Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

Super Smash Bros: The Smash is Back!

Posted: September 19, 2014 in Video Games

One of Nintendo’s relatively newer staples, Super Smash Bros.¬†has been unmatched by the other game producers. Taking the classic and newer characters, the game allows fanboys to go nuts over the matchups and a deep, exciting gameplay. The newest editions are slated for the WiiU and 3DS, with the latter being the sooner for release. When¬†Brawl¬†was in development, Nintendo released a website for fans to track the updates. The newest ones have the same supporting promotion.

Let’s take a look at the lineup. I also have some thoughts about other optional Final Smash attacks, just to give each character a little something new.

Returning Characters

screen-4-6This game would not be the same without its company’s mascot. Mario has a little touch up with his character design but is ultimately the same fireball-throwing plumber. The change to customizing characters can give his FLUDD a bit more power. His Smash Attack remains the Mario Finale, a fireball swirl attack that can do moderate damage and push opponents off the map.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Mario Sports Slam – Similar to other side-to-side screen blasts, Mario would shoot various sports items across the screen (e.g. soccer ball, baseball, tennis ball, volleyball, bowling, golf ball, etc.).

screen-4-5With his release in the previous game, Pit has become somewhat of a fan favorite. His quick speed and multi-faceted special moves make him quite the SSB fighter. While his Final Smash no longer includes Palutena, he now shoots off the Three Sacred Treasures. This attack can devastate the entire field.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Heaven’s Warriors¬†– While Palutena may not be connected anymore, I liked the idea of the army of winged warriors flying in. The change I would make would be to make them more powerful.

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Mario’s greatest foe takes his place against the plumber and other fighters in his third appearance in the series. Although one of the slowest characters of the series, he makes up with significant power. Fire-breathing is certainly a helpful tactic, but it is really the claws and the spikes on his shell that create the challenge for opponents. His Final Smash takes him through a transformation into Giga Bowser with devastating attacks, while still vulnerable to damage.¬†New Final Smash Idea:¬†Koopa Kid Kaos¬†– Aided by his children, this attack would be a barrage of the kids attacking from all angles.

screen-4-4Often considered the official mascot of the Pokemon series, Pikachu has been a staple of the franchise since the first game. His electric attacks can be quite dangerous, particularly when he calls lighting down from above. One of the most difficult Final Smash attacks to control, Volt Tackle can both hit opponents hard while also dishing out a lot of damage. New Final Smash Idea: Thunder РAs an improved version of his regular attack, Thunder would not just bring a giant bolt of lightning down from an electrified cloud, but also several additional strikes across the field.

screen-2-8The only Star Fox member to make it to the original game, Fox has his rapid fire blaster and reflector at his side. In comparison to the other characters from the Star Fox series, he is the one with the greatest speed. His Fire Fox and Fox Illusion are definitely helpful moves to recover from the edges and deal a little additional damage. His final smash calls upon the Landmaster Tank to drop from the sky and hang around for about 18 seconds. New Final Smash Idea: Great Fox РWhile the Great Fox has been a stage in previous games, adding it as a Final Smash could be an interesting way to differentiate between the Star Fox characters. 

screen-6-6The powerful little puffball is back and a little more powered up than before. Kirby still has all of the same moves that he possessed before. He has his hammer and the ability to drop from above with the force of a stone. His iconic move is still the ability to engulf and steal an opponent’s special move. His original Final Smash turned him into a chef, but it has not been replaced by the Ultra Sword and significantly more power.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Bomber Explosion¬†– As if he has eaten one of the Bomber creatures from his game, Kirby creates a devastating explosion to send opponents soaring.

screen-6-5Another original character, Samus is currently the only playable character from the Metroid series (with the exception of Zero Suit Samus as another version of the character). She is armed with missiles, ball bombs, grappling hook, screw attack, and the arm cannon. Her Final Smash is one of the most destructive of the game, with any character caught in the blast taking massive damage and likely flying off the screen. It can now be aimed. New Final Smash Idea: Dark Suit Samus РSince Zero Suit has been separated out as a specific character, Dark Suit Samus would be a power up similar to a temporary boost in abilities, granting Samus the ability to drop larger bombs and shoot more dangerous beams (including light and dark).

screen-7-7Nintendo’s other official mascot, Link is one of the most recognizable hero models there is in video games. Link is equipped with his Master Sword, bombs, arrows, and his boomerang. He is one of the more versatile fighters with his combination of distance weapons and close-range moves. The upward spin attack is both a great recovery move and dangerous close attack. His final smash is one of the more iconic and legendary of the set, the Triforce Slash. New Final Smash Idea: Skyward Strike¬†–¬†Calling on his newest partner, Fi, Link charges up his sword and sends an electrified ring of light energy toward his opponents.

screen-2-7Donkey Kong is one of the more playful of the Smash characters, as he combines power and physical range due to his long arms and area damage. Whether charging up a powerful punch or slamming the ground, he can raise an opponents damage percentage quite quickly. He is also one of the few characters that can lift heavier items and move more freely. His Final Smash is one of the more disappointing of the group, as Konga Beat is both easy to dodge and rarely does much actual damage. New Final Smash Idea: Barrel Blast РTaking advantage of his Donkey Kong Country days, Blast Barrels appear on the corners of the screen, shooting DK in all different directions until hitting an explosive barrel in the middle of the screen.

screen-1-3Olimar may be small of stature but not weak of heart. The hero from the Pikmin series, SSB has chosen to switch up the Pikmin element of his character design with a reduction from 6 to 3 and maintaining a standard order. He still has access to all of his 5 from the previous game, but his up special has been replaced with Winged Pikmin carrying him back to safety. His Final Smash is completely unavoidable, as End of Day sends Olimar off in his ship and out of the reach of Bulborbs, just before crashing back to land. New Final Smash Idea: Pikmin Reinforcements РRather than attacking with his enemies, Olimar calls on hundreds of Pikmin to do damage before dropping Purple Pikmin from above.

screen-6-4Luigi is not the helpless brother he is commonly made out to be. In SSB Brawl, he was actually one of the most dynamic characters, particularly with his Green Missile blasting across the screen or Super Jump Punch delivering a critical hit if started against an opponent. His Final Smash previously was Negative Zone, but he now is using the Poltergust 5000 to suck up and shoot out all of his opponents. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Luigi Death Stare РCapitalizing on his infamous screenshot from Mario Kart 8, Luigi races around the screen in one of the go karts with an ability to shoot off green shells (with an occasional blue shell thrown in).

screen-7-6Peach is an interesting combination of the elements that are iconically Peach while also infusing a bit of the other Mario series elements into her moves. She pulls out Toad to repel attacks, but she can pull up vegetables to throw straight out of Super Mario 2. She is also equipped with several sports items, hitting foes with the golf club or tennis racket. Her Final Smash puts opponents to sleep with a little damage and a lot of recovery. New Final Smash Idea: POW Block РWhile this may now be an item in the game, Peach monopolizes the use of it by halting movement of any character touching the ground and tossing a giant POW block into the ground.

screen-7-5Toon Link is very much like his counterpart, but his moves have a slightly different flare. His downward sword strike attacks with force, while his spin attack traps opponents in the cyclone. His other items seem to be a little shorter range, with the hookshot being the most clearly shorter than regular Link’s version. His attacks also have the cell-shaded animations that made Wind Waker such a memorable game. He also attacks with the Triforce Slash, just with a little different animation set. New Final Smash Idea: Pirate Cannon Blast¬†– Taking a page from Snake’s Final Smash, Captain Tetra sails into the background and fires off up to 10 cannon blasts that can be aimed by the player.

screen-8-2Sonic speeds back into action with his stint on Nintendo. Mostly using a combination of his spin attacks and powerful kicks, Sonic remains a interesting combination of speed and lack of control. This is most evident in his Final Smash attack, which remains Super Sonic. When he takes in the crystals, he does immediate damage to any character near him and then just goes completely wild all over the screen.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Super Sonic v.2¬†– While including Tails or Knuckles or Robotnik would be interesting ideas, Sonic’s speed is his bread and butter. In this version, the user control is taken out of it, leaving Sonic to shoot across the screen in unpredictable directions, leaving opponents guessing how to dodge the attack.

screen-5Marth was one of the first Fire Emblem characters to appear in SSB, but his has also survived the cut with each new game. His sword is his weapon of choice, with each attack slashing through enemy defenses. Dancing Blade is one of the more challenging regular moves to use, but it creates a difficult combo to break free from. His Final Smash is also interesting, in that it is an immediate fatal blow or immediate loss of life. Missing an opponent and not running into a wall can send Marth off the screen. New Final Smash Idea: Ultimate Dancing Blade РRather than being a directional attack, this trap attack devastates at least one opponents with a barrage of blade attacks, finishing with a huge final blow.

screen-7-2As the other returning Fire Emblem character to grace the SSB screen, Ike is the fire-empowered sword fighter opposite of Marth. He is a little slower than Marth but clearly more powerful. His attacks are on par with Bowser, Donkey Kong, or King Dedede. His blade can send opponents flying off the screen at just 50% damage. His Final Smash, Great Aether, traps enemies in a whirlwind of flaming sword attacks, before slamming them into the ground and sending them flying. New Final Smash Idea: Radiant Dawn РNamed after his first appearance in a Fire Emblem game, this move would create a pillar of flames that would engulf half of the map and do significant damage to any foe trapped inside.

screen-6-2While also on the slow side for his competition, King Dedede continues to fill the role of the villainous counterpart for Kirby while being woven into a interesting storyline (at least from SSB Brawl). His hammer might seem like his big weapon, but he also has a similar inhale attack like Kirby and Super Dedede Jump. His former Final Smash was the Waddle Dee Army, but it has been replaced by the Dede-Burst, which traps enemies into multiple powerful hammer hits and a bomb for good measure. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Super Hammer РWhile the new Final Smash seems like it could improve his power in this game, the hammer could transform into a similar attack to the hammer item and player can pick up.

screen-2-5Lucario was the newest of the Pokemon to be added at the time of Brawl, since he was considered the special fan favorite at the time. His moves were similar to Mewtwo from Melee, but his power was determined by his degree of damage taken. None of his attack are particularly strong, except surprisingly his aerial downward attack. His former Final Smash of Aura Storm (which trapped enemies in seriously damaging beam of energy) has been replaced by Mega Lucario, granting him the power that he traditionally lacks. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mega Force РUsing his psychic abilities, he ensnares an opponents and mentally slams them into the ground multiple times.

