KINKER KORNER’S TOP 35 VIDEO GAMES OF 1996 NSFW

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Right then we’re fully into the 32 bit era now so let’s see what 1996 has in store for us.

 

35. Loaded-Playstation

We’re deep into gen-x territory here with a group of reprobates (rapey space pirates, murderous clowns, brainless brutes etc) that got their start in the DC comics world with contributions from Garth Ennis and Greg Staples. It’s a top down shooter that plays like Gauntlet and Smash Tv filled with over the top violence and gore.

 

34. Twisted Metal-Playstation

More road raging, serial killer car combat for the playstation and this is the most successful entry into the popular series. Essentially a demolition derby with a story attached and instead of being confined to an arena you roam around cities across the world firing cannons and guns at your opponents. The evil Calypso promises a prize for the winner.

 

33.Quake-PC

Well, it was the JRPG police that were after me on the last list and this time it’s the FPS police. I just didn’t play it enough to place it any higher than this. My pal Rick had it at the time and I watched him play it a lot and was always impressed with how it looked and the ferocity of the gameplay.

 

32. Die Hard Arcade-Arcade/Saturn

Bringing the beat em up into the 3d era, this game was an original property in it’s native Japan but in the West it had the Die Hard license plonked onto it. That’s probably why most people were thinking “what the hell does this have to do with Die Hard?” when they were playing it. This was in my local arcade and was always a good time and the Saturn port was solid too.

 

31. Cool boarders-Playstation

A really fun snowboarding game with a fantastic punky soundtrack. Pull off tricks, race other boarders and navigate your way through obstacles in this simplistic but entertaining extreme sports game. Freshy is one of the best non symphonic instrumental songs in gaming history. 

 

30. Alien Trilogy-Playstation

This fps from Acclaim was on my horror games list and it was a really tense, atmospheric and scary shooter. Facehuggers launching themselves at you and Xenomorphs on prowl always caused my heart to jump into my throat as a kid. The Alien franchise has been incredibly mixed when it comes to being represented in video game format. This was one of the better ones.

 

29. Super Mario RPG:Legend Of The Seven Stars

Square, the masters of the 90s jrpg got on board with Nintendo to make an epic rpg using the Mario franchise. For fans of the genre at the time this must have been both shocking, confusing and exciting. It’s a quirky, bizarre and thoroughly enjoyable game with lots of humour and that typical Square sense of epicness.

 

28. Mortal Kombat Trilogy-Playstation

Before the series went into 3d territory with MK4 there was one last celebration of the 2d era with this massive fighting game. All the characters, bosses, stages, fatalities and more for the first three games are here in one big party for fans of the series.

 

27.Clock Tower-Playstation

Known as Clock Tower 2 in it’s native Japan and confusingly just Clock Tower in the west, this follow up to the snes point and click horror cult classic moves into the 3d world. Like most early 3d games it suffers for it with terribly aged graphics, embarrassing voice work and a doofy plot but for some reason it totally works for me. It’s clunky mechanics actually help the sense of dread and the return of scissor man works well as he stalks you through the mansion. It’s definitely not for everyone but I really get a kick out of it and lose myself in the world with it’s terrifying music and atmosphere.

 

26. Tomb Raider-Playstation

What a pop culture phenomenon this was right from the get go. A new female hero for generation x who would bizarrely be both a feminist icon and also subjected to lads mag nonsense that plagued the decade. She would appear on the cover of magazines like Loaded and other lads mags, it’s crazy to think of how the ps1 really made it cool to be a gamer all of a sudden. Then of course there was the rumours that there was a cheat to get her clothes off….desperate to see those flesh coloured triangles.

 

25.International Track And Field-Playstation

Man, the amount of fun me and my friends had with this one. Back to Steve’s at the end of a night for several games. Steve even had his own special cloth he would use so he didn’t burn his fingers hammering the buttons!. So many good laughs and personal jokes between me and buds came from this including my psn gamer tag.

 

24. Mario Kart 64-N64

It’s not as good as the snes version, deal with it!.

 

23. Kirby Super Star-SNES

The snes is still hanging on in there and one of Nintendo’s favourite mascots is still bringing the goods. Many fans consider this the best in the series and I’m not versed enough with Kirby to agree or disagree but it certainly is a good one. Several different types of games in one neat little package with the adorable little pink puffball leading the way.

 

22. Fifa 97-Playstation

Good old Davey Ginola on the cover there. This was when the fifa series really started to get things right for me. This one also had the indoor six a side feature which was a blast and unique for it’s time. I spent a lot of time playing this one.

 

21. PaRappa The Rapper-Playstation

This fun little rhythm game sees you playing a lovesick anthropomorphic doggie as he is mentored by several characters on his way to win the heart of a flower named Sunny Funny. Sounds like an acid trip but it’s a cute, pleasant experience with great songs to play along to. The only problem I had with it was the response time was always a tiny bit off which hurts a rhythm game.

