RPGFan's Games of 1999

The year 1999 has come to a close. The Y2k bug turned out to be nothing more than a non-event. What awaits us in the coming century? What games will steal our hearts and grab our imagination? What games managed to do that in 1999? We at RPGFan decided on each of our five favorite games. Hopefully, you will find some of our opinions helpful in future purchases. To all you hardcore RPG players, we're sorry, this special contains games of all genre because it's hard to play 5 whole RPGs in a year and really enjoy them. Besides, what do you think we do all day, update RPGFan?
GhaleonOne's Top Picks
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
I picked Lunar SSSC because, well, it's Lunar. The packaging, the music(okay, so the PSX version didn't have the best of quality, but download the MP3s somewhere and you'll see), the graphics(I like 2D, so sue me ;P), the character development, and story. All great, even most of the voice acting, and yes, I love the translations WD does, so SSSC is no exception. And when Lunar EBR comes out, it'll top as my favorite game ever(since I have the import, love it to death, and the original EB was my favorite ever, so there you have it).

Still haven't finished it, but if the last half the second disc is as good as the rest of the game, this one is easily one of the best RPGs ever. I think the only thing I didn't like was some of the voice acting, and translation. Not bad, especially compared to some of the other stuff out there, but still, I prefer WDs translations (just my opinion). Story-wise it rules!

Suikoden 2
I loved the first Suikoden, and loved the second. Sure, the translation was pretty bad, but other than that, this one is really good.

Final Fantasy Anthology
This would have probably ranked higher, but I already have FF3(6j) on my SNES, so that doesn't do me any good... not to mention I haven't even gotten around to playing FF5 yet.

Final Fantasy VIII
Sue me, I liked this game. I wasn't a huge fan of FFVII, but this game brought me back to liking Final Fantasy as a series. It still doesn't beat 6, but hey, it puts up an awesome fight. ^_^
ArchAngel's Top Picks
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
I've never felt this way about a videogame before. Ever. Nothing has ever been able to steal my heart and capture my soul the way Lunar did. Thank you Working Designs. We look forward to Lunar 2...

Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear
I'm a big action/strategy buff. The Rainbow Six series has always been my favorite on PC. The hard core strategy of planning your missions and the highly entertaining action portion are enough to keep me in my chair for a while. Multiplayer games reign supreme!

What an awesome game. I had never played the game until the US Playstation release. Grandia is something special. I'm halfway through it and I can say that this is one fine piece of work.

Elemental Gimmick Gear
I'm one of the only staff who actually played the game. This game is by far the coolest looking RPG that I have played in a long time. Using the Dreamcast's abilities to the fullest extent is amazing. This is a must buy.

Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun
Whoa. I love military strategy and this game takes the cake. I miss the days of C&C Red Alert, but this takes the game to a whole new level. The return of Kane and the age of Tiberium is here. Buy it and be happy.

ArchAngel's Honorable Mentions
Star Ocean 2, Might and Magic VII, Final Fantasy VIII, and Thousand Arms.
ff's Top Picks
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
My top pick for this year is Lunar. What an incredibly fun game, the storyline was top notch, the characters interesting and memorable, and of course one of the greatest villians of all time to help things along. Add to all this the superb music, and of course the extras that Working Designs decided to include in their historic remake, and you have the best game of 1999, and one of the best games of all time.

Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII. Could my list be complete without it? A great storyline, incredible graphics, and an outstanding soundtack from Nobuo Uematsu all combine to make Final Fantasy VIII a winner.

Driver comes in at number three on my list. To put it quite simply, Driver rocks, go buy it, now! Driver shows how much fun it would be to take your car out for a spin in the real world, if only we didn't have those damn laws. Great speed, chases, and this is a racing game with a storyline!

