KINKER KORNER’S TOP 32 VIDEO GAMES OF 2003 NSFW

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2003 was a special year for me as I finished college and did some traveling and met loads of wonderful people on my adventure. Let’s celebrate by banging on about games.

 

32. Fifa 2004-Playstation 2

The first Fifa game in a wee while is one I played  whole lot. Wee bit of back story that you won’t care about. I was a relatively talented footballer in my youth and was scouted by two professional teams. When I turned 16/17 I fell completely out of love with the game for several reasons I won’t go into and stopped playing, stopped watching and stopped caring fo around three years. I rekindled my love of the sport in late 2003 and bought this game as a result. I ended up playing the absolute shit out of it for months. See….told you it was a story you wouldn’t care about.

 

31. Devil May Cry 2-Playstation 2

It’s often seen as one of the most disappointing sequels of all time after the massive popularity of the first game but I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I think people tend to overreact to things when they don’t match up to a previous effort….yes it was disappointing but it was still good. Still plenty of stylish demon slashing from Dante and Lucia.

 

30. Pride FC-Playstation 2

I was a massive of fan of Pride FC in the 00s. The Japanese based mma fighting company had a mental mixture of legitimate high level competition from legends like Rampage Jackson, the Gracies, Mirko Crocop, Wanderlei Silva, Shogun and loads more but it also had freak show fights that everyone pretended to hate but watched anyway. I’m talking about the Bob Sapp fights where he took on guys 100 pounds lighter than him and Hong Man Choi etc. I first fell in love with it when I checked out an event because Ken Shamrock was involved, I then learned more about the sport and found my first proper mma hero in Kazushi Sakuraba. This game has a great roster of fighters and plays pretty well. 

 

29.Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour-Gamecube

These Mario sports games very rarely fail to impress. A fun little golf game with colourful characters and pitches and of course a roster of characters from Nintendo’s flagship franchise. The usuals are here and you can play as Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Princess Peach, Birdo, Diddy Kong and my boy Koopa Trooper.

 

28. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life-Gamecube

This series is similar to Animal Crossing in the sense that I have absolutely no idea why I like it or why it has such a big following but at the same time I guess I do. I’m being as clear and precise as always eh?. This game sees you tending to your farm by breeding animals, dealing with crops and selling milk and eggs and all sorts of farmy things. That’s about it and it has no right to be as good as it is but it’s relaxing, cute fun.

 

27. Final Fantasy x-2-playstation 2

A direct sequel to Final Fantasy X that also works as something of a spinoff as you take on the role of  Yuna from X as she sets out to stop all out war on Spira by acting as a political liaison. As usual for the series the visuals are stunning and the all female main cast are likeable. It has a more lighthearted tone than it’s predecessor which some were critical of but I enjoyed it.

 

26.Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time-Playstation 2

Remember when Jake gyllenwhalleeyyyeee played the lead role in the movie? Lolz. This generation of gaming brought back the cult franchise but took it into the AAA sphere with a big budget and promotional campaign. It’s a reboot of the series and went on to be the first in a trilogy of games that were well received. Unique to the new games was the ability to rewind time if you made a mistake with your wall jumps and whatnot. Very slick.

 

25. Pro Evolution Soccer 3-Playstation 2

This is when I really started to notice a shift of peoples perception as to what the best football series was. Many of friends who had been  Fifa diehards for years switched allegiances to Pro Evo with this entry. The more arcade style, faster style of play hit a chord with people despite Fifa being the kings of realism and licenses. Marketing 101 as well, want to sell your game? Put a 40 something bald referee that looks like the fella from The Hills Have Eyes on your cover. Good old Pierluigi Collina. 

 

24. Manhunt-PC/Playstation 2

As usual Rockstar Games courted controversy with this ultra violent, envelope pushing action thriller. Some praised the gritty and nihilistic tone while others found it vulgar and style over substance. It even got blamed for a murder by the ridiculous UK media but it was thrown out of court sharpish because the notion was stupid. You play a criminal sentenced to death who is freed by a sick snuff film maker who says he can go free if he can get from one side of town to the other while every gang in town is after him. You’re being filmed all the time and get more points and kudos for the more gruesome murders you commit. The antagonist is voiced by Dundee’s own Brian Cox. Oh…..and there’s Pigsy…..I’ll never forget Pigsy.

 

 

23. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King-Playstation 2

The first two games in the trilogy were pretty good but this third one upped the action and the roster of playable characters. It’s a simple, fun hack and slash game that doesn’t use any footage from the movie unlike most licensed titles at the time because of a legal rights issue. The graphics are fantastic and the action is plentiful and fun and I’m not even a massive fan of the franchise. 

