ByJames B, writer at
Just a lame nerd with little better to do than rant and rave about movies, anime, video games, animation, comics, etc.
James B

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With the somewhat recent split of Metal Gear and Silent Hill creator Hideo Kojima and Konami, combined with the latter's more recent announcement to halt the creation of AAA game titles outside of their Pro Evolution Soccer series, I feel like the company is for all intents and purposes done as a mainstay in the gaming world. So rather than rant about the plethora of recent terrible decisions, I'd rather reminisce about the amazing legacy they're abandoning. So here is my top ten Konami games. as usual, one per series, and no Silent Hill will not be on the list. I greatly respect and admire them as games and even some of them as art, but I'm just not a big fan of horror games, so I don't personally love them.

10. Vandal Hearts II - Vandal Hearts is a fairly underappreciated Tactical RPG series. It's not on the level of Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, or Fire Emblem, but it's not too far off. The combat is fast-paced for its genre, including a surprisingly wide variety of tactics and specials. The story isn't the best, but it is very twist-heavy and it sets up the villains very well. If you want a new Tactical RPG series outside of the mainstays, Vandal Hearts is a solid alternative and all three are good games, with 2 of course, being my favorite.

9. Frogger - Frogger is Konami's first big success and is still one of the most recognized games there is. It's brutally simple by today's standards, but it still provides a surprisingly engaging balance of challenge and fun that many games nowadays fail miserably to accomplish. The reason it's so low on this list, for me, is that it is kind of a one-trick pony, and when a company has released so many great games since, I can't help but get bored quickly and move on to something more fulfilling.

8. X-Men Arcade Game - The 1992 X-Men arcade game is a classic of its time. Among the best side-scrolling beat-em-ups in an era where they were all the rage. You can choose between Wolverine, Cyclops, Dazzler, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus as you fight through weird mini-sentinels, turrets, dudes on weird motorcycle things, plant monsters and the like until you reach the boss of each level, classic X-Men villains like Juggernaut, Wendigo, The Blob, Emma Frost, and Magneto. The game is also infamous for amazingly terrible voice acting and dialog, which of course I love, on top of my love for X-Men in general and my fond memories of playing this at the arcade as a kid. The thing keeping it from getting any higher is, if you have the spare change, or an emulator, to keep playing, it's fairly short, and, like most side-scrolling beat-em-ups, it can get repetitive gameplay-wise, but it's still a good burst of fun, especially with friends, and I prefer it to some of their other genre classics like Turtles in time and The Simpsons.

7. Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 - Starting off the truly great games on this list, is a far more underrated series than Vandal Hearts. The Rocket Knight Adventure games, before becoming multi-platform, were the truly great platformers on the Genesis in my opinion. The titular Sparkster controls more smoothly than Sonic, while having a wide variety of attacks and ways of maneuvering around beautifully designed levels. The enemy variety is somewhat lacking but the boss fights more than make up for it, and the soundtrack is among the better conglomerates of music from the 16-bit era. I personally can't see why Sonic had so much more appeal, and most people weren't even made aware of Sparkster.

6. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood - Castlevania is among my favorite series', which I guess goes to show how great the top 5 are. There are a few games that could have been in this spot and I'd feel just as good about it, because, 3D entries aside, Castlevania is nothing if not consistent, even the black sheep of the series is hated for being weird as opposed to bad. That being said, even moreso than Castlevania III, Super Castlevania IV, Dawn of Sorrow, or even Symphony of the Night, I think Rondo of Blood is the best Castlevania game to date. It's the hidden treasure of the series, originally released on the commercial failure that was the TurboGrafx 16 (or PC Engine in Japan) before receiving a watered down SNES port, and therefore went under the radar for years until a remake was released on the PSP with the original as an unlockable was released in 2007 and was finally added to the Nintendo eShop last year. The music is spectacular, it's possibly the best looking game of its time, the bosses are pure badasses, the environments are gorgeous, an the gameplay is great. It's really a flawless game, but as much as I love Castlevania as a series, no game in the series has ever felt like an all-time favorite, because when you get down to it, they're great, but very simple at the same time.

