Top 10 Video Games of 1999

Prince predicted that the year 1999 was the year we all were going to party harder than any other year and he was right about that. I remember a lot of people were ready to enter the 21st Century making their last days as great as it can be. But for others, they were paranoid about the Y2K problem that will hit when 2000 comes. Either way, everyday we made our days just in this year like it was our last. As for the gaming industry, everyone wanted to give out some of their best efforts for all of us gamers to enjoy. 1998 gave recognition to video games as a pop culture phenomenon and promised us newer styles of games from multiplayer, games that perfected genres, and so much more. This was also the year where North America finally got the Sega Dreamcast that had so much to offer that N64 and PS1 couldn’t; which is loved by many hardcore gamers as the best system ever. Being that this was the last year of this awesome decade, we take time to finally countdown the best games of the last days of the 1990s!

Number 10.  –  Super Smash Bros.

What is the Nintendo 64 made for? The answer – four player co-op, slick 3D graphics, analog stick for smooth controls, and party gameplay experience unlike any console before it. So what’s the one video game that captures all of the tends and purposes of the Nintendo 64? Super Smash Bros. of course. Nobody before ever had the idea that putting many of Nintendo’s famous mascots into a fighting game cross-over could be the most ingenious idea. But this was around the time where cross-over fighting games were present, but never used in non-fighting game characters. Somehow this brought everyone into the craze of beating their opponents with so many weapons and amazing powers, just so much that they can make their foes fly off the screen. It was exciting, fast, and intense every time I pick up this game and play with my friends. This was our Nintendo fantasies come to life and yet we’re still not satisfied due to the fact that every one has their favorite Nintendo character (or any other video game character) that didn’t make it in the sequels of Smash Bros and we demand even more. It was so cool to see every character to have their own moves and abilities that are used for their advantage and what matters is to see how skillful a player is in battle. Sure the sequels of Smash Bros. had more content, but you have to remember how mind blowing and exciting it was to play your these characters and in famous levels from each franchise. Because of its addictive multiplayer, it has left a huge legacy for us all and it still remains fun to this very day.

Number 9.  –  Counter-Strike

It’s about time to finally put an online-game only in the list of the best games of the 1990s lists and Counter-Strike deserve it so! It has experienced the mixed blessing of its immense popularity and it still being played online today as long as Steam is still in service. The experience itself can be enjoyed or hated by many for being filled with angry trolls and noobies that feels like a double edge sword. Still, despite its weaknesses, Counter-Strike is undeniably influential, and has already helped inspire countless similar mods and games. It’s easy to see why: Counter-Strike has a simple yet effective design that’s brought to life with superior maps and vivid graphics and sound. The end result is utterly exciting and addictive. Counter-Strike is a model of its kind and a thrilling action game.

Number 8.  –  Donkey Kong 64

Ever since the Nintendo 64 was launched, I kept wondering if the Donkey Kong Country series will remain on the Super Nintendo. Load and behold, it was a dream come true to have Donkey Kong and his friends in full 3D. This was a huge moment in my life, as a Donkey Kong fan, because we finally got a chance to play as DK (we haven’t had him as a playable character since Donkey Kong Country 1) and finally play more than one  of his buddies; 4 more of the Kongs to be exact! The gameplay was more like a very expanded version of Banjo-Kazooie, I mean a huge one! Not only they took the essence of scavenger gameplay in this game, but made it five times the size, making every Kong to have their own collectables for each and every level that they are in. This stirs the question on why this game is already bigger than it needs to be, making very laborious to go through. But you have to remember that DK64 offered a lot more than a huge singleplayer, but this game is loaded with multiplayer content and even a graphics Expansion Pack included that for future high-tech N64 to come. This won’t be the first time Rareware spoiled us with not only including the game (Killer Instinct and the soundtrack) but that’s what makes Rare so special for all of us hardcore Nintendo fans. It’s really sad to say that we will never again have another Donkey Kong game that’s in full 3D because I’ll be in for it when Nintendo decided to finally make one in some point in time.

