Best Undownloadable Games for under $20

Beyond Good and EvilChristmas is on Monday. Today’s your LAST chance to get anything by Dec. 22 if you order from Amazon. So get your last minute on-line shopping done and over with. Here’s my suggestion of fun, yet amazingly cheap, games playable on any home or handheld console. (In no particular order, might I add).

Escape from Monkey Island — Windows ($19 from Amazon Sellers)

This jewel case version for Windows (it works on XP, if anyone’s wondering, although it’s made for older versions) is a little wonky with the controls, but still has that genuine Monkey Island humor to it. You play as Guybrush Threepwood (Mighty Pirate) as he wanders (erm… sails) through the Caribbean trying to bring his wife back from being legally declared dead. And other mishaps leads him back to that place he was before: Monkey Island. Fun all around.

Sidenote: Okay, fanboys, eat me up now, since I know you think this is the worst of the Monkey Island series.

Beyond Good & Evil — Windows ($6.97)

This game, widely lauded as one of those gems that never really took off, is now cheaply available at less than $7! It’s one of my favorite games due to the storyline and character development. You play as Jade, a photographer who carries a large stick, as she attempts to unearth a governmental conspiracy. My only complaint is that I wish the game were longer. Either way, you’ll have fun. If not, it only set you back $7.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past w/ Four Swords — GBA ($19.82)

Everyone loves Zelda. At least, everyone I know loves the Zelda series. My friend claims “A Link to the Past” is the best version of Zelda ever. And so, here it is, for all of you Gameboy Advance and/or DS owners in the world. Love the Link. Be the Link.

Mad Maestro — PS2 ($14.99)

Probably the most different rhythm game you’ll play (yes, even weirder than Elite Beat Agents), only because you lead an orchestra instead of dance hyperactively to modern tunes. Yes, that’s right. All the songs are movements from well-known orchestral compositions. Including such gems as Hungarian Dance No. 5. The game is entertaining, and is a must for anyone who appreciates old school music. You know, really old school.

Ratchet and Clank — PS2 ($19.82)

Along with Jak and Daxter (also under $20 from Amazon), Ratchet & Clank is one of my favorite platformers available on the PS2. The worlds were extensive, and Clank is perhaps one of the cutest robots ever. I’d say so, anyway. If you haven’t yet delved deeply into the world of the cat-like thing (what is Ratchet, really?) and the miniscule robot, you’d do well to invest in this game.

Dark Cloud — PS2 ($19.99)

One of the first PS2 games I’ve played, Dark Cloud was an original RPG that I still remember fondly. Although the regular elements apply: leveling up, battling monsters, random dungeons, Dark Cloud stood out for one reason, the ability to create and build towns. Of course, towns came out in somewhat the same fashion because the villagers would request certain things of the main character, but all in all, I felt satisfied with the level of customizability Dark Cloud had.

Paper Mario: Thousand-Year Door — GC ($19.82)

This is how Mario does RPGs. The fun graphics, neat (albeit slightly contrived) storyline, and the unique battling system all add up to a great game. Yes, Mario does have to save Princess Peach, again, but what kind of Mario game would ignore that particular storyline?

That’s it for now. If you have any suggestions, post them in the comments. I’ll put together a “Reader Suggestions” post after Christmas, so everyone can spend their Christmas money on video games. And please send in suggestions for the much-ignored Xbox systems and the DS, since the only game I could think of is actually selling for twice as much as we bought it for.

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