DECEMBER 15, 1997:
The Sony Playstation is currently the most popular gaming
console in the world, which translates into many more available games each year than
I'd ever care to look at. This list is highly subjective. For instance, I don't much
care for sports simulations, although there are a number of outstanding ones for
Playstation. In addition, I haven't had the chance to see many recently released
titles, such as Tomb Raider 2 G-Police, Bushido Blade, Crash Bandicoot
2, Duke Nukem 3-D, and a number of others, many of which have been given
stellar reviews by industry experts. With that in mind, my favorites games for 1997
- Warcraft II (Electronic Arts/Blizzard) A real-time strategy game that
allows the player to become an armchair general, creating and fielding his orc or
human forces in an effort to destroy the opposition. Originally a hit on the PC,
the Playstation version suffers from inferior control but maintains all the elements
that made it a hit with the computer gaming crowd. In addition to the full campaigns
from the PC titles, Warcraft II includes the orc and human campaigns from
Beyond the Dark Portal, as well as dozens of custom scenarios. Addictive beyond
belief once a player gets hooked.
- Final Fantasy VII (Squaresoft) is the most spectacular roleplaying game
ever designed for a console. Square reportedly spent a small fortune creating FFVII
and the money shows. The game is so large it's contained on three discs. The story
is complex and involving, and the visuals are spectacularly dynamic and rich. My
one major caveat is the obscene amount of time spent in combat; after a while, it
detracts from the impetus of the quest. Prospective gamers should plan on a major
investment of time if they want to play this one through to the end. And completing
it is, after all, the point.
- Colony Wars (Psygnosis) is a first-person space combat simulation of the
first order. Psygnosis is renowned for producing outstanding Playstation titles,
and Colony Wars is one of their best. The space shoot-'em-up genre can be
traced to Star Raiders on the old Atari computers, and has a continuing popularity
with gamers. Colony Wars has plenty of missions on its two disks, and the
voice of James Earl Jones to urge you on.
- Soul Blade (Namco) upholds the company's grand tradition of Playstation
fighting games that include both Tekken and Tekken 2. This title features
multiple characters, a staggering number of moves and combos, and ring-outs. Soul
Blade is distinguished by stunning graphics, sound, and the Edge Master mode,
which allows the player to accumulate additional weapons for each character.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert (Westwood) is another real-time strategy
contest that corrects virtually all of the problems that weren't addressed in Command
& Conquer and Warcraft II. Red Alert finally takes advantage of the
Playstation mouse, and even has a link-cable option. It also has enough carnage to
keep the most nihilistic players happy for a long, long time.
So, in all, 1997 has been a great year for Playstation gamers, and 1998 is likely
to bring more of the same.
- Bud Simons