Five Games For Life


posted 7/15/2004 by The GN Staff
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Cyril Lachel
Staff Writer

In the guise of a simple, outdated strategy game lies one of the most involving games of all time. X-COM is the type of game that demands hours of devotion, but rewards you with one of the deepest stories of any game of its type. The longer you play the game the most attached you become to your various workers, to the point where there is actual emotion when somebody dies (and you know they are never coming back to life). X-COM has several sequels, but none of them were able to demonstrate the programming mastery of the first game. There is no right or wrong way to play X-COM, which will lead you to play the game over and over with varied results. The graphics might start to look the same after awhile, but I can think of no finer time-waster than X-COM.

I'll be honest with you, I don't trust anybody that doesn't like Tetris. Being against Tetris is like being against water; it's the lifeblood of the video game industry, it's the very reason we play games. If you were to squeeze all your games together, that sticky stuff that comes out is the essence of "fun" ... something that Tetris was built on. It's the kind of video game everybody likes, even people who would never normally play video games. But even if it wasn't the worldwide success it is, even if it was just a simple, fun puzzle game I'd still take it with me. Tetris is the type of game I can play for hours on end, always trying to better my score and hone my skills. Certainly there are games that offer deeper stories and better graphics, but Tetris is the closest video games have come to perfection, and there's not a single reason I wouldn't want to keep it with me for the rest of my life.

If I'm never going to be able to buy another online game, I might as well keep the one with the most depth and replay. As a fan of the original, I was smitten by SOCOM II from the very beginning ... but now that I've put in well over 300 hours in it, I can honestly say I appreciate it more now than ever. The levels are large and interesting, and no matter how long you play it, you're bound to find a new hiding place or sniper point. Add in your equally addicted friends, and you have a recipe for what is easily the best online experience on a console. With the addition of downloadable levels/content, there is no rush for a SOCOM III ... which would be a good thing for me, since I won't be able to buy it.

Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack
Thousands of pages have already been written about Rockstar's crime simulator, so why even bother trying to come up with something new to say? By now everybody who wanted to play the game already has, and those who are against the series have all but shut up. But I don't care what other people think of the game, for my money, the Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack is about the best value going. It features two of the best games of this video game cycle, and easily the best in-game audio ever devised. Furthermore, it holds up surprisingly well. Not one of the subsequent GTA clones -- Driver 3, the Getaway, True Crime -- was able to recreate the fun and excitement found in Vice City. These two games aren't perfect, but they do offer you dozens (if not hundreds) of fun things to do, which should keep me happy for years to come.

Mortal Kombat Advance
You heard me. I figure if there's ever a time where I start taking those other games for granted, I can toss in the mighty Mortal Kombat Advance and realize how good I have it. There is not a game out there that doesn't look good when compared to the horrible, horrible Mortal Kombat Advance. What's that, your game has no replay and terrible controls? Well, Mortal Kombat Advance features a fighting engine so flawed, even your punches and fireballs go right through your foes. Forget challenging, Mortal Kombat Advance is impossible, which is the perfect difficulty when you're sentenced to a life without new games.
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