Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Review

Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

The ‘Metroidvania’ subgenre of platformer was birthed by Super Metroid and turned into a full-fledged genre with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Strangely, most of the subsequent entries in the Castlevania series that follow in Symphony’s footsteps have more or less been exclusive to handhelds. But that only really means that handhelds have been seeing quality Castlevania releases. This was especially the case with the Gameboy Advance, which saw the release of three such Castlevania titles. The third of those GBA games, Aria of Sorrow, is widely acknowledged as one of the best game’s in the system’s library, and one of the best entries in the entire series. It’s well-deserved praise. In the twelve years since its 2003 release, Aria of Sorrow hasn’t lost a step.

 

In a change of pace, Aria of Sorrow’s story doesn’t take place in the past, but in the future of 2035. Dracula, as it turns out, had been soundly defeated by the Belmonts and Alucard in the year 1999, with his soul and castle being banished in an alternate realm within an eclipse.

Castlevania: Aria of SorrowSoma Cruz is an exchange student in Japan, and as he and his friend Mina are about to visit a shrine, it suddenly becomes a gateway into the eclipse, and the two find themselves in Dracula’s castle. A prophecy that tells of Dracula’s reincarnation inheriting the vampire lord’s powers has a number of characters – both good and evil – searching the castle’s chambers to either prevent or fulfill the prophecy.

Players take control of Soma, who has gained newfound power in this other world. Much like in Symphony of the Night, the player starts off with very little to their arsenal, but they progressively gain new powers and abilities that both make Soma stronger in battle and open up new areas of the castle.

The gameplay is incredibly smooth, with combat and platforming feeling simple and fluid. New weapons, armor and accessories can be found in secret rooms, by defeating enemies, or bought by a man named Hammer, who sets up shop in the castle early in the adventure.

Additionally, Soma gains experience points every time he defeats enemies, and can level up after gaining a set amount of experience points. This gives the game an RPG sense of depth, similar to Symphony of the Night.

Aria of Sorrow admittedly plays really close to Symphony’s playbook (though that’s certainly no sin), with many of the castle’s locations almost feeling carried over from the Playstation classic, albeit with a different layout. What sets Aria of Sorrow apart and gives it its own identity, however, is its introduction of the Tactical Soul system.

The Tactical Soul system allows Soma to steal the souls of defeated monsters, which grant Soma new abilities. Enemies often have to be farmed before you can claim a soul, but the fact that every enemy gives you a new power gives the game an insane amount of depth and variety.

Souls come in four forms: Bullet, Guardian, Enchant and Ability. Bullet souls work as a replacement for the series’ secondary weapons, and are mostly ranged attacks like throwing knives or shooting lightning from your hands. Each use of a Bullet Soul uses magic points, which are replenished with collectible hearts (or potions). Guardian Souls are continuous moves that eat up magic points until deactivated, like transforming into different forms or summoning minions. Enchant souls are always in effect when equipped, and thus don’t require magic points. Abilities granted from Enchant souls can range from mere stat boosting to walking on water. Finally, Ability souls are usually found after boss fights, and give Soma abilities that are necessary to delve deeper into the castle. Unlike the other types, they are always active and never need to be equipped (though the player can turn their effects off if they choose).

Castlevania: Aria of SorrowIt really is a simple addition to the series, but one that has a powerful effect on the game’s content and longevity. It’s as addictive as collecting Pokemon. And much like Pokemon, the game’s original GBA release gave players the ability to link up to trade souls, because chances are you won’t be able to grab them all in a single playthrough. Unfortunately, like so many linking features before it, the trading aspect of the game is absent in the Wii U Virtual Console release.

The game also looks great, and somehow seems to have made the transition from GBA to Wii U better than most, visually speaking. Sure, Soma’s character model lacks defining features, but that’s forgivable when taking into account the screen the game was originally made for. The game’s art direction and animations also hold up really well. As is a recurring element of the series, Aria of Sorrow features a stellar soundtrack, though it might not quite stack up to the series’ finest scores.

Castlevania: Aria of SorrowIf you enjoy Metroidvania titles even the slightest bit, you owe it to yourself to play Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. It may have been compacted for a handheld, but it exudes as much depth and content as its console counterparts. The gameplay is great, and the Tactical Soul system pretty much means you can change things up in nearly countless ways. The graphics and sound have aged nicely, and several unlockable modes, multiple endings and even the ability to play as a secret character means that the game will outlast the ten or so hours you’ll put into the standard quest.