Number 7.  –  Silent Hill

I’ve stated that the Silent Hill trilogy is the best survival horror trilogy ever! However, if you have to hurt me and say which of the three is the scariest, I have to go with the original Silent Hill. It’s very obviously an attempt to capitalize on the growing popularity of the horror genre, spurred by the success of Resident Evil, but that didn’t keep it from becoming one of the best horror games of all time. This pushed the genre forward in some very disturbing (and welcoming) ways. The real reason why this game make it as the third scariest game I’ve ever played because it still remains as the only game that made me faint! You heard me right. I remember when my friend invited me over and his brother just got a copy of Silent Hill brand new in 1999. I remember it was so haunting to see that Cheryl was missing and Harry had to find her to only end up in a gory ally and monsters took over you. When he awoke, he found himself in a diner, only to have a giant-bat, pterodactyl-like monster to crash through the window trying to kill you. At that moment, it was so nightmarish and I was so overwhelmed that I fainted. I woke up with everyone in my friend’s brother’s room worrying about my fainting and they all stopped. I admit that there were scarier moments in the later game and the rest of the trilogy, but never did I ever had such a reaction that felt like an out-of-the-body experience that only the original Silent Hill could offer.

Number 6.  –  Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings

Though everyone was still in the craze for StarCraft, Age of Empires II got me into the real-time strategy game boom and I still consider it the best of the genre. Basically, all of my fantasies of Medieval warfare is all capture and presented very well in this very game. You got yourself from knights, vikings, samurais, and so many other nations to build for an units, population, buildings, and other competitions that made this RTS so much fun. It contains a vast number of enhancements and improvements over the original game. Just some of the new features include a choice of technology paths (over 100 nodes), building and defending Wonders of the World, and crafting military might through not only ground-based troops but naval and siege warfare as well. You can choose to play against human- or computer-controlled opponents, the latter being especially formidable due to aggressive AI programming. The heart of the game revolves around a random map generator for both single and multiplayer modes. With no two games ever being alike, this feature allows for unlimited replay. For those wishing to immerse themselves in historical campaigns, the designers have included four fully developed campaigns based on the struggles of Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, Frederick Barbarossa and Saladin, each consisting of a series of linear scenarios. You can even bring out other fantasies that would even captures the glories of the likes of Braveheart. These are all of the reasons why I missed Microsoft, as both a gaming publisher & developer, for making exclusives on the PC, because they were PC gaming masterpieces that can’t be tainted.

Number 5.  –  Planescape: Torment

Out of all the video games that uses the Dungeons and Dragon’s licensing, Planescape is in my opinion not only the best D&D licensed game, but one of the best PC Role-playing games of all time. It took everything that was good about Bulder’s Gate and perfected the gameplay, graphics, animation, pacing, and everything else. Some might say it’s too bizarre and weird, but I found it a refreshingly deep and thoughtful interlude in such an amazing world. There’s much more to this game than anyone could describe, so many locations and creatures, quests and odd dialogues that it would take 10 reviews to cover them all. Planescape Torment accomplishes all this and more, capturing the player’s heart and intellect, taking him on a long, fraught journey through one of the most unique settings I’ve experienced in any medium and wrapping it up in a stunning, jaw-dropping finale. So. What can change the nature of a man? The answer to that is for each of us to discover on our own, but by the end of this game you’ll have a good idea where to look. Yeah. It’s really that good.

Number 4.  –  SoulCalibur

In 1998, SoulCalibur in the arcades was so advanced in the department of graphics, gameplay, and presentation that not even the Nintendo 64 or Playstation could handle such a game. The Dreamcast not only handled it well, but it went above and beyond from the arcade version in levels like we’ve never seen before, making it one of the biggest reasons to get a Dreamcast when it first launched. While Tekken 3D perfect 3D fighting games, SoulCalibur perfected weapon-based fighters and the whole franchise still remains the best of its kind. actual martial arts forms are used and just waiting for a demo to come on is amazing because it shows you every character performing their styles just as if you were watching a kung fu film. Each character’s moves are unique and there are plenty of them you’ll want to use. An impressive array of combination moves is not too difficult to perform after trying a few times. There was a sense of realism where actual martial arts forms are used and just waiting for a demo to come on is amazing because it shows you every character performing their styles just as if you were watching a kung fu film. Each character’s moves are unique and there are plenty of them you’ll want to use. An impressive array of combination moves is not too difficult to perform. Tough to say it, but even though Street Fighter II started the fighting game boom, SoulCalibur was the peak of this era!

