It's been a great few years for gaming, with a shedload of quality releases across all the formats. But spare a thought for the games that didn't make it to release: cut short before their prime, their followers left clutching those first precious screenshots and scouring news sites with the agonised uncertainty of someone with a missing pet. Join hands with us now as we remember 10 games that could have been contenders.
Not just Walking with Dinosaurs, but ganging up on the smaller ones
Burnout Revenge could have been just the same on Microsoft's 'next-gen' 360 as it is on the old consoles. After all, a straightforward port with slightly shinier graphics would hardly stand out right now, as even the machine's cheerleaders would be forced to admit. And Revenge is hardly lacking excitement as it is.
Yet, despite a development push that won't exceed six months, Burnout Revenge 360 is looking shockingly more next-gen than many of the more established standard-bearers. No names.
It really goes without saying, but corner boost whenever you can. The corner boost is perfect for the twistier, narrower courses like DK Pass. However, some chicanes - such as the final twisty bit of road leading up from the beach to the finish line on Cheep Cheep Beach - are better navigated by finding the straightest line through.
This is where the lower screen comes in useful. Getting a speed boost from slipstreaming can be a game-winning clincher, but it's
We've been buzzing with excitement since Sports Interactive revealed it was bringing the stunning Football Manager to Xbox 360. Frankly, FM06 is football management.
It's one of the deepest, most absorbing, time-consuming games you'll ever play and the best news is that it's feature-complete from the PC version and packs Live play into its locker too.
FM06 is to football management what PES is to football simulation. It's got a database of over 270,000 players from all over the world. Sports
Would EverQuest and World of Warcraft exist as we know them today without the groundwork laid by Dungeons & Dragons? Not likely. Instead of slaying giant, flying reptiles with chronic halitosis, we'd probably still be stuck playing some retread version of cowboys and Indians, and dying of dysentery. Since 1974, D&D has introduced the world to fantasy role-playing games. But it's only now that the genre grandfather has its own persistent online game in the works; Dungeons & Dragons Online:
How many driving games invite you to crash, let alone reward you for it? In genre-shattering defiance of everything we know about racing games, the Burnout series has taken crashing, the racer's kryptonite, and morphed it into an art form. As if the series' trademark style of full-contact racing wasn't rough enough, Burnout Revenge adds the new Traffic Attack mode, which actually requires you to slam into as many cars as possible for maximum score.
Crash Mode, a sort of puzzle game in which
The perfect role-playing game? For legions of fans, thats an easy one: the original Neverwinter Nights. The best Dungeons & Dragons-based game yet, Neverwinters dense single-player campaign marked an achievement in gripping, dramatic story development. And when you were finished with the basic story, you could create your own adventure with the robust custom-campaign generator. This became the hallmark of the franchise, and led to an avalanche of freely downloadable, fan-created content.
What will the future of tactical shooters bring? Gears of War knows the answer: pain. Gears of War puts you just over the right shoulder (third person style) of former soldier Marcus Fenix. Marcus has been brought out of "retirement" (a polite way of saying "sprung from prison") so that he and his crew can battle the Locust Horde, a bizarre army of monstrosities that have clawed their way out of the underground in order to eat people and destroy their stuff. Unsettling, yeah...but what's so
When your previous online game netted you a worldwide audience of no less than eight million, going one better than that isn't easy. Yet Splash Damage is making it seem that way.
By swapping WWII rifles for the energised piledrivers of intergalactic conflict, and setting out to make every gameplay element of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars better than it is anywhere else, the Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory developer has fashioned some awe-inspiring firepower.
Key to Quake Wars is its desire to make
Are four wheels slowing you down? Is travelling at 170mph in Project Gotham Racing 3 just not fast enough? Are you after a different kind of rush?
Well, you can finally stop looking, because MotoGP is back, roaring with speed and energy and all set to offer possibly the fastest racing experience ever seen on a console. We mean it.
See, the thing about motorbikes (especially the GP variety) is that they're very, very quick indeed - but speed has always been a fairly tricky thing to replicate