Top 10 Best Video Game Themes

There have been lots of really memorable video game songs and themes over the years, and we all have our favourites. I would like to present a list of what I feel are the ten best pieces of music to ever come from video games. Feel free to disagree, but remember that of course this is all opinion!

Now, here’s my list.


#10

Street Fighter IV – Main Theme/Volcanic Rim


Capcom used to play the hell out of this piece of music in every Street Fighter IV trailer to hype the game, and I don’t blame them. This theme has “resurrection” written all over it, which is what Street Fighter IV did to the series. It is also very energetic and damn, it’s loud! This is the perfect music to listen to while overly-stereotyped fighters beat the pulp out of each other. I look at this piece of music as the definitive Street Fighter theme song now, and I hope that Capcom does too. It’s just that good.


#9

Diablo Series – Theme of Tristram


This is such a depressing piece of music, but at the same time it is just as great. I cannot think of any other gloomy, soul destroying piece of music that I actually LIKE listening to. Tristram’s theme fills you with such a strong feeling of desolation and destroys all hope you have of vanquishing Diablo. This theme slaps you in the face and tells you that you’re going to fail, and that the demons of Hell will invade and take over.


#8

Castlevania Series – Divine Bloodlines


I believe that this theme has been in a few Castlevania games, and this is the tune that always stands out to me when I play one of these skeleton and vampire infested games. Whenever I hear Divine Bloodlines, I really feel like I am in the game and am on a quest to kill Dracula. I feel like it is MY adventure. Divine Bloodlines really gets you in the mood to kick some Count ass, and is the perfect start to some Castlevania games, such as Dracula X.


#7

Stider Hiryu Series – Theme of Strider Hiryu
Also used in Marvel Vs Capom: Clash of Super Heroes


One of video gaming’s coolest ninjas has one of the most awesome character theme songs ever. This tune plays in the official Strider Hiryu games but is also used as his theme in Marvel Vs Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. This was an awesome theme that, in Marvel Vs Capcom, could turn the tides of battle. I found that, when fighting Strider, my mind was always on this music more than the character. I can’t say that it defines him well, but I can say that this is the best theme for a character ever in a fighting game.


#6

World of Warcraft – Login Theme


Before Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm, we had this. From 2004 until 2006, this is what players of the colossal MMORPG heard each time they loaded up the game. Three expansions later and this theme is still the login music, though it has been butchered and remixed so many times that it has lost it’s original soul. This theme defines World of Warcraft as a whole and is the definitive tune for the MMORPG as a whole.


#5

Mega Man 2 – Intro Theme Music


In my opinion, this is the ultimate Mega Man theme. Mega Man 3, a game that I actually don’t like at all, comes a distant second to Mega Man 2’s theme. How the piece just starts off so gentle and peaceful before slowly escalating into a really powerful and energetic piece is the best transition ever in a video game theme. I love it!


#4

Tetris – Theme Music


This theme is the embodiment of all things Tetris, and no puzzle game has ever come close to having such a fitting theme. The Tetris theme has this aura to it that gets you into the mood to play with blocks and have a blast, but when you are faced with a possible game over situation, this theme song feels incredibly ominous to the player, pressuring them to lose and get game over. The Tetris theme does all this despite never changing even a single note. If that isn’t mind control or real power over the player, then I don’t know what is.


#3

Final Fantasy Series – “Final Fantasy”


What started as a adventurous and energetic opening to what Squaresoft assumed to be their final game before dissolving has turned into one of the gaming industry’s ultimate game over themes. I don’t mean game over as in losing all your lives, no. I mean game over as in you completed the game. The Final Fantasy theme often plays at the end of each game during the ending sequence or credits, serving as a passionate piece of music that will make you feel glad that you adventured with Square’s latest band of misfits. The most moving piece of video game music ever, in my opinion.


#2

Super Mario Bros. – Original Theme


Perhaps the most iconic tune in this top 10. Everyone knows the Mario theme. Even people who have never even played a Mario game know what this little jingle is! The Mario theme transcends gaming. When people who barely even know what Mario is can identify the main theme, it says a lot. In terms of being iconic, this one is certainly at the very top… So why isn’t it #1 on the list, especially considering the fact that I am a huge Mario fanatic?


#1

The Legend of Zelda Series – Main Theme


… Because the Zelda theme, while not quite iconic as the Mario theme, is a superior composition that evokes a real sense of adventure from the player. Hearing this theme, even in the very first Legend of Zelda on the NES, can pull anyone into the mood required to play a Zelda game. It pulls you into the magical world of Hyrule, and it won’t let you go. Chances are you won’t want to let go anyway. In terms of being iconic, this theme is second only to the Mario theme, but it is a far more engrossing theme that takes hold of you and rocks you to the core.


Several of these themes are available on my MP3 Downloads page, so head on over there if you want to download some tunes.

Return to December 2010 Articles

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Final Fantasy Blackmoon Prophecy

In 2004, I felt that my interest in RPG Maker was really starting to wane and that I would probably stop using the program soon unless I came up with something that I truly enjoyed working on. I decided that, for whatever reason, an action RPG with Final Fantasy 4-esque graphics would be the best way to go. Looking back on that decision today, I am certain that if I had proceeded with my initial idea, I definitely would have failed horribly.

