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This morning begins E3 2006 and the end of the lifespan of current generation video game systems.  That doesn't mean there isn't plenty to love about the Nintendo GameCube, Sony Playstation 2, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo DS, and Sega Dreamcast.  What it does mean is that you have less than a year to catch up with all the greatness that was "last-gen." 

While every other site is talking about typical mediocre overpriced great video games to come, this one's reminding you of some of the classics you may have missed.  Here -- gamers old and new -- are the 45 best games of the past 7 years!  At prices as low as $3.00 or $4.00 a title, these are 45 titles that you can't be without, and can finally afford to be with:

 

# 45 Shenmue (Sega Dreamcast)

  The most ambitious game ever made, the title cost at least $20,000,000 to produce -- in 1997 dollars.  Adjusted for inflation, that's like $350,000,000.  I remember 1997, when candy bars were only a penny and you could buy a flat-screen TV for under $50.00.  Them were the days.  Anyway, Shenmue is basically a puzzle-solving RPG/adventure/interactive movie with elements of Virtua Fighter thrown in, to keep Americans awake.  The story is what drives the game, and was popular enough to create a well-received Japanese film featuring a bunch of cut scenes.  Although slow-going at times, Shenmue showed that anything the PS2 could do, the Dreamcast could do better -- outside of maybe thinking of cool titles for games.  I mean, come on -- Shenmue?!?  It sounds like a cross between a killer whale at a theme-park and shampoo to remove stubborn dandruff flakes.  If you own a Dreamcast, you should own this game.  If you don't, you should own a Dreamcast.  

# 44 Kirby: Canvas Curse (Nintendo DS)

  The DS came into its own with Canvas Curse.  Remember when side-scrolling Sonic games were actually fun (and side-scrolling)?  Neither do I, but that's beside the point.  Wipe the obligatory cutesy graphics away and Kirby could easily pass for a Sonic game where you don't just control the coked up  Hedgehog, but where you also have to create the tracks he spins on, the platforms he jumps off of and the loops he flies through!  A stylus and a touch screen is all you need for pure gaming bliss, and that's all that's used in this game.  This is the first (and, at this point, the only) game to exclusively use Nintendo's stylus and touch-screen control setup.  Kinky as it sounded when they plastered it all over the airwaves, Nintendo was right when they claimed "Touching is good!" (wonder if they'll have the nerve to keep the slogan when advertising the Wii?).  Don't miss this game!  

Crazy Taxi Sega Dreamcast

# 43 Crazy Taxi (Sega Dreamcast)

  You're a crazy taxi driver and you need to get your customers to their next location in crazy times.  The crazier the time, the higher your pay.  It's that simple.  And it's addictive as crystal meth and as crazy as a farmboy and his charming meth-lab that smells vaguely of manure.  The magic never did strike twice for the title, and the sequel and the ports were lacking.  Still, if you haven't played it and you don't have a Dreamcast, buying the GameCube or PS2 version of the game is better than buying nothing and donating the money to people who actually need it.  I'd go all out and pick up the Dreamcast to play this title as it was meant to be played.  Let those homeless bastards fend for themselves.  

# 42 Soul Calibur (Sega Dreamcast)

  Many people consider this the best fighting game ever made.  I consider it the second best (you'll have to read ahead to find out my favorite).  I popped this into my Dreamcast minutes before writing this brief review and am astonished with how well the graphics have held up over the long 7 years since its release.  It looks better than half the games being released today!  At the time of its release, Game Revolution summed the looks of the game up best in their review:  "The high-res graphics are crisp, seamless, fast and positively stunning. In fact, they're far better on the Dreamcast than the arcade coin-op with the same name. The details and the flawless movement of the characters are brilliantly done. The framerate blazes past both Superman and his speeding bullet, making the game infinitely smoother than anything I've seen ..."  Yes, it really is that good.  And yes, I really did quote Game Revolution as a way of having to write less on my own.  I'm lazy that way.  

# 41 Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition (Sony Playstation 2)

  Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition is how a "Greatest Hits" game should be done.  The title features enough new content to make it worthy of a purchase, even if you own the original.  Devil May Cry 3's difficulty level is legendary with gaming geeks everywhere.  Many a gamer stopped playing before reaching the end, due to frustration and/or game-induced mental breakdowns.  Capcom is more forgiving in the SE (although you can still play the "Very Hard" mode, if you want to impress your wife girlfriend mom) and added features that should have been there in the first place.  Turbo mode boosts the game by 20%, making for some intense gameplay that you'll try once and give up on.  You can now play through the game as Vergil (who has some great new moves!).  There's a new boss battle with the Jester and my favorite feature -- a digest allowing you to watch each of the cutscenes like they're a full-length feature film.  A full-length feature film with really bad voice acting.  Then again, what would a Capcom game be without cheesy voiceovers?  Better?  Good answer.  

<<<Games 40 - 36

Your favorite game missing from the list?  Email to piss and moan!

2006 Alex Sandell/Cerebellum inc. [All Rights Reserved].  Copy this, without my permission, and the Devil May Cry over how many cheating bastards I send to Hell for him to deal with!

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