 

20. Samurai Shodown 4: Amakusa’s Revenge-Arcade

The Japanese Edo period hack and slash fighting game from SNK is back again and it’s more of the same. That’s a good thing though and with a couple of new characters , the addition of harakari suicide moves and a sort of fatality that could end the round.

 

19. Metal Slug-Arcade/Neo Geo

The first in a series of seriously fun run and gun action games with loads of character, beautiful animation and a hand drawn art style. It’s known for it’s brilliant sense of humour with loads of things going on in the background  as you blast your way through the bad guys.

 

18. X-Men vs Street Fighter-Arcade

Capcom continue their series of fighting games featuring Marvel characters and this team they mix them in with their own big hitting franchise in Street Fighter. Ryu, Chun-Li, Zangief and the Capcom crew go up against (or team up with) the likes of my boy Gambit, Storm, Wolverine, Rogue and more.

 

17. Guardian Heroes-Saturn

While the Saturn struggled with 3d games but it was a 2d juggernaut, bringing arcade perfect ports of 2d games to the system. Here we have a 2d scrolling beat em up in the style of my childhood favourites like Streets Of Rage and Final Fight and it proved that the genre wasn’t dead. Beautiful sprites and great combat with rpg elements that sets it aside from most game sin the genre.

 

16 (Tied). Last Bronx-Arcade/Saturn

I never quite understood why this 3d fighting game wasn’t bigger. It’s like Virtua Fighter with weapons and used the immensely popular Sega model 2 arcade machine. It didn’t quite have the VF polish and the characters perhaps weren’t as memorable but it’s a very solid fighting game that fans of the genre would definitely get a kick out of. It was a huge hit in Japan with it getting a live action movie, anime and all sorts of different media adaptations. In the west it sadly failed spectacularly despite an expansive ad campaign that include The Star promising page 3 girls dressed as characters from this and other games flashing their paps.

 

16 (Tied). Fighters Megamix-Saturn

The Saturn really delivered with this massive celebration of Sega’s games throwing in characters from games like Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop, Fighting Vipers and most notoriously Hornet, the car from Daytona USA. It’s bizarre but loads of fun and a big celebration of Sega’s classics using the Virtua Fighter engine. Lovely stuff.

 

15. Wave Race 64-N64

Holy crap, who the hell the hell thought a racing game with jetskis would have been so utterly awesome?. We’re starting to see the N64 come into prominence and you’ll be seeing plenty more of it as we go on. Anyway I always loved the physics of this game with the bouncing on the waves, the tight controls and the always positive commentator yelling things at you. Great fun.

 

14. Duke Nukem 3d-PC/Playstation

Although he had starred in a couple of 2d scrolling games before this came out, this was where Duke broke out to worldwide fame. A parody of action heroes with loads of pop culture references and lines taken from famous movies, Duke’s uber macho masculine personality was hilarious and controlling him taking on an alien invasion with stop offs to strip clubs and toilets was a blast. I remember first seeing this when my pal Rick was playing it as his house and being blow away.

 

13. The House Of The Dead-Arcade

I still remember the first time I saw this cabinet at the bowling alley and saw a guy blowing zombie heads off with a light gun and my jaw hit the floor. I was way into zombie movies at the time and that was way before the media milked the genre dry. The awful voice acting and cliched plot adds to the charm and it’s basically a b-movie grindhouse splatterfest trapped inside an arcade cabinet.

 

12 (Tied). Star Gladiator Episode 1: The Final Crusade-Playstation

I rented this fighting game so many times I might as well have saved up and bought it but I was way too impatient for that as a kid. It was Capcom’s first foray into the 3d fighting genre after years of dominating in the 2d world of fighting games like Street Fighter and the Marvel crossover games. I always thought it would go on to become a great series (so did Capcom obviously by the name) and Hayato would be a recognisable mascot for the game but it wasn’t to be sadly although he did get a run out in games like Marvel vs Capcom 2.

 

12 (Tied). Tobal No.1-Playstation

This kind of came out of nowhere for me. A random fighting game published by jrpg legends Square but I had never really heard any hype for it before I received it as a gift for Christmas. It ended up being awesome with great animation, fun moves and the innovative quest mode. The yank and Japanese versions featured a demo of Final Fantasy 7 which must have helped sales.  I was so into this game that when we did a creative writing project for English class I used the names of characters from this game in my splatterpunk adventure. The teacher held me back and said she was worried about me as a 12 year old shouldn’t be writing about such violent and gory things………Sorry Mrs Walker……I’m not right in the head.

 

11. Discworld 2:Missing Presumed…!?-PC

Terry Pratchett’s fantasy world is back for another point and click adventure that improves on the already great first game quite a bit. You play Rincewind again but this time fan favourite character Death makes way more than just a fleeting appearance. Death has retired and Rincewind is trying to get him to go back to work as the world is a disaster without him. Great graphics and Eric Idle returns.

