5: Raptor: Call of the shadows – Apogee/Cygnus, 1994
With one of the best soundtracks in the history of video games, Raptor
had great graphics, fairly scaling (and never annoyingly unfair) skill levels, truly – and there’s no other word for it – awesome weapons and a no-bullshit-kill-or-be-killed storyline (or lack thereof). Most people think of it as a very easy game, but trust me; try the Elite skill level or, for a little challenge, prove that you’re better than yours truly by starting in Tango Sector on Elite and finishing the game without buying ANY phase shields. I personally do it by playing only five to six waves of Tango Sector and finishing Outer Regions without having played a single level of Bravo (yes, without phase shields).
4: Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame – Broderbund Software, 1993
This side-scrolling game about a Persian-pauper-turned-prince trying to save his beloved princess from the evil Jaffar might seem simple at first, but its wide range of puzzles and riddles make it stand in a league of its own. Bear in mind that these were days when internet connections were extremely rare and walkthroughs for video games were virtually unheard of. In fact, some of the puzzles were so difficult and so few clues were offered that it took some players outright years to finish the game, after they abandoned it out of frustration and a failure to make progress (myself included). The skeleton on the bridge, the magic horse and of course, the eponymous shadow-and-flame business are all etched into the minds of anyone who has finished this gem.
3: Doom 2 – ID Software, 1994
The granddaddy of all modern FPS games – sure, Wolfenstein
3D pioneered the 3D genre, but it didn’t have elevations or such a wide variety of weapons, enemies and just plain fun. ID software’s brainchild was a hell-and-industrial themed gold mine for more mature audiences with lots of gratuitous gore, scary demons, frighteningly powerful cyborgs and a riveting soundtrack. Although I admit that Quake
, released a couple of years later was a far better game in almost every way, Doom paved the way for Quake to exist and was exponentially more popular (to the point of being on school computers, such was its ubiquity).
2: Need for Speed 2 SE – EA, 1997
Though NFS 3
was a better game overall, NFS 2
was by far more popular. Don’t let the previous statement take anything away from this blindingly fun game, though; it is every bit as deserving of praise. With a slew of some of the hottest contemporary supercars, a reasonably-balanced tier system for those cars and (mostly) brilliantly designed tracks, the game provided hours of unadulterated fun for anyone who functioned like a normal human being.
1: Cadillacs and Dinosaurs – Capcom, 1993
The number one spot is taken by the number one game in the history of Bangladesh. This is a game that has less of a cult following and more of an unofficial national pedestal. This game is so ridiculously coveted that the names of Jack Tenrec, Hannah Dundee, Mustapha Cairo, and Mess O’Bradovich are etched into the minds of the gaming population of the country. In fact, it could be said that every single type of character, moves, weapons and pickups in this game are remembered and remembered fondly. From the mostly-harmless punches from Ferris to the flying kicks from Thug, from Hammer T dropping a suspiciously undigested doughnut upon death to Skinner shooting you into a ‘woah-awh!’-inducing death, we all remember it as if it was yesterday. Everyone has their legendary stories when it comes to this game, and an unspoken decree states that a person reaches an elevated state of being when they finish the game without dying (and without exploiting the glitches on some arcade machines such as unlimited bullets on guns). Everyone has countless memories with this side-scrolling beat-em-up which can be played with up to three players, and there isn’t a Bangladeshi gamer worth a dime that hasn’t played this absolute masterpiece!
As this highly-debatable and probably infuriating list draws to a close, let us have an imaginary toast with our mugs of health pickups. A toast to all the countless ‘unproductive’ hours we have spent on having some good clean fun at the expense of nobody’s suffering. Here’s to all the dropkicks by Mustapha, the overtakes by Ford Indigos and the BFG blasts; to jumping on the stone horse to bring it to life, the Megabombs dropped and the civilians shot (whoops); pulling off the 24-hit Razor Ramon Combo, and seeing the expression on your friend’s face as you rip off his leg and beat him to death with it while the screen shows a bloody ‘Fatality’. Here’s to gaming.