screen-6-3This princess is not one that needs saving, particularly with her possession of the three ancient spirits’ magic. Zelda no longer transforms into Sheik, but she can still shoot fire, reflect attacks, or teleport. The new downward attack is the Phantom Slash, where she calls upon an ancient shadow warrior. Her Final Smash remains the Light Arrow, which can deal immediate death to its first hit opponents and serious damage to others in-line.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Call of the Sages¬†– Bringing forth the 6 sages of the goddesses, they trap opponents in their magic and give Zelda a chance to fire a beam of light that cannot be blocked.

screen-2-3Though technically still Zelda, Sheik is a separate playable character now. She does not have access to her magical abilities. Instead, she capitalizes on speed and physical attacks to take out opponents. In an odd move, she has 2 move changes. Her first is the loss of the chain and replacing it with burst grenades. The second is to replace her transformation with an upward flip kick. While these moves have changed, she still also possesses the Light Arrow, with the damage caused by the arrow being slightly stronger than the one shot by her other form. New Final Smash Idea: Smoke & Mirrors РIn multiple bursts of smoke, Sheik flies throughout the middle part of the screen, ending with a devastating high kick as strong as a baseball bat.

screen-6Diddy Kong is an interesting partner from the Donkey King series, as his moves were created to be a bit different than his uncle. He is smaller, fasters, and uses more trickery to battle his foes. The peanut gun can also be used as a recovery device by picking up the dropped peanuts, or he can toss bananas to make the surface a little more difficult to deal with. He is still armed with his rocket barrels, which serve him with his Final Smash. The Rocket Barrel Barrage makes him a little too hot to handle and able to fire off explosive peanut shots. New Final Smash Idea: Kong Double Trouble РCalling on his girlfriend Dixie, the two monkeys whip around the field at faster than the average player can handle.

screen-2-4Zero Suit Samus, like Sheik, has now developed her own option as a separate playable character. Though without the arm cannon and bombs, she is armed with her blaster and now jet boots to scoot across the platforms. The blaster is more of a paralyzer, but the boots give her a little extra power and range with jumping. Her original Final Smash let her put the Power Suit back on, but now she has a chance to pilot her gunship and take out opponents similar to Snake’s helicopter ride/grenade launcher. ¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Space Pirate Scramble¬†– As the alarms go off and the Samus takes cover, Space Pirates take over the map and begin to fire on all who remain.

screen-3-2No Baby Mario on his back, or full size one for that matter. Yoshi has also survived all iterations of the series and continues to bring his egg-throwing antics to the fight. He has the ability to roll up and speed across the platforms or connect on his most powerful attack of his airborne waddle kick. He can also use his tongue to pull in opponents and either shoot them back out or trap them briefly in a giant egg. His Super Dragon Final Smash was an interesting invention that combined wings for flight with fireballs and fire streams as he soars across the battle. New Final Smash Idea: Egg Chain Attack РStocking up on eggs floating behind him, Yoshi begins to toss more powerful eggs horizontally across the screen until throwing a final giant egg to explode in the middle of the screen.

screen-4-2Sir Meta Knight has the similar fighting ability of Pit, with a slight bit more speed and a little less power. This dark fighter wields a sword with most of the attacks being multiple slashes. He can also sprout wings and glide from great distances or drill spin through the air. He also can counter moves using the Dimensional Cape. The Final Smash is similar to this attack, but much more powerful. Galaxia Darkness is a close range attack that does serious damage. New Final Smash Idea: Galaxia Cyclone РSummoning a pillar of wind from a slash of his sword, enemies caught in the pillar will be thrown off of the top of the screen.

screen-7-3The Pokemon Trainer is no more. In his stead, Charizard has now been unleashed and is ready to battle on his own. While the Rock Smash returns as the down special move, Flare Blitz gets added as the sideways attack. Fire moves now do a little damage to Charizard when he damages an enemy with them. Similar to Lucario and Yoshi, his Final Smash attack is a mega-evolution that involves a combination of flying across the screen and shooting fire. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Fire Blast РUnlike the SSB Brawl version that was part of the Triple Finish, Fire Blast would be a fire attack that takes up half of the screen in a fiery five-point star.

screen-2-2Captain Falcon remains the only representative from the F-Zero series, but he has also seamlessly transitioned between each version of the game. He is one of the fastest characters, zipping across the screen with his quick feet and fire-charged kicks and uppercuts. His Falcon Punch is still one of the most dangerous power moves in the game. The Blue Falcon was a stage before it became a Final Smash, but he continues to use his racer to knock opponents off of the map. New Final Smash Idea: Fire Falcon РTaking the form of a phoenix, Captain Falcon flies into the background and can be aimed to shoot through the foreground and take out anyone in his path.

 

New Arrivals

screen-2Lucina is similar to Marth in a lot of ways. She is essentially a clone version, like Roy from SSB Melee (minus the fire element), possessing the same move set and Final Smash. The most significant difference between the characters is in the sword. Marth has his strongest point at the tip, where Lucina’s sword strength is relatively even across the entire blade. She first appeared in Fire Emblem: Awakening in 2013. Critical Hit has the same upside and downside as with Marth’s version. New Final Smash Idea: Parallel Falchion¬†– While it is difficult to distinguish a different attack for Lucina, her special blade can get powered up for a mega strike similar to Kirby’s new Ultra Sword.

screen-3-3Definitely one of the strangest additions since Mr. Game & Watch, the Wii Fit Trainer can come in both the male and female versions. All of their attacks are based off of fitness moves and positions, including yoga poses, hula hoop, header, deep breathing, and stretches. The yoga poses include Sun Salutation and variations with Pushing and Concentrate. The Final Smash attack is very similar to Mario’s. Wii Fit shoots out colorful shadow images of the trainer in different yoga and stretching poses.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea:¬†Balance Board Tilt¬†– Breaking free of the traditional fitness moves, the trainer takes the board out and uses it to tilt the screen to cause characters to slide right off the map.

screen-2-6The two big new names from SSB Brawl were Snake and Sonic. Joining the roster for this new game is Mega Man, and fans of the series could not be more excited. Having originated on the NES, Mega Man is accompanied by his robo-dog Rush and a host of different power ups from his games. He can call upon the Leaf Shield, Crash Bomber, and Metal Blade. Of course, Mega Man still has his Mega Buster. When he shoots off the Black Hole Bomb, the Final Smash is starting. Calling in all of the different versions of his character from the original to Battle Network, the combined blast sends opponents sailing. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Zero Blade РTrading places, Zero jumps in and traps opponents in a series of blasts before swinging down the blade to finish them off.

screen-8-3Another interesting addition to the team is the Villager from Animal Crossing. Having options to choose from both the male and female versions, the attack combinations are not purely within the Animal Crossing universe and tend to be a little more creative than other characters. Able to hide items in their pocket or grow a tree to chop down on opponents, the Villager employs these types of tactics to confuse and sneak attack. The Final Smash is the Dream Home, where Nooks jump in to surround opponents in a house and then blow it up. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mr. Resetti РWhile his Assist Trophy blocked visibility on the screen in the past, this new version would quickly spout off a flurry of word bubbles that explode when touched.

screen-1-2Adding a new Mario-based character to the lineup, Rosalina and Luma make for an interesting new pairing similar to the Ice Climbers. While the damage only matters to Rosalina, she can be greatly hindered if she loses touch with Luma. Using elements from Mario Galaxy, Luma can be a projectile or she can shoot off Star Bits. She may be the character with the greatest learning curve, but also with potentially the greatest upside. Her Final Smash calls upon a Power Star that shoots stars in multiple directions before finally finishing off with a bang. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mario Planet Meteor РCalling upon the Mario Planet, she guides it to smash into the field and explode.

screen-7-4No longer an Assist Trophy, Little Mac is now ready for the fight. He clearly stands noticeably shorter than the other human character, but he packs quite a punch. In many ways, his style of fighting for the game is very similar to Balrog from Street Fighter but a bit more agile. He loses a bit of his effectiveness on levels that shift and lack borders, but he can excel when he works on a flat land. His Final Smash is similar to Bowser’s as Giga Mac can just go haywire on all near him.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Punching Bag¬†– Trapping opponents in range of the ringing of the bell, the camera drops behind Little Mac as he goes rapid fire and ends with a full uppercut.

screen-1Pokemon was always going to get a new entry into the series, as older ones also rotate out. Greninja is an interesting combination of speed and water-based attacks, with the shiftiness of a ninja. Having the ability to somewhat replace the loss of Squirtle from the lineup, Hydro Pump returns as a comeback move, while Greninja adds Shadow Sneak to jet from one spot to another and throw Water Shurikens as projectiles. The Final Smash is a devastating multi-hit trap attack called Mysterious Ninja. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mega Evolution – Similar to a few of the other Pokemon, Greninja levels up his attacks and smash potential for a short period of time.

screen-7Taking advantage of a new place to use the Mii characters, there are now three versions of Mii Fighters. The Mii Brawler is similar to Little Mac in their fighting style, focusing on the use of punches and kicks. Mii Gunners have arm cannons and can fire an array of fire and laser blasts. The Mii Swordfighters are an interesting combination of the other sword-wielding characters, with an interesting combination of power and speed. The Final Smashes for each of these characters are Ultimate Final Rush (Brawler’s attack similar to Ike’s Great Aether), Full Throttle (Gunner’s triple laser similar to Samus’s Final Smash), and Final Edge (Swordfighter’s projectile slash attack similar to Mario’s Finale).¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mii Your Enemy¬†– Trapping opponents close by, Mii does a digital makeover to turn opponents into Mii versions of themselves, keeping them frozen for up to 10 seconds after the attack finishes.

screen-8Palutena has detached herself from Pit and is ready to fight for herself. She is a powerful warrior who has the ability to dramatically affect her speed and range by manipulating her stats. She is armed with her staff and can create energy beams out of nowhere. Her Final Smash may be the one that appears to be the most devastating. Trapping opponents in a Black Hole, she follows up the attack with a Mega Laser, sending her foes flying off the screen. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Palutena’s Army¬†– Just because Pit is no longer using them does not mean that Palutena does not have to. She calls upon her winged army to attack from all angles to clear the skies.

screen-4-3The other significant classic character added to this lineup is Pac-Man. Although the character model is not specifically based off the original Pac-Man, he still has moves that pay tribute to the classic design and to the Namco library of games. The ghosts do appear when doing basic smash attacks, but the combination of Namco appearances include 8-bit fruit attacks, the Galaxian Flagship, and fire hydrants that can shoot water, blast fire, or explode. It would not be Pac-Man without a Final Smash that pays tribute to Super Pac-Man. Characters eaten by the giant version of Pac-Man briefly turn into disembodied eyes and get knocked back or blown away.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Ghost Attack¬†– Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde appear and begin to chase Pac-Man around the screen, doing critical damage when they hit Pac-Man’s opponents.

screen-3Robin, one of the additions from Fire Emblem, is an interesting collection of sword fighting similar to his/her peers but with additional elements of magic. With both a male and female version, Robin starts with a tome in hand and can use it to shoot lightning, fire, wind, or dark magic. The tome can get used up, but Robin turns to the bronze sword to continue the fight. The Final Smash pulls Fire Emblem partner Chrom onto the stage to Pair-Up against opponents all trapped opponents. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Avatar Switch Up РTaking advantage of the multiple versions of Robin from the game, transformations across the various classes create a barrage of elemental attacks.

screen-4Pulling from another new series, Shulk from Xenogears brings his vision abilities to the fight. Armed with the blade, Monado, his attacks are focused on blade swipes and shifty movements to dodge and counter. The main tactic Shulk uses is Monado Arts, which allows him to change his stats based on the needs of the fight. This can affect his defense, speed, mobility, or strength. His Final Smash attack is the Chain Attack, where he calls upon Dunban and Riki from Xenogears to join in a barrage of sword slices and a final slice by Shulk. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Reversal РInstead of changing his own stats, he uses Monado Arts to change all of the stats of the opponents, making them temporarily slower, weaker, and most helpless.

