Feature: THE MOST INFLUENTIAL GAME FROM THE MOST INFLUENTIAL DECADE (Top 10: 1990~2000)


10 - Street Fighter 2 (1991/1992 Super Famicom/Nintendo)

Possibly the defining factor why the Super Famicom/Nintendo managed to install such a large user base. Street Fighter 2 was 'the' must-have of the 90's boasting 16 bits of graphical splendour with versus matches often comparable to a tactical game of chess.

You could say the term 'Boss' came from this game as you battle past four of them to be crowned the World Warrior..

A real knockout!

9 - Mario Kart (1992 Super Famicom/Nintendo)

A somewhat simple looking racing fare, but peel back and you have one of the deepest multiplayer experiences known to man.

Single player time attacks were strangely addictive as gamers attempted to prove their worth by shaving seconds off lap times. Well balanced gameplay with a strategic weapons system made it anyone's race.

This iconic racer has been copied shamelessly by rival developers..

We salute it's horse power!

8 - Donkey Kong Country (1994/1995 Super Nintendo/Famicom)

Possibly one of the finest landmark moments in history when developer Rare bought CGI to the masses.

Still looks and plays great and this game deserves a place in any gaming library. Many aspects of DKC have been borrowed by rival developers as platform games made the transition to 3D..
Truly the King of Swing!

7 - Virtua Fighter (1994/1995 Sega Saturn)

Hit the power button on the Saturn and it was testament that we had evolved as a species.

Doing for gaming what colour television did for the broadcasting, Virtua Fighter left players in awe as camera angles changed to lock onto the action, even if you required sea-sick pills during some of the replays!

Gameplay was tight and sound was streamed straight from the CD, delivering the next generation fighting experience that had been eagarly awaited..

A Hard Hitter!

6 - Ridge Racer (1994/1995 Sony Playstation)

The Saturn got in there weeks ahead with Virtua Fighter but Namco supplied the racing dose for generation 5 of gaming.

You could be forgiven for cranking up the volume to hear the sampled speech from the race commentator over the synthetically glossed CD soundtrack while drifting around Seaside Route 765..

"Next corner's tough.. Watch Yourself!!"

5 - Super Mario 64 (1996/1997 Nintendo64)

Correctly defining the term '3D' - Super Mario 64 offered the complete freedom to go where you want in an immense world laden with baddies, traps and events posing as the essential competency test on how to negotiate the next generation of platformers and RPGs.

Truly jaw dropping moments awaited players using the precision N64 thumb-stick to creep upto enemies, tight walk and master the toughest of courses...

An experience never to be repeated again!

4 - Resident Evil aka Biohazard (1996 Sony Playstation)

Proof that a game could give you nightmares, Resident Evil took the Amityville concept and fused it with the zombie stylings of Romero to create a truly terrifying experience!

This game set a trend that has been followed ever since by games such as Silent Hill, but only masters Capcom could have done it with such style, played to the tune of deep musical notes such as a haunting renedition of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata..

'Welcome to the World of Survival Horror.. Good Luck!"

3 - Legend of Zelda - The Ocarina of Time (1997/1998 Nintendo 64)

From the point the great Deku tree dies to time travelling at the Temple of Time, Miyamoto San's masterpiece is a console classic that rewards you with 60+ hours of gameplay that stays long after the end.

Not much more can be said about this game..
Playing is believing as even non RPG fans have been converted when giving this a go..

Nintendo's magnum opus!

2 - Metal Gear Solid (1998 Sony Playstation)

A well written narrative, great voice acting and Hollywood production values launched creator Hideo Kojima to stardom. He pushed the Playstation hardware to its limits to create an action blockbuster that raised the bar for other stealth games.

The first time gamers had to cope with emotion and adrenaline in battle.
Oh the confusion as Psyco Mantis read your mind - well your memory card atleast!

"Have at you Snake!!"

1 - Shenmue - Chapter 1 (2000 Sega Dreamcast)

The most under-rated, unique and finest game developed with no room for improvement.
Yu Suzuki reinvented the RPG genre with something so deep that you experience the emotion of meeting people and parting in a fully living, breathing world.

