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50 Best Games of All Time
From PC Gamer's May 1997 Edition
1. Tie-Fighter Collector's CD-ROM - LucasArts
No doubt this choice will come as a surprise to some, but for us the result was never seriously in doubt. The reason? Quite simply, this is the best PC game we've ever played - and we've played 'em all.
Bravely flouting convention by giving you the chance to indulge your fantasies and play the bad guys for once, TIE Fighter represented a quantum leap over its classic predecessor X-Wing and set a new standard for space combat games that has yet to be seriously challenged. This enhanced CD-ROM version, adding high-res graphics, new campaigns, extra cut-scenes, and "talkie" mission briefings raised the bar still further. Whether you're a simulation or an action fan, the TIE Fighter CD-ROM has something for everyone, taking the player through seemingly countless training and historical missions, and prolonged campaigns through galactic trouble-spots.
The progressing storyline rewards the player with newer and better ships and, if you're willing to work extra hard, initiation into a secret Imperial order. It doesn't hurt to be a Star Wars fan either (but then, who isn't?) as the game does a tremendous job of conveying the atmosphere of George Lucas' richly-textured universe through authentic graphic styling, effects straight from the Skywalker Sound archives and John Williams' majestic score. Easy to get into, and growing to an immense challenge on the later campaigns, TIE Fighter plots a near-perfect learning and interest curve - once the game's claws dig in, it never lets go, and you can come back to it time and again even after you (eventually) finish it.
LucasArts' upcoming X-Wing vs TIE Fighter looks fated to unseat this classic when it arrive in the Spring, but right now, today, there simply isn't a better PC game out there.
2. Doom - id Software
3. WarCraft II - Blizzard
From its stirring introduction to the grand finale at the portal gate, WarCraft II draws you in the way only a true masterpiece of fantasy can; you might call this the Lord of the Rings of computer gaming. Every facet of the game is excellent, from the near flawless design and the beautifully detailed graphics to the stirring soundtrack, unparalleled sound effects, and advanced editing capabilities.
Some games are good in multi-player, while others shine in single-play mode, but only WarCraft II set new benchmarks in both arenas. Only poor planning kept this game off the major multi-player Internet services last year; had it had a free battle.net capability, who knows what could have happened? And let's not forget the little touches, like the clickable critters and the pithy dialog of your poor troops. Perhaps these extras don't add greatly to the actual game, but they add so much to that feeling of "being there" - and they demonstrate just how much the people who made this game love their work.
Though things like the surly Orc voices will be imitated time and time again, nothing will ever recapture the magic of WarCraft II; it remains the definitive real-time fantasy strategy game, and one of the best games any of us will ever play. That moment when we first lost ourselves in this strange world of Azeroth is something we at PC Gamer will always remember.
4. Civilization II - Microprose
Truly one of the greatest games of all time, Civilization II needs no introduction, as it won our Game of the Year for 1996 award just a couple of issues ago. But this careful reworking of the Civilization design is no mere cash-in, but a marked improvement on an already landmark original. Everything that is true of the original is true of the sequel, but options have been expanded, imbalances removed, and the look and feel of the game modernized. When you begin a game of Civilization II, you are not merely guiding a handful of settlers around a map, you are laying the foundations of a new world: decisions you make early in the game can come back to haunt you centuries, even millennia, later. From the primeval spark of iron hitting iron to the first rocket bound for the stars, this is a game of history and of humanity, embracing all of its pageantry and pathos. That Civilization II can condense the whole sweep of human history into a single playable game is a monumental achievement. Expansion and conflict, resources and technolgy: these are the forces that shape our world, and never before or since has a game so thoroughly entwined computer-created entertainment with reality. Few games have attempted such a broad scope, or entwined so much history, science and culture into a game. And of the few who have attempted it, Civilization II was one of the first, and only Civilization II manages to make it so much fun.
5. System Shock - Origin
This amazing adventure/roleplaying game never got the attention it really deserved. Created by Looking Glass and Origin, System Shock was a technological wonder, years ahead of games that are making headlines today.
