradictions: it’s story is a mess, there are too many characters, non-boss fights are useless. While Chrono Trigger avoided pedantic discussions about time travel, Chrono Cross does the opposite by twisting so many convoluted plot devices in a knot that you could read gobs of timelines from fan historians and still not get it. I’ve never seen a sequel so irreverent of what came before it.

Thankfully during the Summer of 2000, I only vaguely knew about Chrono Trigger, so I was able to enjoy Chrono Cross in a vacuum. It’s a game of amazing atmosphere, music, and imagination. If you are able to float at a superficial level without trying to run everything to ground, you are treated to wonderful philosophical questions about free will, meaning, and fate.

Also, this is the best video game soundtrack of all time.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #41 – Sparkster (1994)

Oh No, Opossum!

It’s more fun pretending to be marsupial digging through a trashcan than this garbage heap of a side-scrolling game. 

Sparkster

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #41/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

I don’t mean to come across as harsh, but I think this game really sucks. There is only one unique thing about Sparkster: a lighting-quick, rocket charge attack that propels you across stage at the speed of light to a quick death. The only reason to play is the very thing you shouldn’t do. Sparkster is really synonymous with Sisyphus, and you’ll feel like you’ve been rolling a rock uphill to only see it roll back with every level.

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Top 100 N64 Review: #42 – Quake (1996)

Things Aren’t Looking Up.

Because the game barely lets you look up. 

Quake Title Screen

LesLites’ Ranking#42/100
My Rating:cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

Quake II was one of the defining moments of my youth. It was a beast to even get on multiplayer, needing to know coding commands, directory pathways, and IP addresses to get started. On my first map, I opened a bay door and saw rail guns firing in every direction as someone was fragged to bits right in front me. This. Was. AWESOME. 

Finding its predecessor on N64 was going to make my youth full circle. I meant to play the original but never did. I was wondering how it would port to the N64 since it was a game meant for the PC. This. Was. UNFORTUNATE. 

This could easily be a four (or maybe even five!) star game if played on a PC. It has the same old problems that every other shooter faced on the N64: without two analog sticks, you were restricted in how freely you could aim. This meant using a clunky collection of C-buttons on a X and Y axis to aim above. You will die several, several times from this alone. I found this limitation too much to overcome even with all the other amazing aspects.

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Top 100 NES Review: #19 – Metal Gear (1988)

Surprisingly Fun.

Figuring out maps, finding key cards, and solving puzzles. It doesn’t take much to impress me on NES. 

Metal Gear NES Title Screen
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #19/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

It’s fun to play Kojima’s original Metal Gear. It has all the motifs and feel of the 3D versions but none of the bloated, hour-long cutscenes. With such sparse space, Kojima couldn’t sink into indulgent, convoluted narration that plagues the later Metal Gear Solids. Regardless, you still feel the imposing gravity of the situation: you are a sole infiltrator against every odd to save the world.

Another plus of Kojima not being able to go crazy with flair is you see how good he is at actually making a game. There is nothing to hide behind except the basics, and he passes with flying colors even though this is a port he isn’t exactly happy about. Of course, the NES likes to ruin a good time (plenty of cheap things to get pissed about) but the core is everything you could want from a game this old.

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Top 100 PS1 Review: #87 – Legend of Legaia (1999)

Great For Listening to Podcasts.

I couldn’t keep playing a game where I needed to be doing something else to stay interested. 

Legend of Legaia title screen.png
Ape’s Ranking: #87/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

I’ve owned this game since 1999, and I wanted it to be my first post for the top 100 PS1 games. I am older now, more disciplined and mature. I could set my mind to it and see it through! NO. NO I CAN’T. 

In the spirit of Lufia and The Fortress of Doom for SNES, the final straw with Legend of Legaia (or LoL, which the game is kind of a joke) was another senseless and artificial fetch quest. This was the kind of pointless plot that you expect a few hours in to learn game mechanics, not after twenty hours into the story.

Things were already not going well. While playing, I listened to the following;

The reason? The main focus of this game (the battles) become frequent, long protracted affairs that didn’t need my attention. They were a waste of time. I couldn’t ethically use my gift of consciousness on them without dual-tasking something more important. The story, quests, and characters all followed suite with their own quirks and problems. While this game is interesting to talk about from a historical/cultural perspective (after all, it is a FF7 clone that speaks to what gamers were looking for and how developers tried to create it), the game itself sucks.

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