1. Kingdom Hearts
An unprecedented collision of cultural importance! We don’t know what planets had to align to make this crossover happen, but sometimes we have to go back and check to make sure it actually did. And if you think America’s response to a game featuring the characters from Final Fantasy and Disney was overwhelming, try and imagine the mass pants wetting that ensued in Japan as two of their most beloved icons met for the first time.
There’s a quality to it that can’t be explained. The worlds can only be described as magical, the characters are timeless and the story, although just typical Japanese craziness, is beautiful to behold. Its a package that is much more than the sum of its parts and it gives me a feeling of wonder and serenity that nothing has given me before, let alone a video game.
A game series so good in both story and game play, you have to play it for yourself. The best thing about the game is the story, combined with the huge ensemble of characters, and worlds you explore. The multiple climaxes of the game series are so eerie and exciting, its hard to say it isn’t near-perfect. The games only gets better and better, and more mature themes are present later in the games.
Everything in the games have payoff, whether it be starting out with a wooden sword, to later calling fire and thunder to wipe out a group of enemies, or seeing the characters change and mature throughout the series.
An inspiring emotional work of art and perhaps the best selling, most popular game of all time. Square Enix continues to prove that you can take even the most played out source material in the world (Disney’s various franchises) and make something wonderful.
Kingdom Hearts is the most detailed, intelligent, and artistic game series I have ever seen. Almost all of the characters have a complex personality, the works of Kingdom Hearts obviously had a lot of thought and creativity. The fighting styles are creative, unique, visually a fantastic masterpiece, and it has humor! I see really no reason as to why not to play this game. It teaches morals as well, which is important, yet they don’t nag about it, which makes it great. Even though a majority of the game contains extreme violence, it’s at a respectful tone, and people are only occasionally hurt. Yes, extremely violent deaths do occur. At one point a girls wrist is slit and blood is shown pouring out. For sexual references, there is a few kissing scenes, and several characters in the games imply a romantic relationship. These games even shows how even the most ‘evil’ of characters, can turn out to be only misguided. And there are several second chances in the game, as well as mercy and forgiveness. These games have very dark storylines and nearly EVERY game in the series ends with the “good guys” living in their own personal hell’s.
You’ll be hard pressed to find another game that even comes close to matching the quality found in Kingdom Hearts. Games just don’t come as beautiful and well thought out as this, it’s a virtual masterpiece that excels in every way possible.
2. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge
Although experienced players might find the action simple, this video game sequel to the movie provides a satisfying adventure in a delightfully macabre world. Most impressively, the game captures the sweetly morbid mood of the movie.
The graphics are perfect for representing the cartoonish, almost toy-like nature of the characters and settings. Jack is fighting his way through legions of skeletons, ghosts, and trolls. The games art direction and all the action sequences are beautiful to behold. This is a powerfully and mysteriously attractive gem of a game that is often overlooked by critics but fans adore it.
3. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
The story has not changed from the original Genesis game. Mickey and Minnie Mouse are having a wonderful picnic when the evil witch Mizrabel appears and kidnaps Minnie. Mizrabel’s plan is to curse Minnie Mouse and steal her beauty so that she would be young again. Mickey springs into action, chasing Mizrabel right to the Castle of Illusion. Here, Mickey meets a wise old mouse who tells him the only way to save Minnie is to collect the 7 Rainbow Gems that are hidden away inside the castles rooms. Once Mickey finds all the gems he can take on Mizrabel and free Minnie. Once Mickey enters the castle, he enters the first room, only to find the rooms lead to different worlds. The worlds he explores are filled with danger and traps that he must get through in order to reach one of Mizrabel’s guardians, and you have to jump on enemies, and even use throwing weapons like apples and baseballs. Mickey starts with only 3 hits, but you can collect up to 5 hits with the stars scattered around each world. You will need all that you can find, since there is always something up ahead trying to hurt you.
