Author Topic: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts  (Read 18110 times)

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Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2014, 09:15:33 PM »
#41 –Max Payne

(24 Points) 1 of 11 Lists - Highest Ranking - #2 – PsychoGoatee
Life was good. The Sun was setting on a sweet Summer's day. A house on the Jersey side across the river. The smell of freshly cut lawns. The sounds of children playing. A beautiful wife and a baby girl. The American dream come true. But dreams have a nasty habit of going bad when you're not looking.
Release Date:  July 23, 2001
Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Max Payne is a third-person shooter video game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Gathering of Developers on July 2001 for Microsoft Windows.
 
The game centers around the NYPD Detective Max Payne, who attempts to avenge the murder of his family. It features a gritty neo-noir style and uses graphic novel panels (with voice-overs) in place of animated cutscenes to narrate the game, as it draws inspiration from hard-boiled detective novels by authors like Mickey Spillane. The game contains many allusions to Norse mythology, particularly the myth of Ragnarök, and several of the names used in the game are those of the Norse gods and mythos. The gameplay is heavily influenced by the Hong Kong action cinema genre, particularly the work of director John Woo, and it was the first game to feature the bullet time effect popularized by The Matrix.
 
Max Payne is a third-person shooter in which the player assumes the role of its titular character, Max Payne. Almost all the gameplay involves bullet time-based gun-fights and levels are generally straightforward, occasionally incorporating platforming and puzzle-solving elements. The game's storyline is advanced by the player following Max's internal monologue as the character determines what his next steps should be. Several of the game's levels involve surrealistic nightmares and drug-related hallucinations of Payne.
 
Initially, the player's only weapon is a semi-automatic pistol. As the player progresses, access to other firearms is given, including melee and hand-thrown weapons. Some of the game's weapons can be dual wielded. Max regains health by taking painkillers, which the player collects. The game's AI is heavily dependent on pre-scripted commands: most of the apparently intelligent behavior exhibited by enemies (such as taking cover, retreating from the player, or throwing grenades) actually is pre-scripted.
 
The gameplay of Max Payne revolves around bullet time, a form of slow motion — when triggered, the passage of time is slowed down to such extent that the movements of bullets can be seen by the naked eye and enables Max to perform special moves. Although Payne's movement is also slowed, the player is still able to position the aiming reticle and react in real time, providing an advantage over enemies. Occasionally, when the last character of an enemy group is killed, the viewpoint switches to a third-person view circling a falling body. Likewise, the camera may follow the path of a bullet fired from a sniper rifle.

Pak's Thoughts – I never gave this one a fair shot. I took one look at the title, rolled my eyes, and never payed much attention to it. Then sequels started coming out and I got the feeling I missed out on something I shouldn’t have.

That’ll do it for tonight. The list continues tomorrow!


Offline Compound

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2014, 11:15:42 PM »

Pak's Thoughts – I never gave this one a fair shot. I took one look at the title, rolled my eyes, and never payed much attention to it. Then sequels started coming out and I got the feeling I missed out on something I shouldn’t have.


You should watch the movie.  That'll catch you up on the plot.

Heh, heh, heh. Step into that trap foolish pac-dot eater....


Offline Relaxing Dragon

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2014, 11:19:12 PM »
I'm going to chalk Majora's Mask's super-early-2000s release date for the reason of its omission from everyone else's list (it wasn't on my first draft because I thought it was a 90s game). Because for real, that one gets my vote for Best Zelda Game Ever, and that's a category that's got some of the steepest competition in gaming. Majora's a remarkably different outing when compared to the rest of the series, in everything from story (which is considerably darker) to play mechanics (the mask switching/collecting plays off in a number of cool ways, and then there's the whole Three Days time limit that plays out over and over and over again) to everything in between. The music, the characters, the dungeons, the side-stories (that damn Sun Mask...), it's all pretty pitch-perfect. This is easily my favorite game of the N64 era, and that I haven't yet tracked down the GC remake just to play it one last time is a serious mistake on my part that needs rectifying.

Pak, just dive right in. Story-wise it really doesn't relate to any of the other games (it's kinda-sorta-maybe a sequel to Ocarina of Time, or maybe it's all just a dream...), and it still holds up great.

