Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, PlayStation

One of the best Castlevania games, Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation is a brilliant mix of platforming and Level-Grinding Role-Playing, with some wonderful graphical moments and evil gameplay touches.

Initially, after the game’s first release in 1997, Symphony of the Night was not a hit, but word of mouth and good reviews turned it into a cult success, and now a retro-gaming classic. The soundtrack in particular is very highly regarded.

More: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on Wikipedia

Morrowind, XBox

In my opinion the Morrowind Game of the Year Edition on the XBox is even better than the much-loved PC original, because the controls are more intuitive.

You may scoff, but having played all the Elder Scrolls games to death over the past two decades, and having written about them a lot in many different magazines, I think that qualifies me to override the opinion of someone who hasn’t done any of those things! 😀

I was lucky enough to play this on an original XBox devkit, which allowed me to take uncompressed screenshots over a LAN. Thus: the unparalleled quality of my shots.

There is no doubting that Morrowind is one of the best RPGs ever made. Better than Oblivion; better than Skyrim. Why? Because it is much more open and detailed than either of those games, and because the magic system is so much more expansive and fun. Not to mention the brilliant volcanic setting and scary diseases that you can catch.

Sure: the graphics are a little basic, compared to most modern big team games, but the gameplay is second to none.

When I last played this game I think I spent close to six months milking it of everything it had to offer, and took around ten thousand screenshots. These are just a few of the best!

Click: The Elder Scrolls series on The King of Grabs


100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time
100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Sub-Terrania, Megadrive/Genesis

A shoot ’em up/gravity game on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis that is a massive amount of fun to play. It really is one of those obscure little titles that is a pleasant surprise to discover.

Released in 1993/1994 (depending on where you lived) and developed by Zyrinx and published by Scavenger. The smooth scrolling and fast-paced blasting action requires skill and dexterity to progress, and there is plenty of satisfying pixellated destruction along the way. A fantastic blast from the past. well worth tracking down if you haven’t played it before.


King of Demons, Super Nintendo

This 1995, Japan-only release is a game that begins fairly un-remarkably, but quickly opens up to become one of the most interesting and visually exciting action platform games on the SNES. The fantasy horror theme in King of Demons means plenty of gruesome set pieces, some of which could have surely fallen foul of the censorious Nintendo of America (and maybe Europe too).

There are fan-made English language versions around, should you decide to play it. It is definitely worth a look-see, even if it is a little on the tough side.

Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City, Nintendo DS

This third game in the Atlus Etrian Odyssey series is a serious contender for the best RPG of all time. It is just so beautiful and so detailed and so well constructed that I haven’t got anything negative to say about it. Other than it is rock hard!

That’s why it is best played in an emulator. With quick saves. And a lot of repetition. If you want to get The Deathly Stone, or beat the three magical dragons, you’re going to have to cheat. If anyone out there ever beat this game on an actual DS, without cheating, then I’m a lesser gamer than you. 🙂

Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City is a level-grinder’s wet dream. Pun intended.

There’s another set of Etrian Odyssey III grabs on The King of Grabs here.

Etrian Odyssey series on The King of Grabs:
Etrian Odyssey, Etrian Odyssey II, Etrian Odyssey III

More: Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City on Wikipedia

Typhoon Thompson, Amiga

Dan Gorlin‘s Typhoon Thompson in Search For the Sea Child is a smart little title to play in an emulator now, although you do have to get the controls right to enjoy it properly. It’s a mouse and keyboard game but can be gotten to work with a joypad, if you’re persistent.

The idea is to skim the ocean surface in a kind of skidoo, and to knock out enemies and pick up the magical fish they drop to open up access to a magical item (and therefore the next level).

This is a cute game with nicely animated graphics and a satisfying feel to the controls. Well worth a play now, if you can locate it.

More: Typhoon Thompson on Wikipedia

System Shock 2, PC

The above is a screenshot I took when I wrote the world first review for PC Zone magazine, way back in 1999. I like it because it’s simple, atmospheric, and quintessentially System Shock 2.

Actually, the above is a rare grab of me playing the game using a Psionic Amplifier (that spherical thing in the protagonist’s hand). I rarely ever played with it, preferring the shooting route whenever I played System Shock 2.

I think I’ve played through the entire game on four of five separate occasions. It’s always an enjoyable and tense blast.

More: System Shock 2 on Wikipedia
Steam: System Shock 2 on Steam System Shock 2 on

100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time on
100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Operation Wolf, PC Engine

This grab is as good as any to start off with. I love the colour and composition in this Operation Wolf PC Engine screenshot.

Taito’s classic machine gun cabinet shooter was given the five star treatment on the NEC PC Engine. The graphics in this version are close to the arcade original and move beautifully smoothly. Running in Magic Engine the game is a screenshot addict’s dream.


World Class Leaderboard, Commodore 64

World Class Leaderboard on the Commodore 64 is one of my favourite games of all time, but I’m not really much of a golf fan. This goes some way to demonstrating just how GOOD this game is.

Playing Leaderboard is so simple and subtle, and extremely entertaining and really quite addictive. Two-player, Leaderboard is an unbeatable sports simulation.

Even though it is old: Leaderboard remains an incredible game, even to this day.


Chase HQ, Arcade

Taito’s Chase H.Q. is an intense arcade driving game where you chase down criminals and have to bash them into submission with your vehicle. It first came out in arcades in 1988 and I remember playing it quite a bit at the time. The arcade cabinet had a steering wheel and a hi-low gear stick. Playing Chase H.Q. in an emulator now is just as much fun as playing the real thing back then, and it makes getting screen grabs so much easier.


Grabbing amazing video game screenshots one game at a time.