Top 10 Video Games of 1995

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Being that is is the on the half of the decade, 1995 was the year were the old were fading away and the new things were coming in. For video games, I was blown away that 3D graphics were now coming in and the short lived 16-bit era was being coming a thing of the past. There were debuting consoles like the Sony Playstation (who were entering in the gaming industry after Nintendo humiliated them with their SNES CD Add-on deal) and Sega was jump shifting to the 32-bit systems with the Sega Saturn. However, the Super Nintendo was still popular (thanks to Donkey Kong Country) and it was able to withstand against the 32-bit systems. Though we all were expecting to see Nintendo to jump shift to the newer 3D graphics technology like all the games are doing, Nintendo delayed the “Nintendo Ultra 64” for reasons that are still not explained to day. This is another year in the 1990s that offered great titles and very memorable moments that lasted through a life time!

Number 10.  –  Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness

This is really the game that set the standards of real-time strategy games. It only took a sequel of Warcraft to make Blizzard the big name company that we all know of today because this is our fantasy warfare come to life. Words cannot describe how much of an improvement this game is over the original as you have have three times the unit/army, more gameplay modes, so much better A.I., and even three times the scale of warfare and battles. It was fantastic to have a map editor and the inclusion of multiplayer to actually give new competition in video games outside of fighting games and first-person shooters as the only genres that offers that feature. Because of the inclusion of multiplayer it is the reason why real-time strategy games are so much of a global PC competition today that, it’s considered a interactive sport by many.

Number 9.  –  Twisted Metal

It’s about time to finally put a Sony Playstation game in the list of the best games of the 1990s. Along with classic like Jumping Flash, this title is surprising at the fact that it was a launch title that was so well made! I like to look at this game as the title that represents the 1990s extreme culture. While it was noted by many reviewers that the story and length was “dull,” the gameplay more than makes up for it, by being known distinctively as one of the greatest Vehicle Combat games of all time. With Co-Op being one of the best parts of the game. Also to bring even more madness on the table, you got yourself a fantastic two-player multiplayer to face against your friend and other CPUs all at once. Seriously, when the Sony Playstation 1 was announced, this was the biggest talk about its exclusives and it really showed what 32-bit games are capable of! Not that many Playstation launch titles can say the same

Number 8.  –  Killer Instinct (SNES Version)

If you remember that Killer Instinct on the arcades kept telling all of us that Killer Instinct console port will be released for the “Nintendo Ultra 64” in 1995, the “Nintendo 64” was delayed in release but Rareware still managed to deliver Killer Instinct as a console port. Though it had no choice but to be released on the Super Nintendo because it was still the only Nintendo console in the market in 1995. This could have been a bad idea considering that the arcade version was so technologically advanced, it’s predictable that a 16-bit console will end up in a lot of limitations. Surely enough, the Super Nintendo port used everything it had (using the same development technique as Donkey Kong Country) and managed to make it not half bad. I really like to look at this Killer Instinct version as the different 2D fighter that managed to be half as entertaining as the original version. Almost everything that everyone loved from the game remains in this port; from the characters in the selection, the move-sets, ultra combos, and everything right in a 2D plain. If that’s not enough, the game just spoiled it’s buyers by including the Killer Instinct soundtrack from the arcade version. It’s remembered as some of the most wildest and hard rocking soundtracks ever heard from a video game and to have it with the game it’s a full priced bargain! This copy of the game did everything to satisfy it’s fans after all the console limitations and for that it earned itself to be on the list.

Number 7.  –  Rayman

This game  brings me back to the days when simplicity is the key factor of enjoyment. Rayman only gave us a basic platformer that has more than plenty of colorful levels to be a sight for sore eyes. Sure it does get much more difficult when you get closer to the end of the game, but for the sake that this is just so comforting to play, it holds a special place in many of our hearts. What this platformer did over all the others in the market is being clever with its gameplay challenges. You have to climb through maze-like environments, navigate hazardous skies by riding a mosquito, and swing from perilous, suspended hooks. The way Rayman does everything is surprisingly done well. It’s all thanks to the animation quality that created such atmosphere and beauty. Rayman is side-scrolling, comic animation at its finest. Both experienced video gamers and newbies will find it absorbing, engaging and amusing and yet we still talk about it because it gave us such an impression since then.

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Number 6.  –  Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

It’s interesting to see that Shigeru Miyamoto was jealous of Donkey Kong Country’s popularity at the time and decided try compete with an exclusive on the same system with Mario’s origin story as a baby. He took a wise decision by bringing back Yoshi from Super Mario World and made him a full-fledge playable character, along with other Yoshis. What makes this classic so special is that almost every since aspect of the game has at least a wonderful animation quality. Every object has a textural detail (like crayons) that brings out such personality. There are so many new aspects of this game that brings out so much fun within the gameplay, however I am not a fan of the decision of having Baby Mario crying each time you get hit and loose him. I’m one of those people who are annoyed big time with Baby Mario’s cries. If you can look pass that (surprisingly I manage to do that)  you’re in for a treat for some of the best boss fights, best level designs, and even the best platforming experience that you can find anywhere else.

Number 5.  –  Tarranigma

If your heard or know of this game before you read this top 10 list and you live in North America, then hats off to you for having the knowledge of obscure games. This is one of the many RPG’s that never made it to the United States. Shameful because this is one badass action-RPG just succeeds on being flexible (in terms of gameplay) and surprisingly very deep. It’s set in a brutal war between heaven and hell, you play as Ark who’s not a silent protagonist that’s on an unbelievable adventure of a life time. Tarranigma is one of those games that used plenty of Christian references throughout, greatest example of the name of your main character. I really love to look at this classic as the more action-packed version of Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. But it is, in actuality, a successor and improvement of Legend of Gaia, Soulblazer, and ActRaiser. They improved upon it and expanded it in an unbelievable degree of scale and epic proportions. It’s very satisfying to see that this game gives the player multiple ways to attack, the ability to jump, and a very unique inventory system of collected items held in an entire room that furthers the experience. That’s why its one of my favorite Enix games before they sided with Squaresoft.