When I began gathering resources and plotting out my action RPG that I had taken to calling Blackmoon Prophecy, I began to realize that I was almost subconsciously mapping the game as a Final Fantasy fangame. So many elements from the old Final Fantasy titles were present, probably because of the ripped graphics I was using. I decided that maybe an action RPG wasn’t the thing for me to tackle at that moment, and I decided to turn Blackmoon Prophecy into a real fangame. It then became Final Fantasy Blackmoon Prophecy, and my simple goal was to emulate the feel and gameplay of the first six titles in the Final Fantasy series.

I had previously made one Final Fantasy fangame in RPG Maker 2000 called Final Fantasy Mythologies in 2002 or 2003, and it was pretty terrible. In my heart I felt that it was a gem, but as an actual fangame? Well, it was pretty terrible. Only I could enjoy it. I wanted to do better with Blackmoon Prophecy, and I also wanted to dispell the illusion that all fangames suck. That is a belief that has been a part of the RPG Maker community since it’s early days in 1999 and 2000, and a slew of awful Dragon Ball, Final Fantasy, and Pokemon abominations did not help fangames receive a better image. There certainly were good fangames, but they were few and far between. I wanted to make my mark on the fangame side of the RPG Maker community, which is why I chose to make Blackmoon Prophecy feel and look like the old Final Fantasy games. I did not want the game to forge it’s own unique identity, no. All fangames that have done that have mostly failed. I decided to play it safe and, hopefully smart, by modelling practically every aspect of Blackmoon Prophecy after the first six Final Fantasy games.

I released several demos between 2004 and 2007. Initially, not a lot of people took to Blackmoon Prophecy. There were lots of bad maps, dialogue was overly juvenile, and the overall presentation (such as battle animations) was a little disheartening. With each demo, I refined the game more and more to carry a more authentic Final Fantasy feel until it seemed that almost everybody who played the later demos at least partially enjoyed the game. Negative feedback dropped quite a lot over the three years of demo releases. It has now been about three years since the last demo and I can safely say that the refinements I’ve made since then are very thorough and vast. Many dialogue sequences and maps have been completely remade and, in some cases, areas of the game have been completely removed because I deemed them to be too amateurish.

While Blackmoon Prophecy will never feel 100% like the classic Final Fantasy games due to the use of RPG Maker 2003’s default systems, I really do believe that I’ve come closer than any other fangame author in the RPG Maker community. At times, an uneducated viewer could probably mistake Blackmoon Prophecy for a legit Final Fantasy game. A very authentic Mystic Mysidia is ripped from Final Fantasy 4, and Final Fantasy 6’s auction house has been recreated very faithfully as well. Little things like that give Blackmoon Prophecy a distinct Final Fantasy feel. I’ll never nail it perfectly though, but then again I sort of feel like the atmosphere, feeling, and gameplay of the old games are lost forever. Final Fantasy remakes on portable consoles always feel like they have less soul than the originals, and the recent Final Fantasy IV: The After Years on the Wii felt nothing like the game it was meant to be a sequel to. It felt like a strange fangame of sorts. It just seems like nobody can really capture that old feel anymore. I don’t think I can capture it, but I can at least emulate it.

So, exactly what is this Blackmoon Prophecy game about? In traditional old-school fashion, this is a game about saving the crystals from an evil villain and that’s it! It sounds simple because, like the old games, it is. Of course there are many plot devices and storylines that play out, but at it’s core, Blackmoon Prophecy is just an old-school game about saving the world.

The game is set in Gaia, a world that is governed by four major powers – Branch, Ivalice, Lenadia, and Lindblum. Branch is a war-ravaged nation with a predominantly dragoon-based military, Ivalice is your typical shady Empire, Lenadia is a peaceful and vast land ruled by King Gorn, and Lindblum is an economic powerhouse.

The players assume the role of Vahn, a dragoon from the Branch Kingdom. A year has passed since the Crystal War which saw the King of Branch wage war on the world via crystal power. The King was defeated by the other nations, and the crystals returned to their rightful shrines across the world. Now, something mysterious is clearly going on. Strange happenings have been occurring at the Water Shrine, and a local dragoon named Darius has been acting peculiar and defiant in many cases. Can Vahn get to the bottom of it all?

Throughout Vahn’s journey he will team up with a black mage, white mage, summoner, ninja, blue mage, swordsman, dark knight, and a treasure hunter. Each have their own distinct abilities and all excel at different areas of the game. For example, the dark knight is able to manipulate the shadow resistance of fellow party members and enemies. If he lowers an enemy’s resistance several times, he can then use his Black Strike ability. On it’s own, it is an average shadow elemental attack, but after manipulating the enemy’s resistance, it turns into a devastating attack. A few minutes after the dark knight joins, there is a boss battle in which all three opponents are immune to shadow attacks, which makes him useless in that fight as a combatant. As well, the white mage is very weak against shadow elemental attacks and, in that same fight, can be hit by a shadow attack that deals roughly twice as much damage as her maximum HP. Since she is the primary healer, having her in a fight in which she can be killed in a single blow is risky however, if the player were to keep the dark knight in their party, they could theoretically use him exclusively to support the white mage and keep her alive. Situations like that arise pretty often, but a few characters are lucky enough to not be affected much, such as the black mage who commands at least one spell of every element.