And I'm actually pleased to see WWF: No Mercy on the list. I'm not a wrestling fan either, but for whatever reason my brother and I really took to that game back in our Blockbuster rental days. I think it was the super-extensive Create-A-Wrestler thing that pulled me in (for real, games back then went all-out on customization options compared to now), and we spent far more time than I would've thought possible on the likes of Royal Rumbles and the like. In fact, this may have been the first game I saved up for to actually buy, which was a big deal back when I was in middle school and N64 cartridges were $75 a pop.


Johnny Unusual

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2014, 07:14:29 AM »
Double Dash was a lot of fun.  It's a great game if you got at least four people around.


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2014, 01:47:07 PM »
Woo-hoo, my #1 is guaranteed, even if it is due to a technicality. Seriously, it is one of the best games I've ever played.


Offline lassieface

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2014, 10:14:33 PM »
I remember being really, really bad at Max Payne.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2014, 10:40:52 PM »
#40 –Manhunt

(24 Points) 1 of 11 Lists - Highest Ranking - #2 – Relaxing Dragon
You're getting a second chance, another throw of the dice.
Release Date:  November 18, 2003
Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Manhunt is a stealth-based psychological horror video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released in North America on November 18, 2003, for the PlayStation 2 and on April 20, 2004, for Xbox and PC, and in Europe on November 21 for the PS2 and on April 23 for the Xbox and PC. The game's story follows a supposedly executed death row inmate who is forced to participate in a series of snuff films for former film producer and now underground snuff director, Lionel Starkweather (voiced by Brian Cox).
 
Although it received positive reviews by critics, Manhunt is well known for controversy, due to the level of graphic violence in the game. It was banned in several countries, and implicated in a murder by the UK media, although this implication was later rejected by the police and courts.

Manhunt is a stealth-based psychological horror game played from a third-person perspective. The game consists of twenty levels, called "scenes", as well as four unlockable bonus levels. Players survive the scenes by dispatching enemy gang members, known as "Hunters", occasionally with firearms, but primarily by stealthily executing them.
 
At the end of each scene, the player is graded based on their performance, and awarded one to five stars. Unlockable content becomes available only when the player achieves three or more stars on a certain number of levels. On normal difficulty (called "Fetish"), the player can earn only four stars; one is awarded for completing the scene under a certain amount of time, and one to three stars are awarded based on the brutality of the executions carried out during the scene. On hard difficulty (called "Hardcore"), the player is graded out of five stars; one for speed, one to three for brutality and one for simply completing the scene. To gain the maximum number of stars, a set number of brutal executions must be carried out over the course of each scene; face-to-face fighting does not award stars.
 
In order to carry out executions, the player must approach a hunter from behind, undetected. To facilitate this, each scene is full of "dark spots" (shadows where the player can hide). Hunters cannot see into the shadows (unless they see the player actually entering the area). A standard technique in the game is to hide in the shadows and tap a wall to attract the attention of a nearby hunter. When he has examined the area and is moving away, the player can emerge from the shadows behind him, and execute him.
 
The game has three 'levels' of execution, with each level progressively more violent and graphic than the last. Level 1 executions are quick and not very bloody, Level 2 are considerably more gory, and Level 3 are over-the-top blood-soaked murders. The player is entirely in control of which level they use; once the player has locked onto an enemy, the lock-on reticule changes color over time to indicate the level; white (level 1), yellow (level 2), and, finally, red (level 3).  As an example, if using a plastic bag, a level 1 kill involves Cash simply using the bag to suffocate the hunter. A level 2 kill involves Cash placing the bag over the hunter's head and kneeing them repeatedly in the face. A level 3 kill sees Cash strangle the hunter and turn them around to punch them in the face, whilst the hunter struggles to free himself and gasps for air. Eventually, Cash snaps the hunter's neck.
 
Over the course of the game, the player can use a wide variety of weapons, including plastic bags, baseball bats, crowbars and a variety of bladed items. Later in the game, firearms become available (which cannot be used for executions). If the player is running low on health, painkillers are available throughout each scene. The player also has a stamina meter which depletes as he sprints, but automatically replenishes when he stands still.
 
Manhunt also makes use of the PlayStation 2's optional USB Microphone and the Xbox Live microphone feature on the Xbox in their respective versions of the game. When such a device is connected, the player can use the sound of his or her own voice to distract in-game enemies. This in turn adds an extra element to the stealth aspect of the game, as the player must refrain from making noises such as coughing, as these sounds too can attract the attention of any nearby hunters.
 
