Dungeon Keeper

It is payday.

Why do you always have to play the hero? Even playing a flawed hero is still playing the good guy on a quest to defeat the bad guys. Who wants to do that over and over again? Who, instead, wants to let their bad side free to dictate the way things go? Who wants to be a Dungeon Keeper?

Part real-time strategy, part simulation, Dungeon Keeper is all kinds of different. You play as an evil overlord whose Imp minions are mining out your dungeon so that you can fill it with nasties to protect yourselves from the inevitable visit from a hero hoping to prove himself.

Will you smartly scope out your surroundings and build on the strengths of your forces and the needs of the situation, or will you flail around like a useless imp?



Enemy threat removed by your heroic attempt.

What do we make? Role Playing Games! What shall we release? A 2.5D sidescrolling shooter!

The developers at Square probably didn't chant that as they were making Einhänder, but that's what players got in late 1997: an unexpected title from an unexpected developer on an unexpected system that unexpectedly made enough of an impression to warrant a spot on the 1001 list.

What's it all about? I have no idea. The name comes from German to mean 'one hand', and refers to your ship having one hand to pick stuff up with. Where we go from there is anyone's guess.


I.Q.: Intelligent Qube


The puzzle game is a genre that I tend to avoid, mostly because of the lack of a storyline. I enjoy racing and sports as genres, and while they don't have an explicit story (FIFA's The Journey being the exception, obviously), you can infer one from the events that take place - a racer must overcome his rival to take the gold, a team must score a certain number of goals in order to progress through a competition.

Puzzle games... not so much. The story here is that some little bloke (most likely a full-sized bloke who just happens to look little from this distance) finds himself suspended in an infinite black void and is tasked by choosing which of the coloured cubes that roll/stomp towards him will be saved, and which will be left to fall off the edge and tumble for eternity. Or something like that.

There's no story, really, but there is a task to accomplish, points to score and rules to learn, so let's get to it.

Why is it a sphere?


Dododododododo...Your mission starts now. Are you ready?

"Bullet hell.", begins the 1001 entry to DoDonPachi, assuming you know of the phrase already. The idea that a shoot 'em up can be so chaotic and manic that the best way to describe it would be 'like flying through bullet hell'.

The term, so I read, grew in popularity because 2D shooters had to do more and more in order to compete with the emerging 3D games that were getting all of the attention. How does a 2D shooter do more and more? If it's not highly detailed sprites and over-the-top effects, then it's highly detailed sprites and over-the-top effects applied to twenty enemies at once culminating in a monstrous boss battle that requires players to dodge hundreds, if not thousands of projectiles.

Bullet hell.

Let's find out how hellish DoDonPachi can get.



*wicki wicki*

Source // Gaming History

What's hip? What's hop? What is hip-hop? I don't know, and I don't even know if hip-hop is present in Beatmania, the arcade rhythm game that makes disc jockeys of us all.

Armed with five keyboard keys and a turntable for those all-important scratches, players will keep track of notes falling from the top of the screen before jabbing the right buttons at the right time for the best scores, and the greatest sounding tunes.

You know what a rhythm game is, you've already seen PaRappa the Rapper on this list. Let's wait for the drop to get this one going.


Blast Corps


Destroying things is fun. Destroying things in a variety of different ways is fun. Destroying things against the clock can be pretty fun, though it does depend on the time limit. Destroying things because the 'plot' involves clearing a path for a runaway nuclear missile launcher with a tendency to explode on contact with anything attached to the floor is... well, it's Blast Corps.

Dozers at the ready, because we're about to crash with a purpose.


Final Furlong

Work, you damn nag!

Source // YouTube

Home consoles are dominating the market. The arcades are turning into ghost towns. What do you do to get players back into the habit of pushing quarters into coin slots? You mould a plastic horse onto a rocker and have players exercise their way to victory.

Thus, horse racing simulator Final Furlong was born. Not just a racing game, oh no, but a simulator. No time to sit in the saddle here. Stand in the stirrups and whip like there's nae tomorrow...

Bushido Blade


A while back now, I saw International Karate + as worthy of a top ten inclusion. Its move set was deep and your timing had to be right as it'd be over for you in a single move if it wasn't. Fast forward to 1997 and Bushido Blade arrives into the 3D fighting scene with a similar philosophy.

Put simply, when you're fighting someone with a sword and you button mash like a maniac, you should be punished severely for a single mistake, just like in life. Bushido Blade aims to bring realistic sword fighting into gaming, complete with tense moments of studying your opponents stance and lighting quick fountains of blood that signal a clear winner.

I can't wait to get into this one.


Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

What is a Game?

Before diving into this 2D action-adventure RPG platformer beat 'em up racing game (without reading any manuals or control schemes, naturally), I checked out a couple of reviews from notable YouTubers and they began with words to the effect of "I haven't actually played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night until now".

It's quite common that someone will have missed out on a classic title when it was first released and only manages to play it years, perhaps even decades later. It's not so common for the game in question to be regarded as one of the greatest titles on a console over the course of its history to be missed by players.

Symphony of the Night has its reasons for being glossed over. It's flat and sprite-based despite charging ahead on the PlayStation, which was wowing the world with depth and an extra dimension. Its title harkens back to games of old, but new and unheard of heroes were front and centre in gamers minds instead.

It is a title that a lot of people know of and few appear to have played. Let's see what I, for one, have been missing out on.


Blade Runner

Give me a hard copy of that.

Games based on movies. They've got quite the stigma, haven't they? Notorious for being a swing and a miss in the vast majority of cases, it's a rarity to find one worth talking about in a positive light. On the overcast streets of a (now near) future Los Angeles are neon lights and signs of hope - hope that Blade Runner plays as good as it looks because it looks bloody fantastic.

Set parallel to the movie of the same name, Blade Runner follows Ray McCoy on the hunt for Replicants in a point-and-click adventure that weaves in and out of the plot from the movie, but still exists as separate from it.

Get your Voight-Kampff tests ready, because we're going to retire some Replicants.


Age of Empires

Food: 50

Described as Civilization meets Warcraft II, I was intrigued by Age of Empires. I like the idea of Civilization, even if I still haven't found an entry to that series that I quite like (though more are coming in the 1001 list, so here's hoping), and I spent a lot more time in front of Warcraft II than I ever thought I would, so Age of Empires should, I think, be a good game.

Good game or not, I'll probably be glued to the screen for a little while, due to the nature of the real-time strategy beast. Will my empire rise from its pathetic origins into something straight out of the history books? Will I rewrite those history books and tell my own tales? I've no idea until I fire it up.


Vectorman 2


I don't know whether it's funny or not that a game can get sequels and still not be heard of. It probably isn't funny at all. The number of games that exist is far greater than the number of games I know to exist, and there are bound to be sequels amongst that number.

All of that is a long-winded way of saying that I have no idea who or what Vectorman 2 is.


Wipeout 2097


Ahh, Wipeout. wipE'out". Whatever. It seems like only yesterday we were smashing into walls and launching rockets wildly off target, all to the electronic beat of a 1990s nightclub. It was only a year after the release of that first game that players were treated to a sequel in the form of Wipeout 2097. WipEout 2097. wipE'out" 2º97. Whatever.

It's much the same, only better, so it's time to engage the thrust like there's no tomorrow and swoop right in.

Wave Race 64

Let the good games roll.

Racing games had been around for a long time by the mid-1990s. Cars and motorbikes, futuristic hovercraft, planes. What machine can we leap onto and trash around a circuit in pursuit of thrills that we haven't experienced yet?

Alright, it's not actually the first time we could jump aboard a boatercycle in a video game, but Wave Race 64 is a clear front-runner for the best time aboard a boatercycle. Colourful, arcadey, and sat atop water physics that will leave you suitably impressed, this game has singlehandedly demolished my childhood.

So thanks, Nintendo. Thanks a lot.


Super Mario 64

Just try me.

There aren't many titles that can claim to be one of the most revolutionary video games of all time, but bragging about it doesn't get you many friends, so Nintendo simply let the critics and consumers praise Super Mario 64 to the heavens and just sit back and bask in the glory.

I was not a Nintendo 64 kid. Somewhere in the mid to late 1990s I played GoldenEye at a friends house and have no real memories of the game, the console, or the house itself, but I did have a mesmerising ice cream float - my first ever, in fact, and I'm getting off topic.

I didn't have an N64 and was perfectly content with having a PlayStation instead, and so these monumental giants of video game history that have been developed by Nintendo have simply gone unplayed, even in the decades since their release.

Super Mario 64 is no exception, I've not played it. I've seen it. Maaaany many times. Slowly, quickly, very very quickly, very very glitchy. But I've not gotten my hands on a three-pronged controller to find out how it handles, and how it changed everything.

Limber up your larynx, because we're gonna get all 'Woo, whey, wah-hoo!' as we hunt down a bunch of stars in order to save Princess Peach.