Additional Pending New Arrivals

While the game is just a couple of weeks away from release on the 3DS, there are still some characters that have been leaked but not officially posted to the website. These characters continue to expand the collection of ones to grace this series.

BowserJrHeader_zps1de15a2fBowser Jr. РThis one was a bit of a surprise, but many Mario-based games have begun to add wither Bowser Jr. or the Koopalings. This character addition actually does both, as the alternate skins on the character select allow for the selection of any of the Koopalings. This character design uses the Junior Clown Car and includes Mecha Koopas, a cannon, drills, and the ability to turn into a kart. As a Final Smash, Bowser Jr. can call upon Shadow Mario (from Mario Sunshine) to block out the screen with paint and attack in the background. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mega Clown Car РTaking advantage of the Clown Car, it grows in size and begins to drop giant cannonballs onto unsuspecting enemies below.

Dark Pit¬†–¬†While Dark Pit is not inherently evil, his presence in the game gives a clone-like element to the SSB Brawl addition. Dark Pit’s moves are much like his counterpart with a few small exceptions. His special dash attack is Electroshock Arm, giving a little extra boost to the power of the hit. His shield also protects both sides versus a stronger shield on one side. Dark Pit Staff serves as his Final Smash, very similar to the Final Smash attacks of both Zelda and Sheik.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Shattered Mirror¬†Since his appearance was granted by the existence of a magical mirror, he traps opponents in a large mirror before shattering is and exploding them off of the map.

Dr. Mario – Returning after taking a hiatus since SSB Melee, he is mostly a clone of the regular Mario with a little nostalgia. Instead of fireballs, he shoots Megavitamins. Instead of using a cape to counter projectiles and attacks, he flashes his doctor’s coat and a sheet. Instead of using the F.L.U.D.D., he has the Dr. Tornado attack. Even the Final Smash is basically similar with a new coating. Dr. Finale is a barrage of Megavitamins that he hurls across the screen.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Virus Overload¬†– A red, blue, and yellow virus appear on the screen and attach to his enemies. Dr. Mario then tosses a stream of Megavitamins to knock off the virus and slam the enemy off-screen.

Duck Hunt – Probably the most exciting of the new additions to the game, the Duck Hunt dog and a duck jump into the fight. While the dog is considered one of the most annoying characters in video game history, he is now a playable character and can be turned more into a hero. The duck is a significant contributor to this team and stays connected with the dog (think Banjo-Kazooie). An unseen gunman assists from off-screen. The Final Smash is Gunfight, which is similar to Mega Man’s Final Smash with its special cutscene.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea:¬†Mad Dog¬†– Embracing the laughing dog element, the Duck Hunt dog laughs to insanity and gains invulnerability, strength, and speed for a short period of time.

Falco_Lombardi_Super_Smash_Bros_Wii_UFalco¬†– While the game has had a pattern of adding a Star Fox character with each version, it appears that only Falco¬†will join Fox in this new game. He still has a lot of the same moves, with slight variations off of Fox’s. His blaster is not rapid fire but briefly stuns his opponents. His Reflector gets projected forward rather than simply surrounding him. Similarly, his Landmaster tank Final Smash has all the same moves as Fox’s except for a slightly stronger set of attacks and shorter presence on the field.¬†New¬†Final Smash Idea: Arwing Assault¬†– Rather than jumping into the Landmaster, Falco jumps into his Arwing, flies into the background, aims an attack toward the foreground, and is joined by Slippy and Pepper to mount a trio flyby through the screen.

Ganondorf¬†– While¬†considered the slowest of the characters, he is also clearly one of the strongest. Returning with a couple of other holdouts, his key is his power. The Warlock Punch is stronger than Captain Falcon’s and sends foes flying further. His forward¬†special attack can be modified to be covered in flames rather than dark magic. His Wizard’s Foot can be a great downward or horizontal attack. His Final Smash is Beast Ganon, which immobilizes all opponents in front of him before charging them off of the screen.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Warlock Punch¬†– Jumping into the air, he torpedoes toward the ground and creates a shockwave, damaging character closer to the point of impact at greater strength than on the periphery.

Jigglypuff РWhile not officially announced on the site, Jigglypuff has been in every version of the game to date. It would be a little strange to be without the pink puffball. Her attacks remain the same from Melee and Brawl, particularly her Rest attack. If timed correctly, the attack is an instant smash off the map. If done incorrectly, she is completely vulnerable. Her Final Smash continues to be Puff Up, which causes her to expand to massive sizes and knock out opponents at the moment of deflation. New Final Smash Idea: Prank & Puff РTaking an element from the Pokemon TV show, Jigglypuff sings the opponents to sleep, pulls out a black marker, defaces her opponents, and quickly puffs up and pops.

Mr. Game & Watch РAs one of the more variable, odd characters from SSB Brawl, Mr. Game & Watch has been leaked to return and was featured briefly in one of the promotional videos. His moves are a little odd, but they can be very effective. Judge is a move that allows him to strike with random success and strength (with 9 being as strong as a home run bat). His Oil Panic allows him to collect projectiles and toss them back as an oil slick. His Final Smash is a giant Octopus, which can move around the screen and attack with the tentacles. New Final Smash Idea: Crazy Chef РSince Kirby lost his Chef Kirby Final Smash, Mr Game & Watch could pick up the slack and pan-fry his opponents and send them flying.

tumblr_inline_msrlmpDUMx1qz4rgp.psdNess РAnother original character that is definitely expected to rejoin the cast, Ness is the only surviving member of the Earthbound team. He uses some psychic abilities to attack his opponents, or pulls out a baseball bat or yo-yo to inflict damage. PK Freeze can be a useful attack to throw off opponents, but PK Thunder has an ability to do serious damage when trying to recover from off of the ledge. PK Starstorm is his Final Smash that calls shooting stars to fall from the sky. New Final Smash Idea: UFO РWhile PK Starstorm is one of the more devastating attacks from Brawl since it is stage-wide, UFO would pull in a feeling of Space Invaders and trap characters in the tractor beam before firing a powerful laser down at them.

R.O.B.¬†– Introduced in SSB Brawl, R.O.B. was a character that was represented as both playable and one of the main sets of enemies throughout the Subspace Emissary. His large size can be a disadvantage, but he also has a number of great projectiles and one of the best off-screen recovery abilities of any character. His iconic status as the potential savior of the Nintendo franchise, he has established himself as a SSB staple very quickly as well. His Final Smash was Diffusion Beam, but it has changed to a giant laser cannon that does significant damage.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Malfunction¬†–¬†R.O.B. overheats and builds up to a mega explosion.

Missing in Action

Besides the characters that we have come to appreciate, there are some notable names that are missing. While quick reactions may focus on wondering how Nintendo could leave out Lucas or Ice Climbers, the WiiU does have the benefit of a more comprehensive online network and the ability to create downloadable content. With that said, here are some considerations for the missing characters.

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Roy РWith Fire Emblem being very well represented in this upcoming edition of SSB, it is highly unlikely that Roy would make a return. If he did, his model would likely be something in-between Marth and Ike, with a combination of slightly faster sword attacks and elements of flames. Rather than being a clone, he would be a merger or a middle ground. Possible Final Smash Idea: Flame Aether РWith his similarities to Ike, he would have a mirrored Final Smash with more slashes and a slightly weaker final slam.

Pichu¬†– It has been said that Pichu from SSB Melee evolved into Pikachu from SSB Brawl, which could explain his lack of a return. Pichu was simply a clone of Pikachu with the ability to hurt himself when using electric attacks. It is unlikely that he would even be downloadable later on, but you never know.¬†Possible Final Smash Idea: Volt Tackle¬†– While Pikachu has Volt Tackle and flies across the screen in a ball of electricity, Pichu’s could be more like a grounded version of Super Sonic with electricity shooting off of his charged body.

Mewtwo РProbably the character that the most fans want to see returned to the series, Mewtwo used a combination of psychic and physical attacks to beat up against his enemies. He could charge up and shoot out a Shadow Ball or disorient enemies with Disable. He also had the ability to Teleport and has all of his physical attacks charged up with shadow elements. Possible Final Smash Idea: Psychic РWhile it may be a simple name, it is not a simple attack. As a trapping attack, enemies caught in his psychic hold are thrown around the map until a charged up Shadow Ball finishes them off.

Pokemon Trainer¬†– Since Charizard was pulled out of the mix, the Pokemon Trainer fell off the character list. It was an interesting setup to have a character that was actually three characters in one, with Squirtle and Ivysaur making up the trio. It was clear that Charizard was a little slower but had a better combination of range and power. Squirtle’s speed was an attempt to make up for his lack of power, and Ivysaur fell into the middle across all qualities.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Master¬†Pokeball – Similar to the regular Pokeball item, the trainer would be able to throw out a Master Ball and have a legendary or mega-evolution version of a Pokemon pop out with a devastating attack (e.g. Ho-oh with Flame Pillar or Rayquaza with Dragon Rage).

