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Weekly Musings #10 - Ten Playstation Titles Everyone Should Own (Part Two)
Author: Michael Ahlf 
Date: August 16th 2004
Here we are on week two - five more titles. Sort of, anyways - you'll note three of the categories have extra titles in them, because they're "series" games.

Megaman X4

Megaman is one of those venerable old titles that just won't go away - Capcom in fact just released a collection disc of all the original Megaman titles for the Gamecube or the PS2. They're also pushing forward with a Megaman "RPG" title on the Gamecube, which should be interesting.

With all these titles, it's amazing that so few were really on the Playstation. MegamanX4 through X6, Megaman 8, and the abortive Megaman Legends series (three badly done games which inspired the crappy 3D gameplay in Megaman X7) were it. The Megaman series has actually seen more action on the Gameboy Advance than it did on the PSX.

However, X4 was not only Capcom's first PSX title, it was also their strongest. For the first time, Zero wasn't just a sidekick with Megaman-ish moves; he was his own character, his own storyline, and had an entirely different style of play centered around the Z-sabre and his own mobility. X4 also introduced real, meaningful storyline cutscenes to the Megaman universe. In fact, despite the repeated "deaths" of Zero and the ongoing attempts by Capcom to either transfer him to his own series (Megaman Zero on the GBA) or relegate him to number-two status in the Megaman X universe, he's stayed slightly more popular to play than Megaman himself.

Why you should own it: because owning the pinnacle of a series is never a bad thing, and Megaman X4's a hard game to get tired of.

Twisted Metal 2, or 4

Jim writes in that Twisted Metal should be on the list. I agree.

Twisted Metal 2's not about the solo gameplay, not at all. Far from it, Twisted Metal's solo gameplay was always rather mediocre. And if you have to pick one over the other, choosing 4 for the graphics might not be a bad idea. The joy of playing Twisted Metal is about the carnage, getting two players together for either the co-op madness or for head-to-head battles.

Why not Twisted Metal, or Twisted Metal 3? Ultimately, like any car game, it comes down to the engine - and with TM3, the designers tried to rehabilitate the original, badly made engine from the original Twisted Metal rather than polishing the engine they'd created for 2. Big mistake.

Why you should own it: because no car-combat game since, even the Interstate series, managed to capture the fun-factor quite as well as TM2 and TM4 did.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain

Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver are two vastly different games, but both worth owning and playing through. The saga behind the Legacy of Kain series is decidedly odd; suffice to say, the original Blood Omen was intended to be a one-shot title, until a second development group came up with the Soul Reaver sequel concept (sequel in storyline only, thankfully) and went to work.

The point of playing these games is backstory, plain and simple. While Soul Reaver has the better controls, it's a 3-D adventure/puzzle/platformer title. Blood Omen is a top-down RPG, with all the troubles that can entail. That being said, with three games coming after, and at least two more on the way, there are plot points that are hard to miss. It's also quite rewarding seeing how the game's current designers manage always to weave in story points and locales from the original Blood Omen title.

Why you should own them: to see the early history and storyline of the Legacy of Kain series.

Chrono Cross / Chrono Trigger

A number of readers wrote in with this title in mind; still owning a copy to this day, I can understand why. It's important to note that Chrono Cross isn't QUITE as good as its predecessor Chrono Trigger in terms of pure gameplay fun; indeed, no characters from CC are on Gamefaqs' character battles brackets this year, while three from CT are in the second round brackets. (For those who ask, I'm still rooting for Master Chief against Frog).

And there's the possibility of owning Chrono Trigger, with the Squaresoft "Final Fantasy Chronicles" release (you also get Final Fantasy 4, not a bad thing).

Still, for pure replay value, Chrono Cross did a number of things right - infinite Game+, dozens of characters, and crossover items that thankfully minimize the requirement of getting some "ultimate" items, and multiple paths through the game to explore. It also continued Chrono Trigger's original multiple-endings scheme, a good thing for those who like to explore endings.

Why you should own them: because for those who like them, they're even better than the Final Fantasy series.

Last, but certainly not least, an old favorite recently made new again:

Resident Evil: Director's Cut

If you're going to own a Resident Evil game for the Playstation, this one is it. The original was good; RE Director's Cut took the game to a higher level by putting back a lot of deleted camera angles and storyline bits. If you don't own a Gamecube (the Gamecube Resident Evil is yet another "remix" of the original) then this is the RE to own; RE2 wasn't quite as good, and by RE3 the designers were showing that they couldn't quite keep the series going.

That being said, Director's Cut still isn't perfect. There are cutscenes that were promised and "forgotten", and the graphics will be dated by today's standards. Plus, the control scheme is the classic, annoying RE control scheme. If you've got the option, the Gamecube version is probably a better choice - but if you don't, and you see this one sitting in a bin, it's worth picking up.

Why you should own it: because for RE purists it's the best of the series, save for the Gamecube edition.

Got Comments? Send 'em to Michael (at)!
Alternatively, post 'em right here for everyone to see!

Weekly Musings #10: Ten PSX titles everyone should own (Part Two)

Added:  Monday, August 16, 2004
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf


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