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Top 30 Favorite Video Games Part 3

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10. The Donkey Kong Country Trilogy (SNES)
Oh, boy. We’ve reached the point where I’m going to gush about A LOT of stuff for each of the games you’re going to see on the rest of this list and it starts with all three Donkey Kong Country games on the SNES. Let’s talk about the first one. DKC was one of the most popular games back in 1994 and for a good reason: the graphics. Even though the gameplay was in 2D, the graphics were in 3D, making it VERY impressive for a game from the Super Nintendo. The people from Rare put so much work and so much effort into making these graphics. Of course, it’s not just the graphics that made it work. There’s also the gameplay. Many people thought the gameplay was too much like your usual Mario game. Admittedly, there are several similarities, but that never really bothered me. It was still pretty fun and it had several differences with it. Also, the music. There are so many memorable tracks. Those tunes will stay forever in my mind whenever I think of Donkey Kong.

Then, a year later, came the sequel, titled “Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest”. This installment had slightly better graphic, a gameplay that was less like a Mario rip-off, and many other memorable tunes. I have two personal favorites. One is Bramble Blast, AKA Stickerbrush Symphony. There’s just something about it, something relaxing and… Well, I can’t quite describe it. You have to listen to it to understand how great it is. The other is the theme for the boss fights. It’s so intense and exciting. It’s one of my all-time favorite boss themes for sure.  The game was also notable for one particular switch of characters. Instead of playing as Donkey Kong, you were playing as Diddy. Since DK got kidnapped by the Kremlings, Diddy had to step in and take the job of saving the day, along with fan-favorite Dixie Kong. Speaking of which, I personally love how she’s able to use her hair for practically everything: spinning around, picking up objects, holding onto floating hooks. Dixie was a welcomed addition to the DKC cast and one I would personally love to see in a future Super Smash Bros. game.

Finally, there’s “Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble”. Much like how the previous title had the sidekick replacing the hero after he got kidnapped, the same thing happened here. This time, both DK and Diddy got kidnapped and it’s up to Dixie to save them. She also gets a sidekick in the form of Kiddy Kong, a baby gorilla who’s just as strong as DK himself. Many fans dislike this character as they think he’s annoying and a useless replacement to DK himself. While I admit I would have preferred to have DK back, I have to say I never really found Kiddy to be annoying. In fact, I would always laugh whenever I lose a life and he would throw a tantrum. It was just so funny to me. The music was pretty good here. Admittedly, it’s not as memorable as the music from the previous games, but it still makes its job. The levels were fun to go through. I like the fact you have to use different kinds of boat to travel around the map. The boss fights were well-done too.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about each of these games. It seems like most fans agree that the second game is the best and the third one is the inferior one. I can see why. But personally, I don’t have a personal favorite among these three games. I love them all equally, so that’s why I’m giving them the same spot. In my opinion, those were the best games Rareware ever made. I could go on another rant about how much Rare declined ever since they were bought by Microsoft, but I’ve already done something similar, so I’ll just shut up about it.

9. Rayman Origins (Wii)
I’ve mentioned earlier how much I love “Rayman 3”. Then came news of Ubisoft making “Rayman 4”, which would have Michel Ancel coming back to work on his character. Eventually, it was revealed Rayman would have to fight an army of evil rabbits. That sounded like a cool premise. But then… it was turned into “Rayman Raving Rabbids”. Instead of being a platformer, it was now a bunch of mini-games. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I LIKE “Rayman Raving Rabbids”. It’s a fun party game and I still think the Rabbids are hilarious. However, they’ve pretty much overshadowed Rayman. Every following games put more emphasis on the Rabbids and less on Rayman, to the point Rayman himself eventually disappeared from the games while Ubisoft kept making Rabbids game every friggin’ year. Needless to say, myself and a lot of fans were furious at the way Ubisoft was treating his own friggin’ mascot.

And then, one day, on E3 2010, some great news arrived. It was announced that Michel Ancel would make a new Rayman game, with no Rabbids in it, and it would be a platformer. This news alone made me smile all day, along with other stuff announced at that E3. Then, in 2011, the game was finally released, called “Rayman Origins”. And it’s absolutely AMAZING. This game is one everyone should at least try once. What makes it so great? Well, it goes back to Rayman’s platforming roots. It’s a 2D platformer with SO much stuff to offer. The graphics are INCREDIBLE. The graphics in this game make it look like you’re watching a cartoon. There’s also so much creativity they put in the level design, gameplay and music. I honestly wish the latest New Super Mario Bros. games would put as much creativity, instead of rehashing the same stuff from the DS and Wii installments. There’s a great amount of difficulty, but it’s not too frustrating. I like the fact each levels are separated in various sections, which means when you die you only restart at the beginning of the section instead of the entire level. You also have unlimited lives in this. And trust me, those unlimited lives were very needed in many levels. Multiplayer also makes this game a great experience. It’s one of the best multiplayers I’ve seen in any platform games so far.

