games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Games of 1995 – WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game, Twisted Metal, More

September 19, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison
WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week, I’m here to talk about the year 1995. Both the Saturn and PlayStation launched this year, one was a big hit and the other one was the Saturn. Genesis and SNES support was slowly winding down, but games on both those systems remained great, as companies were able to squeeze out the last bit of power on them. There is generally two big omissions on this list: Chrono Trigger and Earthbound. Simply put, I’ve never played Earthbound at all, and while I have played Chrono Trigger on an emulator before, I didn’t get too far. So before all the inevitable pitchfork comments of “Chrono Trigger isn’t number 1, this list sucks”, feel free to refer back up to this intro as to the reason why. If anyone wants to send me the cartridge of either game though, I wouldn’t mind. Let’s begin:

#8: Comix Zone

God, even now, Comix Zone is such a cool idea. The basic gist is that you’re a comic book creator who gets sucked into his own comic, while the villain of said comic escapes, and is drawing in enemies to stop you from reaching the end of the comic, defeating his form and to escape the comic. Sounds good, right? The graphic style had a great comic book look, with your character jumping between panels and the villain’s arm on screen literally drawing in enemies to face you. Also, the soundtrack was great on the Genesis. So why is it so low on here? Simple, playing the game is an enormous pain in the ass. The enemies can take a lot of damage, some of the jumps are terrible, and you even take damage when you have to destroy blockades in the game to progress. Everything about Comix Zone is great, aside from actually playing it.

#7: Jumping Flash

Jumping Flash remains one of the weirdest launch games of all time. You control a robotic rabbit, in first person, as you hop around levels to collect parts to open the exit. Since you jump in first person, the camera automatically looks down when you jump, so you can actually see what the hell you’re going to land on is, which is a pretty clever solution to that problem. Also, it was a pretty colorful technical showcase for the new PlayStation.

#6: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

I don’t hate or love Yoshi’s Island, I just kind of find it an easy platformer, all told. It was cheery and had some good bosses and enemies, but I found the game just really slow, and the baby Mario crying got to be really annoying in spots. Still, it’s a much better platformer than Donkey Kong Country 2, so it has that going for it. Also, Yoshi does get stoned during one of the levels and that makes me laugh, even to this day.

#5: Descent

20 years later and I’m still not entirely sure what the point of Descent is, but it kind of doesn’t matter. I think you’re supposed to collect keys to escape from the facility, but who cares? The game was just a blast to explore various levels with complete freedom of movement. There were numerous flight simulator games before Descent, but they were trying to simulate something at least partially based on reality. Descent was a scifi game though, so you could fly up, down, left right, or go forward and backward at the turn of the joystick you should have been playing the game with. Also, I used 1996 PlayStation 1 commercials for my video above because they are hysterical.

#4: WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game

Wrestlemania: The Arcade game is what would happen if you crossed a (then) WWF match with Mortal Kombat. Bam Bam Bigelow could punch with fire, Doink the Clown could electrocute people with a hand buzzer, and the Undertaker could summon a ghost chair to hit people with. To be fair, these guys could do these moves in real life but in the game they were much more impressive. Honestly, the game was just a very fun, arcade-y brawler, with a lot of crazy characters and even crazier moves. The commentary from Vince McMahon helped to drive the authenticity of the game and add to the fun. It’s a game that would never come out in today’s market because they have to pretend that wrestling is real.

#3: Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal 2 is the pinnacle of the Twisted Metal series but the first Twisted Metal is a good game in its own right. It’s an arena car combat game set in the futuristic year of 2005 where a collection of damaged people and freaks via to win their heart’s desire from the tournament organizer Calypso. They do this by trying to kill the other drivers during the stages, set in a fairly bloody and violent (for the time) car combat where you shoot missiles, guns, freeze blasts and special weapons at other competitors. The two things that stand out in this game is the speed in which action happens, even by today’s standards it’s a pretty quick game. The other thing is the characters themselves, notably Sweet Tooth, or Thumper. Also, the first Twisted Metal had some fantastic ending videos, with real actors, which have to be seen to be believed.

#2: Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness

I actually have never played Warcraft 1 before, I got into the series with Warcraft 2 and haven’t looked back. While I’m not a huge fantasy guy, Warcraft 2 keeps things approachable, introducing a new unit (generally) with each new mission, and layering the complexity of the game slowly. You get both sides of the conflict as well, typically the humans are the good guys and orcs are evil but it’s not so cut and dry in this game. Really, this game is a precursor to Starcraft though which remains one of the greatest RTS games of all time.

#1: Battle Arena Toshinden

Tekken and Virtua Fighter predate Toshinden when it comes to 3D fighting games but there was a catch. Tekken and Virtua Fighter used 3D models but the characters were still largely fighting on a 2D plane, with limited (if any) camera/3D elements mixed in. Toshinden, however, added a sidestep button which literally changed the face of 3D fighting games. You could now dodge in or out of the actual stage to get away from an attack. If an enemy fired off a projectile, you could sidestep away and it would continue along its path, but you would no longer be on that plane of trajectory. At the time, also, I just preferred the speed and actual mechanics of Toshinden, Virtua Fighter was weird (still kind of is), and Tekken was too slow for my taste. Toshinden isn’t as revered as those games though, which is kind of a shame. To be fair to them, they got better with each successive sequel while Toshinden remained the same, or got worse. Toshinden was probably one of the better launch games for the PlayStation 1 though and was a step in gaming’s evolution.

As usual, list which games you liked from 1995 and why.

Next Issue
Top 8 Games of 1996

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison