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Video Game Index / Main Page



#40: Golden Axe

Company: Sega    System: Genesis

The arcade version of Golden Axe was a great beat-em-up in its' own right. The multiple characters with different attacks and strengths, powerful magic spells whose effects often took up the whole screen, and the abilty to use various animals as "vehicles" all made it one of the best games of the time.

But it was the Genesis version that inserted Golden Axe's place into video game immortality.

The graphics and sound were near-arcade perfect, and it added in all-new game modes, including a "duel" mode, which foreshadowed the mega-popular one-on-one fighting genre.

The Genny version of Golden Axe showed that not only could arcade conversions now be the equal of their quarter-munching counterparts, they could now surpass them.


#39: Virtua Tennis

Company: Sega    System: Dreamcast

The Dreamcast seemed to be the system where the oddites of the video game world thrived, and Virtua Tennis is a perfect example of that. Before this, tennis games were been regulated to the bargain bin. But with stunning graphics that still hold up to this day, and gameplay that was simple yet deeply addicting, this remains one of the gold standards of the sports genre.


#38: Guitar Hero

Company: Red Octane    System: Playstation 2

This one is a no-brainer. You get a near full-size guitar controller and play along with songs form the likes of Black Sabbath, Queen, and Jimi Hendrix. Rhythm games have never been better, and this is the one that just might eventually push the genre fully into the mainstream.


#37: Shining Force

Company: Sega    System: Genesis

The combination of a role-playing game meshed with strategic combat had been attempted before, but this was the first entry to successfully pull it off. With a cast of engaging (and customizable) characters and gameplay that favored cerebral (rather than manual) dexterity, Shining Force created the mold which all the other games in the genre have had to follow.



#36: Populous

Company: Bullfrog    System: PC

The grand-daddy of all "god games", Populous was the game which brought real-time strategy from a niche market to one of the more popular genres in gaming.

Though the graphics and sound were really nothing to write home about (even at the time it came out), the smooth interface gave the player a true sense of creating a world for their "people", and advanced AI gave them worthy opponents to compete with for control of it.

But it was the sense of freedom that Populous gave players which still makes it a favorite to this day. Don't like the way your minions are acting? Go ahead and put a volcano right over their village and watch them burn.

Undoubtedly, Populous broke many of the barriers of what people consider what a video game could and should be.


#35: Kung Fu Master

Company: Irem    System: Arcade

Do you like games where you kick the crap out of people? Well, then, bow down and give homage to Kung Fu Master, the first real "beat-em-up". Even though it might be considered primitive by today's standards, there's still nothing quite like the feeling of beating up throngs of generic bad guys while yelling like Bruce Lee.



#34: Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!

Company: Nintendo    System: NES

Sure, nowadays we have ultra-realistic boxing games like Fight Night, but there are very few games that come close to the just plain fun of Punch Out.

Glass Joe, Piston Honda, King Hippo, Soda Popiniski, Piston Hurricane, Mr. Sandman, and Bald Bull are just a few of the combantants which forever burned their images into players' minds back in the day.

And who could ever forget the first time they faced "Iron" Mike? Or that swank-ass music that accompanied the cutscenes between circuits?

With a boxing system that even a small kid can pick up on, it sucked you in right away. But it's the game's near-legendary difficulty at the upper levels that make this a real test of any true gamer's mettle, and make it a true classic in a sea of imitators.


#33: Samurai Showdown II

Company: SNK    System: Neo-Geo

SNK has long been known by die-hard gamers as the kings of the fighting game, and Samurai Showdown is one of their flagship franchises. Combining stunning graphics along with the first truly successful uses of weapon-based one-on-one fighting gameplay -- and dashed with liberal doses of blood -- SS2 still remains one of the best entries in the fighting genre to this day.



#32: Devil's Crush

Company: Naxat    System: Turbografx-16

Let's face it -- "video" and "pinball" are two words that should never really go together. They are two totally different -- but equally fun -- breeds of gaming. Most of the previous attempts to bring pinball action to home console screens have resulted in a vortex of suck. But Devil's Crush proved that video pinball games could, in fact, be fun.

With some of the most inventive graphics ever, this game is a treat for the eyes. And the music, for lack of a better word, is simply mesmerizing. At times, it's easy to forget that you're playing a game that is almost twenty years old.

Most importantly, Devil's Crush has surprisingly deep gameplay which favors multiple play-throughs in order to explore every part of the expansive "table".

Devil's Crush reamins not only one of the most impressive games on the TG-16 system, but one of the most fun experiences you will have playing a game.


#31: Double Dragon

Company: Taito    System: Arcade

If you don't know this game, why the hell are you reading this list? This entry needs no explantion. There were beat-em-ups before this, there were many made after it, but Double Dragon is the all-time king of button-mashing whooping ass.