Friday, August 30, 2013

Yeah, What The Pic Title Says

The Space Marine Week #6: Ultramarines [2010] (animation, sci-fi, action)

Uh, okay, let's for once have a look at a bad space marine movie...

Studio: Codex Pictures,
Director: Martyn Pick,
Screenplay: Dan Abnett,
Genre: Animation, Action, Sci-Fi,
Starring: Terence Stamp, John Hurt, Sean Pertwee, Steven Waddington, Donald Sumpter, Johnny Harris

You probably were wondering when WarHammer 40000 will pop up during the Space Marine week. Uh, here it is - the first and only official movie based on this board game franchise, and man that's a weird one. I guess, the most appropriate way to evaluate it would be to list the pros first and contras next. Well, the best thing is the sole fact that it's a WarHammer 40k movie, so yay for that. Basically, Games Workshop was getting a little pissed off at the time of all those fan films and put a monetary ban on poor indie filmmakers, deciding to show them how it must be done. Hilariously, that is.

And basically they just showed themselves crapping in their pants in front of the public.
Thank God this movie was direct to DVD.

So, Games Workshop commissioned the famous WH40k pulp author Dan Abnett to write a groundbreaking screenplay for this cinematic magnum opus. However the budget was a penny, thus he just quickly came up with WarHammer: Repercussions Of Evil and they lived happily never after, but more on that later. Despite the miserable production value, I kinda liked the backgrounds and scenery they pulled out of their Blenders. It's no Avatar by any means, but for a no-budget movie they look beyond okay. Oh, and finally, I sort of liked some of the action scenes - one out of three, I guess. Now that's it, this is the ultimate list of what's right tolerable with Ultramarines.

And you thought Megiddo had obsolete graphics. TvT

This Repercussions Of Evil wannabe is centered around three fractions: the titular Ultramarines, Imperial Fists and Chaos Marines. During the first half of the movie, the former are walking around as slowly as possible and tremble like pussies upon any leaf falling off, the Fists behave like your finest psychos this side of the Galaxy, and the latter mutate into Diablos (seriously, the animators must've re-used the model created by those who ripped GW off in StarCraft) and tear the Ultras to little blue pieces of Smurf essence, almost ignoring the Fists - simply because the Ultras, as sane compared to the Fists as they are, still don't understand that teasing and calling names at the Diablos is not the hottest idea.

Gears Of Lame.

All this motley crew is gathered at the Imperial temple defiled by the Chaos, which holds the Liber Mythros book - a codex so freakin' awesome that it should never be touched by anyone's hand - so much so the surviving Imperial Fists make sure to shoot down anyone who even tries. So, half the movie the Ultras are strolling through the desert searching for someone to fire at, the second half they're running away like screaming girls from the Chaosites and Diablos. Even such a dumbass story can be done plausibly and in an engaging way, but there are two, probably not really obvious, drawbacks that still don't permit me to rank this mockbuster higher than I did.

How do I get out of this chicken shit outfit?!

First of all, this desert patrol scene was the most boring fucking forty minutes I have ever experienced. You thought the ending to Doomsday Machine was torture? Well, imagine a really mediocre Aliens rip-off with the obligatory (keep in mind, I completely accept and understand this trope in general as it is) suspenseful search scene smeared to forty fucking minutes?! I mean, they use every cliche in the book - suddenly disabled radio? Check. Beacons sending out signals for no reason? Check. My God, what the hell are you doing, Abnett? They were building you up for me as one of the greatest writers of the century, and that's the best you could work in?!

1 anal raping.

The second pissoff point to me is the main character, Proteus. He's voiced by Sean Pertwee (oh hai), but that doesn't save him from being the worst abuse to the 'loser who always screws up, but he has a heart of gold, so in the end he triumphs over everybody' archetype. How can I cheer for a guy who, despite having all the required loyalty and stuff, does completely fucking nothing useful during the whole movie, failing everything, always, under any circumstances only to perform a lame-ass Fatality on the final boss (which he even couldn't defeat without external help!) and in the epilogue, to suddenly become a half-assed epic veteran of awesomeness?! What the flying fuck?! Even the goddamn Bella from Twilight did have less undeserved privilege!

