One of the titans in the gaming industry has fallen. At least it feels like it. Since the very inception of the video game industry, Konami has been at the forefront as one of the most revered and loved video game developers. Bringing us everything from Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill and so much more. Konami may be out of the console and PC market from now on, but its legacy will never be forgotten. Let’s take a look back and remember them as we did growing up with their tites as we look back at the top 10 games ever made by Konami. Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start!
Contributions by Rafael and Jose.
When people think of Hideo Kojima they instantly think of giant cutscenes, carboard boxes and exclamation marks. Others may think of Snatcher, a little known, but beloved game that took cyberpunk fiction and melded it with a first person adventure game. Like many similar Sega CD games at the time, Snatcher used motion video to tell its immersive story, thankfully opting for an animated art style over the gaudy, real-life FMV that made the system infamous. As Gillian Seed, players are sent on an investigation to put a stop to Snatchers; androids that kill the living and take their place in society. Some surprisingly good voice acting and well-drawn scenes made the game feel like a more personal adventure. The 90s cyberpunk style, which borrows heavily from the likes of Blade Runner, managed to be a cornerstone for the ideas Kojima larger implemented to the Metal Gear Solid series. Sadly, Snatcher never fared well in sales, instead finding itself as a cult game that only those with deep wallets can afford.
9. Dance Dance Revolution
The bass-thumping, body moving Dance Dance Revolution first hit arcades in 1999. Dance Dance Revolution, or DDR, is a rhythm game first and foremost, but what separates it from other games is the intuitive peripheral controller, the dance pad. Using a floored dance pad, players tap the corresponding direction to the rhythm of upbeat, catchy tunes for points. It’s this unique controller which transforms a simple idea into a full body experience. Dance Dance Revolution asks its players to become active and Konami realized how powerful this interaction could be. Today, DDR tournaments are found throughout arcades, many home consoles have a few versions of the dancing game and the franchise is still going strong with its latest update not more than a year ago.
Considered to be a part of the golden age of arcade games along side others like Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga, it’s interesting to think that Konami’s Frogger and its arcade scene started in 1981. By the time I was old enough to coherently understand and play through games, Frogger was already considered a classic. Frogger had a simple premise, but it also was just simply fun and addicting. That was the magic behind Konami’s game. Today, the once 8-bit, green-pixeled frog that crossed dangerous highways and traversed over raging river logs now calls its home on all kinds of platforms, stretching from the 1997 release on the original PlayStation to even iOS and Android devices. Frogger first hit arcades over 30 years ago, but Konami’s amphibious hero remains as classic as ever.
7. Contra III: Alien Wars
Contra III: Alien Wars was the first of the series to be released on a home console instead of the arcade. The game, unlike its predecessors, takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where the aliens have returned in full force. Konami stuck to it’s Contra roots, yet also expanded it for the third game: the Alien Wars protagonists are more agile and are able to climb and maneuver with swift ease, while a vehicle segment where players ride on a hover-motorcyle and gun down alien baddies on a long highway was added. The premise and promise of Alien Wars sets up an epic adventure that can easily go wrong, however Konami took advantage of the Super Nintendo’s power and system and delivered a faster paced, better detailed run-and-gun adventure that the side-scroller franchise could call one of its greatest entries.
6. Suikoden II
Massive world building, a massive mix of plot and gameplay elements, 108 characters. Suikoden 2 was a different sort of beast when it debuted in 1998, a time when games of a similar ilk where pushing the tried and tested ‘chosen one vs all-encompassing evil’. Instead, Suikoden 2 made players feel small and the world around them vast, focusing on a large war that manages to take its toll on the entire cast of characters. In a time where JRPGs where moving towards polygons, Suikoden 2 was sprite based, making up for it with some clever use of subtle dynamic animations that made the world feel alive. Unlike many other games in the genre, Suikoden 2 mixed battles switching between the typical party based combat common to the genre with large scale battles more akin to the Fire Emblem series. It was an interesting decision at the time, but it paid off and as a result the world, along with its giant cast of character, allowed players to really feel like they were part of the conflict. Many JRPG gamers often put off playing the game, sadly due to its hefty price tag, but as the game is now available on PSN, it shouldn’t be overlooked.