Today’s list is pretty self-explanatory. These are my favourite game series, the ones I tend to turn to for great gaming enjoyment…
I didn’t grow up with Metroid and admittedly I never found much appeal in the NES original or even Super Metroid on the SNES. However, the Metroid Prime games did get me interested in Nintendo’s sole serious sci-fi series (sorry StarFox). The fact that Nintendo introduced one of the earliest and most notable female game heroes to the world is notable in itself, but so is the fact that Nintendo has managed to create such as an action-packed and yet at the same time atmospheric series of games and keep it going for so many years is rather notable.
My personal favourite gameplay wise has always been Metroid Prime 3: Corruption but I have to my disappointment say that the first game in the series to actually attempt telling a serious storyline is Metroid: Other M.
Never the less, between these two and the original Metroid Prime, I have definitely become attracted to this series and look forward to a new instalment of it.
Konami’s horror-action series is one of the most notoriously difficult ones and also a series which has seen many phases, from the 2D platformers, to the proverbial MetroidVania style and the later 3D games. My personal favourites however have always been the early 2D instalments.
The first and third games on the NES are what got me started, and especially the first one sticks in my mind as a timeless classic. I even quite enjoy the somewhat notorious Simon’s Quest, due to its music and atmosphere. However, my absolute favourite game from the series is one that unfortunately was never released globally, Akumajou Dracula/Castlevania X: Rondo of Blood. It is by far the most well-crafted and most well designed of all the old school Castlevanias.
I also quite liked Super Castlevania IV on the SNES and I have to admit to liking Castlevania: Bloodlines (a.k.a. The Next Generation) on the MegaDrive.
8. Broken Sword
The British Revolution Software company is one of the last active adventure game studios left in the world of gaming. Since 1996, the company has graced the adventure scene with one of the most memorable, funny, exciting and genuinely enjoyable adventure game series: Broken Sword. From the very first instalment, The Shadow of the Templars (a.k.a. Circle of Blood), players are introduced to the antics of the heroic yet sarcastic attorney George Stobbart as he uncovers great historical mysteries and thwarts the evil schemes of nefarious master-minds with his on-again off-again girlfriend Nico Collard.
The first game is an untoppable master-piece from the series story-wise and its Aztec inspired sequel, Broken Sword II: Smoking Mirror, was at least a very entertaining if not as polished title by comparison. The third game of the series, The Sleeping Dragon, was also a stand-out title with some of the best puzzles and dialogue in the whole franchise, plus some new exciting action-sequences thanks to its new 3D look.
The Angel of Death was a bit of a dip in quality for the franchise despite its returning to the point-and-click roots of the first two games, but it still had its stand-out moments. A fifth game is currently in development and hopefully Charles Cecil will be able to keep the franchise on a high standard from here on out.
7. Donkey Kong
This loveable gorilla of gaming has starred in one of the most endearing series of platformers ever conceived. In the mid-1990s, Rareware and Nintendo teamed up to update the image of the big N’s originally villainous, now heroic monkey. What resulted from that was Donkey Kong Country, a game with the simplicity of Super Mario Bros., the speed and challenge of Sonic the Hedgehog and a memorable soundtrack all its own.
The sequel Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest was a vastly improved title and hands down the second best platformer released for the SNES, after Yoshi’s Island. And despite not being quite as impressive, it’s more beginner-friendly follow-up, Donkey Kong Country 3:Dixie’s Double Trouble, was still a worthwhile title.
While Donkey Kong 64 tends to split opinions, I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I did feel that the game didn’t quite live up to the same standard as the prior DKC games. However, the franchise made a successful comeback with Donkey Kong Country Returns so hopefully we’ll get to see more high-quality titles from the loveable Ape and the rest of the Kong family.
6. Monkey Island
Unfortunately there aren’t that many long-lasting and popular adventure game series left in the business, but one delightful surprise, time and again, are definitely the swashbuckling Monkey Island games. Starting from The Secret of Monkey Island in 1990, what followed is one of the most solid adventure game series ever made. The hilarious comedic writing, clever puzzles and warm Caribbean feeling brought by the artwork and the memorable musical scores of Michael Z. Land are what make this series so timeless and enjoyable.
Of course, my personal favourite from the series has always been The Curse of Monkey Island from 1997, but all the games in this series are definitely worth a try because each of them are so distinct and have their own style and distinct nature. I admittedly have never been the biggest fan of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, but many fans consider it a timeless classic.
I also personally enjoyed both Escape from Monkey Island and TellTale Games’ Tales of Monkey Island. Here’s hoping that there will be even more Monkey Island titles in the future.