While everyone is busy arguing about Quake, Duke, and what constitutes a "true 3D environment," gamers seem to have forgotten what System Shock brought to the table back in 1994. System Shock had a true 3D enviormnent back when most people considered Doom II's "two-and-a-half-D" graphics to be the state of the art. By the time Heretic gave us a first-person environment that allowed the player to levitate and look up and down at their surroundings, System Shock had already done much better, letting us look up and down, fly, crouch, crawl, jump, climb ladders, and even lean around corners. And it did it all in high resolution.
So why wasn't this game hailed as the heir apparent to Doom?
Because it was nothing like Doom. There were lots of different weapons to pick up and legions of scary beasties to fight, but System Shock wasn't a shoot-'em-up. It was an honest-to-God adventure game - it just happened to take place in a world that would've made a great home for a first-person shooter. The combination of a great 3D engine and a truly absorbing sci-fi story line made System Shcok the most immersive PC adventure ever.
Play it to the finish, and you may find yourself remembering the game's locations as vividly as if you'd really been there.
6. Heroes of Might & Magic II - New World Computing
Though there's no new concept to this turn-based strategy game, it's put together is such a fun, well-balanced, and easy-to-play manner, that it's hard not to become addicted. It's based in a medieval-like fantasy realm, and on the surface it all seems very simple; build up your castle(s), send out heroes to explore and gather resources, and raise armies of creatures to defeat your opponents. In each phase though, it becomes deceptively challenging. Deciding on whether to spend resources improving a castle, raising an army, or improving a hero is no easy task, as your opponents might take advantage of any weakness. Anyone who likes a good strategy game will find Heroes of Might & Magic II extremely engrossing. It's easy to get mad at any enemy for taking a castle you've been working on or want revenge when a good hero of yours is defeated, and few games that can inspire this type of involvement. The original Heroes of Might & Magic was an excellent game in its own right, but the improvements made to Heroes II add even more, giving it slightly more depth. There is a large number of scenarios to play plus two campaigns, which will give any gamer months of playability. An easy-to-use editor for making custom maps and strong Internet support add still further to this great game's longevity.
7. X-COM: UFO Defense - Microprose
Long before UFOs became the "in" thing and started making nightly appearances on TV, there was X-COM: UFO Defense. A great storyline is one thing, but a real game lives or dies by its design, and this game is an incredibly detailed tactical exercise unequaled by any of its imitators - though few have dared imitate it. The game has a good strategic model, putting you in the unenviable position of tracking the entire Earth for UFO encounters, and deciding when to launch interceptors and where to build bases to fend off the threat, all within a budget. But it's the ground-based tactical model that really shines. You guide a squad of ten or so troops off an air transport and into hostile territory. Civilian casualties are always a concern, as is the morale of your own units. You'll soon be ordering your troops to duck for cover as soon as they jump out of the gunship and start leveling anything that even looks like it might be hiding an enemy. X-COM boasted individual unit morale long before Close Combat did, and multi-level, destroyable buildings, something no one else has ever done as convincingly. More importantly, its meld of tactical and strategic levels has rarely, if ever, been equaled in computer gaming. X-COM is one of the most underrated games on our list; if you can find it, buy it, because this is computer game design at its finest.
8. Command & Conquer: Red Alert - Virgin/Westwood Studios
Yes, officially it's a prequel rather than a sequel, but this follow-up to the mega-hit Command & Conquer is still a massive leap over the classic original. If your preferred tools of war are tanks, helicopters and artillery rather than orcs, knights and magic, there isn't anything better than this. Pitting the might of the Soviet army against a rag-tag Allied force through an extended "what if" war in Europe campaign in which you can play either side, Red Alert boasts some ultra-cool quasirealistic technology and raises the Command & Conquer stakes by adding a whole new sea power element - the Allies' cruisers and destroyers fighting against Soviet subs. Whichever side you choose to fight for, the single-player campaign makes for a terrific challenge through a series of increasingly tough missions, but it's in the multi-player modes that Red Alert really comes into its own, with support for up to eight players on a wide variety of custom-built maps. Adding enough cool new stuff to make this a worthy follow-up while retaining everything that made the original a million-seller, Red Alert has already surpassed the success of its predecessor. There are plenty of real-time strategy games jumping on the bandwagon, but don't be fooled - this is the genuine article, and it'll be around for years to come.