Does Aria of Sorrow match the brilliance of Symphony of the Night? Not quite. But it comes a lot closer than it has any right to. That it should be compared so frequently with such an esteemed predecessor is quite a statement in itself.

 

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Top 5 Video Game Witches

Happy Halloween everybody! I’ve been quietly celebrating this awesome holiday through my recent string of Castlevania reviews, but I also thought I’d whip up something a little more unique on the day of Halloween itself. So here it is, a list of the top five witches in video games!

I don’t want to hear anyone say I forgot some character or failed to mention so and so. This list is narrowed down to five, after all, and it’s just based on my opinion. This is a pretty different list than usual anyway. I could always make revised editions, if that suits your fancy.

Also keep in mind that these characters have to be primarily identified as witches. No mages, sages, wizards and shamans allowed.

So without further ado, grab a witch’s brew, or I’ll get you my pretties, and your little dogs too! Or, you know, here are the top five video game witches.

*Minor spoilers follow!* Continue reading “Top 5 Video Game Witches”

Castlevania: Dracula X Review

Castlevania: Dracula X

Castlevania: Dracula X is an interesting entry in the Castlevania canon. This Super Nintendo installment was originally to be the western release of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, which was released exclusively in Japan on the PC Engine. Though Dracula X shares similar graphics and an identical plot to Rondo of Blood, it boasts drastic differences in its level design, structure and even some gameplay elements. This has lead the game to have a somewhat divisive effect on the Castlevania fanbase, though on its own merits it stands as a great entry in the acclaimed series.

Dracula X falls under the traditional Castlevania gameplay (this game being the direct precursor to Symphony of the Night and the introduction of “Metroidvania”). You take control of Richter Belmont, a descendant of Simon Belmont who (as is family tradition) is on a quest to slay the evil Count Dracula, and in the process rescue his love interest Annette and her sister Maria.

Castlevania: Dracula XRichter uses a whip like Simon and Trevor before him. Though it initially might seem disappointing that Richter cannot swing his whip in every direction like Simon could in Super Castlevania IV (the more popular SNES entry), he makes up for it with an overall better sense of control. Richter’s jumps are less stiff and more controllable, he doesn’t get knocked back nearly as far as his predecessors when hit, and (mercifully) he has a much better sense of control when going up and down stairs.

Along with the whip, Richter can also find the usual secondary items: the throwing knife, holy water, crucifix, the axe, and the stopwatch, which all require collectible hearts to be used. This time, however, each secondary weapon also comes with a screen-wide special attack, which can come in handy in areas chock-full of enemies, but require a whopping fifteen hearts for every use.

Castlevania: Dracula XThe levels are progressed linearly, with Richter moving to the next stage whenever a boss is defeated or when other requirements are met. You’ll play through a total of seven levels on any given playthrough, but there are nine levels total, with alternate fourth and fifth stages available. The number of alternate stages is reduced from the original Rondo of Blood, but they still add a sense of variety to the game. And given that Annette and Maria are held captive in different levels, you’ll have to know how to find them if you want the best ending.

The paths to some of the alternate levels can be a bit tricky, which might be off-putting to some, since you’ll have to either input a password or start the game over to get back to that point if you missed your opportunity to go down a certain path (you can end up in the fourth level that doesn’t house a damsel in distress simply by falling into a pit in one of the rooms in the third level, which is incredibly easy to do as you’re bombarded by floating medusa heads and dragon skulls). But if you can put up with the trial-and-error approach, it’s rewarding to find the different ways to play through the game.

At only seven levels in a playthrough, Dracula X is admittedly short, but the game’s high difficulty makes it feel a lot bigger. The enemies can get tough, with some of them being able to take Richter out in a few quick hits. The platforming  can also be challenging, but thankfully due to the levels themselves and not Richter’s movements. And you may throw your hands in the air when you can finally make it to a boss without dying, only for the boss to send you to a game over in a very short amount of time.

As difficult as the game is, it never gets particularly frustrating. The healing items are still a bit too infrequent, but checkpoints appear more often than in previous games in the series. And while the levels can be a little lengthy, they aren’t so large as to make it a chore every time you get a game over and have to start them over.

