Editor’s Note: We’re beginning a new series of discussions and debates to determine the greatest titles by genre in video games, music, movies, TV, and everything else of consequence in culture. The infamous Lord Reptile will preside as fight master and referee to ensure both fairness and maximum bloodshed. He was originally asked to start the series by providing his list of best “desert island video games” — the titles one would most want while trapped forever if one had to play the same games over and over again. Being a snarky, overly clever, cold-blooded creature, he then realized that some of the greatest games of all time actually take place on islands and that one could assemble a literal “Desert Island Video Game” list. And so you now have it. A more traditional, “greatest video games of all time” list will be coming later in the tournament. For now, this will more than suffice…
WELCOME TO REPTILE’S ISLAND, HUMAN SCUM. DURING THIS COMING ONSLAUGHT OF VIDEO GAME LISTS, YOU WILL DISCOVER THE MOST DEADLY GAMES THAT OUTWORLD HAS TO OFFER. FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, MY ISLAND SHALL BECOME YOUR BATTLEGROUND. SEND YOUR KOMBATANTS TO THE COMMENT SECTION TO MEET CERTAIN DEATH BY LORD REPTILE HIMSELF. HOW WILL EARTHREALM HANDLE THE MOST LITERAL OF ISLAND VIDEO GAME LISTS?
1. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (Wii U)
How could you not want to play The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker if you were trapped on a desert island for eternity? If you can’t sail away and feel the wind of the gods upon your face as you explore the vast open seas, then you might as well just sit there and do just that in a Zelda game. It beats potentially drowning.
THE REPTILE CAN’T SWIM. BETTER SIT INSIDE AND PLAY VIDEO GAMES INSTEAD.
Many people (DUMMIES FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD) were upset by Wind Waker’s ridiculously fresh and gorgeous cel-shaded visual style. It was quickly labeled a baby’s game by morons who compared it to the darker, more mature looks of Ocarina of Time.
THESE AMATEURS OBVIOUSLY DID NOT MAKE IT FAR ENOUGH INTO THE GAME TO WITNESS THE TOTAL DARKNESS THAT WAS THE EARTH TEMPLE. WHAT A FUN ROMP THROUGH THE CATACOMBS.
If you’ve got a Wii U, then you’re out of excuses: get this game and get lost in the ocean forever.
2. Super Mario Sunshine (Gamecube)
Some fools may argue that Super Mario Galaxy had the edge over Super Mario Sunshine, but they’re wrong.
THE REPTILE WILL NOT HEAR SUCH TALK. KOTAKU SHOULD STICK TO REVIEWING GUNDAM DONUTS AND COLOSSAL TITAN BURGERS.
Super Mario Sunshine is vastly superior to every 3D Mario game, period. It took the already fun and intuitive controls of Super Mario 64, fine-tuned them so they felt perfect, and then gave Mario a sick water jetpack that transforms the foundation of the game into an even more ridiculously fun platformer. But the most obvious strong point is in the graphics and fresh level design. Every stage has its own unique flow and bosses, and you’ll soon unlock all of the levels and have way too many shine sprites to collect. WHAT A FEAST.
The main levels aren’t even half of what this game has to offer. Around the islands there are dozens of challenging mini levels that will put your platforming chops to the test.
Playing this game feels like a vacation from the merciless vacuum of dreary adventure and shooter games saturating the market.
ALL OF THOSE BORING GAMES WITH THEIR BLAH GRAPHICS CRAMP THE REPTILE’S STYLE. SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE LOOKS GREAT AND WILL MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY.
3. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
Everyone knows that during the ’90s Mario and Sonic competed directly with one another for the title of heavyweight platforming world champion, but in 1994 a new challenger for the belt emerged from the depths and descended upon them like a gorilla with the strength of a thousand lesser apes: DONKEY KONG COUNTRY. NO ONE HAD EVER SEEN A GAME THAT LOOKED SO GOOD AND HAD SUCH A SWEET SOUNDTRACK. THE REPTILE STILL GETS GOOSEBUMPS ON HIS SCALEY HIDE EVERY TIME HE FIRES UP THIS GROUNDBREAKING GAME.
