Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Top 10 Games from Generation Six

Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and PlayStation 2 round out the list today for my top 10 games from generation six. If you were disappointed by the last one (which is completely justifiable) then this one will surely have a bit more content for you. This list was actually pretty difficult to narrow down.

#10: Amplitude
Publisher: SCEA | Developer: Harmonix Music Systems | Released: 2003

I played a demo of Amplitude before I played the full game, and had I not tried the demo first, I can guarantee I would have never played this game. Looking at it (back then, at least) it was just a road with dots along it and psychedelic swirls and colors in the background. But this game is actually the precursor to Guitar Hero, a game which would ultimately change the game industry for years to come. I myself was a huge fan of Guitar Hero before moving on to Rock Band, but my roots with the rhythm genre begin with this game. Harmonix had made another game like this called Frequency in 2001, but I skipped it at the time because I had no idea what it was. I gave it a shot after falling in love with Amplitude, but in my opinion Amplitude was the superior game.

#9: Breath of Fire
Publisher: Capcom | Developer: Capcom | Released: 2001

This might be cheating a bit since it's a port of an SNES game, but I'm including it because I prefer the Game Boy Advance version of the game to the console version. As you might notice, I'm rather fond of classic turn based, random encounter RPGs. I didn't play the SNES version of Breath of Fire until well after its release (in fact, I didn't play it until I picked it up used at a pawn shop), but when I did finally get around to playing it, I found it to be a bit slow. The Game Boy Advance version of the game addresses issues I had with the console version, plus it has the added bonus of portability. If I play any version of Breath of Fire, it's this one.

#8: Grandia II
Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Game Arts | Released: 2000

If you're going to play this game, be sure to play it on the Dreamcast and not on PlayStation 2. The Dreamcast one plays a lot smoother, which is unfortunate for PlayStation 2 owners. This game came out at a time when the Dreamcast was a force to be reckoned with. During its short time on this planet, you had a few choices for RPGs to play, and in my opinion the two best ones were this and Skies of Arcadia. I chose Skies initially, but eventually picked up Grandia II and never looked back. I'd really like to see an HD remaster of it on PlayStation Network or Xbox Live so a new generation could experience this wonderful game, but I don't think that will ever happen.

#7: P.N. 03
Publisher: Capcom | Developer: Capcom | Released: 2003

Speaking of games I wish would get an HD remaster, number seven on this list is the often ignored, widely criticized P.N. 03 from Capcom. P.N. 03 receives a lot of flak for its cumbersome controls and archaic gameplay. While it doesn't play like other games of the time (or especially now) it still has some classic charm to it that I find highly entertaining. I played this game so much and would more or less speed run it, actually trying to improve my final score each time. It was short enough where you could finish it in one sitting if you had your suit upgraded. The fluidity of the main character Vanessa was quite eye catching. Not to mention sexy. Watching her tap her foot along to the electronic music heard throughout the game was really cool, too. She's just a cool character, honestly.

#6: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Publisher: Konami | Developer: KCET | Released: 2003

I'm a huge fan of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, so any game that is similar in play style to it immediately gets my attention. This one is far and away my favorite of the three released on Game Boy Advance, and I'd only put Symphony above it in terms of quality. What do I think the third best is? You'll have to read the next article to find out! The castle layout is pretty good, and I love the weapons you can get in it. The Claimh Solais is easily one of the coolest weapons in the series. This game is a real gem from start to finish, and it was a great final entry in the Game Boy Advance Castlevania series. Surely you've played this game before, but if not, please do. You won't be disappointed in it.

#5: Metroid: Zero Mission
Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Nintendo | Released: 2002

Make no mistake; the original Metroid has not aged well. It has cumbersome and lengthy passwords that are very easy to write down incorrectly. You have to refill your energy tanks manually every time you turn the game on. The map is confusing and many areas look the same, not to mention there isn't a map in the game to help you tell where you're going. Metroid: Zero Mission takes away every one of those criticisms and delivers a ridiculously good game that I feel even original Metroid apologists would have to concede is superior. Additionally, this game is the first appearance of the fan favorite Zero Suit!

#4: Silent Hill 2
Publisher: Konami | Developer: KCET | Released: 2001

Silent Hill 2 is the game that finally convinced me to buy a PlayStation 2. It's hard to believe there was a time when the system didn't wow me, but there was and my blasé opinion was shattered when this game came out. I watched a friend of mine play through it, and I was terrified the entire time. It shook me on a level that no other game has before or since.

While the third game was also very good, it didn't captivate me like this one did. I completely skipped over the original Silent Hill, and I feel you can't really go back to it once you've experienced Silent Hill 2.

#3: Lunar Legend
Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Magic Rings | Released: 2002

Okay, so... what? I know, this is a very strange entry. Especially if you've ever played it. Lunar Legend is a pseudo port of the PlayStation version of the Sega CD game Lunar: The Silver Star. It is limited drastically by the Game Boy Advance's hardware, but there is something about it that draws me in over and over again, more so than even the Sega CD original. I have played through this game all the way through at least three times. I have started a new game and played through the bulk of the game many more times. I don't know what it is about this version of Lunar that I love so much, but I think it's absolutely incredible. I'm in the minority on that, but it's my top 10 list.

#2: Animal Crossing
Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Nintendo | Released: 2002

The original Animal Crossing was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It was a way of life, in a way. I made sure I played it every single day, and I successfully did for well over a year. There was always something to do in Animal Crossing, be it fishing, bug hunting, fossil digging, decorating, etc. The original spoke to me in a way that none of the others did until the 3DS one was released. My friends were also bit by the Animal Crossing bug and we would have get togethers on Saturday night to maximize the frequency of K.K. Slider song acquisitions. Animal Crossing is a fantastic game, and I have plugged so many hours into it that I would be remiss not to include it.

#1: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Publisher: Square Enix | Developer: Level-5 | Released: 2005

Sometimes a game just comes out at the right time. Sometimes you have an itch and you can't scratch it no matter what, but then something appears and it's exactly what you were looking for. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was that game. It is such a classic RPG experience, and it was a dying breed even back when it was originally released. It's very grindy. It's classic medieval fantasy with swords and magic. It has random encounters. It's a holdover from a previous generation, and it's exactly the kind of thing I'm into. I own three copies of this game; one opened that I played for 100+ hours and two factory sealed ones. I didn't buy the extras to sell, though. I bought them because I love the game so much and I just wanted to own more of them.

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