You can't unsee a still of Bella in a WarHammer 40000 review, HA!

What they should've done, even keeping the retarded first half of the movie intact, with all the lame characters and horrendous dialogue, is switched Proteus and Severus around, because the scene of Severus slicing a horde of Chaos Marines into bloody pasta is practically the only reason to ever watch this hackwreck of a direct-to-DVD schlock. Well, maybe this and also the last boss fight.

Geez, the review seemed to last longer than the movie itself. Don't watch Ultramarines if you value your time. I don't, so I will suffer and burn in Hell.

My Rating: 2 / 10, because The Mutant Chronicles seem like Gone With The Wind compared to this.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Space Marine Week #4: Soldier [1998] (action, sci-fi) - Excellent & Underrated Flick

Foreword: As you might've guessed, for the Space Marine Week I'll try to squeeze 7 posts into 4 days, and that's why I published two yesterday. For this and the next one, let's have a couple of single movie reviews - one good one and one not so good. So, for a good movie, we have...

Studio: Warner Bros.,
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson,
Screenplay: David Webb Peoples,
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi,
Starring: Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Jason Isaacs, Connie Nielsen, Sean Pertwee, Jared Thorne, Taylor Thorne, Mark Bringelson, Gary Busey

- But one soldier, against seventeen. What are you going to do?
- I'm going to kill them all, Sir.
Best Comeback Ever

Eh, damn these poor box office results for the Blade Runner universe. First, Blade Runner itself flops back in 1982 to become a cult movie only decades later, and then it gets an add-on, so to say, that comes out in 1998 and does even worse, spat at by critics and movie goers, and becoming almost obscure nowadays. For a good movie, it's the worst fate you can wish for, because Blade Runner at least redeemed itself and had its day. Soldier still didn't.

Strength: 95. Agility: 85. Endurance: 95. Charisma: 90. Badassness: 9001.

It's the far future, where army recruits are not drafted as usual, but enlisted since the moment of birth. The toddlers are picked and grow up in the high-tech barracks, trained physically and morally for any sorts of warfare. They're not your regular grunts - they are speechless zombies who understand only the language of orders and march into fire in the name of their commanders. One of them is Todd 3465 (Russell), a distinct favorite amongst his chain of command to his superior (Busey). They grant him only the terminally dangerous missions, which Todd is capable to push up like breathing, giving no mercy to the enemy and even to the hostages.

Check out all the stats - lots of Easter eggs here.

One imperfect day, Colonel Mekum (Isaacs) shows up to announce a new line of infantry units, this time consisting of the Replicants. One of them, Caine 607 (Lee), right off the bat stares intimidatingly on Todd, and when the officers decide to have the 'old' and 'new' soldiers compete in order to prove that the human troopers are still effective, the Replicants ultimately prevail. The 'old' soldiers injured during the competition (including Todd) are branded deceased and soon after literally dumped on a remote junkyard planet, Arcadia 234. Contrary to the supervisors' expectations, our hero survives and even makes friends with a bunch of colonists who happened to live at that planet following the crash of their spaceship, particularly Mace (Pertwee). Yeah, Sean Pertwee in a war movie - who would've thought?

Meat wagons on their way.

Sometime later, a group of the 'new' Replicant soldiers is dispatched on the same planet to perform some military exercises. As Arcadia 234 is classified as uninhabited in the space charts, they are given permission by asshole Mekum to use live targets - the poor colonists - for practice.

Shoot the human targets.

