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The 21 ultimate sci-fi games

Our sci-fi spod friends over at the world's best sci-fi mag SFX have produced a definitive list of the 21 ultimate sci-fi games. If, like half the GamesRadar team, you're into the Mass Effects and Deus Exes of the gaming spectrum you should probably check it out. And then argue. Either with us, or them. Go, on what have they missed?

Here are the first two entries...

Deus Ex
Date: 2000
On: PC, Mac OS, PlayStation 2
Developed by: Ion Storm

Set in a noir, cyberpunk future, this action/role-playing hybrid weaves conspiracy theories, bio-politics and the technological singularity into a plot about who’ll rule the world of the 2050s. Unfolding in real locations (including Paris and Hong Kong), Deus Ex offers alternative ways to proceed - you can sneak about and hack computers, or go in guns blazing - and there are three alternative endings to the main arc. A complete universe builds as you proceed: if you can be bothered to read newspapers, books and information terminals you uncover a richer experience.

Deus Ex draws on every pop-culture mythology, from Majestic 12 and Area 51 to the Knights Templar and the Illuminati - hey, even your character’s labelled JC in a none-too-subtle Christian reference. Behind all the posturing it’s also an entertainingly designed 3D shoot-’em-up.

Half Life or Half Life 2* (*depending on who’s arguing)
Date: 1998
On: PC, PlayStation 2
Developed by: Sierra Studios

Games that redefine tired genres are unusual things, and getting such games from start-up developers is even more unusual. But that’s what we got from the original Half Life which went on to spawn an awesome next generation sequel with its own conquered-Earth mythology that’s still being added to via new episodes. It was a tough call plonking for Half Life over the arguably superior sequel, but for sheer impact on the genre we decided to get in the corner of the ’98 masterpiece.

The original abandons such conventions as boss battles and randomly scattered ammo and health packs in favour of walking the player through a story that makes realistic use of its eerie Black Mesa setting. In a welcome move, it forces players to step away from the old strafing-and-shooting tactic of the likes of Doom and take a whole new approach to gameplay, with an inventive array of weaponry and clever level design that rewards logical thought and problem solving. And you’ve got to love a bearded scientist hero called Gordon.

To see the other 19 games head over to SFX's Ultimate SF games feature

May 18, 2009