 

22. Billy Hatcher And The Giant Egg-Playstation 2

 

Sonic Team, the folks behind Sonic The Hedgehog wanted to create a new I.P as things were getting  little stale with Sonic. Along came Billy Hatcher, a bizarre but enjoyable platformer that sees you protecting  giant egg from evil crows and other enemies. Like a lot of these games it’s wildly inventive and loads of fun. That theme song i ace too.

 

21. XIII-Playstation 2

Based on an 80s Belgian comic, this incredibly stylish, cel-shaded shooter plays like an animated comic book with panels and pages enveloping the screen as you play. You play an amnesiac who has been framed for the murder of the American president as you fight to clear your name and find who set you up. You end up uncovering a massive conspiracy involving an Illuminati style organisation.

 

 

20.Virtua Cop 3-Arcade

As a huge fan of the first two Virtua Cop games I was surprised and pleasantly so, when I went on holiday to Florida and went to an arcade with my buddy Traynor and spotted the cabinet for the third game. I hadn’t been in an arcade for a long time so it was a cool surprise and we blasted through the game, finishing it and having a great time doing so.

 

19. Beyond Good And Evil-Playstation 2

One of those tragic games that was met with critical clam and had a cult following but just didn’t sell well enough to get the franchise off and running. That said there is a new game coming out in the near future which is great news. A sci fi action adventure game with a great protagonist in Jade who has to stop an evil alien invasion with the help of her pig like uncle (he actually is a pig, it wasn’t an insult) by solving puzzles and fighting against lots of enemies.

 

18. Metal Slug 5-ArcadePlaystation 2

I’ve written so much about this series that I’ve run out of things to say about it. The run and gun series is just so much fun and full of funny little tidbits with beautiful animation and great bosses. Part five is one of the best in the series.

 

17. F-Zero GX-Gamecube

The futuristic, neon filled, hi-octane racing game is back and this time there’s even a story mode that sees you take on the role of Captain Falcon as he races through a series of tracks. It looks amazing and it’s so fast that your heart races but the difficulty can be pretty insane at times which holds back the quality for me a little bit.

 

16. The Black Mirror-PC

A point and click horror adventure game that sees you return to a mansion after your granda has apparently committed suicide but you’re convinced it was murder. Wonderfully atmospheric and full of incredibly drawn backgrounds, there’s a deeply gothic feel to the game and the setting is nice and creepy. The ending has come in for some stick which is pretty faIr to be honest but all in all I really enjoyed the experience.

 

15. Call Of Duty-PC

Who would have thought when this game came out that it would end up becoming an absolutely monstrously popular franchise. I mean, it was well received and popular but good lord Call Of Duty is one of the most successful series of all time now. Good for it I guess, despite hipsters doing their best to discredit the series because it’s so popular there’s a reason it has the following it does. It all started here with this WW2 shooter

 

14. Zone Of The Enders: The 2nd Runner-Playstation 2

Hideo Kojima’s mech based hack and slash anime style action game is back for a sequel with him acting as producer while Shuyo Murata directs. It’s much improved over the first game with the combat being much smoother, faster and more plentiful. The 2d animated cutscenes are great and it mixes pretty well with the 3d gameplay.

 

13. Def Jam Vendetta-Playstation 2

I always wonder what goes on in meetings when games like this get imagined into existence. Right guys, let’s have a wrestling game but use rappers instead of wrestlers and have a story in which you lust after Christina Miian…..cool? The roster is a treat for hip hop fans with playable characters like Method Man, Ghostface Killah, DMX, Scarface, Redman and more. Oh….and it uses the AKI system I banged on about for the n64 games. 

 

12. Forbidden Siren-Playstation 2

An unfortunately misunderstood and underappreciated survival horror game from Team Siren. It doesn’t help itself at times with incredibly awkward and esoteric puzzles making progression insanely difficult without a walkthrough. I suggest swallowing your pride and playing it with a walkthrough and you’ll have a great, terrifying time. The facial animation was way ahead of the game…..a little too much as the ps2 models don’t really match up with the facials and it enters the uncanny valley. Anyway, you play a group of characters who are trapped in a village inhabited by the shibito, a group of undead bodies who are out for blood. It can be terrifying at times, like the creepy school principal and it’s a frustrating but ambitious and atmospheric survival horror that uses an innovative gimmick called sight jacking in which you can see through the eyes of your enemies. Seeing yourself through the eyes of a shibito as it charges toward you is terrifying. 

 

11. Mario And Luigi: Superstar Saga-Game Boy Advance

An rpg starring the Italian plumber brothers for the little handheld Nintendo console. It’s well written, funny, cute and colourful with a whimsical tone that is just a joy to play. The combat is pretty fun too focusing on timing in a turn based system. The story sees Princess Peach having her voice stolen among other things. Good fun.

