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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 02/14/07 ] = 2006 Top Ten

I'm a little late this time with the top ten, but it was because 2006 was one hell of a year. I don't know about anyone else, but for me quality releases just kept coming and coming; so quick that I couldn't even keep up. I don't even think a top twenty list would have been enough for all the games I wanted to include. Deciding which games best defined the year took hours, days, and weeks of contemplation. This is the product of my agony...

[ 10 ] = Gears Of War
[ Maker ] = Epic Games | Microsoft
Microsoft said they would deliver a "killer app," and they pretty much did. Even with its flaws, I'd go so far as to say that GOW is one of the best American games of all-time; it slams shit like World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto into the ground. With its unique design, polished visuals, innovative gameplay, and well-crafted dialogue, Gears Of War set a standard for American developers to follow. Lost Planet suits me more, but Gears Of War impressed me in more ways than one. As if there weren't already enough reasons to get an XBox 360...

[ 9 ] = Tekken 5 - Dark Resurrection
[ Maker ] = Namco
A consumer release of Tekken 5 - Dark Resurrection was expected because it was a big hit in arcades, but Namco's decision to bring it home via PSP hardware was a surprise. Even more surprising was how they got everything from the arcade cabinet to work on the PSP flawlessly. T5DR didn't just prove what their programmers could do; it proved that Sony wasn't playing when they said that the PSP could run PS2 games. T5DR is the best in the series since T3, and undoubtedley leaps and bounds better than T4. Though customization could have been meatier (like in Namco's own SCIII), it still compliments the stat-keeping system well, and it's cool to see other people's creations. The characters aren't bad, either; Devil Jin and Raven are some of Namco's coolest characters ever. It's not as fast and brutal as Mortal Kombat - Armageddon, but a solid recommendation nonetheless. Get it.

[ 8 ] = Pink Sweets
[ Maker ] = Cave
The sequel to Cave's best-dressed shooter Ibara, this game is sweet. If you love women, fashion, and shooting games, then Pink Sweets is your game. Inspired by older Eighting/Raizing shooters like Battle Garegga, Pink Sweets is what I like to call a "shrapnel shooter," and a damn good one, at that! Developed on Cave's ever-changing, unnamed custom shooter hardware, the game sports brilliant, colorful characters, bullets, and explosions. The various new effects look nice, and the backgrounds are more inspired this time around. Though different from some of their other, more popular titles, the quality shooting action in PS is what we have come to expect from Cave. Despite its vocal critics, I really liked the first game and I like its sequel just as much (if not more). Shikigami No Shiro III was about to take this spot, but I just had to give it to Pink Sweets because I'm thankful Ibara was lucky enough to get a sequel.

[ 7 ] = Mortal Kombat - Armageddon
[ Maker ] = Midway
There's a stigma that has been attached to the MK series for a long time, but go out and try this game. After being out of the MK loop for a while, a friend introduced it to me and I was immediately impressed. MK is back, and it's more brutal than ever. The series has truly hit its stride with MKA; great graphics, a ton of cool characters, various fighting styles, brutal special moves, visceral finishing moves, smooth control, and a deeper fighting engine make it one of Midway's most polished fighters ever. A ton of great fighters have found their home on the PS2 hardware and MKA is no exception; its creators have went through great pains in pushing the hardware to its absolute limits to make the game shine. Midway took obvious inspitation from other fighters like SFA3 and DOA3 and mixed it with signature attributes of their own long-running series to make MKA enjoyable. From fatalities to characters, there's a ton of customization, too. The feeling of mysticism some say has been absent since MKII is also back in MKA.

[ 6 ] = Dead Rising
[ Maker ] = Capcom
Like the 2-D side-scrolling fighting masterpiece Alien VS Predator re-born, Dead Rising caught-on like wildfire. Demand was high in America, and Japanese retailers were even importing the American version (before the Japanese version was even released) to meet demand. The game is damn expensive, but it's well-worth it. Not only is it fun because the action of a side-scrolling fighter is never-ending, but also because it's packed to the brim with secrets. There are a ton of different weapons, charcaters, paths, and things to do in DR, and you can customize your charcater, too. As far as I know, DR is the most robust side-scrolling fighter ever made. Though multi-player co-op play would have made it a perfect game, I was still completely blown-away by DR and everything Capcom put in it. If you don't have this game yet, there's no time to waste. Go out and get it.

