Greatest Games of 1995: Runners Up

Chrono Trigger

The glorious tail end of the SNES gave us what some call the golden age of the console RPG. Chrono Trigger was my favorite. I actually played this game on a modded Xbox after having played such titles as Final Fantasy VII and Ocarina of Time, and I’m pleased to report that it definitely holds up despite the inferior graphics. It has all of the elements you want in a great RPG: fantastic villain, cool spells and items, coordinated music, great playable character variety, and a captivating story. Traveling far forward and backward in time allows for a dramatic change in setting, and the addition of characters specific to those time periods really kept things engaging.

Command & Conquer

I really believe that Command & Conquer brought PC gaming to the mainstream. Being a PC gaming nerd, it was clear to me that everyone played console games but only the true nerds ventured onto the PC. A grade schooler could easily chat Nintendo at the lunch table, but bringing up a PC game was sure to draw crickets. Probably the first conversation I had with Chas was regarding a Command & Conquer hack. That was probably 16 years ago. Dave bought a PC because of this game. It wasn’t the first overhead strategy game, but it was incredible when released. WarCraft II was its main competition, but for those not into fantasy, C & C was top dog. Single-player allowed you to play as the Global Defense Initiative or the Brotherhood of Nod, which made for two distinct playthroughs. Additionally, multiplayer was a really cool function that allowed you to battle against your friends. There was nothing quite like loading up the car with your PC and 100-pound monitor to drive to a friend’s house to do battle, but it was all worth it if you could get a commando to obliterate your opponent’s construction yard.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter

A more in-depth game than its predecessor, X-Wing, TIE Fighter allowed you to become a pilot trainee for the Galactic Empire. In my opinion, TIE Fighter was the pinnacle of the flight genre. It blended small amounts of flight simulation with free-range arcade-style missions. Many previous flight games relied on dog fighting, but TIE Fighter blended a great variety of mission types. There was a nice blend of missions that incorporated the Star Wars theatrical story and original material to the game. What Star Wars fan wouldn’t want to kick ass in a mission and be rewarded with a medal from the Emperor himself? I must have spent 50 hours on this game.

Full Throttle

The final years of the point-and-click adventure game yielded some of the best titles. Among the best is Full Throttle. Anyone who played Full Throttle can (A) repeat the entire story; (B) recite quotes from the dialogue; and (C) sing at least one song from the game. The game is filled with biker gangs, fights, murders and mystery. The game is not particularly difficult and could probably be included in a list of the first games that play more like movies than games.

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