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SHORT LIST 1 - July 1996


You'll doubtless be pleased to hear that, according to publishers Activision, "Both Esquire's readers and Spycraft are intelligent, sophisticated, worldly, very concerned with quality, and seek enjoyment." Annoyingly, they're quite correct (well, about the game, anyway) - Spycraft is an innovative and clever piece of work, designed by the real-life ex-heads of the CIA and KGB, and boasting a unique Internet tie-in whereby you can log on to the Net from within the game (you get 30 days' free access included in the package) and use it to gather intelligence, trade information with other players and even check out the real CIA and FBI sites. The game itself actually more or less lives up to the gimmick, too. Check this one out.

(Activision, PC and Mac, 39.99)



Already a chart-topper, this Doom-style shoot-'em-up proves that even 20 years on, the acid-dripping bad guys of Alien are still the scariest sons of xenomorphs ever to attach themselves to the faces of the public at large. A tense, creepy game, but one in which you'll still be knee-deep in flesh-burning gore by the end. A winner, then.

(Acclaim, Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn, 44.99)



Not, in fact, so much a revolution as a respray, this is basically just Namco's seminal driving game Ridge Racer given a new track and some new tricks. The criticisms levelled at the original, therefore, still largely apply (only one basic track to race, though again with several variations), no useful two-player mode (unless you've got two Playstations and two TVs), but to extend its life, Namco have padded it out with more hidden secret bits than the entire Scott Report. And since Ridge Racer is the best driving game of all time, it's still brilliant anyway. Alright?

(Namco, Sony Playstation, 44.99)



Tired of formulaic LucasArts adventure games, with their lead-you-by-the-hand structure and unsightly American humour? Try this. Set in an Orwellian future, but rendered with a rare deftness of touch and in a beautiful 3D environment, Normality is surely the first adventure game of the new generation (in both the chronological sense and the Hilary Clinton sense). You'll have to work a bit harder than you're probably used to (it's no pushover), but it's very much worth the effort.

(Gremlin, PC, 39.99)



Take a trip to the space war, with flawless conversions of some of the greatest coin-op video games in history for your Playstation. Six vintage games here, including Defender, Robotron, Joust and Sinistar. Try it now! You can get a lot of fun and thrill!

(GT Interactive, Sony Playstation, 29.99)

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