5. Contra III: Alien Wars - Contra is among the most classic of game series, starting in the heyday of the Nintendo Entertainment System. The original games are good and all, but I think Contra III is by far the most enjoyable of the series. The pacing is perfect, it still looks amazing, the soundtrack is among the best on the Super Nintendo, it's insane, has great enemy variety and amazing bosses, it controls perfectly, and it's among the few brutally difficult games games that makes you want to get good enough to beat it instead of just making you hate it. Maybe i just suck at games, I don't know. Whatever.

4. Gradius IV/Sexy Parodius - In my opinion, Gradius, alongside R-Type, are the two kings of the shoot-em-up, or "shmup" genre. Speaking solely on Gradius, every entry is greater and grander than the last, even Gradius V is technically superior to IV, however, I enjoy the levels, enemies, bosses, and the like of Gradius IV the most. It's gorgeous, has stellar music, near perfect gameplay, and brutal but not cheap difficulty. Parodius is a series of games that is literally a combination of the words "parody" and "Gradius". As the name suggests, it's a more light-hearted, wacky, and for lack of a more fitting term, Japanese than the main series. it's basically the developers' chance to make a similar kind of game while being as off-the walls as possible. As you'd imagine, Sexy Parodius is the most ridiculous of the bunch, and on top of that, also features the tightest controls, and widest selection of ships, most of which are just random things that can fly, to choose from, and it overall provides the most variety and content in the series. Being that one is a spin-off of the other, I figured it'd be cool to have them both on this list, as my current mood basically determines which I want to play more.

3. Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - Kojima's Zone of the Enders are possibly the two best mech games ever. They're high on action, control smoothly, still play like no other mech game, and the story is like playing through a Neon Genesis Evangelion anime. Both games have great stories and gameplay, but the second game plays about as perfectly as a game can and the story and action get going immediately, This on top of the great music in both games, and the improved environments of the second game, make it among my top choices for just picking up and having a blast, as it provides just enough strategy to keep my attention longer than something like Dynasty Warriors.

2. Suikoden II - Suikoden is a well-renowned RPG series, it's not well known, but fairly beloved among those aware of it. I finally got a chance to play the second and most acclaimed game in the series earlier this year, and if anything, the game has been undersold. The story is amazing, the game still looks great nearly twenty years later, the combat system remains unique and fun, there's more choice than most of its contemporaries and therefore replay value, the music is absolutely majestic, and the game itself is massive. Suikoden II is among the best RPG's I've ever played, and that's my favorite genre, so I've played more than many know about. It very well could be number one if I didn't have the nostalgia for the game and adoration for the series that my number one pick represents. Suikoden II is a classic among classics and I can't wait to delve deeper into the series.

1. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - I feel like most people expect a Metal Gear Solid game to be on this list. What they likely don't expect is for it to be the second entry. I think it's well-recognized as a good game, but things like Raiden's naked cartwheels leave it as the butt of many jokes. I love every game in the series, Phantom Pain included, but, barely beating out MGSIV, Sons of Liberty remains my favorite. I honestly enjoy controlling Raiden more than I ever liked playing as Snake in the first or third games, the plot is massive and awesome, the boss battles are among the best in gaming, which is a staple of the series, but Fatman, Vamp and the like steal the show. It introduces some of my favorite characters like Vamp, Olga, and Emma, as well as the best cutscenes in the series and the perfect balance of stealth and action. Sons of Liberty is a near flawless Metal Gear game in my opinion and is my favorite among one of the most consistently amazing series in all of gaming.

Well, hopefully you liked the list and don't hate me too much. Either way, feel free to comment your favorite games, or tell me how wrong I am for not having Silent Hill 2 or Snake Eater on here.


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