Ok we’re in for a doozy here as the 16 bit era kicks into gear.Let’s see what makes it.
34.Burning Fight-Neo Geo
Hotter than New York?…is that…..that’s an odd choice for a saying. Anyway , I’m a scrolling beat em up junkie so I give them a lot more leeway than some would. Here we have a generic neo geo entry into the genre but it clicked with me. For some reason I always wanted to play it as a kid but never had a neo geo (nobody did, they cost a million quid….and I don’t believe you had one Dave, I know you’re reading) so got it in a collection for the psp years later and finally got to scratch the itch.
33. Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does A Little Undercover Work-Amiga
Confusingly the fourth entry into the series is numbered 5….Nonetheless here you take control of the sleazeball king of terrible innuendo Larry Laffer as he bumbles his way through a series of terrible chat up lines and quests to get laid. It’s a funny, corny and ridiculous point and click adventure.
32.Metroid 2:Return Of Samus-Game Boy
In a strange coup for the pocket Nintendo console, Metroid 2 was an exclusive so if anyone wanted to continue the adventures of one of gaming’s first female action stars they would have to get a game boy. Plot-wise, Samus Aran heads off to the Metroid’s home world to wipe them away before group of pirates use them for more nefarious deeds…..seems harsh.
31. Tiny Toon Adventures-NES
Based on the excellent cartoon series that started a year previous, this platformer (shock) is a lot of fun and a good representation of the colourful characters that the show introduced. Konami were one of the best at this time and had a string of excellent games going at this time. It was usually a sign of quality.
30. Super R-Type-SNES
A side scrolling space shooter that was incredibly popular in it’s time around my way. I kind of suck at these games so never finished it but I had a lot of fun with it whenever I rented it. As a reminder, I played a lot of these games when I was very young so I didn’t have the cynical reviewer head on my shoulders, I tried to get fun out of everything. That’s not to say it’s a bad game at all but there are loads of games on these lists that will raise eyebrows because they are considered bad but I have affection for.
29.Dragon’s Lair 2:Time Warp-Arcade
A sequel to the laser disc classic from 1983 that blew people’s hair off with it’s Don Bluth animation and visuals. The novelty wasn’t quite the same by this point and although it was still impressive it wasn’t as wig splitting as in 1983 it was still attractive in the arcades. It’s another interactive animated movie with quick time events keeping you on your toes as you proceed through the game.
28. Fantastic Dizzy-Megadrive/Amiga
Everyone’s favourite puzzle solving, platforming egg hit the worldwide stage with this popular entry in the series. Dizzy was a European series and hugely popular in the UK, particularly in the 80s. It’s difficult and more platform orientated than some of the series.
27. Joe And Mac:Caveman Ninja-SNES
I always found this prehistoric platformer to be an underrated gem and a lot of fun. Bit colourful sprites, a cool concept and solid gameplay make for an entertaining if not spectacular game.
26. Road Rash-Megadrive
The Road Rash series was a cultural phenomenon over here when I was young and even people who weren’t really into games seemed to play it. Let’s be honest….it’s not the most polished game and doesn’t have the tightest gameplay but it’s USP was it’s violence and the ability to hit people while you raced each other. Nicking a cop’s baton and battering fellow racers with it was always thoroughly entertaining even when you would inevitably smash into a tree right after it.
25. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3:The Manhattan Project-NES
A…you guessed it….side scrolling beat em up that acts as a sequel to part two which was an adaptation of the classic 1989 arcade game. Choose our turtle and kick some arse across a series of stages like the beaches of Florida where they start he game on holiday, Krang’s spaceship, Manhattan and the Technodrome.
Well we all want to save Kute Kate right?. Another in the long list of great Konami side scrolling beat em ups and this one is very underrated. Smash your way through The Dead End Gang with one of four characters, two of whom are clearly based on Hulk Hogan and Mr T. The uncensored version has a leather bound fella who dry humps you to death so…..y’know.
23. Leisure Suit Larry In The Land Of The Lounge Lizards Remake-Amiga
Even in 1991 we were getting remakes with updated visuals and all the bells and whistles. Here it’s the original tale of Larry Laffer who we talked about a few entries ago that gets the treatment here. The remake is a point and click adventure as opposed to the original text based gameplay. It’s always fun trying to get a 40 year old loser to lose his virginity…….six years to go for me.