9. Links LS - Access
From the first swing of the club to the hollow clop of the ball dropping in the cup, no game has come as close to recapturing the grandeur of golf as the awesome Links LS. A long-awaited and triumphant return of Access' groundbreaking Links 386, Links LS adds high resolution graphics and revamped physics. Links LS can macth any monitor's viewing capacity, with resolutions up to 1600x1200 and 16.7 million colors. But looks are only the beginning - Links LS features totally reworked ball dynamics, a new terrain-rendering engine, and fog and shadowing effects that simulate poor visibility and weather conditions. Gameplay options have also been enhanced, and now include stroke play, skins, best ball, and match play as well as new muti-player options. The game comes with four different motion-captured golfers, including the legendary Arnold Palmer, with the ability to add more golfer animations and brand new courses in add-on discs. Video tours of the courses add to the spectacle. Additionally Links LS supports its legacy with the ability to plug in all of the many add-on courses from Links 386. Recreating the excellence of Links 386 was no easy task, but golfers from coast to coast agree that the results were worth it.
10. AH-64D Longbow - Jane's Combat Simulations
Only Andy Hollis, the man responsible for MicroProse's legendary Gunship, could have guided the creation of this fantastic attack helicopter simulation. Working at the Origin offices in Austin, Texas, Hollis and his "Skunk Works" crew started from scratch, building an entirely new graphics engine and studying reams of military and civilian information about the AH-64D Apache Longbow. They wanted to be sure their simulation of the advanced attack chopper was as deep and realistic as possible, and they succeded beautifully. AH-64D Longbow models the helicopter's state-of-the-art radar and fire control systems so realistically, you'd be hard pressed to find significant differences between the simulation and the McDonnell Douglas video footage provided on the CD. Flight models and terrain are painstaking matches for their real-world counterparts, too. Longbow is the most detailed and believable attack chopper sim yet. And that's not the only amazing feat Hollis and Co. pulled off: they also made sure this highly sophisticated simulation was a great game. Using the most impressive tutorial you'll find in any flight sim, Longbow takes the player through eight hands-on, interactive lessons, explaining all of the chopper's systems in deatil. Add an excellent manual, and even as complex as Longbow is, it's accessible to novices and veteran gamers alike. Longbow isn't just the best helicopter sim ever - it's also the most enjoyable air combat sim you can get.
11. Sam & Max Hit the Road - LucasArts
Most gamers first saw Sam & Max in The Adventurer, LucasArts' newsletter. Steve Purcell's hilarious comic creations had a rich and bizarre life before they appeared there, but it's arguable that only LucasArts, the company that brought us the Monkey Island games, could have done Sam & Max justice in a graphic adventure. Sam & Max Hit the Road captures the skewed humor of the demented duo perfectly. The game's puzzles are as twisted and funny as the story, which involves a search for a bigfoot and a giraffe-necked woman who escaped a carnival sideshow. It's classic Sam & Max, and it's the funniest adventure you can play on your PC.
12. Red Baron - Sierra/Dynamix
You'd think that after six years, Red Baron would have been completely superceded by other World War One air combat games, like Dawn Patrol or Wings of Glory. But like all great games, this one has a timeless quality about it. Red Baron was on the cutting edge when it was first released, and it still holds up surprisingly well against today's best WWI sims. Like the Dynamix sims that followed it (Aces of the Pacific and Aces over Europe), Red Baron struck a neat balance between historical realism and sheer fun that only a few other air combat games have matched since. It'll be interesting to see if the upcoming Red Baron II can live up to the legend.
