Darryn’s Top Ten list of rad games

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Brutal-Legend

If you’ve been paying attention over the last two weeks, you’d have noticed that everyone here at Lazy HQ is posting their top ten gaming lists. Victor already had a turn and was fired for Molyneux reasons, while Zoe picked up the pace with her ten best games. Now it’s my turn. Brace yourselves.

I’ve taken a different tact with this list. I’m writing down the first ten games that enter my brain-space, because there’s now way that I could condense the best titles of forever into such a small number. Here we go, prepare to be hit in your nostalgia bones. In no specific order:

Freelancer

freelancer

If there’s one space game that I’m going to include in this list, it’s going to be this masterpiece which narrowly edged out several Wing Commanders and Starlancer to make it here. Never before had I managed to explore a galaxy so vast and detailed before.

And I didn’t just have to fight my way through the main game. Hell, I could traffic anything I wanted to in my bulky Rhino freighter, from water to desert planets, drugs for richer worlds and containers that really should have had oxygen pumped into them for all those slaves.

Freelancer was massive, beautiful and had a fantastic story to boot, making it one of the last great space games ever made before World War Two took over the gaming industry.

Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage

Spider-Man-and-Venom-Maximum-Carnage

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can. Stars in a crap game, catches bad ports just like flies, look out! Here comes a Spider-Man game!

That’s pretty much how I felt with every single Spider-Man game released. Most of them were terrible, and failed to capture the spirit of the webhead. But then LJN of all developers, managed to make not only a great game featuring the amazing arachnid, but one that stayed true to the comics.

You had the nimble Spidey beating up random goons, Venom acting as heavy muscle, multiple paths and secret boss fights. All that, in a blood-red cartridge that made church groups shudder when they saw the symbiotic spawn of Satan inviting players to blow him and insert said device into a Megadrive.

Pokémon Emerald

Pokémon Emerald

If there’s one constant with Pokémon games, it’s that a new generation of of pocket monsters will always get summed up into one new re-release of a game. That makes fans pay twice for exactly the same game at the end of the day.

And still, I fall for it every single damn time. But out of all those repackaged Pokémon games, Emerald is my favourite. Hell, I paid R400 for the game when it came out. Which in student money, is absolutely insane. Especially when I saw the exact same game at a cash crusaders for R70, which caused me to break down and blubber man tears.

But it was worth it. The third generation of Pokémon has always been my favourite, and Emerald added a ton of content to what I had already played. Content which I’m still playing to this day.

Brutal Legend

Brutal Legend

Do you wanna rock? RAWK! Brutal Legend was everything that I ever wanted from a game based on classic rock and metal music. A world that looked like it was ripped from an Iron Maiden and ManoWar album cover. Ozzy Osbourne giving you lip. A car that would make Brian Johnson write a ballad about it.

And of course, Tenacious D’s Jack Black on vocal duties, easily carrying the entire game. Brutal Legend was more than just a great sandbox with awesome tunes. It was a love letter to Metal music, and one of the best games that Tim Schafer and his Double Fine studio ever made.

Final Fantasy 8

Final Fantasy 8

A lot of folks reckon that Final Fantasy 7 is the greatest game that ever emerged from that franchise. Well they’re all wrong and have stupid faces, because 8 was waaaaaaay better. It had everything you could want from a Final Fantasy game on the Playstation One.

Great graphics, audio and a storyline. The Junction system has to be one of the most underrated methods of using magic, while the Guardian Force side-quests to unlock extra battle monsters to fight with you was just icing on the cake.

It’s the best Final Fantasy ever made, and if you disagree with me, I’ll fight you in a dark alley.

Blur

Blur

Contrary to popular belief, I love a good racing game. There were plenty that I would have slotted here, from Project Gotham Racing 4 through to Forza Horizon, but Blur has to be an unappreciated classic.

It was stylish, fast and the kind of game that Mario Kart titles wanted to grow and be one day. But what I loved the most, was how easy it was for newcomers to get into it. I’ve got great memories of playing that game with my dad, in races that usually ended with him calling me a little bliksem and losing badly.

Good times man, good times.

Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds

Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds

How do you improve the already phenomenally fantastic Age of Empires II? Easy, throw Jedi, lasers and TIE Fighters into the game, and keep the formula intact.

As a massive Star Wars fan, this was the game that I spent way too much time on. I assembled armies of Stormtroopers, created entire Jedi cultures and used the map editor to create a scenario where I finally got to give Jar Jar Binks the laser-based punishment that he deserved.

It was beautiful, and the game smelt like burnt Gungan whenever I finished playing. What more could a fan want at the end of the day?

Blade Runner

2341939-vf_randompcgame_blade

Even though the film flew over my head with its questions into the state of humanity and other…stuff, I still loved Blade Runner. And long before LA Noire rolled around, it was a perfect marriage of point ‘n click and detective work.

It was a fantastic example of doing a movie game right, and absolutely massive as it shipped on four, count ‘em, four CD-ROMs. I never found it if I was a replicant or not in that game. Or who the murderers were. Or any other crime culprits. Because I sucked at my virtual job, it seems.

Batman: Arkham City

Batman-Arkham-City-double-hand-crush

Many reviewers believe that Arkham Asylum was the best Batman game in the Dark Knight trilogy of current-gen titles. But personally, it was Arkham City for me. Sure, Asylum had a tighter story and didn’t throw as many villains as possible at the player, but AC brought something else to the table for me.

I love me some Batman, and AC was the caped crusader on a larger stage, showing just how lethal one man with a trust fund and parent issues could be when faced with overwhelming obstacles. It also capped off a fantastic end to the voice-over career of Mark Hamill as the Joker, with an ending dripping in nostalgia and foreshadowing.

Unreal Tournament

Unreal

Man, if you never attended a proper LAN, then you’ve missed out on something in life. A small room, dozens of gamers, white towers as far as the eye could see and CRT monitors attempting to open up a crack in time and space with their cathode tubes helped paint an iconic scene.

And then there was the unmistakable sound of a dozen mouse clicks a second as players fragged and dominated their way through skyscrapers with shock rifles and double enforcer pistols. Quake 3 Arena almost took this spot, but even years after it was released and sequelised, Unreal Tournament ( Not Unreal Tournament 2000 as I was just reminded)  just took the cake for me.

You might say that it was…UNSTOPPABLE!

Last Updated: November 5, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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