Chey’s Top 25 – #13 – Donkey Kong Country

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  Super Nintendo

My siblings rented a Super Nintendo (SNES) way back when and had rented this game along with it.  I happened to be at the house that night and played a bit of it.  The next day, I went out and bought a SNES and this game just so I could play it more.  This game is absolutely amazing and defined the SNES for me.

The graphics, for the time, were jaw-dropping.  I had never seen anything like it.  The water level (shown above) was the best thing I’d seen.  Add in a gorgeous soundtrack and perfect gameplay and you’ve got yourself a hit.

You play as either Donkey Kong or his sidekick, Diddy Kong.  You could switch between them at will, which was necessary in many levels as each had their own strengths.  Diddy couldn’t kill certain mobs and DK couldn’t reach some spots that Diddy could.  It made for a new level of gameplay.  There were also save points throughout the levels, which were absolutely necessary.  The game features the top-down view of a map between levels and you could go back and play previous games.

There were collectibles in the game as well besides your simple coins (bananas in this case).  In every level, there were level-up balloons scattered about.  There were hidden areas to each level.  You could also find animals to ride (ostrich, shark, rhino, frog) which all added to the gameplay.  There were also letters that spelled out KONG and gave free life if you found them all.

There were some very memorable levels in this game.  Besides the aforementioned water levels, my favorite was the mine cart level.  In it, you rode in a mine cart and had to jump your way through broken tracks and obstacles to make it to the end.  I played this level over and over because it was so fun.

DKC play

If you have never had the pleasure of playing this game, you need to find it.  I still have it for my SNES and do play it from time to time.  I have it on the GCW Zero as well, but there’s something special about playing it on its original hardware.  There was also a Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3, and each were fun in their own right.  Nintendo came out with a couple of reboots – for the 3DS and Wii.  I may cover those at a different time.  This was the game, however, that really launched Donkey Kong into modern Nintendo fame.

Oldies but Goodies – Yo! Noid

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  NES

So apparently, between McKids, the Cool Spot game, and this game, I was a sucker for advertisements when I was a kid.  Both this and McKids were pretty good, though.  Despite it’s massive advertising, it really was a fun game.

You are playing as the Noid, who was always the bad guy in the commercials.  Anyway, you are trying to help him get through a city and eat pizza.  He is armed with a yo-yo and you boink the baddies out of your way as you collect inexplicably floating scrolls, which give you power in the mini-game at the end of each level.  Pretty much every level is the same, with very few variations.  Some of the mobs and scenery may change, but the game play does not.  The graphics are just ok, but the music was catchy!

Yo! Noid Play 2

At the end of each level, you got to play a mini game against the anti-Noid (?).  You picked  and bet how many pizzas you could eat.  It could get ugly as you could be devious and spice his pizza, and vice versa.  I don’t really remember what you got for it, but I remember it as being fun.  I don’t know that I’ve played this since I was a kid, so if I played it now, it might be no fun at all.  It’s good enough in my brain to be an oldie but goodie, though!

 

 

Chey’s Top 25 – #16 – Super Mario Brothers 3

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  NES

The first Super Mario Brothers may have had the biggest impact on the video game industry of any game in the history of gaming.  It came bundled with the NES and was a really fun game.  Super Mario Brothers 2 then came along and was just…weird.  There’s a story behind that game, but I’ll save it for another day.  Then came Super Mario Brothers 3 in 1988.  It may not have had the impact that it’s older sibling did, but it was far more fun.

I’m not the only one that feels this way.  This was one of the best-selling games for the NES and is often thought to be one of the best games of all-time.  When it came down to it, it was just a really fun game.  My sisters and I would play this for hours.  I still remember the fun little clap we would do at the end of each level.

This game is different from its predecessors as you navigated from world to world on a map.  This is a feature widely used in games to this day.  You could go back to replay previous levels and skip certain levels if you wanted.  It also introduced a fun new feature – Mario could glide with his raccoon tail!  There was also a frog suit and a bear (maybe?) suit.  The levels were unique – one was a giant level where you were tiny – and fun.  And, of course, that pesky Princess Peach was always in another castle.