Castlevania: Dracula XAnother highlight of the game are the graphics. The game doesn’t utilize the same Mode 7 effects that Super Castlevania IV did (no rotating rooms this time), but it still looks gorgeous even today. The sprites are vivid and detailed, and the animations are surprisingly smooth, even for a SNES game. But even the great artwork is secondary to the absolutely incredible soundtrack. Hands down, this is one of the best soundtracks in both the Castlevania and SNES library, and that is saying a whole lot. I could go on and on about the soundtrack alone, but I digress.

There’s a whole lot to love about Castlevania: Dracula X, but there are some drawbacks to this version of Richter’s quest. As stated, there are less alternate levels than in Rondo of Blood, so you may feel you’re only getting a chunk of the adventure. Similarly, Maria was an unlockable character in the original game, and became playable after you rescued her, but that isn’t the case here. Finding the alternate routes, while understandably challenging, can sometimes be needlessly difficult (seriously, those pits). You also kind of wish Richter had some more unique moves and that the game used as many visual effects as Super Castlevania IV.

Still, even with these shortcomings and half-realized elements, Castlevania: Dracula X is still a great game for any fan of the series or 16-bit games. This may not be a popular opinion, but between this and Super Castlevania IV, I find Dracula X to be the better aged game. It has the same kind of fun, but with a vastly superior sense of control, a tighter, more challenging quest, and one amazing music track after another.

 

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Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse Review

Castlevania 3

 

The third entry in the Castlevania series, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse brought things full circle. The RPG adventure setup of Castlevania II was undone in favor of returning to the level-based action platforming of the original title. But Castlevania III has enough tricks up its sleeve to prevent it from feeling like a step backwards, even if some of the aged mechanics of its predecessors still remain.

As stated, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse uses a similar setup to the original game, but story-wise it serves as a prequel, taking place hundreds of years before the original Castlevania, with Simon Belmont’s ancestor Trevor taking the title role.

Castlevania 3Trevor’s controls will feel instantly familiar to anyone who played through Simon’s adventures. A whip is still this Belmont’s weapon of choice, and once again players can pick up secondary weapons, which require collectible hearts to be used. The combat works just fine, though unfortunately the stiff jumping and awkward stair climbing mechanics are still present, which can make a number of segments more frustrating than they should be.

Many of the same Castlevania enemies return along with some new ones. Thankfully, the enemy patterns feel more balanced this time around, and when you do get bombarded with enemies, their patterns seem less random than in the first game, making the combat feel more fair and fun.

Before you think this just sounds like a more polished version of the original game, Castlevania III introduced some notable innovations to the series.

The first  big change is the game’s more nonlinear structure. While Trevor will usually venture to the next stage upon defeating a boss enemy, some levels with feature a branching path afterwards, leaving the player to decide where Trevor’s quest will go from there. You’ll never see every level in a single playthrough, so you’re given good incentive to play the game again and take different paths. Depending on your choices, you can even affect the game’s ending.

The other notable addition is the inclusion of multiple playable characters. Three new allies join Trevor Belmont, and bring some variety to the gameplay.

Castlevania 3Grant, a pirate-like figure, can cling on walls and ceilings and also has the most fluid jumping mechanics, as he’s able to change his direction midair. However, is weapon is a simple, tiny dagger, meaning he’s not ideal for combat.

Sypha is a witch, and can find magic spells similar to how Trevor finds secondary weapons. Her spells make her one of the better combat characters, despite her slow movement and her standard weapon lacking Trevor’s strength and reach.

Alucard, the son of Dracula who would be the star of Symphony of the Night, debuted in the series here. Though he’s not nearly as powerful as he’d become in Symphony, his fireball attack boasts a great range, and he has the ability to change into a bat.

Each of these characters are optional party members, but they make the game all the more fun with what they bring to the table. Unfortunately, at any given time you can only have Trevor and one additional character, so don’t expect to mix things up with Alucard and Grant.

The level design has also been improved, with longer, more expansive levels that should challenge even veteran players. The overall layouts of levels also feel more thought-out and intricate. There’s a good sense of both variety and consistency in combat and platforming.

Castlevania 3It is still a bit of a downer that life-replenishing meat is still a pretty rare occurrence, because the game can prove to be pretty difficult. And since a game over means you’ll have to start a level from the very beginning, you wish that just a few more healing items could have been sprinkled throughout the game.

