SHORT LIST 15 - December 1997
A game involving high-speed car chases through city streets and the deliberate ramming of other cars into concrete pillars in motorway tunnels perhaps wasn't the most sensitive Playstation title for Sony to release the day before the Princess Of Wales' funeral, but happily Ray Tracers avoided the potential PR minefield (cough) and is still available in shops nationwide for gamers to buy and enjoy its superfast and tremendously entertaining gameplay for the full three hours that it'll take them to finish it.
(From Sony for Playstation, £35)
LITTLE BIG ADVENTURE 2
"The sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed adventure games ever", reads the box, so you know that the first one, beautiful though it was, sold like rotting horse flesh. Cleverly, EA have tackled this problem by making the follow-up almost exactly the same, only more so, which means even quainter graphics, even quirkier characters, even trickier puzzles, and an even huger landscape to explore. Too complicated for console fans, too cute and lovable for PC owners, and just too damn good to be a big hit.
(From Electronic Arts for PC, £40)
The second game in Empire's lovely Pro Pinball series, and it's good to see that they haven't been swayed by the enormous amount of critical flak the first one took for only having one table (most pinball video games have at least four), and haven't been tempted from the pure aesthete's path by the prospect of - for example - selling large numbers of copies, as this undeniably gorgeous pinball game assuredly would if there wasn't only one of it. Nice one.
(From Empire for PC, £40)
DISNEY'S ACTION GAME FEATURING HERCULES
Only the year's second major film licence game, and with only Electronic Arts' amazingly dreadful Lost World - Jurassic Park one to beat, easily the best. Still a bit rubbish, frankly, with a mesmerisingly dated formula-platformer design and a hugely tedious first level that seems to last longer than the movie itself, but the graphics are a dream and the kids'll love it, right? And at least the title won't confuse Americans.
(From Disney for Playstation, £40)