5. Gradius III
Konami’s influence on the arcade scene spans numerous genres and games, but the specific title to land the number five spot is none other than the side-scrolling, space shooter Gradius III. Gradius III is set over ten levels, each excellent and uniquely thematic in both visuals and sound. The bosses of the arcade space shooter also mirrored their respective level, such as the giant insectoid boss of the desert planet and the double-headed dragon of the fire world. Players were also able to customize their ship’s loadout and weapons, creating a greater personal experience. For a game released in1989, Konami’s Gradius III was a challenging and grand adventure packed tightly into an arcade cabinet.
4. Turtles in Time
Though ported to the Super Nintendo, Turtles in Time is one Konami all-star I had the pleasure of actually enjoying in an arcade. Not only did the original version of the side-scroller, beat-em-up allow up to four players at the same time to romp and stomp through different time periods, but all four of the Ninja Turtles were also playable characters. Yes, I always called dibs on Raphael. It’s easy to say Turtles in Time is simply just a fun experience. Fighting through waves of Shredder’s goons, throwing bad guys at the screen and watching ninjas ride by atop of velociraptors as you beat up their comrades is all some can ask for in a video game.
3. Silent Hill 2
Though the playable trailer on PlayStation 4 is the only remnant of the latest in the Silent Hill franchise, the series’ cult-horror phenomenon already has long been established. Every entry of Silent Hill, whether for good or bad, has made some mark in the horror genre. However, it’s Silent Hill 2 and its fog-dense town, killer mannequins and the absolutely terrifying Pyramid Head that graces Konami’s top games list. The game’s ambiance, monsters, twisted story and, some may even argue, the offbeat English voice acting all come together to forge an unforgettable, grotesque atmosphere. Going through the foggy, small city or its grimy apartment buildings and hospital was a chilling, cerebral experience few horror games can even attempt to mirror. Silent Hill 2 is definitely Konami’s psychological-horror masterpiece.
2. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Castlevania is a title that is usually accompanied by cynical murmurs and sighs these days, a series that has been dragged through the mud in recent years in order to create something contemporary. Despite all of the attempts to make the series what it was, none have managed to outshine Symphony of the Night. Unlike past games in the series, Symphony was a breath of fresh air that didn’t just manage to completely reboot the franchise, but also saw the Metroidvania genre becoming a mainstay in gaming as we know it. Taking everything we knew about whips and vampires, instead twisting everything around (at one point, this is quite literal), seeing players take the role of Alucard, using swords and powers to finish his quest. Even now the game still managed to hold up, even when compared to more technical games from the era, everything from the morbid – yet beautiful – sprite art, to the haunting synth soundtrack. Despite Konami’s brutalizing of the franchise over recent years, the original creator, Koji Igarashi, is trying to see lightning strike twice with a spiritual successor, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which has been funded tenfold thanks to kickstarter.