13. Panzer General - SSI
If you're an avid fan of the genre, or just curious about wargames and haven't tried one yet, this is the game to pick up. For this World War Two-based epic, SSI came up with what's been considered the best wargame interface yet, and all the attention to detail and accuracy that one could hope for in a wargame. You'll find all significant units, be it land, sea, or air - even those of minor nations - represented. The campaigns and scenarios cover just about every significant event of the war, including some "what if" scenarios. If you haven't tried it yet, you're missing out on a classic.
14. Tomb Raider - Eidos Interactive
Combining some of the best of adventure gaming's puzzle elements with fast action and an incredibly detailed and interactive world, Eidos Interactive's Tomb Raider will forever stand out in the annals of Gaming Goodness. Seldom has an adventure/action game so completely captured the sense of "being there," complete with trickling waterfalls and howling winds. Played on a supported 3D accelerator, the game boasts some of the msot stunning visuals the PC has yet seen, with enough action and tricky maneuverability to keep any gamer, young or old, on their toes. When it comes to pure fun, this one's hard to top.
15. Quake - id Software
Less earth-shattering than its predecessor Doom but every bit as giddying and violent, Quake is the current standard-bearer for the 3D action genre, and with good reason. Its truly three-dimensional environments, creepy atmostphere, uncompromising multi-play, and unrivalled customizability have helped hook gamers like few games before it - the single -player game will eventually wither and die, but the multi-player mode looks set to become an immortal presence on the Internet. While other would-be 3D games struggle to stand out from the crowd with humorous settings and other quaint gimmicks, Quake simply gives us more of what we want - a loud, fast, frenetic killing jar in which to exterminate our friends and enemies.
16. Duke Nukem 3D - 3D Realms
This game would deserve a lot of credit just for being the first Doom clone to seriously attempt to be more than a Doom clone - but it gets even more credit for succeeding. Duke Nukem 3D's high-res graphics, diabolical levels, and wild variety of weapons helped it step out of Doom's shadow and set a new standard for first-person shooters. It also brought devious new tactics to multi-player mayhem, with wicked gadgets like laser tripwires, remote-detonated pipe bombs, and HoloDukes. Duke has a real attitude problem, and we love him for it. And who can forget the football field level multi-player mayem? Duke's a real blast.
17. EF2000 - Ocean of America
DID's move from action-oriented air combat games toward realistic simulations reached its fullest expression in EF2000. A painstaking depiction of Europe's hot new tactical fighter, EF2000 is the most detailed and realistic fighter sim going.
It's also as visually beautiful as any sim on the market, with a high-res depiction of the North Cape that's breathaking.
And it's as smooth as silk on a reasonable fast machine - something that the other cutting-edge sims can't claim. Its sprawling campaign model really creates a feeling of being a small part of a dynamic, ongoing war.
EF2000 is enough to make PC jet jockeys forget about Falcon 4.0.
18. Descent - Interplay
Shortly after id Software's Doom II reaffirmed to the world at large that 3D action games were a force to be reckoned with, Interplay's Descent showed there were still new plateaus to be reached in the genre.
Featuring a sickness-inducing level of freedom (360 degrees) and traditional shoot-'em-up action, Descent introduced games to the hazards and joys of three dimensions as they piloted their space craft through the twisting corridors of abandoned space stations.
After factoring the intense multi-player abilities and attractive graphics. Descent revealed itself to be the closest thing to an interactive roller-coaster ride. Descent is a true classic, and one that PCG will be playing for years to come.
19. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers - Sierra
Of all of Sierra's excellent graphic adventures, we felt Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers truly captured the cinematic scope and excellent play of the best. Set in New Orleans, the voice acting, puzzle play, and supernatural events mixed together to create a game that grabbed players from the moment it began to the final scene. Even the digitized voideo of Sierra's latest releases doesn't come close to the pure thrill of discovery when all the mysteries come into the light. This is, quite simply, Sierra's best offering yet in the graphic adventure arena.