But the military command wasn't aware of one thing - during that time Todd got patched up and by communicating with the civilians, started understanding the value of human life and what is and isn't worth fighting for. So when the people who took care of him in his time of need became nothing but the planned achievement records, the moment has come to earn the human soldiers' reputation back and put Todd's newly acquired humanity to the test.

This is for Dracula 3: Legacy!

As you can see, the plot is very interesting and simple - just what you need for a kick-ass futuristic action blockbuster. Another vital component to the genre is, of course, the action scenes - probably, the best in Paul W. S. Anderson's career, at least until Resident Evil Retribution. Also, he has obviously used the experience in filming Mortal Kombat for the several hand-to-hand battle sequences. The whole movie overall is very interesting from the scenography standpoint - unlike Blade Runner, it's very bright and colorful, resembling a comic book or a video game (actually, there was a PC game tie-in released around 2000 by Southpeak, and I think it even wasn't bad, but it's beyond obscure now - even MobyGames has no page for it; still it was a small hit over here) - I guess you can draw comparison to Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion here, or Evil Dead 2 and 3.

I'm going to kill them all, Sir.

The effects are great and elaborate, as you would expect from a high-budget A class picture. No silly bloopers or lazy backgrounds were registered, and the CGI has aged well in my personal opinion, so you won't see any awkwardly rendered submarines here (although you will remember some traditions carried over from Escape From New York and LA) - all classic and classy sci-fi designs and atmosphere. The acting performances are top notch and memorable as well, from Russell and Isaacs to the extras. Although the main character (in)famously speaks only about 100 words throughout the whole 99 minutes, it must've been a lot of pressure on Kurt to have to act mostly visually, with facial expressions, gestures and actions as his language. I don't think anyone can deny that he gloriously succeeded with this.

Zebesian midnights.

Overall, I don't have a slightest clue about the reason Soldier flopped at the box office and turned the rage of critics on itself. Personally I enjoyed it for the edgy cyberpunk plot, engaging atmosphere and characters, and excellent production value. I'd even put it as #1 in my Space Marine Movies Top 10, but I had to switch it with Starship Troopers because that movie actually was a hit when it came out, had some sequels and still keeps good reviews, reputation and nostalgic value. I love both of them, they're like the definitive works of space marine fiction to me, but Soldier is one of those movies that just puts you in a good mood because of how well it's made.

The Spinners Graveyard.

My Rating: 9 / 10, because why the heck not!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Space Marine Week #3 - Poll Of The Century

I'm seriously thinking about doing a Let's Play. But which game to pick?

Hey, I think I got it. This weekend I'm gonna start filming my first Let's Play!

Let's do it!

The Space Marine Week #2 - Top 10 Space Marine Movies (And Cartoons!)

For our cinematic Top 10, let's take a look at some of the most notable movies, cartoons and TV shows that center on the characters of... you guessed which type! Move it, dammit!

#10. Wreck-It Ralph

Well, obviously this movie is not centered around space marines, but it does have an awesome Samus Aran parody named Sargeant Calhoun. She's the character from Hero Duty, a spoof of Halo, Metroid Prime and Killzone - if that doesn't define this movie as an authentic entry, then I don't know what the hell does. Calhoun is tough, collected, badass, and as one of the most (and many!) hilarious lines puts it, 'they've programmed a heartbreaking backstory for her'. Not to mention her slick armor design and large assortment of weapons and gadgets, which in combination with her explosive character earn Wreck-It Ralph a spot on my list.

#9. Star Wars

What can I say about Star Wars that hasn't been said? Eh, nothing I guess. So let's just get to the facts - everyone remembers the Imperial Stormtroopers, in all their variety and iconic uniforms, and the Rebels can be somewhat described as space marines, too; also, once placed Mark Hamill on their Top 10 Space Marines list (by a combo of Star Wars and Wing Commander 3). May the Force be with you!

