- Developer: Cross
- Publisher: Activision
Presumably a little bit inspired by Crimson Skies, back when it was a boardgame and not an Xbox game, Sky Odyssey is a flight simulator where the emphasis is on exploration and daring stunts. At the controls of various aircraft - including a stealth fighter and UFO - you fly around a series of islands on the trail of mysterious treasure. So, Indiana Jones does Pilot Wings then. And if that description makes you go "Ooh, that sounds cool!" then you're right. It is cool. It's also a flight game where entertainment comes more from navigating through awkwardly placed targets rather than blasting MIG fighters with missiles, which probably explains why we're still getting Ace Combat games but no Sky Odyssey 2.
What we said: Not reviewed
Ebay price guide: Less than GBP 5
- Developer: Sucker Punch
- Publisher: Sony
Sometimes a game can vanish because people are uneducated morons who wouldn't recognise greatness if it jumped up their nose and tapped out the works of Shakespeare on their brain stem. Others fail because the advertising was botched, leaving tentative consumers unsure and unwilling to take a full-price punt on an unknown quantity. And sometimes you get something like Sly Raccoon, a game that managed to spawn two sequels and still not make a lasting impact on the gaming community. Produced using the cel-shaded look that was briefly popular for cartoon games, you control the brilliant (and morally principled) anthropomorphic burglar Sly Cooper as he sneaks about, shimmying up walls and sliding down ziplines. Your goal is to retrieve your family heirloom - a book containing the secrets of the master thieves. Ultimately, with Crash Bandicoot going all-formats, Sony's scramble to establish a new PlayStation platform franchise was what stifled Sly's potential. Rushing the market with Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter and Sly Raccoon within a relatively short space of time, it was inevitable that one of the hopeful heroes would get the short straw. Unlucky, Sly. And yet it looks lovely, it plays extremely well, and both plot and characters are surprisingly well developed for what looks like a kiddy platformer. A PS3 version would be most welcome.
What we said: "Superbly judged playability, classy visuals, variety, welcome elements of stealth and replayability."
Ebay price guide: Between GBP 10 and 15
- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
Another unsung horror gem, and one that combines elements from two other games on this list. You see, Haunting Ground, originally developed as part of the Clock Tower series, is a little bit Forbidden Siren and a little bit ICO. You're Fiona, a young woman trapped in a spooky castle that she's supposedly inherited. The maniacal inhabitants - a hulking sexual predator and a vicious female cannibal - decide to molest and devour her instead. What follows is basically an incredibly nerve-wracking pursuit, punctuated by typical Capcom puzzles. Your best hope of survival is to evade and hide, with the limited attack options only capable of deterring the stalking loons for a short time. Should your pursuers get too close, Fiona begins to panic, the joypad pounding in your hand as the screen drains of colour. Should she completely lose it, Fiona just starts running and all you can do is steer her away from walls and obstacles. Allow her to stumble, and she'll end up crawling and sobbing on the floor as the bad guys descend on her. The screen fades to black to the sound of wet sticky noises, screaming and chilling laughter. It's a genuinely horrifying experience, a game that perfectly captures that nightmarish feeling of being relentlessly chased by people who want to do very bad things to you. It's not all doom and gloom though, as you can recruit a lovely dog as a sidekick and, should you pamper him enough, he's able to defend you against harm and explore areas beyond your reach. Unless you play on the hardest difficulty, in which case the dog can be slaughtered just as easily as you. Yes, this is the sort of game where even the lovely dog is fair game. Yeesh.
What we said: "It's so nearly brilliant it hurts."
Ebay price guide: Between GBP 5 and 10