20. Ultima Underworld I & II - Origin Systems
After establishing the Ultima universe as one of the finest role-playing environments around with the success of Ultima 1-6, Origin decided to take the series for a slight detour as it teamed with Blue Sky Software (now known as Looking Glass Technologies) to create two of the most memorable first-person 3D dungeon crawls ever created. Maintaining the moral and humane qualities of the Ultima brand, the Underworld game avoided the typical hack-and-slash themes of the genre and presented strong character interaction, thoughtful puzzles, unprecedented control, and genuine roleplaying in ways that have yet to be duplicated. We highly recommend you try these for yourself.
21. Populous - Electronic Arts
This breakthrough game for the now legendary Bullfrog Productions (Syndicate, Magic Carpet) single-handedly invented the God Game genre way back in 1989, and it's still one of the best. Simply put, you act as the hand of God to direct the little people in your race against your opponent evil deity across a series of isometric battlegrounds. As you instruct your little people to build, fight, and conquer, you can toss around some suitalbe God-like effects such as earthquakes, floods, and volcanoes. It's a perfect example of the innovation and originality of Bullfrog's approach to gaming.
22. Alone in the Dark - I-Motion
Simply put, this is one of the most unique action/adventure games to grace the PC. Alone in the Dark places you in a haunted mansion as you guide your character through room after room of pitfalls while looking for clues and picking up necessities. Its novel use of cinematic camera angles and ease of control set a new standard. Whether you're finding secret passages or karate chopping zombies, the eerie atmosphere and ever-present sense of danger combine to keep you playing. There have been two sequels since AITD, but none have come as close to the excellent storyline and feel of the original.
23. Virtual Pool - Interplay
From the physics model to the smooth interface, Interplay's Virtual Pool recreates the classic bar game on your PC with perfection. The full-motion instructions and trick-shots by "Machine Gun" Lou Butera notwithstanding, the actual game, which contains four pool variants and some of the toughest computer opponents you could find, has everything an aspiring pool player could want. Guaranteed to improve your actual pool skills, this game delivers on its promises, and with multi-player support in the Windows 95 version, it will continue to deliver for a long time.
24. Beavis & Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - Viacom New Media
Our decision to give this one the PC Gamer Award for Best Adventure of 1995 was met with disbelief by some readers, but it really is an excellent game. It helps if you're a fan of the cartoon series it's based on, but Beavis & Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity should appeal to any gamer who has a sense of humor and enjoys a good graphic adventure. Unlike most adaptations of movie or television licenses, there's real gameplay here - Vitual Stupidity would work even without MTV's juvenile delinquents - but it's also very faithful to the series, capturing its unique look at humor flawlessly.
25. Syndicate - Bullfrog
Imagine a corrupt future society, riddled with crime. Now imagine yourself as a high-tech crime boss intent on ruling the world. With four cybernetically controlled henchmen at your disposal you'll bump off government officials, steal new technologies, slaughter the populace at large, and wage war against the cops as you gain control of the world - one territory at a time. Originallity, unabashed violence, and highly addictive gameplay are just some of the reasons we haven't been able to escape the grasp of Bullfrog's sinister Syndicate, where your preconceptions about right and wrong are thrown out the window as you blast your way from one level to the next. Whether it's the highpitched purr of a fully loaded chaingun or the satisfying thunka, thunka, thunka, BOOM! of the Gauss gun there's more than enough destructive power in Syndicate to help you sleep easier at night.
26. Chuck Yeager's Air Combat - Electronic Arts
Even though it boasts the input of America's most famous test pilot, Chuck Yeager's Air Combat isn't exactly the most realistic flight sim we'ver ever played, but it certainly qualifies as one of the most fun. Featuring campaigns and missions from three different eras of flight (World War Two, Korea, Vietnam) and hightly customizable options, Air Combat set itself apart by capturing the seat-of-the-pants flying style of its suprerstar namesake who always urged players on by saying "Get back up and try it again." Though the graphics are dated by today's standards, the infectious fun of this classic makes it as playable as ever, and is a must-see for fans of flight.
