Greatest Game of 1997: Runner-ups Rant!
1997 could be one of gaming’s greatest years. Unlike most of my rants, I really can’t bring myself to ridicule James Bond’s best and most successful video game outing so lets proceed in a more happy fashion than usual.
Final Fantasy VII
In my opinion the strongest, most closely knit trio of 1997 was me, Final Fantasy VII and my basement. I spent hundreds of hours adventuring with Cloud, Barrett, Vincent and myriad other tremendous pixelated characters on the quest to defeat the goth weirdo known as Sephiroth. Final Fantasy VII made me fall in love with the RPG. It had everything: a great combat system, fleshed out compelling characters, an engaging plot, cutting edge graphics and FMV cutscenes! My obsession with Final Fantasy VII makes it my favorite Final Fantasy game of all time and also serves as a sad reminder of how far the Final Fantasy series has fallen.
P.S. Final Fantasy VII is phenomenal…but Tifa still sucks.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is the most overrated game of all time. There, I said it. Over the last 15 years I tried *literally* eight times to get into this game. Each time I played about an hour and put it down due to a combination of apathy and boredom. It’s worth noting that previous to this game I was a massive Castlevania fan who was ready and willing to whip candelabras every time Dracula rose from the grave.
Sidenote: isn’t it odd how in this series Dracula is never really doing anything bad to anyone? Think of it this way, in pretty much every Castlevania one of the Belmont’s hears that Dracula is rebuilding his castle or that he’s generically up to something extremely evil. Then said Belmont BREAKD INTO HIS HOME AND MURDERS HIM.
I still can’t grasp what made this game win so many awards. To me, Castlevania SOTN will be known as the game that broke into my house and killed Castlevania.
Quake II should be forever remembered as a completely forgettable and mediocre single player game / amazing platform for developers and multiplayer gaming. In fact, the Quake II game sucks but John Carmack’s Quake II engine is revolutionary. It’s pretty much responsible for competitive FPS gaming, every multiplayer FPS game mode you’ve ever played and arguably the strongest, deepest mod scene in gaming’s history. I spent hours playing out-of-the-box Quake II but spent even more time building levels and playing mods. I love the frag out of Quake II
Star Wars Jedi Knight
As much as I wanted to love the original Dark Forces, which was quite a bit as a 13 year old nerd who loved Star Wars, even then I knew Dark Forces was solid but unremarkable. Jedi Knight took the unremarkable and made it into the 2nd most definitive Star Wars games ever (2nd to Tie Fighter). I vividly recall standing outside an imperial base, force powers mapped to my hotkeys and a lightsaber ready to rock. An AT-ST was the only foe in my way. A few force jumps and a handful of thermal detonators later I sauntered straight in the front door.
Sidenote: the lightsaber controls in Jedi Knight were wonky. but it was 1997. What’s YOUR excuse Star Wars Kinect?
The moment I turned to the dark side I knew, deep in my 15 year old bones, that Star Wars Jedi Knight was destined to be one of my favorite games of all time.
It’s also worth noting this is the first game I decided to choose the evil, bad or immoral character path. I’ve been doing that ever since and I’ll never turn back.
All i know is Tekken 3 is the best Tekken game of all time. Take that for whatever it’s worth AKA very little.