In terms of emulating older Final Fantasy games, there’s a long list of things in Blackmoon Prophecy that may be nostalgic for a few people. Characters such as Cid, King Gorn, Siegfried, and Ultros are present while towns like Cornelia, Kohlingen, Mysidia and Silvera are recreated in some form or another. There is a choboco race track where players can bid on the winner and receive prizes, and an auction house where the player can having bidding wars with NPCs over items. A few location names, such as Ebot’s Rock, Mount Matoya, and Gulgur Volcano may remind players of the good ol’ days as well. The summoner character is of course another source of nostalgia with her summons such as Ifrit, Ramuh, and Shiva. More obscure summons like Zoneseek are also in the mix. You name it and I’m probably trying to capture it in some form or another!

I’ve been working on Blackmoon Prophecy quite a lot recently and, at the pace I am going at right now, I think I’ll finish in the summer of 2011 sometime. Finishing this game is definitely one of my goals, and will probably be one of my New Year’s Resolution as well. This is one of the very few things I have ever put online that was enjoyed by quite a few people. That sort of thing can make a person feel good, and I’d love to finish this game and release it to the masses. Stay tuned next year, it may happen!

Click here to visit The Review Depot’s Blackmoon Prophecy section.

Final Fantasy VI (SNES, 1994)

INFO: My “Retro Vault” reviews are not scored. Instead, I just talk about why I have fond memories of whichever game I’m writing about at the time. Generally, I won’t pick out any bad games for the Retro Vault feature, so scoring them is essentially useless anyway. Enjoy the read.

Most gamers these days tend to say that their favourite Final Fantasy is VII, which is cool. It was a well made game and Square really did a good job with it. There is one game in the series that gives VII a run for it’s money in terms of popularity with the fans however, and interestingly enough it is not one of the 3D installments. No, the game in question is the 16-bit 2D Final Fantasy VI.

The fact that a two dimensional installment in the series is in constant contention for “best of the entire series” says quite a lot about the game, I think. Obviously the graphics aren’t fully up to par anymore, so folks who held onto their dicks while playing the gorgeous Final Fantasy XIII are unlikely to be blown away by much in Final Fantasy VI. When the game was released however, the graphics were fairly pretty. Fortunately, the graphics were only a plus back in the day, a nice addition on top of an already stellar package.

So, if Final Fantasy VI does not get so much love for it’s visuals, then what has the series’ fans talking about the game even today? Turn your eyes to Final Fantasy VII, which unfortunately looks like ass by today’s standards. The character models were already kind of crumby when the game was first released for whatever reason, so it’s understandable that Final Fantasy VII’s visuals can almost induce vomiting these days. The game is ugly as hell, but it’s still loved for it’s story and characters. The exact same applies to Final Fantasy VI, and I’m going to explain why I feel that this game, my favourite in the series, has a leg up on it’s older and younger siblings.

Like most RPGs during the 16 bit era, Final Fantasy VI opening sequences hinted at a great war that took place hundreds of years ago. In this game’s case, it was the War of the Magi. This war was fought between Espers and Humans, and nearly destroyed the world. The war ended with the Humans exiling Espers to their own domain. The victory was not one sided however, as the Human civilization was set back hundreds of years, losing their technological advances and being forced to start over again. By the time the present day rolls around, it’s pretty clear that the dark ages are gone as the player gets a glimpse of Vector’s technologically impressive (and menacing) castle.

After the introduction sequence explains the war briefly, it ends after posing a “what if the war happens again?” sort of question before introducing a few playable characters. A girl and two Imperial soldiers (Biggs/Vicks and Wedge) appear over the town of Narshe where an Esper was recently found. This would be pretty big news considering the fact that Espers almost wiped out the Human race one thousand years ago.

So the player takes control of the three characters in their attack on Narshe as they attempt to capture the Esper. I can’t help but think that this was bad writing on Square’s part. In a real life situation, I’m sure that an Imperial Empire would send more than three people to capture a powerful creature. Perhaps an entire squad? It would have made more sense to do so since the two soldiers are killed off by the Esper, Tritoch. The girl survives and is revealed to be Terra, one of the game’s three main protagonists.

For the first several hours, the player spends their time learning about Terra, the Empire, the Returners, and much more. I won’t really go into the story too much since I assume that just about anyone reading this has either completed the game and doesn’t need a refresher, or is interested in playing the game and would probably prefer not to be spoiled. So, ignoring the story for the rest of this article, I think it’s time to talk about other aspects of the game.

The cast of characters is pretty staggering for a Final Fantasy. In fact, Final Fantasy VI has the largest character roster out of all the games. There is plenty of variety so most people will be able to enjoy their own little “favourite teams” so to speak. The joy of having so many characters is the development that you get out of several of them. Only a few characters receive little character development, which is alright. Some characters such as Terra, Locke, Celes, or Cyan have quite a lot of backstory that is a lot of fun to learn about. Cyan in particular is one character who my heart always goes out to, as he went through hell and back throughout the game. By the end of the game, he’s probably still going through his own personal hell that he keeps to himself and you really have to feel bad for the guy.

