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Author Topic: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s  (Read 29002 times)

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Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #45 on: August 08, 2013, 11:44:48 PM »
#32 –Shining Force II

(42 Points) 2 of 16 Lists - Highest Ranking - #4 – Thrifty Version II
You...snot nose!
Release Date:  October 1, 1993

Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Shining Force II is a tactical role-playing game for the Mega Drive/Genesis console developed by Sonic! Software Planning in 1994. The storyline is not directly connected to the original Shining Force, although a Game Gear title, Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict, links the two games' plots.
 
The game is much longer than the first, and more free-roaming. There is no chapter system, so the player can return to previously visited parts of the world. There are also two different ways of promoting many characters.
 
Shining Force II is a tactical role-playing game. The player assumes the role of the Shining Force leader, Bowie. When not in combat, the player can explore towns and other locales, talk with people, and set the members and equipment of the army. Some towns have a headquarters where the player can inspect and talk with his allies. While roaming through town or moving throughout the world, one can find both visible and hidden treasures and interact with certain objects.
 
Each ally unit is represented by a character with a background and personality. Some of these characters are hidden, requiring specific events to occur before they will join the force. Each ally unit also has a class, which defines the abilities for that unit. These abilities range from what type of weapons they can use to what kind of spells they can learn. Units can become stronger by fighting enemies and performing various actions which gives them experience points (EXP), which allow them to gain levels. Once a unit reaches level 20, that character has the ability to advance to more powerful class through promotion. Some characters have two different classes they may be promoted to, one of which is only accessible using a special hidden item.
 
Battles take place on a square grid, and each unit occupies a single square. Battle is turn-based. Each turn, a character can move and perform one action: either attack, cast a spell, or use an item. Some commands, such as equipping or dropping an item during the turn, do not count as actions.
 
The battle is won if all enemies are defeated, or if the enemy commander is defeated. If Bowie is defeated in combat or withdraws, the battle is lost and the player is returned to the nearest town, where he can recover his allies and fight the same battle again.

Pak's Thoughts – This was my first introduction to the tactical RPG and it was love at first sight. I devoured it and eventually played through the first Shining Force via the awesome SEGA Channel. (For those who didn’t get to experience its brief run, you paid a fee per month to get unlimited cable downloads of SEGA games right to your Genesis. Great way to try new games!)


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #46 on: August 08, 2013, 11:45:08 PM »
#31 –Lunar: The Silver Star/Silver Star Story Complete

(42 Points) 2 of 16 Lists - Highest Ranking - #3 – Thrifty Version II
You...snot nose!
Release Date:  June 16, 1992

Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Lunar: The Silver Star is a role-playing video game developed by Game Arts and Studio Alex for the Sega CD (Mega-CD in North America) console. Originally released in Japan on June 16, 1992 to critical acclaim, the game was translated and released in English by Working Designs the following year.

The first game in the Lunar series, it set the standard for other follow-up titles, and was followed by a direct sequel, Lunar: Eternal Blue in 1994. Since the game's original release, three enhanced remakes have been produced for various systems: Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete in 1996, Lunar Legend in 2002, and Lunar: Silver Star Harmony in 2009.

The game takes place in the fantasy land of Lunar, a small habitable world orbiting the massive, barren Blue Star, forming a loose parallel between the game's world and the Earth and its moon. Centuries before the start of the game, the Blue Star was rendered unlivable by years of war. The powerful and benevolent goddess Althena relocated humanity to the Silver Star, the world of Lunar, and entrusted four dragons to safeguard the elements of the new world. From this point on, those who would use the power of the dragons to serve the goddess and protect the world were known as "Dragonmasters", and no such Dragonmaster was more revered than Dyne, a legendary hero who defended the goddess and succumbed to an unknown fate. The stories surrounding Dyne's exploits would form the life model for a young boy named Alex, the game's protagonist and central character, who also aspires to become a Dragonmaster himself. When a childish adventure later turns to discovering an ancient dragon, Alex and his friends must journey across the world to gather the necessary power to become the next Dragonmaster, and save the world in the process. Many of the locations of Lunar: The Silver Star were given a deliberate "northern" feel to present an environment that was cooler than the settings of most role-playing games, if only to allow the characters to wear more clothing. Many towns and locations were based on areas of Russia and Medieval Europe.

