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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 December, 2003, 07:50 GMT
Pick of the best games of 2003
Daniel Etherington of BBCi Collective selects the games he was most impressed with in 2003 in his weekly games column.

Unless strapped down and fed by a drip, there is no way one person could play the hundreds of games released in the UK this year.

So, inevitably, this list is subjective.

It is made up of the few top quality games that have taken up the most hours of my life during 2003.

Publisher: UbiSoft
Developer: Sony
Format: PC

Screenshot of PlanetSide
Sure there are problems - bugs, server grievances - but this is the year's most ambitious, innovative game, providing epic multiplayer online delights for first-person shooter fans. Don exo-armour, fly aircraft, be a medic or engineer - the range of experiences is as wide as the gameplay is compelling. Hail!

Metroid Prime
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Retro Studios
Format: GameCube

Screenshot of Metroid Prime
Fans were perturbed when Nintendo planned to create a 3D game, but all worries were put aside with the release of this refined masterpiece. A first-person shooter, a platformer, a 3D action adventure, a puzzler - it is all this and more, wrapped up in exquisite graphics.

Zelda: Wind Waker
Publisher/Developer: Nintendo
Format: GameCube
Screenshot of Zelda: Wind Waker
It is generally agreed this is not quite as good a game as The Ocarina Of Time - there is just a little too much pootling around in the boat for starters - but the ever popular series has a worthy addition here. A deep, well-crafted, graphically appealing and typically charming adventure.

Advance Wars 2
Publisher/Developer: Nintendo
Format: GameBoy Advance
Screenshot of Advance Wars 2
A dubious subtitle did not stop this latest instalment in the Console Wars series becoming a justification in itself for buying a GameBoy Advance SP, like 2002's predecessor. Featuring finely balanced turn-based combat, it is a worthy successor to that old-fashioned activity known as chess.

Vice City
Publisher/Developer: Rockstar
Format: PC
Screenshot of Vice City
Although the PS2 version snuck out late in 2002, it came out on PC in 2003. The range of tasks, the pleasures of free roaming, the selection of vehicles, power-ups and secrets, the decent voice acting and, most importantly, Rockstar's distinctive humour make this a masterpiece.

Prince of Persia
Publisher/Developer: UbiSoft
Format: PS2, PC
Screenshot of Prince of Persia
Arguably the best 3D adventure game on PS2 in 2003, largely thanks to its excellent control system which allows for enormously satisfying acrobatic moves. Another example of how a 2D game can be reborn in 3D, and with its renditions of a mythical Middle East it is visually splendid.

Call of Duty
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward
Format: PC
Screenshot of Call of Duty
A wonderfully comfy control system helps you navigate the dangers of the wide-ranging single-player mode, which takes in missions in a familiar Normandy, a formidable Stalingrad and a satisfying Berlin - all rendered with solid, atmospheric graphics. The year's best WWII title.

Crimson Skies
Publisher/Developer: Microsoft
Format: Xbox

Screenshot of Crimson Skies
Xbox has come into its own with the explosion of games with decent Xbox Live play. Crimson Skies pips Rainbow Six 3, Project Gotham Racing and so on, because it offers a refreshing alternative with its epic aerial combat as well as excellent single player and Live multiplayer modes.

Soul Calibur 2
Publisher: Nintendo/EA
Developer: Namco
Format: Xbox, GameCube, PS2

Screenshot of Soul Calibur 2
For all your beat-em-up requirements look no further than Namco's quality follow-up to the landmark Dreamcast game. Smooth, expansive and stocked with colourful characters, each with distinct moves. Fun for a quick bash or a career-like commitment of time and effort.

Viewtiful Joe
Publisher/Developer: Capcom
Format: GameCube
Developer/Publisher: UbiSoft
Format: Xbox, PS2, GameCube, PC

Screenshot of XIII
Bit of a cheat for this 10th position I am afraid, but these two both merit a mention on the basis of their striking visuals alone. Cartoony in the case of intense side-scrolling beat-em-up Viewtiful Joe, comic-strip influenced in the case of first-person shooter XIII.

And finally, bubbling under:
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, EyeToy Play, The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past (GBA), Return To Castle Wolfenstein, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Resident Evil Zero, Rise Of Nations, Wario Ware, Mario Kart Double Dash!!


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