Top 10 all time games.
As you may notice all games featured in this list are quite old, there are 2 reasons for this, the first being the game has to stand the test of time, if I go back to it and play it over and over again even though there are newer games coming out then it can make it into the list. The second reason being that newer games just aren’t as fun as older ones.
Also, where I have found that a game has an equally good sequel/prequel, due to both games being near identical in game play I have added it to the same number slot.
Many games appear on multiple systems but I list the systems I played them on the most and got the most fun out of. So, starting at number 10………
10. X-COM UFO Defence / X-COM Terror from the Deep PC 1994/1995
A very compelling, deep and engaging game that I find hard to put down, even today steam has me at 50 hours playing X-COM UFO defence!
It’s a turn based strategy game defending the Earth from alien forces, you start off, build a base from which to intercept enemy craft then once down you send out your X-COM soldiers to finish them off.
The ship to ship combat is mostly automated, but fighting your units against theirs is where all the fun is, taking a set amount of units to the mission, equipping them and using them to wipe out any remaining aliens on the map. To start with you have a few units and they are all rookies who advance in ranks with the more aliens the kill, the higher their rank the more health they have, time used (which they use to move around the map) as well as morale so they don’t run off like a screaming child when the fight goes pear shaped, which it often will as the aliens have far superior abilities and weapons than you.
Which brings me to the research tree, it is very deep and you can research everything the aliens use in the game, from a small bomb which wipes out half the screen to their own craft which they use to attack you and you use eventually to attack them and stop the invasion. Unfortunately for Terror From The Deep there is a bug in the research tree which can sometimes make it impossible to finish the game, still, its my favourite off the two and I never tire from playing it, I love the underwater missions.
9. Homeworld PC 1999
An RTS set in space. Plays like Command and Conquer, no base building, but you do have a home base to construct ships and gather resources. The game has a good storyline and is told during missions and throughout very well hand drawn cut scenes, there is an amazing use of Adagio For Strings for some very sombre moments in the game.
The space battles are very good too, you got everything from tiny fighters to large capital ships to content with, as well as your resource collector you also have a unit that is especially designed to salvage enemy ships to add to your fleet and take to the next level, very handy as the game can be quite hard when resources are dry and you can’t build more ships, always have salvage ships on standby to rob a few off the enemy.
The game has a very good and easy to use 3D map so you can set your units to go anywhere on the map in 3D space. The controls of your units are easy to use and pays just like a normal RTS game with creating groups of units which you can order together in one go, all ships also have the options of flying in various formations which makes for some good tactics.
Homeworld has a high difficulty level and is very compelling to play, I can play it again and again and still not get tired of it.
8. Another World (Out Of This World) SNES 1992
My second favourite SNES game ever, Another Worlds is a brilliant game, and a few years ago they released the 15 year anniversary so it is well worth getting again, though I find the intro on the SNES version the best, its got brilliant music and a great story which scrolls up the screen Star Wars style!
The game is short (really short, but since you will die about 500 times it will last for ages) but the story good and the game extremely fun to play through. It was the first cinematic game I ever played, it was like playing a film (obviously before FMV became all the rage) it’s got brilliant scripted sequences and moments which get the adrenalin pumping, again another game that invoked an emotional reaction, not as strong as Super Metroid but still.
Another World also had the best animation of any game of its time using a technique known as Rotoscoping, where animators would trace over live action film movement frame by frame.
This SNES version also has the best music out of any version of the game and it really adds to the atmosphere of the game and makes the action sequences even more tense, highly recommended.
7. Super Metroid SNES 1994
A game which I’m sure everybody has played and is my favourite game on the SNES.
Fantastic game, easy to play and I love playing through and unlocking the new abilities throughout the game, such as being able to turn into a ball or the spiral jump.
The boss battles are great, some small bosses or mini bosses, some large bosses and quite hard to kill, the game never feels too hard though and so never gets frustrating to play, it also never gets boring.
There are plenty of secrets to be had in the game, which you don’t get enough of in games these days, secrets where you can find new places, extra ammo or extra health, I also love the music in a secret room, you know there is a secret there because of the music so you spend 20 minutes on that screen looking for it.
Which moves me onto the next bit, the music, along with the original Command and Conquer and Final Fantasy 7, Super Metroid has the best music in any game ever, each area has its own theme, the bosses have their themes and they are all fantastic to listen to.
The game is very long and will take you many hours to complete and takes you across different locations including in caves, ships or underwater.