Snake РAs the surprise from the SSB Brawl cast, Snake had originally been discussed early in the development of the SSB series. His combination of the rocket launcher and grenades made him the most realistic of the characters on the roster. He was a little unwieldy as far as the variable speed of his moves, but his Final Smash was one of the most fun with launching grenades from the foreground. New Final Smash Idea: Fly By РSimilar to his original Final Smash, Snake would take to the chopper but simply fly horizontally across the screen and drop a series of smoke bombs in one direction and grenades in the other.

Ice Climbers РThe 3DS was apparently not able to handle the design of the Ice Climbers (although Rosalina & Luma seemed to work out). They ended up hitting the chopping block, even though they appeared to be a staple since SSB Melee. Their ice-based moves were not particularly strong, but the hammers certainly had the ability to crush their foes. Their Final Smash had the ability to do a lot of damage but not actually smash them off of the screen with the Iceberg. New Final Smash Idea: Condor Attack РCalling on the Condor from the top of the mountain, it swoops down toward enemies and can grab one and fly off screen with it.

Wolf РThis Star Fox character dropping breaks the cycle of adding one per game. Rather than adding a fourth, the game will drop back to two. It is likely that he will be saved as a downloadable character, but his claws and blaster are out for now. His moves were more angled than Fox and Falco, but they tended to be a little stronger. His Final Smash followed the same format as the other two, just a little shorter and stronger. New Final Smash Idea: Star Wolf Rivals РCalling upon Leon and Panther, the three jump into their Wolfens and shoot the stage in a series of flybys.

Lucas¬†– Likely the biggest surprise for being left off, it was originally identified that Lucas was supposed to be the starring Earthbound character over Ness. He seems to be more of a favorite over Ness, mostly due to his electrified attacks over the use of the yo-yo. PK Starstorm was similar to Ness’s attack, but his tended to angle toward the middle a little more than Ness.¬†New Final Smash Attack: PK Flash¬†– Similar in concept to Luigi’s Negative Zone, PK Flash would cause other opponents to suffer a combination of ailments (e.g. slowness, dizziness, sleep, and stumbling).

Characters I Would Like to See in the Game

Downloadable characters will be a part of this new game, but who else could make a surprise appearance? Here is a brief list of some of my preferred options.

  • Sabin (FFVI): Mostly a physical fighter like Little Mac, he would be able to use his Blitz abilities. Final Smash: Bum Rush
  • King K. Rool (Donkey Kong): Armed with his cannon, he would help provide an antagonist like Bowser and King Dedede. Final Smash: Hyper Cannon
  • Kamek (Mario): Bring another magical character to the table, he could create Mario-based enemies to appear on-screen or strike directly with matin. Final Smash: Mega Kamek
  • Toad (Mario): Finally breaking free from Peach, Toad gets a chance to use moves gained from power ups in New Super Mario Bros. Final Smash: Toad’s Turnpike
  • Birdo (Mario): He (yes, he) can shoot eggs out of his snout and move around similarly to Yoshi. Final Smash: Mega Egg
  • Bomberman (Bomberman): Clearly his main weapon is bombs, but he has the ability to use them in creative ways. Final Smash: Bomb Bombardment
  • Waddle Dee (Kirby): Wearing a bandana, Waddle Dee can shoot lasers from his eye and uses a spear to attack enemies. Final Smash: Waddle Dee Wave
  • Proto Man (Mega Man): Though confused because of his programming, he possesses an interesting combination of special moves. Final Smash: Bass Swap
  • Krystal (Star Fox): Adding another female character, she would be equipped with the staff from Star Fox Adventures and able to shoot energy shots from the end. Final Smash: Dino Stampede
  • Earthworm Jim (Earthworm Jim): Between the blaster and the ability to whip his worm body around, this would be another reintroduction of a classic game character.¬†Final Smash: Cow Launcher
  • Geno (Super Mario RPG): Shooting stars and buckshot would be just the start of adapting this character to the SSB universe.¬†Final Smash: Geno Flash
  • Tails (Sonic): Not as fast as his blue partner, Tails would use his multiple tails and a slight bit of speed to turn into a fighter.¬†Final Smash: Hyper Tails
  • Banjo-Kazooie (Banjo-Kazooie): While Rare would make this one difficult, the duo would make for an interesting game mechanic similar to what has been designed for Duck Hunt.¬†Final Smash: Mumbo’s Magic
  • Chrono (Chrono Trigger): Taking another stab at trying to get a Square character, Chrono would fall in-line with the other sword fighting characters while adding a new series. Final Smash: Luminaire
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Evolving before the rest of the industry could catch up, Nintendo advanced to a place that open new doors for game development. While Sony, Sega, and Microsoft were all creating games that had a 3-dimensional concept, Nintendo used polygon graphics to get that z-axis to perform greater than could ever be predicted. The system started with its quintessential Mario game, but Pilotwings jumped in to help highlight what the new graphic style could do to revolutionize the possibilities in gaming. Large, free-range environments began to become the standard and characters had more malleability and mobility than the past.

The N64 came at a pivotal point in the industry as well. Nintendo had stuck with cartridges for their entire existence, but the rest of the industry was switching to CDs for storage considerations. Sticking to their guns, Nintendo believed the cartridge still provided better opportunities for file saving, load times, and cleaner gameplay. While it seemed to work in the short term, the system’s end came when CD (and eventually DVD) technology outshines the capabilities of the cartridge. While Nintendo still tried to break convention, they had left a ton of titles that deserve attention and praise for their lasting impact on the industry.

Honorable Mention:¬†Turok: Dinosaur Hunter; Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire; Yoshi’s Story; Pilotwings 64; Wave Race 64; Banjo-Tooie; Donkey Kong 64; Mario Tennis; Pokemon Stadium; Pokemon Snap; Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards; Diddy Kong Racing; F-Zero X; Star Wars: Rouge Squadron; 1080 Snowboarding; WWF: No Mercy; Paper Mario; Resident Evil 2; Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater; Conker’s Bad Fur Day

10) Mario Party183539-mario_party_3__u_

Party games had never truly existed before. There was no genre to define the type of game that pitted more than two players against each other that could not cleanly be defined as an action-adventure game or fighting game. Mario Party changed the video game universe with the way that it engaged players of all ages and incorporated ways to even out skill level without luck being too big of a factor. The mini games within the greater package may have been simplistic (and a few of them frustrating), but the variety and creativity is something to honor. This game paved the ways for a whole series to be constructed simply around Mario-based mini games, but eventually this led to a whole new slate of games that could officially be deemed party games.

9)¬†The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s MaskThe_Legend_of_Zelda_-_Majora's_Mask_(North_America)

First of all, this is not the only Legend of Zelda game to grace this list. The reality is that Nintendo had a gold mine and found just the right way to engage it. Majora’s Mask was a bit of a diversion from the previous Zelda game, in that it was darker, stranger, and more nuanced than its predecessors. Link, after the events of a previous game, found himself in the woods with Epona. Getting attacked by the Skull Kid (wearing a special mask), Link ends up in a new land and is commissioned to save it from destruction before the Moon crashes into the world. As young Link throughout the game, he uses masks to engage and extract special abilities to traverse his new land. The game was full of strange characters, interesting side quests, and creepy bad guys. It may have been difficult for some to pick up as easily as other games on this list, but it was truly a treasure for this system. (The commercial is for a remastered version of the game.)

8) Perfect Dark71fzEw4A6IL._SX300_.gif

This is one of those games that I heard plenty about but never actually got the chance to play it myself. Based off of the¬†Goldeneye 007¬†engine and due to the company’s inability to produce a sequel off of the successful first-person shooter,¬†Perfect Dark¬†rose to more of a cult status (since it was not a known story) but was able to improve upon the presentation of the 007 game. Surprisingly, the multiplayer was actually on par (if not slightly better) than its well-known predecessor. The only thing that is really hurting this game’s ability to move up on this list is the fact that I never played it and probably never actually will. I’ve moved on…

7) Banjo-Kazooie1159001550-00

As far as 3D platformers go, this was an odd one. Vegetables with eyes. Inanimate objects coming to life and needing your help. And a witch that seems to keep leaving the door open for you to upgrade your abilities and match her power. Just plain weird…but worth all of the oddities. Two friends joined together closer than the movie¬†Stuck on You. Banjo is the more powerful, bumbling one, while Kazooie was more finesse and sass. The banter made the game truly enjoyable and the creativity of Rare to choose worlds that would normally not be considered for a game of this type was simply perfect for its success. While the sequel also was strong, it went a little too far and pushed the limits of the variety of gameplay elements one game can provide.

6) Star Fox 64StarFox64_N64_Game_Box

At this point of the list, it is tough to truly distinguish which game really is better than the others. This is definitely the case for Star Fox 64. Fox and friends (not to be confused with FOX News) are back on a system that was much more prepared to present a complete game in comparison to the SNES. The 3D feel of the game and the dynamic levels made this one that could easily be played for hours and hours. Not only was the single player strong, but this was one of those games that proved that multiplayer battles and missions were the wave of the future. The multiplayer was intriguing in the way players could choose Arwing, tank, or your character with a pistol. Still, the single-player battles with Star Wolf and the amazingly engrossing boss battles were the true gems of this game. It is strange that Nintendo has failed to produce another flight simulator game like this since the N64.

5) Super Mario 64Super_Mario_64_(NA)

This was the game that started the system. This was the one that changed the name of the game. It evolved video games truly into the world of 3D and dramatically raised the bar for its competitors. Unlike the previous entries of the Mario series, this was one that had levels but also game players the ability to navigate an open environment and choose their path more freely. I was also inspired to attempt a speed run for all 120 stars, but I never was able to complete it in any less that 23 hours (still impressive, I would say). The worlds, the enemies, and the challenges made the replay value so high that I can still break it out today and enjoy it just as much as the more complicated action-adventure and RPG games now.

4) Super Smash Bros.Super-smash-bros-boxart

Fighting games had traditionally been a 1 vs. 1 affair. Nintendo decided it was time to break the mold with this game. In the first success of its kind,¬†Super Smash Bros.¬†pitted Nintendo’s top icons against each other on a variety of stages set in their games. If you had ever wondered if Mario could beat Link in a fight, you could test your theory. The single player mode was a little on the quick side, but the focus of the game was on the multiplayer. The variety of moves, stages, and items created a vast gaming experience for hours and hours of enjoyment. Since the original game, anticipation skyrockets every time a new edition begins to get teased. Who is going to be in this next one?!? None of this has been able to be replicated by the other companies, nor should it ever be.

