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.