Over the past few weeks I've been eagerly awaiting Left 4 Dead 2, and in the meantime I've been digging through my collection of old games, giving in to a sudden and inexplicable wave of nostalgia. There were the old pleasures to be sure, but I was amazed at how many of these games just didn't do anything for me anymore. I remember spending countless hours with these titles, but for some of them it was like looking in the basement for that old toy or comic book you loved so much, only to realize that maybe it wasn't all that great to begin with.
Mega Man X for the SNES was my first foray, and fortunately for my childhood memories it held its ground. While it wasn't quite the ZOMG THIS IS SO FUCKING HARD and HOLY FUCK I BEAT THE GODDAMN SPIDER and of course WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE OR WE'RE NOT GOING TO STEAK N' SHAKE experience that it was fourteen years ago, it was still challenging enough to keep my interest. While my self-imposed challenge of beating all of the initial bosses with just the X-Buster certainly helped (raise your hand if you've ever actually tried to beat Launch Octupus without the Rolling Shield and none of the upgrades or heart tanks), the game still succeeded in conjuring up those memories of old. The two other SNES editions of the X series also held up their respective ends of the bargain.
Despite Goldeneye 007's status as a renowned classic, I always felt that Perfect Dark was a superior game in just about every way. And surprisingly, even after having to re-acquaint myself with the spaceship-like N64 controller, the game still has some kicks left in it. Shooting a guard in the hand enough times to kill him still hasn't gotten old, and I found the gunplay to be fast and engaging even after so many more advanced games have been made. Perfect Dark's weaponry was also still fun to use, mainly the laptop gun and the uber-cheap Farsight.
Final Fight 3 for the SNES was not so fortunate. The slow paced arcade-style beat-em-up type of game just doesn't have any appeal to me now, especially when playing alone. Getting a friend to play along alleviated things somewhat, but it still didn't cover for the monotonous gameplay. I found myself bored after only two levels, so this one probably won't be seeing daylight again anytime soon.
Golden Axe II—see above.
Streets of Rage 2—see above the above see above.
Finally, I loved Metal Gear Solid, and I still maintain that it's one of my favorite games ever. That said, I have a very difficult time playing it now. I'm used to a much more polished set of controls than the ones used in the original MGS, and not being able to shoot in first person view is extremely annoying. It was marvelous for its time, but to me this is like the first Tim Burton Batman film—it was great in its day, but in light of what has been made since then it just hasn't aged very well.
There are others of course. Sonic the Hedgehog 3/Sonic & Kunckles is still as fast and furious as it ever was, the Zerg can still crush anything the puny Protoss try to throw at them, and I still think Final Fantasy VI was the pinnacle of the series thus far. I'm curious as to what others have felt when they replayed some of their old favorites from years ago. Were you as disillusioned as I? Or was everything just as good as it was way back when?
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