Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket B - match 3

3. The Legend of Zelda


6. Syphon Filter

Hmm, coming up with a decent intro to this matchup is a little harder than normal. First off, it's E3 week and I have been eating up all of the news during the hoopla. Second, these two games are very different. In my head I am trying to shoot off ideas, like characters, franchise popularity, bosses; it just cannot be done. So let's jump into it already.


The Legend of Zelda is one of the first games I ever played. Which was also one of the first games I gave up on. It was pretty tough for a 5 year-old. Anyway, I would still watch my brother play it and amaze me at his knowledge of the maps. That was passed onto me. Years later I can start playing and have so much in my inventory before I even step foot into the second dungeon.

This Nintendo game was one of the first to have the battery save in the cartridge; I just think that is really cool. It is a fun adventure game, in fact it is pretty much the father of all adventure games.

Sorry, as I sit here I am just thinking of all the other Zelda games, so there is no real transition into this part. Up until Ocarina of Time, all Zelda games played with the top down view, and it worked for each one. And I really though that I liked this game more than I really do. I have this weird feeling right now where I cannot even force myself to say many more good things. Since A Link to the Past was already featured (and loved more) the original does not stand up to it. Bummer, right?


Syphon Filter was one of the first games that really excited my imagination. The characters were amazing and the story was something really new to me. Gabe Logan is a real badass. Anton Girdeux was hardcore +1 with a flamethrower. Erich Rhoemer was the face of all evil. And the Agency: a super sweet faceless organization that turns out to be the driving force behind all of this terrorism. Don't forget Mara Aramov, the Russian assassin that never quits.

I have to admit: games where you fight a helicopter are amazing. Syphon Filter is among these games. Running and gunning was a great staple to the action, and with the weapons cheat, only using the grenade launcher doubled the fun.

This game is one of my favorites because of the action and the story. More so the story. It was so fantastic that somebody thought up these things (kinda like MGS, but not as far fetched), where terrorists threaten American safety with a deadly virus. The sequels expand the threats and the plots to stop them, while diving deeper into the mystery of who is behind everything (The Agency). It goes higher than you would think.


Trying to introduce the games was hard enough. How will I choose which one I like more? Well, with A Link to the Past already moving on, I do not feel bad about leaving the original Legend of Zelda behind. Syphon Filter is to me one of the coolest games I had ever played. I ate it all up then and I still use its interesting story as a muse for my own imagination. Gabe Logan is seriously one of (if not THE) most badass main characters in any videogame. I might go as far as saying he is more badass than Solid Snake. Yup.

Winner: Syphon Filter

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket B - Match 2

4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl


5. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

There is one character who actually appears in both of these games: Ike. Let me tell you right away that Ike is by far the greatest hero of the four Fire Emblem games to make it to America. Yes, he does hold his own on a strategic level, but what about in pure beat 'em up combat? (Actually pretty well; Roy sucked anyway).


Super Smash Bros. Brawl was not on the original list of games. Instead, Melee had its place. But after consideration, I realized that Brawl had finally elevated itself over its predecessor despite two drawbacks that upset me: the pace was slowed down and Marth's sword reach was shortened. However, Brawl has crazy unlockables, a far greater cast of characters, and multiplayer mayhem that cannot be matched.

The first time I played the SSB series on N64, I got my ass kicked. It turned me away from the game. The first time I played Melee on Gamecube, I got my ass kicked. It turned me away from the game. But I sat down by myself with Melee and learned the moves, the timing, the attacks, the stages, the items, and (since nobody told me) I had to read the manual to find out how to smash attack. I became a premiere player in the dorms. Brawl comes along and people begin to fear me before we even play. Everybody fears the 'Puff.

What SSBB is to me is the greatest multiplayer game ever invented. You can go from screaming in defeat one game to celebrating a victory the very next match. Controls are simple for a fighting game, utilizing pretty much only two buttons, and it does not even take away from its depth as a game. Experiencing a four person Brawl is glorious, and those mixes in emotions and swings of fortune make every match unpredictable and never the same.

Now if only the online didn't lag and suck so much.


Let me get this out of my system right away: I love Fire Emblem. The series is golden. The first game appears on this list later on, so I will stick to Path of Radiance in this rambling. Hands down it is the best FE in America. Ike becomes a god. I got at least three of his skills to max out by the time he finished leveling up. His best move, Aether, hits super hard and absorbs HP. He gets the best weapon in the game, Ragnell, never breaks. He is a beast.

Right away I loved PoR better than the two Gameboy Advance FEs because of its beautiful colors. I really do love colors in video games. Also, you could shove your teammates over a square, which was a great move strategically for getting them out of harms way. The story, like all Fire Emblem stories, was epic. I really wanted more cutscenes, because those were beautiful. I hate having my people die in combat, and I would usually start a mission over if that happened. There was only one exception, and that was very late in the game. But I did not need an extra axeman at that point, he was becoming obsolete.

This is one of my favorite Gamecube games, and if it were not in my collection then I would call myself a failure. Fire Emblem means a lot to me, as a game. Heavily a single player game, I could just be by myself and forget about my problems. I might have even connected to some of the characters personally. There was a lot of depth to this game, and even though replayability is not all that much, there is the harder difficulty that i have run through in preparation for the Wii Fire Emblem (which is hard as hell).