[ 5 ] = Gundam Seed Destiny II P.L.U.S.
[ Maker ] = Bandai | Capcom
While Bandai fucks around deciding on an American release for this awesome arena fighter, just go out and buy an import PS2. Yes, this game is so great that it's worth buying an import PS2 for. With over eighty different mechs from the Gundam Seed series, blazing co-op play, incredible visuals, polished control, and refined gameplay, Capcom and Bandai have hit their stride with Gundam Seed Destiny II P.L.U.S. It has all the best parts of previous entries, without any of the bad. There are even extra chaacrters and modes not found in the previous entry. It may not be number one on my list, but this is a perfect game.
Not to be left out, Zegapain was also a quality mech fighter, but it wasn't quite as polished as Gundam Seed Destiny II P.L.U.S. It's amazing that two Dandai-branded mech-fighters released in the same year can play (and look) so differently. Both games are great and worth owning, but if you can only choose one then GSDIIP is the one to get. Get this game at all costs. If you are a Gundam fan, or just an avid fighter fan, do what you need to do to get this game.

[ 4 ] = Metal Slug
[ Maker ] = SNK
I'm probably the only person on the planet who thought this was one of the best games of 2006, but I don't care. It's been slammed by critics and fans alike, but play the game for yourself. Yes, with the jump to 3-D came a few changes here and there, but for the most part the game stays true to its 2-D roots. The game plays a little differently than past entries, but it still handles the same, and even retains the unique visual style of the 2-D entries. All the classic enemies, friends, weapons, and vehicles from the 2-D MS games return in 3-D, and very little (if anything) was lost in the process. Anyone who has a brain and can make choices of their own should pick this one up.

[ 3 ] = Ninety-Nine Nights
[ Maker ] = BlueSide | Microsoft
This is another game that was really shit-on by critics abound. And for what reason? Because they never liked the genre in the first place? I still don't see what's so bad about this game. Devil Kings 2 is a better game (with more characters, weapons, items, and secrets) overall, but I give Microsoft a lot of credit for bringing this type of game not only to the next generation, but for backing their new hardware with it. Ninety-Nine Nights is a solid first effort. It did a lot for the genre in an age where it takes a lot to turn heads away from the allure of hollow sports and role-playing games. I wasn't caught up in the hype surrounding the game before it came out, so I hold it to unrealistic expectations when it did. I'm not saying it's a perfect game, but it deserves a lot more credit than it's been given, that's for sure.

[ 2 ] = Final Fight - Streetwise
[ Maker ] = Capcom
If Capcom hadn't released so much Street Fighter in 2006, this would have been at the top of the list. Hated by followers, and long-awaited by true fans, Final Fight - Streetwise was by far the most controversial game of 2006. This is not only one of my top games of 2006, it's also one of my favorite games on the PS2 hardware, and one of my all-time favorites. Read our coverage of the game to see what's so great about it. And to those who can only say, "I herd it sux!" Fuck what you've heard.

[ 1 ] = Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX
[ Maker ] = Capcom
The best game of 2006. Those who've read anything at all on this site before know that Street Fighter games often get my first place. What can I say? It's not without good reason; the Street Fighter series is the best fighting series on the planet. Street Fighter Alpha 3 became more and more polished with each subsequent upgrade, and the latest is no exception. Capcom finally added Eagle and Maki to the game (as they should have done from the very beginning), put Yun in for kicks, and even threw Ingrid into the mix. With the bigger roster comes more match-ups, more modes, and enhanced visuals. The lush graphics have never looked better. There is no online play like Street Fighter II' Turbo Live, but Capcom put so much into the game that it's impossible to overlook. If you play fighters and you don't have this game yet, do yourself a favor and take a highway jog into oncoming traffic.