Third-person action with a sense of humour? Surely not. Letting you jetpack, eat innocent creatures, and play as three different creatures throughout, Giants is a puddle of mad. The dialogue and over-the-top acting of the first third still raises a laugh today.
Jim: "If there was a problem with Giants it was that there was only one giant... but then it did have absurdly complex genre-expanding levels and naked azure breasts."
It says something that a mostly grey Flash game feels more visceral, dynamic and spectacular than almost any other platformer. Everything about N is physics-driven - even your gruesomely enjoyable deaths.
Tom: "Fluidity in a platformer shouldn't be a set of fancy context-sensitive moves, it should be physically simulating the hero's momentum and making the player work with that to whizz round the game's curvy levels. That's N."
Sam & Max Hit The Road Above
LucasArts' most famous - if not quite their best - point-and-click adventure featured Steve Purcell's rabbit and dog crime-fighting duo. A deranged internal 'logic' makes shoving your fist downa cat's throat seem perfectly normal, and rescuing missing Sasquatches an everyday occurence.
Compared to all but a few adventure games that came before or since, the original S&M still stands out for its quality dialogue, offbeat world and consistent humour. The new episodes might have sullied the name somewhat, but you shouldn't hesitate to pick this up if you get the chance: it's a classic that has aged pretty well.
Alec: "I just love Sam & Max's world. Even if its puzzles aren't that hot, something about its type of humour amuses me endlessly, from the totally apathetic leads to the utter futility of locations like The World's Largest Ball of Twine."
Pro Evolution Soccer 6
Modern, side-scrolling football has never looked so good. But it's also far better on the PC than elsewhere, remembering to include co-op play and easy updates to obtain real players and kits.
Graham: "It's not simple, and it's not easy. It's football designed like a beat-'em-up, where endless button combinations prompt your players to dance and skip with the ball, gliding gracefully past opposition players before floating a graceful, arcing shot into the corner of the net. While SWOS is about the art of football, PES is about technique."
The only text adventure to survive the years in our chart. Telling a Lovecraftian story with thoughtful, unsettling prose, white text on a blue background has never been so animated.
Tony: "You have an umbrella. Which is just as well, as it often rains in this moodily atmospheric town. You open it when it rains and close it when you go indoors, and it doesn't solve any puzzles at all. It's there to make the story feel real. It does."
Sensible World of Soccer
Before Sensible Soccer, football games were almost uniformly terrible. The balls acted like hockey pucks; the camera was always too close; the goalkeepers were rubbish. The first Sensi changed that by making the experience much more like the effortless, flowing beauty of real football, and SWoS improved upon it by adding thousands of teams and tens of thousands of players.
Graham: "SWOS made me. Without it, I wouldn't be the person I am today: not a gamer, not a writer, not anything. I made and lost friends in equal measure because of it, and it is as relentlessly playable today, as simplistically beautiful now as it was twelve years ago."