Super Metroid is also the first game to ever get an emotional reaction out of me, I won’t say which just in case anyone hasn’t played it, but for everyone who has played the last boss I’m sure you will know which bit I mean, for a game to do that it’s very difficult. Again, this is a game that I can play time and time again and still not get bored.
6. Mechcommander PC 1998
A real time strategy game that plays like Command and Conquer except there is no base building or resource collecting. You play from a top down view and command a squad of giant Mech robots across a battlefield.
It starts off with a very good (yet full of cheese) FMV intro sequence which sets the tone for the game very well, it’s basically 2 forces against each other, each force owning different style Mechs with different weapons to choose from. The Mechs range in size from 25 tonnes to 100 tonnes and makes for some very good strategic play as you have a weight limit to each mission so you have to choose which Mechs to take, you can also customise their load out which is very good.
This is a very hard game, the control system is easy to use, but the difficulty of the missions is right up there making it one of the hardest games I have ever played, and its all the more satisfying when you do beat each mission. The missions range from destroy a specific target, to getting to a certain location in the map, destroying convoys and so forth, all the while battling the enemy Mechs which makes for some very fun game play, I love fighting in giant robots! If you beat a Mech and the pilot ejects you get the chance to take salvage that Mech and carry it over to the next level, so your arsenal is constantly expanding.
Mechcommander also has the best 2D sprites I have ever seen in a game. The game itself has 2 zoom settings, a far away one so you can see a lot of the fight and one where you zoom in close to better see what is happening, each sprite was redrawn for the 2 zoom levels and are very highly detailed with great animation, a lot of effort has been put into it and I still love the look of it today.
A brilliant game with a high difficulty level but great combat and very customisable.
5. Shining Force 1/ Shining Force 2 Sega Megadrive 1993
Woooo!! Simply the best RPG game ever! Both games play very much the same, have a long story to play through, both of which comprising of their being some evil in the world that you have to destroy, a very worthy goal!
Both games involve you playing through the story, meeting new characters along the way to join your “Shining Force” to take the fight to some evil monsters. The monsters themselves being mostly typical fantasy monsters, Minotaurs, Centaurs, Harpies, and one of my favourites from Shining Force 2 is a fight against a Kraken, very hard fight.
Speaking of favourite fights, SF2 has one of my favourite all time fights in a game, your shining force pitted against the forces on a chess board, if you haven’t played it I wont say more by spoiling it other than I could do that fight over and over again.
The game itself has a unique play style, it is a turn based game, where each of your units has a limit space on the world they can move to, some units can move further than others, some move like a sloth with a broken leg, but your units can move anywhere within this region and end their turn, the enemy plays the same, once you get into a fight the scene changes to a close up of the fight where whoever instigated the battle has their turn.
During the fight you and the enemy have a chance to dodge attacks or even have a second attack, the chance is random, but can make for some very nerve wrecking game play when you are low on health and the enemy is dodging your moves or has 2 attacks and you dodge both of them and eventually end up winning or losing.
Each battle your forces gain experience and level up in the typical fashion, stats go up as usual, but when you get to level 20 you get the choice of upgrading your unit to a hero class, this may give them extra abilities, or new magic or be able to wield new weapons. In SF2 some characters have special items that you find throughout the game and can upgrade them even further than normal.
The character you meet that join your force are typical warriors, mages and flying units, but they are many different species with their own advantages and disadvantages, you cant take all of them into battle at once as you have a limit, this makes for some good tactical play, deciding on who you need for that mission and who can be left behind.
SF1 and SF2 are brilliant RPG games, very long play time and very fun too, you can now get them for PS3 and Xbox 360 on the Sega Megadrive Ultimate collection or on the Wii Virtual Console, I can’t recommend them highly enough.
You can also get these 2 games on steam in the Megadrive collection.
4. Freespace 1 / Freespace 2 PC 1999/2000
The best space combat games I’ve ever played, granted I’ve not played a lot, but this one is brilliant and I can play it time and time again.
Both games play very much the same and the story from the first one continues onto the second one, everything written below applies to both games.
They both got good and compelling stories that draw you in and have varied missions from escort, all the way to huge battles trying to take out a capital ship. The ships themselves range from typical fighters which are very small and designed for dog fighting, which works brilliantly in the game, to the huge capital ships cutting each other in half using beam cannons, some ships are up to 6 miles across.
Throughout the game you get to fight in many varied fighters with a large array of weapons using many kinds of laser cannons and missiles ranging from fast but weak damage to take out fighters to very slow, but do very heavy damage, for the capital ships.
One of the best things about the combat is the ability to target subsystems on the larger ships, you can choose to take out shields first, or engines, or weapons, then pick them apart one by one like a pack of hungry hyenas!
