1998 is one of the most groundbreaking years for gaming. The year saw many phenomenal sequels and prequels to video game franchises that are still relevant today. PlayStation was at the top of its game, the “best game ever” was released, triple-A giant, Rockstar Games was formed and the fourth-ever E3 was held. With all of the greatness that was released in 1998, many of those games are still enjoyable today. Here are the games from 1998 that every gamer should still be playing.
Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes
The third entry of the very popular Marvel vs Capcom series, Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, was released on January 23, 1998.
Players select a team of characters from the Marvel and Capcom universes to engage in combat. This title features characters from multiple Capcom IPs instead of pulling from just Street Fighter. The Dreamcast version of the game was praised for its visuals, gameplay, and translation of the original arcade experience. For the PlayStation version, Capcom removed tag team battles. This was due to the console’s limited RAM capacity. These changes were made in an attempt to preserve the main game’s speed and graphical integrity. This title is one of the prettiest games of all time even when compared to games coming out today.
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 could be debated as the peak of classic survival horror. It’s a title that is still praised today for its atmosphere, setting, graphics, audio, scenarios, and overall gameplay.
A third-person survival horror game that perfectly iterated on its predecessor, Resident Evil 2 follows Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse. The game’s tank controls might filter out some modern gamers but its pros vastly outweigh its cons. The game is one of the best-selling Resident Evil titles for a reason. Survival horror would not be the same without Resident Evil 2.
There would be no Xenoblade Chronicles without Xenogears first.
Xenogears is often compared to 1997’s Final Fantasy VII for the title of best PS1 JRPG and it is regarded as one of the best games of all time. Xenogears combines traditional role-playing video game structures such as Square’s signature Active Time Battle system with new features particular to the game’s martial arts combat style. The game has an interesting take on the turn-based RPG formula and it hasn’t been replicated anywhere else.
Readers might be wondering with the release of Tekken 8 why they should still be playing Tekken 3 and it’s because the game is just as good.
Tekken 3 IS modern Tekken. The things that fans praise the series for today originated in Tekken 3. The game introduced several staple characters such as Jin Kazama, Ling Xiaoyu, Bryan Fury, Hwoarang, and even the bonus Tekken Ball mode. This title was a massive hit on consoles and in the arcades causing critics and fans to agree that Tekken 3 is easily in the top 20 games of all time.
One of the most interesting genre mashups ever, the survival horror RPG, Parasite Eve is one of Square Enix’s more unique releases.
This title is a sequel to a novel by the same name written by Hideaki Sena. The story follows New York City police officer Aya Brea over six days in 1997 as she attempts to stop the Eve, a woman who plans to destroy the human race through spontaneous human combustion. The game deserves to be on the list because it tried to do so much to stand out from its contemporaries and succeeded. There hasn’t been a game like Parasite Eve since and the title is in dire need of a remake. Fortunately, the 1998 release is still phenomenal today.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Known as the critically acclaimed sequel to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Symphony of the Night is often praised for pioneering the Metroidvania genre alongside Super Metroid.
Initially, this game sold poorly but it gradually gained sales through word-of-mouth and today the game is heavily respected in most gaming circles. The objective is to explore Dracula’s castle to defeat an entity named Shaft who is controlling Richter Belmont, the self-proclaimed lord of the castle and hero of the events that took place in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. The game is non-linear, requiring certain items and abilities to be found before you’re able to progress. Despite the poor initial sales the game ended up on multiple “Best Games Ever” lists and is worth your time today.
One of the many Rare classics, Banjo-Kazooie is the perfect counterpart to Nintendo’s Super Mario 64.
While the game is criticized for being a little too similar to Super Mario 64, fans and critics alike praise the game for being able to expand on something that revolutionized 3D gaming. Controlling the player characters, the bear Banjo and the bird Kazooie, the player attempts to save Banjo’s kidnapped sister Tooty from the witch Gruntilda. The player explores nine nonlinear worlds to gather items and progress. With its great visuals, soundtrack, and writing Banjo-Kazooie is a must-play.
They just don’t make party games like this anymore. Pokemon Stadium and its sequel are one of the earliest departures from the Pokemon formula.