Opposite the playable characters is the game’s central antagonist, Kefka. I explained in my “top 5 Final Fantasy villains” why I think Kefka is the absolute best villain in the series, so I won’t rehash what I said there. You can check it out for yourself by going to the “top 5” submenu at the top of the page, just under the Review Depot banner. I praised Kefka for being so deliciously evil, and he does it all too well. Even Sephiroth would be jealous of Kefka’s antics. Throughout the course of the game, Kefka does so much evil that you truly do want to punish his sadistic ass, though you love the guy at the same time for being so off the wall and insane. Square really did a fantastic job of making a funny, goofy character so evil and despicable. They have never managed to make a villain quite like Kefka ever since, though they came close with Kuja.

The gameplay of Final Fantasy VI is fairly standard. There isn’t a lot to the game that raised the bar back in 1994, and the most complicated gameplay feature was the method used to learn new spells. The Esper system was a lot like a barebones Materia system in which characters learned new spells from Espers from gaining AP in battle. It wasn’t revolutionary, but it worked fairly well.

Aside from the characters, the aspect of Final Fantasy VI that still stands the test of time to me is the music. For a sixteen year old 16 bit RPG, this game sounds pretty awesome. The overworld map music (at the beginning and towards the end) is very compelling and engaging, and some character themes such as Celes’ saddening overture can very well almost bring a tear to your eyes – and it may very well do so at one point in the game. Kefka, considering how evil the man is, has one of the silliest themes I have ever heard, but it works so well for him. Figaro’s theme, the boss music, and even the entire Opera sequence sound brilliant, and Nobuo Uematsu really did an amazing job in this game. I cannot help but admire the music of Final Fantasy VI.

Everything I have mentioned comes together to make this my favourite game in the entire series, as well as one of my favourite games of all time. No Final Fantasy can truly compare to this one, except perhaps Final Fantasy VII.

If you have never played this 16 bit masterpiece, you owe it to yourself to get your hands on it one way or another.

The Most Epic Video Game Ever

So while I was cleaning myself up for work this evening, an idea hit me for a game that transitions between genres. In essence, it would be a game that has no defining genre. Imagine the following being shown at a demonstration at E3, the Tokyo Game Show, or some other conference.

The demonstration opens with what seems to be a futuristic racing game. Heavily armored jet-tanks (think Wipeout on steroids) barrel through a jungle landscape dotted with high tech ruins. An NPC portrait appears on the screen as the player speeds through the jungle, informing them via radio to pick up “abandoned weapon cores” laying around the environment. By running over one, players acquire high powered laser/missle weapons that anihilate the opposition when fired. The NPC urges the player to “hurry and beat that bastard to the checkpoint, the safety of the world depends upon it! Use any necessary force!”

The player immediately realizes that the message told the player to throw attack after attack at their opponent. After taking enough damage, the bad guy’s vehicle suddenly explodes, but it turns out that he ejected from the seat at the last moment! The NPC on the radio tells the player to “get the hell outside and stop him from getting away!”

The player gets out of their vehicle and gives chase, quickly catching up on foot. The bad guy feels their presence and turns around. He then indicates that, “You just don’t give up, do it? Fine, let’s settle this now. Like men.”

The camera transitions out to view the two men from a side view perspective as two bars appear at the top of the screen. And then it happens…..

Round one. Fight!!

The game goes from combat racing game to what seems like a full fledged fighter! The two characters go at it, performing combos, linking moves to form chains, performing breakers and parries.. And so forth. After two rounds of highly stylized fighting, the player wins.

As those watching expect a “(CHARACTER NAME) WINS!” message to flash up, they instead witness something else.

Victory! Mission Complete!

An experience bar appears as a score that is calculated basd on performance in the race and then the fight are converted into experience points. The bar fills. LEVEL UP!

The screen fades to black and the player receives a save prompt. After saving, a cutscene plays with the player character entering what looks to be a military operations base. The NPC who previously spoke to the player in their racer is here, revealing himself to be “the General” and the guy who tells the player what to do. The General informs the main character that they may have taken one one of the evil corporation’s main henchmen, but there are still several out there. The General brings up a map, pointing to an area of structures and saying “this is where we are, in this base.” He tells the player that they have to push northwest to a research station that likely holds some valuable information that they can use against the evil corporation. The main character tells the General that he can count on him and leaves the room… And then the game loads into what appears to be an RTS map. The player takes control of the base, building structures and training units to destroy the evil corporation’s defenses near the research station. The main character, as a unit, must survive and be the one to capture the station.

After capturing the research station, the main character enters and finds one of the evil corporation’s henchmen inside. He is waving a disc and saying, “looking for this?” he escapes in a racer. The player hops in one as well, and a sequence similar to the jungle race plays out. After the player fires enough power-ups into the bad guy, his ship will appear to start exploding. The bad guy laughs and says that he isn’t going to give up and… ESCAPES IN A POD INTO THE SKY! The General orders the player to pursue! With the press of a button in the racer’s console, it turns into a flying vehicle and flies into the sky!

The camera angle shifts to the side as the player gains control of the vehicle in the air. Reinforcements from the evil corporation arrive in the form of enemy aircrafts. The player, flying forward the entire time, must shoot them down and salvage their weapons before they explode. After destroying several waves, the player finds the bad guy in a giant robot that he retreived from the evil corporation’s base. Resembling a ship at least a dozen times larger than the player, the bad guy’s ship is capable of firing huge volleys of deadly projectiles. After getting in enough shots, the bad guy’s ship begins exploding. The General begins to congratulate the player when the bad guy cuts them off with, “NOT SO FAST! I’M TAKING YOU WITH ME!” The bad guy fires one last shot before exploding. The shot hits the player’s ship as the begin to spiral out of control. The General urges the player to land safely, but it is impossible. After spinning well of course, the player makes a light crash in an abandoned area.