3) Mario Kart 64Mk64cover

SNES had it right with the first in the series, but N64 took advantage of the 3D environments and also maximized the multiplayer experience, just like SSB. With 8 featured characters (including Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and Yoshi), the racing and the battle mode had the right balance of challenge and flexibility. While the flat tracks of the first game were relatively dynamic, power sliding through Bowser’s Castle, navigating Yoshi’s Valley, and racing around Rainbow Road was just stellar. The battle mode was an even bigger step up. Fighting it out on multilevel platforms created a new way to play that helped to set up the following games. Just like SSB, this was simply hours and hours of multiplayer fun!

2) Goldeneye 007007-GoldenEye

There is a bit of a theme at the top of this list. The previous titles hit the racing and fighting genres, but the shooting genre had not taken off in the console world yet. Shooters were mostly resigned to computers due to the processing power and control elements necessary to make it work.¬†Goldeneye 007¬†changed the game and opened up the possibility for consoles to capitalize on 3D graphic technology. The single player mode followed the events of the film, but with a few additional missions thrown in. The difficulty level was extremely high, especially with the final levels. Yet again though, the multiplayer was the significant success of the game. Fighting it out in the facility or the temple provided all sorts of secret pathways and places to set traps. Being able to customize the weapons package also provided a lot of variability as well. Just don’t be the jerk who always chooses Oddjob…

1) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeThe_Legend_of_Zelda_-_Ocarina_of_Time_(Collector's_Edition)

Arguably considered the best game of all time, this was one of the few titles to actually get perfect scores from game reviewers almost entirely across the board. Link was back, and with a quest that was more epic than anyone could have ever dreamed. Traveling from his childhood into young adulthood, the game was dynamic, dramatic, expansive, challenging, and truly a masterpiece. Even with the infamous Water Temple, few could ever walk away from OOT with any sense of disappointment. Battling Gohma inside the first temple or Ganondorf/Ganon at the end was just enthralling. One of the best moments of the game may actually be at the first real encounter with Ganondorf capturing Zelda and then getting the Master Sword, or maybe it was actually when Hyrule Castle falls and Ganon rises from the rubble. Mario may be the Nintendo mascot and have impressive numbers that outrank The Legend of Zelda but Link is the true franchise.

The N64 clearly proved that it was the system that revolutionized both 3D and multiplayer gaming. The cartridge began to see a decline after the first several years of success, but Nintendo would continue to find ways to stay relevant until they could revolutionize yet again. Stay tuned for the Gamecube review soon.

Super Mario Bros. for NES introduced the concept in the early 80s. After defeating Bowser in the first castle, Mario finds a one of the Toad people who informs him that his journey is far from over. The Legend of Zelda takes this concept to the next level. Link battles through all of Hyrule just to find that he can save Princess Zelda, but he does not really get the girl in the end. These characters are joined by many as the icons that gamers spend hours trying to save and protect. With the significant influence from their games, does this have an effect on how they see real life relationships and expectations of the opposite sex?

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A couple of days ago, Arthur Chu over at¬†The Daily Beast¬†blogged¬†to discuss this very issue. His article highlighted how the recent actions of one man serve as an example for how men have become misguided in their assumptions of finding relationships, love, and sex with women. Being there to save the princess does not automatically mean that the princess must give herself to the hero’s every whim. Also highlighted were shows like¬†The Big Bang Theory, which portrays its lead character living across from a beautiful woman and finding a way to be her close friend until he finally is able to date her. He highlights how these images have distorted some men’s views and caused them to expect a return on their success and good behavior. When those expectations are not met and some men feel slighted by life, they have taken it out on women through violence, rape, and murder.

Chu’s article covers a lot of related elements, but its main point is definitely strong and true. Men, whether video game players, movie watchers, or otherwise, have come to expect that success leads to whatever they want in a partner. In some cases, this presumption¬†even exists without success as an assumed indicator of relationship likelihood. Take the incident in Santa Barbara, CA. Assuming that women owe any man anything with regards to sex, love, or otherwise is naive and chauvinistic. To act against women because you feel slighted is foolish. To enter into any space to kill woman as symbolism of your vengeance against an entire sex for made-up expectations you created is just plain horrific.

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It does not matter if the guy feels led on. It does not matter if the woman one lusts after has been a friend for their entire lives. It does not matter if the guy feels that he is about to permanently end up in the “friend zone.” None of these scenarios deserve the actions that one man perpetrated in that sorority house. I refuse to give his manifesto and YouTube videos any direct attention, but I cannot help but feel disgusted by his expectations of women and his reactions to feeling rejected. Everyone has felt rejected for some reason or another. Maybe there was a job you really wanted or a promotion for which you thought you would be perfect. Maybe you have a sibling who gets more attention than you think they deserve. Maybe a teacher or professor struggles to see a point you made or the effort you put into an assignment. The answer to any of these issues is not to seek vengeance or enact some sort of violence in the name of your damaged ego.

You know what qualities most women seem to appreciate? What about communication? What about respect? What if a man who was interested in a woman just simply asked her if she was interested too? If she said no, is it not time to move on and hope for better luck with someone else?

One of the important things that Chu took time to highlight was the media’s attention on the shooter’s mental illness. While I studied psychology in college and appreciate the controllable and uncontrollable elements of mental and emotional challenges, they do not make up the entire story of a person’s actions and do not absolve a person of wrongdoing.¬†The reality is that rape culture is still prevalent, women’s rights are still not equal in the eyes of human rights advocates, and social culture still fails to resolve perception issues with entitlements and expectations of men over women. the answer is not to keep women for flirting or dressing provocatively. It is not to teach women how to protect themselves from potential attackers or stalkers (even though those are valuable skills given the current social climate). It is for men to learn what it really means to be a man.

Being a man is about respect for oneself and those around them. It is about being advocates for equal rights and treatment for men an women. It is about respecting the choices of other and being accountable for your own. Save the princess if you choose to…just do not expect her to bow to your needs afterwards. Gratitude is nice, but returning affections is a choice that she deserves the right to make. If your princess is in another castle, then do not give up or blame the one in front of you for your situation. Learn to move on and “fight” for what you want but not expect things that are out of your control.

Chu choose the right words when he says, “He needed to grow up. We all do.” Dream about what you want but do not blame others for how it turns out. You only have yourself to hold accountable.

When we think of fantastic scores or memorable music, most people would tend to go toward artists’ direct albums or compositions completed for movies or television series. Some of the greats, like John Williams, Danny Elfman, James Horner, and Hans Zimmer, have made the movie experience that much greater by matching up the score to the action or drama on-screen. Most people felt a strong reaction when they first heard the fanfare of the¬†Star Wars¬†theme or the playfulness of the music from¬†The Nightmare Before Christmas. It invokes tension, passion, levity, or power.

The same could be said from the world of gaming…

Music in video games has been vital to making some of the greatest gaming experiences that much greater. Star-crossed lovers finally admitting their feelings, the majesty of a new world being opened, and a melodic backdrop that fills out an adventure that is just beginning are just some of the connections that music has made in the gaming world. Admittedly, my gaming experiences are somewhat diverse, but I have tended to appreciate certain series over others. I have been a loyal Nintendo follower but have dabbled in the world of Sony and on the PC, with little connection to Microsoft or Sega. Still, the list below includes some of the best musical compositions I have heard over the years from some of the most memorable games across these many platforms.

For this list, I will only be picking one song per franchise in order to diversify the songs listed. While many title themes can be identified for being extremely memorable, I am purposely going to shift my focus to specific tracks that invoke a level of intense connection with the experience on the screen, with honorable mentions for other songs that are similarly impactful.

10) Metroid РPrologue: The Metroid series has used a lot of mechanical sounds to produce its accompanying themes, but the prologue in Super Metroid truly raised the bar for the fanfare of the series. A true accomplishment, beating Ridley and Mother Brain is no easy task. Neither is traversing a harsh terrain with no true allies to save you. Samus was also revealed to be a woman in this game, which made the experience sweeter. Women had not been protagonist in these games with the same type of bravado and matching soundtrack. The finale/prologue changes the atmosphere to a more heroic element, adding to that accomplishment of halting evil and escaping the collapsing planet. The 16-bit song is just fine, but the orchestrated version takes it to a whole new level.

9) Mega Man – Dr. Wily’s Castle: Having achieved victory over the first 8 bosses, Mega Man finally reaches the end of his quest at the evil Dr. Wily’s lair. Achieving this is no small feat, as the simplified controls and dangerous terrain of the first eight levels does not provide an easy path toward this goal. The high energy brings the player back into the zone with the ability to take on this final set of levels. Some of the other Mega Man games revisited this soundtrack, including a revitalized version in the¬†Mega Man X¬†series.

8)¬†Star Fox – Corneria:¬†The soundtrack to the¬†Star Fox¬†series has a lot of use of electric guitar and in a lot of ways sounds like some of the music from the¬†Mega Man¬†series. What makes this particular song so memorable is that it sets up the epic quest of traveling throughout the galaxy to take on the evil Andross. Starting off the game with such a rocking’ ballad helps to set the tone almost like starting off a great mixtape with¬†You Give Love a Bad Name. The remainder of the game has equally energetic music but only¬†Star Wolf comes close to the level of energy as this one.

7)¬†Mirror’s Edge – Still Alive:¬†While I only ever played this game in its demo version, the main theme from the game is clearly present, upfront, and magical. The song gives the perfect background to the free running experience of the game.¬†Mirror’s Edge¬†was an interesting concept even without its music. A game that is based on navigating through the rooftops and a city on foot without being able to stop for a breath keeps the energy level up and could be a little too intense for some. What the music does is to almost make you feel like you are flying and gliding through the landscape and grooving while exploring each of the runs. This may not be an epic song, a beautifully sad ballad, or a hard-edged battle theme, but it is exactly what is needed to enhance the experience of this game.

6)¬†Super Smash Bros. – Melee (Main Theme):¬†With the first¬†Super Smash Bros.¬†being such a great success, the sequel was highly anticipated and seen to be a potential instant classic on the Gamecube. One of the best things about this song is that it is everything that is amazing about some of Nintendo’s greatest franchises. When I first turned on the system with this game, I was excited to see what Nintendo had produced. With the characters coming alive on-screen (and in a way that was far and above the graphics of the N64), the music just made the experience that much more epic. Even before actually playing the game, I knew this was a true winner.¬†Super Smash Bros. Brawl¬†had a more epic feel to it with the choir element, but the difference between the first and second games was significantly more memorable.

