Version tested: PSOne
Colony Wars (1997)
- Developer: Psygnosis
- Publisher: Psygnosis
This is a rare entry for this list - a 3D action title. While the PlayStation had plenty of those, few of them have stood the test of time - or held their own against the march of technology. However, Colony Wars was no ordinary 3D action title. In fact, even ten years on, it still stands out as one of the best space shooters we've ever played on a console, and a startling reminder of just how damned talented the boys and girls at Psygnosis' studios in Liverpool (by 1997, entirely owned by Sony) really were.
Like any 3D PlayStation game viewed a decade later, you have to forgive the graphics to some extent. That, however, proves surprisingly easy to do when you're confronted with great handling and a fantastic variety of missions - many of which swap straightforward dogfighting for tightly designed episodes in which you take part in stealthy infiltration, guard capital ships and supply lines, or hold perimeter defense lines from waves of enemies.
Best of all, the game actually drags you in with a compelling approach to its mission structure. Failing your objectives doesn't mean game over; it just means that you've thrown the game down a different and not necessarily pleasant branch of the plot. How many games allow you to fail every mission and still give you an ending - albeit a nasty one? Now that's what we call replayability.