Ok here we go with another very strong year. The SNES and Megadrive are now in full flow and the 16-bit wars are heating up. Again for those who will no doubt tell me I’ve missed off classic games here and there I have a strict criteria. I have to have played the game, I’m not going to lie and just say the same old crap as every other list because it’s considered the done thing. Also my tastes and feelings of nostalgia greatly influence my choices at times so it’s a personal list. With that said, let’s do it.
A point and click horror with design from H.R Geiger that has aged hilariously but is still absolutely worth a run through. It’s become a joke game for youtubers who never seem to like anything because it’s harder to get a laugh from children when you’re not screaming at things apparently. It’s cheesy fun and a must for fans of Geiger.
33 (Tied). Rival Turf-SNES
Another game that my pal Ewan (you’ll be reading about him a lot) got and one that I think is pretty damn underrated. It’s your standard beat em up fare which sees you take on a gang with your fists and one of the playable characters looks suspiciously like M. Bison!. I remember there was a cheat where you could edit the names of the bad guys…..the hours of fun Ewan and I had with that. Simpler times.
33 (Tied). Brawl Brothers-SNES
…and hot on it’s heels came the sequel. It’s beefed up and improved but I’m considering it a draw as I have more of an emotional attachment to the first game. As you’ll know by now if you’re following the lists I love me some beat em ups so I give even the cliched standard ones a lot of leeway as it was just my childhood era.
32. Zool: Ninja Of The Nth Dimension-Amiga
Every console was trying to get in on the mascot platformer craze and Zool was the Amiga’s although it was ported to other consoles too. It was very well received at the time and although I enjoyed it I didn’t think it was entirely worth the hype. It looked great but didn’t play as tightly as the best platformers. The extensive Chuppa Chups product placement was weird too!.
31 (Tied). Alien 3-Megadrive
Like a lot of cross platform games at the time, Alien 3 differed in many ways on the megadrive and the snes. Both had their pros and cons. The pros for this one are the tense, violent gameplay and the excellent, gritty soundtrack. The cons are that stupid timer that puts unnecessary pressure to just rush everything rather than enjoying your surroundings. All in all though it’s a surprisingly great horror movie game
31 (Tied). Alien 3-SNES
Whereas the pros for the snes version are the lush visuals, the action and the lack of bloody timer!. The cons are it isn’t as gritty in aesthetic than the megadrive version. Both fine movie games though that put a dent in the stigma.
30. Alone In The Dark-DOS
It may have aged horrendously but I have more respect for the times than to laugh and joke about that. It’s what happens when you innovate, years later it’s going to look basic….it’s simple really. A hugely influential and , yes innovative game that had a fully realised 3d world and a fleshed out Lovecraftian story about a man trapped in a haunted mansion full of puzzles and deadly horrors.
29. Art Of Fighting-Neo Geo
Another series in the King Of Fighters family of games and this one has a storyline in which Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia are out to save Ryo’s sister who has been kidnapped by Mr Big…..not the band with Paul Gilbert in it.
28.The Lost Vikings-SNES
A clever and colourful little puzzle platformer from Blizzard filled with tongue in cheek humour and smart head scratchers. You control 3 viking simultaneously who have different abilities as you work together to get the vikings home through a series of levels.
27. Wolfenstein 3D-DOS
Often sited as the godfather of the first person shooter and a controversial game for it’s time. ID software were the kings of the fps in the 90s and here we see the now much loved character B.J Blaskowicz gunning down nazis on his way to a final boss battle against a mecha-Hitler……yas!.
What’s that? A Konami licensed beat em that rocks? Well I never!. Based on the French comic Asterix And Obelix, there’s lots of slapstick humour thrown into this game and Konami really had the genre down to a science at this point. Lots of fun.
25. Darkwing Duck-NES
A late entry into the NES catalogue and another in the lis of Capcom developed Disney games that were much better than they had any right to be. Colourful and with great visuals for the NES. I loved the show too and of course that awesome theme song.
24. King’s Quest 6:Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow-DOS/Amiga
A beautiful and whimsical fantasy adventure and the best in series by far up to this point. It’s typical Sierra fare but as expected with the times moving on the visuals were a lot better and the voice acting improved too. The plot isn’t anything Earth shattering but if you’re a fan of the genre it’s a must play.
23. Road Rash 2-Megadrive
Basically take everything I said about the first game in the last list and imagine being similar but better.