If there’s one thing I don’t like about this game is the fact the title doesn’t really match it. At first, it was supposed to be a prequel to the Rayman series, hence why it’s called “Rayman Origins”. However, Michel Ancel decided to drop that idea while keeping the title, which means it’s a game taking place after all the previous Rayman games. I was quite disappointed by that. I wanted to know where Rayman came from and how he met Globox. Aside from that, I really don’t have much complaint. Recently, they announced a sequel, called “Rayman Legends”. The game isn’t out yet, but from the footage we’ve seen so far, it looks EVEN better than the first one. Until this game comes out, “Rayman Origins” is my favorite Rayman game, as well as my number 9 favorite overall.

8. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Every single Nintendo console has its own Mario game. Whenever a new console is announced, you’re not always sure what games that console will get, but Mario, Zelda and others are always guaranteed to get a new installment on that console. So, inevitably, Nintendo announced its Mario game for the Wii, which was titled “Super Mario Galaxy”. The basic premise is this: Mario goes into space. However, around that premise, there’s a LOT of stuff Nintendo offered with that game. First of all, this game allows you to travel around planets. By that, I mean gravity plays a huge role in this game. With the use of the Wii Remote, there are a lot of possibilities you can do in this game. Listing them all would take a while. Let’s just say they got really creative with the worlds they’ve created and the challenges you have to accomplish to progress in the game.

The graphics are also FANTASTIC. SMG is one of the best-looking Wii games ever. And quite frankly, I think it looks better than a lot of games made for HD consoles. All the planets you go through are wonderfully designed. Space itself is nice to look at… I also love the hub of this game, which is the Space Observatory owned by Rosalina. It’s my favorite hub world by far. I wish I could live in such an observatory. It just looks so peaceful and really well-designed. Speaking of Rosalina, she’s a newcomer in this game and she became one of the most popular Mario characters in recent years. Part of the reason is her backstory. You get to learn her backstory and it makes you appreciate her even more. In fact, that backstory actually made me shed a tear towards the end. Also, she’s a princess and yet she doesn’t get kidnapped by the bad guy, unlike Peach who gets that treatment all the time. Aside from that, the story was EPIC. The first thing you do in this game is witnessing Bowser invading the Mushroom Kingdom during the festival and by GOD it was EPIC as hell.

The boss fights are also well-done. In particular, Bowser’s final boss fight is my all-time favorite boss fight. Why? Well, much like the first few minutes of this game, this boss fight was epic. The music, Bowser’s abilities against Mario… everything about this fight was epically… well, epic. It’s also so darn satisfying to see Mario hitting Bowser by spinning around and sending him to the sun. Speaking of music, the soundtrack of this game… Oh, my God… That soundtrack alone makes the game a masterpiece. Every track in this game, I could listen to them all day and never get tired once. There are so many great original compositions, along with remixes of older themes, such as the theme to Bowser’s levels from “Super Mario 64”. My personal favorite is the music for Gusty Garden Galaxy. It’s such a wonderful piece of music. I especially love the part that starts at 1:25 and ends at 1:52 (search it on YouTube and you’ll hear what part I’m referring to). That part of the song is actually the first thing that comes into my mind whenever I think of SMG and is by far my favorite Mario music. I don’t really have much else to say. With everything said, “Super Mario Galaxy” is one of those games that explain why I’m so proud to own a Wii.

7. Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition (Wii U)
One thing I hate about the video game industry is whenever a third-party developer decides to publish one game on some consoles, but not on some other consoles. For example, there have been several Sonic games who have been available only on some consoles. “Sonic Colors” was released only on the Wii, while “Sonic Generations” was released only on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Then, there’s the upcoming “Sonic Lost World”, which will be released exclusively on Nintendo consoles. I can understand some of the reasons why Sega decided to do this, but it still feels rather odd they released some games on some consoles and other games on other consoles. In fact, due to the Wii not having HD graphics, several games were never released on that console. One such example is “Batman: Arkham Asylum”. I’m a big Batman fan, so I was disappointed to learn they weren’t going to release it on the Wii. Sure, I could play that on my computer with the PC version, but I prefer playing games either on a TV screen or on a handheld console like a Game Boy or a Nintendo DS. And then, it was announced at E3 2011 that the Wii U would have HD graphics, allowing games with such graphics to be playable on the latest Nintendo console. And THEN, still at E3 2011, it was announced that a Wii U version of BAA’s sequel, “Batman: Akham City”, would be available at launch… Let’s just say I was smiling widely when I saw the video announcing THAT. So, I got the game recently, and… Honestly, I couldn’t stop playing the game until I was too tired and had to go sleeping. It’s SUCH a good game!