Star Control 3


"Picking up roughly where the second game left off, you must lead an alliance in the fight against the Eternal Ones, a mysterious race who consume the energy of all sentient life every eon. To protect themselves from such a fate, the Precursors genetically modified themselves into six-legged cowlike creatures, but were trapped in this form when the robots they built to return them to their original form malfunctioned. Humans, in their quest to locate the legendary Precursors, have discovered this tasty beast and, unbeknown to them, are consuming their goal."

That sounds interesting, doesn't it? That's how the 1001 list sets up Star Control 3, a mish-mash of genres that form a space sim, I suppose, in the vein of Mass Effect, via Frontier: Elite II, only played through interfaces and menus.

It's going to need to be seen to be explained.


The House of the Dead 2

Our Emperor shall awaken soon...

Is there any better feeling than unloading round after round into an onrushing zombie horde, seeing heads explode into squelchy red chunks and bodies flopping to the floor? There probably are better feelings than that. Many, in fact. But once in a while, you just need to shoot some zombies, am I right?

The House of the Dead 2 allows you to do just that, taking you on a trip through zombie-infested Venice, tasking you and your fellow agents to solve the problem before it gets any worse.

Let's find out how well suited I am to a zombie outbreak...


Syndicate Wars

Do not be afraid. This is the way of the new epoch.

Way back when, I was playing Syndicate on this blog, and while I found it fiddly and willingly ignored key systems in the game because I didn't understand how to use them, I liked the ideas it presented - that the future is bleak and mind-controlled cyborgs armed to the teeth roam the streets with murderous intent, all in the name of whatever corporation controls them.

A sequel should be welcomed then, and Syndicate Wars is upon us. Same sort of gameplay, much more going on with the visuals. Is there any more to this game than that?


Donkey Kong Country 3

Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!

There's a lot of love for Donkey Kong and there was little doubt that it wouldn't make the 1001 list. The Donkey Kong Country series was the game series to show the world that sprites didn't have to be constructed from scratch - that pre-rendered animations could be cut up, frame by frame, spritified, and stuck into a 2D platformer in order to be replayed back through direct interaction from the player.

It's not the original Donkey Kong Country that makes the list, though, nor Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, but the final entry, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, with your favourite characters nowhere to be seen.

The 1001 list calls this the biggest and most fully featured, but does that mean it's better?


Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Down the pipes and up the levels.

So here it is, Super Mario RPG. I'd heard of it before but usually cast it off to one side due to lack of interest. "Sure, the Mario franchise might work as an RPG, but I can't quite see how and I don't have time to find out", kind of thing. And yet it's apparently highly regarded and well worth playing - not just in the sense of padding out a 1001 list, but of reaching for various top 100 and even top 10 spots.

If it's that good, then I must have been very wrong to keep making assumptions about how it couldn't possibly be worth my time and should get round to playing it. To Bowser's castle!


Metal Slug

Thank You!

I really should have gotten around to playing Metal Slug sooner. I knew from the moment I first saw it years ago that it was something I'd want to see more of, but it never made it to the front of my mind until now, and that was a mistake.

Metal Slug is like Contra as drawn by Disney or something. It is a visual treat, but it's backed up by some solid gameplay too, both single player and co-operative. You must shoot your way through an armies worth of troops in order to defeat General Morden, and, if you're lucky, you'll be able to do so with the titular tank known as the SV-001: Metal Slug.

Run, jump, shoot. There's nothing to it. In fact, my first attempt should be a breeze...


Tomb Raider

What happens if I stand on Midas' hand?

Why did Tomb Raider come in a two-disc PlayStation jewel case, despite only having one disc? I need to know.

Mine has a crack in the front but is still holding up nearly twenty years later, the black dyed, green-fronted CD sitting behind it, containing if not one of the greatest games of all time, then the first outing of one of video gaming's most influential and recognizable figures, Lara Croft - and what a figure.

It is a time where the third dimension is all the rage, and developers are trying to find out what works and what doesn't. Will an exploration game work? Probably. Will a game whose character dual wields pistols work? Yeah, players like action. Will anyone buy a game fronted by a female character whose breast size was 'accidentally' set to 150%? I think they will, yes.

Save crystals at the ready, because we're about to go explore some underground mysteries...


Saturn Bomberman

Dynamite down the pants, explodo!

I thought that Super Bomberman could not be improved upon. It had everything it needed and looked good doing it. Why, then, would you ever need another Bomberman title on the 1001 list? Because Saturn Bomberman is better.

Look at that map. That's the story mode. Saturn Bomberman has a story. So did Super Bomberman but it's crap when compared to this. The Bomberman grid is there but is hidden amongst trees and lamp posts and you're blowing up ice cream, for some reason. It doesn't matter, it looks fantastic.