If you ever watched the Donkey Kong Country promotional VHS tape you had a small inkling of how this title was going to revolutionize platform gaming, but it wasn’t until you were swinging through Jungle Hijinx and smashing through kremlins with Rambi the Rhino that you realized this was a Mario killer. With the combined abilities of DK and his side chimp Diddy Kong, the duo was far cooler than Sonic and Tails. DKC can be beaten easily in a matter of hours if you’re a platforming genius, but very few players will find all the secret areas.
THE KREMLINS MAY BE JEALOUS OF THIS DONKEY KONG’S BANANA HOARD BUT THE REPTILE IS NOT ONE OF THEM. THE REPTILE ONLY EATS MEAT. HE HAS NO USE FOR BANANAS.
4. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (Gamecube)
HEY LOOK EVERYONE, IT’S SNAKE PLISSKEN AND HE’S HERE TO SAVE THE WORLD FROM A GIANT ROBOT AGAIN.
Whoa, wait, that’s not what happened in Escape From New York. Perhaps the Reptile shouldn’t have been feasting on Hamm’s when he wrote that review.
Solid Snake is Kurt Russell’s name in this story, and this time he’s going to Shadow Moses Island in Alaska to embark on a tactical stealth espionage conquest.
SHADOW MOSES ISLAND. YOU WILL NEVER FIND A MORE WRETCHED HIVE OF CRUMMY FOOT SOLDIERS AND BADASS SUPERVILLAINS. Most of the enemies in this game are just a bunch of generic goofuses, but they have strength in numbers. The members of Fox Hound are the ones who really steal the show with their over-the-top combat abilities and supernatural powers. Every character has their own unique personality that makes for a well-rounded cast that’s often missing from the plot in an average action game.
Stealth games had been around long before Metal Gear Solid, but none of them could match the sheer intensity and brilliant story that the first MGS had to offer. Playing this game is like living an American action movie that’s heavily influenced by anime.
If the playstation version of the game hurts your eyes, there’s a solid remake for the GameCube that uses a visual style similar to the sequel and even boasts the same first-person shooting mode.
5. Resident Evil: Code Veronica (Dreamcast)
Don’t let recent installments to the Resident Evil series fool you. Resident Evil used to be an extremely unique game with a killer atmosphere. It didn’t rely on using overly long and flashy cut scenes throughout the game to tell a story. No, the classic Resident Evil game would have one cheesy opener, and then it would throw the gamer into a survival situation where you had to be just as good at conserving health and ammo as you were at killing enemies. Resident Evil: Code Veronica X was arguably the last classic game of the series before Capcom opted for a behind-the-shoulder action style in Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube.
You start the game as Claire Redfield on a military prison island filled with zombies, zombie dogs, and several new monsters as you try to find a way off the island. They also bring back classic favorites like the Tyrant, who comes after you like a Terminator robot as you try to escape the island. The game is filled with jump scares and hilariously cheesy voice acting throughout, and tons of great gore.
Code Veronica combines everything that made the previous games so compelling and makes the controls much more manageable.
Much to the Reptile’s dismay, the survival horror genre has been buried under action titles posing as horror games.
LEFT 4 DEAD IS NOT SURVIVAL HORROR. IT IS AN ACTION GAME. DEAD RISING IS AN ACTION GAME ABOUT ZOMBIES IN A MALL. ZOMBIE U IS A GAME ABOUT BEATING UP ZOMBIES IN LONDON WITH A CRICKET BAT. THIS IS ALSO NOT SURVIVAL HORROR. STOP MAKING ACTION GAMES ABOUT ZOMBIES. THEY WERE NEVER THAT COOL.
THAT’S ALL FOR NOW, HUMANS, MAYBE NEXT TIME THE REPTILE WILL BESTOW HIS KNOWLEDGE OF SOME CLASSIC GAMES YOU AND YOUR LOSER FRIENDS CAN ALL PLAY.
INDEED, TRUE KOMBAT ONLY OCCURS IN THE MULTIPLAYER REALM. STAY HYPED FOR THE SEQUEL MULTIPLAYER ISLAND: RETURN OF THE DESERT LIZARD.
And check out some of Lord Reptile’s previous lists:
Do you disagree with the selections? Would you like to start a new debate of your own about the best in a particular category? Contact the Swindle Bros and their loyal colleague/assassin Lord Reptile with your ideas and challenges: TheSwindleBros @ Yahoo.com. Image illustration via Geek Improvement.