• Favourite video games from 1989 to 2014

    1.      Tomb Raider II (1997)

    The Tomb Raider franchise has marked my childhood. I’ve been a fan since I’ve played the first part of the series in the late nineties when I wasn’t even ten years old. One and a half decades later, I’m still a huge fan and I recently enjoyed playing the revamp of the series in form of the challenging, dynamical and entertaining 2013 version of “Tomb Raider”. I’ve collected statues, soundtracks, shirts, posters and board games of the franchise and I also watched the two movies featuring Angelina Jolie. My favourite part of the franchise is though the second part which is one of the very few games I have played several times in my life. First of all, it’s one of the most challenging games. I remember how I was walking through the sunken shipwreck Andrea Doria for hours looking for an essential item I hadn’t found before. I recall how I was struggling for days to survive in the Buddhist monastery in Tibet with almost no energy left and a dozen armed enemies hunting me down. I have memories of fighting a giant dragon over and over again and not being able to kill it for good until I coincidentally discovered how to do it. I really adored the game’s mixture of action-filled sequences with easy controls, appealing settings with stunning graphics and mysterious enigmas that added an intellectual touch to this adventure game. Many decades later, I still enjoy driving a motorboat in Venice, Italy, swimming through a dark ocean in the middle of nowhere and riding a snowmobile in the Tibetan mountains from time to time.

    Atmosphere: 9.5/10

    Challenge level: 9.5/10

    Controls: 8/10

    Game flow: 8/10

    Graphics: 7/10

    Length: 9.5/10

    Long-term fun factor: 10/10

    Sound: 8.5/10

    Soundtrack: 7/10

    Story: 8/10

    Total score: 84/100

     

    2.      Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003)

    The Prince of Persia franchise is my second favourite video game series of all times. I even played the first two games of the franchise at my father’s working place when we hadn’t a computer at our home before discovering the Tomb Raider series. I adored every single game of the franchise but if I had to pick one out of these games, I would go for this one. This game convinces with stunning graphics, a mysterious and twisted story line and an incredibly authentic and magical atmosphere. The costumes, the settings and one of the best game soundtracks ever made are essential elements that make this game so special to me. It made me fall in love with Persian culture and history. This game also includes some of the smartest enigmas, traps and physical challenges I have ever experienced. The enemies in the game are quite cunning as well. It’s so intense that the player almost becomes one with this fascinating universe.

    Atmosphere: 10/10

    Challenge level: 7/10

    Controls: 7/10

    Game flow: 7.5/10

    Graphics: 9/10

    Length: 8/10

    Long-term fun factor: 10/10

    Sound: 8.5/10

    Soundtrack: 10/10

    Story: 7/10

    Total score: 84/100 

     

    3.      Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (2009)

    The Silent Hill franchise had its hits and misses but this game stands above all the others because it’s as gripping as a vintage horror movie and as twisted as the greatest psycho thrillers. Apart of its intense atmosphere that kicks off right in the beginning and never lets go until the end of the game, its decent subtle shocking moments and its surprising story line, the game convinces with its creeping settings which include forgotten adventure parks, ghost towns, old high schools, strange isolated islands and abandoned shopping malls. Another interesting aspect is that the game has a high number of alternative endings depending on the choices you have made throughout the game. That’s why it makes perfectly sense to play this intense game several times at night with your headphones on if you feel like going on a dark ride.

    Atmosphere: 10/10

    Challenge level: 7/10

    Controls: 7/10

    Game flow: 7/10

    Graphics: 8/10

    Length: 7/10

    Long-term fun factor: 9/10

    Sound: 9/10

    Soundtrack: 8/10

    Story: 10/10

    Total score: 82/100

      

    4.      Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb (2003)

    The Indiana Jones franchise had its great but also some rather disappointing parts but this is easily the series’ greatest moment. This is not only one of the longest games I have ever played that really offers value for money, it also includes a multitude of fascinating setting all around the world and a story that is more gripping and original than many movies of the franchise. Once again, the mixture of physically challenging parts, smart enigmas and diversified enemies makes this game extremely addicting. On the negative side, the controls of the game are quite tough to handle and the final surreal parts of the game didn’t please me and didn’t really fit to the rest of this otherwise pretty much flawless video game either.

    Atmosphere: 8/10

    Challenge level: 9/10

    Controls: 5/10

    Game flow: 7/10

    Graphics: 7/10

    Length: 10/10

    Long-term fun factor: 9/10

    Sound: 8/10

    Soundtrack: 8/10

    Story: 8/10

    Total score: 79/100

     

     5.    Penumbra Trilogy: Overture, Black Plague & Requiem (2007-2008)

    The Penumbra franchise is basically one story separated in three parts and that’s why one can’t pick just one of these even though the more experimental last part is just about enigmas and puzzles and a little letdown. The first two parts are though some of the best atmospheric horror video games ever made. This game kicks off slowly and gives the player a lot of occasions to uncover the background of the mysterious story. As the game goes on, it gets a lot more addicting and mysterious as the horror slowly unfolds when the player is hunted down by invisible monsters. Later on, the player even has to face scary creatures before getting to the core and conclusion of the story which turns out to be quite surprising and more twisted than expected as it has even a philosophical touch to it.