The game is set in the Grand Theft Auto universe, with Carcer City being mentioned through the series of GTA and apparently being a crime-filled city which is located north of Liberty City. It occurs in the late 90's, as one of the characters was mentioned in Grand Theft Auto III.

The controversy surrounding the game stems primarily from the graphic manner in which the player executes enemies. In 2007, former Rockstar employee Jeff Williams revealed that even the game's staff were somewhat uncomfortable about the level of violence; "there was almost a mutiny at the company over that game." Williams explained that the game "just made us all feel icky. It was all about the violence, and it was realistic violence. We all knew there was no way we could explain away that game. There was no way to rationalize it. We were crossing a line."
 
The violence in the game drew the attention of U.S. Representative Joe Baca, who was the sponsor of a legislation to fine those who sell adult-themed games to players younger than 17. Baca said of Manhunt, "it's telling kids how to kill someone, and it uses vicious, sadistic and cruel methods to kill." The media was also drawn into the debate. For example, The Globe and Mail wrote "Manhunt is a venal disconnect for the genre. There's no challenge, just assembly-line, ritualistic slaughter. It's less a video game and more a weapon of personal destruction. This is about stacking bodies. Perhaps the scariest fact of all: Manhunt is so user-friendly that any sharp 12-year-old could navigate through the entire game in one sitting."

Pak's Thoughts – A psychologically disturbing stealth game, you say? There just aren’t enough nopes in the world… Can’t stand stealth, can’t stand psychological terror. The concept behind it is fairly fascinating, but not even close to my cup of tea. Still, it’s not every game that gets cited as evidence in a murder trial…


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2014, 10:41:13 PM »
#39 –Left 4 Dead

(24 Points) 1 of 11 Lists - Highest Ranking - #2 – Quantum Vagina
Look on the bright side, if you don't make it out, I'll still be incredibly handsome.
Release Date:  November  17, 2008 (There’s that date again!)
Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Left 4 Dead (abbreviated as L4D) is a cooperative first-person shooter arcade-style video game. It was developed by Turtle Rock Studios, which was purchased by Valve Corporation during development. The game uses Valve's proprietary Source engine, and is available for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and Mac OS X. Development on the game was completed on November 13, 2008, and two versions were released digitally: A downloadable digital version, released on November 17, 2008, and a digital retail disc version, with a release date determined by region. The digital retail disc version was released in North America and Australia on November 18, 2008; and in Europe and Japan on November 21, 2008.
 
Set during the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic, the game pits its four protagonists—dubbed the "Survivors"—against hordes of the infected. There are four game modes: a single-player mode in which allied characters are controlled by AI; a four-player, co-op campaign mode; an eight-player online versus mode; and a four-player survival mode. In all modes, an artificial intelligence (AI), dubbed the "Director", controls level pacing and item placements, in an attempt to create a dynamic experience and increase replay value.
 
Left 4 Dead is a first-person shooter. In campaign mode, the player takes control of one of the survivors; if four human players are not available, then the remaining survivors are AI-controlled bots. They play through the levels fighting off the infected—living humans who have been infected with a rabies-like virus that causes psychosis. The survivors are carriers of the disease, so they do not show signs of any symptoms.
 
The game is focused on cooperation and team play and thus eschews some "realism" conventions usual in most FPS games of the wider genre; colored outlines of teammates are visible through walls to help players stick together and coordinate their movement. If a survivor falls off a ledge, then they may automatically hang onto it and can only be helped up by another survivor. If a survivor's health is depleted, then they become incapacitated and can only be revived by another survivor, at which point they continue playing with a low amount of health that decreases over time. If a survivor has been incapacitated and revived twice without tending to their wounds, then they will experience distorted black-and-white vision, and the next incapacitation will kill the character. If a survivor takes enough damage while incapacitated, or is not eventually helped up by teammates, then the incapacitated character will die. During "Campaign" mode, if a survivor is killed, then they will respawn in a closet or other enclosed space after a period of time (except during key points in the scenario), but must be freed by another survivor to rejoin the team. Otherwise, the player must wait until the next level.[6] However, if all human player survivors are killed or incapacitated, players will have to restart from the last checkpoint. Survivors can share first-aid kits and pain pills and help each other heal. Left 4 Dead has friendly fire (which causes no damage on the easy difficulty mode), increasing the need for caution around other survivors.

