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At last, my annual top 100 video games post makes its long overdue appearence for 2012. As usual this is the entire rundown of my 100 favourite video games to date. Obviously it differs from last year’s list in that it includes a handful of new releases including The Legend of Zelda – Skyward Sword, and also a number of existing titles have gained and lost places in my favour. Big movers include F-Zero GX and Fire Emblem – Radiant Dawn which has been awarded an even higher score than I gave it in my review last year and has finally taken its place in my all time top ten. Per tradition I’ve featured a handful of entries and given their score out of ten and have provided links to full reviews for every game I’ve written them for. Remember it’s a personal list of mainly but not exclusively Nintendo games so if your favourite is nowhere to be seen then chances are I haven’t played it.

100 – Baten Kaitos – Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean – 8.8

An innovative and addictive card-based battle system and ridiculously pretty visuals make this Gameuibe RPG stand out. You are a spirit guide who must help Kalas in his struggle against an evil empire in a universe where everybody has wings and stores everything, weapons, food, whatever, in card form. A lengthy and compulsive title for sure, shame about the voice acting.

99 – Super Mario Bros. 2 – 8.9

98 – F-Zero GP Legend – 8.9

97 – Zelda II – The Adventure of Link – 8.9

96 – Donkey Kong Jungle Beat – 8.9

95 – Tales of Symphonia – 8.9

94 – Elite Beat Agents – 8.9

93 – Mario Kart 64 – 8.9

92 – Pikmin – 8.9

91 – Zack and Wiki – Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure – 8.9

90 – Professor Layton and the Curious Village – 8.9

89 – Mario Kart Super Circuit – 9.0

88 – Streets of Rage – 9.0

Sega scored a palpable hit with their answer to the SNES’ Final Fight in which a trio of former cops take on legions of thugs in a city overrun by a crime organisation known as The Syndicate. The fighting is arcadey and satisfying, the boss fights bizarre and the music moody and compelling. The best part was the backup attacks which called in a cop car to blast enemies off the screen.

87 – Professor Layton and the Lost Future – 9.0

86 – Mario Kart DS – 9.0

85 – Super Monkey Ball 2 – 9.0

84 – Mario Kart Double Dash! – 9.0

83 – Streets of Rage 2 – 9.1

82 – Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box – 9.1

81 – Donkey Kong Country – 9.1

80 – Fire Emblem – The Sacred Stones – 9.1

79 – Donkey Kong Country Returns – 9.1

78 – Mario Kart Wii – 9.1

77 – Fire Emblem – Shadow Dragon – 9.1

76 – The Legend of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass – 9.1

75 – Super Smash Bros. – 9.1

This ridiculaously entertaining fighter which spawned two massive sequels is notable not just for its roster of classic Nintendo characters but also for its groundbreaking battle system that focused on hitting opponents as far as possible. The game’s lack of options and average graphics betray its low budget but the gameplay speaks for itself and still sorts the men from the boys.

 74 – Paper Mario – 9.1

73 – Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels – 9.1

72 – Mega Man – 9.1

71 – Warioland 2 – 9.1

70 – Yoshi’s Island DS – 9.1

69 – Warioland – Super Mario Land 3 – 9.2

68 – Super Mario 3D Land – 9.2

67 – Super Street Fighter II – The New Challengers – 9.2

66 – Mario Kart 7 – 9.2

65 – Super Mario RPG – Legend of the Seven Stars – 9.2

64 – Warioland 3 – 9.2

63 – F-Zero – 9.2

This early SNES title showed off the console’s unique Mode 7 tech and singlehandedly created the futuristic racer sub-genre. The speed is blistering but the tight controls make it easy to pick up. The ferocious design of later courses tag it with a meaty difficulty level making it essential for hardcore speed demons.

62 – Warioland 4 – 9.2

61 – The Legend of Zelda – Four Swords Adventures – 9.2

60 – Mario and Luigi – Bowser’s Inside Story – 9.2

59 – The Legend of Zelda – Spirit Tracks – 9.2

58 – Wario Ware Inc. Minigame Mania – 9.2

57 – Disciples – Sacred Lands – 9.2

One of the exceedingly few PC games I ever invested myself in Disciples is a relentlessly addictive fantasy strategy RPG featuring four races each with their own massive story campaign. You raise parties of heroes (or monsters) to explore the lands, fight foes, plunder ruins and pursue mission objectives. There’s even a fully functioning quest creator to take over your life.