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on the Playstation may be a surprise to sneak onto my best five games of '99 list, but there has not been a really great game in this genre since Skate or Die, thankfully, this title changes all of that. Great graphics, a rock ass good soundtrack from some killer bands, and a huge array of tricks to master. This is one fun game.

ff's Honorable Mentions
Thousand Arms, Suikoden II, Wrestlemania 2000, Fallout 2, and finally, Final Fantasy Anthology.
Parn's Top Picks
Soul Calibur
The third game I played this year, and easily the best. I couldn't find a single thing wrong with this game at all. The graphics are incredible, the music and sound rocks, the voice acting is top notch, the fighters are all balanced, and there are so many features in the game, it's unreal. There are too many areas to cover on this game that I think are great, so I'll just cut it short and say, that if you own a Dreamcast, and you don't own Soul Caliber, you're missing out big time. No fighting game has ever caught my attention like this game has.

Sonic Adventure
When I started playing this game, I was amazed. Yuji Naka did an awesome job of taking the 2D elements of the older Sonic games, and putting them into a 3D environment. Not only are the graphics fantastic, but the music is superb. There are several characters to choose from, all having their own levels, unlike the older Sonic games which merely had the various characters running through the same exact levels (note: Sonic 3 & Knuckles is an exception). The dubbed voices for the characters in the game aren't bad, but they aren't anything special. Overall, I'd say that Sonic Adventure was a fantastic game.

Final Fantasy VIII
Only played an hour of it, but my first impressions of it were good. Obviously, the graphics are impressive, and the CG movies are breathtaking. The little bit of storyline that I got was interesting, and the few themes of music that I heard were pleasant. Keep in mind though, my impressions of this game are based on a single hour of gameplay, so don't hate me for voting for this, whether you like FF8 or not. :P
ZP's Top Picks
Martian Successor Nadesico ~The Mission~
A game I feared would be unplayable due to being in Japanese. Yet, I am a Nadesico fan, and had no intention of letting this slip by. Straight away, the anime movies looked incredible, the 3D battles had a look not entirely unlike the effects seen in Babylon 5, and well, being familiar with the TV series, it was very nice to have a bunch on Aestavalis robots and the Gravity Blast at my disposal! This is the only RPG of 1999 that I played right through to the end. I beat others of course, but they got released in a previous year, so there.

Match of the Millennium ~SNK vs. Capcom~
An ultra-late 1999 release that I'm currently playing. This is just pure fun, and the developers know it! From the sillyness of B.B.Hood fighting Geese and M. Bison to the Felicia dancing game (can you tell that my favourite 2D fighter is Vampire Savior?), I've totally fallen in love with the Neo Geo Pocket, and strongly anticipate the arcade version of this game.

Dancing Stage/Dance Dance Revolution
I really haven't played this much. But it's going in my list anyway. I'll have my own copy of it soon. Such a simple concept, it could have been achieved several years ago, with the Activator add-on for the Genesis perhaps, or a pressure pad connected to joystick wires for any system. But all the same, it's great to watch (especially in the arcade where practiced DDR gamers can stomp on the pressure sensitive floor and generally show off) and a real rush to play. That is, if you can get near the thing! Control pads and joysticks are not enough.

"Let me tell you about convenience stores..." After that wait of a little over a year, Shenmue actually delivers what I hoped it would. An interpretation of what a video game could be, but until now has not been. A realtime 3D 'graphic-adventure' boosted to a size more like an epic RPG, annoyingly in multiple parts. The game has a detailed beauty that makes it worth getting before even mentioning that the cutscenes are superbly directed, the action amazingly choreographed, the audio is as complete as it could possibly be... And it has arcade machines, what more could I need? Well, maybe more time to play it! I'm only a third of the way through, and the FAQs out there are definitely not an exact match for what I have seen and done in this game already.

ZP's Honorable Mentions
(games above were in no particular order) Alas, I can't make up my mind fully about a 5th game. Well, I'd say GigaWing just for the sake of including the only remarkable shooter I've seen all year. Lots of bullet dodging fun without any 3D or translucent explosions getting in the way. Plus, it's also one of the few shooters that still works with 2 players, because of the Reflect Force having such potential as a co-operative tool. High scores can be achieved so nicely this way!
WooJin Lee's Top Picks
Langrisser Tribute
With the original Langrisser series now at end and since Langrisser Millenium not anywhere near as good, the throne still belongs to the original Langrisser series. So what's better than the Langrisser Tribute, a collector's item that has all 5 games in one package? Langrisser Tribute has it all; great story,music, beautiful art by Satoshi Urushihara, and a fun battle system. It is only fitting that the title this year goes to "The End of Legend".