    Atmosphere: 10/10

    Challenge level: 7/10

    Controls: 6/10

    Game flow: 7/10

    Graphics: 7/10

    Length: 9/10

    Long-term fun factor: 7/10

    Sound: 9/10

    Soundtrack: 8/10

    Story: 8/10

    Total score: 78/100

     

    6.      Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (2002)

    The best game about the organized crime is the first game of the Mafia franchise. The game set new landmarks concerning its detailed and wide-spread universe that the player can discover as much as he or she wants, the use of different tools with an easy control throughout the game and its challenging and detailed story line that even beats the best genre movies. The game follows the story of an innocent cab driver who gets into the organized crime by an unlucky coincident and soon gets more powerful as he gets himself a solid reputation within the organization. In the different missions of the game, the main character must for example assassinate enemies, face greedy concurrence within his own organization, menace ambitious business partners and innocent store owners and rob out banks. The high diversity of the different chapters keep the tension high as this video game never ever gets boring.

    Atmosphere: 8/10

    Challenge level: 7/10

    Controls: 7/10

    Game flow: 7/10

    Graphics: 7/10

    Length: 8/10

    Long-term fun factor: 9/10

    Sound: 8/10

    Soundtrack: 9/10

    Story: 7/10

    Total score: 77/100

      

    7.      Assassin’s Creed (2007)

    Assassin’s Creed has become one of the most popular franchises over the past few years for a good reason and everything players from all around the world like about these video games is already present in the first part. It’s extremely fun to discover and crawl, jump, walk, ride and run through a wide-spread universe. The different missions of the game are challenging and diversified. The settings are colourful and drag you into a fascinating universe. The game includes a high number of interesting tools and weapons you have to deal with. The controls are rather easy to handle on consoles and guarantee a long-time playing pleasure.

    Atmosphere: 8/10

    Challenge level: 6/10

    Controls: 7/10

    Game flow: 8/10

    Graphics: 8/10

    Length: 8/10

    Long-term fun factor: 8/10

    Sound: 8/10

    Soundtrack: 8/10

    Story: 7/10

    Total score: 76/100

      

    8.      No One Lives Forever II: A Spy in H.A.R.M.’s Way (2002)

    This spy game brings the early years of the Cold War back to life in a charming, colourful and decently humorist manner. This game is less about running around and battling enemies but about using your brain when you infiltrate highly secured areas and spy out your enemies to get some important information. This second part of the short-lived franchise requests a lot of patience to face the challenging missions but if you adore spy games and movies, this will easily become one of your very favourite games. The graphics are stunning, the soundtrack adds a lot of atmosphere and the diversified settings from all around the world are really beautiful. The controls are sometimes a little bit challenging to handle but this may only be a minor inconvenience.

    Atmosphere: 9/10

    Challenge level: 8/10

    Controls: 5/10

    Game flow: 6/10

    Graphics: 7/10

    Length: 9/10

    Long-term fun factor: 8/10

    Sound: 7/10

    Soundtrack: 8/10

    Story: 7/10

    Total score: 72/100

     

    9.      Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (2002)

    The most popular spy game franchise is based on some truly interesting novels. While the last few games seemed to have interesting story lines but were ultimately rather disappointing, the first few games had less interesting plots but were really fun to play. The mixture of subtle spying in different settings and adrenaline-driven action sequences with a high number of intriguing weapons made the first part of the franchise something new and unique. This tension-filled game revolutionized a whole genre and changed the world of many gamers from all around the world.

    Atmosphere: 8/10

    Challenge level: 8/10

    Controls: 6/10

    Game flow: 8/10

    Graphics: 7/10

    Length: 7/10

    Long-term fun factor: 7/10

    Sound: 7/10

    Soundtrack: 6/10

    Story: 7/10

    Total score: 71/100

      

    10.  Muramasa: The Demon Blade (2009)

    This mythological action game for Wii consoles brings the player back to traditional Japan. Even though the story line of the game is rather simplistic and the fighting sequences rather repetitive after a certain time, the game has really stunning graphics, an absolutely amazing soundtrack and many atmospheric and authentic settings. If you care for Japanese culture, you simply can’t get around this game.

    Atmosphere: 8/10

    Challenge level: 6/10

    Controls: 6/10

    Game flow: 8/10

    Graphics: 9/10

    Length: 7/10

    Long-term fun factor: 7/10

    Sound: 5/10

    Soundtrack: 9/10

    Story: 5/10

    Total score: 70/100

      

    Other great video games you should try out are:

    11.  Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (1991)

    12.  Mario Strikers Charged (2007)

    13.  L.A. Noire (2011)

    14.  Wario Land: Super Mario Land III (1994)

    15.  Hitman: Contracts (2004)

    16.  Contra III: The Alien Wars (1992)

    17.  The Smurfs Travel the World (1994)

    18.  Epic Mickey (2010)

    19.  Redline Racer (1998)

    20.  Counter-Strike: Source (2004)

     

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