Fancy steering away from the narrative and hanging out at the local arcade?.. no problem! - Also, take a moment to stand by the way-side and watch in awe as this virtual world goes about their business.

Among this dark tale of revenge there also resides a subtle romantic tale that Yu Suzuki handles perfectly, demonstrating he's a masterful storyteller.
We are further taught that revenge is never a straight line, and behind every action there is a consequence.

Do not expect a game of this caliber to come along again..

A well accomplished masterpiece!

Review: IKARUGA (DreamCast)

Background

Cult producer Treasure rolled out approximately 50.000 copies of this spiritual sequel to Radiant Silvergun, still regarded as the greatest shoot'em up of all time, so there was little doubt that unscruplous importers and collectors horded most of the stock with hopes of auctioning later at similarly high prices to it's predecessor..

Unfortunately this game is not as collectable as RS for the fact that it later saw a worldwide release by Atari on the GameCube. Ikaruga also made it to XBOX Live in 2008, although the DC version is still the tightest being that it's the original canvas this masterpiece was created on, even if the X360 incarnation bought HD graphics to the party.

The game itself is a horizontal shooter allowing players to tilt the screen (if they desire) to play as the developer intended. This is a nice feature as industry standard LCD/Plasma panels are lighter than previous CRT models. I must confess the vertically cropped option is satisfying enough without having to wrestle a state of the art 52" upright at the risk of it toppling over and killing your family outright!

Gameplay

Ikaruga uses no power ups, rather it introduces a unique light and dark phase style of play where you switch the colour of your aircraft to become impervious to attacks of that colour. As you progress each chapter (level) hitting a light phase enemy when in a dark phase mode and vice-versa allows you to generate higher points, making this is alot more interesting if you partner up with a friend in two player mode to tear apart the CPU with your strategic attack formations.

In later stages you will find yourself gunning and negotiating the light and dark puzzle element rather like a nail biting game of chess, struggling to blend under enemy fire, then rapidly switching back to counter alternate attack patterns.

Ikaruga engrosses you to such the extent that one play becomes ten as you inevitably fall deeper and deeper into this addictive switch'n gun formula.

The two player game is a real lesson in comaraderie as you battle side by side to victory.

Graphics

Testament that the DC was a far practical machine than the PS2 to get results, what we have here is a fast paced, smooth and lush piece of programming with 3D backdrops and special effects that could pass as PS3 material.

If you are lucky enough to have a VGA set-up for your DC then Ikaruga really comes to life with smooth 480p rendering that adds to the overall genius and eye candy.

Developer G-Rev's input in this game is evident as graphical effects and lighting resemble Border Down which came along two years later. Explosions, light beams and futuristic buildings look familiar, although the enemies and bosses are definately RS territory, just alot better looking!

Sound

A fine example of the Yamaha sound processing abilities of the DC, Ikaruga has a pumping techno soundtrack that builds the pace as you progress further into the game, steering away from Treasure's usual orchestral compositions.

Explosions are satisfying and the robotic commentator who announces each individual number of a chained hit works well.

Arguably one of the best audio examples on the DC that's up there with Street Fighter Zero 3 and Daytona USA 2001 for arcade quality sound.

Lastability

Like the maiden voyage of Star Trek, this one will fly around your DC for quite some time with it's sci-fi charm and high score chasing.

Admittedly you have to be a hardcore shmup fan to get the most from this title but novices will find enough to hone their skills as Ikaruga does away with power-ups and endless weapon choices to defeat enemies.

The difficulty curve is just right to keep you hooked, yet tight enough to reward players who dedicate around 30 hours to master this game and dazzle on-lookers.

Collectability

Do not expect this game to fetch vast sums of money upon a large investment to secure one of the many sealed copies currently in circulation (2008)

It would appear that the horded copies from 2001 are now out for sale by the unscruplous types who can make around 50% profit over what they initially paid back in 2001.

This has turned out to be no Radiant Silvergun, although the DC copy will become more scarce in time, demanding higher prices for mint copies on the weight of it's hardcore reputation among shmup fans.

Once again, games collecting should be regarded as a passion, not a business opportunity. If you want to watch your money grow, buy shares! - If you want to own one of the finest import only DC games then add Ikaruga to
your list.