Parappa the Rapper
An original Playstation game that came out worldwide in 1997. The plot line? A beagle dog must fight for the affections of a sunflower, and the best way to do that is to learn to spit some bars. He takes karate lessons, gets his driver’s license, goes to a glorified rummage sale, and even learns how to use a public restroom, and all along the way he learns to rap. What else does a game need? Played like a classic arcade game, the player must time out their hits with the beat (think Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, but on a Playstation controller). Perfect for replay-ability, and the songs will get stuck in your head for life.
Road Rash 3D
Motorcycles, punching and kicking, and a killer soundtrack. Such is the life of 1998. Road Rash 3D might still be one of the (if not the) greatest racing games of all time. This, however, is an unpopular opinion based on the fact that this is the only game in the series that focuses more on the racing than the combat. You can still pick up batons, chains, and tazers to fight with, but the ultimate goal is to finish the race in first. Realism wins in this case, and the game should be revisited with more of an open mind- away from the shadow of the other games in the franchise.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
A third person shooting game released in 2002, Bounty Hunter follows the story of Jango Fett and how he came to be chosen for the clone project. The player goes all over the Star Wars galaxy trying to capture bounties both big and small. The storyline is great, and the game is overall entertaining. The reason this game stands out is because of it’s difficulty. It is not impossible, but it is close enough, and that level of difficulty infuriates the player enough to keep going back and trying again. But when they finally succeed, the payoff feels great. The game also deserves bonus points for the outtakes that they have animated in the style of the game- good enough to give Pixar a run for their money.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm
Released in 2004, Jungle Storm took place in the future which is now our past. The game follows missions in Cuba and the Americas trying to take down drug cartels and terrorists around the year 2010. Gameplay is some of the best for military games at this time, and is still entertaining to go back to. In single player mode, you control a squadron of “Ghosts” that get the job done. But where this game really shines is it’s two player mode. Collectively do the same missions but with only two people, do recon missions, capture missions, or defend missions, or even go against each other in a firefight. Coming out only a year after the first Call of Duty, this game definitely was in the ground floor of that style of game and should be held in such regard.
Backyard Baseball 2003
The best of the best. Backyard Baseball 2003 was unlike any other in the Backyard franchise. With players like Derek Jeter, Mike Piazza, Ichiro, and the great Pablo Sanchez; it’s a game that represents one of the golden ages of baseball. Gameplay is intuitive and fluid, graphics are great, and it feels just like you are back in The Sandlot. Honestly, there’s nothing bad to say about this game. If you’ve never played it- find a copy, and if you have played it- you know what I’m talking about.
Medieval Total War
You might be familiar with the Total War franchise, and you’re probably familiar with it’s sequel, Medieval Total War II, but the original is the one that should be discussed more. Released in 2001, it was the second game ever made in the franchise. The unique part of this game was that you were ruler over a medieval nation and you had two options of gameplay: lead the armies in the battles creating the formations and calling the shots, or staying back and ruling over the world on a medieval map and letting the computer fight for you while you decide what happens next. The great part of this game was the fact that it combined military combat and strategy with the diplomacy of ruling a nation. At the same time you were fighting a war, you must deal with taxes, building up your nations, making and breaking alliances, etc. Think Risk and Monopoly combined together, but the computer does a lot of the work making it less dull and boring. The ultimate goal of living out the medieval ages can take days, weeks, months, or even years. It is the most realistic ruling game I have ever played, and should be given more credit with how it was able to master this at such an early year.
Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi
Considered one of the worst fighting games in history, but that could not be further from the truth. Teras Kasi is basically Tekken with Star Wars characters. What could be better than that? With playable characters from Canon and Legends alike, it is the perfect game for a Star Wars fan that loves classic combat games. Could the graphics be better? Sure. Can movement be clunky sometimes? I guess. But it was 1997. That pretty much describes every game created that year. The best part of the game is the storyline: falling between Episodes 5 & 6, the narrative is about the heroes going up against Arden Lyn, a Master of an ancient martial art, as well as Mara Jade, the Emperor’s hand. It is the perfect plot line for an independent Star Wars film [of which the present writer has a treatment, script outline, and casting options if any producers happen to be reading this 😉 ]. Give this game another shot.
(Cover Photo: PlayStation Lifestyle)