Real Talk by: Rickayyyyy
There are tons of games these days, and the sheer amount of them sometimes hinder many people from playing some of the classics. There are so many good retro games that it can be hard to choose which ones to play. I am here to aid you with my top 10 favorite retro games (I count retro as anything N64/Playstation and before). If you haven’t played all the games in this list, you should really play them, you’ll have a great time. Let’s get cracking.
10. Super Mario Bros 3
This game is probably the best game on the NES gaming system. It set a very high standard for any future Mario games. In a time where games were generally short and very hard, this game was somehow quite long and quite challenging, though not too challenging. There are 8 separate worlds each with unique themes and interesting levels. There are warp whistles which can take you to later worlds, but you really want to play through each world at least once. The item system on the world map is also quite important for getting past some of the harder parts. The suits in this game are all pretty fun, and there are several suits that only appear in Super Mario Bros 3. I love the frog suit! When you get the chance, definitely pick this up.
9. Megaman X2
Megaman is one of those series that have had some really great titles but hasn’t had very many good modern adaptations of it. Megaman for NES is pretty great too, but I personally think Megaman X, X2, and X3 are the best of the series, and of these three I think X2 is the best. X2 has compelling environments that really draw you into the game, like orbs that control the weather, a fish robot that rewards you if you can kill it before it leaves, and some really fun parts with his swoop bike. There are also some really interesting powers and tons of secrets. You can also rebuild Zero and then play as him, and it is fantastic. The boss fights in this game are also amazing; several have much bigger rooms than normal and unique fight mechanics. If you have never played this game, you should play it!
8. Final Fantasy 3
I believe there is no greater RPG series than the Final Fantasy series, and Final Fantasy 3 (6 in Japan) is ridiculously good. Final Fantasy 3 has everything you want in an RPG. It has an amazing story, great battle system, and fantastic characters. It also has tons of secrets for you to find. The Esper system is supremely enjoyable, and works into the story really well. This game has such a great story, the story alone would make this game worth it, but everything else is all so good too. There are also so many secrets that even today it is thought that there may be more secrets we haven’t learned about. There are also tons of rumors so if you’re going deep into this game you’re going to have to vet your information (You can’t get General Leo guys, stop trying). Definitely play this game.
7. Any Pokémon
Alright let’s be real here, every Pokémon is essentially the same game. I think the earlier ones are better simply because of the fact that Pokémon has gotten easier and easier every generation (I never lost once in the entirety of Pokémon X, that’s kind of insane. I didn’t even come close.). Pokémon is so good of a concept that it has lasted 6 generations with barely any changes. Sure there have been some enhancements, new Pokémon, and balancing, but the core concept hasn’t changed at all. Catch Pokémon, form a good team, battle all the other trainers, maybe even catch ‘em all if you have the time. It’s a great time.
Gold and Silver are the best due to the balance of the game and great design in general. Good luck getting a working cartridge, their batteries run out incredibly fast (though you can replace the battery if you know how). After that I think I’d go black/white (I like the story), then red/blue (They’re classic and decently challenging). The other 3 generations are good too, but I just personally feel like they bring much difference to the series. Pick up one of these games, yo!
6. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
This is probably the best platformer Nintendo has ever made. First of all, it is absolutely gorgeous. There has never been a more beautiful Mario game than Yoshi’s Island. Add to that incredible level design and the best controls of any platformer, and you have one fantastic game. You play as Yoshi trying to get the Baby Mario to his destination, all while not letting Kamek get his hands on Mario. This is the game that gave Yoshi most of his attributes. Super Mario World just treated him like Mario’s Dinosaur mount, but this game solidified Yoshi as a true character in the series. Yoshi got his ground pound, egg throwing, and hover from this game. Eggs are important in this game; you have to aim them properly.
One aspect of this game that I really love is the boss fights. There are a few of them in this game, and they are all very unique. They often require you to interact with the environment to defeat them. You have to acquire eggs, avoid enemies, use Yoshi’s various abilities, and tons of other mechanics. Another thing I love is the amount of unlockables in this game. Every world has a locked level and bonus game, to access them you have to play every level and get 100% on them. Getting 100% on every level can be pretty challenging. Pick up this game and you will not regret it!
5. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is easily the game with the most content in this entire list. It’s extremely fun to play, and has great combat mechanics. There are also tons of different types of enemies. Completing the game takes a very long time due to the sheer size of the game, and it is great throughout. T here are 5 different endings (6 if you count the glitch ending). After you complete the castle the first time (which takes a good amount of time), if you have gotten everything you need to continue, you can go to the invert castle, which has a bunch more content. It may sound lame considering it’s the same environment but flipped, but there are enough changes to make it just as interesting. The game is pretty challenging, and getting absolutely everything takes a long time.
