Ultimate Games Collection, Part 1

What other game has a 6ft barbarian character carry a 'miniature giant space hamster' called 'Boo' around in his pocket?

Feature by Craig Wilson | 16 May 2006
PART I: Role-Playing Games.

Want to improve your games collection? Want an excuse to stay indoors and avoid any natural light against your pasty, ghoulish, gamer's face this summer? Or just need something to help procrastinate away your revision time? Here we have the first installment of the Skinny Solution, all of which should be available for under ten notes…

1.) 'The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time'

Where would the games world be without this landmark of achievement? Mixing a perfect new play style, a traditional yet beautifully told struggle between good and evil, and visuals that still amaze today; Link's first N64 outing is by far one of the best games ever made. It's hard to explain with words the awe inspiring feeling conveyed by that first sweeping movie of the Hyrule Field, or the moment when you neatly skipped puberty to become a fully grown man, or when you finally earned the Biggoron sword and made your enemies rue the day they set foot in your land. For some it's the moment when Ganondorf's corpse rose from the ruins of his castle and transformed into Ganon where visuals, style, twenty hours of build-up and a breathtaking score brought the entire game to a literally earthshaking climax. Yet for others it's the pure simplicity of riding your horse Epona across the field at sunset, creating gaming's first true masterpiece of 3D world emersion through such simple means… in a word, perfect.

2.) 'Balder's Gate II'

Okay, so the first game was the original, and 'Planescape' had the better script, but it was the eternally complex and expansive world of Amn that makes 'Balder's Gate' so worthy of mention. It took the world of Dungeons and Dragons that has always been the subject of ridicule and turned it into something, well... almost cool. What other game has a 6ft barbarian character carry a 'miniature giant space hamster' called 'Boo' around in his pocket? Even today the bitmap graphics still display the very best in 2D grandeur. The world history was infinitely deep, and yet only there for those who cared enough. For those wanting a quick fight, they could explore a gigantic world in search of kobolds (which incidentally, is German for goblin) and other, slightly more imposing foes. Altogether there is no other game as deep, expansive, epic or with as bloody excellent a story as this. If you have the time, and can survive the ridicule of owning the 'Mace of Spiders Bane +3', then you have to give yourself to the gate.

3.) 'Knights of the Old Republic'

Let's face it, it provided the best moments in Star Wars history since Darth Vader informed Luke that his dad was a body-builder from the north with the voice of James Earl Jones. It mixed the elegant swordplay for which the films have become so loved, with a rich, varied set of worlds and a top notch storyline to boot. It also contained one of the best twists in game history. On top of this there was of course the temptation to fall to the dark side which changed the entire way you played the game. It was done more subtly in the sequel but the original proves to be the far superior game overall.

4.) 'Deus Ex'

Okay, I know I should put a Final Fantasy title in here, but this game has too close a place to my own heart to let it slip by. Set in the near future, you begin the game as an augmented anti-terrorist agent and slowly begin to discover a conspiracy that takes you across the world and challenges your morals and beliefs; it also had a sexy-smooth soundtrack. Its storyline was the result of late nineties, X-files inspired conspiracy madness, yet its discussions on terrorism make it just as relevant to modern society, as does its depiction of an America crumbling under the weight of mass poverty and 'plague' (sound familiar?). This is my favourite game of all time; buy it, overlook the dodgy unreal engine graphics and revel in a top notch RPG, open ended FPS gameplay and sublime script. (The sequel however, is dire… avoid!)

Close runners-up were: 'Final-Fantasy VII', 'Planescape Torment', 'Oblivion', 'Illusion of Time', 'Vampire: The Masquerade', 'Postal 2'

http:// www.zelda.com, www.bioware.com, www.lucasarts.com, www.planetdeusex.com