Guest Columns

Dragonforce Guitarists Sam Totman and Herman Li’s Ten Favorite Video Games


Sam Totman / Herman Li

Dragonforce will release Maximum Overload on August 19th via Metal Blade (pre-order). When we asked co-guitarists Sam Totman and Herman Li for a guest column, we should’ve known what we’d get back: these dudes are both extreme gaming nerds. Whether on the road on their handhelds, at home on their PCs or consoles or at the good old fashioned arcade, Totman and Li have the knowledge — and skills — to back up their talk. Check out each of their current five favorite games below. Listen to new Dragonforce songs “Defenders” and “The Game” if you haven’t yet.  

Sam Totman

Spelunky (PS Vita)

2D platform games have always been my favorite. When my friend (the engineer in the studio where we recorded new album Maximum Overload) recommended this one to me I was like, “Oh yeah, I bet it’s easy like all modern games.” But I’ve totally been addicted to this for about four months now. There’s so much stuff to do and find even after you’ve finished it, and it’s one of those rare games where you actually get some REAL satisfaction killing different things in different ways cos they piss you off so much!

Pinball Arcade (PS Vita)

I was always into pinball in the mid ’90s but I couldn’t play as much as I wanted to cos it was more expensive than the video games and you didn’t last very long. When this came out it was cool to play some of the old games I used to play. Even though it’s nothing like the real thing it’s still totally addictive and fun! I actually got so into this I went and bought two real pinball machines. So now my new thing to do on tour is search out places with pinball machines, which is actually pretty fun cos you get to see some new places instead of the usual tourist stuff! I found a proper ’80s arcade in Tokyo the other day, which was amazing!

Donkey Kong (Arcade)

I did used to play this back in the day in the arcades but I was always pretty crap at it cos its really hard! Not so long ago I watched this movie called The King of Kong, which is about two guys trying to be the world champion, and it got me thinking how well I could do at this if I really tried. So I spent the whole last touring cycle with the guys from Huntress playing this on the MAME emulator and got to 500,000, which is only about half way to the world record score but apparently still quite acceptable in professional Donkey Kong circles! I read on a forum that Eminem is really into it and scored about 500,000 as well, so even if I can’t beat the champions I got to at least beat HIM. We have a song on the new album called “Extraction Zone,” which is totally inspired by Donkey Kong. We even tried to re-create the jumping-over-barrel noise on the guitar!

Tomb Raider – the new one (PC)

I played the first two on PlayStation 1 and thought they were really cool but haven’t played any others until this recent one. I find most 3D modern games annoying cos they are way too easy and tell you where to go and stuff — which is really stupid — and even though this was no exception, the graphics and gameplay are so cool that it makes up for the easiness.

Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins (PSP)

Ghouls and Ghosts is probably my favorite game of all time; it’s the ultimate platform game. I used to play that (and the original Ghosts and Goblins) in the arcades for sooooo many hours after school and on the weekends, so when I heard they were doing a modern remake I was like, “I HAVE to get this!” And it was everything I hoped it would be. So now I have to carry around my old PSP as well as Vita just in case.

Herman Li

R-type (Arcade)

Before I started playing the guitar I was really into old school shoot ’em ups. I still enjoy this game every time I play it. It takes a lot of quick reflexes and tactics to beat this game in just one credit! I played it recently in a retro arcade in Tokyo and it was awesome because when you pay to play you don’t wanna lose!

Jagged Alliance 2 (PC)

I really enjoyed the first one on the PC, but this game came out around the same time Sam and I started DragonForce in 1999 so I never got the chance to finish this game. I still haven’t given up.

Gunhed / Blazing Lasers (Turbo Grafx 16)

My favorite console is the PC Engine (Turbo Grafx 16). This is another awesome shoot ’em up I like to pick up and play.

Metal Gear Solid 3 HD (PS Vita)

For me this is the best one in the Metal Gear Solid series. I have it on the PS Vita right now to kill those boring hours on the plane.

Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition (Every Platform Ever)

Everyone knows how to play this game because it’s not as complicated as the new ones. Awesome music and great for two players.

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