Sega Rally Championship


Source // Retro Gamer

Cars aren't really designed to be driven through the driver's side window, but damn are they a joy to watch when they are. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for rallying. Never really understood the likes of drifting and traction and changing road surfaces and all that stuff, but I don't go into games wanting all of that.

I want to put the pedal to the metal and thrash through a muddy field in the middle of Europe. In the rain. While a navigator somehow keeps his cool despite shouting into my ear, and onlookers dart for cover behind the nearest bramble bush.

Rallying is messy, noisy, stupidly fast and seems to go against everything that track racing stands for, so it was only a matter of time before someone gave a bit of thought to creating a game so that we can rally in the safety of the arcades.

Sega Rally Championship is that game, and it's arguably the first game to connect players to the road beneath their wheels. Handling matters. Adapting to change is a necessity. Having a good time is mandatory, and I can't wait to play.


The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery

When the point and click fans go marching in...

Do you think I'm the kind of person to know of the Grabriel Knight series of point and click adventure games? I'm not the kind of person to know that Gabriel Knight is a name that is even associated with video games, let alone that it's the name of the lead character in a bunch of point and click adventure games.

If I don't know that, then there's no chance in Hell that I'd know that The Beast Within, the second game in the series, went down the full motion video, interactive movie route, putting blue-screened actors inside digital photos where, somewhere, there exists the thing you need to click on to progress the plot.

After reading that it was indeed a point and click with real people, I was interested in playing it. The introduction movie gives me no ideas as to what's going on, but what's new there? It's got fire and German folks in it, that's about all I gathered before being introduced to Gabriel Knight himself.


Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness


The juggernaut that is World of Warcraft had to start somewhere, and while Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness wasn't that start, it is the first of the Warcraft titles to make the 1001 list.

A real-time strategy title in the vein of Command & Conquer but swapping out humans for humans and orcs, tiberium for gold and wood, and full motion video cutscenes with in-game one-liners that do eventually get a bit old but at least lend to the almost cartoony charm on display.

It may sound like a reskin of a more familiar game, but saying that doesn't really give it a chance to show itself off, so I'm going to dive right into another game I've never played, absolutely blind as usual.

Wish me luck.


Return Fire

"I've got an awful lot to live for."

On a list as large as this, you can't expect every single entry to be ground breaking, or earth shattering, or such a giant leap forward for the technology that everything else is insignificant in comparison. It's just not going to happen. Some games are on the 1001 list just because you should have a go at them.

Return Fire is one of those games.

It's not often a game is centred around vehicles blowing up everything man-made in an attempt to find and capture an enemy flag, but I doubt it's the reason Return Fire makes the list. It's also somewhat of a rarity to hear classical and conveniently out-of-copyright music because it can sound a little cliché and cheesy, but it's present in Return Fire and somehow makes the game worth playing.

Return Fire's inclusion is currently boggling to me, so it's time to fire it up and see what's going on.


The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis


This game has such a nonsense title that I must have blanked it from my memory until it came time to write this entry because I had to triple check that what I had written down, The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, was an actual game, and not something I'd typed horribly wrong.

If I didn't know the name was correct, there's no way I'd guess that it was an educational title that has you guide little blue blobs through logic puzzles on their way to a new village.

The games you never knew existed, eh?


Chrono Trigger

Lower thine guard, and thou'rt allowing the enemy in...

The SNES had quite a few role playing games to keep players busy, but there's one that does things a little bit differently, and it's got a fanbase desperately wanting more from a series that can barely be called a series in the first place.

Chrono Trigger follows the time-hopping adventures of Chrono and friends, where battles in the past must be won in order to make sure the future still takes place, and fights in that future must be won to save the world, as always.

It's a game that I've been aware of and watched in the past, but haven't ever played it. I've always thought that it'd be too much to get into, yet I read that it's on the short end of the RPG completion time scale, so at the very least I should finally get around to giving it a bash with a controller in hand.

Let's dive through the potentially definitely malfunctioning teleporter into strange yet familiar worlds, firstly on a quest to save a damsel who could well be in distress.


Yoshi's Island

Waaah. Waaaah!

You might know by now that I'm not terribly fussed about the Mario franchise. Very good games, don't get me wrong, but I'm never in a rush to get round to playing them, let alone playing them for any length of time, or with the intent of finishing them.

I'm not saying that that opinion has changed, but I will say that Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island has got the biggest reaction a Mario game has got from me for a while now.

All I knew about it was that Yoshi was heavily featured and that the art style was a little different. That's it. That's all I've got to go with as I dive back into the world of 2D platformers to see why this one needs to be played by gamers.

Let's get comfy and settle in for some fun.

These hills are so goddamn happy!


The Dig

Low to Brink. Low to Robbins. Low to Brink.

