BEST OF THE BEST: Part 10 (10/31)

Happy Halloween everyone! Hopefully you all have some sort of party or event to go to tonight. I’ll be out and about as Doctor Orpheus from The Venture Bros. in the DC Metro Area. If you see me give a shout out to your favorite cartoon necromancer.

Today we’ll be looking at two appropriate awards. The first is a “dead” award, meaning we no longer give it out. The second is the award for Best Horror Game.

24. Best New Feature
Award Winner in 2003: Gamecube-GBA connectivity

Award Winner in 2004: Nintendo DS

Award Winner in 2005: Guitar Hero Controller

Basically this award was given out to the best advance in technology for gaming. In 2006, we just decided to get rid of the award as it was a pretty minor one with no real set definition. Besides in 2006 the Wii would have won anyway, right?

Our choice for 2003 was the fact that you could hook up your GBA and Game Cube to play games together. At the time we all thought it was going to be super cool and revolutionary and that so much could be done with this. In the end pretty much only Animal Crossing and Pokemon did anything with this. It was like the E-Reader. Good idea in theory that started off okay, but then it dropped like a rock and ended up being pretty much a waste of money.

The DS won in 2004 for it’s unique two screen format and touch pad. My argument that the DS is just a Game & Watch with cartridges and a touch screen or a two screen Palm Pilot, but I was outvoted there.

In 2005, the winner was a controller shaped like a guitar. To me, this doesn’t seem that revolutionary or much of an advancement. We’ve had controllers shaped like a Dragon Quest Slime or an RE chainsaw. Why is a guitar such a big deal? Well, it won because everyone was Guitar Hero crazy at that point. You want to talk a revolutionary controller? Two words: Steel Battalion

Basically, the award (to me) was ill thought out and we scrapped it. The End.

25. Best Horror Game
Award Winner in 2004: The Suffering
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Surreal Software
Release Date: 03/09/2004
System Released On: Microsoft Xbox, PC, Sony Playstation 2

Award Winner in 2005: Resident Evil 4
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 01/11/2005
System Released On: Nintendo Game Cube, Sony Playstation 2

Award Winner in 2006: Barrow Hill
Developer: Shadow Tor Studios
Publisher: Got Game Entertainment
System Released On: PC
Release Date: 08/25/2006

Horror/Terror games have always been big around here. Our staff has always been somewhat gothie mixed with horror and black metal fans. Not everyone mind you. Alex Williams and Chris Pankonin were far far far from that description, but even then, we were all fans of spooky shit.

The Suffering is one of FIVE games to ever get a nine from me (Can you name the others?). It was just an amazing game and the only reason it wasn’t up for GOTY was that 2004 was an amazing year for gaming. GTA, new Pokemon, new Gradius, remake of Shining Force on the GBA, Katamari, and so on. The suffering really understood how to combine horror and terror into one game, balancing both into a sublime and creepy atmosphere. With multiple endings that were VERY different from each other, and a documentary on haunted prisons, it’s easy to see why this game was the horror game of 2004. It’s too bad surreal hasn’t put anything out in years.

RE4 won in 2005. Are we really surprised by this? Gone went the horrible controls of yesteryear. I can’t believe I’m saying this but the Gamecube controller made RE feel truly playable for the first time EVER, instead of handling like total ass. Sure the story was still filled with plot holes and bad acting, but the graphics and game play made for an enjoyable game all around.

An adventure game won in 2006. Barrow Hill was short sweet, and very spooky. It was a thinking man’s horror game rather than a gorefest, but it was one of the best games of 2006, and no other horror game came close to matching it for graphics, atmosphere and sheer creepiness.

Reviews:
The Suffering (Lucard)
BONUS: The Suffering 2 (Lee Baxley)
Resident Evil 4 (Matt Yaeger)
Barrow Hill (Lucard)

Seriously, pick up each and every one of these games. You won’t be disappointed.

Tomorrow starts the look back at awards that have been around for 4 years. Sadly the first two of these awards won’t be back for a fifth time. That’s because the Game Cube and GBA are officially dead as far as new games are concerned. Join us tomorrow as we look back at 4 years of straight up Nintendo awards. And a little controversy…