5)¬†Super Mario – Gusty Garden Galaxy:¬†Anyone can say that the first game’s music is the most memorable and it has been adapted to fit the proceeding games in the Mario series.¬†Super Mario 64¬†revolutionized the series with the 3-D worlds, while¬†Super Mario Sunshine¬†raised the bar in graphic presentation.¬†Finally arriving at¬†Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii,¬†Gusty Garden Galaxy enhanced an already memorable series of compositions. SMG¬†as not only 3-D, but it was also so big that it could not fit on one world. There were a few other musical themes that appeared before this one, but¬†Gusty Garden Galaxy is just fun, playful, and majestic to a level that truly boasts the new heights of the series. The plumber is going nowhere and this theme is proof of Nintendo’s ability to still make its primary formula work toward the benefit of the fans.

4)¬†Castlevania – Lost Painting:¬†To be honest, this song is better in the recomposed piano version, but the entire soundtrack for¬†Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is spectacular. The entire game is amazing. It officially combined the RPG genre with the action-adventure genre to create an action RPG. While Alucard is the only true playable character, the ill-fated vampire turns his actions toward thwarting the villainous Dracula from overtaking the world. The castle which he must traverse is full of twists and turns, and a whole assortment of thematic areas with their own musical arrangements. When this song arises, it is like a reprieve from the harsher elements of the game, but not fully removed from the majesty or sorcery of Dracula’s castle. The version in the game was understated from its arrangement, but the many iterations, both orchestrated and arranged for piano, help to better paint the picture of mystery and adventure that the game produced.

3) Chrono Trigger – Magus Confronted:¬†Similar to a series higher on this list, the music from this game truly enhanced the experience in remarkable ways. Battle music in RPGs is typically energetic and hard-edged, but the reveal of the anti-hero and the start of the battle had a level of fanfare unmatched by most other games up to and beyond that point in gaming history. Chrono and his team enter¬†Magus’s Castle, defeat Ozzie and his gang, and arrive at the¬†sanctum at the lowest level of the castle. Walking into the room, there is an eerie, quiet atmosphere about the upcoming confrontation. Arriving before Magus, he goes into a speech about disrupting his plans and then the music begins with some soft strings, vocals, and flute performing a descending ominous introduction to the battle music. Finally, the fanfare begins and the epic battle against the wizard commences. While the fight itself is easy to manage in terms of his attacks and patterns, the battle music gives the experience a much more epic feel. Later battles against Lavos and Queen Zeal are much tougher but lack the sophistication and energy that Magus achieves.

2)¬†The Legend of Zelda – Fi’s Lament:¬†For arguably the best franchise in gaming history, this may seem like an unlikely song to reach the top of the list. The main theme is easily more memorable and invokes that sense of adventure and heroism that has become a gaming standard. Even some of the themes from¬†Ocarina of Time, such as¬†Zelda’s Lullaby¬†or¬†Gerudo Valley, are more widely known. It is because this song produces a much stronger specific response that it wins out in this list. Fi is a character that may be more forgettable as Link’s sidekick, but she surprised gamers when this theme finally appeared in the game. After finishing his quest and while ready to return the master sword to its stone, Link discovers that he is also parting ways with Fi. Though she is a creature without emotion, there is something different in these finals moments that the two characters share. They quested to save Zelda and restore balance to the land, but their goodbye appears to have extracted a sense of emotion out of the stoic Fi. Link appears affected by realizing that he is leaving her behind, and gamers suddenly felt the same way. Navi, the King of Red Lions, and Midna never were able to create that same emotion in their final goodbyes and that achievement should be recognized.

1) Final Fantasy – To Zanarkand:¬†This series could easily have its own top thirty. Each of the¬†Final Fantasy¬†games have been accomplishments in storytelling and composition.¬†FF6¬†has several tracks that take the 16-bit game to amazing heights, including¬†Terra’s Theme and¬†Phantom Forest.¬†FF7 could possibly¬†win as the best musical soundtrack out of the entire series, particularly the¬†Main Theme and¬†Aerith’s Theme. There are even several competitors in¬†FFX¬†that could give¬†To Zanarkand¬†a run for its money, including¬†Suteki Da Ne for its portrayal of Tidus and Yuna finally giving into their passions and sharing a beautiful moment alone together. In the end, the top song on the list serves as the title track and the one that builds the story toward its conclusion for its protagonist. Tidus is searching for proof of what happened to him during the attack by Sin that threw him 1000 years into the future. He joins Yuna in hopes of learning the truth about his time travel and his father while also supporting her quest to defeat Sin. On the eve of reaching Zanarkand, the group gathers for their final descent into the lost city. Lost in thought, this piano theme plays and ties the story together in the perfect way, part love song and part thematic ballad of an ill-fated hero. Just a perfectly composed piece.

Agree with these selections? Tell me what your favorite songs or themes are from your favorite games.

While in competition with the Sega Genesis and the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, Nintendo prepared its next generation system. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) upped the ante to 16-bit graphics and expanded the company’s ability to produce a greater variety of games. All of Nintendo’s favorite characters returned and in exponentially greater ways. Mario, Samus, Link, Kirby, and Donkey Kong make the list for their contributions, but can they make the top spot?

Honorable Mention: Super Mario RPG; Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island; Street Fighter II Turbo; Donkey Kong Country; Earthworm Jim; Super Castlevania IV;¬†Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtle in Time; F-Zero; Contra III; Earthbound; Gradius III; Tetris Attack; Super Punch-Out!!; Super Star Wars; Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3; Killer Instinct; Mega Man X 2 & 3; NBA Jam Tournament Edition

Star_Fox_SNES10) Star Fox

Starting a new Nintendo franchise, Fox McCloud entered the scene with his Arwing and a trio of wingmen ready to do battle with the great Andross. Capitalizing on the underserved arena of flight simulators, this game combined an intriguing flight experience with an entertaining comedic banter from the wingmen. Slippy Toad, Peppy Hare, and Falco Lombard accompany the star fighter Fox to Planet Venom to hopefully save the galaxy from the mad scientist’s evil grasp. This was challenging and pioneered the 3-D graphic design for the future of gaming.

250px-Kirby_Super_Star_Coverart9) Kirby’s Super Star

The pink puffball came back and with a much more integrated and expansive game this his first console and handheld editions. Kirby’s world expanded to the realm of two-player adventure with a whole new combination of powers to absorb. The game had a few adventures that took the more traditional route, but then it added a boss battle mode, treasure hunting adventure, and a couple of mini-games. ¬†It may not have had the same difficulty level as the other side-scrolling adventures, but it was still tons of fun to play with a friend.

Mega_Man_X_Coverart8) Mega Man X

While the first set of Mega Man games were simple yet challenging, the X games added a number of different elements that took the series to a new level. The basic design was the same, with the 8 boss levels and series of stages leading up to an end boss. Added to the game was a new set of upgrades, dash abilities, and blaster charging, as well as a new master villain, Sigma, and new ally, Zero. The stages were bright, colorful, and dynamic, allowing players the engage in a new level of gameplay that far exceeds its predecessors. The 2nd and 3rd games are also impressive, but this one started the newly revamped series.

super-mario-world-17) Super Mario World

Mario returns for one of his top two games in this list. Super Mario World took the experience of Super Mario 3 and advanced it to the new system. Taking Mario back to the age of the dinosaurs, the feel of the game was similar to its side-scroller predecessors. Yoshi made his first appearance as Mario’s wingman. Replacing the leaf with the feather cape was another slight change. The most important thing was that it revisited the formula that had been working for so long, with the Koopa kids and battling with Bowser to save the princess. This ended up being a great way to start the new system.

DK_Country_26) Donkey Kong Country II

While the first game in the series reintroduced Donkey Kong in a new way, the sequel really mastered the formula for collecting items throughout each level and making elaborate and expertly designed levels and bosses. Diddy and Dixie Kong traveled through several different areas, each with their own special bosses and with the help of some animal friends. Racing across a level with Rambi the Rhino or Engaurde the Swordfish made for some great experiences. After collecting all of the items in each level, the bonus world truly ramped up the difficulty level and made the total gaming experience a blast.

Supermariokart_box5)  Super Mario Kart

Racing with Nintendo characters…excellent! This served as the first Nintendo game to connect characters from across several of its franchises. With characters including Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Donkey Kong, Toad, and Yoshi, players had 16 tracks to explore and race through to to earn the Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special Cups. If the racing was not enough, players were able to grab special items and use them to gain an advantage. Added to this, there was a battle mode to enjoy as well. The overall design was a little crude, but there was only so much that could be done in the SNES. This was still an instant classic.

250px-Smetroidbox4) Super Metroid

Metroid connected some of the best elements of Mario and Zelda, but Super Matroid officially became its own supreme game. Samus finally revealed that she was a girl, but she also unveiled a new set of weapons and a truly dynamic experience. Mother Brain came back but was joined by a new iconic member of the Metroid series, Ridley. The game was innovative for the way that it incorporated weapon upgrading, saving, and backtracking to explore the entire world. It was surprising that there was not another addition to this series until the Gamecube was available 8 years after this release.

The_Legend_of_Zelda_A_Link_to_the_Past_SNES_Game_Cover3) Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

No Nintendo system’s top ten list would be complete without at least one Zelda game. Considered one of the best of the franchise, A Link to the Past truly expanded the story of Link and Zelda, as well as expanded the art of exploring the world of Hyrule. Link found himself a hero to start the game, but he was unprepared for the adventure ahead and had some serious exploring ahead of him to collect the necessary weapons and items to battle¬†Sahasrahla and Ganon to save Zelda. Bouncing between two worlds and becoming a rabbit until finding the correct item to save his form, the Zelda franchise was forever changed by the continued expansiveness of its successors.

st_ds_box_ya2) Chrono Trigger

One of the best genres of games that released on the SNES was role-playing games. Squaresoft was particularly successful at creating these experience. Enter Chrono Trigger. A legendary hero started off as a spiky red-headed kid who got entangled with the princess, Marle, and found himself traveling through time to stop Lavos from destroying the world. The game followed 7 playable characters and made sure to have story lines that incorporated all of them as important to the broader story. The moment that Chrono, the protagonist, died in the middle of the story, it served as the first game that truly shocked players with the death of its title character. Though he could be and must be saved to progress, beating the game was discovered to not truly be the end. The game also boasted several different endings based on at what point of the storyline Lavos was defeated. Truly an impressive title.

2408854-4670746880-ff3_u1) Final Fantasy VI (FF3 – US)

Surprise to many, FF6 still remains my favorite game on the SNES. This sequel of the Final Fantasy series was compelling and challenging. Terra, a troubled young woman, found herself struggling with gaps in her past and eventually discovered that she was part human part Esper. In a world of magic, she is saved by a thief named Locke, and later joined by a large team of allies. One of the RPG world’s best villains made his appearance in this game. Kefka had that infamous laugh and challenging ascent through the final battle. Similar to the #2 game on this list, the game allowed for every character to engage in their own storyline and character development, particularly when the world is reshaped in the middle of the story. I have played through this game too many times to count and have never grown tired of the experience.