Castlevania III also looks cleaner than its predecessors. The character graphics and animations look nicer, and as a whole it’s one of the better looking NES titles. And per the norm for the series, Castlevania III includes a memorable musical score that will surely get stuck in your head in the best way.

As a whole, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse remains a great game in most respects, but some of the controls and certain elements in the game may feel a bit dated. It’s an NES classic, if maybe not a timeless one.

 

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Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest Review

Castlevania 2

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest is the most polarizing of the NES Castlevania titles. Though it took the series in new directions that would later be adopted by the series’ best entries, it is, to put it lightly, a rough blueprint of what was to follow. The inventive ideas that Castlevania II brings to the table are countered with often muddled execution, making this a Castlevania that requires a great deal of patience.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest forgoes the more linear level progression of the original, and replaces it with something closer to an RPG.

Simon still controls from a sidescrolling perspective, his trusty whip is still his primary means of attack, and there’s still platforming to be had. But now the secondary weapons are permanent, with the collectible hearts working as currency. Simon can gain experience and upgrade his whip. And towns now separate the action-oriented segments, which take place in the monster-infested wild and are capped off with mansions and castles.

Castlevania 2In concept, it’s a brilliant setup, made even more interesting by the game’s day and night cycles, with the night filling the towns with zombies and doubling the strength of monsters. But the game’s overly cryptic nature can make the game outright dumbfounding, and a poor translation only adds to the confusion.

There are just too many elements that go unexplained throughout the game. For example, you may find that when traversing the haunted mansions Simon will randomly fall through certain platforms that bear no visual difference from any other platform. The only way to know which platforms are solid and which ones are traps is to continuously throw holy water at every platform. If the water falls through, you know it’s a trap. Not only is this process tedious, but there’s nothing in game that informs you of this.

The people in the towns often give you “hints” of what you need to do, but rarely are they any real help. It’s said that in the Japanese version, the townsfolk are all liars, so you can’t trust what they have to say. I don’t know how helpful that in itself would be, but combine that with the game’s lackluster translation, and it just becomes all the more cryptic.

Then there’s the mansions themselves, which don’t end with a boss fight, but by throwing an oak stake into an orb at the end of a mansion. You have to purchase the oak stakes within the mansions themselves, but you’re not told what you’re supposed to do with them. If you throw the stake at an enemy (which does nothing), you need to repurchase it, which is no small deal considering how long it takes to stock up on hearts.

The whole game feels like it’s tailor-made to be played alongside a strategy guide. There are so many unexplained features that today’s gamers will be looking up online guides almost out of the gate.

Castlevania 2Another problem arises with the game’s difficulty. Some of the less desirable mechanics from the first game return, like the stair climbing, stiff jumping, and the intense knock back Simon receives from a single hit. While combating monsters can provide some old school fun, the game can become frustrating with how easy it is to die. It might not even be so bad, except that every time you die you lose all of the hearts you gathered, and every item costs a good number of hearts, so every time you die it’s going to take that much longer to progress even just a little bit. You may find yourself farming the same batch of enemies over and over (it in itself a monotonous task) just to stack up on hearts, only to lose them all because you got knocked into a pool of water.

What’s worse is the only way to heal is by visiting one of the churches in the towns, which are only open in the day because at night the zombies come out. So you have a very limited window to heal up on top of everything else.

There is some fun to be had with Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, but chances are you’ll need a strategy guide in order to enjoy it. The game does, however, boast an incredible 8-bit soundtrack that stands as one of the best in the NES library. But even that doesn’t quite lift the game out of the rut it creates with its overly cryptic nature, repetitive adventure, and taxing challenge.

 

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Castlevania Review

Castlevania

There are few franchises in all of gaming as revered as Castlevania. Konami’s beloved action series has been one of peaks and plateaus over the years, but whether great, good or bad, the series has built on the initial blueprint created by the NES original. Going back to play the original Castlevania today, you’ll find that while many of its attributes still hold up, it is not a game for everyone.

Being the first entry in the storied series, Castlevania represents the very basics of the series’ gameplay. Simon Belmont can walk, jump, and uses a whip as his primary weapon. Additionally, secondary weapons can be found in the forms of throwing knives, holy water, throwing axes, boomerang-like crucifixes, and stop watches that temporarily freeze enemies and obstacles in place. You can only hold one secondary item at a time, and they are lost whenever Simon is defeated. Hearts can be found hidden all over the place, and every secondary item takes one heart for each use, with the exception of the stop watch, which uses five hearts.