Reaching the world’s guardians and beating them is the only way Mickey can collect all 7 Gems and rescue Minnie before it’s too late. While the original game is a straightforward action platformer, the remake puts you into a 3D castle with the rooms to the different worlds locked by magic. Collecting silver diamonds scattered around the castle will open the first door and collecting more diamond as you make your way through the levels will help open more doors later on. Unlike the original, you can revisit any world once you beat it, but we will come back to that a bit later. Each world consists of 3 acts, leading to a showdown with a gem guardian. Players of the original will feel disoriented as the game changes from a 2D perspective to 3D in some areas, (particularly in the guardian battles) while some areas you remember from the original are now used as bonus areas inside each act. There isn’t a penalty for failing to get through them, as you will simply be returned to the main path. A good example of this is the forest stage, where in the original, you had to cross an area high up in the trees, avoiding spiders and riding floating leaves. Losing here meant you lost a life, but in the remake this area is simply one of the aforementioned bonus areas, where you can find new hidden collectibles.
The visuals here are absolutely awesome. From the outstanding animation in the characters, to the amazingly detailed worlds Mickey visits, everything looks like a classic hand drawn Disney film. Each area you explore is a delight to play through, and even a little distracting as you will find yourself missing a jump or an enemy while staring at the amazing visuals. The whole experience gets even better with the fantastic music and sound effects that accompany every second of gameplay. Music tracks are remixed songs from the original game and sound absolutely amazing, while every sound effect fits in perfectly with each world. Something completely new, that was not possible with the Sega Genesis hardware, is the inclusion of a Disney style narrator that guides the player through each part of the story, with Mickey himself even getting a one liners here and there. All of the voices fit in great and never get annoying like some other remakes out there. The entire presentation is a joy to the senses.
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a perfect example of a remake done right. Everything that you loved from the original game is present, with added extras that will make you come back for more. As mentioned before, The difficulty found in the original game is changed to fit a wider range of players, so veterans may want to play on a higher difficulty to get a challenge. No matter what level you play on, the continues are unlimited and checkpoints are more plentiful, so all the controller smashing deaths you experienced with the Genesis game are less painful here. My favorite thing about the game is that it is a scarier, more mature adventure that Mickey takes us on this time around.
This game has a scary monster tree, fueled by greed…
…a shocking jack-in-the-box Clown, alone, forsaken, and would KILL for a friend……
….scary underwater monster babies, isolated, unloved, alone, abandoned, outcast and vicious…
…..and a mysterious, fantastic new villain!
4. DuckTales Remastered
DuckTales Remastered is an HD upgrade done right. No shortcuts have been taken – every level has been given new backgrounds and animations, from the jungles of the Amazon to spaceships on the moon, with Scrooge McDuck vibrantly popping off the screen, Everything looks and sounds slick, with new story sequences bulking up the action – they occasionally feel forced, but mostly contribute to drawing you further into the DuckTales world.
All of this makes a classic action-platformer spring to life in a new age. Playing as Scrooge McDuck, you’re motivated by money, treasure and saving your nephews. It’s a simple game – you jump on enemy heads with your pogo stick or whack them with your cane, and occasionally you may need to hit an object into another object, or move an object so it acts as a platform, but that’s as complicated as it ever gets. Mostly, it’s about using these simple elements to discover and explore each of the five stages placed in front of you.
There are hidden walls, secret areas, and special items littered throughout the levels. You’ve got to collect these in order to progress, while also finding as many gems as you can to help boost Scrooge’s personal wealth. The levels may not be the most complex, sprawling affairs, but there’s enough going on to keep things interesting across multiple playthroughs – and, due to the high difficulty of the game and the low amount of lives you’re gifted, you’ll be looking at the same scenery and obstacles over and over again.
Ducktales Remastered was a great game and you could call it a more forgiving version of Mega Man!
5. Disney Infinity
This is a game where you get to create your own world and then interact with it. A creative concept by Disney and very fun for kids.