It looks so good in fact that I resolved, there and then, to try and get Sega Saturn emulation working - or working better for me in any event - just so I could play Saturn Bomberman.

Did I succeed?


Time Crisis


It still bothers me that I can't remember how or why I got a light gun for the PlayStation. I know I used it to play Die Hard Trilogy, and I'm fairly sure it was a straight up Guncon, which means it was made by Namco and probably shipped with Time Crisis, and yet I have no recollection of Time Crisis at all.

Did I get the light gun second hand? Am I thinking of a different light gun entirely? Did I even have a light gun of my own or was I borrowing it or playing at a friends house or something? These are questions with answers I'll never know, but here's a question with an answer I can: What's Time Crisis like?

There's only so much you can do in on-rails light gun shooters, but Namco added the one thing that was missing from them all until now - ducking into cover.

Most people in the arcades back then thought that light gun shooters were dangerous games. Now, if I were to stand up, I might be killed. But to us, behind this wooden crate, they're pretty safe - so to us, light gun shooters are safe games right here. We feel pretty safe. Do you feel safe?


PaRappa the Rapper

I gotta believe!

Source // PlayStation.com

I don't have the lyrical genius to succinctly introduce you to a dog, in a beanie, who solves his problems by learning valuable life lessons taught via the medium of rap. I just can't do it. But what I can do is say that I never owned PaRappa the Rapper as a child - or an adult, for that matter - because I wasn't really interested in it.

It holds a spot in our collective memories as being 'that game with the rapping dog and the onion karate teacher' because that's probably what most people saw PaRappa as - that one demo whose rap gets stuck in your head for a while.

Is there any substance to this little game then? I have absolutely no idea, but it just so happens that a remake has been recently released for the PlayStation 4, so let's get our rap on.


Pilotwings 64

No, he was the man. It was a really great move. He was inverted.

Way back when, I played Pilotwings and didn't quite get off the ground with it, despite the game taking place everywhere other than the ground. The controls were imprecise, or perhaps precisely too precise, and my level of skill was so far off the charts that getting into the office in order to take the various pilot license tests was an achievement too far.

Enter, then, Pilotwings 64, a 3D sequel, again releasing alongside its host console, the Nintendo 64, hoping to introduce players to the skies with a colourful cast of characters whizzing about a tropical island in hang gliders, jetpacks and gyrocopters.

Will the introduction of an analogue stick lead to more success for me? There's only one way to find out.


Resident Evil

Enter the survival horror.

We all have our favourite genres, and we probably all have genres that we don't even touch. Survival horror titles are one of the genres I don't even touch. Dark, dingy environments littered with things whose sole purpose is to make me shit myself in fear? Nah, not my cup of tea, that. Shame we've got a load of them on this 1001 list then, with the grandfather of the lot of them perhaps being Resident Evil.

Bravo Team of the Raccoon City PD's Special Tactics and Rescue Service have gone into the wilderness to investigate some strange murders, but all contact with them has been lost. Alpha Team is sent in to find them, but what they discover is something altogether more mysterious and deadly than a bunch of murders.

Before we start, let's get the warnings out of the way...

Still with us? Good good.




"Hey, John, this 2.5D thing we've got going on for Doom is great and all, but we can do better, right?"
"Totally, John, we can add another 0.5D, I reckon."
"You mean we can get an actual 3D game going if we put the work in?"
"You bet, and it'd look great as another first-person shooter."
"That's a damn good idea there, John."
"Certainly is, John."

And that was how id Software got started on Quake...

When I got this PC of mine a few years back, I obviously had to test some of the standout games to see what this rig could even do. Not knowing a whole lot about PC gaming, I played it somewhat safe and started by chucking a load of Skyrim mods together, and that seemed to run pretty darn well. Convinced I had made the right choice, I fired up some old-school games which were, after all, going to be the majority of games I play on here. Quake was one of those titles to get a quick blast.

I have no history with Quake beyond that. I'd never played it before then, nor its sequels and spinoffs. The closest I got to playing Quake was playing Unreal Tournament on a PlayStation 2, and we all know how close that is to playing Quake (not very).

I knew of it, as a great many players probably do know of it, but I had simply not been around PCs when Quake unleashed itself upon gaming history, and given how monumental it was to that history, that needs to be rectified.

Let's ready our shotguns and prepare to enter the Slipgate.


Marathon Infinity

And beyond!

If you know a thing or two about Halo, you might well know that it was originally heading to the Mac before eventually ending up as the Xbox juggernaut it has since become. It was heading there because developers Bungie Software had a fair bit of history with the Mac, including an entire trilogy of Marathon titles, the third of which, Marathon Infinity, making its way onto the 1001 list.