Designed as a "different kind of RPG", Lunar: The Silver Star made use of the up-and-coming disc format by featuring CD-quality audio, video playback, and voice acting to narrate a fantasy story set in a magical world. Critically acclaimed, it became the number one selling Sega CD title in Japan and remains the second highest-selling Mega-CD title of all time.
 
 Pak's Thoughts – I never had a chance to get into this one. We didn’t get a Sega CD until many many years later, and when the Playstation remake came out, I was neck-deep in college, but my brother was obsessed. I do miss Working Designs. They had a habit of releasing some of the most awesome niche RPGs ever made, and they put all their heart and soul into the packaging. I really should pick this up sometime.

That’s it for tonight, folks! 5 more tomorrow!


Offline Thrifty Version II

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #47 on: August 09, 2013, 02:15:20 AM »
Pak's Thoughts – This was my first introduction to the tactical RPG and it was love at first sight. I devoured it and eventually played through the first Shining Force via the awesome SEGA Channel. (For those who didn’t get to experience its brief run, you paid a fee per month to get unlimited cable downloads of SEGA games right to your Genesis. Great way to try new games!)

Man I totally forgot about the Sega Channel until now.  That was a 90s precursor to services like Steam.  It seemed so revolutionary.

SF2 has tremendous replay value because of the way the team is set up.  You get something like 30 members on your team, but you can only have 12 out at a time.  There's a sort of implicit level cap because you need 100 XP to level up at any level, but eventually monsters only give you 1 XP.  By about level 50, the strongest monsters in the game are giving you the 1 XP.  The only way around this is by exploiting spellcasting XP.  I liked to use KARNA and SARAH, who could learn Boost 2.  If you used Boost 2 on your entire team, it was an automatic 49 points.  Spam this for a while and you max out your level.  You get a level 99 Master Monk who can knock off like 1/6 of Zeon's HP in one attack, and is so durable that Zeon barely scratches her.


Offline Raven

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #48 on: August 09, 2013, 06:31:07 AM »
Glad someone else had Shining Force II.  One of the only Genesis RPGs that was truly excellent. 


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #49 on: August 09, 2013, 02:19:01 PM »
Oh damn, Tie Fighter. Somebody smack me. I remembered another of the best 3D space flight sims ever, but I forgot THE best. Tie Fighter was the shit. I owned both X-Wing and Tie Fighter and their expansions, but nothing beat Tie Fighter.

This was also one of the first games I used my new found hex editor skills to hack my save file. Ah, the good ol' days.


Offline Charles Castle

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #50 on: August 09, 2013, 04:47:59 PM »
Glad to see Lunar made another list, as I had it at #7. I totally whiffed on Tie Fighter also. Oh well.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Thrifty Version II

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #51 on: August 09, 2013, 05:39:20 PM »
Lunar was the first game I ever saw that had good, quality music and full motion animation.  Luna's song on the ship was particularly good and gets me choked up when I watch it.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/FZ8nyFGuqBo?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/FZ8nyFGuqBo?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US</a>


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #52 on: August 09, 2013, 06:52:32 PM »
I was never a fan of Lunar:SSSC, (and yes, I did own the Working Designs PS1 version), but that just reminded me of another game. A WD translated Saturn game I sorely forgot about. I sure hope it turns up later on the list.


Online The Lurker

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #53 on: August 09, 2013, 07:09:50 PM »
Another list missed.  Anyone remember Mindmaze, the trivia maze game that used to come with Encarta?


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #54 on: August 10, 2013, 02:22:49 PM »
#30 –Sonic the Hedgehog 2

(42 Points) 2 of 16 Lists - Highest Ranking - #1 – Gojikranz
Find the Emeralds, free the animals, and squash Robotnik forever! 
Release Date:  November 21, 1992

Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a platform video game developed by Sonic Team and Sega Technical Institute, and published by Sega. Originally released for the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis in 1992, it was re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console on June 11, 2007 in North America, June 19, 2007 in Japan and on July 6, 2007 in Europe. The game was re-released on Xbox Live Arcade on September 12, 2007 and on iOS on April 20, 2010.
 
