When I Want To Wander, I Go Outside
October 28, 2006 8:30 PM   Subscribe

High Intensity Gaming: I'm looking for video games that don't let up or have long periods of time where you're just wandering around looking for something to do. (See: Quake 3, Counterstrike, Dead Rising. Seriously, think about it, it's not obvious.) Potential candidates aren't genre specific; some good examples include Grid/Geometry Wars, SSX3, Dynasty Warriors, Viewtiful Joe 2, and Soul Caliber 3. Suggestions?

(Yes, DDR probably qualifies. But I just can't get over the jackass announcer.)
posted by effugas to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (42 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could try Beatmania, then. It's Konami's flagship music game series, and it just made it to the US. No announcer, and you play the music itself instead of simply responding to it.

If you do pick it up ($30-ish nowadays, new, with the controller), start out on 7-key mode. 5-key mode's timing is totally broken.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:39 PM on October 28, 2006

Guitar Hero. Robotron. Lumines. 1942. Most real-time strategy games.

The feature you don't like is pretty much inherent to most first-person 3-d games. Get out of that genre and you should find what you want (unless what you want is a FPS where enemies endlessly come at you).

Also, things like Civilization IV are turn-based but there's ALWAYS something to deal with.
posted by underwater at 8:49 PM on October 28, 2006

I've heard tell that "Grand Theft Auto" is pretty much non-stop action, but I myself have never played it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:10 PM on October 28, 2006

MC Chris (a.k.a MC Pee Pants) recommends you avoid Kingdom Hearts 2. (Kickass youtube link.)
posted by blenderfish at 9:18 PM on October 28, 2006

The Serious Sam series?
posted by scodger at 9:21 PM on October 28, 2006

Simpson's Road Rage.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 9:23 PM on October 28, 2006

Seriously, you've pretty much blown my mind with describing Quake 3 as having "long periods of time where you're just wandering around looking for something to do." I'm really not sure what to recommend. You sure you're playing it right?
posted by blenderfish at 9:29 PM on October 28, 2006

Beatmania -- Hmmm. Good call!

RTS's are actually shockingly slow. Lots of buildup for big fights, with little skirmishes in the middle.

GTA is actually not at all non-stop action. The entire point of alot of the game is getting from Point A to Point B. Imagine having to wander a maze without ghosts inbetween levels of Ms. Pacman -- same actual effect.

Turn based games aren't reflex-oriented -- you need the reflexes for intensity.

Robotron -- this is what Geometry and Grid wars are based on, but I do think I should try this out.

Serious Sam -- it's the most constant action of the FPS's out there, but alas, you still wander about looking for something to do too much.

Lumines...good tip. Any other high-intensity puzzle games out there, besides Magical Drop III and Super Puzzle Fighter?

1942...hmm. Shmups. I forgot about the genre. I should go try more of the new gen of Japanese shmups. Excellent idea!

Simpsons Road Rage -- ah, now that's something I hadn't thought to pick up. I'll grab a copy.
posted by effugas at 9:33 PM on October 28, 2006

Morrowind or the latest release Oblivion--you can wander around but you'll quickly find something to kill or some quest. Love both of the games--and take forever to finish (and you'll never be able to finish every quest) so you'll have something to do all the time
posted by uncballzer at 9:36 PM on October 28, 2006

blenderfish for the win. wow. AWESOME.
posted by effugas at 9:36 PM on October 28, 2006


It's not about having nothing to do *eventually*, it's about having nothing to do for ten seconds straight. I'm a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series; it's not that I can't play games with a slower pace, it's that so many games have this plodding, dole-out-the-fun-every-once-in-a-while-slot-machine feel to them that I'm looking for something different.
posted by effugas at 9:39 PM on October 28, 2006

uncballzer, no offense, but I'm pretty sure that is the -exact- type of game the OP wants to avoid.

Check out any top down shooter, like the old Raiden series or 1942.
posted by Loto at 9:43 PM on October 28, 2006

You don't specify a console - but the Ratchet and Clank games on PS2 are good in this sense. Also Super Smash Bros Melee on GameCube (or any other Super Smash Bros title) is also good, you get lots and lots of levels with varying degrees of difficulty, good for long term fast pace activity. - cholly's brother.
posted by cholly at 9:46 PM on October 28, 2006

Any console is fine. I'm more looking for obscure games, or things I might have forgotten about (like, for example, Super Smash Bros. Totally.)
posted by effugas at 9:48 PM on October 28, 2006


Compare Q3 to Grid Wars. Q3: Wander for a number of seconds, find opponent, kill him before he kills you. Grid wars: Remove the wandering.

