Tuesday Top Ten: Video Games Published in 1999

It’s Tuesday, friends, and we all know what that means—it’s time for another Tuesday Top Ten!  Every week, we count down the top ten this-or-thats related to video games, and we aren’t going to break that record now.  This week, we’re counting down the top ten games published in ‘Ninety-Nine.

As I’ve said before, the ‘Nineties were good to gamers, arguably the best decade in our hobby.  It was that “sweet spot”, as it were, between trying to figure out what the heck to do and keeping to a financially-viable formula.

Also, like last time, I’ve included links to Let’s Plays, and as before, many are potentially infused with profanity, so you’ve been warned.

So, since both of the set-ups in the linked articles still apply, there’s even less need for further build-up than there was last time.  So, let’s get this party started with…

10. Rampage 2: Universal Tour
The Rampage series has always offered one thing—the ability to smash entire cities as a humongous monster, and Universal Tour was an attempt to “update” the series somewhat.

The plot was simple—you smashed cities as one of three new humongous monsters, as you went and freed the classic cast from their prisons.  Interestingly, Ralph was imprisoned in London.  Whether this was a shout-out to a certain movie is up in the air.  On the whole, it was as much something like an “expansion pack” to World Tour as anything else, but that wasn’t really the worst thing that could be said about it.

Amongst other Rampage games, a Let’s Play of it can be found here.

09. Prince of Persia 3D
The Prince of Persia series has been a trend-setter since its inception.  It’s really not unfair to compare that series to more recent ones such as the Crystal Dynamics reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise (though it can be said that the first Tomb Raider game was also homaged by the Prince of Persia series, especially this title).  What concepts it didn’t pioneer it perfected or at least made popular.

Prince of Persia 3D follows the same formula as its predecessors—which as difficult to pull off.  Mind that not every game was in three-D at this time, and of the ones that were, many were still getting their three-dimensional legs, as it were.  There were a few hitches here and there, mainly in the graphics and the camera control, though that’s not to say there weren’t a few game play-related issues as well.  Still, it managed to make a two-D formula work in three-D, making it a worthy entry into the series.

The Let’s Play of it is here, archived at the appropriately named Web Archive.  The links in the original page no longer work, so you’ll have to download the videos from that site.

08. Final Fantasy VIII
As we discussed in our first article series on Final Fantasy, that franchise affected the hobby like little else did, and Final Fantasy VII was no exception.  One interesting note—previous titles’ characters had been more disproportionate, but VIII was the first to display characters that were more realistically proportioned.

The plot wasn’t exactly anything to write home about, but that aside there were a lot of interesting game play mechanics that either hadn’t been seen in the series yet or had been only lightly touched on; one of the more famous—or infamous—examples would be that enemies scaled in level with the player characters.  As such, there was a more strategic element to the game from start to finish; yes, if you leveled up, you became stronger and able to take more damage—but the same was true for the enemies, as well.  And some bosses had vicious attacks at higher levels.

It might not make many “top ten Final Fantasy titles” lists, but it was a good addition to the franchise nonetheless.

The Let’s Play of it is right here.

07. Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
The Ace Combat series started out as a pretty straightforward shoot-’em-up, but starting with the first sequel the series started branching out beyond being “just” a straight action-oriented license.  Electrosphere debuted in Japan near the end of May, and it delivered an intense, in-depth plot—which was hacked right out of the game when it debuted elsewhere in the world the next year.  The Japanese version, though, set the standard for the direction future entries in the series would take—at least, in Japan.

Elsewhere, the title bombed.  Again, the story was ripped out—which means around half of the missions were stripped, reducing the game to a linear progression, the anime cut-scenes were taken out, as was the dialogue—by the time it hit Europe and North America, it was a shell of its former self.  The Japanese version, however, is a great entry in the series.

There is a Let’s Play of the Japanese version, but the videos aren’t collected into a single playlist.  However, the first video is here for the curious.

06. Earthworm Jim 3D
As I’ve said before, the Earthworm Jim series has been one of weirdness almost beyond measure.  It’s like the developers really didn’t have a “plan” in mind as much as a “bad trip” (kids, ask your parents about the famous trips some Americans took in the ‘Sixties).

Earthworm Jim 3D took that tradition and ran with it.  The familiar enemies and puzzles were present, as was the humor, though there was a twist this time around—it was set in Jim’s head.  There’s really not a whole lot more that can be said about it; any attempt to put words to such an oddball franchise is an ill-fated attempt indeed.

The Let’s Play of it is right over here, but it’s a bad emulation.  I apologize, but it’s the only Let’s Play I could find.  Still, the main thing affected was the model for Jim himself, so if you can get past a barely-there protagonist, it should be enjoyable.

05. Mario Golf
Mario has had his face on just about every game concept you can think of, and probably a dozen you can’t think of that weren’t released outside of Japan.  One of the genres he’s most often seen in outside of platforming is sports.