Of all the LucasArts point and click adventures, it's the one with the forgettable title that breaks the trend of outright funny dialogue and humourous situations in favour of a Steven Spielberg inspired tale of survival and aliens.

The Dig does eventually get around to having you dig something, but not until it has set the scene, and it's a scene you might not have ever guessed from the title. You're in control of Commander Boston Low, an astronaut on a mission to detonate nuclear weapons on the surface of an asteroid that has a 99% chance of slamming into the Earth.

The first thing you dig is a hole for your nuclear device, but things get a little more interesting from there...


Virtua Cop 2

Big Chase! Let's go!

If you're currently living in Virtua City, get the hell out. For the love of all that is Holy, get out. Have you seen the state of your city? Criminals greatly outnumber the citizens and all of them are happy to appear out of nowhere in vast numbers in the shooting range that is Virtua Cop 2.

Following on from the original arcade game comes a sequel with three short but action packed levels of murderous mayhem - in the name of justice, of course.

I'm not able to play the arcade original, nor do I have a light gun to point menacingly towards a television. The best I've got is Virtua Cop: Elite Edition for the PlayStation 2, which combines Virtua Cop 2 with Virtua Cop and updates the graphics and whatnot too. Quite the package for a quick blast at hundreds of villains.




So there's this new console coming out, right? The PlayStation, they call it. Cutting edge and grown up. The kind of thing that all the cool kids will own because they're not kids kids, they're older kids, you know? By default, they're cooler than you and your idiot friends. That's just how it is. When they're not filling their ears with electronica and club music past your bedtime, they'll be doing the drug that is Wipeout. WipEout. wipE'out". Whatever.

Wipeout is tough for me to explain, because it's not just Super Mario Kart meets science fiction, nor is it a 3D F-Zero. It's a racer with weapons, but that comes nowhere close to describing just how cultured Wipeout is.

When the PlayStation was set up in clubs for young adults to demo, it was Wipeout that was championing this new era of video gaming. Wipeout was a statement, of sorts. A symbol that gaming had evolved, to the point where we ought to think about the medium in new ways.

That's a load of waffle though. Most of that stuff goes above my head, I just play the games, and I played a lot of Wipeout as an idiot kid, and stuck with the series - on and off, it must be said - to the modern generations of consoles. It's time to remember where it all began.


Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom

What are you, my Mother?

"Hey, Cavil"
"Yes, 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die?"
"You know how I've chucked a few flight sims your way recently, allowing you to experience the joy of dogfighting in space from the comfort of your office chair, with the sweetly calibrated refurbished flight stick you got because it was cheap?"
"Yeah, those games are great!"
"Weeeellll, how about another one, with film quality full motion video starring Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowel, John Rhys-Davis..."
"I've heard of those people!"
"Then let me introduce to you Wing Commander IV"

Were the 1001 list to be anthropomorphized, that might have been the conversation we had about the next game on the list, the fourth - I would imagine - in the Wing Commander series, Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom.

Following on from the plot, or at least the canon of the earlier games in the series, this high budget space combat simulator sees you play as Mark Hamill, reprising his role as Colonel Christopher 'Maverick' Blair, hero of the... plot... I have no idea.

There doesn't appear to any kind of start menu here, so I've no choice but to sit back and pay attention to this wonderful mix of CGI and live action actual human beings in my video game.

I know it's not the first time we've seen people in video games, but cut me some slack eh. Even Kane doesn't compare to these guys. Sorry, Kane.



Ascending through the rankings?

Over the past year or so, at the time of writing this, I've been as invested in board gaming as I have with video gaming, and on the top of the tables, you can play the dungeon crawling, part-RPG part-puzzle, figure heavy game called Descent.

It's alright. It's not piqued my interest enough to be in my collection, but I'll play it if it's brought out. I'm not sure why I'm telling you this, really, because Descent has nothing to do with Descent, the first person shooter flight sim hybrid, I suppose you'd call it.

I've only heard of Descent in passing and I wouldn't bet on being able to pick it out of a screenshot lineup (ignoring the fact that its 1001 write up is headed with a screenshot). Save for the genre and a few paragraphs explaining how actually really 3D it is, I'm in the dark on this one.

Let's pilot our way to the surface of the Moon.


Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

Fight it out

I think I've always liked the idea of the tactical RPG. A kind of a mix between the combat of Dungeons & Dragons and the plot of Final Fantasy, I guess. Before we get to Final Fantasy Tactics, though - and this 1001 will get to Final Fantasy Tactics - there is the small matter of the game that kickstarted the concept, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.

It is a game I can say for damn near certain that I won't finish, but it is also a game I can say with similar certainty that I want to play. While the SNES original never left Japanese shores, the PlayStation port a few years later did, and so, with absolutely no idea of what lies ahead, I'm going to dive right in.


MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat

What is my situation?

