Silicon Sasquatch's Honorable Mentions of 2009: Doug's picks

While our Top 10 Games of 2009 deserve attention for their overall excellence, we can't neglect this year's remaining deluge of fantastic games -- titles that just missed the final cut. Be it their charm, gameplay or presentation, our Honorable Mentions were simply hard to forget. We now present part four of a five-part series of Honorable Mentions articles, one from each member of the Silicon Sasquatch staff. Here are Doug's picks.

Retro Game Challenge

February -- Nintendo DS

Retro Game Challenge, which I reviewed for the site back in the spring, is a wonderful, nostalgic trip that brings back old-school furnishings and game design with eight complete games in one package. Want a Japanese RPG featuring the familiar and painful difficulty of the 8-bit classics? You got it. Desire a classic shooter with 64-plus levels? Oh, you can have it — frustrating trappings and all. The title's presentation stands out with its inclusion of a number of issues from a fictional video game magazine that chronicle the development and releases of the included games, as well as providing cheats and tips (some of which are absolutely essential). It's pure fan service for hardcore Electronic Gaming Monthly enthusiasts of old.

NCAA Football 10 and Madden NFL 10

July -- Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 | August -- Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

The EA Sports football twins, Madden NFL 10 and NCAA Football 10, play well, look great and have all the yearly updates that football gaming fans want, including features like the debut of an online franchise for Madden and the incredibly deep Team Builder for NCAA. But that's about it. While there are game engine improvements to strengthen the on-field action -- especially in regards to playbooks -- there's nothing groundbreaking here, folks. However, it's still my preferred kind of gaming candy.

Peggle and Flight Control

May -- iPhone | April -- iPhone

Peggle and Flight Control for the iPhone have saved me from boredom countless times, and both are brilliant examples of how to do gaming on the iPhone. I look forward to heeding Nick's (and others') advice by hunting the App Store for more bite-sized games during the course of 2010.

Brütal Legend

Rocktober -- Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

The last of my honorable mentions is a game best described as a beautiful catastrophe. Brütal Legend has probably the best intro video I've seen in a game, in addition to one of the best main menus, and the brilliant metal aesthetic keeps delivering throughout the whole experience. With great atmosphere, a well-designed world, a funny script, strong voice acting, an amazing soundtrack and awesome rock-tacular cameos...the game that Tim Schafer built seems to have it all. Unfortunately, Brütal Legend falls on its face when it relies on just one gameplay wrinkle way too much. The on-the-ground gameplay is fine, as are the driving and open-world exploration aspects, but the stage battles try to foster an RTS element that simply doesn't work well enough as-is. The game is unique and ambitious, but it flew just a little too close to the sun.