Friday, January 25, 2008

The Great Video Game Debate, Take 3: ADVENTURE

The third video game genre my friends at Soul Kerfuffle and LastBestAngryMan and I will tackle will be Adventure Games. For those of you just joining, we are posting our "top video game choices of all time" to our respective blogs (by game genre) and then making fun of each other. Simple, really, and entertaining.

#5 Legend of Zelda (NES)

Simple formula for greatness:
1) start with a princess
2) have her kidnapped by forces of evil
3) battle forces of evil to save her

This game really was the first true adventure game I really got into as a kid, and I believe it set the standard for years to come for gamers the world over. I remember sitting around for hours with my friends trying to solve all the puzzles and defeat all the monsters.

Legend of Zelda was probably one of the longest games released at that time, however it never felt repetitive or boring. The game was well balanced and provided a great sense of accomplishment when you finally defeated the evil Gannon and saved the princess.

#4 Rune (PC)

Once upon a time, Soul Kerfuffle and I went to an electronics store to raid the bargain bins. Standing there before us, in all it's red-tagged glory, was this box...

I didn't really care about the storyline (which actually turned out to be pretty cool) - I bought it right away because of the simple unwritten promise between developer and player of being able to smash guys into pulp with a huge honkin' hammer. And it delivered on that promise in spades.

Best $5 I've ever spent.

#3 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2)

There are two very different versions of Vice City, however they come on the same disk and are not dependent on the game programming itself. No, they depend on the mood of the player at the time.

Version 1 is the "actual" game. It's an intricate story of one man's rise through the ranks of the Vice City crime world. The action is intense, the voice over acting is impeccable, and the plot is incredible. The level of detail is amazing and overall, it's an awesome gaming experience.

Version 2 is the "it's 3AM and I'm drunk with my friends" version. I believe this is the version the ESRB is most weary of. This is where you amass as many weapons as possible and go on a relentless killing spree, gunning down or chopping into bits everyone who crosses your path from old ladies to prostitutes to businessmen. This is clearly even better than the "actual" game itself.

#2 Alone in the Dark (PC)

This game was really groundbreaking at the time. It introduced the fully 3D polygon graphics and different camera angle "scenes" which set the stage for the survival horror games of today (aka the Resident Evil and Devil May Cry series). The controls, while a little shaky, in a way added to the frantic paranoia and the sound effects were eerie and really could get under your skin.

Personally, my favorite aspect of the game was how true it was to the mood and setting of it's H.P. Lovecraftian roots (one of my favorite authors). It was dark, a little foreboding and hopeless, and absolutely scared the crap out of me at times.

The sequels and Uwe Boll movie were severely less-spectacular. If you missed the first movie, however, don't fear, there's another one planned.

#1 King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella (PC)

By far one of my favorite games of all time. Really, the entire King's Quest series (at least the older ones) could have been listed here, but KQ IV was the first one I owned and played all the way through though.

These games made you think. Instead of just pointing and clicking as with today's games (except for Dwarf Fortress), you actually had to type in every single thing you wanted the characters to do from picking up objects to digging up graves. It was intensely challenging, however very rewarding once you progressed. The story lines were well-thought-out and creatively drew upon popular stories and fables without feeling contrived.

God I wish they still made games like the old King's Quest series today. Something truly innovative and creative.

This list was even harder than the "Platformers" list to narrow down; there are a lot of Adventure games out there that hook you in with great gameplay and "fun factor" while telling an interesting story. Other notables include Fable, Tomb Raider, Jade Empire, The Suffering, The Immortal (hardest game ever), Diablo II, Sanitarium, and the original Metal Gear.

Now, for the worst Adventure game ever, it came down to three abysmal choices (in my most humble of opinions). The first was Silverfall, which I had a lot of hope for when I purchased, but turned out to be one of the single most boring games I've ever played. The second was The 11th Hour, a rediculous arrangement of cutscenes and puzzles which were supposed to take place in a haunted house. Both, however, pale in comparison to...

Worst Adventure Game Ever: Harvester (PC although decidedly not "PC")

Guarantee Eli Roth played this game as a child.

I was so excited about this game when I was a teen - it was supposed to be scary and violent and awesome!!! It was clearly not the experience I was hoping for...

Your character wakes up with amnesia in a cartoonishly demented nightmare of extreme violence and bigotry. You petty much kill everyone in your small town in an attempt to gain entrance to "The Harvest Temple" to save your girlfriend (who looked like a rejected extra from a Poison video). At the end, you find out it's all a simulation made to create serial killers. You then feel really creepy and dark inside and want nothing more than to take a bath in holy water.

I'm including links to Youtube videos taken from the game. If you are in the least bit squeamish, easily offended (or even pretty thick-skinned), or are around other people, don't click on them.

Harvester 1

Harvester 2

Harvester 3

Even by my standards, this game is despicable.


At January 28, 2008 at 8:48 AM , Blogger robustyoungsoul said...

Wow. Harvester was one vile game.

At January 28, 2008 at 9:58 AM , Blogger LastBestAngryMan said...

Hard to argue with any of these lists. So many great Adventure games out there.


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