2 – Batman: Arkham Asylum
When Batman: Arkham Asylum was announced back in 2008, under the stewardship of little-known developer Rocksteady, it’s safe to say that hopes were high but expectations were low.
However, with an original story from Batman: The Animated Series’ Paul Dini and astounding voice acting from Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, Arkham Asylum was a rousing success and welcome surprise. It told a story that rivalled Nolan’s big screen ventures and presented Batman’s unparalleled catalogue of villains in brand new, gritty guises. It was awesome.
Most importantly, though, the gameplay was on point; in fact, Arkham Asylum’s combat system was so good that it’s still being imitated to this day, almost 7 years on. Throw in a great art style, some metroidvania-esque exploration and stealth mechanics that left you feeling like a badass, Batman: Arkham Asylum was a winner on all fronts.
1 – Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Well, well, well, what do we have here? Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse needs no introduction… but I’ll try to introduce it anyway. Castle of Illusion is not only one of best licensed video games of all time, but it’s arguably one of the best games to ever grace the Sega Mega Drive.
Castle of Illusion was released almost a quarter of a century ago, developed by Sega for Sega. The game follows Mickey Mouse on a quest to save Minnie from the evil and dastardly witch Mizrabel (a bit Mario in premise but I’ll allow it) and, alongside Sonic the Hedgehog (which came later), helped legitimise the Mega Drive as a contender to Nintendo’s NES.
Not only was Castle of Illusion an excellent platformer in the age of the platformer but it was bloody difficult, too. It may have starred the child-friendly Mickey Mouse but Castle of Illusion was a hardcore, challenging and utterly brilliant game.