 

10. Mario Kart: Double Dash-Gamecube

A fantastic entry into a wonderful series. This one sees you picking two characters per kart with one driving and the other using the power ups you collect. It’s a great little idea and you can do this in local co op which adds a new little gimmick to an already great multiplayer game. The courses are good but aren’t the best in the series and the roster contains the usual group with a few new entries.

 

9. Viewtiful Joe-Gamecube

What a cool wee surprise this was. A comic book style game with awesome cel-shading and beautiful visuals. A movie nut is sucked into a film starring his favourite hero and is transformed into a hero who has to save his kidnapped girlfriend. A 2d side scrolling beat em up that acts as both a blast from the past but also evolves the genre with time bending physics and stunning graphics.

 

8.Broken Sword: Te Sleeping Dragon-PC

Readers of past lists will know that I’m a huge fan of the Broken Sword series and this third entry into the franchise scared me a little with the revelation that it used 3d graphics and character models instead of the lush, painted style of the first two games. While it didn’t look nearly as good, an adventure game like this lives and dies on it’s plot, characters and interactivity all of which are excellent so it keeps up the high quality of an incredible adventure series.

 

 

7 Jak 2: Renegade-Playstation 2

Naughty Dog are back again with the second entry into the Jak And Daxter series. This one took a really dark turn though with a much more serious tone and story with Jak fighting to stop a dark curse from taking him over. Naughty Dog were proving themselves to be consistently great developers at this point with several excellent games under their belt. They’d go on to further their reputation ad become one of the greatest of all time.

 

6. Ratchet And Clank 2: Locked And Loaded-Playstation 2

Insomniac Games are back for a sequel to the excellent action shooter platformer starring everyone’s favourite Lombax and robot duo. The addition of Angela Cross, a new character who helps the protagonist is a welcome one as she’s well written and likeable. The unique and inventive weapons are back and this time you can upgrade them. The game gets frustratingly difficult in the later levels though, just seas of enemies bombarding you and it can be annoying. All in all though it’s a legendary game.

 

5. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic-PC

Bioware are one of the most popular rpg developers in the game now with franchises like Dragon Age and Mass Effect but it’s way past time for a KOTOR revival. This epic rpg gives you loads of choices regarding how you interact with characters and the path you take leads you down either the dark or light side. It would be very interesting to see what could be done with this series over a decade later with the advances in hardware.

 

4.WWE Smackdown!: Here Comes The Pain-Playstation 2

Probably my favourite of the Smackdown! games and definitely the best of the ps2 era ones. Loads of match types, great graphics and animations, a huge roster and a season mode. The roster includes newcomers to the series like Ultimo Dragon, Kevin Nash and Sean O’ haire as well as the usuals like Chris Jericho ,Big Show, Edie Guerrero and unlockable legends like Roddy Piper, Legion Of Doom, Ted Dibiase and more.

 

3. Max Payne2: The Fall Of Max Payne-PC

I used to stay round at my friend Paul’s house a lot in my late teens and we would sit and play this loads. I kind of sucked at it so I would watch him play it and even when he was bored I would force him to keep going as I was so into the story. A dark, thoroughly depressing film noir style tale filled with violence in a third person shooter sequel to the classic original. Brilliantly put together, very atmospheric and filled with great action.

 

2. Silent Hill 3-Playstation 2

It was always going to be tough for Team Silent to follow up on one of the most lauded, thought provoking, atmospheric psychological horror games of all time but they sure as hell gave it their best. The story is a sequel to the first game with you playing Harry Mason’s daughter Heather who discovers a secret about herself as a cult hopes to use her to summon a god. One criticism of Silent Hill 2 was that although the atmosphere was fantastic it just wasn’t as scary as the first. Well Silent Hill 3 ramps things up and is terrifying. It’s not as clever as 2 but it’s a load scarier and the story is great too. With 2 being so (rightfully) lauded, this game often gets overlooked which is a crime as it’s fantastic.

 

1 Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly A.K.A Fatal Frame-Playstation 2

All the massive potential the first game in the J-horror series came to fruition in the excellent sequel. The story revolves around a couple of young twins who are investigating an abandoned village as vengeful spirits try to possess them for an ancient ritual. You use the camera obscura to defeat the spirits by taking pictures of them. As with the first game it’s a great concept as you have to let them get close and take pictures rather than using regular weapons. It’s atmospheric as hell, the spirit designs are terrifying and it’s a genuinely scary experience, especially if you let yourself get sucked into it.

 

 

Thanks for reading as always and keep an eye out for the next list. Until then cath me @swing_kinker ta x.

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