#8. EXO Squad

If you're not familiar with this 90s animated classic, here's what you are missing out: it's an epic of war between the humanity and the artificial lifeform known as the NeoSapiens. Both sides are using the EXO power armors to wage battles on both the ground and in outer space. It's all cool already, but what was subtly shocking at the time was how dramatic this show was for a, supposedly, kids' cartoon. Characters were killed off, got the romances on, all the spoils of war were shown in rather explicit (for the age rating, mind you) detail, even the humor wasn't too dumb (I think). And it lasted for a pretty long time, too - two seasons may be considered a bold success by this genre's standards. And of course, being a 90s action cartoon, it has nice animation, curvy soldier girls and all the cheesy corny stuff that we all know and love from that time. But it's also fascinating as a historical document of the Western animation not only noticing the phenomena of anime, but trying to inherit its storytelling techniques. I think they've succeeded.

#7. Captain Future

I'm talking about the 70s anime adaptation of a series of sci-fi novels written by Edmond Hamilton (!). Somehow I have the feeling that this was what inspired the creators of Cyber Org, because here we also have a trio of charismatic characters with different abilities that utilize them for dealing with menacing deadly stuff all over the Galaxy. I saw it as a kid, and then several times as a teen, and it was just as great as ever. The animation is solid, the action is great, and of course it has this distinctive old-school drawing style that's so memorable to look at. Posted above is the awesome 'official AMV' by Phil Fuldner that also was in heavy rotation on our local TV back in the day.

#6. The Mutant Chronicles

Uh, it's a tough one to talk about, counting how universally hated it is. Still, I'll take it over WarHammer 40k: Ultramarines any day because, despite having a very similar plot (and being also based on a board game), it's executed in a much more meaty way here, with lots of stuff going on and grotesque violence all around. For a low budget movie, the effects are not bad at all, as is the awesome cast (Sean Pertwee plays a tough-ass soldier again, and Ron Perlman is cast as a priest - how can you go wrong?) and freaking awesome action. While Ultramarines had only one decent action scene, The Mutant Chronicles have a dozen decent ones, and other few are damn breathtaking! I also adore the WWI-inspired designs for machinery, uniforms and everything, but I'm well aware that it comes from the source material and not the filmmakers. And one more thing it has over Ultramarines - it's anything but boring. Seriously, the pacing gets so frantic at times that you think you are playing a videogame with your mind or something. To put it short, it's a genuinely good low budget action sci-fi movie that's definitely worth being promoted and seen!

#5. Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors

HELL FUCKING YEAH! Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors were the shit! I don't care if it's a mild Star Wars ripoff, I don't care if, despite its anime designs, it's actually a French-American production, I don't care if it was basically made as a commercial for the line of toys, and I don't care about Jayce's weird hair color. It was a kick-ass badass awesome action packed show with lots of laser gunfights, monster trucks and evil plants that our heroes are fighting against. The characters are decent - I still remember their personalities - and the opening is probably the best of all the 80s cartoons I have ever seen. Just watch it, and if you won't start humming the theme song immediately after, you have no taste for old skewl!

#4. Oblivion

Yeah, a very recent (as of writing) flick! When I first saw the trailer (I think it was when I went to see Chinese Zodiac), I gasped. It mimicked the storyline of Megiddo almost perfectly, with the whole concept of dead Earth and stuff. Also, at the time I was writing a joint sci-fi fantasy story with one of my DeviantArt friends, and it was funny to see Tom Cruise all of a sudden wearing the military uniform and looking and acting just like I imagined the story's main character. Of course I had to go see it! What d'you know, it was amazing. The story was so gripping, and to my pleasant surprise, almost free of sudden twists that the filmmakers adore stuffing their works with nowadays. Instead, the plot and pacing are almost old-school, with lots of talking and actual investigation that the main character does in order to uncover everything. It's brilliant and well constructed, and I gave it 9 on IMDB, so go rent/buy/on-demand it as soon as possible if you missed it out! Interestingly, Mr Cruise felt the need to play another space marine in the upcoming movie Edge Of Tomorrow, which I'm sure will kick just as much ass. At least the power armor he wears on the posters looks pretty damn cool.