Like Halo, Marathon Infinity is a first-person shooter set somewhere in the Universe that isn't Earth. You'll be fending off all kinds of monstrous threats as you navigate the maze-like levels to the best of your abilities, all the while pointing out references to the Halo series, should you know any.

Anyway, it's time to head towards infinity...


Harvest Moon

I want a combine harvester.

Not gonna lie,  Harvest Moon looks so dull that I've been doing all in my power to put off playing it for as long as possible. It is a pleasant looking little 16-bit farm simulator, complete with chubby cows, adorable chickens, mans best friend and some villagers and lots of farm antics and changes of seasons and work and ugh, just end it already.

It's like an empty Zelda. It's got that look, but where are the clear and visible threats to my wellbeing? What do I do? Why am I doing it? Let's attempt to find out.


GTI Club: Rally Côte d'Azur

Go Ahead. Keep This Way.

Source // Moby Games

A rallying game set in the French Riviera, where the sun constantly shines and the fact that eight drivers are smashing cars through restaurant seating in an effort to take drastic shortcuts to catch the front-runners isn't worried about? Why GTI Club: Rally Côte d'Azur, you've captured my attention...


Nights into Dreams

New Record though...

As I think I've mentioned before, the Sega consoles flew right past me as a child. I have more fingers on one hand than I know people who owned a Mega Drive, and I couldn't tell you anyone who owned a Saturn and insisted that I play Nights into Dreams, a chilled version of Sonic the Hedgehog, you might say, with more depth and fewer animals.

Dream energy is getting stolen from unsuspecting dreamers Elliot and Claris, and it is up to a flying jester-looking guy called Nights to help them get it back. It's the right thing to do, I suppose.


International Track & Field

Brilliant! Excellent! You are the winner!

Aaahhhh-thletics. Athletics can be interesting. Events are shows of strength, both physical and in character. The competitors hail from all kinds of backgrounds and upbringings and compete on the levelest playing field that there could possibly be, with absolutely no drugs in sight.

There aren't any drugs in International Track & Field, but there is the potential for drama. The extreme lows of frustration are followed by the exhilarating highs of victory as players battle it out across eleven track and field events, either against the computer or a bunch of other people on the same couch.

I don't have a bunch of people or a couch, so I'm going toe to toe against ol' CPU to see where I stand in this world of sport. May I bash my buttons with precision and skill, rather than blind rage, all in an effort to cross the line first, throw the thing the furthest, or whatever else we find ourselves doing.


Guardian Heroes

"Does he obey our commands? This is gonna be fun!"

Source // NeoGAF

Do you like side-scrolling beat 'em ups? Do you like role-playing games? Do the stories you enact simply have to include branching paths and multiple endings? Do you only have a Sega Saturn with which to experience all these things, and must have them all appear in one game? Then it looks like Guardian Heroes is for you and your weirdly specific preferences.

Four young warriors have stumbled across an epic sword, and then the troubles really start, as they find themselves brought into a battle between spirits of the Earth and the Sky. And I thought it was just a button masher.


The Neverhood

*gibberish mumble mumble brrrpbrpbrrp*

"The Neverhood? Neverhood of it before in my life!"

Seriously though, I haven't seen nor heard of The Neverhood up until this point in time, and I am perhaps gladder than I've ever been to see that corrected and to fill in another blank spot in my knowledge of gaming history.

Created by the guy who brought you Earthworm Jim comes the somewhat silly adventure of Klaymen, seemingly alone in the world called The Neverhood. Not much adventuring to be had with nobody to interact with, is there? What's a funny point and click without funny conversation trees?

Oh yeah, this game is a point and click. Aaaaand, let's go!


Mario Kart 64


"Who loves Super Mario Kart?"
"I love Super Mario Kart. That's a classic game, right there, yessirree."
"Who wants to see it leap into the third dimension, a strange place where tracks can have curves and bumps and uppy-downy bits and scenery - actual scenery?"
"I'd like to see that, yes, certainly."
"Then I give to you, Mario Kart 64. All the graphical power of the Nintendo 64, with none of the sprite work from yesteryear."
"But there's spri--"

There's something inherently fun about not letting go of the accelerator as you tear around an otherworldly race track, dropping bananas and F-bombs as you go. I don't know what it is exactly. Maybe it's the fact that it's so not serious, and yet in a multiplayer battle - literally or not - it sure can be.

Mario Kart 64 is perhaps the forgotten Mario Kart game. It hasn't aged brilliantly, but that's not going to stop me from rediscovering it twenty-odd years later.