The original Xbox and PS2 were what introduced me to video games and were some of the first consoles I had. In honour of the joy they bought me I recently began playing them again in my spare time, begging the question, which games were the best of those? Now it would be easy for me to say Spider-Man 2, Battlefront 2 and Crash Bandicoot, so I’m going to try and pick three less traditional titles. Here it goes…
Number Three: Godzilla Unleashed
Though I would later discover the PS2 version I played was a lesser version of what the Wii had to offer, with more monsters and much better combat mechanics, I had one hell of a god time on this monster of a game. Godzilla Unleashed is a monster fighting game that takes place in 3D worlds you can run around and interact with; You can pick up buildings and throw them at your enemies, throw your enemies into skyscrapers and knock them down, tunnel under ground, teleport and all this awesome crazy stuff. The game came with a campaign in which you could play as four factions; Earth’s monsters (Godzilla, Mothra and his other allies), The Global Defence Force (A bunch of giant robots like Jet Jaguar who defend the planet), Aliens (King Ghidorah, Gigan and such) and, finally, the Mutants (Monsters like Destoroyah and Megalon). Which ever faction you pick leads to a different ending and it’s pretty awesome. The objectives are pretty straight forward but it’s fun and doesn’t feel repetitive. Additionally the game had a traditional fighting mode where you could have up to four monsters trying to kill each other at once, and even team battles. There was also an awesome unlock system in which you could buy more monsters, maps and collectible stuff to keep you enticed and the grind was good. I remember playing for hours to unlock the Alien Mothership map and Space Godzilla as a playable monster. I highly recommend playing this game if you can.
Now, I know you all knew this list couldn’t be complete without a Spider-Man game. I chose this one; Spider-Man, based off of the first Spider-Man movie by Sam Rami. Though this game didn’t have free-roam, it is still a bomb-ass game with some bomb-ass missions. This game is the perfect example of how to step up difficulty because this game’s missions go from “easy as pie”, to “better step it up”, to “holy-cow, don’t kill me!” perfectly. The boss battles in this game were where this came in. Even at a young age I remember being able to defeat the Scorpion in like five seconds, but then when it came to fighting the Shocker in the subway, I had one hell of a difficult time even getting to the boss fight, let alone beating it. Considering it didn’t have free-roam, as all later Spider-Man titles would, this game was somehow enticing, with smooth combat and a mix of combat heavy and stealth missions. Yes; Stealth missions. As well as kicking the crap out of thugs you got to sneak around Oscorp at night, avoiding the spot lights of patrolling security robots. It was cheesy, but truly amazing. What I loved though is that if you beat the game on the hardest difficulty or entered a cheat-code, you got to play the whole Campaign as the Green Goblin, with a whole, new fully voice acted story where you play as Harry Osborn trying to find out who killed his Dad. The missions are basically exactly the same, but changed slightly to fit this story. There are no cut scenes for this Goblin story, however, probably due to limitations of the time. It’s anti-climactic, but by far the absolute coolest cheat code I have ever input into a game to this very day. If you play this game, please play the original Xbox version, as there are extra missions available for it that cannot be accessed on the PS2 version.
Medal of Honour Rising Sun is a game that holds true to my heart; It will always me held close and dear, as the very first FPS game I played as a child. To this day it still impresses me, with a campaign so grand that the pure ambition of it puts some titles today to shame. What amazes me most is that when the game opens, in Pearl Harbour, you are not on deck watching some epic cinematic thing happen; You are below deck, getting awoken by a massive thud and then have to help the crew of your ships extinguish flames to stop the boat from sinking after a torpedo strike. You have to manoeuvre through this ruined ship and get to deck after saving everyone to fight a battle you can’t win. Once above deck you are given a weapon that is deliberately useless for shooting at planes with and there is this sense of hopelessness as you struggle to fight this dive-bombing Japanese planes. When your boat sinks, inevitably, you get rescued by a patrol boat, and man the anti-air gun as your driver tries to escape the Harbour with you. As well as this sequence being amazingly action packed and, at times, difficult, the game takes moments to slow down as the driver talks about how horrific and awful it is that so many people are dying around you… There is just something so human about this game, and I love it. Aside from Campaign, the game has a solid multiplayer, which you can play with bots and split-screen for a good time, that it heavily arena based. It feels like Quake, or Doom, only without the super fast pace and no weird power-ups or teleporters. The encounters are so funny because it’s always a rush to see who can get the rocket launcher on the map first and memorise its spawn, and re-spawn points. Medal Of Honour Rising Sun is a game cemented in my very soul and childhood. It is one I’ll never forget. It is challenging, but not insanely difficult and it can be frustrating but, at the same time, enjoyable. I loved and still do love every thing this game has to offer.