The graphics in this game were crisp and cute.  The sound effects and music really added to the game and I probably still hum the main theme in my sleep.  There are lots of secret things to be found in this game, too, so if you don’t look them up, you’ve got a lot of fun exploration to do.

If you haven’t played this game, you likely haven’t played many games at all.  I have it on my 3DS and still enjoy playing it.  It has stood the test of time quite well.  Please go out and find it now if you’ve never had the pleasure!

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  XBone, PC

Let me start off by saying that this is not a bad game.  This is, in fact, an excellent game, I just don’t seem to be up to the task of mastering it.  The graphics in this game are gorgeous.  I have a 4K Ultra TV and I was blown away at how beautiful this game is.  It feels less like a game and more like you’re playing in a fantastic animated movie.  The soundtrack is also stunning and I get goosebumps when I hear it.  This is because it ties in so well with the incredible story telling, which you are immersed in from the beginning.  All three of these things make for an amazing game.  I was near tears in the first five minutes of the game, that’s how incredible the story telling is.

But, this is a platformer, and it’s not your parents’ platformer, either.  It does have slight RPG elements in that you level up your character and pick skills from a skills tree.  However, the game play is HARD.  I would frequently get stuck at sections and replay them 20 times, only to save and come back later and breeze through it.  This game requires a lot of thought and patience to get through.  I don’t have enough of the latter, I’m afraid.

It also toys with save points.  Instead of being set throughout the game, you have to absorb enough orbs, earned by killing mobs, to charge up your ability to save.  This sounds well and good until you don’t have enough for a save point after a particularly difficult part and you have to start back 15 minutes.  This adds to the frustration, but again, also adds to your sense of accomplishment.

But alas, I’m crying uncle on this one and moving it out of my “now playing” list.  I’ll likely still take a stab at it now and again, but it’s not on my immediate radar anymore.

Oldies but Goodies – McKids

Genre – Platformer
Platform – NES

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of McKids on the Nintendo Entertainment System.  This was a game inspired by McDonald’s, which may have turned a lot of potential gamers away.  Underneath the advertising, however, was a pretty solid game.

My parents rented this for us and my sisters and I played it a lot.  We really had a lot of fun with it.  This is a fairly standard platformer, but it did offer a couple of fun elements like the ability to walk upside down.  The gameplay was fluid and intuitive enough for three kids aged 12, 8 and 7 to figure out.  I’m sure there were a few parts that I had to get through for them, as seems to be the way when playing with younger siblings.

I have very fond memories of this game and the time spent with my sisters.  I have it on my GCW Zero and have played it within the last year or so.  It still holds up after all these years.  Check it out if you can!

Chey’s Top 25 – #23 – Sunset Overdrive

Humor.  Chaos.  Guns.  Freedom.  This is #23 on my top 25 list, Sunset Overdrive.

Genre:  Platformer, Third-Person Shooter
Platform:  XBone

This is the newest game on my list by far and I’m not fully done playing.  I did complete the story, but there are so many things yet to do.  I know I have said that I don’t like shooters, but this game is a key example of how good story writing can make up for an element that I’m not too keen on.  And this game has EXCELLENT writing.  I LOL’d many, many times while I was playing.  It doesn’t take itself seriously at all and breaks the fourth wall quite often.

So what is this game?  It’s an open-world game, meaning you can go where you want when you want.  It’s all about the guns you can have, and it’s got a lot of them:

Sunset weapons

But there’s so much to it than that.  It’s also got heavy platform elements, which means that there are places that you need to get to, but it’s not always obvious how to do it and you have to use your brain to get there.  It’s also got some extreme-sports elements such as grinding rails and wall running.  What I enjoyed just about as much as the story were the collectibles.  I am a sucker for a lot of collectibles in a game.  There are 150 of five different items to collect and various other collectibles to get.  What’s unique here is that these aren’t just there for something to do – they make your character better by allowing for upgrades of weapons or abilities.

Similar to Grand Theft Auto and other open-world games, there are loads of side missions and quests to do.  My favorite series was helping a group of larpers defend themselves from the mutants which want to destroy their base.  I won’t give away any more of the story in case you intend to play.

This is an XBone-exclusive, but honestly, this game was a driver for me getting the console.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  It’s colorful, raucous and fun!