Pak's Thoughts – This one looks like fun. I got Tyrant a copy for Christmas many years ago, but somehow it’s never made its way into the Xbox. This one is added to the great big list of games I’ll play when I get time.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2014, 10:42:20 PM »
#38–Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song

(24 Points) 1 of 11 Lists - Highest Ranking - #2 – CJones
We might not be as strong as you giants, but we’ve got to fight!
Release Date:  October 11, 2005
Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Romancing SaGa is a role-playing video game originally developed and published by Square as the fourth game of their SaGa series. Initially made available in January 1992 for the Super Famicom, the game was later ported to the WonderSwan Color handheld system in December 2002, with both releases being exclusive to Japanese players. In April 2005, an enhanced remake of the title for the PlayStation 2 called Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song was released in April 2005 in Japan, and in English for the first time in North America the following October simply under the title Romancing SaGa. The game was designed by Akitoshi Kawazu who had served as head developer for the previous SaGa titles, with fellow series veteran Kenji Ito providing the game's soundtrack.
 
Set in the fictional world of Mardias, Romancing SaGa allows players to assume the role of one of eight main characters who must journey across the world to prevent the resurrection of an evil god named Saruin who was sealed away a millennium previous. The original Super Famicom version sold over a million copies worldwide and was voted by readers of Japanese Famitsu magazine as the 53rd greatest game of all time in a 2006 poll. Conversely, the PlayStation 2 remake received largely low to average reviews in North America due to the game's high difficulty, steep learning curve, and questionable character design.

Romancing SaGa is a traditional role-playing video game set in a fantasy world where players must navigate their characters through towns, dungeons, and other environments while taking part in the game's story by interacting with non-player characters. At the start of the game, the player is given the option of assuming the role of one of eight main characters, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and starting points throughout the game's world. In addition, the player must select the profession of the character's parents from a list of eight choices each, which go towards determining their strengths. As a staple of the SaGa series, both gameplay and story are largely open-ended, giving the player the ability to play through scenarios in a number of different orders, with some areas and portions of the narrative only becoming available once they have spoken to specific characters or performed certain tasks. By completing story objectives and meeting new characters, the player is brought closer to the game's end, leading to the final confrontation where they must use all of their acquired skills to succeed.
 
While traveling through dangerous environments, the player's party can do battle with enemy monsters which roam around the screen and will enter combat when touched. Using a turn-based approach to combat, battle scenes are played out by having the player input commands for each individual party member at the start of each round, with the selected actions taking place in accordance with a character's "speed" statistic. A player may choose to attack an enemy, use a special weapon skill, cast a magic spell, defend themselves, or flee from battle entirely. Parties can consist of up to five characters that the player will recruit automatically as part of the story, or after they have completed certain story scenarios. As characters take part in more battle, they will randomly learn new weapon skills by attacking normally, as well as randomly gain increased statistics at the end of every few battles, thereby becoming stronger. All characters may become equipped with up to two different kinds of weapons, as well as become outfitted in protective gear that increases their defense against attacks.

Pak's Thoughts – I swear I’ve played some of the games on this list! While I never picked up Romancing SaGa, I did enjoy its predecessors, the SaGa Frontier games. I loved that it was broken down into several shorter RPGs with a different strategyfor each character. I also spent a long road trip to Kansas in the back seat playing Final Fantasy Legend once upon a time, so there's that!


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2014, 10:43:22 PM »
#37–The Ur-Quan Masters

(25 Points) 1 of 11 Lists - Highest Ranking - #1 – CJones
It just isn’t a right thing to kill you, human!
Release Date:  2002 sometime…
Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
The Ur-Quan Masters (or UQM) project aims to port Star Control II to modern operating systems including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and BSD. The project began in 2002 when the original creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III released the source code of the 3DO version as open source under the GPL. Its latest version, 0.7.0, was released on 4 July 2011. The game media is only free to use in non-commercial context as it was released under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.5 license. It has also added the option of online multiplayer Melee play, something which was not available in the original game. A variety of modifications to the melee have been released by fans, including versions with superpowered ships and numerous planets. As of version 0.4, the long-missing intro and ending movies were finally added, as was an in-game setup menu. The ability to mod the game is one of the project's goals.
 
