BAD'S Commentary Page


|| TITLE || 2008 Top Ten
  || WRITER ||   BAD
  || DATED ||   03.12.2009


Now that the year has passed in its entirety, I can say what games I liked the most from 2008. Even up until the last few weeks of the year, big titles like Tatsunoko VS Capcom, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2, and Prince Of Persia were still coming out. To be honest, Capcom single-handedly made enough quality to fill every slot and I'm happy with it; that is how good they did in 2008! But there were some quality games by other developers, too. And, as always, my picks for the year aren't necessarily what I played the most, but what I thought deserved recognition. With the resurrection of so many classics, 2008 proved to be one of the most difficult years in quite some time.


|| BRAND 10 ||   Galaga Legions
|| FROM ||   Bandai Namco


The series completely reinvented itsself, and it was nice to see the approach. Fresh, completely mind-blowing, and fun. And I'm not the biggest Galaga fan, but Namco gets mad props for re-inventing such an old series. The game's only real flaw is its suddenly hateful difficulty; it starts out easy enough, but quickly turns into collision blitzes that ultimately leave you wondering if playing the game was a crime.
|| BRAND 9 ||   Bikini Zombie Slayers - Revolution
|| FROM ||   D3 Publisher


The VorteX version didn't make my Top Ten when it was released, and I was sad that I had overlooked it. With this Revolution revision, it got another chance, so here it is. Like the numerous entries before it, Revolution is all about titties, booty, swords, and blood. If you like those four things (in no particular order), then this is your game. Some spill blood when they play this game, while others undoubtedly spill semen; either way, it's a load of fun. Sword-slashing action with a side-sin of lust. Stroke-controls talored especially for the hardware, and even a cool name (that rings back memories of the Wii when it looked cooler as the Revolution)!

|| BRAND 8 ||   Ketsui - Death Label
|| FROM ||   Cave


A new Ketsui revision? Years after the game was originally released? On a medium I can actually go out, purchase, and play with ease? Sweet!
|| BRAND 7 ||   Metal Gear Solid 4
|| FROM ||   Konami


It took forever, and Konami put the long-awaited sequel to Metal Gear Solid 2 off as long as they could. Metal Gear Solid 3 was a good game, but Metal Gear Solid 4 is the real deal. Hideo and crew made some questionable design decisions with the design of "Old Snake," but the sheer depth and scale of the game immerses you so far into reality-based science-fiction that you hardly notice anyting else. Mr. Kojima knows more than just games, and that is what makes it so interesting; critics who call the story "convoluted" lack knowledge of the real-life hidden history that shaped it.
|| BRAND 6 ||   Kinnikuman Grand Prix Max 2 Tokumori
|| FROM ||   Bandai Namco


Great design, cool moves, added stuff over the last version...this game rocks! The other M.U.S.C.L.E games were something, but this one is the cream of the crop! I used to love this series when I was a kid because the characters were unique; all of that is intact, and there are a lot of cool characters to fight with. No idea what the balance is like, but it's over-the-top fun, and the system is easy to grasp and enjoy. Fans (the few that are left at least) would love this game more than past entries if it were released outside of Japan. Hope they do, because the game is "wrasslin" goodness!
|| BRAND 5 ||   Sengoku Basara X Cross
|| FROM ||   Capcom


Just like their collaborative efforts with Bandai to make the high-quality Gundam arena-battle games, Capcom did the same with Arc System Works to bring the world of Devil Kings from 3-D to 2-D. Though the usual, infulential scene trend determiners brainwashed a good many into not supporting the game, it had no effect on me. I supported the arcade game until most arcades got rid of it, then I supported it by getting the home revision at launch. I played this game more than any other game in 2008, but it is in this position because the revision could have been better. Capcom added characters, stages, and new modes for the revision, but left other things unfixed; all of Scorpio's ridiculously cheap, unfair shit was left in the game. We can't even have fair fights in the revision, and it really didn't have to be that way.

|| BRAND 4 ||   Soulcalibur IV
|| FROM ||   Bandai Namco


While not quite as polished as its predecessors, props need to be given to Namco for a polished online system. Tekken 6's PS3-powered visuals can be seen in Soulcalibur IV, and they are every bit as impressive, but some of the character's faces seem off (Taki), while others look fine (Mitsurugi); what happened to that consistency? Some of the new female characters look especially dazzling, though. The character creation mode, however, was trimmed-down and doesn't seem to be as comprehensive and cohesive as it once was. This was in part due to the new stat-building system that was implemented (which allows for bulking your characters into killing machines). Stat-building made the game that much deeper, but the coolest thing about SCIV was the surprising inclusion of screen-filling finishing moves! Interesting new play modes, too. Destroy!
|| BRAND 3 ||   Gradius Rebirth
|| FROM ||   Konami


It was a good year for Konami because they made both a new Castlevania and Gradius on the Wii; it was a breath of fresh air to see genuinely good titles from a developer other than Capcom or Namco. Smash Brothers? It's alright, but not the best game of 2008. Wii Music? I love music, but no. Guitar Hero - World Tour? I don't like butt-rock, so no. Final Fantasy Fables - Chocobo's Dungeon? Trash. There were better games to be played on the Wii, and one of them was Gradius Rebirth. Too bad players outside of Japan were stuck playing all that other stuff, because Gradius Rebirth really kicks ass (and consequently deserved a world release). The effects, the colors, the graphics, everything; it's all a throwback to older 2-D Gradius games. Konami showed that the Wii's capabilities could be put to perfectly good use without beating a dead horse with the novelty of "innovaite control" to make a quick buck. Not only that, but they even put in a leaderboard for the dudes who can really whoop a horse's ass. Retro fan service to the max! Thanks, Konami!
|| BRAND 2 ||   Super Street Fighter II Turbo - HD Remix
|| FROM ||   Capcom