The player crawls out of their ship to survey the damage and see where they are. As they are examining the hull of their ship, there is moaning… Shuffling feet… The player turns and looks back and there it is! A zombie!!

Suddenly playing like Resident Evil 5, the player is tasked with getting the hell out of what appears to another research station where all hell broke loose. With each zombie killed, a “+1 XP” message flashes over the fallen corpse. Eventually the player gets to the end of the station. Just as they are about to leave, a huge zombie horde attacks! As all hope looks lost, suddenly two people burst in and push the zombies back. Allies from the command base! After defeating the zombies, they introduce themselves as Sergeant Brock and Captain Sharp. They agree to get the hell out of there with the player and then this message appears..

– BROCK AND SHARP HAVE JOINED THE PARTY –

The party then leaves. Victory! Mission Complete!

An experience bar appears once more as a score that is calculated basd on performance in the race and then the fight are converted into experience points. The bar fills. LEVEL UP!

An overworld map appears. The research station they were at is greyed out. Ahead is a sparse plain. The player selects it and enters. The game shifts to a location that looks and plays like the Archylte Steppe from Final Fantasy XIII. The player’s destination is marked on their map as they must traverse through the open wilds. If they are unfortunate enough to bump into one of the local critters, a dramatic battle transition occurs. Rather than going to an RPG battle screen, the fighting system from before returns! Brock and Sharp appear as what seems to be tag-team partners (think Marvel vs Capcom). The creatures that the player is fighting? A series of wolves! While the player has three characters to alternate between, each with diverse move sets and special attacks, the opposing force is made up of approximately twenty wolves. The player characters seem able to take about ten hits from a wolf before dying (though it would be more if they gained more levels), but each wolf can only appear to take about four or five hits. After defeating all the wolves, each character is awarded experience points based upon how much they were used and how beneficial they were in determining the outcome of the battle. The player then continues, trying to avoid as many fights as possible….

And that is as far as my imagination went. So, what did we include here?
Racing? Check.
Fighting? Check.
RTS? Check.
Retro shooter? Check.
Survival horror? Check.
RPG leveling mechanics? Check.

How would something like this be defined? What genre would it fit under? I had an idea to add in a sort of Civilization or Sim City element to this game idea as well. Would that have been overkill? No, the “playable sports league minigame/diversion from the main story” probably would be, though. Or maybe functional online multiplayer?

Okay, that’s enough. I’m stopping now, I promise.

Return to August 2010 Articles

Games I Won’t Write About

WARNING: You have stumbled upon one of my “rant” pages for a game(s). My rants are intentionally critical and contain foul language. If you are not comfortable with this, then please don’t read the material I have written.


As a regular joe and not some flunky working for a professional gaming website, I can say whatever I please about any game on the market. To get myself warmed up for a few reviews I plan on writing soon, I have decided to end my blog break by writing about the games I have played (or haven’t, in the case of one game below) that I will not review. Surely these games must be something special if I won’t review them? Well, in most cases, the games are actually pretty good overall. So, let me tell you why some games are on the “do not review” list.

BRAVO AIR RACE (PS1)
This one is a “classic” now, as it is a PS1 game. So why am I including it? Well, I’ll review older games from time to time. Bravo Air Race, fortunately, will never be one. I love racing games, but this game was just ridiculous. Aside from having barely any courses at all in the game, it was designed terribly. Why in the hell the developers thought it would be cool to include a countdown timer in the game is beyond me. Yes, Bravo Air Race is just like the old arcade racers that have those countdown timers that, when they reach zero, you lose automatically. Get that shit out of racing games, it doesn’t belong at all. You’re not supposed to be racing against the clock, you’re supposed to be racing against other competitors! I also found myself crashing or something almost all the time in the game, because it felt like everything wanted to kill me.
Estimated score if reviewed: Between 1 and 3 out of 10.

DEMON’S SOULS (PS3)
Originally, I was pumped for this game. After I watched YouTube videos of the game in action, my hopes quickly vanished and I found myself not really wanting to play the game anymore. Sure the game looked challenging, but it lacked an immersive atmosphere, the graphics were generic, and the absence of music made it all seem very dull. A few months later, a friend brought it over and played through the tutorial stage as well the following two levels. Did I come around? No, not at all. Seeing the game in motion on my television only made me feel even less interested in the game. Overall, it just looked boring and completely stupid. Aside from being ridiculously difficult and strategic, nothing about the game looked interesting. The graphics were boring, the sound effects were terribly uninspired, and the menus were just plain awful. My friend offered me the controller at one point, but I didn’t want to play. A few more weeks later and my step-sister’s boyfriend tried to get me to play it. All I had to say was NO. Sorry bud, but I’m not touching Demon’s Souls. Ever. You can tell when a game isn’t for you, and this is one that is not for me.
Estimated score if reviewed: Between 3 and 5 out of 10.