22. Fatal Fury 2-Neo Geo
Terry Bogard and the crew are back for the second in the fighting game series with more playable characters and a more refined fighting style. This was where the King Of Fighters family of games really started to click and get things done right.
21. Predator 2-Megadrive
Based on the underrated action sci fi movie from 1990, this game is also underrated and doesn’t get enough play. A shooter in the style of Smash tv and the likes where you run around as Danny Glover wiping out drug dealers and eventually Predators……can’t say that happens very often….The music is totally out of place though.
20. Pocky And Rocky-SNES
What a fun wee quirky game this is. A multi-direction scrolling shooter that sees a young girl and her wee tanuki pal trying to save their wee goblin friends. It’s cute, it looks good and very addictive and fun to play.
19. Police Quest-In Pursuit Of The Death Angel Remake-DOS
I talked a little about the 1987 Police Quest game in the last list and how it was good but painfully attentive to detail. The remake here goes for a much improved visual style and moves from text based gameplay to a point and click adventure.It’s not as anal about it’s attention to detail and has a nice mix of mundane day to day tasks with police action.
Namco’s splatter horror series continues in this Megadrive exclusive that sees The Terror Mask enticing Rick back to the haunted house with the promise that his girlfriend can still be saved. It’s simple, basic beat em up nonsense but with a real horror aesthetic that’s right up my alley with plenty of disturbing imagery.
17. Sensible Soccer-Amiga
“Who wants a game of Sensi!?” My word, everyone around my way played this game and it was massively popular in the UK for it’s simple, arcade like gameplay with graphics as basic as can be but all the fun come from the tight movement and sense of fun in the presentation. Oh an everyone loves that theme tune.
16 (Tied). Bucky O’ Hare-Arcade
A….sigh …Konami licensed beat em that rocks….deal with it there’s loads of them. This one added some gunplay too and was based on the cartoon Buck O’ Hare And The Toad Wars which only ran for one series but made a bit of an impact on me and clearly others as it got an arcade game. It’s bright, colourful and has four player co op space action.
16 (Tied). X-Men-Arcade
How many of you saw the mythical 6 player arcade cabinet!. I mostly saw the four player one but occasionally it would pop up and have everyone crowded around it having a blast. Yes its’ a licensed Konami beat em up but let’s move on and talk about playing as either Cyclops, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus or…..Dazzler. Good for you Dazzler getting into the game ahead of the many many more popular characters.
French developer Delphine’s spiritual successor to Another World carries on with the innovative cutscenes and animation but it’s a little more fleshed out and not quite as frustrating. Insanely cinematic for the time and with a cool sci fi vibe that has loads of pop cultural references. You play an amnesiac who crash lands on a strange planet and have to figure out who you are and what you’re doing there.
14. Batman Returns-SNES
I’m running out of ways to talk about licensed Konami beat em ups but here we go.This game based on the Tim Burton movie (that’s better than the first one, come at me) has a great gothic, snowy aesthetic and the fighting is fun with the ability to smash heads together and throw goons through windows. It’s so satisfying taking an evil circus performer and battering him against a wall.
13. Sonic The Hedgehog 2-Megadrive
The blue dude with attitude is back daddio so …get….your….skateboards and gnarly rad things….I dunno how to be cool so I’ll just stop. Out of the original megadrive games I always preferred the second one as it had the best levels and introduced your cute wee pal Tails. Dr Robotnik is back and it’s up to our anthropomorphic buds to save the day.
12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:The Hyperstone Heist-Megadrive
Essentially the megadrive’s version of Turtles In Time with the same engine and gameplay but with different levels. There’s no time travel in this one and the levels suffer a bit from being over long which dials down the fun a little bit. It’s close in terms of overall quality though so it’s still an excellent game, I just didn’t play it nearly as much as Turtles In Time.
11. Mortal Kombat-Arcade
Which gamer who was around during this time doesn’t remember the absolute pandemonium and controversy that this cultural juggernaut caused. It wasn’t the first game to use real life digitized actors in it but it was certainly the first prominent one. While the fighting was basic the real selling point was the fabled fatalities in which you would finish the fight by killing your opponent in a gore filled demonstration of power. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Kano rip out a character’s heart while it was still beating!. This aint Street Fighter…..Of course this led to conservative politicians claiming that all of society’s evils are down to this game and they made a complete spectacle of themselves as they often do when these things come up.
