411 Games Top 5 4.26.14: Top 5 Metroidvania Games
Posted by Sean Garmer on 04.26.2014
From Super Metroid and Castlevania to Dust: An Elysian Tail, Guacamelee, Shadow Complex and more, the 411 staff counts down the top 5 Metroidvania games of all-time!
Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there. It's time to look at a genre that is loved and hated.
Since Robert Cooper loves Castlevania games so much, I promised him one day I would make a Top 5 where he could literally put a Top 5 Castlevania list if he so chose. So, I give to you the Top 5 Metroidvania Games
Robert Cooper (Music Zone Reviewer, Writer of Metal Hammer Doom News Report, Regular Contributor to The Official 411 Games Zone Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer," 411 Podcast Contributor )
Honorable Mention: Super Metroid- Not played it yet, it's on the neverending "to-do" list!
5. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow Finally, Sean gives me a list where I have permission to put all Castlevania games. While it's true that I'm barely halfway into the franchise and only own about a third of the games, this seris is still near and dear to my heart. This game was the first Castlevania game on the DS and the next game on my DS "to-do" list, I've played a bit of it, and I like it so far. I was initially annoyed at the change in art style from a traditional style to a more anime oriented style, but I understand at the end of the day that they need to have a more appealing style to modern sensibilities, and a change in art style can do that. This is the sequel to a later game on the list, and while I doubt it'll top it, it's still a pretty good game, so far.
4. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon One of my favorite launch titles for any system ever, Circle of the Moon was the game that brought that old school difficulty back to the series. While not being as hard as the NES games, it was still pretty difficult, but still overall fun. While it was a side story from the rest of continuity, the story was still solid, and the gameplay still familiar with a few new twists. The game is pretty easy to find, so I suggest that anyone who hasn't given this game a try go do so.
3. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance This is probably the easiest game on the list, while it did have a few tough moments, overall, I found this game to be easier than the rest. The game was still pretty good, though, with a solid enough story and multiple endings that were satisfying, as well as the same wonderful combat system that we had become accustomed to. This was a fun entry and definitely on my list of games that I need to replay every few years.
2. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow:This was the game that surprised me the most on the list. While I knew it was good, I never knew that it would be as good as it was. This game stars Soma Cruz, who gets transported into the castle via an eclipse and finds that he has the power to absorb the souls of the monsters he battles. This led to an incredibly addicting, fun, and useful soul system that added an extra RPG element to a game that already had plenty of them. The ending to this game is by far the best in the series, and the story itself is also incredibly strong. As it is filled with interesting side characters, including a Belmont that you get to play as once you beat the game. While this wont beat my number 1, this game is deserving of the slot, all the same.
1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: Do you guys remember my entry about this game last week? Well, I still love it this week as much as I did last week. So instead of focusing on the same stuff I did last week, why don't I change it up? We already know that this game is in my Top 3 games of all time, but that is just playing as Alucard. When you play this game as Richter Belmont, the whole game changes. Must like playing as Maxim or Julius in Harmony of Dissonance, and Aria of Sorrow, respectively, the experience is very different when you play as the secondary character. In Symphony of the Night it is a very humbling experience, especially after beating the game as Alucard not long before playing as Richter. It's like playing a game where you're using a character obviously not meant to be in the game. Richter's attacks do more damage and he has lots of moves and item crashes to exploit, but he still takes a ton of damage and can die easily, especially when you get to sections like the Clock Tower in the Inverted Castle. I figure you guys are tired of me prattling about the same stuff over and over, so a bit of perspective on the secondary character run through never hurts, right? I still stand by the statement that anyone who hasn't played this game needs to immediately pick it up, and anyone who hasn't tried to play as Richter after beating the game the first time as Alucard should give it a try for the experience, at least!
John Cash (Reader Voice, Occasional Contributor to Four Player Co-op)
5. Shadow Complex: This was a case of a game that I probably wouldn't have played if it weren't for all the hype around it, but for once the hype turned out to be mostly justified. If you like collecting things and upgrading everything you possibly can, then this game will keep you busy for just the right amount of time. It's not particularly hard, but there is enough challenge to keep you invested in what's happening. An interesting note; speed runners at Speed Demos Archive found out that it is possible (with skill and practice) to beat the game so fast, that you can even beat the game just playing THE DEMO.
4. Metroid Prime Hunters: For some reason, when it comes to the FPS Metroid games, Hunters was the only one I never found myself frustrated with. It may be because it was on a handheld, only allowing me to play for so long. Maybe it was just that fun, but whatever the reason, it's definitely my favorite (and in my opinion the most over-looked) entry in the Prime series.
3. Castlevania: Oh if only Bloody Tears had been in this game and not the second! I didn't get to play this as a kid (Ghosts N Goblins was pretty much the only kind of demon-filled game I got to play), but even playing as an adult I can see why the game and the series it spawned is so beloved. You learn very quickly to expect certain things from certain scenarios, like if you see a moving enemy that throws projectiles, you're probably also going to have to deal with a medusa head or a flea man as well. Its the kind of game that once you know all the tricks and all the item locations its much easier to complete, but the difficulty the first time through definitely deserves it's legendary status.
2. Super Castlevania IV: This was one of the games that I played when I got my first SNES after high school, and I couldn't believe I was playing a 14 year old machine (at the time); the graphics were fantastic, the animation was smooth, and the way the now famous/infamous mode 7 chip allowed for simulated 3D backgrounds blew my mind a bit. I prefer this one just slightly over the first Castlevania because of the whip controls, but otherwise both are amazing games.
1. Super Metroid: It was incredible to me how much atmosphere this game had, and it actually kind of soured me on a lot of the games that were coming out at the time I first played it (around 2007). There is just so much to do, so much to explore, you could almost compare it to a sandbox game. The pure sense of joy the first time I did the shinespark move is pretty much indescribable for me. It's very easy to see why this game influenced many people of my generation, as well as many of the kids today.
Sean Garmer (Games Zone Reviewer, Games Top 5 Organizer, Interim Host of The Official 411 Games Zone Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer," WWE Special Event Roundtable Organizer)
5. Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii) Vanillaware are the makers of Dragon's Crown and Odin Sphere, which were more straightforward games than Muramasa was. I remember going to a friend's house and really enjoying this game because of the two characters, the way you use the Wii Remote to perform certain actions, and just how fun the game was too. It may be the least total Metroidvania game on my list, but for the art style alone it is worth playing if you own a Wii.
4. Dust: An Elysian Tail This is a game I picked up on a whim because of the art style and I was surprised at how much depth the game had. The dialog and characters are a bit hokey, but the fact that one guy designed the whole game and then added this awesome fighting system in it makes the game last longer than it ever would. You gain levels, advance through worlds, explore, solve puzzles, and find hidden items. Just love this game and you can probably find it for like 10 bucks or so on Xbox 360 or PC.
3. Guacamelee A game where you play as a Luchador that runs around suplexing skeletons collecting coins and other things in order to save your kidnapped love? I think that's all I need to say. This game has grown so much in popularity that it is soon going to be on every system out there very soon. You can get it now on PS3, VITA, and PC through Steam.
2. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night This game and the one I put at number 1 are the epitome of this genre. If there is one Castlevania game everyone should play, it is this one.
1. Super Metroid This is just a masterpiece of a game. From the atmosphere to the exploration elements to just getting to be Samus and use her canon. This is one of the best games of all-time and perhaps the best Metroid game ever made.
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Games Coming Out the Week of 04/27/14
Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)
Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS)
Child of Light (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC, Wii U)