Number 4.  –  Popful Mail: Magical Fantasy Adventure

One of the downfalls about side-scrolling platformers is that they don’t really have a good narrative or a story. Along comes Popful Mail that defies that stereotype on platformers that gave us balls to the walls action and a really good story!  Imagine if the Zelda games on the Philips CD-i was actually good; you got yourself Popful Mail! This obscure gem is essentially a 2D platformer with some RPG elements. The controls allow the player to jump, attack, open doors or treasure chests, and speak to another character. Additionally, the player can summon a menu to change some of the game’s attributes, the current character, the current character’s equipment, use or activate an item, read the game’s status, save, load and quit, considering that this game is way longer than your traditional platformer the save system is needed. It’s really cool to switch characters (Mail, Tatt and Gaw who will be later in the game) at anytime, equip to any weapon, special, and healing items, and it has a really cool narrative where characters speaks throughout! You’re able to talk to NPCs and upgrade your character. I really had to choice but to put Popful Mail as the best Sega CD game because this is the side-scrolling platformer that I was long looking for. Graphically, it could be played on a regular Genesis, but the sound quality, animations, and voice acting, it not only pushed the Sega CD to its limits, but it can even be on-par with the audio technology used in the Sega Saturn! Popful Mail is another great example of Working Designs (Lunar) using the Sega CD to their advantage. It’s an RPG with some unique 2D action and platforming segments and is filled with great cutscenes, voice acting, and music that only the Sega CD could utilize. In the end, Popful Mail is one of the best and most unique games for the system and worth checking out for any fan of RPG’s or platformers!

Number 3.  –  Panzer Dragoon

If there’s anything to discuss about when it comes to the Sega Saturn’s library, it has to be the Panzer Dragoon series. It’s amazing that this was a launch title of the system to show what the system is capable of. I’m very impressed that this on-rail shooter looks so well made and it feels so damn magical at the same time and still holds up very well today! Anyone can come across this game as a simple shooter, but at least it’s a very damn good one. You can shoot enemies around you in a 360 degree radius and you’re able to shoot enemies coming close to you and your dragon that you’re riding on. Even though it did took inspiration from the likes of Star Fox, it totally dominates any Star Fox game that has been released up to date. Being that Panzer Dragoon is a game that showed what this Sega Saturn is capable of, it’s just a damn shame that the system didn’t last long as it should nor did it get enough love from the general public. For that reason alone, do all you can to check this game and the entire series out because there’s a reason why I put this as my favorite Sega series of all time!

Number 2.  –  Donkey Kong Country 2:  Diddy’s Kong Quest

Though 1994 was the year of Donkey Kong Country, I’m one of those people who knows by heart that the sequel is better than the original. Sure, most of us who are emotionally attached to Donkey Kong are upset that he’s unplayable thanks to Kaptain K. Rool capturing him, but at least we have the next best thing; Dixie Kong. It was great to have Dixie Kong as a new playable character to help Diddy Kong because she’s just as fast as Diddy and she has a ponytail so long that she can spin so fast to propeller herself to long distanced platforms. And better yet, you got yourself the richest and qualitative level designs that even make grown men emotionally weapon that’s backed up with the most immersive soundtrack ever scored into a video game. I felt like life is complete whenever I adventure through the game as a kid because it has a fantastic variety of levels that feels like the greatest pirate adventure in a video game. Not only that, but the secrets, bonus levels, and collectable were so well crafted that it’s worth attempting to make that 100% completion, despite its hardcore difficulty. Though it doesn’t have a story nor any character development whatsoever (like any other platformer in existence), but I’ve grown such a huge emotional attachment to the adventure and atmosphere that this very game presents itself! And it’s clearly one of the main reasons why I’m proud to have this very game to be, not only a part of my childhood, but part of me as a gamer!

Number 1.  –  Chrono Trigger

If you had any doubt that this classic could be anything but the best game of 1995, then you should get slapped. Sorry to sound so rash, but this game did every single thing possible to be as epic and as thunderous as humanly possible. Yet, very little games out there could even come close to the awesomeness of this very game. I always see Chrono Trigger as the game that was a build up on everything Squaresoft accomplished before this title and delivered with every ounce that they got! From top-to-bottom, start-to-finish this game is quality, quality, quality! It’s a game that demands your attention and will not let go of it until the final credits roll. It has everything that a game could ever need; a well fleshed out cast, devistating movies and team combos (never been done in an RPG), a fullfilling time travling experience, some of the greatest and memorable scores in video games, great villains, and multiple endings to make the player have a sense of high replay value. If you never played Chrono Trigger in your life, saying that you’re missing out is an understatement of the century; you owe it to yourself to play this game, even if you detest RPGs like I used to. When people say that Chrono Trigger will get people who hates RPG’s to become a believer, they are right because I used to hate RPG’s as it’s just a mathematic game in a fantasy setting. After I played this game from beginning to end, not only did I want to play more of this game, but I was eager to start playing other RPG’s of the genre. For a game that does that to me, personally, then it should really say something to you. I never been as satisfied as am I now after I played Chrono Trigger countless times because this was a time-traveling experience that I’ve never seen before and quite frankly, never see again. It’s is not only the best game of 1995, but also quite possibly be the best game of the whole decade of the 1990s!

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