The project was renamed The Ur-Quan Masters because the trademark Star Control was registered by Accolade in 1997, acquired in 1999 by Atari (then known as Infogrames), along with the rest of Accolade's assets.
 
While development on the UQM codebase continues, a second group of semi-professional musicians called The Precursors have created new musical tracks and remixes of the originals. They are an optional package that can be listened to in-game, replacing the original music, or just played with an audio player. The group's main members are Jouni Airaksinen (alias Mark Vera), Tore Aune Fjellstad (alias VOiD), Espen Gätzschmann (alias TiLT) and Riku Nuottajärvi (an original composer for the 1992 release). The Precursors have released four remix packs, and the project is now considered done.
 
 Pak's Thoughts – This entry is a bit of a stretch. This was CJones’ justification for inclusion:

Quote from: CJones
Yes I know this is kind of cheating, but The Ur-Quan Masters was a remake of one of the best games I've ever played, Star Control 2. It was ported to the 3DO. When that failed, the source code was made open source in 2002. It's been updated several times since. Now better than the original (mostly), and it's FREE! For legal reasons they couldn't use the original title.

Well, it says they added multiplayer, so it’s a remake that added new features. It passes! Next up: a game I’ve actually played!


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2014, 10:43:53 PM »
#36–Resident Evil: Rebirth

(25 Points) 1 of 11 Lists - Highest Ranking - #1 – Tyrant
That was too close! You were almost a Jill sandwich!
Release Date:  March 22, 2002
Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Resident Evil is a survival horror video game developed by Capcom Production Studio 4, published by Capcom, and released for the GameCube in 2002. It is a remake of the 1996 game Resident Evil, featuring vastly improved presentation as well as a variety of new gameplay elements, environments and story details, and is also known under the informal titles of Resident Evil: Remake or Resident Evil: Rebirth (abbreviated REmake and REbirth, respectively).
    
The game was released to critical acclaim, in which it was often described as the best title in the Resident Evil series so far as well as one of the most visually impressive video games overall. Since its release it has sold over one million copies. Several publications have also included it on their lists of most scary and best-looking games ever made.
 
The remake features all-new graphics and sound, and also incorporates gameplay elements from the later installments such as the use of body language to indicate the main character's health and the 180-degree turn. In addition, it introduced a new running style that was also used in Resident Evil Zero, and several new areas were added to the game (some of them were originally cut from the 1996 game during its development, such as the graveyard and a path through the woods).
 
Gameplay mechanics are largely the same although most of the puzzles have been changed and the player can equip a defensive weapon that can be used when seized by an enemy. These defensive weapons include a dagger which can be used by both playable characters, whilst they also each have their own defensive weapon exclusive to them. Jill Valentine uses a taser, while Chris Redfield is able to shove stun grenades into the zombies' mouths to detonate them with a pistol shot. These weapons can be set to either automatic or manual use by the player, saving them from taking damage, although they are not unlimited, and they can only be used when grabbed by a monster. The zombies that are defeated but not destroyed (decapitated or burned) mutate later in the game into the fast and deadly Crimson Heads.
Pak's Thoughts – Back in 2002, Tyrant and I were still doing the long-distance relationship thing, and when we got together, we’d always do some gaming in the hotel room. So I have many fond memories of  passing the controller back and forth and making it through REbirth. These are the fires under which a life-long relationship was forged. Remember: The couple that splatters brains together REMAINS together!

That’s all for tonight, folks! Tune in tomorrow as I post the last of the single-list entries!


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2014, 12:50:55 PM »
Thank you for accepting The Ur-Quan Masters Pak. I never played the original PC game, even though I played SC1. It wasn't until tUQM that I found out just how awesome this game is. I even had the Ur-Quan at #1 on the fictional races/species list. The Ur-Quan are, without a doubt, the best villains in any video game ever. Because when you find out their back story, you realize they are totally justified in their actions. To be clear, this isn't a 4X game. It's very story driven. But at the same time, you can go anywhere at any time. Just don't run out of fuel.

