AATG Readers' Games: 100-76

   20/05/2007 at 20:50       Joe Bennett       45 COMMENTS.
Well after nearly three weeks of voting, a database crash losing about three hours work one night, me writing up descriptions of twenty of the games only to see twelve of them eventually fall out of the Top 100 meaning another three hours lost, forgetting to sort it on the final day and writing up another four game descriptions I didn't need to, forgetting to save the document and clicking yes to "are you sure" and losing another 1,500 words, writing well over 20,000 words and getting many evil looks from my wife who I've pretty much neglected since last Tuesday, the 'AATG Top 100 games of all time' is finally here. And what a Top 100 it is!

There's sure to be some controversy, there's going to be plenty of "bugger, how did I forget to vote for that" moments (and even more next week when I publish the games that didn't even make it into the Top 100) and no doubt plenty of fanboyism, it's going to be a rip-roaring ride over the course of the week.

So without wanting to keep you any longer (and I'm under no illusions that at least 90% of you have probably skipped this carefully written intro and raced straight down to the list of games) I bring you the games ranked numbers 100-76 in the 'AATG Top 100 games of all time'.


Baldur's Gate
Platforms: PC
Developer: BioWare
Released: 1998

Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II and the add-on packs can be purchased at Play.com (use the links to the left to go there) at a very respectable £9.99 at the time of writing and you're not going to get much more value for money than that.

I'm not sure how long all four games would take to complete, but you're looking at a figure of well into three-figure territory, possibly around the 500 hours mark. The genre may still scare some people away but Baldur's Gate is much more about the dialogue and morale choices on offer rather than how quickly you can press the left mouse button to kill the enemies, something a lot of other AD&D based games fall foul of.

Whilst it didn't quite get as many votes as it's sequel, both games are equally enjoyable and the opportunity to get them so cheap shouldn't be missed.


Platforms: SNES
Developer: Beam Software
Released: 1994

Being a skill-based RPG with real time combat...no wait come back, oh well their loss, they don't know what they're missing. For those of you still reading Shadowrun is somewhat of a love it or hate it game. It was obvious looking back at the votes. Not many of you voted for it, but those that did put it very high on their lists.

I must admit that it wasn't really my cup of tea back in the day, but then I didn't give it more than half an hour of my time and I think it's something that I would enjoy a lot more now. There are no random battles (hallejulah!), but there are copious amounts of re-spawning enemies, which may put off some people, and a necessity to earn Karma in order to level-up the lead character Jake enough to progress through the game. This leads to repetitive battles against the same enemies so you can get the Karma needed to progress.

Unfortunately it's quite rare these days and sells for a relatively high price on eBay, but you may get lucky and find one in a boot fair. Therefore if you do find one cheap I'd recommend giving it a try as even if it doesn't end up being for you, you should be in profit to the tune of around £30.


Perfect Dark
Platforms: N64
Developer: Rare
Released: 2000

Colour me surprised that this didn't make it higher. The 'spiritual' successor to GoldenEye has an average score of 97% on Metacritic and is renowned for its strong solo mode and multiplayer action, including co-operative and counter-operative modes, the latter of which is especially noteworthy of praise.

Playing as Special Agent Joanna Dark, you blast and creep your way through seventeen missions, attempting to foil a conspiracy by rival corporate dataDyne. Perfect Dark looks, feels and plays very similarly to GoldenEye (also by Rare and which used the same engine) and there really isn't that much between the two games. The reason GoldenEye gets all the acclaim can be put down to two things; as 007 you recognise the characters and storyline and that it got there first. Other than that there's very little difference between the two and if you've got an N64 in the loft and see Perfect Dark in a pre-owned section, frame rate issues aside, it's well worth the time investment.


Super Monkey Ball/Super Monkey Ball 2
Platforms: Gamecube
Developer: SEGA
Released: 2002

Super Monkey Ball 2 is one of the best party games of all time, which isn't strictly what SEGA had set out to achieve.

