Tuesday A to Z - S

With these A to Z posts I try to limit myself to only write about a maximum of 5 games or less in some occasions but occasionally you will get a letter where you are overflowing with games to choose & have to chop out some selections. My initial list for the letter S came in at 32, way too many. I could be here for days writing about that, I have the limit set at 5 so I can keep up with the thread on UGVM, I’ve failed on that I know. I managed to get my list down to 15 by taking out games that I enjoyed playing but did not get that over-whelming feeling of wow ! now that was a game !

15 was still too many, I now had to get rid of some games that I thoroughly enjoyed, it was time to start cutting some of my gaming roots. After chopping out some truly memorable gaming experiences I have ended up with 6. I tried to get down to 5 but I just could not cut out any of the games below, each one of them played an crucial part in me GOSPVG the gamer.

Street Fighter 2 (Arcade/SNES)
From the arcade to the bedroom Hadouken !!
Ryu vs Ken. Round 1 FIGHT !
Playing with friends at college to honing my skills at home with my younger brother on the SNES. Yes I know it had borders on the PAL version but I didn’t care it was Street Fighter 2 probably the best beat em up ever made. More importantly it meant I could play a 2 player arcade conversion at home, if it was not Sensible Soccer (See what I don’t there got another game reference in with the letter S) it would be Street Fighter 2.  To master and learn all the skills from the various characters apart from Dhalsim I could not pull off his Fire breath or vanishing trick & Zangeif I never played him.

Space Harrier (Arcade/Sega Master System)
“Welcome to the Fantasy Zone, Get Ready !”
Boy was I ready !! Alas all my pleading to my father to buy me a Sega Master System never prevailed and I had to visit my friend’s at weekends to play or spend my pocket money at the local arcade. It was not until much later in life when I had cash to spend that I finally purchased a Master System to revisit Fantasy Zone. If my wife would say yes & I could choose one arcade machine it would not be Space Harrier What !! come on Star Wars Arcade of course (see what I done there got another game reference in with the letter S)

Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Megadrive)
All together now, All together in no man’s land (together)
Oh where was I  Tuu Ne Ne Nee Nah, Tuu Te ne nah na ne.
Every console has one game, one game to rule them all. Sonic was clearly THE game on the Sega Megadrive just like Super Mario World on the SNES (see what I done there got another game reference in with the letter S) he was the Sega’s mascot. A fast blue hedgehog with red shoes, jumping over obstacles, going round loops & collecting rings. I am ashamed to say I have only completed the 3 Sonic the Hedgehog games on the megadrive (Sonic, Sonic 2 & Sonic 3 – forget the others they don’t count) and nothing else. None of his games released for the many other consoles I have played with the brief experience of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic games but I have instilled in my youngest son the love for Sonic. He carries forth the sonic legacy for a new generation I’m waiting for the Zimmer –Frame edition so I can play.

Shining Force (Sega Megadrive)
Super Play oh what a magazine, possibly the best gaming magazine ever made, so many RPG games I would not have known about if it was not for Matt Bielby, Tony Mott, Jason Brookes, Jonathan Davies, Zy Nicholson & others. Also I must mention in relation to the magazine Wil Overton for his Manga inspired artwork. Anyhow back to Shining Force it was a turn-based RPG affair, you control a group of warriors on the quest to defeat the Dark Dragon. You could move your characters a certain number of places dependent on their level & equipment. Then you were given the choice to attack if you were close to an enemy, defend, cast magic or use an item. This was no Silent Storm (see what I done there got another game reference in with the letter S) It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience that resulted in me splashing out £59.99 for the sequel on release but even worse £229 for a Sega Mega Cd with a Backup cartridge & Shining Force CD (which was the worst game in the series I have played – there was no exploration it was just one fight sequence to another). I have not played Shining Force 3 but recently did download Shining Force when it was released on the app store to relive the memories.

Suikoden (PS1)
108 Characters to choose from but you can only make a team of 6 !! What? !
Whose stupid idea was that? was it a limitation of the game engine?

The 6 character team limit aside this was easily one of the highlights of the PlayStation RPG genre, a well-executed game with a great soundtrack & battle sequence.
From my humble RPG beginnings on the Acorn Electron with Sphinx Adventure (see what I done there got another game reference in with the letter S) to Secret of Mana (see what I done there got another game reference in with the letter S) on the Super Nintendo. The lure of the FMV intro’s and the mass migration of Japan’s RPG software houses from the SNES to PlayStation (I bet this sent shockwaves through Nintendo) made me embrace the US import scene full on with at least 2 or 3 purchases a month being sent over from Tronix via the Atlantic. Eventually Suikoden did get a PAL release but pah! Who was going to wait that long to play it? Not me !

Shadow Complex (XBLA)
Throughout my gaming, there are always titles that do not for whatever reason grab my attention when released. Shadow Complex is one of those gems that I ignored until Microsoft reduced its price on a deal of the week. Chair Entertainment with Epic of Gears of War & Unreal fame took the Super Metroid & Castlevania type of gameplay. “Metrodvania” it has been coined & gave it their touch. Boy !! what a touch, they lovingly created in my opinion one of the best Xbox Live Arcade Games to date.

You are Jason Fleming and your girlfriend has been taken captive by an underground facility. What seems like a simple search and rescues attempt soon evolves into something far more sinister & world changing. It is a 2d type affair with gorgeous visuals & set pieces, you do have to revisit areas once you have the required equipment you need to advance but this does not feel like a chore but somehow rewarding knowing that you can now access another area to enjoy.

If it was not for another “Metroidvania” game in Batman Arkham Asylum last year this would have easily been my game of the year, it is that good. Now stop reading this & go download & play it !!

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