The game, and the Precursors remixed soundtrack, can be found here: http://sc2.sourceforge.net/


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2014, 03:56:35 PM »
#35–Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

(25 Points) 1 of 11 Lists - Highest Ranking - #1 – Pak-Man
These guys are old school. They've been around since you were in Super Mario Bros. 
Release Date:  July 22, 2004
Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube. The Thousand-Year Door is the second game in the Paper Mario series.
 
The Thousand-Year Door borrows many gameplay elements from its predecessor, such as a paper-themed universe and a turn-based battle system with an emphasis on action. For the majority of the game the player controls Mario, although Bowser and Princess Peach are playable at certain points. The plot follows Mario's quest as he tries to retrieve the seven Crystal Stars and rescue Peach from the X-Nauts.

The Thousand-Year Door has a unique visual style. The graphics consist of a mixture of three-dimensional environments and two-dimensional characters who look as if they are made of paper. At different points in the game, Mario is "cursed" with abilities that enable special moves in the overworld, all of which are based on the paper theme. Mario can fold into a boat or a paper airplane by standing on a special activation panel, and roll up into a scroll of paper or become paper-thin. The game's environments also follow this theme; for example, illusory objects that conceal secret items or switches can be blown away by a gust of wind due to the environment's paper-like qualities. In certain parts of the game, the player controls Bowser in multiple side-scrolling levels based on Super Mario Bros. Additionally, the player controls Peach in the X-Naut Fortress at the completion of most game chapters.
 
Battles in The Thousand-Year Door borrow elements from the original Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. The turn-based system, in which players select an attack, defense, or item from a menu, is augmented by timed button presses that can result in substantial attack or defence bonuses when performed correctly. A similar "action command" was also used in all released Mario role-playing games. In The Thousand-Year Door, each of Mario's party members now have their own heart points (HP) and may receive any attack that Mario can receive. When a partner's heart points are reduced to zero, the partner becomes inactive for the rest of that battle and later battles until recovery. If Mario's Heart Points are reduced to zero, however, the game ends. Flower Points—which are required for special moves—are shared among Mario and his party members. Defeating enemies awards various numbers of Star Points to Mario; for every 100 Star Points, Mario is able to level up. Mario can choose to upgrade his heart points (HP), flower points (FP), or his badge points (BP). The battles take place on a stage in front of an audience; if the player performs well in a battle, the audience can assist Mario by replenishing star power, throwing helpful items on-stage, or inflicting damage on the opponent. Conversely, the audience may throw damage-causing items at the player or leave if the player performs poorly in a battle. For every ten levels, the stage will increase by fifty audience members for a total of 200 after level 30.
 
Outside of battle, the game contains some strong role-playing video game traditions. For example, Mario's strength is determined by multiple statistical fields and status-boosting items that can be used in and outside of combat. The effects of these items range from healing Mario or his partner to damaging the opponent. Mario can also purchase badges from non-player characters or occasionally obtain them from defeated enemies; when equipped, these badges can permanently enhance a particular skill or aspect, or, in some cases, give Mario new moves, including Sleepy Stomp and Quake Hammer. Throughout the game, Mario is permanently assisted by a party member. Each party member has a specialized skill, some of which are required to solve puzzles to advance progression in the game. More party members are gained as the player advances through the game.

Pak's Thoughts – OK. At least one or two of you have to be smacking your heads right about now. How am I the only one to vote for this? Paper Mario is my favorite RPG series, and Thousand Year Door is the crown jewel of that series. The goofy humor, the beautiful visuals, the interactive RPG fights, the compelling story- everything about this game just works.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2014, 03:56:52 PM »
#34–Final Fantasy IX

(25 Points) 1 of 11 Lists - Highest Ranking - #1 –Sugar Ray Dodge
Yeah...I promised Garnet I'd kidnap her. 
Release Date:  July 7, 2000
Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
Final Fantasy IX is a role-playing video game developed and published by Squaresoft (now Square Enix) for the Sony PlayStation video game console. Originally released in 2000, it is the ninth title in the Final Fantasy series and last to debut on the original PlayStation console. In 2010 it was re-released as a PSone Classics title on the PlayStation Network. The game introduced new features to the series like the 'Active Time Event', 'Mognet', and a unique equipment and skill system.
 
Final Fantasy IX's plot centers on a war between nations. Players follow a young thief named Zidane Tribal, who joins with others to defeat Queen Brahne of Alexandria, the one responsible for starting the war. The plot shifts, however, when the characters realise that Brahne is working with an even more threatening person called Kuja.
 