27. NHL '97 - Electronic Arts
It's no secret that Electronic Arts fields a winning line-up of sports titles under its EA Sports banner, yet out of all those excellent offerings few have been as consistently satisfying as its series of hockey simulations. Comprised of hands-on action and detailed stats, the NHL
28. The Complete Ultima VII - Origin
Available as one of its Classic Collections series, Origin's Ultima VII finally nailed down the perfect amount of adventuring, combat, and story line within Lord British's popular land of Britannia. The collection includes The Black Gate, Forge of Virtue Serpent Isle, and The Silver Seed,w hich is over 200 hours of roleplaying goodness in one package. Although one of the older games on this list, Ultima VII will live on in the hearts and minds of gamers everywhree as the quintessential Ultima title that finally put together all the pieces that made the series great.
29. Railroad Tycoon - MicroProse
One of the earliest economic empire-building games, this game still holds up incredibly well today. Railroad Tycoon places you at the dawn of rail transportation with nothing but a trunk full of capitol from a handful of courageous investors, and it challenges you to create a sprawling railway system and keep it profitable. Trian buffs went nuts for this game, and rightly so - but even gamers who thought the subject matter sounded too dry soon found themselves helplessly addicted. Railroad Tycoon is a perfect example of what made Sid Meier one of the few household names in computer game design.
30. Lemmings - Psygnosis
What best-of list would be complete without a showing by the mop-headed nincompoops known as the Lemmings? Arguably the best puzzle-game series ever created, the original Lemmings started life as an Amiga game and quickly powered its way to success on every gaming platform with its special brand of hair-pulling puzzling and undeniable charm. Your goal is go guide the little lemmings to safety through a level full of hazards using a few limited tools, but there's a catch - lemmings are incredibly stupid. As you attempt to save their lives you'll watch in horror as they walk off legdes plummeting to their death. It was original, fresh, and funny, and it's a formula that proved so addictive and challenging that the Lemmings continue to be seen in numerous sequels.
31. Harpoon II - Three-Sixty Pacific
Years after its release, this is still the deepest, most sophisticated treatment of modern naval warfare you can find for your PC. With a windowed interface that mimics a modern war room, Harpoon II calls on a vast database of military hardware and geographic information to create an amazingly realistic and absorbing wargame. The enhanced CD-ROM version, Harpoon II Deluxe, adds video clips, new battle sets, and an excellent scenario editor. After a series of patches, it's superior in most ways to the original Harpoon - it's a crying shame that Harpoon II hasn't been reissued in a "classic" edition the way the older game has.
32. Wing Commander: The Kilrathi Saga - Origin
Chris Roberts' groundbreaking trilogy of space combat games come together in this definitive collector's edition. Optimized for Windows 95, the original Wing Commander and its sequel hold up surprisingly well today, and the quantum leap forward that was Wing Cmmander III: Heart of the Tiger is both an eye-popping interactive movie (which set new standards that have still to be bettered) and one of the few spaceflight games that can give TIE Fighter a run for its money. Together, this is one formidable package not just for its historical importance but also as a thrilling threesome of balls-to-the-wall action games.
33. Star Control II - Accolade
The mix of space exploration and combat in Star Control II was ground-breaking at the time, and amazingly, it's as enjoyable now as when it first came out. The space battles, with so many different types of ships, all with unique skills, provide some of the best arcade fun you can have on the PC. It's a quality improvement over the original Star Control that doesn't have quite the epic scope; even so, Star Control II has a much better storyline than the recent release of Star Control III.
Though sharp arcade skills are necessary to win the game, it ties in very nicely with the storyline of this epic adventure.
34. Master of Orion - MicroProse
The first great space conquest strategy game is still one of the best, fending off strong competition over the last couple of years to retain its place in our coveted All-Time Top 50 line-up. Often referred to as Civilization is space, Master of Orion mixed all the essential elements and decision-making struggles of building a vast empire into a fun, simple and totally addictive package. Managing resources, researching technologies, designing faster and more powerful ships, and developing diplomatic relationships are all performed so simply, it's a game you can jump right into and spend hours, days, weeks playing. And it's because of its simplicity that we give it a slight nod over the recent sequel which, while more flashy and elaborate, lacked the hands-on immediacy of this classic original.
