The sneaky history of stealth games

Silent Hill series – 1999-2008
This survival horror series gives you the willies and the ability to sneak around nightmarish beasts. In order to preserve ammo (and your life), you can dodge enemies in the thick fog. Also, if you turn your flashlight off, you can avoid detection.

Syphon Filter series – 1999-2007
Known for being an action series, SF only really counts in the stealth department because there are a number of ways you can get the drop on enemies. Our favorites are the first game’s taser and Dark Mirror’s darts.

Winback – 1999
Gameplay lets you take cover behind corners and objects. When you duck out to shoot, you can’t move. Rather, you control the aiming reticule and decide where to shoot your enemy.

Deus Ex series – 2000-2009
The original was a triumph in merging FPS elements with role-playing. Augmenting your character gave him skills in everything from combat to computer hacking. With sophisticated AI that attacked in groups, you often had to rely on stealth lest you get peppered with lead. However, the game design was dynamic enough to give you the choice of how you played. Do you want to lock pick that door for safe passage? Or go in guns blazing? A marvel in emergent gameplay.

Hitman series – 2000-Present
As the impressively bald Agent 47, you’ll have to pull off all kinds of risky assassinations in a variety of ways - from impersonating a birthday clown to replacing a prop gun during an opera with the real thing. The less alerts and more elaborate the kill; the more you’re awarded at the end of the mission. Also, the first 3D stealth game where you could obtain and wear disguises.

Incredible Crisis – 2000
It might be racist of us to remark that the Japanese have a wackier mindset than most Americans or Brits, but after playing through IC we dare you not to think that. Split into all sorts of minigames about one family trying to get through the most insane day ever, some missions involve stealth. Our favorite: switching seats with kids in a classroom so the teacher doesn’t notice. If he does, he fires a chunk of chalk at your face.

No One Lives Forever series – 2000-2002
Set in the ‘60s, NOLF is a parody/homage to British spy culture without going the unfunny slapstick route of Austin Powers. Most missions can be completed in multiple ways - guns blazing, stealth or a mixture of the two.

Paper Mario – 2001
Mario’s wafer-thin N64 opus was more of a straight-up action/RPG. However, in between the chapters you’d take control of our favorite kidnappable princess and sneak out of her room, avoiding detection by the guards and sneak to the kitchen (we’ll avoid an easy joke here). Basically she needs to bake a cake that’ll help restore Mario’s health in battle.

Fatal Frame series – 2001-2008
This survival horror series pitting you and a camera against ghosts is less focused on stealth and more on adventure. You don’t necessarily hide from the specters, but there are moments where you can avoid them.

Operation Flashpoint – 2001
Less reliant on stealth, OF is a hyper-realistic and extremely tactical war game.