(Some of you may remember that I wrote this blog last year, but I decided to revise and update it this year, so enjoy.)
Good morning everyone, TheDustinThomas here. A very Merry Christmas to you all, I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays as much as I am. As I'm writing this, Christmas is 3 days away, and I'm so excited I can almost taste it. What exactly I'm tasting, I'm not sure, I may need to get that checked out because it's kind of weird.
Anywho, I just wanted to do a top 5 this week where I recount some of my favorite Christmas presents from the past. These days, I'm much more into the giving aspect than the getting, but I've still received some pretty sweet gifts in my days, so let's check some of them out, shall we?
Every year, my wife and I get together with friends and family and do the whole Secret Santa thing. My brother-in-law has been one of my best friends from the moment we met, and he knows my tastes pretty well. Last year, he got me a NECA two-pack of Rocky and Apollo, which is proudly displayed in my game room.
By happenstance (or maybe not at all), he wound up drawing my name again this year. If you've read some of my recent blogs, then you already know that I lost my best bud, my boxer Muldoon, back in October. This year, rather than spending money, my brother-in-law went with the sentimental approach and painted me an awesome portrait of my late, great pup:
It's pretty dead on, and I'd be lying if said I didn't thank him with a tear in my eye.
Before I say anything, just watch this commercial:
How could a child of 7 possibly resist this thing? There's seven different weapons in one! Don't you understand what kind of value that is? In one box you get: a knife, a bigger knife, a...round knife?, a machine gun, a machine gun with a knife, a machine gun with a bigger knife, and a machine gun with a...round knife? AWESOME!
Not only was there 7 weapons, but they all had super rad sound effects. The knife had two buttons on it, one button made a "slice" sound, and the other (I believe) made a "thrust" sound. But, when you plug that bad boy into the machine gun attachment, you feel like you're back in Vietnam!
I think Resident Evil 3 is the most underrated in the series. Nemesis is such an awesome villain, and the feeling of having an enemy that was pursuing you instead of the other way around was something new and different. Even though Resident Evil games never used to make you feel empowered by any means, whenever you found yourself staring a boss enemy in the face, you felt like you had the firepower necessary to take it down. But with Nemesis, my first thought was "How do I get as much space as possible between Jill and this guy?" Plus, he carries around a rocket launcher, how was I supposed to defeat an enemy who's carrying the very weapon that I probably needed to defeat it?
My love for the Resident Evil series is well documented. At the time of this game's release, it was probably my favorite series. I remember seeing the commercial for it leading up to Christmas and waiting with frothing anticipation for Christmas day to finally arrive.
Alongside RE3, I also received NCAA March Madness 2000 and Driver: You Are the Wheelman, but I spent far more time with Resident Evil 3 than any of them. In fact, I probably wound up playing more Resident Evil 3 than I did the previous two in the series. It had branching paths, and I loved going through and making new decisions and seeing where it would lead. I never got tired of delivering those final bullets into the body of Nemesis before escaping Raccoon City in a helicopter piloted by Barry Burton, which is sadly Barry's last appearance in the story of a Resident Evil game. Perhaps that will change with Resident Evil Revelations 2.
When I was a child, the two cartoon series that I absolutely loved were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (duh), and The Real Ghostbusters. Don't be fooled, as there were actually two Ghostbsters cartoons back then. There was one just called Ghostbusters, which, inexplicably, had a gorilla as part of the crew. But then there was The Real Ghostbusters, which was the true cartoon based on the films. Naturally, there were tons of action figures based on the show, and I specifically remember Christmas 1991 where I received all kinds of them. I missed out on the original run of figures, but I got in the game with the "Super Fright Features" line of toys.
In addition to the Ghostbusters themselves, I also received a lot of the ghost characters, my favorite one being this guy:
Then there was a bunch of the appropriately titled "Monsters" line.
Of course, no Ghostbusters fan can get by with just the Ghostbusters and a few ghosts. How were they supposed to get to the scene of the incident without their trusty Ecto-1?
And lastly, the grand finale of the whole show was the Ghostbusters Firehouse HQ playset. I was never the kind of kid to get huge playsets, I was always satisfied with just the figures, but imagine how wide my eyes got and how far my jaw dropped when I opened up my largest present under the tree and saw this thing:
Out of all of the presents that I've received in my life, this is the one that I wish I still had, because it would be prominently displayed in my game room right now if I did. December 25th, 1991 was a really good day for a six year old Dustin Thomas.
The Nintendo 64 isn't the best videogame console ever. As a matter of fact, I consider it a letdown. I wasn't very savvy with the gaming industry back then, so I didn't know what games were good and which ones weren't. But I played an N64 for the first time at a friend's house on his birthday the previous month, and we spent the entire evening playing one game: WCW/nWo Revenge. That was enough for me to ask for an N64 and a copy of my own for Christmas. It's still, in my opinion, the best wrestling game ever made. I was always more of a WWE/WWF fan than WCW, but I had actually already gotten rid of the console by the time the allegedly superior WrestleMania 2000 and WWF No Mercy were released.
I was coming off of the PSone wrestling games, which were a mixed bag. There was WCW Nitro (awful), WWF War Zone (the most average wrestling game ever), and WWF Attitude (pretty alright). So when I went from those three to Revenge, it was like I was playing a wrestling game for the first time again. It felt like what a wrestling game was supposed to be. I spent hours upon days upon weeks upon months playing Revenge. It was one of those games that I would start playing when I got home from school on Friday and continue to play until I passed out. So many times I woke up with an N64 controller in my hands and my television screen informing me that I had lost the match.
The highlight of the game was the 40-man battle royals, and it was always a great way to earn bragging rights among my group of friends when you won a few of them, especially if you were able to run the table and win with the wrestler you originally started with. I was such a beast with Kevin Nash, you simply don't get up from a Jacknife Powerbomb.
I still think that Revenge is the be-all and end-all of professional wrestling videogames. There wasn't a better one before it and there hasn't been a better one since. If the WWE2K series would go back to controlling like these THQ classics, I would buy them on day one.