35. Monkey Island II: LeChuck's Revenge - LucasArts
36. Triple Play 97 - Electronic Arts
Responsible for bringing PC Gamer production to a virtual standstill for weeks on end last summer, EA Sports' big-hitting baseball action game is a triumph, proving that sports sims don't need to be laden with reams of stats to be enjoyable. Arcade fun is the name of the game here, and there's loads of it to be had, with some of the simplest, most instinctive batting, pitching, and fielding controls yet devised and the exemplary aesthetics and broadcast-quality presentation that EA sports has made its trademark. Triple Play 97 is best PC baseball game outright, and one of the greatest sports games ever overall.
37. D/Generation - Mindscape
38. SimCity 2000 - Maxis
There was a time when everyone was playing SimCity, an amazingly detailed and incredibly addictive game from a then unknown company, Maxis. A revolutionary title, it practically invented the simulation genre on PC, and hooked countless gamers with its bulldozers, parks and quintessential inhabitants, the Sims. The game has you build a small town into a sprawling metropolis, complete with crime, budget deficits, pollution and traffic jams. SimCity 2000 took that wonderful essence and expanded it into a lush, SVGA experience, replete with new options such as underground piping and water tables, adding greatly to the original while retaining its charm. If you want to play SimCity today SimCity 2000 is the way to go - at least until we get a look at SimCity 3000 later this year.
39. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - LucasArts
There aren't many games bold enough to center around a man with a whip, but when that man is Indiana Jones, it makes perfect sense. There's been more than one Indiana Jones graphic adventure, but The Fate of Atlantis has yet to be surpassed. With a non-linear approach to solving the game, there exists a replay value rarely seen in this genre. If you pick up this classic, look for the CD-ROM enhanced version that includes digitized speech and some ground-breaking quality in voice acting. As with its tremendous series of Star Wars titles, LucasArts again proves that it has an inate sense of what makes Lucasfilms' movies tick, and how to turn them into great games.
40. Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe - The Bitmap Brothers
41. Diablo - Blizzard Entertainment
It's not often that a game catches our attention like Diablo, but Blizzard's innovative blend of fantasy and action grabbed us like little else last year. Ostensibly simple, continued play reveals a surprising depth and extremely addicting quality, as characters now gain spells and abilities. The interface and game controls are admirably easy to use. Exceptional graphics and ominous sound effects help create the game's dark and foreboding atmosphere of evil, creating one of the most believable - and frightening - dungeon crawls ever made. And where so many other games have taken the DeathMatch route, Diablo's cooperative play is very refreshing, harking back to the days of the arcade classic, Gauntlet. But perhaps its finest feature is its free and user-freiendly Internet component, which stands as a model to the rest of the industry.
42. Front Page Sports: Football Pro - Sierra
From the wealth of statistical data to its horde of customizable options, FPS Football Pro goes beyond the flash and graphics of arcade titles to the depth of strategy underlying the sport. You can design your own plays and place them in your custom playbook, custom league options let you build leagues from virtually any era, and career leagues let you record a lifetime of statistics for all the players in your league, with every season ending with player retirements and a rookie draft. Leagues, plays, and teams are saved as separate files, making them easy to trade on bulletin boards and the Internet, and the multiplayer league options created a thriving community of online gamers long before it was cool. The series is so popular that Internet leagues today still exist based on some of the oldest versions of the game.
43. Might & Magic III: The Isles of Terra - New World Computing
When it comes to roleplaying games, few could deny that New World Computing's Might and Magic III set a standard for colorful graphics in a richly detailed fantasy realm. The first-person view and variety of weapons, items, and spells improved on ideas already available, but New World Computing did it in such a way that most gamers fondly recall their adventures through the Might and Magic universe. Mixed with a story of sweeping proportions and a variety of characters to choose from, the game stands up even today against the best the genre has to offer.