#3. Aliens

Uh, you want me to say something about Aliens?! The Aliens?! And you mean you haven't seen it? And Alien, too? Listen, you must go buy (not rent! BUY!) Alien and Aliens right now, watch them, and only then you may proceed with reading this blog. I mean, ANY post in this blog. Now move it private!

#2. Soldier

Alright, watch the clip above, then read my review, and you will understand why I rewatch this masterpiece at least once a year.

#1. Starship Troopers

The definitive movie based on a book that started it all. I saw it at the theater when it first came out in 1997 (which means I was 9 years old), with my Mom, no less! I think to this day it's the most bloody violent R-rated movie I've seen on a big screen, at least compared to the summer blockbusters of recent years. To be honest, I've never read the book, but this movie as itself is a lot of fun. The story is not primitive, the characters are memorable, the tongue-in-cheek satire is there (what else could be expected from Paul Verhoeven?), and the CG still holds up. This movie basically shows everything - the training, the glorious and embarrassing missions, the ideology of the future's military force - granted, it owes a lot to Robert Heinlein's novel (hm... probably not, since the director himself never read it) and remains a classic action movie even to this day. Amen.

The New Logo

If you clear your browser cache, you might notice something different at the top of this page. Yep, after 8 hours of reckless GIMPing, I've made a new logo, this time utilizing only the media produced by myself. It's actually a collage of my old unused sketches, remastered and colored, so now it's full of Easter eggs and references. Check 'em out:

Top Row, L-R:
* A stereotypical sexy/-ist mecha musume asking whether to launch Marathon or Forge, and the flabbergasted Marathon marine beside her. This is a reference to the immortal post on the Pfhorums
* Miria from the unreleased indie game called Project Miria - a fan prequel to The Guardian Legend! (yours truly was an artist there)
* This may be either Brian Maiden from Endangered Species or Thierry Ordos from Dune: House Ordos - take your pick
* A pretty cool pic of two dogfighting spaceships - can be considered a reference to my affinity for shmups and/or the Shmups Forum
* Brian Farrell from Universal Weapons (working title) - one of my fresher OCs
* Michelle Mayfair from Endangered Species carrying wounded Ed (may be a reference to the Tourniquet EP 'Carry The Wounded' - the music on that album is so so, but love that phrase)
* Dawn from Megiddo (suddenly, eh)
* The remade John Targa from a project I still haven't reassigned him to

Bottom Row, L-R:
* Matthew Thatcher embracing Nei Einhorn for some reason... dat old tomcat!
* Midnight Resistance fanart
* Ed Hunter from Endangered Species
* Sega Genesis (yes, her first name is Sega and her last name is Genesis) from an unassigned project (Megiddo 2?! Megiddo spin-off?!)
* The title of the blog you're currently reading

Also, you can view the logo in full hi-res glory on DeviantArt:

Welcome To My Blog! by ~EinhanderZwei on deviantART

And, for a bonus, here is the ZX Spectrum sort of like rendered version! I'll dedicate it to Ray Hardgrit, an awesome Let's Player with a lot of awesome friends posting awesome (and hilarious) Let's Plays to his blog - click on his name to check it out, lots of good stuff there!

The New Blog Logo - Old Skewl Rad Version by ~EinhanderZwei on deviantART

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Space Marine Week #1 - Top 10 Space Marine Video Games (That Are Better Than WarHammer 40k Space Marine)

Well, the title says it all I hope, and without further pathos, let's get started. These are the ten best video games that I come up with whenever I hear the term 'space marine'. Now, let me make one thing clear - I've picked them from the games I have personally played or, even better, beaten - so you won't see Dawn Of War here, for example, even though I am completely sure it's an awesome game; just didn't have a hand on it (yet). Also, this time I'll pick one game from each franchise, to keep up with the 'ones I've personally beaten' criteria. Go go go!