Number 3.  –  System Shock 2

Just how many times did I already talked enough about System Shock 2? I’m at the point where I just feel like a broken record because it keeps ending up in almost every list that I made that fits the requirements that System Shock 2 has. For an ambitious game that has a lot of cool variety of gameplay, character growth, and scares, System Shock 2 was without a doubt an awesome experience. It had the coolest atmosphere and the most outstanding soundtrack I’ve ever heard from a game that it makes it worth coming back to. Now it is really troublesome to actually try all these cool things without upgrades because the cyber molecules that allows you to upgrade are hard to find. Not to mention that there are so many aspects in upgrades that are so complex that it’s hard to figure out how to get that upgrade. But at the same time you would want to be rewarded for that sort of thing so that this game won’t be too easy. It was indeed a scary game where unearthly nightmares came to life like never seen before. The progression of the game was really insane where the game gets so imaginative that it was more than what I was expecting. It was definitely a challenging game where I had to learn so much in order to get what I was expecting, but by the end of the game it feels rewarding. Though you might become so powerful that it makes the final boss with Shodan to be so easy and quick, I certainly liked that it was an improvement over the original which I said that it was my cyberpunk space adventure come to a video game. Though I do blame all the flaws upon Irrational Games where they had no experience with developing System Shock 2, it is, indeed, an intelligent, intense gem that should not go unnoticed.

Number 2.  –  Sonic Adventure

The Sonic franchise has a very long struggle in getting into 3D ever since gaming was able to jump to 3D graphics; from Sonic 3D Blast to the likes of Sonic X-treme. It’s very true that one of the downfalls of the Sega Saturn was the lack of good Sonic titles which is what all Sega fans wanted. If they weren’t going to put it on the Dreamcast it will be too late for Sega, but finally we got what we asked for. This is Sega’s Super Mario 64 because this is where Sonic was forever changed to what he is today. From his sharp look, homing attack, new style of level design and atmosphere, soundtrack. This was a brand new era of Sonic in ways that we could never imagine before. Sonic Adventure still remains the best 3D Sonic game today for the sake that not only you can play Sonic, but also Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big, and E-102 Gamma who each and everyone of them have different gameplay and also have their own adventure in this nonlinear storyline that’s happening within the timeline. I wonder why no other 3D platformer could ever do this game’s narrative as well as Sonic Adventure. Not only that, but you have so much content like raising Chao as a pet simulator, beat the time replay modes, and so much more. It is easy to see why Sonic Adventure was declared as the killer app at the Dreamcast launch. Bearing all this in mind revisiting Sonic Adventure has been a pleasure and it’s worth a few hours of anyone’s time for a slice of Sega history.

Number 1.  –  Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage

I bet non of you would ever expect me to place this Playstation classic at number 1, but it is the best game released in 1999. Ever since the Crash Bandicoot trilogy was completed on the Sony Playstation, Spyro came along to take over Playstation’s mascot craze and the sequel shows why Spyro is the best exclusive series. It was every part better than the original at a point where the original looks like shit in comparison. We’re talking about better character (Elora. Hunter, Professor, & Moneybags), more gameplay features and bonus levels, a better bosses (Ripto, Gulp, and Crush), better voice acting, better level designs, new power-ups and so many improvements that totally makes this a classic worth coming back again and again. On to the power-ups, you also got the generic climbing on climbable ladders and headsmash, but the one thing I really love about this game is being able to swim underwater, and unlike any other game, these are the best swimming mechanics ever seen in a video game. Why is it that we’re still having problems swimming underwater in video games today, but Spyro 2 managed to pull it off perfectly well? Never have there been a game where I was so excited to have a level that has body of water or underwater stages that brings out all the joy out of me. And unlike the scavenger collecting 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie and DK64, Spyro 2 made collecting everything so simple, yet challenging which really avoids the laboriousness of having to find something you miss or have a mini game that’s impossible to beat. Every level doesn’t take too long to complete, all the challenges are varied and entertaining, and experience is just the most fulfilling 3D platformer.

Now That we’ve completed doing all the lists of video games of each year of the 1990s decade, join with me next time when I count down the best video games of the decade of the 1990s!!