This is pretty much the ultimate Batman experience. You feel like you’re Batman while playing this game. You have access to his gadgets, you use stealth to scare criminals, you can save people… You feel like an actual superhero. Also, a LOT of Batman characters show up in this game. Most of the Batman villains make an appearance at some point. And even those who are absent, such as Scarecrow, still manage to get mentioned once or twice. Several supporting characters are there too. You can even play as Catwoman, Robin or Nightwing, in addition to Batman himself. Although, Robin’s importance to the plot is pretty small and he’s only really important in the “Harley Quinn’s Revenge” DLC, while Nightwing doesn’t even appear in any story. It’s still pretty nice to be able to play as them. It’s amazing that they managed to put so many Batman characters all in one game. There are still several missing, but it’s still amazing what they managed to do.

The story is also great. It was written by Paul Dini and, like usual, he made a story that managed to get me invested. Every time something was happening in the story, I was always interested into seeing what was going to happen next. It pretty much felt like what “Batman: The Animated Series” would be like if it had no censorship. The voice cast is also wonderful. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprised their roles as Batman and the Joker and they’re just as great as in any episodes from the DCAU. Hamill in particular has some of the best lines. One of my favorite moments is when you receive a message from the Joker and it turns out he left SEVERAL messages while you weren’t responding. The other voice actors are also great. I particularly enjoyed Grey Delisle as Catwoman and Maurice LaMarche as Mr. Freeze, for example. The graphics are unbelievable. It almost feels like you’re playing a game based on one of the Christopher Nolan movies, except with the more fantastic elements from the comics being allowed to appear. The music always fits the mood of whatever place in Arkham City you’re in. I love this open-world environment. There are several places in this game I love visiting. On top of that, the boss fights are very well-done. My favorite one is the one with Mr. Freeze. He’s probably the smartest video game boss I’ve ever came across. My second favorite is probably the one with Ra’s Al Ghul. That one was pretty damn awesome.

From the start, the Wii U version includes all the DLC already available, which is great. I particularly like the fact you’re able to change Batman’s outfit with outfits based on either BTAS, Batman Beyond and other comics. You can do the same with Catwoman, Robin, and Nightwing. At times, though, it can be pretty difficult. There were a few times where I had to go on the Internet and see what I had to do to progress. Then, there’s the various parts where you have to deal with thugs armed with guns. You can use a disruptor to disarm their guns, but it only disarm two guns at once and you have to wait three minutes (yes, I timed it) before being able to disarm another gun, in which case you have to wait in the dark and make sure no one notices you. I will admit, though, it is quite fun to wait in the dark and take down the thugs one by one as it makes you feel like Batman, but it can take a while to do so. Nonetheless, it is really satisfying when you manage to beat all the thugs. It’s also funny to hear them having conversations between themselves.

I haven’t played many other Batman games. The only other I’ve played was “Rise of Sin Tzu”. That one was average. Nothing great, but nothing awful either. “Batman: Arkham City”, on the other hand, is FAR from being average. It’s not just a great Batman game. It’s not just a great superhero game. It’s not just a great action/adventure game. It’s a friggin’ masterpiece. This is one perfect game that is worthy of being associated with the Caped Crusader.

6. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
In the 90’s, Donkey Kong appeared in several successful video games: the DKC trilogy, DK64, as well as several multiplayer Mario spin-offs. But then, something bad happened. Microsoft bought Rareware. Because of that, they weren’t allowed to work on a franchise from a rival company, so for a long while, Donkey Kong’s career wasn’t as successful as in the 90’s. Sure, there were games like the Donkey Konga series and a few other side games, but none of them ever managed to get the critical acclaim the Rareware titles on SNES and N64 had. That is until Nintendo decided to hire Retro Studios, the company responsible for the Metroid Prime trilogy, to work on a new Donkey Kong game. They agreed to work on it, being fans of the DKC series themselves, and at E3 2010… “Donkey Kong Country Returns” was finally announced. Then, it arrived just in time for Christmas of that same year… and the gorilla was back to his well-deserved glory.