The main game is in fact a puzzle game, similar in style to the classic Marble Madness. Guiding a monkey around in a ball, you tilt the landscape and try to get the monkey to the finishing line. Most of the levels don't feature walls, so it's very easy to send the monkey plummeting to his inevitable death.

Featuring three levels of difficulty, beginner, advanced and expert, SMB is one of the hardest puzzle games ever made but you always feel like it's being fair. The original SMB only featured six party games, with Monkey Target being the favourite for many.

SMB2 was a different kettle of...monkey's altogether. The emphasis was changed and put more towards the party game aspect rather than the main puzzle mode. Now featuring 12 party games, including an updated Monkey Target, and the brilliant yet simple Monkey Soccer where games often end up 9-8 or 11-4, it's one of the most requested games whenever I have people round. However the puzzle mode this time had some serious difficulty spikes, which stopped many people getting very far through it. Sadly a lot of the levels also required more luck than skill.

Both games can be purchased fairly cheaply these days and both are worth picking up. Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, featuring all party games and levels from both games, can be purchased for the XBOX and PS2. Sadly this version suffers from some lazy porting, with controller issues and more importantly some glaring frame-rate problems that make playing the game difficult.


Double Dragon
Platforms: Arcade/
Developer: Technos/Taito
Released: 1987

Little known fact, Double Dragon was the first beat-em-up to offer two-player co-op gameplay. It was also, as far as I know, the first game to allow weapons to be taken directly from the enemy and used against them.

Playing as Billy and Jimmy Lee you had to save Marian (Billy's girlfriend although Jimmy has a crush on her) from the Black Warriors. It was far ahead of its time in terms of move-sets and weapons use and whilst fairly primitive today, is still one of the best side-scrolling beat-em-ups that have ever graced the arcade scene. Spawning two arcade sequels (the technically superior but otherwise identical Double Dragon II and the lacklustre Double Dragon III) soon after the originals release, we haven't seen a new Double Dragon game in a decade.

Whether it could be given justice if it were remade is up for debate (and depending on who gets the job) but here's hoping if it is done that it isn't some horrible DS remake whereby you have to draw on the screen in order to perform moves.

Double Dragon is available now for purchase on XBOX Live Arcade but be warned, it's getting some poor reviews due to constant flaws and massive slowdowns.


Star Wars: Tie Fighter
Platforms: PC
Developer: Totally Games
Released: 1994

Sadly I've never been able to play this game. My PC at the time of the original launch wasn't able to run it. That machine lasted another two years and when it eventually died on me I didn't buy a replacement for almost 4 years. Almost as soon as I got the new machine I rushed out and bought the collectors edition of Tie Fighter & X-Wing, only to find that for some bizarre reason it wouldn't work on the new machine either, probably due to some driver incompatibility problem. Whatever it was I never did resolve it so I've never had the joy of being able to experience this game. Now that I have XP it looks like that I'll never get that joy due to incompatibility problems with that.

My technical issues aside, it appears that you were all the types of kids that preferred running around with bins on your head rather than rescuing the damsel in distress in the playground, as whilst Tie Fighter amassed an impressive amount of votes, X-Wing only received one.

If anyone knows of a way to get this fantastic game, and the original X-Wing working on Windows XP please do share it with me.


Platforms: Multi
Developer: Hudson Soft (originally)
Released: 1983

It wasn't clear which version of Bomberman you were all voting for, whether it was the original NES version, Atomic Bomberman, Dynablaster (as was my choice), the updated DS version or any of the many other versions we've had over the years. Whichever one it was, the series as a whole deserves to be in here as it's one of the greatest multiplayer games of all time.

For me the earlier games were more fun, especially Dynablaster, before loads of power-ups started to make the game feel a little unbalanced and I remember many Saturday afternoons playing it with a mate on the Amiga. That said even the latest DS version is enjoyable in multiplayer, with many wi-fi sessions in the car park at work with a fellow colleague leading to many close and intense battles. I could do without many of the power-ups, but it's still great fun.