FALLOUT 3 (360, PC, PS3)
I wanted to like this one, I really did. Unfortunately, I feel like Fallout 3 is just a dumbed down Oblivion, just like Oblivion is a dumbed down Morrowind. With each new Bethesda release, I feel like the overall quality of their games declines substantially. They seem to just try to appeal to the casual gamers now, or at least want lots of mainstream attention. It shows in their two latest RPGs, Fallout 3 and Oblivion. Oblivion was fairly boring and lacked immersion, but I was able to play it and at least enjoy it a little. Fallout 3 is a different story, though. I feel that it takes Bethesda’s bad voice acting to it’s lowest point yet, and the NPC animations are just fucking hilarious. The VATs system felt like garbage to me and I couldn’t grow to enjoy it at all. I read that it was to “simulate” the turn based combat of the first two Fallout games. Well why the fuck don’t you guys just make an actual turn based battle system instead of butchering an already shitty first person combat system!? My main gripe with Fallout 3 is that the whole game just felt really boring. There was nothing epic about it. With Morrowind, you had a wonderful orchestrated soundtrack that made stepping out onto Vvardenfell feel absolutely incredible. Oblivion tried to feel a little epic as well with the impressive (though visually sub-par) distant land feature and action-oriented battle system. Fallout throws everything out from Morrowind and Oblivion and forces the player to listen to a soundtrack that hardly evokes any feeling at all from the player as they trudge through a wasteland that, while impressive looking for five minutes or so, quickly becomes the most boring landscape I have ever had the displeasure of adventuring through. The “Wasteland” was even more boring than Oblivion’s huge ass province-sized forest that covered up almost the entire overworld. So, Fallout 3 bored the shit out of me and I hated how clumsy Bethesda’s programming was, too. Sorry.
Estimated score if reviewed: Between 3 and 5 out of 10.

DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY (PSP)
It’s bullshit fanservice, and I’m sick of Final Fantasy not dying. The fact that Square-Enix works on TWO numbered games in the main series at a time now is beyond ridiculous. Dissidia just felt like a less gimmicky version of Smash Brothers. I think that Smash Brothers has a slight edge over Dissidia though, since I feel that Smash Brothers actually requires a little skill (!!!) while Dissidia requires none. This is just a mindless button masher that stars Final Fantasy’s most popular characters. The fighting engine is so shallow and stupid that it’s hardly even worth it to check out every character. I tried them all, felt underwhelmed, and then just played the game a bit with Squall since he basically felt like a murder machine. I don’t know what Square-Enix was even trying to do with this game. Is it a fighting game? Er, not quite. Action? No. RPG? Nope. So what the fuck is it? Hell, I don’t know.
Estimated score if reviewed: Between 3 and 6 out of 10.

MINI NINJAS (360, PC, PS3)
What’s not to like? It looks cute, the premise is great, and the gameplay videos are fun to watch. Unfortunately, I found out that there is one thing about this game that I absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is the control layout. I played the game on my computer, and I could not get the game to detect my gamepad at all which forced me to play on the keyboard. To make matters worse, I could not reassign some keys. I always play with the jump key as NUMPAD0, but in Mini Ninjas it was permanently bound to the space bar. Frustrating to say the least. Anyway, I found the controls impossible to adapt to, and I was quite pissed off that I couldn’t use my gamepad. The game itself seemed very well made and I’m upset that I didn’t get to experience more of it. A poor control scheme is a game breaker though, and Mini Ninjas certainly has a poor one.
Estimated score if reviewed: Between 4 and 5 out of 10.

RISEN (PC)
Start game. Complete tutorial. Walk ten feet and get slaughtered by a horde of monsters that are way out of your league. I couldn’t enjoy the combat in this game at all. It felt a lot like The Witcher, only so clumsy that it made me just want to quit repeatedly. I disliked everything about Risen except the graphics. The island you are thrust onto looks really nice and is quite a treat to explore, but overall the game felt like trash to me and I didn’t enjoy it. It’s been a while since I last played, so it is hard to be specific. All I can say is that I didn’t like the game and I felt that the placement of monsters was far beyond questionable.
Estimated score if reviewed: Between 2 and 5 out of 10.

SACRED 2 (360, PC, PS3)
I will never review this game simply because I can’t get the damn thing to work on anything I run it on! Nothing ever loads properly and the game can’t even be played. Start up a new game and be treated to a grassy field that is stuck on my screen forever! Cool! Nothing renders at all except the ground. The game was also tested on my step-sister’s machine and, surprise, it didn’t work. It is kind of hard to review a game when the fucking thing doesn’t even work in the first place.
Estimated score if reviewed: 0 out of 10 for not even working. Yes, that makes it worse than Big Rigs.

THE LAST REMNANT (360, PC)
I played about an hour and a half of this game before I just gave up. As a Square-Enix game, I expected a lot more out of it. The Last Remnant was bad on so many levels. The voice acting wasn’t even Sesame Street quality, the battle system was barely functional and seemed absolutely random most of the time, and the dungeons were the blandest locations I have witnessed in a current generation game. Most dungeons were, literally, nothing more than barren square rooms connected together with the odd monster or two inside. I tried to accept all these faults, but when the second boss of the game KO’ed me in two hits that I could not even react against, I decided not to bother with this garbage game. Yes, garbage game. The Last Remnant has a lot of interesting qualities and there is a lot of potential in the game, but Square-Enix wasted every single ounce of it. Not even one aspect of the game was put to good use. Everything felt half-assed, as if Square-Enix didn’t really care about putting any effort or time into anything in the game. A complete and utter failure of a game.
Estimated score if reviewed: Between 1 and 2 out of 10.