Oh boy, Mechs! I like mechs. I like some styles of mechs more than others, and I probably have the BattleTech series of books to blame. I say series because I only remember having one or two and finishing neither. I must have liked the cover art. Anyway, mechs are great, and MechWarror 2: 31st Century Combat is a video game set in the BattleTech world, so it's like I've come full circle or something.

Now, just because I like mechs, doesn't mean I have a clue what MechWarrior is. Never played it - can't say I've even heard of it. It's about time we change that by jumping into our gracefully lumbering hulks of metal armed to the teeth with rockets and lasers and setting off for... the mission objective, I guess. Whatever that is.



An Interactive Movie

Imagine a world where Alone in the Dark didn't look like a cartoon, was set in space and starred a cyborg with so little human flesh remaining that even Darth Vader or a Dalek would seem more of a human. That's BioForge. A mysterious adventure game that tasks you with regaining your memory, escaping evil and struggling with tank controls. What fun!

It looks really rather good, and I've got no knowledge of what it is beyond what's written about it in the 1001 book. So, let's tell you the story of how I've come to be holding a severed arm...


Full Throttle

I'm not putting my lips on that.

Full Throttle. That's got something to do with a guy on a bike, right? That's about all I know of Full Throttle, other than that it is a point and click - my speciality...

I can't say I was looking forward to playing it if I'm honest, but the more I read about it before doing so, the more interested in it I was. It stars the vocal talents of Mark Hamill, for example, whom I think I've heard of before, but also the likes of Maurice LaMarche and Kath Soucie and other names you don't necessarily know but whose voices you definitely do.

Set in an alternate near future version of America, Full Throttle has you point Ben, leader of the Polecats motorcycle gang, around the desolate countryside on a mission to clear his name after being framed for murder.

How soon will I need to search for 'Full Throttle walkthrough'?


Alien Soldier

In whitch we fight terrolists and dodge typos.

There's only one thing I know about Alien Soldier, and that's that it's super hard. It doesn't mess around, demanding mastery of the controls to even begin to think about getting through what is actually a pretty short game.

Basically, I know that I'll be judging this game on the first five minutes, and whatever I then watch on YouTube, so let's hope those first five minutes are pretty damn good.


Command & Conquer

Dunnanah nunnanah nunnanah (Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp)...

Ah, Command & Conquer. How long has it been, I wonder? I played the hell out of it on the PlayStation, and Red Alert too, but beyond those few titles I've just not been interested in what was on offer from the C&C series.

Why is that? Why are the early games so much better than the later ones? It couldn't just be because of Kane, could it? It's probably because of Kane. Damn, Kane. Why you so good?

Get those bases up and running and get prepared for an almost inevitable tank rush toward the enemy, as we real-time strategy the shit out of an alternate reality war between the Global Defensive Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod, complete with lovingly created live-action cutscenes.

At least pretend to look interested, Seth



Bye bye

When we weren't playing on their SNES, I had the odd game or two of Worms on my cousins' computer, which could well have been my first introduction to the idea that video games can be serious and silly. Serious in that there is strategy and skill required to master this game, and silly in that you're hurling grenades at a bunch of worms with high pitched voices.

Whether it is or isn't a seriously silly game, Worms is the kind of title that you've probably played at some point just because someone else introduced you to it and there was just no reason not to. It's Worms - sit tight and wait for your turn.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter

I've been waiting for you...

I've played some air combat games in my time, from, well, Air Combat on the PlayStation 1 to Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter on the PlayStation 2 to... uhm... does Battlefield 4's Air Superiority mode count? The point is, I'm familiar enough with these kinds of games to know I like them - some more than others, of course - but I'm not a massive fan of them.

Enter the wonderful world of PC gaming, a cheap flight stick and the special edition of Star Wars: TIE Fighter and that opinion might just change.

Instead of playing as the Rebel scum from the first title, Star Wars: X-Wing, you are a proud rookie pilot for the Imperial Navy, serving the Emperor on his quest for peace in a galaxy full of chaotic dissidents.

Not only was I never in the position to get this game for a long time, I wasn't even a Star Wars fan when it was released back in the mid-1990s, but TIE Fighter is now firmly on my radar and those X-Wings will soon be falling from the skies.


King of Fighters '94

High Punch. Jumping kick. Big Bang Tackle. (I'm the King of Fighters)

There are enough fighting games for every gamer to have their own series, let alone favourite individual title, but keeping track of them or even being aware of them in the first place can be quite the challenge. Case in point is the first in the King of Fighters series, King of Fighters '94.

I knew the series existed - that King of Fighters was a thing - but could not for the life of me tell you what made it stand out from the competition, or how many titles were made, or what it even looks like.

That's about to change...


