This is dedicated to my biggest fan.
This may be titled my favorite platformers, but the truth is I’m just going to discuss a few platformers I’ve enjoyed over the years, even if they don’t end up being the greatest ones ever made.
That said, let’s start with my favorite platformer of all time, Super Mario World. What can I say about this game that hasn’t been said twelve million times already. Well for starters, why is it my top platformer? Shouldn’t Super Mario Bros. 3 be my favorite platformer ever created? I suppose that’s the ultimate question, now isn’t it. Both are exceptional games, and both are in my top three platformers ever created.
Super Mario World transcends time, and remains the best of the best though. It expanded on everything SMB3 did and then went crazy. Not only did you have the same variety in level design seen in SMB3, but you had Yoshi, you had the power blocks to unlock, you had secrets galore, ghost houses, and you had the incredibly challenging star worlds. The list just goes on and on. To this very day there isn’t a single thing I would change about that SNES launch title. I’ve dreamed of returning to Dinosaur Land for a direct sequel to SMW, but alas that doesn’t seem like it will ever happen. I don’t consider Yoshi’s Island a direct sequel either, because good old Mario wasn’t the central character, even though that game does indeed rule!
Instead of discussing SMB3, let’s switch gears to DKC, or Donkey Kong Country for those of you under the age of six. DKC remains my favorite DK game ever created. Sure the second and third parts evolved what the original started, but nothing compares to the original DKC. I had always loved the original DK in the arcades as a young child, and to see him return with such fervor, such finesse, such badassness, it was a dream come true. The graphics, the incredible music and the intense gameplay remain just as fun today as the day the game shipped way back on November 21st, 1994.
I suppose I should also mention that DKC Return is a superb platformer and one of the very best released on the Wii. If you’re reading this article there’s a fairly good chance you enjoy platformers so I highly recommend you check it out. It’s tough as nails and has a style all of its own.
I can’t have a discussion about platformers without mentioning Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sure 3 is also excellent, but it was 2 that changed the game. By allowing players to take on the role of Tails, have multiplayer, etc. it was leagues beyond anything I had played before on my Sega Genesis. It was during this time period when the platformers were king, and on the Genesis, Sonic remained so until long after the platform fizzed into nothing more than a memory. The classic boss battles, the awesome “3D” chaos emerald chases, all of it was incredible.
I don’t want to list off too many more, but I do want to mention two others. First is Klonoa for the original PlayStation. While this may not be on my top five favorite platformers ever, it’s one that deserves mentioning because it came out right when everyone said the 2D platformers were a thing of the past. This game was not only challenging, but also extremely fun, featuring lovable characters and excellent gameplay that hold up perfectly today. If anyone is interested, don’t bother going after the PlayStation original, as it is quite expensive. Hit up eBay and you can buy the remastered version for the Wii, still with 2D gameplay, for only $20 or so.
The last game I’d like to mention is Christmas NiGHTS because it’s another excellent platformer. 3D platformers have never been as enjoyable to me as 2D platformers, but this one is extremely special. If you play it during the holidays the game actually features snow, Christmas trees and holiday music. All around it took what made the original NiGHTS so unique and made it that much more special. You can find an import of this game on eBay for just a few bucks. Now before I get comments from people telling me about the true sequel made for the Wii, I’ve never had the opportunity to play it. I’m looking to change that though as I just placed an order for it for $12 for a brand new sealed copy from eBay. Sometimes waiting is a good thing.
I think that gives everyone enough meat to start a solid conversation on their favorite platformers or at least platformers they’d like to discuss. So don’t leave me hanging here. I expect to get some comments!