There are a total of six levels, which are progressed through linearly. Each stage is separated into three segments, with each segment serving as a checkpoint, and a boss fight waits at the end of every level. Simon must make his way through these six stages in order to confront the evil Count Dracula in a final showdown.

The game is as simple as that, but its level design provides some challenging platforming and the enemies will put Simon Belmont’s weapons to good use.

CastlevaniaAt its core, Castlevania remains a fun game to play for the most part. Though it does include awkward “stair mechanics,” with Simon becoming glued to staircases when ascending and descending them, which leaves him vulnerable to enemies’ attacks. Aside from that mechanic the gameplay remains mostly fun. The graphics, while simple, still manage to evoke a sense of eeriness even with their 8-bit limitations, and Castlevania includes a killer NES soundtrack.

What will turn away a good number of today’s gamers, however, is Castlevania’s sharp difficulty. A lot of NES games were incredibly difficult (no Nintendo console library since has been so consistently challenging). But while Mega Man and the like are difficult because of smart level design and boss fights, Castlevania combines those traits with some unpredictable enemies and a few cumbersome elements.

Players may notice they make it through the first three levels without too much trouble. But once you enter the fourth level things pick up drastically, with enemies popping into the screen seemingly randomly, and others have patterns that seem to change on the fly. The fourth boss – a combination of Frankenstein’s monster and a tiny, bouncing Igor – will probably have anyone but the most diehard Castlevania fan swearing at their television screen.

It’s true that many of these enemies become much easier with the appropriate secondary weapon, but since you only have access to those so often, you frequently feel at a loss. And the sheer unpredictability of some enemies only adds fuel to the fire.

Take into account the aforementioned stair mechanics, which also remove Simon’s ability to jump. If you come across a skeleton throwing multiple bones at the top of a staircase and Simon has low health, you’re pretty much a sitting duck. Floating Medusa Heads continuously spawn is certain areas, but each will spawn with different patterns. Ravens will fly towards Simon, sometimes continuing to fly onward, other times swooping down for a strike. Then there’s the tiny Fleamen, who bounce around Simon uncontrollably, and are difficult enough to hit that they might deplete most of your health before you can take one of them down.

CastlevaniaThere’s also the strong knock back Simon receives with every hit. You can potentially make it through most of a level without taking a hit, then die after a single bump sends you down a pit, into a spike, or into a body of water (this is especially bothersome when Simon travels across water on small platforms, and Mermen will jump out of the water at random points, meaning they can knock Simon into the water without the player being able to do much about it). You can find meat hidden in some of the castle walls to replenish health, but they’re so infrequent they only help so much.

There just seems to be a few too many elements in the difficulty that are out of the player’s control. As such, Castlevania may be off-putting to many gamers today. But for those who welcome an old school challenge, and anyone with a strong love for the Castlevania series, then revisiting this inaugural chapter in the illustrious saga will ultimately prove worth it.

Castlevania may not stack up to many of its sequels, but knowing all the games that were inspired in its wake is enough to be grateful for in itself.

 

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Thoughts on IGN’s Top Video Games of All Time List

"The above image belongs to IGN. I in no way made or own it."
“The above image belongs to IGN. I in no way made or own it.”

In a spooky coincidence worthy of the Halloween season, IGN has just finished compiling a list of the top 100 video games of all time a little more than a week after I wrote this list of top 10 lists, in which I mentioned how IGN had yet to follow up their 2007 list of greatest games. Part of me is a little bummed that this list had to come out after I compiled that top 10 of top 10s, because I think IGN’s 2015 list would need a placement on there somewhere, even if there were some questionable omissions and placements in the overall top 100.

An interesting note about this list is that, while most lists either focus on the overall impact a game had at launch or how much fun they are by today’s standards, this list instead focused on how much fun these games were when they were released. An interesting change of pace, if anything.

Here, in full, is IGN’s top 100 video games of all time (or you can just read the whole thing) followed by some of my own take on it (yes, I know it’s their opinion. But this is my opinion on their opinion).

