Choicest Games Top 100: 31-40

40 – Day of the Tentacle

Release Year: 1993

Classic Lucasarts point ‘n' click adventures seem to be a recurring theme on this Top 100 list so of course we had to have Day of the Tentacle on it. This game is a sequel to Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick's 1987 hit Maniac Mansion but thankfully you don't need to play the original game in order to appreciate the humour. The game is set at a mad scientist's mansion but in different time periods (200 years in the past, 200 years in the future and the present) and you're able to control three characters: a nerd called Bernard, a roadie called Hoagie and an eccentric medical student called Laverne. The time travel related puzzles are definitely a highlight of the game along with the multitude of goofy characters and humourous dialogue. In fact, it's probably one of the only games I could almost recite the entire dialogue.

The good news for fans is that Double Fine are working on remastering the game for modern audiences so everyone can once again experience one of the best point ‘n' click adventure games in history.

39 – Civilization

Release Year: 1991

The original Civilization manages to make it onto the list thanks to two of the judges rating it as one of the best PC games of all time. This is the game that started the "Just-one-more-turn" syndrome courtesy of Sid Meier and although it seems quite primitive by today's standards, as Tears for Fears say, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" right? The original Civilization laid the groundwork for the entire Civilization series (which is still going strong more than two decades later) and catapulted Sid Meier into the limelight as the developer of quality Turn-Based Strategy games.

38 – The Secret of Monkey Island

Release Year: 1990

Here we have another game that was the beginning of a much-loved franchise: Monkey Island. The Secret of Monkey Island, heavily influenced by the fantasy pirate novel "On Stranger Tides" by Tim Powers, is a swashbuckling adventure where you get to play a character with the very silly name of "Guybrush Threepwood" who wants nothing more than becoming a pirate. Eventually he falls in love with the governor of the island he's visiting and when she's kidnapped by the zombie pirate LeChuck, it's up to you to help Guybrush purchase a ship, gather a crew and set sail to Monkey Island on a daring rescue. What makes the game stand out is Ron Gilbert's trademark humour, memorable characters and a Caribbean inspired soundtrack thanks to Michael Land. Four sequels were eventually developed with the most recent one, Tales of Monkey Island, being released 6 years ago.

The game also received a high-definition remaster in 2009 which allows gamers to experience the game with sharper graphics, music played with real instruments and voice acting.

37 – Fable

Release Year: 2004

Fable was rated as one of the best action RPGs of the mid 2000s by two of the judges on the panel and one of the best games of all time by another. Sure the game was hyped like there was no tomorrow, thanks to the overzealous Peter Molyneux, but despite it not being the ultimate RPG that everyone was expecting, it was still a pretty damn good game. The fact your hero ages and changes appearance depending on your alignment (a bit like the Knights of the Old Republic games) along with the very British humour are stand-out features, not to mention that stirring main theme by Danny Elfman.

36 – Battle Chess

Release Year: 1988

This game is a surprise addition to the list thanks to it being rated one of the best PC games of all time by one judge on the panel and another rating it as one of the best of the late 1980s. Battle Chess took the simple concept of animating chess pieces as they crossed the board or whenever they attacked each other; one neat feature that is that the battles turned out to be quite different depending on which piece was taking another. By adding animations it gave a new lease on life for the very old board game of Chess and for the late 1980s, the graphics were actually quite advanced; the game even won an award for "Best Graphics Achievement in a Non-Graphics Product" from the Software Publishers Association. I also wonder if Wizard's Chess in the Harry Potter novels would ever have existed if it wasn't for Battle Chess. You never know...

35 – Need for Speed: Underground 2

Release Year: 2004

There have been a lot of Need for Speed games over the years and it's one of EA's biggest franchises. They even made a $66 million movie called "Need for Speed" last year which was panned by critics but made over $200 million at the box office worldwide (it did especially well in China of all places). Despite there being over 20 games in the franchise, there was only one that our judges deemed worthy of the Top 100 list and that game is Need for Speed: Underground 2 (NFSU2). NFSU2 has the right combination of open world racing, a focus on affordable "tuner" cars (instead of unattainable "exotics" – hey they even have the humble Honda Civic in there) and lots of customisation options for your car. You even have side missions where you can take photos of your ride for car magazines! The game remains a fan favourite and they're still waiting for EA to finally get around to making an Underground 3, although apparently the Need for Speed game coming out this year is meant to share much in common...

34 – Alien Swarm

Release Year: 2010

The original Alien Swarm was a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004 and was released in 2004. I fondly remember playing the original and Valve, always on the lookout for choicest mods, decided to remake the game using the Source engine and released it on Steam for free in 2010. The remake is pretty faithful to the original and the game remains one of the best co-op experiences in recent years, especially if you like the movie Aliens. The game involves a squad of up to four players making their way from the start of a level to the end, surpassing obstacles (like locked doors) and killing as many alien "bugs" on the way with the limited ammo on hand. One of my favourite features in this game is whenever a tech expert has to unlock doors: unlocking a door triggers a Pipe Dream like minigame and the more proficient you are with the minigame, the quicker it takes to unlock – which is crucial since while you're doing that your teammates have to fend off hordes of aliens! These situations are especially tense and make for great anecdotes. Alien Swarm is also important for another reason since without it, I doubt very similar games like Left 4 Dead or indeed Evolve would've seen the light of day.

33 – Jade Empire

Release Year: 2005

What do you get when you mix Chinese mythology, Wuxia-style martial arts and Knights of the Old Republic? Jade Empire of course! After the success of Knights of the Old Republic, Bioware took their winning formula and applied it to a different setting, one with an obvious Chinese influence. You still had your Light and Dark Side (renamed to Way of the Open Palm and Way of the Closed Fist respectively) but combat is more frenetic in Jade Empire thanks to its focus on martial arts. Bioware went all out to bring the world to life even hiring a linguist to develop a made-up language called "Tho Fan" (although it ends up that only a few phrases of Tho Fan are spoken and then recycled). The game's audio was top notch too, with an Asian themed soundtrack courtesy of Jack Wall (who would go on to compose the soundtrack for Mass Effect) and a professional voice cast including a hilarious cameo by John Cleese. Two judges believe it's one of the best CRPGs of all time, it's just a pity they never made a sequel... yet.

32 – Sid Meier's Pirates!

Release Year: 2004

The original Sid Meier's Pirates! was released yonks ago in 1987 and that was followed by a remake in 1993. So the 2004 remake of the game is in fact its second but even then it's over a decade old now! In Pirates! you play the role of a man who has come to the Caribbean to rescue his family who has been kidnapped by the evil Marquis de la Montalban. You can either achieve your goal through trading or piracy but in the meantime there are several other goals to serve as distractions such as finding buried treasure or even marrying the most beautiful Governor's daughter in the Caribbean. Be aware that your character does age in this game and as you get older your reflexes aren't quite what they used to be meaning retirement is inevitable.

Despite the game's age, it's probably still the best pirate game I've ever played thanks to it incorporating many aspects of pirate life and making it into an open world role-playing game of sorts. It rates as one of the best games of all time with one Choicest Games judge and as one of the best in the mid-2000s for two others.

31 – Serious Sam

Release Year: 2001

Why is this even on the list? Are you serious? No, but Sam is (huehuehuehue). Okay, while I liked Serious Sam since it was a game that hearkened back to the good ol' days of Doom (where you fought hordes of enemies while carrying a ridiculous amount of weaponry) and it is a blast to play at a LAN, does it deserve a spot on the Top 100? Apparently the answer is "yes", thanks to two Choicest Games judges voting this game as one of the best of all time. It's probably the only game from Croatia to make the list too...


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