Shen Mue
Ok, so it came out just in time for it to be considered a game of 1999, but Shen Mue by far has to be the one of the most unique games out there right now. While it's story is rather run of the mill and the game is overly slow paced, it is executed very well and with great voice acting and an incredibly detailed environment which makes you you feel like this game is almost 'real', this will most likely be the game that will win more than a few people over to the DC. I am confident that the first chapter is only a taste of the future chapters and future chapters can only be better than an already great game.

What can I say? An old favorite of mine for the Saturn is back full force, this time on the Playstation. A fairly light hearted RPG, it's strong characterizations and innovative fighting system makes it more endearing to the heart. While there is fair amount of slow down in this version, it doesn't distract from the experience that is to be experianced by playing. Kudos to Sony for doing a better job than usual on their translation efforts!

Eve: Burst Error
You know, I never thought that a classic Japanese adventure such as this will ever see the light of day in the US until I heard that the US branch of the company that made this game announced it. The US version of the game, which is actually a port of the Saturn version, keeps the Japanese voice acting intact and instead just translates the text, with very favorable results. Eve:Burst Error has one of the best storylines and characterizations that I've ever encountered in a game, and now with the US port here, no one now has an excuse to why you can't play it! GO PLAY IT! :P

System Shock 2
People have ragged on and on about how scary the Resident Evil(Bio Hazard for you Import folks) series is and a few are saying the same for Valve's Half-Life. However, they haven't played System Shock 2. System Shock 2, a RPG/First Persion Shooter Hybrid, makes an excellent use of sounds to convey a feeling of fear for over the course of the entire game, something that none of the games have ever done. An interesting storyline and a highly customizable class system makes this game a can't miss for FPS fans and Horror fans alike. I dare you. Turn up the volume and play this alone at night. I doubt you'll be calm for long.....

WooJin Lee's Honorable Mentions
Unreal Tournament,Final Fantasy Anthologies,Lunar:SSSC,Freespace 2.Final Fantasy 8, Tales of Phantasia Remake.
EsquE's Top Picks
Final Fantasy VIII
Beautiful images, incredible soundtrack, inventive game play and an excellent story. Everything I could want in an RPG. May not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's certainly mine.

Sonic Adventure
There was nothing I feared more than one of my favorite 2D platformers being butchered in 3D. Now I know how foolish I was to fear the future. A wave of nostalgia combined with a wave of adrenaline made this a game I couldn't stop playing. The blue blur is definitely back.

Dino Crisis
Capcom's survival horror genre needed a shot in the arm. Leave it to the originator of survival horror to bring it to 3D and take the genre to new levels of suspense and action. The game leaves you breathless.

Soul Calibur
Simply beautiful with tons of fighters and tight game play. All the extra's make for a complete package and a goal that all other fighters should aim for.

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
While certainly dated visually, the anime cut scenes and emotional story more than make up for it. The icing on this nostalgic cake is the incredible packaging put forth by Working Designs.

EsquE's Honorable Mentions
Silent Hill, Sega Rally 2, RE3, Grandia, Final Fantasy Anthology.
Kei Sagami's Top Picks
The King of Fighters 99' Millennium Battle
Once again SNK proves that it can still make an impressive fighter on the ancient Neo Geo hardware. I have to hand it to them for having the guts to alter the fighting engine and try something new with their flagship series. Despite the character lineup having been reduced ridiculously since KOF98, KOF99 offers so much more individual character diversity, that you are bound to find a team you can work with eventually. Lastly it must be said that Kyo Kusanagi's new design kicks major ass. Street Fighter III W Impact
Now here is a game that came entirely out of left field. Normally I shy away from Capcom fighters, especially the Street Fighter series, which in my opinion has grown increasingly more focused on flash than gameplay. However this compilation of the first two arcade versions of SFIII bring the series back down to earth with solid gameplay and combos. You won't find any of that hyper, crazy, exaggerated 56 hit crap here. Capcom has redeemed itself with me solely because of this port.

