As we’ve mentioned in Part 1 of this series, 1996 was a truly landmark year for video games. The industry saw a huge number of classic entries – from violent first-person shooters, to fun platformers and grim strategy games. In this article, we will take a look at some more must-play games from 1996.Without further ado, here are some more of the best video games from 1996.
Quake is a franchise that needs no introduction. Developers ID Software literally created the first-person shooter franchise with Doom, and with Quake, they created another genre within it – the arena shooter. Quake was a glorious romp through spectacular levels, featuring many of the weapons that have become legendary in FPS circles – the rail gun, the plasma gun, the lightning gun and others. Success in Quake depended on player skill above all. Enemies were mobile, and you needed to have precise aiming to get through the hordes of enemies you’ll come up against. The animations and graphics are top-notch, and the balanced gameplay made sure that this was an absolute rage with the multiplayer community and with action gaming fans in general. The deathmatch maps were sheer chaos, and even to this day, more than two decades later, Quake is still as fun as it was when it came out. Do yourself a favor and play this game – it is a piece of history.
If Quake blasted the arena shooter into popular consciousness, Diablo did the same for the top-down, hack-and-slash RPG. Created by the brilliant minds at Blizzard, Diablo was a culmination of everything great about the action RPG. It had a brilliant story, steeped in lore, and led players through an epic journey through a fantastical land. Players could pick from several different classes of characters, each of which had a skill tree and certain unique abilities and weapons they could wield. The skill system was complex and the combat was truly exhilarating and balanced. Diablo took players through dungeon after dungeon of memorable enemies, lurking in unexpected locations. The boss fights in Diablo were spectacular and needed a thorough understanding of the abilities and limitations of your character class to overcome. While Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter nights have their own place in the RPG pantheon, Diablo is unquestionably the game that spearheaded the rise of the genre.
Tekken 2 is a marked improvement over the original, which was already a stellar fighting game on its own. This game features a pace of combat that is entirely its own, and is backed by a massive roster of 25 memorable characters you can play as. Tekken 2 nearly doubled the amount of moves that you can pull off and improved the graphics to a point that took the combat goodness to the next level. This is one of those games that’s easy to pick up and play (button mashing, anyone?) but is notoriously difficult to master. Unsurprisingly, Tekken 2 was a huge hit and to this day remains a solid fighting game that offers hours of entertainment to players who want to step into the fighting pits and test their mettle.
The Civilization series of games basically created the 4x strategy genre. Although sporadic elements of the concept might have been introduced in other games, Civilization was really the title that brought together a massive number of complex gameplay mechanics and put it into an engrossing, deeply satisfying strategy experience. Civilization II improved upon the promise of the original, letting players take control of a nascent civilization in the stone age and guiding it all the way through history into technological greatness. Along the way, you will have to make several strategic decisions vis-à-vis expansion, alliances, politics, economics and everything else. This is a truly monumental game, and one of the few gaming titles that consistently offers hundreds and even thousands of hours of entertainment to players who are looking for a deep strategy game.
Duke Nukem 3D
The Duke is one of the most legendary characters in all of video gaming, and for a good reason. He’s a one-liner spouting, gun-toting, muscular manly man who woos women and kicks ass with an unmatched panache. Duke Nukem 3D gave players a chance to blast away foes in a beautiful setting, and it was one of the pinnacles of graphical achievement when it first launched. The first-person perspective and the gleefully powerful and inventive range of guns like the Shrinker and the Ripper machine gun make this an absolute joy to play through. If you’re a fan of first-person shooters, do yourself a favor and experience the awesomeness that is Duke Nukem 3D. As The Duke would say “Do you wanna dance?”
That does it for our look back at 1996, one of the best years in video gaming. What did you think of our list? Did your favorites make it on here? Are there some gems from 1996 that we should probably be playing ourselves? Let us know in the comments…