This is where I say what every other site has already said; SSFIITHDR is virtually perfect. Lush, brilliantly re-drawn visuals in crystal-clear HD, stylish animation, improved control and balance, added moves, new modes, and virtually seamless online play (even across the world). Together, these things did more than just make it a great game; it all showed what Capcom USA was capable of, and they did as good a job as Capcom of Japan would have done. The game took what seemed like an eternity to come out, but when it finally did, it was well-worth the wait! Instant classic.

|| BRAND 1 ||   Commando 3
|| FROM ||   Capcom


Long-time readers aren't scratching their heads as to why this is my top title for 2008. It was one of my most anticipated games of 2008, and I didn't get it for the bonus that came with it; I got it because I am a big fan of Mercs and Commando. I was ecstatic when Capcom said they were making an actual sequel in HD. More than SSFIITHDR, and even more than the long-fabled SFIV, a third Commando game in HD was just unbelievable. I wondered if it was some sort of joke! Thankfully, it wasn't, and Capcom USA did a great job making it consistent with the older games; the simple control has evolved (just as it should have) without straying too much, and cartoony characters look cool and animate as well as we'd expect from Capcom. The excitement of 3-Player online co-op rounds out the experience to make it an incredibly fun game.


Overall, 2008 was one hell of a year, and will no doubt go down as one of the most memorable in game history. Especially for Capcom, who was arguably the most productive developer of the year. It marked the entrance of Street Fighter into the world of HD, as well as the resurrection of Commando, Bionic Commando, and the original Mega Man. More than anything, 2008 was the year that showed Capcom USA was serious, and that they were able to carry the weight that Capcom Japan had ignored. Haters were silenced in 2008 as Capcom USA provided absolute fan service of unquestionable quality. Narrow-minded idiots everywhere were probably in disbelief (with their foots in their mouths) as Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix downloads climbed. The very same "fans" were in complete denial as Capcom unveiled the long-rumored Street Fighter IV, as well. For fans, 2008 was a great year because Capcom resurrected several of the classic IPs that made them into the unstoppable giant they are today.

Namco changed it up with a fourth installment of the modern sensation Soul Calibur, and changed it up with a shiny new HD Galaga. The almighty Cave (shooter game developer) finally brought Ketsui to the consumer in a manner that nobody could have expected, and even announced "X" revisions of DoDonPachi and Ketsui. SNK re-made one of my favorite KOF games ever, and on the Type X hardware, at that! Paying no mind to criticism and giving nay-sayers the finger, they left the visuals in all the low-res glory of the early MVS KOF games. No splashy effects were added (or carried over from the 1999 Dream Match upgrade, for that matter), either; with KOF98UM, what you see is what you get. No more, no less. The inclusion of Eiji alone puts it up with the best entries in the series! Then, we had SNK's only other real effort in 2008: Metal Slug 7. More of a surprise than anything, I couldn't even believe my eyes when I saw it! Where's the arcade Type X version to alongside KOF98UM? Low-res 2-D fans rejoice!

To me, Commando 3 was best game of 2008. With as much as I played Street Fighter IV in 2008, some might find this hard to believe. But with the home revision of SFIV announced for 2009, I had to change the year. The first version of SFIV released in 2008 was more like a test than anything, left completely open to expansion (should reception have been good). The 2009 SFIV revision will be the best game of 2009; that I already know. But still, what about the stellar 1942 - Joint Strike? The only reason this game is sitting as a runner-up is because I thought that the list needed a bit of hardware and brand diversity. The game is better than Galaga Legions; more approachable, and polished in just about every area, and more forgiving. The game is another absolutely killer job by Capcom USA. So then, what about the new Bionic Commando game Mr. Judd made a reality? Re-Armed was just as good as some say, but also a little overrated by many. Not that the game was bad, it's just that the whole aspect of difficulty seemed forced. The game is filled with a ton of fan service, though, and deserves to be applauded for it.

Another game with similar issues would be Mega Man 9; again, too much emphasis on difficulty. Capcom thought that ridiculous difficulty was one of the things that made the old games so memorable, and while that is correct, there are some things we don't want to remember. Unforgiving difficulty that makes games "un-fun" is one of those things we don't want to remember. Call me soft, or call me non-hardcore, but ridiculous difficulty was an aspect about those old games that turned some people off. Mega Man 9 didn't have to carry over the dreaded difficulty from the older games just to be good. It would have been a far more enjoyable experience if the difficulty were more incremental. User-friendly difficulty can draw in more players.

SNK had a lackluster year, but Konami did really, well, and was right behind Capcom as far as production quality goes. Metal Gear Solid 4 was well-worth the wait to a good many, but some reports claim that it didn't quite catch-on as Konami thought it would. That in itself is disappointing, but even more disappointing was Konami's handling of Gradius ReBirth and Contra 4. ReBirth wasn't even given a chance to sell overseas, and the promotion of Contra 4 in Japan was strangely minimal. Even though it was made on the NDS, it seemed like past Contra games got more publicity and promotion (but then again, it could just be me). At least good things were said about it in the US!

2008 was one hell of a year. It marked the year SFIV had finally become a reality, and that alone could have made it one of the most memorable in videogame history. But it wasn't just SFIV that made 2008 so memorable; it was all of those other series that were brought back from the brink of extinction, too. A new 1942 title was likely, but who would have ever thought they'd make a Commando 3?! For fans like me (who have been into games since 8-Bit), 2008 was great simply because there were so many revivals. If 2008 was a year of revivals, does that mean 2009 will be a year of new IPs? Will Capcom continue to revive some of their other valuable IPs in 2009? We'll just have to wait and see...