The story focuses on the protagonist Sonic the Hedgehog and his friend, a fox named Miles "Tails" Prower, who must stop the series antagonist Dr. Ivo Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power the Death Egg. Sonic and Tails must defeat Robotnik's army and free their friends.
 
The game has sold over 6 million copies, making it the second best selling game on the Sega Genesis, behind only its predecessor (both of which were packaged with the Genesis at different points in its lifespan). The game was compatible with Sonic & Knuckles, which possessed a "lock-on" feature which allowed the player to play as Knuckles the Echidna.
 
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a platform game in which the player characters are the titular Sonic the Hedgehog and Miles "Tails" Prower. The game's premise of builds upon the basic set-up of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. Sonic's nemesis Dr. Ivo Robotnik is planning world domination with his army of animals he's placed into robots, and continues to seek the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds - this time, to construct his ultimate weapon, an armored space station known as the Death Egg. The goal of the game is to collect the seven Emeralds from Robotnik.
 
The game plays as a 2D sidescrolling platformer, with the player directing Sonic through levels and around obstacles within a time limit of 10 minutes. Along the way, rings are collected and enemies are defeated. Star posts serve as checkpoints, where if Sonic loses a life, he would return to one. A life is lost when Sonic is attacked by an enemy without rings, falls off-screen or exceeds the act's ten-minute limit. If all lives are lost, the "Game Over" screen will appear. When the player has collected at least 50 rings, star posts can be run past for an optional Special Stage. There are a total of eleven zones; the first seven zones have two acts each, while Metropolis, the eighth zone, has three acts, and the last three zones have one act each. At the end of the last act of most levels, the player must fight and defeat Dr. Robotnik.
 
At the game's start, the player can select to either play as Sonic, Tails or both. In the latter mode, players control Sonic while Tails runs along beside him. A second player can join in at any time and control Tails separately, but the screen always stays centered on Sonic, frequently leaving Tails off-screen.
 
Improvements over the original Sonic the Hedgehog include significantly larger levels, faster gameplay, and a new stunt called the "Super Dash Attack", or "Spin Dash". The move allows Sonic to curl in a ball and spin while staying stationary, eventually resulting in a speed boost.
 
If Sonic collects every Chaos Emerald in the game by completing all of the special stages, he is able to change into Super Sonic. Sonic changes into his Super Form when he has collected at least 50 rings and jumps into the air. At this point, he turns yellow and becomes invincible. Additionally, his speed, acceleration, and jump height are all increased as well. While in this state, one ring is lost per second. When the player has no rings remaining or reaches the end of the act, Sonic reverts to his normal state. This also unlocks a different ending that shows Super Sonic flying by the Tornado, whereas not getting the emeralds leads to an ending with Sonic in his normal state riding on the Tornado.
 
Pak's Thoughts – The entire Sonic series was a blast. I always liked to play as Tails, which meant falling off-screen a lot while one of my brothers dashed ahead. It also meant the boss battles were pretty much all on me, since it didn’t matter if Tails died. 


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #55 on: August 10, 2013, 02:23:21 PM »
#29 –F-Zero

(42 Points) 3 of 16 Lists - Highest Ranking - #4 – goflyblind
Real men don’t use brakes! 
Release Date:  November 21, 1990

Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
F-Zero is a futuristic racing video game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The game was released in Japan on November 21, 1990, in North America on August 23, 1991, and in Europe on June 4, 1992. F-Zero is the first game of the F-Zero series and was one of the two launch titles for the SNES in Japan, but was accompanied by additional initial titles in North America and Europe.
 
The game takes place in the year 2560, where multi-billionaires with lethargic lifestyles created a new form of entertainment based on the Formula One races called "F-Zero". The player can choose between one of four characters in the game, each with their respective hovercars. The player then can race against computer controlled characters in fifteen tracks divided into three leagues.
 
F-Zero is acknowledged by critics to be the game that set a standard for the racing genre and the creation of the futuristic sub-genre. Critics lauded F-Zero for its fast and challenging gameplay, variety of tracks, and extensive use of the graphical mode called "Mode 7". This graphics-rendering technique was an innovative technological achievement at the time that made racing games more realistic, the first of which was F-Zero. As a result, the title reinvigorated the genre and inspired the future creation of numerous racing games. In retrospective reviews of the game critics agreed that it should have used a multiplayer mode. F-Zero became part of the Player's Choice line by selling at least a million copies.

The objective of the game is to beat opponents to the finish line while avoiding hazards such as slip zones and magnets that pull the vehicle off-center in an effort to make the player damage their vehicle or fall completely off the track. Each machine has a power meter, which serves as a measurement of the machine's durability; it decreases when the machine collides with land mines, the side of the track or another vehicle. Energy can be replenished by driving over pit areas placed near the home straight or nearby.
 
A race in F-Zero consists of five laps around the track. The player must complete each lap in a successively higher place to avoid disqualification from the race. For each lap completed, the player is rewarded with an approximate four-second speed boost called the "Super Jet" and a number of points determined by place. An on-screen display will be shaded green to indicate that a boost can be used, however the player is limited to saving up to three at a time. If a certain amount of points are accumulated, an extra "spare machine" is acquired that gives the player another chance to retry the course. Tracks may feature two methods for temporarily boosting speeds; jump plates launch vehicles into the air thus providing additional acceleration for those not at full speed and dash zones greatly increases the racer's speed on the ground. F-Zero includes two modes of play. In the Grand Prix mode, the player chooses a league and races against other vehicles through each track in that league while avoiding disqualification. The Practice mode allows the player to practice seven of the courses from the Grand Prix mode.
 
F-Zero has a total of fifteen tracks divided into three leagues: Knight, Queen, and King. Difficulty is determined by the league selected and difficulty level chosen. The game has three initial difficulty levels: beginner, standard, and expert. The master difficulty level is available for a given league once that league on the expert class is completed. The multiple courses of Death Wind, Port Town, and Red Canyon have a pathway that is not accessible unless the player is on another iteration of those tracks, which then in turn closes the path previously available. Unlike most F-Zero games, there are three iterations of Mute City that shows it in either a day, evening, or night setting.

Pak's Thoughts – Now here’s a racing title I can get behind! I bought this game with hard-saved allowance along with my Super Nintendo and just sat on it for a couple years. Then one summer, I decided to get good. I learned every track, and beat every course. I used Samurai Goro, but Pico was my favorite racer. The soundtrack is one of my favorite game soundtracks of all time, with Big Blue and Red Canyon’s songs being my personal favorites.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #56 on: August 10, 2013, 02:24:20 PM »
#28 –Silent Hill

(44 Points) 2 of 16 Lists - Highest Ranking – #4 – Tyrant/Relaxing Dragon
Did you see those monsters? Have you ever seen such apparitions? Ever even heard of such things? You and I both know, creatures like that don't exist.

Release Date:  January 31, 1999

Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Silent Hill is a survival horror video game for the PlayStation published by Konami and developed by Team Silent, a Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo group. The first installment in the Silent Hill series, the game was released in North America in January 1999, and in Japan and Europe later that year. Silent Hill uses a third-person view, with real-time 3D environments. To mitigate limitations of the hardware, developers liberally used fog and darkness to muddle the graphics. Unlike earlier survival horror games that focused on protagonists with combat training, the player character of Silent Hill is an "everyman".
 
The game follows Harry Mason as he searches for his missing adopted daughter in the eponymous fictional American town of Silent Hill; stumbling upon a cult conducting a ritual to revive a deity it worships, he discovers her true origin. Five game endings are possible, depending on actions taken by the player, including one joke ending.
 
Silent Hill received positive reviews from critics on its release and was commercially successful. It is considered a defining title in the survival horror genre, moving away from B movie horror elements, toward a psychological style of horror emphasizing atmosphere. Various adaptations of Silent Hill have been released, including a 2001 visual novel, the 2006 feature film Silent Hill, and a 2009 reimagining of the game, titled Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.