5. The Legend of Zelda
Similarly to Metroid, I didn’t really grow up with the Zelda games and therefore didn’t have quite a strong connection to the early titles on the NES and SNES. However, after playing Ocarina of Time, I became a massive fan of the series. Ocarina of Time was one of the first games I played fanatically in order to finish and I still have not gotten tired of it after so many years. Every other Zelda game really pales to its main-quest which is in my view the most well crafted and fun.
However, the later Zeldas have all contributed to the franchise as a whole. Majora’s Mask had an intricate game-world and admittedly the best gameplay of any game in the series. Wind Waker was the most cinematically impressive and Twilight Princess also offered an interesting story and one of the most memorable casts of any of the games. While I thought that the franchise’s newest instalment, Skyward Sword, was a tad underwhelming – it was still fun to play and did include at the very least the bare bones of what a good Zelda game ought to be. And in that it still comes out stronger than most other action-games.
Though there may never be another master piece in the franchise on the same level as Ocarina of Time, I am continually drawn to the series and eagerly wait for the next major instalment from the franchise.
4. Mortal Kombat
Nether Realm productions’, formerly Midway, Mortal Kombat series is the most bizarrely addicting fighting game franchise I’ve ever played. Like many others, I was actually drawn to the franchise by the 1995 movie, which is still one of my personal favourite video game films, but the early games in the franchise now admittedly seem very dated to me.
Really, my long-term relationship with MK started with Deadly Alliance which, on top of being just a super-fun game, also offered great extras. Armageddon brought the storyline to the front, which I liked, but was perhaps lacking in its over-all polish. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was a fun cross-over but a quickly expended gaming experience.
Surprisingly it was Mortal Kombat 9 that proved to be my personal favourite from the franchise, not just due to its solid gameplay but also due to its excellent story-mode. And though I criticise the older games, I still enjoy the very first Mortal Kombat as well as Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
3. Sonic the Hedgehog
Despite my history as a Nintendo kid, I will have to admit that I was immediately taken by Sega’s blue hedgehog when I first played Sonic on the MegaDrive in the early 1990s. And my love for the fastest hedgehog alive has never died.
Almost any of the official Sonic-titles from the MegaDrive are worth playing, but my personal favourites have always been the two first titles in the series. Sonic 1 is just so simple and it’s one of those games you can just pick up and play from start to finish. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, however, is an untoppable masterpiece with the most memorable levels and soundtrack as well as the most polished gameplay from entire franchise. Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are both fun games but in my view not comparable to these earlier titles. Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 are also extremely solid titles and worth getting for anyone who finally wanted to see Sonic deal with a serious storyline.
People have mixed opinions on the later games in the franchise and unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to playing as many as I would have hoped. Sonic 4 Episode 1 was okay in my view, but I will have to try out some of the newer titles a little later on…
2. Mega Man
Capcom’s blue bomber was one of my first favourite game franchises and still one of my favourites. The 2D action platformers are some of the finest ever made and still hold up after all this time. All six games on the NES are timeless classics and even the later games have their own certain appeal.
Mega Man 2 is the obvious favourite of everyone, but even later titles like Mega Man 5 offer great challenge and excellent levels and just tons of fun. However, these later games can also be frustratingly challenging at times, so it’s highly recommended for beginners to start with an easier title from the franchise such as Mega Man 3.
Not only is Mega Man just one excellent series of games, it’s several. However, of the many spin-offs my personal favourites have been the Mega Man X games, specifically the first three on the SNES. If you’ve played the classic series games to death and wants something new and refreshing, then the X-series is definitely for you.
I guess it’s no surprise. Super Mario Bros. was the first game I ever played. Almost anything that has Mario in it, in my view, is at least worth a try and especially the platformer or main series games from the franchise are an absolute must-play for anyone who enjoys a well-crafted gaming experience.
Whether we’re talking about the classic SMB titles on the NES, Super Mario Land on the Game Boy or Super Mario World on the SNES, every single Mario game has something distinct and great to offer. And to top it off, Mario went to 3D with style, with Super Mario 64 still being one of the best 3D platformers of all time. The Galaxy titles are of course a must-play and I’d even say the somewhat opinion splitting Sunshine is worth a go.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mario can also be found in puzzle-games like Dr. Mario, in racing games like Mario Kart 64, in virtual board-games like the Mario Party series and in any number of sport-related titles. If it has Mario, it’s almost always bound to be good and that’s why this cheery Italian adventurer has never lost his appeal with me. Wa-hoo!