Also when fighting you get to distribute power across 3 systems, Speed, Shields and Weapons, to give each one of them a boost at the expense of the other 2 systems, makes for some good tactical fights where you might put all your power on speed so you can flee, let your shields charge, then go back into the fight with full weapons power.
The combat plays very well, the story is compelling and makes for a long game, there are a huge amounts of details in the game, not just from the ships but from weapons too, brilliant tutorials to show you how to play the game and use each weapon and the missions are very well briefed too with some brilliant voice acting, one of the actors being Ronnie Cox, you may remember him playing Dick Jones in RoboCop
3. Blood PC 1997
Next to Doom this is the best FPS ever. It’s got more imaginative weapons, levels, monsters and is just as fun to play, it’s hard to pick one over the other.
The weapons are brilliant and so much fun to use, your starting weapon is a pitchfork, a bloody PITCHFORK! Which you use to jam in the faces of zombies repeatedly until their head pops off which you can boot around the place like a football until it explodes.
As well as that you get the flare gun which you fire into people and watch as they slowly burn to a crisp running around screaming, when they are on fire they try to run into you and set you on fire too, a very nice touch.
There are several power-ups to be had in the game like invulnerability, but one of my favourite is Guns Akimbo which gives you 2 of every weapon for a short time, 2 flare guns, 2 shotguns etc. and each weapon has a dual fire mode as well which makes them very fun to experiment with, this is just something that is lacking in games these days.
The levels are brilliant too and very varied, you start, quite literally, from your own grave! Then progress through some of the best levels I’ve played in an FPS including a Carnival, a Moving train and some creepy woods.
Another thing the game has which you don’t see enough of these days is a main character with personality, he talks throughout the game, makes wise cracks when left idle, quotes popular culture and even some of the levels are parodies of popular films, overall it’s an extremely fun no nonsense game and I can play it over and over again.
2. Doom 1 / Doom 2 PC 1993/1994
The best FPS of all time. No need for a fancy storyline, in fact its very simple, Demons from Hell are summoned on Mars and you have to take them out, it’s not going to win any awards but is a great excuse for a good kick off, and this takes me to the game play.
The game play is very simple too, no nonsense shoot everything that moves with an arsenal of weapons from the very weak to the downright ludicrous and powerful (BFG) which can take out an entire room in one go. It’s all over the top and not at all serious and that’s what makes this game so fun to play, even better than most FPS games these days.
The weapons are extremely fun to use, from the close range chainsaw, the Shotgun (still my favourite ever) berserk mode which means you can punch someone and they shatter into a mess on the floor and the rocket launcher which I use to knock Cacodemons about the level and watch them float around, which is always hilarious.
The monsters too, including the Cacodemon are all great to fight against and quite imaginative, monsters such as the Pinky Demon, the Mancubus and the Cybderdemon, and for the PC version you get the Arch-Vile too!
Also for the PC version you get some extra levels, one of which is the Spider Mastermind versus the Cyberdemon, a very good level which is practically nothing else except those two.
The game has good music too all throughout, again it’s simplistic music, nothing too dramatic or dynamic and its still very good to listen too, also sometimes you can hear a crying baby in the background which is very eerie.
1. Command and Conquer Tiberian Dawn/Red Alert PC 1995/1996
This game being my all time favourite. When it first came out I didn’t have a PC, I played it on the PSX (that being the original Playsation) and it was amazing, instantly became my favourite game. Only a few years later when I got my PC did I get C&C on it and it was even better again thanks to playing with keyboard and mouse.
At the time I had neither played or seen anything else like it (there was Dune but I didn’t get to play that). Everything about it was brilliant, building up my base, the research tree, I loved the graphics and even the story told via FMV. Also the music is amazing, I can listen to it all day, its so 90s techno, has possibly the best music ever in a game (closely followed by Final Fantasy 7 and Super Metroid)
Obviously there are far newer RTS games with better graphics and better gameplay mechanics with more races in the game, but I love the simplicity of C&C, just 2 races does it for me. To this day I still play it and have a huge amount of fun doing so, both campaigns are fun to play, the FMV and the CGI cut scenes are still great to watch, I’ve probably gone back and played this game more than any other which is why its my number 1.
Red Alert took everything good about C&C Tiberian Dawn and improved on it (it couldn’t improve on the music though even though the music in RA is great) it added extra units, the Dog being a favourite, indoor missions, even more FMV and CGI sequences and a quirky fun story line. Both games also feature 2 of my favourite intros ever.