Next up will be the N64. Sometimes considered the underrated system of the Nintendo series of consoles, it boasts some of the best games of all time.

With spring finally starting to reveal itself, I feel like I want to unveil my favorite games of all time. I am a somewhat casual, somewhat more invested gamer and have been playing since I was old enough to understand the Atari 2600. Classics like Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, River Raid, and Combat filled the hours as I played with my older sister. Taking a moment to reflect on my favorites, I decided to follow the route of so many YouTube channels and produce my own Top Ten list.

“Like” if you agree. Comment if you think I missed something or would argue against me.

Honorable Mentions:¬†A Boy and His Blob; NES Open (Golf);¬†Contra/Super C; Battletoads; Super Mario Bros. 2; Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!; Castlevania; Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers

f08069c9e465da174f931299d050d9961331534856_full10) Little Nemo: The Dream Master

Though this may be a game that most people passed up, this was one of the first games to put to screen the idea of transporting into one’s dreams and do it well. Nemo enters his dreams and has the ability to take on the qualities of different creatures as he navigates different worlds. The difficulty curve on this game was surprisingly high, as the later levels required a lot more awareness and decision-making when switching between animals. Capcom had been surging with a number of great titles at the time, but few had the success of their final product like this one.

255px-DrMarioBox9) Dr. Mario

Tetris may be the standard, but Dr. Mario was the king of the NES puzzle games. With the basic task of destroying viruses by stacking matching colored pills on them, the game was easy to learn but difficult to master. It was surprising that using just three colors was enough to make this a worthwhile game. The best part of this puzzle game compared to others, like Tetris, was that the two-player mode expanded the gameplay immensely and set the tone for multiplayer puzzle games of the future. Personally, I got to a point of just setting it to the max level and seeing how many times in a row I could beat it, but I had plenty of practice to master the art of virus destruction.

KA_Boxart8)¬†Kirby’s Adventure

Like Nemo above, Kirby was imaginative and transformative, but few realized that the little pink puffball would so quickly emerge as a key Nintendo mascot. Similar to Nemo, the side-scrolling hero could adopt the special abilities of the enemies to help defeat bosses and power through levels. The difference was that this hero had a much broader range of possibilities and caught on more definitively with players. Spawning a whole series between the console and handheld systems, Kirby proved that he was more power than his stature may suggest.

TMNT NES American Box Art7) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle II: The Arcade Game

Truly riding on the success of the TV series, TMNT reinvented itself between the first and second games. The difficulty level on the first game was so high that most players failed to ever see the ending. Going more with the traditional beat ’em up, side-scrolling style play, the reinvented series started with a strong single/two-player combat system and memorable moments and characters. Konami even hid a variation of the infamous code in the game that allowed for¬†players to start the game off with 99 lives, making it impossible to ever lose (unless you really tried).

cover_large6) Mega Man Series

It is so difficult to choose just one of the games because this entire series for the NES was excellent. The little blue warrior with the upgradable weapons proved himself as a staple of the early years of Nintendo. The bosses may have been somewhat simple at the beginning, but it was Nintendo’s version of encourage fan forecasting of what elements or bosses would appear in the next installment. No matter if it was Wood Man, Toad Man, or Shadow Man, players knew that Dr. Wiley was waiting for them at the end of the game. The save system was interested, as players had to write down a code to return to the game but it helped when a level proved itself more challenging.

1355101207-005) Metroid

Blending together some of the best aspects of a few of Nintendo’s other great titles, Samus entered the scene as a heroine who was on a mission to stop Mother Brain from destruction. Ready¬†with an¬†arm cannon which could be upgraded, she battled her way through a treacherous planet to stop her antagonist. The ability to turn into a ball which could drop bombs was a helpful bonus. The identity of who Samus really was somehow stayed a secret until the sequel on the SNES, but it was clear that Nintendo had found itself a newer, more aggressive mascot.

finalfantasynintendoentertna_14) Final Fantasy

Although not the first role-playing game to capture some serious attention, Final Fantasy had a depth that was truly impressive on an 8-bit console. There were no true main characters, but players had the ability to select their desired party from a collection of different roles. Whether you wanted a band of thieves or a combination with different mages, the customization was impressive for 1990. This game also spawned, arguably, the best role-playing series of all time. I have spent weeks and months playing through Final Fantasy 3, 7, 10, and 12, and it is all thanks to this humble start.

1165732965-003) Duck Tales

Not many would place this game so high on the list. Duck Tales was a fun TV show that got adapted into a console game. There were other attempts that were good but not nearly as successful, including Darkwing Duck and Chip n’ Dale. The difference with this game was the combination of difficulty, playfulness, and hidden gems that made this title one of Nintendo’s best. Scrooge McDuck is not a typical protagonist. As an already wealthy adventurer, it would be surprising to find him wanting to put himself in danger, but he does it anyway. Needing to save his nephews and eventually encounter Dracula were interesting extra touches that made this game such a gem.

1036635022-002) Super Mario Bros. 3

The first game was a classic. The sequel was a quirky new take on the themes of the game. The third was a masterpiece. Mario has been Nintendo’s lead character for years and this game served as a tribute to the character, even relatively early in his existence. The game was the first to introduce Bowser’s children as the world bosses. It also introduced a wider range of powers, including the Hammer Suit, Super Leaf, Frog Suit, P-Wing, and Tanooki Suit. The game was challenging, especially in the final world with the never-ending tank and airship levels. This could easily be the top game of the console, except for the fact that Nintendo created another excellent series…

eu_box_front1) The Legend of Zelda

Link has come to save the Princess Zelda and all Nintendo fans immediately rejoice. This was an interesting overhead view adventure game that combined fighting, puzzles, and questing as players explored the world of Hyrule. This game sparked a franchise that has produced some of the best games of all time. Link, Zelda, and Ganon are linked for eternity and fans would never have it any other way. Boasting a regular and second quest, the game optimized the early save system and the complexity of the future of adventure games.

Stay tuned for the next installment featuring the SNES Top Ten, and like/comment whether you agree or would challenge my list for the NES.

I have been a Legend of Zelda fan for years. Since the first game was released on the NES in 1987 (and when I was finally old enough to actually play it), I have played through almost every console version of the story. There is a great universe created around this legendary hero and his epic quest that has actually also been connected through a linear-ish history. There are so many elements to enjoy, but the total product has been wonderful to experience in every iteration.

The basic elements (for those less familiar with the story behind the games) surround the protagonist of the series. Link is a hero who typically does not realize his heroic status at the start of each game. While he is typically asleep and awoken by an event or another being, he is quickly thrusted into a quest to complete an arsenal and seek out a legendary sword that has the power to vanquish evil. In most of the games, Link seeks to aid or save the Princess Zelda (who sometimes finds herself incognito as a way of hiding from evil). Link eventually faces a monstrous evil, but mostly notably a character named Ganon/Ganondorf. With the help of a mysteriously power called the Triforce, Link overcomes the evil presence, saves the land of Hyrule (or the place he has traveled to), and wins over the affection of his princess.

25th-anniversary-legend-of-zeldaThe games have their charm for a number of different reasons. Each of them includes a combination of action and puzzles to solve in order to progress through the game. Each of the dungeons forces players to travel from room to room collecting keys, maps, compasses, and other items to eventually reach a boss and collect the special element at the end of the dungeon. The Triforce is usually involved in the games, with Link possessing (or earning) the Triforce of Courage, Zelda possessing the Triforce of Wisdom, and Ganon/Ganondorf possessing the Triforce of Power. On a more humorous note, there is a pattern of Link starting each game as more of a lazy kid who requires some outside force to awaken the hero in him. In Skyward Sword, there are direct references to his underachieving attitude up until he actually begins the quest off of Skyloft. He also seems to have a vendetta against chickens, with several of the games allowing him to attack and be attacked by chickens.

This spark to post about the game comes off of an incredible performance I experienced of the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses in Baltimore. I had seen the show previously, but they came around on their second quest and added a few great additional pieces. I was disappointed that there was a visual obstruction from my seat that blocked the middle of the screen, but I still greatly enjoyed the music. I also have been watching the developments surrounding the next console game for the Wii U. I have been disappointed by the continued delays and things are not getting any better with the poor sales figures for the console. The original Wii U game was slated for late 2013, then got delayed to 2014, and now will be 2015 with an announcement at E3 during the summer of 2014. Fans of the series are probably going to be disappointed with the wait, especially since the last console game was released in 2011. Having the Wind Waker ported to the Wii U is a placeholder but not a complete fill for fans.

With that in mind, I have started to replay some of the previous console games. I have played a few of the handheld games but never owned a Gameboy beyond the Gameboy color. So now I will post my rank-ordered console Zelda games from “worst” to best. I do leave out Four Swords Adventures¬†because it breaks away from the more traditional games and is the one console game that I never played.¬†Enjoy!

#8: Zelda II: Adventure of Link

zeldaIIGanon’s evil influence has remained over the land even after his defeat to Link at Death Mountain. His minions, feeling sore over their master’s defeat, decided to flood the land with chaos. Zelda was put into a deep sleep by a great wizard and only would awaken by the discovery of the Triforce of Courage and defeat of the hero’s evil doppelganger.

legend-of-zelda-ii-the-adventure-of-link-classic-nesThis was the most challenging of all of the Zelda games and the only one to be played almost entirely as a side-scroller. There were opportunities to save the game, but the difficulty level was shot up by one of the game’s earliest quests. Traveling through Death Mountain as the second major dungeon, the enemies were at a much higher level than a game would normally put so early on and there was no save point until after getting through the entire area. Added to that, the area was set up as a maze with no real indications of how to solve it. This created a lot of frustrations for people who played the game, struggling through the lack of direction at times and the somewhat strange feeling of the side-scrolling action.

It was still a Legend of Zelda game with all of the basic elements, so it was not a complete disaster.

#7: Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Legend_of_Zelda_Majoras_Mask_(NA)Having defeated Ganondorf and returning the Master Sword back to its place in the Temple of Time, Link has returned to a strange new challenge. Navi has disappeared and he wanders into the woods for his search. He is surprised by the Skull Kid, who has been taken over by a creature named Majora’s Mask and stolen Epona. Chasing after him, he runs into a tree, falls into a pit, and is transformed into a Deku Scrub in a new land called Termina. He finds the Happy Mask Salesman who tells Link that he can transform him back into a Hylian if he can prevent the Moon from crashing into the earth before the end of the third day. The sacred item that can save them is the Ocarina of Time, but Link must also awaken the four giants who can help keep the Moon from completing its destruction of the land, aided by the Skull Kid and Majora’s Mask.