Final Fantasy IX was developed alongside Final Fantasy VIII, but took a different approach by returning to the more traditional style of the early Final Fantasy games. Consequently, Final Fantasy IX was influenced significantly by the original Final Fantasy game, and features allusions to other titles in the series. It was released to critical acclaim and holds the highest Metacritic score of all Final Fantasy installments. Final Fantasy IX was commercially successful, selling 5.30 million units worldwide as of March 31, 2003.

In Final Fantasy IX, the player navigates a character throughout the game world, exploring areas and interacting with non-player characters. Most of the game occurs in towns and dungeons which are referred to as "field screens". To aid exploration on the field screen, Final Fantasy IX introduces the "field icon", an exclamation mark appearing over their lead character's head, signalling an item or sign is nearby. Players speak with moogles to record their progress, restore life energy with a tent and purchase items—a deviation from previous installments, which used a save point to perform these functions. Moogles may request the playable character deliver letters to other Moogles via Mognet, playable characters might also receive letters from non-playable characters.
 
Players journey between field screen locations on the world map, a three dimensional, downsized representation of Final Fantasy IX's world presented from a top-down perspective. Players can freely navigate around the world map screen unless restricted by terrain like bodies of water or mountain ranges. To overcome geographical limitations, players can ride chocobos, sail on a boat or pilot airships. Like previous Final Fantasy installments, travel across the world map screen and hostile field screen locations is interrupted by random enemy encounters.
 
Final Fantasy IX offers a new approach to town exploration with the introduction of Active Time Events (ATE). These allow the player to view events unfolding at different locations, providing character development, special items and prompts for key story-altering decisions. ATE are occasionally used to simultaneously control two teams when the party is divided to solve puzzles and navigate mazes.

Pak's Thoughts – Now it’s MY turn to smack my head. This is one of my favorite Final Fantasy games. I always like my Final Fantasy heavy on the fantasy, and it’s always nice to play one where the fate of the whole world isn’t at stake. I love all four of the main characters. The story has a nice Disney-esque feel to it. It’s just a darn good game. Why hasn’t Squeenix targeted this one for an HD remake yet?


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC #81 - Top 50 Video Games of the Oughts
« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2014, 03:57:08 PM »
#33–The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

(25 Points) 1 of 11 Lists - Highest Ranking - #1 –Quantum Vagina
Good God, it smells like Grandpa Goat's garlic factory in here! 
Release Date:  May 1, 2002
Just the facts/Stuff I wiki'd:
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is an open world fantasy action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios, and published by Bethesda Softworks and Ubisoft. It is the third installment in The Elder Scrolls series of games, following The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, and preceding The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It was released in North America in 2002 for Microsoft Windows and the Xbox.
 
The main story takes place on Vvardenfell, an island in the Dunmer province of Morrowind, which lies in the empire of Tamriel and is far from the more civilized lands to the west and south that typified Daggerfall and Arena. The central quests concern the deity Dagoth Ur, housed within the volcanic Red Mountain, who seeks to gain power and break Morrowind free from Imperial reign. Morrowind was designed with an open-ended free-form style of gameplay in mind, with less of an emphasis on the game's main plot than its predecessors. This choice received mixed reviews in the gaming press, though such feelings were tempered by reviewers' appreciation of Morrowind's expansive and detailed game world.

Morrowind begins with the player's character, having been imprisoned, arriving in Morrowind by boat in order to be pardoned. This is a common introductory segment throughout the main installments of the series. A well-received tutorial depicting the prisoner's release moves the player through the process of character creation. The player is successively asked questions by a fellow prisoner, an officer, and a bureaucrat as the player is registered as a free citizen; choosing, in the process, the player character's name, race, gender, class, and birthsign. These affect the player's starting attributes, skills, and abilities. In a throwback to the Ultima series, the player has an opportunity to answer a series of moral questions to determine his class.

Pak's Thoughts – Morrowind taught me something about myself: I love creating characters! I found myself going through character creation, making it through the tutorial, saving, then creating another character. I might have actually spent more time creating Morrowind characters than I did exploring Vvardenfell. Not that the game wasn’t awesome too. It’s almost overwhelming how much there is to do and see. And it’s all punctuated nicely by the wonderful background music and beautiful visuals.