Theme Park

You must be this tall to play

As soon as I saw Theme Park, whenever and wherever it was in my youth, I knew I wanted to play it. You make and manage a theme park of your own creation - why wouldn't that make for a great game? It's like city building on a smaller scale, and yet just as complex.

Nearly twenty years later and I'm finally able to see what all of my fuss was about...


Killer Instinct

Which I clearly lac-uh, I mean, C-C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!

Source // Wikipedia

Ohhh... so this is where all those announcer phrases come from. The ones that aren't "Fatality", or "Killing Spree" or "We have lost objective Butter" or whatever. Killer Instinct. I know of Killer Instinct. I know its remake drew a lot of hype, at least. I basically know nothing of Killer Instinct.

What could possibly go wrong as we button mash our way into fluked combos as a skeleton fighting a werewolf? Let's find out!


Beneath a Steel Sky

It's WHEEZING and BANGING... Like an asthmatic DINOSAUR in the MATING season.

I don't remember when or why I started watching other people playing games on YouTube, but I do remember that many, many years ago, Beneath a Steel Sky was among the first titles I watched, and not because I knew of the game or had played it before.

There I was, enjoying a game from a distance, knowing I would likely never be in a position to play such an old title. Here I am now, though, with a proper PC to watch YouTube on, and a game that is free for everyone to play. Free as in free, as in nought monies, as in no real excuse to see what it's about first hand.

Our adopted home has been destroyed and we're on the run from who knows what. We need to find answers, both as to what's going on, and to how to get through this point and click adventure in one piece.

No prizes for guessing the outcome to this entry.


Super Metroid

That's how I roll...

My name's Frank, and I've never played Super Metroid.

I think I might have dabbled with one of the many games in the genre, but even then, it's best to assume I haven't touched the series, largely due to the fact that, besides the Game Boy, I just haven't owned Nintendo consoles, and that's where all those Metroids are.

It is the future, I guess, and Samus was just about to do something, when - what do you know - a distress call! We better get on it right away.


Super Punch-Out!!


Boxing has never really interested me. Maybe it's because it's just not as real as Professional Wrestling, I don't know. Boxing video games, therefore, are also low on the list of games I want to play, but there are a couple of them on this 1001 list and they're on it for a reason.

Nintendo's Super Punch-Out!! seems to be the gold standard for both simplicity and challenge. It won't take much to know that button mashing won't work here, but it will take some practice to make progress on your way through the circuits.

Let's glove up (if that's a thing) and fist someone.

Punch them.

Definitely punch them.



Summary: Destroy THE THING

To say that if you've seen one gravity and thrust physics type of game, you've seen them all is to have not seen the many ways developers can think of making that concept even harder.

If it's not fine tuning the physics, it's sticking players inside narrow caves that require great precision, lest they get blown up by the walls. If it's not giving them shields to cope with the tight spaces, it's then adding in enemies that need to be shot before they shoot you.

But that's not enough for Sub-Terrania, as it adds a bit of a plot, rescue missions, refuelling, and even some physics puzzles into the mix. All of that while you delicately balance your inputs, because a single mistake can be costly.

Sounds like I won't get through an awful lot of this game...



Go, Uniracer, go!

"We need a racing game."
"Like, a fast racing game."
"And it'll be based on anthropomorphic unicycles speeding along floating tubes."
"Yeee...uhh... Sorry, what?"

And that's how Uniracers was born. Probably. I wasn't there, I don't know.

What can be said about a game where you race unicycles along floating tracks, pulling off tricks to get necessary boosts of speed?

Samurai Shodown II

How weak you are! I might kill you as well as "tofu" with my sword!

Source // Neo-Geo.com

It's 'showdown', right? With a 'w'? I'm not the only one to always type it correctly before realising that, no, Samurai Shodown II drops the 'w' because... reasons.

True to it's misspelt name, though, there are Samurai's on show here, and they are down to fight. It's like Street Fighter with weapons, and that can't be too shabby, can it?


Sensible World of Soccer

You're a goal-scoring superstar hero.

Eleven vs eleven. Put the ball in the other teams net. Football is simple, isn't it? But with that simplicity, you can commit an entire lifetime to perfecting a single element of the game - to become the best attacker, defender, goalkeeper, manager or to get the most out of coaching or captaining. It's a game that requires luck and skill, strategies and risks, and even an understanding of science and data-driven approaches to problems.

Football, the beautiful game, simply has to have video games that capture enough of all that complexity and yet are still as easy to grasp as the concept of two teams kicking a ball around a park. These days the two giants in the genre are FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, but before those series' were yearly entries that captivated millions of gamers all over the world, there was another series by the name of Sensible Soccer.

After a few years of simple soccer titles, Sensible World of Soccer was released, bringing more detail than I bet you could imagine. It's 1994, and you're about to load up a football game with around 27,000 players from 1,500 teams. And it's not a FIFA game...

Let's blow the whistle for the kick off.