56 – Pikmin 2 – 9.2

55 – Fire Emblem – 9.2

54 – Disciples II – Dark Prophecy – 9.2

53 – Soul Calibur II – 9.2

52 – Donkey Kong – 9.3

51 – Pokemon Silver Version – 9.3

50 – Metroid Zero Mission – 9.3

49 – New Super Mario Bros. Wii – 9.3

48 – Diddy Kong Racing – 9.3

47 – F-Zero x – 9.3

46 – Mario and Luigi – Superstar Saga – 9.3

45 – The Legend of Zelda – Oracle of Seasons – 9.3

44 – Super Mario Sunshine – 9.3

This Gamecube era platformer might not be the plumber’s best outing but it still offers its share of riveting platforming action framed by the opinion-dividing FLUDD water cannon. Presenting various resort destinations of the tropical Isle Delfino for your exploration this is Mario’s most believable world yet and the hunt for all 120 shine sprites is one of his most demanding targets.

43 – The Legend of Zelda – The Minish Cap – 9.3

42 – Sonic 3 – 9.4

41 – Pokemon Blue Version – 9.4

40 – Super Smash Bros. Brawl – 9.4

39 – Metroid – 9.4

38 – The Legend of Zelda – Oracle of Ages – 9.4

37 – Lylat Wars – 9.4

36 – Paper Mario – The Thousand-Year Door – 9.4

35 – Sonic the Hedgehog – 9.5

34 – Metroid Fusion – 9.5

The first Metroid game in eight years took Super Metroid’s template and transferred its peerless gameplay and structure to the Game Boy Advance. With almost everything that made the SNES classic great and a ton of brilliant new concepts, like the terrifying games of cat and mouse with the SA-X it holds its head high as the best created for the system. I have yet to come across a game designed for handhelds since to better it.

33 – Super Smash Bros. Melee – 9.5

32 – Metroid Prime 2 – Echoes – 9.5

31 – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – 9.5

30 – GoldenEye 007 – 9.5

29 – Tetris – 9.5

28 – Banjo-Tooie – 9.5

27 – Sonic & Knuckles – 9.5

26 – F-Zero GX – 9.5

25 – Fire Emblem – Path of Radiance – 9.5

24 – Metroid Prime 3 – Corruption – 9.5

23 – Banjo-Kazooie – 9.6

Banjo-Kazooie stands out among the many Super Mario 64 clones for its brilliant graphics, hilarious characters, and huge, brilliantly designed worlds but mainly for its imaginative and varied duel-character gameplay, itself an inspiration for many imitators. The storybook aesthetic and comedic presentation give the N64 title a strong sense of identity.

22 – Super Mario Bros. – 9.6

21 – The Legend of Zelda – 9.6

20 – Chrono Trigger – 9.6

19 – Okami – 9.6

18 – Super Mario Bros. 3 – 9.7

17 – The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time 3D – 9.7

16 – The Legend of Zelda – The Wind Waker – 9.7

15 – Yoshi’s Island – Super Mario World 2 – 9.7

14 – The Legend of Zelda – Skyward Sword – 9.7

13 – The Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess – 9.7

The race between this and Skyward Sword, both fantastic games held back by a few flaws, was perilously close but the earlier game got the nod on the strength of its superior dungeons. The game’s shadowy mood, vast world and brilliant arsenal of toys confirm it as just another Zelda classic and where Skyward Sword forget to be epic Twilight Princess excelled.

12 – Super Mario World – 9.7

11 Super Mario Galaxy 2 – 9.7

10 – Fire Emblem – Radiant Dawn – 9.7

9 – Super Mario Galaxy – 9.7

8 – Metroid Prime – 9.8

7 – Super Metroid – 9.8

6 – Super Mario 64 – 9.8

5 – The Legend of Zelda – Link’s Awakening – 9.8

4 – The Legend of Zelda – A Link to the Past – 9.8

The Legend of Zelda broke the mould but the third game in the series, A Link to the Past laid the foundations of the rest of the series to follow. Mixing the traditional dungeon exploration with a brilliantly detailed overworld and a staggeringly vast amount of content, not to mention sweeping story and the innovative light/dark world mechanic this immediately became renowned as one of the best games ever made.

 3 – Skies of Arcadia – Legends – 9.8

2 – The Legend of Zelda – Majora’s Mask – 9.9

1 – The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time – 10.0

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