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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: 25th anniversary

It's been 25 years since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time revolutionized the beloved action-adventure series, bringing it into the third dimension. Highly anticipated and critically acclaimed at release, it remains one of the best Zelda games ever. Ocarina of Time is a prequel to  A Link to the Past . The opening intro in that game told of the Imprisoning War, when Ganon used the "Golden Power" of the Triforce for evil. He was defeated by a valiant swordsman who wielded the Master Sword and commanded the Knights of Hyrule. After his defeat, Ganon was sealed in the "golden land" by seven sages. The story in Ocarina of Time more or less tells of those events. Our pointy-eared hero meets each of the seven sages. Their names as established here have become part of Zelda lore: Rauru, Saria, Darunia, Ruto, Impa, and Nabooru. This game also introduces us to the Sheikah, ninja-like servants of the goddess Hylia, whose symbol is a stylized, hieroglyph-like eye. One s
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Zombies Ate My Neighbors: 30th anniversary

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is an SNES (and Genesis) game made by LucasArts (Lucasfilm). It's a combination maze and run-and-gun game with a self-parodying, classic horror film theme. You control a Bart Simpson wannabe in 3D glasses named Zeke or a girl in a purple jacket and red hat and shorts named Julie. Better yet: play with two players and get maximum enjoyment out of simultaneous play. Each of the game's more than 50 levels is a maze filled with monsters and ten neighbors to rescue. The neighbors are caricatures, like a cheerleader, guy barbecuing, guy floating in an inner tube, dog, girl on a trampoline, and tourists. As soon as a neighbor is on screen, if a monster touches it, they scream and turn into a ghost. If you touch them first, you save them and earn points. Once one dies, they're gone for the rest of the game. As a result, you'll have fewer and fewer to rescue as you progress. However, every time you earn 40,000 points, one neighbor is restored. If the las

F-Zero X: 25th anniversary

Twenty-five years ago today, F-Zero X, the sequel to the classic SNES launch title  F-Zero , dropped on the N64. The game still enjoys a good reputation because the hardware capabilities of the 3D system allowed it to deliver on the promise of the original formula. The basic gameplay of F-Zero X (I guess Nintendo got tired of the "64" naming convention) is almost identical to F-Zero. You race hovercraft around futuristic tracks at incredible speeds. The speedometer can crack 1000 kph, and the game does a great job making it feel real. Your vehicle has an energy meter. You can spend some for a turbo boost, though not on the first lap of each race. When you bump into walls or other vehicles, of which there are 29, you'll lose some energy as well. If you run out, your car explodes, ending the race. Energy can be refilled by driving over pink strips. To win races, avoid collisions with walls and vehicles, especially while cornering. Use the Z and R triggers to take corners mo

Rock n' Roll Racing: 30th anniversary

Although not marketed as a sequel, anyone who has played Blizzard's RPM Racing will recognize Rock n' Roll Racing as its successor. They are both isometric racing games with weapons, similar to Rare's classic R.C. Pro-Am on the NES, but Rock n' Roll Racing is the superior game by far. You can enjoy Rock n' Roll Racing solo or with a second player. At the beginning, you choose your racer from six colorful, punky characters: Tarquinn, Snake, Cyberhawk, Ivan, Katarina, or Jake. Each is good at two skills from among acceleration, top speed, cornering, and jumping. Olaf, from The Lost Vikings , is secretly available by holding down L, R, and SELECT while Tarquinn is selected. Olaf is busted because he's good at all four skills! Four characters race and attack one another's vehicles with lasers, missiles, and mines. You begin with only one laser shot per lap. Between races, you can purchase additional shots and upgrade your vehicle's armor, tires, shock abso

Final Fight 2: 30th anniversary

Final Fight 2, an SNES-exclusive sequel, was Capcom's attempt to rectify the mistakes of the SNES port of their hit arcade game, Final Fight . It includes the sorely missed third character, sixth stage, and simultaneous co-op. The plot of Final Fight 2 rehashes the original: the vicious Mad Gear gang have committed a kidnapping, and it's up to Mayor Mike Haggar and two associates to save the day. The plot is so uninspired that, when Haggar asks how the defeated gang has returned, someone replies, "That doesn't matter." Truly it doesn't matter because we don't play beat-'em-ups for the story. Like the original, Final Fight 2 is about little more than a couple friends button mashing their way through a motley and wretched crew of thugs and street toughs. The worst thing you can say about Final Fight 2 is that it's a total redo of the original, offering almost nothing new, except the elements that were regrettably stripped from the SNES port in the fi

Street Fighter II Turbo: 30th anniversary

Street Fighter II Turbo was like an early version of DLC, except you had to buy the game all over again! We were happy to do it, because that's how much better the new version of Street Fighter II was. This was a souped-up, deluxe version of the game that made the PVP fighting genre. The hype for Street Fighter II Turbo was real. I got so excited when I saw it at my local Fred Meyer (a Pacific Northwest superstore) that I bought it instead of Final Fantasy II, which I'd been saving for. I quickly regretted this hasty decision and sold it to my friend, with whom I then played it more than I ever would have at home! Honestly, who ever plays Street Fighter II single-player!? When the original Street Fighter II hit the SNES, the game had been in arcades for almost a year and a half, where it was an unrivalled powerhouse until Mortal Kombat arrived in late 1992. The Champion Edition (released in early 1992) added the four bosses as playable characters. This feature was absent from t

Super Mario All-Stars: 30th anniversary

Super Mario All-Stars is the first in a long line of Nintendo games remastered for a later console. There was incredible value in this package because you got all three NES Super Mario games, plus the Japanese-exclusive Super Mario Bros. 2 (under the moniker " The Lost Levels "). The value of the collection has somewhat diminished over time only because the originals are more iconic, despite their 8-bit auditory and graphical shortcomings. I've already reviewed the first three games , so I won't review them individually again. Suffice it to say they are among the best NES games. And Super Mario Bros. 3 is, as everyone knows, one of the greatest video games ever. The version included here is arguably the best way to play it. Super Mario All-Stars has four main appeals. Firstly, there's the convenience and value of bringing together four great older games on a newer system in one cartridge. We saw this same phenomenon with the well named Super Mario 3D All-Stars