The 90’s was an iconic decade for video game development. Graphics evolved from sprite graphics to full 3D graphical content. Because of this, platformers, first-person shooters and survival horror became more popular. Consoles like the Playstation, SNES, Megadrive and the Dreamcast were all released during the 1990’s. The next five are my personal favourite games that were released in the 90’s, and ones that every 90’s kid may have played.
Super Mario 64
Released in 1996, Super Mario 64 (sometimes called SM64) is a platform video game released for the Nintendo 64. With 11 million copies being sold, it became the best selling game for the console. The story is about Mario saving Princess Peach, who has been imprisoned inside her castle by Bowser. It’s different from a standard Mario game, where it would be a side-scrolling 2D platformer – something Mario games are well-known for, and it features an open world gameplay, where players can roam freely. The game is extremely popular with speedrunners (people who play the game as fast as they can), showing that the game can be exploited and the whole game can be completed in a time as little as 1 hour and 40 minutes. Popular speedrunners includeCheese05, Puncayshunand Simply. This game is really fun to play casually, but considerably difficult. It’s one of the most popular Mario games to date and if you haven’t played this, it’s definitely worth it.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog is a classic game that was released in 1991. The story of the game involves Sonic on a mission to defeat the evil Dr Robotnik. Sonic the Hedgehog is the first game of a series of many, a series of side-scrolling platformers in the theme of 16-bit. Sonic’s health is in the form of rings which he can collect while making his way through hills, pipes and water. At the end of each level Sonic releases a capsule in which animals from that level have been captured by Robotnik. The game definitely has a nostalgic feel to it, it was one of the first games I picked up as a child because it was so popular with both adults and children. The game was so successful that it’s ended up with TV shows, game sequels and spin-offs games. My favourite set of levels in the first game is the Star Light Zone, the music is really good and the visual effects are nice. For a 90’s game, they definitely took advantage of the lack of 2D platformers to stand out, because most games in the 90’s ended up being 3D.
This game. Oh man, this game. When I was a kid I would always watch my mum play these games. And I’d always go to her friends’ house (who originally got me into the series and were enthusiasts) to watch them play the games. Tomb Raider follows the life of Lara Croft, an archeologist who.. well, raids tombs. Lara was originally going to be a male, but Eidos made her a female with an one hell of a sassy attitude. My favourite element about the games is that the ambience is just so unnerving and creepy. I only started playing the game properly about 4 years ago, when I plucked up the courage to stop watching people play the games and do it for myself. The game ended up being popular enough to warrant 4 sequels on the Playstation, 4 games on the Playstation 2, and a reboot. Alicia Vikander has just been cast in a Tomb Raider movie reboot, replacing Angelina Jolie as the leading lady. My favourite game of the franchise is most definitely a toss up between the first and the fourth (The Last Revelation). Although the first game is famous for Lara’s ‘triangle boobs’ where all of the game was made out of polygons and it was highly unrealistic, the game still has a very unsettling ambience and a large portion of combat between both human and animal.
Crash Bandicoot is one of my favourite games of all time. The series is very popular, and revolves around the adventures of the marsupial bandicoot, who is constantly trying to thwart the evil schemes of Neo Cortex. The first game was released in 1996, which received positive reviews from critics. It’s one of the best-selling Playstation games around. The first game is very linear, where the player controls Crash through a series of levels located on different islands. He must reach the end of every level in order to get the chance to beat Cortex. There is a boss at the end of each island; Papu Papu, Ripper Roo, Koala Kong, Nitrus Brio and finally Cortex. Later on in the second and third games, these islands were changed to warp rooms. This game is very different to the other games, Crash 2 and Crash 3 of the original trilogy are non-linear games meaning you can enter levels in any order in the warp rooms, with the restrictions of unlocking more warp rooms when you have beaten the bosses. Out of the series Crash Bandicoot: Warped (3) is my favourite. This is because Naughty Dog, the game developers, widened the spectrum of gameplay. In the first game, you could collect gems after collecting all of the boxes, along with bonus levels (although not contributing to 100% apart from the Cortex ones). Crash 2 introduced crystals that were obtained at the end of each level, along with a secret warp room from finding the secret entrances in different levels. Crash 3 then also introduced relics for time trials, meaning the player had to re-enter the levels and get to the end as fast as possible. These games, like Super Mario 64 are very popular amongst speedrunning. The top 3 times for the highest percentage of the game (105%) for Crash 3 are held by Dustiel, SSBMStuff and GTNTG. The games are lots of fun, with colourful graphics, a mix of both 2D and 3D platforming and a really really good soundtrack. The games after the original trilogy, like Twinsanity and The Wrath of Cortex were released when the Playstation 2 was released and these games received mixed reviews, with the opinion that they’re not as good and were rushed to be made.
In 2016 at E3, it was revealed that Crash would be making an appearance in a new Skylanders game, and along with that it was also announced that the original trilogy would be remastered and released for Playstation 4 (do not ask me for my opinion, because I could write essays).
Spyro the Dragon
Spyro. Spyro, Spyro, Spyro. There’s just something about this game that makes me love it more than all the others (I’m a bit disappointed in myself for saying that because I thought that Tomb Raider would be my number one). I’m not sure if it’s because I played it constantly the moment it was released, getting up at 7am every morning to play it, or whether I was stupid enough to sell the game about 7 years ago for £1. A SINGLE POUND. Yes okay, shout at me later. This game is beautifully coloured, the gameplay is spectacular and I swear to god if there’s ever a remake I will burn my Playstation. Sometimes the originals need to be left alone (gives you a bit of a hint to my opinion of the Crash remasters but hey, I’ll definitely give it a chance).
Spyro the Dragon was released in 1998 for the Sony Playstation and follows a little purple dragon around as the main character, with his sidekick, a dragonfly called Sparx. The Dragon Kingdom is turned into chaos when a dragon insults Gnasty Gnorc, a mean, ugly ogre that turns all the dragons into crystals, trapping them. Luckily, Spyro is so small that Gnasty’s spell misses him and it’s up to Spyro to save everyone. Throughout the game, Spyro has to free dragons, defeat Gnorcs minions and collect gems in order to defeat Gnasty. The game was praised for having a high replay value, along with how good the graphics were for that time. The music was produced by Stewart Copeland from The Police, and a lot of the time people comment on how good the soundtrack to the game is. The game was successful enough to allow more games to be produced. The original trilogy is considered to be Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage (Gateway to Glimmer in Europe) and Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon. This game, just like Crash and Super Mario 64, is speedran on Twitch. World Record for the highest percentage of the game (120%) is currently held by SSBMStuff. In second it’s ChrisLBC and in third it’s AlexDest.
This game is a must play. If you haven’t played Spyro, forget about the other games I mentioned and play this one. You’ll see why. YOU’RE TOAST GNORC.