Despite the demise of platform games in recent times, it is still a genre that many of us hold dear to heart. The majority of gamers would of started off as a child playing platform games and despite the decline in the genre there still remains a few gems released every now and then. Choosing five of the best from the huge selection was no easy task but they have been chosen based on innovation and ‘fun factor’.
1. NiGHTS into Dreams – SEGA Saturn
No-one really gave this title any time when it first came out, since then it has become a cult classic and much sought after. NiGHTS into Dreams bundled with the special analog control pad is a dream to play. It’s full of charm, it’s highly challenging and has infinite replayability, The arcade feel to the warm theme song both add to what is an experience that shouldn’t be missed by anyone, ever. I still go back to play NiGHTS every christmas, on that awesome bonus disc that was issued with SEGA Saturn magazine.
2. Kid Icarus – NES
In terms of sales, Mario was king of the NES. However, it was Kid Icarus which filled me with more joy and memories. These memories arealso ones of anguish and despair as this a tough cookie to crack. Despite its difficulty it remains a cult classic and is worthy of your pain and frustration. In fact, that’s what makes it so great, every level completed feels like you’ve achieved something. It was an interesting blend of being an action platformer and also added basic RPG elements to the gameplay, it did both beautifully.
3. Crash Bandicoot 2 – PS1
Crash Bandicoot may have gone AWOL in recent times but there was once a time where he was a system seller. The pick of the original Naughty Dog published trio has to be Cortez Strikes Back (for me anyway). Crash Bandicoot was a triumph not only for the platform genre but for 3D gaming as a whole. The original was good in its own right but this game took away a lot of the linearity. The mid to late 90s were an excellent time for platform gamers.
4. Super Mario 64 – N64
I decided to include just one Mario game and if I had to pick on then this would be it. It is one of the most creative, innovative and most importantly to Nintendo fans it wiped the floor with Sonics 3D outings. It had a such a huge scale in comparison to 2D Mario games, comprising of 15 huge levels and had replayability in abundance. It created a template that would be emulated but never beaten in future platform games. It was a tough choice between this and Super Mario Bros 3, both being two of the best games of all time.
5. Earthworm Jim – SEGA Genesis
It was probably the animation that made Earthworm Jim so great. It was one of the coolest games of its generation and was a must have when released. It was one of the rare occasions when a game had both style and substance and still plays great to this day. The sequel was also a winner but in terms of levels and overall design I’d personally put the original first. The Genesis version had one extra level, hence why this version is superior.