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The 25 Best Adventure Games Ever Made

20: Discworld Noir

Developer: Perfect Entertainment

Publisher: GT Interactive

It’s interesting to note that some people rate the first two Discworld adventure games, in which you play as Rincewind the wizard, as being good. They’re not! They’re utterly bloody awful, idiotically hard, and Eric Idle’s voice is like being grated to death. However, come the third game and a complete change of focus, something rather lovely happened.

Remembering that a game could be more than a pastiche of the books, Noir is a parody of hardboiled fiction, with you playing as Lewton – a former member of the City Watch, now turned PI. In an original story, co-written by Pratchett, you investigate a murder and get dragged into peculiar underworld of vampires and werewolves.

There are some fantastic jokes in there, as well as lots of lovely spoofs of Lovecraft, Chandler and others.


The voice cast is great. You’ve got Rob Brydon, Robert Llewellyn, Kate Robbins and Nigel Planer doing a heck of a job.

Where can I buy it:

It’s tough to find, and has yet to be rescued by GOG. You’ll likely need a virtual machine to get original versions running.

What else should I be playing if I like this:

Perhaps dig into the Westwood Kyrandia series of adventures – also British and silly.

Read more:

John’s retrospective for Eurogamer.

19: The Walking Dead: Season One

Developer: Telltale Games

Publisher: Telltale Games

Based on the comic books, rather than the enormously popular TV series, Telltale’s most successful endeavour is without doubt the most brutal adventure gaming experience created. (Unless you count suffering through Myst, of course.)

An unrelenting tale of misery, loss, failure and impending death, it never lets up on its characters, least of all poor child Clementine. Over its five episodes, happy endings will not trouble you. Everything else will.

Telltale’s extremely stripped down approach to adventure often leaves things feeling hollow, but it worked in the Walking Dead series. It just left the player feeling hollow instead. It’s about conversation and decisions, rather than puzzles and inventory items, and your actions have significant short-term impacts on the story.

How much brutal despair you can take will dictate your connection to the episodes, but there’s no question The Walking Dead has proven a smart, intriguing reinvention of how to approach adventures.

One of the series’ writers, Gary Whitta, used to edit PC Gamer. There’s a thing. He rather brilliantly said of The Walking Dead, “All choices are equally wrong.”

Where can I buy it:



What else should I be playing if I like this:

Telltale’s best comedy run was Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People. More recent success appears in the ongoing Tales From The Borderlands.

Read more:

Vast amounts of coverage about the games.

18: The Blackwell Series

Developer: Wadjet Eye Games

Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games

Dave Gilbert has long established himself as the king of independent adventure development. Using the Adventure Game Studio engine, since 2006 he has consistently produced extremely high quality games, from his first short, The Shivah, to publishing some of the most interesting science fiction stories of recent times like Gemini Rue and Technobabylon. But his reputation is truly earned by The Blackwell series.

Beginning with The Blackwell Legacy, the run of games tells the stories of a spirit guide called Joey Mallone, and the two women he’s appeared to, Rosangela and Lauren Blackwell. They’re murder-mysteries, family sagas, poignant commentaries on mental illness, and ghostly business.

Each episode improves on the last, the stories bursting with character and care, and the puzzles rather decent too. The arc is complete now, so there’s no better time to play all the way through.

Where can I buy it:



What else should I be playing if I like this:

Grab Primordia, Gemini Rue and Technobablyon, all from the same publisher.

Read more:

Our interview with Dave Gilbert about the series and more.

17: Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers

Developer: Sierra Online

Publisher: Sierra Online/Activision

In 1993, Sierra set out to show that adventure games could go to darker places. While the Police Quest series had already created a more serious, less comedic run, Gabriel Knight would take the genre into a more grim, horror-led area. It has a lot to answer for.

However, the misery of horror adventures that followed can’t be allowed to influence Gab Knight’s quality. And it has rather a lot. The titular chap gets involved in investigating a spate of murders involving voodoo, and eventually his own familial role as a Schattenjäger – a shadow hunter.

Story-heavy, enormously deep, and while humorous, far more severe than adventures had been up to that point, it paved the way for “serious” adventures. And a lot of copycat dross.


The floppy version of Gab Knight 1 came on eleven discs, which was a real pain in the arse.

A remake of the game was released by Pinkerton Road last year, with new graphics, music and improved puzzles.

Where can I buy it:



What else should I be playing if I like this:
Definitely get Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, but definitely don’t get Moebius: Empire Rising.

Read more:

Our review of the recent remake.

16: Fahrenheit

Developer: Quantic Dream

Publisher: Atari

Fahrenheit isn’t anywhere near as good as people say it is, but it’s much better than other people say it is. What it is, is a primer from which all other adventure developers should take ideas. It’s a giant mess of a game, and it’s a great time. It’s novel, intriguing, peculiar, and ultimately extremely silly.

That David Cage keeps being heralded as the great cinematic gaming developer is cause to want to abandon the pursuit altogether. But throwing this nonsense “auteur” notion aside, Fahrenheit (or Indigo Prophecy if you’re foreign) is a fascinating collection of ideas thrown against a wall.

But then, add in a score by Angelo Badalamenti, some genuinely good acting, ignore some really tired racism, and embrace the INTERNET AS A PERSON, and it’s packed with superb moments. Mad as a fruit tree, but so endlessly inventive, it still offers so many good ideas for other people to run with.


One of the nicest details in the game is its use of multiple camera angles on the same event, which really needs to be copied more often.

The US release of the game had the sex and boobies removed, to avoid getting a deathly AO rating. Not a lot was missed.

Where can I buy it:



What else should I be playing if I like this:

You could look at Cage’s massively overrated Heavy Rain on PS3, or the more recent Beyond: Two Souls.

Read more:

John’s Eurogamer retrospective.

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Who am I?

John Walker


One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I tried to leave, but they won't let me. If anyone reads this, please send help.

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