TORCHLIGHT (PC)
I am getting a sense of deja vu. Did I already write about this game before? I could swear that I did. Hmm…
Estimated score if reviewed: Pretty sure I’ve written about Diab… Er… Torchlight before .

WORLD OF WARCRAFT (PC)
Unlike everything else in this post, I like WoW. I still play it, but mostly as a sort of social networking service of sorts. I still play the actual game itself, but I also like keeping in touch with the cool people I’ve met on WoW. Hyjal, Moon Guard, and Shadowmoon are all some pretty awesome realms. If anyone remembers Rasche the Night Elf hunter from Hyjal and then Moon Guard, then that was me. I made friends on both realms, and I had good times. I still play, and I’m trying to gear a healer at the moment while chatting with some pretty good folks. People talk shit about WoW quite often, and let them. Who cares? It’s a fun game as long as you don’t become dangerously addicted, but that applies to all games. World of Warcraft isn’t the evil poison people make it out to be. There are just so many people playing it, so you’re bound to hear the bad stories about neglectful parents and such more often than you would with other massively played games such as Counter-Strike or Team Fortress 2. Overall, when you balance out the populations, WoW’s players really aren’t any worse. Truthfully, some of the friendliest people I have met online have been on WoW. Are they lonely and depressed nerds who are excited to have someone to talk to? Maybe. Even if they are, at least they’re friendly. I can’t say the same for the assholes I’ve met in APB and other MMOs. Anyway, there is one simple reason why I will never review the core World of Warcraft game, and that’s because it is always changing thanks in part to Blizzard’s thorough patches. The game is continually being refined, so it’s difficult to really say much about it.
Estimated score if reviewed: Between 8 and 10 out of 10.

Return to August 2010 Articles

Top 5 Final Fantasy Villains

Final Fantasy is without a doubt the best RPG series of all time. You can say what you want about it, but the simple fact remains that this series is untouchable. While the more recent games in the series haven’t felt the same at all which many blame the numerous gameplay changes for, I think that it has more to do with the stories. You see, once the Playstation 2 took off and Final Fantasy X was released, it just seemed like the villains in the series were never the same again and, with each new game, the villains seem to receive less and less attention. In Final Fantasy XIII you don’t even see the face of the final villain until you’re about thirty hours into the game, which is just bizarre. When things like that happens, it makes the villains easy to forget.

Because of the forgettable nature of Final Fantasy villains including and after the tenth numbered installment, my list of the top five best Final Fantasy villains will only focus on the first nine games. So then, we have five out of a possible nine villains. Care to guess who they may be? Read on and find out.



Even though Zeromus was the true final boss of Final Fantasy IV, he really didn’t show his face until the very end of the game. For the majority of the game, we had to combat Golbez. As a villain, Golbez didn’t do a whole lot of bad things and didn’t torture many people unless you count the fall of Mist Village, which Golbez had a hand in behind the scenes. The reason why he just narrowly scrapes into my top 5 is because he is the brother of Final Fantasy IV’s protagonist, Cecil. So throughout the game, Golbez captures his brother’s lover, brainwashes his best friend, and also tries to kill him. Even if you’re being controlled by a greater evil, that’s still a pretty dick way to treat your own brother. In the end, Golbez helps the party combat Zeromus thus attaining redemption. Despite the fact that he ended up as a good guy after breaking free of Zeromus’ control, it’s still pretty hard to forgive him. He’s a lot like the Orcs in Warcraft. They weren’t really evil and invasive warmongers that decided to slay the human civilization just for fun. They did it because they drank the blood of a demon that corrupted them. Golbez is kind of like that, although unlike the Orcs, he stopped doing bad things after regaining control over himself. Sorry Orcs, but you guys are just assholes.
Insane/Mad Personality: Minimum
Mass Genocide/Slaughter: Minimum
Vendetta Against Party: Very High
Motivation: Controlled By Zeromus for entire game.
Redemption: Regains control of himself at the end. Fights (and loses) against Zeromus.


Final Fantasy V isn’t very fresh in my mind anymore, but I still remember the evil deeds of Exdeath fairly well. A lot of people are obsessed with Sephiroth and claim that he is the first villain of the Final Fantasy series to kill off a main character. Have these people never played Final Fantasy V or what? Exdeath beat Sephiroth by four or five years by killing off one of the most important characters in all of Final Fantasy V, and that’s Galuf. He played the role of Warrior of Dawn and King of Bal. That’s a pretty impressive resume, and the fact that he was an awesome party member only made his death that much harder to digest. Heck, Galuf even adventured with Bartz longer than Aeris did with Cloud! Late in Final Fantasy V when Exdeath is back at seemingly full power, he destroys various locations on two worlds and then merges them together. Many populated places are lost as a result, making Exdeath a pretty nasty mass murderer. Very few Final Fantasy villains have killed thousands of people with their own hands during the main storyline, and Exdeath is one. He makes this list for killing off Galuf and potentially destroying several kingdoms too. What a jerk.
Insane/Mad Personality: Medium
Mass Genocide/Slaughter: Off The Chart
Vendetta Against Party: Medium-High
Motivation: To gain the power of “The Void” and destroy and erase anything he pleases.
Redemption: Nil