I'm serious, start paying attention to the amount of "slack time" in modern games. It's absurd.
posted by effugas at 9:53 PM on October 28, 2006

posted by cellphone at 9:57 PM on October 28, 2006

I can think of a number of arcade games (actually, pretty much all arcade games, since zero-downtime is an integral part of the arcade equation) which would likely fit the bill.
Shoot-em-ups and beat-em-ups mainly. I'd say get your MAME on, buddy. :)
posted by blenderfish at 10:01 PM on October 28, 2006

Check out Kenta Cho's PC shooters. Mu-Cade and rRootage are especially fun.
posted by arto at 10:02 PM on October 28, 2006

Morrowind and Oblivion are SLOW. At least compared to Quake 3 and other games listed in the original post. I love em anyways but in Morrowind especially you spend hours just walking around. There is an auto-travel feature in Oblivion.

In terms of RTS's, they vary a great deal within the genre. Dawn of War is a very short and instense experience compared to something like Total Annilihation or even Starcraft. With the new expansion it has 7 playable factions and is quite an excellent game.

Skygunner for the PS2 is extremely intense. The levels have very little down time compared to other flight-simmy type games. It is of course not at all a "sim" as a playable anime. Very good art direction and level design. Hard though.

Pretty much the entire shootemup genre fits the requirements mentioned. Ikuruga is a fine example on modern consoles but can be hard to find. Several excellent free games can be found here:
posted by Riemann at 11:19 PM on October 28, 2006

Firk ding blast. Here is the link I meant to post: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~cs8k-cyu/index_e.html
posted by Riemann at 11:20 PM on October 28, 2006

And of course someone else beat me to it anyway...
posted by Riemann at 11:20 PM on October 28, 2006

Battlefield 2 on a 64 player server. Pretty much the best game ever made, and definitely nonstop action.
posted by Manjusri at 12:37 AM on October 29, 2006

I would suggest Stargunner (runs perfectly in DosBox and it is also free) and the Ace Combat series.
posted by pu9iad at 4:30 AM on October 29, 2006

I'm in love with Japanase abstract shooters such as rRootage, noiz2sa and Warning Forever.
posted by reynaert at 4:32 AM on October 29, 2006

There was a remake for the classic game 'Tempest' for the playstation called 'Tempest X'. It sought to make the game harder by a kind of sensory overload. Electronic music, psychedelic graphics ... bonus points would be superimposed over the screen in a translucent 40 point font, and fade into the background.

I mention it because it's been forgotten, and it takes a certain type of person to enjoy playing. However, if you do like it, it's easy to get into, exactly the kind of game that you describe. And I'm sure you can find a copy for less than $10.
posted by cotterpin at 5:42 AM on October 29, 2006

If you like the Raiden/1942 series, I also suggest Raptor: Call of the Shadow.
posted by jmd82 at 7:42 AM on October 29, 2006

Genres you might want to avoid: (most) first-person shooters, turn-based strategy, role-playing, football.

Genres that sound like what you have in mind: (most) fighting games, shmups, some sports games, racing games, puzzle games, rhythm games, old-style arcade games.

A couple of my favorite games in each of those genres: Soul Calibur II (yeah, I said it--III's worse), Def Jam Fight for New York, Ikaruga (DC version's better, especially w/the VGA box), Gradius, Tony Hawk games up to about the third or fourth one (best on a PlayStation controller), NBA Street 3, Burnout 3 (Revenge is worse), Mario Kart (I like Double Dash!, but many people prefer the earlier ones), Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (DC version's the best, but GBA and PSX ones are totally worth owning), Bomberman (Saturn Bomberman's the peak of the series, the Xbox 360 and N64 ones among the worst), Guitar Hero, Taiko Drum Master, Qix, Q-Bert.

More broadly, though, almost anything that is multiplayer, and isn't turn-based, stands an excellent chance of meeting your criteria.
posted by box at 9:09 AM on October 29, 2006

The Metal Slug games.
posted by Camel of Space at 10:19 AM on October 29, 2006

I think effugas is talking about single player FPSs - where there's a lot of backtracking to pick up keys and whatnot. And if there aren't enough people in a multiplayer game, it just becomes a hide-and-seek match, which can be pretty boring.

I think you'd do well with shooters, like Ikaruga and Res. Amplitude, Frequency, and (maybe) Guitar Hero are some good fast-paced rhythm games.

Any of the WarioWare games would be good, too. It's not as much fun in single player, but it gets insanely fast as you progress.

Obscure one: If you like SSX, I highly recommend Downhill Domination for the PS2, which is similar, but with bikes. The trick system is too complicated, but even if you just play it as a racing game, it's a blast. Aside from the other riders, you have to navigate around avalanches, stampedes, and other ridiculous things. It's very fast-paced.