 

100: The Walking Dead: Season 1

99: Advance Wars

98: Perfect Dark

97: Galaga

96: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

95: Super Mario Galaxy 2

94: Donkey Kong ’94

93: Ico

92: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

91: Batman: Arkham Asylum

90: System Shock 2

89: The Oregon Trail

88: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

87: SimCity 2000

86: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

85: X-Com: UFO Defense

84: Contra

83: Fallout 2

82: Resident Evil 2

81: The Secret of Monkey Island

80: Final Fantasy VII

79: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

78: Fallout 3

77: Zork I: The Great Underground Empire

76: Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening

75: EarthBound

74: League of Legends

73: WarCraft 2: Tides of Darkness

72: Spelunky

71: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield

70: Mega Man 2

69: Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

68: Suikoden 2

67: Final Fantasy Tactics

66: Goldeneye 007

65: Burnout 3

64: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

63: Super Smash Bros. Melee

62: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

61: Grim Fandango

60: Donkey Kong

59: Persona 4: Golden

58: Team Fortress 2

57: MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat

56: StarCraft

55: Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast

54: Thief 2: The Metal Age

53: Ms. Pac-Man

52: Pokemon Yellow

51: Mass Effect 2

50: Dota 2

49: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

48: The Last of Us

47: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

46: Metroid Prime

45: Diablo 2

44: Banjo-Kazooie

43: Resident Evil 4

42: Counter-Strike 1.6

41: Metal Gear Solid

40: Dark Souls

39: Journey

38: Mass Effect

37: Silent Hill 2

36: BioShock

35: World of Warcraft

34: Shadow of the Colossus

33: Battlefield 1942

32: Rock Band

31: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

30: The Legend of Zelda

29: Red Dead Redemption

28: Final Fantasy VI

27: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

26: Half-Life

25: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

24: Sid Meier’s Civilization IV

23: Star Wars: TIE Fighter

22: Halo: Combat Evolved

21: Super Mario Galaxy

20: Street Fighter 2

19: Deus Ex

18: Baldur’s Gate 2

17: Portal

16: Grand Theft Auto V

15: Minecraft

14: Super Mario World

13: Chrono Trigger

12: Sid Meier’s Pirates!

11: Super Mario 64

10: Tetris

9: Halo 2

8: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

7: Super Metroid

6: Half-Life 2

5: Portal 2

4: Super Mario Bros.

3: Doom

2: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

1: Super Mario Bros. 3

 

It’s definitely a solid list, with many classics from various eras of gaming. It’s hard to argue with most of the selections, but some of the placements can leave a lot to be desired.

First and foremost, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Wind Waker and Yoshi’s Island are way too low. I honestly can’t think of why they would be placed way up in the 90s. I’d say that Galaxy 2 and Wind Waker are the best 3D Mario and Zelda, and Yoshi’s Island puts up an argument to being the best 2D platformer ever.

I also feel Symphony of the Night and Mario Galaxy could have placed in the top 20 (at least), but at least they aren’t far off. And while I’ve always been more of a Mario World man, I can respect Mario 3’s placement at the top.

Mega Man 2 is another game that seems strangely low, especially considering there are no other Mega Man games on the list. I would probably also place Shovel Knight in there somewhere, certainly over fellow indie title Spelunky.

I really don’t have much else to say about the games on there, since most of them are pretty great (though I personally can’t stand BioShock, I know I’m alone in feeling this way). However, there are some very notable games that are absent from the list.

Surely I’m not the only one who notices that there isn’t a single Mario Kart in the top 100? I know, some might say there are already a few Mario games (seven to be exact, unless you count the two Donkey Kong games, but despite Mario being the playable character, I consider those to be Donkey Kong games). But to not have a single Mario Kart in the top 100 just seems wrong. Also, no Mario RPG or Donkey Kong Country 2, so I lose again…

Although I’m the first admit that Sonic the Hedgehog has gone downhill (boy, has he ever), I think one of the Genesis titles should have made the list (Sonic 2 seems to be the favorite, though Sonic 3 and Sonic CD have strong support as well). And what about Nights?!

There are a lot of other games you could argue should be there, but it is a list limited to 100, so of course plenty of games are going to get cut. Honestly, the quibbles I’ve stated are all I have to say. The list is otherwise pretty good, with a lot of great games covered, different generations acknowledged, and thankfully there’s no bias towards newer games (I feel too many of these “best games of all time” lists end up catering to the flavors of the month). So good on IGN for making a (mostly) great list to represent the best of the best.