Best Game Ever: Chrono Trigger

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

Chrono Trigger. Back in the heyday of the 16-bit era, RPGs were one of the most popular genres and Japan was producing nearly all of the top titles. Square was one of the top companies during the era, producing the illustrious Final Fantasy series and other popular RPGs. Among those big hits was the fan favorite, Chrono Trigger, originally released for the Super Nintendo.

Chrono Trigger stood out for several reasons. First, the story was very engaging and the storyline could be altered depending on how you played the game. There were several possible endings to see, and some items could only be collected at the sacrifice of missing out on others. It was a fantastic game to discuss with friends to find out how your ending or order of events played out.

Another big reason that Chrono Trigger was so popular was due to its fantastic battle system. The game didn’t have random encounters, so you could skip fights if you wanted, but once you got into fights, they were tons of fun. Chrono Trigger allowed you to combine character attacks, and those attacks varied based on what characters you were combining. Most of the rest of the battle system was pretty standard, but each character was quite unique and it allowed for lots of experimentation and fun. As far as the standard JRPGs go, Chrono Trigger is still a game that provides an enjoyable battle system under the modern lens.

Finally, the other big memorable aspect of Chrono Trigger is its music. From its joyous victory fanfare to its moody and slower tracks, just about any old-school RPG fan can recall multiple musical selections from the game easily.

Luckily, Chrono Trigger is available widely these days. There are re-releases for the DS, the Virtual Console, PSN, and some older consoles. The game holds up very well, and it’s a game I seem to go back to at least once a year for a revisit. There was a sequel released for the PSOne, called Chrono Cross, but it didn’t quite have the same magic as its predecessor despite being a very good game in its own regard.

For these reasons and more not stated, Chrono Trigger is the best game ever.

Best Game Ever: Star Wars: TIE Fighter

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

The Force is strong with this one.

There used to be a time when having a PC for games meant that you played with more than just a mouse/keyboard or joystick. Back in the ’90s, it was almost a necessity to own some sort of flight stick. While it didn’t require a flight stick, Star Wars: TIE Fighter was easily the best reason to own one. I personally had the Flightstick Pro, and I probably logged enough hours on TIE Fighter to become a certified pilot.

Released in the summer of 1994, Star Wars: TIE Fighter was the much anticipated sequel to Star Wars: X-Wing. Bringing to the table a better flight engine, improved graphics, and better effects, TIE Fighter provided the ultimate flight combat experience in its time. The missions were laid out with both primary and secondary objectives, the story was interesting, and the game really forced you to use strategy and well timed attack runs in order to be successful.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter and its expansion Defender of the Empire are easily one of the best PC gaming experiences ever created. For all the Star Wars games that have been released, none have done so great of a job of bringing such a strong sense of immersion. If you’ve never played TIE Fighter and you can drum up the means to do so, definitely get right on it ASAP. Also make sure to check out Star Wars: X-Wing (and its expansions) and X-Wing vs TIE Fighter as well.

For these reasons and more not stated, Star Wars: TIE Fighter is the best game ever.

Best Game Ever: Streets of Rage 2

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

Streets of Rage 2.

Released for the Sega Genesis back in 1992, Streets of Rage 2 was the follow up to the popular Streets of Rage. Very much a product of the early 1990s when beat ’em ups were a dime a dozen, Streets of Rage 2 still managed to stand out in an insanely crowded genre.  Like many brawlers of the era, Streets of Rage 2 suffered from generic names (Mr. X, Max Thunder, etc.), repetitive enemy types, and a world right out of the beat ’em up template set; but these couldn’t drag down the addictive and enjoyable gameplay offered. In a big improvement over the original Streets of Rage, each character in the sequel had their own unique set of moves and special attacks. The different play styles offered by each character lends to repeat plays through the game, especially in multiplayer.

The music in Streets of Rage 2 was also quite good for the beat ’em up genre. Rather than simple loops, we were treated with varied and fancy beats. One of the first things always mentioned when Streets of Rage 2 is brought up is that the soundtrack was one of the best on the Genesis. Obviously, I would agree.

If you were ever a fan of the beat ’em up genre, and you want something more than Final Fight or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Streets of Rage 2 is a great way to get your fix.

For these reasons, Streets of Rage 2 is the Best. Game. Ever.

The Best Game Ever: F-Zero GX

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

F-Zero GX. Fast. Brutal. Amazing.

F-Zero GX released for the GameCube back in 2003 and brought a sense of speed that the GameCube had never seen before and that it would never see again. Developed by Amusement Vision (Sega), F-Zero GX is absolutely everything the series has always tried to be since it made its debut on the Super Nintendo. The tracks are well designed, the sense of speed is unmatched, the AI is ultra competitive, the graphics and sound are top notch, and the controls are tight and responsive. In my honest opinion, I don’t think there’s a better futuristic racer available anywhere.

So what made F-Zero GX so good? Was it just a case of the GameCube starving for a good racing experience? Before writing up this post I went back and put a couple of hours into the game to make sure I wasn’t viewing it through nostalgia goggles. After being humbled quite heavily by the computer for the first 20 minutes or so, I got my touch back and I started doing well and before I knew it I had invested the majority of my evening into the game.  In fact, it confirmed my opinion that the title is still tops in its genre; bettering even more recent titles such as WipEout HD.

The game sold well enough to be profitable, but it was in no way a big hit. Miyamoto went as far as to call the performance disappointing, but those that game the game a chance were quite happy with overall experience. In the end, Sega and Nintendo gave gamers a present that is definitely worth revisiting from time to time. I don’t know of any plans, but it would be fantastic to see this franchise get some sort of revitalization. To me, the 3DS is a no-brainer for an F-Zero game, but I’ll take it wherever I can get it at this point.

If you’ve never played F-Zero GX, you can pick it up used for under $10 online with shipping included, so there’s no excuse to not give the game a try. Be warned, however, the game is brutally difficult on harder difficulties and will take some commitment to mastery. Don’t blame me for any broken Wavebirds…

For these reasons, F-Zero GX is the Best. Game. Ever.

The Best Game Ever: River City Ransom

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

River City Ransom.

The NES saw many beat ’em up titles, but in my opinion not one of them was better than River City Ransom. Yes, I’m quite comfortable saying that RCR (as it’s known by it’s hip fans) is better than Double Dragon, the Ninja Turtles titles, and anything else released for Nintendo’s first home console. River City Ransom is quite unique, and incorporated features that wouldn’t become standards for years later. The game featured RPG elements, the ability to backtrack, upgrades to individual moves and character attributes, and the ability to continue playing through areas that have been previously completed.

Aside from the cool blend of RPG and beat ’em up elements, River City Ransom also offered some pretty quirky and funny dialog. Upon defeating enemies they’ll often yell out, “barf!” before dropping money for you to spend on upgrades to your attack, defense, or health attributes. Somehow this never, ever gets old.

River City Ransom really is hard to describe, but it’s easily found in a variety of formats, including Nintendo’s Virtual Console service on the Wii. If you like beat ’em games or if you’re just looking for a good co-op experience, River City Ransom is an easy pick. For these reasons, River City Ransom is the best game ever.