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A look at the greatest games of 1999
By - The GameSpy Staff

Today GameSpy announces its Game of the Year! But first, we're wrapping up the winners of each individual category with the winners for Action and Adventure...

Action Game of the Year

Wheel of Time

With a different action game taking our overall "Game of the Year" title (thereby eliminating it from winning any other categories), our Action Game Of The Year became a heated debate. In the end, though, it was nearly unanimous: "The Wheel of Time" was one of the most complete and innovative shooters we'd seen in a while, perhaps since (dare we say!) Half-Life.

To try and cram all the good points of Wheel of Time into a short paragraph or two would be nearly impossible...but we'll try anyway. Story? Based on (and set preceding) the Robert Jordan book series, WoT told an engrossing tale most other shooters would never even take a stab at. Cutscenes? WoT had over an hour's worth, gorgeous and seamlessly intergrated with the game's missions. Graphics? Please. WoT's levels were simply jaw-dropping, sprawling with amazing detailed architecture and texture work second to none.

And there was more: Instead of traditional weapons, WoT used an innovative system of forty (!) "ter'angreal" to perform various attacks, defenses and healing actions. Small scripted events throughout the missions helped immerse you in the story, and an original Celtic-flavored music score created the perfect atmosphere. Multiplayer? Not content with a fine deathmatch mode made unique by the ter'angreal, WoT added a spectacular "citadel" mode, complete with an editor to create your own scenarios.

While this just scratches the surface of the goodness WoT had to offer, the most amazing thing was the way the parts seamlessly blended together to create an experience no gamer should miss. If you've been playing the latest multiplayer-themed shooters and find yourself wishing for a good story and more traditional single-player experience, Wheel of Time should be the only game on your list.

Reader Comments:

"For single player storyline, Wheel of Time took that category... for both story and graphics quality."
- Mythrin


Runners-up

Quake 3: Arena

"Action Game of the Year" was a tough call, with so many strong contenders. High up on the list was Quake 3: Arena, the latest installment of our all-time favorite series. We were blown away by Quake 3's graphics -- the engine flawlessly renders graceful curves and awesome lighting effects, while the textures and models were unmatched. Plus, there's something about the "feel" of Quake 3 that just feels like home. The fast pace of the gameplay and the simplicity of the weapons really help to keep the name "Quake" tatooed on the hearts of gamers everywhere. It doesn't offer much more, but if you're looking for pure multiplayer deathmatch mayhem, Quake 3 is your game.

Reader Comments: (There was a lot of love!)

"I think Quake 3:Arena should win game of the year. It has the best engine on the market, some of the best graphics, good sound and fun levels."
- BattleMaster

"Highly customizable, very sweet graphics, solid engine, an excellent net-code, and absolutely in your face deathmatch gameplay!"
- Asad Aquil

"As polished as a diamond and twice as hard. This is the machismo of video gaming wrapped in a shiny new engine that'll melt your mind." - Killdozer


Descent 3

On the topic of "third installments in classic franchises", a much quieter release was found in Descent 3, but just as worthy of praise. This time around, the game took a much heavier story and mission-based approach, and managed to improve greatly upon its predecessors. Many of the disorienting, underground levels of D2 were eschewed in favor of more defined locations, such as space stations and even (whoa!) outdoor environments, thanks to two separate engines used to drive the game. It didn't get much attention, but Descent 3 was one of the best -- and nicest surprises -- of 1999. As GameSpy reader Assassin pointed out, "D3 is one of the most quality games to come out this year, undeniably."
Aliens vs. Predator

"AvP," as it's lovingly referred to on the web, is so much more than a pair of movie licenses. With three unique modes of gameplay and dark, immersive environments, the game has its share of fans. "Not only does it have mind-blowing graphics that actually make lighting useful for something other than looking pretty, it sports some of the most deadly opponents in FPS history," raves GameSpy reader C. Owen. "For variety, horror, and gorgeous graphics, AvP is your game." It's a shame that AvP was hindered by a lack of a dedicated server, which limited multiplayer options and made good games hard to find. In many other respects it's one of the strongest action titles of 99. And it's got more moments that make you jump out of your seat than even last year's Half-Life.
Next: GameSpy's Adventure Game of the Year. (And our top pick for the 1999 Best Game of the Year!)





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