I really love the item system in this game; every weapon has its own attack animation and hit box. There are also tons of useful items to find, and you have to find certain items to enter certain areas. This game is very Metroid-like in accessing rooms. The bosses in this game are all very unique; they need you to fight in unexpected ways. The flavor in this game is much more mature than pretty much any Nintendo game because Sony didn’t put anywhere near as many creative controls on their developers. This game is amazing, you should play it!
4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The Zelda series is a true dynasty. Link to the Past was the first truly great installment of the series. The level design in this game is simply fantastic. They stuck with the original Zelda model and went top down, and it’s very well polished. There are countless puzzles and combat can be pretty enjoyable, some enemies require strategy. A first time player might have trouble figuring out all the puzzles, but challenging is good. There are 10 temples that are all extremely well designed and quite entertaining. The environments in general are very flavorful and well themed. Everything about the world
The items are all super interesting, this was the first occurrence of the hookshot, the Ocarina (called the flute), Magic Powder, and a variety of other notable items in the series. There are also tons of secrets for you to discover; you often see things you won’t be able to reach until later. Getting absolutely everything can take a while, but the game is so good it’s worth it. This game is so fantastic, pick this up if you can!
3. Final Fantasy VII
You remember back when I said there is no greater RPG series than Final Fantasy? This one takes the cake. Final Fantasy VII is simply the best RPG ever made, in my opinion. The game is just incredibly immersive. The world is engrossing, the characters seem more real than any previous or future RPG, and the story is just marvelous. In addition I think it has the best combat system of any Final Fantasy. I love the Materia system, it allows for a lot of interesting combat choices. Limits are also a great addition to the series; they used them a lot after this game.
This game is also fairly long, with lots of side quests you can do. Also it has so many mini games it’s kind of ridiculous. Some of the mini games are really fun, too. The music is also really good in this game; they really outdid themselves in the sound portion of this game. The cut scenes in this game can be really captivating, especially a certain one involving Aeris and Sephiroth. Sephiroth, by the way, is the best villain ever. All these parts amount to a masterpiece. If you haven’t played this game, you owe it to yourself to play it. Also it’s like way easier to get this game than anything else on this list, they’ve rereleased it once already and they’re remaking it now. So you have no excuses!
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda has so many good installments, and Ocarina of Time is the best of them all. It has everything you would want in a Zelda game. This is such a huge leap from top down Zeldas into 3D, and it ended up so great. The game’s puzzles are second to none, and the combat is a big leap forward. They clearly polished this game a ton; the temples are all incredibly well designed. The level design in this game is just magnificent. The water temple can be annoying some times, but besides that I love pretty much every part of this game.
All the items work much more interestingly than previous installments, projectiles are much more versatile and you have many more options for combat than just swinging your sword. You have to figure out how to defeat certain enemies, you can’t just constantly be spamming attack. The bosses are for the most part exceedingly interesting. This game has a good story, but the gameplay and level design of this game is what makes it great. If you’ve never played this game, do it!
1. Super Mario 64
Now, for the game that absolutely blew my mind the first time I played it. This game, simply put, is perfect. I can’t think of a single thing wrong with this game. Incredible level design, game play, and music all add up to my favorite game of all time. It was so inconceivably good when it came out, because you had never seen anything like it. Not only that, but this was a launch title, so they got it perfect without any other frame of reference. They made such a good game that no future Mario game has ever lived up to it. The Galaxy series was a good attempt, but still not as good (though I don’t like that pretty much every Mario game since has been in space, what was wrong with the Mushroom Kingdom, honestly). Mario 64 is just spectacular.
The levels in this game are all so great. I can’t decide what would be my favorite world because of how good they are. I also manage to get Mario 64 songs stuck in my head all the time (it doesn’t help that I have Mario 64 ring tones). There is a plethora of things to do in this game to complete it. You can get the minimum number of stars to beat it, and then you can go on to get all 120 stars in the game. Getting all 120 stars was pretty challenging and lots of fun. There are tons of secrets to unlock as well. The controls in this game are great; the multiple types of jumps all are quite useful. Also you can’t forget about how enjoyable it was to mess with Mario’s face when you start up the game. It was a super random feature but was totally enjoyable. If you’ve never played Super Mario 64 before, play it now!
Alright so there’s my list, if you haven’t played any of these games, you really should! These games are all classics from a different era of gaming. They are absolutely worth your time. Get playing, everyone!
3 thoughts on “Top 10 Retro Must-Plays”
Fantastic recommendations! I am glad to say the only one of those I have not played is Final Fantasy III.
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I’ve been fortunate to play every one of these games. I can’t really disagree with this list. Classics upon classics all around! Well-compiled and well done!
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I can’t argue with anything on this list. In fact, it’s pretty much exactly what I’d suggest as far as retro must plays should include.