First of all, there are a lot of elements from the first Donkey Kong Country which came back. Many levels almost look like modern versions of the levels from the first game. They brought back the K-O-N-G letters, the balloons that give you an extra life, and best of all, they brought back the music. Practically the entire soundtrack from the first game came back, some of which were remixed. The map theme? Check. Jungle Hijinks? Check. Fear Factory? Check. Treetop Rock? Check. The original Donkey Kong Country theme? Hell yeah, it’s check! Sometimes, I like to let the title screen keep rolling just so I could keep listening to the DKC theme over and over until I finally decide to play the game. Hell, they even brought back Aquatic Ambiance, despite the fact there’s no water levels in this one. As if like that wasn’t enough, they even brought back the sound effects, including the one you hear whenever you collect the bananas. It’s weird to say that, but I was excited when I heard that sound effect in the E3 trailer, among other things shown in that trailer.

In terms of characters, they brought back many characters that are not only just fan-favorites, but also useful to this game. Of course, DK is there, but so is Diddy. It’s a shame you can’t play as Diddy in solo as only a second player can play as Diddy, but he’s still useful to DK in solo mode. Cranky is back as well, once again complaining like the old cranky ape that he is. Rambi came back too! My God! Rambi was my favorite Animal Buddy in the DKC trilogy and I was so damn excited to learn he would be back for this game. Squawks also came back for this game. And just like in previous games where his job would always be different, he has a different job here as well as he can help you finding the different pieces of puzzle. Although, I wish there were some other Animal Buddies from the old days who would have come back. I would have liked to ride Rattly and Squitter again. I would have loved to ride Enguarde as well. Retro Studios said they removed the water levels because they thought they were slower than other levels. I can see that, but I was never bothered by the water levels in the DKC trilogy. And personally, if it meant allowing Enguarde to come back, I definitely wouldn’t mind it if there were water levels in it, but that doesn’t really matter.

While keeping several stuffs from the previous games, they also managed to bring several new ideas to make things fresh, which is always a good thing. Being able to climb on some walls, using a rocket through some levels, going to the background… Retro Studios put so much work designing the levels, enemies and such. The graphics are also great. The DKC trilogy is one of the best looking games on the SNES. This game honored its predecessors by being one of the best looking games on the Wii, with so much details and attention being given to everything. The game is also pretty hard. The previous games were pretty hard as well, but I think this one is even harder. It’s still pretty fun though as I’m always having a blast whenever I play it. With a great mix of nostalgia, fresh ideas, awesome-looking graphics and wonderful graphics, “Donkey Kong Country Returns” is my favorite Donkey Kong game, a game that made its job with success.

5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) and Skyward Sword (Wii)
Oh, boy. SO many Zelda games. SO many to choose from. Aside from the horrible CD-I games (which weren’t made by Nintendo anyway), the Legend of Zelda series is one of the few series where practically every installment ever made was critically acclaimed by most critics. Any of these games could easily be put on a list of greatest games ever made. Now, which one do I like best? Well, let’s take a look at the 2D games. I’ve played the original NES game and it’s a great game, although I was never able to finish it because for some reason I always die when I fight the first boss. I should check for tips on the Internet for that game one of these days. The only other 2D game I’ve played is “A Link to the Past”. And I gotta say… this game is friggin’ awesome! I was greatly impressed by it when I downloaded it on the Virtual Console.

Compared to the NES game, like any other SNES games compared to NES games, it has better graphics. Not only that, it has a great gameplay. I love the way you’re able to switch between the various items you gain on your journey. The world you travel through is large enough, allowing you to explore several places. In fact, there are two worlds: a light one and a dark one. Both of these worlds have their own dungeons, as well as their own differences despite sharing the same map. I also like the storyline. I mean, it’s still basic storytelling, but it does its job of being an epic story. The music is well-done too. The bosses are all memorable to fight against. Although I will admit sometimes it gets too difficult. For example, there were times where I had no idea what to do to continue and I had to go check on the internet when I got too frustrated. However, when I put enough effort into it and I manage to get through an obstacle, it’s certainly satisfying to do it on your own. There are a lot of puzzles you have to solve and it makes you use your brain instead of your skills. For many people, it’s the best of the 2D Zelda games. I may haven’t played that many 2D Zelda games, but still, it is nonetheless one of the best games ever made.

Now, time to talk about the 3D games. I’ve actually played all the 3D Zelda games so far. “Ocarina of Time”, “Majora’s Mask”, “The Wind Waker”, “Twilight Princess” and “Skyward Sword”. For many people, “Ocarina of Time” is not only the best Zelda game, but also the best game ever. And I agree with that. For a long while, it was my favorite 3D Zelda game, even whenever there was any new installment. But then came “Skyward Sword” and that game managed become my new favorite 3D Zelda game.