22. King Of The Monsters-Arcade
Giant Kaiju style monsters trashing cities while they beat the crap out of each other? I’m in.It wasn’t a deep fighting system and the real selling point was being able to fight as the monsters and the visuals were great. There were sub par ports on the snes and megadrive.
21. Police Quest 3: The Kindred- DOS
Police Quest is an interesting series as it started off painfully attentive to detail and watched over and designed by former cop Jim Walls and it was as procedural as possible with every little real life mundane task being necessary within the game. As the series went on Walls’ influence lessened and it became more like standard games but still kept things pretty realistic. The third entry is very entertaining point and click detective adventure.
20. Batman:Return Of The Joker-NES
This well received NES game came out towards the end of the console’s life and pushes it to it’s limit with incredible graphics for an 8-bit system. It’s similar to the classic Batman game from 1989 based on the movie but it’s beefed up a little and frankly better.
19. Fatal Fury:King Of Fighters-Neo Geo
The first in the popular SNK developed fighting series of games is a strange one because of it’s gameplay taking place on two planes. It was quite unique and difficult to get a hang of when I first played it but they were trying new things. Only three playable characters in this one and they are the now hugely popular series mainstays Joe Higashi, a Muay Thai fighter from Japan, Andy and Terry Bogard who are two brothers out for revenge for their father’s murder. It’s limited but I’ve always had a soft spot for it.
18.James Pond 2:Codename Robocod-Megadrive/Amiga
A massive step up from the original game despite the confused mish mash of pop cultural references. He’s a cute wee fish that’s based on James Bond…but he’s…like ….Robocop….I dunno but it’s a fun platformer. It’s a British made game and it shows with the humour and references….some of which hits, some doesn’t.
17. Another World-Amiga
This was one of those fabled games when I was a kid. It was like playing a movie which may sound ridiculous now but this looked like nothing else and had a depth of animation and atmosphere that helped it stand out. As a kid it was difficult to know what the hell you were supposed to do and I didn’t get very far but I finially completed it a few years later. Delphine were a French developer who would go on to be known as innovators.
16. Spider-Man:The Video Game-Arcade
A Sega developed beat em up/platformer arcade game in which you and friends can play as Spidey, Black Cat, Namor and Hawkeye which is a cool change of the usual characters. It’s loads of fun, particularly with pals with nice big sprites and good hit detection.
15. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past-SNES
The third Zelda game in the series saw a huge graphical upgrade on the new Nintendo system and it was the first one I played. I remember my buddy Scott telling me I had to play it and it was this big sprawling fantasy adventure unlike my usual diet of beat em ups and fighting games. He gave me a shot and I don’t think I really appreciated how good it was at the time as it was a little confusing to me. Like I said, at the time I was used to the immediacy of fighting games and this gameplay was a little obscure. Revisiting it a few years later I appreciated what a great game it was. State of this trailer bellow.
14. Sonic The Hedgehog-Megadrive
This is when the Sega vs Nintendo rivalry really kicked into gear. It’s hard for kids now to imagine because the likes of the playstation and x-box have a lot of the same games but back in the 16-bit days you really were getting a completely different library depending on what console you bought. With Ninty instantly recognisable by their mascot Mario Sega really needed a mascot of their own. They tried with Alex Kidd etc but when Sonic came out with his 90s attitude and gen x disposition it gave geeky Mario a run for his money. In all honesty I always found the Sonic games to be pretty overrated although they were fun. It’s all speed and attitude which was cool and innovative at the time but in terms of sitting down to play I find it frustrating. It was a must have game in my youth though and I did get a lot of enjoyment out of it as a young un.
13. Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker-Amiga
iI remember seeing this a couple of times on Gamesmaster and thinking it looked amazing. I’d never played a snooker game before but my brother picked it up on the Amiga and I sunk quite a lot of time into it. Everyone’s favourite coked up snooker player of his time endorsed this simulation and everything from the presentation to the physics are just spot on. The mini game in Yakuza is the only snooker game I’ve played that has come close to the snookery fun.
12. Super Castlevania 4-SNES
Simon Belmont is back and this time he’s out to kill Dracula in this gothic platform horror game that’s considered one of the best in the hugely popular series. It’s probably a little low for some but it’s mainly due to me sucking at vania games but I love the look, the atmosphere and the music with the whole Hammer Horror vibe.