Maken X
Another pleasant surprise. Leave it to Atlus to either weird me out completely or give me a fun gaming experience. In the case of Maken X it was both. Maken X is one of the few first person shooters I like because it really isn't a shooter at all. All the combat here is in your face and frantic. The game offers a diverse multi character system via the brain jacking feature, and the art is excellent(Persona fans will feel at home with it right away). Not too mention the inclusion of an actual storyline and the absolutely weird design of some of the enemies I hacked away. It's no wonder that I changed my nick to match this game's main character.

Space Channel 5
I was waiting for this one ever since I first heard of it. Once I got my hands to stop fumbling from excitement long enough to place the disc in the Dreamcast, I was quickly amazed at the music and overall personality of the game. Ulala and Co's dancing still wander into my gaming rotation even weeks after I bought this game. An amazing feat considering the whole thing takes only an hour or so to finish. Besides, where else can you play as a woman who dances and shoots aliens while simultaneously reporting the news?

Silent Hill
This game has to be mentioned as it is one of the only titles last year that I dusted off my Playstation for. It was simply the scariest gaming experience since the original Resident Evil. Kind of like Jacob's Ladder meets Hellraiser with a dash of blasting and bludgeoning for good measure. Konami did a wonderful job with Silent Hill's sound as well. It enhanced the game's ambiance greatly, something that the dated graphics could never possibly accomplish on their own.
StahnMahn's Top Picks
Beautiful polygonal backgrounds make an excellent stage for this epic RPG full of adventure and a nicely done love story. The music is excellent too!

Lunar:Silver Star Story Complete
With classic 2D graphics, deep character development, humor, and lovely anime sequences, it leaves me yearning for an English version of Lunar: EB on my Playstation!

Thousand Arms
There's always something to be said about innovation and TA did it for me. The creativity used in making the story, some of the odd towns, combined with excellent voice acting made a fun RPG! Besides, you're looking at the first dating sim/RPG ported to the U.S. on Playstation!

Tales of Phantasia
My first import EVER and boy am I glad I bought it. I'm a sucker for crisp 2D graphics AND they even threw in a beautiful 3D overworld! Plus, a new anime intro, more voice acting, and improved music made this game even greater than the SFC version. The first part of the story is good, but I can't report more than that until RPGFan's own WooJin Lee finishes his text translation :P

Final Fantasy VIII
At the BOTTOM of the list?! Yes, FF8 slides into my top 5 list simply because I haven't played a number of excellent RPGs that have come out recently (namely Suikoden 2). FF8 isn't quite my 'cup of tea' but the vastness of exploration and just how much time you can spend messing around and not get bored impressed me. Bravo Square! Now that you've gotten pre-rendered backdrops out of your system, PLEASE switch forever to polygons!
Tortolia's Top Picks
Planescape: Torment
Perhaps the last RPG released of the year was by far one of the best. Featuring a terrific world, great plot, entertaining gameplay, and a memorable hero, Torment was a terrific way to finish the year off.

System Shock 2
I love first person shooters. I love RPGs. What, then, would I like more than a terrific combination of the two? A followup to one of my favorite games of all time. What's even more incredible is that this was the first game developed by the fledgling Irrational Games group. Future efforts should be equally noteworthy.

Final Fantasy VIII
While I'm not even halfway through at this point, I've already been hooked. A great combination of everything that makes an RPG fun, Square has outdone themselves with this effort.

Star Ocean 2
Yes, it has its flaws. It's still a very fun action RPG. It's also the only RPG in recent memory that I can recall replaying immediately after the first play-through. No game is perfect, but they can be fun nontheless. Wonderful soundtrack, too.

Soul Calibur
I loved Soul Blade, and Soul Calibur takes everything up a notch. Almost enough of a reason by itself to buy a Dreamcast.