Lastly, keep an eye out for Space Giraffe, coming soon, from the guy that did Geometry Wars. Man, that thing looks seizure-inducing.
posted by Sibrax at 10:20 AM on October 29, 2006

On DDR: You can turn off the announcer voices. You can turn off the dancing people too. (Try: Options) This has been the case for a super long time and I both doubt that you can find a version old enough where you can't or that they reverted back to old ways since I last picked up a copy.
posted by shownomercy at 10:53 AM on October 29, 2006

Burnout (or almost any racing game).
posted by SPrintF at 10:55 AM on October 29, 2006

Black can be pretty intense with a minimum of wandering around getting bored.

It's great once you get passed the "normal" (or easy) difficulty, as (a) you hardly get a moment to breathe, and (b) you can skip all the cut-scenes...
posted by Chunder at 11:15 AM on October 29, 2006

I am thoroughly pleased by this series of responses. I've been actively trolling the used bins of Gamespot for some time and you guys have come up with quite a few candidates that I missed.

Rock ON!

I will be specifically tracking down a copy of Tempest X. That does sound perfect.

Special Bonus Details: Obscure PC or 80's arcade games -- think things I can pull back out via MAME, or can find on english-free Japanese shareware sites. Any thoughts?

(gotta love the hivemind)
posted by effugas at 11:50 AM on October 29, 2006

effugas, can the be PC-based as well as console-based games?
posted by dgeiser13 at 12:09 PM on October 29, 2006


Yup. Got something in mind?
posted by effugas at 12:47 PM on October 29, 2006

For obscure arcade games available in MAME, I'll just repeat some of the more relevant suggestions I made in this thread- most anything by Cave(Dodonpachi, Guwange, ESP Ra.De, as well as Dangun Feveron, which may be the most hectic of them all) and Raizing(Armed Police Batrider, Battle Bakraid, Dimahoo) fits the bill nicely. Vasara 1 & 2, Giga Wing, the 19xx series(1942, 1943, 1941, 19xx, and 1944), and the Metal Slug series are all good also. For the most part, these are '90s arcade games rather than '80s, but I think that period might actually be more what you're looking for, as newer games in this genre tend to be much more manic and unrelenting than older ones.

For obscure Japanese freeware/shareware PC shooters, this site has a huge list of them, with links. Most are just demos rather than full games, but there's lots of stuff to explore there...
posted by a louis wain cat at 1:34 PM on October 29, 2006


posted by tylermoody at 2:49 PM on October 29, 2006

Pretty much anything ever developed by Treasure. Head-asplodly non-stop action-orientated... though their Astro-boy game did have some painful cut-scenes, once you got to the action it was pulse-pounding to the level of sweaty-fingers-slipping-off-fire-buttons. And that's Astro-boy.

You also need to check out Gunstar Super Heroes, Advance Guardian Heroes Bangai-O, Gradius V, and the original Gunstar Heroes for the Megadrive/Genesis, and yeah, Ikaruga too... look, Treasure's gameography is on Wikipedia and you will not regret it.

Also the Burnout series, though the load times are horrible.
posted by Hogshead at 5:44 PM on October 29, 2006

Ha. I didn't realize all those games came from Treasure. The thread binding them is now much more obvious.
posted by effugas at 6:24 PM on October 29, 2006

Android Attack on the BBC microcomputer was pretty good, I still play it with an emulator occasionally. It's like pacman on amphetamines with a handgun and mines. Start on level 9, you can only kill those things by 'sploding a mine under them. Speedball 2 was an old favourite too, and the BattleField games are great with enough people playing.

Best thread ever. I've got a friend who has played all of the MOGs. I've sat there, watching him, thinking... you gave up your life for this?
posted by Tixylix at 6:53 PM on October 29, 2006

effugas, the PC-based game Day of Defeat: Source is some of the most intense gaming I have ever had in my life. And unlike some games it's relatively easy to play. You can download it off of Steam, www.steampowered.com.

They also have a ton of other games on there. Best game delivery system on the planet in my opinion.
posted by dgeiser13 at 7:52 AM on October 30, 2006

I used to play Urban Terror online an awful lot. It's a Quake 3 Arena mod but sometime very soon a standalone version is meant to be coming out.

It's a multiplayer game so the other players come looking for you. The maps are small enough that it's difficult NOT to be in the thick of the action pretty much all the time, unless you find a server with 3 people on it.

It was, and still is the most intense game I've ever played, and hopefully the standalone release should bring a load of new players/servers back into it.
posted by 999 at 7:56 AM on October 30, 2006

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