25 Super Castlevania IV - To me, Super Castlevania IV perfectly encapsulates the 90's gaming mindset. It's a simple game that doesn't mess around, throwing you right into the action while perfecting what the series was known for. Gone are the stiff and clunky controls of the previous games, replaced with controllable jumps and multi-directional whipping. This expanded control of Simon Belmont really pulls me into the game and makes me feel like a vampire hunter myself. Top it all off with creative level design and a killer soundtrack and you get the best classic Castlevania there is.
24 Solatorobo: Red the Hunter - If anyone ever asks the definition of an overlooked gem, this game should be it. Once you're past the strange title, you'll find a game packed full of quirky characters, unique gameplay, an engrossing story, and a fabulous art design. The gameplay itself is rather straightforward, but it's complemented by the beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds that make up the world of the Shepherd Republic. The story is great as well, with some really well written and lovable characters that add personality to the game. I bought this game for a mere $20 and it came bundled with the soundtrack as well (which is also outstanding by the way). I can safely say that this game is worth triple that price; please check give it a chance and I promise you won't be disappointed.
23 Pinball FX2 / Zen Pinball 2 - This is an odd choice for me because I am not that big of a pinball fan. The only real experience I had with pinball before this game was Space Cadet on Windows XP; a game I'm sure many others remember as well. The point is, Zen Studios made me fall in love with pinball despite not being a fan in the first place. Probably the most important aspect of any pinball game is the physics, and Zen Pinball nails it perfectly. Throw in some amazing original table designs and even some licensed tables based on Marvel and Star Wars and you get countless hours of fun.
22 Sonic 2 / Sonic Adventure - These two games share a spot on the list because I think they are both equally good in their own respective ways. While most people would probably say Sonic 3 & Knuckles is the best 2D Sonic game, I've always loved Sonic 2 just a bit more. It was a perfect sequel to the original Sonic the Hedgehog, adding many elements that are now iconic to the series, such as the spindash and Sonic's new buddy, Tails. All of the zones are a blast to play through, with a perfect blend of platforming and Sonic's trademark speed. As with all Sonic games, the sountrack and visuals are some of the best on the system and provide a real treat to the eyes and ears while playing through the game.
Sonic Adventure on the other hand, is a deeply flawed game. Not only are there plentiful glitches, wonky physics, terrible voice acting, and strange design choices, but half the game you aren't even playing as Sonic. Instead, the campaign is spread across 5 story modes starring Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, E-102 Gamma, and.... Big the Cat. The less said about that last one the better, but the other characters aren't terrible, just not as much fun to play as Sonic. And that's why this game is on the list, because of how much fun Sonic is in this game. I feel that this was the perfect translation of Sonic into the Third Dimension. While future Sonic games would streamline the experience and focus on the speed, Sonic Adventure has much more expansive levels that truly feel like the 2D games, only in 3D. The way Sonic's spindash works in this game is incredibly fun to use as well, and can be used in all kinds of creative ways to speedrun through the stages. Although it may only be a small part of the game, I really liked the inclusion of the hub worlds. Exploring them really drove home the adventure part of the game for me, and I felt that much more immersed in the world. While it's far from a perfect game, Sonic Adventure is one I always have a blast playing, as long as I'm not fishing that is.
21 SSX Tricky - "Welcome to SSX Tricky! This is going to be very, very interesting." The game pretty much tells you what you're getting into right from the opening, and interesting it is indeed. Sports games were never my forte, aside from the occasional Mario Sports title, but SSX Tricky takes things to a whole other level. Everything about the game is over-the-top in the best way possible. Pulling off insane Uber Tricks and nailing that perfect landing to earn millions of points is one of the most satisfying gaming experiences I've ever had. Usually I'm not into high-score style arcade games, but SSX Tricky is so much fun to play and challenge yourself, especially if you have some friends along with you. I would come home from work and my brother would be waiting for me just so we could play together. Once you've mastered the controls and learned the maps, you can rack up some incredible scores, something I could spend hours doing. Once I get the chance to play SSX 3, this spot may very well go to that game, but until then, SSX Tricky is all I need.