What makes “Skyward Sword” such a wonderful game to me is it has a great story. I love seeing the way Link evolves through the story, his relationship with Zelda being the best I’ve seen in any Zelda games, as well as seeing Link’s reactions. Despite the fact he doesn’t talk, he still managed to show a lot of emotions in the various cutscenes. The secondary characters are also great. In particular, the citizens in Skyloft were quite memorable. I think my favorite characters in Skyloft are the woman taking care of some shop and her husband being the one forced to take care of their baby. I dunno, the baby just looks so adorable. The various environments all look wonderful. Skyloft is a great place I would love to visit if it actually existed. The various dungeons were well-designed, it has a lot of great enemies, and the bosses, while some of them are quite difficult, are all among some of the best bosses I’ve fought in a video game. Koloktos, in particular, is among the best bosses I ever fought. I also like the fact you’re able to fly in the sky on the back of a bird. That’s pretty cool and the music you hear while you’re flying gives you the impression you’re going on an epic adventure. The main villain, Girahim, is also a fine villain. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in SSB4, for example. Is there one thing I didn’t like? Well, there’s Fi. At times she’s useful. But most of the times, she’s just so annoying. “Yes, Fi. I’m fully aware the batteries in my Wiimote are getting low. No need to remind me of that every time I turn the console on. And yes, I’m fully aware that I’m running out of health. No need to remind me of that either.” Frankly, Navi was so much better. There’s also this one sidequest where I have to play harp with my Wiimote, but I always suck at it. And every time I wanna try it again, I always have to endure that cutscene that always seems to take forever. Enough with that!

But despite those annoyances, I love this game. Now, which one is better between “A Link to the Past” and “Skyward Sword”? It’s hard for me to choose, so I’ll just say they’re both the best Zelda games I’ve played. I don’t want to sound like someone who made a pun on purpose, but both of them are truly legendary games.

4. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (Gamecube)
I remember back in 2001. Sega announced it would no longer make consoles and the Dreamcast would be their last one. That was a shocking news. Sega, no longer making consoles? Does that mean their various franchises would disappear? Well, no. While Sega wouldn’t make consoles anymore, they never said they would stop making games. By that, they meant they would now become a third-party developer. This meant they would now be making games on other consoles, such as the Xbox, the PlayStation 2… and NINTENDO’s own Gamecube and Game Boy Advance. This was unbelievable at the time. Sega making games on Nintendo consoles? Are pigs flying in the sky now? And so… If Sega is making games on Nintendo consoles… Yep. That actually meant it would now be possible to have a console where you could play Mario games AND Sonic games. This made my day when it was announced. I never owned any Sega consoles, but I did play Sonic 1 & 2 on a console one of my relatives had. So, I always wanted to play any other Sonic games when I was a kid. And what would be the first Sonic to be released on a Nintendo console? Well, none other than the last Sonic game to ever be released on a Sega console: “Sonic Adventure 2”.

I remember being hyped when I managed to get my hands on SA2B. And then I played it and I instantly loved it. I love the idea that you can play a game on both sides. In this game, you’re able to play as either the heroes or the villains. I don’t think I’ve ever played any other game at this point that used this idea, so I thought it was an interesting idea. I also like the fact you can play several styles of gameplay. Sonic and Shadow have the usual Sonic gameplay, which is always great. Tails and Eggman are pretty much destroying stuff, which is also fun. As for Knuckles and Rouge, their gameplay is treasure hunting. I’ll admit I didn’t like that gameplay much back then because it wasn’t about going from point A to point B like the other two gameplays, but I’ve since warmed up to it and find Knux and Rouge’s levels to be quite enjoyable. The graphics were also pretty good. Admittedly, they didn’t age well, but I thought they looked pretty good at the time, at least compared to Nintendo 64 graphics. The voice actors were also good. Some lines can be over-the-top and at times it doesn’t synch well with the characters’ mouths moving. But I still enjoy it. I also love the story. I like how the characters get involved in the story, all serving a purpose. Shadow, in particular, managed to stand out with his personality and the character development he received, making him a great rival for Sonic. Although, like many people, I’m really annoyed by the fact Sega keeps overusing him in later Sonic games, even giving him bigger roles than Tails and Knuckles. Fortunately, they started to use him less recently, not appearing at all in “Sonic Unleashed” and only appearing in the DS version of “Sonic Colors”. Rouge is also another great character. I like her personality, her interactions with the other characters as well as her… Well… Let’s just say she has a nice shape and leave it at that.