So, where do I like Ike more? In a fighter? Or in a strategy RPG? Honestly, I like him in the RPG more. But I like the fighter over the strategy. SSBB is just fun to play. It is downright stupid how fun this game is. I do know that I can get any four (or more) people together and just play Brawl for hours and not get sick of the game. I have done it on a few occasions, and I know that I will do it even more once I get back to school.

Winner: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket B - Match 1

1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots


Chrono Trigger

Long time since the first round ended. I just get too lazy or too tired. It is a good thing that I never felt that way playing either of these first two games, otherwise I would have had a very dull gaming experience.


Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. I think that one sentence says more than anything I could type about it. This game was the whole reason I went out to buy a Playstation 3. I planned it out months in advance. I took my first two paychecks and used them for funding. I SAVED A BEST BUY GIFT CARD FOR SIX MONTHS. And it was so worth it.

Playing MGS: The Twin Snakes was my first experience playing the series. I could care less that there was more time watching cut scenes than there was playing the game. I was so wrapped into the story. Three games and years later, MGS4 comes into my life and makes my lame summer at home awesome again. At times, I do not even feel like I am playing the game (which is an extraordinary feeling for me as a gamer) since it totally pulls me into the story. MGS4 gives you the option to skip the cutscenes, which is good for speed runs and impatient players, but that would be stealing over half of the experience playing the game. (Do you really want to miss seeing Raiden fight Vamp? Or Raiden fighting a dozen Gekkos? Or Raiden doing anything at all? He is not even the main character!)

This game had favorite contention before it even came out. Gameplay is 40 times better than its predecessors because controls are boosted way up, and the action is a lot heavier, granted it is still a stealth game. The weapons are customizable (my favorite being the M4 with the scope and shotgun attachments), the graphics (OH THE GRAPHICS!) are the best ever, and the story is so over the top that while it does not make much sense, it still makes perfect sense. Already I feel bad for Chrono Trigger going up against Guns of the Patriots.


I feel that if I had played Chrono Trigger on the SNES, I would have ranked it higher. Instead I played it as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles on PS1, and the loading times between fights and the menu slowed the pace waaaaay down. As an RPG though, it is amazing. As soon as I could get Lucca out of my party, it got even better. The characters were very diverse, including a princess, a frog, a robot, a cavewoman... my oh my, that is a crazy cast. And Magus: what a badass.

This is an RPG at its finest. It is paced pretty well, and there were no random encounters. Whatever you saw on the screen is what you fought, and the fighting was brilliant. Games should have a battle system like Chrono Trigger. Everyone is on screen, the proximity of the enemies should be a factor, and combo attacks with two or three characters can be brutal.

Favorite? I really cannot say that it is. I am sorry. Hang me for such blasphemy. I really do not feel too bad for ranking it at number 8. Sure it was great, and could be beaten multiple times in one file (future, present, and past) and multiple endings were unheard of at that time, especially since there were 13 unique endings. Find me a copy for SNES, and then if I make this list again a decade from now, even when the next generation hits, maybe Chrono Trigger will be back up there.


Wow, see what happens when I do not write for a while? I end up writing a lot. See it as a good thing: these games really are worthy of being my favorites. Both MGS4 and CT blended great gameplay with cool stories, and keep an eye out for which games appear later on that can say the same. But when it really comes down to it, the legendary hero Solid (Old) Snake puts Crono in a choke hold and doesn't let go.

Winner: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket A - Match 4

2. Tetris


Knights of the Old Republic

Sorry for the week off all three of you. Taking a pretty high spot for a puzzle game is Tetris, but can you really blame me? It is Tetris. Its opponent is one of the best Star Wars games out there, and it really does not play like a Star Wars game would normally, but you get wrapped up in the universe. Let us begin.


The best puzzle game out there is Tetris. Nobody should dispute that. It has spanned decades of gaming across many platforms, but is best in the handheld world. Not just Gameboy handheld, but I had Tetris on my calculator in high school and that got me through a lot of long and boring classes (mainly seminar). It is quick to pick up and get into, action-packed, and is never the same game twice. It can be easy a lot, but can be difficult to downright impossible just as much.

Favorite worthy? Definitely. I can say it is my favorite puzzle game without falter. Dr. Mario has nothing on Tetris. Wario's Woods? Not even close. Tetris 2? Boo. Tetris should have the longest lifespan for any videogame because of its timeliness, fun factor, addictive nature, and capability to be played anywhere and on anything. If I looked across all the games on this list, Tetris would easily be the game I could never ever ever ever ever NEVER get sick of.


Knights of the Old Republic is crazy cool. I love Star Wars. I love RPGs. Greatest combination before the Wings added Rafalski to compliment Lidstrom. Games like this are perfect for character customization, which adds to the fun. I like choosing what my guy looks like, what armor he wears, the perks his lightsaber gets, and most importantly: how he levels up.

If I had an Xbox 360, and had played Mass Effect for more than two hours, than Mass Effect would have taken this spot on the list, and possibly had been higher up on the list. That calls for more customization in every way possible (if only my laptop could handle the PC version better). But KotOR is still awesome because I love building my characters. You could choose to be good or evil, giving me multiple playthroughs. Long story short: being evil was more fun. Take THAT Carth Onasi!


This battle was over before it begun. Tetris is the winner, 110%. I mean, look at GameFAQs latest character battle; L-Block was the winner. Sure, it may have been a joke, but that just speaks at how great Tetris is.

Winner: Tetris