Terribly buggy on release, it has since been patched and fixed by the community, the developers Troika having disbanded.
Kieron: "Hanging around clubs, looking down goth girls' cleavages and being slutty. A welcome flasback to my teenage years."
Running along the side of buildings dodging helicopters! Not quite where you'd think this French adventure game was heading, after you've discovered you've unwillingly murdered someone, must evade the police, and solve the deeply peculiar mystery. Adventure gaming gone interesting, and weird.
Kieron: "The scene where you're controlling both the person trying to escape and the police closing-in is a brain-breaker without compare. Brilliant."
This is hardcode SWAT work. Your four men work by the letter to apprehend the perps, taking down drug dealers, gangsters, hostage takers, and one demented serial killer who lives at home with his mother. Also includes beanbag guns. Oh yes.
Tim: "The best, and silliest, co-op game here, I think. Best, because its tense, randomised assaults on drug-dens and hoodlums' hideouts demand planning, precision and team-work. Silliest, because it will always break down when your best friend Tazers you in the face. And then shoots beanbags at your gentleman's parts."
Colin McRae: DiRT
A complete overhaul for the long-lived McRae series. A new engine combines with a new focus - it's not just about rallying any more. Now you can race dune buggies, or flip Minis in the Race of Champions. It plays a bit like this: "BRRMMMMMM! LEFT! LEFT! SCREEEEEEEEECH! BRRRRRRRMMM!"
Graham: "It's all well and good, driving on the edges of mountains. It's great, cornering at great speed while your sidekick yells at you. But it's even better to be able to slide round dirt tracks in dune buggies, throwing mud on your opponents and slamming into each other with impunity. Colin McRae's now about more than rallying. It's about being dirty."
Silent Hunter III
Leaving port in Silent Hunter III, standing on the conning tower of your shiny new Uboat, you're confronted by options. Where in the Atlantic will you lie in wait for Allied convoys? How many torpedoes will you waste on simple fishing trawlers? And what will you play on the in-game gramophone?
Tim: "I rarely survive a major attack on a convoy, but they're too tempting to leave. My favourite moment? That ultra-tense countdown between the launch of your fish and the plume of water that confirms a hit."
Even games with branching plots don't really qualify as interactive stories. Masq, a line-drawn Flash game, does, because of its sheer breadth. You're a fashion designer with a big show to stage in a few days. Everything that happens before then - the sex, death, betrayal, divorce and fame - is up to you.
Tom: "Your choices might be comparatively few at each juncture in Masq, but every one of them is tempting, interesting and has serious consequences. It leads to a complexity of plot and interaction that virtually no other game can match."
Elaborate designs based on Dia De Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), crossed with 1930s art deco, let Tim Schafer take LucasArts adventures to a far more mature level. Manny, a reaper-cum-travel agent investigates the mystery of souls failing to reach their proper place in the afterlife.