Honorable Mention: DOOM

Putting it outside of the list because, despite it being an iconic game that influenced a whole genre of first-person shooters, the main character himself has little to no identity - and that was intentional, since it was John Romero who said that the DoomGuy is in fact supposed to be the same person as the player. So even while he has a face and a recognizable outfit, it doesn't really look massive enough and has nothing to do with protection (as you are collecting armor vests and shards throughout the game). Still, every space marine games list is incomplete without DOOM.

#10. Killzone

Check out my review of this underrated PS2 gem, but I'll still say a few words: it's a great futuristic Call Of Duty clone with interesting gameplay, complex map designs, several playable characters and badass storyline. I didn't like Killzone 2 much though, but Killzone 3 demo left me a bit interested. But even though I beat the second and third ones, I'm not sure if they'll fare up any better than the original, which is still a great game - check it out if you have a PS2!

#9. Gears Of War 2

I own the whole classic trilogy of GoW games, but so far have beaten only the first two. While GoW 1 was a great solid game, the storyline was a bit jumbled, starting right from the action and not ending on that much of a note. According to CliffyB's words in GoW 2 manual, the primary focus during the sequel's development was in fact the narrative update. Epic Games aimed to create the ultimate cinematic shooter that gives player a summer blockbuster experience, and I have to say, they succeeded. More rail shooting levels, more QTEs, the infamous cutscene with Dom (if you've beaten it, you know what I'm talking about), more use for the chainsaw - not only GoW 2 is everything-GoW-1-was-only-better, it also fixed and improved what was lacking in the first game, making it the ultimate modern shooter. The downside? No PC version, dammit!

#8. Turrican 3: Payment Day (aka Mega Turrican)

A third installment in the famous German lineup of run-n-guns, Turrican 3 is often viewed as the least best in the original trilogy. Originally it was developed for Sega Genesis under the Mega Turrican title, but the first version to be released was actually the Amiga port, renamed Turrican 3: Payment Day, and that's the one I'm talking about here. It's often criticized for more straightforward linear levels, the absence of Lightning Whip and revised health system - of that points I wholeheartedly agree only with the second one, while the first and last, in my opinion, made it easier and more accepting for newcomer fans, including myself. Also, it has more like a coherent story, with obviously anime-ish intro and outro that compliment each other. The music is fantastic, just like it always was, and I think this game has the most 'hits' (or, to put it in other words, less forgettable tracks) than the rest. I've once beaten it overnight, and it was a lot of fun - I'm actually planning to do a Let's Play on it. The only gripe I have with it is the uneven difficulty - it may be just me, but the second level I think is the hardest in the whole game, while even the train level (oops, spoilers) felt like a breeze. Oh well.

#7. Quake 2

Just take a wild guess on what makes this Quake different from the others - and I mean really different. That's right - first and foremost, Quake 2 has a story. It revolves around a group of soldiers descending upon the planet Stroggos, leaving only one survivor in a process, whose mission is to singlehandedly shut down the planetary defenses, rescue the comrades and ultimately, prevail in an epic one on one duel with Makron, the Strogg leader. Again, unlike the fantasy setting of Q1 and the WTF cartoony psychedelic limbo of Q3, this game is littered with rusty corridors, decaying machinery and, to quote, 'the best Borg wannabes late 1997-era technology could render'. The multiplayer was also a massive update, although it did blow chunks compared to Unreal Tournament release 2 years later, but that's another story. Add the amazing industrial rock soundtrack to the mix, and you got a timeless shooter, where, for the second and last time in the Quake franchise, single player was just as fun and engaging.