 

10. Syndicate Wars-PC

Bullfrog’s cyberpunk isometric tactical shooter is a cracking entry into the series. All the cyberpunk tropes are their with robotic upgrades, evil corporations, street punks and violence. I first played the ps1 port which was not great but I still got enjoyment out of it. The pc version is the way to go though.

 

9. The Neverhood-PC

It’s a god damn travesty how underrated and frankly forgotten…or even never known this game is. A graphic adventure with full stop motion claymation  action and we all know that stop motion is the absolute shiznit. Fun puzzles, a fantastic aesthetic and an enjoyable plot. If you’re into graphic adventures then for the love of god you need to check this out.

 

8. Street Fighter Alpha 2-Arcade/Playstation

I remember being round at my pal Bertie’s house and we were playing this. The final Fight stage comes up and I start freaking out because Haggar and several characters from my favourite game were in the background. I’m easily pleased bt Final Fight is my absolute jam. Speaking of that game, Rolento, one of the bosses makes an appearance as a playable character here now too. It’s an improvement on the first alpha game and probably my favourite of the trilogy as I feel it’s the most balanced and fair.

 

7. Crash Bandicoot-Playstation

The playstation needed a mascot and Naughty Dog stepped up with this anthropomorphic bandicoot that had most people going “what the hell is a bandicoot”. At a time where it felt like mascots with attitude were on the outs, Sony promoted Crash so well that he became a cool character and people loved him. Even The Simpsons did a parody of him. It gets frustratingly difficult at times but it’s great looking and a lot of fun to play.

 

6. Virtua Fighter 3-Arcade

The third main entry into one of my favourite fighting game series was hyped up on Gamesmaster and I couldn’t wait to play it. I struggled to find a cabinet anywhere though which was heart breaking. I didn’t own a saturn and the friends I had who did never owned the game. When I eventually found a cabinet it was ON!. Subsequently I’ve emulated the game and played it to death and while I still prefer the 2nd, it’s still great.

 

5. Die Hard Trilogy-Playstation

Talk about value!. Thre completely different games in one, each representing one the movies. The first game is a top down shooter where you navigate Nakatomi tower barefoot blasting the shit out of everyone. The second game is a bloody light gun game at the snowy airport and the third is a Crazy Taxi style game that sees you racing to stop bombs from going off. I used to go back and forth on what my favourite was and it always changed which is a great sign. It’s tough though so thankfully it has cheats for losers like me.

 

4. Super Mario 64-N64

No doubt at all that this would top many many people’s lists and fairly so too I just don’t have the connection to it I would have if I was an N64 owner at the time. Boyo the hype for this was off the chain and most people my age will remember it most for the infamous Dave Perry Gamesmaster incident which was bizarrely a television cornerstone of the 90s and still talked about today. Anyway this game was stunning for it’s time, totally unlike anything else and influenced so many games that came after it.

 

3. Soul Blade-Playstation

The first in the Soul series now known as Soul Calibur was known as Soul Edge in other continents but we got it as Soul Blade. I’m a huge fan of the series and this game had a major impact on me, I played it incessantly for the longest time. Awesome characters like creepy sex doll Voldo, my man Li Long who needs to be brought back to the series!, Taki the demon slaying ninja and more and brilliant fight mechanics just make for a great experience. I’m a big believer that every character in a fighting game should have thought out ending sequences when you win and Soul Blade did it best. Fully animated in the game engine and you could change the ending with button inputs!. A legendary game. Oh and that intro with that music……beat it, I f##king dare you.

 

2. Broken Sword:Shadow Of The Templars-PC

One of my favourite point and click adventure games of all time and a beautiful globe trotting, puzzle solving mystery game full of revelations and humour. George Stobbart and Nicole Collard are excellent characters and teaming up to solve the murder mystery is so much fun. Plenty of fascinating characters, cracking visuals and loads of great locations make it an incredible adventure.

 

1. Resident Evil- Playstation

That Bill Sienkiewicz cover art though!. My neighbour and close pal Ewan invited me over to play this new horror game he’d picked up and I had no idea what I was in for. I hadn’t seen any hype for it and knew nothing of it. What we got felt like we were genuinely playing inside a horror movie and it was completely unlike anything I’d ever played. The dogs through the window jump scare terrified me and I’d just never experienced a cinematic horror experience like this before. I’ll never forget struggling for ages to figure out how to get into the attic and when me and Rick finally managed it the revelation that the giant snake was in there will stay with me forever.Yea we all know the voice work is famously atrocious and it has a b-movie feel but it sure as hell didn’t feel silly to me as a kid. 

 

What an incredibly strong year 1996 was and there were some incredible games on that list. Some great games even got left off the list. Join me back here for 1997 and get me @swing_kinker until then cheers x.

 

 

 

 

 

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