The story can be pretty dark at times, but unlike “Sonic 2006” (shudder) or “Shadow the Hedgehog”, it’s still lighthearted, which is how a Sonic game should be. The level designs are great. They’re among the best Sonic stages I’ve played. The bosses are also great. My personal favorite is Egg Golem, when you fight him as Sonic. And of course, the music is fantastic. The stages all have well-done music. I especially love the music for when you fight either Egg Golem or King Boom Boo. On top of that, the songs are so damn awesome. They gave each character and even some stages great songs to fit them. I love “It Doesn’t Matter”, “E.G.G.M.A.N.”, “Escape from the City”, etc. But the best of all is “Live and Learn”. OMG. Words cannot describe the epic awesomeness of this song. You just have to listen to it to understand how much of a kick-ass song it is. In my opinion, it’s the best Sonic song ever. “Sonic Adventure 2: Battle” is my favorite Sonic game ever. There have been several other Sonic games before and after this one. Some are good, others are bad, but SA2B is still the best to me.

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
There have been several crossovers in video games: “Marvel vs. Capcom”, “Kingdom Hearts”, etc. My personal favorite ever is the “Super Smash Bros.” series. All of your favorite Nintendo characters coming together in one fun and great fighting game? That’s just plain awesome. Masahiro Sakurai came up with one of the best ideas for a video game I’ve seen. All three games have been successful. So much so that it’s pretty much guaranteed there’ll always be a new SSB game for any incoming Nintendo console, just like a Mario game, a Zelda game, a Pokémon game, or a Mario Kart game. I love this series so much, I’m actually thinking of making a retrospective of it at some point in the future. But for now, let’s talk about my personal favorite game in the series, which is the latest one so far: “Super Smash Bros. Brawl”. Now, I’m sure a lot will say that Melee is better than Brawl. If you think Melee is better than Brawl, that’s fine. It’s your opinion. In my opinion, though, I think Brawl is better. I’m not here to argue why Brawl is better. I will simply state what I personally like the most about this third installment of the series.

One thing people love about the SSB series are the various characters it has. SSBB brought a lot of characters who didn’t appear in the previous games and a lot of them managed to become fan-favorites. Personally, I particularly enjoyed Wario, Pit, Diddy Kong, Meta-Knight, and Pokémon Trainer among others. And of course, I especially loved the fact that Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog managed to appear in this game. Before it was revealed that Snake would appear in Brawl, nobody ever thought the SSB series would include characters from third-party games. This then led to Sonic being included as the second and only other third-party character of the game. And being the guy who loves seeing Mario and Sonic together, I’m FAR from complaining about THAT. Another thing people love about those games is the stages taken from various games. In Brawl, you’ve got a whole lot of variety in terms of stage: Delfino Plaza, WarioWare, Mushroomy Kingdom, 75m, Norfair, Castle Siege, Green Hill Zone, Pirate Ship, Skyworld, Lylat Cruise, etc. It’s amazing how they managed to get several locations from various games and put them all in the same game. I always have a blast going from one stage to another. One moment you’re in a Kirby stage, the next one you’re in a Metroid stage. It kinda feels like you’re playing several games at once. The keyword being ‘kinda’. For that matter, I love that you can build your own stages. It’s great to be able to design your own arenas this way. Also, Brawl added several new elements not seen in previous games. There’s the Final Smash, which allows any character to give one powerful attack to get rid of the opponents. I also love the Assist Trophies, which allow characters who didn’t manage to appear as a playable character to make an appearance.

Another thing I loved very much about this game is its story mode called “The Subspace Emissary”. This is something I’ve always wanted to see: one epic adventure where a whole bunch of Nintendo’s most famous characters come together to save the world. The cutscenes in this mode are simply awesome. I love seeing all these characters getting to interact with each other, which make for some really memorable moments. I will admit the gameplay in TSE can get really repetitive, especially with The Great Maze, and I wish the levels in this mode were based on actual locations from Nintendo games instead of generic places, but I still like this mode a lot. The graphics in this game are also great. They put a lot of details on the characters, the stages and even the trophies you can collect. The people who designed this game did a wonderful job with that. The various songs you hear are great as well. Some are remixes, while others are taken directly from the games themselves. Much like the stages themselves, there’s a lot of variety in terms of music. And of course, the multiplayer is great. There’s a reason why the SSB games are always popular in terms of multiplayer games. They’re just so damn fun when playing with your friends. The only thing though is that playing online with this game isn’t as good as with other games.