Mario Golf is exactly what it sounds like—Mario and company play a few rounds of golf.  There were numerous game modes, a story mode—the works.  Something the later golf-specific entries, even the hand-held versions, would be known for.  A mixture of sprites and polygons made the game look pretty darn good for the time, but of course the main focus of the game was the golfing.

For a console game, it replicated the real thing rather well while keeping it easily accessible.  Weather, terrain, and more all came into play, actually smacking the ball was easy, and with six eighteen-hole courses, it was one the average kid could play for months without getting bored.

A Let’s Play of the Nintendo 64 version can be found right here.

04. MechWarrior 3
The “giant mech” genre is still a rather small one, compared to, say, first-person shooters or platformers, but one of the more popular franchises is easily the MechWarrior series.  Set in a dystopian future, one pilots giant machines called mechs with more weapons than some small nations, as they take on other mechs, and a host of other vehicles and machines designed to take you down.

MechWarrior 3 hit the ground running with beautiful visuals, and those were backed up with intense action and tactics.  The mechs piloted how they should—lumbering and sluggish—and the player was tasked to think through that, making one feel almost like they really were piloting a giant machine of pure death.

The Let’s Play of it can be found right here.

03. Need for Speed: High Stakes
Before Need for Speed Underground 2 challenged expectations by offering a large world to explore, the series was all about racing around tracks.  Before customizing the look of the car was the “cool” thing to do, it was all about putting the pedal to the medal and smoking your opponents and police alike.

Need for Speed: High Stakes was more than just racing around a track.  You upgraded your car with money you won, but you also had to use money to enter races.  As such, the player was asked to think things through a little and plan, which gave the title an interesting breath of fresh air.  On the other hand, almost half of the tracks were ported from the earlier Hot Pursuit, but that didn’t really hurt the title.

The Intro and a race can be found here.

02. Silent Hill
It’s all too easy to compare the Silent Hill series with the Resident Evil series; both are survival horror, both try to scare the player, and both offer nutty plots.  The differences, though, are in the nuances.  The latter generally tries to scare the player in a more jump-out-and-say-BOO way, while the former scares you by simply creeping you out.

The first title started things off right.  The famous radio that emits static whenever monsters are nearby, the protagonist having to catch his breath after sprinting, the lighting and placement of objects—and the monsters.  Unnerving, to say the least.  It all came together in a series that stood alongside other franchises in the survival horror genre, yet remained apart.

There’s an interesting blind Let’s Play—in which the Let’s Player goes into it “blind”, having not played the title before—right over here.

01.Superman 64
Ahh, this one.  What can be said that hasn’t been said before?  I’ve mentioned this title a few times, before.  It’s just—terrible.  I know a few gamers who grit their teeth and mutter “those [expletive] ring!” whenever it’s mentioned.  Then you have the terrible A.I., the rings, the insane number of glitches, the rings, the asinine plot, and—oh, yes, the rings.  Those freaking rings.

There’s a still-incomplete (but as of this writing there’s been a recent additional upload) Let’s Play of it right over here, filled with information and behind-the-scenes tidbits on the game and just why it’s as absolutely terrible as it is.


4 Responses to “Tuesday Top Ten: Video Games Published in 1999”

  1. Elisa Michelle Says:

    Good Lord, Silent Hill. That game made me have nightmares for years, and I still can’t watch horror movies because I played Silent Hills 1,2, and 3. Did I mention I was around 12-14 when I played them? Trauma, yes. Oh, yes.

    I’ve never played VIIII, but I have a friend who is obsessed. He thinks it’s one of those undervalued games. I couldn’t say.

    The Prince of Persia series fizzled out in the second game to me, and I wasn’t interested enough to complete the second game. We are talking about the Sands of Time, right? Or is this another game?

    Also, the Rampage games were fun, especially the ones in the arcades. =D

    • The Sands of Time title came after 3D. The title really is just Prince of Persia 3D, here. πŸ™‚

      As for Final Fantasy VIII, I think the thing working hardest against it is the plot. It just kind of fizzles around halfway through, like the developers lost their train of thought and made it up from that point on. The odd-ball game play mechanics, I think, would have been easier to swallow if the plot weren’t as hard to follow.

      As for Silent Hill, while I wasn’t quite as young I have to admit to suffering similar trauma. πŸ˜‰

      And the Rampage games were indeed fun. Come on—smashing cities as a giant monster. How does that get old? πŸ˜€

      • Elisa Michelle Says:

        Ah, okay. I liked the Sands of Time a lot. =D

        Makes sense. Good plot tends to be the pride and joy of Final Fantasy games. To me, anyway. If VIII was lacking in that on top of the gameplay being rough, I could see how it didn’t do as good as some of the others in the franchise.

        Haha, those games were just downright crazy. I have no clue why I played through all of them.

        It never gets old. I loved it and still do.

      • I admit to not having played the most recent Prince of Persia titles, and I agree about plot being one of the most-loved aspects of the Final Fantasy franchise.

        I also admit to not having played through all of the Silent Hill games, though for what it’s worth, I’ve seen friends play through them and watched a few Let’s Plays. I’m not really as into the “survival horror” genre, really, though I give it a go every now and then.

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