#6. Cyber Org

I can't imagine why Squaresoft didn't bring this outstanding action RPG to the West - hell, they already had half the text and speech in English! But oh well. Cyber Org tells a story of three space mercenaries, T.J., Gigante and Fosis, who once are assigned to escort some sort of a VIP and find their ship trapped inside a space superstructure named Bahram (iirc). From that point, all three of them have to fight their way through, cleaning up the dungeons room by room, sharing the inventory and using the shortcuts via the intricate area map system. Despite all the story messages and item descriptions being in Japanese, it is still playable and fun, although at times, the difficulty makes you wanna throw the console off the roof. Also, it has an unbelievably intense intro cinematic and kick-ass cover art!

#5. Gunstar Heroes

This colorful scrolling shooter was the best-selling Megadrive game in Japan, and all for right reasons. It was created by Treasure, a group of ex-Konami employees (whose previous work included Contra: Hard Corps among the rest), surely known for their innovation within traditional genres. The fun challenging adventures of Gunstars Red and Blue were ripped off in Rapid Reload (aka Gunners Heaven) on PS1 and got a remake/sequel on Game Boy Advance, called Gunstar Super Heroes, not to mention it's constantly released on all the 'Best of Sega Genesis' compilations for all imaginable platforms. I personally have it legally bought on Steam, XBLA and PSN (not to mention the PS2 bootleg and the obligatory Genesis emulator ROM) - it's that good. Also, quite recently I've tried playing it with my friend and the other day with my GF - we had a blast; I swear it's beyond fun and playable even to this day.

#4. Crusader: No Remorse

I've reviewed this masterpiece already, so to put things brief, it's a great isometric action adventure with gritty graphics and violence, fun challenging gunplay, puzzles, stealth elements, live action cutscenes and the legendary soundtrack by Andrew 'Necros' Sega and friends. Check it out!

#3. Super Metroid (aka Metroid 3)

Check out my elaborate review for the details, but in short, this is not only the best game in the series (doesn't say much, since only Other M is a notable stinker within it), but a groundbreaking piece of software in itself. It inspired many games, challenged many players and in 2007 got the Best Game Ever title from Electronic Gaming Monthly. Rightfully so.

#2. Contra: Hard Corps

Four playable characters? A storyline? Non-linear progression? Several endings? In my Contra?! Yeah, and it worked so well! Basically, Konami took the classic Contra formula and made everything bigger, badder, darker and creative. It never bores you, always throwing interesting twists in your face, has two secret endings (additional to the four available ones) and creates four characters that may be difficult to master, but equally awesome to play as. Also, the graphics are some of the best seen on the Genesis - unlike the bright and colorful Gunstar Heroes or Turrican 3, Hard Corps is dark and intimidating, with lots of freaky enemies and bosses you have to blast on your way. I especially like the chase/flight section where you're racing in front of a city full of Tyrell Corp-style pyramid skyscrapers. Nice touch.

#1. The Marathon Trilogy

I BET YOU'RE SURPRISED... NOT! Of course, how can my all-time favorite game not make this list? Landing on the first place, no less! What can I say that hasn't been said about it? Probably, just reprint my comment that I left for Top 10 FPS Games. Here:

To me, Marathon 2 is The Best Game Ever. Or, if you mean that it doesn't have proper evaluation... the whole Marathon trilogy has a solid and complicated storyline (some say it's ridiculously complicated for an FPS, but still it's refreshing to see something deeper than 'USA won WWII!!1 Maximum nanostrength!') that not only is exposed via Terminals, but integrated into the maps themselves, amazing hand-drawn sprites, dual-wielding (including shotguns), and overall stimulating and engaging gameplay, totally unlike Doom/Duke3D - it's slower and, like Unreal, relies heavily on ambiance. Marathon 1 is dark and creepy, M2 is bright and colorful, Marathon Infinity is arthouse and surreal... I like sequels that do not rip each other off, I like deep complex stories, I like 2,5D shooters, and to me, Marathon 2 is top notch among the trilogy... and among all games. :) Plus, they're all free and open source!

You can't beat a rocket launcher called SPNKR. You just can't.