The objective of the player is to guide main protagonist and player character Harry Mason through a monster-filled town as he searches for his lost daughter, Cheryl. Silent Hill's gameplay consists of combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving. The game uses a third-person view, with the camera occasionally switching to other angles for dramatic effect, in pre-scripted areas. This is a change from older survival horror games, which shifted constantly through a variety of camera angles. Because Silent Hill has no heads-up display, the player must consult a separate menu to check Harry's "health".
 
Harry confronts monsters in each area with both melee weapons and firearms. An ordinary man with minimal experience with firearms, Harry cannot sustain many blows from enemies, and gasps for breath after sprinting. His inexperience in handling firearms means that his aim, and therefore the player's targeting of enemies, is often unsteady. A portable radio alerts Harry to the presence of nearby creatures with bursts of static.
 
The player can locate and collect maps of each area, stylistically similar to tourist maps. Accessible from the menu and readable only when sufficient light is present, each map is marked with places of interest. Visibility is mostly low due to fog and darkness; the latter is prevalent in the "Otherworld". The player locates a pocket-size flashlight early in the game, but the light beam illuminates only a few feet. Navigating through Silent Hill requires the player to find keys and solve puzzles.

The game was created by Team Silent, a group of staff members within the Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo studio. The new owners of its parent company Konami sought to produce a game that would be successful in the United States. For this reason, a Hollywood-like atmosphere was proposed for Silent Hill. The staff members that were assigned to the game's development had failed at their previous projects. They intended to leave Konami, as they were not allowed to realize their own ideas, and were not compatible with the company's other teams. According to composer Akira Yamaoka, the developers did not know how to proceed with the Silent Hill project, either. As the time passed, the personnel and management of Konami lost their faith in the game, and the members of Team Silent increasingly felt like outsiders. Despite the profit-oriented approach of the parent company, however, the developers of Silent Hill had much artistic freedom because the game was still produced as in the era of lower-budget 2D titles. Eventually, the development staff decided to ignore the limits of Konami's initial plan, and to make Silent Hill a game that would appeal to the emotions of players instead.
 
For this purpose, the team introduced a "fear of the unknown" as a psychological type of horror. The plot was made vague and occasionally contradictory to leave its true meaning in the dark, and to make players reflect upon unexplained parts.

Pak's Thoughts – I’ve never played through Silent Hill by myself, but I’ve watched enough of it to know that this game is about a thousand kinds of creepy. It’s very cerebral. It gets in your head. When my brother, a high school student at the time, played through this game, I had to walk him to the kitchen for a drink of water at night. There’s something special about a game that can draw you in that far.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #57 on: August 10, 2013, 02:25:01 PM »
#27 –Mario Kart 64

(44 Points) 4 of 16 Lists - Highest Ranking – #13 - ColeStratton
I'm-a Wario! I'm-a gonna win! 
Release Date:  December 14, 1996

Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Mario Kart 64 is a Mario racing game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It is the successor to Super Mario Kart for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and is the second Mario Kart game. It was released first in Japan on December 14, 1996 and in North America and Europe in 1997.
 
Changes from the original include the move to polygon-based true 3D computer graphics for track design, and the inclusion of four-player support. Players take control of characters from the Mario universe, who race around a variety of tracks with items that can either harm opponents or aid the user. The move to three-dimensional graphics allowed for track features not possible with the original game's Mode 7 graphics, such as changes in elevation, bridges, walls, and pits. However, the characters and items remained 2D pre-rendered sprites.
 
The game was critically well received and was a bestseller. Mario Kart 64 was one of the first games in the series to feature Charles Martinet as the voice of both Luigi and Wario.

There are sixteen tracks that are based on different locations seen in Mario video games. Each track has a unique shape, containing various obstacles, hazards, and short-cuts.
 
Items are picked up by players when they drive through item boxes. Each item has an effect such as launching shells at opponents, consuming a mushroom to gain a temporary boost in speed, or placing bananas on the ground for opponents to later slip on. AI-controlled racers are able to use all the items except for red, green and blue shells.