The SSB games are always a great celebration of the history of Nintendo. If there’s one Nintendo game you love, chances are it has been referenced one way or another in any of those fighting games. As of this writing, we know there’s gonna be a fourth Super Smash Bros. game for both the 3DS and the Wii U. We also know Nintendo is going to reveal to us more information about it in the next E3, most specifically with its Nintendo Direct. Will this next installment be as good as or even better than Brawl? I don’t know, but there’s a good chance it will be. Until the fourth installment gets released, “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” is my favorite SSB game and my third favorite game overall.

2. Super Mario World (SNES)
Oh, boy… I’ve got nothing but absolute love for “Super Mario World”. I’m not sure if this game was actually the very first video game I’ve played in my life, but I’m pretty sure it was among the first few video games I’ve played in my life. When it comes to 2D Mario games, fans tend to disagree between two games in particular. Some say the best one is “Super Mario Bros. 3”. Others say the best one is “Super Mario World”. Of course, it’s all a matter of opinion. You can choose to prefer SMB3 or you can choose to prefer SMW and nobody will insult you for that because they’re both really great games. For me, personally, “Super Mario World” is the best 2D Mario game in my honest opinion. I’ve got nothing against SMB3 (I love it as well), but I always thought it wasn’t as good as SMW, even when it was updated with “Super Mario All-Stars”.

SMW is one of the games I’ve played the most in my life. I’ve played it so many times that I know almost all the levels by heart. It’s a game filled with fun from beginning to end. Where do I even start talking with this game? Well, I’ll start with the best thing in this game: Yoshi. SMW was the game where Yoshi made his very first appearance. He became an instant hit with gamers, becoming one of the most popular sidekicks in gaming, as well as one of the most popular characters overall, to the point he even got his own games. Yoshi is awesome for various reasons. 1. He’s a dinosaur. With the exception of Barney and a few others, dinosaurs are always freakin’ awesome and Yoshi is a great example of that. 2. He eats anything. He eats any food and he can even eat any enemies. Well, okay, there are some enemies he can’t eat, but there are still several more he can eat. 3. Whenever he swallows a Koopa shell, it grants him some ability, depending on the shell’s color. With a blue one, he can fly. With a red one, he can spit fire. With a yellow one, he can make loud stomp. 4. He’s always loyal to his friends, especially with Mario. I mean, whenever Mario needs to sacrifice Yoshi just to get to a higher point, the dinosaur is still ready to help him whenever they meet again. I always love seeing Mario and Yoshi teaming up, to be honest. Their teamwork is just wonderful. 5. He’s so adorable. Seriously, Yoshi is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in my life. All of these five reasons explain why he’s my favorite Mario character.

Is Yoshi the only good thing about SMW? No, there are several other things that make this game one of the best games ever made. The graphics are great. Compared to the NES’s graphics, the SNES’s were pretty darn amazing. Better colors and more details on the characters and environment made it such a good-looking game. Even 20 years later, it still looks great. The music is fantastic in this game. All the tunes coming from this game are so memorable and catchy that I always love humming to them, even when I’m not playing the game. The various environments Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi go through were wonderfully designed. All the levels in this game are bright, colorful and… Well, just so great. I always have this wonderful feeling whenever I go through those levels again. There are also the power-ups. The two major ones are the Fire Flower and the Cape Feather. These two power-ups always have been enough to me when I was a kid, although admittedly, it would have been great if there was a larger selection of power-ups like in SMB3. And then, there are the boss fights. Most of the fights are against the Koopalings, and they all have their distinct way of fighting you. There’s also the fight with Reznor, a quarto of triceratops. Last but not least, there’s the usual Bowser fight. This fight was pretty darn cool. I remember being excited to fight Bowser on his Koopa Clown Car the first time I reached his castle. The only downside, though, is that none of the boss fights allow you to use Yoshi. That’s a shame, because I think there’s a lot of possibilities they could have done if they allowed him to come with you.

Despite this missed opportunity, “Super Mario World” is one of the best games I’ve ever played in my life. It’s a great platformer, one of the many reasons why the SNES kicked ass, and a fantastic experience. Recently, Mario has come back to his side scrolling platform roots with the “New Super Mario Bros.” games. I like those games (with the exception of the 3DS one, but that’s because I haven’t played it yet), but none of them ever managed to top SMW yet. They’re fun to play, but they never managed to be as memorable as SMW. So… What else can I say? Well, SMW is a game I’m proud to have played for as long as I remember.

And now… It’s time for number 1.

