To this day, Mario’s first foray into 3D is still hailed as one of the most revolutionary video games ever created. Super Mario 64 set the groundwork for nearly every 3D platformer that followed its release. Who could forget the first time seeing Mario jumping through paintings and running around the huge, colorful levels of Super Mario 64? Breathtaking level design, endless exploration, epic battles against Bowser, classic tunes, and memorable power-ups makes this one legendary game.
With such an impeccable track record, narrowing down the best Legend of Zelda game is nearly impossible. However, the Nintendo 64 masterpiece Ocarina of Time got so much right, it’s hard to overlook it as the series’ best. Despite its graphical limitations, Ocarina of Time manages to tell a compelling story as well as deliver revolutionary gameplay. Ocarina of Time expanded the geography of Hyrule, giving players an entire world to discover. It also introduced a backstory for series protagonist, Ganondorf. By culminating everything that made previous installments so beloved and adding iconic gameplay mechanics, Ocarina of Time stands out as one of the greatest video games ever.
Metroid Prime will always be remembered as the first game that allowed players to see the universe through the eyes of intergalactic bounty hunter, Samus Aran. Metroid Prime’s brooding atmosphere and vast overworld rewrote the formula of the Metroid series, creating a truly unique experience. Retro Studios took a huge risk when they decided to make a first-person Metroid game, but that risk more than paid off, as anyone who has played through this captivating adventure will attest.
Emerald is the true gem of the Pokemon series. The game follows the typical Pokemon game formula, but distinguishes itself with its stunning visuals, fun extras and the presence of a deeper storyline. You play as a young hero trying to become a Pokemon master. During your journey you encounter different groups of villains, whose rivalry unleashes the wrath of two warring legendary Pokemon onto the region. It’s refreshing to play a main series Pokemon game that deviates even slightly from the typical plot, and even goes so far as to incorporate the game’s legendaries as opposed to just placing them in random areas to be discovered. Emerald also introduces the most scenic and visually enchanting world that has been featured in a Pokemon game before or since.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the quintessential multiplayer game. Super Smash Bros. Brawl lets gamers play as their favorite Nintendo characters and then (virtually) beat the living daylight out of each other. The nostalgia factor is worth the price alone, but Brawl is packed with content. A full-fledged single-player experience, a huge roster, an addictive stage-builder mode, and elaborate fighting stages will make Brawl appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers. As far as multiplayer games go, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a perfect 10.
–The Broadside Staff