Pak's Thoughts – Toad was my go-to racer in the original Super Mario Kart, but his voice acting in this game talked me out of using him. I’ve gotten used to it since then, but it was way too srhill for me at the time, and you hear your racer talk a LOT in this game. The game itself is everything a sequel should be, adding to the original while not taking anything away.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #58 on: August 10, 2013, 02:26:12 PM »
#26 –Master of Magic

(45 Points) 2 of 16 Lists - Highest Ranking – #3 - Cjones
Old man! You seek the spell of mastery! 
Release Date:  September 1994

Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Master of Magic is a single-player, fantasy turn-based strategy 4X genre video game created by Simtex and published for MS-DOS by MicroProse in 1994. The player is a wizard attempting to dominate two linked worlds. From a small settlement, the player manages resources, builds cities and armies, and researches spells, growing an empire and fighting the other wizards.
 
Master of Magic's early versions had many bugs, and were heavily criticized by reviewers. The last official patch version 1.31, released in March 1995, fixed many of the bugs and implemented updates to the AI. The patched version was received more positively by reviewers.

A world is randomly generated each game, with player input on land size, the strength of magic, game difficulty, and other features. The player can customize the skills, spell choices, and appearance of their wizard, choosing one of fourteen races for the starting city.
 
The gameplay starts as units explore surroundings, pushing back the strategic map's fog of war. Among the exploration goals are defeating monsters guarding treasure, finding the best locations for new cities, discovering the Towers of Wizardry that link the planes Arcanus and Myrror, and locating the cities of enemy wizards.
 
Cities are established by settlers, then upgraded by adding buildings improving the economy. Cities produce food, gold and mana. Military units require food and gold upkeep; spellcasters consume mana in combat.
 
At the same time as colonizing territory, new magical spells are researched. Spells are either used in or out of combat.
 
Battles for squares in the strategic map are resolved in an isometric turn-based view that shows unit positions and the effect of magical spells.

Pak's Thoughts – This is another one to add to my list of games that I have installed on my computer and I know I’d love if I played them for a while, but never got around to. It seems like Civilization, but with a Fantasy theme. Is that about right, MoM fans?

That’s it for today, and that’s the bottom 25! I’m taking the rest of the weekend off (Although I might post a few bonus entries if I find time) and will continue the list on Monday night!


Offline Mrs. Dick Courier

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Re: LoC 73 - Top 50 Video Games of the '90s
« Reply #59 on: August 10, 2013, 02:45:41 PM »
#27 –Mario Kart 64

(44 Points) 4 of 16 Lists - Highest Ranking – #13 - ColeStratton
I'm-a Wario! I'm-a gonna win! 
Release Date:  December 14, 1996

Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Mario Kart 64 is a Mario racing game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It is the successor to Super Mario Kart for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and is the second Mario Kart game. It was released first in Japan on December 14, 1996 and in North America and Europe in 1997.
 
Changes from the original include the move to polygon-based true 3D computer graphics for track design, and the inclusion of four-player support. Players take control of characters from the Mario universe, who race around a variety of tracks with items that can either harm opponents or aid the user. The move to three-dimensional graphics allowed for track features not possible with the original game's Mode 7 graphics, such as changes in elevation, bridges, walls, and pits. However, the characters and items remained 2D pre-rendered sprites.
 
The game was critically well received and was a bestseller. Mario Kart 64 was one of the first games in the series to feature Charles Martinet as the voice of both Luigi and Wario.

There are sixteen tracks that are based on different locations seen in Mario video games. Each track has a unique shape, containing various obstacles, hazards, and short-cuts.
 
Items are picked up by players when they drive through item boxes. Each item has an effect such as launching shells at opponents, consuming a mushroom to gain a temporary boost in speed, or placing bananas on the ground for opponents to later slip on. AI-controlled racers are able to use all the items except for red, green and blue shells.

Pak's Thoughts – Toad was my go-to racer in the original Super Mario Kart, but his voice acting in this game talked me out of using him. I’ve gotten used to it since then, but it was way too srhill for me at the time, and you hear your racer talk a LOT in this game. The game itself is everything a sequel should be, adding to the original while not taking anything away.

I usually played Luigi.  Thought the sounds were hilarious.  Especially when he got hit by the train.  Which happened quite often.  He would also take dips in the water a lot.
Opticians are easy on the eyes