I just mentioned how much I love “Super Mario World”. Before that, I also mentioned how much I love “Super Mario Galaxy”. So… What happens when you combine both games together? Well, you get this game…

1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Words cannot describe how freakin’ awesome this game is. I honestly don’t know where to start when talking about this game, but I’ll try my best. May as well describe my reaction when it was first announced in 2009. At this point, “Super Mario Galaxy” was critically acclaimed, becoming to many the best 3D Mario game. There were rumors that Nintendo would make a sequel, due to how many ideas the people who worked on SMG hadn’t managed to put in the first game. When “Super Mario Galaxy 2” was announced, I wasn’t surprised as I was expecting the sequel to be official. However, watching the trailer itself made me excited. It started with Mario flying through space, just like in the first one. Then we see him walking around some planet and… OHMYGOD! YOSHI IS IN THIS! AND MARIO CAN RIDE HIM TOO! That alone made me want to buy the game already. But it wasn’t the only thing they showed in the trailer. They showed a drill, several worlds including one filled with saws, another covered in snow, one with musical instruments, something that slows time down, dark versions of Mario, the airships appearing again, a giant world, etc. And it ended with Mario and Yoshi soaring in the air. Cue title logo… One of the most awesome trailers EVER.

We waited one year before this game was released. When I got my hands on this game, I knew it was going to be really good, judging from my experience with the first game. I wasn’t expecting it to be SO damn good though. Just like in “Super Mario World”, one of the best things about this game is Yoshi himself. In “Super Mario Sunshine”, it was possible to ride Yoshi a few times. I like that game as well. However, I wasn’t really satisfied with the way Yoshi was done in that game. The fact he died whenever he touched water, as well as a few other things that bugged me, didn’t really make me feel like I was riding him just like in “Super Mario World”. In “Super Mario Galaxy 2”, though, they nailed his gameplay. It truly felt like I was playing a 3D version of SMW. Just like in that game, Yoshi can eat the enemies. They also added several other things. For example, his tongue can be used to pull things. Much like in “Yoshi’s Island” and other games, you can do a flutter jump. Yoshi also gets some power-ups of his own: floating like a balloon, lighting dark areas, and running fast.

Mario himself has some new power-ups. There’s the aforementioned drill, which is always awesome to use. There’s the Rock Mushroom, which pretty much turns you into a huge bowling ball made of rock. There’s also the Cloud Mushroom, which allows you to make a few clouds to help reach something. The power-ups from “Super Mario Galaxy” also came back in this game. Aside from all that, what else can I say about this game? Well, everything that made the first SMG so good, SMG2 simply made everything better. The planets you explore are even more memorable than the ones from the first game. The level design was simply more beautiful. Seriously, the graphics in this game are all fantastic. It’s also more difficult. Let’s just say the cosmic guide was quite helpful in some occasions. I also love the various references to previous Mario games. For example, some of the themes from SMW are heard in some levels where you can ride Yoshi. They even included one of the levels from “Super Mario 64” as one of the planets to explore. Re-visiting that level on a newer console was simply a blast from the past filled with pure nostalgia to me.

Then, there’s the soundtrack. If the soundtrack for SMG was a masterpiece, the one for SMG2 is twice as much of a masterpiece. All the themes fit perfectly the atmosphere of each level. The musicians behind this should be proud of the work they have done. All of the original themes are great. They also included a few remixes from previous games, such as the aforementioned SMW themes. I especially loved how they kept my favorite part of Gusty Garden Galaxy and used it to end the end credits. This was a perfect way to end the game. They also changed the Comet Observatory for the Starship Mario. While not as cool as the Comet Observatory, the Starship Mario is still a cool place to visit. The boss fights are awesome as well. I particularly enjoyed Megahammer, especially since it was the first time Mario fought a boss while riding Yoshi. The fights against Bowser were pretty good, although I prefer the ones from the first SMG. One thing I don’t like about this game, though, is the lack of a well-written story. The first SMG had a deeper plot than the usual Mario game, most notably with Rosalina’s backstory. Pretty much everyone praised that. However, Shigeru Miyamoto said he felt like the deeper plot in the first game ‘ruined’ the fun in it, so he ordered the team working on the second game to not do the same. It still bothers me he decided to do that. You’re telling me Mario can’t have a deeper plot, and yet Zelda can do that? That’s just weird.

Still, despite that, “Super Mario Galaxy 2” is a friggin’ masterpiece. I have no idea what will the next 3D Mario game on the Wii U be like. All I can say is that it will be tough for it to beat SMG2. Games like SMG2 are games that make me proud to be a gamer. It’s not just my favorite Mario game, my favorite Wii game or my favorite platformer. “Super Mario Galaxy 2” is, simply enough, my favorite game ever.
© 2013 - 2020 Essteka
These are the games I never get tired of playing and I always have fun with them.

Part 1: 30-21 [link]
Part 2: 20-11 [link]
Part 3: 10-1 Here!
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