6813.6_MajorasMask3For all of the Zelda games in existence, this is one of the weirder ones. Link is not in Hyrule for this quest, but he is also not himself for part of it either. There is not the Master Sword or the Triforce, but rather the Great Fairy Sword and a group of masks that allow Link to transform into other lifeforms. Most of the elements from previous Zelda games are still present, from dungeons to side quests, but the feel of the game is very different. The world is much smaller, with so much of the game taking place around the center town and the clock tower. There is still a lot to explore, but the world is not nearly as expansive as Hyrule. Those that played Ocarina of Time felt a little less enthused after playing Majora’s Mask, but it has developed quite a cult following and has risen in popularity years after its original release.

Though the game was very weird and broke some of the traditions of the franchise, it was still an intriguing story and entertaining play.

#6: Legend of Zelda (NES)

The_Legend_of_Zelda_-_coverIn the beginning, there were three parts Triforces (Power, Wisdom, and Courage). After getting kidnapped by the evil Ganon, Link is called to set out on a quest to collect the 8 pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, defeat the Prince of Darkness (Ganon), and save Princess Zelda.

gfs_29025_2_6_legend_of_zelda_nes_review-s512x448-263871-580This simple story turned into quite the series of games. It set up so many elements of the franchise and should not be seen as challenge for being #6 on this list. There are only so many things that you could do with the NES at the time and the more recent games have been able to re-imagine the story and the features to broaden the landscape. Still, the game started with the collection of the basic sword and immediate travel to the first dungeon. Link collected a number of items throughout the quest, including the bow, fire rod, candle, ladder, raft, power bracelet, and boomerangs. Link got to upgrade his gear as the game went along, eventually finding the Magical Sword, which was later turned into the Master Sword in subsequent games.

The game can be beaten in an afternoon, but it did have a saving feature for those that played in pockets. There is so much to love about this game, but there are some pretty amazing games left on this list.

skyward_sword_remote_final1#5: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Long ago, the land of Hyrule was created by the Goddesses, but great evil forced the Goddess Hylia to rescue her people and send them to the sky. In Skyloft, Link is awakened on the day of his Wing Ceremony, only to find out that his great bird has disappeared. After rescuing his bird and winning the Wing Ceremony, he and Zelda go out on a ride. A cyclone emerges through the clouds and knocks Zelda off of her bird. Going down to the surface, Link discovers a great temple and an old woman who informs him of a great evil hidden at the bottom of the pit and the mission that Zelda has embarked upon. Link follows Zelda’s trail and learns about a wizard, Ghirahim, who desires to release a great evil upon the land. He is able to awaken the hero within himself and the power of the Triforce and Master Sword as he travels on his quest. He eventually learns that he has to travel back in time to defeat Ghirahim, who seeks to awaken Demise in the past and prevent the future from ever occurring.

legend-of-zelda-skyward-sword-e3-2011-1Taking some of the elements of Ocarina’s success and providing a beginning to the Legend of Zelda timeline,¬†Skyword Sword¬†set the lore of the land and introduced a little more of a love scenario between Link and Zelda, bringing more compassion to one of the games than previous ones in the series. Using the Wii remote, players could slash the sword to defeat enemies, aim the Goddess Bow, or track for items and characters. The world was divided into two areas: above the clouds and Hyrule below. Similar to the challenges of¬†Wind Waker’s expansive ocean and slowness of sailing from island to island,¬†Skyward Sword¬† has players traveling on a bird above the clouds while having to switch back and forth between Hyrule and the sky to switch between the three major areas of Hyrule. Still, the challenging puzzles, beautiful graphics, and expansive areas to explore created a wonderful gaming experience.

Many of the elements of Skyward Sword pay homage to the later generations of Link and Zelda while still introducing pieces that make for its own story to stand alone as a great feature. It also served as the tribute for the 25th anniversary of the series.

#4: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

The-Legend-of-Zelda-Link-to-the-PastLink awakens from his sleep by a voice that seems vaguely familiar. Seeking assistance from the young blacksmith apprentice, Link sets out for the Hyrule castle to explore the origin of his dreams. Finding the Princess Zelda trapped in the dungeon, he learns that the world has been invaded by enemies of the Hyrule kingdom and an evil wizard has come to power in the Dark World. Link is able to collect the three pendants and the Master Sword before he learns that Zelda has been captured again and taken back to the castle. The wizard, Agahnim, takes Zelda to the Dark World and tries to permanently open the link between the two worlds in his attempt to take over Hyrule.

alttp3As the only game to be released on the SNES,¬†A Link to the Past greatly expanded on the world of the Hyrule compared to the NES games. Link was now being given a deeper backstory and the generations of Link and Zelda were starting to take shape. While Ganon was not the antagonist in this game, the boss fights and the dungeons were just as challenging and enjoyable as the NES games, but actually even more so by the upgrade to the graphics and the capabilities of the system. The game introduced more side quests, interactions with a wider variety of characters, and extras that increased the playability of the game. It maintained the 8 dungeons plus final dungeon element, the use of the Triforce, the claiming of the Master Sword, and the involvement of the Princess Zelda as central to the game’s story. The added Dark World expanded the game’s ability to travel into different realms and increase the engagement with the game.

While this is some players’ favorite game, there are still a few more that really expanded the story to greater lengths and added elements that other games in the series missed.

#3: Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

20130828145954!ZeldaWindWakerGCNCoverArtUSA resident of Outset Island, Link lives a comfortable life with his grandmother and little sister. When a pirate ship arrives to save a young girl in the woods, Link goes to investigate. After saving the girl, a giant bird attacks and steals his sister. Allowing Link to travel with her pirate crew, Tetra sets sail for the Forsaken Fortress. Link battles his way through the fortress but fails to save his sister and the other girls locked away. Instead, he is thrown back into the sea by the giant bird by the orders of a mysterious man. Through his travels across the sea and after the collection of three mysterious pearls, Link is able to save his sister and learns the identity of the evil man as Ganon. Link uses the pearls to travel below the seas and ends up in the land of Hyrule. Blocked by magic, Link must restore the power of the Master Sword to cut through and make his way toward the evil Ganon’s lair.

Wind-Waker-HDControversial for a different reason, this Gamecube rendition of the series introduced a cell-shaded, cartoonish look to the game that received mixed reactions from fans. When players were able to get beyond the graphic style, they discovered that the game had reinvented the story and gotten creative with the adventure Link would travel on. The game revolved around Link setting sail across a great sea, first needing to collect the pearls to open up the portal to Hyrule Castle below the seas and then collecting the power for the Master Sword and the pieces of the Triforce to rescue Zelda and defeat Ganon. The main elements of the story and lore were all there and even modified slightly by the introduction of the great flood of the land of Hyrule and the creation of the land above the seas. Zelda took on a different form for most of the game and served in a more helpful role in the final battle versus Ganon. Link was also given a tougher task with the need to guide characters around two of the dungeons to unveil their positions as descendants of the great sages of the Triforce.

The Gamecube was graced by one of the most creative versions of the central story with one of the best looking graphics packages that took several years after its release to be truly appreciated.

#2: Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincessLiving a simple life as a goat herder in Ordon, Link is called upon to save some of the children of the Ordon when an evil knight bursts into the spring and steals them away. Link is pulled into the Twilight World by a mysterious force and transforms into a wolf. Taken to the darkness-covered Hyrule Castle, Link escapes the prison he is thrown into and reaches the tower, where an imprisoned Zelda awaits. Told to guide the hero on his quest, Midna agrees to join Link back out of the Twilight World and help him uncover the Spirits of Light as they work to also collect the pieces of the Fused Shadow. With the power of the full Fused Shadow, they would have the power to defeat the evil Zant and his lord Ganondorf. Meanwhile, both villains continue to gain power while Link continues his quest to also collect the shards of the Mirror of Twilight to gain passage as a Hylian back to the Twlight World. 

zelda-twilight-princess-screenWhile this game was the one that most closely has resembled Ocarina of Time, it has its own charm with the transformation of the hero into a wolf as part of the gameplay experience. The game was the first to include the more active play of the Wii, though it could also be purchased for the Gamecube. Players finally had the chance to slash with Link on the screen and aim a variety of different items he collected throughout the game. The scale of boss fights, especially the final boss, got to an epic level. The fight with Ganondorf took place in several forms: Dark Zelda, the beast form of Ganon, the chase across Hyrule field, and the final sword battle with Ganondorf. Like A Link to the Past, the game doubled the playability of the game by introducing the Twilight World and the wolf form of Link, making searching for main elements and side quests more complex.

While the game can play a little slower than some of the others, it is such a deep experience that gamers will be enthralled for plenty of hours of enjoyment.

#1: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

OoTBoxArtAwakened by his fairy Navi, Link is summoned to the Great Deku Tree to be told of a great quest he must embark upon. Link must travel to collect three gems to open the path to the Master Sword, which transports him seven years into the future to a land that has been ravaged by the evil Ganondorf. Link learns that he must use the Master Sword’s power of time travel and the Ocarina of Time, a mystical instrument that has the power to affect the world around him, to awaken the six sages to defeat the evil power of Ganondorf. Meanwhile, Zelda initially guides him on this path, along with Kaepora Gaebora, but eventually requires Link’s help once she is discovered to be the mysterious Shiek and captured by Ganondorf.

OcarinaOfTimeBattleSeen as the highest point of the series, the game was the first to introduce 3D graphics but did more by the expansive story to enthrall its gamers into the experience. Link’s story took him through time to save the land of Hyrule and expanded the concept of expansive story and world. Death Mountain seemed much more ominous with its size and position over Kakariko Village. Lake Hylia was grand, but not as much as Gerudo Valley and Desert. The boss battles were glorious and completely fulfilling. Starting with Gohma, each battle was bigger than the last and tested your ability to use the item discovered in each dungeon. With the exception of the Water Temple (which has been seen as the most challenging and frustrating of any in the entire series), the puzzles took on a new level of difficulty and complexity. The game required an increased amount of backtracking that both moved the progress of the game and its story forward while also adding to the lore.

At the time of its release, Ocarina of Time stood alone as the greatest video game ever made. Even to this day, its impact on the gaming world has not yet been matched.

Agree with this list? Post your comments if you have some thoughts on the best of the console Legend of Zelda games.