Some things I've learned....

(1) An Engineer can do with 10 cent what a fool can do with a Euro.

(2) "Puff" - unimportant; insignificant; unworthy of study by engineering students; waste of time

(3) It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than to open it and prove them right!

(4) Blockwork people and concrete people can never work on the same site... Apparently they don't like each other....

(5) It's official; I'm fantastic!

Thursday 5 April 2007

Greatest Games of All Time!! - Issue 1

As I mentioned in my PS3 blog, I decided that I would take some time out to mend my gears, and blog on about the greatest video games of all time. Now this list is long and detailed, and spans many years between titles, featuring consoles such as the PS2, the PSOne, the Nintendo 64, the PC and perhaps one or two old school systems aswell. For the most part though, the titles that fit into the "Greatest of All Time" will be from more modern times, aka the PSOne and N64 era to today!

Before I begin, it's important to note that if you were to ask me how I would rank all of these titles in say a Top Ten, the likelihood is that I couldn't. Any of the games I review and discuss are (in my books) equally as good as the next, though obviously some would disagree. You should also note that you may think I am being biased in regards to reviewing Playstation, Nintendo and PC games only, but so far, other than perhaps Halo, the Xbox has yet to deliver and all time great game.

So what makes a great game? Well several things: Characters, Story/Plot, Gameplay, Longetivity, Re-playability, Unlockables/Secrets and in relation to PC games, the ability for people to modify the games with the development of MODS. You might say: "Don't graphics and sound make a great game?" Well the short answer is "No". As you will see over the coming blogs, many of the "Greatest of All Time Games" are not the most finely graphically generated games ever, with one or two exceptions.

Also, something which I realised while preparing for this and the following blogs, is that many (in fact almost all) of the titles I'll be discussing don't actually use 'cheats'. And by 'cheats' I mean entering in a code by pressing certain buttons whilst holding others. I'm not talking about cheats that you can unlock by playing the game (well!). That makes it a great game as I metioned above.

I figured I'd start the series off with one my own personal all time favourites - Final Fantasy 7.

Console: Playstation and PC
Released: 1997


The story and plot of the game can be found here:

It would take me too long to paraphrase it either, a sign of how in depth and great the plot is, further enhancing its reputation as one of the all time greats. The story in brief is that of the main protagonist Cloud Strife and his battle to the rid the world (Gaia) of the main antagonist Sephiroth. On his way through the events in the game, Cloud (the player) gathers more people to his cause, all of whom are playable along with Cloud.


Cloud - The main protagonist, an Ex-SOLDIER in the game, Cloud wields a massive sword that makes the Hulk look lame. Cloud's past is troubled, as you will see in the link given above. He served alongside Sephiroth, or rather under his command, and played a pivotal role in Sephiroth's first apparent demise. Upon meeting Cloud for the first time in the game, he sides with what can only be called a terrorist organisation, namely AVALANCHE. They fight to destroy mako-reactors around the city of Midgar, which suck the very life force from the planet and produce energy. Cloud is intended to be your party's strongest character, as you have to use him for almost 99.8% of the game. As the story develops, it appears that Sephiroth was not killed as first presumed, and it is at that point that Cloud's role becomes evident, that he must kill Sephiroth. On a side note, there is an interesting love cycle created between Cloud, Tifa and Aeris (yes Aeris! not Aerith as some people wrongly quote, check the manual for God's sake!). The player can in some part control this triangle, but the end result is the same (see Sephiroth).

Tifa, Barrett, Cid, Aeris, Red XIII, Cait Sith, Vincent, Yuffie - all characters available through the game, though Vincent and Yuffie have to be "found" in a manner of speaking. It would take me too long to give a detailed background into all these characters, so I'll give a brief idea of each. Tifa is Cloud's hometown friend, part-time on and off girlfriend some would say and a fist fighter. She plays a pivotal role in resolving Cloud's confusing past regarding Sephiroth and early life. Barrett is head of AVALANCHE; he joins Cloud after Shinra (the company which controls the mako energy) destroys his home. He has a mechanical arm, which can be modified to accommodate a variety of weapons. Cid is an airship pilot, who joins Cloud once Shinra interfere with his plans to be the first man in space. Although Cid does reach space, the conditions of how he gets there play a part in his joining of Cloud's team.

Aeris is the flower girl that Cloud meets when he separated from the rest of AVALANCHE. There is a romance between them, and ultimately she is the reason the party succeed in defeating Sephiroth. Aeris is killed about half way through the game. Red XIII is a fierce and brave creature who can communicate with humans. He joins Cloud after he is rescued by him in one of the Shinra HQ labs. Cait Sith appears as a stuffed animal, who meets Cloud in the Golden Saucer entertainment park. He is revealed to be remotely controlled by a man working for Shinra at one point but as he spends longer with the group he comes to acknowledge their efforts and sacrifices himself. A second Cait Sith appears shortly afterwards. Vincent is a dark, brooding, and sardonic young man whose heart has been numbed by a tragic love.

Vincent is a former Turks (like the Shinra FBI) gunman who was experimented on by Hojo (the same man who experimented on Red XIII) approximately thirty years before the start of the game, and consequently developed superhuman abilities and characteristics. Cloud and the others eventually discover him sleeping inside a coffin in the basement of the Shinra Mansion, where he joins them in their quest to fight Sephiroth and Shinra. And finally Yuffie is a 'ninja' or at least claims to be. She is from part of the world that compares to modern Japan (there'll be more on Yuffie in "Re-playability and "Secrets").

