80 – Team Fortress Classic
Release Year: 1999
While I didn't play this game as extensively as the original Team Fortress or its successor, Team Fortress 2, I did have fun with it and for one of the judges it was his very first foray into the world of Team Fortress. While TFC wasn't as frenetic and the physics was quite a bit different to the original Team Fortress it still managed to become one of the most popular mods for Half-Life and for that deserves its place on the Choicest Games Top 100.
79 – Rise of Nations
Release Year: 2004
Two of the judges have rated Rise of Nations as one of the best games to be released in 2004. At first glance the game looks similar to Age of Empires but it actually bears some similarities with Sid Meier's Civilization too. The game is still a Real-Time Strategy and like Age of Empires you're able to research new technologies in order to upgrade your units and economy, and then use that advantage to dominate your enemies. Unlike Age of Empires though, the game doesn't just span one part of human history but its entirety. Rise of Nations also allows you to build cities, establish trade routes, connect rare luxury resources and build wonders (which confer benefits) making it have more in common with Sid Meier's Civilization than most RTS titles up to that point. This winning combination of Age of Empires style tactics and Civilization style strategy ensured the game's status as a classic – so much so it was remastered and released last year on Steam as the "Extended Edition".
78 – SimCity 4
Release Year: 2003
This game was rated highly by two of the judges probably because, in the case of one of them, the game was just too damn addictive! For many fans, SimCity 4 is the last "true" SimCity game due to the less than stellar reception of 2013's SimCity. SimCity 4 was the last SimCity to be developed with Will Wright still working at Maxis (he left in 2009) and it was also the last to have a macromanagement style of gameplay that has been present in the series since the beginning, unlike the most recent SimCity's micromanagement style where traffic is generated by individuals trying to find a route to work rather than some algorithm to do with population density. SimCity 4 was also the first game in the series to introduce regions where you could connect multiple cities, towns or suburbs together to form a giant conurbation or metropolis – this was one of my favourite features to the game, that and the soundtrack by Jerry Martin (although I think his soundtrack for SimCity 3000 is better).
77 – Alpha Protocol
Release Year: 2010
Alpha Protocol, the 2010 spy action RPG by Obsidian Entertainment, didn't fare too well with most critics but a couple of us at Choicest Games thinks it deserves a second chance. While some of the stealth gameplay elements are a bit lacklustre (e.g. the decision to have boss battles where you can't rely on stealth) the story and role-playing elements are fantastic, as you'd probably expect from a developer like Obsidian Entertainment. The game has so many approaches and endings that it puts many other RPGs to shame. Admittedly, this means the game is rather short but the amount of freedom it offers the player is what makes this game stand out as well as seemingly bad decisions actually having good outcomes (and vice versa). You never quite know who your enemies are.
76 – Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Release Year: 2011
While nothing will be as good as the original Deus Ex, anyone playing it nowadays will realise it hasn't aged that well in the graphics department. Thankfully, this is where Deus Ex: Human Revolution can help. While the game is technically a prequel to the original Deus Ex the gameplay is very similar. Even the locales are similar (one French-speaking city, check. One Chinese city, check. One American city, check) not to mention you've got the multiple endings to pick from depending on which faction you go for. The near-future vision of Earth is also fascinating as it explores the ethical dilemmas with human augmentation and what it really means to be "human".
75 – SimCity 3000
Release Year: 1999
Ah, another SimCity game on the Top 100 list. While this iteration of SimCity did not have the huge scale of its successor, SimCity 4, I reckon it struck a sweet spot in the series in that it wasn't as complex as SimCity 2000 or SimCity 4 yet it has similarities to both. It retains the simplicity of managing just one city and interacting with AI neighbours, just like SimCity 2000 yet gets rid of the micromanagement associated with industry taxation. SimCity 3000 also introduces the concept of farms which makes a return in its sequel SimCity 4. The game also has, what I believe, to be the best soundtrack out of any game in the series to date (although the most recent SimCity comes pretty close); Jerry Martin's SimCity 3000 soundtrack is so good that people could mistake it for a bona fide jazz album by Miles Davis.
74 – Warcraft III
Release Year: 2002
While I wasn't personally a big fan of Warcraft III it was a favourite amongst two of the judges and I can respect why it's garnered a legion of fans. Firstly, thanks to the success of the previous Warcraft games, Blizzard already had quite a bit of a following yearning to learn more about the world of Azeroth. Secondly, in typical Blizzard fashion, incremental changes were made to their Real-Time Strategy formula such as the introduction of (overly powerful) Hero units which I wasn't a big fan of, although was a crucial factor in the third reason it was so popular: mods. Warcraft III is important since it basically made popular the genres of tower defense (via a myriad of tower defense maps) and Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs) thanks to the mod Defense of the Ancients or DOTA.
73 – Puzzle Quest
Release Year: 2007
This game was a clear favourite with one of the judges – so much so that it was escalated into the Top 100. Despite the game not appealing to the "hardcore" PC gamer market it has the distinction of merging two seemingly unrelated genres into one addictive game. Australian developer Infinite Interactive thought it would be a good idea to create a role-playing game that used match-3 gameplay (similar to Bejeweled) in order to determine the outcome of challenges such as combat. It was refreshing to see a developer try something a bit different and Infinite Interactive developed several spin-offs based on the concept as well as a sequel inspired by Diablo.
72 – Baldur's Gate 2
Release Year: 2000
Baldur's Gate 2, sequel to Bioware's first game Baldur's Gate, is a clear favourite amongst one of the judges and the game has a huge cohort of fans, enough to warrant a remastered version of the game and a spiritual successor by Obsidian Entertainment called Pillars of Eternity. The game uses the Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Ruleset and just like any good Western Computer Role-Playing Game (CRPG) offers a lot of customisation options such as class, ability scores, appearance and alignment. The game also features a co-op multiplayer campaign which is essentially the same as the single-player campaign (all 60-300 hours of it) except you can play with five friends. Too bad you hardly see any CRPGs nowadays doing the same.
71 – Total Annihilation
Release Year: 1997
While the Total Annihilation series was a bit late to the fight for RTS market share, it had a lot going for it that made it stand out when compared to genre heavyweights, Westwood Studios and Blizzard. For starters, it was the first RTS to introduce 3D units and terrain, and also did several things differently to RTSs of its era, such as offering unlimited resources and much larger population caps (initially 200 but eventually 5,000 units could be fielded per side). The game was a clear favourite for one of the judges and it's a LAN party favourite. The game's success resulted in two spiritual successors: Supreme Commander in 2007 and Planetary Annihilation in 2014.