11. Space Quest 4: Roger Wilco And The Time Rippers-PC
Another Sierra produced point and click adventure and one that impressed with it’s visuals and was an early game to use motion capture animation. Full voice implementation helps the immersion as you get lost in the adventure filled with time travel and some laugh out loud moments. Punchy writing and a fun adventure.
10. Terminator 2:Judgement Day-Arcade
Based on James Cameron’s cyberpunk classic, this money hungry arcade cabinet always had a group of kids gathered around it and it was so difficult it was constantly full of coins. It was so entertaining though and I always loved light gun games so blasting your way through exoskeletons alongside your human resistance buddies was always a good laugh.
9. The Legend Of Mystical Ninja-SNES
Much like the entry above when I first played this Konami rpg I had never seen certain aspects of the gameplay before. I remember being at my mate Ewan’s and this sound stupid but I was blown away when he booked an overnight stay in an inn……you have to remember that was a form of realism I’d never seen in a game. Doing real life things and acting like an actually character like an rpg is supposed to be about. Anyway it’s very Japanese in terms of humour and cultural quirks
Straight outta Scotland boiiiii!. This fun puzzle game where you guide a bunch of little lemmings through a series of levels while taking as few deaths as possible. This is one of those games that even people who seemed to hate games loved. Parents, teachers, everyone loved Lemmings, it was kind of like Tetris in that way.
7. The Simpsons-Arcade
I don’t think there was a kid alive who could walk past that arcade cabinet without gravitating towards it. A beat em up where you can play as the Simpsons family? Sign me up. Developed early in the tv show’s history so there’s a lot of peculiar little quirks like black Smithers stealing a diamond for Mr Burns and totally unrelated boss battles. There wasn’t too much to work with at the time so a lot of the jokes are from the first season but what a fun nostalgia trip it is playing it.
Another arcade machine that you couldn’t pry me away from if I could find it. It was so unbelievably far ahead of anything wrestling wise that the home consoles could conjure up. Big sprites, a great roster , wrestler entrances, introductions. It was just a blast and I was utterly obsessed with wrasslin’ at the time so it was perfect for me.
5. Streets Of Rage-Megadrive
It hurts putting this so low but what an incredible year 1991 was. The first in a trilogy of incredible beat em ups with a grimy, urban, street punk aesthetic and excellent gameplay for you and a buddy. Choose between Axel, Blaze and Adam and use your fists and various weapons to take down a seemingly endless gang led by the mysterious Mr X. Yuzo Koshiro famously does the music and uses the gritty sounding chip board of the megadrive to create rave songs similar to what were being played at the time in clubs. A little too similar in some cases…..blatant rip offs in some cases but it’s fine by me it’s for a video game. Such a great game, such a great series. I’m pretty sure this was a pack in game for a lot of my friend’s megadrives.
4. Sunset Riders-Arcade
Konami at it again with another barnstorming arcade classic. This time it’s a side scrolling shooter with a western motif. A great cast of characters and nefarious bosses in the wild west sees you sometimes on foot, sometimes on horseback blasting away pilgrims….or something like that. You’ll be seeing this again when when the snes version hits the list.
3. The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge-Amiga
What an incredible top 5, so tough to leave these all time classics off of the top spot. Here we have Guybrush Threepwood back for another swashbuckling adventure as he bumbles his way through predicament after predicament on his journey to find treasure while the ghost of LeChuck is out for revenge. Hilarious and so entertaining.
2. Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior-Arcade
One of the most influential games of all time doesn’t hit the top spot? Well this is the arcade original which I surprisingly didn’t come across all that often. When we get to the snes versions which I played incessantly it may be a different story. Anyway, has there ever been a bigger jump in quality than from the original Street Fighter to Street Fighter 2? My word, this is the fighting game that brought out a million copycats with it’s roster of unique and memorable characters. The music is great, the stages look awesome, the sprites are brilliant…..it was just miles above any other fighting game of the time and became a cultural behemoth.
1 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles In Time- Arcade
The second TMNT arcade game after the 1989 classic is just a phenomenal game that four friends can gather round and be transported to an amazing time traveling adventure beat em up full of colour, great fighting, stupendous level music (let’s forget the intro music please) and cool boss battles. Konami again, they have a knack for this arcade business.
What a fantastic year for video games. Some all time classics of several genres and so many great memories. As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and you can get me @swing_kinker cheers x.