Sephiroth - the main antagonist in the FF7 plot. Quite possibly the greatest villain ever to grace the film and gaming world. What makes him a brilliant villain in this game? Chilling music, an incredible background story which intertwines the story of Cloud, a 10 ft long Masamune sword, and just sheer coolness. Sephiroth was the greatest in SOLDIER, and it was events whilst on a mission in Cloud's hometown of Nibelheim that turned him to evil. Confused over the origins of his birth, Sephiroth began the search for his mother, Jenova. When he found her, in the Nibelheim reactor, he was 'apparently' confronted by Cloud. It is later revealed that this wasn't exactly the case. He was confronted by Cloud's friend Zack, and when Zack was incapicitated, Cloud charged Sephiroth. Easily overpowered, Sephiroth held Cloud with the tip of his Masamune. In an inexplicable turn of ends, Cloud somehow managed to get to his feet and threw Sephiroth over the ledge into the mako reactor.

However, it appears that throughout the game Sephiroth was in fact not killed at all. The party follow him in his search for the black materia (Meteor) to destroy the world. In one of the climactic moments of the game, the party meet the real Sephiroth, encased in a shell of mako in the Northern Crater. By the end of the game, the party finally gets the chance to fight Sephiroth, which eventually lead to the main one on one confrontation with Cloud. Cloud killed Sephiroth...or so it seemed, but that is for another time.

Nothing can really be flawed in the masterpiece that is FF7. The game consists of 3 main types of screen. The world map, the town map and the battle screen. Though the world map is the least interactive of the 3, it is still enjoyable, and is only mildly tedious for long journeys, otherwise, the array of vehicles available to you help make the world map a very pleasant experience.

The town map is usually very interactive, whether it's talking to characters, buying things, looking for items, whatever you might be expected to do in a town/building/room etc. It is in this type of screen that the storyline progresses in conversation form.

The battle screen, is as its name suggests, where you do the fighting. Undoubtedly the most enjoyable aspect of the game, a simple easy to use interface means you get the most out of the experience, which only gets better as you progress.

Obviously the difficulty of the game increases as you go on, but this helped by the fact that your characters progress on the way, levelling up as it was, getting stronger, learning new skills etc. only makes the game more enjoyable.

But the developers didn't stop there. They include many smaller aspects of the game which required different gameplay. Examples: Riding on a motorcycle attacking enemies that closed around you, snowboarding on the frozen plateau, piloting a Shinra submarine in pursuit of the mega materia and so on. Also, there were many other smaller bits that required concentration, and were without a doubt frustrating.

One being the 'button' sequence. There is a point in the early stages of the game where Cloud (you), Tifa and Barrett all have to press the buttons at the same time. Now this sounds easy, but no. They get it in time, but the actual time gap between you pressing the button on the controller, to when Cloud actually hits the button on the screen, coupled with the timing of Tifa and Barrett is just unreal.

Another is when you are giving a person mouth-to-mouth. The time taken for Cloud to's just too long!!


Very long. At three discs on Playstation and four on PC this is a very long game, but that is just thanks to the excellent storyline. Other than the actual pursuit of Sephiroth, the game allows you to play into the respective backgrounds of each of the characters, visiting their hometowns, and filling in gaps in their stories. Once you start playing FF7, you'll want to see it through to the end.


High re-playability factor. It is highly unlikely that you manage to explore every aspect of FF7 the first time you play it because there is so much. Plus with the variety of characters, weapons and items, the variability of play is endless.


There are so many of these in Final Fantasy 7, I'll do my best to name as many as I can.

Characters - Yuffie and Vincent. Yuffie has to be tricked into joining you in a certain area of the map, which leads to an additional storyline involving Yuffie when you travel to her hometown. Vincent is found in a coffin in the same house where Sephiroth learns of his secret. Vincent’s addition to the game adds interesting dialogue and also reveals gaps in the story.

Weapons and Items - too many to name. Each of the characters 'ultimate weapon' and armour, all of the various materia including summoning like 'Knights of the Realm'.

Locations - available through Chocobo breeding, hence how you get some of the more special items and materia. The hidden forest as well once you defeat Ultimate Weapon.

Enemies - some depending on whether you get Yuffie and Vincent. The other big ones (no pun intended) are Emerald, Diamond and Ultimate Weapon. Uncontested as the most difficult bosses ever to be created in any game. Though you don't necessarily have to fight them, the challenge of beating an enemy with 1 million hit points is too good a challenge to pass up.
Okay so that's it on this one. Tired now I shall give you the final scores:

Story/Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Gameplay: 9.5
Longetivity: 10
Re-playability: 10
Unlockables/Secrets: 10

Not biased at all as most will agree, this game was voted second greatest of all time by a Japanese poll.

Over and out until next time!

~The Damo


Ann Marie said...

It certainly sounds like a good gamee.

Catherine said...

I know nothing about FF but you obviously know a great deal! Interesting read, though I'm not much of a gamer.

Anonymous said...

The information here is great. I will invite my friends here.