Tortolia's Honorable Mentions
Unreal Tournament, Freespace 2, Descent 3.
Sensei Phoenix's Top Picks
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
Graphically, it was dated. Musically it was done in a less than flattering format with some of my favorite tracks missing. However, WD delivered a solid translation with lots of extra goodies such as cloth map, making of CD, and soundtrack CD, and combined it with that je ne se quois that the Lunar series has had since TSS. It was also the only game I anticipated and enjoyed like I did when I was younger, making it my #1 choice.

Might and Magic VII
John Canneghem and the team at New World Computing took everything right about Might and Magic VI and left all the wrong behind. A grand world, interesting new features and characters, and a continuation of one of the most interesting plots in the PC game world made M&M VII a very close contender for number one position.

Civilization II: Test of Time
Test of Time- Though no longer a Sid Meier property, Civilization still holds that magic that captured gamers way back in the days of floppy disks. And unlike Activision's Call to Power, Microprose kept the balanced gameplay of the original Civ II while adding new worlds, graphics, technologies, and scenarios. A great game tweaked close to it's ultimate state.

Septerra Core
It's nice to see PC RPGs shifting, albeit slowly, towards a more console RPG feel. Valkyrie Studios and Top Ware Interactive's Septerra Core is an indication of that shift. It combines the now standard Active Time Battle system with decent (and, may I add TOTAL) voice acting for the dialogue and a surprising non-linearity (for a PC RPG) to create a fun and easily accessible RPG. If the music had been better, this game would have been higher on the list.

Suikoden 2
Originally I was going to have Final Fantasy Anthology as my number 5 choice, but I had to take the Anthology on it's merits, not the merits of the individual games. Konami, though they delivered a game with a painful translation, also delivered a game that retained the essence of what made the first Suikoden fun: old school gameplay and plenty of characters. Toss in an interesting plot (though almost a carbon copy of the first game), a very decent soundtrack (also almost a carbon copy of the first game's) and the ability to use your Suikoden saved data to influence events, and you wind up with a very solid game.

Sensei Phoenix's Honorable Mentions
House of the Dead 2, Marvel vs. Capcom, and Grandia.
Chronologist's Top Picks
Final Fantasy VIII
...Of course, by the time I completed FFVIII, even with all of Lunar's glory, FFVIII was the winner in my opinion. It has it's flaws, most notably the lack of character development in the supporting characters, which is very unfortunate, and at times the graphics left something to be desired. But I'm a sap for the love stuff, so that aspect of the story kept me going all the way to the end. And if you ask me, Final Fantasy VIII has the best ending of any game I've ever played. Possibly any game period. I've never been so satisfied with an ending. (Yes, it even made up for FF7's 'ending'. It's that good.) So my thanks to Square for not leaving me disappointed. Clichéd or not, Game of the Year. But not by far, as Lunar is very close.

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
This was a tough call, putting Lunar at #2. Playing through this game, I experienced the full range of emotions... Which I can't go into details without spoiling anything, but anyone who played should know how it feels. Granted, the dub isn't flawless (what dub is?), but it's still far far better than anyone else could do. I distinctly remember, upon finishing this game, and even before actually, saying to myself, "There's no way Final Fantasy VIII could beat this." Coming from a die-hard Square fan, that means a lot...

Super Smash Bros.
Okay, so it's mocked by fighter fans as a 'bad fighter'. Well, I don't think it IS a fighter. Smash Bros., whatever you want to call it, is the most fun I've ever had with a multiplayer game this year, or any year, even surpassing the king, Bomberman. As a one player game, it's fun, but when you get 3 friends together with you for a 4-player match, nothing beats the intensity. Nothing.