As a result of this Top 100 I even managed to track the PS1 version down for £2 two days ago (just one of the many games I've purchased as a result of doing this Top 100) and the Megadrive version for £1, so whichever version you prefer, you're bound to be able to pick it up cheaply.


Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
Platforms: PS2
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Released: 2004

Nippon Ichi make some of the funniest and most life-absorbing games, yet very few people seem to have heard of them. Sure the hardcore gamers all know who they are, but the casual ones never seem to have heard of them. And that's a shame as that means classics such as Disgaea don't reach the audience they should.

That's not saying that Disgaea is for everyone, it's certainly not, but for those that it grabs, it grabs them hard and leaves fingernail prints in their balls.

If the words "tactical roleplaying game" scare you then you don't need to read on, but if you're prepared to open your eyes to other genre's and are happy to play a game that requires upwards of 100 hours to really get the most out of it (hell you could even spend 200-300 hours in the item world alone levelling up the items and still be nowhere near finished), you can't do any better than Disgaea. It may only have 14 "levels" but they'll last you an awful long time.

The story is hilarious in places, the difficulty level superbly pitched and the amount of weapons and items on offer leaves me exhausted just thinking about it. But the steep learning-curve is enough to put some people off without having a helping hand guiding them through the first few hours and so it's hard to recommend to people that are new to the genre. It's no surprise that it won IGN's Best game no one played award in their Games of the Year awards.


Platforms: PC
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Released: 1998

Nine million copies! That's how many copies Starcraft and the expansion pack Brood War have sold and it was the best-selling computer game in 1998. Teams of people in South Korea still even participate in televised matches earning sponsorship along the way and the most successful of these professional gamers earned somewhere in the region of $200,000 in 2005, that's how big this game is. Not was, is!

That's Starcraft as a whole though, impressive. How else could it have reached number seven in IGN's 'Top Games of All Time' in both 2003 and 2005? It even had a campaign before it was released called 'Operation CWAL' (Can't Wait Any Longer) where people tried to convince Blizzard to release an unauthorised yet fully completed Starcraft to the general public. For their trouble, Blizzard went on to thank them in the manual and even used their name as a cheat code.

Playing like a cross between Command & Conquer and Warcraft, Starcraft requires much more micro-management (such as individual unit management and formations, think a little along the lines of Shogun) in order to be successful, which means that it may not be as accessible for those that aren't used to RTS games. But for those prepared to put in the effort there's a rewarding and lengthy solo campaign coupled with some intense multiplayer action that even newer RTS titles are struggling to compete with. There was one regular theme with everyone that voted for it as well, you virtually all said that it was the game that you'd put the most hours into, out of every game you've ever played.

Starcraft is still available to purchase today in a double pack with the expansion pack for under £10 and I'd recommend you check it out.

Fully deserving of its place but in my opinion it should have been a lot higher.


Total Annihilation
Platforms: PC
Developer: Cavedog Entertainment
Released: 1997

The first 3D RTS game and an overlooked masterpiece that's arguably more playable ten years on due to the many available downloads from fansites.
There are now over 6000 different types of units (only 150 of which were in the original game) that have been created by fans and some have even created their own additional races to join TA's two original races.

In terms of AI it's nothing more than simplistic and at times bordering on crude. It seems to have problems with the terrain and knowing what types of units to produce, an example being a small lake being tightly packed with battle ships in an otherwise mainly desert environment. But the physics engine ofTA is another matter entirely. Taking into account true trajectories, inertia, thrust and gravity which is variable on different planets in the TA universe, some artillery units can hit targets up to 15 screens away. Even more terrifying Nuclear Missiles can be dropped anywhere on the map.

On the multiplayer front Ta gives total control over to the player in terms of customisation of unit numbers or even disabling certain units from the map. The official servers are now down and no longer available, but you can still set up a game at WarZone free of charge and there are still active clans going which for a game ten years old is very impressive.