10. Super Probotector:Alien Rebels-SNES
For anyone not in the Pal region this is Contra 3:The Alien Wars but it was changed here because Nintendo thought the violence would be less pronounced if the main characters were robots instead of humans. Nintendo really did go to long lengths just to be awkward. Anyway this run and gun classic is fast paced, challenging as hell and plays brilliantly with cool bosses and great visual design and a cool soundtrack.My lasting memory of this is taking my SNES to my gran’s house or the weekend and playing it non stop as she looked on confused but supportive!.
9. Super Mario Land 2:6 Golden Coins-Game Boy
The first Mario Land on Game Boy was a resounding success and one that surprisingly wasn’t made by Shigeru Miyamoto and I got it with my console and played it endlessly on my travels. This sequel pretty much blows the first out the water though with big, gorgeous sprites, fun level design and the introduction of the now beloved villain Wario. The music in the first one is better though…..it would have taken a lot to beat that game’s soundtrack.
8. Super Star Wars-SNES
Me and my pal Ewan played this game so much, mainly using the cheat codes we got from a magazine at the time because it was hard as nails. It was the first Star Wars game I played and I was a huge fan of the movies so it was cool seeing all the characters and places rendered in a video game. Han, Luke, Chewie, Jawas, X-Wins, the Sarlaac and more make it a dream for fans….but jeez it’s tough.
7 (Tied). Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!-SNES
At a time where I loved the tv show, this game came along with it’s bright, gorgeous sprites and I completely fell in love with it. Let’s see who made this one…..sigh it’s Konami, of course it is. It’s such a fun platformer and it looks absolutely great I spent a lot of time with this one.
7 (Tied). World Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse And Donald Duck-Megadrive
A beautiful and inventive Disney platformer that was another one of these games that seemingly everyone in my area that had a megadrive owned. It was particularly fun to play with a friend in two player mode where you help each other solve puzzles and reach new places. An incredible looking game for the megadrive too.
6. Snatcher Remake-PC
A hugely ambitious game from the now industry legend Hideo Kojima. His usual mix of gameplay styles and cinematic feel is there with loads of movie references in this cyberpunk adventure. A group of aliens are taking over human bodies and stealing their place in society, it’s up to you as investigator Gillian Seed to stop them.
5. Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis-DOS
A classic Lucasarts point and click adventure and one that’s often considered the best of all time in the genre. A funny and entertaining adventure in which Indy goes searching for the lost city of Atlantis whilst being pursued by Nazis. It’s a hugely enjoyable adventure with great visuals and fun dialogue.
4. Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior-SNES
Ok stay with me here, I’m really struggling for the last few entries in terms of order here. Normally I wouldn’t be putting several versions of the same game on the lists and this SNES version is essentially the exact same as the arcade version on the last list. That said, I got this with me SNES and there is just no way I can leave it off the list….this was my original version of Street Fighter and I played it a ridiculous amount. Yes other versions came out with more features and characters but I have an insanely strong emotional connection to this one.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4:Turtles In Time-SNES
Ok another case of a repeat entry making the list. Last time the arcade version topped the list and in my opinion the snes version is even better. The sprites aren’t as big but the music is great, there are more stages and it’s just one of my favourite games of all time. I’m able to keep it off the top spot as it’s already been there so it makes way for someone else. I’m considerate like that.
2. Super Mario Kart-SNES
God damn why can’t it just be easy to place these games in order!. I was obsessed with this and it was my favourite Mario Kart game up until the recent Wii-U version which was stunning. Yes I like it more than Mario Kart 64 which is good but overrated……uh oh. I played this with friends so much and even my parents would play which was a rarity, they loved the game and had a blast with it so it just has a great personal connection to me. It helps that I am awesome at it and would beat you easily……
1 Streets Of Rage 2-Megadrive
As a fan of the beat em up genre it doesn’t get much better than this. They took everything from the first game and beefed it up with better sprites, better moves and the greatest video game soundtrack of all time by Yuzo Koshiro. I love the ost so much in fact I have it on vinyl. Me and my pal Steve haven’t lost our touch either as we can still blast through it on the hardest difficulty and it’s just so much fun to sit down with a friend and take out some thugs with Axel, Skate, Blaze and Max. Just sublime.
Another very strong year down and many more to come so check back soon for 1993. Catch me @swing_kinker until then ta x.