R4: Ridge Racer Type 4
Along with 1998's F-Zero X, R4 is one of my absolute favorite racers. Maybe I'm crazy, but I like this game more than both Gran Turismo games. I just prefer the arcade style play that R4 offers, over the realism of GT. Not to mention visually, R4 at least equals both GTs. I also like the concept-like cars over the real ones. And I'd be lying if R4's opening FMV didn't influence me a lot on this. :P

Chrono Cross
Only listed as #5 since I don't understand Japanese at all. Even so, the game has me totally engrossed, with it's beautiful graphics, excellent battle system, and good character design. Granted, I like the artwork in Chrono Trigger more, but I still like the designs in this quasi-sequel. I can't wait to play it in English. :)
Jaime's Top Picks
Langrisser Tribute
Was there any doubt? All five Langrisser games in one package, thats number one without even thinking about it!

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
Well, Working Designs was going through a small drought, well that is until the release of Lunar:SSSC. One of the most beautiful 2D RPG's to date and a storyline deeper than a South Dakota well. Simply Breathtaking!

Finally the cult Saturn import hit came to the US via Sony of America. Grandia has the graphics that only Final Fantasy Tatics could beat, along with bright colors and a very cute cast of characters. A charming edition to the RPG world indeed.

Star Ocean 2
Sure at first you wouldn't think much of it, but after playing it awhile you start to fall in love with this sleeper hit RPG. Star Ocean's unique action battle engine and it's hyper cute sprite characters helped me to look over a few of its flaws.

Final Fantasy VIII
Trying to live up to the highly disappointing FF7 was just too easy to do and FF8 did a good job. Gone are the ugly chunky characters and in are tall sleeker characters, good move. Also added is a darling little cardgame and some of the best CG around. Not a great game, but not too bad either.

Jaime's Honorable Mentions
Final Fantasy Anthology and Thousand Arms
Commodore Wheeler's Top Picks
Langrisser Tribute
Arguably the greatest strategy RPG series of all time, presented in its entirety in one beautiful package. If you've got this one, consider yourself one of the lucky few. If not, at least all of the games in the series should be available separately.

Chrono Cross
With a brilliant new battle system, the sterling sequel to Chrono Trigger presents perhaps the best gameplay of any traditional RPG to date.

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
Although its biggest strength is a brilliant classic storyline, Lunar: SSSC is one of the most well-rounded traditional RPGs ever released.

Sterling execution, a strong soundtrack, and some truly memorable poignant moments help Grandia overcome slow pacing and terrible voice acting to emerge as one of the RPG elite.

Final Fantasy VIII
The latest installment in Square's flagship series is one of its best, impressing all around.

Commodore Wheeler's Honorable Mentions
Valkyrie Profile and Growlanser - These two games both hold overwhelming elite potential, but I've played neither of them enough as of yet to rate them.
Sumire Kanzaki's Top Picks
Persona 2: Innocent Sin
Innocent Sin takes the basic formula of the first Persona, fixes all the kinks, reworks an already fun battle system, and presents it all with such a cool story. Not to mention one of the better soundtracks of the year. Definitely one of the most over-looked games to come out in '99.

Silent Hill
The equivalent of a great date movie, Silent Hill featured horrifying visuals paired with an engrossing story. Wandering around in fog, with nothing more than a flashlight and a radio emitting nothing much except static is enough to make anyone jumpy.

Final Fantasy VIII
If ever there was a reason to get more girls interested in video games, this would be it. Squall's got pin-up potential written all over him. It's about time a character was created to have massive female appeal. Oh right...about the game. Final Fantasy 8 beats out Final Fantasy 7 by a mile. The characters are a lot cooler and the story isn't quite so convoluted. Still not as great a game as the grand master of the series, Final Fantasy 6, but not half bad.

Sonic Adventure
Not really being a Sonic fan before and being stuck with a domestic Dreamcast, Sonic impressed me and effectively showed off the prowess of the DC. One of the better and more enjoyable DC games to come out in the states.

Grandia & Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
Just because they finally came out!
There you have it. Our favorite games of 1999. What does the new century hold for gamers? The possibilities are endless. With the Playstation 2 well on its way, we can expect some graphically impressing games. Also, with Sega's Dreamcast already here, what awaits the first super system on the market? We don't know. There is so much to look forward to in the coming years. I hope you'll be watching. We are.


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Kingdom Come: Deliverance Review

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