Although it's almost impossible to find now, if you've got it sitting in a cupboard waiting to be played it's still immensely enjoyable and is well worth investing a few hours into.


S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
Platforms: PC
Developer: GSC Game World
Released: 2007

Bit of a surprise this I must admit. I'm sure when we run this article again in two years time that it will not feature in the Top 100 and is really only here because its fresh in your minds.

While it is undeniably a good game, with an average score of 82 over at Metacritic it hasn't really set the world alight like the media expected it to and I'm sure there are many better games that have come out over the years that deserve to be here more than this (an opinion I'm sure you'll agree with when you see some of the games that didn't make it in a later article). But this is your list and you voted for it so, this year at least, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. earns itself a place in the Top 100.

Read Boomtown review of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. for more information.


Platforms: PS2/XBOX/Gamecube
Developer: EA
Released: 2003

The Tony Hawks of snowboarding makes it into the Top 100 and deservedly so. Whilst I preferred the more insane style of 'Tricky', you all preferred the more reserved and free-roaming younger brother.

Both versions can be picked up now for around a fiver and both will offer you hours of fun. 'Tricky' for me had the edge in gameplay and multiplayer terms with its more insane track layout, but SSX 3 certainly lasts longer and has the benefit of online play and better visuals.

As the game predates the reviews on our site, a review of SSX3 can be found over at our friends Eurogamer.


Final Fantasy IX
Platforms: PS1
Developer: Square Enix
Released: 2001

Returning to a more fantasy based setting after FFVIII (in line with fans requests), FFIX didn't sell as well as either FFVII or FFVIII and is considered the weakest of all the Final Fantasy games, despite receiving an average score of 94%.

But just because FFIX is the weakest Final Fantasy game, that doesn't make it a bad game. It's still very enjoyable and I did prefer it over FFVIII but it will set you back quite a price if you don't already own it and for around the same price you can pick up FFX.


The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Platforms: XBOX/PC
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Released: 2002

You lot do like your RPG's don't you!

Erm, this is a bit tricky. See I've never played Morrowind because I was told that it lasted about 200-300 hours and I knew I'd spend hours playing it when I could have played 10 equally fantastic games in the same time-span! Does that make me a bad person?

I do remember Edge being Edge and giving it 6/10 when everyone else was eulogising about it though (ooh, those guys eh, they're so Edgy!!) and that it was bugged to buggery. But one person that clearly does remember it is FlexibleFeline who says:

Morrowind has its fair share of nay-sayers, and even a rabid fanboy like me can acknowledge its flaws: too many retrieval missions, too text-heavy, too many cliff racers, too stat-driven...but see past these and you have one of the richest, most original and weird of gaming worlds. It's bizarre, utterly brilliant and the only game I've put more than 300 hundred hours into.


Platforms: PS2
Developer: Harmonix
Released: 2003

Quite a surprise this but in a good way. Whilst undoubtedly deserving a place in the Top 100, the fact that it featured above many other better-known rhythm action games is a pleasant surprise. It may not have sold as well as some of the others, but that didn't matter when it came down to the votes.

The sequel to the equally impressive Frequency, my first experience of Amplitude was at the Playstation Experience in Earl's Court back in 2003. I went with a mate and we spent close to an hour on this game alone and my mate ended up buying a Playstation 2 just so he could play this game. It was by far and away the highlight of the show for us and opened my eyes to the rhythm action genre.

Featuring songs from Pink, P.O.D. vs T.C.M., Garbage, David Bowie, Papa Roach and Slipknot, there's a good range of songs complete with a nice mixture of BPM's (beats-per-minute) which keeps the action varied.

It also features an absorbing two-player game, with power-ups to help spice up the action.

Whilst it featured online play on release, the servers have now been taken down so the only multiplayer action now is via split-screen.

AATG Review


Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Platforms: PC/Amiga
Developer: LucasArts
Released: 1992

Who says point and click adventure games are dead?