44. Silent Hunter - SSI
Even though submarine simulations are one of the most underrepresented sub-genres (excuse the pun), SSI proved that they can be every bit as thorough and detailed as any flight sim with its breathtaking World War Two submarine simulation Silent Hunter. Using historical data and input from genuine WWII sub commanders, Silent Hunter recreated every aspect of the harsh, unforgiving environment of WWII Pacific Theater naval combat with exquisite detail, delivering countless hours of nail-biting fun. Brought to life by superb graphics and multi-media reference materials, Silent Hunter never skimped on detail or challenge yet remained playable for novice gamers. Highly recommended.
45. V for Victory Series - Three-Sixty Pacific
46. Close Combat - Microsoft
Like a breath of fresh air, Close Combat was a radical leap forward for wargames, one of the most predictable and staid of PC game genres. Gone were the hexagons, ungainly unit squares and the unrealistic "your turn, my turn" style of play drawn straight from boardgames. Instead, each individual soldier is tracked for morale, bullets are counted, units fade in and out of view, and chaos reigns on the battlefield. Nor would these soldiers blindly charge into oncoming fire the way so many games permit. Our Wargame of the Year for 1996, we loved its attention to detail and its quick and easy Internet play. Although the untis are small and game is a little short in length, we believe its innovations will change the way we perceive wargames.
47. Star Trail: Realms of Arkania - Sir-Tech
This was the winner of our Best Roleplaying Game of 1994 award, and with good reason - it's one of the best RPGs you can get. The statistics are endless, the combat configurable, and the story intense. Not for the novice, Star Trail takes hours of work to get past the first few days, but the payoff is worth it. Never before, nor since, has a RPG contained as much depth or player control as this one, and with an automap, online diary, and printable character sheets, the game makes it as simple as possible to micromanage your party. Truly an achievement of RPG greatness, Star Trail has everything for the hard-core roleplaying gamer.
48. Tony LaRussa Baseball 3 - Storm Front Studios
What Front Page Sports did for the game of gridiron, the Tony LaRussa Baseball series did for baseball. A perennial champion in this competetive field, the game features the kind of in-depth statistical accuracy that true baseball fans demand. Where other games might track basic numbers like player' batting averages or pitchers' ERAs, Tony LaRussa Baseball tracked dozens of different, in-depth statistics, everything from OOBA (opponent's on-base average) to GIDP (grounded into double play). Custom league options, play editors, season simulations, spring training, stadium packs, and career leagues all put more meat on an already substantial bone, making this the most well-rounded and versatile of all the baseball sims available for PC. First published by SSI way back in 1991 for the Commordore 64 as well as the PC, the series returned to triumph with a sequel in 1993 and again in 1995 as Tony LaRussa Baseball 3. It's this most recent version that remains our favorite, beating off hearvy-hitting competion from major-league publishers two years later. An admirable achievement.
49. Pro Pinball: The Web - Empire/Interplay
A few years ago, pinball simulations were little more than a novelty among computer games, but thanks to a wave of nostalgia for this classic pastime, pinball games have become a hot commodity amoung computer games. One of the finest examples of this delightful trend is Empire's Pro Pinball: The Web, which delivers a dead-on accurate representation of those classic coin-operated dinosaurs with stunning graphics and unprecedented control. If you yearn for those carefree days of youth where all you needed was pocket full of quarters to find happiness, Pro Pinball: The Web is your ticket to the past.
50. The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall - Bethesda Softworks
It may come as a shock for some to see our Best Roleplaying Game of 1996 award-winner occupy the last spot in our list. A fantastic game of first-person action and roleplaying, Daggerfall contains all the features that make for an excellent RPG - story line, player-controlled statistics, and a huge game world to explore. However, Daggerfall also contains rather a lot of irksome bugs - but the game's so great at heart, it rises above these glitches and, with the various downloadable patches applied to fix many of these technical irritations, players will find a superlative RPG filled with enough action to occupy them for months on end.
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