Pokémon Stadium became one of the best-selling Nintendo 64 titles, selling one million copies before the end of 2000. Today the game is praised for its nostalgic visuals. Unfortunately, the audio didn’t age as well. With its 3D turn-based battling and its mini-games, there’s a little something for everyone in Pokemon Stadium even today.
Metal Gear Solid
Easily the best on this list if you ask me. Metal Gear Solid is not only one of the best games of all time, it’s one of the most influential games of all time.
The title is an action-adventure stealth game directed, produced, and written by the ever-prolific Hideo Kojima. You play as the protagonist, Solid Snake, through a nuclear weapons facility with the goal of evading detection. The game is praised for its groundbreaking game design and novel boss fights. There hasn’t been a boss fight as interesting as Psychomantis since.
Spyro the Dragon
Before Insomniac Games were known as the Spiderman developers, they were the minds behind Spyro. Spyro the Dragon is one of the best 3D platformers on the Sony PlayStation.
This title is kind of like playing an animated film. Its graphics and music made it stand out among other games of the era. Even today the game is praised for its level design and tight controls. The player controls the titular character as he ventures across the realms of the Dragon World to defeat the antagonistic Gnasty Gnorc, as well as rescue his fellow dragons and recover all of their stolen treasure. All in all, Spyro is a fun time for players of all ages and still holds up well.
The 1990s was the era of the point-and-click adventure game and Grim Fandango is one of the most recognizable games from the time.
Grim Fandango is a game where you control Manuel “Manny” Calavera as he follows Mercedes “Meche” Colomar in the Underworld. It was the first adventure game by LucasArts to use 3D computer graphics and follows the design philosophy of most LucasArts adventure games. The player can never die or otherwise get into a no-win situation which is just one of the many ways this game and games like it stand out from its contemporaries. Its director, Tim Schafer, is one of the most praised game designers of modern times so that might be enough to get your eyes on this hidden gem. The game was a commercial failure but sales aren’t everything and there’s a reason we still talk about this game almost 3 decades later.
Before Valve was known for its monopoly on PC gaming, it was known for its unique games. Half-Life is a classic in every sense of the word with nearly perfect scores across the board.
Half-Life is a first-person shooter that requires the player to perform combat tasks and puzzle-solving to advance through the game. The game is a perfect balance between FPS gameplay and puzzling which contributes to the game’s great pacing. The game also has multiplayer with multiple deathmatch modes that are still active today. Like many others on this list, a lot of things we take for granted in modern gaming come from this game.
Sonic’s transition to 3D might not have been as graceful as Mario’s but this title set the bar for the future of 3D Sonic. Fans love this game to pieces.
If you’re a modern Sonic fan and you haven’t played the Adventure series, you are missing out on a major part of Sonic history. This title received critical acclaim on release and won many awards. Sonic Adventure is a 3D platform game with action and role-playing elements. Players control one of the six protagonists as they venture to defeat Doctor Robotnik and his robot army, who seek the seven magical Chaos Emeralds and the evil entity Chaos. If you’re interested in this era of Sonic, I’d recommend trying to play on official hardware or emulating the original.
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
A nearly unanimous greatest game of all time. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time should be and IS still being played and discussed today.
Almost everything we love about modern video games found its roots in this game. The more you look into it, the more you realize that most modern franchises just straight up would not exist without Nintendo’s 1998 magnum opus. There would be no Dark Souls, Okami, Genshin Impact, God of War, or Portal. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is not only the best game of all time, it’s the blueprint for most modern video games and deserves all the attention and praise it still gets today.
Before Baldur’s Gate 3 arrived and swept the game awards, it had humble beginnings with Baldur’s Gate.
Developed by Bioware and released at the end of 1998, Baldur’s Gate received critical acclaim and is credited for revitalizing CRPGs. For each new playthrough, the player can either create a new character or import one they exported from a previous playthrough. A new character requires the player to determine what their name, gender, race, class, and alignment are, and what ability scores and weapon proficiencies they have. The freedom found in the most recent game in the series is very present in the original title and some character storylines originate here. There’s no reason not to give the original a try if you’re a fan of Baldur’s Gate 3, as it provides missing context to uplift its sequels.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Collage of Parasite Eve, Ocarina of Time, and Sonic Adventure.