Indiana Jones presented the player with three different ways to play the game. The Fists Path offered the player easier puzzles and leant more towards movie-like action sequences, the Wits Path presented the player with more devious puzzles and less action whilst the Team Path had you interacting with your sidekick Sophia Hapgood in order to solve puzzles.

Each path had different object's, characters, dialogue and new locations, encouraging players to replay the game after completion and whichever path you chose you were guaranteed to enjoy yourself.

It's not legally available as abandonware yet, but hopefully one day LucasArts will see sense and allow people to either download it free of charge or pay a small price to purchase it from their site, as games like these shouldn't be left to die.


Project Gotham Racing 2
Platforms: XBOX
Developer: Bizzare Creations
Released: 2003

As much about style and speed, the Project Gotham racing series for me is the greatest videogame racing experience of all time. There may not be damage modelling and the AI may be cheap, but when how you go around the course is as important as where you finish, you can't really argue with it.

Interestingly the XBOX360 version only received one vote.


Beyond Good & Evil
Platforms: PS2/XBOX/Gamecube/PC
Developer: Ubisoft
Released: 2003

Despite receiving huge critical acclaim at the time of release, Beyond Good & Evil suffered from poor sales and disappeared into bargain bins within a few weeks. Whilst that was bad for Ubisoft it was eventually good for the consumer as more people then took a gamble on what turned out to be one of the best games of 2003.

Playing a lot like the recent Zelda's, you control Jade around the world of Hillys, beating enemies up with her Dai-jo staff and travelling around in a hovercraft with her trusty piggy uncle Pey'j. Michel Ancel, responsible for the classic series Rayman, is the creator of BG&E and with him comes his own unique visual style. Whilst everyone and everything within Hillys is visually beautiful, its dark communist overtones are clearly visible and this isn't the colourful, day-glo, smartie-overdosed world of Rayman you're stepping into here.

Perhaps BG&E's most unique factor though besides the visuals is the requirement to photograph all creatures that you come across. This really adds another element to the game and requires you to explore all the little nooks and crannies in order to capture them all, in some Pokémon-esque collection frenzy that makes you continually weigh up whether to strike first or get the perfect picture and risk losing a bit of health.

Although it shares many similarities to Windwaker, BG&E is arguably the better of the two. Windwaker may last hours but it does feature many tedious side-quests and navigation around all of the islands, which artificially bumps up the longevity. In contrast BG&E features a much smaller but more densely populated world and the action is more thick and fast, with a more gripping story and characters you actually really care about. It may only last ten hours but it's all the better for being shorter and making the player want more.


Silent Hill 2
Platforms: PS2/XBOX/PC
Developer: Konami
Released: 2001

One of the most atmospheric and frightening series of games to date, Silent Hill is a series which seems to span both the hardcore and casual gamers well. Many of my wife's friends who aren't big gamers at all pre-order a Silent Hill game as soon as it is announced. Despite all that, it's never been a game that I've managed to get into.

Project Zero does horror much better (so much better I had to stop 3 hours in as it was genuinely making my heart hurt and I was too scared to carry on) and Resident Evil does the action style of game much better in my opinion.

But with the multiple endings (six in total), engaging story, memorable and genuinely horrific enemies, the focus on exploration and puzzles over action and the ability to tailor the difficulty level to your liking (being able to increase the difficulty of puzzles over enemies or vice-versa) Silent Hill 2 did enough for you to earn itself a place in the AATG Top 100.


Final Fantasy VIII
Platforms: PS1
Developer: Square Enix
Released: 1999

Reviews at the time for FFVIII were mixed and some seemed to give the game a high mark despite seemingly not enjoying it that much (cough IGN), perhaps through fear of a backlash. But I think it's fair to say that most fans of Final Fantasy see FFVIII and FFIX as the low points of the series and I would agree with them.

I never played FFVIII at the time so my view may be somewhat warped but I did get to play it last year (along with FFVII) and I must say that I was unimpressed. The dialogue was generally uninteresting, the battles tedious and repetitive, the setting strange for a Final Fantasy game and a dull mini-game meant that it didn't keep me interested for more than a few hours, the only Final Fantasy game I've played that I can say that about.

