November 1st, 2006
There’s something about Killer7 but it isn’t it’s genre. It’s an on-rails shooter that resembles a more modern version of light-gun games. Your movements are constrained to either moving forward or backward (hence “on-rails”) except for intersections where you can choose a direction. Without any doubt, it’s my favorite game of 2005. The concept for the story is beyond bizarre, a hitman with multiple personalities – all of which are hitmen, but that only scratches the surface in a story that nobody truly understands. There’s no true way to describe it other than an experience for anyone a little tired of the same-old stuff, as the entire game is an experiment in defying the rules of game design. If you appreciate the subtleties of the storylines in Quentin Tarantino movies, you might be ready for Killer7.
It’s fairly cheap, since it wasn’t commercially successful. Also, the Gamecube version is apparently noticiably better than the Playstation2 version. Grab it from a used game store while you can.
The epitome of the the scrolling shooter game, Ikaruga represents the culmination of the genre. If you ever enjoyed a good fast-paced shoot-em-up you should think hard about why you’re not enjoying it right now. Unlike similar games, you can absorb enemy bullets, although they have to be the same “polarity” as your ship, which can be changed at will. The action is a ballet of white and black bullets, and you’ll need more than sharp reaction times to keep up with them, so don’t be surprised when even the “Normal” difficulty is too much for you. There is no way to simply play Ikaruga, you have to practice until you’re good enough at each level. But rather than being tedious, you eventually become a master of your craft. There’s little else to say other than it’s old-school fun in a shiny package.
It’s not easy to find, nor is it cheap. But it’ll only get more expensive and rarer as time goes on, so get it while you still can! It’s out for Gamecube.
A nice indie game that resembles the frantic 2D shooting of Contra more than anything else. Alien Hominid is plenty of fun, especially with another person. You spend most of the game blasting everything that moves, but despite the fact most enemies are killed with a single shot, they put up a hell of a fight. The boss battles are where the game really shines, and lucky for you there are plenty. There’s even some bonus games that rival the main game in addictiveness.
It’s only $20 and it’s available in every system. How can you lose?
I’ve played Half-Life 2, which is a very good game, but pales in comparison to this mod for Half-Life 2. Metastasis has a subtle storyline, where the player is being directed by a mysterious someone known as Minerva around an island filled with Combine forces. The story, despite being entirely told through abrupt textual transmissions, has amazing writing. It’s creator places a heavy emphasis on architecture, and builds everything to be practical. Instead of the controlled, linear Half-Life 2 in Metastasis you’re not forced into a storyline. You explore the environment rather than being pushed around it, all while Minerva narrates your progress and gives hints (while she’s not insulting you). In Half-Life 2 the environments are built around situations the creators want to put you in, Metastasis is more fluid as the entire complex was built with the enemies added later. It offers many interesting, intense gun battles that require you to think differently. It’s not nearly as long as Half-Life 2, at around a fifth of the gameplay time, but I enjoyed it more nonetheless. Also, the creator of this game made a mod for the first Half-Life called Someplace Else which is also very good and follows a similar concept.
As of this writing only the first two chapters (out of three) have been released, but the third is arriving any day now. This mod itself is free, but you’ll need to own Half-Life 2 (PC) to play it.
Beyond Good & Evil feels like a quality adaptation of some movie, but it’s a completely original story from the creator of Rayman. You play an investigative reporter trying to unravel the mystery behind the DomZ, an alien force attacking the planet. As you progress through the game your actions have an effect on the world, which really adds the the experience. Sometimes it’s all about stealth, other times it’s action, but it’s almost always interesting. The game keeps becoming more interesting as time goes on, so the game’s relatively short play time will leave you wanting more. It has a cult following desperate for a sequel, but the fact the game was a commercial failure so all we can do is hope.
It’s available for everything (even the PC), and is fairly cheap despite its cult status.
If you haven’t heard of this one you can’t claim to be a true gamerâ„¢. Psychonauts featured amazing gameplay, a killer story, and was a critical hit when it hit the shelves. It also sold horribly. The entire game is some psychadelic trip in the mind of a madman, sometimes literally. It takes place on a training camp for future psychic warriors, or Psychonauts, and is full of interesting characters and immense detail. It has the best story of any game on this list. You play as Raz, an intruder who needs to unravel the mystery surrounding what’s going on at the training camp. You’re required to enter people’s minds, including your own, each with its own facinating theme. Their quirks and varying levels of sanity keep things very interesting. It’s a facinating way to tell a story and playing around in people’s minds will never get any better than this. There’s another game from the same creator that has the same level of quality and effort put into it (it’d be on this list if it wasn’t too old) called Grim Fandango.
It’s out for everything (except Gamecube). you can get it for $20 over Steam, although its sometimes attainable for less. Also, even though there’s an Xbox version, don’t expect to be able to play it on your 360.
Pac-Man Vs. makes for a great multiplayer game that anybody… ANYBODY can play. All you need is a Gamecube and a Gameboy Advance. What makes it interesting is that one person controls Pac-Man using the Gameboy and everybody else plays as ghosts using the TV, so they can’t see where Pac-Man is. It’s very addictive, despite how it might seem.
It’s dead cheap used (sometimes less than $10), probably bundled with Pac-Man World 2 (pretend it’s not there) and easy to find. Gamecube only.
Ico is the story of a boy who was destined to die but escapes his fate and gets caught up trying to rescue a girl in danger. The atmosphere of this game is what really sells it. The entire game is a brooding fairy tale, where there might not be a happy ending, but still maintains a sense of magical fantasy. It’s haunting and beautiful, and as the game goes on you develop a bond with the girl your rescuing even though you aren’t sure why. It resembles Metastasis in that much of the story is only hinted at and the architecture is highly realistic. There’s so little wrong with this game (besides its sales) that it was re-released in the UK and a similar game was created that was more popular, called Shadow of the Colossus. Still, too many people haven’t played this game yet.
It’s not too expensive actually. PS2 only.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is a spooky psychological thriller for people who like Survival Horror games, Eternal Darkness tells a huge interconnected story inspired by Lovecraft horror novels. There are a lot of great moments, and plenty to enjoy, as the game can be played multiple times with different ultimate enemies to face. You learn of the story alongside Alex, the heroine, as she discovers pages of the Tome of Eternal Darkness which tell the tales of other people who encountered Tome and the horror surrounding it. As characters in the game encounter evil they begin to lose their sanity, causing creepy hallucinations and disturbing the ambience. It really brings you into the game as you seem to go insane alongside the characters. The graphics are a little dated, but deserves the attention it never got.
It’s pretty cheap used. Gamecube only.
I Haven’t Played the Tenth Entry
Nobody can claim they’re not missing some games they shouldn’t be missing. Here’s a few I’m missing that should probably be on this list:
- Metal Arms: Glitch in the System
Think I missed something? Post your favorite game that nobody played in the comments.