Aside from having one of the most badass themes in the entire series, Kuja was sort of a homage to everything we loved from the classic Final Fantasy titles, which was also one of the major themes of Final Fantasy IX itself. Kuja’s development and pure evilness was pretty well on par with the greats from the 16 bit era. Let me go over what Kuja does in chronological order just to give an indication of how much of an asshole he is. First he assists Queen Brahne of Alexandria in killing off the entire kingdom of Burmecia, destroying Cleyra where Burmecian refugees fled to, and then forcing an imperial occupation on Lindblum. Kuja allowed Brahne to conquer an entire continent, which resulted in thousands of deaths and the destruction of an entire kingdom. He later kills the man who created him, Garland. Before dying, Garland tells Kuja that he is not immortal and never will be. This freaks Kuja out, which then causes him to destroy his home world of Terra. Yes, Kuja destroys an entire world. Like Golbez, Kuja clears his name by saving the party at the end of the game by teleporting them away from the final boss, Necron, after he is defeated. Unfortunately it is too late for Kuja to be saved as the Iifa Tree devours him and it’s game over for the game’s central antagonist. A fitting end to perhaps the most destructive and violent central villain in the history of the Final Fantasy series.
Insane/Mad Personality: Medium-High
Mass Genocide/Slaughter: Off The Chart
Vendetta Against Party: High
Motivation: Throws a hissy fit after realizing he isn’t immortal, wants to destroy all life.
Redemption: Teleports Zidane and friends to safety after defeating Necron.


You cannot have a top 5 Final Fantasy villains list without including Sepiroth. A lot of people put him at the top of the list, but I have never given the white haired albino the luxury of being put on a pedestal like that. Sephiroth does do several horrible things in Final Fantasy VII, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of lives lost in the game are not caused directly by him. Most deaths are caused by indirect factors that are a result of Sephiroth’s actions. He did do two very horrific things though. First off, he burned Cloud’s hometown to the ground. As if this isn’t enough to make Cloud hate Sephiroth, he then goes and kills the girl that Cloud has developing feelings for. Killing Aeris was quite a shocker. Even though Exdeath had killed off a party member several years before Sephiroth, the technique of ending the life of a primary character was still underused at the time. Seeing Sephiroth descend upon Aeris and stabbing her through her midsection while grinning fiendishly was definitely one of the most unsettling things I have ever seen in a video game. The burning of Nibelheim and killing Aeris are the two things Sephiroth will be remembered for because, quite frankly, aside from that he really didn’t do a whole lot besides slaughter Shinra executives at the start of the game. Despite sitting around on his ass for most of the game, Sephiroth made a lasting impression on many gamers and has become one of the most recognizable figures in the video game world.
Insane/Mad Personality: Medium
Mass Genocide/Slaughter: Low
Vendetta Against Party: Very High
Motivation: Missed his dear old mum. Sort of. Also served as her puppet to reawaken her. Jenova’s plan backfired and little Sephy prevailed. Oops.
Redemption: Nil


Had the mainstream RPG boom happened a few years prior to Final Fantasy VII, it is my firm belief that everyone would be praising Kefka rather than Sephiroth. This insane clown did every single evil thing in the book and then some. Kefka caused more grief for the main characters and more mass slaughters than any other villain in the entire Final Fantasy series. So what does the man in clown makeup do besides make a lot of funny jokes and laugh? Well, at the beginning of the game we are made aware that he brainwashed the main character of the game, Terra, and intentionally set her upon the Empire’s own soldiers just to see her obliterate them. He later sets fire to the kingdom of Figaro and attempts to destroy it, but this plan is foiled. Not long after, he sets his sights on another kindgom called Doma. Kefka poisons the water supply of Doma, killing everyone including the king. The only two survivors are Cyan, a playable character, and a lone castle sentry. Kefka later starts killing Espers and absorbing their powers so that he can simply grow stronger. Emperor Gestahl believes that he is keeping Kefka in line, but is later betrayed by Kefka when he fatally stabs the Emperor and pushes him off of the edge of the Floating Continent. Kefka then disturbs the statues of the Warring Triad. This resulted in the world shifting into ruin as well as Kefka quite literally obtaining the powers of a god. He would then sit at the top of his tower in the dying and ruined world, blasting cities and kingdoms with gigantic death beams and destroying anybody or anything that defied him. After the party climbs to the top of the tower and defeats the godly Kefka, he simply dies. He does not seek redemption and he is not sorry for his actions. Kefka, the most destructive, evil, and insane villain in the entire series, merely perishes as any villain should. When he is defeated, his tower collapses, magic is seemingly erased from the world, and the process that forced the world into ruin is reversed. Kefka’s defeat quite literally restored the world and brought life back to it. Let’s see any other villain’s death top that!
Insane/Mad Personality: Off The Chart
Mass Genocide/Slaughter: Off The Chart
Vendetta Against Party: Low
Motivation: He simply craved power and wanted to be all-powerful.
Redemption: Nil

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