It's clear that most of you felt the same as, whilst it received an impressive number of votes, only one person put it in their top 5. It hasn't aged particularly well either, with earlier Final Fantasy titles still being more eminently playable as they relied less on cinematic sequences and more on gameplay.


Platforms: GameBoy/Arcade
Developer: Alexey Pajitnov
Released: 1985

Yes its been "developed" by many different people, but Alexey deserves credit for all of them. Tetris is one of the most influential games ever released and if it were a human being, it would be the old professor they wheel out for conferences to speak about how he changed the world.

It single-handedly sold thousands of GameBoy's just so people could play it. My brother bought a GameBoy, which then led to his wife buying one because he could never get to play on it. Suddenly her evening ritual of watching Eastenders turned into a Tetris-fest and Dot's voice was drowned out by this.

There have been many updates on the original but they've all bastardised it somehow. Whether they've allowed infinite spin (the ability to keep spinning a piece allowing you to move it around even though its touched the ground) or just added modes that aren't enjoyable (Tetris DS anyone?) they're all inferior to the original.

Tetris was so important in bringing new people to gaming that, if Tetris hadn't been made, I'm not so sure handheld gaming would have taken off the way it did. Fully deserving of its place in the Top 100.


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Platforms: XBOX/PC
Developer: BioWare
Released: 2003

This game kept me sane whilst I was off sick from work for 6 weeks after a knee operation. It took me over 30 hours to complete and filled up my first week off work of sitting on the sofa not being able to move.

Featuring a great story, fantastic dialogue, some excellent humour (the evil droid HK-47 is one of the funniest videogame characters ever in my eyes) and an excellent combat system, as well as great replay value (each decision you make effects whether you're a light or dark-side character and effects the ending your receive) KOTOR is arguably the greatest Star Wars game ever made and better than any of the last three films that George Lucas decided to make.

It's very cheap now and can be picked up for less than £10 pre-owned.
Check out Eurogamer's excellent review for more info if you're one of the few that haven't yet sampled its delights.


Baldur's Gate II
Platforms: PC
Developer: BioWare
Released: 2000

While Baldur's Gate II got more votes than its prequel, as touched upon earlier, there's very little separating the two.

Baldur's Gate II currently sits at number 3 in Metacritics all time PC games based on review scores, a phenomenal feat giving the years of opposition it is up against.?


Racing Destruction Set
Platforms: C64/Atari
Developer: Rick Koenig
Released: 1985

Years ahead of its time, Racing Destruction Set earns a worthy place in the Top 100, even if quite a few of you might not have heard of it.

Not content with allowing players to race on pre-defined racetracks, RDS enabled the player to create their own tracks with many innovative features. Using templates the player could create ramps, elevate sections of the track and the terrain including ice and sand. In a unique twist you could also alter the gravity to reflect those found on different planets or even the moon.

The player also had access to ten different types of vehicle, from Baja bugs to Indy Cars and could even customise the tyres, engines and other aspects of the vehicle.

It's still really enjoyable to this day and as Peej said:
It looks a bit ropey now but it's still got some of the best core elements to a "build and race" game ever. It desperately needs a next gen update!


Chuckie Egg
Platforms: ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, Dragon, C64, + others
Developer: A&F Software
Released: 1983

What a legend and one fully deserving of its place in the Top 100.

For those of you that are too young to remember this 'back in the day', you can experience the delights of it via this flash version.

Chuckie Egg was so popular at the time that it went on to sell over a million copies, which back then was a phenomenal amount. Unfortunately the game's success wasn't enough to stop A&F going under later on in the eighties.

An update was released for the Amiga and Atari ST but in my opinion none of the versions came close to the ZX Spectrum original.

AATG Readers' Games: 10-1
AATG Readers' Games: 25-11
AATG Readers' Games: 50-26
AATG Readers' Games: 75-51
AATG Readers' Games: 100 - 76
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