Tuesday Top Ten: Video Games Published in 1993

It’s Tuesday, the Twenty-Fifth of July, and you know what that means—much of the United States is still dealing with a crippling heat wave.  It also means that it’s time for another Tuesday Top Ten!  Each week, we go through the top ten something-or-anothers relating even tangentially to video games, and this week we tip our proverbial hat to one we did last month, by listing actual game titles.

As I’d said in the linked article, the ‘Nineties were pretty darn good to gamers.  Innovation abounded, limits were nowhere in sight, and gamers enjoyed what would become classic genre titles as well as titles that took the concept of genre and turned it on its head.

This time around, I’ve included links to Let’s Play videos when possible, so the reader can, if they so choose, actually see the games in question and enjoy themselves in the process by listening to the Let’s Player (where simple game-play, “play-through”, or walkthrough videos tend to be solely displaying the game), though in some cases I couldn’t find actual “Let’s Play” videos on YouTube, so went with one of the alternatives.

One word of warning, however—most of the Let’s Plays are somewhat profanity-laced.  Some are downright infused with myriad invectives and pejoratives.  The other video links shouldn’t be as bad with it, but as always, go into it knowing what might well be waiting on the other end of the click.

Anyway, as everything I’d said in the linked article applies here, there isn’t much need for a build-up.  So let’s just race right on into it, shall we?

10. X-Men
The X-Men license franchise has been more hit-or-miss lately, but back in the day they were mostly popular games.  They stuck to the tried-and-true platforming formula, and usually displayed each character’s powers pretty well, keeping the characters balanced but interesting.

Like a lot of games of the era, the plot of the simply-titled X-Men was—odd—but it was more than serviceable enough.  The Danger Room starts to go wonky whilst some X-Men are training therein, and through four controllable characters (with possible assistance from four other characters) the player gets to the heart of the matter and uncovers a sinister plot.

A play-through of it can be found here.
09. Virtua Fighter
Virtua Fighter isn’t remembered today by many gamers, though it really should be.  It was the first three-dimensional fighting game, and I can remember entering my local Gold Mine (an arcade company that’s long since removed itself from my neck of the woods, but I’m led to believe the company is still in business and operates arcades elsewhere in the country) and other young gamers were gathered around this machine in awe.

The game play was a bit rough around the edges, and by today’s standards it looked overly blocky—but at the time it enthralled gamers.  Two-dimensional fighters didn’t lose much business, but Virtua Fighter gained a lot of fans.  It did a lot of things right; the game play was compelling, it felt like a smooth transition from the two-dimensional gaming we’d all been quite used to, to this new three-dimensional setting.

There’s a bit of game play footage and some commentary right here, for those interested.

08. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
Street Fighter was the undisputed king of arcades, and when The New Challengers came out, it only strengthened that position.  While the very first game wasn’t “new” or “different” in a lot was ways, the ways in which it was different than other titles in the genre-bandwagon it was jumping onto captured gamers almost right from the start.

For this one, most of the animations were redrawn, as well as the backgrounds, art, and the H.U.D.  Four new characters were also added, though a couple fell by the wayside as the franchise progressed.  The most interesting aspect was the game play, since the scoring system was redone as well.  Now it kept track of combos, first attacks, and everything else.  On the whole, it was quite a great addition to the franchise, and all but ensured that the series would stay around for a long time.

A play-through of it can be found in four parts: One, two, three, four.

07. Shadowrun
Converting table-top role-playing games to video games has never been the easiest thing in the world, but when done right, developers can create a game that’s different, interesting, and fun.  This one is one such game.  It’s based on the cyber-punk dystopian world in the table-top game of the same name, where magic has returned to the world, and people contend with—or use—it, just as with the ubiquitous technological advances.

The protagonist’s brother is attacked and killed, and the protagonist is trying to figure out just what happened, as they roam the streets and take odd jobs for people.  On the face of it, it seems pretty standard fare, but it surpassed most other R.P.G.s by far.  It wasn’t trying to be the next Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest; it was going in a different direction, forging its own path.

Interestingly, a year later there was a totally different—from the ground up—version published for the Genesis, and to this very day you still get people arguing about which version was better.  I’ve included Let’s Plays of both of them for comparison, with the S.N.E.S. version here, and the Genesis version here.

06. RoboCop Versus the Terminator
It’s all there in the title, really.  You look at this game, and you know exactly what you’re getting—a mash-up of two violent, bloody, and gory franchises.  It’s also one of the few cross-overs that was actually quite good.  They kept the feel of RoboCop’s mechanical movement, but didn’t make him sluggish.  The Terminators are all as fearsome as you’d expect them to be, though they interestingly come in a rainbow of colors.

The plot isn’t anything too new—the two settings are basically all part of the same world, just in different times, and Skynet gets it in its silicon brain that RoboCop is going to prevent its existence, so starts throwing Terminators at him like they’re going out of style.  Not the most in-depth of plot, but it worked well, and the game was insanely gory, as expected.  Random enemies positively exploded in a shower of blood when killed, which is really all most gamers of the target demographic came to it for in the first place.

The Let’s Play of it is right over here.

05. ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
This one is one of those games that came out that could best be described as “simply weird, yet fun”  It, like its predecessor, was a product of its era, filled with “cool” and “hip” expressions.  It comes across a little like Narm Charm looking back from twenty-eight years later, but that really isn’t a mark against it.  One change that was unusual is that where the first was a top-down three-quarters perspective, the sequel went back to basics and was a side-scroller.  That wasn’t bad, by any stretch, but it was felt by some as a step back.

The plot of the game was that as ToeJam or Earl, or as both if playing with a friend, you had to travel across their home planet of Funkotron to capture errant humans that had found their way there, and stuff them into space ships that would send them back to Earth.  It was decidedly humorous, and even now many gamers would look back on the series with a quirked smile.

A humorous Let’s Play of it can be found here.

04. Jurassic Park
The game starts at around the middle of the first film.  The T-Rex destroys Grant’s Jeep, and he has to make his way around the island, hitting switches, tranquilizing (or, rarely, killing) dinosaurs, and trying to not succumb to the thousand-and-one pitfalls that he comes across on the journey.  He isn’t saddled with the kids (or anyone else) in this outing, and, interestingly, there was the option to play as a ‘Raptor, something so insanely popular it was almost the entire point the next year’s Rampage Edition.

It was a strict platformer through and through, though there were a lot of small and interesting touches here and there.  The animation was simply superb for everything from the protagonists to the insanely tiny Procompsognathus, also known as the “Compy”.  It was an incredibly intense and unforgiving game, but it was, most importantly, incredibly fun.

A mostly instructional Let’s Play of it can be found right here.

03. Sonic CD
That little blue hedgehog has suffered of late.  I admit, I tend to lean toward the camp who says that Sonic should never have left the two-dimensional world.  I also tend to lean toward the camp daring to say that Sonic CD was possibly the best title in the series.  I have incredibly fond memories of the first four games, but—CD hit just the right balance of everything.  Sega used the compact disc format most effectively, making the levels large and interesting, with an interesting animated cut-scenes detailing the plot.

As for the storyline, basically it’s Doctor Eggman (also known as Doctor Robotnik) up to his old evil tricks again.  This time around, he’s got his beady eyes centered on “Time Stones”, which are found on this incredibly appropriately named Little Planet.  He sets about converting Little Planet into one huge fortress, and of course Sonic isn’t about to let him do that.

My favorite part of the game was that Sonic had to travel into the past as well as the future to stop Eggman.  Most of the future settings were dystopian, with what happened if Eggman had won.  However, there was a rare one that was a “golden” future; everything’s peaceful, happy, et cetera.  It was an interesting mechanic, and personally it was my favorite.

There’s a humorous Let’s Play of the Japanese version right over here, and I’m linking to the Japanese version because it’s done by Scottish Duck, a Let’s Player whom I didn’t list in my Top Ten Let’s Plays painfully.  He’s quite enjoyable to listen to, if a prime example of the profanity warning at the start of this article.

02. Mega Man 6
We just recently discussed Mega Man, and one thing I didn’t share, there, was my favorite game, which—as should well be obvious—is this one.  It had everything in the best balance that the series had yet seen, and it was published for the N.E.S. even though the S.N.E.S. had been out for a good while by then.  For someone who couldn’t afford the S.N.E.S., that was quite a perk.

The story was—interesting.  Basically, there’s a robot combat tournament was being held, and this mysterious figure known only as Mister X stole the show, reprogrammed some robots, and generally caused havoc.  As Mega Man, you raced through the levels to stop the robots, and ultimate Mister X himself—who, as anyone would know from just looking at his picture, was Doctor Wily all along.

A rather instructional Let’s Play can be dove into right about here.

01. Doom
What can be said about this game that hasn’t been said a thousand times before?  While it wasn’t the first first-person shooter, it was the one that made the genre become so incredibly popular.  I dare say there’d be no Halo or Portal or whatever else you please if Doom hadn’t taken the game world by storm.

The story is actually somewhat interesting, though most gamers don’t remember much of it beyond “there are monsters and you shoot them in the face”.  Scientists had been experimenting with teleportation technology and, as is the way of scientists in fiction, screw it up horribly, opening up a gateway straight to Hell itself.  It’s the protagonist’s job to shove bullets down these monsters’ throats and journey to Hell to put a stop to it all.

The Let’s Play of the Ultimate version can be found right here.  There aren’t really many differences save for a few slight tweaks to the game play and four additional levels.  The tweaks don’t affect much of anything before those levels, which come at the very end.


2 Responses to “Tuesday Top Ten: Video Games Published in 1993”

  1. Elisa Michelle Says:

    Doom became so popular they turned it into a movie starring Karl Urban! I love that man.

    Ahem. Anyway. I confess I only knew about Doom because of the movie, but I definitely can see the influence of it in the Halo games, which I adore (and am squealing over because they’re coming out with Halo 4 next year).

    And I think I played the Jurassic Park game. Now I can’t remember though, but I do love those movies.

    • Heee. Nothing wrong with being an adoring fan. 😀

      I played the heck out of this Jurassic Park game, and I played the Grant half of the story about equally as much as the ‘Raptor half.

      As for the movies, I like the first one, mostly like the third one. The second one, I’m fine with it until they get back to San Diego. Then, meh.

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